Frames /sing


Looking at the Limb-loosener: Between Image and Word

Roxana Ghita over at the floating bridge of dreams posts a gorgeous photographic expression of the “limb-loosener”, drawing in part on my own thoughts of Sappho’s erotic figure. She seems to specialize in the transposition of photography and poetry, and the site is haunting,  and the poem there by Amy Lowell called to mind another Sappho fragment, number 2, of which I include a lexically highly experimental translation.

…there, water cold-soul’d was ringing through braids

of apple-wool, as with roses, the whole child-place

had cast shadows, and from the shimmering of leaves

a coma was pouring down.

What is elegant about her image (and it is set askew by my cropping) is that the overt sensuality of the gaze, the hair, is captured by its frame. Not the border of the photograph, its frame. This is the marvelous thing about the internet. A single strain of thought encounters an image at a cross-section, and the duplication produces a marking, indulable transverse change of direction, beyond the imagination of each. This, not to mention, that 2,500 years lives suddeny compressed into a relative instant.

I want to say, do peer as well (…the way my eyes squint when I look at some of these condensations), into her the beautiful fullishness of things. And the visually fragile however fallible. Something quakes.

4 responses to “Looking at the Limb-loosener: Between Image and Word

  1. roxana July 22, 2009 at 12:17 pm


    i am a bit without words now –
    i will come back to try to say more.

  2. kvond July 22, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Indeed do.

  3. roxana July 23, 2009 at 7:53 am

    all i can say that i am deeply grateful for this post which has amazed me beyond words – i haven’t expected you would/could possibly like my humble weaving of image and word, i had actually thought i should let you know that i borrowed that excerpt but couldn’t bring myself to do it because i was… well, a bit shy.

    i am also grateful for the way you looked at my picture, you are the only one who has mentioned the importance of that frame which is crucial for my way of relating to the image. and the duplication, the thousands of years compressed, that miraculous encounter made possible by the internet (an example of the ‘event time’, a friend of mine who loves Deleuze as you do writes about it: – all these are topics which speak to me deeply. Right before seeing your post i was reading a beautiful page in Canetti’s ‘Fackel im Ohr’ – how he was shattered by reading Gilgamesh’s plaint (“… Klage… traf mich ins Herz’, he writes – i know you read German as well, don’t you?) and how that moment had changed his entire life. The same with Sappho’s word: how can it be that thousands of years disappear instantly and we face the same mystery, struck by the same shudder as those people whose psyche is however so alien to us?
    anyway… perhaps this is a naive sense of wonder, but i tend to think that nothing creative can really happen without that kind of wonder before the world.

    once again, i don’t know how to thank you.

    • kvond July 23, 2009 at 4:35 pm

      All beautiful sentiments and thoughts, and worthy of the powers of the internet. Thank you for the photo as it spurs on new thoughts for all. Especially of interest is how Sappho can come rushing down like wind through oaks (as she likes to say) from 2,500 years, across an impossible translation, and be as crystal clear as ever. Like star’s light, one might think.

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