March 02, 2003

Not warblogging actually

I leave that to those more knowledgeable and coherent on the subject. But it's only natural to be affected by events, especially after partying yesterday at the house of shy retiring Avedon Carol.

Here in Snailville I've been looking at ostensibly lighter matters, and was directed by Languagehat to this Chinese poetry site. Unable to resist even a non-Japanese poet with the name Su Shi, I found

Visiting the Temple of the God of Mercy on a Rainy Day
The silkworms grow old,
The wheat half yellow,
The rain falls unrestrained about the mountain.
The farmers cannot work the land,
Nor women gather mulberry,
The Immortals sit high in white robes in the hall.

The site is excellent (and click here to get a bit more than my transcription).

Meanwhile, Renee Perelmutter at rambles entertainingly and cites a Sumerian translation The Seven, including

They are strangers to pity, compassion is far from them
They are deaf to men's prayers, entreaties can't reach them
They are horses that grow to great size, that feed on mountains
They are the enemies of our friends
They feed on the gods
They tear up the highways they spread out over the roads
They are the faces of evil they are the faces of evil

I agree with Renee's uncontentious points about the impossibility of choosing a single favourite book or poem. And at the moment it's no surprise that when I started thinking about poems that most affect me, I dredged up the first serious works that I met at school in North Wales, by not quite local boy Wilfred Owen. After 32 years I don't have them off by heart, although fragments are permanently etched in memory.

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues -
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et Decorum Est
Pro patria mori.

Perhaps my internet brain is stuck.
Look forward to fluffier Snail Musings next time around.

Posted at March 2, 2003 12:24 PM