Chansons

paris 31/20.

La chanson des vieux amants

by Melody Gardot – Brel/ ces gens-là

“When we read a story, we inhabit it. The covers of the book are like a roof and four walls. What is to happen next will take place within the four walls of the story. And this is possible because the story’s voice makes everything its own.”

JOHN BERGER

“My heart born naked
was swaddled in lullabies.
Later alone it wore
poems for clothes.
Like a shirt
I carried on my back
the poetry I had read.

So I lived for half a century
until wordlessly we met.

From my shirt on the back of the chair
I learn tonight
how many years
of learning by heart
I waited for you.”

AND OUR FACES, MY HEART, BRIEF AS PHOTOS

“To be naked is to be oneself.
To be nude is to be seen naked by others and yet not recognized for oneself.

Nakedness reveals itself. Nudity is placed on display.
To be naked is to be without disguise.
To be on display is to have the surface of one’s own skin, the hairs of one’s own body, turned into a disguise which, in that situation, can never be discarded. The nude is condemned to never being naked. Nudity is a form of dress.”

ways of seeing

“A photograph is not necessarily a lie, but it isn’t the truth either. It’s more like a fleeting, subjective impression.”

“Seeing come before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak.

But there is also another sense in which seeing comes before words. It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world; we explain that world with words, but words can never undo the fact that we are surrounded by it. The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled.”

“All stories are about battles, of one kind or another, which end in victory and defeat. Everything moves toward the end, when the outcome will be known. Poems, regardless of any outcome, cross the battlefields, tending the wounded, listening to the wild monologues of the triumphant or the fearful. They bring a kind of peace. Not by anaesthesia or easy reassurance, but by the promise that what has been experienced cannot disappear as if it had never been. Yet the promise is not of a monument. Who, still on a battlefield, wants monuments? The promise is that language has acknowledged, has given shelter, to the experience which demanded, which cried out”

“Never again will a single story be told as though it’s the only one.”

“Photographs do not translate from appearances. They quote from them.”

another way of telling

Réveillon de la Saint-Sylvestre

reconstructed from memories, Feb 7, 2021

“Autobiography begins with a sense of being alone. It is an orphan form.”

“The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled. Each evening we see the sun set. We know that the earth is turning away from it. Yet the knowledge, the explanation, never quite fits the sight.”

ways of seeing