Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Lines from the Testament

Solitude : you must be very strong
to love solitude; you have to have good legs
and uncommon resistance; you must avoid catching
colds, flu, sore throat, and you must not fear
thieves and murderers, if you have to walk
all afternoon or even all evening
you must do it with ease; there's no sitting down,
especially in winter, with wind striking the wet grass,
and damp mud-caked stone slabs among garbage;
there's no real consolation, none at all,
beyond having a whole day and night ahead of you
with absolutely no duties or limits.
Sex is a pretext. For however many the encounters
- and even in winter, through streets abandoned to the wind,
amid expanses of garbage against distant buildings,
there are many- they're only moments in the solitude;
the livelier amid warmer the sweet body
that anoints with seed and then departs,
the colder and deathlier the beloved desert around you;
like a miraculous wind, it fills you with joy,
it, not the innocent smile or troubled arrogance
of the one who then goes away; he carries with him a youthfulness
awesomely young; and in this he is inhuman
because he leaves no traces, or, better, only one trace
that's always the same in all seasons.
A boy in his first loves
is nothing less than the world's fecundity.
It is the world that thus arrives with him, appearing, disappearing,
like a changing form. All things remain the same-
and you'll search half the city without finding him again;
the deed is done; it's repetition is ritual. And
the solitude's still greater if a whole crowd
waits its turn; in fact the number of disappearances grows-
leaving is fleeing- and what follows weighs upon the present
like a duty, a sacrifice performed to the death wish.
Growing old however, one begins to feel weary
especially at the moment when dinner time is over
and for you nothing is changed; then you're near to screaming or weeping;
and that would be awesome if it wasn't precisely merely weariness
and perhaps a little hunger. Awesome, because that would mean
your desire for solitude could no longer be satisfied,
the one you can't accept, what can you expect?
There's no lunch or dinner or satisfaction in the world
equal to an endless walk through the streets of the poor,
where you must be wretched and strong, brothers to the dogs.

Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1969

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