Thursday, March 09, 2006

I liked this extract from an editorial review I found on the Amazon book site. A 100 Years of Solitude' is like a kaleidescope, a moving tapestry of fantastic people and events.

''The story follows 100 years in the life of Macondo, a village founded by José Arcadio Buendía and occupied by descendants all sporting variations on their progenitor's name: his sons, José Arcadio and Aureliano, and grandsons, Aureliano José, Aureliano Segundo, and José Arcadio Segundo. Then there are the women--the two Úrsulas, a handful of Remedios, Fernanda, and Pilar--who struggle to remain grounded even as their menfolk build castles in the air. If it is possible for a novel to be highly comic and deeply tragic at the same time, then One Hundred Years of Solitude does the trick. Civil war rages throughout, hearts break, dreams shatter, and lives are lost, yet the effect is literary pentimento, with sorrow's outlines bleeding through the vibrant colors of García Márquez's magical realism. Consider, for example, the ghost of Prudencio Aguilar, whom José Arcadio Buendía has killed in a fight. So lonely is the man's shade that it haunts Buendía's house, searching anxiously for water with which to clean its wound. Buendía's wife, Úrsula, is so moved that "the next time she saw the dead man uncovering the pots on the stove she understood what he was looking for, and from then on she placed water jugs all about the house."

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

St Valentine's Day

The school dance.
Such excitement
Decorating the Assembly Hall
With hearts and ribbons.
The boys lined up on one side.
The girls on the other.
The music starts.
Your heart beats.
The boys advance towards the girls.
You can't believe it!
The best looking boy
The one you like best
Is asking you for a dance....

Years later you ask a friend.
'Whatever happened to Kevin?'
'Didn't he kill himself?' she says.

by Jules

Sunday, January 29, 2006

PARIS 1997

Grey as the clouds and scowling at gargoyles and suchlike
I entered the great door into the gloom of Notre Dame:
Unusually empty for the time of year
And I stood for a while gazing up
With the usual sense of awe at the ancient vaults.
An elderly woman in white, elegant and slim,
Sat listlessly amongst dark clad beings on a few chairs
Scattered along the aisle. Then in a fragment of time
A narrow shaft of rainbow light touched her snowy hair
And my eyes recieved a melancholy glance.

Years and miles away as I was walking my dog
By the side of a river, I was aware that I was not alone!
Scraps of information emerged: an aged husband
Rich and indifferent, forever absent.
A lover: an artist, young and false. A fatal illnes......
Ageless now. Free of pain and heartbreak.
You turned up at odd moments:
Laughing at questions, giving advice.
Annie, it was nice having you around for a while.
Perhaps we'll meet again...sometime....somewhere......

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

George Gordon Lord Byron (1788-1824)

So we'll go no more a roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,
And the moon be still as bright.

For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul wears out the breast,
And the heart must pause to breathe,
And Love itself have rest.

Though the night was made for loving,
And the day returns too soon,
Yet we'll go no more a roving
By the light of the moon.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Rappelle-toi Barbara
Il pleuvait sans cesse sur Brest ce jour-là
Et tu marchais souriante
Epanouie ravie ruisselante Sous la pluie
Rappelle-toi Barbara
Il pleuvait sans cesse sur Brest
Et je t'ai croisée rue de Siam
Tu souriais, et moi je souriais de même
Rappelle-toi Barbara
Toi que je ne connaissais pas
Toi qui ne me connaissais pas
Rappelle-toi, Rappelle-toi quand même ce jour-là
N'oublie pas
Un homme sous un porche s'abritait
Et il a crie ton nom
Et tu as couru vers lui sous la pluie
Ruisselante ravie épanouie
Et tu t'es jetée dans ses bras
Rappelle-toi cela Barbara
Et ne m'en veux pas si je te tutoie
Je dis tu a tous ceux que j'aime
Même si je ne les ai vus qu'une seule fois
Je dis tu a tous ceux qui s'aiment
Même si je ne les connais pas
Rappelle-toi Barbara, n'oublie pas
Cette pluie sage et heureuse
Sur ton visage heureux
Sur cette ville heureuse
Cette pluie sur la mer, sur l'arsenal
Sur le bateau d'Ouessant
Oh Barbara, quelle connerie la guerre
Qu'es-tu devenue maintenant
Sous cette pluie de fer
De feu d'acier de sang
Et celui qui te serrait dans ses bras
Est-il mort disparu ou bien encore vivant
Oh Barbara
Il pleut sans cesse sur Brest
Comme il pleuvait avant
Mais ce n'est plus pareil et tout est abîmé
C'est une pluie de deuil terrible et désolée
Ce n'est même plus l'orage
De fer d'acier de sang
Tout simplement des nuages
Qui crèvent comme des chiens
Des chiens qui disparaissent
Au fil de l'eau sur Brest
Et vont pourrir au loin
Au loin très loin de Brest
Dont il ne reste rien.

I Shall Wear Purple

When I am an old woman
I shall wear purple,
With a red hat which doesn't go and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and
summer gloves. And satin sandals, and say we've
no money for butter. I shall sit down on the pavement
when I'm tired. And gobble up samples in shops and
press alarm bells. And run my stick along public
railings. And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain. And pick
flowers in other people's gardens. And learn to
But, maybe I ought to practice a little now? So
people who know me are not too shocked or surprised
when suddenly I am old and start to wear

- Jenny Joseph


Sensing his displeasure
And anticipating his intentions
The little stone heart
Of the finished vase
Trembles and pleads
Under the dark eye
Of her maker.
But he, like a god
Undiscerning and insensitive
Deaf to her entreaties
Seeing only her imperfections
Smites her to the ground
Sending her hurtling
To the ground.
Then covers his eyes
With remorse.
And as she lies there broken
Comes the sound
Of the fluttering of wings
And the scent
Of a thousand flowers
In a beautiful garden in spring
And all the scattered fragments
Fly together as he gazes
Forming a vase
Of equisite beauty
With unearthly verdant haze.
Then from the vase there does emerge
A wonderous fairy woman
With auburn hair and slender form
And eyes of burnished gold
Sad soulful golden eyes
Reproachful eyes and cold.
As would a child he reaches out
But she as lightening swift
Takes up the vase against her breast
Dissolving to a mist
Hence does he work with fervour
He labours day and night
To please the fairy woman
With her lovely eyes so bright
And people come from near and far
To see his magic art.
And often in the evening
As he sits beneath the stars
He feels the gracious presence
Of the lady of the vase.

© 2000 Jules

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Ophelia by Hughes


And there, at the water's edge
I stood useless.
While you, oblivious,
Drifting through spires of reeds and rushes
And sepulchral purple iris,
No longer of this world.
Your face so lily pale
Your eyes so sweetly closed
With trailing wild forget-me-nots
Like blue stars glistening
In your flowing midnight curls,
Yes. There at the water's brink
I stood . Helpless.
While you, dreamless,
On dew-drenched grasses were tenderly laid
In your mud-soaked bridal gown.
Your spirit flown.
And there was no man,
Who, that day looking on,
Would not willingly for your love
Have given heart and home. And I
Not least for one.

© 2000 Jules

Seated Demon by Vrubel

Demon Lover

Well met, well met, my own true love
Well met, well met, cried he
I've just returned from the salt, salt sea
And it's all for the love of thee

O I could have married the king's daughter dear
And she would have married me
But I have refused the crown of gold
And it's all for the sake of thee

If you could have married the king's daughter dear
I'm sure you are to blame
For I am married to the house carpenter
And he is a fine young man

If you'll forsake your house carpenter
And come away with me
I'll take you to where the grass grows green
On the banks of the sweet Willie

If I forsake my house carpenter
And come away with thee
What have you got to maintain me upon
And keep me from slavery

I've six ships sailing on the salt, salt sea
A-sailing from dry land
And a hundred and twenty jolly young men
Shall be at thy command

She picked up her poor wee babe
And kisses gave him three
Saying stay right here with the house carpenter
And keep him good company

They had not been at sea two weeks
I'm sure it was not three
When this poor maid began to weep
And she wept most bitterly

O do you weep for your gold, he said
Your houses, your land, or your store?
Or do you weep for your house carpenter
That you never shall see anymore

I do not weep for my gold, she said
My houses, my land or my store
But I do weep for my poor wee babe
That I never shall see anymore

They had not been at sea three weeks
I'm sure it was not four
When in their ship there sprang a leak
And she sank to rise no more

What hills, what hills are those, my love
That are so bright and free
Those are the hill of Heaven, my love
But not for you and me

What hills, what hills, are those, my love
That are so dark and low
Those are the hills of Hell, my love
Where you and I must go

by Sylvia Plath

I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
What ever you see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful---
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.
Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.

Family Reunion
By Sylvia Plath

Outside in the street I hear
A car door slam; voices coming near;
Incoherent scraps of talk
And high heels clicking up the walk;
The doorbell rends the noonday heat
With copper claws;
A second's pause.
The dull drums of my pulses beat
Against a silence wearing thin.
The door now opens from within.
Oh, hear the clash of people meeting ---
The laughter and the screams of greeting :

Fat always, and out of breath,
A greasy smack on every cheek
From Aunt Elizabeth;
There, that's the pink, pleased squeak
Of Cousin Jane, out spinster with
The faded eyes
And hands like nervous butterflies;
While rough as splintered wood
Across them all
Rasps the jarring baritone of Uncle Paul;
The youngest nephew gives a fretful whine
And drools at the reception line.

Like a diver on a lofty spar of land
Atop the flight of stairs I stand.
A whirlpool leers at me,
I cast off my identity
And make the fatal plunge.

Walter De la Mare. 1873–


SOFTLY along the road of evening,
In a twilight dim with rose,
Wrinkled with age, and drenched with dew
Old Nod, the shepherd, goes.

His drowsy flock streams on before him,
Their fleeces charged with gold,
To where the sun's last beam leans low
On Nod the shepherd's fold.

The hedge is quick and green with briar,
From their sand the conies creep;
And all the birds that fly in heaven
Flock singing home to sleep.

His lambs outnumber a noon's roses,
Yet, when night's shadows fall,
His blind old sheep-dog, Slumber-soon,
Misses not one of all.

His are the quiet steeps of dreamland,
The waters of no-more-pain;
His ram's bell rings 'neath an arch of stars,
"Rest, rest, and rest again." t.htm

Holy Communion

In the obscurity of the ancient church
Steeped in incense,
Smoke from flickering candles
Mingles with sunbeams
Filtering through stained-glass windows,
Tinting with rainbow hues The altar blossoms
Drifting onto the marble floor
Then into the front pews
File a flock of white-clad darlings
With well-scrubbed faces
And chubby cheeks
Bulging with sugared almonds.
And outside on the cold stone steps
In the shadow of the porch
A sorrowing bare-footed gypsy
Sits with babe And outstretched hand.
While portly matrons
With husbands and relations
In expensive new spring clothes,
Dip their fingers in holy water
And cross themselves;
And each and every doting mother
With happiness and pride
Stretches her neck to try to see
Her own beloved child.
But now photographers arrive
Clicking and flashing from every side,
Despite the old priest's remonstrations,
Who in desperation then resignation
Tries to explain to the congregation,
The real and sacred signification
Of the Holy Communion...
But nobody listens.
Lights flash. Women chat.
Babies cry
Children run joyfully
Up and down the aisle...
And now it's over At last!
Excitedly they pour out
Down the steps
Into the sunlight,
Totally ignoring the gypsy.
And after more photos,
Climb with their angelic children
Into their washed and polished cars
And drive off
To their long awaited banquets.
While in the quiet of the lonely church
The priest laments,
And the gypsy
With a thousand curses,
Trails back to her encampment.

by Jules

'Fat Pony of Lascaux'. Watercolour by Sunny Daniels
SONG OF THE RIDER by Garcia Lorca

Córdoba. Lejana y sola.
Jaca negra, luna grande,
yaceitunas en mi alforja.
Aunque sepa los caminos
Yo nunca llegaré a Córdoba.

Por el llano, por el viento,
Jaca negra, luna roja.
La muerte me está mirando
Desde las torres de Córdoba.
¡Ay qué camino tan largo!
¡Ay mi jaca valerosa!
¡Ay que la muerte me espera,
Antes de llegar a Córdoba!
Lejana y sola.

Federico García Lorca, 1924

Song of the Rider
Far away, and lonely

Full moon, black pony,
olives against my saddle.
Though I know all the roadways
I’ll never get to Córdoba.

Through the breezes, through the valley,
red moon, black pony.
Death is looking at me
from the towers of Córdoba.

Ay, how long the road is!
Ay, my brave pony!
Ay, death is waiting for me,
before I get to Córdoba.

Far away, and lonely.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Three gypsies stood at the castle gate. They sang so high, they sang so low.
The lady sate in her chamber late. Her heart it melted away as snow.

They sang so sweet, they sang so shrill. At last her tears began to flow
And she lay down her silken gown, her golden rings and all her show.

She plucked off her high-heeled shoes, a-made of Spanish leather-O
She would in the street in her bare, bare feet all out in the wind and weather-O.

Saddle to me my milk white steed and go and fetch me my pony-O
That I may ride and seek my bride who’s gone with the wraggle taggle gypsies-O!

He rode high and he rode low, he rode through woods and copses too
Until he came to a open field and there he espied his a-lady-O.

“What makes you leave your house and land, your golden treasures for to go?
What makes you leave your new wedded lord, to follow the wraggle taggle gypsies-O?”

“What care I for my house and land? What care I for my treasures-O?
What care I for my new wedded lord? I’m off with the wraggle taggle gypsies-O!”

“Last night you slept on a goose-feathered bed, with the sheet turned down so bravely-O.
Tonight you'll sleep in a cold open field along with the wraggle taggle gypsies-O!”

“What care I for a goose-feathered bed with the sheet turned down so bravely-O?
Tonight I’ll sleep in a cold open field along with the wraggle taggle gypsies-O!”

I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking
And a gray mist on the sea’s face and a gray dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

John Masefield

To Night

by Thomas Lovell Beddoes

So thou art come again, old black-winged night,
Like an huge bird, between us and the sun,
Hiding with out-stretched form the genial light;
And still beneath thine icy bosom's dun
And cloudy plumage hatching fog-breathed blight
And embryo storms and crabbéd frosts, that shun
Day's warm caress. The owls from ivied loop
Are shrieking homage, as thou towerest high;
Like sable crow pausing in eager stoop
On the dim world thou gluttest thy clouded eye,
Silently waiting latest time's fell whoop,
When thou shalt quit thine eyrie in the sky,
To pounce upon the world with eager claw,
And tomb time, death, and substance in thy maw.


Thomas Lovell Beddoes (1803–49)

IF there were dreams to sell,

What would you buy?

Some cost a passing bell;

Some a light sigh,

That shakes from Life’s fresh crown
Only a rose-leaf down.

If there were dreams to sell,

Merry and sad to tell,

And the crier rung the bell,

What would you buy?

A cottage lone and still,

With bowers nigh,

Shadowy, my woes to still,

Until I die.

Such pearl from Life’s fresh crown

Fain would I shake me down.

Were dreams to have at will,

This would best heal my ill,

This would I buy.