Tuesday, May 27, 2014

such beauty

"I adore looking at blossoming flowers though for the most part, it emotionally drains me. I like getting a sense of the world constantly reborn and enhanced; yet I am melancholy because such beauty is untouchable. Such beauty is chaotically intolerable." 

- Virginia Woolf, aged 15, from The Early Journals 1897 - 1909

I would also say that this time of year can be emotionally draining, though I don't find the beauty of blossoming to be intolerable. Not at all. Or maybe it's living in this world that's emotionally draining.

But We Live - 

by Rolf Jacobsen

- But we live
through supermarkets and racks full of cheese, and we live
under the vapour trails of jets in the golden month of May
and in smoke-dimmed cities,
and we live with coughing carburetors and slamming car doors.
We live
through the TV-evening in our golden century,
on asphalt, behind tabloids and at gas stations.
We live
as statistics and as registration numbers in election years.
We live with a flower in the window,
in spite of everything we live under
hydrogen bombs the threats
of nuclear extermination, sleep-
less we live
side by side with the hungry who
die by the millions, live
with a weariness to our thoughts, live
still, live
magically inexplicably live,
on a star.

{from The Roads Have Come to and End Now, translated by Robert Hedin}

The beauty of knowing we live on a star, the beauty of plum blossoms in spring, such beauty is what makes the intolerable - not tolerable - it is not tolerable - but such beauty provides a counterpoint, a place to rest a while, before getting back to the weariness of our thoughts, back to the news of the world.

This is the time of year we begin to talk of contingency plans. If this happens, we can always do that. We look at property abroad and across the country on the internet. We question the way we've chosen to live. It's not perfect, not perfect at all. At times it seems wholly untenable.

It's not that I've forgotten the words of Rumi:

But listen to me: for one moment,
quit being sad. Hear blessings
dropping their blossoms 
around you. God.

I was sleeping, and being comforted
by a cool breeze, when suddenly a gray dove
from a thicket sang and sobbed with longing,
and reminded me of my own passion.

I had been away from my own soul so long,
so late-sleeping, but that dove's crying 
woke me and made me cry. Praise
to all early-waking grievers!

- Adi al-Riga


  1. you give us, a beautiful, beautiful blog...

    it feeds the soul...

    thank you.


  2. oh shawna.
    these images. these thoughts.
    any day with rumi.
    but the dove...

  3. I've been meaning to drop in for so long. Your photos and writings are beautiful. A reflection of your true self and not at all a surprise. Thanks for sharing yourself with others, Shawna.

    1. Thanks Evelyn! How cool to see you here!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...