Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Sadness Of Distances

Distances, wrote Marina Tsvetaeva, have disbanded us.

I am talking about geographical distance, the politics of seperation, the aesthetic of parting, the pain of distances. Tsvetaeva is talking about political exile, while I refer to the ordinary or a different separation from those we love, on this odyssey called life or deathward existence as Bernhard wrote.

Separations have reasons, and unbeknowest to us, they lead to distances so irreconcilable that even the epic efforts of Ulysses won't help. We prepare nights of parting, in the centre of that night, we lie down, restless, justifying reasons, reasons to leave the one's we love, justifying false justifications. The soft wound that we leave behind, the softness of that wound, that wound that we just created, becomes difficult to heal as we put more nights between us.

Then in a place far away, far away from that familiar music, those songs, that music, we hear another drone, not music but silence, for this is the speech of silence, the noise not music of distances, the sullen silence of this new noise, but not music.
Partings have no shame, they are shameless affairs, unhealthy, malignant, shameless affairs, just too sad, too dangerous, without justifications, without any music. Partings are sad affairs, so unashamedly sad, so dangerously unmusical.
Then the days become nights into days, we grow into different people, under the difference of new music, there being less snow here than there, less snow, more wind, less music, more night, more dark, less snow, more silence.

And they have changed too, under a different sun, under a different skin, with more distance upon distance, with no reason to justify these false justifications, these unmusical separations, this loud distance, these long nights.

Tsataeva says that distances have disrupted us, disbanded us......and dispersed, dissected and displaced us. These distances, or the reasons might be different from the more ordinary, more romantic ones that I have in mind, but physical distance nonetheless.
The smile and face of a familiar place is like an extension of one's own self, like a finger, a hand, the throbbing of an eyelash, the beating of a heart, it melts into the iris like a warm promise, like a sunny day. And we lose all this after we lose all that.

Distances heap thickness on the eyes, they harden hearts, they make us languish at desires edge, at tomorrow's dawn. Distances thicken hands and lips, making tongues lisp, throats lose music. Distances give sorrow and pain.


* said...

i know no one who had a more harrowing life than tsevateva. I was wondering,where did you get that distance-qotes from,from her letters? I was thinking, there is juts as much distance in her as the ability to love or closeness. great piece you wrote. But also distances can give clarity, apart from the pain...that clarity often goes along with it. nd that then on the other hand there is no words for distance in its full destructiveness.

Kubla Khan said...

I found this poem in her collected poems. it is called Distances.
yes, distances give clarity, but they destroy the routine of togetherness, which is the essence of life.
yes, i agree.....distances cannot be described.

Kubla Khan said...

Tsvetaeva had a brief affair with the great Russian poet Osip Mandelstam. have you read his poems? just one word.....great.

alpha2omega said...

Routine of togetherness....the essence of life:
Hmmm...beg to differ, but then how would I know the taste of essence of YOUR life, ha!

~ said...

yes I know these poems and also about the affair. I found it was most painful expressed, those distances, in the letters to Rilke and Pasternak. Somehow there are few poets who had a more harrowing life than her.