Thursday, August 23, 2007

Photograph

We fixed between us
to imprison a sunny sky,
a shimmering lake and a heedlessly dizzy afternoon.
A photographic memory that could
scatter my collection of silences.
Some paper that I could stick to my favourite wall,
some faces that stick to my soul,
like a primeval memory, Adam, sin and tree.

But a photograph is awfully untrue
and hopelessly facile,
saying "Yes" the faces smiled together
but set the sunny day free.
A sky, lake and an afternoon
that cannot be trapped on paper or drawn on stone,
memories that dispatch time into oblivion,
giving memory not time, claws
to rip open this seemingly peaceful night.

2 comments:

antonia said...

I like this, it has something wistful and then this sort of painful rupture.
Read the Sontag-essay on Sebald, but am not so happy about it somehow. I think what bothered me most is that she said that Bernhard has no sympathy and compared them regarding their ability to have sympathy. I thought one cannot compare those two, they both have their own value and there are plenty of passages in Bernhard where he shows sympathy too. And strangely, she gives the Rings of Saturn not such a high value than his earlier novels. The Saturn bookis quite outstanding, different from Austerlitz & the earlier novels because it pursues less a coherent story, has not that much of a plot. But still I find the Saturn one most fascinating, even more maybe than Austerlitz, because in teh Saturn book Sebald manages to give all those wonderful apparently arbitrary details a value that does not diminish them or brutalizes them in abstraction, and instead only enrichenes them. It's most Proustlike somehow, the most lightest and freely floating one.

KUBLA KHAN said...

Hello Antonia
Thanks about the poem. It is actually about something concrete, something that is now permanently lost.
Re the essay, I felt the same and having read Austerlitz and The rings, I consider rings to be truly representative of the Sebaldian pain, let us call it that.
it is as you rightly point out, outstanding and much different. it is meditative and gives a semblance of flesh and feeling to abstractions.