"There is new evidence showing [Pablo Neruda] was likely murdered by agents of dictator Augusto Pinochet."
Like, you know, whatever.
I am in need of music that would flow
Over my fretful, feeling fingertips,
Over my bitter-tainted, trembling lips,
With melody, deep, clear, and liquid-slow.
Oh, for the healing swaying, old and low,
Of some song sung to rest the tired dead,
A song to fall like water on my head,
And over quivering limbs, dream flushed to glow!
There is a magic made by melody:
A spell of rest, and quiet breath, and cool
Heart, that sinks through fading colors deep
To the subaqueous stillness of the sea,
And floats forever in a moon-green pool,
Held in the arms of rhythm and of sleep.
One of my absolute favorite poems. Bishop’s birthday was yesterday, so I’m a day late, whatever.
Elizabeth Bishop (born 8 February, 1911; died 6 October, 1979), pictured above in a photograph from the 1970s by Alice Helen Methfessel
Sonnet of Intimacy
(after Vinicius de Moraes)
Farm afternoons, there’s much too much blue air.
I go out sometimes, follow the pasture track,
Chewing a blade of sticky grass, chest bare,
In threadbare pajamas of three summers back,
To the little rivulets in the river-bed
For a drink of water, cold and musical,
And if I spot in the brush a glow of red,
A raspberry, spit its blood at the corral.
The smell of cow manure is delicious.
The cattle look at me unenviously
And when there comes a sudden stream and hiss
Accompanied by a look not unmalicious,
All of us, animals, unemotionally
Partake together of a pleasant piss.
"I thought, on the train, how utterly we have forsaken the Earth, in the sense of excluding it from our thoughts. There are but few who consider its physical hugeness, its rough enormity. It is still a disparate monstrosity, full of solitudes & barrens & wilds. It still dwarfs & terrifies & crushes. The rivers still roar, the mountains still crash, the winds still shatter. Man is an affair of cities. His gardens & orchards & fields are mere scrapings. Somehow, however, he has managed to shut out the face of the giant from his windows. But the giant is there, nevertheless."
Wallace Stevens, in a 1904 note. (via washingtonpoststyle)
After a black day, I play Haydn,
and feel a little warmth in my hands.
The keys are ready. Kind hammers fall.
The sound is spirited, green, and full of silence.
The sound says that freedom exists
and someone pays no tax to Caesar.
I shove my hands in my haydnpockets
and act like a man who is calm about it all.
I raise my haydnflag. The signal is:
“We do not surrender. But want peace.”
The music is a house of glass standing on a slope;
rocks are flying, rocks are rolling.
The rocks roll straight through the house
but every pane of glass is still whole.
- “Allegro,” by Tomas Transtromer, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature today. Poem translated by Goran Malmqvist.
"Lorca was a poet of no school. He’s usually included among the Spanish poets known as the Generation of ‘27, but they were generally grouped together, paradoxically, by virtue of their shared resistance to stylistic categorisation. He was a dramatist who brought theatre to the people, a homosexual who lived as openly as he could in an era where to live at all was no certainty, a supporter of the Republic and the sympathiser with the ruling leftist Popular Front. He had friends and admirers across the political and social spectrum, aroused controversy without courting it as shamelessly as some of his contemporaries, and in perhaps the last age where a poet could truly be considered famous, did everything he could to earn and justify that acclaim. He did not have the demagogic impulse that often proves useful for some artists, or is simply irrepressible in others. He once joked in a lecture that “whenever I speak before a large group I think I must have taken the wrong door.”
As with most artists who are “vanished”, there was little protocol or officialdom in his execution. Some muttered mentions of “subversive activities”, no hint of a trial, no kind of court for him to stand in and try to make a case for his continued existence. Imagine that: asking a poet to justify his life. What poetry might rise to meet that challenge? Even fascists knew better. Indeed, the regimes in question usually seem to be vestigially aware of just how well the state-sanctioned murder of artists tends to play with the public. In 1937, with the civil war still raging, General Franco took the time to issue the official line. “I say it again: we have shot no poets.”
This is reason why Lorca’s death unsettled many then, and haunts us still today: Governments tend to take on their worst form, to devolve to their most horrific manifestation, when they kill artists. Artists look out into the horrors of the world, and inevitably, the horrors sometimes reach back."