27 February 2010

The baby blog is three month´s old !

It´s been already three months since I opened this blog and I am very happy about it. I have noticed that posting on a regular basis keeps me active in a topic that I love. Besides, reading and writing regularly about poetry teaches me new things and reminds me other things that I had already forgotten.

Moreover, the amount of visits to the blog so far (and you can see at the end of the webpage) encourages me to carry on with the blog. Those figures indicate that there are some people out there who read it regularly. Interestingly enough, the blog has had already visits from all continents although most viewers come from Europe and the U.S.A. Also, it is worth highlighting the increasing number of viewers coming from countries as different as Guatelama, Sri Lanka, Israel, Brazil, New Zealand, Korea, India, Pakistan and Rusia. Thank you to all of you.

However, there is one element missing in the blog. A friend of mine has got to the conclusion that most blog readers take a look at the newest entries only. The entries that were posted a few days/months ago remain in the shadow of the Blog Archive situated on the right hand side of the blog. In order to improve this situation, today I am posting the list of entries posted in December 2009 so that new readers can have access to it. The following two entries will include the January 2010 and the February 2010 entry list consecutively. Needless to say, non academic comments on the poems are welcome.

December 2009 list of topics

26 February 2010

Inviting a friend to supper

There is a Spaniard who lives not far from where I live. I saw him strolling with his Polish girlfriend a few months ago but I did not have the opportunity to introduce myself because I was a bit in a hurry. Last week, I was on my way to the supermarket and I saw him walking his dog. He was talking to the dog in Spanish and the dog seemed to understand! I am not sure what they were doing but they had a lot of fun. As far as I understood, he was throwing snowballs at the pavement and the dog was trying to fetch them. The problem is that by the time the snowball was on the floor, it got mixed up with the rest of the snow that was covering the pavement . The dog seemed to enjoy it.

Anyway, I decided to say "Hola" to him. The conversation went on like this:


Him: ¿Hablas español?
Do you speak Spanish ?
Me: Si, soy de Madrid, ¿Y tú?
Yes, I am from Madrid, ¿And you?
Him: Soy de Barcelona.
I am from Barcelona.
Me: Tengo en casa un poco de jamón serrano.
I have some Spanish ham at home.
Him: Hace mucho que no lo pruebo.
I have not eaten it for ages.
Me: Vente a casa el sabado por la tarde.
Come home on Saturday evening.
Him: Vale. Me llevaré una botella de vino del Penedés, ¿Puedo ir con mi chica ?
Ok. I will bring a bottle of wine from Penedés, Can I take my girlfriend?
Me: Claro.
Sure.
Him: Adiós
Bye.
Me: Hasta la vista
See you.

Well, I suppose that in most cultures, the short conversation we had would not be enough to invite anybody for supper. We do not need much time to share a piece of Spanish ham and a a glass of wine. So, tomorrow evening they will come home. What this invitation means in practical terms is that I will have to clean the whole flat, giving special attention to the bathroom and kitchen (!) and I will have to make a nice Spanish omelette, like the one I posted a few weeks ago. So, plenty of work cleaning and cooking but I am sure it will be worthy because I am looking forward to speaking to someone in Spanish.

Inviting a Friend to Supper
by Ben Johnson (1572-1637)

Tonight, grave sir, both my poor house and I
Do equally desire your company;
Not that we think us worthy such a guest,
But that your worth will dignify our feast
With those that come, whose grace may make that seem (5)
Something, which else could hope for no esteem.
It is the fair acceptance, sir, creates
The entertainment perfect; not the cates.
Yet shall you have, to rectify your palate,
An olive, capers, or some better salad (10)
Ushering the mutton; with a short-legged hen,
If we can get her, full of eggs, and then
Lemons and wine for sauce; to these, a coney
Is not to be despaired of, for our money;
And though fowl, now, be scarce, yet there are clerks,
The sky not falling, think we may have larks. (16)

Well, I was thinking that apart from the Spanish ham that I have and the wine that he will bring (13), I will but the best olives (10), some tomatoes, a lettuce and a bit of corn to make a tasty salad (10).

22 February 2010

The Indifferent

Following my last post, I have to tell you that yesterday I went to the forest to take some photographs and to share a couple of words with the lake nymph. As a few weeks ago I had already taken some beautiful pictures of the trees covered with snow and of the frozen lake, my main aim was to show you the same places with and without snow.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to show you the metamorphosis I wanted because the trees are still covered with a huge amount of snow and the lake is still frozen. There was no trace of the lake nymph either. Apparently the snow has started to melt down nearby the roads and buildings and the nymph seems to be too lazy to leave her secret and cozy cave. So, I just went for a walk and took a couple of photographs of several birds whose name I do not know. Well, I also had a word with a neighbour who was walking her dog. I am jealous of John Donne.


The Indifferent
by John Donne (1572-1631)

I can love both fair and brown,
Her whom abundance melts, and her whom want betrays,
Her who loves loneness best, and her who masks and plays,
Her whom the country formed, and whom the town,
Her who believes, and her who tries,
Her who still weeps with spongy eyes,
And her who is dry cork, and never cries;
I can love her, and her, and you, and you,
I can love any, so she be not true.

To feel really jealous, click here to read the entire poem.

21 February 2010

Bye, bye snow !

Today the sun is shinning and the snow is melting down little by little. I am happy again ! I was a bit fed up with so much snow and needed to see the sun and its powerful effects. Today I am going to watch the weather forecast and see if the worst part of the winter is over or not. I hope so. I would love to leave the gloves in the drawer and wear a lighter coat. The thick anorak that I wear everyday is like my second skin, always with me.



Translation of Horace, Odes, Book 4, Ode 7

by Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

  The snow dissolved no more is seen,
The fields and woods, behold! are green.
The changing year renews the plain,
The rivers know their banks again;
The sprightly Nymph and naked Grace
The mazy dance together trace;
The changing year's successive plan
Proclaims mortality to man.
Rough Winter's blasts to Spring give way,
Spring yields to Summer's sovereign ray; 10
Then Summer sinks in Autumn's reign,
And Winter chills the world again:
Her losses soon the moon supplies,
But wretched man, when once he lies
Where Priam and his sons are laid,
Is nought but ashes, and a shade.
Who knows if Jove, who counts our score,
Will toss us in a morning more?
What with your friend you nobly share,
At least you rescue from your heir. 20
Not you, Torquatus, boast of Rome,
When Minos once has fix'd your doom,
Or eloquence, or splendid birth,
Or virtue, shall restore to earth.
Hippolytus, unjustly slain,
Diana calls to life in vain;
Nor can the might of Theseus rend
The chains of Hell that hold his friend.
After lunch I am going to go to the forest and take some photographs. Since the heavy snowfalls started I have not walked in the forest and I miss it already. I hope to see "the snow dissolved" (1) and ´the banks of the river´(4) again. But I would even be happier should I see a "spritely nymph and naked grace" (5) dancing by the riverbank. If I see her, I will let you know !

18 February 2010

Mutability

Very often we tend to critizise politicians for changing their mind. Those who were radicals when they were young, today they are conservative in all they do. Those whose views were conservative, today tend to radicalize their positions because they feel it is the only way to change things.


The truth is that we change our minds because it is part of our human nature. In a way, we are all like clouds that change their shapes, their sizes, their colours and their positions. All is in constant movement inside and outside ourselves. Today we are different from the way we were yesterday and tomorrow we will be different again.





























Mutability

by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

We are as clouds that veil the midnight moon;
How restlessly they speed, and gleam, and quiver,
Streaking the darkness radiantly! -yet soon
Night closes round, and they are lost for ever: (4)

Or like forgotten lyres, whose dissonant strings
Give various response to each varying blast,
To whose frail frame no second motion brings
One mood or modulation like the last. (8)

We rest. -A dream has power to poison sleep;
We rise. -One wandering thought pollutes the day;
We feel, conceive or reason, laugh or weep;
Embrace fond woe, or cast our cares away: (12)

It is the same! -For, be it joy or sorrow,
The path of its departure still is free:
Man's yesterday may ne'er be like his morrow;
Nought may endure but Mutablilty. (16)

16 February 2010

International missions abroad

I hate war. I would like to think that the vast majority of the population think like I do. However, I know there are thousands of people out there who love it. Some make money out of it by selling weapons, some others make money selling food illegally at very high prices. Even some others love war because they still see romanticism in it. They even see more romanticism in fighting abroad because they believe they "do good to mankind" (5). They also believe they will bring "freedom"(7) that will last forever.

Forget it. War is bad and is not good to anybody, not even to those whose bank accounts are full of bloody money as their hearts are rotten and empty. I doubt whether those international missions promoted by international organizations do any good to the country and to their inhabitants. At what price?

Lord Byron was wrong in the poem below. Well perhaps he was only right in the last verse: " if [you are]not shot or hanged, you´ll get knighted" (8).



When a Man Hath No Freedom to Fight for at Home
by George Gordon Byron (1788-1824)

When a man hath no freedom to fight for at home,
Let him combat for that of his neighbors;
Let him think of the glories of Greece and of Rome,
And get knocked on his head for his labors.

To do good to mankind is the chivalrous plan,
And is always as nobly requited;
Then battle for freedom wherever you can,
And, if not shot or hanged, you'll get knighted.

12 February 2010

46664

I have just read in the newspapers that Nelson Mandela has good reasons to be a happy man these days. Yesterday he celebrated the 20th anniversary of his liberation after spending 27 years in jail.

When I think of all the things a person can do in 27 years, the first ideas that cross my mind are some of the most important things that I did during the first 27 years of my life: I had a happy childhood, I finished my studies, I travelled all over Europe, I met people, I married a nice woman and we had a son. I did all that as a free man and nobody forced me to do what I did. Nobody forced me to do things I did not want to do either. I suppose I always took my freedom for granted and I was never aware of the fact that not everybody had the same freedom I had to carry out simple activities such as playing with friends, attending the school, travelling and meeting people…in freedom.

Twenty-seven years is a very long period of time to spend behind bars and yet, Mr Mandela managed to survive all those years plucking up his courage and having in mind one goal: to change the political situation of a country that segregated human beings. I cannot think of a better example of a man who has contributed so much to the liberty of a country and to the entire humankind. Certainly, he deserved the Nobel Peace Prize.

Today Mr Mandela is a ninety-two years old hero, an example of courage and strength for his fellow citizenships all over the world. 46664, the number he had in jail , has become a symbol of fight against injustice and his life should remind totalitarian governments throughout the world that their regimes will not last forever as there will always be another freedom fighter with another number, another Nelson Mandela who will sacrifice part of his life for the benefit of the generations to come.

The poem I am posting today describes how Mr Mandela was, is and will always be the "master of [his] fate" and "the captain of [his]soul". Unbeatable.


Invictus

by William Ernest Henley (1849-1903)

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.


10 February 2010

Sweet dreams

Last night I had a beautiful dream. No, it was not about winning the jackpot and buying a bigger flat. I do not remember much of it but I was laughing and there were plenty of people around me. I was feeling really well until suddenly the alarm clock woke me up.

They say we all dream but most of the times I do not remember anything at all. I was wondering if all the people who lost their family, friends and properties in the Haiti earthquake dream about good things too. Do we really escape from our physical reality when we dream? Can our dreams separate reality from fiction when they take over? I do not know. I guess dreaming is not governed by free will but I hope all those Haitian children who have lost their parents and have nothing at all can have intense and beautiful dreams to fly to an unreal dimension that can help them forget for a while.


Dreams

by Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849).

 

I have been happy, tho' in a dream.

I have been happy- and I love the theme:

Dreams! in their vivid coloring of life,

As in that fleeting, shadowy, misty strife

Of semblance with reality, which brings

To the delirious eye, more lovely things

Of Paradise and Love- and all our own!

Than young Hope in his sunniest hour hath known.

Click here to read the entire poem.


 

6 February 2010

Federico Garcia Lorca in English

Following the previous entry, this time I am including a poem written by Federico Garcia Lorca, known all over the world as Lorca. He was killed at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War when he was 38 years of age. Lorca, the man, disappeared but his poems have been recited and sung since then by tenths of Spanish singers and songwriters alike.

Here comes part of one of his most powerful and well-known poems taken from Romancero Gitano (Gypsy Ballads, 1928).


Verde que te quiero verde.
Verde viento. Verdes ramas.
El barco sobre la mar
y el caballo en la montaña.
Con la sombra en la cintura
ella sueña en su baranda,
verde carne, pelo verde,
con ojos de fría plata.
Verde que te quiero verde…

And here comes the translation in English as appears in the Gypsy Ballads:



Green, how I want you green.
Green wind. Green branches.
The ship out on the sea
and the horse on the mountain.
With the shade around her waist
she dreams on her balcony,
green flesh, her hair green,
with eyes of cold silver.
Green, how I want you green…

You can read the entire poem in Spanish here and in English here.

Free counter and web stats