Posts Tagged ‘love

23
Feb
10

Favorite passage from “Waiting”

The moon was glistening on the willow and maple crowns; beetles and grasshoppers were chirring madly. The leaves and branches, heavy with dew, bent down slightly, while the grass on both sides of the road looked spiky and thick in the coppery light of the street lamps. A toad was croaking like a broken horn from a distant ditch partly filled with foamy water. Lin felt weak and aged; he was unsure whether he cared for the twins and whether he would be able to love them devotedly. Watching their covered faces, somehow he began to imagine trading places with them, having his life start afresh. If only he himself had been carried by someone like this now; then he would have led his life differently. Perhaps he would never have had a family.

Ha Jin, “Waiting”

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23
Feb
10

Can I not have both?

His heart began aching. It dawned on him that he had never loved a woman wholeheartedly and that he had always been the loved one. This must have been the reason why he knew so little about love and women. In other words, emotionally he hadn’t grown up. His instinct and ability to love passionately had withered away before they had had an opportunity to blossom. If only he had fallen in love soulfully just once in his life, even though it might have broken his heart, paralyzed his mind, made him live in a daze, bathed his face in tears, and drowned him in despair!

His mind shifted from holidays to love, which perplexed him more because he had never spent a day with a woman he loved wholeheartedly—no, there had not been such a woman in his life and that emotion had been alien to him. Yet one thing he was certain about now: between love and peace of mind he would choose the latter. He would prefer a peaceful home. What was better than a place where you could sit down comfortably, read a book, and have a good meal and an unbroken sleep?

Ha Jin, “Waiting”

23
Feb
10

Time is not a guarantee of love

He thought a while, then managed to answer, I think so. We waited eighteen years for each other, didn’t we? Doesn’t such a long time prove we love each other?

No, time may prove nothing. Actually you never loved her. You just had a crush on her, which you didn’t get a chance to outgrow or to develop into love.

What? A crush! He was taken aback and paused in his tracks. His sinuses became congested.

Yes, you mistook your crush for love. You didn’t know what love was like. In fact you waited eighteen years just for the sake of waiting. You could have waited that long for another woman too, couldn’t you?

Let me tell you what really happened, the voice said. All those years you waited torpidly, like a sleepwalker, pulled and pushed about by others’ opinions, by external pressure, by your illusions, by the official rules you internalized. You were misled by your own frustration and passivity, believing that what you were not allowed to have was what your heart was destined to embrace.

Ha Jin, “Waiting”

14
Feb
10

More love-related morsels from Mishima…

And when I hung up I felt a quite unexpected twinge of sadness. Denial is itself a sort of concession, and it is natural that the concession should bring a shadow of sadness over one’s self-respect. I am not afraid of it.

Summer is almost over. I am very much aware of its passage. As strongly as words can express. There were mackerel clouds and cumulus clouds in the sky today and a faint touch of sharpness in the air.

Love should follow along, but my emotions must not follow anything.

Yukio Mishima, “The Decay of the Angel” (Chapter 24)

The little present Momoko gave me in Shimoda is here on my desk. It is a framed bit of white coral. On the back, in two pierced hearts, it carries the inscription: “From Momoko to Toru.” I do not understand how she can go on being prey to these childish tastes. The case is filled with little bits of tinfoil that float up like the white sands of the sea when you shake it, and the glass is half frosted with indigo. The Suruga Bay I have known is compressed into a frame five inches square, it has become a lyrical miniature forced on me by a girl. But small though it is, the coral has its own grand, cold cruelty, my inviolable awareness at the heart of her lyric.

Yukio Mishima, “The Decay of the Angel” (Chapter 24)

14
Feb
10

Happy Valentine’s Day! ^_^

On reflection, falling in love for him was not only extraordinary, but rather comical. By having closely observed Kiyoaki Matsugae, he knew full well what sort of man should fall in love.

Falling in love was a special privilege given to someone whose external, sensuous charm and internal ignorance, disorganization, and lack of cognizance permitted him to form a kind of fantasy about others. It was a rude privilege. Honda was quite aware that since his childhood, he had been the opposite of such a man.

– Yukio Mishima, “The Temple of Dawn” (Chapter 39)

09
Feb
10

The Artist and the Role of His Audience in His Immortalization…

Sex, murder, and cannibalization are only metaphors in this stunning excerpt from “The Temple of Dawn”. This is an entirely fascinating look into the mind of a narcissist, artist, and genius—and a telling revelation of how he perceived his audience and what he saw as their role in his immortalization.

“…half the babies are incredibly beautiful, while the other half are ugly and deformed.

The creative powers of all artists in the land are utilized to develop various means of slaughter. That is to say, there are theaters throughout the country devoted to sexual murder, in which the beautiful boys and girls are cast in all manner of roles where they are tortured to death. They recreate all sorts of mythological and historical personalities who were sadistically murdered while young and beautiful. But of course there are many new creations too. They are nobly murdered in magnificent, sensual costumes, with splendid lighting, brilliant stage settings, and wonderful music; but usually they are toyed with by members of the audience before they are quite dead, and after that the bodies are consumed.

The graves? The graves are right outside ‘The Garden of the Loved Ones.’ It is a beautiful place, and ugly deformed people stroll among the tombs on moonlit nights, lost in romantic moods. As statues of the beautiful ones are erected as gravestones, there’s no cemetery in the world with so many beautiful bodies.

Orgasm, a phenomenon something like a corporeal crystal, is further crystallized in  memory, and following the death of the god of beauty, one can recall the highest degree of sexual excitement. The people live only in order to reach this point. Compared to this heavenly jewel, the physical existence of human beings, whether the lover or the beloved, the killer or the killed, is only the means of reaching this point. This is the ideal of the country.

Memory is the sole matter of our spirit. Even should a god appear at the climax of sexual possession, then that god becomes the ‘remembered one,’ and the lover becomes ‘the one who remembers.’ Only through this time-consuming process is the presence of the god really proved, is beauty attained for the first time, and is sexual desire distilled into love that is independent of possession. Hence, gods and humans are not separated in space, but there is a time lag between them. here lies the essence of temporal polytheism. Do you understand?

Murder sounds harsh, but it is necessary for purifying memory and distilling it into its strongest concentrated element. Besides, these ugly, deformed inhabitants are noble, truly noble. They are experts in altruism; they live for self-denial. These lovers-cum-murderers-cum-rememberers live their roles faithfully, they remember nothing about themselves, but live only in adoration of the memory of the loved ones’ beautiful death. Remembering becomes the single task of their lives. ‘The Land of the Pomegranate’ is also a country of cypresses, beautiful mementos, and mourning; it is the most peaceful and quiet place in all the world, a country of recollections.

Every time I go there, I think I never want to return to a place like Japan. The land is full of the sweetest, tenderest elements of humanity. It is a country of true humanism and peace. They have no such savage custom as eating the flesh of oxen and pigs.”

Yukio Mishima, “The Temple of Dawn” (Chapter 25, bits and pieces taken from pp. 169-173)

06
Feb
10

Love, Passion, and Transformation

Things did not proceed as I had thought, however. Even as I watched, I saw this naive, heedless passion changing my friend. Love was feverishly at work, transforming him into a person suited for love. His passion, altogether foolish, altogether blind, made him into one altogether suitable. Just at the moment of his death, I saw his face become the very face of one who had been born to die for love. All incongruity was wiped away at that moment.

I, whose eyes had witnessed so miraculous a transformation, could myself hardly remain unchanged. My callow faith in my own indomitable nature became a prey to misgivings, and I had to work to maintain it. What had been an act of faith now became an act of will. What had been something natural now became something to be sought after. This was an alteration that brought with it a certain profit valuable to me in my role as a judge. When I deal with a criminal I am able to believe, unswayed by theories of retribution or re-education, or by optimism or pessimism toward human nature, that any man, regardless of his situation, is capable of being transformed…

…Having reached my present age, I find myself no longer adverting to the incongruity between men and their passions. When I was young, concern for my own welfare certainly made such fault-finding a necessity, but now not only is this necessity gone but the disharmony in others resulting from their passion, which in the past I would have considered a weakness worthy of scornful laughter, has become but an allowable imperfection. And with that perhaps I have lost the last vestige of my youth, whose vulnerability made it fearful of the wounds incurred by reacting emotionally to the erratic conduct of others. Now, indeed, it is the beauty of danger rather than the danger of beauty that affects me with the utmost vividness, and there is nothing comical to me about youth. Probably this is because youth no longer has any claim on my self-awareness. When I consider all this for a moment, there is something frightening about it. My own enthusiasm, innocuous as it is for me, may well have the result of further stimulating your dangerous enthusiasm.

– Yukio Mishima, “Runaway Horses” (Chapter 10)




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