LI has described in an earlier post how watching a series on PBS that showed Ingmar Bergman’s films up until 1965 had an alchemical effect on us, charged us with a sense of how exotic, exciting and essential it is to struggle with life and death, a truth that was buried as deeply as possible beneath the grass and the fill and the junk and the clay atop which our little Atlanta suburb was built. But bury a truth as deep as you want to, it will creep up and get into your living room, your milk, your cubicle, your computer, your war, your taxes, your children and the one thing that can never ever happen in the world, your death.
In 1989, Bergman staged Mishima’s play, Madame de Sade. In one of the scenes, some lines by one of Gunnar Ekelof’s poems, Etudes, was framed on the wall. Here is the 3rd section.
Each person is a world, peopledTranslation by Robert Bly.
by blind creatures in dim revolt
against the I, the king, who rules them.
In each soul thousands of souls are imprisoned,
in each world thousands of worlds are hidden
and these blind and lower worlds
are real and living, though not full-born,
as truly as I am real. And we kings
and barons of the thousand potential creatures within us
are citizens ourselves, imprisoned
in some larger creature, whose ego and nature
we understand a little as our master
his master. From their death and their love
our own feelings have received a coloring.
As when a great liner passes by
far out below the horizon where the sea lies
so still at dusk. And we know nothing of it
until a swell reaches us on the shore,
first one, then one more, and then many
washing and breaking until it all goes back
as before. Yet it is all changed.
So we shadows are seized by a strange unrest
when something tells us that people have left,
that some of the possible creatures have gotten free.