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17-04-26
17-02-07
  • Bell in the wind.
    The space full of grief
    And music; wishes
    On the ceiling;
    And the silent drum.

    We sit before
    The white Buddha
    On red cushions.
    Four candles burn
    Steadily, in the incense
    Air. Outside, the row
    Of white statues.
    Buddhas and bodhisattvas
    In myriad expressions.
    And the house of the bells.

    The monk places
    A golden bell
    On the low table
    Where I sit in meditation.

    Grief is here today.
    Along with all that peace.
    The grandmother speaks
    To the portrait
    Of her dead grand-daughter.
    Such pain in her voice.
    She barely able to speak.
    I know grief, but this is bitter.

    Even the blessing
    Of the middle way,
    Even the enchantment
    Of the peace in the air unseen,
    Can't still the broken heart
    Of one who lost
    A grand-daughter,
    Who died so young.

    I listen to the voices of monks
    Through the walls, chanting.
    Insects chatter in the yard.
    Around the heart
    The Buddhas whirl.

    I remember grief
    From the sighs
    Of my mother.
    How do we bear
    The earth and its pains?
    Only non-attachment
    Or by attachment to what
    The bells wake us up to,
    The Buddha in the air,
    Going all the way
    To the remote suns.


    Ben Okri

    Seoul, 2011
    ũ
    Outside Seoul, 2011: Bell in the wind

  • Is it penance or an act
    In a long journey
    To enlightenment?
    Sacrifice or a rite
    Of purification?
    Is it a symbolic act
    Or a spiritual discipline?
    Is it a lesson?
    Is it maybe a koan
    Of a noviciate?

    These questions haunt me
    In the temple
    As I contemplate the woman
    Who polishes
    The wooden floor
    Till it shines
    Like the light
    Of the Buddha.

    Without pause,
    And with thoroughness,
    She polishes and cleans
    Places already
    Polished and clean,
    With her cloth mop.

    Wherever we tread on
    She cleans.
    Her act is perpetual.
    The purpose is not
    Merely to polish the floor,
    Nor merely
    To get rid of dirt.
    Her purpose seems
    More mysterious,
    As though she wanted
    To eliminate
    Any speck of dust
    From the serene presence
    Of the golden Buddha.

    The temple is a beautiful
    Riot of colours.
    Those greens, yellows,
    And reds. Those dragons
    That loom with tongues
    Of fire from the high places.
    And yet for all that colour,
    Such calm.

    The space is vaster
    Than it seems:
    Peace adds dimensions
    To a room or temple.

    We sit on prayer mats,
    Surrounded by a thousand
    Buddhas. A little Kama
    For carrying women
    In the past rests
    In a corner.
    The decorated drum
    On a stand
    Resonates
    In silence.

    And all around us
    The woman polishes
    Every inch of floor
    Without emotion
    As if cleansing
    The universe
    Of suffering
    And sin.


    Ben Okri

    26-5-11

    Seoul
    ũ
    The lady of the temple cleans the floor

  • 浓雾弥ؼ时詣虚孓۰٣У殡仪馆这它现٣它过٣У场个򱣬让赶殡仪馆时间预约⡣
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    这时ۯ߾头۱边响֣为费两个ţ现它响摁听键声说

    电话头传来个声壺你杨飞吗

    殡仪馆ܣ你哪
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    杨飞吗

    殡仪馆ܣ声问你烧啊
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    烧来
    ȭ

  • You packed a pouch of earth into your baggage
    as a bit of your homeland. You told your friend:
    "Ill come back in a few years, as a lion.
    There isnt another place I can call home
    and wherever I go I'll carry our country in me.
    I'll make sure my children speak our tongue,
    remember our history, and follow our customs.
    Rest assured, you will see this same man,
    made up of loyalty, bring back gifts
    and knowledge from other lands."

      You won't be able to go back.
    See, the door has closed behind you.
    Like others, you too are expendable
    to a country that has never lacked citizens.
    You will undergo many sleepless nights
    weeping in silence, confused and homesick.
    Indeed, loyalty is treacherous
    if only one side intends to be loyal.
    You will have no choice but to join the refugees
    and change your passport.

      Eventually you will learn:
    your country is where you raise your children,
    your homeland is where you build your home.

    Homeland

  • I have supposed my past is a part of myself.
    As my shadow appears whenever I'm in the sun
    the past cannot be thrown off and its weight
    must be borne, or I will become another man.

    But I saw someone wall his past into a garden
    whose produce is always in fashion.
    If you enter his property without permission
    he will welcome you with a watchdog or a gun.

    I saw someone set up his past as a harbor.
    Wherever it sails, his boat is safe--
    if a storm comes, he can always head for home.
    His voyage is the adventure of a kite.

    I saw someone drop his past like trash.
    He buried it and shed it altogether.
    He has shown me that without the past
    one can also move ahead and get somewhere.

    Like a shroud my past surrounds me,
    but I will cut it and stitch it,
    to make good shoes with it,
    shoes that fit my feet.

    The Past

  • reflecting on the ways to improve society, I ran into this question:
    is society, this society, worth saving? First step is to answer sincerely; then, if it is not worth saving, and this is more than a probable answer, then how to de-construct it? That one is simple: one of the constituent elements of this society, one that could be considered a protein vital to its sustenance and well-functioning, is hypocrisy. So, if one person stops interacting with this protein, a slow process of de-construction follows naturally, because who wants really to become a hypocrite, a false human being?
    Some days, it will be difficult; one day youll find that all difficulties lie in our relation with sincerity, nakedness, the thing just as it is. The rest is just fear.

    Letter to a friend

  • The slaveryness of men
    the slaveryness of men
    the slaveryness of men
    is the great sorrow of the world.

    The willingness of men
    the unwillingness of men
    the ungratefulness of men
    is the great sorrow of the world.

    The gratefulness of men
    the juniorness of men
    the seniorness of men
    is the great sorrow of the world.

    The righteousness of men
    the slantedness of men
    the exactfulness of men
    is the great sorrow of the world.

    The industriousness and undependableness the apatheticness and solidaritiness the egocentricness and collectivitiness here you are the slaveryness and the great sorrow of the world.

    The slaveryness of men

  • Linstant se dilate maintenant et je coïncide avec ce que je sens, pense, fais et dis. Lavant et laprès surgissent, saisis et incorporés dans ce flash écrit comme ils le sont dans lentrelacs amoureux. Absorbé, résorbé, le cours du temps ne devient pourtant pas un point sur une ligne horizontale fuyant vers une cible.
    Maintenant na ni durée ni arrêt. Mon présent dilaté nest pas non plus la droite verticale qui emportait ma colocataire de dix ans, Thérèse dAvila, vers lInfini Amour de son Époux Aimé, tout en majuscules. Maintenant : linstant en expansion rassemble des univers distincts aux temps épars. Il les tient ensemble. Ne senfuit ni ne passe, ne capture ni ne sefface. Immobile, fugace, singulier, perméable, changeant, persistant. À tous ces traits de léclatement du temps je mintéresse. Je les désire ou les déteste. Ils constituent localement, momentanément, des espaces que jhabite (Levallois, Versailles, Fier dArs, Lux, Shanghai) ou des histoires qui mattirent (Louis XV, Claude-Siméon Passemant, les labos de Théo). Brusquement apparues et recomposées, ces versions du temps tiennent ensemble dans mon maintenant. Grâce à elles, je me pose et « me voyage », je mallège, me recrée, disparais. Je suis leur vibration, leur coprésence.
    Une fiction, ce maintenant ? Certainement, puisque jy raconte mon Astro, Claude-Siméon, la Pompadour, Stan, et Marianne avec son nouveau PDG suédois. Le temps ne séclipse pas, il se cumule et se maintient. Maintenant nest pas ce hors-temps de linconscient, selon Freud, dans lequel, comme en rêve, la suite des événements ne refait pas lhistoire ni ne prédit lavenir, mais révèle le désir qui veille. Il nest pas non plus ce temps de la déprime qui, à force de désir gelé, ne passe pas, et où la parole sétiole en silence, le corps se noie en larmes, la vie sannule en suicide.
    Ni rêve ni dépression, et pourtant je my connais. Des temps émergents cohabitent et se distinguent dans mon maintenant, des espaces-temps sy croisent sans sabolir. Dans la rencontre entre Théo, Nivi et lhorloger du Roi, nous nous accordons corps à corps, coeur à coeur, autonomes et corrélés. Par le récit que jen tire, je ne fais pas miennes des valeurs, jajuste des pulsions qui méchappent et échappent au présent. À force de désirs voyageurs, maintenant nest pas hors temps, ne fuit pas en flèche ni ne sabsente, il vrille. De son atemporalité plurielle émerge un temps extrême : le maintenant de la fiction. La folie à bride abattue mais strictement surveillée. Tout est possible et tout séclipse. Plénitude du hors-je. 

    Julia Kristeva, LHorloge enchantée, Fayard, 2015, p. 86-88.
    ٸ ũ׹
    Linstant

  • You sit, in contemplative posture, your features agonized and your expressions pained; you sit for hours and hours and hours, sleepless, looking into darkness, hearing a small snore coming from the room next to yours. And you conjure a past: a past in which you see a horse drop its rider; a past in which you discern a bird breaking out of its shell so it will fly into the heavens of freedom. Out of the same past emerges a man wrapped in a mantle with unpatched holes, each hole large as a window — and each window large as the secret to which you cling as though it were the only soul you possessed. And you question, you challenge every thought which crosses your mind.
    Yes. You are a question to yourself. It is true. You've become a question to all those who meet you, those who know you, those who have any dealings with you. You doubt, at times, if you exist outside your own thoughts, outside your own head, or Misra's. It appears as though you were a creature given birth to by notions formulated in heads, a creature brought into being by ideas; as though you were not a child born with the fortune or misfortune of its stars, a child bearing a name, breathing just like anybody else, a child whose activities were justifiably part of a people's past and present experience. You exist, you think, the way the heavenly bodies exist, for although one does extend one's finger and point at the heavens, one knows, yes that's the word, one knows that that is not the heavens. Unless...unless there are, in a sense, as many heavens as there are thinking beings; unless there are as many heavens as there are pointing fingers.
    At times, when your uncle speaks about you, in your presence, referring to you in the third person and, on occasion, even taking the liberty of speaking on your behalf, you wonder if your existence is readily differentiable from creatures of fiction whom habit has taught one to talk of as if they were one's closest of friends — creatures of fiction with whose manner of speech; reactions to situations; conditions of being; and with whose likes and dislikes one's folk-tradition has made one familiar. From your limited knowledge of literature, you feel you are a blood relation of some of the names which come to mind, leap to the tongue at the thought of a young boy whose name is Askar and whose prodigious imagination is capable of wealthy signs of precocity — because you are this young boy!
    As you sit contemplatively, your mind journeys to a region where there were solid and prominent shadows which lived on behalf of others who had years before ceased to exist as beings. As you sit, your eyes open into themselves, the way blind people's eyes tend to. Then you becomes numb of soul: in other words, you are not yourself — not quite yourself anyway. The journey takes you through numerous doorways and you are enabled to call back to memory events which occurred long before you were a being yourself. Your travel leads you through forests without any clearing, to stone steps too numerous to count, although when you reach the highest point, your exhaustion disappears the instant you see an old man, grey as his advance years, negotiate the steps too. You remember now, that in the wake of the old man there was a girl, barely seven, following the old man as a goat follows a butcher, knowing what knives of destiny awiat it.
    And you...!
    You! You who had lain in wait, unwashed, you had lain unattended to at birth. Yes, you lay in wait as though in ambush until a woman who wasn't expecting that you existed walked into the dark room in which you had been from the second you were born. You were a mess. You were a most terrible sight. The woman who found you described the chill of that dark room a tomb. To her, the air suggested the dampness of a mortuary. You cried at her approaching and wouldn't be calmed until she dipped you in the bathtub she had filled with warm water. Then she fed you on a draught of goat's milk. Did anyone ever tell you what you looked like when the woman discovered you that dusk some eighteen years or so ago? No?
    Ķ
    Maps

  • Er hat das Gefühl, im Wasser zu treiben, wie ein Teil des Wracks. Wie das Teil, nach dem er sucht. Das fehlende Puzzlestück. Der letzte und einzige Stein in seinem Mosaik. Er hat begonnen, Ausschau danach zu halten. Auf Straen. In Wäldern. In Fugängerzonen. In Regalen, auf gedeckten Tischen. Auf Fuballfeldern. In Blumentöpfen. Aber er wei, dass es im Wasser sein muss. Dort treibt es voran, immer weiter. Nichts ist gefunden worden. Keine Schwimmweste, kein Sitzkissen, noch nicht einmal ein kleines Stück der Auenhaut des Airbus. Kein Wrackteil, kein Heck, kein Flügel. Die Passagierliste wurde ihm von der Airline zugesendet. Mit geschwärzten Namen, nur die von Maria und Maja sind deutlich zu lesen, mit einem gelben Stift hervorgehoben. Er hat um diese Liste ringen müssen, hat einige Gespräche führen und beharrlich anzweifeln müssen, dass die beiden, seine Ehefrau Maria und seine Tochter Maja, an Bord gewesen sind. Schlielich hat er die Liste erhalten, der Post. Er hat den Brief geöffnet, er hat gelesen. Schwarz auf wei. Aber es sind nur Namen, nur Worte. Er hat, Anfang des Jahres, die Tickets für die beiden gebucht, und er hat mit Maria telefoniert, einige Minuten vor dem Rückflug. Maria ist müde gewesen, aber guter Laune, sie hat gesagt, dass es sehr schön gewesen sei, die Verwandtschaft am anderen Ende der Welt endlich einmal wiederzusehen, und sie hat sich darauf gefreut, nach Hause zu kommen. Maja hat ein Computerspiel gespielt, auf dem Tablet vermutlich, im Hintergrund war Geklimper und Geklingel zu hören und ihr Fluchen, vermutlich hatte sie gerade eines ihrer sieben Leben verloren. Über die Umstände des Absturzes ist wenig bekannt. Letztlich ist selbst der Absturz nicht dokumentiert. Bei einem Treffen von Hinterbliebenen, vor einigen Monaten, haben Vertreter der Airline betont, dass die Suche nach dem vermissten Flugzeug im Ozean andauere und für die kommenden zwölf Monate aus verschiedenen Quellen ein Budget von 34 Millionen Dollar zur Verfügung stehe. Die Passagierliste hat er an die Wand des Kühlschranks gehängt. Im Kühlschrank sucht er manchmal nach dem Wrackteil, obwohl er wei, dass es im Wasser treibt, in einer weiten blauen Fläche. Wenn er den Kühlschrank schliet, sieht er die Passagierliste und daneben ein kleines Bild, das Maja gemalt hat, in den Tagen vor der Abreise.

    Das Bild zeigt, im Zentrum einer sternenklaren Nacht und auf Höhe
    einer schmalen Mondsichel, ein Flugzeug am Himmmel.
    ڽƾ ٱ׳
    Tanzen

  • The vision of a tall-masted ship, at sail on the ocean, came to Deeti on an otherwise ordinary day, but she knew instantly that the apparition was a sign of destiny for she had never seen such a vessel before, not even in a dream: how could she have, living as she did in northern Bihar, four hundred miles from the coast? Her village was so far inland that the sea seemed as distant as the netherworld: it was the chasm of darkness where the holy Ganga disappeared into the Kala-Pani, the Black Water.
    It happened at the end of winter, in a year when the poppies were strangely slow to shed their petals: for mile after mile, from Benares onwards, the Ganga seemed to be flowing between twin glaciers, both its banks being blanketed by thick drifts of white-petalled flowers. It was as if the snows of the high Himalayas had descended on the plains to await the arrival of Holi and its springtime profusion of colour.
    The village in which Deeti lived was on the outskirts of the town of Ghazipur, some fifty miles east of Benares. Like all her neighbours, Deeti was preoccupied with the lateness of her poppy crop: that day, she rose early and went through the motions of her daily routine, laying out a freshly-washed dhoti and kameez for Hukam Singh, her husband, and preparing the rotis and achar he would eat at midday. Once his meal had been wrapped and packed, she broke off to pay a quick visit to her shrine room: later, after shed bathed and changed, Deeti would do a proper puja, with flowers and offerings; now, being clothed still in her night-time sari, she merely stopped at the door, to join her hands in a brief genuflection.
    Soon a squeaking wheel announced the arrival of the ox-cart that would take Hukam Singh to the factory where he worked, in Ghazipur, three miles away. Although not far, the distance was too great for Hukam Singh to cover on foot, for he had been wounded in the leg while serving as a sepoy in a British regiment. The disability was not so severe as to require crutches, however, and Hukam Singh was able to make his way to the cart without assistance. Deeti followed a step behind, carrying his food and water, handing the cloth-wrapped package to him after he had climbed in.
    Kalua, the driver of the ox-cart, was a giant of a man, but he made no move to help his passenger and was careful to keep his face hidden from him: he was of the leather-workers caste and Hukam Singh, as a high-caste Rajput, believed that the sight of his face would bode ill for the day ahead. Now, on climbing into the back of the cart, the former sepoy sat facing to the rear, with his bundle balanced on his lap, to prevent its coming into direct contact with any of the drivers belongings. Thus they would sit, driver and passenger, as the cart creaked along the road to Ghazipur – conversing amicably enough, but never exchanging glances.
    Deeti, too, was careful to keep her face covered in the drivers presence: it was only when she went back inside, to wake Kabutri, her six-year-old daughter, that she allowed the ghungta of her sari to slip off her head. Kabutri was lying curled on her mat and Deeti knew, because of her quickly changing pouts and smiles, that she was deep in a dream: she was about to rouse her when she stopped her hand and stepped back. In her daughters sleeping face, she could see the lineaments of her own likeness – the same full lips, rounded nose and upturned chin – except that in the child the lines were still clean and sharply drawn, whereas in herself they had grown smudged and indistinct. After seven years of marriage, Deeti was not much more than a child herself, but a few tendrils of white had already appeared in her thick black hair. The skin of her face, parched and darkened by the sun, had begun to flake and crack around the corners of her mouth and her eyes. Yet, despite the careworn commonplaceness of her appearance, there was one respect in which she stood out from the ordinary: she had light grey eyes, a feature that was unusual in that part of the country. Such was the colour – or perhaps colourlessness – of her eyes that they made her seem at once blind and all-seeing. This had the effect of unnerving the young, and of reinforcing their prejudices and superstitions to the point where they would sometimes shout taunts at her – chudaliya, dainiya - as if she were a witch: but, Deeti had only to turn her eyes on them to make them scatter and run off. Although not above taking a little pleasure in her powers of discomfiture, Deeti was glad, for her daughters sake, that this was one aspect of her appearance that she had not passed on – she delighted in Kabutris dark eyes, which were as black as her shiny hair. Now, looking down on her daughters dreaming face, Deeti smiled and decided that she wouldnt wake her after all: in three or four years the girl would be married and gone; there would be enough time for her to work when she was received into her husbands house; in her few remaining years at home she might as well rest.
    ƹŸ
    Sea of Poppies

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