Going up that river was like travelling back to the earliest beginnings of the world, when vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were kings. An empty stream, a great silence, an impenetrable forest. The air was warm, thick, heavy sluggish. There was no joy in the brilliance of the sunshine. The long stretches of the waterway ran on, deserted, into the gloom of overshadowed distances.
Therefore she bars from Latian soil for many a year,
The Trojan few, the leavings of Achilles’ spear,
Leading them far, for-wandered, over alien foam,
So long was fate in labour with the birth of Rome.
He who grasps everything himself is best of all; he is noble also who listens to one who has spoken well; but he who neither grasps it himself nor takes to heart what he hears from another is a useless man.
I hid behind a yellow rock and waited for the sun to go down and then I curled up in a ball and fell asleep. I kept having dreams all night. I thought they were touching me with their fingers. But dreams don’t have fingers, they have fists, so it must have been scorpions.
Experience at full speed, self-consuming structures, crazy contradictions… Never too long in the same place, like guerillas, like UFOs, like the white eyes of life prisoners… Leave it all behind, again, go out on the roads.
There’s not a man in the world more blest than you-
There never has been, never will be one.
Time was, when you were alive, we Argives
honoured you as a god, and now down here, I see,
you lord it over the dead in all your power.
So grieve no more at dying, great Achilles.”
I reassured the ghost, but he broke out, protesting,
“No winning words about death to me, shining Odysseus!
By god, I’d rather slave on earth for another man-
some dirt-poor tenant farmer who scraps to keep alive-
than rule down here over all the breathless dead.