The woes of men beyond my ken
Mean nothing more to me.
Behold my world, an Eden hurled
From Heaven to the Sea;
A jeweled home, in fending foam
A virgin isle none dare defile,
Far-flung, forgotten, lost.
And here I dwell, where none may tell
Me tales of mortal strife;
Let millions die, immune am I,
And radiant with life.
No echo comes of evil drums,
To vex my dawns divine;
Aloof, alone I hold my throne,
And Majesty is mine.
Ghost ships pass by, and glad am I
They make no sign to me.
The green corn springs, the gilt vine clings,
The net is in the sea.
My paradise around me lies,
Remote from wrath and wrong;
My isle is clean, unsought, unseen,
And innocent with song.
Here let me dwell in beauty’s spell,
As tranquil as a tree;
Here let me bide, where wind and tide
Bourdon that I am free;
Here let me know from human woe
The rapture of release:
The rich caress of Loveliness,
The plenitude of Peace.
Robert Service (1874 – 1958)
A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.
Italo Calvino (1923-1985)
And you have nobody and nothing, and you travel through the world with a trunk and a carton of books and truly without curiosity. What kind of life is this: without a house, without inherited Things, without dogs. If at least you had memories. But who has them? If childhood were there: it is as though it had been buried. Perhaps you must be old before you can reach all that. I think it must be good to be old.
Rainer Maria Rilke: The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. Translated by Stephen Mitchell.
Sometimes it’s only in a dream that we glimpse a plausible solution. Perhaps because reason is fearful; it can’t fill in the gaps and achieve completeness, which is a form of simplicity; it prefers complexity, with all its gaps, and so the will entrusts the solution to dreams.
Antonio Tabucchi: A Riddle
“Men of means have much to fear. Those with none know only bitterness. If you entrust yourself to the care of others you will be owned by them. If you care for others you will be enslaved by your own solicitude. If you conform to the world it will bind you hand and foot. If you do not, then it will think you mad. And so the question, where should we live? And how? Where to find a place to rest a while? And how to bring even short-lived peace to our hearts?”
― Kamo no Chōmei: Hojoki