Speak, Memory

Photo by Pierre Pareja

I cannot walk through the suburbs in the solitude of the night without thinking that the night pleases us because it suppresses idle details, just as our memory does.

—–Jorge Luis Borges


Vladimir Nabokov came up with this haunting title for his memoir, an invocation to the Muse, Mnemosyne. Speak, Memory! And tell your — not lies, not really — but truth as it is filtered through the past and memory. A dream truth.

Venice is one of my dream cities. I love it in reality (although, in the case of La Serenissima, one might as well say unreality) and it haunts me in dreams. I have little hope of seeing her again, certainly not now or soon. So, fortunately for me and a lot of other people, Pierre Pareja takes extraordinary pictures of her in every mood and aspect and posts them on his blog, Venice Daily Photo (which I have had on my blogroll from the beginning). His photos keep her, and her memory, alive for me. In the case of this stunning purple-and-gold nighttime shot, you’ll need to click on the photo for maximum impact.

What is your dream city? And how does it stay alive for you?

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6 Responses to Speak, Memory

  1. Pierre says:

    Hi Judith,
    Many thanks for these nice words. I’m glad you like my Venice images!
    Oh, and about the city of my dreams? Well I love Venice, I love Rome too… But my dearest place, the city of my heart, is New York City, where I’ve been so many times and thus I feel I still discover again and again.


    • Touch2Touch says:

      You shed a new light on New York City for me; having been born there (Brooklyn) and reared there (Long Island) it doesn’t occur to me that, of course, it is magical! So thank you yet again, merci, grazie, Pierre!


  2. DJE says:

    Curmudgeon, that I am, I hold no city dear. Rather would I amble “per una selva oscura” or marvel with Keats

    To one who has been long in city pent,
    ’Tis very sweet to look into the fair
    And open face of heaven,—to breathe a prayer
    Full in the smile of the blue firmament.
    Who is more happy, when, with hearts content,
    Fatigued he sinks into some pleasant lair
    Of wavy grass, and reads a debonair
    And gentle tale of love and languishment?
    Returning home at evening, with an ear
    Catching the notes of Philomel,—an eye
    Watching the sailing cloudlet’s bright career,
    He mourns that day so soon has glided by:
    E’en like the passage of an angel’s tear
    That falls through the clear ether silently.

    Cities, with their crowds of men, mindlessly getting and spending hold no fascination for me (in my dotage). Though Pierre’s photos are marvelous, and save me the drudgery of seeing Venice in the flesh.


    • Touch2Touch says:

      The drudgery of seeing Venice? DRUDGERY?
      Curmudgeon, indeed!
      But far too young to claim “dotage” as an excuse. No, it is simple wrongheadedness in an otherwise exceptionally clearsighted person.
      To sink into some pleasant lair of wavy grass and read a debonair and gentle tale of love and languishment — in November — in the Berkshires —
      I think not.


      • DJE says:

        A chacun, ses goûts. Agoraphobic that I am, being part of a gaggle of groveling tourists is anathema to me. And I rather like November — “that time of year when yellow leaves, or none, or few do hang upon those boughs that shake against the cold.” All the new vistas that were hidden since June, and now the bald pates of the Berkshire hills dusted lightly with snow — D


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