This is a painting that came almost as an afterthought at the end of a session when I worked on something larger. It is oil and cold wax painted over an earlier effort, which explains the texture and unevenness of the surface which provides a charm of its own, unless you are more into glossy-smooth precision.
Pessoa makes no sense most of the time. Certainly he is not a leader of the positive thinking movement. But the music in his prose has an attraction I cannot stay away from from, especially when the rain falls without end:
Behind me, on the other side of where I’m lying down, the silence of the apartment touches infinity. I hear time fall, drop by drop, and not one drop that falls can be heard. My physical heart is physically oppressed by the memory – reduced to nothing – of all that has been or that I’ve been. I feel my head materially supported by the pillow in which it makes a valley. My skin and the skin of the pillowcase are like two people touching in the shadows. Even the ear on which I’m lying mathematically engraves itself on my brain. I blink with fatigue, and my eyelashes make an infinitesimal, inaudible sound against the felt whiteness of the pillow’s slope. I breathe, sighing, and my breathing happens – it isn’t mine. I suffer without feeling or thinking. The household clock, definitely located in the midst of the infinite, strikes the half hour, dry and void. Everything is so vast, so deep, so black and so cold! I pass times, I pass silences; formless worlds pass by me.
Pessoa, Fernando. The Book of Disquiet (Penguin Modern Classics)
Among the books and letters of my late father, I found a book of Afrikaans poetry with English Translations. It is a book I knew from childhood – I remember taking it down for the odd browse-through as a teenager. Now it has a different meaning. Here is a poem by Elizabeth Eybers, one of the most celebrated Afrikaans poets:
Dillema Die wit leuen van die liefde wou ek naas die naakte waarheid hou, berekenbaar en overbloem deur listige herinnering: daar is so veel om te besing, so min om op te noem. En hoe noukeuriger ek staar hoe minder word ek weer gewaar as dat geen mens wat gloed beskou om dit met as te vergelyk ooit wysheid leer: want altyd blyk wit werkliker as grou.
and here is the English translation from the book, by the poet herself:
Dillema I measure the white lie of love by holding it alongside of computable bald truth without adding sly memory's estimate: there is so much to sing about, so little to relate. However zealously I pore the less can I distinguish more than that by studying glow to see how it compares with ash one may become no wiser: constantly white gleams more true than grey
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