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Mar 30, 2005

The Window

Capt.Rom20403301417.Vatican Pope Rom204

I was speaking yesterday of the Pope's dignity in the face of death.  I was speaking of the eloquence of his communication in the absence of speech.  I alluded (through the link to a NYT Week In Review piece on Sunday) to the possible irony -- given the Schiavo case -- of Karol Wojtyla going on a feeding tube.  And, simply as metaphor, I spoke of the Pope having a window right now to provide us something vital.

As dedicated as I am to the analysis of news photos, I don't think this image gracing today's newswire begs much interpretation.  I just find it moving.  The eyes seeking our eyes just inside the shadow.  The partial face, set in unending blackness, barely holding its own above the otherwise-wordly rich crimson bunting.  And that curtain.  So white, and so receptive to the breeze.  Like someone ready to set sail. 

(image /Pier Paolo Cito/AP in YahooNews)


The dying dream of buggering little boys . . .

I see in this picture the end of the life cycle.

I see a man who could do anything - once so physically powerful, who overcame much in is life - to a man now almost childlike in the window. I say almost, because his eyes have not yet given up.

I have been thinking of the Pope's illness. Thinking how this has brought him back to a place of incredible humility, he becomes as one of us, powerless over physical death, surrendered, childlike.

I see a man, looking out, taking in as much as he can, the last looks of one who has had so very much here on this earth...

The curtain across the fourth wall has been opened, but which side of the proscenium arch are we on?

It is a haunting photo. The Pope is setting sail to his next destination.

Bon Voyage, Pope.

Hopefully starfruit is legal in heaven.

The "curtain" with the bird passing by is a wonderful image. I like the counterpoint it offers to the Vatican scene. In contrast to the foregone Shiavo situation, I sense real vitality in "the Pope's window." I think the period presaging death -- if one is aware, and truly conscious of the "stage" -- can be ultimately affirming. I know we don't talk about these things much in our culture, so we hardly appreciate it, let alone have language for it. Still, what else can that moment be -- if one has lived fully and well -- but a culmination? Of course, I'm in no hurry. But I so hope -- when the time comes -- I would go out with such eyes.

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