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March 25, 2007

poetry makes compasion reasonable

Poetry, by giving dignity and utterance to our distress, enables us to hope, makes compassion reasonable.

The truth is this: instead of remembering they are prophets and the descendants of prophets, the poets have swapped roles with entertainers and culture-peddlers. They have refused the crown of thorns.

I now see there is no way for the poet to avoid misunderstanding, even abuse, when he follows his prophetic vocation to lead his fellowmen towards sanity and light. If he offers his hand in friendship and love, he must expect someone will try to chop it off at the shoulder. ... A poet is someone who has a strong sense of self and feels his life to be meaningful.

Joy, fullness of feeling, is the core of the creative mystery. My dominant mood is that of ecstasy and gratitude.

I want to be remembered as someone who believed that a great poem was the noblest work of man and that no one ever wrote one who didn't want to get out of hell.

Irving Layton

Posted by amin at 5:17 PM

March 23, 2007

something beyond our being

There are moments and as it were bright sparks of the fire of love in whose light we cease to understand the word "I", there lies something beyond our being which at these moments moves across into it, and we are thus possessed of a heartfelt longing for bridges between hear and there.

Nietzsche - Untimely Meditations

Posted by amin at 4:17 AM

March 19, 2007

beethoven is for midnight

* Do you have a record?
- Yes, what would you like? Some Bach?
* No, it’s too late. Bach is for 8:00 in the morning.
* A Brandenburg at 8:00 is wonderful.
- Mozart? Beethoven?
* Too early. Mozart is for 8:00 in the evening.
* Beethoven’s music is very profound, Beethoven is for midnight.
* No, what we need is some Haydn…
* Some good old Joseph Haydn.

Godard - Le Petit Soldat

Posted by amin at 1:39 AM

March 18, 2007

the sense for the tragic

The individual must be consecrated to something higher than himself-that is the meaning of tragedy; he must be free of the terrible anxiety which death and time evoke in the individual: for at any moment, in the briefest atom of his life's course, he may encounter something holy that endlessly outweighs all his struggle and all his distress-this is what it means to have a sense for the tragic; all the ennoblement of mankind is enclosed in this supreme task; the definite rejection of this task would be the saddest picture imaginable to a friend of man. This is my view of things! There is only one hope and one guarantee for the future of humanity: it consists in his retention of the sense of the tragic.

Nietzsche - Richard Wagner in Bayreuth

Posted by amin at 4:46 PM

March 16, 2007

only to live!

Where was it that I read about a man condemned to death saying or thinking, an hour before his death , that if he had to live somewhere high up on a cliffside, on a ledge so narrow that there was room only for his two feet-and with the abyss, the ocean, eternal darkness, eternal solitude, eternal storm all around him-and had to stay like that, on a square foot of space, an entire lifetime, a thousand years, an eternity-it would be better to live so than to die right now! Only to live, to live, to live! To live no matter how-only to live!

Dostoevsky - Crime and Punishment

Posted by amin at 6:58 PM

March 15, 2007


Poverty is no vice, that is the truth. I know that drunkenness is also no virtue, and that is even more so. But destitution, my dear sir, destitution is a vice, sir. In poverty you may still preserve the nobility of your inborn feelings, but in destitution no one ever does. For destitution one does not even get driven out of human company with a stick; one is swept out with a broom, to make it more insulting; and justly so, for in destitution I am the first to insult myself.

Dostoevsky - Crime and Punishment

Posted by amin at 6:26 PM

March 12, 2007

i have shaped for myself a credo...

I will tell you that I am a child of the century, a child of disbelief and doubt…and will remain so until the grave. How much terrible torture this thirst for faith has cost me and costs me even now. And yet, God sends me sometimes instants when I am completely calm…and it is at these instants that I have shaped for myself a Credo where everything is clear and sacred for me. This Credo is very simple, here it is: to believe that nothing is more beautiful, profound, sympathetic reasonable, manly and more perfect than Christ…if someone proved to me that Christ is outside the truth, and that in reality the truth were outside of Christ, then I should prefer to remain with Christ rather than with the truth.

Dostoevsky - From a letter to Madame Fonvizina written at 1854

Posted by amin at 3:08 AM

March 10, 2007

where the wave finally broke and rolled back

Strange memories on this nervous night in Las Vegas.

Has it been five years? Six? It seems like a lifetime -- the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. But no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant.

There was madness in any direction, at any hour... You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning. And that, I think, was the handle-that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn't need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting-on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave…

So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look west, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high water mark-that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.

Hunter S. Thompson

Posted by amin at 12:58 AM

March 7, 2007

aida in the mirror

Your lips with their poetic tenderness,
Transform the most lustful kisses into shame.
A shame strong enough to turn a pre-historic caveman,
Into an evolved human being.

Your eyes are the mystery of fire
Your love is victory itself.
It is a burst of light in the heart of the night.

Your arms are a little place to live in,
A little place to die in.

A mountain is formed with the first rock,
A human being comes to life with the first pain,
I came to being with the first look into your eyes.

The storms majestically play a flute,
In the glory of your dance.

Your forehead is a tall shining mirror,
And your body is a song
Your body is an eternal secret shared with me
In a grand solitude,
And two restless birds sing in your
Voluptuous breast.

How long did I have to stare into the mirror
Just for you to appear in it?

O, angel pretending to be human,
Your presence is a heaven that justifies my
Escape from hell,
It is a sea that drowns me in myself,
And the dawn awakes with your hands.

Ahmad Shamlu

Posted by amin at 1:06 AM