At the bottom of her heart, however, she was waiting for something to happen. Like shipwrecked sailors, she turned despairing eyes upon the solitude of her life, seeking afar off some white sail in the mists of the horizon. She did not know what this chance would be, what wind would bring it her, towards what shore it would drive her, if it would be a shallop or a three-decker, laden with anguish or full of bliss to the portholes. But each morning, as she awoke, she hoped it would come that day; she listened to every sound, sprang up with a start, wondered that it did not come; then at sunset, always more saddened, she longed for the morrow.
―Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary
From a place of darkness
Stars watch the wounded dreams sigh
On their bed of aches and broken skin
But they are dreams, and all they know is how to rise
―Mona Soorma, Unrequited: Poetry From The Hurting Heart
Public Domain Image via The United States Bureau of Land Management
There were profound reasons for his attachment to the sea: he loved it because as a hardworking artist he needed rest, needed to escape from the demanding complexity of phenomena and lie hidden on the bosom of the simple and tremendous; because of a forbidden longing deep within him that ran quite contrary to his life’s task and was for that very reason seductive, a longing for the unarticulated and immeasurable, for eternity, for nothingness. To rest in the arms of perfection is the desire of any man intent upon creating excellence; and is not nothingness a form of perfection?
―Thomas Mann, Death in Venice
One day there will stand up in their midst one who will tell of a new sickness among the children who in their delirium cry for their brothers whom they have never known and from whom they have been cut off behind the self-imposed barriers of their fathers. An alarm will spread throughout the community that it is being felt and slowly realized that community cannot for long feed on itself; it can only flourish where always the boundaries are giving way to the coming of others from beyond them–unknown and undiscovered brothers.
—Howard Thurman, The Search For Common Ground : An Inquiry Into The Basis Of Man’s Experience Of Community
Image: Diversity Art the Palm of Your Hand, International Finance Center Seoul, Korea via MaxPixel.com
For need can blossom into all the compensation it requires. To crave and to have are as like as a thing and its shadow. For when does a berry break upon the tongue as sweetly as when one longs to taste it, and when is the taste refracted into so many hues and savors of ripeness and earth, and when do our senses know any thing so utterly as when we lack it? And here again is a foreshadowing-the world will be made whole. For to wish for a hand on one’s hair is all but to feel it. So whatever we may lose, very craving gives it back to us again. Though we dream and hardly know it, longing, like an angel, fosters us, smooths our hair, and brings us wild strawberries.
―Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping
The power of the spoken word and the captured image can be woven together in a way that evades description.
I thought I had finished synkroniciti’s short cycle on Yemen, when I ran across this beautiful poem by Yemeni poet Dr. Abdulaziz Al Maqaleh read so sensitively by Sarah Ahmed. It is a lament for the city of Sana’a, the longtime capital of Yemen, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It reduced me to tears.
The soft, sensual sibilance of Arabic, the restrained elegance of Tony Anderson‘s Ember, which makes a perfect musical backdrop, and the moving images of Sana’a and its residents, especially the young girls in white dresses running freely among the growing flowers and the crumbling ruins, imbue this short film with deep longing, nostalgia and hope.
May we hold this lovely city and its people in our thoughts. Even more, may we work to end participation in her destruction. Thank you to director Abdurahman Hussain and all who worked on this stunning piece of documentary video. You can read more about Hussain here. Such splendid, human work.
I hope one day that I will be able to visit this incredible, resilient city and to pay her and her citizens respect. Peace!
If you would like to read more of our series on Yemen please check out these links:
There was no desire in him for a state or condition, no picture in his mind of the thing to be when he had followed his longing; but only a burning and a will overpowering to journey outward and outward after the earliest risen star.
―John Steinbeck, Cup of Gold: A Life of Sir Henry Morgan, Buccaneer, with Occasional Reference to History
Rhythm creates a pattern of yearning and expectation, of recurrence and difference. It is related to the pulse, the heartbeat, the way we breathe. It takes us into ourselves; it takes us out of ourselves. It differentiates us; it unites us to the cosmos.
In that moment, the moon and the sun shared the sky. For all of eternity, the moon and sun have chased each other around the world. Long into the future, they will continue this chase, merging the days into months into years into centuries, until the day the sun cannot take the separation any longer and she shatters, engulfing the moon and everything else in a burst of light. Most will call it the day of final judgment. The end. To the sun and the moon, it will only be the beginning.
For the smallest of instants each day, they pause in this chase. They pause and look back at one another, smiling as if sharing a secret. Two lovers that can never exist as one, except in that single, brief instant.