Tuesday, 20 November 2007

joseph brodsky

At a lecture

Since mistakes are inevitable, I can easily be taken
for a man standing before you in this room filled
with yourselves. Yet in about an hour
this will be corrected, at your and at my expense,
and the place will be reclaimed by elemental particles
free from the rigidity of a particular human shape
or type of assembly. Some particles are still free. It's not all dust.

So my unwillingness to admit it's I
facing you now, or the other way around,
has less to do with my modesty or solipsism
than with my respect for the premises' instant future,
for those afore-mentioned free-floating particles
settling upon the shining surface
of my brain. Inaccessible to a wet cloth eager to wipe them off.

The most interesting thing about emptiness
is that it is preceded by fullness.The first to understand this were, I believe, the Greek
gods, whose forte indeed was absence.
Regard, then, yourselves as rehearsing perhaps for the divine encore,
with me playing obviously to the gallery.
We all act out of vanity. But I am in a hurry.

Once you know the future, you can make it come
earlier. The way it's done by statues or by one's furniture.
Self-effacement is not a virtue
but a necessity, recognised most often
toward evening. Though numerically it is easier
not to be me than not to be you. As the swan confessed
to the lake: I don't like myself. But you are welcome to my reflection.

3 comments:

Marta said...

"The most interesting thing about emptiness is that it is preceded by fullness.The first to nderstand this were, I believe, the Greek
gods, whose forte indeed was absence."

Now, it concens me that the Greeks might have been the first but we still are framing so much through fullness and emptiness. The movement between the two is what changes and effects, nevertheless we often do not have other words than nouns to decribe consequences of this change.

I am also fascinated by this idea of future through reflection, even if it is explored so little unfortunatedly in this passage.

so many stimula anyway...

swiss said...

i don't think the greks were the first, more a point we've chosen that's fixed in our culture and is i suppose reflective of our binary obsession.
thse last few things i've put up i'm trying to respond to what you've been saying in your blog.
quite what i'm trying to say i'm not sure!

Jace said...

Good for people to know.