Category Archives: Uncategorized

a moment of change

Why don’t we do a moment of action? Why don’t we do a moment of change? Kelly Clarkson

Le monde doit penser que nous sommes fous. Toutes les richesses de l’Amérique, et nous ne pouvons pas garder nos écoles en sécurité. Nous ne faisons rien pour arrêter la violence. Rien!

Appel à l’action, appel à compte

Call to Action

There have been too many moments of silence this year, at too many schools, for too many students, and too many teachers, for too many lives lost senselessly.

At the 2018 Billboard Music Awards Sunday, television viewers were prepared for the traditional recognition of the tragic school shooting in Texas two days earlier a moment of silence. Instead, Host Kelly Clarkson called for a moment of action, a moment of change.

hands-apart

 

But as Kelly says, it is time, long past time, to do something and change the course America is on.

Please, won’t you be part of the change?

pray

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Basho – the Scent of the Plum

blossoms-2

The scent of the plum

The scent of the plum (ume)
Chased again and again
By winter’s wind

Japanese

梅が香に 追いもどさるる 寒さかな

Ume ga ka ni/ Oimo dosa ruru/ Samusa kana

Meaning of Basho’s Scent of Plum Blossoms

Who does not recall an early spring, the scent of the plum blossom, chased away by the cold, again and again?

Until spring is here to stay.

Line one, 梅, ume, the Japanese plum tree symbolizes spring’s start, because its early blossoms flower in February and March.

Line two, 追いもどさ is a bit of a struggle for me. Chased, pursued, run after, driven away are all candidates as the action verb. るる may be translated as continuously, but I have chose “again and again”. Line three 寒 is “cold”, but I used winter’s wind to keep Basho’s 4-7-4 pattern.

This simple haiku’s beauty lies in the ending rhyme of the three lines:

kani – ruru – kana

Land of Oz

Wonder of wonders, I came across a small grove of “ume” trees blossoming and bearing fruit in the sandy soil of a pond created out of an old sand pit. The tree is more akin to an apricot and the fruit is tart and sweet. The birds and the local animals enjoy the fruit, but I get my share.

blossom-bird

frog in water

The sound of water

The Sound of Water, in English

An old pond and

A frog leaps in,

Sound of water!

frog in water

Basho’s poem

A well known poem by Matsuo Basho (松尾 芭蕉, 1644–1694) describing the sound of water. Even this simple haiku can have multiple translations. Sometimes the last line,  水の音, Mizu no oto, is simplified to “splash”. If one tries to be literal, then the line goes 水, mizu, water and の音, no oto, of sound. This works out to be “water’s sound” or the “sound of water”. Gramatically this is reverse of the French construction, “Le bruit de l’eau!”

We all interpret poems differently. My take is that Basho is laughing at the idea of water speaking when a frog jumps in.

Late in life, overcome with the loss of his mother and life in general, Bashō left Edo (Tokyo) and took to traveling alone on the Edo Five Routes. In 17th century Japan, these higways were thought to be full of thieves and bandits and considered dangerous. At first Bashō expected, if not hoped, to die in some forgotten spot. However, as his journey progressed, his mood improved, and Bashō met friends and grew to enjoy the scenery along the route.

Eventually, Basho returned to Edo where in 1686, he wrote this poem.

 

Japanese

古池や 蛙飛び込む 水の音

Furuike ya/ Kawazu tobikomu/ Mizu no oto

French

Un âgé étang et
Une grenouille bonde,
Le bruit de l’eau!

I am Welsh


Nothing I cared in the lamb white days, that time would
take me up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand, in the moon that is always rising, nor that riding to sleep I should hear him fly with the high fields and wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.

Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means, time held me green and dying, though I sang in my chains like the sea.

Fern Hill, Dylan Thomas

What it means to be Welsh

Did I mention that I am Welsh?

I am not sure that it means anything anymore, for the Welsh language and culture are pretty much forgotten these days, forgotten like a dream of old. In Scotland you are Scottish and in England you are English. In Great Britain you are Welsh if you say you are, and you are not if you don’t want to be, and for the most part most people don’t care.

I do.

Though it is in part, I feel I am Welsh in my heart and in my blood. Now, if someone should strike up a song, the valley shall ring with the sound of voices – for singing is in the heart of my people as sight is in the eye.

welsh flag

Welsh Lyrics

They flout me as half-English—a disgrace
For which scarce all your virtues can atone,
Mother, in whom I find no flaw but one,
That you are Saxon!—but this fault of race
Fell not on me nor yet, I fear, your grace
EDMUND O. JONES.
VICARAGE, LLANIDLOES,
July 23, 1896.

Read more…

the mist

The mist is rising off the lake, ghostly white
The sky is the palest blue, the softest pink,
The mist becomes a cloud of lavender floating just beyond my touch
Through the trees, the sun is dawning, the night fades, and it is morn
And I descend the path to the lake, as the birds begin to wake
Within I feel at peace, knowing the world is still asleep
And for the moment this place is mine, and mine alone
If one does not include my crowded thoughts

water-lake-2

“Le poème, cette hésitation prolongée entre le son et le sens.” Paul Valéry

 

Those who were close to him called him Paul. French poet Ambroise Paul Toussaint Jules Valéry, (1871-1945) said,” A poem is never finished just abandoned.” I suppose that is true, that we are never really happy with the result. It is only weariness or time that moves on to the next thought. Perhaps I shall return as Robert Frost suggested, perhaps not.

pencil and paper

Are you curious?

My one-day-to-be-famous TV reporter daughter sent me a link to Oprah Winfrey’s conversation with Brian Grazer.

 

The most important piece of advice Brian Grazer gave in his interview with Oprah Winfrey came when he retold about meeting Lew Wasserman, legendary talent agent and studio executive.

“Kid,” Wasserman told the annoyingly brash and young Brian Grazer, “you know nothing now.” Then, he said, “Get a legal pad,”  which Grazer did. Wasserman gave Grazer a number 2 pencil.

“Now, put pencil to paper.” And with that Wasserman left.

An uncomprehending Grazer stood there perplexed until he remembered what his tiny Jewish grandmother told him as a child.

“Brian, you are curious. You will figure it out.”

Did you?

pencil and paper

 

marilyn monroe poster

Imperfection and Concoction

Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than boring. Marilyn Monroe

L’imperfection est la beauté, la folie est le génie.

In the fall of 1946 Marilyn Monroe was granted a divorce from her first husband, Jim Dougherty, … later saying, “My marriage didn’t make me sad, but it didn’t make me happy either. My husband and I hardly spoke to each other. This wasn’t because we were angry. We had nothing to say. I was dying of boredom.”
marilyn monroe poster

Unfortunately, the first quote attributed to the beautifully imperfect Marilyn is a fairy tale concoction that is all made up. The quote about her husband is true.

There were brains behind the beauty and Marilyn had many great quotes, including:

We should all start to live before it is too late.