Friday, May 20, 2011

Final Post

To all my readers and commenters since October 2004, many thanks.

Broken people get recycled and I hope that I will
Sometimes we're thrown off our pathways
What I thought was my way home
Wasn't the place I know

I'm not afraid of changing, I'm certain nothing's certain
What we own becomes our prison
My possessions will be gone
Back to where they came from . . .


(Katie Melua, The Flood, produced by William Orbit)

A Clot of Dreams

Sono un poeta
I am a poet
un grido unanime
a unanimous cry
sono un grumo di sogni
I am a clot of dreams

Sono un frutto
I am a fruit
d'innumerevoli contrasti d'innesti
of countless counter grafts
maturato in una serra
matured in a greenhouse.

Giuseppe Ungaretti, Italia (Italy), 1916 - excerpt.
Interlinear translation by Léon Bertoletti.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Walking Away

"I'm walking away, like dear Abby told me. I'm walking away, my shrink gave his OK."

(Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, Jubilation Day)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Most Dangerous Place on Earth

Berlin. In June 1961, Nikita Khrushchev called it "the most dangerous place on earth." He knew what he was talking about.

Much has been written about the Cuban Missile Crisis a year later, but the Berlin Crisis of 1961 was more decisive in shaping the Cold War-and more perilous, according to the book "Berlin 1961" by Frederick Kempe.

For the first time in history, American and Soviet fighting men and tanks stood arrayed against each other, only yards apart. One mistake, one overzealous commander-and the trip wire would be sprung for a war that would go nuclear in a heartbeat. On one side was a young, untested US president (John F Kennedy) still reeling from the Bay of Pigs disaster. On the other, a Soviet premier (Nikita Khrushchev) hemmed in by the Chinese, the East Germans, and hard-liners in his own government.

Neither really understood the other, both tried cynically to manipulate events. And so, week by week, the dangers grew.

ReutersVideo | Jim Ledbetter and Fred Kempe discuss the Berlin Crisis of 1961:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Adept in Love

Sich üben im Lieben (to become adept in love),
In Scherzen sich herzen (to jest and caress)
Ist besser als Florens vergängliche Lust (is better than Flora's passing pleasure).

Hier quellen die Wellen (here the waves flow),
Hier lachen und wachen (here laugh and watch)
Die siegenden Palmen auf Lippen und Brust (the palms of victory on lips and breast).

Bach's Sich üben im Lieben ("To become adept in love")
from the Cantata Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten ("Give way now, dismal shadows"), BWV 202.

Soprano Danielle de Niese:

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Stream of Consciousness

The question and the cry "Oh, where?" melt into tears of a thousand streams and deluge the world with the flood of the assurance "I am!" (Rabindranath Tagore, Gitanjali)

Rabindranath Tagore: born May 7, 1861, Calcutta, India — died August 7, 1941, Calcutta.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Expected the Unexpected

The gods appear in many forms,
carrying with them unwelcome things.
What people thought would happen never did.
What they did not expect, the gods made happen.
That's what this story has revealed.

(Euripides, The Bacchae)

Πολλαὶ μορφαὶ τῶν δαιμονίων,
πολλὰ δ᾽ ἀέλπτως κραίνουσι θεοί·
καὶ τὰ δοκηθέντ᾽ οὐκ ἐτελέσθη,
τῶν δ᾽ ἀδοκήτων πόρον ηὗρε θεός.
τοιόνδ᾽ ἀπέβη τόδε πρᾶγμα.
(Εὐριπίδης, Βάκχαι)