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Twee gedichten,

het verschil in tijd: zevenhonderd jaar;

lichtjaren, het werkelijke verschil;

twee tuinen,

twee werelden.

Verrukkelijk is mijn tuin

Verrukkelijk is mijn tuin, en alles

wat ik er heb gedaan.

Ach, de tijd die ik daar doorbracht,

rondom mij het leven groen!

Prachtig was het: rustig de sfeer

terwijl de waterdruppels vielen.

Dikwijls als ik kwam, vroeg in de morgen,

waren de wolken mij met gieten voorgeweest.

Dan lagen waterdruppels op de takken

als parelsnoeren om een vrouwenhals.

Bloemen waren vers ontloken

en verspreidden hun geuren, overal.

Aan de statig-hoge bomen

hingen vruchten als vossenstaarten.

Het was of de late namiddagzon

er als gesmolten goud over de bladeren vloeide.

Hoe vaak heb ik een boot daarheen gestuurd

waarmee ik dat wat ik begeerde heb gevonden.


Onze achtertuin is eenzaam

Niemand denkt aan de bloemen

niemand denkt aan de vissen

niemand wil geloven dat

het bloementuintje dood gaat,

dat het hart van het bloementuintje

in de zon is opgezwollen,

dat het beeld van het bloementuintje

langzaam - langzaam

leeg wordt

van de groene herinneringen

en het gevoel van het bloementuintje

is eenzelvig,

in eenzaamheid vergaand.

Onze achtertuin is eenzaam

onze achtertuin gaapt in afwachting van een onbekende regen


onze vijver is leeg.

Kleine onervaren sterren

vallen op de aarde

van boomhoogte

en ik geloof dat ’s nachts,

vanuit kleurloze ramen van ons huis

het lawaai van de hoest kwam.

Onze achtertuin is eenzaam.

Forough Farrokhzad (1935 - 1967)


Nog een laatste tuin dan,

Machado’s tuin.


misschien is Machado’s tuin wel dezelfde als Farrokhzads tuin.

Andere oorzaak,

zelfde resultaat


Een noodkreet van de 20e eeuw,


The wind, one brilliant day, called

to my soul with an odor of jasmine.

"In return for the odor of my jasmine,

I'd like all the odor of your roses."

"I have no roses; all the flowers

in my garden are dead."

"Well then, I'll take the withered petals

and the yellow leaves and the waters of the fountain."

the wind left. And I wept. And I said to myself:

"What have you done with the garden that was entrusted to you?"

Antonio Machado (1875 - 1939)

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Arren, a young prince in the Earthsea books by Ursula Le Guin, is sent by his father to the Great Masters of the School of Sorcery with troubling news. The next morning, he is asked by the Archmage to jointly break fast:

‘Come, let us breakfast together,’ said the Archmage, and led them to a table set beneath the windows. There was milk and sour beer, bread, new butter, and cheese. Arren sat with them and ate.

He had been among noblemen, landholders, rich merchants, all his life. His father’s hall in Berila was full of them: men who owned much, who bought and sold much, rich in the things of the world. They ate and drank wine, and talked loud; many disputed, many flattered, most sought something for themselves. Young as he was, Arren had learned a good deal about the manners and disguises of humanity. But he had never been among such mens as these. They ate bread, and talked little, and their faces were quiet. If they sought something, it was not for themselves. Yet they were men of great power: that, too, Arren recognized.

In one short paragraph, the difference between men of the world - always seeking something for themselves - and those who are in the world, not for themselves, but serving something greater - is felt and understood.

‘if the rowan’s roots are shallow it bears no crown’

The paragraph is from Book Four: The Farthest Shore.

Arren, the prince, ‘nearly a man, but still a boy,’ a face as if ‘cast in golden bronze, so finely moulded and so still’, and the Archmage, ‘a short, straight, vigorous figure (…) his face reddish-dark, hawk-nosed, seamed on one cheek with old scars (…) eyes bright and fierce,’ first meet under the rowan tree, near the fountain at the heart of the School.

Arren’s true name is ‘Lebannan’, meaning ‘rowan tree.’

A man in the world, meets a soon-to-be-man not-quite-yet in the world….

‘… a man does not make his destiny: he accepts it, or denies it. If the rowan’s roots are shallow it bears no crown.’

Your roots are deep. You have strength, and you must have room, room to grow. Thus I offer you, instead of a safe trip home, an unsafe voyage to an unknown end. You need not come. The choice is yours. But I offer you the choice. For I am tired of safe places, and roofs, and walls around me.

These aren’t my words, of course.

But maybe read the book.


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Not really into 80’s music, never have been, it is what it is. Here is the power of love by Frankie Goes to Hollywood, from 1984:

Here are the first (and last) lines of the song (on spotify, at least):

I'll protect you from the hooded claw

Keep the vampires from your door

‘love is the light, scaring the darkness away’

Why look into the lyrics of a song I’ve never heard before by a group I’ve never (really) listened to?

Because this past week I saw the beautiful film all of us strangers throughout which that song is woven: lyrically, thematically and even through similar images.

A knock on the door, two soon-to-be lovers meet. A first, brief, conversation. The visitor, just before he’s denied entrance, drunkenly whispers:

There are vampires at my door

The final image of the film:

‘this time we go sublime; lovers entwine, divine’

All of us strangers ends with the beginning of the power of love.

Which makes a lot of sense.


watching the film, one is reminded that,

- even though heartbreak and loss are inevitable

there really is nothing better to do


make love your goal

Good luck.


Miscellaneous threading material:

Andrew Haigh directed the film. He also made ‘Weekend’ which is also quite beautiful.

“I wanted to throw the notion of time up in the air. I feel strongly that you can be dragged backward and forward through time so easily. Go onto the dance floor, listen to a song, and you can be back to where you were 10 years ago. You can feel what you felt 30 years ago.”

A song like ‘the power of love’ for example?

More? Read this this interview.


“It’s not easy to say things to people that you love, to tell people how you feel, but secretly we all wish we could,” Andrew Haigh says. “The film delves into that idea: If we could in some metaphysical realm connect like this, wouldn’t that be an amazing thing?”

That would be an amazing thing. More, here.

Following threads is fun.

“Specifically, Adam (the protagonist)—and Haigh, and you—is drawn back to the mid-1980s, a period that might be the gayest era of pop music ever. “From 1981 to around 1986, British pop music was the queerest thing in the world: You had Culture Club and Wham! and Bronski Beat and the Communards, Erasure, Pet Shop Boys, Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Like: Was anyone not gay?””

I had NO idea what the song ‘Relax’ was about. Well, I thought it was about relaxing. Silly me. Here’s the video clip which was very quickly banned from MTV:

Some lyrics:

Relax, don't do it

When you wanna go do it

Relax, don't do it

When you wanna come

Relax, don't do it

When you wanna suck, chew it

Relax, don't do it

When you wanna come

When you wanna come

The top YouTube commenter has a point when commenting ‘I don’t see any relaxing in this video.’

Huh, indeed. Weird.

One more quote then:

“Crucial to the film is “The Power of Love,” a very operatic 1984 ballad by the very gay Liverpool band Frankie Goes to Hollywood. “This is a song that was made when people were starting to die of AIDS,” Haigh says. “A time when people were losing their partners very, very young in horrendous circumstances. And here is a band who are saying love is gigantic, the possibility of it is gigantic.”

Last interview here, with one more quote then:

“Listen, life is very complicated, and it usually ends in a complicated place for all of us. Most of us lose our parents, and half of us might end up losing our partner before we're gone. Life is about dealing with loss. But the love that comes from that is the essential, important thing.”

Last Frankie Goes to Hollywood song. Yes, with depressing comments reminding us that history does seem to repeat, and repeat, and then, yes, repeat, but also with a hilariously great ‘80’s video clip. I’m beginning to understand this whole 80’s fad…

And, ok, one more quote then.

Let’s give the final words of this thread to Andrew Haigh:

It sounds so cheesy, but I feel like love really is the thing that remains.


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