Cities were always like people, showing their varying personalities to the traveler. Depending on the city and on the traveler, there might begin a mutual love, or dislike, friendship, or enmity. Where one city will rise a certain individual to glory, it will destroy another who is not suited to its personality. Only through travel can we know where we belong or not, where we are loved and where we are rejected.
It’s not that we have to quit this life one day, it’s how many things we have to quit all at once: holding hands, hotel rooms, music, the physics of falling leaves, vanilla and jasmine, poppies, smiling, anthills, the color of the sky, coffee and cashmere, literature, sparks and subway trains... If only one could leave this life slowly!
It’s not that we have to quit this life one day, but it’s how many things we have to quit all at once: music, laughter,the physics of falling leaves, automobiles, holding hands,the scent of rain, the concept of subway trains... if only one could leave this life slowly!
I ran across an excerpt today (in English translation) of some dialogue/narration from the modern popular writer, Paulo Coelho in his book: Aleph.(Note: bracketed text is mine.)... 'I spoke to three scholars,' [the character says 'at last.'] ...two of them said that, after death, the [sic (misprint, fault of the publisher)] just go to Paradise. The third one, though, told me to consult some verses from the Koran. [end quote]' ...I can see that he's excited. [narrator]' ...Now I have many positive things to say about Coelho: He is respectable, inspiring as a man, a truth-seeker, and an appealing writer; but one should hesitate to call him a 'literary' writer based on this quote. A 'literary' author knows that a character's excitement should be 'shown' in his or her dialogue and not in the narrator's commentary on it. Advice for Coelho: Remove the 'I can see that he's excited' sentence and show his excitement in the phrasing of his quote.(Now, in defense of Coelho, I am firmly of the opinion, having myself written plenty of prose that is flawed, that a novelist should be forgiven for slipping here and there.)Lastly, it appears that a belief in reincarnation is of great interest to Mr. Coelho ... Just think! He is a man who has achieved, (as Leonard Cohen would call it), 'a remote human possibility.' He has won lots of fame and tons of money. And yet, how his preoccupation with reincarnation—none other than an interest in being born again as somebody else—suggests that he is not happy!
Ô, Wanderess, WanderessWhen did you feel your most euphoric kiss? Was I the source of your greatest bliss?
The day came when she discovered sex, sensuality, and literature; she said, 'I submit! Let my life be henceforth ruled by poetry. Let me reign as the queen of my dreams until I become nothing less than the heroine of God.
Our lips were for each other and our eyes were full of dreams. We knew nothing of travel and we knew nothing of loss. Ours was a world of eternal spring, until the summer came.
Ô, Muse of the Heart’s Passion,let me relive my Love’s memory,to remember her body, so brave and so free,and the sound of my Dreameress singing to me,and the scent of my Dreameress sleeping by me,Ô, sing, sweet Muse, my soliloquy!
Champagne arrived in flûtes on trays, and we emptied them with gladness in our hearts... for when feasts are laid and classical music is played, where champagne is drunk once the sun has sunk and the season of summer is alive in spicy bloom, and beautiful women fill the room, and are generous with laughter and smiles... these things fill men's hearts with joy and remind one that life’s bounty is not always fleeting but can be captured, and enjoyed. It is in writing about this scene that I relive this night in my soul.
There are hours for rest, and hours for wakefulness; nights for sobriety and nights for drunkenness—(if only so that possession of the former allows us to discern the latter when we have it; for sad as it is, no human body can be happily drunk all the time).
Do we take less pride in the possession of our home because its walls were built by some unknown carpenter, its tapestries woven by some unknown weaver on a far Oriental shore, in some antique time? No. We show our home to our friends with the pride as if it were our home, which it is. Why then should we take less pride when reading a book written by some long-dead author? Is it not our book just as much, or even more so, than theirs? So the landowner says, ‘Look at my beautiful home! Isn’t it fine?’ And not, ‘Look at the home so-and-so has built.’ Thus we shouldn’t cry, ‘Look what so-and-so has written. What a genius so-and-so is!’ But rather, ‘Look at what I have read! Am I not a genius? Have I not invented these pages? The walls of this universe, did I not build? The souls of these characters, did I not weave?
When a Wanderess has been caged, or perched with her wings clipped, She lives like a Stoic, She lives most heroic, smiling with ruby, moistened lips once her cup of Death is welcome sipped.
A woman must prefer her liberty over a man. To be happy, she must. A man to be happy, however, must yearn for his woman more than his liberty. This is the rightful order.
When no possessions keep us, when no countries contain us, and no time detains us, man becomes a heroic wanderer, and woman, a wanderess.
What is a Wanderess? Bound by no boundaries, contained by no countries, tamed by no time, she is the force of nature’s course.
When I met a truly beautiful girl, I would tell her that if she spent the night with me, I would write a novel or a story about her. This usually worked; and if her name was to be in the title of the story, it almost always worked. Then, later, when we'd passed a night of delicious love-making together, after she’d gone and I’d felt that feeling of happiness mixed with sorrow, I sometimes would write a book or story about her. Sometimes her character, her way about herself, her love-making, it sometimes marked me so heavily that I couldn't go on in life and be happy unless I wrote a book or a story about that woman, the happy and sad memory of that woman. That was the only way to keep her, and to say goodbye to her without her ever leaving.
With the need for the self in the time of another / I left my seaport grim and dear / knowing good work could be made / in the state governed by both Hope and Despair.
Rest in Peace?’ Why that phrase? That’s the most ridiculous phrase I’ve ever heard! You die, and they say ‘Rest in Peace!’ …Why would one need to ‘rest’ when they’re dead?! I spent thousands of years of world history resting. While Agamemnon was leading his ships to Troy, I was resting. While Ovid was seducing women at the chariot races, I was resting. While Jeanne d’Arc was hallucinating, I was resting. I wait until airplanes are scuttling across the sky to burst out onto the scene, and I’m only going to be here for a short while, so when I die, I certainly won’t need to rest again! Not while more adventures of the same kind are going on.
I'm not ashamed of heroic ambitions. If man and woman can only dance upon this earth for a few countable turns of the sun... let each of us be an Artemis, Odysseus, or Zeus... Aphrodite to the extent of the will of each one.
It’s not that we have to quit this life one day, but it’s how many things we have to quit all at once: music, laughter, the physics of falling leaves, automobiles, holding hands, the scent of rain, the concept of subway trains... if only one could leave this life slowly!
Whilst the wolflets bayed, A grave was made, And then with the strokes of a silver spade, It was filled to make a mound. And for two cold days and three long nights, The father tended that holy plot; And stayed by where his wife was laid, In the grave within the ground.
A tired man lay down his headin a dusty room so dim,and for so long his wife did shakeand yell to waken him.Meanwhile his thoughts, his dreams, did stirof sandy, red bullfights,of powder-blasts in the airand carnival delights.Yet still his wife was in despairin a dusty room so dim,for she knew death was a whorenot far from tempting him.
...You see I believe in that stuff to: yoga and mystical powers. I once knew a man who could kill himself on command. Can you believe that? . . . Why do you laugh? . . . Believe it! By will of his own mind, he could make his heart stop beating for good' My neighbor poised and looked seriously at me, searching in my eyes. '...You laugh!' he repeated once more… 'You laugh, but he was a master at it! He could commit suicide at his own will!' Indeed, hearty laughter streamed through my nose. 'Could he do it perpetually?' I asked. 'Perpetually...?' My neighbor rubbed his waxy chin. 'I mean, is he still able to do it?' 'I’m not sure I understand.' 'Well? Then is he dead…?!'My neighbor's puzzled face slowly began to transform into a look of realization. 'But sir,' he said, 'Of course he’s dead! I mean to say... this man could kill himself on command, you see. And you don’t come back from the dead!' The two of us found ourselves crossing to the door so I could let my visitor out. I slapped him with friendliness on the shoulder. 'No, you don’t come back from the dead,' I agreed.
The season was waning fastOur nights were growing cold at lastI took her to bed with silk and song,'Lay still, my love, I won’t be long;I must prepare my body for passion.''O, your body you give, but all else you ration.''It is because of these dreams of a sylvan scene:A bleeding nymph to leave me serene...I have dreams of a trembling wench.''You have dreams,' she said, 'that cannot be quenched.''Our passion,' said I, 'should never be feared;As our longing for love can never be cured.Our want is our way and our way is our will,We have the love, my love, that no one can kill.''If night is your love, then in dreams you’ll fulfill...This love, our love, that no one can kill.'Yet want is my way, and my way is my will,Thus I killed my love with a sleeping pill.
I fancied my luck to be witnessing yet another full moon. True, I’d seen hundreds of full moons in my life, but they were not limitless. When one starts thinking of the full moon as a common sight that will come again to one’s eyes ad-infinitum, the value of life is diminished and life goes by uncherished. ‘This may be my last moon,’ I sighed, feeling a sudden sweep of sorrow; and went back to reading more of The Odyssey.
So the nymphs they spoke,we kissed and laid.By noontime’s hourour love was made.Like braided chains of crocus stems,we lay entwined, I laid with them.Our breath, one glassy, tideless sea,our bodies draping wearily,we slept, I slept so lucidly,with hopes to stay this memory.
I like the posture, but not the yoga. I like the inebriated morning, but not the opium. I like the flower but not the garden, the moment but not the dream. Quiet, my love. Be still. I am sleeping.
In the boundaryless forests, there’re dancers of nude.Yet in the confines of pasture, there’s promise of food.On which is your side?Ô, but tarry and bide,ere you decide,in both do confide.
Did I live the spring I’d sought?It’s true in joy, I walked along,took part in dance, and sang the song.and never tried to bind an hourto my borrowed garden bower;nor did I once entreata day to slumber at my feet.Yet days aren’t lulled by lyric song,like morning birds they pass along,o’er crests of trees, to none belong;o’er crests of trees of drying dew,their larking flight, my hands, eschewThus I’ll say it once and true…From all that I saw, and everywhere I wandered,I learned that time cannot be spent,It only can be squandered.
I took her to bed with silk and song'Lay still, my love, I won’t be long,I must prepare my body for passion.''O, your body you give, but all else you ration...
We made love outdoorsWithout a roof, I like most, Without stove, to make love, assuming the weather be fair and balmy, and the earth beneath be clean. Our souls intertwined and gushing of dew.
English:Ô, take this eager dance you fool, don’t brandish your stick at me. I have several reasons to travel on, on to the endless sea: I have lost my love. I’ve drunk my purse. My girl has gone, and left me rags to sleep upon. These old man’s gloves conceal the hands with which I’ve killed but one!Francais: Idiot, prends cette danse ardente, au lieu de tendre ton bâton.J'en ai des raisons de voyager encore sur la mer infinie: J'ai perdu l'amour et j'ai bu ma bourse.Ma belle m'a quitté, j'ai ses haillons pour m'abriter. Mes gants de vieillard cachent les mains d'un fameux assassin!
We made love outdoors—without a roof, I like most, without stove, my favorite place, assuming the weather be fair and balmy, and the earth beneath be clean. Our souls intertwined and dripping with dew, and our love for each other was seen. Our love for the world was new.