Wednesday, June 07, 2017

uncinching flourish

Fear and Clothing.

“Not in the wantonness of wealth, not in vain ministry to the desire of the eye or the pride of life, were those marbles hewn into transparent strength, and those arches arrayed in the colours of the iris. There is a message written in the dyes of them, that once was written in blood; and a sound in the echoes of their vaults, that one day shall fill the vault of heaven—‘He shall return to do judgement and justice.’ The strength of Venice was given her, so long as she remembered this; her destruction found her when she had forgotten this; and it found her irrevocably, because she forgot it without excuse. Never had a city a more glorious Bible. Among the nations of the North, a rude and shadowy sculpture filled their temples with confused and hardly legible imagery; but, for her, the skill and the treasures of the East had gilded every letter, and illuminated every page, till the Book-Temple shone from afar off like the star of the Magi. In other cities, the meetings of the people were often in places withdrawn from religious association, subject to violence and to change; and on the grass of the dangerous rampart, and in the dust of the troubled street, there were deeds done and counsels taken, which, if we cannot justify, we may sometimes forgive. But the sins of Venice, whether in her palace or in her piazza, were done with the bible at her right hand. The walls on which its testimony was written were separated but by a few inches of marble from those which guarded the secrets of her councils, or confined the victims of her policy. And when in her last hours she threw off all shame and all restraint, and the great square of the city became filled with the madness of the whole earth, be it remembered how much her sin was greater, because it was done in the face of the House of god, burning withy the letters of his Law. Mountebank and masque laughed their laugh and went their way; and a silence has followed them, not unforetold; for amidst them all, through century after century of gathering vanity and festering guilt, that white dome of St Mark’s had uttered in the dead ear of Venice: ‘Know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgement.’ “ --John Ruskin, The Stones of Venice, qtd in Proust’s essay “Days of Reading” (tr Sturrock, 1988)

"... the many tangled reasons which lead people in this country to use the word swan for a goose, autumn for the rainy season, and so on."

    dream of the mountain
as you have before · floating
    amidst cerulean

i wake & the sky is dark
with looming definite threats



Post a Comment

<< Home