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Stickie introductory post

Characters frequently appearing in this drama:

  • I - your humble narrator, sometime writer and poet (preferred pronoun: he/him/his)

  • Janni - spouse and writer (preferred pronoun: she/her/her)

  • Eaglet - nom de internet of our child, formerly known as TBD, not yet a writer (preferred pronoun: they/them/their)

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/632515.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

Following up on this post, translations are still go: last night I stayed up way too late working on two poems. *yawn* The week of posts are mixed quality in English (can’t comment on accuracy, and I still don’t know enough to know what to prioritize for a given poem, or even how to tell a what is good or bad about a poem) but they can be revised. And with practice, I’ll get better.

Maybe, even, one day do “Song of Everlasting Regret.” It’s good to have a stretch goal.

I am amused that with “nature poets” like Meng Haoran, the percentage of hanzi that I know well as kanji from Japanese poems has been much higher than for the social verse.


Subject quote from Gazing at the Zhongnan Mountains After It Snowed, Zu Yong tr. Larry Hammer.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/723731.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

Published today: Neon Words: 10 Brilliant Ways to Light Up Your Writing by Marge Pellegrino, which includes my translation of a Bashō haiku.

I've no idea what the rest of the book is like, but since the author clearly has good taste,* I'm looking forward to getting a copy to find out.

* ObDisclosure: Which I already knew, since they're a friend.


Subject quote is a haiku by Friedrich Winzer.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/723657.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

For Poetry Monday, something that explicitly does not reference McGonagall, but I can't read it without his ghost lurking near:

Tay Bridge, Douglas Dunn

A sky that tastes of rain that’s still to fall
And then of rain that falls and tastes of sky…
The colour of the country’s moist and subtle
In dusk’s expected rumour. Amplify
All you can see this evening and the broad
Water enlarges, Dundee slips by an age
Into its land before the lights come on.
Pale, mystic lamps lean on the river-road
Bleaching the city’s lunar after-image,
And there’s the moon, and there’s the setting sun.

The rail bridge melts in a dramatic haze.
Slow visibility –- a long train floats
Through a stopped shower’s narrow waterways
Above rose-coloured river, dappled motes
In the eye and the narrow piers half-real
Until a cloud somewhere far in the west
Mixes its inks and draws iron and stone
In epic outlines, black and literal.
Now it is simple, weathered, plain, immodest
In waterlight and late hill-hidden sun.

High water adds freshwater-filtered salt
To the aquatic mirrors, a thin spice
That sharpens light on Middle Bank, a lilt
In the reflected moon’s analysis.
Mud’s sieved and rained from pewter into gold
Conjectural infinity’s outdone
By engineering, light and hydrous fact,
A waterfront that rises fold by fold
Into the stars beyond the last of stone,
A city’s elements, local, exact.

Dunn is, FWIW, a Scottish poet and academic.


Subject quote from The Wanderer, John Masefield.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/723439.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.


May. 17th, 2019

Oh hello — I’ve missed you.

It’s been a while since that part of my brain that enjoys, or indeed is even capable of, translating poetry has been awake. Five and a half years, in fact.

Maybe it’ll stick around for more than one or two poems.


Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/723103.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

Been a while since a Wednesday Reading post. It's been … busy.


Dogman Unleashed, Dogman, and Dogman and Cat Kid, story and art by Dav Pilkey, being numbers 2, 1, and 4 in a series by the author of Captain Underpants -- Read aloud to Eaglet, and reread. The humor in these works Really Well for kindergarteners, even better than Super Diaper Baby. (And apparently first-graders, judging by the Dogman themed birthday party we attended.)

Mission Moon, Space Station Situation, and Race to Mars, story and art by Drew Brockington, being numbers 1, 3, and 2 of the CatStronauts books -- also graphic novels, also read and reread aloud. Quite entertaining, reread immediately, and now I need to put other book on hold at the library.

Dragon Masters, a four-book early chapter book fantasy series by Tracey West -- Birthday gifts Eaglet hasn’t read yet, as they’ve been interested in other things (see above), but I was curious. I suspect these will do better with readers who haven’t yet explored the genre expectations.

Cat Girl’s Day Off, Kimberly Pauley -- Reread of YA fluff with superpowers Talents, where the titular protagonist is the middle kid of a hyper-Talented family who can … talk with cats. It remains a light-hearted entertainment.

In progress:

Zita the Space Girl, story and art by Ben Hatke -- Reread (after a few months) to Eaglet.

Immortal and Martial Dual Cultivation, Fiery Moon -- Now up to chapter 1020-odd, with about 150 more translated to go, at which point the story won't have quite reached halfway -- srsly, this thing is humongoidjous, even more than I expected. (Not short chapters, either -- a typical one is 2000 words, give or take, in translation.)

Rise of Humanity, Zhai Zhu -- A few hundred chapters had built up, so dived in again. Completely ridiculous story and not as good with female characters as Immortal and Martial Dual Cultivation, but it’s the entertaining kind of ridiculous -- and what’s being done to Chinese mythology and legendary history is interesting. Up to chapter 581, at which point the protagonist has just set out to hunt down some gods, a crowning moment awesome enough I wanted to savor before diving onward (there's another 100-odd chapters translated at the moment).

Plus I'm still keeping up with The Empress’s Livestream and Phoenix Destiny.

There were a couple DNFs in there, I'm pretty sure, but I don't remember what. Entirely forgettable xianxia, apparently.


Subject quote from Immortal and Martial Dual Cultivation, Fiery Moon. (For the peng and kun, Wikipedia has the basics) </i>

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/722800.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.


For Poetry Monday:

Twilight, Henry Longfellow

The twilight is sad and cloudy,
    The wind blows wild and free,
And like the wings of sea-birds
    Flash the white caps of the sea.

But in the fisherman's cottage
    There shines a ruddier light,
And a little face at the window
    Peers out into the night.

Close, close it is pressed to the window,
    As if those childish eyes
Were looking into the darkness,
    To see some form arise.

And a woman's waving shadow
    Is passing to and fro,
Now rising to the ceiling,
    Now bowing and bending low.

What tale do the roaring ocean,
    And the night-wind, bleak and wild,
As they beat at the crazy casement,
    Tell to that little child?

And why do the roaring ocean,
    And the night-wind, wild and bleak,
As they beat at the heart of the mother,
    Drive the color from her cheek?


Subject quote from Don't Stop Believin', Journey.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/722618.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.


For Poetry Monday, more Frost:

Good-by and Keep Cold, Robert Frost

This saying good-by on the edge of the dark
And the cold to an orchard so young in the bark
Reminds me of all that can happen to harm
An orchard away at the end of the farm
All winter, cut off by a hill from the house.
I don't want it girdled by rabbit and mouse,
I don't want it dreamily nibbled for browse
By deer, and I don't want it budded by grouse.
(If certain it wouldn't be idle to call
I'd summon grouse, rabbit, and deer to the wall
And warn them away with a stick for a gun.)
I don't want it stirred by the heat of the sun.
(We made it secure against being, I hope,
By setting it out on a northerly slope.)
No orchard's the worse for the wintriest storm;
But one thing about it, it mustn't get warm.
"How often already you've had to be told,
Keep cold, young orchard. Good-by and keep cold.
Dread fifty above more than fifty below."
I have to be gone for a season or so.
My business awhile is with different trees,
Less carefully nourished, less fruitful than these,
And such as is done to their wood with an ax—
Maples and birches and tamaracks.
I wish I could promise to lie in the night
And think of an orchard's arboreal plight
When slowly (and nobody comes with a light)
Its heart sinks lower under the sod.
But something has to be left to God.

From his 1923 collection New Hampshire.


Subject quote from Prince of Darkness, Indigo Girls.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/722244.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.


There is a line in The Buccaneer (1827) by Richard Henry Dana Sr.* where the narrator addresses the title character:
Arouse thee, Lee! up! man thee for thine hour!
It is hard not to read this as an early 19th century precursor of "man up," especially as that's essentially what the narrator is telling Lee to do.

* American literary man of the generation before Longfellow and Lowell, with a reputation that has long since been eclipsed by Junior's two years before the mast. As a poet, Senior is a solid mid-tier second-generation Romantic -- and like many such, surprisingly readable.


Subject quote from The Flying Fish, John Gray.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/721957.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

For Poetry Monday:

Mud Soup, Carolyn Kizer

Had the ham bone, had the lentils,
Got to meat store for the salt pork,
Got to grocery for the celery.
Had the onions, had the garlic,
Borrowed carrots from the neighbor.
Had the spices, had the parsley.
One big kettle I had not got;
Borrowed pot and lid from landlord.

Dice the pork and chop the celery,
Chop the onions, chop the carrots,
Chop the tender index finger.
Put the kettle on the burner,
Drop the lentils into kettle:
Two quarts water, two cups lentils.
Afternoon is wearing on.

Sauté pork and add the veggies,
Add the garlic, cook ten minutes,
Add to lentils, add to ham bone;
Add the bayleaf, cloves in cheesecloth,
Add the cayenne! Got no cayenne!
Got paprika, salt and pepper.
Bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer.
Did I say that this is summer?
Simmer, summer, summer, simmer.
Mop the floor and suck the finger.
Mop the brow with old potholder.

Time is up! Discard the cheesecloth.
Force the mixture thru the foodmill
(Having first discarded ham bone).
Add the lean meat from the ham bone;
Reheat soup and chop the parsley.
Now that sweating night has fallen,
Try at last the finished product:

Tastes like mud, the finished product.
Looks like mud, the finished product.
Consistency of mud the dinner.
(Was it lentils, Claiborne, me?)
Flush the dinner down disposall,
Say to hell with ham bone, lentils,
New York Times's recipe.
Purchase Campbell's. Just add water.
Concentrate on poetry:
By the shores of Gitche Gumee
You can bet the banks were muddy,
Not like Isle of Innisfree.

The shadows of Hiawatha are long, long shadows.


Subject quote from The Earthly Paradise, Bellerophon in Lycia, William Morris.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/721693.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

For Poetry Monday, a 15-line variant sonnet:

The Kraken, Alfred the Tennyson

Below the thunders of the upper deep,
Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
About his shadowy sides; above him swell
Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
Unnumbered and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages, and will lie
Battening upon huge sea worms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.

Even young Tennyson had a way with sounds. It took a while to temper the pomposity, though. And how to better land the ending (those last two lines need a little more development to really stick it -- either start using Revelations imagery earlier, right after the delayed volta, or give up the already creaking sonnet form and spin it out a few more lines).


Subject quote from .

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/721572.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.


This morning, after helping me make brei, the Eaglet tried some plain matzoh, declared they like it, and cheerfully took half a square to the couch to munch on.

During Passover cleaning, New Cat (aka Princess Mischa Fuzzybutt) got outside three times -- and attempted several more breaks. She is totally getting locked in the bedroom for the seder. We do not need her personally welcoming Elijah.

A safe and happy Pesach to you all.

(Especially all firstborn children -- be careful tonight!)


Subject quote from La Belle Dame sans Merci, John Keats.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/721396.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.


... a place for posting bits of fluff caught in my filters. Warning: I list "very bad poetry" among my interests.

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