Eternity

Below the first and last verses of Eternity, a poem of May 1872 of Arthur Rimbaud, 1854-1891, French

I like the ‘rediscovered’ in this poem because we are alive in both time and eternity simultaneously.  Time is familiar to us and the track of eternity in our lives may be rediscovered here and there and everywhere.

 As by the poet one day looking at sea and sky.

The meaning of all other verses in this poem is obscure.  You read the poem again and again just to see if you can make them out. 

Even when you fail, you are reminded again and again that time and eternity are with us now in this moment.  Something so counter-cultural that the reminder is good and necessary.

 

Elle est retrouvée.

Quoi? -L’Eternité.

C’est la mer allée

Avec le soleil.

 

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Steamboat and Sailboats, watercolor, 1931.  Paul Klee, 1879-1940, French.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

 It has been rediscovered.

What? -Eternity.

It’s the sea gone

with the sun.**

 

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Seascape at Port-en-Bassin, Normandy, oil on canvas, 1888.  Georges Seurat, 1858-1891, French.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

 

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Study for Atlantic, 1956, oil on canvas.  Ellsworth Kelly, 1923-2015, American.  Philadelphia Museum of Art

 

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Sailing in the Mist, and detail,  c. 1895, oil on canvas.  Henry J. Twachtman, 1853-1902, American. Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

 

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no world, etching, acquatint, sugarlift acquatint, spitbite acquatint and drypoint, 2010.  Kara Walker, born,   American, born 1969.  Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Philadelphia

 

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Beach Scene,  Coney Island, 1915-1918, oil on panel; Edward Potthast,  1857-1927, American.  Brandywine River Museum, Chaddsford, Pennsylvania

 

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Mount Olympus, 1997.  Vinyl.  Marina Borker,  American.  Displayed courtesy of the artist at PAFA. 2015 

 

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A moment in the life of a sculpture – 1.8 – by Janet Echelman, born 1966, American.  The sculpture was made of knotted and braided fiber with programmable lighting and wind movement above printed textile flooring.  This sculpture made in 2015 was at the Renwick (Smithsonian Museum of American Art) in Washington DC in 2015.

The sculpture corresponded to the energy released across the Pacific Ocean during the Tohoku earthquake on March 11, 2011, an event so powerful that the earth shifted on its axis and the day was shortened by 1.8 millionth of a second.

The sky and water fused.

 

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Oxcart – Blue Sea, oil on canvas, 1943; Milton Avery, 1855 – 1965, American.  Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia

 

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 A Wheatfield on a Summer’s Afternoon, and detail, 1942, tempera on fabric. A theatrical backdrop designed by Marc Chagall, French (born Russia), 1887 – 1985, French for a ballet commissioned by the American Ballet Theater based on a poem by Pushkin. 

 

 

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 Marine View near Etretat, 1882, oil on canvas.  Claude Monet, 1840-1926, French.  Philadelphia Museum of Art

 

**Eternity, May 1892;  translated by Oliver Bernard

It has been found again.
What? – Eternity.
It is the sea gone
With the sun.

Sentinel soul,
Let us whisper the confession
Of the night full of nothingness
And the day on fire.

From human approbation,
From common urges
You diverge here
And fly off as you may.

Since from you alone,
Satiny embers,
Duty breathes
Without anyone saying: at last.

Here is no hope,
No orietur (?).
Knowledge and fortitude,
Torture is certain.

It has been found again.
What? – Eternity.
It is the sea gone
With the sun.

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