Nobodiness is a malady
That affects almost everybody.
Won’t somebody tell everybody,
Sir or madam, as the case may be,
Won’t you please, please, please
Say a kind word to me
It is bloody hell being a nobody
One damn day after another
Some things are lost in translation.
Les nullités sont seuls modestes.
Nur die Lumpen sind bescheiden.
“Ha, ha, ha” is how we write laughter, but it is no substitute for the real thing.
An American English major visiting the chateaux along the Loire, needing mightily take a leak, spots a French pissoir.
Going in he is Russian. Inside he is European. Leaving he’s Finnish.
When done, is he Danish?
Without humans, there would be no humor in the world, no laughter nor guffaws, and not even the hint of a smirk. A bird flying from pole to pole would find, on returning home to his nest for a well earned rest, sadly not even a smile.
There once was a movie called Truman
That asked, “Is it important to be human?”
Said the fly as he visits the freshly laid turd,
If man was gone from the face of the earth,
Would one cockroach care?
Une fois un film a été appelé Truman
Qui demandé, « Est-il important d’être humain? »
Dit la mouche comme il visite l’étron fraîchement pondus,
Si l’homme avait disparu de la face de la terre,
Voudrais les cafards cesseraient-ils?
Einmal war ein Film Truman genannt
Das fragte: „Ist es wichtig, ein Mensch zu sein?“
Sagte die Fliege, als er die frisch gelegte Kackwurst besucht,
Wenn der Mensch aus der Erde verschwunden,
Würde Kakerlaken unglücklich sein?
To be or not the bee
Let it be Rosemarie
Don’t read this, it’s meant
Just for me and not for you
Who stumbled on this poem
Just by accident.
Who smelled a pretty red, red rose
Dreaming of her handsome sweet, sweet love
And so, was stung by a bee
Was it on her lip or on her nose?
I’ll let you guess
Of Rosemarie, her love and the bee
Comme ce soit c’est fois
Ne lisez pas cela
C’est seul pour moi
Pas pour toi
Qui a arrive a ce poème
Juste par accidentellement
Qui sentait une rose rouge rouge
Rêver de son amour doux doux
Et a été piqué par une abeille
Était-ce sur sa lèvre ou nez?
Je vous laisse deviner
Just a word before I go. It seems we are forever saying farewell. Often we say it casually, in which case, “goodbye” is appropriate. Now, if one wants to interject a little feeling into the goodbye, one says “farewell”. “Fare thee well” if one likes pomposity and English verse.
Farewell also suggests a more permanent departure. In the military, staff and friends put on a “hale and farewell” for departing members of a unit. Hail and Farewell being a translation of “ave atque vale”, Gaius Valerius Catullus’ last words of the poem Carmen 101.
All this leads me to the thought that nothing is permanent. Goodbyes and farewells are in order. And as I will be away for a few days, I will just say “goodbye” or maybe “so long”.
Personally I have always like the French way, saying “À bientôt!”
Robert Frost’s Nothing Gold Can Stay was first published in 1923 and is I believe still under copyright. For that reason, I will quote only the first two lines and the last two in English and give the full translation into French. Therefore, it is an academic study and exempt from copyright laws.
If not, I will hear a “hello” from someone.
Premier vert de la nature est l’or,
Difficile sa teinte à tenir.
Au début sa feuille une fleur;
Seulement si une heure.
Puis la feuille affaisse à la feuille.
Alors Eden a sombré à la douleur,
Comme l’aube va à jour.
Rien de l’or ne restera.
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
Lost in Buenos Aires
Toma un descanso,
Abre tus ojos
Ahora cuente hacia atrás de tres …
Tienes quince años, niño inmaculado y
En absoluto lo que tu madre piensa
Solo ir a caminar
En una calle oscura
Se ve la pulperia
Estaba abierto, estaba cerrado
¿Qué secretos estaba dentro,
Que te costará
Take a moment,
Open your eyes
Now count backwards from three…
You’re fifteen, spotless child and
Not at all what your mother thinks
She sent you to the mini-mart
And along the way you saw the pulperia
Was it open, was it closed
What secrets lay inside, mama mia
What will it cost
The unripened grape, the ripe bunch, the raisin, all are changes, not into nothing, but into something which does not exist yet. Marcus Aurelius
Le raisin non mûr, le grappe de raisins, le raisin sec, tous sont des changements, pas dans rien, mais dans quelque chose qui n’existe pas encore. Marcus Aurelius
Which leads me to wonder, ‘If I were I younger and knew what I know now would I not make the same mistakes?’
Si j’étais plus jeune et je savais ce que je sais, n’effectuerais-je pas les mêmes fautes?
Mistakes happened and books were written, knowledge exists and lessons are taught, and history will still repeat itself.
The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, 167 A.C.E.
Begin each morning saying to thyself, ‘The busy-body, ingrate, arrogant, deceitful, envious, unsocial, all these beings happen by reason of ignorance of what is good. But I who have seen the beauty of good and the ugliness of bad, and the nature of him who does wrong; they exist as do I, but I can not be injured by any of them, for no one can fix on me what is ugly, nor can I be angry with my kinsman, nor hate him, for we are made to act jointly, like feet, hands, and eyelids, like the chatter of the teeth. To act against one another is contrary to nature, to be vexed and turned away.’
Tous sont fous, sauf moi, mais, avec toi, je dois ensemble toujours coexister.
The woods are not quiet. It seems still and quiet because the sounds are different from the noise of the city. Listen and you will hear the rambling creek as it chatters with the stones, the birds up above darting in and out the branches, the squirrels in the leaves, all talking about the strange being:
Who shouldn’t be where he is but is.
There is no reason
My car to walk
Down a shady path
Do I need a reason to walk?
Underneath the trees
And talk to the babbling brook
It could be spring or fall
It matters not at all
But to get away
And look and listen
For nothing at all
For birds that sing
For squirrels that scamper
And announce the coming
Of a strange being
Who doesn’t belong
Out in the woods
Look at the beauty
Of a path in the woods
Meandering left and right
Lit by the light of the sun
Through the towering trees
On a dusty old path of memories
Like my scatterbrained thoughts
That go nowhere
But straight to my heart
“Some people without brains do an awful lot of talking, don’t you think?
The Scarecrow from Oz”
In the Land of Oz, silence is the most misunderstood art of conversation, and loneliness the most steadfast companion.
Silence c’est le mot le plus mal compris, et la solitude le compagnon le plus ferme. Je trouve, Certaines personnes sans cerveaux parlent souvent beaucoup trop, tu ne penses pas ?
Dans la terre d’Oz on cherche la sagesse.
Oz is a mythical place where one goes to seek wisdom. I say “goes”, but I do not reply that one “finds” the answer. For that one must be willing to listen. More than that, one must know to whom and where to listen.