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On 2/21/2021 at 4:54 PM, Doulton said:

Evolution

By Eliza Griswold

Was it dissatisfaction or hope
that beckoned some of the monkeys
down from the trees and onto the damp
forbidden musk of the forest floor?

Which one tested his thumbs
against the twig
and awkwardly dug a grub
from the soil?

What did the tribe above think
as it leaned on the slender branches
watching the others
frustrated, embarrassed,
but pinching grubs
with leathery fingers
into their mouths?

The moral is movement
is awkward. The lesson is fumble.

 

 

"Evolution" by Eliza Griswold, from Wideawake Field. © Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007. 

 

"The lesson is fumble" -- that's what I'm doing here.  I don't have the skill or the refined taste of brokenclay and others here, but I love the conversation and want to keep it going.  

Thank you Doulton, this is fantastic on so many levels.

And now I have a new poet to go read!

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31 minutes ago, brokenclay said:

 

I saw.

 

I am very saddened by this, although it had to be coming. 

 

I teach some Ferlinghetti poems, and a few are personally very important to me. And my one visit to City Lights was a kind of journey-to-mecca for me. 

 

 

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brokenclay

43F637D2-8C83-4CFA-A3F3-00FCEBF33F86.thumb.jpeg.38858f38a3d315c0590bc1ff5f18e0d2.jpeg

 

Moon

by Amy E. Sklansky

 

Marvelous

Opaque

Orb.

Night-light

           for the world

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HogwldFLTR


RIP Lawrence Ferlinghetti!!!

 

 

By Lawrence Ferlinghetti
 
                The world is a beautiful place 
                                                           to be born into 
if you don’t mind happiness 
                                             not always being 
                                                                        so very much fun 
       if you don’t mind a touch of hell
                                                       now and then
                just when everything is fine
                                                             because even in heaven
                                they don’t sing 
                                                        all the time

             The world is a beautiful place
                                                           to be born into
       if you don’t mind some people dying
                                                                  all the time
                        or maybe only starving
                                                           some of the time
                 which isn’t half so bad
                                                      if it isn’t you

      Oh the world is a beautiful place
                                                          to be born into
               if you don’t much mind
                                                   a few dead minds
                    in the higher places
                                                    or a bomb or two
                            now and then
                                                  in your upturned faces
         or such other improprieties
                                                    as our Name Brand society
                                  is prey to
                                              with its men of distinction
             and its men of extinction
                                                   and its priests
                         and other patrolmen
                                                         and its various segregations
         and congressional investigations
                                                             and other constipations
                        that our fool flesh
                                                     is heir to

Yes the world is the best place of all
                                                           for a lot of such things as
         making the fun scene
                                                and making the love scene
and making the sad scene
                                         and singing low songs of having 
                                                                                      inspirations
and walking around 
                                looking at everything
                                                                  and smelling flowers
and goosing statues
                              and even thinking 
                                                         and kissing people and
     making babies and wearing pants
                                                         and waving hats and
                                     dancing
                                                and going swimming in rivers
                              on picnics
                                       in the middle of the summer
and just generally
                            ‘living it up’

Yes
   but then right in the middle of it
                                                    comes the smiling
                                                                                 mortician
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brokenclay

8AFD06DD-72FA-438A-AAEF-6ECEBC483D2F.thumb.jpeg.576d8d826897739f5007543cbeaa07bd.jpeg

 

From "Night Up North"

by Fabían Severo

translated by Dan Bellm

 

My mother spoke perfectly well, and I understood.

Fabi andá faser los deber, and I’d do my chores.

Fabi traseme meio litro de leite, I brought her half a liter of milk.

Desí pra doña Cora que amañá le pago — 

I told Doña Cora she’d get paid tomorrow.

Deya iso gurí — stop that, child — and I would stop.

 

But my teacher didn’t understand.

She’d send home letters in my notebook

all in red, like her face, and signed at the bottom.

 

But my mother didn’t understand.

Le iso pra mim, ijo, and I’d read them to her.

 

But my mother didn’t understand.

Qué fiseste meu fío — what did you do, child — 

te dise a que portaras bien, and I did behave myself.

 

The story repeated itself for months.

My teacher wrote, but my mother didn’t understand.

My teacher wrote, but my mother didn’t understand.

 

Then one day my mother understood.

She said, Meu fío, tu terás que deiyá la iscuela — 

so I quit that school.

 

Translated from the Portuñol

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inkstainedruth

That's interesting.  I looked up the final foreign language phrase on Google Translate, and it turned out to be in Galician (a dialect of Spanish).  Galicia is the northwest corner of Spain, north of Portugal, and my friend's late father is from there.  It's also where Santiago de Compostella is located: someday when I have the money (and time) I want to walk the pilgrimage route to Santiago (I've wanted to do that since reading James Michener's Iberia the summer after my freshman year in college, and after a professor ran a 2 week drawing and painting workshop to Spain (although, sadly, we weren't ever in the north).

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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brokenclay

The author is Uraguayan, so:

 

Quote

Uruguayan Portuguese (português uruguaio, locally [poɾtuˈɣes uɾuˈɣwajo]), also known as fronteiriço[2] (locally [fɾõteˈɾiso]) and referred to by its speakers as portunhol[3] (locally [poɾtuˈɲɔɫ]), is a variety of Portuguese with heavy influence from Rioplatense Spanish.

 

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inkstainedruth

Well, my understanding is that Galician is closer to Portuguese than to Castillian Spanish, so that's not that all surprising.  

I didn't know about Rioplatense Spanish, but years ago, on that trip to Spain I was on, I happened to meet a guy from LA in a pharmacy in Malaga (I was trying to get something to treat sun poisoning -- with my basically non-existent Spanish) and he had "tourista").  We ended hanging out for the rest of the afternoon.  The guy worked in intake at an LA hospital ER, and somehow the topic came up of Spanish dialects at one point.  He'd had a patient come in at one point who spoke Ladino (the dialect used by the Jews who were exiled from Spain by Ferdinand and Isabella) and he said it was like Castilian but without the "lisp", which came in to favor during the reign of Carlos V -- the king lisped so everyone else did too, and that's how the language morphed into what we think of now as "Spanish".

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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brokenclay

More about Portuñol speakers in Uruguay:

 

Quote

The connotation is that speakers from the border region are not fully competent in either language, and therefore mix them. The view that this language is somehow deficient, broken, and impure leads to discrimination against its speakers. This happens all the time—in all parts of the world—whether we’re aware of it or not: we form opinions about peoples’ intelligence, educational background, race, gender, etc. based on the way they speak.

https://clacsnyublog.com/2018/06/29/portunol-spanish-and-portuguese-language-contact-in-northern-uruguay/

 

21E0C499-556C-490E-A1A4-BCAA94FA39BC.thumb.jpeg.12ad0ad1c04400140f24ed49601d1985.jpeg

 

At the crescent moon

the silence

enters The heart

 

by Fukuoka Chiyo-ni

translated by Patricia Donegan & Yoshie Ishibashi

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On 2/25/2021 at 10:10 AM, brokenclay said:

The connotation is that speakers from the border region are not fully competent in either language, and therefore mix them. The view that this language is somehow deficient, broken, and impure leads to discrimination against its speakers. This happens all the time—in all parts of the world—whether we’re aware of it or not: we form opinions about peoples’ intelligence, educational background, race, gender, etc. based on the way they speak.

My family experience reflects what you are saying regarding accents and discrimination. My grandparents were Andaluzes from the southern most part of Spain and had emigrated to northern California during the early part of the 20th century. My brother and sister and I grew up speaking with a very heavy Andaluz accent, cutting off the ends of words and lacking the finesse of those in Madrid and other more northern cities. They spoke more slowly and with much greater enunciation than that spoken in Andalucía. When I enrolled in Spanish class in high school I anticipated that the class would be quite easy for me, but I was very wrong about that. The teacher could barely hold back his laughter as I  proudly spoke my grandparents language, the very language I heard and spoke each afternoon and evening at home. I had to learn new pronunciation and pacing and even had to tone down the volume of my speech. That was well over half a century ago, but there is still prejudice against Andalucians in Spain and elsewhere based on language.

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brokenclay
9 hours ago, yubaprof said:

My family experience reflects what you are saying regarding accents and discrimination.

...

That was well over half a century ago, but there is still prejudice against Andalucians in Spain and elsewhere based on language.

 

What a hard story to hear! I'm so sorry. And in a world where precious languages and dialects are dying out by the bucketful every day.

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inkstainedruth
12 hours ago, yubaprof said:

there is still prejudice against Andalucians in Spain and elsewhere based on language.

That's weird -- I always considered Andalucia to be more "central Spain".  My friend who's dad was from Galicia describes where her dad was from as being "the West Virginia of Spain" -- that Galicians were considered to be "hicks".  

Of course she also told me the story about when she was in college, taking a course in French, the instructor complained because she was speaking French "with a Spanish accent"....  She has dual citizenship with the US and Spain, but was born here; the "two passports" thing caused some problems when someone asked her to run a quilting workshop at Bettis (the Naval Nuclear Labs south of Pittsburgh -- which has security guards with loaded guns at both the outer and inner gates).  And she had to say to the person, "THERE?  Are you KIDDING?  I'm not even legally allowed on the PROPERTY there -- because of having dual citizenship!").  I think at some point she has to go to NYC to the Spanish Consulate to deal with the paperwork again.  We were trying to arrange for her (pre-Covid) to stay with my sister-in-law and her husband (instead of getting an expensive hotel room in Midtown Manhattan) because Ed has a degree in Spanish, and she could talk to him to help him keep his language skills up).

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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inkstainedruth
2 hours ago, brokenclay said:

 

What a hard story to hear! I'm so sorry. And in a world where precious languages and dialects are dying out by the bucketful every day.

I had neighbors growing up who were from Wales (I used to babysit their kids sometimes when I was in high school).  Mrs. Morgan was part of the 25% of the population who still spoke Welsh as a first language, learning English in school.  Her husband and his parents did NOT speak it (and her in-laws were quite impressed by the fact that she did, apparently).  She would speak Welsh to the kids, so they understood it at least some -- but wanted to be little Americans and go to Mets games...).  

But an Italian-born neighbor we had where I lived where I was little had spent decades living and working in the US and still sometimes would say to my mother "What's the word I'm looking for?"

I wish I was really bilingual, but I'm not.  I diliberately chose to forget pretty much everything I learned in middle school and high school German classes (the grammar is exceedingly boring -- sorry, but it is).  And with the aid of a dictionary and a good verb conjugation book I have I could muddle through reading something in French... (maybe...).  I took a couple of adult ed classes in conversational French, but found the first one in particular really frustrating -- everyone else in the class wanted to learn just enough to get around on trips to Paris, whereas as I wanted to be able to READ stuff in French -- particular Old French and Middle French, which is another ball of wax entirely (you think the differences in pronunciation between Chaucerian Middle English and Shakespeare's Elizabethan English are tough... :huh:).

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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brokenclay

10278179-646C-42A8-89AF-4E71C9919837.thumb.jpeg.b310001d4ded447617812b1bd5040a70.jpeg

 

I write, erase, rewrite

Erase again, and then

A poppy blooms.

 

by Katsushika Hokusai

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brokenclay

6316D57E-2B5B-4337-AD52-A686B71AFAA0.thumb.jpeg.1b477781587944e28ddbad8aa34ffc91.jpeg

 

[Persian Letters]

by Solmaz Sharif

 

Dear Aleph,

 

Like Ovid: I’ll have no last words.

This is what it means to die among barbarians. Bar bar bar

was how the Greeks heard our speech —

sheep, beasts — and so we became

barbarians. We make them reveal

the brutes they are, Aleph, by the things

we make them name. David,

they tell me, is the one

one should aspire to, but ever since

I first heard them say Philistine

I’ve known I am Goliath

if I am anything.

 

How I came across this: I read a review this weekend of Roya Hakakian's book The Beginner's Guide to America, which the reviewer says, among other things, "has some flavor of [Tocqueville's] 'Democracy in America'—updated to suit a 21st-century palate." Having just read Democracy in America, I was intrigued. Hakakian is a Persian author, essayist and poet, so I went looking for her poetry, but as far as I can determine she has only written poetry in Persian, and I couldn't find any translations. Wandering amongst other Persian poets I found Solmaz Sharif's [Persian Letters], which also speaks to the language marginalization theme. I like how she turns the underdog concept in David and Goliath on its head.

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On 2/27/2021 at 9:19 AM, brokenclay said:

 

What a hard story to hear! I'm so sorry. And in a world where precious languages and dialects are dying out by the bucketful every day.

Brokenclay, I did not mean to cause distress with my family story. Utilizing a great deal of tenacity my family (and myself) did just fine. It was difficult at times, as it is for anyone who faces discrimination, but worth it in the end.

Also, I have been meaning to thank you and express my appreciation for your daily poetry posts. As soon as I learn to post a hand written version I plan to begin posting some as well. Although everyone will have to suffer my handwriting!

yubaprof

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brokenclay

@yubaprof, I'm glad you are enjoying the poems. Please consider contributing with or without handwritten versions!

 

Here it is currently 43F/6C and sunny, a good omen, I think, for the first of March.

 

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the snow is melting

and the village is flooded

with children

 

by Kobayashi Issa

translated by Robert Hass

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92C37057-5C41-4465-AB2F-DFB65574452A.thumb.jpeg.c53b504c5d476a14f9b8e5eafac47a38.jpeg

 

Rebuttal

by John Lee Clark

 

An erasure of Lydia Huntley Sigourney’s “On Seeing the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind Girl, Sitting for Her Portrait”

 

Guide, passion, catch what

Hath no speech. Unknown

Joys, power, and meditation’s

Unfolding sky. Feeling draws

Heart and wildering language

Still without speech to

Mind. Philosophy fails to

Sway this future child.

 

More info/context: “NEW KINDS OF CONTACT”: A DEAFBLIND POET’S PUSH FOR A RADICAL LANGUAGE OF TOUCH

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0016DBE3-BB84-44D4-9E1A-EBE253137C57.thumb.jpeg.5e4a90fc4c481b77706db48deaaa8987.jpeg

 

 

Bound for Hell

by Marina Tsvetaeva

translated by Stephen Edgar

 

Hell, my ardent sisters, be assured,

Is where we’re bound; we’ll drink the pitch of hell—

We, who have sung the praises of the lord

With every fiber in us, every cell.

 

We, who did not manage to devote

Our nights to spinning, did not bend and sway

Above a cradle—in a flimsy boat,

Wrapped in a mantle, we’re now borne away.

 

Every morning, every day, we’d rise

And have the finest Chinese silks to wear;

And we’d strike up the songs of paradise

Around the campfire of a robbers’ lair,

 

We, careless seamstresses (our seams all ran,

Whether we sewed or not)—yet we have been

Such dancers, we have played the pipes of Pan:

The world was ours, each one of us a queen.

 

First, scarcely draped in tatters, and disheveled,

Then plaited with a starry diadem;

We’ve been in jails, at banquets we have reveled:

But the rewards of heaven, we’re lost to them,

 

Lost in nights of starlight, in the garden

Where apple trees from paradise are found.

No, be assured, my gentle girls, my ardent

And lovely sisters, hell is where we’re bound.

 

Translator's notes

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