Wednesday 13 February 2002

The heart of things

Following TX Meryl’s advice, I’ve added a description to my site. The Chinese character to the left of my name is xin, heart. In Japanese it’s pronounced kokoro or shin, depending on the context. In Japanese it can mean mind, spirit, feelings, emotions, thoughts… Its diffuse “meaning” is one of the reasons I chose the character kokoro as the graphical title for my site.

It’s also the name of a novel by the distinguished Japanese writer, Natsume Soseki. At the end of the English translation of Kokoro, Edwin McClellan, the translator, explains: The best rendering of the Japanese word “kokoro” that I have seen is Lafcadio Hearn’s, which is: “the heart of things.”

Although it’s difficult to imagine someone less like Natsume Soseki, I also connect the word kokoro with the French poet, Francis Ponge, who wrote in Le parti pris des chose (which I think can be loosely translated as “the thing’s view of it”):

Out of the typographic thickets that constitute a poem, on the road that leads neither beyond things, nor towards the spirit, certain fruits are formed from an agglomeration of spheres that a drop of ink fills up.

Most of all, I think of kokoro, the heart of things, as representing the direction I hope to take my writing.

Permalink | Technorati

© Copyright 2007 Jonathon Delacour