Sunday, March 31, 2013

Netrebko, Villazon - O soave fanciulla (Puccini)

Faiblesse d'esprit?

N’est-ce pas, en effet, une sorte de faiblesse d’esprit que d’avoir à ce point soumis chaque passion, chaque élan du cœur, chaque tonalité affective au froid commandement de la réflexion ? N’est-ce pas faiblesse d’esprit que d’être à ce point normal : idée pure et non pas homme, comme nous autres qui courbons le dos et nous inclinons, perdus et nous perdant ? N’est-ce pas faiblesse d’esprit que d’être ainsi toujours éveillé, toujours conscient,  sans jamais être assombri ni rêveur ?

Kierkegaard, La Reprise, traduction Nelly Viallaneix

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Alfred Lord Tennyson: Ulysses

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match’d with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.

I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy’d
Greatly, have suffer’d greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when
Thro’ scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honour’d of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!
As tho’ to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,—
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro’ soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil’d, and wrought, and thought with me—
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
’Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.


« Que voulez-vous? Je suis ainsi fait : au premier frisson du pressentiment, mon âme a déjà, au moment même, parcouru toutes les conséquences qui demandent souvent longtemps pour apparaître dans la réalité. Ce qui est concentré dans le pressentiment ne s’oublie jamais. » 

Kierkegaard, La Reprise, traduction Nelly Viallaneix

Monday, March 25, 2013

José Matias

Mas um dia, a terra, para o José Matias, tremeu toda, num terramoto de incomparável espanto. Em Janeiro ou Fevereiro de 1871, o Miranda, já debilitado pela diabetes, morreu com uma pneumonia. Por estas mesmas ruas, numa pachorrenta tipóia de praça, acompanhei o seu enterro numeroso, rico, com Ministros, porque o Miranda pertencia às Instituições. E depois, aproveitando a tipóia, visitei o José Matias em Arroios, não por curiosidade perversa, nem para lhe levar felicitações indecentes, mas para que, naquele lance deslumbrador, ele sentisse ao lado a fôrça moderadora da Filosofia... Encontrei porém com ele um amigo mais antigo e confidencial, aquele brilhante Nicolau da Barca, que já conduzi também a este cemitério, onde agora jazem, debaixo de lápides, todos aqueles camaradas com quem levantei castelos nas nuvens... O Nicolau chegara da Velosa, da sua quinta de Santarém, de madrugada, reclamado por um telegrama do Matias. Quando entrei, um criado atarefado arranjava duas malas enormes. O José Matias abalava nessa noite para o Porto. Já envergara mesmo um fato de viagem,todo negro, com sapatos de couro amarelo: e depois de me sacudir a mão, emquanto o Nicolau remexia um grog, continuou vagando pelo quarto, calado, como embaçado, com um modo que não era emoção, nem alegria pudicamente disfarçada, nem surpresa do seu destino bruscamente sublimado. Não! se o bom Darwin nos não ilude no seu livro da Expressão das Emoções, o José Matias, nessa tarde, só sentia e só exprimia embaraço! Em frente, na casa da Parreira, todas as janelas permaneciam fechadas sob a tristeza da tarde cinzenta. E todavia surpreendi o José Matias atirando para o terraço, rapidamente, um olhar em que transparecia inquietação, ansiedade, quasi terror!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Validation of identity

Every individual requires the ongoing validation of his world, including crucially the validation of his identity and place in this world, by those few who are his truly significant others. ... Again in a broad sense, all the actions of the signifi­cant others and even their simple presence serve this sustaining function. In every­day life, however, the principal method employed is speech. In this sense, it is proper to view the individual's relationship with his significant others as an ongo­ing conversation. As the latter occurs, it validates over and over again the fundamental definitions of reality once entered into, not, of course, so much by explicit articulation, but precisely by taking the definitions silently for granted and conversing about all conceivable matters on this taken-for-granted basis. Through the same conversation the individual is also made capable of adjusting to changing and new social contexts in his biography. In a very fundamental sense it can be said that one converses one's way through life. 

(Berger and Kellner, “Marriage and the construction of reality”, Diogenes, 54, 1964)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Delmira Agustini: I Live, I Die, I Burn, I Drown

I live, I die, I burn, I drown
I endure at once chill and cold
Life is at once too soft and too hard
I have sore troubles mingled with joys

Suddenly I laugh and at the same time cry
And in pleasure many a grief endure
My happiness wanes and yet it lasts unchanged
All at once I dry up and grow green

Thus I suffer love's inconstancies
And when I think the pain is most intense
Without thinking, it is gone again.

Then when I feel my joys certain
And my hour of greatest delight arrived
I find my pain beginning all over once again.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Orphée et Eurydice

Deux fois tu l’as perdue et
c’est inexcusable. Il t'aurait
suffi d’attendre un peu et
tu l’aurais à nouveau, comme
dans sa première vie, embrassée.

Elle marchait derrière toi, elle
te regardait marcher. Étonnée
peut-être de l’ampleur du miracle,
elle te suivait, silencieuse et fidèle
à la passion ancienne. Et tu as douté

ou, pressé de regarder son visage
où l’être resplendissait dans toute
sa pureté, tu n’a pas pu attendre.
Et pour la deuxième fois tu l’as
perdue. Et cette fois-ci c’était

bien toi qui l’a repoussée alors
que, victime de ton  impatience,
tu l’a renvoyée chez les dieux.
C’était une trappe, bien entendu,
et ils t’ont eu. Il faut se méfier des

dieux, ils ne sont pas généreux et
ils aiment garder avec eux ceux
qui, parmi les humains, ils aiment.
Tu devrais le savoir. Et à nouveau
elle t’a été volée, ils l’ont reprise.

Tu l’aimais et tu n’avais pas
eu le temps d’aller jusqu’au
bout de ton amour. L’avoir perdue
était insupportable. Et pourtant,
peut-on dire que le temps de l’amour

ne nous est jamais suffisamment
donné ? Aimer ce qui nous a été,
par surprise, pris, cela se comprend.
Mais aimer ce que l’on possède ce
n’est pas à la portée de tous. Tant

de choses nous éloignent de celle
que nous aimons. Tant de passions
nous enlèvent à la pureté de l’amour
dévoué et sans failles. Et cependant
on dit : je n’ai pas eu le temps, les dieux

l’ont reprise. Aimer celles qui nous ont
quittés c’est plus facile. Et je ne te
demanderai pas de me dire : c’est
quoi l’amour, au juste ? Non, je ne
veux pas le savoir. Tu devrais oublier.

Ce qui est perdu, les dieux ne nous
le rendrons plus jamais. Et ils t’ont
épargné : qui sait si ton amour
durerait ? Qui sait si elle ne t’aurait
pas quitté et dans les bras d’un

autre cherché l’amour que tu ne
pouvais pas lui donner ? Personne
ne peut le savoir. Ne sois pas fâché,
je t’en prie, de m’entendre te dire
les paroles intolérables. Un grand

amour est grand surtout lorsqu’on
l’a perdu. Crois-moi, je le sais.


Do you know what is the best way of getting rid of someone or keeping this someone at distance? Give her or him a lot more than what they are asking for. They will not stand it and they will soon leave you alone. The only problem is that if you did behave out of sincerity and didn't do it on purpose you will not be happy at all with the results of your behavior.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Margaret Atwood: Helen of Troy Does Countertop Dancing

The world is full of women
who'd tell me I should be ashamed of myself
if they had the chance. Quit dancing.
Get some self-respect
and a day job.
Right. And minimum wage,
and varicose veins, just standing
in one place for eight hours
behind a glass counter
bundled up to the neck, instead of
naked as a meat sandwich.
Selling gloves, or something.
Instead of what I do sell.
You have to have talent
to peddle a thing so nebulous
and without material form.
Exploited, they'd say. Yes, any way
you cut it, but I've a choice
of how, and I'll take the money.

I do give value.
Like preachers, I sell vision,
like perfume ads, desire
or its facsimile. Like jokes
or war, it's all in the timing.
I sell men back their worse suspicions:
that everything's for sale,
and piecemeal. They gaze at me and see
a chain-saw murder just before it happens,
when thigh, ass, inkblot, crevice, tit, and nipple
are still connected.
Such hatred leaps in them,
my beery worshippers! That, or a bleary
hopeless love. Seeing the rows of heads
and upturned eyes, imploring
but ready to snap at my ankles,
I understand floods and earthquakes, and the urge
to step on ants. I keep the beat,
and dance for them because
they can't. The music smells like foxes,
crisp as heated metal
searing the nostrils
or humid as August, hazy and languorous
as a looted city the day after,
when all the rape's been done
already, and the killing,
and the survivors wander around
looking for garbage
to eat, and there's only a bleak exhaustion.
Speaking of which, it's the smiling
tires me out the most.
This, and the pretence
that I can't hear them.
And I can't, because I'm after all
a foreigner to them.
The speech here is all warty gutturals,
obvious as a slab of ham,
but I come from the province of the gods
where meanings are lilting and oblique.
I don't let on to everyone,
but lean close, and I'll whisper:
My mother was raped by a holy swan.
You believe that? You can take me out to dinner.
That's what we tell all the husbands.
There sure are a lot of dangerous birds around.

Not that anyone here
but you would understand.
The rest of them would like to watch me
and feel nothing. Reduce me to components
as in a clock factory or abattoir.
Crush out the mystery.
Wall me up alive
in my own body.
They'd like to see through me,
but nothing is more opaque
than absolute transparency.
Look--my feet don't hit the marble!
Like breath or a balloon, I'm rising,
I hover six inches in the air
in my blazing swan-egg of light.
You think I'm not a goddess?
Try me.
This is a torch song.
Touch me and you'll burn. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

The death of the subject?

No word means anything, no silence, no behavior, no phrase can be correctly interpreted if we cannot identify who is talking and acting. Let's say that it's a basic rule of language. That's why talking about the death of the subject is nonsense.

J. E. Soice

No-name thing

I wrote this phrase on a piece of paper:

"Love doesn't exist, I know. But I still feel this no-name thing for you and it disturbs me."

Does it make sense?

J. E. Soice

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Alfred Schnittke: Polyphonischer Tango


Bien sûr, l’avenir est plein
de promesses. Avant de
se vider, la boîte se remplit.
Cela se comprends aisément.
L’espoir, les projets, arriver.

Te lèverais-tu le matin pour
aller chercher ce qui t’es dû
si tu connaissais d’avance
que la boîte où scintillent
les diamants n’est qu’une

souricière pour attraper les
couillons ? Ah, les grandes
émotions, la sincérité, ah, les
rêves d’amour et de grandeur.
Tout cela embellira le résumé

da la vie du décédé. Et le néant
le prendra, indifférent, dans les
bras de son immensité vide, de
son silence sans profondeur.
Nous ne sommes que le charbon

où brulent les passions, où se
consomme en espoir l’avenir
qui jamais n’aura lieu. Point
de passage du soleil en route
vers le néant. Le temps s’amuse

à nous voir courir pour rien.
Le Créateur a mille fois déjà
regretté sa création, tout a
mal tourné, rien n’a été comme
il l’avait imaginé. Ne nous racontez

pas des histoires, Dieu, qui qu’il
soit, n’est pas tout à fait bête. Mais
il a surévalué ses pouvoirs et la
perfection des machines qu’il a
fait tourner et mis sur terre. Le

jouet s’est détraqué. Avait-il subi
les testes préalables, a-t-il été
mis à l’épreuve avant d’être
déposé sur terre et mis en
fonctionnement? On peut en

douter. Si ce n’était que ça, si
tout n’était qu’une version du
chat courant aprés la souris,
valait-il la peine de se donner
tant de travail ? Les belles fleurs,

les jolis poissons, les animaux du
Zoo, les couchers de soleil, les
fleuves et les  montagnes. Il n’a
même pas oublié les papillons
avec ses ailes où s’annonçait

la modernité de l’art. Et tout ça
pour nous séduire, pour nous
rendre heureuse l’existence
qui pourtant s’annonçait difficile. 
Je ne lui en veut pas. Ça ne servirait

à rien de vivre dans l’amertume. Mais
il ne fallait pas nous donner la capacité
de comprendre, cela aurait été mieux
de nous laisser, comme les autres bêtes,
emprisonnés dans la fatalité biologique.

Erik Satie: Gnossienne nº 3

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Orpheus (1): Margaret Atwood


You walked in front of me,
pulling me back out
to the green light that had once
grown fangs and killed me.

I was obedient, but
numb, like an arm
gone to sleep; the return
to time was not my choice.

By then I was used to silence.
Though something stretched between us
like a whisper, like a rope:
my former name,
drawn tight.
You had your old leash
with you, love you might call it,
and your flesh voice.

Before your eyes you held steady
the image of what you wanted
me to become: living again.
It was this hope of yours that kept me following.

I was your hallucination, listening
and floral, and you were singing me:
already new skin was forming on me
within the luminous misty shroud
of my other body; already
there was dirt on my hands and I was thirsty.

I could see only the outline
of your head and shoulders,
black against the cave mouth,
and so could not see your face
at all, when you turned

and called to me because you had
already lost me. The last
I saw of you was a dark oval.
Though I knew how this failure
would hurt you, I had to
fold like a gray moth and let go.

You could not believe I was more than your echo.

Orpheus and Eurydice



Love is a literary genre.