The mist is rising off the lake, ghostly white
The sky is the palest blue, the softest pink,
The mist becomes clouds 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
And I feel a peace within me, knowing the world is still asleep
For the moment this place is mine, and mine alone
If one does not include my crowded thoughts
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.
Oz had a glass of wine, which got him thinking about the Oscars, translation, understanding, and Chinese poetry.
Lost in Translation, one of my favorite movies, written and directed by Sofia Coppola. Insert Oscar shout out here for female writer-directors. The 2003 Indie movie stars Bill Murray as an aging actor Bob Harris, who befriends college graduate Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) in a Tokyo hotel. The romantic comedy-drama plays out on many levels while the couple film a Japanese whiskey commercial.
Bring in the Wine, eighth century Chinese poet, Cen Can (aka Cen Shen and Cen Jiuzhou) commiseration about getting old and getting drunk with old friends. The Chinese characters are 將進酒 Jiāng Jìn Jiǔ, which must have been a mouthful if one was already drunk. Kind of like saying, “rubber baby buggy bumpers,” which makes no sense, but it is still fun to say.
You know, we are not so different, Japanese, American, Chinese, then and now… A little whiskey, some wine makes it easier to get along. And the hell with getting lost.
To the men who work the docks, coal shovelers, hucksters, women who work for a day, sell newspapers at the ferries, or work in the factories, every child in the alley who does what one can for a penny from the time one could walk.
To the men at their clubs, to the women who shop, to those that dine without a thought of the cost.
Look if you dare
Look at the life of a wage-earner
Where life is lived
The needs so evident, the value of words not at all
Action expresses the heart perfectly
The baby with brother or sister
Each dependent on the other
The child finds that in a morsel of bread weariness
A father or mother in words unspoken
Knows the sadness
And still make
Their ease and their comfort and even their sleep
To provide a home
And what is more important
To nourish the soul
Inspired by author Lillian William Betts, who wrote books and articles about life in the tenements at the turn of the 20th century. The Leaven in a Great City is one such book.
To me in slumber wrapt, a dream divine, ambrosial night Morpheus conveyed to my lips by golden cup, more beautiful than Aurora’s light at dawn when the darkest night turns to the softest blue before the sky glows bright like a summer peach, I slumber still, in peace, with dreams more real than reality.
Oz is looking at his iPhone 6 remembering when trips in the car meant no annoying calls, remembering that what is good today does not last.
Remember the phone
In grandpa’s house
A brown box that hung on the wall
A cord and ear tube with which to hear
A tube in which to speak
A girl in a distant room says
May I help you?
Remember the phone
Your parents had just one
Black and squat it sat on the counter
And in your hand, you held the power
To speak and hear at once
And sometimes you imagined you were blind
While your fingers played with the holes
Just to hear
The ding-a-lingy of the dial while
You wondered what happened to that girl
Remember the booth that stood on every corner
A glass box that became shelter from the rain
Where Superman could change
Where dimes were more precious than gold
To one who needed more time
But time caught up with us all
And mid-sentence came a click
I’ve lived long enough to know
That what was once good enough is gone
Let us have a conversation, friend, on how to write a sentence, and if we do it right my friend, let it be a pleasure, not a penance.
The ancient Greek poet Homer knew that language needs to be sonorous to be remembered. Long lines of disconnected, harsh sounding words are hard to memorize. Words must make sense and should sound pleasing, language being music to the ears and food for the soul.
In her writing Gertrude Stein famously avoided commas as unnecessary interruptions in the flow of thought. One made up thought floating out there in the internet is this:
Commas are the slaves of the sentence, according to Stein, and we know that slavery is never a good thing. If the sentence can’t make sense without multiple commas, rewrite it.
We know it is made up because it has several commas and repeats. Wait, I take half that back since, “a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.”
Stein did say this:
“A comma does nothing but make easy a thing that if you like it enough is easy enough without the comma.”
Now isn’t that nicely said without a pause or a comma?
So, should I say:
Let us have a conversation friend on how to write a sentence; and if we do it right my friend let it be a pleasure not a penance.
If you noticed the switch from comma to semi-colon, give yourself bonus points.
Disons nous une conversation mes amies sur la façon d’écrire une clause; Et si nous nous la faisons bien mes amis laisse faire plaisir et ne pas pénitentiaire.