It occurred to me somewhere in these recent years that I don’t really write, and never really wrote, this blog for you. I think, perhaps, the readers to whom each of these blog posts are addressed might constitute something of my own heart’s choir. These blog posts, and all of my writing, perhaps, being the songs that this choir needs to hear. We all have to fill the well, somehow. Now, I suppose, more than ever. It is always now, though, of course. Even in the past and always in the future.
I visited Rome. Here is a picture, among other things, displaying one part of one story spiraling in and out of time. The column is called Trajan’s column. It was constructed about 2,000 years ago. It tells the story, in scenes carved in an upward spiral, of how Trajan mustered many Roman legions and defeated a people called the Dacians. The Dacians made their home in what is now Romania. One of the things that stood out to me about this column is that it was still standing. All around it are ruins of the Roman Empire whose skill at ruining other civilizations is what the column itself is all about. At a cafe I met a couple from Islington. They were named Michelle and Olly. Or possibly Ollie. I didn’t check the spelling. We talked about the magic of seeing all the old things. And it is a kind of magic. I found myself drawn, though, to how unmagical it seemed. Not in the way of being boring, but in the way of being embodied. In some ways there was nothing magic about anything I saw in Rome. But somehow that felt, in its own way, kind of magical. Embodiment being one of the more powerful forms of magic.
History, I suppose, is always within reach. You can touch a tree and be transported back hundreds, if not thousands of years. But to see a story carved in stone. To be able to smell that stone. To be able to stand in contemplation of how some stories last and some stories do not. Let me tell you. It was a thing.
Here is a picture of a foot. It is the foot from a sculpture called The Diver.
Damien Hirst is the sculptor.
Hirst was born in Bristol in 1965. He made a series of sculptures in which he made use of real dead things such as sharks, sheeps, and a cow. Oh my. The place where I saw this sculpture of a diver was the Galleria Borghese. The gallery was full of Caravaggio’s and incredible painted ceilings. Many of Hirst’s sculptures were portrayed as, themselves, being ancient. There was another sculpture of a giant foot and a curious squirrel. That one was also cool, but I will leave it to your imagination.
The thing I liked best about the sculpture of the diver is that the diver appeared to be diving into the artwork on the ceiling. That and the color. And also the coral. There were many things I liked, really.
There was also in this gallery a group of violinists. They were practicing for a later show, and so the main room of this gallery in which there was the ceiling art and the curious squirrel and the diver that appeared to be diving into the ceiling also contained the verve of Vivaldi.
Sometimes things turn out alright.
Happy Sunday, readers. Everything I write is for you. Don’t ever let anyone tell you different.