The mystery of encounter | Notes from a Room

The mystery of encounter

The poem is lonely. It is lonely and en route. Its author stays with it. Does this very fact not place the poem already here, at its inception, in the encounter, in the mystery of encounter?

The poem intends another, needs this other, needs an opposite. It goes toward it, bespeaks it. For the poem, everything and everybody is a figure of this other toward which it is heading.


The poem becomes conversation – often desperate conversation.

— Celan, The Meridian (tr. Waldrop)

Source: The mystery of encounter | Notes from a Room

Corona | Notes from a Room


Autumn eats its leaf out of my hand: we are friends.
From the nuts we shell time and we teach it to walk:
then time returns to the shell.

In the mirror it’s Sunday,
in dream there is room for sleeping,
our mouths speak the truth.

My eye moves down to the sex of my loved one:
we look at each other,
we exchange dark words,
we love each other like poppy and recollection,
we sleep like wine in the conches,
like the sea in the moon’s blood ray.

We stand by the window embracing, and people
look up from the street:
it is time they knew!
It is time the stone made an effort to flower,
time unrest had a beating heart.
It is time it were time.

It is time.

— Celan (tr. Hamburger)

Source: Corona | Notes from a Room

Emotional outbursts | Notes from a Room


The individual in his rationality is determined by the rationality of capital which he encounters as a force of nature, which he experiences daily and which therefore must appear to him as rational through and through. His protest against this life-destroying force can therefore only be a protest of feeling or emotion. But since ‘reason’ rules, these emotional outbursts of the individual are rationalised and ‘disappear’ into stomach pains, gall stones, circulatory problems, kidney stones, cramps of all kinds, into impotence, head colds, toothaches, skin diseases, back aches, migraines, asthma, car and workplace accidents, depression, and so forth – or feelings mushroom in interpersonal relationships (emotional plague), in flat affects (‘serious’ people), in psychosis etc.

Turn Illness into a Weapon, manifesto of the Heidelberg Socialist Patients’ Collective, 1972

(Quoted here.)

Source: Emotional outbursts | Notes from a Room

Malcolm Bull · Can the poor think? ‘Nervous States’ · LRB 26 June 2019

Source: Malcolm Bull · Can the poor think? ‘Nervous States’ · LRB 26 June 2019

Kinship with the world | Notes from a Room

Kinship with the world

Something else had surprised him: that with his first running steps the surroundings, which had receded from him until nothing remained but a number of vanishing points – nothing there for him to look at! – were again surrounding him protectively. Where previously he had seemed to be passing the backs of things, he now saw details, which seemed to exist for him as well as for others. – Running again, Keuschnig noticed glistening puddles in the gravel beside the freshly watered potted trees and in that moment he had a dreamlike feeling of kinship with the world. He stopped still outside the entrance and shook his head as though arguing against his previous disgruntlement. Now he was able to look freely in all directions. Before going in, he cast a last hungry glance over his shoulder to make sure he had missed nothing. How his surroundings had expanded! It took free eyes to see them so rich – so benevolent. Now the sky with its low-lying clouds seemed to be sharing something with him.

– [Peter] Handke, A Moment of True Feeling (tr. Manheim)

Source: Kinship with the world | Notes from a Room

May Sarton: Journal of a Solitude

“The ambience here is order and beauty. That is what frightens me when I am first alone again. I feel inadequate. I have made an open place, a place for meditation. What if I cannot find myself inside it ?”  – May Sarton

Source: May Sarton: Journal of a Solitude

Two Essays on Blanchot – Charlotte Mandell

Source: Essays – Charlotte Mandell

fluent in silence: nihonga : slow art

nihonga : slow art

a beautiful little documentary about makoto fujimura and nihonga : slow art:

Source: fluent in silence: nihonga : slow art

flowerville: because we cannot simply live

because we cannot simply live

That is the decisive power of a singular work: a call to action. And I, time and again, am overcome with the hubris to believe I can answer that call.

The words before me were elegant, blistering. My hands vibrated. Infused with confidence, I had the urge to bolt, mount the stairs, close the heavy door that had been his, sit before my own stack of foolscap, and begin at my own beginning. An act of guiltless sacrilege.

I rested my fingertips on the edge of the last page. Catherine and I looked at one another, not saying a word. I handed her the manuscript, harboring a regret reserved for the end of an affair. I rose from the table, the unfinished violet tea gone cold, the immortelle left behind.

Wandering into the small town, I picture Camus rising from his desk, reluctantly setting his work aside. Observed by the ghost of a girl, he descends the stair, follows this same route, past the clock tower with the Latin inscription: The hours that pass devour us. He walks these same narrow cobblestone streets, taking his usual seat at Café de l’Ormeau. He lights a cigarette and has a coffee, surrendering to the village hum. In the distance lavender hills, almond trees, blue Algerian sky. Inevitably his mind will turn from the spur of amiable conversation back to his sanctuary, to a certain phrase that has yet to be resolved.

Things are slow moving. There is a pencil stub in my pocket.

What is the task? To compose a work that communicates on several levels, as in a parable, devoid of the stain of cleverness.

What is the dream? To write something fine, that would be better than I am, and that would justify my trials and indiscretions. To offer proof, through a scramble of words, that God exists.

Why do I write? My finger, as a stylus, traces the question in the blank air. A familiar riddle posed since youth, withdrawing from play, comrades and the valley of love, girded with words, a beat outside.

Why do we write? A chorus erupts.

Because we cannot simply live.


Patti Smith – Devotion

via Kateri Ewing

Source: flowerville: because we cannot simply live

Today’s Haiku (April 13, 2021) | Blue Willow Haiku World (by Fay Aoyagi)

啄木忌星の乏しき町なりけり  村上鞆彦

takuboku ki hoshi no toboshiki machi narikeri

Takuboku’s Day

the town

with few stars

Tomohiko Murakami

Fay Aoyagi, translation

from “Chijitsu no Kishi” (Shore on Slow Day), haiku collection of Tomohiko Murakami, Furansudo, Tokyo 2015

Fay’s Note:  Takuboku Ishikawa (1886-1912), a Japanese poet of tanka and longer poetry died on April 13.

Source: Today’s Haiku (April 13, 2021) | Blue Willow Haiku World (by Fay Aoyagi)