To Ariel in Loving Memory (with the help of T.S. Eliot)
On November 17th 2015, my younger sister wrote a touching post in remembrance of a dead lover.
It begins with these words:
“Once, I lost a person very close to me; so close, that she was part of me: my best friend and my mate and lover. It happened thirteen years ago (but it could have been yesterday; or even today, because I’m still losing her every day of my life), and she is not in any list or in any memorial out of those that I keep in my own heart.”
Today, 13th September 2016, marks one month from my own sister’s death, and I’m feeling truly awkward writing right now because I’m not able to write anything remotely similar in beauty and eloquence to her words. But the feelings inside me are just the same; as deep and surely as perdurable as hers.
My sister Ariel’s partner died too young –at 25–. Ariel herself has died too young as well –even if not as much– due to a severe illness that she could not endure. I would try to explain how deeply I loved her and how overwhelmingly I miss her, but I won’t. It beats by far my capability. And as a matter of fact, she has shown me the right way to homage her “comme il faut” when she wrote:
“… poetry has inspired this post, and is the main reason why I am writing it today […] : to share a fragment of a poem by T.S. Eliot.” — ” ‘Little Gidding’, from ‘Four Quartets’, has been a favourite of mine since the very moment I read it for the first time, years ago. In fact, it seems addressed to Laia and me and to any other transgender individual of this world, be she/he/they physically alive or dead … “
So that’s the clue and the perfect solution: T.S. Eliot’s “Little Gidding”…
I type it again, letter by letter, the fragment of this wise, truly deep poem that Ari chose to recall when talking of her lost lover:
If you came this way,
Taking any route, starting from anywhere,
At any time or at any season,
It would always be the same: you would have to put off
Sense and notion. You are not here to verify,
Instruct yourself, or inform curiosity
Or carry report. You are here to kneel
Where prayer has been valid. And prayer is more
Than an order of words, the conscious occupation
Of the praying mind, or the sound of the voice praying.
And what the dead had no speech for, when living,
They can tell you, being dead: the communication
Of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living.
[T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding, Part I, 39-52]
I do pray and I do kneel “where prayer has been valid”; on Ari’s last place on this world: down the stream of a little crystalline brook near my home and her last residence in her native country –Catalunya–.
“Zha Pajesa, zha Devlesa !” is Rromani to mean “Go with the Water, go with God !”… Thus, in that place, with those waters, Ari’s ashes went back to Mother Earth, according to our ancient tradition, brought from India.
All sacred words were said, all proper rites performed, all trees and herbs around and rocks under our feet and spirits of the forest were invoked, clearly showed acceptance and are forever witnesses of this final delivery. Even a sudden sunbeam out of the clouds (as seen in the second picture below) showed us the place and the moment to let her remains go.
They rest now in peace down the stream of this beautiful mountain brook at the feet of the Pyrenees.
Te feril tut o Del , jagorri phakali andar cheristar ! Kamav tut but but!
Two more photos of the place: the gorge some fifteen metres upstream, and a pristine fountain that pours its water into the main stream:
This is one of the last good photos I keep of her, from before her illness (with some blue “make-up” added by me, like she liked to do herself so often) — I also show a beautiful close-up in black and white:
No unauthorised copying or redistribution. All Rights Reserved.
4 thoughts on “Homage”
Very beautiful post. I am sorry for the loss of your sister. I stumbled across your blog while researching painters whose use of light and shadow brings realism to their art and came upon your post about Jim Holland. I teach photography at a local college and as part of my section on light and shadow, I have my students study painters and their use of light. I started exploring your blog further and found a personal connection to your love of the arts. I spent three weeks in Spain in 2018, about half of it in the northern regions (Oviedo, Gijón and Bilbao) and fell in love with it beauty. – Steve
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you very much for your interest and words of compliment ! About Spain, well, I am not Spanish, even if my country –Catalonia– belongs in it by the force of history. Said so, the northern regions are very nice, as you say.
Best wishes 🙂 — Li
I certainly hope I didn’t offend you. I have a cursory awareness of the situation in Catalonia. I remember reading about the arrests and exile of the president and others. I do wish I could have visited Barcelona while I was there. Best regards, Steve
LikeLiked by 1 person
No offence at all ! There are too many nations and national ethnicities in similar or worse situation around the world to be knowledgeable about them all. But I always feel the need to explain that for me, and many of us, Spain is as foreign, unpleasant and unfriendly as Russia is for Latvia or Estonia –or now, Ukraine.
Best wishes to you as well 🙂