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Life, Life

And this I dreamt, and this I dream, And some time this I will dream again, And all will be repeated, all be re-embodied, You will dream everything I have seen in dream.

To one side from ourselves, to one side from the world Wave follows wave to break on the shore, On each wave is a star, a person, a bird, Dreams, reality, death—on wave after wave.

No need for a date: I was, I am, and I will be, Life is a wonder of wonders, and to wonder I dedicate myself, on my knees, like an orphan, Alone—among mirrors—fenced in by reflections: Cities and seas, iridescent, intensified. A mother in tears takes a child on her lap.

Life, Life by Arseny Tarkovsky (translated by Virginia Rounding)

I have named this blog "Life, Life" after this poem of Arseny Tarkovsky, a Russian poet whose fame was shadowed by his son Andrei Tarkovsky, a renowned auteur in cinematography. A latest album of Ryuichi Sakamoto "Async" has a track with David Sylvian reciting this poem against the melancholic music backdrop of Sakamoto-san.

Both father and son Tarkovsky loved the imagery of mirrors, dreaming and water, as well as mother and child. The first Andrei Tarkovsky's film I watched was Mirror (made in 1975), I was in my early 20s and I was watching it alone in the Arts Center. The opening scene of the wind blowing across the green pasture left an imprint on my mind still, after 20 years. The dreaming scene (see pic.) has totally shattered my previous perception of what cinema can do; how the moving picture can be a medium for art and poetry. I was utterly shaken and I wanted to scream with the beauty in front of me.

That's when I first got to in touch with Arseny's poetry. The poem First Meetings was recited during this scene:

We celebrated every moment Of our meetings as epiphanies, Just we two in all the world. Bolder, lighter than a bird's wing, You hurtled like vertigo Down the stairs, leading Through moist lilac to your realm Beyond the mirror. When night fell, grace was given me, The sanctuary gates were opened, Shining in the darkness Nakedness bowed slowly; Waking up, I said: 'God bless you!', knowing it To be daring: you slept, The lilac leaned towards you from the table To touch your eyelids with its universal blue, Those eyelids brushed with blue Were peaceful, and your hand was warm. And in the crystal I saw pulsing rivers, Smoke-wreathed hills, and glimmering seas; Holding in your palm that crystal sphere, You slumbered on the throne, And - God be praised! - you belonged to me. Awaking, you transformed The humdrum dictionary of humans Till speech was full and running over With resounding strength, and the word you Revealed its new meaning: it meant king. Everything in the world was different, Even the simplest things - the jug, the basin - When stratified and solid water Stood between us, like a guard. We were led to who knows where. Before us opened up, in mirage, Towns constructed out of wonder, Mint leaves spread themselves beneath our feet, Birds came on the journey with us, Fish leapt in greeting from the river, And the sky unfurled above… While behind us all the time went fate, A madman brandishing a razor.

First Meetings by Arseny Tarkovsky

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