Tuesday 30 August 2011

of butterflies and orchids (in the Balinese Garden)



I stopped at a teashop. A woman named Cho, or Butterfly, asked me to compose a verse alluding to her name and brought out a piece of white silk. I wrote the following hokku on it:

fragrant orchid -
into a butterfly's wings
it breathes its incense.

Matsuo Bashō, Journal of Bleached Bones in a Field (1685, travelogue)
tr. Makoto Ueda



This the first post dedicated to the amazing Gardens of the World, which i visited in the Recreational Park Marzahn, in Berlin. You can read more here.


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.


Monday 15 August 2011


Tu t'en vas sans moi, ma vie.
Tu roules.
Et moi j'attends encore de faire un pas.
Tu portes ailleurs la bataille.
Tu me désertes ainsi.
Je ne t'ai jamais suivie.
Je ne vois pas clair dans tes offres.
Le petit peu que je veux,
jamais tu ne l'apportes.
A cause de ce manque, j'aspire à tant.
A tant de choses, à presque l'infini...
A cause de ce peu qui manque,
que jamais tu n'apportes.

Henri Michaux, Ma vie

You're going some place without me, my life.
You're rolling away.
And I'm still waiting to make my move.
You've taken the battle somewhere
Abandoning me on the way.
I never followed, I stay.
Where you are leading me,
I can't plainly see.
The very little that I want,
you never bring to me.
Because of this emptiness, I want
So many things, almost the infinite ...
Because of this emptiness,
that you never fill.

My life


Saturday 6 August 2011

Monday 1 August 2011

dawn, as viewed from my Berlin attic window on the 24th of july, at about 6 o'clock in the morning, more precisely 5.39, after a long sleepless night

as an exception, two personal notes:

1. i couldn't sleep and at about 5 in the morning i decided to stand up and go make some tea and read. i sat on the sofa, the tea bowl was hot and soothing, as it always is. the book was about memory and history, and it was everything but soothing. i thought of Benjamin's angel of history: This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe that keeps piling ruin upon ruin and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed.

then at some point, as if summoned by an unheard voice, i looked up to the window and saw the sun rising through the blue curtain. with the suddenness of that which others might call "revelation"

[if only i knew the meaning of such words and how they are supposed to be used - yet they are useless anyway, since grace only dwells in the living fabric of being]

the world fell off me: the terror of history, my long sleepless nights, my past, my life, time itself. myself, too. i simply was, then, light and whole, until nothing was, any longer.

[some of you might argue that i wasn't whole until i reached toward the camera and took this photograph, and they might have a point there :-)]

2. while discussing with Michael about the possibility of publishing our collaborative project, The Beautiful Foolishness of Things, i said at some point, inspired by the long and challenging comments i had received on my post with the curtain flowing in the wind, which some of you might remember: i wish i would write a book about just that, the wind in the curtains, in literature and arts, instead of writing the one i have to write now (accidentally, and very much against my nature, about the Angel of History).

Michael was enthusiastic about the idea and soon set up a blog which was intended as an archive where we would gather all the related information we would come across, in time, for this future (very improbable) book that i might write someday. while i am only interested in curtains&windows, more precisely in this particular moment of the wind blowing in the curtains, Michael's interest is wider and he intends to document everything related to windows in both European and Asian cultures, particularly Japan. i thought i would let you know about this archive-blog, Towards a Future Tome, so that you may give it a thought, whenever you find something of interest, please let us now. who knows, i _might_ even write that book someday, though this would mean to bring to a stop the endless movement of unfolding-into-an-open-future which lies in that toward, and that would be such a pity, wouldn't it ? ...