Thursday 3 November 2011

of sumptuous reveries and demon-lovers (in the Oriental Garden)









The air in the café was thick with shadows and smoke. His face half-turned away, his eyes half-closed, at times only the cigarette seemed alive in his fingers. There is something unsettling about every effigy, i thought, and the moon, the moon in the window frame bathing him in silver, for some unknown reason i kept thinking about the moon. Then, he turned to me all of a sudden, leaned forward and i thought he would finally reach for my hand. I was pale, i think. Those who say that a body cannot wait should have lived those few seconds of waiting inside my hand, the blue veins running helplessly under the skin. The skin too was paler than the moon. I wanted to give him my wrists.

Instead, he said, "Ah, late antiquity is when we should have lived. The times were romantic, the air was pure, lilacs never died, minarets were flexible, dates, musk and myrrh were like gold dust." The coffee spoon seemed a moon ray bent by some strange magic, at times a glittery snake between his fingers and oh, how i wished for my hair to be that silvery snake, that ray of the moon bent by his dark fingers. The air between him and me, that hollow space which didn't reflect any light back.

He spoke again, and this time he looked into my eyes, and i knew i had to say something but his voice seemed to reach me from such a distance, like the moon through layers of black water. I have to say something, i thought, and became really nervous about it, as if my life itself depended upon my answer, which was rather silly actually, since he was talking of myrrh and horses and oases, none of which really existed, i mean existing in this world of mine, of ours, where the air was heavy with muffled whispers and the moon a tight seal upon my lips.

"Would you have loved to travel with me then," he asked, "on horse or camel, searching for an oasis? But why should we have traveled then, we could have just walked, or, even better, we could have just stood there and the oasis would have sprung forth around us, like a poem. Tell me."


The moon disappeared behind a cloud and the shadows on the walls suddenly faded away. When i turned my face to him, such paleness on my tongue, such hunger for one word, just one word, he was gone too, the last shadow.

Later at home, while waiting for dawn and who says that waiting cannot tear through one's blood and bones like a whip, i opened the book and read:

So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round:
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted

Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!


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



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  2. Simply wonderful writing! So provocative and full of mood. I loved this!

  3. But rather than a damsel with a dulcimer, i'm thinking, pinkishly, of Giorgio de Chirico. Does this surprised you? Her cheeks flush red. Perhaps Gare Montparnasse or Mystery and Melancholy of a Street. This insight is the sort of insight one attains when, sitting on a log, a blackened bole once felled by lightning, waiting for someone (someone that, by the way, never shows up), a sunshower unexpectedly drenches your soul.

  4. merc,
    these gardens are a divine place, indeed.

    Michael T,
    so it would appear, no? :-)
    i am not a fan of romantic poetry (even if i am fascinated with romantic philosophy and aesthetics), as it tends far too often to become a simple tool in the service of the afore-mentioned philosophy and aesthetics, but i think that the ending of Kubla Khan is one of the most beautiful lines ever written:
    And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
    His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
    Weave a circle round him thrice,
    And close your eyes with holy dread,
    For he on honey-dew hath fed,
    And drunk the milk of Paradise.

    myth, oh, thank you!!!!
    i rarely write in prose so i am very happy! (though this is also a very poetic prose, i wish i had your powerful gift of a genuine storyteller, unfortunately i don't)

  5. these gardens, my god!, they seem a very rich revery made real in space and form (a miracle of rare device)

    how did you ever manage to leave? but did you leave? i think not ... i won't leave either, then....

    and the story ... and she who turns to us in the final shots ... is she not only pretending to tell the story? ... i see her eyes ... she is the story!!

  6. "...we could have just stood there and the oasis would have sprung forth around us..." This seems to speak of the transformative power of love. The desert of the heart blooming....or by contrast, the achiness of the absence of this in a life....

  7. these are so sensuous! I once saw a garden like that in seville-except it was on the first had to walk up a dark stairway and then, all of a sudden, you were in a place like the beautiful one here in your pictures... The Moor's last sigh.

  8. wonderful. absolutely wonderful

  9. A veritable orgy here involving all the senses... am tip-toe-ing away from this garden, secretly thrilled by all I saw and heard and smelled and touched and learned and guessed and dreamed here. I would come again, and again, and again to relive this devastating moment.

  10. you have truly created a shadow world of sumptuous reverie

  11. Welt der Magie und auch der zerrissenen Gedanken, wie es scheint...! Begegne ich solch einem wundervollen Ort, lösen sich die drückenden Gedanken, denn hier hat der Dämon keinen Platz, und ich kann ihn auch nirgends sehen oder gar spüren... ein böser Traum, der sich am Tage wie ein Nebelfetzen, in der Sonne verliert...!
    Liebste Roxana...!

  12. Jardin de tous les délices ,de toutes les envies...
    J'aime beaucoup le traitement que tu as choisi ,on dirait presque que tu les as dessiné ces photos..superbe graphisme..
    La magie produit ses effets...on est très vite emporté dans un monde onirique ou se mêlent parfums et encens,fleurs capiteuses et princesses de la nuit..
    Merci pour ce moment ,hors du temps..:) douces pensées Roxana..:)

  13. I've entered a strange and mysterious landscape and can imagine freezing, heart racing, hearing quickening footsteps getting closer, louder upon the stones on a moonlit night. This awakens all the senses and is quite thrilling.

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  15. "The coffee spoon seemed a moon ray bent by some strange magic, at times a glittery snake between his fingers" - love this, and the delicate flowers and the oriental feel of the many patterns, beautiful

  16. hello beautiful Roxana,oh what a magnificent masterpeice, oh I too have been transported by the scent of exotic flowers in the garden of the soul.

    ah quelle photo magnifique,les magnifiques détails de dessin fines comme la dentelle mais en pierre,et la magnifique texture des images nous enveloppe comme une couverture pour l'ame et la couleur noir nous tire dans les reves de nuit les plus profond et magiquement[c'est magique d'inventer les mots, c'est lencens de la rhétorique] mystérieuse de l'ame.

  17. and oh beautiful Roxana, the text-what awesome writing- the subconscious mind is compelled by the details in a trance like fashion *the cigarette alive in his fingers, and the profusion of moonlit metaphors,*the coffee spoon seemed a moon ray,

    yes you have led me to that dewpoint of the soul where we walk through the incense of dreams that leave a trace of other unreachable worlds.

    I felt this kind of magic last night- I have found a second desk-the large renovated second cup café on churchill square,the black and white photos of the surrounding square taken by the waitress that had just graduated from art school,the gold and blue projected lights from the city square,where I feel the pulse of the city, the chimes of the bell tower built by the city's volunteers and the compelling jazz music, {my new desk is under the speaker haha] and the meeting of the old men chess club,the subdued light of the darkness.yes I found my new desk and I said that loud enough to recieve a free coffee.

    thankyou my beautiful friend for this enchantment of your soul.

    sending you magical kisses.

  18. Je ne suis pas très fasciner par le romantisme ni par sa poésie je la trouve assez guimauve, certes la vérité est un pays sans chemin, une secte une chose cristallisée, morte que l’on impose à d’autres, c’est ce que tout le monde essaie de faire. Ce jardin vient de la compréhension avec la perception de ce qui est , parvenir à cet état ou l’on perçoit ce chemin de nos pensées de nos sentiments dans notre vie quotidienne.

  19. thank you so much for being here, my dear friends...

    reveries, be they sumptuous or not, are the only place we can inhabit forever, or?

    i am a bit without words these days (these last days of sumptuous autumn, i should say), but i am waving at you from a distance.

  20. cred ca dragostea va avea pretentii mai mari de acum inainte,dupa ce a vizitat aceste gradini si,ah,indistructibila geometrie:)priviri furise,printre opulenta fiecarei vigori,asteptarea din ochii femeii si,mai ales,denespusul lui rilke,al tuturor.suveranitatea noastra,a fiecaruia,re-data.putinta ta de a face sa se simta rege pe oricine:)

  21. Those who say that a body cannot wait should have lived those few seconds of waiting inside my hand, the blue veins running helplessly under the skin.....
    Your writing is wondrous. This is absolutely superb. The phenomenal b&w images took me deeper and deeper, preparing me for your words.

    Sublime, R.

  22. Qu'est-ce que c'est beau, divin, éclairé, lumineux, oriental...
    Tes photographies sont au sommet du sublime, au nirvana du plaisir des yeux... Je suis en extase devant cette beauté que tu offres ici à travers ces clichés travaillés avec intelligence et d'une extrême sensibilité !

    Ma rêverie en est devenue somptueuse car je suis parti loin avec ton regard !

    Je vais même m'arrêter car en dire plus est inutile si ce n'est pour faire du remplissage....

    Tu me fais toucher du doigt le beau et le plaisir... Merci Roxana !

    Bises inspirées par ta grâce et ton savoir-faire...:)

  23. Magnificent, Roxana! Thank you so much for sharing this with me!!!