By Ted Metrakas

Selection from “Bacchus and Ariadne” by Titian, 1520-1523

Ariadne is the horizon.
Her smile is the earth itself smiling.

That is what the horizon is,
The earth’s smile to itself. 

Just as the earth smiles to itself, so too
Does Ariadne. Why does she smile?

As the earth smiles,
A world is opened — that’s the horizon.

The horizon is the world beyond earth, and
Ariadne’s smile is beauty beyond beauty.

A horizon is distant, yet beautiful.
Pure distance, yet pure beauty, like Ariadne.

Distance creates a horizon’s beauty.
A horizon is beautiful because it is distant.

Beauty is distance,
and distance is beautiful.

A horizon is where earth and sky meet.
They meet and this forms a seal.

It is a seal between earth and sky;
A seal, a closure, yet still it is openness itself. 

A horizon awes us with its expansive beauty,
But also gives us direction and meaning.

If earth and sky never met,
There would be no world. 

Instead of a world, there would be
Infinite coextension of earth and sky in space.

A horizon is the meeting of earth and sky, 
Rather than their coextension. 

This creates tension, and ends extension.
The more extension, the less tension.

Nihilism is the feeling of extension,
Without any tension. 

Tension is where all style, all character,
All depth and perspective is born. 

Horizon is distant, but intensive, not extensive.
It closes off, rather than opens.

A horizon throws us back on ourselves,
We are renewed when we look at it. 

A horizon allows us to endlessly,
Find ourselves anew; it is intense. 

A horizon is what the world itself looks like,
It is the world seen from its own perspective.

When we look at the horizon,
We are seeing the world looking at itself.

Surely nothing can be more beautiful than this,
But nothing can be more distant, either.

Beauty is closed, private, hidden, distant,
A horizon is the world closing its eyes. 

But when an eye closes,
A new world opens:

We dream better with eyes closed.

Our other senses grow more vivid.
Our noses, ears, and mind’s eyes sharpen.

As the world closes its eyes,
Something beyond the world opens.

But what is this? What is beyond the horizon?
What do the closed eyes of the world see? 

Ariadne smiles because she knows
What the world sees when it closes its eyes.

But she won’t tell, because this world
Does not have the ears to hear it.