November 2nd, 2005

dS Ben cries

Especially for Tavi

Sorry, people, for not being around much the last few days, but things keep ratcheting up at the office, and then there's been a crisis at Matignon, which you can read about by following this link:

Anyway, I just needed to post a few literary bits and pieces having to do with the themes of grief and death, which the worldaffairs post brought to mind, and which might prove useful.  I know this may be cryptic and meaningless to most of the people on my flist, but it won't really go as a comment.  I'm doing it as an open post on the offchance that other people might be curious enough to follow the link and see what this is all about, but after this I'll probably set up a filter for WA-related posts; let me know if you'd like to be included. jenni_snake and kleio_caissa, you're in automatically, of course.

So, Tavi, given his mood, maybe in addition to writing poetry that night Dominique was doing a little reading as well.  For example:




Elizabeth Barrett Browning


I tell you, hopeless grief is passionless;

      That only men incredulous of despair,

Half-taught in anguish, through the midnight air

Beat upward to God’s throne in loud access

Of shrieking and reproach.  Full desertness

In souls as countries lieth silent-bare

Under the blanching, vertical eye-glare

Of the absolute Heavens.  Deep-hearted man, express

Grief for thy Dead in silence like to Death­­ -----

Most like a monumental statue set

In everlasting watch and moveless woe

Till itself crumble to the dust beneath.

Touch it; the marble eyelids are not wet:

If it could weep, it could arise and go.




From:     Ode to a Nightingale


John Keats


Darkling I listen; and for many a time

I have been half in love with easeful Death,

Call’d him soft names in many a musèd rhyme,

To take into the air my quiet breath;

Now more than ever seems it rich to die,

To cease upon the midnight with no pain,

While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad

In such an ecstasy!

Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain ----

To thy high requiem become a sod.



Or maybe he was finishing up Buddenbrooks and came across the following passages:


        What was Death?  The answer came, not in poor, large-sounding words:  he felt it within him, he possessed it.  Death was a joy, so great, so deep that it could be dreamed of only in moments of revelation like the present.  It was the return from an unspeakably painful wandering, the correction of a grave mistake, the loosening of chains, the opening of doors – it put right again a lamentable mischance.



        Cases of typhoid take the following course:

        When the fever is at its height, life calls to the patient:  calls out to him as he wanders in his distant dream, and summons him in no uncertain voice.  The harsh, imperious call reaches the spirit on that remote path that leads into the shadows, the coolness and peace.  He hears the call of life, the clear, fresh, mocking summons to return to that distant scene which he had already left so far behind him, and already forgotten.  And there may well up in him something like a feeling of shame for a neglected duty; a sense of renewed energy, courage, and hope; he may recognize a bond existing still between him and that stirring, colourful, callous existence which he thought he had left so far behind him.  Then, however far he may have wandered on his distant path he will turn back – and live.  But if he shudders when he hears life’s voice, if the memory of that vanished scene and the sound of that lusty summons make him shake his head, make him put out his hand to ward off as he flies forward in the way of escape that has opened to him – then it is clear that the patient will die.



What do you think?


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