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come a-knockin'

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The beauties the beauties the things I let go by.

It was pleasant to wake up in Florence, to open the eyes upon a bright bare room, with a floor of red tiles which look clean though they are not; with a painted ceiling whereon pink griffins and blue amorini sport in a forest of yellow violins and bassoons.  It was pleasant, too, to fling wide the windows, pinching the fingers in unfamiliar fastenings, to lean out into sunshine with beautiful hills and trees and marble churches opposite, and close below, the Arno, gurgling against the embankment of the road.

*

Evening approached while they chatted; the air became brighter; the colours on the trees and hills were purified, and the Arno lost its muddy solidity and began to twinkle.  There were a few streaks of bluish-green among the clouds, a few patches of watery light upon the earth, and then the dripping facade of San Miniato shone brilliantly in the declining sun.

*

But though she had avoided the chief actor, the scenery unfortunately remained.  Charlotte, with the complacency of fate, led her from the river to the Piazza Signoria.  She could not have believed that stones, a Loggia, a fountain, a palace tower, would have such significance.  For a moment she understood the nature of ghosts.

*

The well-known world had broken up, and there emerged Florence, a magic city where people thought and did the most extraordinary things.  Murder, accusations of murder, A lady clinging to one man and being rude to another—were these the daily incidents of her streets?  Was there more in her frank beauty than met the eye—the power, perhaps, to evoke passions, good and bad, and to bring them speedily to a fulfillment?

*

Miss Lavish—for that was the clever lady's name—turned to the right along the sunny Lung' Arno.  How delightfully warm!  But a wind down the side streets cut like a knife, didn't it?  Ponte alle Grazie—particularly interesting, mentioned by Dante.  San Miniato—beautiful as well as interesting; the crucifix that kissed a murderer—Miss Honeychurch would remember the story.  The men on the river were fishing.  (Untrue; but then, so is most information.)  Then Miss Lavish darted under the archway of the white bullocks, and she stopped, and she cried:

“A smell! a true Florentine smell!  Every city, let me teach you, has its own smell.”

“Is it a very nice smell?” said Lucy, who had inherited from her mother a distaste to dirt.

“One doesn't come to Italy for niceness,” was the retort; “one comes for life.  Buon giorno!  Buon giorno!”



[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Santo Spirito, Firenze]
[giovedž 29 giugno 2017 ore 18:24:00] []

Lists I would look for on Buzzfeed. Or not.

The ten most misheard lyrics in music (as in, 'scuse me while I kiss this guy).  The fifteen weirdest names for fairy princes.  The five happiest endings in the work of Alice Munro.  The three colors Kandinsky never used.  Six letters I should have sent but didn't.  Seventeen the other way around.  All the cat names we have not thought of.  Every shade of blue in a dream of drowning.  All the names of all the women who wouldn't.  Every kind of firecracker.  Every kind of fight.  All the non-verbal languages.  Every poet that drove too fast.  The seven kinds of mother.  The two kinds of hope.  The ten best times of day for daggers.  All the places a god isn't buried.  The thirteen ways I can look in a mirror.  The thirty-nine ways you can look at me.  Every word you never said.  All of the people I wished you were.


[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Santo Spirito, Firenze]
[martedž 27 giugno 2017 ore 22:20:00] []

Counted Sweetest

Through a Talk of the Town piece from a few weeks ago, I meet Terence Davies, the British filmmaker who directed A Quiet Passion.  On a visit to the Emily Dickinson exhibit at the Morgan Library & Museum, Davies tells of how he first encountered Dickinson:

In an introduction to an anthology, he read that “she withdrew from life” beginning in her twenties.  “I thought, There must be more to it than that,” he said.  “She loved to go out, she loved to bake, she improvised on the piano, she loved the commencement balls, she liked to dance.”


How would it have been, I wonder, had Glynn Maxwell spoken to Terence Davies (and perhaps, while I'm at it, to Adrienne Rich too), before making his hot misogynistic mess of things?

*

A little later in the same piece, I can almost see Davies wringing his seventy-one year old hands as he leaves the exhibit, still mulling Dickinson's lack of recognition in her lifetime.  “I just think, Oh, why couldn't she have gotten one success?” he said.  “Or at least, won first prize for her bread!  Why couldn't she have been at the head of the class, for once?”

I think of Monopoly.  And I wonder if Emily wondered, about what it meant to get second-best.


[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Santo Spirito, Firenze]
[martedž 20 giugno 2017 ore 16:41:00] []

Aprire completamente, quanto piý Ť possibile.

You still wake up mornings incredulous.

*

The summer of my fortieth year was my first summer.  Not really.  But it was the first summer that felt, barring unforeseen circumstances, tocca ferro and palle-if-I-had-them, scaramantica, starthirst, and blackswallow, like this might maybe, maybe, last.

*

You still cross the river with wonder.

*

One weekend we watched wisteria in Villa Bardini.  One weekend we voyeured into every private garden in our neighborhood.  One weekend we made my mother's chicken ginger for the only person in this country who has known me longer than my cat.

*

Every time you open a window, winglike onto the street, you think of the word spalancare.  Something for the body.  Something for the soul.

How am I allowed to have this?


[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Santo Spirito, Firenze]
[martedž 13 giugno 2017 ore 09:50:11] []