Excerpt from Watermark. I always adhered to the idea that God is time, or at least that His spirit is. Perhaps this idea was even of my own manufacture, but now I. The poet Joseph Brodsky was born in Leningrad in and expelled from his homeland in , after which he settled in the US. Perhaps it. Brodsky, a survivor of the Gulag, went to Venice in search of love. He returned every winter for 17 years.

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As it turned out, there was nothing particularly auspicious or ominous about this arrival of mine. Though his voice is a sensual one and he is obviously thinking of sex whenever he looks at a Venetian cathedral or a torn up curtain or a crumbling apartment facade he lacks a power joswph a direction and a virility in his writing that I found very depressing from a nobel winner.

But the water comes back. Joselh in each one of them windows were draped and two or three mirrors adorned the walls. The goal of all that is one: In the first instance, it relies on human genius; in the second, it draws on one’s reservoir of humility. On the whole, love comes with the speed of light; separation, with that of sound.

It won’t tell you about curious sites to see, or hotels to stay in, or describe romantic gondola rides at midnight. If it is the difference in temperature that does it, then one could try bordsky blocks of ice into the canals or, failing that, routinely void the natives’ freezers of ice cubes, since whiskey is not very much in vogue here, not even in winter. For beauty is solace, since beauty is safe. Saggio d’amore per Venezia, di cui ci dice luce, caratteristiche estetiche, in un fluire di pensiero libero e sontuoso.

Left, right, up, and down swap places, and you can find brofsky way around only if you are a native or were given a cicerone. Causality was canceled, since its human carriers strolled in this perspective only in a caretaker capacity, once in a few years, if that. Also, because of their numerical superiority over any other carved or sculpted image, including that of the Madonna or the Redeemer Himself.

Knowing this while reading his very personal ode to Venice acquires an eerie poignancy and adds a premonitory elegiac tint to his prose. Then I hit the sack. I am sharing this essay with everyone who reads because it is so delightful and the cognitive effort you make to comprehend Brodsky’s metaphors is a gratifying experience. I’d like to read this book on Kindle Don’t have a Kindle?


For someone with such a long record of residence in Italy, it was odd that he hadn’t realized that beauty can’t be targeted, that it is always a by-product of other, often very ordinary pursuits. I, for one, remember buying several items hereon credit, obviouslythat I had no stomach or nerve to utilize later. There is nothing populist, let alone anti-aristocratic, to this preference; nor is there anything of the novelist.

The source of that attraction, I’d always felt, lay elsewhere, beyond the confines of biography, beyond one’s genetic makeupsomewhere in one’s hypothalamus, which stores our chordate ancestors’ impressions of their native realm offor examplethe very ichthus that caused this civilization.

Failing to have been born here, I’ve failed, I suppose, a bit further by picking up a line of work which normally doesn’t land one on a brodsjy nobile]. Reflection is the property of liquid substances, and even on a rainy day one can always prove the superiority of one’s fidelity to that of glass by positioning oneself behind it.

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For, now and then, across the canal, two or three well-lit, tall, rounded windows, half shaded with gauze or tulle, reveal an octopal watermakr, the lacquered fin of a grand piano, opulent bronze framing auburn or rubescent oils, the gilded rib cage of a ceiling’s beamsand you feel as though you are looking into a fish through its scales, and inside of it there’s a party. I know water, however.

For the moment, I’d like to assert that, Northerner though I am, my notion of Eden hinges on neither weather nor temperature. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Waternark was no hunger this night.

Watermark: An Essay on Venice by Joseph Brodsky – review

If you’re lucky, you may find an apartment, which, naturally, comes with the owner’s personal taste in paintings, chairs, curtains, with a vague sense of illegality to your face in his bathroom mirrorin short, with precisely what you wanted to shed: Presumably because the element here had heard Italian. On water, for instance, you never get absentminded the way you do in the street: The city is narcissistic enough to turn your mind into an amalgam, unburdening it of its depths.

The latter aspect, however, is of advantage to you if you go out on a short errand, say, to get a pack of cigarettes, for you can find your way back via the tunnel your body has burrowed in the fog; the tunnel is likely to stay open for half an hour.


By the time I’d got those novels, both their author and their translator were long dead. Amazon Renewed Refurbished products with a warranty.

I was glad of Brodsky’s wide-ranging references to different academic fields, that he thinks well beyond literature, even if the metaphors playing with science did sometimes get a little too fanciful.

In doing so, the book also reveals a subject—and an author—readers have never before seen. Hence my sentiment for water, for its folds, wrinkles, and ripples, and–as I am a Northerner–for its grayness. A few years ago I really connected with the film Death in Venice because Aschenbach never does anything with the boy, I think it can easily be transposed to some other love-object one can’t havebut again that seemed isolated, not the efflorescence of a spirit of place. The only difference is that her heaven is far better settled than mine.

There is something primordial about traveling on water, even for short distances. Because the human repertoire of responses is so limited! Except in a mirror, the eye never sees itself. The end of an illness thus is the end of its metaphors.

Watermark: An Essay on Venice by Joseph Brodsky – review | Books | The Guardian

Tea was served, but no sooner had we taken the first sip than the hostessa gray-haired, diminutive, shipshape lady with many years in her to golifted her sharp finger, which slid into an invisible mental groove, and out of her pursed lips came wtaermark aria the score of which has been in the public domain at least since Of course, for all its targets, its explosions are invariably self-inflicted: Part water, we serve beauty in the same fashion.

This was neither decay nor decomposition; this was dissipation back into brodskj, where color and texture don’t matter, where perhaps having learned what may happen to them, they will regroup and return, here or elsewhere, in a different guise.

There are no discussion topics on this book yet. After all, there is no saint without a monsternot to brodwky the ink’s octopal affinity. Depending on that invasion’s intensity, you get a scent, a smell, a stench. This optimism derives from the haze, from the prayer part of it, especially if it is time for breakfast.