Saturday, February 21, 2015

.. and on.
Another one for the paedophiles.

Friday, February 20, 2015

I don't know if anyone else would be interested in this but I'm posting it here so that I have it to hand. It's about some oddities of the French language. I believe it is the work of one Laurent Develle, though I came to it via Christian Vancau, a friend.

Pour les férus de la langue française, un petit bijou que vous ne connaissiez peut-être pas.

· Le plus long mot palindrome de la langue française est « ressasser ». C'est-à-dire qu’il se lit dans les deux sens.

· « Institutionnalisation » est le plus long lipogramme en « e ». C'est-à-dire qu'il ne comporte aucun « e ».

· L'anagramme de « guérison » est « soigneur » C'est-à-dire que le mot comprend les mêmes lettres.

· « Endolori » est l'anagramme de son antonyme « indolore », ce qui est paradoxal.

· « Squelette » est le seul mot masculin qui se finit en « ette ».

· « Où » est le seul mot contenant un « u » avec un accent grave. Il a aussi une touche de clavier à lui tout seul !

· Le mot « simple » ne rime avec aucun autre mot. Tout comme « triomphe », « quatorze », « quinze », « pauvre », « meurtre , « monstre », « belge », « goinfre » ou « larve ».

· « Délice », « amour » et « orgue » ont la particularité d'être de genre masculin et deviennent féminin à la forme plurielle. Toutefois, peu sont ceux qui acceptent l'amour au pluriel.

C'est ainsi !

· « Oiseaux » est, avec 7 lettres, le plus long mot dont on ne prononce aucune des lettres : [o], [i], [s], [e], [a], [u], [x] .

« oiseau » est aussi le plus petit mot de langue française contenant toutes les voyelles. Eh oui !

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I just learned of the death, on Saturday at the age of 87, of Philip Levine, who was Poet Laureate of the USA in 2011 and 2012.
Now I make a confession; I had never heard of Philip Levine, and I wasn't aware that the USA appointed poets to the office of laureate. Reading about the gent I learn that he was "a champion of the working class". That'll do for me. I looked on line for his verse, and the title of this one aroused my curiosity. The named poets hardly feature in the poem, which is really about one Arthur Lieberman, cousin of Levine.

(Philip Levine)

Brooklyn, 1929. Of course Crane's
been drinking and has no idea who
this curious Andalusian is, unable
even to speak the language of poetry.
The young man who brought them
together knows both Spanish and English,
but he has a headache from jumping
back and forth from one language
to another. For a moment's relief
he goes to the window to look
down on the East River, darkening
below as the early night comes on.
Something flashes across his sight,
a double vision of such horror
he has to slap both his hands across
his mouth to keep from screaming.
Let's not be frivolous, let's
not pretend the two poets gave
each other wisdom or love or
even a good time, let's not
invent a dialogue of such eloquence
that even the ants in your own
house won't forget it. The two
greatest poetic geniuses alive
meet, and what happens? A vision
comes to an ordinary man staring
at a filthy river. Have you ever
had a vision? Have you ever shaken
your head to pieces and jerked back
at the image of your young son
falling through open space, not
from the stern of a ship bound
from Vera Cruz to New York but from
the roof of the building he works on?
have you risen from bed to pace
until dawn to beg a merciless god
to take these pictures away? Oh, yes,
let's bless the imagination. It gives
us the myths we live by. Let's bless
the visionary power of the human--
the only animal that's got it--,
bless the exact image of your father
dead and mine dead, bless the images
that stalk the corners of our sight
and will not let go. The young man
was my cousin, Arthur Lieberman,
then a language student at Columbia,
who told me all this before he died
quietly in his sleep in 1983
in a hotel in Perugia. A good man,
Arthur, he survived graduate school,
later came home to Detroit and sold
pianos right through the Depression.
He loaned my brother a used one
to compose his hideous songs on,
which Arthur thought were genius.
What an imagination Arthur had!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Amiri Baraka, formerly Leroi Jones; under which identity he wrote this I can't say at the moment, so I'll give him his chosen name.

(Amiri Baraka)

I can pray
all day
& God
wont come.

But if I call
The Devil
Be here

in a minute!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Have I remarked on it before? I hate that word 'cool', so annoyingly middle class.

"Have you got a loyalty card?"
"No, and I don't want one, thank you."
"That's cool."
(Is it really? Is that what passes for cool in your strange world?)

(Adrian Mitchell)

cool is a pose
hip is a gift
cool is a mask
hip is perfect pitch
cool is closed twenty-two hours a day
hip is open all round the clock
cool is a suit of armour made of ice
hip strolls naked on the bay of the dock
cool pretends it doesn't go to an analyst
hip is Just William at Prince Charming's Ball
cool is the super-sarcastic panellist
hip's the green lizard on the workhouse wall
cool is a sniper on the hills
keeping going on those mean green pills
hip is a joke
weightless as smoke
or Hamlet stalking
in his Spiderman cloak

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Albert Young was an IWW member from Glasgow who was active in the North London branch of the union. He was too old to be conscripted into the armed forces during World War 1, but the poem suggests that, like many Fellow Wobs, he would have resisted conscription. "The Deserter" was published in the Daily Herald in 1915, and later in a collection of Albert's verse entitled "The Red Dawn".

(Albert Young)

I refuse to murder or maim this man, my brother,
Or soil my soul in the smoke of war’s red smother.
I refuse to kindle the flame that shall burn this city,
So my heart be murder-stained and dead to pity.

I refuse to obey your command. I have no duty
Other than love of Life and love of Beauty.
Tho’ you riddle my body with lead still I’ll be grateful.
But I’m gone – and you’re left behind, pursuing and hateful.

I fly with the wings of the wind and a hope surprising,
And reach a haven at last, as the sun is rising.
And here till the night-shades fall I sleep in gladness,
Then up, on the dark, rough road, to my home of sadness.

Hard on my track snarl the hounds of Hell’s own breeding;
But again I’m gone and roadway’s ‘neath me speeding.
Soon my garb of shame’s sunk to the depths of the river,
And dressed in the clothes of a man I offer thanks to the giver.

For I will not murder or maim this man, my brother,
Or sink my soul in the slime of war’s red smother.
I’ll get away if I can and in more peaceful regions
I’ll live and love and forget War and its murdering smother.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Joe Corrie's a regular visitor to my poetry seasons. Here he is again.

(Joe Corrie)

We have borne good sons to broken men
Nurtured them on our hungry breast
And given them to our masters when
Their day of life was at its best

We have dried their clammy clothes by the fire
Solaced them, tended them, cheered them well
Watched the wheels raising them from the mire
Watched the wheels lowering them to Hell

We have prayed for them in a Godless way
(We never could fathom the ways of God)
We have sung with them on their wedding day
Knowing the journey and the road

We have stood through the naked night to watch
The silent wheels that raised the dead
We have gone before to raise the latch
And lay the pillow beneath their head

We have done all this for our masters' sake
Did it in rags and did not mind
What more do they want? what more can they take?
Unless our eyes and leave us blind

Saturday, February 07, 2015

The Green Surge effect, local Labour MP caught telling fibs.
It's clear that Labour sees the Greens as their biggest threat, in spite of the jackal press nudging Labour supporters towards UKIP. We proles are all racists you know, and love a politician who pretends to like beer*.
I'm not a Green, or even a fan, but anti-austerity, anti-racism, pro-NHS, will get my support. Which of the parties with a realistic chance of winning seats is talking that kind of talk?

*Has anyone ever seen that posh git Farage finish a pint?

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Video Israel Doesn't Want You to See

More heroics from "the most moral army in the world".

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

A verse from Apollinaire's "Bestiaire" that I like, with an English language version by the great Edwin Morgan.


Je souhaite dans ma maison:
Une femme ayant sa raison,
Un chat passant parmi les livres,
Des amis en toute saison
Sans lesquels je ne peux pas vivre.


Mine be the house where you would find:
A woman in her right mind,
A cat to walk among the books,
And friends about at any time –
I bear no fruit without these roots.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Time, I think, for a poetry season.
Idris Davies has appeared here before, and no doubt will do so again.

(Idris Davies)

You stood behind your Bible
And thundered lie on lie,
And your roaring shook your beard
And the brow above your eye.

There was squalor all around you
And disaster far ahead,
And you roared the fall of Adam
To the dying and the dead.

You built your slums, and fastened
Your hand upon your heart
And warned the drab illiterate
Against all useless art.

And you died upon the Sabbath
In bitterness and gloom,
And your lies were all repeated
Above your gaudy tomb.