* it was so good that it’s already gone when i thought of taking a picture 🙂
Just because Ms. Germaine’s “The Whole Woman” is excruciatingly painful to read — (I can’t move past the chapter on ‘beauty’ without feeling nauseated. I get this feeling when a book touches me so much; and Ms. Germaine’s words have just punched me in that place that I forgot even existed.) — I went back to good old Louis de Bernieres’s “Corelli’s Mandolin.”
I read this one when I was an impressionable 17-year old. I particularly loved the chapter with snails. Yes, this was the same book that became the movie starring Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz. And the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its movie” is very true.
This is the poem that introduces all 73 chapters of this luminous story:
The Soldier (Humbert Wolfe 1885-1940)
Down some cold field in a world unspoken
the young men are walking together, slim and tall,
and though they laugh to one another, silence is not broken;
there is no sound however clear they call
They are speaking together of what they loved in vain here,
but the air is too thin to carry the thing they say.
They were young and golden, but they came on pain here,
and their youth is age now, their gold is grey.
Yet their hearts are not changed, and they cry to one another,
‘What have they done with the lives we laid aside?
Are they young with our youth, gold with our gold, my brother?
Do they smile in the face of death, because we died?’
Down some cold field in a world uncharted
the young seek each other with questioning eyes.
They question each other, the young, the golden-hearted,
of the world that they were robbed of in their quiet paradise.
A person I love very much, Rolly, is also a soldier. I think this poem is partly for him.