Monthly Archives: October 2007

“Silentium” by Fyodor Tyutchev [Translated by Vladimir Nabokov]

Speak not, lie hidden, and conceal
the way you dream, the things you feel.
Deep in your spirit let them rise
akin to stars in crystal skies
that set before the night is blurred:
delight in them and speak no word.

How can a heart expression find?
How should another know your mind?
Will he discern what quickens you?
A thought once uttered is untrue.
Dimmed is the fountainhead when stirred:
drink at the source and speak no word.

Live in your inner self alone
within your soul a world has grown,
the magic of veiled thoughts that might
be blinded by the outer light,
drowned in the noise of day, unheard…
take in their song and speak no word.

Continue reading “Silentium” by Fyodor Tyutchev [Translated by Vladimir Nabokov]

James Henry Whitworth (His Twisted Love Still Haunts Us All)

graves.gif

“Does Death scare you, Hare?”
“No, but the food is terrible”
“Oh, death’s a place? I suspected as much”
“a contrary little circus. People are always shocked when they see children. For all its coldness, death looks after children…the whole place changes. It’s the least it can do.”

“What scares you then?”

WHAT SCARES THE HARE (HE WON’T ADMIT IT) 

  • Visits from the Prophets (really just coldcalling salesmen in robes. Their phoney prophecies involve the melodramic breaking of mirrors, and sometimes the raining of insects upon a loved one)
  • The destruction of personal pottery.
  • LOVE – See Also: Human Politics, Serge Gainsbourg’s “Je Taime” (Moi Non Plus).
  • Animatronics
  • Billy Bob Thornton
  • Writer’s Block
  • The Telephone
  • Cougars in Ties
  • Brief Cases of Influenza (time may be slowed, security combinations can be found)
  • The Disembodiment of Anything.
  • Sweets & Carbon, Footprints in the Diesel.
  • Snow
  • Unlit Pumpkins
  • Elixers Proporting to “Promote Health”
  • “Friendly” Bacteria
  • Violins Without Trees, Played by Tree-fellers
  • The Inevitable, of course.
  • The Accordian, sans bones.
  • Ghosts in Various States of Duress

Suggestions Please. You know The Hare better than I do.

Happy All Saints’ Eve!

In Dreamland – A Zen Koan

“Our schoolmaster used to take a nap every afternoon,” related a disciple of Soyen Shaku. “We children asked him why he did it and he told us: ‘I go to dreamland to meet the old sages just as Confucius did.’ When Confucius slept, he would dream of ancient sages and later tell his followers about them.”It was extremely hot one day so some of us took a nap. Our schoolmaster scolded us. ‘We went to dreamland to meet the ancient sages the same as Confucius did,’ we explained. ‘What was the message from those sages?’ our schoolmaster demanded. One of us replied: ‘We went to dreamland and met the sages and asked them if our schoolmaster came there every afternoon, but they said they had never seen any such fellow.'”

more here

A Calendar of Hares by Anna Crowe

1. At the raw end of winter
the mountain is half snow, half
dun grass. Only when snow
moves does it become a hare.

2. If you can catch a hare
and look into its eye
you will see the whole world.

3. That day in March
watching two hares boxing
at the field’s edge, she felt
the child quicken.

4. It is certain Midas never saw a hare
or he would not have lusted after gold.

5. When the buzzard wheels
like a slow kite overhead
the hare pays out the string.

6. The man who tells you
he has thought of everything
has forgotten the hare.

7. The hare’s form, warm yet empty.
Stumbling upon it he felt his heart
lurch and race beneath his ribs.

8. Beset by fears, she became
the hare who hears
the mowers’ voices grow louder.

9. Light as the moon’s path over the sea
the run of the hare over the land.

10. The birchwood a dapple
of fallen gold: a carved hare
lies in a Pictish hoard.

11. Waking to the cry of a hare
she ran and found the child sleeping.

12. November stiffens
into December: hare and grass
have grown a thick coat of frost.

Continue reading A Calendar of Hares by Anna Crowe

Dmitri’s Last Poem in Human Form [Translated by “Peter”]

I ran through the dense forest,
I ran through the thick grove,
Looked up at the sky, sighed,
And remembered my native home.

– Russian Folksong,
Sung by Anna Petrovna, Solovyovo.

Saturday, 13 October 1945The Evening Standard and General reports that eminent professor in the Art and Science of Fire and Sleep, “Dmitri”, has been found – “considerably more dead than usual” in his Study Room and Planetarium at the Academy of Pyrology and Dreams, which is situated alternately in London, New York, Paris, Brussels, France and Russia (at various times). Famed mostly for his study of “living objects” and his criticism of “Wake-Theory”, Dmitri was popular with Scholars and Prostitutes alike, and earned a reputation for the unusual typography and lavish binding of his mostly nonsensical publications.

Precisely almost half an hour or so after the discovery of the body, a visiting latrine salesman reported seeing an unusually large and sad-looking dog escape through an unusually small gap in the Academy gates. Security personnel to this day maintain that they saw nothing of the sort, and that they are in no way responsible for the floods that plague inhabitants of the village of Solovyovo, about 300 miles north of Moscow, which, according to local legend, are the accumulated tears of a weeping panther God.

Conspiracy theories abound that Dmitri was spotted teaching at a rival institution, the University of Waking and Light.

Apparently before Dmitri had left us, he wrote a poem. Each line was hidden in a different place in his study, and Dmitri’s apprentice, Jim “The American”, took it upon himself to piece them together and approximate what the complete poem may have looked like. It was then my great honour to translate the poem from the original Russian, using Google Language Tools. The outcome, I’m sure you will agree, is delightfully mangled, and is not even a shadow of the original. This “Translator” could not be more satisfied. The poem is reproduced below.

The Mouse

My friend is in for a slow death –
a little one.

The sum of all parts –
this house and
its clock.
Of its two residents;
it is the rodent
who will die today.

I will celebrate
by starving on cake.

‘Til three o’clock
I’ll recite my lessons.

They’ll be some missing time
and then…
in the evening;
“Come hither, little mouse”
you loveable runt;

You joke too much!
You are no comfort.

You steal my food
and would make
a poor blanket.

You are not the friend
you presume to be.

Life has deserted me
with orders to live!
Given my orders,
I’m out on my ear,
listening to the ground,
where there grows no music.

How can you dance,
Where there is no tune?

When I’m outside,
I find pieces of clockwork,
and yet none of them
can rotate the hands.

As you did your rounds
you collected dust;

like a sleepy milkman
in a small village.

My weary friend,
who can finally dream,
it is you
who will die –

I, myself,
have other plans.

Continue reading Dmitri’s Last Poem in Human Form [Translated by “Peter”]