We saw Zeffirelli's Turandot this morning—the first act visual poetry, a mythological epic. Every image a perfect line.
And I am struck again by my psychic or at least writerly connections with Giaccomo Puccini, the man drawn to the Orient as I am drawn to Italy and his native Tuscany (though he was once, too, drawn to my native American west). These bonds are strong and strange—what the Hawaiians call aka, shadow cords, the bonds that connect us, haunted, elsewhere.
Writing about aka, I think of Gauguin in Tahiti, Lévi-Strauss on the plateau of the western Mato Grosso writing of Chopin, the Hiroshige prints in Monet's house in Giverny, the Japanese phonograph records found among Puccini's possessions after his death, the Samurai sword in my father's den in Santa Fe. I think of the New England maple leaves I found pressed between pages of the Hawaiian dictionary at the house in Hawi where I stayed and meditated on these things ten years ago, and wonder again about longing and belonging. What draws us?—whether away, or to?
Why am I haunted by the composer on his Italian lake?
image: Marina Poplavskaya, Turandot