My life is on dice
and I’m tired of rolling–
rolling from pre-professional pantsuits
and late night debates,
democracy and developing nations,
the ethics of humanitarian intervention
or macro economics II–
I don’t really sleep anymore,
and it’s sad when you can’t remember
what it’s like to un-required read
and your hands are too clean
from making nothing but
double spaced diatribes.
I’m on a blue book walkway to saving the world…
I can’t just indulge!
I can’t just divulge that I’m tired of all those
“Hey, let’s get a meal this week!” - friends,
the ones who’ve got it all figured out
and make me feel like I need to know.
So I over analyze my analysis, and,
suspicious of schizophrenia,
I avoid being alone with anyone–
weary of all one-on-one friends wearing
only white to reflect all the light
and evade the exposition of my
My nouns won’t stave your hunger,
but I’m hungry too.
it’s not a choice–
I’m not narcissistic or nihilistic.
Sometimes the roots in my cerebral
push petals out of my ears, paralyzed,
until I put my hands up and forget–
this is it–
it’s just the way dust looks when the sun sets on my carpet
or the way the snow sings in a pure deep crescendo
or the way the grass waves like the ocean
or the way I feel when you look at me–
when you place your hand in that space behind my ear,
and whisper that the world is in these sheets
and all that’s real is in your eyes
and I should just forget heroism and
let your shirt buttons crack like crescents
and fall like faces of the moon.
My doppelganger disagrees–
she reminds me from her side of the planet
whispering statistics as I stand in my stasis,
“a child dies from starvation every five seconds”
which burdens this poem with a good sixty-four,
but we come and go
talking of Michelangelo–
the men playing chess outside make me anxious,
not the game, but the clock, ticking like a time bomb
catalyzing atomic reactions…
I can’t move a pawn with a deadline!
I’ll just get radiation sick from rapid decisions!
I’m no Ophelia,
I’m the second merchant;
art will not die if the mediocre
discard their dreams–
the museums are full
the stages are set
the excess of artists hog the streets of New York with white noise,
ninety-six percent unemployed.
Look away from the mirror
and the midnight mirages–
forget the self-lies–
the desk jobs save lives.
My life is on dice,
and I’m tired of rolling.
I’m looking down underground
at the eyes of my shadow
and she’s looking down at the ground
at this western dream
and all I want to do is pull off my skull
‘cause I think if I found the right seeds
it could grow a really good garden.
I should be telling this with a sigh,
somewhere, ages and ages hence.
Two roads diverged in a yellow room, and I–
I can’t decide.
Marina Keegan, “I Don’t Know About Art”
catjoyy: I don’t think I could relate to anything more than I relate to this
“The only way you can build, the only way you can get the building into being, is through the measurable. You must follow the laws of nature and use quantities of brick, methods of construction, and engineering. But in the end, when the building becomes part of living, it evokes unmeasurable qualities, and the spirit of its existence takes over.”
I particularly love the quote above, because it speaks to something that cannot be quantified, something that oftentimes leaves the observer without words. Meaningful art, beautiful landscapes, or moving poetry all unlock a portion of the human spirit that is the majority of the time contained. And this latent, powerful upwelling of soul is ineffable by its very essence. It seems as though certain worldly items can connect to this pocket of whatever-it-is, draw it out and channel it, and bring with it myriad emotions and thoughts, the chiefest of which is that of impassioned and inspired movement. And this movement need not be external. It sweeps throughout the body with a speed and power that are equal to that which sparked the movement in the first place. Our language reflects this movement toward the beautiful. We are drawn into things, brought low by an encountered object of splendor, and raised to the heights of the sublime. These descriptions are all lovely, but they cannot fully describe the innermost movements of the spirit, and this is why, at times, individuals are left speechless. Tolkien, along with a select group of his closest friends during their early school days, referred to this as the poetic fire of the hidden heart.
I think that sums it up quite nicely.
Credit to: http://darklordiiid.deviantart.com/ for a lovely composition of Hyrule Castle at dusk in front of a gorgeous sky.
Architecture as explorable space is magnificent in this regard. Investigating a painting is assuredly excellent, as we are once again drawn in by the individual brush strokes, or the particular hue of the sky, but we can never truly explore it. But one can explore architecture. Unlike the medium of painting (which I assure you I certainly appreciate), one can literally be drawn into a structure, walk its halls, descend into its secret haunts, or meditate in its peaceful arcades. Happily, this is also true (similar, though not exact) of the medium of video games, for, like a painting, one can examine its collocations of pixels or chosen light effects, but one can also traverse its distances and travel the depths and shallows of the in-game world. In many ways, video games such as these are bridges between mediums; yet, they are very much their own.
Hyrule Castle happens to be such a place that demands exploration. As it dominates the visible landscape of Hyrule, it subtly speaks of its magnificence, inevitably drawing the player slowly toward the end-game. We are tempted very early on with hollow promises that it is open to us, only to be transported away without notice, and we are left with a sensation that something is deeply unfinished. And for the majority of the game, various errands keep players in the hinterlands of Hyrule, far from the castle, though it is always in sight. Its very existence is a reminder, almost a temptation, of that which waits at the end. It is the center of the world, resting within sight of every provincial settlement, yet it is the one place that eludes us.
Thus, when the gates open and the barrier is destroyed, it is almost cathartic. Finally, the end is near, and the distant unknown finally made knowable.
Like the castle town nestled up against the steep walls encircling the fortress, the architectural setting of this stronghold is principally medieval, from the turrets to the tapestries. I do not want to linger upon the castle town, but I do wish to address the northern face of the courtyard that accentuates the castle so perfectly. In the center of the plaza, there is a cascading fountain aligned axially with the approach to the castle. Unsurprisingly, this is adorned with the crest of the Royal Family created out of grey stone. A tall arcade of drop arches on both sides of the court frame a large archway, which leads across the bridge to the inner courts. The spandrels of these arcades are highly embellished, featuring leaf-like wings. Every third column (which is technically more a pier than a column) rests underneath the gentle billowing of a crimson standard. The arcade supports what should be a very familiar entablature last seen in the Temple of Time, whose figures move toward the gate and terminate facing one another over the gently-pointed archway. Crossing this threshold, pausing a moment to once again stare curiously at the seven strange figures lining this path, we approach the monumental gateway to Hyrule Castle.
The courtyards which ring the castle are intense in their subtlety. They possess an atmospheric quality of quietude, encompassed and created by the high curtain walls which surround them. A subdued rain falls through curtains of vapor, finally landing upon the tall pines and low shrubs. Three monuments to the Goddesses and their Triforce feature prominently in this main garden, reaching upward in the pattern of a chain that eventually frees itself to end in a thick triangle. These shrines demarcate the three main paths throughout this section of the castle’s landscape. Divided into four distinct units, the layouts of the enclosures are roughly symmetrical. Straight paths branch out from the approach to the castle gates, leading to smaller iron doors emblazoned with the Royal Crest.
Since the sealing off of the castle after the conquest of Zant and his dark god, large portions of wall lie in crumbled heaps, and a general aura of age and disrepair permeates the air. Tucked away beneath the crenellated walls are transitory, haphazard Bokoblin constructs, meant to shelter and protect their goods and mounts. Given the number of guard posts and storerooms within these courtyards, it becomes apparent that these defenses were once heavily manned with Hylian soldiers. Likely, they also served as a barracks and training ground, as the raised platform upon which Link defeats King Bulblin for the final time demonstrates so well. Apart from their aesthetic pleasure, they also served the dual function of housing the garrisons of Hyrule.
Within the Eastern (or Western, depending on your game version) courtyard is a rough Triforce etched into the lawn and covered with scattered leaves. Its corners and joints are all accented by winding columns of light grey stone that support the gale-powered turbines found primarily in the Forest Temple of Faron Woods. I like to think that some Hyrulean explorer discovered those ruins deep within the woods, took notes on the mechanical developments therein, and brought back his designs for the benefit of the Royal Family.
Behind the castle is a different area entirely. It appears far older than the previous segments of horticultural niceties, and far gloomier. The rain falls harder here, and the lichen and moss upon the roots, rocks, and trees seem to have found an age-old home in this forgotten court. Deciduous trees and long grasses border a faded dirt path, and sunken headstones with worn etchings break the vertical continuity of this passage with their chipped and broken faces. Around the bend, a pallid green ghost-light illumines the turrets above and the walls below, and statues speak of a cursed swordsman and a sacred tree.
Ringed in stone and flanked by six smaller turrets arranged radially around it, the prominent aspect of this castle is the keep. This vertically-colossal edifice belies its inner smallness. Its octagonal design and neatly arranged hallways connect in many places to the outer walls, so as to facilitate the rapid movement of troops to positions where they are most needed. The structure is built in receding layers, tapering toward the top. Large stones and giant order pilasters and columns constitute the majority of the outer façade, but they are by no means the most dominant feature of the castle. Slightly above the iconic blue roofs and crenellated walkways are truly gargantuan flying buttresses—they connect with the outer turrets most precisely, which means that the turrets are not only defensive but structural in essence. Without such monumental buttressing (though I doubt that these could actually withstand the prodigious load and thrust upon them without collapsing), the central tower could most certainly not stand firm. At this point in the analysis, it should be quite apparent that the centuries preceding the Era of Twilight were halcyon days for the Hylians. From the age of Ocarina of Time, this castle has grown exponentially, both in layout and in sumptuous detail.
Passing through the gate within a gate, a shadowy hallway comes to light. Its tessellated tiles of cream and olive hues augment the lifeless golden glow within the main chamber. The walls can be divided into three courses, and each is uniquely complex. The lowest portion of the wall is of plain stonework divided into sections by unadorned columns. Running the lower course of this section are arabesque panels of cream on dark brown. Toward the columnar capitals, a course of dentils (the small tooth-like projections set at even intervals beneath the cornice) runs the length of the room, broken only by three vaulted projections that serve as balconies to the upper floors. Strangely, there are no doors on this main floor, and most of the castle is accessible only through the mezzanine entrances. Returning to the walls, the second story is much more evenly spaced than the former, with Ionic pilasters at even lengths that separate very intricate panels with bas-relief floral motifs. The third story serves as a clerestory, even though the windows themselves are blind, and let in no light from outside. Resting above the entire room, in all its ornateness, is a large triangular lacunar. Coffering can be seen all over this chamber, from the hemispherical half-domes from which chandeliers descend to the barrel vault above the main entryway from the courtyard. Personally, I find this room to be the perfect antechamber to the rest of the castle. It is capacious, yet unoccupied, and its true gravity lies in its emptiness. For all of the detailed embellishments that cover nearly every aspect of this vast space, it certainly lacks a human touch. The non-existence of doors or staircases compounds this odd sensation, and the pale lighting is anything but welcoming. There is all of this marvelous architecture to behold, but not a soul in sight.
However large the castle may appear to be to the outside eye, the interior is surprisingly small. Apart from the entry hall and mezzanine, the only chambers are those that ring the massive antechamber; a series of hallways connects these rooms, and they are equal parts austerity and lavishness. The wooden doors are inlayed with gold trim, representing both the symbol of the Goddesses, as well as a multitude of fanciful, abstract designs. Two decorative pilasters engraved with enriched diamond patterns form a two-level frame for each door, while a neat row of dentils separates them from one another. The overdoor echoes the topmost panel from the doorway, an enlarged Triforce with jagged trim, but done in stone in low relief. Depending on the hallway, though each is an elongated, undulating passage with several doorways leading to various courtyards or outside walls, the carpet is either a deep blue, or a rich red. The pilasters described before repeat upon the walls, dividing them up into different bays, while weapons and tapestries adorn them. A richly-coffered ceiling resting upon a slight cornice and course of dentils neatly caps the room.
Other hallways are dimly lit ones with blind windows. Familiar suits of armor line them, and faded tapestries hang upon the walls. Some are flat-ceilinged, while others are vaulted. But, regardless of where one goes, the inexplicable vapor continues to rise from the floor below.
There are a few chambers within these upper levels that are evidently damaged. Stones lie upon the floor, where they have clearly fallen from the walls. Skulls and bits of wood carpet the ground, and the staircases leading upward are little more than chasms. They have also been trapped, which hints at a security system likely set in place by Ganondorf or his henchman.
After ascending to the highest interior level, the shift of the building focuses outward to a balcony. This balcony, aside from providing an exquisite view, allows the castle to double back upon itself. Two grand staircases to either side of the main portal lead upward to what is really a fortress upon a castle—the secretive throne room astride the mountain of shaped-stone below. Twilit skies encircle this area, and black clouds attempt to hide the utmost roof from view.
The throne room is just breath-taking. The colossal, raised ceiling is recessed into different layers, coffered and ribbed, while the apse behind the throne unites itself with the clerestory in the nave. In many ways, this chamber echoes a medieval cathedral. Two colonnades run the length of the chamber, creating two aisles separate from the larger clearing; the windows appear to be open to the elements, although they perhaps were once actual windows of metal and glass. For all of this beauty, though, the preeminent aspect of this room is the throne itself. A simple chair rests in front of a large tower of stone (resembling in many ways a stele) which rises to the center height of the entire chamber so that it is framed between pillars and dome. A unique variation of the Royal Crest graces this monument, with largely freestanding wings, and a brilliant Triforce of gold that is borne aloft by a statuary group of the three Golden Goddesses. The Goddesses are shown to be breathing out, perhaps representing the life, structure, and law of the land that they created.