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Friday, 2 April 2010

Samuel Beckett: Nothing


File:Uragh Stone Circle.jpg

The long blue days, for his head, for his side, and the little paths for his feet, and all the brightness to touch and gather. Through the grass the little mosspaths, bony with old roots, and the trees sticking up, and the flowers sticking up, and the fruit hanging down, and the white exhausted butterflies, and the birds never the same darting all day long into hiding. And all the sounds, meaning nothing. Then at night rest in the quiet house, there are no roads, no streets any more, you lie down by a window opening on refuge, the little sounds come that demand nothing, ordain nothing, explain nothing, propound nothing, and the short necessary night is soon ended, and the sky blue again all over the secret places where nobody ever comes, the secret places never the same, but always simple and indifferent, always mere places, sites of a stirring beyond coming and going, of a being so light and free that it is as the being of nothing.

File:Musgos antárticos.jpg

File:Beckett Watt.jpg

Samuel Beckett: from Watt (1945)

Uragh Stone Circle, a neolithic stone circle in Glennchaquin Park, County Kerry, Republic of Ireland: photo by mozzercork, 2007
Antarctic moss: photo by Someone83, 2007
Cover of 1953 Olympia Press edition of Samuel Beckett's Watt: photo by Ashcroftlleum, 2007




Beautiful, Beckett looking and looking (and thinking), "sites of a stirring beyond coming and going". . . .


grey whiteness of clouds above shadowed
plane of ridge, motionless green leaves
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

a repetition in pen and ink,
green the next moment

looking is to provide sight,
the looking one, such

shadowed cloud above sunlit green ridge,
white cloud in pale blue sky on horizon

phaneronoemikon said...

sounds like a blessing to me,

the dirt rose up and became mad,

the dirt came home
to being dirt.


TC said...

Sounds that way to me also Lanny,

dust to dust and dirt to dirt,

something to come home to.

leigh tuplin said...

There's no hiding place from Beckett - beautiful indeed.

Annie said...

The difference between waiting and being.

I especially like how he finds his ease in nature's indifference, instead of the usual fear of what that threatens. It is a relief to give way to whatever surrounds you, whatever is likely to go on without you. It's a perspective that frees from the burden of finding/forcing meaning, from the self as apart from to the self as a part of.

Or maybe that's just my own consolation prize. Just reading "a being so light and free..." is a lovely gift.

Anonymous said...

These lines teem with alluring melancholy and at the same time remind us of how tiny and imperfect we are in a universe so flawlessly designed. Thank you for sharing them, Tom.

TC said...

Lovely remarks, capturing the lightness and melancholy that are indeed two among the several tonalities of Beckett's nothing.

It is interesting to consider how with this great writer, as I suppose with most people, ageing affects such sensings of the world, and the expression of them.

The sense of the world often remains approximately the same though the tones in which it is expressed change over time.

For example, see the two posts above this one, representing Beckett's writing from some 25 years later...

SarahA said...

It brings it all home, doesn't it? Puts everything into perspective, reading something like so.
Thank you Thomas, you always open windows to my Soul.

TC said...

Yes, SarahA, and having you visit here makes Beckett's Nothing seem like a very pleasant Something -- a helium balloon that has lost its string, perhaps.

Lifting off.