Tag: quotes

Dead (?) Bodies

[D]ead bodies can talk if you know how to listen to them, and they want to talk, and they want us to sit down beside them and hear their sad stories. […] They don’t want to be voiceless; they don’t want to be pushed aside, obliterated.
~ Margaret Atwood, Negotiating with the Dead

This is not a post about Margaret Atwood’s book about writing – although I would warmly recommend it to any and all, regardless of whether they dabble in creative writing or not – but (yet another) one about those often disregarded memories that come in the shape of postcards. Today was a – metaphorically and literally – sunny day, so I was lucky enough to find another batch of fascinating old postcards at the local market. And since I know of no better way of restoring them to life and giving them back into the world – here they are, on the web, for everyone to see and (hopefully) appreciate.

#1.

Postcard from 1904 – front
Postcard from 1904 – back

This one’s a postcard from the early 1900’s (the stamp on the back says ‘1904’). I’m not sure what attracted me to it, really. Probably the Romantic/romantic scene and the mysterious letter F. I have no idea what the F is meant to stand for. Just general name initial? I don’t know whether the sender bought and sent the F-card on purpose; there are no discernible clues about it in the short message on the back.

I might be wrong about the letter, though; it may as well be an E rather than an F. In that case, the sender’s name also starts with an E, so it would make more sense, I suppose.

#2.

Postcard from 1922 – front
Postcard from 1922 – back

This one’s in the same style as the one above, but the stamp on the back attributes it to a later date – 1922. It also depicts an idyllic scene, and it also features three characters – a woman and two children. This one seems to bear the letter J in the foreground. The message on the back is, in fact, a short rhyme:
peace be around thee wherever thou rovest
may life be for thee one summer’s day
and all that thou wishest and all that thou lovest
come smiling around thy sunny way
Signed: ‘J.B.S.’, standing for ‘Mr. J. Pritehard’, apparently. A quick Google search reveals the stanza to be from Thomas Moore’s poem “Peace Be Around Thee” (read it here, if you will). The lack of punctuation and capital letters suggests, I think, that whoever wrote this must have reproduced it from memory, i.e. he must have known at least this part of the poem by heart.

#3.

Postcard from 1923 – front
Postcard from 1923 – back

This postcard depicts Edwardian stage actress Madge Crichton. (Sorry, this is all I could find about her, but any more insight on who she was is very welcome.) I must say, she really was a stunner! Look at that hair, that face, that smile! (Fine, I’ll stop right there…)

The words “Greetings from” on the front are embossed.

The text on the back says:
With all possible good wishes to dear Madame
from
Euladys (?)

#4.

Postcard from 1908 – front
Postcard from 1908 – back

A postcard dated 1908, showing actress and performer Gabrielle Ray. The text on the back says:
Jan. 1st 1908
I wish you a happy New Year.
Love from
S. Thomas
I hope this will suit your collection.
The addressee must have been an avid collector of celebrity/ artists postcards.

#5.

Postcard from 1905 (?) – front
Postcard from 1905 (?) – back

This postcard is absolutely brilliant in every way, so I simply had to buy it! Sadly, the text on the back is not entirely legible, but the bits that survived make me think that the two correspondents must have been into funny, witty postcards like this one.

A bit of printed text on the back says: See also “Chart of an Average Girl’s Head,” according to best male authorities. Sadly, that particular postcard wasn’t up for sale at the local market. But if I ever find it I sure of hell won’t think twice before buying it! 🙂

The postcard seems to be dated 1905, although I can’t be sure, the stamp on the back is too faded. It is interesting to note, however, that the period was quite aglow with budding feminist actions. According to our adored Wikipedia in 1905 “women are given the vote and admitted to the practice of law in Queensland”.

#6.

Postcard (unknown year) – front
Postcard (unknown year) – back

Now this one I just bought out of sheer amusement triggered by the feminised misspelling of “Paolo” into “Paola” (read the story of Dante’s Paolo and Francesca). The postcard reproduces George Frederic Watts’s painting of Paolo and Francesca. Of course it never credits him for a second, but then again, those were the times of freedom and political incorrectness. It was printed by C.W. Faulkner & Co., a pretty famous postcard producer in the early 1900’s. This particular postcard is undated and the back, as you can see, has been kept blank.

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Productive Insomnia Is the Best Way to Celebrate Christmas

That’s the thing with the winter holidays: I never seem to be in the mood for “merry-making” when Christmas is just around the corner. Of course, that’s explainable, as I’m mostly up half the night every single night doing random stuff. Mostly, I’m supposed to be “working” (whatever that means), but what I end up dong is take random photos…

The lights of the city…

… reread passages from books that I’ve loved…

She had that cajoling voice, the voice of temptation that all women have at certain moments, a voice like a crystal glass ringing in an ever-widening, swirling nimbus of sound in which the man is caught up, yields and lets himself go.

~ Georges Rodenbach, Bruges-la-Morte

… and then write poems based on the shape and feel of words levitating in my foggy brain…

The Voice of Temptation. The Attic
by me, of course

The voice of temptation,
Caught listening at the door,
Is now hung in the attic
But it doesn’t mind:
The view is nice
And you can hear
All the rattling bones
From up there.
You can even see
All the houses of the city
Lined in broken rows
And filled to the brim with people –
They all look thin and black
From up there –
You can almost taste
The melt and decay
Riding high on the midnight breeze,
Feel the sun burning the moon
Little by little.

“I’m not even locked up here”,
Thinks the voice of temptation,
“And not reaching the floor
With the soles of my feet
Is almost, though not exactly like,
Flying”, it murmurs to itself.
“I’ll give this place a chance”,
It decides, but just then
The house of cards collapses,
Crushing the voice of temptation
Under a heap of spades.

… and then maybe doodle a little (no, I’m not going to show you those, sorry) and finally decide that it’s close to dawn so I’d better go to sleep. It’s a tiring and frustrating habit. But then again, maybe that’s just my way of celebrating. What’s yours?

In the Unholy Spirit of Decadence…

I’ve wanted to say this (or, rather, quote this) for a long time now:

I have always really been interested in just one thing: death. Nothing else. I became a human being when, at the age of ten, I saw my grandfather dead, whom at that time I probably loved more than anyone else. It is only since then that I have been a poet, an artist, a thinker. The vast difference which divides the living from the dead, the silence of death, made me realise that I had to do something. I began to write poetry. […] For me, the only thing I have to say, however small an object I am able to grasp, is that I am dying. I have nothing but disdain for those writers who also have something else to say: about social problems, the relationship between men and women, the struggle between races, etc., etc. It sickens my stomach to think of their narrow-mindedness. What superficial work they do, poor things, and how proud they are of it. ~ Dezső Kosztolányi