Vancouver Unconventional Books Message Board › Touch the Water Touch the Wind: Weep with me

Touch the Water Touch the Wind: Weep with me

A former member
Post #: 54
Chapter 26
Kumin to Stefa: ... We’re brother and sister...Not two but one. ..We two are one being, whose heart longs for its own land...why are you silent, why don’t we fall into each other’s arms and weep hot tears together? There is no snow there, no wolves or bears, but there our Jews sow in sunshine, run, kiss, breathe in sunshine on our mountains and there they write poems or keep cats or plant avenues of trees there on our mountains, a Jewish mountain...and it doesn’t collapse, it stands solid and high, just a Jewish mountain, as if it was the simplest thing in the world to be a Jewish mountain or a Jewish sea or forest, or even just a plain Jewish log for all the world like any other damned log, a Bulgarian log, a Turkish log, only it’s a Jewish log in a Jewish country. Can our tiny mind grasp it...? And what does it all amount to, apparently to a deep and terrible desire to live and to touch everything, even to trip over it, to stumble and fall, it means a peace treaty between Jews and the tangible sphere, and for a given number of tangible objects within a limited territory a peace with Jews. With Jews... with Jews like you and me, come, cling to me, my sister, it means the conversion to Judaism of a strip of land, its water, its woods, its fields and plains, as if at long last some god has taken pity on us, and in a flash everything is changed, from now on the galaxy is prepared to tolerate us, to put up with our appearance, to endure our tunes, our smells, our jokes, no longer to harass us continually, even if it is only in one tiny corner, at the ends of the earth, in Lilliput. Suddenly we have all been granted a pardon beyond all hope, we have finally been forgiven, and there are beautiful Jews there who are sometimes permitted to forget and only remember when they have a mind to. And to dwell in sunshine and be called by their own names all the days of their lives, plant and walk and shoot and spit as they wish, there you’re crying with me, my sweetheart, you can’t stop yourself, don’t try to hid it, we’ll cry together for 2 minutes and then we’ll dry our eyes and go look at the turbines and after the turbines we’ll go straight back to the hotel to my room to my bed and if you refuse so help me I’ll blot you off the face of the earth, my lovely sister. Now here we have 3 pumps, the biggest pump in Russia, between the 3 of them they can drain the whole Baltic Sea down to the last drop in 110 days. I mean in theory, of course. Just imagine, my dearest. Everything I was saying was only for the purpose of illustration, and for the same purpose I’ll you a little story...
A former member
Post #: 55
Moved, touched--I had to put the book down.

For me, this passage seems to explain the title of the book. The last line, I imagine Oz speaking directly to me. In this passage, I can't help but weep with Kumin for his people, for him, for Stefa (though I know nothing of their kind of suffering), yet it seems that this passage moans the heard and unheard melodies of the many and the few, and the one.
A former member
Post #: 56
“Touch” is a powerful -- in its many folds of meaning and in the flesh.
James M.
user 14454827
Group Organizer
Vancouver, BC
Post #: 39
This is an astonishing passage alright :). I love the phrase "...a peace treaty between Jews and the tangible sphere..." and the repetition of the word "tangible" - for some reason it touched off a little firecracker in my brain reminding me of the Latin phrase "Noli me tangere", which I somehow know, but never understood.

Says the oracle of Wikipedia: "Noli me tangere, meaning "don't touch me" / "touch me not", is the Latin version of words spoken, according to John 20:17, by Jesus to Mary Magdalene when she recognized him after his resurrection. The original Koine Greek phrase, Μή μου ἅπτου (mē mou haptou), is better represented in translation as "cease holding on to me" or "stop clinging to me"."

I haven't worked out whether this is just a coincidental echo in my own mind, or something more, but wanted to share it anyway....

J
A former member
Post #: 58
J: oh yes, that is a beautiful phrase!! smile I too was struck by the repetition of the word, "tangible" and how by it's recurrence, it also makes me think of the intangible as well-- sort of like noticing the negative space in art or maybe like how you were reminded of that Latin phrase (and the biblical reference works for me too) wink Funny story ( ok, I find it funny!): it's like at the washroom in Waves where they have that sign by the sink that says something like, "all employees must wash their hands before handling food," like ewww, makes me think that they DON'T usually do it so they need a tangible sign to remind them!! shock
A former member
Post #: 59
Been working a little on a bubble diagram ( on an air sickness bag in the plane yesterday) to represent some ideas in Oz. Big bubbles on cosmic level include Time, Space, Nature--surrounding each of this bubble, "Infinity," "music," "math," "science." and "Man" as a small bubble connected to all these bigger bubbles.

Ex. Inside ze SPACE bubble:

Physical Space:
- the Promised Land
- world: WW II
- countries/cities/towns: Israel, Russia, etc
- buildings: huts
- human body

Non-physical Space:
- The Promised Land
- Human Spirit
- Human Heart
A former member
Post #: 60
Then it seems to me that there are SIGNIFIERS that support, reinforce and unify the themes, like the bear we talked about. Some of these signs are actual images (bear/hut/trees/circles/sun/twilight) or words/ideas (like with the word, "tangible" as James pointed out).

Love how these signifiers seem to also be used in an aesthetic fashion -- repetition-- like in a graphic design, fabric pattern , architecture --- and so, one could play a game of Where is Waldo, sieve through the pages highlighting all the signifiers!

And in case if anyone is wondering, these are some words that rhyme with Signifier ( courtesy of
Merriam-Webster): balloon tire, chicken wire, like wildfire, play with fire, razor wire, retrofire, Ring of Fire, star sapphire, under fire
A former member
Post #: 79
Oh God, I fell for it! I fell for the myth, the vision, the hope, the promise! Damm you, Kumin! Ah, damm myself for wanting to believe in the hills, the abstract longing!

"When Stefa first visited Engineer Kumin in Novosibirsk he told her that his old father lived on top of a holy mountain in Palestine and wrote poems of yearning for Zion. But Old Kumin merely lived in an old people's home in Givatayim." (Chapter 33)

"That everything is a delusion which exists for a time only because the whole world, including the scientific world, is in desperate need of salvation, and therefore is prepared to accept for the time being any clever prophet, any novel formula because of its novelty, until some even more novel forumula makes its appearance." (Chapter 41)

Predators--false prophets, lion, the bear, the African warrior wooden sculpture, the rapist--lurk and circle in Time, Space, Nature: day and night, in the apartment, hut, village, chapel, the wind, the water, the forests, the hills... They seek to devour the believers. Drown in the water, lost in the Wind!


James M.
user 14454827
Group Organizer
Vancouver, BC
Post #: 42
Thanks especially for the list of words/phrases rhyming with "signifier" - a real treasure.

Seriously though, loving the bubble diagram, and really loving the tapestry idea...

Great.

J

Then it seems to me that there are SIGNIFIERS that support, reinforce and unify the themes, like the bear we talked about. Some of these signs are actual images (bear/hut/trees/circles/sun/twilight) or words/ideas (like with the word, "tangible" as James pointed out).

Love how these signifiers seem to also be used in an aesthetic fashion -- repetition-- like in a graphic design, fabric pattern , architecture --- and so, one could play a game of Where is Waldo, sieve through the pages highlighting all the signifiers!

And in case if anyone is wondering, these are some words that rhyme with Signifier ( courtesy of
Merriam-Webster): balloon tire, chicken wire, like wildfire, play with fire, razor wire, retrofire, Ring of Fire, star sapphire, under fire

A former member
Post #: 81
Thanks, J. Loving VUB....I think VUBbers are the real deal. wink

Thanks especially for the list of words/phrases rhyming with "signifier" - a real treasure.

Seriously though, loving the bubble diagram, and really loving the tapestry idea...

Great.

J

Then it seems to me that there are SIGNIFIERS that support, reinforce and unify the themes, like the bear we talked about. Some of these signs are actual images (bear/hut/trees/circles/sun/twilight) or words/ideas (like with the word, "tangible" as James pointed out).

Love how these signifiers seem to also be used in an aesthetic fashion -- repetition-- like in a graphic design, fabric pattern , architecture --- and so, one could play a game of Where is Waldo, sieve through the pages highlighting all the signifiers!

And in case if anyone is wondering, these are some words that rhyme with Signifier ( courtesy of
Merriam-Webster): balloon tire, chicken wire, like wildfire, play with fire, razor wire, retrofire, Ring of Fire, star sapphire, under fire

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