Today I have yet another photo that I took near Riverwalk in Kitakyushu. Just
two lovers an ordinary couple sitting on a park bench their bodies touching in the late afternoon, holding hands in the moonlight watching the Murasaki River.
I remember doing an almost whiplash-inducing doubletake at the guy’s shirt. Contrary to what one would expect, there is not, in fact, any massacred English. Just a slight amount of confusion as to the original intentions of the author of the text. Oh yeah, it’s at this point that I should warn the parents of any minors in my audience that there is profanity in the photo that follows.
What, exactly, is “snr” supposed to mean? Is it an abbreviation for “senior?” “Señor,” perhaps? Maybe it’s an acronym for “should never reproduce.” I’ll leave the final interpretation to the reader. And refer you to the last photo on this page, where you’ll find another example of profanity-emblazoned clothing.
The whole “lovers on a park bench” thing reminded me of a Samuel M. Johnson text in Einstein on the Beach, the opera by minimalist composer Philip Glass. Some googling turned up the full text of the passage I was thinking about while writing this, so I’ve posted it below. As can be expected from an excerpt from a minimalist piece, it’s somewhat repetitive, but not annoyingly so. The couple in our photo are having a somewhat less romantic time than the ones in the story—no touching, no moonlight—but perhaps it’s cultural.
Anyway, here’s the full text of Knee Play 5 from Einstein on the Beach, quoted without permission. You could probably do worse than to steal a few lines for an anniversary card or suchlike. And if anyone can tell me more about Samuel M. Johnson than the fact that he was involved in the first performances and recording of the opera, but died before the re-recording for CD, please let me know.
Samuel M. Johnson: Lovers on a Park Bench
The day with its cares and perplexities is ended and the night is now upon us. The night should be a time of peace and tranquility, a time to relax and be calm. We have need of a soothing story to banish the disturbing thoughts of the day, to set at rest our troubled minds, and put at ease our ruffled spirits.
And what sort of story shall we hear? Ah, it will be a familiar story, a story that is so very, very old, and yet it is so new. It is the old, old story of love.
Two lovers sat on a park bench, with their bodies touching each other, holding hands in the moonlight.
There was silence between them. So profound was their love for each other, they needed no words to express it. And so they sat in silence, on a park bench, with their bodies touching, holding hands in the moonlight.
Finally she spoke. “Do you love me, John?” she asked. “You know I love you, darling,” he replied. “I love you more than tongue can tell. You are the light of my life, my sun, moon and stars. You are my everything. Without you I have no reason for being.”
Again there was silence as the two lovers sat on a park bench, their bodies touching, holding hands in the moonlight. Once more she spoke. “How much do you love me, John?” she asked. He answered: “How much do I love you? Count the stars in the sky. Measure the waters of the oceans with a teaspoon. Number the grains of sand on the sea shore. Impossible, you say.”
“Yes and it is just as impossible for me to say how much I love you.”
“My love for you is higher than the heavens, deeper than Hades, and broader than the earth. It has no limits, no bounds. Everything must have an ending except my love for you.”
There was more of silence as the two lovers sat on a park bench with their bodies touching, holding hands in the moonlight.
Once more her voice was heard. “Kiss me, John,” she implored. And leaning over, he pressed his lips warmly to hers in fervent osculation.