Summer was certainly the most beautiful season, particularly for Cosima. It was very hot during the day, but a dry heat that at night softened into an extraordinary mildness. It was then that odors of stubble and aromatic bushes came from the valley and harvested fields. And the voices of the women gathered on the road to enjoy the cool air resounded with deep musical harmonies. The long evenings were rosy, blue-green, violet above the mountains, and if a moon rose up over the rocks its light blended with the last rays of the day into an almost oriental twilight.
And then it was the season when Antonino came home for his vacation. Cosima would wait for this like others waited for spring or daybreak. That year her expectation was mixed with a vague fear—a fear that Antonino might have heard the big news that even she had become a writer, a candidate for glory. A fear that he might smile at her with that ironic familiar smile, veiled in him however by a very subtle melancholy, like that of the great—the truly great and strong—for the small and weak. Basically it didn’t much matter to her, firm in her ambitious certainty of not having need for outside help to follow the path God himself had designated for her. And not only did she hope for nothing from Antonino, but she wanted nothing from him, not even for him to suspect she loved him. Love. The word had finally blossomed in her heart, and most of all in her conscience, from that day on the rocks, like a red and fragrant rosebud that is enough to brighten a desolate garden.
And yet Antonino’s body did not exist for her; not even did a faint, instinctive desire for a single kiss shake her. She knew only his form, a vague bluish form, since he almost always dressed in a clear dark-blue color, suffused in the glimmer of the distance from which he appeared to her, even when in reality his figure rose from the bottom of the solitary road. He had to pass by that road in order to go from his house to the center of the town. She knew that and waited for him at the window, but as soon as his figure appeared, she would hide.
~Grazia Deledda [Martha King, translator] [buy]
No woman is an island-ess. We fall in love in hope of anchoring ourselves to someone else, to keep from falling.
~Chris Kraus [buy]
Orpheus und Eurydike [excerpts] (1975) (Pina Bausch, after Gluck et alia) [Paris Opera] [buy]
Kahvinkeittäjä (Maija Halonen) (1905) (Pekka Halonen)
We count the broken lyres that rest
Where the sweet wailing singers slumber,
But o’er their silent sister’s breast
The wild-flowers who will stoop to number?
A few can touch the magic string,
And noisy Fame is proud to win them:—
Alas for those that never sing,
But die with all their music in them!
Nay, grieve not for the dead alone
Whose song has told their hearts’ sad story,—
Weep for the voiceless, who have known
The cross without the crown of glory!
Not where Leucadian breezes sweep
O’er Sappho’s memory-haunted billow,
But where the glistening night-dews weep
On nameless sorrow’s churchyard pillow.
O hearts that break and give no sign
Save whitening lip and fading tresses,
Till Death pours out his cordial wine
Slow-dropped from Misery’s crushing presses,—
If singing breath or echoing chord
To every hidden pang were given,
What endless melodies were poured,
As sad as earth, as sweet as heaven!
~Oliver Wendell Holmes