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Archive for the ‘inspire’ Category

At the Entering of the New Year

I

(OLD STYLE)

Our songs went up and out the chimney,

And roused the home-gone husbandmen;

Our allemands, our heys, poussettings,

Our hands-across and back again,

Sent rhythmic throbbings through the casements

On to the white highway,

Where nighted farers paused and muttered,

“Keep it up well, do they!”

The contrabasso’s measured booming

Sped at each bar to the parish bounds,

To shepherds at their midnight lambings,

To stealthy poachers on their rounds;

And everybody caught full duly

The notes of our delight,

As Time unrobed the Youth of Promise

Hailed by our sanguine sight.

II

(NEW STYLE)

We stand in the dusk of a pine-tree limb,

As if to give ear to the muffled peal,

Brought or withheld at the breeze’s whim;

But our truest heed is to words that steal

From the mantled ghost that looms in the gray,

And seems, so far as our sense can see,

To feature bereaved Humanity,

As it sighs to the imminent year its say:—

“O stay without, O stay without,

Calm comely Youth, untasked, untired;

Though stars irradiate thee about

Thy entrance here is undesired.

Open the gate not, mystic one;

Must we avow what we would close confine?

With thee, good friend, we would have converse none,

Albeit the fault may not be thine.”

-Thomas Hardy

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Artist, do not believe that your test lies in the work. You are not what you pretend to be, and what this or that one, not knowing any better, may take you for, until the work has become your very nature to such an extent that you cannot do otherwise than prove yourself in it. Working thus, you are the masterly thrown spear: laws from Her throwing hand receive you, and together you hit the target: what could be more certain than your flight?

Your test, however, is that you are not always thrown. That the spear-player Loneliness does not choose you for the longest time, that She forgets you. This is the time of temptation, when you feel unused, incapable. (As if being reading as not work enough!) Then, when you do not lie there very heavily, diversions exercise you and try to see to what other uses you can be put. As a blind man’s staff, as one of the rods in a grating, or as the balancing pole of a tight-rope walker. Or else they are capable of planting you in the soil of fate, for the miracle of the seasons to happen to you and for you perhaps to sprout small green leaves of happiness….

-Rainer Maria Rilke, from 4X1: Works by Tristan Tzara, Rainer Maria Rilke, Jean-Pierre Duprey, and Habib Tengour

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self portrait by nina alvarez“Are real people fictions? We mostly understand ourselves through an endless series of stories told to ourselves by ourselves and others. The so-called facts of our individual worlds are highly coloured and arbitrary, facts that fit whatever fiction we have chosen to believe in. It is necessary to have a story, an alibi that gets us through the day, but what happens when the story becomes a scripture? When we can no longer recognise anything outside our own reality? We have to be careful not to live in a state of constant self-censorship, where whatever conflicts with our world-view is dismissed or diluted until it ceases to be a bother. Struggling against the limitations we place upon our minds is our own imaginative capacity, a recognition of an inner life often at odds with the external figurings we spend so much energy supporting. When we let ourselves respond to poetry, to music, to pictures, we are clearing a space where new stories can root, in effect we are clearing a space for new stories about ourselves.”

-from Art Objects by Jeanette Winterson

Photo: Girlfriend Photographer by Nina Alvarez

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