Salvador Dali ~ “The Stillness of Time”, 1975
Also known as “La Noblesse du Temps, Persistance de la memoire”, Dali infused this masterpiece with elements he depicted during his own lifelong obsession with sex and the fleeting passage of time. With the bravura of an Old Master draftsman, Dalí delineates with great flourish the figures flanking the melting timepiece.
Sensuously rendered, Venus stands at the left holding a mirror, an attribute for vanity and lust. She is self-absorbed and seemingly unaware that she is entangled in Vulcan’s net. At the right sits an angel, a divine messenger of life and death, in contemplation before the keeper of time in our waking state. In the dream state, however, the watch or clock is no longer relevant; our reality has morphed the distortion of time and memories become obfuscated. <source>
I’ve always wanted to begin a poem
with the line, “I’ve always wanted
to begin.” Now I have. Best to end here,
but then the universe is expanding
back into its black beginnings,
and space, aware of its own looming demise,
is singing of possibilities. I’m almost over, it sings,
it’s almost over and sooner or later we’d be left
with nothing but time. If we live that long.
Sometime before then all our dialects
will have moored on the gray sands of forgetting,
all our sad words will have started
to repeat themselves, as if sound didn’t dissipate
into stillness, as if not everything has been said before.
Here, let me tell you a joke: I am a man of faith.
Or a child, a tree, some living thing
that will someday be a dead thing.
What does faith have to do with it? I know;
it isn’t funny. Nothing funny about mortality,
how movement bleeds into clockwork,
how clockwork succumbs to its own igneous finitude.
How we aid entropy by being born.
See? I only wanted to begin, now I’m humming
the ghost-heavy refrain of imminent endings.
In that song about possibilities, someone
is hurling an empty bottle skyward. I see you:
You’re imagining it slowing towards its peak,
anticipating gravity, its ruthless duty. Stop.
Don’t. Let’s go. Let’s not be around when it shatters.
Let’s not wait for an ending.
“Still Life with Melon and Peaches”, c.1866, Edouard Manet.
Vincent van Gogh, Roses, 1889, oil on canvas, 33 x 41.3 cm, The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo.
Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting