Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Our lives are Swiss –– so still –– so cool
Till some odd afternoon 
The Alps neglect their curtains
And we see farther on.

Italy stands the other side ––
While like a guard between
The solemn Alps –– the siren Alps ––
Forever intervene.

~ Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)


  1. The Alps Forever intervene, but scaling and getting as much past the the Alps as we can -- even if an unsuccessful endeavor -- has value.

  2. Oh yes, AOW, but our fear-filled assumption that what lies beyond the "curtains" is probably evil, and would, therefore, be dangerous to confront is what holds us back and keeps us mired in the misery of fear, loneliness, isolation and lack of affection.

    "The Alps" in this poem, I believe, are internal -- a symbol for the barriers we put up between ourselves and others for fear that allowing them to know us -- or we them -- could do us harm.

    A metaphor for The Negative View of Existence.

  3. A beautiful respite, Mr. FreeThinke.

    Harlan from LeftWatch

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  5. What prevents us from experiencing the transcendental?

    Just how do the alps "neglect their curtains"? I don't think physical imagery advances this at all.

  6. I'll share with you some of what I said to Nan, earlier today:

    My steadfast refusal to regard everyone who challenges -- or even insults -- the views and values I hold dear as "My Mortal Enemy" is a prayerful, thoughtful, ethical, principled, philosophical position I have taken quite deliberately, because I long ago realized that Reality cannot be understood in simple terms of Black and White.

    Adamancy, itself, is a kind of sin. Steadfast devotion to one's principles and one's country is one thing. Blind chauvinism is quite another.

    "Fundamentalists" of ALL stripes are in fact BLIND CHAUVINISTS. That doesn't mean they are "bad people" necessarily; it only means that they are seeing life in purely ONE DIMENSIONAL terms.

    They want everything to be simple, clear, clean, and devoid of confusion and perplexity.

    It's NOT, and that would be all there is to it, but for the crying need to understand that at the HEART of EVERYTHING is a Unifying Factor. Call it Love. Call it God. Call it The Source. call it anything you like. Names don't matter, despite all the mumbo jumbo that speaks to the contrary. What DOES matter is that GOD -- i.e. Truth, Principle, Wisdom, Intelligence, Beauty, Love and Life, itself, -- lives and reigns in every part of Creation. Our persistent doubts and denials of this extraordinary, magnificent, awe-inspiring, encouraging, infinitely comforting TRUTH is the only thing that holds us back.

    "We can never be sure that the opinion we wish to stifle is a false opinion; and if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still."

    ~ John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)


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  7. Ducky,
    I believe "neglect their curtains" means when the clouds clear away.

    I was only in the Alps a couple of time, but their peaks were often obscured by clouds (great lesser-known Pink Floyd CD, btw).

    I lived in the Andes twice, and the highest of those magnificent and beautiful peaks were always obscured by clouds. The only time you could see Antisana, Cotopaxi or the treacherous Cayambe clearly was right after a rain.

    I have now exhausted my trove of poetry conversation pieces.

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  9. lol!

    The curtains are what we put up so that others won't discover that there is nothing behind them.

    Now tinman, here is your testimonial...

  10. FT, I enjoy reading all of the different insights into the poem.

    Considering how difficult it is to have a civil dialogue online, is it worth the time invested? Sometimes I think that this meta-reality can rob us of life.

  11. What, you want me to give you something? I must, however. pretend to withhold it, lest you discover that I've nothing to give.

    Now, love me for my authentic self. discover the prince beneath my frog exterior....

    ...in other words, love me not for what I am, but for what I could be

  12. Our "still and cool" selves let the "Alps" (which may represent often insurMOUNTable obstacles such as conventional wisdom, artificial reserve, and self-abnegation) stand in the way of enjoying what Italy represents: "warmth, love, poetry, music, and art."

    I've been to Switzerland and Italy.

    While there's much to be admired in Switzerland, Italy had a more colorful, albeit intensely emotional, atmosphere.

    Wine, lovers, and song.

  13. Well, FT, I wonder if we can find this useful as a call to expand our interests.

    I've decided to augment my exploration of Brahms with some examples of the transition from the Baroque to the Classical and I was surprised to find Glück mentioned. Are his trios a worthwhile download?

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  16. They want everything to be simple, clear, clean, and devoid of confusion and perplexity.


    Being one who expects simple, clear, clean thinking on all issues—in my opinion, it leads to less confusion when complex problems and issues can be understood and seen in simpler terms. From there you can build your edifice to the sky.

    What's the value of adding to the confusion and cacophony of noise that does nothing to add clarity and understanding to any topic? Is it just for the presumptuousness of being "one up" and lording it over others?

  17. Interesting interpretations from those who gave it some thought.

    Today I allowed evidence of the now-absent refuse remain.

    Inanity should be of no concern to those who are not inane.

    Unfunny clowns are merely pathetic. More to be pitied than despised.

  18. Betty bought some butter,
    but the butter Betty bought was bitter,
    so Betty bought some better butter,
    and the better butter Betty bought
    was better than the bitter butter Betty bought before.

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  20. Irrational Nation USAJune 12, 2013 at 7:20 AM

    Oh Switzerland the land of Schnitzels Swiss Army knives, Cuckoo Clocks, Bank accounts, and Swiss Cheese. How i love thee.

  21. Switzerland is the bacon of liberal democracy where no-one can ever really blame a politician for anything specific as the people get to vote on any worthy or relevant issue and a whole load of time-wasting stuff as well. However I rarely see a conservative there on any given day out. In March of 1921 the Communiste party Suisse, party held a conference in Zürich, and merged communist groups and left-wing social democrats who left the Social Democratic Party of Switzerland and called themselves “Progressives” . In late 1921 the Communist Party of Switzerland, already had 6,000 members.
    After the outbreak of World War II, the Swiss government outlawed the Communiste party but on 1940 the underground Communiste party continued against the fascist party in power, and, helped people who had escaped from concentration camps in Germany, including Soviet prisoners of war, and organized the transport of the escapees to partisan detachments in France. Between 1940 and 1944, in Bern, Basel, and other cities, the party staged a number of protest meetings against the antipopular policy of the Swiss government; the demands of these meetings included higher wages, a shorter working day, and the lifting of censorship. The Swiss Party of Labor, which included the CPS, the Socialist Federation, and progressive social democrats, was set up at the Constituent Congress held in Zürich. Liberal democracy is a form of government in which representative democracy operates under the principles of liberalism.

  22. Oh my gosh, I meant to write "beacon" Not "bacon"

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  24. Nancy's mom was guilty of involvement in political corruption when her dad was mayor of Baltimore. Her brother also a disgrace.

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  26. I see we have a DIFFERENT Ms Shaw here now. Ms LAKEESHA Shaw.

    I should remove your post, because it doesn't really relate to Ms Dickinson's poem and what it implies, but I won't, because your contribution was at least polite and informative. I do wish you had given us a link to your source, however.

    I knew you meant beacon and not bacon, of course, but it might be safe to say that Switzerland is well known Beacon for Bacon -- as in the expression "bring home the bacon" -- or the Moola -- or the Mazuma -- or the Lettuce -- or the Bread -- or the Dough depending on where you come from and when you were born. ;-)

    Switzerland is a unique place in that it managed never to take sides in any of the big wars, yet it survived. Every bit as interesting is that even though the tiny country is divided in three groups each speaking a different language -- German, French and Italian -- the country remains unified and placid.

    Possibly the Alps help keep things cool, who knows?

    Life is mystery to be lived -- not a problem to be solved."


    Thersites, surrealist images often remind me of bizarre forms squeezed out of a pastry tube by a mad chef. Can't see how they relate to Our Lives Are Swiss, but .. oh what the hell! (:-o

    FJ, you were very naughty to let yourself be dragged into an inappropriate discussion of Madam Pelosi. However, I found the TIME article of some mild interest, so your links will stay, but ...

  27. William Tell was not Swiss?

    Who knew?

  28. ps - Did you notice William's penis in the surrealist paintings? Or were you like the girl's in his "Old Age" that had to avert their eyes...

    Some veil's appear denser than others. ;)

  29. To answer the question that Mr. FT had deleted on “who invented Swiss Cheese. No one knows exactly when or where Swiss cheese was invented or discovered,- although it can be said for certain that it was not in Switzerland. But I do know why Swiss cheese has holes in it.
    The holes in Swiss cheese comes from bacteria that forms during the aging process, and the “Propionibacter Shermani” as it is know as is one of three different types of bacteria used in the process of making Swiss cheese, and it is primarily responsible for the holes that make Swiss cheese distinctive. This bacteria produces a gas which creates air bubbles or air pockets and eventually pop creating the holes.

  30. Of course, some legends say that there were "three" Williams...


    Booth wrote in his journal on April 21, 1865 "with every man's hand against me, I am here in despair. And why; For doing what Brutus was honored for and what made Tell a Hero. And yet I for striking down a greater tyrant than they ever knew am looked upon as a common cutthroat."

  31. The only Swiss "principle of liberalism" that I recognize is the need to shoot apples off my son's head every week to please the local despot du jour.

  32. Ooops did I say shoot apples? I meant data-mine e-mails.

  33. Anybody find their penis yet?

    'jes wondrin'....

  34. I suppose it never gets warm in the Alps...

    ...must be that "rare" break in the mist. ;)

  35. ....now can the rest of the orchestra go back to sleep, now?

  36. Thersites, hasn't anyone ever told you that besides being not very nice masturbating in public is severely frowned upon?

    Dystopia Schmerzenberg

  37. I forgot to add it could even get you arrested, fined and possibly imprisoned.

    Ignorance of the law is no excuse,

    Dystopia Schmerzenberg

  38. Talk to my brother, Diogenes of Sinope who once said, "I wish it were as easy to banish hunger by rubbing the belly."

  39. ps - It was nice of you to play Gradiva to my William. :)

  40. Oh good LORD!

    When the cat's away, the mice WILL play, won't they?

    It's too bad they didn't have video cams and iPhones back in the day when GODIVA (not GRAdiva) made her famous ride on horse back.

    Now thatreally WOULD have been an historic event worth preserving! Although I have read that the the lady was pitifully thin, buck-toothed, flat-chested hollow-eyed and pockmarked; what's more her fabled red hair hadn't been washed in months when she took that ride, so maybe legend serves us better than too much literal truth after all.

    Yes, I'm almost positive it does.

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  42. Witlessness is a crashing bore.

    --------> Katharine Heartburn

  43. Scolds are worse then bores, for they purport to own a "right" to another's attention...


  44. Everyone has a right to his opinion, as long as it IS his opinion and not merely a contrivance designed to get attention.

  45. Have you ever known of any form of "communication" that wasn't merely a contrivance designed to get attention?

    This is planet "Earth"... after all.



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