Possibilities | Wislawa Szymborska, 1997

Egon Schiele - Double Self-portrait with Wally, 1913


I prefer movies.
I prefer cats.
I prefer the oaks along the Warta.
I prefer Dickens to Dostoyevsky.
I prefer myself liking people
to myself loving mankind.
I prefer keeping a needle and thread on hand, just in case.
I prefer the color green.
I prefer not to maintain
that reason is to blame for everything.
I prefer exceptions.
I prefer to leave early.
I prefer talking to doctors about something else.
I prefer the old fine-lined illustrations.
I prefer the absurdity of writing poems
to the absurdity of not writing poems.
I prefer, where love's concerned, nonspecific anniversaries
that can be celebrated every day.
I prefer moralists
who promise me nothing.
I prefer cunning kindness to the over-trustful kind.
I prefer the earth in civvies.
I prefer conquered to conquering countries.
I prefer having some reservations.
I prefer the hell of chaos to the hell of order.
I prefer Grimms' fairy tales to the newspapers' front pages.
I prefer leaves without flowers to flowers without leaves.
I prefer dogs with uncropped tails.
I prefer light eyes, since mine are dark.
I prefer desk drawers.
I prefer many things that I haven't mentioned here
to many things I've also left unsaid.
I prefer zeroes on the loose
to those lined up behind a cipher.
I prefer the time of insects to the time of stars.
I prefer to knock on wood.
I prefer not to ask how much longer and when.
I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility
that existence has its own reason for being.


Wislawa Szymborska, From Nothing Twice, 1997
Translated by S. Baranczak & C. Cavanagh



Canto XIII | Ezra Pound, 1925

Prunus mume blossoms


Kung walked
by the dynastic temple
and into the cedar grove,
and then out by the lower river,
And with him Khieu Tchi
and Tian the low speaking
And "we are unknown," said Kung,
"You will take up charioteering?
"Then you will become known,
"Or perhaps I should take up charioterring, or archery?
"Or the practice of public speaking?"
And Tseu-lou said, "I would put the defences in order,"
And Khieu said, "If I were lord of a province
"I would put it in better order than this is."
And Tchi said, "I would prefer a small mountain temple,
"With order in the observances,
with a suitable performance of the ritual,"
And Tian said, with his hand on the strings of his lute
The low sounds continuing
after his hand left the strings,
And the sound went up like smoke, under the leaves,
And he looked after the sound:
"The old swimming hole,
"And the boys flopping off the planks,
"Or sitting in the underbrush playing mandolins."
And Kung smiled upon all of them equally.
And Thseng-sie desired to know:
"Which had answered correctly?"
And Kung said, "They have all answered correctly,
"That is to say, each in his nature."
And Kung raised his cane against Yuan Jang,
Yuan Jang being his elder,
For Yuan Jang sat by the roadside pretending to
be receiving wisdom.
And Kung said
"You old fool, come out of it,
"Get up and do something useful."
And Kung said
"Respect a child's faculties
"From the moment it inhales the clear air,
"But a man of fifty who knows nothng
Is worthy of no respect."
And "When the prince has gathered about him
"All the savants and artists, his riches will be fully employed."
And Kung said, and wrote on the bo leaves:
If a man have not order within him
He can not spread order about him;
And if a man have not order within him
His family will not act with due order;
And if the prince have not order within him
He can not put order in his dominions.
And Kung gave the words "order"
and "brotherly deference"
And said nothing of the "life after death."
And he said
"Anyone can run to excesses,
"It is easy to shoot past the mark,
"It is hard to stand firm in the middle."

And they said: If a man commit murder
Should his father protect him, and hide him?
And Kung said:
He should hide him.

And Kung gave his daughter to Kong-Tchang
Although Kong-Tchang was in prison.
And he gave his niece to Nan-Young
although Nan-Young was out of office.
And Kung said "Wan ruled with moderation,
"In his day the State was well kept,
"And even I can remember
"A day when the historians left blanks in their writings,
"I mean, for things they didn't know,
"But that time seems to be passing.
A day when the historians left blanks in their writings,
But that time seems to be passing."
And Kung said, "Without character you will
"be unable to play on that instrument
"Or to execute the music fit for the Odes.
"The blossoms of the apricot
"blow from the east to the west,
"And I have tried to keep them from falling." 


 Ezra Pound, Canto XIII, 1925


Prunus mume is an Asian tree species classified in the Armeniaca section of the genus 
Prunus subgenus Prunus. Its common names include Chinese plum and Japanese apricot.


Also:


Inner Feeling | Photos by Consuelo Kanaga, 1930s-1950s

Consuelo Kanaga, She Is a Tree of Life to Them, Florida, 1950*                                             Consuelo Kanaga, Untitled, 1940s
                                                                                    *  title by Edward Steichen 
 Consuelo Kanaga, Untitled, 1930s                                             Consuelo Kanaga, Untitled, 1930s

Consuelo Kanaga,  Girl with Straw Hat, 1940                                         Consuelo Kanaga, Young Girl, Tennessee, 1948
Consuelo Kanaga, Southern Girls, 1940s
    Consuelo Kanaga, Child with Apple Blossoms, Tennessee, 1948
Consuelo Kanaga, Untitled, 1940s
Consuelo Kanaga, Portrait of a Young Girl, 1940s                                      Consuelo Kanaga, Young Girl, Tennessee
Consuelo Kanaga, Two Women, Harlem, 1930s
Consuelo Kanaga, Mother and Son or The Question, Florida, 1950                                                              Consuelo Kanaga, Untitled
Consuelo Kanaga - Young Girl in Profile, 1948  


"I would sacrifice resemblance any day to get the inner feeling of a person."

Consuelo Kanaga

"I could have done lots more, put in much more work and developed more pictures, but I had 
also a desire to say what I felt about life. Simple things like a little picture in the window 
or the corner of the studio or an old stove in the kitchen have always been fascinating to me. 
They are very much alive, these flowers and grasses with the dew on them. Stieglitz always said, 
"What have you got to say?" I think in a few small cases I've said a few things, expressed how I 
felt, trying to show the horror of poverty or the beauty of black people. I think that in photography
 what you've done is what you've had to say. In everything this has been the message of my life. 
A simple supper, being with someone you love, seeing a deer come around to eat or drink at the 
barn - I like things like that. If I could make one true, quiet photograph, I would much prefer
 it to having a lot of answers."

 Consuelo Kanaga

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