Archive for the ‘Chat’ Category

Rain

Posted: May 23, 2022 in Chat
Tags: , , , , ,

RAIN

A drop of rain falling –
it didn’t know where its parents were,
It didn’t know where its companions were
all it knew was falling.

The wind took it up, turning it over
curious
fingering the bead of it until it shone.
It lay dead-weight in the palm, submissive
to all the wind’s intimacies.

But the wind had other business 
caught up for a moment with all this
glittering, and wondering
What was all this
stripping its valuables
leaving the wind empty 
and cold in the sky?

Pearls, diamonds, gem-stones – 
worthless; all it needed 
was sustenance.
Wind threw rain over.

And being taken up, cast down
rain fell heavier than ever
a pebble for its heart

To destroy itself on a leaf.
Caught hurting on the tree’s hand
spilling all that encrusted it;
to enter the green caverns
a formless thing.

PLUIE

Une goutte de pluie qui tombe –
il ne savait pas où étaient ses parents,
Il ne savait pas où étaient ses compagnons
tout ce qu’il savait était de tomber.

Le vent l’a emporté, le retournant
curieux
en caressant le grain jusqu’à ce qu’il brille.
Il gisait comme un poids mort dans la paume, soumis
à toutes les intimités du vent.

Mais le vent avait d’autres affaires
rattrapé un instant avec tout ça
scintillant et se demandant
C’était quoi tout ça
dépouiller ses objets de valeur
laissant le vent vide
et froid dans le ciel?

Perles, diamants, pierres précieuses –
sans valeur; tout ce qu’il fallait
était la subsistance.
Le vent a chassé la pluie.

Et d’être prendre en haut, 
jeté vers le bas
la pluie est tombée plus fort que jamais
un caillou pour son Coeur

Se détruire sur une feuille.
Pris blessé sur la main de l’arbre
renverser tout ce qui l’incrustait ;
entrer dans les cavernes vertes
une chose sans forme.

PIOVERE

Una goccia di pioggia che cade –
non sapeva dove fossero i suoi genitori,
Non sapeva dove fossero i suoi compagni
tutto cio che sapeva stava cadendo.

Il vento lo prese, capovolgendolo
curioso
toccando il vetrofinché non brillava.
Giaceva come un peso morto nel palmo, sottomesso
a tutte le intimità del vento.

Ma il vento aveva altri affari
preso per un momento con tutto questo
scintillante e meravigliato
Cos’era tutto questo
spogliando i suoi oggetti di valore
lasciando vuoto il vento
e freddo nel cielo?

Perle, diamanti, pietre preziose –
senza valore; tutto ciò di cui aveva bisogno
era sostentamento.
Il vento ha rovesciato la pioggia.

Ed essendo preso, gettato giù
la pioggia cadeva più pesante che mai
un sassolino per il suo cuore
Autoistruggersi su una foglia.

Preso ferito sulla mano dell’albero
rovesciando tutto ciò che lo incrostava;
per entrare nelle caverne verdi
una cosa senza forma.

LLUVIA

Una gota de lluvia cayendo –
no sabía dónde estaban sus padres,
No sabía dónde estaban sus compañeros.
todo lo que sabía era caer.

El viento se lo llevó, volteándolo
curioso
digitación la cuenta de vidrio
hasta que brilló.
Yacía como un peso muerto en la palma de la mano, sumisa
a todas las intimidades del viento.
Pero el viento tenía otros asuntos
atrapado por un momento con todo esto
brillando y preguntándose
que fue todo esto

despojando de sus objetos de valor
dejando el viento vacío
y frío en el cielo?

Perlas, diamantes, piedras preciosas –
sin valor; todo lo que necesitaba
era sustento.

El viento descartado lluvia .
y siendo arrebatado, echado abajo
la lluvia cayó más fuerte que nunca
un guijarro para su corazón
Destruirse en una hoja.

Atrapado lastimado en la mano del árbol
derramando todo lo que tenía incrustado;
para entrar en las cavernas verdes
una cosa sin forma.

SUMMER SUN HAS…

Summer sun has all the new
plastic black guttering cracking
and creaking, expanding;
the sound along the terraces
unique, rousing.

As the heat fades they’ll retreat again,
regain their old state. All their
hidden musics dictate the noise
of neighbour’s grass cutters, something-elsers.

I thought of the endless dripping from
the corner gutter that turned to pouring
when the join went, and me trying
all sorts to stop it cheaply. How it
cost us dearly.

And I thought of us getting all
the soffits changed, fearing old asbestos;
but there was none. That also cost us.
To relish peace of mind,
is to pay its pound.

I thought of that lonely pigeon
three days up there alone, mate dead,
the feathers scattering in the after-draft.
Its grieving there, unfed; silent
in the dark,
in the head.

My Admiration

Posted: May 7, 2022 in Chat

for skill and enterprise, endurance and great sense of values.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-61174988

In Time of Illness

Posted: April 25, 2022 in Chat
Tags: , , , ,

When I first became ill, Berg’s String Quartet was a revelation to me.
The concentrated form and narrow range of instruments was all I could handle.
But I still cherish this piece of music, maybe for that reason, and I hope for the
music itself as well.

Quand je suis tombé malade pour la première fois, le Quatuor à cordes de Berg a été une révélation pour moi.
La forme concentrée et la gamme étroite d’instruments étaient tout ce que je pouvais gérer.
Mais je chéris toujours ce morceau de musique, peut-être pour cette raison, et j’espère aussi pour la musique elle-même.

Quando mi sono ammalato per la prima volta, il quartetto d’archi di Berg è stato per me una rivelazione.
La forma concentrata e la gamma ristretta di strumenti erano tutto ciò che riuscivo a gestire.
Ma apprezzo ancora questo pezzo di musica, forse per quella resason, e spero anche per la musica stessa.

Cuando me enfermé por primera vez, el Cuarteto de Cuerdas de Berg fue una revelación para mí.
La forma concentrada y la estrecha gama de instrumentos fue todo lo que pude manejar.
Pero todavía atesoro esta pieza musical, tal vez por esa razón, y también espero por la música misma.

Experiments in translation 2

Posted: April 19, 2022 in Chat
Tags: , ,

Schrödinger’s Cat

The black cat of space
closes its eyes to sleep
and the last stars go out

The cat wakes, stretches
and its with nails prick holes in space
new stars shine through 

le chat noir de l’espace
ferme les yeux pour dormir
et les dernières étoiles s’éteignent

Le chat se réveille, s’étire
et ses clous piquent des trous dans l’espace
de nouvelles étoiles brillent à travers

lo spazio è un gatto nero
chiude gli occhi per dormire
e le ultime stelle muoiono

il gatto si sveglia, si allunga,
le sue unghie perforano buchi nell’oscurità
le nuove stelle sono nate

el espacio es un gato negro
cierra los ojos para dormir
y las ultimas estrellas mueren

el gato se despierta, se estira,
sus uñas perforan agujeros en el negro
nacen las nuevas estrellas


DARK ENERGY

As black-on-black of stellar crows
chase by treetop high earth,
they leave it reeling.

Their monstrous battles
are sunbursts, supernova.

When they mate our times tense,
pressured;
the incubation of the egg our doldrums.

The hatching egg
moves our achievements onwards.

Feeding the newborn,
are our periods of acquisition;

when the fledgling flies we feel its wrench, 
its absence

                        like the loss of a god.

There is no knowing
they will ever fly our way again.

ÉNERGIE NOIRE

Comme noir sur noir des corbeaux stellaires
chasser par la cime des arbres haute terre,
ils le laissent chancelant.

Leurs batailles monstrueuses
sont des coups de soleil, supernova.

Quand ils s’accouplent nos temps tendus,
sous pression;

l’incubation de l’oeuf notre marasme.
L’éclosion
fait avancer les réalisations.

Nourrir le nouveau-né,
sont nos périodes d’acquisition ;

quand l’oisillon vole on sent sa déchirure,
son absence

                         comme la perte d’un dieu.
Il n’y a pas de savoir
ils voleront à nouveau vers nous.

ENERGIA OSCURA

Come nero su nero di corvi stellari
inseguire sulla terra alta delle cime degli alberi,
lo lasciano vacillare.

Le loro battaglie mostruose
sono raggi solari, supernova.

Quando si accoppiano i nostri tempi tesi,
sotto pressione;

l’incubazione dell’uovo la nostra stasi.
La schiusa
fa avanzare le conquiste.

Nutrire il neonato,
sono i nostri periodi di acquisizione;

quando la neonata vola sentiamo la sua stretta,
la sua assenza

                         come la perdita di un dio.

Non c’è sapere
non voleranno mai più per la nostra strada.

ENERGÍA OSCURA

Como negro sobre negro de cuervos estelares
persecución por la copa de los árboles de la tierra alta,
lo dejan tambaleándose.

Sus monstruosas batallas
son rayos de sol, supernova.

Cuando se aparean nuestros tiempos tensos,
presionado;

la incubación del huevo nuestro estancamiento.
la eclosión
mueve los logros de nuestro tiempo hacia adelante.

Alimentando al recién nacido,
son nuestros períodos de adquisición;

cuando el pichón vuela sentimos su tirón,
su ausencia

                         como la pérdida de un dios.

no hay saber
volverán a volar en nuestro camino.

I bought this collection two or three years ago. I find listening to the them deeply enjoyable. They have come to mean a great deal to me.

J’ai acheté cette collection il y a deux ou trois ans. Je trouve leur écoute profondément agréable. Ils sont devenus très importants pour moi.

Ho comprato questa collezione due o tre anni fa. Trovo ascoltarli profondamente piacevole. Sono diventati molto importanti per me.

Olivier Messiaen écrit

Each piece is written in honour of a French province. It bears the title of the bird-type of the chosen region. It is not alone: the habitat neighbours surround it and also sing (-)… its landscape, the hours of day and night that also change this landscape, are also present, with their colours, their temperatures, the magic of their perfumes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalogue_d%27oiseaux

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olivier_Messiaen#Birdsong_and_the_1960s

His elegant, minimalist and wholly practical solutions need to be widely appreciated.
This is a start.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-60764585

castlep

The Pretoria Castle

This ebook is a must.

I invite all to spend time with the wonderful, warm Litinsky family.
A modern Jewish family relocates from their early life in South Africa to London. It was the beginning of the 1960s: This country is no place to bring up children… after Sharpeville.
And already we see the bigger picture, the extra dimensions: we do not live our lives in isolation. Ever.

The book begins with the young family moving from Cape Town to the Transvaal. It ends with the family arriving in Portsmouth, and moving onto London.
They start new lives each time, with all the wrenching upheaval, the breaking away from years laid down in the memory, and to learn new ways of living, speaking, thinking even, this entails.
But more, the books begins and ends with the gathered family remembering itself and  celebrating the Passover ceremony in each new home. Who remains? Who has gone?

And what is the main prayer of the Passover? Next year, in Jerusalem.
One has to learn to fit in, integrate, yet all the time some part keeps one separate – we witness the attitudes of the new Church of England school in London belittling the Jewish holiday traditions, where a holiday  is indeed a holy day.
But there are also the challenges of new ideas and ideals as left wing politics, feminism, find homes in the hearts and minds of the growing children.

I would like to invite you  to meet, spend time with, Isaac and Verena Litinsky, their twin daughters Davida and Sarah, younger siblings spoilt Raphael, and Alicia. But then, of course, there are the extended families of both mother and father’s side, their own experiences of a shocking century.

The family unit is a wide and internationally based web of relationships.
The family unit touches the people they live among, with, beside. In the Transvaal there are the black Africans working in the household: Susan, the nanny, who cooks the specifically Jewish food, and lives by choice apart. Her wedding…. No, you must read for yourself.

Father Isaac flew to London earlier to find work and look for accommodation. The family followed later, by boat.
Here we see where book title, The Floating Castle, begins to throw wider and wider shadows and shapes on the canvas of our reading.
We see how the family arranges itself into at times autocratic, at times capitalist and democratic relationships; we see how other cultures, the travelling companions, the ship-board relationships, impinge, threaten the stability of the family unit: is Verena really taken with that other man? What of Davida’s developing relationships outside the family unit?

At times the Jewish ceremony can seem as strange to the children as the others around them. They visit a Christian Church in Johannesburg with their nanny. Sarah concludes that it’s bunk, if the messiah had really come then they would all be in paradise by now, and they are plainly not.
We see the characters from the inside, through unreliable narration like this. It gives us insights, it provokes empathy. The tone of voice is caught seemingly effortlessly

The background stories fill in, and we see the sense in madness, the folly in sense, as ordered and disordered lives worked themselves out to unforeseeable conclusions. Human, all so human.

The book shifts locale and time giving us the later stories of the character’s lives, and their earlier experiences. And how they reflect in each other.
It gives us, for instance: What does it cost to borrow a ride on a bike? Enough to say, Nanny Susan saved dignity, and the day.
We read into this how one learns bargaining; how the body can be a bargaining counter. Here is the beginning of gender politics, body consciousness; it shows how natural curiosity can devolve into objectification, given a background of gender inequality.

‘Faith’, we say easily, and yet we discern in this story, how the word goes deeper. We discern here how it can permeate every part of one’s being, one’s experiences, one’s interactions with the world. It can colour one’s whole view:
The London Jews… They’re not real Jews, not in the way we understand.’ was Isaac’s verdict.
But we also see Isaac’s Jewishness held up for examination, where the holes show through, and the patches.
We should have gone to Israel, he said, we have lost something staying too long in London, We have stretched the thread of tradition too far.
But Israel, itself, volatile, threatened, and threatening: was that a place for the children? We see Aunt Masha after her parent’s died, living perpetually alone. She was a constant fount of vitality, but duty and  tradition tied her heart, hand and foot.

And on the other hand there’s Molly. She was a member of the Black Sash Movement in South Africa, a fighter for black rights. Molly is a splendid character; she is full of the contradictions of her place and time: comfortable and white interloper fighting for the impoverished and black indigenous peoples. She is passionate, brave, puts herself on the line constantly.

The book is strong and yet flexible, the characters all well realised, warmly depicted, and all so likeable. For all their faults, short-comings. The writing is finely nuanced, crafted; a joy to read.

I have really enjoyed my time with the Litinsky family.

I really must go back and re-read from the beginning.

Charles of Orleans, due to twenty-five years in captivity in England, mastered the language and idioms to write the most accomplished lyric poetry in English of the time.
And yet, even now, acceptance has been slow to accept him into the canon.

1

Charles, son of the Duke of Orleans, and Italian mother, Valentina Visconti, daughter of the duke of Milan, was born in 1394. He died in 1465.

As a child of the nobility marriage was a game of influence. His first marriage, aged sixteen ended very sadly as his wife, Isabella of Valois (and widow of English king Richard II) died in childbirth. His second wife, Bonne of Armagnac, died whilst he was hostage.
He married a third time, on his return to France to Marie of Cleves. One son became Louis XII of France.

One story has it that he was discovered – luckily, we might add – still alive and uninjured, under a number bodies, on the field at Agincourt. He was thought a good ransom, and held in England. 
There are stories of people drowning in others’ blood under similar circumstances. 
His imprisonment, along with his younger brother Jean d’Angoulême, was relatively ‘open’, mostly held among people of their own rank, and allowed escorted outside access.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles,_Duke_of_Orléans

He was eventually released, and allowed to return to his inherited Burgundy estates on condition of a sworn oath to not avenge the killers of his father. Wiki says:
Finally freed on 3 November 1440 by the efforts of his former enemies, Philip the Good and Isabella of Portugal, the Duke and Duchess of Burgundy, he set foot on French soil again after 25 years, by now a middle aged man at 46 and “speaking better English than French,” according to the English chronicler Raphael Holinshed.

2

He wrote some five hundred plus lyrics in English, and later, again in French. They are of exemplary quality. 
He was writing in that period between the death of Chaucer, the latter years of John Gower and Thomas Hoccleve, of John Skelton, and the resurgence of writing using Italian models under Sir Thomas Wyatt et al.

His earlier French contemporaries mark the ending of a rather prolific period, with the deaths early in Charles’ career, of the honoured writer Alain Chartier, and the phenomenal Christine de Pizan. 

–      It is not easy at the present to obtain affordable collections of the poems of Charles de Orleans. One I did get hold of was a collection of French poets of the period, is Formal Spring, French Renaissance Poets, by R N Currey (published 1950).
The book lists his immediate contemporaries as Guillaume de Marchault, Eustace Deschamps, Joachim du Bellay, Louise Labé, Marie Stuart (yep, Mary pre-Queen of Scots).

The author certainly has his favourites – Charles de Orleans is dismissed as ‘bourgeois’; Christine de Pizan is represented by one poem, the later Louise Labé is called a follower of Christine de Pizan. His favourite, the one with the largest poem contribution, is Francois Villon. Enough said.

His writing strides between past and future modes of literature, his earlier work continuing the debate form of Alain Chartier (The Curialetc), with his Le Débat Des Hérauts D’armes De France Et D’angleterre: Suivi De The Debate Between The Heralds Of England And France, and then the middle and later work looking onward to the Italian sonnet and lyric form of later English writers.

3

What has been the problem with his acceptance?
Again, Wiki tells us:
Unfortunately, his acceptance in the English canon has been slow. A. E. B. Coldiron has argued that the problem relates to his “approach to the erotic, his use of puns, wordplay, and rhetorical devices, his formal complexity and experimentation, his stance or voice: all these place him well outside the fifteenth-century literary milieu in which he found himself in England.[4]

Against the sententious background of John Lydgate, the wilder satires of John Skelton, the assured style and accomplished imagery of the poems of Charles of Orleans stand out like bright jewels in a muddy light.

Take, for instance, 

The year has changed his mantle cold                mantle: mateau – coat
of wind, of rain, of bitter air;
and he goes clad in cloth of gold,
of laughing suns and seasons fair;
no bird or beast of wood or wold                                  
but doth with cry or song declare
this year lays down its mantle cold.
All founts, all rivers, seaward rolled,
the pleasant summer livery wear,
with silver studs on livery vair;  
                              vair: common fur in heraldry
the world puts off its raiment old,
the year lays down its mantle cold.

His use of roundels, dance forms, song formats, I suspect some view as frivolous. I would certainly argue against that, there is an atmosphere of lightness here but the poems are always so in order to counteract/interact with his own exile and imprisonment. Each poem is shadowed:
My very gentle Valentine,
Alas, for me you were born too soon,
As I was born too late for you!
May God forgive my jailor
Who has kept me from you this entire year.
I am sick without your love, my dear,

My very gentle Valentine.

And here is a particularly joyful one – compare this with the rather staid verse of his contemporaries :

Young lovers
Greeting the spring

Fling themselves downhill,
Making cobblestones ring
With their wild leaps and arcs,
Like ecstatic sparks
Struck from coal.

What is their brazen goal?

They grab at whatever passes,

So we can hardly hazard guesses.
But they rear like prancing steeds
Raked by brilliant spurs of need,

Young lovers.
It is the surprisingly fresh and contemporary imagery that catches our attention first. There is also a sophistication of emotive expression, that further persuades us to ‘partake of the poem’. 
Although coal was in use by then, its domestic use was rare. As a noble, though, he would have been familiar enough with its properties.

4
There is a very interesting article on Charles of Orleans, by Mary-Jo Arn: Poetic Form as a Mirror of Meaning (Philological Quarterly, 1999, Number 1, Volume 69)
that argues for an overall structure to the collection of his poetry. ‘Charles of Orleans,’ she writes, ‘following Continental convention, composed in Middle English a type of work that no English poet had yet attempted.

His various poetic forms: roundels, ballads, narrative verse, relate fictional/autobiographical adventures in the Court of Love.

He tells how the supposed author enters the service of the God of Love, and therewith love for a Lady to whom he addresses ballads. This is followed by the death of the Lady, at which the author retires from service and enters the Castle of No Care, supposedly for the rest of his life, to lament the loss. Here he writes nearly one hundred roundels. His heart does not allow him peace, and he wanders, physically and emotionally; he encounters Venus, then Fortune, and once again becomes enamoured. He then writes further of amour. 

‘He’, I write, but there is ‘the poet,’ and ‘the lover’, and both are distinct persons. Mary-Jo Arn calls this form pseudo-biography.

The collection opens with an allegorical section, followed by Part One of eighty-four ballades; section two of nearly one hundred roundels; section three of thirty-seven ballades.

The structure presents the reader with three differing accounts of love. The first section and retirement section produce two very different versions of the same experience, and the last section again a very different approach, to a different set of experiences, presented with comedy, and non-courtly responses from the lady. Courtly idealised love – love of love itself? – is contrasted with the real thing: love of a real woman.

There are some commentators who are not convinced the last section are authentic poems of Charles of Orleans, but suspect that they are copies made of other’s work, and incorporated here, or tacked-on by later compilers. The problem is the change in tone of the last section.
Mary-Jo Arn argues convincingly for overall authorship.


A Selection of Poems

Your smiling mouth and laughing eyes, bright grey,
Your ample breasts and slender arms twin chains,
Your hands so smooth, each finger straight and plain,

Your little feet – please, what more can I say?

It is my fetish when you are far away
To muse on these and thus to ease my pain –
Your smiling mouth and laughing eyes, bright grey,

Your ample breasts and slender arms twin chains.

So I would beg you, if I only may,
To see such sights as before I have seen,
Because my fetish pleases me. Obscene?
I’ll be obsessed until my dying day

By your smiling mouth and laughing eyes, bright grey,
Your ample breasts and slender arms twin chains!

My ghostly father, I confess
First to God and then to you,
That at a window watched by few
I stole a sweet and gentle kiss;

I did this out of avidness –
Now it’s done, what can I do?

My ghostly father, I confess
First to God and then to you:
I shall restore the kiss doubtless 
And give my lover back her due!

And thus to God I make my vow
While always seeking forgiveness.
My ghostly, I confess,
First to God and then to you.


Can we also consider this an early sonnet, I wonder?

Ballade

One day I asked my heart
In confidence, if he
Had put by any part
Out of our property
When serving Love. Freely
He promised me a true
Account as soon as he
Had looked his papers through.

He promised me this, this heart,
And took his leave of me;
And soon I saw him start 
To rummage freely
Amongst the note books he
Keeps in his desk. I knew

He’d speak immediately
He’d looked his papers through.

I waited, and my heart,
Returning presently
Showed me the books he’d brought,
And I was glad to see
That he had carefully
Entered the facts – so now

I’d know as soon as he
Had looked his papers through.

Such clerical exactitude! The development of the scientific, analytical attitude.
A praise for double-entry bookkeeping?

And so, what do we make of this:

Stephen Le Gout, in the nominative,
Quite recently tried in the optative
Mood to proceed to the copulative,

But failed when it came to the genitive.

Six ducats he placed in the dative
To bring him his love in the vocative –
Stephen Le Gout in the nominative.

He came up against an accusative
Who made of his robe a mere ablative;
From a window whose height was superlative

He jumped, taking blows in the passive: 
Stephen Le Gout, in the nominative.

In his last years he was instrumental in fostering the careers of many writers. In 1455 he attended a performance of Complainte d’Hectorby Georges Chastellain, thereby consolidating the position of the aspiring writer and Burgundian chronicler in literary circles.

·      Works by or about Charles d’Orléans at Internet Archive