Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Continuous Stream of Emerging Pattern

Nachmanovitch speaks of the improvisor "operating on a continuous stream of emerging pattern" (Free Play, p. 32). He asks:

What, then, is this seemingly endless stream of music, dance, imagery, acting, or speech that comes out of us whenever we let it? To some extent it is the stream of consciousness, a river of memories, fragments of melodies, emotions, fragrances, angers, old loves, fantasies. But we sense something else, beyond the personal, from a source that is both very old and very new. The raw material is a kind of flow–Herakleitos' river of time, or the great Tao, flowing through us, as us. Mysteriously flowing through, unstoppable and unstartable. At its source, it does not appear or disappear, does not increase or decrease, is neither tainted nor pure. We can choose to tap into it or not to tap into it; we can find ourselves unwillingly opened up to it or unwillingly cut off from it. But it's always there.


Doubt would be a shape latent in the moment, a shape to be released, if only I knew how to talk to the moment. Should I couple doubt to paralysis as if that were a bad thing, a blockage? Should I let it emerge strongly or weakly? Doubt, sweet doubt, I will sing your praises. I as paralysis.

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posted by Fido the Yak at 12:38 PM.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm not sure if you have this in mind with your affinity for "paralysis," but Sappho's beautiful use of the word λυσιμέλης (fragment130) comes to mind; the word is often translated "limb-loosener," used to describe the powers of the creeping, undefeatable, sweetly-bitter creature Eros, who as returned. Limb-loosening of course is what Homer uses to describe what happens upon a death-blow in battle, but there is a word-play here, as μέλος (limb), also can mean a "song, or strain" (melody, the song-road). The loosening is both a re/lease of limbs and song, but also a death. But even more, there is a hint of the verb μέλω, "I care, I have concern," so the limb-loosener is also the care-loosener.

All these associations of the Lysimeles of Sappho come for me with your use of paralysis here.

May 27, 2009 1:11 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

That's simply wonderful.

How did you come to study Greek?

May 27, 2009 2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I taught myself out of a passion to translate Greek sources that likely influenced Holderlin's last sanity poem "Mnemosyne" (having become convinced that Holderlin was "thinking in (distortive) Greek" but writing in German). I translated the Eumendies by hand (lots of reference books and page turnings) as a kind of personal cure/self-psychoanalysis (Oedipus was not my myth). I then topped off my self-education with some Greek in college, later in life, and was fortunate enough to have an iconoclastic teacher. I am in love with the language. There is none so contortive, as limpid and yet darkly deep as Ancient Greek (that I know of).

I fear that most of the English translations from Greek are pale, bleached flattening-outs. The language is a muscular serpent.

May 27, 2009 5:15 PM  

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