February 2, 2023


Writer's Showcase


2 min read

Virgin Of Lebanon


What Proust says in part 2 of part 2

of In Search of Lost Time:

(“Place-names: the Place” from

In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower)

about finding and confronting – after so much fantasizing

in front of early photographs and various paintings

and drawings –

the statue of the Virgin of Balbec,

almost shocked at her presence in the stone;

this source of so much thinking and dreaming

on his part,

equipping her with a kind of general, metaphysical existence

way beyond her rough, heavy material reality,

– has in itself a general truth

about how we live our human lives on a magic note;

how we perceive, measure, adjust and divine;

allott qualities to people and things

that aren’t any more real

than the colour of thoughts

or the sounds of silence,

and Proust’s revealing rendezvous

with the Virgin of Balbec

can well compare

to a present-day audience with Bob Dylan,

forcing one to become aware

of something disturbingly human

about this corporeal center, the origin

of all these decades of magic apotheosis;

something quite apart from this little man,

now 81, with an oversize name attached

to his wrinkled, thin appearance,

like a great sail,

about to blow him into an oceanic oblivion

called history

by the winds of change

that topple us all,

leaving an image behind

in a worldly concept

similar to the one Proust harboured,

up to the moment he stood face to face

with the bare rock of his expectations

…and as I pick out another book

from the revolving bookcase by my desk:

Introduction to Emptiness as taught in Tsong-kha-pa’s

Great Treatise of The Stages of the Path”

I realize, in the glaring light

of Marcel Proust’s face-off

with the Virgin of Balbec,

that emptiness is the real thing,

while we wrestle to make life more palpable,

only to see it dissolve into quite something else.



© Ingvar Loco Nordin 2022











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2 thoughts on “THE REAL THING

  1. The beauty and mistery of human beings well articulated in this poem. You are a great writer and how you make your point is something i am learning to achieve. Thank you.

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