The Tears of St. Peter (El Greco 1587-1596)
I’ve lost count now, of the amount of times I’ve been captivated by a moment and the undying regret at not capturing and preserving it on camera.
And so it happened again – this time the location was the Metro de Madrid – and yet again I felt the full brunt of the anguish at not having the ‘right’ (whatever, that means) camera to record this unusual moment that I would never experience again.
This date of 31st December – which in essence is like any other unremarkable, run-of-the-mill day in the western calendar, in so much that it is has a span of 24 hours, beginning with a sunrise and a sunset in between – has actually been elevated into a cult.
It has been fashioned into an extraordinary day carrying excessive symbolic value, simply on the basis that it is the day and night preceding the beginning of the New Year on the Gregorian calendar – which obviously, like any modern man-made calendar is a construction from a chosen point in time, in this case after the birth of Christ (AD), and not actually the 31st/01st of the year since the dawn of human civilisation.
But even if I discard this fact, there are still other interesting revelations about human behaviour and the importance this day is bestowed.
David with the Head of Goliath (Caravaggio, 1610)
When Life Spoke to me.
You think you own me
Like a piece of this earth which you can rape?
I won’t dance to your whims
Or pay heed to your commands
If only you knew.
Eric Lacombe – The Weight of Silence
“We come from a generation of people who need their TV or stereo playing all the time. These people so scared of silence. These soundaholics, these quietophobics.”
“My solitude does not depend on the presence or the absence of people, on the contrary, I hate who steals my solititude without in exchange offering me true company.”
I’ve often wondered why so many of us are afraid of silence and solitude?
Is it because we have been surrounded by artificial types of noise from such a young age, that we now crave its presence at every moment in our adult lives?
Or is it that people simply fear sitting on their own, with themselves. And, that any type of noise – even it is of little substance and value – gives them a temporary, superficial feeling of company.
“If you look at the four seasons, each season brings fruit. In summer, there’s fruit, in autumn, too. Winter brings different fruit and spring, too. No mother can fill her fridge with such a variety of fruit for her children. No mother can do as much for her children as God does for His creatures.
You want to refuse all that?
You want to give it all up?
You want to give up the taste of cherries?”
(Mr Bagheri in Taste of Cherry)
Anything I can possibly write praising the late, great poet of cinema Abbas Kiarostami will be an epic disappointment. One, because I lack the finesse to write well, and secondly because the art that this grand filmmaker and artistic polymath has left us behind is beyond the limitations of words, it’s beauty is simply inexpressible.
Although, I had only seen ‘Taste of Cherry’ (quite a few years ago) and ‘Close-up’ (last February), prior to his untimely passing, I was so moved by just these two films that I felt compelled to say something – but I just didn’t know how or what. Continue reading
Many of us may have heard of the legendary and timeless love story of Qays and Layla, popularly known as Majnun Layla. It is reported to have been composed by the Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi as well as Amir Khusrow later on, and many others who have interpreted and been inspired by it in different cultures. The love that Qays has for Layla is such that it surpasses the boundaries of mortal love, and he becomes known by the people as Majnun – meaning the mad or possessed.
Here is one of the anecdotes which involves Majnun and the Praying Man that I came across many years ago and which I have presented in my own words. Continue reading
A beautiful, poignant piece of writing about how our childhood sense of innocence slips away from us.
Written by Jeff Coleman – a modern literary fantasy author.
Innocence of Youth
There are those exceptional moments in life when you experience crystal clarity in thought and purpose, when all is as it should be, when all is right and good with the world. But those moments are rare, are few and far between, and they almost always occur when you’re young. As a child, you didn’t have time to formulate your own beliefs; instead, your world view hinged on the beliefs of others. The innocence of youth is a wonderful carefree time in which the mind and the heart are free from the burdens of autonomous thinking and responsibility.