Tuesday, 11 January 2011

An island in infinity

Heart-touching poem:

THE MOON RISING                        LA LUNA ASOMA

When the moon rises,                          Cuando sale la luna
the bells hang silent                               se pierden las campanas
and impenetrable footpaths               y aparecen las sendas
appear.                                                        impenetrables.

When the moon rises,                          Cuando sale la luna,
the sea covers the land,                        el mar cubre la tierra
and the heart feels                                   y el corazon se siente
like an island in infinity.                         isla en el infinito.

Lorca, translated by Stephen Spender & JL Gili.

There are two more stanzas.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Blank day - but good

Was up at 6:30 am, now it is almost midnight - and have done no work and no reading.

On the other hand: visited the Dr, coffee with a friend, shopping and cooking dinner for 7, using new Asian cookery book, which as H.M.cN says "changed my life"! The many uses of a wok and the right sort of tools to use with it - from steaming to deep frying - very interesting and made this meal much easier than usual - all done in 2 hours max.

Nice evening. But nothing else.Worthwhile?

Sunday, 9 January 2011

The UN: Babble Bubble

A bit of everything, - no time for reading. Trimmed the roses and watered the garden. It hasn't rained for four days. All my reading is effortful or depressing: Dore Gold on the United Nations: The Tower of Babble, How the United Nations has Fueled Global Chaos (Crown Forum, NY, 2004).

I daren't read it before I go to sleep, too upsetting. At first I thought/hoped he was biased (against everyone who is not pro-Israel), but the evidence he provides is consistent: the UN fails to protect the weak against the strong. I still have half the book to read, having read about Rwanda and Srebernica so far....

Another illusion gone.

Friday, 7 January 2011


Middle of the day and not enough done - but want to mention that I recently read Going West by Maurice Gee, (Penguin, first published in 1992) which would be better if he had had more discipline and cut out repetition.

Urgent writing to do about Exodus, chapters 10 - 13. If I can shall add something about that later.

I am now at the last three pages of the translation, second round...should finish it next week. Last year I was hoping at one point to finish the work in June! I didn't think then that I should go over it again - but am very glad that I have done so.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Lebanon and Albania

Missed writing one day, again, I must prevail - a lot to write about - saw the Israeli Lebanon, Director Shmuel Maoz - very moving and to my mind, accurate portrayal of life in a tank on the first day of the war...No, have never been in a tank, but have served in the Israeli army and been in a war and been shot at. A long time ago. A local told me at a party in my house that he thought the film was propaganda...I said, No. I introduced him to two Israelis who were staying with me - passing through - a young couple in their mid twenties - she had been an officer. Both small, quiet and gentle.
I don't think it did any good.

A friend lent me a book entitled The Accident by Ismail Kadare, (translated from the Albanian by John Hodgson, 2008, Text Publishing Melbourne), Booker Man International Prize winner for 2005 -  the commendation says that he 'has had a truly global impact'. Not with this book, that's for sure. I thought it was dreadful, inane dialogue between two sex-obsessed people, probably a metaphor for something - Albania's past domination by a tyrant?  and Israel is mentioned randomly, never clear why - but the accumulation of words is so ghastly in its meaninglessness, it was all I could do not to throw the book across the room...True - some people live that way; I don't choose to associate with them. I couldn't finish the book.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Yet another fresh start...

Wanting to write more, I must do this every day.

Just been looking at the 'next blog' - first time I tried this, and it was a very interesting one - a photographer, Polish, called Tomasz Wiech...see his report on 300 Hassids 'from all over the world' visiting the grave of a holy man in a small Polish town. It cost me at least 15 min of the time I had planned to write in.

Back to books: a friend lent me - it was insistently 'only a loan' - a 1976 book by Peter Dickinson, entitled King & Joker (The Mysterious Press). A crime story at Buckingham Palace, with a fictitious Royal Family, one who is also descended from Victoria, - based on an idea of Lytton Strachey's about what would have happened if  Edward, Victoria's grandson,  had lived to rule as King Victor I. Very engaging whimsey, but it peters out as the idea becomes familiar and the discrepancies and irregularities gradually emerge from the tale like figures in a mist. Maybe when writing about unusual situations, new features ought to be meted out bit by bit, one after the other...  My excuse for enjoying it as much as I did was that I was sick and lay on the couch alternately reading and sleeping all day. The author loves his characters, it's twee and endearing at the same time.

A great book for Xmas, A History of the World in 100 Objects , by Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, in collaboration with BBC Radio 4. 100 chapters, easily read out loud, which we ( P & I) do for each other from time to time, and always, at some point, the listener says :Oh?!, full of amazement : the objects have an interesting complexity, more than the culture they come from, they also reflect some of the invisible forces of the time.The photos are good: I was interested in this collaboration with radio, and the confidence expressed by Radio 4 people (in the Preface) that they would be able to describe the objects well enough - they do. The Powerful Word.

The other book I am reading, also a most welcome gift, thank you Evie, is The Selected Poems of Federico Garcia Lorca, (1955, 2005, A New Directions Paperbook) with an introduction by W.S. Merwin. Contains the Spanish as well. A treasure.