Norstrilia, the story is simple …

地の香り、
生命の証拠、
不思議な驚き。

水の記憶、
万年のコード、
星を征服。

豊かさに、
あふれる生と死、
ノーストリリアは知らぬ。

But he didn’t want girls. He wanted postage stamps …

“You may not know it, my darling,” spieked the great bird-man, “but long before these people build cities, there were others in the Earth – the ones who came after the Ancient World fell. They went far beyond the limitations of the human form. They conquered death. They did not have sickness. They did not need love. They sought to be abstractions lying outside of time. And they died, E’lamelanie – they died terribly. Some became monsters, preying on the remnants of true men for reasons which ordinary men could not even begin to understand. Others were like oysters, wrapped up in their own sainthood. They had all forgotten that humanness is itself imperfection and corruption, that what is perfect is no longer understandable. We have the fragments of the Word, and we are truer to the deep traditions of people than people themselves are, but we must never be foolish enough to look for perfection in this life or to count on our own powers to make us really different from what we are. You and I are animals, darling, not even real people, but people do not understand the teaching of Joan, that whatever seems human is human. It is the word which quickens, not the shape or the blood or the texture of flesh or hair or feathers. And there is that power which you and I do not name, but which we love and cherish because we need it more than do the people on the surface. Great beliefs always come out of the sewers of cities, not out of the towers of the ziggurats. Furthermore, we are discarded animals, not used ones. All of us down here are the rubbish which mankind has thrown away and has forgotten. We have a great advantage in this because we know from the very beginning of our lives that we are worthless. And why are we worthless? Because a higher standard and a higher truth says that we are – the conventional law and the unwritten customs of mankind. But I feel love for you, my daughter, and you have love for me. We know that everything which loves has a value in itself, and that therefore this worthlessness of underpeople is wrong. We are forced to look beyond the minute and the hour to the place where no clocks work and no day dawns. There is a world outside of time, and it is to that which we appeal. I know that you have a love for the devotional life, my child, and I commend you for it, but it would be a sorry faith which waited for passing travelers or which believed that a miracle or two could set the nature of things right and whole. The people on the surface think they have gone beyond the old problems, because they do not have buildings which they call churches or temples, and they do not have professional religious men within their communities. But the higher power and the large problems still wait for all men, whether men like it or not. Today, Believing among mankind is a ridiculous hobby, tolerated by the Instrumentality because the Believers are unimportant and weak, but mankind has moments of enormous passion which will come again and in which we will share. So don’t you wait for your hero beyond the stars. If you have a good devotional life within you, it is already here, waiting to be watered by your tears and ploughed up by your hard, clear thoughts. And if you don’t have a devotional life, there are good lives outside.

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The Country Boy

Soy el tigre.
Te acecho entre las hojas anchas como lingotes
de mineral mojado.
El río blanco crece bajo la niebla. Llegas.
Desnuda te sumerges. Espero.

THE CHILEAN FOREST

Under the volcanoes, beside the snow-capped mountains, among the huge lakes, the fragrant, the silent, the tangled Chilean forest … My feet sink down into the dead leaves, a fragile twig crackles, the giant rauli trees rise in all their bristling height, a bird from the cold jungle passes over, flaps its wings, and stops in the sunless branches. And then, from its hideaway, it sings like an oboe … The wild scent of the laurel, the dark scent of the boldo herb enter my nostrils and flood my whole being … The cypress of the Guaitecas blocks my way … This is a vertical world: a nation of birds, a plenitude of leaves … I stumble over a rock, dig up the uncovered hollow, an enormous spider covered with red hair stares up at me, motionless, as huge as a crab … A golden carabus beetle blows its mephitic breath at me, as its brilliant rainbow disappears like lightning … Going on, I pass through a forest of ferns much taller than I am: from their cold green eyes sixty tears splash down on my face and, behind me, their fans go on quivering for a long time … A decaying tree trunk: what a treasure!… Black and blue mushrooms have given it ears, red parasite plants have covered it with rubies, other lazy plants have let it borrow their beards, and a snake springs out of the rotted body like a sudden breath, as if the spirit of the dead trunk were slipping away from it … Farther along, each tree stands away from its fellows … They soar up over the carpet of the secretive forest, and the foliage of each has its own style, linear, bristling, ramulose, lanceolate, as if cut by shears moving in infinite ways … A gorge; below, the crystal water slides over granite and jasper … A butterfly goes past, bright as a lemon, dancing between the water and the sunlight … Close by, innumerable calceolarias nod their little yellow heads in greeting … High up, red copihues (Lapageria rosea) dangle like drops from the magic forest’s arteries … The red copihue is the blood flower, the white copihue is the snow flower … A fox cuts through the silence like a flash, sending a shiver through the leaves, but silence is the law of the plant kingdom … The barely audible cry of some bewildered animal far off … The piercing interruption of a hidden bird … The vegetable world keeps up its low rustle until a storm churns up all the music of the earth.

Anyone who hasn’t been in the Chilean forest doesn’t know this planet.

I have come out of that landscape, that mud, that silence, to roam, to go singing through the world.

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A Man in Love, … next year I shall plant some Tomatoes

Walking down a narrow street one evening, I stole a melon. The fruit seller, who was lurking behind his fruit, caught me by the arm.

Miss, I’ve been waiting for a chance like this for forty years. For forty years I’ve hidden behind this pile of oranges in the hope that somebody might pinch some fruit. And the reason for that is this: I want to talk, I want to tell my story. If you don’t listen, I’ll hand you over to the police.

I’m listening, I told him.

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The topographical and anatomical information in particular is lost on me … I see nothing. It’s because there is nothing.

I see nothing. It’s because there is nothing. Or it’s because I have no eyes. Or both. (That makes three possibilities, to choose from.) But do I really see nothing? It’s not the moment to tell a lie. But how can you not tell a lie? What an idea!

A voice like this, who can check it? It tries everything. It’s blind, it seeks me blindly, in the dark. It seeks a mouth, to enter into. Who can query it? There is no other. (You’d need a head? you’d need things? I don’t know. I look too often as if I knew. It’s the voice does that: it goes all knowing, to make me think I know, to make me think it’s mine.)

It has no interest in eyes. It says I have none, or that they are no use to me. Then it speaks of tears. Then it speaks of gleams. It is truly at a loss. Gleams? Yes: far or near. (Distances: you know, measurements. Enough said?) Gleams, as at dawn. Then dying, as at evening. Or flaring up – they do that too: blaze up more dazzling than snow, for a second (that’s short!), then fizzle out.

That’s true enough?

If you like: one forgets, I forget. I say I see nothing, or I say it’s all in my head (as if I felt a head on me!). That’s all hypotheses, lies. These gleams too: they were to save me, they were to devour me. That came to nothing. I see nothing (either because of this or else on account of that). And these images at which they watered me, like a camel, before the desert? I don’t know. More lies, just for the fun of it? (Fun! What fun we’ve had! What fun of it!) All lies? (That’s soon said – you must say soon, it’s the regulations.)

The place. I’ll make it all the same. I’ll make it in my head, I’ll draw it out of my memory, I’ll gather it all about me. (I’ll make myself a head, I’ll make myself a memory.) I have only to listen: the voice will tell me everything (tell it to me again), everything I need – in dribs and drabs, breathless.

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To dream burnished surfaces are a figuration and promise of the infinite … how little we know

The Library of Babel

The Universe, which others call the Library, is composed of an indefinite, perhaps infinite number of hexagonal galleries. In the center of each gallery is a ventilation shaft, bounded by a low railing. From any hexagon one can see the floors above and below—one after another, endlessly. The arrangement of the galleries is always the same: Twenty bookshelves, five to each side, line four of the hexagon’s six sides; the height of the bookshelves, floor to ceiling, is hardly greater than the height of a normal librarian.

One of the hexagon’s free sides opens onto a narrow sort of vestibule, which in turn opens onto another gallery, identical to the first— identical in fact to all. To the left and right of the vestibule are two tiny compartments. One is for sleeping, upright; the other, for satisfying one’s physical necessities (otro, satisfacer las necesidades fecales). Through this space, too, there passes a spiral staircase, which winds upward and downward into the remotest distance. In the vestibule there is a mirror, which faithfully duplicates appearances. Men often infer from this mirror that the Library is not infinite—if it were, what need would there be for that illusory replication? I prefer to dream that burnished surfaces are a figuration and promise of the infinite…. Light is provided by certain spherical fruits that bear the name “bulbs.” There are two of these bulbs in each hexagon, set crosswise. The light they give is insufficient, and unceasing.

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With love to you all, including Triggs, I remain, Yours very affectionately

To Thy goodness we commend ourselves this night beseeching Thy protection of us through its darkness and dangers. We are helpless and dependent; graciously preserve us. For all whom we love and value, for every friend and connection, we equally pray; however divided and far asunder, we know that we are alike before Thee, and under Thine eye. May we be equally united in Thy faith and fear, in fervent devotion towards Thee, and in Thy merciful protection this night.

Elizabeth felt herself growing more angry every moment; yet she tried to the utmost to speak with composure when she said: “You are mistaken, Mr. Darcy, if you suppose that the mode of your declaration affected me in any other way, than as it spared the concern which I might have felt in refusing you, had you behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner.”

She saw him start at this, but he said nothing, and she continued: “You could not have made the offer of your hand in any possible way that would have tempted me to accept it.”

Again his astonishment was obvious; and he looked at her with an expression of mingled incredulity and mortification. She went on: “From the very beginning–from the first moment, I may almost say–of my acquaintance with you, your manners, impressing me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others, were such as to form the groundwork of disapprobation on which succeeding events have built so immovable a dislike; and I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.”

“You have said quite enough, madam. I perfectly comprehend your feelings, and have now only to be ashamed of what my own have been. Forgive me for having taken up so much of your time, and accept my best wishes for your health and happiness.”

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Dulce Domum … it was good to think he had this to come back to, this place which was all his own

The sheep ran huddling together against the hurdles, blowing out thin nostrils and stamping with delicate fore-feet, their heads thrown back and a light steam rising from the crowded sheep-pen into the frosty air, as the two animals hastened by in high spirits, with much chatter and laughter. They were returning across country after a long day’s outing with Otter, hunting and exploring on the wide uplands, where certain streams tributary to their own River had their first small beginnings; and the shades of the short winter day were closing in on them, and they had still some distance to go. Plodding at random across the plough, they had heard the sheep and had made for them; and now, leading from the sheep-pen, they found a beaten track that made walking a lighter business, and responded, moreover, to that small inquiring something which all animals carry inside them, saying unmistakably, “Yes, quite right; this leads home!”

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