An invented landscape: as I made this I kept alternating between memories of scenes from a car window in my earlier life (South Africa) and my current home (New Zealand). In the end I guess all I can say is that it is an international landscape – an endangered species.
Being an artist means, not reckoning and counting, but ripening like the tree which does not force its sap and stands confident in the storms of spring without the fear that after them may come no summer. It does come. But it comes only to the patient, who are there as though eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly still and wide. I learn it daily, learn it with pain to which I am grateful: patience is everything!
[Rainer Maria Rilke, in Letters to a Young Poet]
One of Pessoa’s fictional characters muses as follows:
The more I contemplate the spectacle of the world and the ever-changing state of things, the more profoundly I’m convinced of the inherent fiction of everything, of the false importance exhibited by all realities. And in this contemplation (which has occurred to all thinking souls at one time or another), the colourful parade of customs and fashions, the complex path of civilizations and progress, the grandiose commotion of empires and cultures – all of this strikes me as a myth and a fiction, dreamed among shadows and ruins. But I’m not sure whether the supreme resolution of all these dead intentions – dead even when achieved – lies in the ecstatic resignation of the Buddha, who, once he understood the emptiness of things, stood up from his ecstasy saying, ‘Now I know everything’, or in the jaded indifference of the emperor Severus: ‘Omnia fui, nihil expedit – I have been everything, nothing is worth anything.’
But in the end, poetry holds all in its claw. People have asked: “Why fruitful darkness?” – why not something light? But I am not alone. Charles Simic said: “Go inside a stone/ That would be my way/Let somebody else become a dove…”. and he concludes:
I have seen sparks fly out When two stones are rubbed. So perhaps it is not dark inside after all; Perhaps there is a moon shining From somewhere, as though behind a hill— Just enough light to make out The strange writings, the star charts On the inner walls. from Charles Simic, "Stone"
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