Saturday, 10 July 2010

a jar

A Jar
I want to love a jar.
O jar, that arises in the calmness of my heart!

You have nothing in you.
Your emptiness!

O jar, my heart
strangely trembles
calling you, “My jar.”

Jūkichi Yagi
Tr. William I. Elliott and Kazuo Kawamura

i had thought 'my jar' in the last line to be suspicious as soon as i saw this translation, and sure enough, going back to the Japanese original confirmed it: there is no 'my' in Japanese, a language which practically never uses pronouns (some linguists argue there are no pronouns in Japanese, at least not what we call 'pronoun' in Indo-European languages) and which values most the qualities of ambiguity/indirectness/indetermination/vagueness.


  1. Andecdote of the Jar

    I placed a jar in Tennessee,
    And round it was, upon a hill.
    It made the slovenly wilderness
    Surround that hill.

    The wilderness rose up to it,
    And sprawled around, no longer wild.
    The jar was round upon the ground
    And tall and of a port in air.

    It took dominion every where.
    The jar was gray and bare.
    It did not give of bird or bush,
    Like nothing else in Tennessee.

    Wallace Stevens

  2. Michael, i had indeed thought of this amazing poem but i was hopelessly in love with the Japanese one. besides, i would need a jar upon a hill for this one (and tonight it seems i can't find the needed pictures :-)

  3. You never fail to astonish... and beautiful grain in the image... ah, how I wonder how she does it, he whispered, she has a magic wand, transforming light...

    Falling in love with a jar, as long as it's not the bell jar...

    Perhaps better to have a little whiskey in the jar...

    Or just emptiness; as you wish...

  4. This photograph is very much poetic.

    it is being like a sobre jarre a teneur de toute la nature..non?

  5. perhaps unsurprisingly, i prefer the japanese poem myself.

  6. das Gefäss sollte hier sicher etwas Positives, nämlich die Leere darstellen, aber ich weiss nicht, auf mich hat es eine eigenartige Wirkung, es engt ein und nimmt mir die Luft zum Atmen. Ist Leerheit denn nicht einfach der Raum, transparent, unfassbar! Eine ungeheure Wirkung hat das Bild sicherlich..!
    Eine helles, freies und gutes Wochenende für Dich, liebe Roxana!

  7. The extemporaneous wonder of an object as simple as a jar; an empty vessel, a full promise.

  8. I remember hearing a Zen teacher remark that the beauty of objects is found in their emptiness. I think your jar illustrates this point beautifully.

    Really enjoyed your previous landscape post. Your originality never ceases. They display the forces of nature through the strength of the dark passionate emotion of colors.

  9. bonjour Roxana, merci pour votre magnifique accueil sur la poste précédente.
    Oui il y a un peu de temps que j'admire ton blog magnifique, merci j'aimerais donner une note ici et la sur vos postes-et oui pour m'inspirer! ew ca c'était trop franc. ha ha

    c'est une magnifique présentation ici Roxana c'est l'art puissant de ta photographie parce que l'humeur est très fort et le texte et magnifique avec votre photo aussi.

    Yes it is interesting to reflect on the emptiness within. Is it an indication that our existence cannot be filled by the world we have created somewhat too artificial?...

    merci Roxana
    belle journée magique
    l'amour et la lumière..ou est-ce que les deux sont un..

  10. et aussi j'aime les nuances de couleurs-c'est presque un violet..à noir.

  11. Michael, i love your 'perhaps' :-P

  12. haha, Owen

    Some take delight in fishing and bowling
    Others take delight in carriage a-rollin'
    I take delight in the juice of the barley
    Courting pretty women in the morning so early

    is this not a good idea for a post? 'things i take delight in' :-)

  13. anonymous, what is poetic about an empty dirty jar? (she tries to challenge the anonymous visitor to write more, so she might guess who they are - though not in French, please, i didn't get that, i'm afraid :-P)

  14. Renée, sehr interessant, was Du beschreibst - ich denke, es gibt mehrere Arten, Leerheit darzustellen (was sicherlich gar nicht einfach ist) - und eine davon ist natuerlich der reine, offene Raum, von dem Du sprichst. aber weisst Du, woran ich denke? "es engt ein und nimmt mir die Luft zum Atmen": mit 28 erkrankte erkrankte Jukichi Yagi an Tuberkulose und starb ein Jahr spaeter, so ein furchtbares Schicksal... und so merkwuerdig, dass mein Bild so eine Wirkung auf Dich hat...

    ich umarme Dich ganz lieb!

  15. Prospero,
    i often think we would be dead if we lost this ability, to look at such a simple object as a jar with a child's eyes, as if we saw something magical, not of this world...

  16. thank you, Stickup Artist and welcome back :-)
    our Western sensitivity has a different perception of 'emptiness', i think, so often anguish is related to it - yet so often beauty is born out of anguish as well...

  17. amaraentus, so happy to see you back :-)

    tu parles francais et anglais couramment? lequel tu preferes? le francais, je suppose, puisque ton blog est ecrit en francais? :-)

    i oscillate between such subdued colours, often b/w and very strong, expressionistic use of colour (you could see both tendencies in the previous, fire-post).

    je te remercie pour tes mots si gentils et pour le fait que tu as decide de rompre le silence :-) sinon je n'aurais jamais decouvert ton blog (ou, qui sait qui sait? :-)