berlin stil and a poem

One month in Berlin now, and the city still sings.

(Again, taken from my favourite Berlin fashion site: Stil in Berlin)

I like how every street fashion image has a story – whether artfully fabricated or not – and range of associations that can be drawn. This time, I think: Auden and August Sander.

Or, more diagrammatically speaking

Berlin – Sander – poetry – archive – photography – fashion

Courtesy of The Slow Breakfast

I think it’s wonderful how fashion still speaks, as much as I sometimes am sceptical of the extent of its power. Its ability to act as pure self-expression is definitely a myth (as art as pure self-expression is a myth) — the pastiche of High Street labels that characterizes the average person’s wardrobe cannot lead to something inevitably new in every wearing.

But it can, I think, say something. And in the case of Lottie and James, photographed at the Berlin Biennale, it says to me:

As I walked out one evening,
Walking down Bristol Street,
The crowds upon the pavement
Were fields of harvest wheat.

And down by the brimming river
I heard a lover sing
Under an arch of the railway:
‘Love has no ending.

‘I’ll love you, dear, I’ll love you
Till China and Africa meet,
And the river jumps over the mountain
And the salmon sing in the street,

‘I’ll love you till the ocean
Is folded and hung up to dry
And the seven stars go squawking
Like geese about the sky.

‘The years shall run like rabbits,
For in my arms I hold
The Flower of the Ages,
And the first love of the world.’

But all the clocks in the city
Began to whirr and chime:
‘O let not Time deceive you,
You cannot conquer Time.

‘In the burrows of the Nightmare
Where Justice naked is,
Time watches from the shadow
And coughs when you would kiss.

‘In headaches and in worry
Vaguely life leaks away,
And Time will have his fancy
To-morrow or to-day.

‘Into many a green valley
Drifts the appalling snow;
Time breaks the threaded dances
And the diver’s brilliant bow.

‘O plunge your hands in water,
Plunge them in up to the wrist;
Stare, stare in the basin
And wonder what you’ve missed.

‘The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
The desert sighs in the bed,
And the crack in the tea-cup opens
A lane to the land of the dead.

‘Where the beggars raffle the banknotes
And the Giant is enchanting to Jack,
And the Lily-white Boy is a Roarer,
And Jill goes down on her back.

‘O look, look in the mirror,
O look in your distress:
Life remains a blessing
Although you cannot bless.

‘O stand, stand at the window
As the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbour
With your crooked heart.’

It was late, late in the evening,
The lovers they were gone;
The clocks had ceased their chiming,
And the deep river ran on.

“As I Walked Out One Evening” by W.H. Auden

This entry was published on June 18, 2010 at 1:37 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “berlin stil and a poem

  1. hello peksies. you are missed.

  2. pekko on said:

    hello jojo.

  3. deebot on said:


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