‘And if the Wine you drink, the Lip you press,
End in the Nothing all Things end in —Yes—
Then fancy while Thou art,
Thou art but what Thou shalt be —Nothing— Thou shalt not be less.

Notes from Nothing’ is an homage; to Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing 1, Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground, Nietzsche’s Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is, and the observations of Omar Khayyám & Borges.

Below, the poiēsis 2 of life, that demand one’s attention, and forever will.

‘The Stars are setting and the Caravan
Starts for the Dawn of NothingOh, make haste!

On Nothing

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

~ William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act V, Scene 5

For in and out, above, about, below,
’Tis nothing but a Magic Shadow-show,
Play’d in a Box whose Candle is the Sun,
Round which we Phantom Figures come and go.

~ The Rubáyát of Omar Khayyám

For I am every dead thing,
In whom love wrought new Alchimie.
For his art did expresse

A quintessence even from nothingnesse,
From dull privations and lean emptinesse:
Of absence, darknesse, death; things which are not.

~ John Donne, A Nocturnal Upon S. Lucies Day

All the world’s a stage,
and all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts.

~ William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act 2, Scene 7

On Living

There is a special providence in the fall of a sparrow.
If it be now, ’tis not to come;
if it be not to come, it will be now;
if it be not now, yet it will come.

The readiness is all.
Since no man knows aught of what he leaves, what is ’t to leave betimes?
Let be.

~ William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act V, Scene 2

Oh! le temps, le temps!
Quand reviendra-t-il donc, ce temps des fleurs et des roses?

… sudden in a shaft of sunlight / There rises the hidden laughter / Of children in the foliage
Quick now, here, now, always.

~ ‘Le Temps’ ‘The Waste Land’

What trifles constitute happiness!
The sound of a bagpipe.
Without music life would be a mistake.

~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Don’t fear gods,
Don’t worry about death;
What is good is easy to get, and
What is terrible is easy to endure.

~ Philodemus, Herculaneum Papyrus 1005, 4.9–14

What have we given?
My friend, blood shaking my heart
The awful daring of a moment’s surrender
Which an age of prudence can never retract…

By this, and this only, we have existed
Which is not to be found in our obituaries
Or in memories draped by the beneficent spider
Or under seals broken by the lean solicitor
In our empty rooms

~ T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land

How long, how long, in infinite Pursuit
Of This and That endeavour and dispute?
Better be merry with the fruitful Grape
Than sadden after none, or bitter, Fruit.

~ The Rubáyát of Omar Khayyám

O gentlemen, the time of life is short!
To spend that shortness basely were too long,
If life did ride upon a dial’s point,
Still ending at the arrival of an hour.

~ William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Act 5, Scene 2

On Nature

Frisch weht der Wind
der Heimat zu:-
mein Irisch Kind,
wo weilest du?

Fresh Western wind
O blow us home:-
My Irish Child,
Where do you roam?

~ Wagner’s Tristan Und Isolde, I, 5–8

You ask me why I dwell in the green mountain;
I smile and make no reply for my heart is free of care.
As the peach blossom flows downstream and is gone into the unknown,
I have a world apart that is not among men.

~ Cézanne

To whom I owe the leaping delight
That quickens my senses in our wakingtime
And the rhythm that governs the repose of our sleepingtime,

The breathing in unison.

~ T. S. Eliot

On Making

The excellency of every art is its intensity

capable of making all disagreeables evaporate, from their being in close relationship with beauty and truth.

~ John Keats

The truth of art must not be pure correctness, to which the imitation of nature is limited, but…

the exterior must be consonant with an interior, thus revealing itself on the outside.

~ Hegel

… to recognize within a fraction of a second both the fact and the visually perceived forms that give it meaning.

It is putting head, eye and heart on the same axis.

~ Henri Cartier-Bresson

The essence brought to the surface.

~ Victor Hugo

A thing of beauty is a joy forever.

~ John Keats

On Passage

To be, or not to be — that is the question
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,

Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep.

~ William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1

We are such stuff as dreams are made on
and our little life is rounded with a sleep.

~ William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act 4, Scene 1

‘No Gold can follow where true Poesie flies.’

~ Chapman’s Homer 3

  1. Shakespeare indented a double-entendre into the title, equating ‘Nothing’ with ‘noting,’ which in the Elizabethan era meant to ‘observe,’ ‘pay attention’ and ‘take note.’ The essays, verse, artefacts and presence you see on this site are meager observations on nothing. ↩︎
  2. The word poiēsis comes from the Greek term ποίησις which means making or creation, or the bringing-forth in Heidegger’s description. The origins of poetry as defined by Aristotle in Poetics. Notes from Nothing captures that emergence from nothing. ↩︎
  3. George Chapman’s Homer, translations of both the Iliad & Odyssey was dedicated To The High Borne Prince of Men, Henrie Thrice (Royal Inheritor to the United Kingdoms of Great Brittaine, &c.) revels in the transcendence of poetry (’poesie’); the fruit of ’poiēsis’ over gold. ↩︎

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