Showing posts from October, 2010

Ezra Loomis Pound: Canto XLV - With Usura

Tebaldi: Pace, Pace Mio Dio

Round the blogs (2)

Language Log, which for some incomprehensible reason I had not thoroughly explored before now, is one of the most informative and funniest sites around; not only the articles, but the banter below. This article on an escaped chimp in Kansas City andthis one on leaf blowers are two recent examples.

No one will be surprised to learn that I made afool of myself on John Wells's phonetic blog by suggesting that /əʊ/ might exist in Italian. It doesn't of course, although I was pleased to learn on further reading that /ɔ:/ is higher in Milanese Italian than in the Standard variety, sounding much like /o/. Only 70% wrong then; a triumph.

Redbubble is a lovely place for art and writing. So good in fact that I have honoured it by posting some of my verse there (under Simonmh). Another shameless plug: my Facebook writer's page is open to anyone who wants to give it a like, which as you've got this far you may as well; I promise not to sell you anything.

You've all heard the old …

Peter Dawson: The Cornish Floral Dance


A tangled skein (2): the Storm, conclusion

Freezing panic, appalling loss; I could not breath for a moment. "Wh... What?" and the young American's voice became impatient. "Sorry, that's what she said, it's really nothing to do with me."
I suppose it wasn't, and I can forgive her for that, for she was only a messenger, but I think I understood at that moment the customs of the old Kings of Persia, who would execute the bearer of bad tidings as though he were the originator of them. But... "Well... OK," I said, choking. "Will you ask her to call me when she can?"
She never did call, but I knew she wouldn't. There was a terrible finality in that voice; a tone that said, "Oh hey, here's a loser calling for Michela." I heeded it for a week, desperately hoping that every phone call was her, hurting so bad that I cancelled lessons, staying indoors with drawn shutters, ignoring the New Year, hoping she would tell me everything was fine. And then I had to try again…

A tangled skein (2): the Storm, part 3

I was dazed; she was too. We knew something then that I think is hidden from most: a secret that cannot be shared with others, for there are no words to describe it; only that it was an exaltation.
The kisses became more passionate, and the hands wandered more freely, but we did not go further. "Who says I'd let you?" she said, and we laughed; I think we did. At least I laughed, but looking back I cannot see her. The touch, the smell, the happiness are as clear as today, but I cannot see her laughing face: it is lost to me now.
Finally it was time to say goodbye, for darkness was coming. I had another lesson, she had to pack. Our parting hug was lingering, unhurried, our final kiss exquisite, and the memory I have of Michela is her standing outside the door, in the same place she had stood the first day, smiling down at me.
I never saw her again. She went to Canada, and from Toronto I received a postcard with 'having a great time' and 'love and kisses', but …

A.L. Lloyd: The Two Magicians

A tangled skein (2): the Storm, part 2

But there was a problem. I was living with Dani and had been for over three years. Now the relationship had the sour aftertaste of too many rows, of too many things said that could not be taken back. I was to move out after Christmas, so we had agreed weeks before I met Michela, but Dani was determined that my moving out was only to be a new phase in the relationship, a chance for us to regroup and rethink, while I knew in my heart that it was the end. It was the jealousy, you see, the snarls I would get even for smiling at another woman, the snooping in my computer's files, the searching out of any detail that might smell of treachery. I felt trapped, and the greener her eyes became the more I was repelled.

Michela knew this, for I hid nothing of it from her, and the holding hands became hugs, and many sweet words of care. She had an ex herself, whom she saw occasionally, but only as friends, she assured me; the spark between them had died, and she was going to Canada to see an ol…

Victoria de los Ángeles: La dama d'Arigó

A tangled skein (2): the Storm, part 1

I was working in Milan before Christmas 1996, and my new pupil then was Michela. We met through Roberta, another pupil, and I had met Roberta through her cousin, yet another. It was like that then: one would recommend me to another, and she to another, and so on until my days were filled.

Michela was going to Canada that Christmas, in five weeks time, and she wanted to improve her English for the trip. Routine conversation work, I thought: shopping vocabulary for ladies who lunched and loved the cachet of a private English tutor, their own tall, blond, blue-eyed stranger... But I was wrong, Michela was not like that.

A block of ten lessons was arranged on the phone, two lessons a week, discount for cash in advance, and I turned up at the door of her condominio on a beautiful late autumn afternoon, with a hazy sun at my back and the clear Alps visible. "Ah, Signorina Michela," said the porter, "sì, terzo piano" and he rang up before me.

She came out to meet me, I reme…

Johnny Cash & June Carter - Long Legged Guitar Pickin' Man

Sarko and the Roma

There is a shitty, crooked dwarf
within the Élysée;
greasy, sweaty palms by night
and platform shoes by day.

This scumbag bleeds his country dry;
takes bribes from millionaires
and when the paysans ask him, 'Why?'
'Gippos! Fault's all theirs!'

'Let's clean the country of this dross,
woman, child and man!
We'll make la patrie pure again!'
(It worked for old Pétain).

Laval's ghost, and Gobineau's
crack their sides with glee.
Liberté, fraternité...
(but just for you and me).

You wicked, vicious, little man.
And France, you're guilty too;
you sit and stuff your cheese and wine,
'Alors? Et qui êtes-vous?'

You'll strike for pay, the working week,
the rights close to your heart.
Manifester pour les autres?
You couldn't give a fart.

No more brie, no, not for me.
You fascists pay a price:
contempt and bile, scorn and hate -
you Vichy-loving lice.

© Simon M Hunter 2010

Last Rose of Summer

Outside my bedroom window the year's last rose is fading.

The Wraggle-Taggle Gypsies - Andreas Scholl

The Black Sheep

I'm ashamed of parts of my family. Not the East End working class, council house/labourer's cottage, dirt-poor side of course; these are the ancestors (mixed with, whisper, some Roma blood) I grew up with; who inform and inspire my fanatical left-wingery.

No, the side of my family I'm ashamed of is the rich, colonial, plantation/factory-owning side, stuffed with ruthless capitalists, hanging judges and the sort of people who appear in Who's Who.

I had some good news the other day though. One of my grandmother's cousins has been doing research; she has discovered mingling with plantation workers in Jamaica: not a few of my antecedents were, well, swarthy. Apparently they explained this away by saying that their ancestors were survivors of the Armada shipwrecks...

As my brother said on hearing the news: "Well, I love rum n weed, so it kinda makes sense, know what I mean?"


Just so.

© Simon M Hunter 2010

RIP Joan Sutherland

Round the blogs

Although readers of impeccable taste may justifiably feel that this blog offers all they need there are others out there. This is a brief glance at some of the things that have caught my eye recently.

The hugely talented AZ Foremanreads and translates poetry from almost every language under the sun, up to and for all I know including demotic Ket, and is always worth a look. Still with poetry the people over at Politely Homicidalare always entertaining and often brilliant; the webmeister, Mish, is an amazing resource for all things art-related.

John Wells's phonetic blog I have mentioned before and will no doubt do so again. For anyone interested in the sounds of language (and what poet isn't?) a basic knowledge of phonetics is a sine qua non. John deals with queries from all over the world with clarity and firmly-held conviction; you may not always agree with him, but he'll always make you think.

Megan Hesse at Sugary Cynicism often makes me laugh with her scathing reviews o…

¡Ay Carmela!

Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger - Derek Bentley

Anarchists in the Spanish Civil War

Han Han & Co.

The always interesting (although because he lives in China sparodically online) LC has brought my attention to this article.

I am, generally speaking, a friend to the aims and principles of the CP, wherever it is constituted, and have always sympathised with the party's critique of bourgeois 'press freedom' as little more than a licence for millionaires to own media that propagate their interests and sell their friends' products.

Technology has changed this model; it has changed the party's control of information too. The party must not resort to rabid nationalism allied with secrecy: these are a betrayal of socialism. Openness, comrades! We have a wonderful song; should we fear that any will drown it out? Should we lose it to the brassy cacophonies of fascism? Not as long as the yearning for beauty remains in human hearts.

Coming down quickly from the windy heights of overblown rhetoric this article, via the ever reliable 3 Quarks Daily, is also worth a look, perhaps…

Milton, Lycidas: opening

YET once more, O ye Laurels, and once more
Ye Myrtles brown, with Ivy never-sear,
I com to pluck your Berries harsh and crude,
And with forc'd fingers rude,
Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year.
Bitter constraint, and sad occasion dear,
Compels me to disturb your season due:
For Lycidas is dead, dead ere his prime
Young Lycidas, and hath not left his peer:
Who would not sing for Lycidas? he knew
Himself to sing, and build the lofty rhyme.
He must not flote upon his watry bear
Unwept, and welter to the parching wind,
Without the meed of som melodious tear.

Santy Anna: sea shanty sung by A L Lloyd