A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.
I am starting a collection of my favourite 'back view' paintings or photographs. This is my first. It is by Andrew Wyeth who painted quite a lot of back views. I agree it is not strictly a 'full body' back view but the head is turned. Do send me your favourites if you have any.
Just a poem, a picture, a quote and a piece of music from me today.
The poem I should perhaps be writing for Magpie Tales just won't come. Apart from being under the weather at the moment I have never been a fan of Salvador Dali and feel only bad vibes when I look at his work, so instead I am going to post a poem which landed in my Inbox recently. It is by a Vietnamese poet and has inspired me to write on a different subject which can't be a bad thing. It is a sad piece but I hope you like it as much as I do.
There is the rain, the odour of fresh earth,
and you, grandmother, in a box.
I bury the distance, twenty-two years
of not meeting you
and your ruined hands.
I bury your hair, parted to the side and pinned back,
your áo dài of crushed velvet,
the implements you used to farm,
the stroke which claimed your right side,
the land you gave up when you remarried,
your grief over my grandfather's passing,
the war that evaporated your father's leg,
the war that crushed your bowls,
your childhood home razed
by the rutted wheels of an American tank—
I bury it all.
You learned that nothing stays in this life,
not your daughter, not your uncle,
not even the dignity of leaving this world
with your pants on. The bed sores on your hips
were clean and sunken in. What did I know, child
who heard you speak only once,
and when we met for the first time,
tears watered the side of your face.
I held your hand and said,
bà ngoai, bà ngoai
Ten years later, I returned.
It rained on your gravesite.
In the picture above your tomb,
you looked just like my mother.
We lit the joss sticks and planted them.
We kept the encroaching grass at bay.
And the music, Night Sky from Paolo Nutini, with text below on which the song is based.
The Great Dictator's Speech from the film of the same name. Charlie Chaplin played the Jewish barber in the film,
I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone - if possible - Jew, Gentile - black man - white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness - not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.
Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost....
The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men - cries out for universal brotherhood - for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world - millions of despairing men, women, and little children - victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.
To those who can hear me, I say - do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed - the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. .....
Soldiers! don’t give yourselves to brutes - men who despise you - enslave you - who regiment your lives - tell you what to do - what to think and what to feel! Who drill you - diet you - treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men - machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate - the unloved and the unnatural! Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty!
In the 17th Chapter of St Luke it is written: “the Kingdom of God is within man” - not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people have the power - the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.
Then - in the name of democracy - let us use that power - let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world - a decent world that will give men a chance to work - that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfil that promise. They never will!
Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfil that promise! Let us fight to free the world - to do away with national barriers - to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers! in the name of democracy, let us all unite!