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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The World Was Warm and White When I Was Born


(The Roofs of Paris, by Vincent van Gogh, 1853-1890,
Dutch Post-Impressionist painter)

To mark my birthday today, I’ve chosen one of my favorite images of Paris, the city where I was born. Van Gogh painted it three years before the installation of the Eiffel Tower in 1889.

THE WORLD WAS WARM AND WHITE WHEN I WAS BORN

The world was warm and white when I was born:
Beyond the windowpane the world was white,
A glaring whiteness in a leaded frame,
Yet warm as in the hearth and heart of light.
Although the whiteness was almond and was bone
In midnight’s still paralysis, nevertheless
The world was warm and hope was infinite
All things would come, fulfilled, all things would be known
All things would be enjoyed, fulfilled, and come to be my own.

How like a summer the years of youth have passed!
— How like the summer of 1914, in all truth! —
Patience, my soul, the truth is never known
Until the future has become the past
And then, only, when the love of truth at last
Becomes the truth of love, when both are one,
Then, then, then, Eden becomes Utopia and is surpassed:
For then the dream of knowledge and knowledge knows
Motive and joy at once wherever it goes.

~ Delmore Schwartz (1913-1966), American poet and writer of short stories

4 comments:

dylan said...

Happy birthday, Maria!

maria horvath said...

Thank you, Dylan.

GretchenJoanna said...

A belated Happy Birthday, Maria!

And what a wealth of things to ponder and images to bathe in are in this poem...I must read it again and again.

The old gentleman... said...

It's still your birthday week, so rejoice and be glad!