Saturday, December 16, 2006

For what you seek

Calvino knows.
Invisible Cities basically hold all the truths.

Searching the (good) book for quotes for the CIRCA TRADE newsletter I'm at work on, I found:

(Invisible Cities is an imagining of the meetings of Kublai Khan and his messenger/explorer, Marco Polo: below introduces a sort of political/emotional framework for the last Mongol emperor):

In the lives of emperors there is a moment
which follows pride in the boundless extension
of the territories we have conquered,
and the melancholy and relief of knowing we shall soon give up
any thought of knowing and understanding them.

There is a sense of emptiness that comes over us at evening...


(here I'm omitting some wonderful stuff about the stuff of elephant odors and cold braziers..)

the dispatches announcing to us the collapse of the last enemy troops,
from defeat to defeat,
and flakes the wax of the seals of obscure kings who beseech our armies' protection...
It is the desperate moment when we discover that this empire,
which has seemed to us the sum of all wonders,
is an endless,
formless ruin,
that corruption's gangrene has spread too far to be healed by our scepter,
that the triumph over enemy sovereigns
has made us the heirs
of their long undoing."


(if only Bush would have read history, or at the very least, Calvino).

C - peace and, in this new year, let us please look backwards as well as to the future

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