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Il se cache

dans l’ombre

tisser des feuilles

vert camouflage

au-dessous d’une arbre

Debout, flottant

esprit habille en homme

il m’attende

dans l’ombre

des mes rêves…

 

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I hear them, a cacophony of languages as alien as they are frighteningly familiar, each word a garble, an utterance of pain, of horror, gurgling remains of a roar, for all that is left in the lungs is barely enough to carry the pain to its conclusion.

 

From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were—I have not seen
As others saw—I could not bring
My passions from a common spring—
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow—I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone—
And all I lov’d—I lov’d alone—
Then—in my childhood—in the dawn
Of a most stormy life—was drawn
From ev’ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still—
From the torrent, or the fountain—
From the red cliff of the mountain—
From the sun that ’round me roll’d
In its autumn tint of gold—
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass’d me flying by—
From the thunder, and the storm—
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view—
Alone, By Edgar Allan Poe
Art: Eleni Nikologlou; Photography, “In the Shadow of Memory”

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.

 


Return to the Bertrand Russell Society Home Page

 

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

 

 

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

 

Leonid_Pasternak_-_The_Passion_of_creation

Writing is akin to the birthing process.

First, there is a silent prolonged period of gestation.

Then the pressure starts to grow.

When the contractions begin, it’s time to sit down to write.

And then it gushes out (or should).

No point counting the fingers and toes of the new arrival.

There is no turning back.

One cannot edit out a sentence just as one cannot cut off a limb.

It’s born.

And it speaks.

 

Art: Leonid Pasternak, The Passion of creation