In the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between, there are doors. ~William Blake
Well, it is, isn’t it? Theatre, that is. And now: Love emblems as a genre. The image at left (c. 1600) comes from a compilation of love emblems published a few years ago as Theatre D’Amour that I bought in hardcover on abebooks for $3.50 in Fine condition!
From the page:
The first and longest series… the twenty-four images from Daniel Heinsiusus Quaris Quid Sit Amor?(‘You Want to Know What Love Is?’), which was, when it was published in Amsterdam in 1601, the first emblem-book solely devoted to the vexed subject of love. (More historical background and review).
Well, of course, I don’t know what love is. (There’s a better Chet Baker version: here.).
Full discussion here. Has half a dozen cutesy pictures, not as sweetly sentimental as much of what you see on SU, but almost. Just 400 years older.
The book itself is well-written. Evidence: You can read several pages from Theatre d’Amour at the publisher (Taschen) with even more color pictures of the genre). Oh, be careful of that door.
Let’s start putting first things first. But first I need a nap. Good night.
I never saw a wild thing
…sorry for itself.
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough
without ever having felt sorry for itself.
Our masters are gone and if they returned
Who among us would hear them, who would know
The bodily sound of heaven of the heavenly sound
Of the body, endless and vanishing, that tuned
Our days before the wheeling stars
Were stripped of power? The answer is
None of us here. And what does it mean if we see
The moon-glazed mountains and the town with its silent doors
And water towers, and feel like raising our voices
Just a little, or sometimes during late autumn
When the evening flowers a moment over the western range
And we imagine angels rushing down the air’s cold steps
To wish us well, if we have lost our will,
And do nothing but doze, half hearing the sighs
Of this or that breeze drift aimlessly over the failed farms
And wasted gardens? These days when we waken.
Everything shines with the same blue light
That filled our sleep moments before,
So we do nothing but count the trees, the clouds,
The few birds left; then we decide that we shouldn’t
Be hard on ourselves, that the past was no better
Than now, for hasn’t the enemy always existed,
And wasn’t the church of the world always in ruins?
Photo: Shakespeare & Co. Books, Paris
I once saw my life through the lens of one of your amber earrings
saw tiny skeletons caught in the silver oval with no chance
of struggling free and felt trapped and suffused with all
the sweetness and stickiness of your affection here surrounded
as I am by such spectrums of color and life suddenly all is clear
here I am the trapper littering the landscape with corpses
no longer feeling as if the path of my life is being cut into rock
by passion’s aimless meanderings I look back to you as though
through a telescope in this I mean I know what I want now
are the hidden things the intangible and unimaginable all
that you spoke of long ago I thought it was all about the chase
I reveled in hardships practicing sleeping on the dormitory floor
for when I would have the ground as my bed but I never practiced
sleeping with my knees in the hollow of another’s knees or breathing
slowly together instead I learnt the shallow breath of one who must
always remain undetected and in this way I have let my face slip from
your dreams I am here I am combing the grasses for hidden lions
riding after herds of elephants coming home with my own skin torn
my disguises and ploys seen for what they are by simple animals
who turn around and charge when they have been betrayed
The question is: how does one hold an apple
Who likes apples
And how does one handle
Filth? The question is
How does one hold something
In the mind which he intends
To grasp and how does the salesman
Hold a bauble he intends
To sell? The question is
When will there not be a hundred
Poets who mistake that gesture
For a style.
Art: Sulamith Wulfing, The Gesture