Something and Nothing   (19.10.09)

If you had known how little
you would have had to give
to drum into this brittle
hope the desire to live
would you have changed the venue,
your greeting or your tone
or planned things better when you
knew we'd have hours alone
and if you heard a hollow
voice spit these ill-advised
questions, would nothing follow?
I wouldn't be surprised.

Sophie Hannah

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Proust on Motivation   (17.10.09)

The disgraced ambassador, the civil service chief forced into retirement, the man about town given a chilly reception, the lover shown the door sometimes spend months examining the event which destroyed their hopes; they turn it over and over like a bullet fired they do not know from where nor by whom, almost like a meteorite. They want to know what the strange device is made of that struck them down so suddenly, whose ill-will it embodies. At least chemists can turn to analysis; sufferers from an unknown disease can call in a doctor. And criminal cases are more or less clarified by the examining magistrate. But the disconcerting actions of our fellow-men rarely reveal their motives.

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Freedom and Command   (13.10.09)

In the Republic [412-421c] Plato says that, qua leader, no leader proposes or orders what is useful for himself, but what is useful for the one he commands. To command is then to do the will of the one who obeys [...] A will can accept the order of another will only because it finds that order in itself. The exteriority of the command is but inwardness. If the order is contrary to reason, it will come up against the absolute resistance of reason.

— Levinas, Freedom and Command

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Mid-Term Break   (8.10.09)

I sat all morning in the college sick bay
Counting bells knelling classes to a close.
At two o'clock our neighbours drove me home.
In the porch I met my father crying —
He had always taken funerals in his stride —
And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow.
The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram
When I came in, and I was embarrassed
By old men standing up to shake my hand
And tell me they were "sorry for my trouble,"
Whispers informed strangers I was the eldest,
Away at school, as my mother held my hand
In hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs.
At ten o'clock the ambulance arrived
With the corpse, stanched and bandaged by the nurses.
Next morning I went up into the room. Snowdrops
And candles soothed the bedside; I saw him
For the first time in six weeks. Paler now,
Wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple,
He lay in the four foot box as in his cot.
No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear.
A four foot box, a foot for every year.

— Seamus Heaney

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a   (3.10.09)

a humility a girl and a smile is a place next to a car, some other route, unstuck and untaken who there is and where would they play where since the surface was uneven, an uneven bounce and an anger, an anger that is a circle and a block a remedy became the problem and that was the end of that. A run and a glow a look in the mirror which is long gone, broken now I hope bringing luck bad luck to some other place a translucent intention unlined untended untacked broken and drawn drawn back touched and closed. First too high then too low an overbearing independence a freedom looking inwards a substitute and inversion of rage a sleeping watchfulness an insomnia Would it be a question if we Is not a question a rebellion? rebellious question, an opposition, a resistance to the given Rationality a volition and yes I'll cry I wanted to so badly but this is what's left and do you still feel it like it was yesterday it was not yesterday any more my love