Sunday, February 22, 2009

Reflections on Poetry of Space: Chapters 2 and 3

A passage in Chapter Two, (page 63, paragraph 2, when Bauchelard quotes from Farewell to the Cottage, p.205), that stood out to me is, "The minute they entered the cottage, it opened its heart and soul:  'At dawn, your freshly white-washed being opened its arms to us: the children felt that they had entered into the heart of a dove, and we loved the ladder--your stairway--right away.'"  This passage says to me that the cottage is a living being, a heaven on earth, that wraps its welcoming arms around you offering pure, unconditional love and optimism.  The children feel instantly safe.  The phrase "...entered the heart of a dove..." indicates a reverberation of peacefulness.  There is so much symbolism and imagery in this passage.  It immediately evoked feelings and images from my grandparents home.  They lived in a very simple cottage, but it was filled with with warmth, love and connections to the past because it was the house my mother and uncles grew up in.  

I found this poem on, and it really seemed to speak to me about what Bachelard writes about in Chapters Two and Three.  

Your House

 Tell me what use is a house without
A nook to store something like love
Or barren of tiny shelves on which to
Place a few emotions for safe-keeping
Without the window sills to catch the splash
Of rains on your innermost feelings

Tell me, what use is a house that has
A marked absence of parapets that are
Good reflection posts to peer at your soul
There’s not even a single attic to go and hide
When monsters from the past come hunting
No, it’s an absolutely empty, emotionless house

But then, 
They say a house reflects the owner’s personality. 

Dia Chatterjee

In Chapter Three, about drawers, chests and wardrobes, a passage in the last paragraph on page 84 stood out to me.  The casket contains the things that are unforgettable, unforgettable for us, but also unforgettable  for those whom we are going to give our treasures.  This passage brings to mind a painful memory.  The week after my grandmother's funeral (my grandfather died four years prior), my grandmother's home was robbed while my mother had traveled to her home in Maine.  My sisters went to check on the house and found that the house had been robbed.  The thieves took a great many collectibles, such as McCoy pottery, jewelry, and quilts.  It was also apparent that they were planning to come back for more.  My grandparents were not wealthy, as you can see from the photo of their home, but they had accumulated a lot of collectibles over the years.  Some of the things the robbers took had been handed down through generations -- not necessarily of great value but of sentimental value.  The way I view this very painful memory is that my grandparents' house, after my grandmother's death, was essentially a "chest" containing an inventory of my grandparents' lives -- not the summary of their lives.  By stealing from this chest, the thieves violated the sanctuary and security of the home and scarred the images of my grandparents home that I carried in my memories.  I knew that I would never go into that house again and see my grandparents, which was painful enough.  Now some of the objects that would have evoked imagery of the past are gone to me and my descendants forever.  I can only imagine how the robbery affected my mother.  I still visit my grandparents' home and it will always be a container of special memories even though some of the material treasures are gone from the chest.  I still feel the comforting spirits of my grandparents when I visit there.  

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