more chatter

LI, on vacation, doesn’t do that thing called thinking. Vacations are inherently anti-Cartesian. Into the vacuum enters, embarrassingly enough, poetry. And though I am rapidly making my way to the grave, I still haven’t given up such childish joys as masturbation and making one line follow another, and even searching for rhymes. But don’t worry, I am not about to throw a pile of poetry into the face of the public. This is just an observation of the automat within me.

If I were thinking, I’d look at the papers, I’d look at the current state of play on Iraq, the pre-September follies, the incredible demonstration that distance is the equivalent of the worst vileness – civilization and the moral imperative probably have a precise ending point, say at 2020.9 miles from one’s home - and I’d slit my wrists, metaphorically speaking, or try to shed this human skin and become inanimate. But those, too, are childish fantasies – if you live in the monster, you are the monster. That’s that.

Instead of which, I will translate this paragraph from De L’amour, chapter 33:

“Always a small doubt to tranquilize, this is what makes for that thirst persisting every instant, this is what makes the life of love happy. As fear never abandons it, its pleasures can never bore. The characteristic of this happiness is extreme seriousness.”

LI gets a deep satisfaction – the satisfaction one gets from all vertiginous art, or the art, simply, of the baroque – from the variations of tone and sensibility Stendhal gets out of one little word, here: ‘happiness’.


amie said…
LI, you're right that poetry does its thing - shamelessly or not - best in void and vacuum, but surely you are not suggesting that it has nothing to do with that thing called thinking!?

But wait, don't want to send LI off on a Denken und Dichtung tangent, even if it might just brush up against happiness! Am looking forward to further posts re Stendhal and happiness. After your previous mention of S., I reread La Chartreuse de Parme which is another text with vertiginous variations out of the little word 'happiness'; one of those texts that at times makes one leap out the chair and jump around!

There is a breathtaking interruption to the text, where one reads:
"Here we shall ask permission to pass, without saying a single word about them, over an interval of three years."
A line later:
"After these three years of divine happiness..."
roger said…
Amie, thinking and poetry aren't allergic to each other - you are right there - but there is a kind of release from the intentional squeeze of thinking, a kind of openness... but I'll exit stage left before I get into the whys and wherefores of that!
Or at least for now. One thing about vacation, it always seems to involve moving one or another member of my family's large items around from one place to another. Tonight, I can neither denken nor dichten - hell, I can hardly trinken.