Wednesday, December 26, 2007

i wish all fields were paper

Miserere my Maker o have mercie on me wretch
strangelye distressed
cast downe with sinne oppressed
mightelye vext to the souls bitter anguishe
even to death I languishe,
yet let it please thee to eare
my ceaseless cryinge
miserere, I am dyinge.


- thank you Antonia (

Monday, December 24, 2007

He had a strange affinity with animals of all sorts, an eerie ability to get along amazingly well with them. At the zoo, lions and tigers would take one look at Buster's unsmiling face and come to him immediately.
- Tom Dardis, Keaton

Beneath his lack of emotion he was also uninsistently sardonic; deep below that...for those who sensed it, there was in his comedy a freezing whisper not of pathos but of melancholia.
- James Agee, 1949

image by

Friday, December 21, 2007

In the end the only thing that never changed, never became deformed,
were animals.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

…all these adventurers, fairy tale princes, sea pirates, and magnanimous criminals, I don’t complain that they have passed on but I would wish that they might find with every new orbit that life affords us successors on whom the whole sum of love and belief dedicated to them might be carried on.

- Ernst Junger

anything not strange is invisible
- paul valery, cahiers

Since I saw my grave,
there is nothing I want
but to live.

Heinrich von Kleist

Saturday, December 8, 2007

E is for elephant

The elephant is only a huge beast, but he is the most worthy that lives on the earth and has the most sense. I want to tell you about a characteristic of his honesty: he never changes females and loves tenderly the one he has chosen, with whom he nonetheless copulates only every three years, and that only for five days, so secretly that he is never seen in the act. But he is seen, however, on the sixth day, on which, before doing anything else, he goes straight to some river in which he washes his whole body, wishing in no way to return to the herd before he is purified.

-Saint François de Sales (1567–1622), Introduction à la vie dévote

They know no adultery, and do not engage each other in mortal combat over females as do other animals; not because they do not know the power of love, for the tale is told of the elephant who was enamored of a salesgirl; and have no illusions that she was chosen by accident: she was the mistress of the famous grammarian Aristophanes. Another elephant was taken with Menander, a young Syracusan who served in Ptolemy's army, and when the elephant couldn't see him, he manifested his unhappiness by refusing to eat. Juba tells that a young perfume dealer was loved by one of them. They all gave proof of their affection: joy at the sight of the beloved, naïve caresses, coins that they were given were saved and showered into the lap of their loves.

-Pliny the Elder, Natural History

Monday, December 3, 2007

"Who knows," says Euripides, "if life is not death, and death life?" Plato in one of his dialogues puts these words into the mouth of Socrates, the wisest of men, the very man who created the theory of general ideas and first considered the clarity and distinctness of our judgments to be an index of their truth. According to Plato, Socrates almost always when death is discussed says the same, or much the same as Euripides- No one knows whether life is not death and death life. Since the earliest days the wisest of men have lived in this state of mystified ignorance; only common men know quite distinctly what life is, and what death.

How has it happened, how could it happen, that the wisest are in doubt where the ordinary man can see no difficulty whatsoever, and why are the most painful and terrible difficulties always reserved for the wisest? For what can be more terrible than not to know whether one is alive or dead?

- Lev Shestov

When my mother died I was very young,
And my father sold me while yet my tongue
Could scarcely cry 'weep! 'weep! 'weep! 'weep!
So your chimneys I sweep, and in soot I sleep.

There's little Tom Dacre, who cried when his head,
That curled like a lamb's back, was shaved: so I said,
"Hush, Tom! never mind it, for when your head's bare,
You know that the soot cannot spoil your white hair."

And so he was quiet; and that very night,
As Tom was a-sleeping, he had such a sight, -
That thousands of sweepers, Dick, Joe, Ned, and Jack,
Were all of them locked up in coffins of black.

And by came an angel who had a bright key,
And he opened the coffins and set them all free;
Then down a green plain leaping, laughing, they run,
And wash in a river, and shine in the sun.

Then naked and white, all their bags left behind,
They rise upon clouds and sport in the wind;
And the angel told Tom, if he'd be a good boy,
He'd have God for his father, and never want joy.

And so Tom awoke; and we rose in the dark,
And got with our bags and our brushes to work.
Though the morning was cold, Tom was happy and warm;
So if all do their duty they need not fear harm.

William Blake, Songs of Innocence-The Chimney Sweeper

Weeping we scattered the seed on the fallow ground and sadly we went away.
- Sigmund von Birken

This running against the walls of our cage is perfectly, absolutely hopeless.Ethics so far as it springs from the desire to say something about the ultimate meaning of life, the absolute good, the absolute valuable, can be no science.What it says does not add to our knowledge in any sense. But it is a document of a tendency in the human mind which I personally cannot help respecting deeply and I would not for my life ridicule it.

Wittgenstein - Lecture on Ethics

Thank you, Antonia, for finding this fragment.

i only want that i never had a friend

When I am dead, my dearest

When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree:
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.

I shall not see the shadows,
I shall not feel the rain;
I shall not hear the nightingale
Sing on, as if in pain:
And dreaming through the twilight
That doth not rise nor set,
Haply I may remember,
And haply may forget.

- Christina Georgina Rossetti , "Song", from Goblin Market and Other Poems, published 1862

Saturday, December 1, 2007

'The leg that you wash tonight could be amputated tomorrow."
- Guido Ceronetti

utterly alien.

hans henny jahnn

they will most certainly mischief you.

"Could I be a Punch? The Punch of my childhood you know - his spine broken in two, his nose on the floor between his feet, his legs and arms rigidly spread in that attitude of profound despair, so pathetically droll, of toys tossed in a corner ... This evening I seem to be within a corner, spine cracked, nose in the dust. Would you kindly scrape together the poor devil, put him tenderly in your apron, introduce him to your dolls, let him play at dinners with the others. I see myself at this banquet, nose besmeared with jam, the others watching me, with that air of cold astonishment natural to well-made dolls."

Joseph Conrad - from a letter he wrote to his aunt, with whom he carried on a lengthy flirtation.

Thank you to David McBride for finding this text.
The Image is from the astonishing MIRRORWORLD