Saturday, May 3, 2014

Then Things Got Really Hot

Then Things Got Really Hot

She said I could touch her all I wanted,
a beautiful woman I met.

I thought she would have acted 
more surprised and delighted when I finally 
kissed her with all my passion,
but she did not.

That inspired me to develop my spirit more,
which was less intimated by time and space. 
Then things got really hot! 

     On May 2nd, the Op-Ed, "Love Story" appeared in the New York Times. In it, the columnist, David Brooks, describes what it means to spiritually make love with someone, and does so in a way I'd like to preserve, so below are direct excerpts from the column.

"Eight months ago, I came across a passage in a book that has haunted me since. It was in Michael Ignatieff’s biography of Isaiah Berlin, and it concerns a night Berlin spent in Leningrad in 1945. Berlin was hanging out when a friend asked if he’d like to go visit Anna Akhmatova. Not knowing much about her, Berlin said yes.

Twenty years older than Berlin, Akhmatova had been a great pre-revolutionary poet. Since 1925, the Soviets had allowed her to publish nothing.

Berlin was taken to her apartment and met a woman still beautiful and powerful, but wounded by tyranny and the war. At first, their conversation was restrained. They talked about war experiences and British universities. Visitors came and went.

By midnight, they were alone, sitting on opposite ends of her room. She told him about her girlhood and marriage and her husband’s execution. She began to recite Byron’s “Don Juan” with such passion that Berlin turned his face to the window to hide his emotions. She began reciting some of her own poems, breaking down as she described how they had led the Soviets to execute one of her colleagues.

By 4 in the morning, they were talking about the greats. Pushkin and Chekhov. Turgenev and Dostoyevsky.Deeper and deeper they talked, baring their souls. Akhmatova confessed her loneliness, expressed her passions, spoke about literature and art. 

Berlin finally pulled himself away and returned to his hotel. It was 11 a.m. He flung himself on the bed and exclaimed, “I am in love; I am in love.”

Berlin and Akhmatova were from a culture that assumed that, if you want to live a decent life, you have to possess a certain intellectual scope. You have to grapple with the big ideas and the big books that teach you how to experience life in all its richness and make subtle moral and emotional judgments.

Berlin and Akhmatova could experience that sort of life-altering conversation because they had done the reading. They were spiritually ambitious.

The night also stands as the beau ideal of a certain sort of bond. This sort of love depends on so many coincidences that it only happens once or twice in a lifetime.

If you read the poems Akhmatova wrote about that night, you get the impression that they slept together, but, according to Ignatieff, they barely touched. Their communion was primarily intellectual, emotional and spiritual."

Time In a Bottle (1973), Jim Croce 

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