Sunday, September 11, 2011

Art is the Most Real of All Things

My stand of okra, producing about 12 pods of okra a day.  Here, in bright mid-day sun.  Late August.


Marcel Proust writes in his book, The Prisoner, which Carol Clark translated, on page 346:
Sometimes I thought that the reason [why Vinteuil’s music was more true than all known books] was that the things we feel in life are not experienced in the form of ideas, and so their translation into literature, an intellectual process, may give an account of them, explain them, analyze them, but cannot recreate them as music does, its sounds seeming to take on the inflections of our being, to reproduce that inner, extreme point of sensation which is the thing that causes us the specific ecstasy we feel from time to time and which, when we say ‘What a beautiful day! What beautiful sunshine!,’ is not conveyed at all to our neighbor...

In The Past Recaptured, in the Moncrieff translation., page 1001, Proust writes: So that art is the most real of all things, the sternest school in life and truly the Last Judgment.
September sun slows earth’s pace. Figs swell
with more deliberate sweetness. The omnipresent
weeds go to seed. The air cools enough
to ripen raspberries, but afternoon sun
is lavished on the okra pods. My human
pace picks up. In a week I’ll be teaching
again. I had a somnolent summer writing
my novel, harvesting and preserving food
for winter needs. Darkness draws in
at both ends of the day. Some plants
flourish and some die. Mysteries abound.
There are so many reasons that exist and
remain unfathomed, and in nothing so
much as in our human connections. It
is easy to feel neglected, forgotten, alone,
but we never are. Our life continues all
around us, its strands more far-reaching
than we easily imagine. A woman who
took photographs of me and my hens
stops by on an impulse to buy eggs.
A spider lily I planted years ago springs
up in a neglected flower bed in its own
time, even though I’d forgotten to clear
space for it. The cardinal joins me when
I’m picking figs, the hens raucous below
me, he, alert to the full ripe ones as
much as I. I live, I flourish, I write
the story I have to tell, my very own,
the only one that matters now in my life,
but, when I’m gone, its fruit will be
well-distributed and rise unbidden in
other souls far from where I live now,
but already magnetized and waiting
for whatever wisdom I can hear and speak
as my pen moves across the page.

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