Friday, 19 August 2011

beyond thirst (tentative answer to Michaux's Ma vie)

they say they can take everything away from me,
even that which makes me see the world

coming together in a bowl of tea.

so be it. they may be right.
it is not for me to prove them wrong,
those who can only fulfil themselves
by taking away.
my voice is hardly a whisper, my truths are scarce
(and even those vanish quickly beyond the horizon,
ashamed to glow brighter than the stars).
so be it, then. they are surely right.

when they have taken everything
away from me, even that which
makes me see the world
fading within a bowl of tea,
i will still be the moment
when a sky forms beyond
the line of the heart,
and the moment
when a sky meets a mirror
to empty itself of its blue.



  1. Now, in every possible way, this just became my favorite post of yours. I will keep it with me always.

    Have you considered making prints for sale of some of your work? I would purchase this is a heartbeat, Roxana.

  2. I returned after searching Ma vie, and there are more than one possibilities. To which Ma vie are you referring here?

  3. Lydia!!! i am so happy!

    i took these pictures on the balcony (of my Berlin attic, i add this just for Stickup, so that she may have the pleasure of finding it impossibly romantic again :-), one morning: i put the bowl with gyokuro, a japanese tea known as "jade dew", on the table, and when the tea surface gently came to a still mirror, i caught a glimpse of the clouds reflected in the tea, and then a branch of the small tree with violet flowers, which happens to be there on the balcony, as if just for my otherworldly delight, appeared as well, swaying in the breeze. it was another one of those few, really perfect moments of one's life.

    i haven't considered that, since i don't think about my photographs in that way, but perhaps i should offer this possibility for those Bridge-readers who might have the same wish as you, hmmm, i will ponder this!

  4. oh it is just the previous post, sorry i wasn't clear, i should have written this in english, it is the title of Michaux's poem, i wanted the two photos with the bowl of tea to respond in a way to the empty glasses of unquenched thirst :-)

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  10. I keep gazing at these photos. A perfect moment held within a tea bowl, you say. I see the eyes of god looking back at me.

    The poem makes my heart and mind stumble. I feel clumsy standing here on this beauty-filled bridge of dreams.

  11. yes, i would purchase your heartbeat as well...

  12. Oooooh ! Je reste sans mot...

  13. so schön, wie ein Segen, die Antwort, das poetisch wundervoll Gedicht von Dir, auf die Welt des "Sich-Nehmens", die vergessen hat, zu geben...!
    Diese zarten ausser-weltlichen Bilder, ein wahres Kunstwerk! Ich liebe sie sehr.
    Mit einer Tasse Tee neben mir lächele ich Dir zu!

  14. Oh, what a mystical coming-to-be this was then! (I find the whole idea of your Berlin attic impossibly romantic sounds like a dream world to me!)

    One would think that when a photographer explains the details behind particular images that some of the magic would leave. That is certainly not the case with these! Remarkable. And thank you for explaining about the juxtaposition with the previous...of course I see that now.

    I encourage you to ponder the possibility of making some of your work available for us to purchase. Your works are treasures for the very soul of us. I realize you must weigh the commercialization (it is something I think you could balance but only you know)....Are you familiar with Etsy?

  15. Sorry about leaving yet another comment, but after leaving the link for Etsy I thought I was very silly to not mention ImageKind, a site from which I actually purchased one beloved print!

  16. the nakedness of the guitar bring those past feelings, foggy doves, to their boiling point, making them disappear into the clouds, becoming one with them

  17. "You can chain my body, but not my mind, and I'll break out again tonight." Sonny Throckmorton

  18. what a wonderfully resigned, yet combative poem ...

  19. *If* you were selling I'd buy (not in any particular order):

    1. two pigeons and a hand.
    2. clown and the moon
    3. the black and gold ones
    4. naked dead girl lying next to books (gosh, that makes me sound kind of sick!)
    5. fiery spring
    6. rain and small lights on a window.
    7. gentle (the photo, I mean!)

  20. To me, these words and images represent an alchemy of the soul... a transmutation that took place on the balcony of a Berlin attic! My head spins...

  21. Never chary of finding unfolding significance in the customs and etiquette of tea, may i be permitted to add 'nimbus' to an already burgeoning lexicon? And parenthetically, and longingly, if neutrinos have a teensy-weensy mass, the universe may not be ever-expanding; what does this then tell us about the ever-expanding lexicon of tea, or, for that matter (pun once again intended), about Roxana's ever-expanding and densely-woven imagery? Yet returning to the subject at hand, she may object to my outré suggestion, as she does not like the word corpulence (which could be characterized as a vehement disdain of the word). A nimbed, corpulent raindrop is therefore unlikely to garner her support. This is regrettable. But one must deal with things as they are, not as they ought to be.

  22. I love that first pic and I'm in love with a Japanese teapot on Amazon, one day I'll get it...

    your pic reminded me of this bit from a Holub poem: "and all that is left / is a cup of tea, / the deepest ocean in the world".

  23. Juste quelques mots Roxana... Je suis ému...

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  25. da,asa este,nimeni nu ne poate lua nimic ,cerul se rasfrange in mare,totul se oglindeste,puterea este acolo,actionanad in neclintirea ei,venindu-i atat de usor.
    pe o hartie alba,povestile cu boluri de ceai,boltile cu stele,gesturile de proprietate se imbina,si cercul se roteste,intre degete palide,licoarea ne hraneste cuvintele,si vad oamenii primindu-si eliberarea

  26. I fell into the tea cup, and am happily drowning there... no need to throw a rope... eternity and your visions require no salvation

  27. hello beautiful friend Roxana,what a breathtakingly beautiful post. When I first saw the images my sky mind was drawn to the depths of your skies irresistably and here is the tender tension maybe the sky is often reflected on the earth in the waters, oh christ those last few words of mine shine so much like Tolkien and I have been so absorbed in the lord of the rings hahahahaha.anyway back on track, but here in your photo there is an image of a sacred celestial terrarium
    to continue....

  28. I really don't believe in serendipity of art the mind and heart are capable of seeing all and in those moments the miracle shines ashamed to grow brighter than the this miracle of yours occured on the balcony of Berlin,when the earth becomes your a see of tea in the grandiosity of luminosity-ah I wrote those words in a personal journal today thanks thanks thanks for the inspiration to share them on the bridge
    ah myfriend this is such a beautiful bewitching post where you have truly reached the spiritual essence of life- you are the reigning monarch and you are crowned with the grandiosity of luminosity.
    thankyou so much for your private comment to me and so Im sending you more tender kisses of luminosity....

  29. oh là là roxanna comme j'ai dû en manquer de jolis post comme celui-là !!!
    c'est tout simplement magique ! je suis fan de ton travail, ta sensibilité, ton sens artistique et ta beauté !
    je ne manquerai plus de rdv :-)
    je t'embrasse

  30. Le mystère de la vie et le rêve résumés en 2 tableaux...Alpha et oméga...

  31. Tes images sont d'un autre monde Roxana..Un thé qui nourrit l'esprit l’âme et le corps...
    Quelle nourriture plus adaptée qu'une tasse de nuages flottants..c'est ravissant..:o)

    Michaux est un auteur difficile pour moi...un peu trop hermétique..j'ai fais plusieurs tentatives et je reconnais en lui un grand poète et auteur..mais je ne ne peux pénétrer dans son univers..A ce propos ,je pense avoir commenté un peu a coté du sujet sur ton dernier message...j'en suis desolée..

    Merci pour ces images delicieuses ...un instant ephemere d'eternité..:o)
    Je t'envoie milles douces pensées lumière de cette fin d'été..
    Bises Roxana..:o)

  32. Michael T.,
    first let me thank you, most gratefully and hopefully most gracefully as well, for your enthusiastic response(s) to this post, as i have already said elsewhere, i am very touched by both your deep philosophical interest and your amazing empathy with the Bridge... i would need to write an essay to address all the questions you rise in your comments, and unfortunately i don't have this time, these last days in Berlin are particularly busy... i don't know what more i could desire after you spoke of 'ox-herding' in connection to my post, though i don't deserve such praise, i am very happy you said that :-)

    responding in a way to your Feynmanian musings: perhaps you would be interested to see this old post of mine, where i speak, among other things, about my relationship with time, moment and photography (both as act and result):

  33. Michael T. (continuing)

    the idea about a "sequence based on (or playing with) the ox-herding sequence, using various aspects of tea" is very interesting, thanks for that. also, i am glowing with pride that you seem to like my poem more than the Michaux-one (which is not a favourite of mine either, but it was perfect for those empty glasses). the reason why i opted for this title, "tentative response to", is because i wanted people to look at the two posts as a kind of diptych, i feared that they wouldn't see my intention without the explicit note in the title. it is true i wasn't happy with it, since this post is, as you rightly say, not only a response to Michaux's poem, besides i was more concerned with the way the photographs here and there entered in a sort of dialogue with each other... i like such connections here on the Bridge, since i also have recurrent themes and motifs, but of course each post is also intended to stand on itself...

  34. ps. your suggestion of removing that one line, "those who can only fulfil themselves by taking away" was interesting, i pondered it but to me it is important, since i think of it in a wider context, there is this sanskrit word for senses or sense organs, graha, which means: the ones that seize, grasp, they actually grab the objects of perception and cling to them, in the same way that the objects themselves, atigraha, grasp our senses - and it is all this fight and reciprocal clinging which is transcended through tea contemplation, one becomes able to simply observe it, from a detached perspective...

  35. Lynne, i am so moved by your response, your words... silently bowing, with gratitude...

  36. anon, if you purchased my heartbeat, what would happen to the Bridge without it? :-)

  37. K'line :-)

    oui, je sais que tu resonnes profondement avec la voie du the, je te remercie de tout coeur pour ta presence ici, pour venir partager avec moi ce moment de grace...

    Liebste Renée, ach, wie ich dieses Bild von Dir, mit einer Tasse Tee in der Hand mir zulaechelnd, mag :-)
    ich hab mir gedacht, dass du diese Bilder und auch das Gedicht lieben wirst :-) nun bin ich froh zu sehen, dass ich recht hatte!
    alles Liebste und Sanfteste fuer dich, heute Nacht...

    Flipi, yes, becoming one with them, this is what photography allows me to do, and so easily, instantly - that is why it is so essential to me...

  38. myth, is this from a song? which one?

    ffflaneur, and what a wonderful description of my state of mind behind this poem...

    anon, then i am on my way to become rich, if you bought all those prints!!! :-)
    (your list made me so laugh, and gentle, the girl i mean, will laugh too, when i show it to her)

    Stickup, how strange, that you would talk of alchemy of the soul now, i am pondering a post with exactly this in mind, you will see, when the time comes... :-)

  39. Prospero, to quote one of my readers, what a wonderfully resigned yet combative comment you wrote! :-)
    yes, you are of course (and perhaps, unfortunately so) right, "a corpulent raindrop is unlikely to garner her support", but, surprisingly, the epithet 'nimbed' is on the contrary Roxana-approved :-)

    Marion, what a wonderful line, could you please give me the name of the Holub poem, perhaps i can find it online? don't mention japanese teapots, pleeeease, this is a temptation i cannot fight... :-)

    Jeff, ou te caches-tu??? mais je vois que tu es revenu avec une belle serie non seulement philosophique, mais aussi annoncant l'automne d'une maniere si poetique... je vais passer pour t'en dire plus, des que j'aurais le temps (qui me manque extremement, a present)...
    je t'embrasse, de tout coeur...

  40. Cerasela, da. ştiu că eşti aici, cu mine, şi în acea clipă de graţie, atunci.

    Owen, i thought the bridge, even floating, was there to prevent people from drowning :-P

    Madeleine, such high praise! :-)
    though i can hardly see myself as a reigning monarch based in light, unless you mean the butterfly by that :-)
    i am very happy that the Bridge could be again a source of inspiration, this is the most wonderful reward i could ever get... and i am deeply thankful for this metaphor, it enchants me: "an image of a sacred celestial terrarium"...
    luminous kisses for you too :-)

  41. ps. that was obviously 'bathed' not 'based' :-)

  42. Karine :-)
    je te remercie de tout coeur pour tes mots si enthousiates, ca me fait un grand plaisir de te revoir...

    Clo, oui, Michaux est un poete difficile, et moi-aussi j'ai une relation inegale avec lui, il y a des choses que j'aime beaucoup, d'autres moins... mais il est fascinant, de toute facon. et non, tu n'a pas ete a cote, puique on peut interpreter ce poeme aussi comme un poeme d'amour, dans un sens plus large, le desir toujours inassouvi pour tout ce que le monde peut et ne peut pas offrir...
    tes emotions devant mon bol de the me rend emue, moi-aussi, quelle interaction magique entre photographe et spectateur :-)
    bisous, de tout coeur.

  43. The Holub poem is called Harbour, did a quick search online and couldn't find it so here it is:

    But the sea was measured
    and chained to the earth.
    And the earth was measured
    and chained to the sea.

    They launched
    cranes, lean angels,
    they calculated
    the wail of widowed sirens,
    they foresaw
    the nervous unrest of buoys,
    they drafted
    the labyrinth of routes around the world.

    They constructed
    the Minotaurs ships.

    They discovered five continents.

    The earth was measured
    and chained to the sea.
    And the sea was measured
    and chained to the earth.

    All that is left
    is a small house above the canal.
    A man who spoke softly,
    a woman with tears in her eyes.
    All that is left is the evening lamp,
    the continent of the table,
    a tablecloth, a seagull that does not fly away.

    All that is left
    is a cup of tea,
    the deepest ocean in the world.

  44. actually my beautiful friend,the line"they say they can take everything away from me" is beautiful. The entire poem may be centered from this line.For me this means that the material world can be withdrawn but the spiritual self remains sovereign.-very beautiful and profound.
    This reminds me of what my grandfather used to say. He came to Canada as an immigrant, and therefore it was difficult for him to adjust and he used to say to me-they can take everything away from you but what you have in here and he would point to his head but as I think back, here on the bridge- I think he meant also they can take everything away from you but what is in your heart and there is the fortress.
    and yes sadly there are people that can only fulfill themselves by taking away,that is the world of material power not spirituality.
    bises have another extravagantly beautiful day.

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  46. yes, Marion, this is so beautiful, i thank you for this gift... it actually needs an entire post just for itself, i think.

    mirae, Michael T., thank you for this enriching dialogue about the little poempicture here :-) such conversations bridging distances and time are, as one might expect, one of the delights of the Bridge...

    (Michael T., and there are even ships in Holub's poem, now we have another connection between them and tea :-)

  47. This is really beautiful Roxana.

  48. thank you, b, especially coming from you who cannot conceive of such tea! (i don't mean this figuratively, of course, i am only teasing you and your sugary teas :-)

  49. Could drown forever in your visions, but yes, the bridge provides the possibility of resurrection... happily :-)

  50. I can conceive it; just can't drink it! ;-)

  51. the bridge provides no possibility of resurrection...only the possibility of drowning...