“I am in the middle of it: chaos and poetry; poetry and love and again, complete chaos. Pain, disorder, occasional clarity; and at the bottom of it all: only love; poetry. Sheer enchantment, fear, humiliation. It all comes with love.”
—Anna Akhmatova, from The Akhmatova Journals
“Immature people falling in love destroy each other’s freedom, create a bondage, make a prison. Mature persons in love help each other to be free; they help each other to destroy all sorts of bondages. And when love flows with freedom there is beauty. When love flows with dependence there is ugliness.
A mature person does not fall in love, he or she rises in love. Only immature people fall; they stumble and fall down in love. Somehow they were managing and standing. Now they cannot manage and they cannot stand. They were always ready to fall on the ground and to creep. They don’t have the backbone, the spine; they don’t have the integrity to stand alone.
A mature person has the integrity to stand alone. And when a mature person gives love, he or she gives without any strings attached to it. When two mature persons are in love, one of the great paradoxes of life happens, one of the most beautiful phenomena: they are together and yet tremendously alone. They are together so much that they are almost one. Two mature persons in love help each other to become more free. There is no politics involved, no diplomacy, no effort to dominate. Only freedom and love.”
“The modern strawberry is a tale of disappointment and delight. I have learned to treat each punnet of really good berries I encounter as a box of fleeting, precious jewels, a treat to be enjoyed with unalloyed pleasure; no cream, sugar or splash of Beaujolais, just the warm berry in all its scarlet glory. That perfect fruit is a rare find, but once you chance upon it life seems, for an instant, to stand still. Eyes closed, you are briefly lost in buttercup meadows, with bees buzzing on the heavy afternoon air. You need to make much of a truly excellent strawberry when you find it…. Once a year I find myself falling for a cardboard punnet of misshapen, organic fruits the loud scarlet-red of a Ferrari. It is then, breathing in their honey-sweet scent, the prickle of their yellow seeds on my lips, that I wish they could always be like this.”
—Nigel Slater, Tender Volume 2 (via disappointment and delight)
“The psychological definition of loneliness hasn’t changed much since Fromm-Reichmann laid it out. “Real loneliness,” as she called it, is not what the philosopher Søren Kierkegaard characterized as the “shut-upness” and solitariness of the civilized. Nor is “real loneliness” the happy solitude of the productive artist or the passing irritation of being cooped up with the flu while all your friends go off on some adventure. It’s not being dissatisfied with your companion of the moment—your friend or lover or even spouse— unless you chronically find yourself in that situation, in which case you may in fact be a lonely person. Fromm-Reichmann even distinguished “real loneliness” from mourning, since the well-adjusted eventually get over that, and from depression, which may be a symptom of loneliness but is rarely the cause. Loneliness, she said—and this will surprise no one—is the want of intimacy.”