la curva delle cose



Sylvie Guillem in Continuo, by Antony Tudor


“Queste cose finiscono col prendere una certa curva” –
Cosa fai, dunque, alla fine della curva?
scendi, m’immagino, o meglio: ti fanno scendere,
poggi il piede a terra, in un punto lontano,
un paesaggio vuoto e sbiadito  – spaesata
ti guardi attorno e non trovi
orizzonte, né linee per orientarti, solo
vaste sospensioni di tempo e spazio
senza direzione da seguire,
se non indietro,
dove non puoi, non vuoi andare
anche se ogni singola fibra del tuo corpo
a quel magnete.

(Brenda Porster,  The Curve of Things, traduzione mia)

“These things do tend to take a certain curve”
– so what do you do at the end of the curve?
get off, I suppose, or, better, are let off,
stepping down to a point off the line,
a bleached and empty landscape, displaced
you look around you and can find
no horizon, no axis to refer to, only
vast suspensions of space and time
with no direction to follow,
except backwards,
where you cannot, will not go
though your body’s every fiber
be aligned
to that pull.

to get acquainted in this new world


John William Waterhouse: Boreas, 1903

He was confused, painfully conscious of his inarticulateness. He had felt the bigness and glow of life in what he had read, but his speech was inadequate. He could not express what he felt, and to himself he likened himself to a sailor, in a strange ship, on a dark night, groping about in the unfamiliar running rigging. Well, he decided, it was up to him to get acquainted in this new world.

(Jack London, Martin Eden)

Era confuso, penosamente cosciente della sua inettitudine a esprimersi. Sentiva la grandezza, l’intensità di ciò che aveva letto, ma le parole sfuggivano al suo pensiero e non poteva descrivere ciò che risentiva, e si paragonò a un marinaio sperduto in una notte buia su un mare ignoto, che manovrasse alla cieca. Ebbene!, decise fra sé, spettava a lui avvezzarsi a quel mondo nuovo.

(Jack London, Martin Eden, traduzione italiana di Gian Dàuli)


the obligation to be happy

It is more onerous
than the rites of beauty
or housework, harder than love.
But you expect it of me casually,
the way you expect the sun
to come up, not in spite of rain
or clouds but because of them.And so I smile, as if my own fidelity
to sadness were a hidden vice—
that downward tug on my mouth,
my old suspicion that health
and love are brief irrelevancies,
no more than laughter in the warm dark
strangled at dawn.

Happiness. I try to hoist it
on my narrow shoulders again—
a knapsack heavy with gold coins.
I stumble around the house,
bump into things.
Only Midas himself
would understand.

(Linda Pastan, “The Obligation to be Happy” from Carnival Evening: New and Selected Poems 1968-1998, W. W. Norton & Company,  1998)

of flaps and patches

We are all framed of flaps and patches and of so shapeless and divers a contexture, that every piece and every moment playeth his part. And there is as much difference between us and ourselves, as there is between ourselves and others.

(Montaigne, Essays, translation by John Florio, 1634 edn, p. 187)


Photo by Sonia Szostak