Sunday, December 21, 2008


A friend brought the image to me after a trip to the British Museum. It is early Bronze Age, from the Cyclades, about 26,000–24,000 BC, used (perhaps) as part of a ritual, before accompanying the owner to the grave.

I have been considering her. The arms are folded across the abdomen. There is a triangular space to mark where the genitals should be. Her feet point down but her breasts are neat and pert. Her facial features are blank, apart from a prominent and straight nose.

It is as though she has been stripped of the faculty of sight and speech, but the nose tells us that this is the representation of a human face. Human and yet not. It is everywoman and no woman. I come back to the breasts, which seem to be the most alive things on her, and one is different from the other, they are not in symmetrical relationship, and they have nipples – soft, pert, significant nipples that a baby might close its mouth on, or a lover might kiss or cover with his hand. The arms cover what one might call the heart chakra.

Apart from the breasts, everything has been laid to rest, stripped of its distinctiveness. It is of course distinctive. It is what I might have expected to hold in my hand after death, a magical spirit doll that would speak for me with her blank, unperishable marble-pristine silence.

In the absence of us, there is rock, stone and crystal, what we cut from the earth when all else falls into it, becomes ashes and dust.

I have nothing but a crystal heart to hold for my father’s once-living presence. I have a grey heart made of stone, a circle cut to make a candle-holder, a Christmas gift for my mother. We are all lost.

We live in a condition of perpetual lostness – features and distinguishing marks fall away or change so as to make us unrecognisable, our names also worn away, made undecipherable.

I have recently thought (a fleeting moment of illumination) that the life in me is more important than I am, more substantially me than the outer husk of body, or even personality and character; that the life in me is perpetually found, evolving, in process.

When I die I would prefer to go empty-handed.


Zhoen said...

When we are completely lost, it doesn't matter where we are, so we are utterly found.

Minx said...

We can be in a world full of people and still be very lost and lonely. We are here for ourselves, to learn the lessons we need to and be the people we need to be.
If you take a piece of clay, plasticine or dough and make a figurine of yourself you will be very surprised at where you place your significant features.

Reading the Signs said...

Zhoen, so may it be.

Minx, I like this idea and think I might add it to my new year I Ching ritual.

Gael said...

Sorry to jump in here, Signs, but here is the linkie as requested

A tad ironic, no?

Anna MR said...

Okay. I will be pondering - in particular - upon your closing sentence and the implications of it for a long time, Signskins. Powerful stuff.

Love from here


Gael said...

Tries again

Reading the Signs said...

Been there now, Gael (Gael?). Have Bookmarked you.

Anna, I mean without the marble doll in my hands. Well, at one level it's what I mean. Might have to ponder a bit myself. If you have any further insights please keep me informed, Sees.

trousers said...

I too think that last sentence has much within it to be pondered following on from the previous words as it does.

My immediate thought was, well, don't we all go empty handed, ultimately? But let's leave that one as a rhetorical question for now because I'm sure I will have further musings which will contradict it.

Anna MR said...

Further insights, no. Am trying to post something in response, though - an image, mainly - but blogger is not playing nicely at all (it's been doing this to me, this refusing of photos, lately).

The WVLs are tsking. Hard to tell whether it's at blogger (which would be totally deserved, given the poor performance on the afore-mentioned photo front) or at me (which would be totally deserved, given the poor performance on that other thread I just visited a while back (of yours) and where I claimed that Calypso was one of the Pleiades, when a slightly closer Wiki read clearly tells me she wasn't. I was never and still am not particularly on the ball with my classics, but not to be able to read a single Wiki paragraph correctly is worth a tsking, to be sure).

Okay, anyway, s*rry about wordiness with little to say. Going back to the grind to (try to) publish my response figurine. But do you know - just now, out of the blue, I am getting the feeling that you're not one who will go empty-handed. I will investigate the insides of my head to try and explain what I mean with this.

(And now they are saying monyming - failed to type initial ver in when trying to preview. Deary me.)

Going, now, for real. Mwah.

Kahless said...

one breast points to heaven the other to hell?