Monday, August 29, 2016

The Travel of Art


"Noble, brooding, sorrowful, it helps one bear the world, and all fear of what may come in the sunless night.

Beloved Schubert, in your city I am adrift. I am consumed by past love; its germs, long embedded, half contained, have grown virulent again. There is no hope for me. I turned away four thousand nights ago, and the path was closed in by trees and brambles.

I am eaten by futile pity. I make too much of much.

From one city of shrunken power and lapsing music I travel now to another. Let there be some change in my state. Or let me live in a zone where hope is not a word. How can I long for what I do not grasp?"



"I stand on a little bridge over a side-canal, and view a landing-stage, its blue poles tipped with gold. Here is the watergate to the opera house: on it lie scraps of twisted metal, a wooden pallet, charred doors, a rusted bird. On the black walls graffiti proclaims: 'Ti amo. Patrizia'. This is the phoenix which burned down once before and this time has not risen. Surely what was lost so stupidly, so swiftly and in so short a time can be retrieved, redone, brought to life once more.


I see a small blue porcelain frog, and buy it for her.

I have drunk too much prosecco; no doubt she will smell it on my skin. On the way to the vaporetto I stop by a bar to sober up, and drink a little more -- strong grappa this time. I find that it is past midnight.

No light slits out from behind the shutters. I can make noise in the apartment, but not light, for she is asleep, and her dreams could stall. I strip and lie down by her side. As the night progresses, for all the fractures of the day, we edge absently into each other's arms. Or so I assume, for that is how we awake."

— Vikram Seth, An Equal Music