Nel mezzo del cammin
di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
che la diritta via era smarrita
Half-way upon the journey of our life
I find myself within a forest of darkness
for the straight way had been lost
Dante, La Divina Commedia, Inferno, Canto Primo
I said to myself: “Here I am and I might be elsewhere – I might exist a thousand years ago or in a thousand years’ time …”
I thought how I had come out of endless night and would soon go on into another endless night and that my brief passing was marked only by absurd and casual actions.
I then understood that my distress was caused not by what I was doing but more profoundly by the mere fact of being alive which was neither good nor evil but only painful and meaningless.
Alberto Moravia, La Romana
No beginning, middle, end – such is the structureless structure…
Our existence, as we know it, is no longer transparent and understandable by reason, bound together into a tight, coherent structure.
William Barret, Irrational Man
All these people… know where they’re going and what they want,
they have a purpose and so they hurry along,
they’re tormented, sad, happy, alive,
while I … I have nothing… no purpose…
if I weren’t walking I’d be sitting down; it makes no difference
Alberto Moravia, Gli Indifferenti
Seven nights higher red makes for red,
seven hearts deeper the hand knocks on the gate,
seven roses later plashes the fountain.
Paul Celan, Kristall
After that, everything became hazy; the minutes passed more and more slowly until eventually minutes seemed like hours. Two or three times the distant barking of a dog offered some hope, but we couldn’t see anything in the pitch black night and the dogs fell silent or were in the wrong direction.
Ernesto Che Guevara, Un diarrio per un viaggio in motocicletta
… for I have long since resigned myself to being myself.
But the fact is that my longing for a splendid imaginary destiny has, as it were, condensed the tragic, purple elements of my actual life into a kind of extremely compact, solid, and scintillating reduction…
Jean Genet, Our Lady of the Flowers