In the surging swell,
In the ringing sound,
In the world-breath
In the waves of the All
To drown,
To sink, to drown –
Unconscious –
Supreme bliss –

Tristan and Isolde: Act III, Scene III

MM: Mathilde A jumps in the torrent created by the rain. Her body is recovered a few hours later.

Mrs. T: Mathilde B shoots Bernard first, and then she shoots herself. Both are dead instantly.

Mr. FFF: Diane runs screaming to her bed and she shoots herself.

von Grimmelshausen: Werther new that one of the three of them, Albert, Lotte and Werther himself, would have to die. He could not kill anyone but himself.

Mathilde A: (reads her suicide note) I am going before your desire dies. Then we’d be left with affection alone, and I know that won’t be enough. I’m going before I grow unhappy. I go bearing the taste of our embraces, your smell, your look, your kisses. I go with the memory of my loveliest years, the ones you gave me. I kiss you now so tenderly, I die of it.

Mathilde B: I needed to talk to him (Bernard). This is all I was thinking about when I was in the hospital (recovering from a nervous breakdown). But when the time came for me to go, and I put on my raincoat, without plan, withour hesitation, I got the handgun that Philippe (my husband) ket in his study and put it in my pocket. I kissed hm passionately. We rolled on the floor. And when he was on top of me, and when the last intercourse was over, I pulled the gun and I shot him. He did not even realize what was happening. I then turned the gun to my left temple and pulled the trigger. It was over in less than thirty seconds.

Diane: When I saw the blue key on my coffee table I knew that the deed was done. Camilla was no longer in this world. It had to be this way. She betrayed me. She was going to marry Adam. She was also fucking about. She was no good. She had to go. But I had to go as well.

Werther: And so it is the last time, the last time that I open these eyes…Lotte, it is a feeling unlike any other, and still it seems like an undetermined dream for one to say to himself: this is the last morning. … Lotte, I have no idea about the meaning of the word: the last! To die! what does it mean? I have seen many people dying; but humanity is so limited that it has no felling for the beginning and the end of its existence. .. All these are perishable, but there is no eternity that can erase the warmth of life that I tasted yesterday in your lips and I now feel inside me! She loves me! These arms have held her, these lips have touched hers trembling, this mouth has whispered something to hers. She is mine! You are mine! Yes, Lotte, for ever.

Mrs. T: Who is this von Grimmelshausen?

Mr. FFF:He is a German scholar from the Black Forest.

MM: How come he is here with us?

Mr. FFF: He is traveller. He goes to places. He meets people. That’s how.

Mrs. T: Have you seen what is inside the brown leather bag he is carrying with im like a treasure?

Mr. FFF: I recall you back to order!

Mrs. T: Ok, I was just curious.

Madame Guyon: The noonday of glory; a day no longer followed by night; a life that no longer fears death, even in death itself, because death has overcome death, and because whoever has suffered the first death will no longer feel the second.

Matthias Claudius: Man’s way of thinking can pass over from a point of the periphery to the opposite point, and back again to the previous point, if circumstances trace out for him the curved path to it. And these changes are not really anything great and interesting in man. But that remarkable, catholic, transcendental change, when the whole circle is irreparably torn up and all the laws of psychology become vain and empty, where the coat of skins is taken off, or at any rate turned inside out, and man’s eyes are opened, is such that everyone who is conscious to some extent of the breath in his nostrils, forsakes mother and father, if he can hear and experience something certain about it.

Horace: How is it that no one is satisfied with his own condition?

Filippo Ottonieri: The reason is that no condition is happy. The servvants, as well as the princes, the poor as well as the rich, the weak as well as the powerful would all be extremely well satisfied with their lot and would feel no envy for the others were they happy; for men are no more impossible to satisfy than any other species; but they can be content with happiness only. Now, as they are always unhappy, should we wonder if they are never satisfied?

Julia Kristeva: To be sure, analytic discourse does not, or at any rate does not always suffer from the apparent excesses of amorous language, which range from hypnotic fascination with the presumed ideal qualities of the partner to hysterical sentimental effusion to phobias of abandonment. Nevertheless, it is want of love that sends the subject into analysis, which proceeds by first restoring confidence in, and capacity for, love through the transference and then enabling the subject to distance himself or herself from the analyst. From being the subject of an amorous discourse during the years of my analysis (and, in the best of circumstances, beyond them), I discover  my potential for psychic renewal, intellectual innovation, and even physical change. This kind of experience seems to be the specific contribution of our modern civilization to the history of amorous discourse. The analytic situation is the only place explicitly provided for in the social contract in which we are allowed to talk about the wounds we have suffered and to search for possible new identities and new ways of talking about ourselves.

Arthur Schopenhauer: Selfishness is “eros” (in Greek ερως), sympathy or compassion is “love”  (in Greek αγαπη).

Friedrich Nietzsche: The thought of suicide is a great consolation: by means of it one gets through many a dark night.

Christiane Olivier: Is love, then, an impossibility? The couple is the fantasy of finding again, at last, a mother whom one has never yet met: for the woman, desiring; for the man, not stifling. It is the dream so well imagined by Verlaine: “I often have this strange, affecting dream of an unknown woman, who loves me and whom I love, and who each time is neither quite the same, nor quite other.” 

MM: Eros and Thanatos.

Mrs. T: Libido and Mortido.

Mr. FFF: Life instinct and death instinct.

MM: We are back in the field of the philosophy of the opposites!

Mrs. T: But are we? It appears to me that somehow Eros leads the actor to Thanatos! I see no opposites here, I see two complementary instincts.

Mr. FFF: I wish it were as simple as that. In my view Eros not only leads to Thanatos in the cases under consideration, it seems to me that Eros appeals to Thanatos to seal its eternal meaning. As if Eros does not attain its ultimate state unless it reaches Thanatos.

Jacinta: I was sixteen when, one night while I was sleeping, I had a dream. (Woe is me! And even when I was awake I relieved that dream.) I was going through a lovely forest and in the very depths of the forest, I met the most handsome man I had ever in my life seen. His face was shadowed by the edge of a fawn cape with silver hooks and catches. Attracted by his appearance, I stopped to gaze at him. Eager to see if his face looked as I imagined, I approached and boldly pulled aside his cape. The moment I did, he drew a dagger and plunged it into my heart so violently that the pain made me cry out, and all my maids came running in. As soon as I awoke from this dark dream, I lost sight of the fact that he had done me such injury, and I felt more deeply affected than you can imagine. His image remained etched in my memory. It did not fade away or disappear for ever so long. Noble Fabio, I yearned to find a man with exactly his appearance and bearing to be my husband. These thoughts so obsessed me that I kept imagining and reimagining that scene, and I would have conversations with him. Before you knew it, I was madly in love with a mystery man whom I didn’t know, but you must believe that if the god Narcissus was dark, then surely he was Narcissus.

Arthur Schopenhauer: They tell us that suicide is the greatest act of cowardice… that suicide is wrong; when it is quite obvious that there is nothing in the world to which every man has a more unassailable title than to his own life and person.

Herodotus: When life is so burdensome, death has become for man a sought-after refuge.

ΜΜ: Freud claimed the death instinct drives people to death so that they can have real peace, and only death can get rid of tension and struggles. This is the case of Werther.

Mrs. T: When people feel extreme joy, they want to die and hope time will stop at that moment, which is also the evidence of death instinct, the transformation of life instinct into death instinct. This is the case of Mathilde A.

Mr. FFF: The death instinct exists in almost everyone’s subconscious. It is an irresistible instinctive power in human beings’ consciousness. Many people may deny that there is a death instinct in their consciousness. Indeed, people’s life instinct is very strong. However, if they examine their flashes of idea in their consciousness, they can find that just like death instinct, their desire for death is sometimes also very strong.

Jacinta: Because of this obsession I could neither eat nor sleep. My face lost its color and I experienced the most profound melancholy of my life. Everyone noticed the changes in me. Who, Fabio, ever heard of anyone loving a mere shadow? They may tell tales about people who’ve loved monsters and other incredible things, but at least what they loved had form! I sympathized with Pygmalion who loved the statue that ultimately Jupiter brought to life for him, and with the youth from Athens, and with the lovers who loved a tree or a dolphin. But what I loved was a mere fantasy, a shadow. What would people think of that? Nobody would believe me and, if they did, they’d think I’d lost my mind. But I give you my word of honor as a noblewoman, that not in this or in anything else I’ll tell you, do I add a single word that isn’t the truth. You can imagine that I talked to myself. I reproved myself, and, to free myself from my obsessive passion, I looked very carefully at all the elegant young men who lived in my city and tried to grow fond of one of them. Everything I did simply made me love my phantom more, and nowhere could I find his equal. My love grew and grew so great that I even composed poetry to my beloved ghost.

Julia Kristeva: Loss of the erotic object (unfaithfulness or desertion by the lover or husband, divorce, etc) is felt by the woman as an assault on her genitality and, from that point of view, amounts to castration. At once, such a castration starts resonating with the threat of destruction of the body’s integrity, the body image, and the entire psychic system as well. As a result, feminine castration, rather than being diseroticized, is concealed by narcissistic anguish, which masters and protects eroticism as a shameful secret.

MM: I love you so much I want to kill myself.

Mrs. T: I love you so much I want to kill you.

Mr. FFF: I love you so much I want to kill myself, but I will kill you first, before you kill me.

Albert Camus: “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide.  Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy.  All the rest – whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories – comes afterwards.  These are games; one must first answer [the questions of suicide].”

Arthur Schopenhauer: To those in whom the will has turned and denied itself, this very real world of ours, with its suns and galaxies, is – nothing.

MM: Driven to suicide by eros is one thing, killing your lover and then killing yourself is another.

Mrs. T: It may not be premedidated, but evolutionary. You start by wanting to exterminate the cause of your living hell, your lover, and you do. And then, after you have done it, you figure out that the road has now opened for your own departure from this world as well.

Mr. FFF: This theory may apply to both Diane and Mathilde B. I would like to note though, that Time could be the differentiator. In Mathilde B’s case, she kills herself imeediately after she has killed Bernard. Whereas Diane kills herself after she realizes that the “contract” on Camille’s life has been successfully executed.

Participants

Albert Camus, French philosopher

Matthias Claudius, German poet

Diane Selwyn, protagonist in David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive”

von Grimmelshausen, a German nobleman and writer

Madame Guyon, French mystic

Mr. FFF, wanderer

Herodotus, Greek historian

Horace, Roman poet

Jacinta, character in Maria de Zayas’ “The enchantements of love”

Julia Kristeva, French-Bulgarian psychoanalyst

Mathilde A, the hairdresser in Patrice Leconte’s “The Hairdresser’s Husband”

Mathilde B, the woman next door, in Francois Truffaut’s “The Woman next Door”

MM, partner

Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher

Christiane Olivier, French psychoanalyst

Filippo Ottonieri, a very thin disguise for Giacomo Leopardi himself

Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher

Mrs. T, unknown ethinicity, gourmant

Werther, a fictional character created by Goethe

Venice: A “Fluxus Eleatis” Discourse

Σάββατο, 9 Ιουνίου, 2012

Michel Foucault:  Discourse operates in four major ways. Discourse creates a world; discourse generates knowledge and “truth”; discourse says something about the people who speak it; discourse always incorporates elements of power.

Socrates und Alcibiades

 A poem by Friedrich Hoelderlin

“Warum huldigest du, heiliger Socrates,

“Diesem Juenglinge stets? kennest du Groessers nicht?

“Warum siehet mit Liebe,

“Wie auf Goetter, dein Aug’ auf ihn?

Wer das Tiefste gedacht, liebt das Lebendigste,

Hohe Jugend versteht, wer in die Welt geblikt

Und es neigen die Weisen

Oft am Ende zu Schoenem sich.

 

Gustav von Aschenbach: ‘What lies in wait for me here, Ambiguous Venice, Where water is married to stone, And passion confuses the senses?’

 

Farfarello: And so, if you’d like to give me your soul before its time, I’m here, ready to take it.

 

Luchino Visconti: The sky has to be orange, even if Fassbinder copies me in Querelle.

 

Mr. FFF:  I started my trip from the Northern Cemetery in Munich. I arrived in Venice by train. The Marathon run finished a few minutes ago. There are many visitors. The water of the lagoon has a dull grey color. It is chilly. It is cloudy but there is no rain. Mrs. T misses you already.

MM:  Do not get lost in the art farm that is Venice! I googled and saw that you have bad weather and it’s raining. Hope you got your wellies.

 

Apollo: Reason, control, and clarity

 

Gustav von Aschenbach: I am furious because I am forced to return, but secretly I rejoice.

 

Dionysus: Wander lust

 

Gustav von Aschenbach:  Vacillating, irresolute, absurd.

 

Thomas Mann: A life spiraling out of control.

 

Friedrich Hoelderlin:

Und immer,

Ins Ungebundene gehet eine Sehnsucht.

(And always,

there is a longing to dissolve)

 

Mr. FFF:   In Palazzo Grassi I met Mr. Dob, the Manga character that has been adopted by Takashi Murakami. He has three eyes and an energizing stare.  Mr. Dob inhabits Murakami’s masterpiece 727-272 (The Emergence of God at the Reversal of Fate). Mrs. T is in love with him but he ignores her.  For her, it was love at first sight. For him, she does not even exist.

 

MM:  Luckily today I will be on scrub watch so that should keep me busy enough not to think about not having the both of you around.

 

Don Giovanni:

 Deh vieni alla finestra, o mio tesoro,

Deh vieni a consolar il pianto mio.

Se neghi a me di dar qualche ristoro,

Davanti agli occhi tuoi morir vogl’ io.

Tu ch’ ai la bocca dolce piu che il miele,

Tu che il zucchero porti in mezzo il core!

Non esser, gioia mia, con me crudele!

Lascati almen veder, mio bell’ amore!

Friedrich Nietzsche: To experience a thing as beautiful means: to experience it necessarily wrongly – (which, incidentally, is why marriage for love is, from the point of view of society, the most unreasonable king of marriage). The demand for art and beauty is an indirect demand for the ecstasies of sexuality communicated to the brain.

 

Farfarello: Well, then, since of necessity you love yourself with the greatest love of which you’re capable, of necessity you desire your happiness as strongly as you can. And since this supreme desire of yours can never be satisfied even in the smallest degree, it follows that in no way can you escape being unhappy.

 

Gustav von Aschenbach: Time presses, time does not press

Constantine Cavafy: Πλαϊ στο παραθυρο ηταν το κρεββατι που αγαπηθηκαμε τοσες φορες. (By the window was the bed where we made love so many times).

 

Mr. FFF:  A Cretan Madonna in Santa Maria della Salute. It was taken from the Church of Saint Titus in the last minute before fleeing Candia and Crete, by the Commander of the Venetians Morozini. The Ottomans captured Candia immediately after. Crete and Venice, share a co-existence that brought El Greco to Venice before he continued his journey to go to Spain.

MM:  I can’t say I am doing such exciting stuff as you. I waited in line for an hour to change the tires on my car and now it’s being done. Nothing fun to report.  Of course I miss the both of you terribly. It seems like I cannot have meaningful conversation with anybody else, but you.  Not to mention the fact that we took our jokes and puns to a whole other level and now whatever jokes anybody tries to do is pointless.

 

Filippo Ottonieri: Except for the times of suffering, as well as of fear, I would think that the worst moments are those of pleasure because the hope for them and the memory of them, which occupy the rest of our lives, are better and much more pleasant than the pleasures themselves.

 

Thomas Schutte: Efficiency Men, Punta della Dogana, Venice

Jean Baudrillard: Everyday experience falls like snow. Immaterial, crystalline and microscopic, it enshrouds all the features of the landscape. It absorbs sounds, the resonance of thoughts and events; the wind sweeps across it sometimes with unexpected violence and it gives off an inner light, a malign fluorescence which bathes all forms in crepuscular indistinctness.  Watching time snow down, ideas snow down, watching the silence of some aurora borealis light up, giving in to the vertigo of enshrouding and whiteness.

 

Friedrich Hoelderlin:

 Wo aber gefahr ist, waechst,

Das Rettende auch.

(Where there is danger,

some Salvation grows there too.)

 

Gustav von Aschenbach : What if all were dead, and only we two left alive

Luigi Pirandello: The torment of imagining you far away – among other people who can have the joy of seeing you, talking to you, being near you while I am here without life because I can neither see you nor talk with you, nor be near you – can be mitigated only by the thought that you feel my presence within you and that even from far away you give me life, and that even in your silence you see me and talk to me; in one word, that I am alive and close to you, more than those who see you, talk to you, and are around you.

 


Mr. FFF:  Thomas Schuette’s “Efficiency Men” were waiting for me at the Punta della Dogana.  Their steel bodies were covered down to their knees by felt blankets. It was like a call to Joseph Beuys. His felt self is all over German Art.

 MM:  You realize I’m not having nearly as much fun as you are, but I expect to be entertained upon your return! So prepare lots of stories from Venice. You know the kind: money, blood and sex.

Giuseppe Ungaretti:

ECO

Scalza varcando da sabbie lunari,

Aurora, amore festoso, d’ un’ eco

Popoli l’ esule universe e lasci

Nella carne dei giorni,

Perenne scia, una piaga velata.

 

Luigi Pirandello: What life is there left for me? I don’t care anymore about anything. Only about you do I care, and all that concerns you, my Marta; if you suffer, suffering with you and for you; if you get angry, getting angry with you; if you hope, hoping with you and for you. And remaining – for as long as I stay alive, for as long as my eyes stay open, for as long as my heart keeps beating, for as long as the soul burns in me – with my eyes, my heart, my soul, enchanted by your beauty, by the charms of your person, by the divine nobility of your feelings and of your spirit.

Adele:

Whenever I’m alone with you

You make me feel like I am home again

Whenever I’m alone with you

You make me feel like I am whole again

Whenever I’m alone with you

You make me feel like I am young again

Whenever I’m alone with you

You make me feel like I am fun again

However far away I will always love you

However long I stay I will always love you

Whatever words I say I will always love you

I will always love you

Mr. FFF:  Fog everywhere. I boarded a U-boat where a rabbi was reading the Kaballah. Later, in Hotel Metropol during lunch I met an Indian Maharadja and his German maiden.

MM:  All these cultural encounters! We redid the kitchen; the hard part is over now. You may be interested to know that nothing works without me!

Gustav Mahler: I should not have cried on the train departing Venice. I should not have dismissed Alma’s music compositions. It is too late now.  I gave my name to von Aschenbach.

Discource Participants

Adele, English singer

Apollo, Greek God of light

Gustav von Aschenbach, German writer (through the pen of Thomas Mann, through the interpretation of Myfawny Piper, through the camera of Luchino Visconti, through the interpretation of Fluxus Eleatis)

Jean Baudrillard, French philosopher

Constantine Cavafy, Greek poet

Dionysus, Greek God of pleasure

Farfarello, character created by Giacomo Leopardi

Michel Foucault, French philosopher

Mr. FFF, wanderer

Don Giovanni, a young, extremely licentious nobleman (created by Lorenzo da Ponte)

Friedrich Hoelderlin, German poet

Gustav Mahler, Austrian composer

Thomas Mann, German writer

MM, partner

Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher

Filippo Ottonieri, philosopher created by Giacomo Leopardi

Luigi Pirandello, Italian writer and Nobel Laureate

Giuseppe Ungaretti, Italian poet

Luchino Visconti, Italian director

Awakening(s) – Ξυπνημα(τα)

Κυριακή, 15 Απριλίου, 2012

The poetic mood is prevailing today. Poetic awakenings. Dedicated to Smaranda.

Εχω ποιητικη διαθεση σημερα. Ξυπνηματα ποιητικα.  Αφιερωμενα στη Σμαραντα.

Jalalu’ddin Rumi

Rumi (30 September 1207 – 17 December 1273) was a Muslim poet, jurist, theologist and Sufi mystic.

Rumi has influenced thousands of people across the centuries with his poetry and his vision of our relationship with God as a path of love.

His work unlock’s love’s precious secrets and initiates us into the mysteries of our most essential nature.

The Sufis understand the human heart to be the macrocosm, not just the microcosm, of the universe.

Whatever is in your heart is everywhere.

If you have anger in your heart, you will experience anger from others, ig hate, you shall be hated; if love, you shall be loved.

By knowing the mystery of your own heart, you begin to resonate with the mysteries of existence.

THE AWAKENING

A poem by Rumi

 In the early dawn of happiness

you gave me three kisses
so that I would wake up
to this moment of love

I tried to remember in my heart
what I’d dreamt about
during the night
before I became aware
of this moving
of life

I found my dreams
but the moon took me away
It lifted me up to the firmament
and suspended me there
I saw how my heart had fallen
on your path
singing a song

Between my love and my heart
things were happening which
slowly slowly
made me recall everything

You amuse me with your touch
although I can’t see your hands.
You have kissed me with tenderness
although I haven’t seen your lips
You are hidden from me.

But it is you who keeps me alive

Perhaps the time will come
when you will tire of kisses
I shall be happy
even for insults from you
I only ask that you
keep some attention on me.

Giuseppe Ungaretti

Ungaretti is one of my favourite poets. I wrote an article about him back in 2009.

I start with the poem “Awakenings” in the original language, Italian, and then with my interpretation in English.

RISVEGLI

Ogni mio momento

io l’ho vissuto
un’altra volta
in un’epoca fonda
fuori di me
Sono lontano colla mia memoria
dietro a quelle vite perse
Mi desto in un bagno
di care cose consuete
sorpreso
e raddolcito
Rincorro le nuvole
che si sciolgono dolcemente
cogli occhi attenti
e mi rammento
di qualche amico
morto
Ma Dio cos’è?
E la creatura
atterrita
sbarra gli occhi
e accoglie
gocciole di stelle
e la pianura muta
E si sente
riavere

David Hockney

AWAKENINGS

A poem by Giuseppe Ungaretti

My every moment

I lived

yet again

in a deeply rooted period

outside of me

Anselm Kiefer

My memory is back away

looking for those lost lives

Anselm Kiefer

I wake up in a bath

of things that are familiar and I care for

surprised

and at peace

Anselm Kiefer

I chase the clouds

that spread themselves smoothly

with watchful eyes

and I remember

a friend

who is dead

Anselm Kiefer

But what is God?

Anselm Kiefer

And the creature

buffled

with wide open eyes

gathers

star drops

and the silent field

David Hockney

And feels

to come alive again

David Hockney

George Sarantaris

Sarantaris  is another favourite of mine. I wrote about him back in 2010.
Ξυπνάμε και η θάλασσα ξυπνά μαζί μας
Γ. Σαραντάρης
Ξυπνάμε και η θάλασσα ξυπνά μαζί μας
Με όραση καινούρια προχωρούμε
Η μέρα έχει μαιάνδρους
Όπως η θάλασσα κύματα
Στην καρδιά μας αδειάσαμε (προσωρινά)
Την πόλη
Εμείναμε με την εικόνα τ’ ουρανού
O ήλιος εμέτρησε τη γη μας
Η μέρα τούτη όπου ξυπνήσαμε
Με θάλασσα και κύματα
Με όραση και μνήμη καθαρή
Τόσο μεγάλωσε
Που ο ήλιος δεν μπόρεσε να τη μετρήσει
Που ο ήλιος δεν μπόρεσε να τη χωρέσει

Henri Matisse

We wake up and the sea wakes up with us
A poem by George Sarantaris
We wake up and the sea wakes up with us
We walk with new vision
The day has twists and turns
Like the sea has waves
In our heart we have disposed (temporarily)
The city
We remained fixated with the picture of the sky
The sun has measured our earth
This day we are awake
With the sea and the waves
With clear vision and memory
It has grown so much
That the sun could not measure it
That the sun could not hold it

1001 Ways to die (9) – Sylvia Plath, American, Poet, Novelist

Τρίτη, 21 Φεβρουαρίου, 2012

Dying
Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.

I do it so it feels like hell.
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I’ve a call.

It’s easy enough to do it in a cell.
It’s easy enough to do it and stay put.
It’s the theatrical

Lady Lazarus, Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath, photographed in a hallway of Smith College, 1952

Sylvia Plath was born in the Boston neighborhood of Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts on October 27, 1932 the oldest child of Otto and Aurelia Schoeber Plath. The daughter of a Boston Univesity German and entomology professor and a high school English teacher, Plath was raised in a household that valued learning highly.  While in college, in August of 1953, Plath attempted to overdose on sleeping pills. This suicide attempt would be recalled years later in her poem, Lady Lazarus. Plath was able to return to college and only graduated a couple of months behind her class.

Ted Hughes

After receiving a Fulbright scholarship, she began two years at Cambridge University. There she met and married, in 1956, the British poet Ted Hughes.

Hughes was born on 17 August 1930 in Mytholmroyd, West Yorkshire, and raised on local farms. According to him, “My first six years shaped everything”. He studied at Cambridge University and first published poetry in a journal launched with fellow students called St Botolph’s Review. It was at the launch party for the magazine that he met Plath, and they married in 1956.

Sylvia Plath in 1957

They separated in 1962.

On February 11, 1963, after carefully sealing the kitchen so her children would not be harmed, Sylvia Plath took a bottle of sleeping pills and stuck her head in a gas oven.

As Plath’s widower, Hughes became the executor of her personal and literary estates. He oversaw the publication of her manuscripts, including Ariel in 1966. He also claimed to have destroyed the final volume of Plath’s journal, detailing their last few months together. In his foreword to The Journals of Sylvia Plath, he defended his actions as motivated by consideration for the couple’s young children. He wrote about his relationship with Plath, and his response to her suicide, in Birthday Letters. It was his final collection and one of his most successful works.

In 1969 Hughes suffered another loss when his mistress, Assia Wevill, also gassed herself and their daughter in an apparent copycat suicide.

In 1982, Plath became the first poet to win a Pulitzer Prize posthumously, for The Collected Poems. She also wrote The Bell Jar, a semi-autobiographical novel published shortly before her death.

Ted Hughes died from cancer in 1998.

On 23 March 2009, CNN reported:

Nicholas Hughes (right) in 1999

“The family history of poets Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath took another tragic turn Monday when it was revealed that their son had committed suicide after battling depression.

Nicholas Hughes, whose mother asphyxiated herself in 1963 by putting her head in a gas oven at her London home while her two children slept in the next room, hanged himself at his home in Alaska, his sister Frieda told The Times newspaper.

Hughes, 47, was unmarried with no children of his own and had until recently been a marine biologist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.”

O love, how did you get here?
O embryo

Remembering, even in sleep,
Your crossed position.
The blood blooms clean

In you, ruby.
The pain
You wake to is not yours.

Love, love,
I have hung our cave with roses.
With soft rugs----
Sylvia Plath, Nick and the Candlestick

Sylvia Plath: Boat in Rock Harbor, Cape Cod

A selection of 44 ink and pen drawings by Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) was exhibited for the first time between 2 Nov and 16 Dec 2011 at the Mayor Gallery in London, displaying Plath’s love for her “deepest source of inspiration”, art. Sam Leigh wrote in “The Guardian”:

“Nearly half a century after her suicide, the great poet is capable of surprising us. A selection of her drawings that have just gone on display at London’s Mayor Gallery shows us a new side of her. I found these drawings moving: not because they feed into the legend, but because they sidestep it. They bring us a fresh look at a woman now so barnacled with myth it’s hard to see her clearly. And – wow – they’re really good….

To see these drawings as in some way complementary to the poems, as some will doubtless try to, seems to me off-beam. Plath did once tell the BBC: “I have a visual imagination.” But what’s so striking about these drawings is exactly their difference from the visual world of the poems. These are pictures that revel in the thinginess of things: in wine bottles, an old kettle, a pair of shoes, the uneven timbering of beached boats, the architectural curlicues of a Parisian roof.”

Chance

Παρασκευή, 6 Ιανουαρίου, 2012

Christian Boltanski, Chance: French Pavillion, Venice Biennale 2011

“The work presented at Venice is optimistic in its reflection on chance and destiny; the chance of birth against the chance of death. Is everything pre-determined? Who controls destiny? Has our path already been decided? Is God present or absent? At the entrance to the pavilion, the visitor is invited to sit on one of the wooden chairs. A voice whispers to him. Each chair “speaks” in a different language uttering the words “Is this the last time?” Is this a message of hope? Or a troubling announcement?… The interior of the pavilion is criss-crossed by a moving walkway, that travels at great speed and upon which hundreds of photos of childrenʼs faces have been printed. The walkway stops randomly and one of the childrenʼs faces is lit up and an alarm sounds. Chance has picked out one child. The process begins all over again, until the walkway stops again and the alarm signals Chanceʼs next choice.” (Press Release)

Monument in Nuremberg, Germany

“O my soul, do not aspire to immportal life, but

exhaust the limits of the possible”

Pindar, Pythian iii

Messkirch, Germany

The sunset in Vouliagmeni is one of the most beautiful in the world. It is in harmony with Man.

You can reach all areas, you can swim, you can walk, even the rocks are hospitable.

Sunset in Vouliagmeni, Attica, Greece

Even in Wintertime there are brave souls who swim with their bodies.

When I look at them I always think of Schubert’s Winterreise, set on 24 poems of Wilhelm Mueller. Schubert called it “a cycle of terrifying songs”. Here are two of them, sung by Mathias Goerne, accompanied by Alfred Brendel.

Täuschung – Deception

A light on the dark and icy road at night, might be a warm place to stay, or the deception of a beautiful face.

Der Wegweiser  – The Signpost

Straying restlessly away from the roads, he still seeks rest. There is always a signpost in front of him, pointing to the road from which no wanderer returns. Death?

Sunrise in Kaletzi, near Marathon, Greece

The landscape is barren. Three years ago multiple fires scorched the earth and destroyed beautiful pine forests all around.

But the sun every time it rises, makes the barren landscape look beautiful.

Richard Strauss was one of the greatest composers. Morgen! (“Tomorrow!”) is the last in a set of four songs composed in 1894, set in a poem of John Henry Mackay.

It is sung by Dame Janet Baker.

Tomorrow!

Tomorrow again will shine the sun
And on my sunlit path of earth
Unite us again, as it has done,
And give our bliss another birth…
The spacious beach under wave-blue skies
We’ll reach by descending soft and slow,
And mutely gaze in each other’s eyes,
As over us rapture’s great hush will flow.

Martin Heidegger's Feldweg in Messkirch, Germany

In 1948, one year before his death on 1949, Richard Strauss composed “Fier Letzte Lieder”, his “Last Four Songs” for soprano and orchestra.

At Sunset is sung by Gundula Janowitz. Berliner Philharmoniker is conducted by Herbert von Karajan.

Im Abendrot – At Sunset

We have gone through sorrow and joy
hand in hand;
Now we can rest from our wandering
above the quiet land.

Around us, the valleys bow;
the air is growing darker.
Just two skylarks soar upwards
dreamily into the fragrant air.

Come close to me, and let them flutter.
Soon it will be time for sleep.
Let us not lose our way
in this solitude.

O vast, tranquil peace,
so deep at sunset!
How weary we are of wandering—
Is this perhaps death?

Sunset in Vouliagmeni, Attica, Greece

“Although The Myth of Sisyphus poses mortal problems, it sums up for me as a lucid invitation to live and to create in the very midst of the desert.”

Albert Camus, in the Preface to his book, March 1955.

“Εάν αποσυνδέσεις την Ελλάδα, στο τέλος θα δεις να σου απομένουν μια ελιά, ένα αμπέλι κι ένα καράβι. Που σημαίνει: με άλλα τόσα την ξαναφτιάχνεις.” (Οδυσσεας Ελυτης, Μικρος Ναυτιλος, ΜΥΡΙΣΑΙ ΤΟ ΑΡΙΣΤΟΝ (ΧΙV)

Πρελουδιο

Εν τω μεσω του ορυμαγδου περι της εκταμιευσεως 5ης δοσεως, της κοκορομαχιας των πολιτικων “αρχηγων”, και των συγκεντρωσεων των “αγανακτισμενων”, αισθανομαι να με καταπνιγει η ακαλαισθησια, η μικροπρεπεια, η ανικανοτητα, η κουτοπονηρια, η βλακεια, η πενια του πνευματος, η ελλειψη ορχεων,  ο στρουθοκαμηλισμος. Καταφευγω λοιπον επειγοντως σε ακομη μια πραγματικη Ελλαδα, που δεν εχει καμμια σχεση με ολα τα ανωτερω, την Ελλαδα του Οδυσσεα Ελυτη.

Η Διαφανεια

“ΟΤΙ ΜΠΟΡΕΣΑ Ν’ ΑΠΟΧΤΗΣΩ μια ζωή από πράξεις ορατές για όλους, επομένως να κερδίσω την ίδια μου διαφάνεια, το χρωστώ σ’ ένα είδος ειδικού θάρρους που μου ‘δωκεν η Ποίηση: να γίνομαι άνεμος για τον χαρταετό και χαρταετός για τον άνεμο, ακόμη και όταν ουρανός δεν υπάρχει..”  (Οδυσσεας Ελυτης, Ο Μικρος Ναυτιλος)

Ο Γ. Μπαμπινιωτης επισημαινει:

“Γενικά, κατόρθωσε να επινοήσει μιαν άλλη μορφή αντισυμβατικής γλώσσας, ώστε να ξυπνάει κάθε φορά τη συγκίνηση, το όνειρο, το συναίσθημα, την εικόνα, τη φαντασία, την ικανότητα να βλέπεις μέσα στα πράγματα, τη διαφάνεια δηλ., και να μεταβάλεις τη φευγαλέα στιγμή σε διάρκεια, μια άλλη βασική έννοια τής ποίησης τού Ελύτη.” (Το Βημα, Ο Ποιητης της Γλωσσας.)

Ο ιδιος ο Ελυτης στην πρωτη παραγραφο της ομιλιας του προς την Ακαδημια Επιστημων της Σουηδιας, αναφερει:

“Ας μου επιτραπεί, παρακαλώ, να μιλήσω στο όνομα της φωτεινότητας και της διαφάνειας. Επειδή οι ιδιότητες αυτές είναι που καθορίσανε τον χώρο μέσα στον οποίο μου ετάχθη να μεγαλώσω και να ζήσω. Και αυτές είναι που ένιωσα, σιγά – σιγά, να ταυτίζονται μέσα μου με την ανάγκη να εκφρασθώ. Είναι σωστό να προσκομίζει κανείς στην τέχνη αυτά που του υπαγορεύουν η προσωπική του εμπειρία και οι αρετές της γλώσσας του. ” (Οδυσσέας Ελύτης:Ομιλία κατά την απονομή του Βραβείου Νόμπελ, Στοκχόλμη, 8/12/1979.)

Αιγαιο και Γλωσσα

Ο ποιητης που λατρεψε το Αιγαιο, και σμιλεψε την ποιηση του με την ελληνικη γλωσσα αποφαινεται:

“Ένα δειλινό στο Αιγαίο περιλαμβάνει τη χαρά και τη λύπη σε τόσο ίσες δόσεις που δεν μένει στο τέλος παρά η αλήθεια.”

“Μια γλώσσα όπως η ελληνική όπου άλλο πράγμα είναι η αγάπη και άλλο πράγμα ο έρωτας. Άλλο η επιθυμία και άλλο η λαχτάρα. Άλλο η πίκρα και άλλο το μαράζι. Άλλο τα σπλάχνα κι άλλο τα σωθικά.”

(Οδυσσεας Ελυτης, Μικρος Ναυτιλος, ΜΥΡΙΣΑΙ ΤΟ ΑΡΙΣΤΟΝ (ΧΙV, ΧV)

Αναστασία Δούκα - Μερόπη Σούλη (Δ.Σ. Απολλωνίας Σίφνου)

Ελληνισμος

Η συρρικνωση του ελληνισμου μετα την επικρατηση των εθνικισμων – δεν το συνειδητοποιησαμε ποτε οσο επρεπε – μας αποστερησε απο τον τροπο να βλεπουμε τα πραγματα με την ανοιχτοσυνη εκεινη και την ισχυ που διεθετε το ιδιο μας το γλωσσικο οργανο σε μια μεγαλη εκταση του πολιτισμενου κοσμου. Απ’ αυτη την αποψη, οσο περιεργο και αν φαινεται, ο πριν απο τους δυο παγκοσμιους πολεμους υπηκοος του μικροσκοπικου τουτου κρατους ανασαινε τον αερα μιας περιπου αυτοκρατοριας. Οι δυνατοτητες του να κινηθει χωρις διαβατηριο γλωσσας καλυπτανε μεγαλα μερη της Ιταλιας και της Αυστριας, ολοκληρη την Αιγυπτο, τη νοτιο Βουλγαρια, τη Ρουμανια, τη Ρωσια του Καυκασου και, φυσικα, την Κωνσταντινουπολη με την ενδοχωρα της, ως κατω, κατα μηκος του Αιγαιου, τη λεγομενη στις μερες μας νοτιοδυτικη Τουρκια.  (Οδυσσεας Ελυτης, Εν Λευκω, Αναφορα στον Ανδρεα Εμπειρικο)

Γιατι γραφετε;

…ρωτανε συχνα τον ποιητη στις συνεντευξεις. Κι εκεινος βιαζεται ν’ απαντησει: “δεν ξερω”. Ειναι αληθεια οτι, απο μιαν αποψη, κι εγω ο ιδιος δεν ξερω. Απο μιαν αλλη ομως αισθανομαι οτι το απολυτως ατομικο μερος του εαυτου μου τοτε μονον θα το δω να επαληθευεται, οταν το αποστερησω απο την ιδιοτητα της προσωπικης περιπτωσης – οταν με αλλα λογια, το καταστησω κοινον.   (Οδυσσεας Ελυτης, Εν Λευκω, Τα μικρα εψιλον)

Louise Keller, Holderlin (1842) drawing

More than a year ago, I wrote a post about Holderlin’s “Hyperion”. Today I revisit the great German poet, and present his poem “In lovely blue”. I have added some pictures to the words. In addition, there are explicary notes to the poem and the pictures. All of them are at the end of the post.

In Lovely Blue
by Friedrich Hölderlin
(Translated by Glenn Wallis)

Yves Klein, Blue Monochrome, MOMA, Ney York (See Note 1)

In lovely blue blooms the steeple with its metal
roof. Around the roof swirls the swallows’ cry,
surrounded by most touching blue. The sun rises high
above and tints the roof tin. But in the wind beyond, silently,
a weathercock crows. When someone comes forth from
the stairs of the belfry, it is a still life. And though the form
is so utterly strange, it becomes the figure of a
human being. The windows out of which the bells resound are as
gates to beauty. Because gates still take after nature
they resemble forest trees. Purity, too, is beauty. From within, out
of diverse things, a grave spirit emerges. So simple,
these images, so holy, that one often fears
to describe them. But the heavenly ones, always
good, possess, even more than the wealthy, virtue and
joy. Humans may follow suit. Might a person, when
life is full of trouble, look up and say: I, too,
want to be like this? Yes. As long as friendliness and purity
dwell in our hearts, we may measure ourselves not unfavorably
with the divine. Is God unknown? Is he manifest
as the sky?(a) This I tend to believe. It is the measure
of the human. Deserving, yet poetically, we dwell
on this earth (b). The shadow of night with its stars,
if I may say so, is no purer than we
who exist in the image of the divine (c).

Andre Butzer, Nasaheim (See Note 2)

Is there measure on earth? There is none. (d) For
the creator’s worlds can never contain the clap of thunder.
Because it blooms under the sun, a flower, too, is beautiful.
In life, the eye often finds creatures to call more beautiful
still than flowers. Oh! I know this well!
For to bleed in body and heart and cease to be whole—
does this please God? The soul, I believe, must remain
pure, or else the eagle will wing its way to the almighty
with songs of praise and the voice of so many
birds. It is substance and it is form. Beautiful little
brook, so touching you seem as you roll so clear,
like the eye of God, through the Milky Way. I know
you well. But tears stream from my eyes. A clear
life I see in the forms of creation that blooms around me
because I do not compare them unreasonably with the lonely pigeons
in the churchyard. People’s laughter seems
to grieve me—after all, I have a heart. Would I
like to be a comet? I believe so. For they have the quickness
of birds, they blossom in fire, and in their purity is as children’s.
To wish for more is beyond the measure of human nature.
The clarity of virtue also deserves praise from the grave
spirit that blows between the garden’s three pillars. A beautiful virgin must
garland her head with myrtle, for to do so is simply
her nature and her sensibility. But myrtle trees are found in Greece.

Samuel Francis, In lovely Blueness 2 (1955-56) (See Note 3)

When a person looks into a mirror and sees
his image, as if painted, that is like the Manes.
The human form has eyes, but the moon has light.
Perhaps King Oedipus (e) had an eye too many. This
man’s suffering seems indescribable, unspeakable,
inexpressible. When the drama presents it so, so it is. But how is it with me?
Am I thinking now of your suffering? Like brooks, the end of
Something as vast as Asia is carrying me toward it. Oedipus, of course, suffered like this, too;
and certainly for the same reason. Did Hercules suffer as well? Of course.
Did not the Dioscuri, too, in their friendship bear pain?
As Hercules fought with God—that is
suffering. And immortality in envy of this life—
to divide these two—that, too, is suffering. But it is also
suffering when a person is covered with freckles—
to be completely covered with freckles! The beautiful
sun does that, for it draws out everything. The path
seduces the young with the charm of its rays, like roses.
Oedipus’s suffering is like a poor man
wailing that he is deprived. Son Laios, poor
stranger in Greece. Life is death, and
death is also a life.

Emil Nolde, March Landscape in the evening (See Note 4)

Notes to the poem

(a) Note that in German, Sky is Himmel, which also stands for Heaven.

(b) This is the phrase that Heidegger used in his essay “…poetically man dwells…”.

(c) Book of Genesis, Chapter 1 verse 26: ‘And God said: Let us make man in our image’.

(d) Holderlin seems to imply that only in the heavenly skies one can find measure, therefore introducing a metaphysical element in the poem. Werner Marx, who was the professor who took Heidegger’s teaching post at the University of Freiburg, wrote a book with the same question in its title, and “Foundations for  a nonmetaphysical ethics” as its subtitle.

(e) Holderlin translated Sophocles’ tragedies Oedipus and Antigone. These translations are significant interprpetations of the works.

Notes accompanying the pictures

(1) Note  to Yves Klein’s painting: Monochrome abstraction—the use of one color over an entire canvas—has been a strategy adopted by many painters wishing to challenge expectations of what an image can and should represent. Klein likened monochrome painting to an “open window to freedom.” He worked with a chemist to develop his own particular brand of blue. Made from pure color pigment and a binding medium, it is called International Klein Blue. Klein adopted this hue as a means of evoking the immateriality and boundlessness of his own particular utopian vision of the world.(Source: MOMA)

(2) Question: On the other hand, perhaps it is Friedrich Holderlin who has organized you? Why is Friedrich Holderlin ‘Kommando’, rather than, e.g., ‘Muse’?

No. Holderlin is just one of my main heroes and he is my favorite poet in my private library. He is my choice and therefore I myself am Holderlin, I can call myself N-Holderlin, which means NASAHEIM(*)-Holderlin, a self-fullfilling prophecy of abstract art. There is no form of art without a relation towards utopia and therefore abstraction. The show is called Kommando because it was a very high or a very low order from heaven that initiated the show. Within the world of art, which is a completely useless world, a Kommando can be a group of people, or an individual that tries to find a way out of this world.

(*) “Nasaheim” – the outerspace station of Anaheim/Disneyland.

(Source: An Interview With Andre Butzer, Artist And Curator Of ‘Kommando Friedrich Holderlin’ At Max Hetzler, Berlin, Saatchi Online Magazine)

(3) This at once airy and expansive composition by Sam Francis brilliantly demonstrates the artist’s unique combination of Abstract Expressionist and late Impressionist influences. With its soft pastel palette, the monumental abstract work creates the sensation of standing before a vast and boundless space. Francis, who often found his inspiration in literary sources, titled the painting after a poem by the German Romantic writer Friedrich Hölderlin which begins with the narrator looking to the sky: “In lovely blue the steeple blossoms/ With its metal roof. Around which/ Drift swallow cries, around which/ Lies most loving blue.” (Source: Art Institute of Chicago)

(4) Nolde’s landscape is a landscape dominated by the sky of North Germany, near the Danish borders, Nolde’s home.

Aris Alexandrou – Greek Writer

Δευτέρα, 7 Μαρτίου, 2011

Today I want to pay tribute to Aris Alexandrou, a Greek writer who became known for his novel “The Mission Box”.

Σημερα τιμω τον μεγαλο Ελληνα Συγγραφεα Αρη Αλεξανδρου, που ειναι ευρυτερα γνωστος απο το μυθιστορημα του “Το Κιβωτιο”.

Γιος του Βασίλη Βασιλειάδη, Ελληνα από την Τραπεζούντα και της Πολίνας Αντοβνα Βίλγκελμσον, Ρωσίδας εσθονικής καταγωγής, ο Αριστοτέλης Βασιλειάδης, όπως ήταν το πραγματικό όνομα του Αρη Αλεξάνδρου, γεννήθηκε στο Λένινγκραντ το 1922. Ηρθε με τους γονείς του στην Ελλάδα το 1928 και εγκαταστάθηκαν στην αρχή στη Θεσσαλονίκη και αργότερα στην Αθήνα. Τελείωσε τις γυμνασιακές του σπουδές στο Βαρβάκειο το 1940 και έδωσε εξετάσεις στο Πολυτεχνείο, όπως επιθυμούσε ο πατέρας του. Τελικά πέρασε στην ΑΣΟΕΕ, αλλά το 1942 την εγκατέλειψε αποφασίζοντας να στραφεί στη μετάφραση. Ηταν η εποχή, μέσα στην Κατοχή που συνίδρυσε (με τους Ανδρέα Φραγκιά, Γεράσιμο Σταύρου κ.ά.) μια αντιστασιακή ομάδα.

Η απομάκρυνσή του από την ενεργό κομματική δράση και η μη συμμετοχή του στις δραστηριότητες της Αριστεράς και εδώ ειδικά στα γεγονότα του Δεκεμβρίου του 1944, δεν εμπόδισαν τις αγγλικές στρατιωτικές αρχές, που είχαν έρθει στην Ελλάδα, να τον συλλάβουν και να τον στείλουν στο στρατόπεδο Ελ Ντάμπα, όπου έμεινε έως τον Απρίλιο του ’45. Επίσης, παρόλο που δεν έχει ανάμειξη στον εμφύλιο πόλεμο συλλαμβάνεται το 1948 και, επειδή αρνείται να αποκηρύξει τις ιδέες του, στέλνεται και παραμένει διαδοχικά στα στρατόπεδα Μούδρου, Μακρονήσου και Άγιου Ευστράτιου, από τον Ιούλιο του 1948 έως τον Οκτώβριο του 1951. Στα στρατοπεδα συγκεντρωσης βιωνει την μοναξια του “πρωην” μελους του ΚΚΕ. Οι πρωην συντροφοι του δεν του συγχωρουν οτι διαφωνει ανοιχτα με το κομμα.

Γυαρος

Μετά ένα χρόνο, το Νοέμβριο του 1952, και ενώ είχε μείνει ελεύθερος δικάζεται από το Στρατοδικείο Αθηνών ως ανυπότακτος (κατά την εποχή που ήταν εξόριστος). Ο Αλεξανδρου δεν αναφερει στους στρατοδικες το προφανες: οτι δηλαδη οταν ηταν να παρουσιαστει στο στρατο ηταν ηδη εξοριστος! Αντι τουτου δηλωνει κομμουνιστης. Σημειωνω οτι ειχε ηδη απομακρυνθει απο το ΚΚΕ. Καταδικάστηκε πρωτοδίκως σε 10 χρόνια ειρκτή και έμεινε διαδοχικά στις φυλακές Αβέρωφ, Αίγινας και Γυάρου. Στη Γυαρο οι συνθηκες ειναι ακραιες, Δεν τους αφηνουν καν να βγουνε απο τα κτηρια. Ο Αλεξανδρου βιωνει την απολυτη μοναξια, αφου οι πρωην “συντροφοι” του τον εχουν αποκυρηξει.

Στην αναθεώρηση της δίκης η ποινή του περιορίστηκε στα 7 χρόνια και απολύθηκε τον Αύγουστο του 1958 με τη χάρη του ενός τρίτου.

Από τις φυλακές βγαίνει τελικά τον Αύγουστο του 1958 και τον επόμενο χρόνο παντρεύεται την Καίτη Δρόσου για να εγκατασταθούν στο σπίτι της, στην οδό Σπετσών 45. Το 1966 αρχίζει να γράφει το «Κιβώτιο», το οποίο ολοκληρώνεται το 1972 στο Παρίσι. Με τη δικτατορία φεύγουν και οι δύο για το Παρίσι, από τον φόβο μιας νέας σύλληψης.

Ο Αλεξανδρου με την Καιτη Δροσου στο Παρισι

Εκεί αναγκάστηκε να κάνει (και ο ίδιος και η Καίτη Δρόσου) πολλές χειρωνακτικές δουλειές. Ενδεικτικα αναφερω οτι εργαστηκε σαν συσκευαστής (έκανε πακέτα) για τoν μεγαλο οικο μοδας Hermes. Οταν περασαν οι εορτες και δεν χρειαζοντουσαν πια βοηθεια για τα πακετα, ο Αλεξανδρου τους επεισε να τον κρατησουν για να πλενει και καθαριζει καθε πρωι τα πεζοδρομια μπροστα απο το διασημο μαγαζι  στην Faubourg Saint Honore. Μτα εκανε διαφορες αλλες μικροδουλειες, ενω η Καιτη Δροσου δουλευε σαν καθαριστρια.

Ο Αρης Αλεξανδρου πέθανε στη γαλλική πρωτεύουσα στις 2 Ιουλίου 1978 από καρδιακή προσβολή και μόλις πρόφτασε να δει τη μετάφραση του «Κιβώτιου» στα γαλλικά από τις εκδόσεις Gallimard.

Το «Κιβώτιο» θεωρείται κλασικό δείγμα αντι-μυθιστορήματος, καθώς ανατρέπει (χωρίς να ξενίζει) τους κανόνες και κώδικες της πεζογραφίας. Έχει περίπου τη δομή ενός προσωπικού ημερολογίου. Ο μύθος του «Κιβωτίου» είναι  συνοπτικά ο εξής: Μια 40μελής ομάδα επίλεκτων κομμουνιστών αναλαμβάνει τη μεταφορά ενός κιβωτίου από μια πόλη σε άλλη πόλη. Κανείς από την ομάδα δε γνωρίζει το περιεχόμενο του κιβωτίου. Οι διαταγές είναι αυστηρές, δεν επιτρέπεται  η βραδυπορία και οι τραυματίες πρέπει να «κυανίζονται» δηλαδή να εκτελούνται.
Τελικά, το κιβώτιο παραδίδεται στα χέρια των αρμοδίων, μετά από πολλές περιπέτειες, από το μοναδικό επιζήσαντα .
Όταν οι παραλήπτες ανοίγουν το κιβώτιο, διαπιστώνουν (με έκπληξη;) ότι είναι άδειο. Ο επιζήσας θεωρείται υπεύθυνος. Συλλαμβάνεται και  φυλακίζεται.

Ο Αλεξανδρος Αργυριου σχολιαζει:

“Ο αφηγητής (ή ο συγγραφέας) δολιχοδρομώντας ανάμεσα στις αναρίθμητες απορίες (του ή μας) φτάνει συχνά στην άκρη του γκρεμού. Και επειδή εκεί επικρατεί το ένστικτο της αυτοσυντήρησης, που ο αφηγητής έχει αποδείξει ότι του είναι ισχυρό, ή της αυτοκαταστροφής που δρα υπόγεια, απομένουν δυο (τουλάχιστον) λύσεις για να διαλέξει: Ή τη σιωπή ή να συνεχίσει το παιχνίδι της αλήθειας – αυτοτραυματιζόμενος· με εμφανή τα στοιχεία της απόγνωσης.

Πιστεύω ότι το αφήγημα Κιβώτιο παίζεται από την αρχή του έως το τέλος, είτε έμμεσα είτε άμεσα, με συνείδηση της αβεβαιότητας απέναντι στα πράγματα, σε ό,τι ονομάζεται πραγματικότητα, στις ανθρώπινες πράξεις και προθέσεις και στην προφανή αντίφαση της άρνησης της λογικής δια της λογικής. Και όσο αποδεχόμαστε ότι η λογική εκφράζεται δια του λόγου, το Κιβώτιοσχοινοβατεί συνεχώς επάνω στις δυνατότητες του λόγου. Ένα όργανο που “ψεύδεται άμα και αληθεύει”.”

Η φιλια του Αλεξανδρου με τον Γιαννη Ριτσο

Ο Αλεξάνδρου βρέθηκε στην παρέα του Ρίτσου, ανεξάρτητα από την Καίτη Δρόσου, χάρη στον, συμμαθητή του από το Βαρβάκειο, Ανδρέα Φραγκιά. Η φιλια του Αλεξανδρου με τον Ριτσο τον στηριξε και τον ενθαρρυνε στις πολυ δυσκολες στιγμες της ζωης του. Σε αντιθεση με αλλους πρωην συντροφους, ο Ριτσος ανεδειχθη σε ανθρωπο με διαρκη και ειλικρινη φιλικα συναισθηματα.

Η Καιτη Δροσου με τον Ριτσο

Η Καιτη Δροσου αναφερει: «Η συμπάθεια ήταν από την αρχή αμοιβαία. Κι έπειτα, βρέθηκαν κι οι δυο στου Γκοβόστη, όπου γίνονταν καταπληκτικές εκδόσεις, σκυμμένοι πάνω από τα τυπογραφικά δοκίμια. Ο Αρης μετέφραζε από τα ρωσικά, κι ο Γιάννης τα ξανακοίταζε μαζί μ’ έναν ρωσόφωνο ακόμα, μην τυχόν και τους ξεφύγει κάτι. Η δουλειά τούς έφερε κοντά…»

Πόσο διαφορετικές ιδιοσυγκρασίες ήταν, όμως! «Σίγουρα. Ο Γιάννης κηρύσσει! Με την καλή έννοια, βέβαια, αλλά κηρύσσει. Ενώ ο Αρης μιλάει μόνο όταν έχει κάτι να πει. Και, όταν έχει κάτι να πει, είναι πάντα σχετικό με την τέχνη. Σαν τον Φραγκιά κι αυτός, όταν διαπίστωνε ότι ο συνομιλητής του έχει αντίθετη άποψη, δεν έμπαινε στη διαδικασία να τον μεταπείσει -“δεν βγάζει πουθενά” έλεγε. Και μεταξύ μας ακόμη, στα λίγα χρόνια που προλάβαμε να ζήσουμε μαζί, τις λέξεις δημοκρατία, ελευθερία, ισότητα, διανόηση δεν τις μεταχειριζόμασταν. Τη χαρά ή τη δυσαρέσκειά μας την εκφράζαμε μέσω λαϊκών γαλλικών τραγουδιών…»

Ο Αλεξάνδρου είχε χάσει από νωρίς την εμπιστοσύνη του στο Κόμμα. «Επιτρέπεται να θαυμάζουν έναν ηγέτη λες και είναι Θεός; με ρώτησε μετά την προβολή ενός ντοκιμαντέρ από τις γιορτές της απελεύθερωσης στη Μόσχα, με τις εικόνες του λαμπροστολισμένου Στάλιν ακόμα νωπές. Η λέξη προσωπολατρία, όμως, εμφανίστηκε πολύ αργότερα…»

Ο συγγραφέας του «Κιβωτίου», έχοντας παραδεχθεί μέσα του την ήττα του Εμφυλίου, διέσχισε τα χρόνια της εξορίας του απομονωμένος από τους συντρόφους του, κι ας είχε σπεύσει ο Ρίτσος να εγγυηθεί γι’ αυτόν ότι είναι τίμιος κι ότι δεν θα βλάψει το Κόμμα ποτέ. Ούτως ή άλλως, οι δρόμοι τους χώρισαν. Επρεπε να φτάσει το ’58, οπότε επέστρεψε κι ο Αλεξάνδρου από τη Γυάρο στην Αθήνα, για να μιλήσουν ξανά.

Γυαρος

«Το θέμα με τον Αρη και τον Γιάννη δεν ήταν να τα βρουν στα ιδεολογικά» συνεχίζει η κ. Δρόσου. «Το θέμα ήταν ποιος θα κάνει πρώτος την κίνηση να βγάλει το χαρτί απ’ την τσέπη, ποιος δηλαδή θα προκαλέσει ξανά συζήτηση πάνω σ’ ένα γραπτό, όπως θα μιλούσε στον δάσκαλό του». Απ’ τη μεριά της, το είχε ξεκαθαρίσει στον Αλεξάνδρου -«δεν ξέρω τι θα κάνεις εσύ, εγώ εξακολουθώ να συναντιέμαι με τον Ρίτσο». Κι εκείνος αμέσως της απάντησε: «Τότε γιατί δεν του λες να ‘ρθει;»

Η πρόσκληση αφορούσε το διαμέρισμα της οδού Σπετσών, εκεί όπου συνεχίζει να επιστρέφει κι η ίδια κάθε χρόνο από τη Γαλλία, το διαμέρισμα που εγκατέλειψαν οι δυο τους άρον άρον τον Απρίλιο του ’67, με μόνο εφόδιο τα ρούχα που φορούσαν.

Οι αποστάσεις που τήρησαν από τους έλληνες αυτοεξόριστους «ήταν επιλογή μας», λέει, «καθώς τότε (σ.σ.: κατά τη διάσπαση του ΚΚΕ) έπρεπε να δηλώσει κανείς πού ανήκει, αν είναι υπέρ του Κολιγιάννη ή κατά».

Με τον Ρίτσο, ωστόσο, ο οποίος γνωρίζει νέες διώξεις τώρα, πιάνουν και πάλι ν’ αλληλογραφούν. Ο ποιητής, κάθε φορά που λαμβάνει αποσπάσματα του «Κιβωτίου», δεν σταματά να εγκαρδιώνει τον Αλεξάνδρου και να τον επικροτεί. «Είναι ένα όργιο φαντασίας», θα του γράψει όταν το διαβάσει ολοκληρωμένο, «που καλύπτει την ιστορική πραγματικότητα κι αποκαλύπτει την άλλη πραγματικότητα της πιο πειστικής φαντασίας, της γεννημένης απ’ τους καθημερινούς εφιάλτες της ασυνεννοησίας, της καταπίεσης, της υποχρεωτικής συγκατάβασης…»

Μόνη από το 1978, η Καίτη Δρόσου έχει να το λέει: «Εμείς γίναμε αριστεροί μέσα από τα βιβλία. Και για τις ιδέες μας αρνηθήκαμε οικογένειες και καριέρες, δεν προβάλαμε αιτήματα προσωπικά. Και ποιος δεν ήταν μαζί μας! Από τον Στάινμπεκ ώς τον Αϊνστάιν, συνοδοιπόροι όλοι! Ακόμα προσπαθώ να καταλάβω γιατί μια ομάδα φέρθηκε έτσι και μας κατηγόρησε ότι κάναμε κακό στην εργατική τάξη…»

Με τι μάτια τώρα πια

Βιάστηκες μητέρα να πεθάνεις.

Δεν λέω, είχες αρρωστήσει από φασισμό

κι ήταν λίγο το ψωμί έλειπα κι εγώ στην εξορία

ήτανε λίγος ο ύπνος κι ατέλειωτες οι νύχτες

μα πάλι ποιος ο λόγος να απελπιστείς προτού να κλείσεις

τα εξηντατέσσερα

μπορούσες να ‘σφιγγες τα δόντια

έστω κι αυτά τα ψεύτικα τα χρυσά σου δόντια

μπορούσες ν’ αρπαζόσουνα από ‘να φύλλο πράσινο

απ’ τα γυμνά κλαδιά

απ’ τον κορμό

μα ναι το ξέρω

γλιστράν τα χέρια κι ο κορμός του χρόνου δεν έχει φλούδα

να πιαστείς

όμως εσύ να τα ‘μπηγες τα νύχια

και να τραβούσες έτσι πεντέξι-δέκα χρόνια

σαν τους μισοπνιγμένους που τους τραβάει ο χείμαρρος

κολλημένους στο δοκάρι του γκρεμισμένου τους σπιτιού.

Τι βαραίνουν δέκα χρόνια για να με ξαναδείς

να ξαναδείς ειρηνικότερες ημέρες και να πας

στο παιδικό σου σπίτι με τον φράχτη πνιγμένο ν στα λουλούδια

να ζήσεις μες στη δίκαιη γαλήνη

ακούγοντας τον πόλεμο

σαν τον απόμακρο αχό του καταρράχτη

να ‘χεις μια στέγη σίγουρη σαν άστρο

να χωράει το σπίτι μας την καρδιά των ανθρώπων

κι από τη μέσα κάμαρα-

όμως εσύ μητέρα βιάστηκες πολύ

και τώρα με τι χέρια να ‘ρθεις και να μ’ αγγίξεις μέσ’

από τη σίτα*

με τι πόδια να ζυγώσεις εδώ που ‘χω τριγύρω μου τις πέ-

τρες σιγουρεμένες σαν ντουβάρια φυλακής

με τι μάτια τώρα πια να δεις πως μέσα δω χωράει

όλη η καρδιά του αυριανού μας κόσμου

τσαλαπατημένη

κι από τον δίπλα θάλαμο ποτίζει η θλίψη

σαν υγρασία σάπιου χόρτου.

[Το ποίημα περιέχεται στη συλλογή Ευθύτης οδών (1959).]

Αντρέας Φραγκιάς

Η Μαρτυρια του Αντρεα Φραγκια για τον Αλεξανδρου:

“Για όσους τον γνώρισαν, μαζί με το έργο, παραμένει η ανθρώπινη παρουσία που είχε μια εντελώς ιδιαίτερη μοναδικότητα ως ατομικός χαρακτήρας και ως ακραία αντιπροσωπευτική περίπτωση μιας ολόκληρης γενιάς και μιας κατάστασης που έμεινε εντελώς ξεχωριστή. Η μοναδικότητα εκτός από τα άλλα συνίσταται και στην απόλυτη ταύτιση του ανθρώπου με το έργο του, γιατί όταν γίνεται λόγος για το χαρακτήρα του, γίνεται αναπόφευκτη σαν η καλύτερη δυνατή σκιαγράφηση η παραπομπή σε δικά του κείμενα. Και αντίστροφα, τα κείμενα αυτά είναι στοιχεία της βιογραφίας και της ψυχογραφίας του. Η ταύτιση υπάρχει πλήρης, χωρίς ρωγμές. Η προσωπικότητα αυτή διαμορφώθηκε πολύ νωρίς κι έφτασε σε βαθμό απολυτότητας και συνέπειας. Η αυστηρότερη συνέπεια εκδηλώνεται προς τον εαυτό του. Εσωτερική ζωή, πνευματική λειτουργία, συμπεριφορά και ύφος γραφής γίνονται ένα, τόσο συμπαγές που είναι αδύνατο να ξεχωριστεί το ένα από το άλλο. Ένας ορθολογισμός μαθηματικού τύπου που συχνά μπορούσε να φτάσει στην αυστηρή διατύπωση θεωρήματος, μια ευθύγραμμη και σχεδόν επίπεδη συμπεριφορά χωρίς οξύτητες, μια καλή, συχνά αγαθή, προαίρεση και μια έμφυτη ουσιαστική ευγένεια. Ο καθημερινός φανατισμός του ήταν ότι δε θύμωνε ποτέ. Του ήταν άγνωστος ο υψηλός τόνος, η ρητορία, το εντυπωσιακό, ή οποιαδήποτε επίδειξη. Κάτω από αυτή τη φαινομενική απάθεια, που έφτανε συχνά να φαίνεται αδιαφορία, λειτουργούσε αδιάκοπα με υψηλή ευαισθησία, ζωηρό ενδιαφέρον, πνευματική εγρήγορση, ένας παλλόμενος ψυχισμός. Ο άνθρωπος αυτός που φαινόταν μοναχικός και αποσυρμένος διψούσε για ανθρώπινη επαφή, για ειλικρινείς και χωρίς συμβατικότητες εγκάρδιες σχέσεις, αναζητούσε την πνευματική ακεραιότητα και το βαθύτερο ουσιαστικό ανθρωπισμό.”


Today’s post is about a song, written by the contemporary German composer Hans Werner Henze, to words of a poem by Michalis Katsaros. The translation of the poem from the Greek to the German language was done by the German poet Hans Magnus Enzensberger.

Hans Werner Henze

I was lucky to meet the Maestro in London in 1996, in one of his lectures before the opening of the performance of his opera “Der junge Lord”. I had no idea at that time that he had composed a song using a poem by Katsaros. I found out when I bought “Voices” a compilation of twenty one songs he has wrtiten over the years.

Michalis Katsaros

An End

An end to the newsreels

An end to private housing

An end to the Te Deums

after the spent revolts

An end to all those

who define new directions

for our time

An end to genuine meetings

at ambassadorial level

An end to all those who pretend

to be our friends

An end to interpreters

An end to the public

and above all to me

who is telling you all this

When we have put an end to all that

we can begin

the Liberation

Hans Magnus Enzensberger

The interpeter of the poem in German, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, is one of the major living writers of Germany.

And now the song, sung by Joachim Vogt, tenor, and musicians of the Leipzig Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Horst Neumann.

10 Schluß

On Wine and Love – Περι Οινου και Ερωτος

Σάββατο, 11 Δεκεμβρίου, 2010

Εισαγωγη

Οινος και Ερως, διδυμο ανικητο.

Δυσκολη η ζωη.

Πιο δυσκολη αν σου λειπει το ενα απο τα δυο.

Ασηκωτη αν σου λειπουν και τα δυο.

Διαβαινω και περισυλλεγω, και ευχομαι Εορτας με Οινο και Ερωτα εις απασες και απαντες.

Ξεκινω με Ευριπιδη, απο την τραγωδια του “Ιφιγενεια εν Αυλιδι”. Συνεχιζω με τον Αθηναίο Αντιφάνη απο τον Δειπνοσοφιστη Β του Αθήναιου,  τον Παλλαδά της Αλεξάνδρειας, και κλεινω με τον Ανδρεα Εμπειρικο.

Ι. Ευριπιδη, Ιφιγενεια εν Αυλιδι (480-406 π.Χ.)

Χορος

Καλοτυχοι που χαιρονται τον ερωτα

με μετρο

και συνεση κρατουν

και τη γαληνια τους καρδια

δεν την χτυπουν παραφορες

οταν διπλες τις σαϊτιες ο χρυσομαλλης Ερωτας

επανω τους καρφωνει -

τη μια χαρα τετρακλωνη

την αλλη συμφορα!

Μη μου τη ριχνεις της συμφορας τη σαϊτια

γλυκια μου Αφροδιτη.

Ας μην ειναι πανεμορφο της κλινης μου το ταιρι

ας ειναι ο ποθος μου γλυκος,

μεραδι ας εχω στις χαρες

κι ας λειπει το περισσιο.

(Μεταφραση Κωστα Τοπουζη, Εκδοσεις Επικαιροτητα)

ΙΙ. Το Αφανερωτο Φανερο (Αντιφανης, Αθηναιος κωμωδιογραφος, 408-334 π.Χ.)

Ο Αντιφανης στον Β Δειπνοσοφιστη του Αθήναιου ακουγεται να λεει:

“Να κρυψει, Φειδια,

ολα τ’αλλα καποιος θα μπορουσε εκτος απο δυο,

το οτι πινει κρασι και τ’οτι μπλεχτηκε σε ερωτα.

Διοτι αυτα τα δυο τα φανερωνουν τα ματια

και τα λογια τους – ετσι οσους τ’αρνουνται

αυτους κυριως… τους κανουν φανερους”

(Μεταφραση Θεοδωρος Γ. Μαυροπουλος, Εκδοσεις Κακτος)


ΙΙΙ. Παλλαδάς (Αλεξανδρεια, 4ος αιωνας μ.Χ.)

Το θανατο χρωστουν ολοι οι θνητοι, και κανεις τους

αν αυριο θα ζει δεν το γνωριζει.

Καλα στο νου σου να το βαλεις, ανθρωπε μου,

και να ευφραινεσαι – δωρο του Διονυσου η ληθη του θανατου.

Τερπου, στο βιο τον εφημερο η Αφροδιτη ας σ’οδηγησει.

Και τ’άλλα όλα, ασε να τα ρυθμισει η Τυχη.

(Συμποτικα Επιγραμματα, Μεταφραση Παντελη Μπουκαλα, Εκδοσεις Αγρα)

ΙV. Ανδρεας Εμπειρικος, Η Μανταλενα (Αθηνα, 1970)

Εγω φιλουσα σαν τρελος την Μανταλενα. Την φιλουσα παντου, στα στηθη, στα μαλλια, στα ματια, που ησαν ολα νοτισμενα απο γλυκιαν αρμυρα, αλλα τη στιγμη που την φιλησα εν τελει, στο στομα, η ηδυτης του φιλιου ητανε τοση, που τα χερια μου γλυστρησαν απο το κορμι της, και επεσα με παφλασμο μεσα στο νερο.

(Γραπτα ή Προσωπικη Μυθολογια, Εκδοσεις Αγρα)

Υ.Γ.1 Η εικαστικη διασταση της σημερινης “Ελληνικης” αναρτησης προερχεται απο τους: Bronzino, Caravaggio, Velazquez, Cabanel, Cezanne.

Υ.Γ.2 Ισως σας ενδιαφερει και η “Συρραφη περι Διονυσου“, μια παλαιοτερα αναρτηση μου.

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