“As long as I live they too will live inside me and battle, positively and fruitfully, giving me strength.” Dialectics (3)

"Maddening, beautiful, magical, horrible, painful, wonderful, joyous thing": Love

“Maddening, beautiful, magical, horrible, painful, wonderful, joyous thing”: Love. And its ‘fruits’? Click for credits and to enlarge

 

Furious Love’s Children

We have talked about two (human) trees dialectically intertwined in furious love.

Will English philosopher (and Sci-Fi writer) Olaf Stapledon from Seacombe possibly shed light on other species’ (or aliens’) love?

Or Hegel ? Or Darwin?
[tough, I know, though tougher than it seems: pls go on reader]

ψ

In the meanwhile we’ll continue with this ‘maddening love’ thing yet from the view-point of its ‘fruits’.

Children.

What happens to the fruits of struggling lovers?

No output here (am I right?) though maddening non the less

No output here (am I right?) though ‘maddening’ none the less. Click for credits

To Anju (Nomad) & to Reema,
Bengali Sisters

We all have (or have had) parents therefore all readers /writers are ‘children’, figli.

Now, my dear Indian bloggers being the first ones to baptize the Man of Roma I hence feel affection to all of them:

[Ashish the GeekWrestler, the first commentator ever of this blog; Poonam Sharma; Ishmeet; Nita J. Kulkarni; Devinder; Amith; Chandrahas; Falcon;  Destination Infinity; Anshul, Usha; Shefali.. the list is not complete damn. It will be]

ψ

Two Bengali sisters are though important here from a certain angle.

Mario: “Don’t get it. Bengali Indians and NOT all Indians?”
Manius:Sir Rabindranath Tagore is Bengali: a genius polymath shedding light, in his sublime way, on harmonious Love, among the rest. Giovanni btw knows only two Bengali bloggers.”

Exactly.

This post is in fact dedicated to Anju and Reema

[whose parents being 'harmonious' were though man and woman, ie different]

Let us start.

Nikos Kazantzakis’
Twin Currents of Blood

nikos kazantzakis

Nikos Kazantzakis, a modern Greek genius. Click for attribution and additional infos

How do children from ‘struggling’ loves react?

In his spiritual autobiography (Report to Greco) Greek Nikos Kazantzakis from Crete (Νίκος Καζαντζάκης, 1883 – 1957) mentions several times this crucial relationship that shaped his life (and work.)

Two quotes.

1. “The influence of this [….] hoax – Kazantzakis writes -, of this delusion (if it is a delusion) that twin currents of blood, Greek from my mother and Arab from my father, run in my veins, has been positive and fruitful, giving me strength, joy and wealth. My struggle to make a synthesis of these two antagonistic impulses has lent purpose and unity to my life.”

2.Both of my parents circulate in my blood, the one fierce, hard, and morose, the other tender, kind, and saintly.

I have carried them all my days; neither has died. As long as I live they too will live inside me and battle in their antithetical ways to govern my thoughts and actions.”

“My lifelong effort is to reconcile them so that one may give me their strength, the other their tenderness to make the discord between them, which breaks out incessantly within me, turn to harmony inside their son’s heart.”

 ψ

Reconcile them … eg the discord which breaks out incessantly turning to harmony. How can one not adore Kazantzakis (also for making dialectics clearer, I hope?)

রবীন্দ্রনাথ ঠাকুর

Tagore

Sir Rabindranath Tagore, Rabīndranātha Thākura, রবীন্দ্রনাথ ঠাকুর. Public domain. Click for source. Majestic and sweet

Now, look at this man, at this polymath.

Who is better than him as for harmony, struggle reconciliation – aka σύνθεσις?

[Another help for fathoming Hegelian dialectic, I do hope]

 

Piercing the Darkness of Time

Here come clips related to Tagore and the Bengali culture.

The above clip, found here, is bit westernized and mixes up Tagore‘s poems Unending Love and My Song.

A few more words on Tagore:

“Tagore (রবীন্দ্রনাথ ঠাকুর) was possibly the greatest writer in modern Indian literature, “Bengali poet, novelist, educator, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. Tagore was awarded the knighthood in 1915, but he surrendered it in 1919 as a protest against the Massacre of Amritsar, where British troops killed some 400 Indian demonstrators protesting colonial laws.”

[quote credits]

ψ

 

Still have to write down a note with bibliography etc.

India's emblem

 

Previous installments:

Love Never Did Run Smooth. Dialectics (1)

WTM?!? …. Dialectics (2)

WTM?!? …. Dialectics (2)

Man of Roma:

Philip Larkin. The complete poems. Click for credits

MoR: “Hi Jenny, how are you? [...] May I reblog your WTM post? It is consistent with my ‘sublimity & scurrility’ blog theme which, in the Roman culture of ALL time, are intertwined like two close trees whose trunks have grown upwards together as a single shaft, mutually distorting … but mutually exhilarating.”

Jenny: “Hey Roma! Great to hear from you. Of course you may repost as you please. Sledpress was spectacular in her commentary, I recall. [...] Are you blogging again? [...] You can’t imagine how much mileage [... I got from your blog ...] with every Italian I meet.
“Chi dice donna, dice danno” gets a great reaction every time! :-)

ψ

[Click on the image for credits. Courtesy of Alessandra Montalto/The New York Times. MoR]

ψ

Other installments:

Love Never Did Run Smooth. Dialectics (1)

“As long as I live they too will live inside me and battle, positively and fruitfully, giving me strength.” Dialectics (3)

Originally posted on sweat and sprezzatura:

Last week, the New York Times reviewed Philip Larkin’s Complete Poems .

His poems would not be complete without the most famous one:

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.

In the Times, the reviewer paraphrases (and cleans up) the first line of the poem, according to NYT stylebook rules:

They mess you up, “your mum and dad./They may not mean to, but they do./ They fill you with the faults they had/And add some extra, just…

View original 129 more words

Published in: on March 22, 2014 at 10:38 pm  Comments (12)  

Love Never Did Run Smooth. Dialectics (1)

HUGUES

“The path of true love never did run smooth” by Talbot Hughes, English Painter (1869–1942). Many paintings from the Victorian era referred to literary quotes, like this one, whose title is from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I, 1, 134

“Mai al mondo fu piano e senza ostacoli il sentiero dell’Amore”

[Shakespeare-Talbot Hughes, in Italian]

ψ

Uomo e donna, complementarietà discordante, sopravvivono meglio in perenne dissonanza.

[Magister-διδάσκαλος; see his ikon, if not his face, below]

Olaf Stapledon.
“Like two close trees whose trunks …”

“ONE night when I had tasted bitterness I went out on to the hill … Overhead, obscurity. I distinguished our own house, our islet in the tumultuous and bitter currents of the world. There, for a decade and a half, we two, so different in quality, had grown in and in to one another, for mutual support and nourishment, in intricate symbiosis [...]

True, of course, that as a long-married couple we fitted rather neatly, like two close trees whose trunks have grown upwards together as a single shaft, mutually distorting, but mutually supporting. Coldly I now assessed her as merely a useful, but often infuriating adjunct to my personal life. We were on the whole sensible companions. We left one another a certain freedom, and so we were able to endure our proximity.”

[Olaf Stapledon, Star Maker, Ch. I, The Earth]

ψ

αἴνιγμα (riddle)

Why Darwin and Hegel
Enter into the Equation?

An old sage. Image is not mine but copyrighted. I have bought it

ψ

Note, to be read when despaired :-)

ψ

Tough, (and to the writer too.)

Well, I’ll let you know (as a consolation) that despite the fact that thanks to Magister, 40 years ago, I was able to absorb (in a few months only) a tiny bit of the essence of Plato, Croce, Gramsci, eg various sides of the weird dialectics possibly invented 2,400 years ago in Athens (we’ll skip Indian dialectics.)

Despite I mean this sudden germination … I got into the Hegel’s block.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel‘ (well, just the name is hard) dialectics, proved too hard to me.

My Mentor, incidentally kept telling me Hegel was no inferior to Plato or Aristotle. Magister being Magister – I was frustrated.

ψ

In later years I absorbed Hegel a bit by reading some Gramsci and Croce, although I was kinda sensing that Hegel’s deep core, plus the capacity (more importantly) to have fun reading this Master’s works – I never quite fathomed.

A New διδάσκαλος

Now one year ago it turned (just a few months, again) that reading Hegel though still hard was suddenly FUN.

Moreover, Hegel plus evolution - eg biological science + philosophy - were unexpectedly, rocket-like, jostling me around in outer space (on my puffy armchair, I mean) towards infinite cosmos, or κόσμος τὸ πᾶν, should one prefer.

What had happened? Another Μέντωρ-διδάσκαλος, had shown?

ψ

Well, yes.

Shy, decent (and brilliantly creative) Olaf Stapledon, a British philosopher from the Wirral Peninsula.

Olaf Stapledon (1886 – 1950)

Copyrighted image of Olaf Stapledon (1886 – 1950). Fair use. Click for source file

Songs of the Grikos. Oral Greek Love Poems surviving from Magna Graecia (2)

[Enjoy some images from Magna Graecia (basically the Italian coastal South) and listen to some songs in the Griko language]

As promised in the previous post here are some of the oral Greek poems collected on the field from the Griko people – South Italians who still speak Greek.

It is a selection from the book Il tesoro delle parole morte (Argo, 2009, Lecce) by Brizio Montinaro which regards the Griko poetry from Salento, Apulia. Some of these poems were collected by Montinaro himself, whose mother is Griko.

My translation is inadequate and in progress. Any suggestion is welcome. I’ll provide the Greek text of the first poem only.

Mαχάιρι ᾽ναι τὰ μάτια σου,
σπαθιὰ τὰ δυό σου φρύδια
καὶ παὶζουνε με τὴν καρδιὰ
πολλῶ λογιῶ παιχνὶδια.

Knife your eyes
Swords your eyebrows:
They play with the heart
Games of great art.

ψ

That curl so fair
That is bending under your ear
Woven with silk thread,
The most beautiful of your whole head.
Ah had I that curl in my hand!
Out of joy I would fly to heaven’s land.

ψ

Here comes the sun, the moon, the star,
Here comes the maiden who breaks my heart apart.
Here is she who points a knife at me
And chases me away but I cannot but stay.

ψ

Your bosom hides two lemons
That send such a sweet scent.
Give at least one of them to us
To turn over in our hands.
“I hoe, I water, I do not offer lemons.
Go to the gardener, maybe there will be grace.”

ψ

Wherever you go, young man,
May the sun not burn you, and a cloud
May appear in the sky to protect you.

ψ

The wind came
And took away your scarf
And it removed my hat
Uncovering your fair neck.
That night happily I slept.

ψ

ψ

When you see me, as a viper you hide in the bush:
I am he who put your breasts upside down.

ψ

Girl of mine, it was night when we kissed.
By whom were we seen?
By the night, by the dawn, by the star and the moon.
The star bowed and told the sea,
The sea told the oar, the oar told the sailor,
And the sailor sang it at the door of his love.

ψ

I kissed red lips and they dyed my own,
I cleaned them with a cloth
And they dyed the cloth.
I washed the cloth in the river and it dyed the river
Which dyed the beach shore and it dyed the sea floor.
An eagle came down to drink and dyed its wings,
And the sun was half dyed and the moon in the full.

ψ

May I become a swallow and enter your room
And make my nest in your pillow.

ψ

And I wish I were a flea from here
To get like a hawk into your bed,
And nibble all that flesh,
And you’d let down your hand and catch me!

ψ

Martano, one of the Griko towns of Salento. A poem below refers to it. Click for credits

ψ

I sigh and burn,
And my heart drips blood.
But the pain is sweet
When I suffer for you.

ψ

As maiden I loved you, as woman I had you not,
Soon the time will arrive when as widow you’ll be mine.

ψ

Foolish was I to love you!
Like the wind you never stop.
Better had I loved a wall,
It would perhaps have stopped a moment.
Better had I loved a stone,
It would have softened and something I’d have had.
But I have loved you instead, the Galanto,
Who enchanted Martano with his canto.

ψ

I sent you four apples,
One with a bite,
And in the mid of the bite
I placed a kiss.

Related posts:

Songs of the Grikos. Oral Greek Love Poems surviving from Magna Graecia (1)

Yves Montand and Brizio Montinaro on the set of IL GENIO (1976). Click for credits

I met Brizio Montinaro once at a friends’ place. A friendly, curly- grey-haired Italian from Apulia, actor and writer, Brizio Montinaro is an expert of the Griko people among the rest.

Who are the Griko people? They are South Italians who more or less directly descend from the Greeks of Magna Graecia (with some influence from Byzantium.)

Griko speaking communities today. Click for credits

What’s interesting is that some of them still speak a form of Greek, Griko, that developed from both Magna Graecia and Byzantine Greek (see on the map the location of the Griko speaking communities today.)

[Note on Magna Graecia. We remind readers that most coastal areas of South Italy had been colonized by Greek settlers since the 8th century B.C., and that Magna Graecia (ie, ‘Big Greece’, coastal South Italy) was to mainland Greeks a bit like America was to Europeans: a land of promise where opportunities were bigger, and where everything - to travellers from mainland Greece -  appeared larger and more luxuriant: Syracuse, not Athens, was the largest Greek city in the Mediterranean during classical times. See the map below for the past and above for what is left of the Greek-speaking people today]

Greek settlements in Magna Graecia, with their dialects. Click for credits

Montinaro, born from a Griko mother, wrote a few books on the Griko culture. Among his merits, that of having made known the beauty of the oral poetry of the Grikos.

I have his “Il tesoro delle parole morte” (Argo, 2009, Lecce) ['The treasure of the dead words']. I’ll summarize a passage from his introduction to the book:

Temple of Poseidon. Paestum, Campania, Italy. Click for credits

The traveller in the South of Italy admires the temples of Paestum, the Greek wonders of Agrigento, Taormina and Syracuse. Parmenides of Elea was born in Magna Graecia, the school of Pythagoras flourished in Croton. Archimedes, Diodorus Siculos and other prominent Greeks were born in Sicily.

However, if that traveller closes his eyes – while wandering in Aspromonte (Calabria) or in the land of Salento (Apulia) covered with centuries-old olive trees – he can still hear, carried by the wind, words such as: agàpi, dafni, podèa, vasilicò, alòni.

These are traces, just like the columns and the theatres, of another monument of the Hellenic culture: the Greek language.

These oral poems sing with great freshness the joys and sorrows of love, “with a look – we read in the back cover – that is still the darting gaze common to the boundless sea of ​​Hellenism, and that was expressed by the rhythms of Sappho and Anacreon.”

ψ

Some of these poems will be presented in the next post translated into an English (hopefully not too horrible) version.

ψ

Related posts:

A new Manius chapter has been posted (update: Latin Poets, Ulysses and other stuff)

Helmet found in Sutton Hoo, Suffolk, England (6th cent. AD) One of the images that enrich our soap on Ancient Britannia: maniuslentulus.blogspot.com

Hi, a new Manius chapter has been written and posted. The English version links to the Italian original.

I hope all is well with you all.

Too late to say anything else. See you tomorrow.

MoR

ψ

Update. What I had to say I have posted over at the Manius Papirius Lentulus blog dialogue section. Here it is.

Latin Poets of the Golden Age

'A favourite poet' by the Victorian painter Alma Tadema (1888). Detail. Click to enlarge

Regarding this painting by Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836–1912) Jenny had asked :

“I need to know which (favorite) poet the Roman women are reading in that painting. I just ordered Slavitt’s translation of Ovid’s Love Poems, Letters and Remedies. Looks great.”

MoR: “According to Rosemary J. Barrow (*L. Alma-Tadema*, Phaidon 2001) the poet is divine *Horace* – I add links for the sake of new readers, and basically am a pedantic teacher to the marrow -, who was from *Venusia*, South Italy, today’s Venosa in Mezzogiorno’s Lucania also called Basilicata.

Rosaria, a first-generation Italian American blogger, is from Venosa: here she describes her home town; the Ford Coppola family is from Bernalda, Lucania, a town not far from Venosa.

[Incidentally, Rosaria's personal account on his town, with Orazio's statue in the main piazza, and the bay-leaves crown the best school students received, similar to the one Orazio's statue wears, is so compelling]

The bronze wall panel behind the 2 Roman women in Tadema’s gorgeous painting has inscribed a few words by Horace. The title of my Manius soap (Misce stultitiam consiliis: Add Folly to Wisdom) is taken from Horace (4 Odes, xii. 28), and the ‘act’ the buddies in the plot perform in the taberna (read Chanting in an Ænglisc taberna) is one of Horace most perfect choral songs from the *Carmen Saeculare* (Song of the Ages!), probably his most perfect (and classical in the real-deal sense of the term) poem.

Horace (together with Vergil) is Rome’s bard and his poems were sacred to the Romans – no easy stuff, Horace; Lord Byron confessed he couldn’t understand Horatius Flaccus; but I believe every minute spent on Horace’s lines is worthwhile  – although sacred, I don’t mean it in the sense of the Judeo-Christian ‘Revealed Writ’ of course. For that – revealed-by-god(s) words – you have to turn, outside the Jewish tradition, to the amazing Orphic Greek literature, for example, which I’m sipping here and there and find terribly inspiring.

Tibullus visiting his beloved Clelia. Click to watch it in full resolution

True Romans & Celts.
A different temperament?

Horace was the most loved ancient poet in 19th century England. His tone befitted the Victorians who kinda felt like the spirituals heirs of the Romans. He was also fun like most Roman writers (he for ex. preferred the liberty of loving slaves or unintelligent women, since Roman matrons were a headache to him, a tad too matriarchal perhaps, but basically I think he didn’t find a long-for-life love (Vergil did, probably, but I guess it was a man) and most of all Horace is the real classical thing more than Vergil in some way, while Tibullus and Catullus (and Vergil) were a bit more … romantic since – so darn interesting for the Manius’ blog – they were Italian Celts from North Italy, id est continental Celts, id est cousins to insular, British-Isles, Celts.

I absolutely adore Tibullus and his elegies, so beautiful & melancholic, and Clelia (Tibullus’ true love – see a painting below- : differently from Horace he was more or less monogamous: Clelia not by chance is Manius’s lost love too.

[Tadema painted Tibullus at Clelia's, and Catullus at Lesbia's - see above and below. How could he not ;-) ]

But Manius is not monogamous. Massimo, the positive hero, is.

Ovid is a sparkling choice Jenny. His verses are peculiar, naturally flowing, and possibly much more fun than all the poets I’ve mentioned.

Catullus at Lesbia's by Sir Laurence Alma Tadema (1836-1912). Click to enlarge

All the best Rome could give

ALL these poets are the best Rome could give and were much deeper than the coeval Greek literature, that was extremely refined but void and spineless. Catullus was another first class Italian Celtic poet, very romantic as well. He was in love with the sluttish Clodia he calls Lesbia.

True Romans from Rome were – and still are – not much romantic (in both the arts and common sense of the term); Manius, Massimo, Giorgio (and myself) are partly true Romans, partly North Italian Celtic, so they are a tad romantic too (I guess it takes also bad weather to be ‘romantic’ lol).

I mean, it all fits together perhaps – or so it seems to the Man of Roma (now Manius) ;)

Then Paul Costopoulos had said:

“Now, Manius, I have a throwing dagger but what tells you how I will use it the only time I will be able to throw it because retrieving it once thrown is rather problematic.

Not being a Roman and being a merchant why would I hurt potential costumers?

Of course you are my friend and that could cause me some scruples and those guys do seem to be cutthroats so they could also be out to cut mine, they seem to be somewhat xenophobic.

All considered, I will side with you after all.”

MoR:Being a merchant why would I hurt potential costumers?

Right Paul, you got into the Pavlos character as I see it at least, probably because it’s part of you despite what you may think who knows.

Ulysses and the Sirens by John William Waterhouse (1849–1917). Detail. Via Wikimedia. Click for a bigger image and a higher resolution view of it

Ulysses, ie the Mediterranean Man

To me Pavols is a symbol par excellence of the Mediterranean Man ready to survive in every circumstance and to exchange knowledge goods symbols experiences with a wonderful good nature – given to him by Helios ok – but with an admirable life balance reached tho thru horrible toil it must be said:

the Med, one often forgets, is a ruthless stepmother and no fertile area as the Nordic European lands.

One reason why the Germans are so big compared to the Greco-Romans and successive Mediterranean people: their climate may be horrible but they got BEEFY in the course of the centuries from the beefy cattle that got (and still gets) BIG – as them – from the fat-and-so-green-from-rain darn grass)

« La rareté en Mediterranée – Fernand Braudel écrit – des vrais pâturage. Elle entraîne le petit nombre des bovin … pour l’homme du Nord le bétail de la Méditerranée semble déficient. La Méditerranée, II, pp. 290-291, Livre de Poche »

You add, Paul:

Now, Manius, I have a throwing dagger but what tells you how I will use it the only time I will be able to throw it because retrieving it once thrown is rather problematic.

Well well, I don’t think this to be a problem. I had added the following italic text (but had to prune this and other stuff, it was too verbose:

“Pavlos pulled out an inlaid-with-gold throwing dagger that he always carried with him (even in bed?). He had already shown his ability to use it with deadly precision..

If you have even a colossus before you – Ulysses had one-eyed Polyphemus – you can dispatch him in a second by throwing dagger hurled into the left or right eye (your choice).

But, true, both the Romans & their Greek copain then would all be slaughtered by the rest of the Angles. So yes, Pavols waits for the events to unfold.

Nikos Kazantzakis: Odyssey, a Sequel

nikos kazantzakis

Nikos Kazantzakis, a modern Greek genius. Click for attribution & additional infos

MoR: “A side note à propos de Ulysess. In the winter of 1938, at the age of 45, your father’s countryman Nikos Kazantzakis from Crete (1883 – 1957) published his “Odyssey” (a modern Sequel) in Athens. A huge tome of 835 pages in 24 books with 33,333 verses!

[visit Nikos Kazantzakis' virtual museum]

There’s a good English translation by a Greek American, Kimon Friar (Simon & Schuster, NY 1958).

The two worked together for a long time in order to achieve a good translation. I, being a book maniac, have it on my shelves but have sipped only here and there.

It is as BEEFY as the Germans mamma mia!!”

For My Eldest Brother

Rome at dawn

Rome at dawn. Click for attribution and to enlarge

A man-to-man thing, after an earlier post on how different women and men can be (see the original in Italian.)

ψ

Rome, April 2004. 6 o’clock of a cold but bright morning.

I am looking at the Roman rooftops, sitting in my terrace. It’s almost dawn and I’m cold.

You know, I had two sisters and 8 female first cousins and I met him when we were 3-4. He therefore became my eldest brother.

My Eldest Brother

I have heard him on the telephone the night before after many years of silence.

So now on my terrace on the first shred of paper I found I’m quickly jotting down the words I have in my head for fear of forgetting them.

Words thrown spontaneously – and a bit savage too perhaps.

1950s-1960s remote, antediluvian stuff?

What can I say, we lived in immediate post-war Italy. Judge for yourself.

My 'brother' at 13. We had the same colours, green eyes and blonde hair, but he was blonder. They took us for real brothers


For My Eldest Brother

My friend, companion of happy adventures
during the prime of life,
at 6 in a Roman morning,
a cold breeze running over the rooftops
of a pagan city,
you, companion and brother,
I here come to celebrate
as in an ancient rite,
a pencil splashing words
rapidly on a page,
words alive, unlaboured.

You taught me to enjoy this life,
its primordial side and strength;
I, more fearful,
brought up in a world of women,
was taught by you manly ways,
the male attributes, or nuts,
that you always had,
and have: do not forget!

Oh fuck, male attributes,
may the Lord be thanked!
In a world full of empty
jaded and phony people,
you always were an example,
my friend and brother,
of strength and courage
much more than my father.
You – and my mother’s brothers
so dear and much much loved.

And my father,
who meant a great deal,
from him I took other things.
But you were so much to me.
One more year is a lot
when one is so young,
It helps to establish a primacy
that I always have recognized you.

And here, on this small terrace
of the city of Rome,
in front of the ancient temples
of our primogenial culture,
I honour you,
my eldest brother;
I celebrate you, that primacy still recognizing
not solely because of age.

At this point red wine I would drink
(but it is early in the morning…)
the full-bodied red Tuscan wine
of our wonderful winter evenings
in our countryside – do you recall? -
when, roasted meat over embers
the Dionysian pleasures
of meat and wine you delivered
and of the women
taken by the hair
and gently, strongly,
tenderly loved.

The breeze is now warmer.
Words begin to fail.

I only hope,
dear friend, my strong companion
and eldest brother,
to have conveyed to you
these memories, these emotions
during abrupt awakening
after a phone call.

[Translation by Geraldine]

[This sweet, generous Celtic woman
is not responsible for the 'bad words'
that are mine since how
could she understand them
plus Google translator
doesn't provide help on that]

 

My friend at 22 with his dad Michele. They had a very strong bond. While G's mum was Tuscan his dad was from the South, which meant a lot to both of us

Note. I had talked to him the night before on the phone, as I’ve said. We hadn’t seen or talked to each other since years.

That is probably why I woke with a start at 5:30 am with my head so full of that joy – the years of infancy and adolescence, any reader knows them: we spent them together in the Arezzo’s countryside every single summer of the 1950s-1960s .

Joys (and sorrows) but all lived with exuberance and almost violent intensity.

Arezzo and its country. There's a third friend and we were like the 3 Musketeers. Shot with my little cellular Nokia E63. Click to zoom in

He had a house across from mine but when we first saw each other over the wall (I was alone, he with his grandma, a gentle lady as of from an old-time painting, we had 3-4 years) we did not like each other at all. He looked prissy and too well-groomed to my taste.

Then one day his mother took him to our house for an official visit (the two mums were close friends). Disturbed we were a bit so we began to throw pebbles at a can placed at 10 yards from where we were on a stone table, just to kill moodiness. He was a year older.

The throwing-pebbles-at-a-can thing triggered ALL. We have never left each other since then (apart from a few intervals.) Thing being our brains knew how to fly together, and we laughed and laughed and we laughed out loud. His mind, odd and humorous, was rich with ideas.

In the picture below I am 18. From then on we had the first break. A long one.

Man of Roma at 18 (1966.) Our friendship was about to go on a hiatus. Pauline O'Connor, my piano teacher, had just arrived. Magister will also, but in 1972

Now that we are old (or almost) we feel even closer and there won’t be intervals any more.

It’s this desire we have to stay close at the end of a marvellous adventure we did begin together, in the company also of the loved ones from his side and from my side – who make our life more human (and who console us of its miseries.)

Related posts.
Read 2 of our first adventures with the ‘other sex’:

Sex and the city (of Rome). Season II.1

Al mio fratello maggiore

Alba romana ad aprile. Click for credits and to enlarge

A man-to-man thing, after the previous post on how different women and men can be.

ψ

Roma, aprile 2004. Le 6 di una mattina fredda ma luminosa. Guardo i tetti di Roma. Sono seduto nella mia terrazza. E’ quasi l’alba e ho freddo.

Avevo risentito il mio amico la sera prima al telefono dopo tanti anni di silenzio. Scrivo velocemente a matita sul primo pezzaccio di carta che trovo parole che ho in testa, per paura di dimenticarle.

Parole buttate là, piene di emozione, forse anche un po’ selvagge.

Roba da anni 50s-60s, da epoca remota e superata?

Che volete che vi dica, era l’Italia del dopoguerra, giudicherete voi.

ψ

 

Al mio fratello maggiore

Amico mio, compagno
di scorribande felici
nella fase più piena della vita,
alle 6 di un mattino romano,
la fredda brezza che corre
sui tetti di una città pagana,
io te, compagno mio e fratello,
qui vengo a celebrare
come in un rito antico,
schizzando con la matita
rapide su un foglio
parole vive e non lavorate.

Mi hai insegnato a godere della vita
l’aspetto primordiale e forte;
io, con più timore,
cresciuto in un mondo femminile,
il lato virile mi hai insegnato,
quello con gli attributi,
che hai sempre avuto,
e hai,
non lo dimenticare!

E cazzo vivaddio gli attributi!
In un mondo spompato
pieno di gente vuota stanca fasulla,
sei sempre stato esempio,
caro fratello mio,
di forza e di coraggio,
molto più che mio padre;
tu, e i miei zii materni,
i carissimi e amati
fratelli di mia madre.

A mio padre,
che pure ha significato tanto,
devo altre cose,
ma tu sei stato molto per me,
un anno in più vuol dire,
quando si è giovanissimi:
aiuta a stabilire il primato
che sempre ti ho riconosciuto.

E qui, in questa piccola terrazza
della città di Roma,
di fronte ai templi antichi
della nostra cultura primigenia,
io qui ti onoro,
fratello mio maggiore;
io qui ti celebro,
quel primato ancora riconoscendo
che non fu solo d’età.

 

 

A questo punto vino rosso berrei
(ma è mattino presto…)
il vino rosso forte, toscano,
di quelle serate d’inverno
meravigliose
della nostra campagna.
In cui tu,
la carne arrostita sulle braci,
i piaceri dionisiaci consegnavi
della carne, del vino
e delle femmine prese per i capelli,
e dolcemente, fortemente,
teneramente amate.

 

 

La brezza ora è più calda.
Le parole cominciano a mancare.

Spero soltanto,
amico caro, forte mio compagno
e fratello maggiore,
di averti comunicato
le mie emozioni al brusco risveglio
dopo una telefonata.

ψ

Nota. L’avevo sentito la sera prima al telefono. Non ci eravamo rivisti da anni.

Per questo mi sono svegliato di soprassalto alle 5:30, con la testa piena di quella gioia, e che gioia (gli anni dell’infanzia e dell’adolescenza li conoscete tutti): noi li passammo insieme ogni singola estate nella campagna aretina degli anni 50s-60s.

Emozioni, anche dolori.

Ma tutto vissuto con esuberanza ed intensità quasi violente.

Arezzo e la campagna attorno dove crescemmo insieme. C'è un terzo amico, perché eravamo come i moschettieri. Ne parlerò. Scattato con il mio piccolo Nokia E63. Click to zoom in

Aveva la casa di fronte alla mia ma quando ci vedemmo oltre i muri la prima volta  (io solo, lui con la nonna, una cara signora d’altri tempi, avevamo 3-4 anni) non ci piacemmo affatto. Lui mi sembrava perfettino, troppo ben pettinato.

Poi un giorno sua madre lo portò da noi ufficialmente (le due mamme erano molto amiche). Contrariati cominciammo a tirare i sassi a un barattolo messo su un tavolo di pietra, così, tanto per vincere la scontrosità. Aveva un anno più di me.

Il gioco del tiro al barattolo fece scattare tutto. Da allora non ci siamo più lasciati, anche se con intervalli. I nostri cervelli sapevano volare insieme, e ridevamo, ridevamo, ridevamo a crepapelle. Aveva una mente bizzarra, umoristica, piena di idee.

Qui sotto ho 18 anni. Dì li in poi ci fu il primo intervallo. Lungo.

MoR in 1966. I'm not THAT vain to put only myself here. "My photo is arriving" he said yesterday. Well, we will see. Our frienship was about to go on a hiatus. Pauline O'Connor had just arrived. Magister will also, but in 1972

Adesso che siamo vecchi o quasi ci sentiamo ancora più vicini e non ci saranno intervalli.

Credo che sia la voglia di finire l’avventura meravigliosa cominciata insieme, anche con tutte le altre persone care accanto a lui e accanto a me, che ci rendono la vita più umana (e ci consolano delle sue miserie).

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