A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

El Abanico - The Fan
Sunday, January 01, 2017




“La memoria es individual.
Nosotros estamos hechos,
En buena parte, de nuestra memoria.
Esta memoria está hecha,
En buena parte, de olvido”.

J. L. Borges (1979), El tiempo

Borges says above that our memory is made up mostly of that which we forget. With the beginning of a new year and with that idle time of days in which I do not remove my bed clothes I have lots of time to look back on those rapidly disappearing memories as they are fragmented by the surge of new information and experiences (soon to be new memories). 

Today, January 1, 2017 (this blog is being placed for yesterday's missing blog) I have been looking at my thick file of photographs that I took of one of the most astonishing women I ever photographed. her name was Helen Yagi. One day she called me on the phone. She cried and then I have never heard from her again. But her exquisite photographs (she did most of it I just pressed the shutter) remain seared in my memory. 



One day long ago, at the appointed hours there was a knock on my studio door. I opened it. There was Helen dressed in a traditional kimono, so tight around her body that she hobbled in. I then photographed her as she removed layers upon layers that I never suspected were there. In a sequence that involved a Japanese paper fan I have chosen these three to illustrate the marvelous poem by now gone Argentine poet and writer for children Elsa Bornemann. 



Our sandal wood chests (my grandmother's and my mothers) contain scores of  Spanish fans, The word for fan in Spanish is abanico. The term is a diminutive from abano a Portuguese word that defines a large sail hanging from the ceiling to ventilate people in the tropics. Both my mother and grandmother often used their Spanish fans at parties in hot Buenos Aires summers or in warm Mexico City days where both went to parties given by the Filipino community. They wore their Filipino butterfly sleeve dresses made of pineapple fibre and expertly opened their fans with the flick of their wrists. 


El Abanico


El pobre abanico
quedó en el baúl,
junto al miriñaque
y la cofia de tul.

En traje de seda
con flores de azahar
—pintadas a mano—
ya no va a pasear.

Nadie lo recuerda...
Todos tienen prisa...
Ninguno le pide
su baile de brisa.

La gente prefiere,
al ventilador
o a su rico nieto,
acondicionador.

Por eso, en las noches
tibias como mantas,
busco al abanico
y le digo: —¡Me encantas!

Y él, regalando
su frágil aliento,
vuelve a ser —dichoso—
danzarín del viento.



     

Previous Posts
The Librarian - La Bibliotecaria

Daughter & Mother in Hanging Chair

Andy Broennimann'sToilet

Ambulance Chasing in Social Media

A Christmas Three Long Ago

A Kitsilano Christmas - 2016

My Best Picture 0f 2016- Olena - She of the Blue H...

A sepal, petal, and a thorn

Zemblanity, Serendipity & A Slow Christmas

A docile Gentleman - The Road to Bethlehem



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10/30/16 - 11/6/16

11/6/16 - 11/13/16

11/13/16 - 11/20/16

11/20/16 - 11/27/16

11/27/16 - 12/4/16

12/4/16 - 12/11/16

12/11/16 - 12/18/16

12/18/16 - 12/25/16

12/25/16 - 1/1/17

1/1/17 - 1/8/17

1/8/17 - 1/15/17

1/15/17 - 1/22/17

1/22/17 - 1/29/17

1/29/17 - 2/5/17

2/5/17 - 2/12/17

2/12/17 - 2/19/17