The Cocktail Party (Six O’Clock)

VOICE 1: Six o’clock in the evening. Fumes rise from the London gutters as if the Fires of Hell had been unleashed. Crowds of men-like worms crawl through Heathrow alleys, clashing… cursing their fate!

A boy attacks his shadow with a wooden saber under a lamplight unaware of thy Kingdom Come. Damn it! At my back I feel…

Heat.

And Fear!
Suffocating heat.

Stephen opens the window and starry whispers: breathe

BUCK: Champagne?

MIGUEL: No thanks.

(aside) Indulgence. Atonement…

BUCK: You should definitely have some champagne, chap. I’m telling ya, these parties can be awfully lousy when you’re sober. All the noise, the smoke, the senseless chitchat and… Anyway! Lets not lose our focus, right? I must introduce you to some girls; that’s what we are here for after all… Ladies: Beautiful, classy ladies. Yes! that’s my job: Buck lady-finder.

All right! Let’s see who’s here… Ha! See that girl smiling over there?

MIGUEL: The one with the funny shoes? Continue reading “The Cocktail Party (Six O’Clock)”

Time (Eleven O’Clock)

Once I thought Time was a great god.
A powerful god ruling over loves and anguish with stretched and mighty hand…
‘Time the Healer’—the old women called him in their songs.

He is not!

At least not anymore…
That’s what the tears taught me—
Fear no song of old.

He’s powerless and he knows it.
Trapped in his seasons and tides.
A puppet of his stories…
Just as we are.
Bent on his knees sobbing
Just as we should be.
Like a feeble child.
Poor lad! He just plays his part…
We should all play our part! Continue reading “Time (Eleven O’Clock)”

Lovesong (Five O’Clock)

medieval cityOra dal bel Permesso,
O città gloriosa,
ch’hai di cristal le mura, in cui vagheggi
la tua beltà, che l’universo ammira,
delle grazie, e d’amor famoso regno,
a ricalcare i tuoi teatri io vegno.

Now I am come from the fair Permessus
to tread the boards of your theatres,
o glorious city,
you with your crystal walls, in which your beauty is
mirrored, a beauty the universe admires,
o famous realm of the graces and of love.

(Francesco Cavalli, L’Ormindo. Libretto by Giovanni Faustini)

Five o’clock and here I am… hoping
To be in the middle of my life,
Or at least somewhere near.
(So far no sign of hippogriffs around)
Half dead, or maybe half alive
Waiting for a muse to come…,
Sitting within these walls, musing
With my cup of tea and ragged skin
Wishing I smoked still.

(I was so much smarter with a cloud of smoke around me. It gave me an intellectual aura… I hope it did!)

Lapsang
Sounds like lovesong.
But do I know what it means? Continue reading “Lovesong (Five O’Clock)”

Yseult (Seven O’Clock)

yseult

VOICE 1: Seven o’clock in the evening. The sound of falling dust settles over distant lands. The snows of Damavand. Grey petals unfold bringing rain over our parched corpses. A child digs a hole in the sand wondering… “Who knows? We might even find answers if the right questions were asked…,” but there is no time—no time to wonder…

Attention! Here she comes!
Footman!

FOOTMAN: Blow your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise
Bow to Princess Yseult of the Emerald Isle 1

Flourish

PIP: See! Here she comes. Quick! I told you she would be here.

CADDY: Yes! I see her…
Look at her! Shining like the morning star.

PIP: Here she comes wrapped in bespangling beauty
With her hair down
Maesta venit crine soluto 2

CADDY: Hovering over the waters…,
Dazzling radiant Isolde…

PIP: She shines like gold of Araby!
Armed in dazzling beauty

Terrible like an army…

CADDY: “Terrible like an army…”
Where do you get these things from?
Terrible like an army… What kind of praise is that?

PIP: Shush! You philistine woman!
Don’t interrupt me!… I can feel the Muses coming!

CADDY: … All right, then. Go on! Continue reading “Yseult (Seven O’Clock)”

The Copper Cauldron (Eight O’Clock)

macbeth-marion-cotillard

VOICE 1: Eight O’clock. (One to the final stroke.) Fumes rise from the sorceress’ cauldron as ravished Medea passionately stirs wasted love with desires unlawful and unfulfilled. A myriad witches hover around the room talking indistinctly. Muses are nowhere to be found.

VOICE 2: A cup of simple wine (preferably Spanish).
A bucket of blood vainly spilt,
seasoned with original unsullied pain
from days of old
when magic
filled
the air.

MEDEA: A whole bucket? Really…?

LADY MACBETH: Cannot complain there, you’ve got plenty of that…

MEDEA: Indeed my dear. Indeed. I don’t complain about my lot as others love to do… But was there magic in your days? Hmmm… Cannot seem to remember…
Must be getting old!

LADY MACBETH (aside): Is this what life is made of?

MEDEA (gets her glasses from a table): Lets see… What else do we need? Yes, here!
Tears of a unicorn…
Some hippogriff hair…
Seriously! Who writes these recipes? How in God’s name am I supposed to get hippogriff hair?
Continue reading “The Copper Cauldron (Eight O’Clock)”

The Modern vs. The Cybele

 A Sketch for a Modern Love Poem – Tadeus Rozewicz

And yet whiteness
can be best described by greyness
a bird by a stone
sunflowers
in December
love poems of old
used to be descriptions of flesh
they described this and that
for instance eyelashes

and yet redness
should be described
by greyness
the sun by rain
the poppies in November
the lips at night

the most palpable
description of bread
is that of hunger
there is in it
a humid porous core
a warm inside
sunflowers at night
the breasts the belly the thighs of Cybele

a transparent
source-like description of water
is that of thirst
of ash
of desert
it provokes a mirage
clouds and trees
enter a mirror of water
lack hunger
absence
of flesh
is a description of love
in a modern love poem

Translated from the Polish by Czeslaw Milosz

Continue reading “The Modern vs. The Cybele”

What’s wrong with Ford Madox Ford’s Catholics?

parade's_endSome time ago, more than 2 years ago in fact, I wrote a bit on Leonora Ashburham, one of the characters of Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier. I noticed, then, she had much in common with Lady Julia Flyte of Brideshead Revisited—at least regarding her Catholic faith. Both characters are examples of very modern (and adulterous) women who seem not to care much about their religion, yet who insist on educating their children as Catholics, as if that was the only thing with some value they could pass on to them. While I was reading Ford’s tetralogy Parade’s End I thought that this over simplistic description could also be applied to Sylvia, Christopher Tietjens’s wife. Yet, despite the similarities, I think there is something different, and quite sinister, in the case of Sylvia. Continue reading “What’s wrong with Ford Madox Ford’s Catholics?”