Sunday, April 25, 2010

A ruin is never simply empty

A ruin is never simply empty.  It remains a vivid temple of absence.  All other inhabited dwellings hold their memory and their presence is continually added to and deepened by succeeding generations.  It is, consequently, quite poignant that a long since vacated ruin still retain echoes of the presence of the vanished ones.  The German poet Friedrich Holderlin captures this unstated yet perennial presence of the echo of touch in abandoned places:

When night is like day
And over slow footpaths,
 Dense with golden dreams,
 Lulling breezes drift.

The abandoned place is dense with the presence of the absent ones who have walked there.

~ John O'Donohue, from: 'Eternal Echoes'