Feb 28, 2011

Eventually, all things merge into one.

"So it is ... that we can seldom help anybody. Either we don’t know what part to give or maybe we don’t like to give any part of ourselves. Then, more often than not, the part that is needed is not wanted. And even more often, we do not have the part that is needed."

- Norman Maclean,
  A River Runs Through It

Feb 27, 2011

Dear Poet

"So rescue yourself from these general themes and write about what your everyday life offers you; describe your sorrows and desires, the thoughts that pass through your mind and your belief in some kind of beauty—describe all these with heartfelt, silent, humble sincerity and, when you express yourself, use the Things around you, the images from your dreams, and the objects that you remember. If your everyday life seems poor, don’t blame it; blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches; because for the creator there is no poverty and no poor, indifferent place."

- Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

"You should always be trying to write a poem you are unable to write, a poem that you lack the technique, the language, the courage to achieve. Otherwise, you’re merely imitating yourself, going nowhere because that’s always easiest."

- John Berryman

Feb 26, 2011

How To Be A Man

Why, learn The Art of Manliness, of course!

Over the past week I am reminded again that ego does not make a man. (It must have been the hundredth time I reminded myself of this adage yet I quickly forget soon after.) Why I say this is that I am aware of an intellectual pride in me, that causes me to want to write neat, proper paragraphs of text and throw in witty-sounding remarks or try to have the final say in things. Perhaps I have been reading too many books written by stuffy old men; yes, that must be the reason. And to sound clever sounds clever, so it seems.

I met up with a couple of friends over the past week, and the wall which I have been building up these few months finally offers a window to a view of green meadows and butterflies and rainbows and unicorns... Not exactly, but more like a relief to be able to share thoughts. Before Chris McCandless died, he came to realise that "happiness is only real when shared."

Feb 25, 2011

Try To Praise The Mutilated World

Try to praise the mutilated world.
Remember June's long days,
and wild strawberries, drops of rosé wine.
The nettles that methodically overgrow
the abandoned homesteads of exiles.
You must praise the mutilated world.
You watched the stylish yachts and ships;
one of them had a long trip ahead of it,
while salty oblivion awaited others.
You've seen the refugees going nowhere,
you've heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world.
Remember the moments when we were together
in a white room and the curtain fluttered.
Return in thought to the concert where music flared.
You gathered acorns in the park in autumn
and leaves eddied over the earth's scars.
Praise the mutilated world
and the gray feather a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
and returns.

- Adam Zagajewski, Without End: New and Selected Poems

Feb 24, 2011

The Million and the One

"You know, I've been thinking. Everything is... just comes together. It's me. I chose this. I chose all this. This rock... this rock has been waiting for me my entire life. Its entire life, ever since it was a bit of meteorite a million, billion years ago. In space. It's been waiting, to come here. Right, right here. I've been moving towards it my entire life. The minute I was born, every breath that I've taken, every action has been leading me to this crack on the out surface."

- 127 Hours

Feb 23, 2011

On Souls and Beings

I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
Than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance.

- e. e. cummings

To learn the secret language of the universe is to walk deep into oneself; to discover the eternal soul that never stops singing, never stops reaching, never stops participating in the song of the universe. Here there is no darkness, no light; here there is no wrong, no right. It is all at once and not at all.

Russian literature embodies a great suffering soul. It becomes tiresome to read after a while because it is so heavy: the weight of the universe can be felt all at once by picking up a Russian classic. Not generally but occasionally, English literature offers a relief from the thick swampy soul in that of a light-footed and playful one. Here reading does not make one frown while poring through the words; here the words can dance and tickle and laugh. Here is the soul of a child.

What should one aspire to? Anything that he wishes to be, naturally. Being is the basic condition of a human orchestra - the soul never stops singing, the body never stops working, the heart never stops beating, the mind never stops creating.

Feb 22, 2011

The Superfluous Man

And once more given to inaction,
Empty in spirit and alone,
He settled down - to the distraction
Of making other minds his own;
Collecting books, he stacked a shelfful,
Read, read, not even one was helpful:
Here, there was dullness, there pretence;
This one lacked conscience, that one sense;
All were by different shackles fettered;
And, past times having lost their hold,
The new still raved about the old.
Like women, books he now deserted,
And mourning taffeta he drew
Across the bookshelf's dusty crew.

Disburdened of the world's opinions,
Like him, disdaining vanity,
At that time we became companions.
I liked his personality,
The dreams to which he was addicted,
The oddness not to be depicted,
The sharp, chilled mind and gloomy bent
That rivalled my embitterment.
We both had known the play of passions,
By life we both had been oppressed;
In each the heart had lost its zest;
Each waited for the machinations
Of men, and blind Fortuna's gaze,
Blighting the morning of our days.

- Alexander Pushkin, Eugene Onegin (Chapter I, stanzas 44-45)

Feb 21, 2011

赵传 - 深海



怎知我情深似海  全都是泪来灌溉
海越深  越是平静  越是冰冷
爱越深  越是执着  越是天真


Feb 20, 2011


In great sufferance the soul lies weary
Of gay bantering and of topics dreary
Of remembering dates
And acquainting with mates -
Such senseless amusements of society.

So seeks out my soul in the cold exile
For some warm soup and a homely lull
Away, a world I left behind
For simple things I may not find -
Does happiness live on a no man's isle?