Alvar Aalto’s masterpiece and Ruben Dario´s Sonatina L6″y en un vaso, olvidada, se desmaya una flor”

Since its unveiling in 1937 at the Paris World’s Fair, the Aalto vase has been an international sensation. Its mysterious shape has been the subject of much speculation; some say it is based on Aalto’s sketches entitled, “The Eskimo Woman’s Leather Breeches.” Others speculate that the fluid shape might be inspired by the lines of the Finnish landscape. Regardless of its questionable origins, one thing remains indisputable: its serene beauty.

But I also can´t help remembering Rubén Darío´s famous Sonatina, verse six, everytime I see a lonely forgotten flower fainting in a vase. So this scene provokes a complex of emotions. And as Ezra Pound asserts referring to the image in poetry, it is “that which presents an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time”.

Here you have the first stanza in Spanish, I haven´t included a translation since the English ones so far do not do it justice.

 SONATINA

Rubén Darío (1867-1916)

La princesa está triste… ¿Qué tendrá la princesa?

Los suspiros se escapan de su boca de fresa,

que ha perdido la risa, que ha perdido el color.

La princesa está pálida en su silla de oro,

está mudo el teclado de su clave sonoro,

y en un vaso, olvidada, se desmaya una flor.

 

saudade

 

Saudade

“This untranslatable Portuguese term refers to the melancholic longing or yearning. A recurring theme in Portuguese and Brazilian literature, saudade evokes a sense of loneliness and incompleteness.

Portuguese scholar Aubrey Bell attempts to distill this complex concept in his 1912 book In Portugal, describing saudade as “a vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist, for something other than the present.” He continues to say that saudade is “not an active discontent or poignant sadness but an indolent dreaming wistfulness.”

Saudade can more casually be used to say that you miss someone or something, even if you’ll see that person or thing in the near future. It differs from nostalgia in that one can feel saudade for something that might never have happened, whereas nostalgia is “a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time.”

Here´s a stirring poem  titled “Saudade”that embodies that sense completely.

Saudade
by  Cheryl Moskowitz
Think of how, in its final breath, the dying sun reaches
pink fingers out across the sky and places them urgently
on whatever surface it can find to reflect its own image.
Imagine; a lake or a window
my eyes or your hair.
Think of it as a branch, a root, a budding
from raecan, rookah, ruka to reach, to stretch,
to make long, to be long,
only to belong.
Make me a cloak of longing and I will wear it always.