In my own country, many of the movies in recent years express our innate fears about what awaits us. They are apocalyptic visions that leave only a few people on earth-whole cities surviving under domes because we have depleted our natural resources. And often in these movies, for reasons that I question, we have space aliens who are always blowing up Washington, D.C., and the White House.
The Astors and the Vanderbilts, their pleasure domes and money: she was sick of it. Sick of envying, sick of herself. She didn't understand antiques or architecture, she couldn't draw like Sylvia, she didn't read like Ted, she had few interests and no expertise. A paucity for love was the only true thing she'd ever had.
In the later nineteenth century, the tops of skyscrapers often took the shape of domes, surmounted by jaunty gilded lanterns; later came ziggurats, mausoleums, Alexandrian lighthouses, miniature Parthenons. These charming follies contained neither royal corpses nor effigies of gods and goddesses; rather they contained large wooden tanks filled with water.
May your rivers flow without end... down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs... where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you-beyond that next turning of the canyon walls.
In Venice, things not always as they first appear. I contemplate this observation from my post on the aft deck of one of Master Fumagalli's gondolas, taking in the panorama of bridges, domes, bell towers, and quaysides of my native city. I row into the neck of the Grand Canal, and, one by one, the reflection of each colorful fae§ade appears, only to dissipate into wavering, shimmering shards under my oar.
We had stayed up all night my friends and I beneath mosque lamps hanging from the ceiling. Their brass domes were filigreed, starred like our souls; just as, again like our souls, they were illuminated by the imprisoned brilliance of an electric heart. On the opulent oriental rugs, we had crushed our ancestral lethargy, arguing all the way to the final frontiers of logic and blackening reams of paper with delirious writings.
Filippo Tommaso Marinetti
SADNESS OF THE INTELLECT: Sadness of being misunderstood [sic]; Humor sadness; Sadness of love wit[hou]t release; Sadne[ss of be]ing smart; Sadness of not knowing enough words to [express what you mean]; Sadness of having options; Sadness of wanting sadness; Sadness of confusion; Sadness of domes[tic]ated birds, Sadness of fini[shi]ng a book; Sadness of remembering; Sadness of forgetting; Anxiety sadness...
Jonathan Safran Foer
Devoutly the teachers point out huge fumigated domes; but beneath the statues there's no love, no love beneath the eyes set in crystal. Love is there, in flesh ripped by thirst, in the tiny hut struggling against the flood; love is there, in ditches where snakes of hunger wrestle, in the sad sea that rocks dead gulls, and in the darkest stinging kiss under pillows.
Federico Garcia Lorca
If cathedrals had been universities If dungeons of the Inquisition had been laboratories If Christians had believed in character instead of creed If they had taken from the bible only that which is GOOD and thrown away the wicked and absurd If temple domes had been observatories If priests had been philosophers If missionaries had taught useful arts instead of bible lore If astrology had been astronomy If the black arts had been chemistry If superstition had been science If religion had been humanity The world then would be a heaven filled with love, and liberty and joy
Robert Green Ingersoll
Travel releases spontaneity. You become a godlike creature full or choice, free to visit the stately pleasure domes, make love in the morning, sketch a bell tower, read a history of Byzantium, stare for one hour at the face of Leonardo da Vinci's 'Madonna dei fusi.' You open, as in childhood, and--for a time--receive this world. There's visceral aspect, too--the huntress who is free. Free to go, free to return home bringing memories to lay on the hearth.
History, the winnowing wind, never halts. We see the chaff rise, forget the waiting grain, seed of the future, fallen to the threshing floor. We never learn, but live on, slit-narrow, as if our living were a pencil line traced upon paper, behaving as trapped denizens of a flat world hemmed in by the bigoted horizon of our own making. Yet the meaning of living is a pushing back, a pulling down of the great walls and domes of fear and ignorance, is relinquishing the nest for the sky, ignorance for understanding. The look back is also a look forward.
Filled with rapture, his soul yearned for freedom, space, vastness. Over him the heavenly dome, full of quiet, shining stars, hung boundlessly. From the zenith to the horizon the still-dim Milky Way stretched its double strand. Night, fresh and quiet, almost unstirring, enveloped the earth. The white towers and golden domes of the church gleamed in the sapphire sky. The luxuriant autumn asleep till morning. The silence of the earth seemed to merge with the silence of the heavens and the mystery of the earth touched the mystery of the stars.
The morning has broken - I had thought of the morning like an egg that had split with a crack and was spreading. Before us lay all the green of the green country of England, with its rivers and it's roads and it's hedges, it's churches, it's chimneys, it's rising threads of smoke. The chimneys grew taller, the roads and rivers wider, the threads of smoke more thick, the farther off the country spread; until at last, at the farthest point of all, they made a smudge, a stain, a darkness - a darkness, like the darkness of the coal in a fire - a darkness that was broken, here and there, where the sun caught panes of glass and the golden tips of domes and steeples, with glittering points of light. 'London, ' I said 'Oh, London!
Darkness. The door into the neighboring room is not quite shut. A strip of light stretches through the crack in the door across the ceiling. People are walking about by lamplight. Something has happened. The strip moves faster and faster and the dark walls move further and further apart, into infinity. This room is London and there are thousands of doors. The lamps dart about and the strips dart across the ceiling. And perhaps it is all delirium... Something had happened. The black sky above London burst into fragments: white triangles, squares and lines - the silent geometric delirium of searchlights. The blinded elephant buses rushed somewhere headlong with their lights extinguished. The distinct patter along the asphalt of belated couples, like a feverish pulse, died away. Everywhere doors slammed and lights were put out. And the city lay deserted, hollow, geometric, swept clean by a sudden plague: silent domes, pyramids, circles, arches, towers, battlements.
Been thinking of my grandfather, whose wayward brilliance skipped my father's generation. Once, he showed me an aquatint of a certain Siamese temple. Don't recall its name, but ever since a disciple of the Buddha preached on the spot centuries ago, every bandit king, tyrant, and monarch of that kingdom has enhanced it with marble towers, scented arboretums, gold-leafed domes, lavished murals on its vaulted ceilings, set emeralds into the eyes of its statuettes. When the temple finally equals its counterpart in the Pure Land, so the story goes, that day humanity shall have fulfilled its purpose, and Time itself shall come to an end. To men like Ayrs, it occurs to me, this temple is civilization. The masses, slaves, peasants, and foot soldiers exist in the cracks of its flagstones, ignorant even of their ignorance. Not so the great statesmen, scientists, artists, and most of all, the composers of the age, any age, who are civilization's architects, masons, and priests. Ayrs sees our role is to make civilization ever more resplendent. My employer's profoundest, or only, wish is to create a minaret that inheritors of Progress a thousand years from now will point to and say, 'Look, there is Vyvyan Ayrs!' How vulgar, this hankering after immortality, how vain, how false. Composers are merely scribblers of cave paintings. One writes music because winter is eternal and because, if one didn't, the wolves and blizzards would be at one's throat all the sooner.
From the pleasure podium of Ali Qapu, beyond the enhanced enclosure, the city spread itself towards the horizon. Ugly buildings are prohibited in Esfahan. They go to Tehran or stay in Mashhad. Planters vie with planners to outnumber buildings with trees. Attracting nightingales, blackbirds and orioles is considered as important as attracting people. Maples line the canals, reaching towards each other with branches linked. Beneath them, people meander, stroll and promenade. The Safavids' high standards generated a kind of architectural pole-vaulting competition in which beauty is the bar, and ever since the Persians have been imbuing the most mundane objects with design. Turquoise tiles ennoble even power stations. In the meadow in the middle of Naghshe Jahan, as lovers strolled or rode in horse-drawn traps, I lay on my back picking four-leafed clovers and looking at the sky. There was an intimacy about its grandeur, like having someone famous in your family. The life of centuries past was more alive here than anywhere else, its physical dimensions unchanged. Even the brutal mountains, folded in light and shadows beyond the square, stood back in awe of it. At three o'clock, the tiled domes soaked up the sunshine, transforming its invisible colours to their own hue, and the gushing fountains ventilated the breeze and passed it on to grateful Esfahanis. But above all was the soaring sky, captured by this snare of arches.(p378)