One Middle Ground

I would love to offer you even something as tiny as a grain of sand. If only I could succeed in doing that, then I might fulfill my longing to share a part of my life with you. Isn’t it worth risking one’s life to offer something as microscopic as that tiny single grain of sand chosen from amidst countless millions? Take great care at all times. Even the most infinitesimal detail of the slightest gesture you make should be executed with loving care.

It’s never too late to start.

- “Kazuo Ohno’s World: From Without & Within”, Kazuo Ohno

It was a variation on what he had read, but the variation contained what he had just experienced: there was the “sadness” that “begins to melt and turns into water,” there was the “green water” whose surface “rises and rises until it reaches my eyes,” there was the body, “the sad body,” the body in the water “that I pursue, I pursue through endless water.”He read these lines aloud several times in a melodious, pathetic voice, and he was enthusiastic. At the core of the poem was Magda in the bathtub and he with his face pressed against the door; he thus didn't find himself outside the limits of his experience; he was high above it.

- “Life Is Elsewhere”, Milan Kundera

I want to sleep and dream of apples
To escape the unquiet of these graveyards.
I want to sleep and dream of that boy
Who wished to cut his heart on the open sea.

Don’t tell me the dead don’t lose their blood;
Or that the rotting mouth still asks for water.
I won’t watch the martyrs give way to grass,
Nor see the moon with serpent’s mouth
Eat the light of dawn.

I want to sleep a while.
I want to dream one moment,
Or perhaps, one century;
But I want all to know I haven’t gone—
That my lips are a stable of gold,
That I am the little friend of the West wind,
And that I am the immense shadow of my own tears.

Cover me with a veil at dawn,
To hide the ants unleashed upon my corpse.
And wet my shoes with hard water
So the scorpion’s pincers slip.

Because I want to sleep, and dream of apples
To learn a lament that will brush me clean of earth;
Because I want to live with that shrouded boy
Who wished to cut his heart on the open sea.

“Ghazal Of The Uncertain Death”, Federico García Lorca

The landscape contains, of course, innumerable things which have determinate forms; but if the attention is directed specifically to them, we have no longer what, by a curious limitation of the word, is called the love of nature. …We need to be free; our emotion suffices us; we do not ask for a description of the object which interests us as a part of ourselves. We should blush to say so simple and obvious a thing as that to us "the mountains are a feeling"; nor should we think of apologizing for our romanticism as Byron did:

     I love not man the less but nature more
     From these our interviews, in which I steal,
     From all I may be, or have been before,
     To mingle with the universe, and feel
     What I can ne'er express.

…We treat human life and its environment with the same utilitarian eye with which he regards the field and mountain. That is beautiful which is expressive of convenience and wealth; the rest is indifferent. If we mean by love of nature aesthetic delight in the world in which we casually live (and what can be more natural than man and all his arts?), we may say that the absolute love of nature hardly exists among us. What we love is the stimulation of our own personal emotions and dreams; and landscape appeals to us, as music does to those who have no sense for musical form.

- "The Sense of Beauty", George Santayana

Where you stand, dig deep and pry!
Down there is the well.
Let the obscurantists cry:
“Down there's only – hell!”

- “Undaunted”, Friedrich Nietzsche

I Years had been from Home
And now before the Door
I dared not enter, lest a Face
I never saw before

Stare solid into mine
And ask my Business there —
“My Business but a Life I left
Was such remaining there?”

I leaned upon the Awe —
I lingered with Before —
The Second like an Ocean rolled
And broke against my ear —

I laughed a crumbling Laugh
That I could fear a Door
Who Consternation compassed
And never winced before.

I fitted to the Latch
My Hand, with trembling care
Lest back the awful Door should spring
And leave me in the Floor —

Then moved my Fingers off
As cautiously as Glass
And held my ears, and like a Thief
Fled gasping from the House —

- “I Years had been from Home”, Emily Dickinson

There was everything. But there wasn't an end. What I couldn't see was where all that came to an end. The end of the world. Take a piano. The keys begin, the keys end. You know there are 88 of them and no-one can tell you differently. They are not infinite, you are infinite. And on those 88 keys the music that you can make is infinite. I like that. That I can live by. But you get me up on that gangway and roll out a keyboard with millions of keys, and that's the truth, there's no end to them, that keyboard is infinite. But if that keyboard is infinite there's no music you can play. You're sitting on the wrong bench. That's God's piano.

- "The Legend of 1900" (1988)

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