And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos

And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos

John Berger

Language: English

Pages: 104

ISBN: 0679736565

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In an extraordinary distillation of his gifts as a novelist, poet, art critic, and social historian, John Berger reveals the ties between love and absence, the ways poetry endows language with the assurance of prayer, and the tensions between the forward movement of sexuality.

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female constituted a separation, a new form of incompleteness. The sexual instinct was the energy of attraction between the two poles. As soon as human imagination and memory existed, the desire to hold and maintain that attraction began to declare itself as love. Such love held out a hope of completion, and proposed that its own energy belonged to the heart of the real. The hope of completion developed simultaneously with the founding of the home, but it was not the same thing. In the modern

female constituted a separation, a new form of incompleteness. The sexual instinct was the energy of attraction between the two poles. As soon as human imagination and memory existed, the desire to hold and maintain that attraction began to declare itself as love. Such love held out a hope of completion, and proposed that its own energy belonged to the heart of the real. The hope of completion developed simultaneously with the founding of the home, but it was not the same thing. In the modern

mid-thirties. The Woman in Bed (from Edinburgh) was painted, by my reckoning, a little before or a little after the birth of Cornelia. The historians suggest that it may be a fragment taken from a larger work representing the wedding night of Sarah and Tobias. A biblical subject for Rembrandt was always contemporary. If it is a fragment, it is certain that Rembrandt finished it, and bequeathed it finally to the spectator, as his most intimate painting of the woman he loved. There are other

before—caught my eye and pleased me. Pleased me like a particular face one may see passing in the street, unknown, even unremarkable, but for some reason pleasing because of what it suggests of a life being lived. Soon afterwards I had the impression of being watched. For an instant I believed there was somebody standing on the hillock, or that a boy had climbed into one of the pear trees. The dead one was flanked by the two living ones. Yet there was nobody there. When a man surprises an

brief breezes, scarcely longer than a breath.) The ground under the pear trees had changed. Until I met you, I would have been unable to name the transformation that was taking place. Today, at my late age, I name it—the fusion of love. Everything was shifting. The three pear trees, their hillock, the other side of the valley, the harvested fields, the forests. The mountains were higher, every tree and field nearer. Everything visible approached me. Rather, everything approached the place where

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