On Passion

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On Passion

Postby Sabina » Fri Jun 11, 2010 5:52 pm

Passion is a very common topic in poetry and literature, and I think deep spirits are also passionate people, so share your favorite literary pieces about this eternal topic!

I will begin with...

On Reason and Passion
by Khalil Gibran


      And the priestess spoke again and said:
      Speak to us of Reason and Passion.
      And he answered, saying:
      Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon
      which your reason and your judgment wage
      war against your passion and your appetite.
      Would that I could be your peacemaker
      in your soul, that I might turn the discord
      and the rivalry of your elements into oneness and melody.
      But how shall I, unless you yourselves be
      also the peacemakers, nay, the lovers of all your elements?

      Your reason and your passion are the rudder
      and the sails of your seafaring soul.
      If either your sails or your rudder be broken,
      you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill
      in mid-seas.
      For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining;
      and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns
      to its own destruction.
      Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion,
      that it may sing;
      And let it direct your passion with reason,
      that your passion may live through its own daily resurrection,
      and like the phoenix rise above it own ashes.

      I would have you consider your own judgement
      and your appetite even as you would two
      loved guests in your house.
      Surely you wouldn't honor one guest above the other;
      for he who is more mindful of one loses
      the love and the faith of both.

      Among the hills, when you sit in the cool
      shade of the white poplars, sharing the peace
      and serenity of distant fields and meadows
      then let your heart say in silence,
      "God rests in reason".
      And when the storm comes, and the mighty wind
      shakes the forest, and thunder and lightning
      proclaim the majesty of the sky, then let your heart
      say in awe, "God moves in passion."
      And since you are a breath in God's sphere,
      and a leaf in God's forest, you too
      should rest in reason and move in passion.

"On Reason and Passion" is taken from "The Prophet", a book of poetic essays by Khalil Gibran.
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"Possession" 1990

Postby mirjana » Fri Jun 11, 2010 6:38 pm

Dame Antonia Susan Duffy, DBE (born 24 August 1936, Sheffield) is an English novelist, poet and Booker Prize winner. In 2008, The Times newspaper named her among their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945". She is usually known as A. S. Byatt.
Possession (1990) is her best known novel, which parallels the emerging relationship of two contemporary academics with the past of two (fictional) nineteenth century poets whom they are researching. This novel won the Man Booker Prize in 1990.
The whole story is a wonderful presentation of different aspects of passion. Passion between man and woman burns those who read the same way as the characters are burning in that fire. In that story there is a passion for literature, which is also burning, as well as the passion for possession.


“Never have I felt such a concentration in my entire being.
I cannot let you burn me up, nor can I resist you.
No mere human can stand in a fire and not being consumed.”


My preference is the passion between man and woman, although I can understand and feel the passion for literature too.

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Re: On Passion

Postby Daywhite » Sat Jun 12, 2010 5:22 pm

A friend once told me, after reading Neruda, "I love passion, don't you?" So simple; so true. I can no longer read Neruda without remembering, I love passion, don't you?

I couldn't find a good reading of my favorite Neruda poem,Tonight I Can Write the Saddest Lines . Andy Garcia read it for the soundtrack to Il Postino, but I feel he butchered it. Poems are sensitive things, every mark, every word, means something, all equal ingredients in the finished product. In his reading, Garcia replaces a period with a comma, which, to do to something so perfect, to me is sacrilege. I will not post his reading here; it's easy enough to find. This is the poem, on its own.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

Write, for example, 'The night is starry
and the stars are blue and shiver in the distance.'

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

Through nights like this one I held her in my arms.
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.

To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is starry and she is not with me.

This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

My sight tries to find her as though to bring her closer.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.

The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.

I no longer love her, that's certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.

Another's. She will be another's. As she was before my kisses.
Her voice, her bright body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, that's certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last verses that I write for her.


translated by W.S. Merwin


Now, as an example of how a beautiful poem can and should be read, I offer Madonna's reading of Neruda's If You Forget Me. As I said, poems are sensitive things, the reading of which can ignite passion. As Garcia's reading added a speedbump to a smooth surface, the one little slip ruining the entire reading for me, Madonna's reading here does just the opposite, igniting passion with one little pause, one little, "But..." I feel this entire reading is perfect, but the little pause she has, after listing the reasons she can live without you, before adding, "But..." OH MY!! This, this is poetry, it is passion, it is art; it is perfect.



If You Forget Me

I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
remember
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

But
if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.

Pablo Neruda
"Sometimes you do it to save your own life, not anybody else's. That's mostly why I write. I'm not trying to change anybody else's life or the world; I'm trying to keep from blowing my own brains out. That's the real point." -- Guy Clark
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Re: On Passion

Postby Sabina » Wed Aug 31, 2011 1:39 pm

I wasn't sure whether to open a new topic for this little poem or find an existing one that fits. Well, I think I have found it. It is a poem about a kiss. Cute, short and it says it all.
I hope you like it.


__1__


The Look
by Sara Teasdale

STEPHON kissed me in the spring,
Robin in the fall,
But Colin only looked at me
And never kissed at all.

Stephon's kiss was lost in jest,
Robin's lost in play,
But the kiss in Colin's eyes
Haunts me night and day.





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Re: On Passion

Postby mirjana » Wed Aug 31, 2011 7:46 pm

Sabina, this is a beautiful poem that describes exactly the inner flame of a lasting passion.
One of the most beautiful novels about love and passion is the famous Tolstoy's novel Ana Karenina.
It is a story about the passion which couldn't be denied.
This video from the movie shows at least a little bit of that emotional and physical tension between Vronsky and Ana Karenina. Kitty's passion is there to show the dramatic contrast between different choices of hearts.

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Re: On Passion

Postby dermot » Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:01 pm

Let men tremble to win the hand of woman, unless they win along with it the utmost passion of her heart! Else it may be their miserable fortune, when some mightier touch than their own may have awakened all her sensibilities, to be reproached even for the calm content, the marble image of happiness, which they will have imposed upon her as the warm reality.

~Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter
....the heart only whispers, be still and listen....
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Re: On Passion

Postby mpange » Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:34 pm

This is beautiful poetry I must admit . I think poetry is one of man's greatest literary inventions. It just makes my soul supple! I have a question though; can passion be grown?...can a man decidedly build his passion for a particular object of desire?
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Re: On Passion

Postby mirjana » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:44 pm

mpange wrote:This is beautiful poetry I must admit . I think poetry is one of man's greatest literary inventions. It just makes my soul supple! I have a question though; can passion be grown?...can a man decidedly build his passion for a particular object of desire?


Welcome to DS, mpange =0)

I think that we do not build our passion, but once when it happens, we are able to influence its growing by nurturing the elements that have caused it.
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Re: On Passion

Postby mpange » Tue Nov 22, 2011 7:16 am

Thank you Mirjana. How kind and thoughtful of you to welcome me to DS. I am grateful.
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