August 2014

August 1, 2014 | By Antonin Baudry

Dear Friends,

For a long time, summer has been linked with love.  

As heat waves rush through the air they too pervade our minds. Endlessly picked apart, revered, and smote in literature new and old, love is a topic we humans can’t get enough of.  

But, when I thumb through my books, it isn’t the “red, red rose” (Robert Burns), cliché romantic love that piques my interest, but the unusual characterizations of cupid’s spell. What attracts me to these singular personifications is the truth they hold, the fact that, simply put, love can be murky.  Sublime and perplexing, love is weird and it merits the strangest descriptions.  The now controversial paleontologist-mystic-philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who resided at St.Ignatius of Loyola Church—just blocks from our headquarters at the Cultural Services—might have had the right idea: “love is the threshold of another universe." And there’s more of this atypical love than you’d think in poetry.

There’s Tim Burton-style love in T.S. Eliot—

Let us go then, you and I,

When the evening is spread out against the sky

Like a patient etherized upon a table;

(Does the evening sky look as still as an etherized patient when you’re with your lover?)

And Apollinaire brings love to life with unusual metaphors in the teary verses of “La Chanson du Mal Aimé” (“The Song of the Poorly Loved”)

“I have frozen in my past

O Paschal sun return to me

To warm a heart more wintery

Thank the forty of Sebaste

Martyrdoms inferior to mine”

Maybe love is like a mosquito bite once it stops itching, or the perfect sized ice cube for crunching between your teeth.

Whatever your love is, I invite you to explore it in one of New York City’s parks for Films on the Green, our free outdoor French film festival. 

To close with another quote from Teilhard, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

I wish you an out-of-this-world summer,

Antonin Baudry

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