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Art: Piotr Lichwierowicz

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How wonderful it would be

to stop counting time

forget one’s age

one’s height

one’s past

no hours or minutes

just moon and sun

and endless freedom

to discover

one’s age

one’s wisdom

the world

Art: Salvador Dali, The Persistence of Memory (1931)

The Prologue to Bertrand Russell’s Autobiography

What I Have Lived For

Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a great ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair.

I have sought love, first, because it brings ecstasy – ecstasy so great that I would often have sacrificed all the rest of life for a few hours of this joy. I have sought it, next, because it relieves loneliness–that terrible loneliness in which one shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world into the cold unfathomable lifeless abyss. I have sought it finally, because in the union of love I have seen, in a mystic miniature, the prefiguring vision of the heaven that saints and poets have imagined. This is what I sought, and though it might seem too good for human life, this is what–at last–I have found.

With equal passion I have sought knowledge. I have wished to understand the hearts of men. I have wished to know why the stars shine. And I have tried to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which number holds sway above the flux. A little of this, but not much, I have achieved.

Love and knowledge, so far as they were possible, led upward toward the heavens. But always pity brought me back to earth. Echoes of cries of pain reverberate in my heart. Children in famine, victims tortured by oppressors, helpless old people a burden to their sons, and the whole world of loneliness, poverty, and pain make a mockery of what human life should be. I long to alleviate this evil, but I cannot, and I too suffer.

This has been my life. I have found it worth living, and would gladly live it again if the chance were offered me.


Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) won the Nobel prize for literature for his History of Western Philosophy and was the co-author of Principia Mathematica.

 


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the sun is killing me

shining right into the wound

spilling the pain for all to see

its glare merciless

soulless

indifferent

the rays like daggers

and sweet all the same

loving and hating

while dying

together

contorted by silence

pummelled and spent

he writhes against

the beast

unseen and unheard

surrounded by thorns

he bleeds away

all hope

 

Art: Francis Bacon

 

The sky opened suddenly

and he tumbled to earth

Unable to open his wings

he crashed with great force

Dazed and fractured

he did not move for some time

Feather by feather his wings opened

and he rose slowly

The density of matter

overwhelmed his senses

and he sank to his knees

Lowering his head he prayed

for salvation

from himself

Art: Igor Mitoraj, Angelo Caduto (Fallen Angel)

flutter

 

the longing came suddenly

alighting like a bird

wings spread as far

as the heart could see

and in the silence

that followed

the great revelation

it spoke –

your name

 

 

 

in the darkness it shone

white and ghostly

swaying as if suspended on a stalk

its roots deep in the nebula

invisible moorings

sapping light

 

Art: Odilon Redon, Strange Flower (Little Sister of the Poor), 1880

 

He rang the bell and waited

No one came to the door

After a short while he knocked gently

Silence

He put his ear to the door and listened

He thought he heard breathing

He held his

and listened

Someone was breathing

He could not tell who it was

He held his breath one more time

and listened

Someone was still breathing

He sank to the floor and wept

He had found himself

The door remained closed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art: Dorothy Grostern, Staircase

 

 

 

I could close the door

Draw the curtains

Dim the light

Lay my head down

Bow and pray

Breathe and listen to the heartbeat

Lose all memory

Leave no trace

Swim upon the ocean

Float to heaven

And never return…

 

without-hope

 

Art: Frida Kahlo, Without Hope, 1945