October 2011

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Remember, any lie you are told, even deliberately, is often a more significant fact than a truth told in all sincerity.
-Halldór Laxness,(from Under the Glacier)

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"...the most effective disturber of complacency in our time."
--from a 1939 New York Times editorial on Sigmund Freud, 2 days after his death.

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We work n the dark - we do what we can - we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.
-Henry James

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Stupidity is the deliberate cultivation of ignorance.
-William Gaddis

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Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.
-Henry James

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Araucaria
Todo el invierno, toda la batalla,
todos los nidos del mojado hierro,
en tu firmeza atravesada de aire,
en tu ciudad silvestre se levantan.

La cárcel renegada de las piedras,
los hilos sumergidos de la espina,
hacen de tu alambrada cabellera
un pabellón de sombras minerales.

Llanto erizado, eternidad del agua,
monte de escamas, rayo de herraduras,
tu atormentada casa se construye
con pétalos de pura geología.

El alto invierno besa tu armadura
y te cubre de labios destruidos:
la primavera de violento aroma
rompe su sed en tu implacable estatua:
y el grave otoño espera inútilmente
derramar oro en tu estatura verde.
-Pablo Neruda

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The Betrayal*
My faith in poetry is betrayed, as blood,
gushing from the heart of the square,
now masks the face of words

My eyes can no longer
make out the shape of things,
the tone of things

Blood, blood, and more blood

It shrouds my soul, my tongue
it envelopes the horizon
and stains people's bread,
falling on plates,
coffee cups,
and the eyes of children.

What dark shadow
casts its corpse across our homeland,
in this city made of light?

What day long bloody hours
lurk over the public square,
in a time of darkness,
hunting for young men
at the age of youthful dreams
and the most beautiful vision
of days to come?

What shame it brings
when the light dies,
shot by bullets of blind hatred
I have no words
but pale ones,
and can offer only tears
streaming down my face,
onto the pages

I tell you: this people
has sent many, many heroes,
and offered many, many sacrifices,
along the path to freedom!

Oh Ghaymaan! Oh Aybaan!
Aren't you crushed as tears
shed by the street turn to stone,
and the heart of the public square
anguishes at the passing of sons
who sacrifice for the meaning of change?

They bare their chests
and raise their heads high
catching betrayal's bullets
in a full embrace
of the nation's precious soil

Tens killed, hundreds injured,
is it enough, oh Ghaymaan,
that your heart weeps,
is it enough, oh Aybaan,
that you soul is touched by tragedy?

Or must we construct
a dam and mountains
made of human beings
to obstruct this savage rising tide,
and stop the blood baths?!

(Translation of the poem and commentary below by Stephen Day)
* translator's title

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The most interesting information comes from children, for they tell all they know and then stop.
-Mark Twain

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A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.
-Mark Twain

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Be careless in your dress if you will, but keep a tidy soul.
-Mark Twain

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Why Experience Is No Teacher
Not mine -- the body you were promised
is buried at the heart
of an unusable machine
no one can stop or start.

You'll lie with it? You might dig deep --
escape a Law or two -- see a dart
of light. You
won't get near the heart.

I tried -- I am the same -- come the same.
I wanted my senses to rave.
The dart was ordinary light.
Will nothing keep you here, my love, my love?
-Leonard Cohen
(from FLOWERS FOR HITLER, 1964)

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There is a crack in everything,
that's how the light gets in.

En todo hay una fisura,
así es como entra la luz.
-Leonard Cohen

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Last edited: 27 February 2012 13:17:47