28 May 2009

More Poetry: Robert Frost

Excerpt from the poem "Stopping by woods on a snowy evening":

"The woods are lovely, dark, and deep.
But I have a promise to keep.
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep"

Robert Frost, 1874-1963

(my photo)

22 May 2009


For these type of person the common feature is that control is highly valued over communication. Conscientiousness, tidiness, meanness, pedantry, rationality combined with cluelessness about human emotions. These can be the symptoms of an obsessional character. People who suffer with this pathology often self mutilate in a ritualistic unintentional manner and are also often phobic, and worry about cleanliness. Compulsive behavior is repetitive, sterotyped, ritualistic and supersticious.
Psychoanalytic technique usually is effective in treating these patients, however, it takes quite a while.
Sometimes patients keep attacking their analyst in search of something bad, they are sure that the analyst must have.


Ode To A Nightingale

Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
What thou among the leaves hast never known,
The weariness, the fever, and the fret
Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,
Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
And leaden-eyed despairs;
Where beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
Or new love pine at them beyond tomorrow.

Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:
Already with thee! tender is the night,
I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet
Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
Fast-fading violets covered up in leaves;
And mid-May's eldest child,
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.

Darkling I listen; and for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Called him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath;
Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
As she is famed to do, deceiving elf.
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
Up the hill-side; and now 'tis buried deep
In the next valley-glades:
Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
Fled is that music:---do I wake or sleep?

John Keats

20 May 2009


Not Waving but Drowning

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he's dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

Stevie Smith (1902-1971)

17 May 2009

Islands again

(painting by Aivazovsky)

My friend Ewa, who doesn't care for writing online (one wonders why) but is an excellent writer and photographer (see her book "Surfaces", Caixotim Ed.), sent me a note about Peter Conrad's book "Islands: A trip through time and space", Thames&Hudson). The author was born on Tasmania (yes, the birthplace of the famous and devilish cartoon) and blames "that small, mrbid island" for his lifetime restlessness and feelings of isolation. He should know.
Could make an interesting reading for island-lovers around the world.

14 May 2009

Anther approach to poetry: Henley


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.



(appearance on video David Lynch)

13 May 2009

Portuguese vs. English? Nah...

(photo of Fernando Pessoa)

We like poetry in every language (this is to Vanessa who wonders about it).

Poetry has such great metaphors for life!

Listen to Fernando Pessoa who also wrote in English:

Set open all shutters, that the day come in
Like a sea or a din!

Que se abram as janelas para o dia entrar
Como um estrondo ou um mar!

12 May 2009


(Photo of Freud)

I have been reading a paper by Adrián Liberman, psychoanalist (www.ipa.org.uk). Very interesting and deserving to be read in full by anyone who is interested in Psychoanalysis and its connection to life in general.
Anyway, let’s air some parts of it. The article starts by referring to the polarization of politics (no doubt more important in Venezuela than in Portugal – remember the author is from Venezuela):

“An inner world that is expressed through the fantasies of inclusion or exclusion takes on an ominous and sinister appearance when it is reinforced by the prevailing political discourse. And when this phenomenon appears on the couch we have to ask whether it can be dealt with via the familiar dynamic between projection and introjection”.

Lieberman goes on saying that the absence of the word is the path to mandness and de-humanization. And that our task as analysts/therapists is to to restitute the word, ie to make possibe the recovery of the copacity to think and speak as the road to the reaffirmation of human law.

“ [the] emergence [of political conflicts] in the form of hate throws into question the practice of psychoanalysis when the latter fails to take current events into account. In principle, I believe that this situation obliges the analyst to make an open defence of democracy, especially because, in the absence of the rule of law, compliance with the fundamental rule [neutrality and abstinence] becomes meaningless.
(…) One could think of this as a kind of democratic activism both within and outside our consulting rooms. Creating such a figure would also mean that psychoanalysts return to the polis, to the public arenas which the Greeks spoke about, and thus they would return to civil action and to having a deliberate presence in the public sphere so as to complement the above. Such an intentional shift would aim to blur if not erase the artificial distinction (not to mention dissociation) between the public and the private. Hate that is constituted in culture cannot be combated merely from within the four walls of our consulting rooms with our analysands, who will always be few in number compared to society as a whole. Rather, it requires the bringing together of an ethics of commitment with the ethics of desire. Freud, it has to be said, was never against this, and in fact always viewed such an idea favourably”.

In other words, the issue is the old one: What is the connection between psychoanalysis and society and culture and what is the role of analysts in citizenry.

10 May 2009

This is John Donne (1572-1631). He also wrote erotic poems (yes!) but more of it later.
He was born in a big island, Great Britain.

"No man is an island. entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

Ha! Here's an island
(courtesy of National Geographic)


(Good site about John Donne, his poetry and his epoch)

I'm thinking maybe we should start collecting bits of poetry in our blog. Poetry has powerful metaphors that help much in grabbing the meaning of some emotions and thoughts.

Please contribute with your favourite poetry.

(I'm sorry I can't put a photo right away, I'm posting from another's computer. More of it later. In the meantime, go to the site above and enjoy!)

8 May 2009


What is it about islands? They seem to invite thoughts ans feelings of isolation and sadness.
There was recently a seminar about Antero de Quental, one of our main poets, who took his own life in his native island, in 1891. Listen to an excerpt of a letter he wrote to another well known writer:
(…) this isolation in a corner of the world, which is already a semi-death or a death by antecipation".
A very frequent emtional defence against the harsh reality is wthdrawal. People become introvert and estranged from freiends and family.
Let's not isolate ourselves. Please speak up.


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