Letters are just that – lines and curves and dots.
They are conventions.
They are traces of ink.
Letters have no existence, no transcendence.
The only reality is the ink.
and your step will be light upon the earth.
Inspiration: Philosopher and Sufi Master, Ibn Arabi (Al Andaluz, 1165 – Damascus, 1240).
Detail from “Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his wife,” by the Master of Northern Renaissance Jan Van Eyck (Bruges, d.1441), painted in 1434.
Van Eyck, known for his illustrated manuscripts, portraits and of course the Ghent Altarpiece (dated 1432), brought life into the scenery and the people he painted like no one before him. He helped define a new trend in art where painting became the medium of grandeur or “the art of arts” as it became known, rather than tapestry or architecture.
He defied the Church (then divided between Rome and Avignon) in many ways, especially for portraying religious figures with human feelings. Yet, he was adored by the nobility (especially the Duke of Burgundy) and the common man who in the aftermath of the great plague, saw renewal and hope in his art, most particularly for his use of light.
Painting on display at the National Gallery, London.
“We live no more than one hundred years” wrote Sikong Tu at the start of a poem more than one thousand years ago.
We live but a speck in timelessness.
So, why not let our hair turn white and the soft breeze rustle through our clothes?
Why not let the moss cover the stone?
Let us not fret about the world, shall we?
Inspiration: Sikong Tu (China, 837-908), Tang Dynasty poet, known for his poems and for writing the Chinese poetry manual “The twenty-four styles of poetry.”
I have no roots.
I am just a discarded branch on the soil.
I don’t mind you see.
With the years, I have grown small branches upon which leaves often grow. Small green leaves that gently gather my tears in the early morning, and let the sun shines through all the way to my heart.
Right now, the branches are blooming with fragile white petals almost as transparent as my dreams. Soon the wind will blow and they will scatter in a torrent of laughter.
I hope you can hear them.