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Gravity and Frivolity [Jan. 7th, 2018|08:50 pm]
So I've done the minimal shopping for the week, and got kitty litter. I had to pay more for it than I would have on Friday, had the rain not prevented me from getting a ride, but it was still three bucks off the regular price, so not a disaster. Just very annoying. But I did get some super bargain soup, and a couple of frozen Chinese entrées, and a four-pound bag of quinoa I'm looking forward to experimenting with (grits with quinoa and almond flour!) as well as a few other things pretty cheap, so that sort of made up for the kitty litter being more costly.

And the rain that was to have arrived Tuesday is going to arrive tomorrow instead, and might even start before midnight tonight. I must remember to put the bucket that catches the drips from the back porch skylight back on the counter under it. It's going to be a fairly warm rain for the time of year, too, so though it will be cooler tomorrow than it was today, tonight will be warmer than last night. It should save a little furnace gas, anyway.

The gladiolus plants in the small planter— it's more like an oblong plastic flower pot, really— are sprouting up. I don't expect them to actually bloom, as they haven't for several years. But I do enjoy looking at the spiky leaves. Perhaps if I had replanted them outside the box they'd bloom, as the few I once had in the circle that once held a lilac bush usually got a few blossoms, but then those plants all died. They don't like being potted, and they die elsewhere. Too fussy to deal with.

We're gaining several more minutes of evening daylight every week now. It must be happening in the morning, too, but I haven't been awake at that time of day to see it. It's evidence that the earth is a big ball that is tilted and rotating on its axis while revolving around the sun, but I don't like to think about things like that. Very distressing that the world is not simply flat, so we and all our works don't just fall off. Falling asleep I once in a while still get the sensation I got sometimes when I was a kid that centrifugal force is going to fling me off into space. Gravity is so hard to believe in on the edge of sleep, except when one falls out of bed.

Sunday Verse

Speak, You Also

by Paul Celan

Speak, you also,
speak as the last,
have your say.

Speak –
But keep yes and no unsplit.
And give your say this meaning:
give it the shade.

Give it shade enough,
give it as much
as you know has been dealt out between
midnight and midday and midnight.

Look around:
look how it all leaps alive –
where death is! Alive!
He speaks truly who speaks the shade.

But now shrinks the place where you stand:
Where now, stripped by shade, will you go?
Upward. Grope your way up.
Thinner you grow, less knowable, finer.
Finer: a thread by which
it wants to be lowered, the star:
to float farther down, down below
where it sees itself gleam: in the swell
of wandering words.

–translated by Michael Hamburger

[User Picture]From: daisydumont
2018-01-08 04:56 pm (UTC)
I am not proud to say I don't understand that poem at all, on first read. I really am pretty dense. ;)

Glad you got the litter, but I'm wondering about quinoa. It's big here at places like Whole Foods, with salads built around it, but it doesn't look like food to this Midwesterner. Let us know what you do with it, please.
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[User Picture]From: flying_blind
2018-01-08 07:21 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure Celan intended his poems to be understood— at least not all of them, and not in the conventional sense. I've always read him the way I read his contemporaries such as Pierre Reverdy or Gertrude Stein— aloud, with the sounds reinforcing the imagery, and so the impressions the whole piece gives are more important than any literal meaning.

Of course to get the full effect I should be reading him in German, which I can't do. This seems a decent translation, though I wasn't able to find out who did it (found on the Internet rather than in a book.)
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[User Picture]From: daisydumont
2018-01-08 07:28 pm (UTC)
Ah, ok, I will try that! I'll look for it in German, too, to read aloud. I know some words in German, but mostly enjoy sounding it out.

I used to have a small paperback of Rilke with English and German on facing pages. I'd read the English silently for meaning and then pronounce it aloud in German. It truly does do something for a poem, and I forget to do it!
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[User Picture]From: daisydumont
2018-01-08 07:34 pm (UTC)
The German (Sprich, auch du) contains the most astonishing word, which I had to read aloud a few times for the fun of it:

"Nun aber schrumpft der Ort, wo du stehst:
Wohin jetzt, Schattenentblößter, wohin?"

Schrumpft! That's a mouthful. :D
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[User Picture]From: flying_blind
2018-01-08 07:54 pm (UTC)
Schattenentblößter is quite a mouthful, too.

I found this PDF of an essay on Celan by Dominic O'Key (I couldn't get the PDF itself to load, but there is a Google cache of it) with a considerable amount about this particular poem, and the information that the translation is by Michael Hamburger.
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[User Picture]From: daisydumont
2018-01-08 09:45 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'll go take a look. :)

(I bet Michael has been teased his entire life.)
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