Sunday 28 November 2010

Tuesday 23 November 2010

two stories from other lives






J’ai deux histoires à te raconter.
Je sais que tu ne tarderas pas
à me tuer dans l’invisible.
Shéhérazade du geste révolu,
vaincue mais souriante.

Ecoute donc bien ce que j’ai à te dire.

Première histoire

C’était à l’époque des cours de jade. Parmi ceux qui s’attardaient dans le jardin presque désert, il y en eut un qui énonça tout d’un coup cette vérité :

En abandonnant les branches, les dernières feuilles deviennent les derniers pétales.
La mémoire caresse la mémoire.

La limpidité, voire la transparence de ce principe était telle que même la clarté des yeux des jeunes filles s’en troubla.
Jusqu’au jour où l’une d’entre elles se leva brusquement, dans le même jardin frappé par l’odeur du chrysanthème, déchira ses vêtements, défit ses longs cheveux noirs, proclama:

Les dernières feuilles, tout comme les premières feuilles, n’existent pas.
Les derniers pétales, tout comme les premiers pétales, n’existent pas.
La mémoire invente la mémoire.

Puis elle se donna la mort avec un petit couteau de nacre.
Les oiseaux de l’abandon descendirent alors en elle,
leurs grandes ailes déployées, immobiles,
le temps d’un instant.

Deuxième histoire

C’était à l’époque des grottes insouciantes. Assis devant leurs os et leurs coquilles, il en était qui, un soir, tentèrent l’aventure silencieuse de l’onde se refermant sur elle-même. Donner une forme à ce qui, au fond, remplissait depuis toujours chaque os et chaque coquille : le néant. Cependant, aucun bras ne bougeait.

Jusqu’au moment où une jeune fille se leva d’un bond et se mit à danser, les longues manches de sa robe envahissant l’espace. Hésitante, une main traça la silhouette de cette danseuse au corps blanc, aux seins nus, enveloppée dans ses brocarts comme dans un autre soi, plus léger. Elle dansait, somptueusement éloignée de la vie. Ses manches pourpres,
déjà mêlées aux branches noires des arbres. Un autre trait de pinceau vint alors ajouter un petit bois à côté de la figure qui palpitait.

Ils pressentaient toutefois que cela demeurait bien loin de la forme parfaite du néant, puisque la fille dansait encore. Même si elle n’était déjà plus la fille.

Une main, soudainement, osa effacer le bois et mit à sa place le feu. Lorsque les dernières flammes s’éteignirent, de cet air encore mouvementé qui avait
accueili jusque-là le corps de la danseuse, jaillit le temps écrasé.

J’ai une seule chose à demander, moi qui ai si peu à offrir. Dont les cheveux sont lourds de si peu de réalité. Moi qui n’ai pas de couteau de nacre, moi qui ne sait pas danser.

Ne couvre pas ton visage. Sois l’arbre noir, sois le feu.

Mon souffle, qui se précipite en toi.

Et du rêve encore tremblant qui aura, le temps d’un instant, accueilli ma forme inachevée, se lèvera peut-être, un jour, l’au-delà de la grâce.

Note: l’idéogramme (non-existence, vide, rien, non, cesser d'exister) provient des anciens dessins tracés sur des os et des coquilles, qui représentaient à l’origine une figure en train de danser, se cachant derrière les longues manches de sa robe, à laquelle on a ajouté dans un premier temps l'élément , „forêt” (pour marquer l’idée de l’égarement, la disparition dans la forêt?). Il y a eu une forme intermèdiaire, les branches des arbres étant devenues les manches volantes de la danseuse. Cependant, la forêt a fini par être remplacée avec 火、灬, „le feu”. Les chercheurs développent encore les théories les plus compliquées pour retrouver le lien entre arbres, danse, feu, ne plus exister.






I have two stories to tell you.
I know it won’t be long until you kill me
in the invisible.
Scheherazade of the obsolete gesture,
defeated by dawn, smiling however,
turning still.

Hear me out, then, listen to what i have to tell you.

First story

It was at the time of the jade courts. Some, lingering in the garden, now almost empty. With the sudden glow of revelation, one uttered this truth:

Falling, the last leaves turn into the last petals.

Memory caresses memory.

The clarity, one could almost say the transparency of this eternal principle was such that even the clarity of the young girls’ eyes clouded.

Until the day one of them stood up with a sudden burst of grace, in the same garden where the scent of chrysanthemums was still floating, tore off her robes, let down her long dark hair, spoke thus:

The last leaves don’t exist, and neither do the first leaves.

The last petals don’t exist, and neither do the first petals.
Memory invents memory.

Then she took her life with a small mother-of-pearl dagger.
The birds of abandon fluttered down into her,
their crimson wings open and motionless.
The time of an instant.

Second story

It was at the time of the carefree caves. Crouching down in front of their bones and shells, some who wished for the silent adventure of the wave falling back unto itself. Who struggled to give shape to what had, in fact, always filled each bone and each shell: the non-existent. Yet no arm moved.

Until a young girl leapt forward, with the sudden fever of truth, and started dancing. Her long sleeves afloat, swallowing space. A hand fumbled to trace the silhouette of this dancer, her body moon white, her breasts bare, enfolded in her brocades as if in another self, a lighter one. She was dancing, sumptuously driven away from life. Her crimson sleeves swirling through the black branches, already one with the forest. Another brush stroke then added a small woods next to the trembling figure.

However they all sensed this still remained far away from the perfect shape of nothingness. As the girl’s dance hadn’t stopped. Even if she had already ceased to be that girl. A hand dared to erase the woods and drew a fire instead.

When the last flames burnt out, from this vibrating air which had until then enclosed the dancer’s body, gushed forth the vanquished time.

Only one thing i ask, i who has so little to offer. Who hides so little reality in her hair. I without a mother-of-pearl dagger, I who cannot dance.

Don’t cover your face. Be the black tree, be the fire.


My breath, precipitated in you.

And from the dream, still trembling, which will have, for a moment, contained my unfinished form: another dawn will sometime rise, perhaps, its clarity unsurpassed.

Note: the ideogram (nothingness, no, non-existence, void, cease to be) was originally at the time of the drawings on bones and shells, a dancing figure with long, concealing sleeves. The element "woods" , was later added (to express the idea of disappearing into a forest?). There existed an intermediate form in which the tasseled sleeves look very similar to trees. In the end, the woods was replaced with 火、灬, „fire”. Scholars still evolve complicated theories linking trees, dance, fire and cease to exist.

Tuesday 16 November 2010

lovers are always the victims of torches and chance (even - or especially those on a Paris bridge)

In the back of your car
Where the light from the stars
Caught our eyes in a moment of blue
It was then that I knew
All my feelings were true
And what lovers like us have to do

I looked at the time
And the time ran so fast
Like an arrow that flies to the heart
And I thought that a lifetime
Would not be enough time
To delight in this pleasure so dark


Lovers are mortal
Their hearts are the size of night clouds
Lovers are mortal
Their actions are jealous and proud
Lovers are losers
And who knows the bruises they bear
For lovers are mortal
As frail as the breath that they share

In the shadows of doorways
Where lovers are always
The victims of torches and chance
I would hold you so near
'til the scent of your hair
Sent me reeling my mind in a trance


Oh I still can recall
The soft music of rain falling
Silver and cool in the night
And it washed through our love
Like a river in flood
Like an ocean of tears shining bright

And I like to believe
That the memories we weave
Are the bittersweet echoes of dreams
In the evening their call strays
From yesterdays hallways
Like the faraway chimes on the breeze

Lovers are mortal
Their hearts are the size of night clouds
Lovers are mortal
Their actions are jealous and proud
Lovers are losers
And who knows the bruises they bear
For lovers are mortal
As frail as the breath that they share

Wednesday 10 November 2010

the dawning of the sense of time


i know, people usually think that the moment a child learns to say 'I' for the first time is the end of the magical childhood, the pivotal moment of becoming an individual, entering a realm in which the 'I' will forever face the other and be hunted by the wound of this rift, this scissure. and yet i have always wondered: perhaps children stay children until they come to understand autumn's longing and nostalgia, until the sweet-bitter melancholy of october starts to tinge their unsuspecting world, outside of time and its golden flow.



and then i found the confirmation of my suspicions in Nabokov's Speak, Memory:

...the beginning of reflexive consciousness in the brain of our remotest ancestor must surely have coincided with the dawning of the sense of time.

Initially, I was unaware that time, so boundless at first blush, was a prison. In probing my childhood (which is the next best to probing one’s eternity) I see the awakening of consciousness as a series of spaced flashes, with the intervals between them gradually diminishing until bright blocks of perception are formed, affording memory a slippery hold.



Friday 5 November 2010

become the lamp

Why be human if being human
is so difficult? Become the lamp
by the roadside that quietly sheds
its light on man.
Be as it is, for as it is
he will always have a human face.
Be good to him, this man,
and impartial like a lamp
that quietly illuminates the faces
of drunkards, vagabonds and students
along the solitary road.

Be a lamp
if you can't be human,
for being human is difficult.
A human has just two hands
but he should help thousands.
So be a lamp by the roadside
shining on a thousand happy faces,
shining for the lonely, the aimless.
Be a lamp with a single light,
man in a magic square
signaling with a green arm.
Be a lamp, a lamp,
a lamp.

Srecko Kosovel


Tuesday 2 November 2010