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Lovepinning the Unprecedented

Written by Dr Rodanthi Tzanelli



Digital analog by Rodanthi Tzanelli (photos Natalya Letunova & anon on Unsplash)

In this poem Dr Rodanthi Tzanelli revisits Hannah Arendt's thesis that the phenomenon of totalitarianism has broken the continuity of Western history, rendering meaningless most of our moral and political categories. 


The poem is from Rodanthi's participation in the Two Sylvias Press December Advent Calendar. To listen to the poem go to Rodanthi's personal website.


Day 1: Hannah Arendt

‘Lovepinning the unprecedented’


Ah, in the end, you were right when you said

that many beautiful stories we hang up on our dusky garden fence

will die without light to embrace them kindly,

or the extreme devotion that comes with love’s augmented magic.


You were also right to hunt bold-coloured calendula temporalities

on our shared moments without second thoughts

(just so we never forget these things happened, you said),

the spectrality of the winter sun on our late rosebuds,

as it tends to endow the atonal music of our Hindu journeys

to those viridian lands of passion

no Christian soul comprehends

as anything other than ghosts of desire and death.


I have pinned several of your words on my mind as talismans,

but I find that, despite my care, they cannot sing one rhythm,

paint one arabesque image,

or produce one psychic analogue of attraction to your own commitments.


It just feels wrong, and it hurts.


I find nonchalance joking leaves stark footprints

on the skypaths we aspired to walk together,

it colours them in uncanny hues, lacking purpose or symphony,

it speaks the gigantic language of the unprecedented, the horrific,

the technique of devouring human shadows,

just because they look different from our perfectly highlighted tea breaks.


In the end, you were right,

there can be no beauty, no augmented magic

in the absence of love for another, each other, and all humans,

lacking a green hearth, or a soft pillow to rest at night.


I still grieve our parting of skypaths, all the same.





Dr Rodanthi Tzanelli

Associate Professor of Cultural Sociology