Monday, May 21, 2007

Maybe the best of things.


And yet. These two words might be my new favorites. They are often on the lips of my new favorite fictional grandpa, Leopold Gursky in Nicole Krauss' "The History of Love." We meet him in present day New York City without family, many friends or really much to look forward to. He is at once waiting for and painfully scared of death. During his youth in Poland he wished to be a writer--before the war pushed him to America, where he became a locksmith. He tells his story of lost love with poignant detail and unlocks the poetics of human longing. "And yet." is the most often repeated sentence...well, no grammarian could call it sentence. And yet. They are the Leopold's most profound words. A string of hope is woven through the lonely events of his life and I love him for that.

The word yet is kind of funny. One of those that if you repeat it over and over again it loses all meaning, which happened to me as I was thinking of what to type. The OED lists it as meaning "nevertheless; in spite of that." I love the idea that hope can still come, nevertheless: in the throes of loneliness and desperation, or quiet, or anger. It kind of makes me want to write my own poetry of "and yets."

the city is concrete
and yet
glazed by light

Those words change everything, and become strikingly poetic when the second half conveys a different kind of beauty or scent of humanity. and yet. It makes me think.

crowded
and yet
desolate


I found another place:

"dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything." 2 Corinthians 6:9-10

let's be and yet kinds of people.

1 comment:

M.Hoag said...

You might not remember this, but I was reading The History of Love back some time in the fall when we had coffee and you asked what I was reading, and I was really excited about it. It is so wonderful!!