"If there is, I think, for each one of us a different, a personal Paradise,
Mine should be inhabited by trees of words that the wind dresses in silver, like poplars,
By men who see the rights of which they have been deprived returning to them,
And by birds that even in the midst of the truth of death insist on singing in Greek and on saying, eros, eros, eros!"—The Greek poet Odysseus Elytis, who died on this day in 1996; Elytis was awarded the 1979 Nobel prize for literature.
To be a Greek and a part of its twenty-five-century-old literary tradition was to Elytis a matter of great pride. I especially like his AEAGEAN MELANCHOLY:
"I know the names no longer of a world that disavows me.
I read seashells, leaves, and the stars clearly.
I have no need for hatred in the roads of the sky
Unless the dream is that which watches me again.
As I walk by the sea of immortality in tears
I know the night no longer that is more than night."
I miss the beauty in today's prose and poetry.
Yet, there need not be lyrical grace to the prose to be beauty.
Beauty can be found in words if there is Truth in them.
Carson McCullers's The Member of the Wedding was published on this day in 1946.
In the passage below, twelve-year-old Frankie announces to Berenice that, as she is a nobody whose name means nothing, she is changing it to "F. Jasmine":
"Well, that's not exactly so," said Berenice. "People think of Frankie Addams and it brings to mind that Frankie is finished with the B section of the seventh grade. And Frankie found the golden egg at the Baptist Easter Hunt. And Frankie lives on Grove Street and—"
"But those things are nothing," F. Jasmine said. "See? They're not worthwhile. Nothing ever happened to me."
"But it will," said Berenice. "Things will happen."
"What?" F. Jasmine asked.
Berenice sighed and reached for the Chesterfield package inside her bosom.
"You pin me down like that and I can't tell you truthfully. If I could I would be a wizard. I wouldn't be sitting here in this kitchen right now, but making a fine living on Wall Street as a wizard. All I can say is that things will happen. Just what, I don't know."
What do you miss in today's prose?
In today's movies?
In today's television?