Skip to main content


Showing posts from August, 2011

A Portrait

(Frans Hals, Catharina Hooft with her Nurse)

Hand, delicate like a bud stippled with spring dew, gently brushing off an apple- an equanimous dismissal of so radiant a temptation. For her heart is flooded with extreme merriment, such merriment that is ineffable for whatever form of expressions. I stare into the front, rigid my facial expressions into sheer solemnity and at pains to contain my fizzy exuberance. Why the stiffness of the dress always impedes the outburst of my inner joy?

She is told to reduce her smile into a mere smirk, as conforming to the ever-celebrated tradition of portraiture. I take yet another sigh of impatience and waiting for another flash of light, exploding straight before my face. My nurse holds an apple and is told to stage a performance of offering me the prop. I, doubtlessly, am supposed to convince the viewers that a reject of the apple is retorted. My nurse bundles through the dumb show, while I, being as adept as a good actor can be, fail to reveal any …

The Visible Darkness

(Francisco Goya, Un incendio)

She fancies imagining herself dropping into an abyss. She wants to experience the tangible darkness, to be able to witness throngs of them skid pass her like clouds. Colours are no more than a sense of contrast, so light is never blocked by darkness, nor is darkness relieved by light. It might be more appropriate to say the two compensate each other: light humbles itself for the sake of darkness, and darkness cedes its territory to light. She never shudders at the suggestion of not seeing anything but herself.

It is not a reflection if you see yourself in the dark. It is certainly you that you stumble into. According to the aforesaid light/dark theory, it should not be a discovery if darkness lights up something you never know. She once heard a story of a plunger, who found throngs and throngs of human flesh pile together at the pit of a cave. “Who are you and what are you doing?” the plunger asked with voice trembled of horror. One of them wrinkled a smi…