Thursday, March 31, 2011

A song for the fall

(Private collection)

"Dear Wilhelm, 

During my last stay in Taormina, in april 1925, I brought back home this souvenir, this photograph I bought from you, in your office, piazza San Domenico.

You displayed all your treasures, these most precious photographs you collected since thirty, forty years... I decided to buy this one...

You had so clear memories of this photographic session... It was at the very beginning of the XXth century, on your favorite terrace... Your models were Marco and Pietro, they founded families and have many children now, tempus fugit, so fast, it is impossible to come back... 

I agree, it is not the most beautiful, the most famous of all your photographs... "Baaaah, this photographic print is fading away... There is like a fog inside my photograph...", you told me.

Wilhelm, my dear old friend, I love this photograph precisely because of the fog... Mountains are vanishing, at the threshold of vision...

Everything is so peaceful, in this evening during the fall... All is so quiet... Even cicadas keep quiet, they are listening to Alkinoos while he plays his flute... He plays a forgotten tune, a tune coming from such an old time, a song coming from the heart of Sicily, from the Greek Sicily... Alkinoos is a young shepherd, he just forgets goats and sheeps, as long as his song lasts, for Meleager, his friend, his lover...

Meleager is a lad from the village, he masters the skills of reading and writing, he writes poems, he knows Homer's poems by heart. At the tip of his fingers, he is caressing a bunch of grapes: "I love you a little, very much, with passion, with madness, I love you a little, very much, with passion. Alkinoos, my sweet music, my little shepherd, very much, with passion;

Your photograph is like an epigram by Strato, Wilhelm, my old friend, one of these poems ancient Greeks wrote in  order to celebrate the beauty of boys.

Loves are like a bunch of grapes: one should catch them at the right time, when they are mature, at the top of their taste and of their perfume.

For ever I will dream about the love story of Alkinoos and Meleager... Loving, being loved, knowing one is loved, waiting until one will say "I love you". Hoping, dreaming, loosing hope, loving anyway and waiting, still waiting...

Wilhelm, my old friend, your photographs are the best commentaries to the Epigrams about boys in the Palatine Anthology. Everything is said, no need for a translation...

Tomorrow, I will read again Strato and I will say to Alkinoos: "My friend, my loved one, I wish the sound of your flute could last forever, I don't know who I love the most, Meleager or you".

Your friend


Von Gloeden Archive, Letter from Philip to W. von Gloeden, 20 Octobre 1925, Call number: 1925/10/20/2

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