She may be the most (Though I don’t like this superlative) beautiful girl in our faculty endowed with a special talent of hiding her presence. She keeps or pretends to writing during the lecture and off the lecture. It may be her way of attracting and repelling attention. She has a small face barely shown; her windswept hair flows over her face hiding its features. Once I saw her eyes, it is neither deep nor frank but small and acute. It was evident that the arrow of love darting through her eyes is for somebody else. She speaks English, one day I heard her speaking Italian, it sounded like a glass falling to ground and break. I could pick up glass pieces from her voice. Today she came with the windswept hair tied up, showing her face fully. She was speaking with a student from Africa. Her gestures reminded me of a child who has not yet come in terms with the world and its terms. And someone who is slowly waking to love.
Is it easy for her to be beautiful? Does not beauty make us egregiously conscious of ourselves? Those beautiful and handsome people, wherever they look they see only themselves. Even a smooth stone can make them to look and verify their faces. They think the world is a mirror.
Beauty is our vertigo. What you feel at the sight of beauty you is vertigo. Vertigo can be defined as the fear of falling; a psychological problem of reputation composure according to Freud. It was masterfully depicted by Hitchcock in his movie ‘Vertigo’. But, the French writer Milan Kundera says, “Vertigo is something other than the fear of falling. It is the voice of the emptiness below us which tempt and lures us. It is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves.”
Beauty itself is a vertigo. That is what the Story of Narcissus proves. How long he might have looked at his own image reflected on that deep pool? Long enough to slip and drown. His love for his own image was so forceful that it made his legs weak; “Brothers, sorrowful lilies, I languish in beauty,” writes Valery for Narcissus. The Ovid version mythology says that his life force was drained out. His soul became an empty vessel as it’s all love was flown to the image reflected on the water. The image and the water in turn did not give back to him anything. The water swept away all his images as soon as he fell. The water doesn’t keep the trace of anything because it’s memory is fluid. Narcissus belongs to the most unfortunate category of lovers because he fell into a fluid memory.
Icarus fell for what he did not have. He did not look at his own image reflected on the water rather he looked at stars and birds, those flying wonders. His vertigo was not the emptiness within himself but the inadequacy that his body had. The more he aimed high the more sky retreated and the emptiness beneath thirsted for him. He pasted waxed wings to his body and began to fly. But, the sun that cruel annihilator of dreams and ambitions melted away his wings. He fell deeply and abruptly. Brueghel was there to paint his falling. WH Auden, William Carlos Williams and many other poets wrote mournful poems. Among those my favorite is William Carlos Williams version;
Landscape with the fall of Icarus
According to Brueghel
when Icarus fell
it was spring
a farmer was ploughing
the whole pageantry
of the year was
near the edge of the sea
concerned with itself
sweating in the sun
that melted the wings’ wax
insignificantly off the costs
a splash quiet unnoticed
– Williams Carlos Williams
I like it’s delicately elegiac tone.