Thursday, December 22, 2011

Savannah Solstice 2011

Forsythe Fountain

Our stay in Savannah has been rejuvenating. Mornings of meditation on our terrace have given me new perspectives to inform days ahead as we return to Atlanta and move on to the mountains of Tennessee. The Solstice  is sacred to me, not because of the birth of Jesus, or Mithra (same day) or any other particular incarnation of godhead. It is sacred to me as a Pantheist, as the seasons shift like Yeats' Gyres, and the longest night passes. The shadows change. There is a noticeable alteration and we all sense the beginning of a New Year. I feel a sort of completion as the Solstice passes.

To be here in this warm, sunny climate, drinking tea in the courtyard, or sipping champagne on the porch, reading Murakami in the spacious living rooms, surrounded by paintings, and decorative arts, is to be transported to an Epicurean garden where the wars, famine, capitalist conquests, political posturing, and man's inhumanity all momentarily dissolve. I recall Lars von Trier's Melancholia, and wonder if the world will meet its doom in 2012, after all, as some say the Mayans predict. What should one do if the world is going to end? I can think of nothing better than a walk along the shore, breathing sea air, watching the waves roll in.

Of course the Winter solstice is a time for feasting and merriment as well, right? We have done that too. Day and night after day of seafood. Wine. Good company. It is a time to let go of the planet's woes and just "Let The Sunshine In," to quote a wonderful play I saw in New York some 40 odd years ago.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Thoughts and Reviews-- the Film, Shame

My view is the film should have been named "Desperation," not "Shame," since the main character never seems to show or to feel shame about anything. There is much to ponder here, and to tell the truth, the film is profoundly disturbing. I suppose it could also be called "Alienation," since there has never been a man more alienated from other people. Here are some reviews and other comments from my Facebook page:

    Yet another great review. Love the ref. to William's Sonnet #129 which I'll post below. Amazing.
    In “Shame,” the new feature from the British artist turned filmmaker Steve McQueen, the protagonist is a handsome, youngish Manhattanite who is hooked on sex.

    William Shakespeare - Sonnet #129
    The expense of spirit in a waste of shame
    Is lust in action; and till action, lust
    Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame, 
    Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust;
    Enjoy'd no sooner but despised straight;
    Past reason hunted; and no sooner had,
    Past reason hated, as a swallowed bait,
    On purpose laid to make the taker mad:
    Mad in pursuit, and in possession so;
    Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
    A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe;
    Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.

    All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
    To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.

    Another Excellent Review:

    "Recorded in explicit but never pornographic detail, this is some of the most joyless sex ever put on screen, a compulsion to climax in which emotional connection plays no part. It's the fixation of a tortured individual aghast at the self-destructiveness of his addiction but unable to change his actions or escape the shame they cause."
    ‎"Shame" is a dispassionate treatment of a disturbing topic, and therein lies its power. Sexually graphic enough to earn its NC-17 rating yet made with a restraint that's both unflinching and unnerving, this is a psychologically claustrophobic film that strips its characters bare literally and figuratively

    Magneto lets it all hang out. Michael Fassbender — the German-Irish Adonis of the art house, who also played the young Magneto in this summer's X-Men: First Class — is on full-frontal display in the grinding sex drama Shame.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Rilke's Birthday

A poem from Rilke:

Love Song

How can I keep my soul in me, so that
it doesn't touch your soul? How can I raise
it high enough, past you, to other things?
I would like to shelter it, among remote
lost objects, in some dark and silent place
that doesn't resonate when your depths resound.
Yet everything that touches us, me and you,
takes us together like a violin's bow,
which draws one voice out of two separate strings.
Upon what instrument are we two spanned?
And what musician holds us in his hand?
Oh sweetest song.

Rainer Maria Rilke