What more could I have done when I did not know that to love is both to seek and to be sought? For me love was nothing but a dialogue of little riddles, with no answers given. As my spirit of adoration, I never even imagined it to be a thing that required some sort of answer.
For the meaning of any beautiful created thing is, at least, as much in the soul of him who looks at it, as it was in his soul who wrought it.
— Oscar Wilde, the Critic as Artisit
steam locomotives billowing black filth, scheming widows in pillbox hats with lace netting, a city outside the boundaries of time suffocated by a fog that will not lift, street urchins, sea urchins, public lives and private lives, the ominous gong of scandal and the ubiquitous gong of the clock-towers, nefarious ‘understanding’s, clotted cream and peat moss, country houses, manipulative gentlemen in moth-eaten morning coats, frozen marriages, byronic heroes, fainting couches as the centrepieces of burgundy drawing-rooms, professional eavesdroppers and persuasive coat-tail-clingers, black markets, grey morals, white lips
The world I am now in is one of diseased nerves, lucid as ice. Such voluntary death must give us peace, if not happiness. Now that I am ready, I find nature more beautiful than ever, paradoxical as this may sound. I have seen, loved, and understood more than others. In this at least I have a measure of satisfaction, despite all the pain I have thus far had to endure.
I have been here before,
But when or how I cannot tell
- Sudden Light, Dante Gabriel Rossetti
جئتُ، لا أعلمُ من أينَ، ولكنّي أتيتْ
ولقد أبصرتْ قدَاميْ طريقاً فمشيتْ
وسأبقى ماشياً إن شئتُ هذا أم أبيتْ
كيف جئتُ؟ كيف أبصرتُ طريقي؟
الطلاسم، إيليا أبو ماضي-
I came, I know not, yet came this way:
I saw a path-along it made my way,
I must go on- or say I yea or nay!
How I have come? How did I find the way?
I do not know!
- The Talisman, Elia Abu Madi (translated by Murtada Adegboyega)
Three matches one by one struck in the night
The first to see your face in its entirety
The second to see your eyes
The last to see your mouth
And the darkness all around to remind me of all these
As I hold you in my arms.
ثلاثة أعوادِ ثقابٍ أشعلتها في الليل الواحد بعد الآخر
الأول لأرى وجهك… كل وجهك
الثاني لأرى عينيك
الأخير لأرى فمك
وما هذه الظلمة إلا لتذكرني بكل ذلك وأنا أحتويك بين ذراعيّ
- Paris At Night, Jacques Prévert