Till we have faces

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With the wind gusting and blowing through the birch trees and howling at my window, my cold hands reached for John Keats's poetry and prose. I knew, by that very gesture, that I longed for some comfort. There is no writer that can wrap me in figurative warmth like Keats can. I often turn to Jean Cocteau for wit and understanding but Cocteau can never truly comforts me. He's too sensitive, of course there is joy in his books but it's always wasted by continuous pangs, his heart bleeds by each and every open wounds. His heart is complex but afflicted, desiring both concealment and fulfilment. His oeuvre is intensely sad, it shivers. Cocteau is perfect in his own way but he's more likely to cause me emotional distress. Keats brings me a little peace, a sense of joy even. Yesterday night was no exception, his poems were embalming my soul until I read the word face. A feeling of uneasiness immediately rushed at me. It took me by surprise, C. S Lewis's Till We Have Faces popped into my mind. And for one moment I contemplated pushing this thought away. No, Iwasn't ready, I feared exploring my own darkness with too explicit a guide. It made sense why this book had made an appearance at this very moment : it was a sickening truth even. There was no need for me to interpret my behaviour as it was there, in full bloom on my bookshelf, waiting to be taken into consideration :  Till We Have Faces. A theme of the book at least. But what a theme. Shame joined uneasiness and I had no choice but to surrender to this revelation: I have been a bit Orual myself. I've complained about being stricken by unhappiness and sorrows and ailments. I've blamed the world for it, pleading it wasn't my fault, but others'. Others deceived me, others lied to me, others gave up on me. But there was something else: what was the monster that had been devouring me for so long now?

"But the result, when all those bitter hours were over, was a strange one. The craving for Bardia was ended. No one will believe this who has not lived long and looked hard, so that he knows how suddenly a passion which has for years been wrapped round the whole heart will dry up and wither. Perhaps in the soul, as in the soil, those growths that show the brightest colours and put forth the most overpowering smell have not always the deepest root. Or perhaps it’s age that does it. But most of all, I think, it was this. My love for Bardia (not Bardia himself) had become to me a sickening thing. I had been dragged up and out onto such heights and precipices of truth, that I came into an air where it could not live. It stank; a gnawing greed for one to whom I could give nothing, of whom I craved all. [...]
But when the craving went, nearly all that I called myself went with it. It was as if my whole soul had been one tooth and now that tooth was drawn. I was a gap."
"Did I hate him then? Indeed, I believe so. A love like that can grow to be nine-tenth hatred, and still call itself love."

Psyche revived by Cupid's kiss, detail, marble, Canova, Musee du Louvre

These two quotes are the epitome of what has gone through me, the devouring, that selsifh, voracious and possessive love. Not only does it devour us but it also devours the subject of love. It haunted me, night and day. In words, in certain colours, in books, in paintings. I was guilty ; I believed my love was virtuous, more noble than any other. Superior in some way. How I was wrong. I was guilty of having loved wrongly. I fell asleep on that painful self accusation.
The first thought when I woke up was directed to yesterday night : I am guilty. There is the gap, and the fear that it can never be filled.

Jerusalem artichoke and coconut soup

500 g Jerusalem artichockes, peeled
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves
200 mL coconut milk
200 mL water
salt & pepper
dried mushrooms (I used these), to serve
hazelnut oil, to serve

Preheat oven to 140°C. Roast the Jerusalem artichokes until they are tender.
While they are roasting, cook the mushrooms for 10 minutes in boiling water.  Drain and set aside.
In a pan, sautée the onion and the garlic cloves until they become translucent. Set aside.
Remove Jerusalem artichokes from oven and place them in a blender with the coconut milk, water, onion and garlic. Blend until smooth. Add more water (or coconut milk) if needed. 
Drizzle with hazelnut oil and serve with mushrooms.

Soupe aux topinambours et au lait de coco
(végétalien, sans gluten)

500 g de topinambours, épluchés
1/2 oignon, haché
2 gousses d'ail
200 mL de lait de coco
200 mL d'eau
sel, poivre
champignons noirs déshydratés, pour servir
huile de noisette (une tuerie), pour servir

Préchauffer le four à 140 °C. Faire cuire les topinambours sur une plaque en les remuant de temps en temps jusqu'à ce qu'ils soient tendres.  Pendant qu'ils cuisent, faire cuire les champignons dans de l'eau bouillante une dizaine de minutes. Les égoutter.
Sortir les topinambours du four et les mettre dans un blender avec le lait de coco, l'eau, l'oignon et l'ail. Mixer jusqu'à ce que le mélange soit lisse. Ajouter un peu plus d'eau (ou de lait de coco) si nécessaire.
Servir avec le champignons noirs et quelques (ou beaucoup) de gouttes d'huile de noisette.

1 commentaires:

  1. You are great reading books, it is really hard to find time to read books, By the way this soup is calling my name. I love anything with coconut and its derivatives.



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