Levertov / Dust

A Gift

Just when you seem to yourself
nothing but a flimsy web
of questions, you are given
the questions of others to hold
in the emptiness of your hands,
songbird eggs that can still hatch
if you keep them warm,
butterflies opening and closing themselves
in your cupped palms, trusting you not to injure
their scintillant fur, their dust.
You are given the questions of others
as if they were answers
to all you ask. Yes, perhaps
the gift is your answer.

–Denise Levertov
Advertisements

On Greek Spirit, Hegel

The Greek Spirit:

For the Greeks only *watch* the objects of Nature, and form *surmises* respecting them; inquiring, in the depths of their souls, for the hidden meaning. According to Aristotle’s dictum, that Philosophy proceeds from Wonder, the Greek view of Nature also proceeds from wonder of this kind. Not that in their experience, Spirit meets something extraordinary, which it compares with the common order of things; for the intelligent view of a regular course of Nature, and the reference of phenomena to that standard, do not yet present themselves; but the Greek Spirit was excited to wonder at the *Natural* in Nature. It does not maintain the position of stupid indifference to it as something existing, and there an end of it; but regards it as something in the first instance foreign, in which, however, it has a presentiment of confidence, and the belief that it bears something within it which is friendly to the human Spirit, and to which it may be permitted to sustain a positive relation. This *Wonder* and this *Presentiment*, are here the fundamental categories; though the Hellenes did not content themselves with these moods of feelings, but projected the hidden meaning, which was the subject of the surmise, into a distinct conception as an object of consciousness. The Natural holds its place in their minds only after undergoing some transformation by Spirit– not immediately.



~Hegel’s *Philosophy of History*

Vincent

There are so many people, especially among our comrades, who imagine that words are nothing – on the contrary, isn’t it true that saying a thing well is as interesting and as difficult as painting it?
(Vincent van Gogh)

Painting is a faith, and it imposes the duty to disregard public van-gogh-autoportrait-chapeau-pailleopinion.
(Vincent van Gogh)

I come back dissatisfied – I put it away, and when I have rested a little, I go and look at it with a kind of fear. Then I am still dissatisfied, because I still have that splendid scene too clearly in my mind to be satisfied with what I have made of it. But I find in my work an echo of what struck me…
(Vincent van Gogh)

 Only he can be an artist who has a religion all his own – an original way of viewing infinity.
(Vincent van Gogh)

Still, there is a calm, pure harmony, and music inside of me.
(Vincent van Gogh)

One may have a blazing hearth in one’s soul and yet no one ever came to sit by it. Passers-by see only a wisp of smoke from the chimney and continue on their way.
(Vincent van Gogh)

b5986235aea58f292396ed0767429ae4

I’ve failed again!
(Vincent van Gogh)

What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?
(Vincent van Gogh)

It is better to be high-spirited even though one makes more mistakes, than to be narrow-minded and all too prudent.
(Vincent van Gogh)

*featured image: photograph of Vincent van Gogh

*image one: Autoportrait, 1889, Vincent van Gogh

*image two: Portrait of Vincent van Gogh, 1886 by John Peter Russell