Monday, June 6, 2011

Demanding words ii

In some places in Greece you can pass through all the changes of fifty cen-turies in the space of five minutes. Everything is delineated, sculptured, etched .. You see everything in its uniqueness - a man sitting on a road under a tree: a donkey climbing a path near a mountain: a ship in a harbour in a sea of turquoise: a table on a terrace beneath a cloud. And so on. Whatever you look at you see as if for the first time; it won't run away, it won't be demolished overnight; it won't disintegrate or dissolve or revolutionise itself. Every individual thing that exists, whether made by God or man, whether fortuitous or planned, stands out like a nut in an aureole of light, of time and space.

Even the waste lands have an eternal cast about them. The shrub is the equal of the donkey; a wall is as valid as a belfry; a melon is as good as a man. Nothing is continued or perpetuated beyond its natural time; there is no iron will wreaking its hideous path of power. After a hour's walk you are refreshed and exhausted by the variety of the anomalous and sporadic. By comparison Park Avenue seems insane and no doubt is insane. The oldest building in Herakleion will outlive the newest building in America. Organisms die; the cell lives on. Life is at the roots, embedded in simplicity, asserting itself uniquely.

Henry Miller
The Colossus of Maroussi
New Directions, 1958©

iii photo Tassos Paschalis

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