Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The 'trop' trope: "almost too much love," etc.

Via Andrew Sullivan, a sad testimony in Der Spiegel to the dark side of total recall:
People say to me: Oh, how fascinating, it must be a treat to have a perfect memory," she says. Her lips twist into a thin smile. "But it's also agonizing."

n addition to good memories, every angry word, every mistake, every disappointment, every shock and every moment of pain goes unforgotten. Time heals no wounds for Price. "I don't look back at the past with any distance. It's more like experiencing everything over and over again, and those memories trigger exactly the same emotions in me. It's like an endless, chaotic film that can completely overpower me. And there's no stop button."
As with memory, so with dreams: cf. C. S. Lewis' Voyage of the Dawn Treader:
"Nevertheless you will fly from here," he gasped. "This is the island where dreams come true."
"That's the island I've been looking for this long time," said one of the sailors."I reckoned I'd find I was married to Nancy if we landed here."
"And I'd find Tom alive again," said another.
"Fools!" said the man, stamping his foot with rage. "That is the sort of talk that brought me here, and I'd better have been drowned or never born. Do you hear what I say? This is where dreams--dreams, do you understand--come to life, come real. Not daydreams: dreams."
There was about half a minute's silence and then, with a great clatter of armour the whole crew were tumbling down the main hatch as quick as they could and flinging themselves on the oars to row as they had never rowed before...For it had taken everyone just the half-minute to remember certain dreams they had had--dreams that make you afraid of going to sleep again--and to realise what it would mean to land on a country where dreams come true.
Not to mention the curse of truth unvarnished, courtesy of Emily Dickinson:
Tell all the Truth but tell it slant---
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind---
And Robert Frost on pleasure itself:
Love at the lips was touch
As sweet as I could bear;
And once that seemed too much;
I lived on air
That crossed me from sweet things,
The scent of -- was it musk
From hidden grapevine springs
Down hill at dusk?...

Now no joy but lacks salt
That is not dashed with pain
And weariness and fault;
I crave the stain
Of tears, the aftermark
Of almost too much love,
The sweet of bitter bark
And burning clove.
Awaiting its poet: intake tolerance limits for blogging.

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