Sonet


The Rout of the Rebel Angels William Blake

Dacă speranța mii și mii de aripi ar avea

Pe care prinse visele să zboare

Sau dacă Dumnezeu în trup s-ar îmbrăca

Încât să îl putem atinge cu ardoare

Ori dacă gândurile-ar arde ca niște văpăi,

Iar noi să le putem aprinde din amnare,

Iubirea ca un fruct de-ar arăta

Din care să mușcăm până la-ndestulare

Și dacă viața-n labirintul ei ne-ar așeza

Legați c-un fir de aur împletit,

El drumul spre ieșire, poate, ni l-ar arăta.

Ne-ar fi destinul lin și lămurit

Dacă un chip acestea toate ar avea,

Dar nu-i așa și, cred, ne-am rătăcit.

Manuel and The Two Hearts

10. The confession                                                                      

In the last part of this tale will disclose to you what happened only a few weeks after Manuel’s return.

It was during at a great banquet given to honour some foreign ambassadors.

In a resplendent hall thronged with guests echoing with the clattering of cutleries and with people’s songs and laughter, the tables were loaded with the best food and wine one could have ever imagined. Yet, amid the festivities, Manuel stood up and, asking for a moment of silence, he spoke:

“Hear me out, everyone! By now all of you know of all my recent troubles and deem me to be a worthy man. I have done everything in my power to restore my honour and to mitigate my beautiful wife’s mistrust towards me. But none of you knows that what had happened was caused by a untamed heart, one that unless made to confess, will never admit any of the wrongdoings it has brought upon me and my dear Isabella.”

The commotion that followed brought the celebration to an end. Then, at a sign from the king, all the guests suddenly became silent. Bohemond asked Manuel:

“What do you mean? Wasn’t it by your own free will that you endeavoured to go an fulfil the tasks you accomplished?”

“It was, my king. Hadn’t she sworn an oath not to confess it, my wife should be able to tell us who made her ask of me all those chores she did,. But even so, she doesn’t know the whole truth either,” said Manuel.

“I don’t understand! What is he talking about, Isabella?” the king inquired.

The princess stuttered:

“Father… I… I mean… I got that letter, you saw it. It had Manuel’s writing on it. Had I

known how much trouble it would cause; I would have burned it. Father…”

“Please, my king, don’t blame her for anything. Both I and Isabella had to learn that some things are not what they seem to be, that some people, we tend to trust, can deceive us for their own good,” intervened Manuel.

“Then what in God’s name is going on? Be quick and bring light upon the matter!” spoke Bohemond gripped by anger.

“I shall, but only if you swear not the harm that person in any way,” said Manuel.

“Why would you ask for such a thing?” asked Bohemond.

“I must. Do I have your word, my king?” asked Manuel

The king confirmed.

“Then know that before all this started, the queen herself wanted to see me, for she desired my body and my love. After I refused her, she swore herself to get read of me and remove the threat I represented. And so, she persuaded Isabella to try my loyalty in ways no one had done it before. In the end I lost my life. But you see, it wasn’t the will of the heavens that her majesty’s plot would go undiscovered. I saw it myself, but it was too late for me to divulge it.”

“This is pure nonsense? The boy is out of his mind,” the queen uttered.

“This might be true, but it was you, my queen, the one who forged the letter with the help of the powerful sorceress Amala, one who everyone in this room has heard about. You don’t to admit it, but let me assure you, you will,” said Manuel.

“Ridiculous! My king, his insults have poured on me, long enough. Ban your so-called hero from the court. He is and adulterer and most probably a wizard. Don’t let yourself be deceived by him. I tried to warn you about this for so many times, but you were blinded by his pretence kindness and bravery. There was nothing I could do to undo the spell he cast on you. And now look at him, he is trying to undermine you, by taking me out of the way. My king, I am the only one who now stands between you and a certain death. Who will you believe: this cunning upstart or your ever-faithful wife? Show this court and your guests what you are made of,” said the queen with a decisive look on her face.

“Bring forth the sultan’s rose,” said Manuel. “We will both kiss its petals and you shall find out who is right and who is wrong.”

“Clearly you will not allow such a sham of a trial, my king. Who can confirm to any of us that the story about the rose is fact or mere superstition?” said Constance.

“It will be one of you two, my queen,” said Bohemond, talking with as much resoluteness as Constance. “If you will both hold onto your stories after you have touched the rose, there is nothing neither of us can do but to agree with one side or the other, but if one of you will admit his guilt then we can only hold the rose’s power as responsible for it. Bring forth the sultan’s flower.”

And so, they did. And after each of the two touched the rose’s petals with his lips, they were again asked to confess. While Manuel’s version stayed unchanged, the queen admitted her intrigue in front of all those people. The uproar that followed shook the whole palace. The king, immediately ordered for the queen to be banished from the court, but Isabella stood up and spoke:

“Father, husband and all you that are present, listen to what I have to say. If this is the punishment you assign for my mother, then I should join her wherever she goes. For if she was foolish enough to fall in love with a younger man, I was even more of a fool to have listened to her. My guilt surpasses her in every way. I know you will look at her and judge. What she had done was both wicked and human in the same time. But, if my husband agrees with me, I would like that the two of us leave this house never to return. People of Antioch don’t banish your queen. Let her live in the shadow of her sins. Manuel, this world is not ours, I beg you, let’s build ourselves a new home and forget about the old one.”

“I agree, my sweetheart,” said Manuel and then he turned towards the royal couple, “My queen, I forgive you, my king, I pray that you forgive her too. Isabella, we shall ride far away this very night and we shall forge us that kingdom you spoke of.”

And so, the two youths took the golden peacock, the star and the rose and, together with just a few followers, they travelled far, far away where no one could find them, and there they raised a new citadel one that slowly grew to become a home for many wanderers and exiles, growing into a place of great knowledge and art.

As for those they left in Antioch, I do not know what happened to them. They grew old and died and were slowly forgotten as it’s always happens with those who so briefly pass through this world.

The End

The Cherry Tree

That Thursday was sweaty,

Its air, warm and sweet,

A wine made us chatty,

We savoured fresh meat.

The red summer berries

Were bleeding on plates

Ensnaring the flies,

Thus, ending their fates.

Nearby, like a king,

A proud cherry tree

Was shaking its fruits

Enchanting a bee.

Its cherries were heavy,

As dark as the night,

The wasps bit their pulp

And swarmed with delight.

But then I saw more,

For perched on the branches

Were two lazy pigeons

Both taking their chances.

That moment is gone,

But if I’ll display

This painting of words

That moment might stay.

That summer in London

The weather was hot,

A tree bore its cherries

And left them to rot.

(To all the wonderful people I met in London throughout the years)

Manuel and The Two Hearts

9. The star and the peacock

The death of Manuel brought munch sorrow on Bohemond’s house. The people were whispering in discontent. Suspicion of foul play and court intrigues hanged above every member of his family. To assuage the growing clamour the king ordered the building of a massive mausoleum for the young man. Once this was finished, on his tomb stone the king laid the small, shining star that Manuel had snatched from the bosom of the cold sea, an eternal reminder of the youth’s beauty and virtues.

Isabella would visit the imposing mausoleum every day, floating like a pale ghost among the marble statues and praying in a frenzy to chase away the pain and the guilt that tormented her day and night. She blamed herself for what had happened and never recovered from the loss of her love.

As for the queen, she never had it better. Young Manuel had been punished for his impertinence and all her misdemeanour lay buried with him under a heavy stone slab.

A year passed and, apart from a few bards and drunkards, the city almost forgot all about Manuel and his troubles. And, as people had to go on with their lives, the dashing Isabella was soon to marry a new suitor, a prince from Edessa, a neighbouring kingdom, thus forging a new alliance of the crusaders against the many enemies that surrounded them.

*

It was a night and a thick fog surrounded the monument where Manuel body rested, when the iron door opened with a rumble and two light steps barely touching the hard pavement of the mausoleum rushed towards the stone coffin. A tearful Isabella kneeled right next to the tomb and uttered:

“I am sorry, my love, for all the torments I caused you and for the sad ending I brought upon you. You deserved better and I will have my punishment in this life and the next. It is always the innocent and the good that pay the price for all our sins while the rest of the world gloats in its vanity like it is the best thing there can be. I… I came to bid you farewell for in just a few day I am about to be betrothed to another man. The will of my father and the needs of my country compel me, and I must accept. But know this, my dearest Manuel, you will forever be my one true love. Rest well, and don’t return to this world of sadness before the end of days, when I am sure you will come flying down as one of God’s angels.”

Isabella trembled and choked in tears, but then, the lonely star that was flickering on Manuel’s tomb flared up and spoke to the startled girl:

“I hope those tears of yours are tears of joy. Life gives has many wonders but there is nothing like the one of resurrection. Daughter of Antioch look around you! In all the darkness there is hope and there is light. I would have spoken earlier to you, but I had to know the depth of your devotion. Nothing Manuel has done was in vain and he received the greatest gift of all in the shape of a peacock. For you see, that peacock is the bird of God one who has power over life as well as over death. So, go now, waste no time and ask the bird to bring you Manuel’s soul back from the great beyond. ”

The star’s light suddenly faded away and Isabella stood there in awe for what she had just witnessed. The girl then ran like the wind out of the mausoleum and into the palace, seeking for the wonderful golden bird and when she found it the bird puffed its tail and sang.

Isabella asked the peacock to do what the star had just told her. The dazzling bird looked at her with indifference, just like any other bird would have done, but after just a few moments it spread its wings and flu away, high in the sky until it disappeared from Isabella’s sight. The peacock passed beyond the clouds, beyond the stars, and beyond the fire that surrounds the world and arrived in a place where there was nothing and from that nothing it picked with its beak an invisible seed it then took back on the Earth and left in on Manuel’s tomb. The seed bore its way to Manuel’s body and planted itself in his heart. Then, the tomb shook and its heavy slab cracked like a nutshell. 

The next day, carrying the wonderful peacock on his shoulder Manuel appeared at the court. Horror and amazement gripped the whole city. The church bells tolled once again, for their hero had now defeated even death itself. The time for retribution had come.

Summer Dream

Let us elope into the summer, my love,

Across the wide plains, beyond the high mountains,

And there I will build us a dazzling new home

With statues of marble, arches, and fountains.

We’ll hunt earthly beauties and bind them in chains,

We’ll hunt them on horses with fiery manes,

The gods in the sky have all fallen but one,

Let’s sail on the ocean and fly to the Sun.

We Are Light

Come, let’s buy a cat and play with its instincts,

It will go chasing, we will be happy,

And once we’ll get bored with all of its frisking,

Alice, my dear, we’ll buy us a puppy.

We’re weapons for others and die in their fight,

But something reminds us we’re more, we are light.

Can We Really Break The Cycle?

Georges Seurat. A Sunday on La Grande Jatte — 1884, 1884/86. Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection.
Art Institute ChicChicago

Can we start living outside the norms and obligations of societies, beyond the prejudices, the mass consumption patterns?

The only thing I can say about my life right now is that I am tired. Tired of running in circles, tired of running away, tired of struggling for things that will most probably never make me happy.

For many of us it is time to redifine their way we think, to learn the function of generosity, the role of a good, long break, to learn to say no when we have to, to cherish everything that life gave us, and to build with what we have. We live under the umbrella of fear and division, we live to serve others, constanlty ingest what we are given, never doubt.

We drag ourselves from one paycheck to another, from one loan to another. Every year we buy year new gadgets without even learning how to use the old ones. We travel to escape our lives, then we return to find ourselves trapped again. We try to evade life and death alike. In a world where everything falls into the hands of private bussineses, society will only feed basic needs, never ensure security to its people, never create free citizens. Is this what we’ve become so proud of? Is that what we actually need from life?

What can we do then?

Tackling social policies and cultural prejudices would be a part of the answer.

Living for a clear, achevable goal and having the right expectations would be another.

Telling the stories we want to tell, telling them out loud, and giving other people the courage they need, will always help.

Discliplining ourselves to push our own imaginary boundaries and find the strenght to pursue our dreams would be ideal.

What’s our purpose?

D’où Venons Nous / Que Sommes Nous / Où Allons Nous
Paul Gaugin
1897-1898
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Source: Wikipedia

  “What is the highest good in all matters of action? To the name, there is almost complete agreement; for uneducated and educated alike call it happiness, and make happiness identical with the good life and successful living. They disagree, however, about the meaning of happiness.” Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

Although one couldn’t blame our language and our knowledge for lack of depth, our efforts to define life are still far from satisfying. An even tougher question arises when we try to understand life’s meaning.

What is this force that sets us in motion giving us a purpose, governing us throughout our entire existence? Is it just rationalized instinct? Is it a collection of arbitrary values that tend to vary throughout time, from one age to another, from one individual to another? Is it yet another form of filling the void of our mortal condition? Yes, yes, and yes…

Whether as a cause or as an effect, the meaning of life is quintessential to all our actions, thoughts and creative impulses. It is the alpha and the omega of all our stories and of all our songs, of everything we struggle to achieve in just a few decades we have on Earth.

A simpler form of existence doesn’t need purpose it relies on its organic drive to feed itself, to grow and to procreate. But once neurons jump into the equation, they start wandering and wondering. And this adventure leads these otherwise astounding cells (so well equipped for problem-solving) to the uncharted territories where they either get lost or hit unsurpassable walls. Life’s purpose is just one of those nebulas (as it is God, the life beyond and so on).

Now, is it worth to think about our life’s meaning or should we just push forward focusing on our daily objectives? I guess it’s up to each of us but knowing that we are alive doesn’t make much sense without knowing why we are alive for. And I am sure that everyone has had at least one moment when this question popped up into his or her mind.

Today’s society highlights success. Many great minds talked about creativity. Both happiness and death were always on the table. I wouldn’t know what the right answer is, but I consider life to be an ever-expanding phaenomenon that circumscribes us all, an ever-growing personal and collective lesson, one that we are bound to go through and one that we should try to share to those around us and to those that will follow.

So, let’s start talking!

Alina

E cinci dimineața prin optzeci și nouă,

Afară e noapte, e rece și plouă,

Un vechi camion duhnind a benzină

Le duce pe fete încet spre uzină.

Cu ele-i ș-Alina, copilă săracă,

La față lividă, slăbuță, posacă.

În mâna sa ține un colț de covrig.

Și azi va lucra în praf și în frig!

Uzina pătrată cu geamuri murdare

O ține departe de cer și de soare,

Dar ea nu se lasă, cuminte, muncește

Și pentru o viață mai bună robește.

Iar când dup-un an uzina e-nchisă,

Alina-n șomaj e iute trimisă,

Dar ea nu renunță și prin magazine

Își caută treabă, așa se-ntreține.

Mai trage cinci ani pe bani de nimic

Și tot ce câștigă adună-ntr-un plic,

Se face frumoasă, bărbații o plac,

Dar fata-i refuză, necazuri îi fac.

Alina prin crâșme apoi mai servește,

În piață la chioșcuri să vândă-și găsește,

Dar oameni-s răi și banii puțini,

Se duce să-ncerce printe la străini.

Acolo-i jignită, mereu umilită

Dar ea nu renunță că-i fată cinstită,

Și an după an cu mâna ei strânge

Cum știe și poate, în veci nu se plânge.

Iar dacă prin țară se-ntoarce vreodată,

Se simte pierdută, se simte uitată,

Dar singura casă, Alina învață,

E doar când oglinda și-o pune în față.

Apoi un iubit Alina-și găsește,

Bărbatu-i frumos și ea îl iubește,

Prin lume se duc, se ceartă-și zâmbesc,

Ca Eva ș-Adam păcatu-și trăiesc.

Alinei nu-i pasă ce oamenii spun,

Ea știe că vorba-i un glob de săpun,

Și tot ce rămâne e ce noi lăsăm

Cât încă trăim, cât încă lucrăm.