Saturday, November 27, 2010

Interlude - From the Book of Embraces

Today is my birthday, I'm gorging on films, and I'll soon be having dinner with my sister and close friends. I am lucky. Here are two passages from Galeano that both capture my mood:


The sun was gentle, the air clear, and the sky cloudless.

Buried in the sand, the clay pot steamed. As they went from ocean to mouth, the shrimp passed through the hands of Fernando, master of ceremonies, who bathed them in a holy water of salt, onions, and garlic. There was good wine. Seated in a circle, we friends shared the wine and shrimp and the ocean that spread out free and luminous at our feet.

As it took place, that happiness was already being remembered by our memory. It would never end, nor would we. For we are all mortal until the first kiss and the second glass, which is something everyone knows, no matter how small his or her knowledge.

"Who are my contemporaries?" Juan Gelman asks himself.

Juan says that sometimes he comes across men who smell of fear, in Buenos Aires, Paris, or anywhere in the world, and feels that these men are not his contemporaries. But there is a Chinese who, thousands of years ago, wrote a poem about a goatherd who is far from his beloved, and yet can hear in the middle of the night, in the middle of the snow, the sound of her comb running through her hair. And reading this distant poem, Juan finds that yes, these people - the poet, the goatherd and the woman - are truly his contemporaries.

And a sweet one, from my birthday mate:


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