I’ve been visiting some of the sights off the beaten path in Madrid. These pictures are from a parking garage that they decided to use to display some art, including some photographs expressing love, and a phrase from Dante’s Fifth Canto in red neon (I had to ask the attendant to turn it on). You can see three of the photographs on the red walls on the top. Then the phrase of Dante’s in Spanish. The phrase, translated from the Spanish on the wall, not the original Italian, would be: Love, which obliges every loved one to love, tied me to his arms, with such strong pleasure, that as thou seest, even in death it does not abandon me. That would be Good Love, the love that does not abandon you even in death. The bottom picture is the entrance to the parking lot, also accentuated with red.
Juan and Pilar took me to an Italian/French movie, La Pequeña Venecia (The Little Venice, or Shun Li and the Poet). It’s about a Chinese worker in a bar who shares a friendship with a fisherman. Their relationship is explored, along with the fact that the other Italians in the little town criticize the relationship, and the Chinese mafia does not appreciate it either. The fisherman is given the nickname The Poet by his friends, and he writes some poetry for Shun Li. It was said that the movie expresses a poetic escape from loneliness, with a dialogue between two cultures that although they are different, they are not no distant. And since we all want Good Love, the movie is highly recommended.
Last week I promised to talk some more about a phrase from Becquer, one that I enjoyed reading for decades on a poster in the stair well of la Casa Del Libro. Becquer said, It is very sad to die young without having had a single tear of a woman shed for you.
I remember asking my oldest son how he would interpret the phrase, and he said that it meant that you die young without any woman at all to come to your funeral and shed a tear for you. I told him no, it was more romantic than that and referred to dying young without a woman having loved you for sure. I also asked a Puerto Rican coworker how she would interpret the phrase, and she said it just meant that you died before you had a chance to piss off a woman sufficiently to make her cry. Wrong again.
Then again, is shedding a tear the best measure of having been truly in love? Especially when in fact, most tears shed are shed in selfishness for the person shedding the tears – either him or her. Well, no I don’t think that is the best measure of love. Self centeredness is in contrast to Better Love and placing the importance on the other person. So, although I’m no Becquer, I came up with what I think is an improvement on one of my favorite phrases from Becquer. And I was influenced by a phrase from Picasso: “Youth has no age.” With that thought, I think it is important to stay young at heart, to pursue your dreams with enthusiasm and excitement like the girls chasing bubbles in the photos last week.
And while it is important that someone care deeply for you, it is not so important how many, if any, tears are shed FOR you. Instead, what is important is that you have many opportunities to SHARE tears of joy and tears of hard laughter with those you share Good Love with. With those thoughts in mind, my phrase would be: It is very sad to die without having stayed young at heart and without having shed many tears from laughing so hard with Good Friends.