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Of Glass & Paper

Sisyphus47's writing blog

Teufelsberg, or, of the Vanity of Wars…

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The woods are silent, high above the hills a hawk observes the few walkers: we are aware of what we are treading on: a still intact Nazi building that resisted attempts at destroying it, on top layers after layers of rubbles from ruined homes and monuments destroyed by the war. We admire the views, the lakes on the horizon, the stadium’s tower above the trees, the white city and its domes.

We approach the site through the naked trees, past the climbing rocks, along the double fence. Everything has been vandalised, rubbish strewed over the once well ordered roads. What remains is enough to show the extent of the buildings here, and there is more underground.

What did they listen to? What did they learn? Was there a sane reason for them to be there, for nearly forty years… Was there a sane reason for the division, the pain, the fears?

What do the ghosts think? Or have they given up since the devil persists in haunting those hills?…

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From a visit to Teufelsberg, former NSA listening station in West Berlin.

Vanish #DailyPost #Berlin-Spandauer Schifffahrtskanal

Along the canal…

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It’s a nice relaxing walk, some three kilometres from our place, soon on the bank of the Spandau canal, formerly Hohenzollern canal, following the Mauerweg. A small cemetery lies there, it must have been, for years, in the no man’s land between West and East, and the graves are those of senior officers of the Prussian army who were active before or at the start of the first World War.

This place is eery, as the Wall has vanished, bar in a few places (one can see still a watch tower entirely preserved, surrounded by new buildings where families and children now live.) Yet one feels that other presence: there was a border once, and thirty years before then it was not the City we now see. The province – Land – that has survived, is no longer Prussia, it is back to being Brandenburg. The founding myths of the new republic, “wir sind das Volk”, gloss over the historical complexities. What we see, or guess at, is the multitude of ghosts who haunt the space, all the way to the Reichstag.

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Photos: © 2016 Honoré Dupuis

Lady of the Lake #Plötzensee

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It was an enchanted morning, sunshine and frost, near the lake. Saturdays are special, here in Wedding, calm, unrushed, often luminous. Between the trees, beyond the whitened path, I kept looking. What else is a photographer to do?

A few runners, well ensconced in woollen gear, gentle steps upon the hardened ground.

Then I saw you. You must have been observing me for a while. Suddenly the light changed, overcome by your radiance. You lifted your veil, I stood still, overcome by such beauty, such whiteness on your skin, such blackness in your hair…

Who knows why you chose to elect this sinner for such a gift?

As I got closer to the lake, I then noticed its surface was already frozen.

Inspired by a Saturday morning walk around the Plötzensee. Photography by me (one of the “Parks und Seen” series to be published on my photoblog).

Construct #DailyPost #Katatonia

As I looked up today’s prompt…

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… I was listening to one of my favourite dark albums, my beloved Katatonia‘s “Night is The New Day“, and, unfathomably, found the lyrics of “day and then the shade” entirely appropriate…

i will rise

to dreams of freedom

and avow

to return the treason that came under your reign

the day and then the shade

i have slept

inside the season that froze within my grasp

all my fears come into view

there must be an end soon

when every waking hour

is part of the lie

i will rise

over glass cathedrals

and let go

with my eyes resting upon the nearing dark

the day and then the shade

i have slept

within the reason that kept me so remote

make a brand new vow

in the heat of the evening

the darkness swarms

i was nothing, ever

but red like the sun

dying down over the freeway

is the brand new sky

over the mountain ridge”

“day and then the shade”: music and lyrics by Jonas Renkse

Echo #DailyPost

Can you hear?

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This place does not feel empty, not as empty as I would expect it to be, without you. In truth I can hear your steps, your voice, I can sense your scent. You are here and you are not. You are real, and you are not.

Is it echo of my memories, echo in a mind now turned to the void?

Image: Alina Noir, via                           afroui                                          

Faded #DailyPost #WritersWednesday

On today’s prompt

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As I look at those pictures, at the colours beginning to fade, and those faces not yet totally forgotten, I recall those instants I never seized, all those years back, before peace reached me. And peace, I owe to you, my love, you brought me down to reality, and to acceptance of the world. Yet I cannot entirely forget that other life, those other lives. These places still impregnated of the then recent disasters, the long wars, the signs of destruction still present all around us. Europe was then still on her knees.

From time to time, an article, a book, a scent, brings me back to those years, to a youth full of longing and unhappiness. The world was young… no, it was the old world, but we were young, naive, and dangerous. The calamities of today pale in insignificance compared to what was then the daily life of our parents: the sheer poverty, the cold, the threats, and the still smoking ruins. Yet there was also hope, born from the deep soul of their hearts.

Written in December 2012 (Peace)

Image: Nino Migliori. Periferia. 1950s ~ via semioticapocalypsesemioticapocalypse.tumblr.com

Culture #DailyPost

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

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It’s all that we have learnt, and forgotten. It’s all that we remember, suddenly, as we walk through the woods, and see the castle, across the lake, which reminds us of beauty and the beast, of treasure island, of snow-white and her friends the dwarves… It’s all that may reappear, in our dreams, in the soft ripples of desires and memories. It may even be about a lost ring?

We follow the lane, our steps made silent by the thick cover of dead leaves. We cannot be sure who lived here, did they write symphonies, or wrote novels? Or did they study the dark heart of time? Were they wizards, or evil magicians? Did they come from the underworld, or from an island, far away, across an immense ocean? Are they still alive?

Behind those trees, we see the old school, the coal fire burning, the ancient wooden floor. It is what will remain when we are ready to embark, on our last voyage…

Photo: Schloß Dammsmühle, Brandenburg, © 2016 Honoré Dupuis

Chaotic #DailyPost

Today’s Prompt

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“It’s all about geography,” she said in her quiet, matter of fact voice. “You have to draw the map, polish the synopsis, make sure those ghosts of yours translate into real people, people who live, work, love, somewhere!”

“You’re quite right about the map,”I replied, in conciliatory mood, “and there lies the problem. I have several in mind, dependent on when, and who, on past and present, on today and a fleeting tomorrow. As for them…”

“Don’t tell me,” she snapped, “they don’t know where they are! But it’s precisely your job to show them, to guide them, to organise that chaos they find themselves in! Just imagine, being parachuted on the blank page, out of your world, in a different time, without language, without light…”

“I just need to let it rest, for a bit, you know, without rushing to impose order… prematurely… Besides, who am I to rule them about? They may like this lack of walls, this fizziness, the doors open…”

“That’s what I have always thought,” she concluded with a disarming smile, “You are an anarchic writer! I wish I could help!”

Image: Carl Friedrich Seiffert, Die Blaue Grotte auf Capri, 1860 – Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin

From the mist #WritersWednesday

 

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They emerge from the mist, slowly, their shapes and faces only taking colours once the first sun rays appear: they look hesitant, perhaps a little shy. They are not alone, small nebulae surround them: their memories, their secrets, their hopes, often encrypted, not yet readable. They don’t speak, they appear to listen, to sounds we cannot hear, to melodies long forgotten, or voices of others, far away.

Sometime, one of them comes into clearer focus, surprised, but determined to find her way. It is then our turn to listen, attentive to the moves and gestures of the newcomer. It is as if she wishes to communicate with us, a few words at a time, often names. Eventually we know her name, and, later, that of people who matter to her. It is then the start of a journey of discovery. Where does she come from? When was she born, and where? Who were her parents? Who was her first love? Or, if there was no mercy, when did she die?

If she’s dead, already, then she may be coming, from that distant past, on behalf of someone else, her living self, or an old lover, or a child she lost, somewhere. She may be here to denounce some falsehood, some slander she was victim of, some lies people told about her life. She wants justice.

When she starts talking, we are surprised, how young she sounds, how present she is, and we want to hear more, of her life, of her story.

If we are lucky, she will tell us enough, about her life, her loves, her world, for us to write about her, to make her live again.

Photo: Christian Daniel Rauch, Danaide mit aufgelöstem Haar (Danaid with dishevelled hair), 1842-1846 – Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin

 

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