Monday, 9 February 2009

The Pensive Lions

[Parque Lezama, Buenos Aires.]

This lion is mentioned in the opening of Ernesto Sabato's novel On Heroes and Tombs. There is another lion guarding the right-hand side of the gate. Their bronze has been painted since 1953.

"On a Saturday in May, 1953, two years before the events in Barracas, a tall, stoop-shouldered youngster was walking along one of the footpaths in the Parque Lezama. He sat down on a bench, near the statue of Ceres, and remained there, doing nothing, lost in thought. 'Like a boat drifting on a vast lake that is apparently calm yet agitated by currents far beneath the surface,' Bruno thought when, after the death of Alejandra, Martin recounted to him, in a confused and fragmentary way, some of the episodes connected with that story. And he not only thought this but understood it -- indeed he did! -- since that seventeen-year-old Martin reminded him of his own forebear, the remote Bruno whom he glimpsed at times across a distance of thirty years, a nebulous territory enriched and devastated by love, disillusionment, and death. He had a melancholy image of him in that old park, with the dying afternoon light lingering on the modest statues, on the pensive bronze lions, on the paths covered with limp, dead leaves."