Saturday, February 03, 2007

Castle of the unforgettable 2

Had I ever had a frozen limb or digit, he wanted to know. "There are many men who have been marked by frost." -- "No," I said. "In the war, I should tell you, men had the feet freeze off their legs, and the ears off their heads. By thinking on a certain subject, a condition that may be thousands of years away, or at the very least a beautiful memory, it is possible to generate warmth in oneself, even heat, but only to a certain, finally unsuccessful, degree. Even those soldiers who burned with homesickness during the Russian winter campaigns were not enabled to survive by their homesickness." He said: "When the days get that cold, I sit in my bed, and stare at the frost flowers on my window, that in a succession of miracles evoke landscapes from painting, from nature, from inner despair, only to crush them again, and to draw from them such truths as, to my conviction, are dispersed in their hundreds of thousands and their millions in our lives, and portray more than an intimation of a world that lies alongside our familiar world, a universe we have failed to recognize."
From Frost, p268-9 translated by Michael Hofmann.

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