Absence is such a large house
that you’ll walk through the walls,
hang pictures in sheer air.
— Pablo Neruda, from “Sonnet XCIV,” 100 Love Sonnets (tr. by Stephen Tapscott). University of Texas Press, 1986
"Words are but symbols for the relations of things to one another and to us; nowhere do they touch upon the absolute truth."
Bernard Tschumi, Advertisements for Architecture, 1976-1978
"I wanted to see where beauty comes from
without you in the world, hauling my heart
across sixty acres of northeast meadow,
my pockets filling with flowers.
Then I remembered,
it’s you I miss in the brightness
and body of every living name:
rattlebox, yarrow, wild vetch.
You are the green wonder of June,
root and quasar, the thirst for salt.
When I finally understand that people fail
at love, what is left but cinquefoil, thistle,
the paper wings of the dragonfly
aeroplaning the soul with a sudden blue hilarity?
If I get the story right, desire is continuous,
equatorial. There is still so much
I want to know: what you believe
can never be removed from us,
what you dreamed on Walnut Street
in the unanswerable dark of your childhood,
learning pleasure on your own.
Tell me our story: are we impetuous,
are we kind to each other, do we surrender
to what the mind cannot think past?
Where is the evidence I will learn
to be good at loving?
The black dog orbits the horseshoe pond
for treefrogs in their plangent emergencies.
There are violet hills,
there is the covenant of duskbirds.
The moon comes over the mountain
like a big peach, and I want to tell you
what I couldn’t say the night we rushed
North, how I love the seriousness of your fingers
and the way you go into yourself,
calling my half-name like a secret.
I stand between taproot and treespire.
Here is the compass rose
to help me live through this.
Here are twelve ways of knowing
what blooms even in the blindness
of such longing. Yellow oxeye,
viper’s bugloss with its set of pink arms
pleading do not forget me.
We hunger for eloquence.
We measure the isopleths.
I am visiting my life with reckless plenitude.
The air is fragrant with tiny strawberries.
Fireflies turn on their electric wills:
an effulgence. Let me come back
whole, let me remember how to touch you
before it is too late."
This is a farmer’s almanac, made on vellum in 1513, possibly from Scania.
Folded in its cover, it measures 5 x 5 cm, fully expanded it is 63 cm long. It contains pictures of the months, with chores typical for that. In circles next to the pictures, red lines mark the bright hours of the day, black ones dark. In addition, the calendar has an overview of the holidays and saint’s days for the whole year, each one marked with a little figure illustrating the commemorative day; e.g. a lion for the feastday of St. Mark.
It is kept in the National Library of Denmark
"Little darling, we’re all lonely, we don’t all show our scars
It’s my heart, and my burden, and I would never bring you down like that
My heart, my burden, I would never bring you down with me."
Box with shell, c.1600-25, England, silver and scallop shell, Ashmolean Museum.
From the Ashmolean:
This is the only silver box of this form known to incorporate a real shell. Claw and ball feet and lion’s mask handles occur as early as 1589.
"We are more than the worst thing that’s ever happened to us. All of us need to stop apologizing for having been to hell and come back breathing."