Watermark Foundation

Winter in the city, especially on Sundays, waking up to the ringing of countless bells, just behind the muslin tinkles on a silver tray giant tea set in the pearly sky. throws open the window, and the room suddenly floods that street, stuffed bell buzz haze, that part of the crude oxygen, part coffee and prayers. No matter, what tablets and how much to swallow this morning,– you understand, not all over. No matter how much you and autonomous, how many times have you betrayed, how thoroughly depressing and your self-image,– here of allowing, that there is still hope, at least — future. (hope, said Francis Bacon, good breakfast, but a bad supper.) The source of this optimism — haze; her prayer part of, especially when breakfast time. In those days, the city really gets kind of porcelain, Zinc-plated dome already akin teapots or cups overturned, and the inclined profiles of bells ringing, as a forgotten spoon, and melt in the sky. Not to mention the seagulls and pigeons, the gathering, the melting in the air. With all this space suitability for honeymoon, I've often thought, Do it for the divorce not try — for extending, as well as for completed? Against this background, fading any gap; no selfish, right or wrong, It fails to shine long in these porcelain decorations in crystal water, for they will eclipse anything whose game. I know, that the above-indicated can be very unpleasant effect on prices, even in winter. But people love their melodrama longer, than architecture, and worry about what I do not. Weird, that beauty is below psychology, but while this is so, this city I can afford — that is, until his death, perhaps, and after.
By profession, or, quicker, the cumulative effect of years of employment, I am a writer; on the way to earn — teacher, teacher. Winter holidays at my university — five weeks, which partly explains the timing of my pilgrimage — but only partly. In heaven and vacations in common, that you have to pay for them, and the coin is your old life. My love affair with this city — with the city at this time of year — It started long ago, long before the, I got skills, have demand, and I was able to afford this passion.
Approximately at 1966 year — I was then 26 — a friend gave me to read three short novel by the French writer Henri de Regnier, translated into Russian remarkable Russian poet Mikhail Kuzmin. At that moment, I knew of only Rainier, he was one of the last parnassians, good poet, but nothing special. About Kuzmin — some of “Alexandria songs” and “clay pigeon” and the glory of the great esthete, zealous orthodox and explicit homosexual — to my mind, in this order.
I got these novels, when the author and the translator were long dead. Books also breathed its last: paper edition late thirties, almost without bindings, rassypa'lis hands. I do not remember any titles, no publishers; plots, to be honest, also. Somehow, the impression remains, one called “provincial fun”, but not sure. Sure, can be clarified, but lent their friend died a year ago; and I will not be checked.
They were a cross between picaresque and detective novel, and action, at least one, I myself call “provincial fun”, It took place in the winter of Venice. The atmosphere of twilight and alarming, topography, complicated mirrors; the main events took place on the other side of the amalgam, in some abandoned palazzo. Like many books of the twenties, the novel was quite short — pages 200, not more — and brisk pace. Subject usual: love and betrayal. The most important thing: the book was written in the lengths of the short one and a half page or — heads. Their pace gave crude, cold, narrow streets, which in the evening in a hurry with growing alarm, turning left, straight. Man, born there, Where I am, easily recognized in, arises in these pages, Petersburg, extended to the places with the best story, not to mention the latitude. But the most important thing in the impressionable age, when I stumbled upon a novel, It was to teach them a lesson decisive composition, that is: the quality of the story is not dependent on the scene, but on, that for what it is. I unconsciously tied this principle to Venice. If the reader is now suffering, the reason.
Then another friend, still surviving, brought a tattered magazine “Life” with stunning color image of San Marco in the snow. A bit later, the girl, for which I cared, birthday gift set of postcards with pictures sepia, folded like an accordion, that her grandmother had taken out of the pre-revolutionary honeymoon in Venice, I pored over them with a magnifying glass. Then my mother got from God knows where the box of cheap tapestry, a flap with embroidered Palazzo Ducale, cover up the cushion on my sofa — thereby reducing the history of the Republic up to my size. Record here the small brass gondola, which my father bought in China at the time of service and which the parents kept on dressing table, filling the scattered buttons, needles, trademarks and — increasingly — Tablets and capsules. then a friend, Rainier gave novels and died a year ago, took me to the semi-official view of contraband and because black and white copy “Death in Venice” Visconti with Dirkom Bogartom. Alas, the film was not first grade, and even from the most novel I was not happy. And still, long initial episode with Bogart in a deck chair steamer made me forget about the disturbing caption and regret, I do not have the deadly disease; even today I regret it.
Then there was Venetian. it seemed, that the city is gradually creeping into focus. He was a black-and-white, as it befits a native of literature or winter; aristocratic, fuscous, cold, half-light, where audible hum string Vivaldi and Cherubini in the background, where instead of clouds female flesh draped from Bellini / Tiepolo / Tiziana. And I swore, if I could get out of their native empire, the first thing I'm going to Venice, I rent a room on the first floor of a palazzo, the waves from passing boats splashed out of the window, I write a couple of elegies, extinguishing cigarettes on the damp stone floor, will cough and drink, and running out of money instead of a train ticket buy a small Browning and the spot blew his brains out, not being able to die in Venice from natural causes.
Dream, of course, absolutely decadent, but in 28 aged man with a brain is always a bit decadent. Besides, the plan was not carried out in any of its parts. So when thirty-two years old, I was in the depths of another continent, in the midst of America, the first university pay spent on the implementation of the best part of my dream and bought a round-trip ticket to Detroit -Milan — Detroit. The plane was packed with Italians factories Ford and Chrysler, riding home for Christmas. When the middle of the road in the tail opened free trade, they rushed back, and for a moment I introduced our airplane, flying over the Atlantic like a crucifix: outstretched wings, tail down. Then a trip on the train and at the end of it — only person, I knew in that city. The end was cold, Srym, black and white. “Now the earth was formless and empty; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God nosylsya over water”, quoting been here before author. And the next morning,. Sunday morning, and all the bells ringing.
I've always been a supporter of opinion, God or, at least, His spirit has time. May be, it is an idea of ​​my own production, but now no longer remember. Anyway, I always thought, that time the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters, Water had to reflect it. Hence my weakness to water, its folds, wrinkles, ryabina and — I once from the North — its grayness. I just think, that water is the image of time, and under every New Year's Eve, several pagan spirit, I try to be near the water, preferably near the sea or ocean, to catch the ascent of a new portion, the new glass time. I do not expect a naked maiden riding on a shell; I'm waiting for the cloud or the crest of a wave, beating the shore at midnight. this is the time for me, coming out of the water, and I look at the lace pattern, left on the shore, not a gypsy insight, and with affection and gratitude.
This is the way, and at that time, and are, my view of the city. In this fantasy there is nothing from Freud or from the chordate, although, undoubtedly, You can set some evolutionary — if not downright atavistic — the link between the wave pattern in the sand and stared at him a descendant of ichthyosaurs, who was himself a monster. Delivered upright lace of Venetian facades have the best line, that anywhere on earth the firmament of time left, it is the same-the water. A plus, there is an undoubted match — if no direct link — between the rectangular nature of the frames of the lace, ie local buildings, and anarchy water, who spits on the concept of form. Like here clearly, than anywhere else, space conscious of its inferiority compared to the time and tells him the only property, which have no: beauty. And that's why water takes this answer, its twists, Mochalov, shreds, but ultimately carries the Adriatic, generally, without damaging.
Eye in this city acquires independence, inherent tear. With the only difference, that he is not separated from the body, and all his subordinates itself. little time — three or four days,– and the body already feels only the vehicle's eyes, some kind of submarine for its wide-open it, then narrowed periscope. of course, Any contact turns shooting at his: the bottom leaves your heart or mind; eye comes to the surface. reason, of course, the local topography, in the streets, narrow, curly, as an eel, leading you to the butt area with a cathedral in the middle, which is overgrown with barnacles and saints whose dome is similar to jellyfish. Wherever you, moving away from home here, nor walked, you get lost in these long coils of streets and alleys, inviting them to learn through, go to the end of the elusive, usually leads to water, so that it can not even be called a cul de sac5. On the map the city looks like two fried fish on the same plate or, may be, two lobster claws almost clasped (Pasternak compared it with the wheel sodden); but it has no north, south, east, west; only its direction — sideways. It surrounds you like frozen seaweed, and the more you ryschesh and mecheshsya in search of landmarks, so hopeless to lose them. And the yellow arrows on the crossroads of little help, for they too are bent. In fact, they play the role of the conductor is not, and water. And nimble native flapping hands, in which you asked for directions, eye, detracting from cod “To the right, to the left, straight ahead, straight ahead”6, easily recognize fish.
Entangled in seaweed network — a more accurate comparison. Due to lack of space, there are people here in the cell next to each other, and life evolves by the immanent logic of gossip. Regional human imperative in this city is limited to water; shutters block the path is not so much sun or noise (minimum here), how to, that might leak from the inside. open, they resemble the wings of angels, spy on someone's illegal businesses, and the statues, huddled at the eaves, and human relations are becoming jewelry or, more precisely, filigreed shade. In these places, people and more secretive, and better informed, than the police under tyranny. Just coming over the threshold of the apartment, especially in winter, you immediately make an extraction of all kinds of suspicions, fantasy, rumors. If you were not one, the next day at the grocery or at the newsagent will meet you view the depth of the Old Testament, that seems inconceivable in a Catholic country. If it serves someone to court or vice versa, You need to hire a lawyer from. visitors, of course, all like, no local. Citizen is not amused, that the artist sketches or removes a fan. But all the same rumors as an urban planning principle (which here becomes articulate only in hindsight) better than any modern lattice and in harmony with local channels, who had taken a sample of water, which, as a gossip behind, It never ends. In this sense, brick convincing marble, although both inaccessible to an outsider. Truth, once or twice over the seventeen years I have managed to worm their way into the inner sanctum of Venetian, in the labyrinth of the amalgam, de Regnier described in “provincial amusements”. It was such a roundabout way, now I do not even remember the details, because I could not keep track of all strokes and curves, then led to my in this maze hit. Someone something someone said, and another man, chance to be there, I heard and called the fourth, resulting in one night umpteenth person invited me to a reception at his palace.
Palazzo got ennomu recently, after nearly three centuries of legal battles, which led several family branches, gave the world a couple of Venetian admirals. Respectively, two huge with magnificent carvings feed lantern glimmering in a grotto in the double height — in the courtyard of the Palazzo, filled with all sorts of naval pieces, from the Renaissance to the present day. Umpteenth himself was the last in his line and got the palazzo after many years of waiting and to the chagrin of the other members of the family. To the fleet he had no relationship: bit playwright, Few artists. Truth, at the moment it is most noticeable in the forties, Exalted, A short man in a gray double-breasted suit very well-cut was, that he is seriously ill. Yellowing of the skin points to the transferred hepatitis — or, may be, a simple ulcer. He ate only consommé and boiled vegetables, while his guests ate myself the, it has the right to a separate chapter, if you do not book.
so, We are going to celebrate the nth entry in the right, as well as the opening of the publishing house to release books on Venetian art. When the three of us: fellow writer, her son and I — arrived, the reception was in full swing. The people had plenty: local and international luminaries slightly, politicians, know, regulars scenes, beards and scarves, mistress varying degrees of brightness, cycling star, American academics. Plus the company giggling, frisky, gay lads, inevitable in those days everywhere, where there has been something more or less decent. At the head of the company was quite mad and vicious cock middle-aged — very fair, very blue-eyed, very drunk the major-domo of the building, whose days were numbered and that is why everyone hated. And rightly so, I will add, in view of its prospects.
They too galdeli, and umpteenth politely suggested that the three of us to examine the rest of the house. We readily agreed and went on a small lift. After leaving his cab, we left the twentieth, nineteenth and larger share of the eighteenth century.
We were on a long, dimly lit gallery with a vaulted ceiling, kişasçim Putter. The light still would not help, because the walls were covered with large, from floor to ceiling, dark brown pictures, which, obviously, They were written on request for this room and alternated subtle marble busts and pilasters. The paintings depicted, how it was possible to make out, Marine and land battles, festive processions, mythological scenes; the lightest paint was wine-red. They were heavy porphyry mines, abandoned, in the power of the eternal pm, where for canvases concealed ore seams; Silence reigned here truly geological. You could not ask “What is it? whose job it?” because of the inappropriateness of your voice, belonging to a later and clearly extraneous body. Yet it was like a scuba trip, as if we were a school of fish, passing through the sunken galleon treasure on board,– not open mouth, do not swallow the water.
At the far end of the gallery our host fluttered right, and we followed him into the room, in a cross between a library and an office of the seventeenth century gentleman. Judging by the books of the wire mesh in red, size wardrobe, cabinet, century could be even sixteenth. There were about sixty chubby white volumes, bound in pigskin, from Aesop to Zeno, how much and need a gentleman — a little more, and he turned to be a thinker, with disastrous consequences for its style or status. The rest of the room was pretty bare. Light it was not much better, than in the gallery; I made out a large table and a faded globe. Then the owner turned the knob, and I saw his silhouette in the doorway, leading to the suite. I looked at it and shuddered: the suite seemed viscous and bad infinity. Then I stepped into it.

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Joseph Brodsky
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