I read that Gustave Flaubert thought the “Communeux” – the revolutionaries who fought the losing battle of the Paris Commune in 1871, and got massacred – had wanted to “return to the Middle Ages”. Yet he was a discerning writer and observer of the French society…
This prompted some musing on the role of writers in our troubled times. But then, when was a time of real peace? The page stays blank, for if there is a lot to say, it would be pointless to write. This is what Flaubert avoided: he scored on impersonality, a detachment from associating himself with his characters, let alone exercising judgement on their actions or circumstances. He wrote that he was bored when writing Madame Bovary, so remote was he from his “ordinary” subject. His carthagenese rump – Salammbo – a story of a slave revolt against the ruler of Carthage (the super-power of the time), was high in colour, rich in gore, and outraged the bourgeois commentators of the mainstream press. Later his “Education Sentimentale” stripped the hypocrisy of the 2nd Empire’s society bare, all a few years before the catastrophe of 1870.
Maybe it takes a national defeat to reveal the true nature of contemporary literature: Remarque, Proust (who thought Germany’d have won the war), the French existentialists, the great Japanese novelists of the 50’s…
Image: Albert Camus laughing, from “Philosophers’ quotes & photos“
The ancient woods are vibrant with bees and morning birds, the early sun rays playing across the foliage of the oaks, ashes and beeches.
We follow the path, almost a straight-line to the little hill where the mausoleum stands, white on virgin green and blue sky.
There is a stile, then a sharp bend, and from that corner we admire the Downs, a vista of peace and tranquillity: the world is still asleep.
This is late summer, soon the rains will come, and a different landscape will unfold: grey clouds, heavy with storms, strong winds, and the escape of the migrating birds toward warmer climes.
We are much younger than the trees, and as we open our frugal meal, the steaming thermos of coffee, we wonder: are they protecting us, or us them?
Image: Darnley Mausoleum, in Cobham Woods, Kent © 2015 Honoré Dupuis
“I have a new one” she said, looking at her lover triumphantly.
He, knowing the ritual, smiled the way ancient gladiators used to smile when they entered the circus: at this moment she kissed him and, as she did, he tasted her unpainted lips.
Slowly he knelt, all the time holding her gaze, once again admiring the perfect curves.
She dropped her silks, soon exposing the mystery that bound him to her, made him her pet.
Mesmerised, he saw the glistening, dark red gloss at the soft entrance to his home, the tender door he would soon open.
Immobile, his thoughts a long, grey meandering: pain boosts his melancholy – a writer’s block in reverse… For there is much new to express, and so many ways to exercise style!
For sitting is now a torture, slow and methodical, preventing art for art, but still imagining horizons ready for discovery.
Image: Chapel of Saint Barbara, Wengen (La Valle), Alta Badia, South-Tyrol ©Honoré Dupuis
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Dictionary, Shmictionary.”
Time to confess: tell us about a time when you used a word whose meaning you didn’t actually know (or were very wrong about, in retrospect).
I told you, the day we first met. “I don’t believe you” you said in reply, smiling. Of course, I was devastated, what could have I expected, from a beautiful witch?
In those somber days, before I was initiated, before I learned the meaning of those words, I could not see. It was a long journey, in darkness, often close to despair, but you were my constant guide.
Then, one day, the skies cleared, the east wind pushed the clouds away, and I saw the light.
Why did it take me so long? “Often, before you can understand, you need to learn the meaning of its opposite…” Finally I understood the meaning of Love.
In the silent house she sits, and thinks of you, writes a letter – which you will never receive.
Long ago you met, and you loved, in the silent house – and then you left.
Her, in her poor, wounded heart, she cannot leave – she lives in the bubbles of her memories, for you long forgotten.
Such is the law of love, a much asymmetrical feeling, one party always staying put, while the other floats away…
Away from the bubbles, gathering dust, and tears, in the silent house.
City lights… I looked around, taking in the anonymous passersby, the broken asphalt, the absurd glitter of a dying world. The line was dead, already: you had gone, far, further than where I could ever reach you.
There would be no return, you had chosen the path, away, from me, from “us”. Us was no longer, no more than this city, soon to be reduced to ashes. I looked up at the sky, and beyond the thin layer of clouds I saw them: the dark birds of premonition.
Pause. Dead silence. I sensed their arrival, the slim silver bodies of the avengers, the megatons of fate. Revenge from those we had enslaved, betrayed, starved and plundered through the ages: now we would pay the price, for cowardice and hate, for being, to the rest of mankind, disposable vermin.
The phone line was dead, then the purple glow of Armageddon. The End.