Morelliana

March 27, 2009

“I think about forgotten gestures, the multiple signals and words of grandparents, lost little by little, not inherited, fallen one after the other off the tree of time. Tonight I found a candle on a table, and as a game I lit it and walked along the corridor with it. The breeze stirred up by my motion was about to put it out, then I saw my right hand come up all by itself, cup itself, protect the flame with a living lampshade that kept the breeze away. While the flame climbed up again alert, I thought that the gesture had belonged to all of us (I thought us and I thought well, or I felt well) for thousands of years, during the Age of Fire, until they changed it on us to electric lights. I imagined other gestures, the one that women make when they lift the hem of their skirts, the one that men make looking for the hilt of their swords. Like words lost in childhood, heard for the last time by old people who are heading towards death. In my home no one talks about the “camphor closet” any more, no one talks about “the triv”—the trivet—any more. Like music of the moment, 1920s waltzes, polkas that warmed grandparents’ hearts.

“I think about those objects, those boxes, those utensils that sometimes would turn up in storerooms, kitchens, or hidden spots, and whose use no one can explain any more. The vanity of believing that we understand the works of time: it buries its dead and keeps the keys. Only in dreams, in poetry, in play—lighting a candle, walking with it along the corridor—do we sometimes arrive at what we were before we were this thing that, who knows, we are.”

bastards: this is why i study the classics, this quote above, this is why i stop reading ‘modern’ books.