Stories and poems

"The metaphoric image of 'orphan lines' is a contrivance of the detached onlooker to whom the verbal art of continuous correspondences remains aesthetically alien. Orphan lines in poetry of pervasive parallels are a contradiction in terms, since whatever the status of a line, all its structure and functions are indissolubly interlaced with the near and distant verbal environment, and the task of linguistic analysis is to disclose the levels of this coaction. When seen from the inside of the parallelistic system, the supposed orphanhood, like any other componential status, turns into a network of multifarious compelling affinities.'
Roman JAKOBSON, "Grammatical Parallelism and its Russian Facet", Language, 42/2, 1966, pp. 399-429, p. 428-429

Friday, July 29, 2011

On the Sublime

I'm still wandering through late antiquity, led by Allegory, though I should be writing about 19th century philology. The hows and whys of textual preservation are fascinating to me, how is it we know what we know about such distant minds.

I read about the brilliant philosopher Hypatia, who was killed in Alexandria, and someone else who lost his head for thinking. I dreamed of the library there... A movie was made about her life, in 2009, Agora, which means, in Greek, a place of assembly, and in Portuguese, now. 

On the Sublime

To have been a scholar
in late antiquity
when a thinker got his head cut off
for being an advisor at the wrong time.

There was a woman
murdered in Alexandria,
before the library burned,
when we knew the origin of all things.

She taught philosophy, geometry,
Plotinus hated Longinus
who didn't write, finally,
On the Sublime.

The monk who read it cared too much.
Maybe he too wanted to be
that reader who would pass it on
to posterity through troubled times.

Today we hardly think
about the universe.
We take its picture.
It blinds us. We are blind.

Now, I should get back to work.

No comments:

Post a Comment