timeripple: (dulac fiddle)
I have not yet decided whether my LiveJournal will be deleted, or whether it will remain in its present state of defunct disuse. But any new content will be happening at Dreamwidth.

Meanwhile, here is some selectively selected Tennyson, used semi-satirically.


[...] I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honour'd of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use!
[...]
Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows;
[...]
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

(from "Ulysses")
timeripple: (dulac fiddle)
Spring speaks again, and all our woods are stirred,
And all our wide glad wastes aflower around,
That twice have heard keen April's clarion sound
Since here we first together saw and heard
Spring's light reverberate and reiterate word
Shine forth and speak in season. Life stands crowned
Here with the best one thing it ever found,
As of my soul's best birthdays dawns the third.

There is a friend that as the wise man saith
Cleaves closer than a brother: nor to me
Hath time not shown, through days like waves at strife,
This truth more sure than all things else but death,
This pearl most perfect found in all the sea
That washes toward your feet these waifs of life.

--Algernon Charles Swinburne (from Tristram of Lyonesse)
timeripple: (cucumber error (hogfather))
Happy Poetry Month! Here, have some nonsense.

The Jumblies
by Edward Lear

They went to sea in a Sieve, they did )
timeripple: (anenome)
Much has been happening and, as is the way of it, I have not posted about it. However! Here are several exciting things:

1. Yesterday I did SCIENCE! I looked at slides under a microscope and recorded things for Archaeologist Housemate. In future there may be things to centrifuge.

2. A couple of weeks ago I impulse-bought a giant pink digital watch at CVS. I am now convinced this is what I was born to wear, especially with Zoya Blu nails.

3. I am apparently going to Scotland in two weeks. Yay? It was not my idea, or my choice of timing, but I'm reminding myself how much I like Edinburgh and am determined not to be terrible about it.

4. I am going to Iceland after that for a few days, because it was the most amazing thing I could think of to do. (And because I'm already missing a ton of work for Scotland, so I might as well miss more work to do something I want.) There was a long and hilariously complicated scene at the travel agency, culminating in the owner offering me a job. She was only half joking.

5. Archaeologist Housemate was cleaning and almost put a bilingual collection of Rainer Maria Rilke in the to-sell pile. I fixed that: she's going to want it some day. Leafing through it I found this: and I still don't know if I am a falcon, or a storm )
timeripple: (dulac fiddle)
Today was a beautiful day, of the kind that remind me why I moved here. Wrote a bit, got a smoothie and drank it in the park with Cavafy’s selected poems, took a nap with Copernicus, wrote some more. Slow progress is being made, much of it on the wrong side of the line between context and wild speculation.

I got an ARC of The Bane Chronicles (collected), and I keep saying I’m done with that whole series, but it is awfully addictive, if absurdly overwrought in places and totally lacking in main characters who are less than ridiculously, angelically (or demonically) attractive. Magnus Bane is pretty much the only character I would actually want to read about at this point (though the terrible movie gave me an unexpected fondness for Isabelle Lightwood). Nostalgic terrible sweater blast! Plus I like just about anything Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson write.

I also like Cavafy a lot, as it turns out.

“One of Their Gods” (C.P. Cavafy, tr. Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard)

When one of them moved through the center of Selefkia
just as it was getting dark—
moved like a young man, tall, extremely handsome,
the joy of immortality in his eyes,
his hair black and perfumed—
the people going by would gaze at him,
and they would ask each other who he was,
if he was a Greek from Syria, or a stranger.
But some who looked more carefully
would understand and step aside;
and as he disappeared under the colonnade,
among the shadows and the evening lights,
going toward the quarter that lives
only at night, with orgies and debauchery,
with every kind of intoxication and desire,
they would wonder which of Them it could be,
and for what suspicious pleasure
he’d come down into the streets of Selefkia
from the August Celestial Mansions.
timeripple: (fyeah curly redheaded heroines)
April has slipped away too fast. Work has been busy, and I've been busy outside of it. My adventuring has been curbed somewhat by extremely persistent plantar fasciitis in one foot, which I finally contacted a recommended doctor about, only to be told that they don't do feet. Sigh.

Anyway, I have not forgotten it is Poetry Month (for the next few minutes). Through a string of coincidences involving a remaindered box of postcards and Emily Dickinson, I've been reading Muriel Rukeyser, who won the Yale Younger Poets prize in 1935. I find her often incoherent, but I like some of her phrasing very much. The following is pure Wellesley benediction; I read it and find myself back in the chapel squashed between my friends on an uncomfortable bench. The choir has just finished, or possibly the group that did Indigo Girls songs, and we are all of us being encouraged by somebody with a PhD and a gown:

“This Place in the Ways”

Having come to this place
I set out once again
on the dark and marvelous way
from where I began:
belief in the love of the world,
woman, spirit, and man.

Having failed in all things
I enter a new age
seeing the old ways as toys,
the houses of a stage
painted and long forgot;
and I find love and rage.

Rage for the world as it is
but for what it may be
more love now than last year
and always less self-pity
since I know in a clearer light
the strength of the mystery.

And at this place in the ways
I wait for song.
My poem-hand still, on the paper,
all night long.
Poems in throat and hand, asleep,
and my storm beating strong!

(Muriel Rukeyser, The Green Wave, 1948, p. 21)
timeripple: (anenome)
This morning I painted my nails gold and drew bare branches with a Sharpie to cover up some small scratches, donned my traditional Halloween attire, and went to work. Now I am home snuggling with the cat and about to start the traditional Halloween ritual re-reading of The Perilous Gard.

In honor of the day I give you the beginning of "Goblin Market," because this is one of the nicer parts of California and all that business about seasonal desolation doesn't quite apply, not yet.

Morning and evening
Maids heard the goblins cry:
“Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy:
Apples and quinces,
Lemons and oranges,
Plump unpeck’d cherries,
Melons and raspberries,
Bloom-down-cheek’d peaches,
Swart-headed mulberries,
Wild free-born cranberries,
Crab-apples, dewberries,
Pine-apples, blackberries,
Apricots, strawberries;—
All ripe together
In summer weather,—
Morns that pass by,
Fair eves that fly;
Come buy, come buy:
Our grapes fresh from the vine,
Pomegranates full and fine,
Dates and sharp bullaces,
Rare pears and greengages,
Damsons and bilberries,
Taste them and try:
Currants and gooseberries,
Bright-fire-like barberries,
Figs to fill your mouth,
Citrons from the South,
Sweet to tongue and sound to eye;
Come buy, come buy.”

Evening by evening
Among the brookside rushes,
Laura bow’d her head to hear,
Lizzie veil’d her blushes:
Crouching close together
In the cooling weather,
With clasping arms and cautioning lips,
With tingling cheeks and finger tips.
“Lie close,” Laura said,
Pricking up her golden head:
“We must not look at goblin men,
We must not buy their fruits:
Who knows upon what soil they fed
Their hungry thirsty roots?”
“Come buy,” call the goblins
Hobbling down the glen.


http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/174262

Happy Halloween.
timeripple: (i said nothing)
I approve of all the Beethoven that’s going around the internet airways like an epidemic. An epidemic of AWESOME AND STRING QUARTETS.

Tonight in Korean class 선생님 corrected a future tense conjugation I’d done, explaining “you’ve got the rule right, but actually we don’t use it here because we don’t like to say the sound twice.” Guys, this is a language that breaks its own rules because it sounds better that way. I finally gave up all pretense at scholarly interest and scrawled “OH KOREA” in the margin of my workbook.


Since it’s again apartment-hunting time, here is a poem:

“Landowners”

From my rented attic with no earth
To call my own except the air-motes,
I malign the leaden perspective
Of identical gray brick houses,
Orange roof-tiles, orange chimney pots,
And see that first house, as if between
Mirrors, engendering a spectral
Corridor of inane replicas,
Flimsily peopled.
                           But landowners
Own their cabbage roots, a space of stars,
Indigenous peace. Such substance makes
My eyeful of reflections a ghost’s
Eyeful, which, envious, would define
Death as striking root on one land-tract;
Life, its own vaporous wayfarings.

(Sylvia Plath, 1956. p. 53 in The Collected Poems, ed. Ted Hughes, Harper Perennial Modern Classics, New York: 2008.)
timeripple: (intellectual dilettante)
I'd really like to write a long, thoughtful post about how Nobunaga no Chef is amazing and full of historical figures bursting into song and cape-swishing. But I've got a lot of reading to do tonight, so have a poem instead.

"On Finding a Bird Skull"

If she wants
to say bird
not finch
not starling
not snipe

let her

They all have
rough tongues
hollow bones
heads
made mostly

of eye

(Rebecca Farivar, from Correct Animal, Octopus Books, 2011).
timeripple: (fyeah curly redheaded heroines)
So it turns out that reading an incredibly terrifying novel the afternoon before a rainstorm is a really terrible idea. I got soaked on the way back from class and now I’m in my cold room with the wind and rain and garden things scratching and bumping against the porch, and I can hear everything because my walls are mostly windows and basically wahhhh.

On the plus side, I've been procrastinating with Sporcle literary quizzes (as you do) and damn it, Shakespeare, I don't even like Romeo & Juliet, but

Come, night; come, Romeo; come, thou day in night
For thou wilt lie upon the wings of night
Whiter than new snow on a raven’s back
...
...and every tongue that speaks
But Romeo’s name speaks heavenly eloquence.


LIFE-RUINER.
timeripple: (attir'd with stars)
"The Thought Fox" by Ted Hughes

I imagine this midnight moment's forest:
Something else is alive
Beside the clock's loneliness
And this blank page where my fingers move.

Through the window I see no star:
Something more near
Though deeper within darkness
Is entering the loneliness:

Cold, delicately as the dark snow
A fox's nose touches twig, leaf;
Two eyes serve a movement, that now
And again now, and now, and now

Sets neat prints into the snow
Between trees, and warily a lame
Shadow lags by stump and in hollow
Of a body that is bold to come

Across clearings, an eye,
A widening deepening greenness,
Brilliantly, concentratedly,
Coming about its own business

Till, with a sudden sharp hot stink of fox
It enters the dark hole of the head.
The window is starless still; the clock ticks,
The page is printed.
timeripple: (anenome)
Alas, I have been delinquent from this journal as usual by the twin causes of travel and sloth. A few weeks ago I traipsed about New York City with [livejournal.com profile] mousapelli, eating everything in sight, getting stuck in a human traffic jam, and inflicting much merry butchery upon the ears of the Karaoke Duet staff. (I maintain that KAT-TUN songs as rendered by your resident hoarse Disney Princess are hilarious.) The next day it was my honor to attend my dear [livejournal.com profile] a4yroldfaerie’s wedding in a shocking fuschia dress and sparkly black nail polish. Many the portions of mac’n’cheese that were consumed at the reception, and many the cranberry vodkas too; many the tales that flew about the table.

Thence to Boston to see more old friends and do a little holiday helping at the bookstore. Many lines of Tiny Homer were set and printed! More mac’n’cheese was consumed! Also dumplings. (Look, I promise I did some actual bookselling on this trip; I didn’t just sit around eating. Not entirely anyway. Ahem. Right. I, uh, also drank some chai.)

I do love bookselling during the holidays. Everything is happy chaos. It was totally not my idea to goad J. into playing four-part harmony carols over the loudspeaker… in Korean. Nuh-uh.

I managed not to burst into uncontrollable sobbing until my return plane was about half an hour out from landing. Which I guess is an improvement? Last time I only made it about as far as Jamaica Plain. XD

So I’ve been trying to think about how to sum up this year, philosophize about it, and really that isn’t working out so well. So instead, have a list of all the books I read for the first time this year, chronologically organized. (I’m, uh, leaving out most of the picturebooks and re-reads, because that would make this even more ridiculously long. I’ve included release dates for any that aren’t out yet and also those that came out in 2012 for nefarious purposes of my own. Yes, my present to myself was a giant stack of galleys purloined from the buying office.)

The Year in Review )

Currently reading: Antigonick by Sophocles and Anne Carson. "Footsteps pass so perilously soft across the sea in marble winter." There are no page numbers but the quote is from a choral speech pretty early on.

So there you have it. Happy New Year, all.
timeripple: (attir'd with stars)
My darlings, I have not dropped off the face of the planet—though it sort of feels like it—no, I am in California, and here I stay for the foreseeable future. Mind you, I can only deal with the future about two weeks in advance, so you see the problem with my life planning skills right here.

I have traveled by train and by car from one end of the country to the other, with lots of detouring in between and a brief stint where my friend M and I seriously considered becoming casino waitresses in Reno and then writing a trashy novel about it. [livejournal.com profile] mousapelli took me to a palace of wonders called Chocolate World and let me sleep on her couch and bond with Datte and watch all her con DVDs.

This has actually backfired, though, because now I’m in a KAT-TUN phase, and somebody needs to take all my music away from me, because I keep listening to 勇気の花 and then sobbing every time it gets to Hittori ja nai yo, nakama ga iru yo.

See, I'm crying again. No, stop. A road trip is more than what you leave behind. I have seen little harbor towns and shining cities and also elephants and a whole lot of sagebrush. I have participated in philosophical conversations about the human condition (lasting most of Kansas) and masqueraded as a German tourist (super useful for thwarting obnoxious panhandlers). I have visited the first coffee shop west of the Mississippi and driven past a mountain forest fire at night and seen the Milky Way.

Of many peoples—their cities he saw, and understood their minds;
Many perils his spirit suffered upon the sea.


Because a loose and selective translation of Homer is always relevant. Always.

More soon--I will try.
timeripple: (i said nothing)
I have been adventuring and therefore delinquent as usual, I see.

First there was a brief flying visit with [livejournal.com profile] snowqueenofhoth in New York. (UNIQLO, Organic Coffeehouse fro-yo, and karaoke--very fancy, I even wore a dress.) )


The following week I took a tiny tiny plane to visit my friend M. in the Adirondacks. We talked about poetry a lot; a lake tried to devour me; it was great. )


In between trips I caught a magnificent cold and got teary-eyed over the Declaration of Independence and the thought that people used to just WRITE like that. I mean, "When in the Course of human events..." BAM! Cue tears.

What writing gets you all teary at its sheer greatness?
timeripple: (dulac fiddle)
O poetry month, wherefore art thou so soon ended? Here is my favorite translation of one of my favorite poems by Anna Akhmatova. I suspect it is not the most accurate version--some of the word choices are downright puzzling--but I am particularly fond of the last stanza as rendered by this translator.

A log bridge blackened and twisted.
The burdocks stand as high as a man.
The thick nettle forests sing that
the scythe will not flash through them.
In the evening over the lake a sigh is heard,
rough moss has crawled over the walls.

There I was
twenty-one.
The black, stifling honey
was sweet to the lips.

The twigs tore
my white silk dress,
the nightingale sang unceasingly
on the crooked pine.

At a given call
he came out of hiding,
like a wild wood-spirit,
but more tender than a sister.

Run over the plain,
swim across the river,
then afterwards,
I will not say leave me.

(1917. Tr. Richard McKane. p. 56, Anna Akhmatova: Selected Poems. London: Oxford University Press, 1969. Originally published in Anno Domini.)
timeripple: (dulac fiddle)
Why am I still awake at 2:40 am?

Gahhh.

Well, anyway it's Poetry Month, so have a link to a poetry tumblr to which I regularly contribute:

BooksellersFoundPoetry

and a nonsense yet oddly appropriate-to-this-post poem that I found in my list of books-sold the other day:

Good night. I love you.
Good night, Boston.
It's useful to have a duck.
timeripple: (anenome)
Happy Halloween!

Have a poem by Neil Gaiman:

The tower's built of spit and spite,
Without a sound, without a sight.
The biter bit, the bitter bite.
(It's better to be out at night.)


This year I had not one but TWO Halloween costumes! You see, I was determined to dress up for work, and also I was invited to an Alice in Wonderland party because apparently I am popular like that. Ahahahaha. For the party I teamed up with two co-workers, and we went as Drink Me, Eat Me, and Bite Me.

Guess which one I was. XD

En route we discovered that that pretty much made us a band, since I was already wearing all black and eyeliner and had said "I hate everything" about five times already that day. (Liquid eyeliner: that stuff's no joke.) So: next time you need a band to sing about food, call ye on The Gastronomers of Wonderland.

Then today I again braved the perils of liquid eyeliner to be Eyelinered Professor McGonagall. I am so happy that this year it was cold enough to wear all the parts of my costume at the same time (unlike last year). I wore my Save Ginny t-shirt, plaid(-ish) skirt, green velvety dress-gone-horribly-wrong-but-redeemed-as-robe, and the black witch's robe that was first used as a Death Eater costume lo these many years gone (that also involved liquid eyeliner, come to think of it). I scraped my hair up and looked pretty McGonagall-ish if I do say so myself.

Occasionally I would say things like “ten points from Slytherin” just because.

♥ How are you all celebrating? ♥
timeripple: (anenome)
Happy Halloween!

Have a poem by Neil Gaiman:

The tower's built of spit and spite,
Without a sound, without a sight.
The biter bit, the bitter bite.
(It's better to be out at night.)


This year I had not one but TWO Halloween costumes! You see, I was determined to dress up for work, and also I was invited to an Alice in Wonderland party because apparently I am popular like that. Ahahahaha. For the party I teamed up with two co-workers, and we went as Drink Me, Eat Me, and Bite Me.

Guess which one I was. XD

En route we discovered that that pretty much made us a band, since I was already wearing all black and eyeliner and had said "I hate everything" about five times already that day. (Liquid eyeliner: that stuff's no joke.) So: next time you need a band to sing about food, call ye on The Gastronomers of Wonderland.

Then today I again braved the perils of liquid eyeliner to be Eyelinered Professor McGonagall. I am so happy that this year it was cold enough to wear all the parts of my costume at the same time (unlike last year). I wore my Save Ginny t-shirt, plaid(-ish) skirt, green velvety dress-gone-horribly-wrong-but-redeemed-as-robe, and the black witch's robe that was first used as a Death Eater costume lo these many years gone (that also involved liquid eyeliner, come to think of it). I scraped my hair up and looked pretty McGonagall-ish if I do say so myself.

Occasionally I would say things like “ten points from Slytherin” just because.

♥ How are you all celebrating? ♥
timeripple: (Default)
Yesterday during the rainstorm I was in the library to pick up a book, as I often am, and was browsing the poetry section looking for Pushkin. See, I read [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna ’s new book Deathless a few days ago, and while it’s pretty stark for her (which would be linguistically lush and layered for anyone else), I ate it up, and it’s making me remember a big book of Russian fairy tales I had as a child. (Yeah, there pretty much always WAS an Ivan.) And I wanted to check out some Pushkin, since he features so strongly in Deathless. I didn’t find anything about Koschei, but I did find this:


Sleep I cannot find, nor light:
Everywhere is dark and slumber,
Only weary tickings number
The slow hours of the night.
Parca, jabbering, woman-fashion,
Sleeping night, without compassion,
Life, who stirs like rustling mice,
Why encage me in thy vise?
Why the whispering insistence,—
Art thou but the pale persistence
Of a day departed twice?
What black failures dost thou reckon?
Dost thou prophesy or beckon?
I would know whence thou art sprung,
I would study thy dark tongue…


(“Verses Written During a Sleepless Night.” Deutsch and Yarmolinsky, comps. Modern Russian Poetry, 1921. I tell you, if my nights were sleepless then at least I wouldn't be having dreams about being a thoroughly useless human being.)

I quite like it, even if my own recent attempts at Catullus (98, rendered clumsily by me as “Victus the Stinkbreath”) have thrown me into despair and convinced me that I should just learn all languages ever and read things in the original, because many accurate translations are terrible poetry, and many decent poems are not at all accurate translations.

...Russian only has one alphabet, right? How hard can it be?

Happy Poetry Month.
timeripple: (Default)
Yesterday during the rainstorm I was in the library to pick up a book, as I often am, and was browsing the poetry section looking for Pushkin. See, I read [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna ’s new book Deathless a few days ago, and while it’s pretty stark for her (which would be linguistically lush and layered for anyone else), I ate it up, and it’s making me remember a big book of Russian fairy tales I had as a child. (Yeah, there pretty much always WAS an Ivan.) And I wanted to check out some Pushkin, since he features so strongly in Deathless. I didn’t find anything about Koschei, but I did find this:


Sleep I cannot find, nor light:
Everywhere is dark and slumber,
Only weary tickings number
The slow hours of the night.
Parca, jabbering, woman-fashion,
Sleeping night, without compassion,
Life, who stirs like rustling mice,
Why encage me in thy vise?
Why the whispering insistence,—
Art thou but the pale persistence
Of a day departed twice?
What black failures dost thou reckon?
Dost thou prophesy or beckon?
I would know whence thou art sprung,
I would study thy dark tongue…


(“Verses Written During a Sleepless Night.” Deutsch and Yarmolinsky, comps. Modern Russian Poetry, 1921. I tell you, if my nights were sleepless then at least I wouldn't be having dreams about being a thoroughly useless human being.)

I quite like it, even if my own recent attempts at Catullus (98, rendered clumsily by me as “Victus the Stinkbreath”) have thrown me into despair and convinced me that I should just learn all languages ever and read things in the original, because many accurate translations are terrible poetry, and many decent poems are not at all accurate translations.

...Russian only has one alphabet, right? How hard can it be?

Happy Poetry Month.

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