Showing posts from March, 2010

George Herbert and Easter time

I feel obliged to post a poem related to Easter time. The poet I have chosen today is George Herbert because he has a poem whose form resembles that of a pair of wings and I like it. I hope you like it too.

Easter wings
by George Herbert (1593-1633)

Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store,
Though foolishly he lost the same,
Decaying more and more,
Till he became
Most poore:
With thee
Oh let me rise
As larks, harmoniously,
And sing this day thy victories:
Then shall the fall further the flight in me.

My tender age in sorrow did beginne:
And still with sicknesses and shame
Thou didst so punish sinne,
That I became
Most thinne.
With thee
Let me combine
And feel this day thy victorie:
For, if I imp my wing on thine
Affliction shall advance the flight in me.

Those little things

The sky welcomes spring by turning into blue. The birds welcome spring by singing happily early in the morning from my balcony. Kids also welcome spring by playing outside their houses (something that they had not been able to do for the past six months!). There are many different ways to welcome spring and all of them are positive: we are all happy that snow and cold is over.

Spring is like an invitation to see life from another perspective: birds everywhere, ants in every corner, spiders in the windowsills, or kids playing in the park are different ways to show how happy we are for having left below zero temperatures behind. Little things make more sense in Spring, little elements like that transform reality the way we perceive it, like the little dot on top of the letter "i", like a comma, like the unconventionality of the poet Edward Estlin Cummings, who used to refer to himself as “i” and used to sign his name in lowercase letters: e.e. cummings. He wrote a poem full of …

Spring is here

Today is a beautiful day. The sun is on the top and I can see it ! I do not remember last time the clouds let me see the colour of the sun. Either I forget very easily or the winter that has just left us has been far too long with us.

I am so happy that the low temperatures are gone that I have just put my winter anorak right at the end of the wardrobe. I do not want to see it until next winter. This winter has been one of the longest and coldest ones I have lived in my life, but today the grey colour of the sky has turned into a beautiful blue sky that reminds me of the sea. I have already seen a couple of small spiders trying to get into my kitchen but I have blocked their way in. I guess they were looking for a warm place where to spend a few days but I have closed the window and let them follow their way outside. I hope they did not take me wrong: I do not have anything against spiders; I am just trying to keep the kitchen clean. Soon there will be birds in the balcony and ants i…

What about them ?

Nobody talks anymore about the kids who lost their parents in Haiti and Chile. Newspapers are busy with other news and the tragic effects of those two devastating earthquakes seem to have faded away. However, "no news" does not mean "good news" in this case; rather the opposite. The less we speak about what is going to happen to all those children who lost their families, who sleep in the streets, who do not have any possibility to go to school regularly, the worst for them.

The last thing I heard on TV was that plenty of countries had sent millions of dollars and thousands of tons in food, in water and in medicines to relieve the pain of the people. But I heard about it a month ago. What is going on now?, Who is looking after all those children whose future look really black?

If they do not have a proper childhood, they will not have a proper life. They will carry all their lives the pain, the suffering and the sorrow of a stormy childhood. They will not be "…

The power of water

Countries fight for its control. Even though the 70% of the planet's surface is water, there are millions of people who do not have it. There are also millions of people who pay a lot of money to have it on a daily basis. When I was a kid they told me that it has no taste, no colour and no smell but very often it stinks, it is green or yellow and it can be sweet or salty. It can be solid, liquid or it can evaporate. Civilizations have survived or dissappeared because of it. It gives life when it comes at the right time and in the right amount. It brings death very often too.It is water.

Waterby Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
The water understandsCivilization well;It wets my foot, but prettily,It chills my life, but wittily,It is not disconcerted,It is not broken-hearted:Well used, it decketh joy,Adorneth, doubleth joy:Ill used, it will destroy,In perfect time and measureWith a face of golden pleasureElegantly destroy


When I was a kid I used to look at the clouds to try and discover faces, the shape of animals or numbers. I do not do it anymore because when I look at the sky from where I live, I only see that the sky is grey and I cannot distinguish any cloud. Clouds are in many ways like human beings: there are some people who are always ready to help you, people who will bring you fresh water to refresh you in hard times. However, there are others who will only bring you grey comments to make you feel bad. Some clouds are far away like those friends who say that they are always ready to help but at the end of the day they are never at hand. Some others are closer like a good friend who you can always trust. Some others change their opinion from time to time and some others do so very often. The poet Percy B. Shelley called it mutability.
I am sure the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley knew very well that clouds are different from each other, just like you and me: there are big clouds and small cl…

Thoreau in Spanish

Since I started this blog, I have published a couple of posts about how difficult is to translate poetry. The first post was in Jan, 30 and I included several translations in English of a Spanish poem written by Quevedo (1580-1645). As the blog reader may have noticed, even though all the English translations are great, there are certain differences in each stanza that can easily confuse any reader interested in Quevedo´s poetry. Those variations certainly show that, when it comes to poetry, there is not one perfect translation.

The second post goes back to Feb, 6 where I included a very popular poem written by Federico García Lorca (1898-1936) along with its translation in English. I am not sure to what an extent the English translation is faithful to the original but it is the one that appeared in Romancero Gitano (Gypsy Ballads, 1928).

Today, I am including a short poem written by the American poet Thoreau. I also include an almost word- by- word translation in Spanish that, in my v…

Dreams to buy

For some people, buying things is nothing to do with money: they simply buy what they want to. If they see a car whose colour matches with their favourite suit, they buy the car. If their stressful lives in the city do not let them enjoy life to the full, they book a couple of weeks in a five-star hotel somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. Money does not matter because they have all they need and much more.

However, imagine there was a shop that sold people’s dreams. Imagine you could buy somebody’s dream and make it come true, which one would you buy? Would you buy a romantic dream or a gory dream? Would you buy a happy dream or a sad one? Would you buy a dream that made you laugh or one that made you cry?

If you could buy a dream that could change the world, would you buy it? What about if you had to pay with your own life?

by Thomas Lowell Beddoes (1803-1849)

IF there were dreams to sell, What would you buy?Some cost a passing bel…

Looking forward to Spring

The weather man says that Spring is round the corner but it is so cold here that it is difficult to believe him. Although most snow has already melted down, there is still plenty of snow on the pavements, the clouds are grey and they look as if they were about to empty their content anytime. This is one of the worst and longest winters since I moved to Warsaw. The romantic connotations of snow and winter were gone long time ago.
Sometimes I think my body needs sunlight. I do not know if this need for sun is written in my genes, but after several weeks without seeing the sun, without feeling the sun in my skin, I feel blue.
I am looking forward to Spring.
To Spring
by William Blake (1757-1827)
O Thou with dewy locks, who lookest down
Thro' the clear windows of the morning, turn
Thine angel eyes upon our western isle,
Which in full choir hails thy approach, O Spring! (4)The hills tell each other, and the list'ning
Valleys hear; all our longing eyes are turned
Up to thy bright pavilions:…

Daily Stress

Stress is omnipresent in my life. It is not that my life is a real tragedy; it is not that I have huge problems I cannot solve. I guess what stresses me in my daily life are small problems, small nuisances, small annoyances that do not let me live my life the way I would like to.

Constant insecurity at work, problems at home, bills to pay, getting late because the bus was late, getting late because I got stuck in a traffic jam, queuing everywhere, the permanent noise of the little girl who lives upstairs and who spends a few hours everyday jumping on the floor or riding her bike. Those are the things that stress me. I guess I should be lucky for suffering this sort of stress but sometimes I have the feeling that so much stress will get me crazy one day. Do you know what I mean?

(Illustration by Henry Holiday in
Lewis Carroll's "The Hunting of the Snark" )(Photograph taken from Wikipedia)

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994)

…It’s not the large things that
send a man to the

February 2010 entry list

Here comes the February 2010 entry list. The following posts will contain a poem and a short comment, as usual. At the end of each month, there will be an entry list with all the entries published during the month.

February 2010 list

Federico Garcia Lorca in EnglishSweet dreams46664International missions abroadMutabilityBye, bye snow !The IndifferentInviting a friend to supper

January 2010 entry list