Ovid in Tears

Love is like a garden in the heart, he said.
They asked him what he meant by garden.
He explained about gardens. “In the cities,”
he said, “there are places walled off where color
and decorum are magnified into a civilization.
Like a beautiful woman,” he said. How like
a woman, they asked. He remembered their wives
and said garden was just a figure of speech,
then called for drinks all around. Two rounds later
he was crying. Talking about how Charlemagne
couldn’t read but still made a world. About Hagia
Sophia and putting a round dome on a square
base after nine hundred years of failure.
The hand holding him slipped and he fell.
“White stone in the white sunlight,” he said
as they picked him up. “Not the great fires
built on the edge of the world.” His voice grew
fainter as they carried him away. “Both the melody
and the symphony. The imperfect dancing
in the beautiful dance. The dance most of all.”

—Jack Gilbert

Si toute vie va inévitablement vers sa fin, nous devons durant la nôtre, la colorier avec nos couleurs d’amour et d’espoir.

Marc Chagall

She goes on swearing at him until she gets to the highway. She is angry at him because he has sent her a letter, and because the letter has immediately made her happy, and then her happiness has brought back the pain. And she is angry because nothing can ever make up for the pain. Though of course it is hard to call it a letter, since it is nothing but a poem, the poem is in French, and the poem was composed by someone else. She is also angry because of the kind of poem it is. And she is also angry because even though later she will try to think of ways to answer this, she has seen right away that there is no possible answer to it. She begins to feel dizzy and sick. She drives slowly in the right-hand lane and pinches the skin of her neck hard until the faintness goes away.

She hangs on these letters with such concentration that for a moment she can feel everything in her, everything in the room too, and in her life up to now, gather behind her eyes as though it all depends on a line of ink slanted the right way and another line as rounded as she hopes it is.

—Lydia Davis, from “The Letter,” The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis

Life has its own rhythm and you cannot impose your own structure upon it—you have to listen to what it tells you, and you have to listen to what your path tells you. It’s not earth that you move with a tractor—life is not like that. Life is more like earth that you learn about and plant seeds in… It’s something you have to have a relationship with in order to experience—you can’t mold it—you can’t control it.

Jeff Buckley

To free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves—there lies the great, the singular power of self-respect. Without it, one eventually discovers the final turn of the screw: one runs away to find oneself, and finds no one at home.

Joan Didion

Nothing human is finally calculable; even to ourselves we are strange.

Gore Vidal

Let’s face it. We’re undone by each other. And if we’re not, we’re missing something. This seems so clearly the case with grief, but it can be so only because it was already the case with desire. One does not always stay intact. One may want to, or manage to for a while, but despite one’s best efforts, one is undone, in the face of the other, by the touch, by the scent, by the feel, by the prospect of the touch, by the memory of the feel.

Judith Butler, “Violence, Mourning, Politics”

Two Poems for T.

The plants of the lake
saw you one morning.
The stones the goats the sweat
exist outside of days
like the water of the lake.
The lake remains unmarked
by the days’ pain and clamor.
The mornings will pass,
the anguish will pass,
other stones and sweat
will bite into your blood—
it won’t always be like this.
You’ll rediscover something.
Another morning will come
when, beyond the clamor,
you’ll be alone on the lake.

You also are love.
Made of blood and earth
like the others. You walk
like one who won’t stray far
from your own front door.
You watch like one who waits
and doesn’t see. You are earth
that aches and keeps silent.
You have bursts and lapses,
you have words—you walk
and wait. Your blood
is love—that’s all.

—Cesare Pavese

Can a timeless moment of consciousness be ever adequately conveyed in a medium that depends on time, i.e., language?

Charles Simic

(Source: apoetreflects)

your life. love it.
from the hurt to the wonder.
from the bone to the flower.
love it.
with everything you’ve got.
it’s yours.

Nayyirah Waheed

(Source: nayyirahwaheed)

(Source: ignant.de, via orientaltiger)

Do you love me enough that I may be weak with you? Everyone loves strength, but do you love me for my weakness? That is the real test. Do you love me stripped of everything that might be lost, for only the things I will have forever?

Alain de Botton, Essays in Love