Category: letters

Frida Kahlo’s handwritten love letters to Diego Rivera


Translation of above letter:

Truth is, so great, that I wouldn’t like to speak, or sleep, or listen, or love. To feel myself trapped, with no fear of blood, outside time and magic, within your own fear, and your great anguish, and within the very beating of your heart. All this madness, if I asked it of you, I know, in your silence, there would be only confusion. I ask you for violence, in the nonsense, and you, you give me grace, your light and your warmth. I’d like to paint you, but there are no colors, because there are so many, in my confusion, the tangible form of my great love.



Transcription of the first half of above letter:


Nada comparable a tus manos ni nada igual al oro-verde de tus ojos.
Mi cuerpo se llena de ti por días y días.
Eres el espejo de la noche. La luz violenta del relámpago. La humedad de la tierra.
El hueco de tus axilas es mi refugio.
Toda mi alegría es sentir brotar la vida de tu fuente-flor que la mía guarda para llenar todos los caminos de mis nervios que son los tuyos.


live like a mighty river

god. curling up in your arms, not knowing what to ask you for because i was just inundated with thoughts of the consequences of living boldly and investing heart into something i’m terrified of.

this makes my whole body tingle. The poet Ted Hughes, in a letter to his (and Sylvia Plath’s) son.

That’s the paradox: the only time most people feel alive is when they’re suffering, when something overwhelms their ordinary, careful armour, and the naked child is flung out onto the world. That’s why the things that are worst to undergo are best to remember. But when that child gets buried away under their adaptive and protective shells—he becomes one of the walking dead, a monster. So when you realise you’ve gone a few weeks and haven’t felt that awful struggle of your childish self—struggling to lift itself out of its inadequacy and incompetence—you’ll know you’ve gone some weeks without meeting new challenge, and without growing, and that you’ve gone some weeks towards losing touch with yourself. The only calibration that counts is how much heart people invest, how much they ignore their fears of being hurt or caught out or humiliated. And the only thing people regret is that they didn’t live boldly enough, that they didn’t invest enough heart, didn’t love enough. Nothing else really counts at all. It was a saying about noble figures in old Irish poems—he would give his hawk to any man that asked for it, yet he loved his hawk better than men nowadays love their bride of tomorrow. He would mourn a dog with more grief than men nowadays mourn their fathers.

And that’s how we measure out our real respect for people—by the degree of feeling they can register, the voltage of life they can carry and tolerate—and enjoy. End of sermon. As Buddha says: live like a mighty river. And as the old Greeks said: live as though all your ancestors were living again through you.

And, as Virginia Woolf put it,
“I am rooted, but I flow.”