Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for June, 2011

Sick Love- Robert Graves(1895- 1985)

O Love, be fed with apples while you may,
And feel the sun and go in a royal array,
A smiling innocent on the royal causeway,

Though in what listening horror for the cry
That soars in outer blackness dismally,
The dumb blind beast, the paranoiac fury:

Be warm, enjoy the season, lift your head,
Exquisite in the pulse of tainted blood,
That infirm passion is not to be despised.

Take your delight in momentariness,
Walk between dark and dark- a shining space
With the grave’s narrowness, though not its peace.
benny

Read Full Post »

Read Full Post »

François Villon (1431 – 1465) French
Poet.

King of the beggars, brawler, thief and roistering drunkard and poet, who influenced great many writers including Gautier, Voltaire and Anatole France, was born in Paris in 1431, the year in which the Maid of Orleans was burned at stake. François de Montcorbier, better known by his adopted name of Villon, though born poor had the good fortune to be sent to University of Paris in 1446, due to the kindness of a relative, Canon of St. Benôit. At the age of 21 he became a Master of Arts and a Licentiate in Theology. He fell in with bad company. He got into real trouble in one occasion and was banished for a time from Paris. Returning to Paris in 1456, about a year after the fatal fracas in which he had to kill his assailant, he joined Colin de Cayeux, an expert pick-lock. A series of highway robberies and housebreakings, in which he had a hand, were revealed by one of the gangs babbling in his cups. Villon, now a wanted mand in Paris, went on four and a half years of self imposed exile, wandering through much of France. In the summer of 1461 he landed himself in the prison at Meung.
He was saved by the clemency of the new king of France, Louis XI. After returning to Paris in November 1462, he wrote his masterpiece ‘The Great Testament’, which along with the small Testament constitute his literary legacy to the world. He also wrote several ballades in the argot of the underworld of which he was most familiar with. The ‘Great Testament’ written as though it were his will, bequeathing jesting or bitter legacies to his friends and foes, gives numerous sidelights of the poet’s life and times and its eight line stanzas are interspersed with several beautiful ballades and rondeaux. He was one of the most exquisite poets who ever turned a verse or cut a purse. The glaring contrast between the ugliness of his life and the beauty of his lyrics had exerted undying charm to the later generations. He holds his place in history both because of the greatness of his work and its influence on other writers and for that extraordinary contrast of lofty genius, religious feeling and drunken knavery that made up his character.
When Villon left Paris in 1463 after being banished for ten years ‘in view of his bad character’ he was only thrity two. Broken in health and spirit the poet (who had only one poetical theme – himself) disappeared from history; leaving a legacy great enough to keep his name alive for generations to come. The quatrain given below neatly sums up his credentials for kingdom come either for hell or for paradise it should be said.
I am François, which is unfortunate,
Born in Paris near Pontoise,
and with a six-foot stretch of rope,
my neck will know my arse’s weight.

benny

Read Full Post »

Ballade of the Hanged

Brother men who come after us live on,
harden not your hearts against us,
for if you have some pity on us poor men,
the sooner God will show you mercy.
You see us, five, six, strung up here:
as for our flesh, which we have fed too well,
already it has been devoured and is rotten,
and we the bones, now turn to dust and ashes.

If we dare call you brothers, you should not
be scornful, even though we have been killed
by Justice. All the same, you know
that not all men are wise and strong;
commend us, now that we are dead,
to Jesus, Son of Virgin Mary,
that His grace’s source shall not dry up for us,
and that He keeps us from thunderbolts of Hell.
We now are dead-let no one harry us,
but pray to God that He absolve us all.

The rain has washed and cleansed us,
and the sun dried and blackened us;
magpies and crows have hollowed out our eyes
and torn away our beards and eyebrows.
Never, never are we at rest,
but driven back and forth
by the wind, changing at its pleasure, we,
more pecked by birds than a tailor’s thimble.
Be not of such a brotherhood as ours,
but pray to God that He absolves us all.

Prince Jesus, master of us all,
let Hell not hold us in its sway;
we would have no debts or business there.
Men, here there is no joking,
but pray to God that He absolves us all. (tr.Anthony BonnerBantam classic,1969)

François Villon(1431-1463?)
For scholars who wanted to know more of this poet in 1870 police records of the period came as a help. That he was a first rate poet there is no doubt. There are no more than three thousand lines to the whole body of his verse but a single line of it alone would suffice to his genius.
Mais ou sont les nieges d’antan?’
encapsulates in a line so deftly phrased the profundity of the ages.( William Carlos Williams). It is not in the snow freshly fallen, or the slush it has become but in the fresh virginal snow all those snow in the past is represented. The transience of human life and memory his line seems to challenge. François Villon was in and out of scrapes and a couple of times came, almost under the shadow of a gibbet. After his last encounter with death on Jan. 5,1463 he was banished from Paris ‘in view of his bad character.’ The Provost’s sentence was overturned by Parliament and nothing more is known of his subsequent life in exile. How he came to his end we shall probably never know.
Trivia: he was born in the year Jeanne d’arc was burnt at the stake.
benny

Read Full Post »

Read Full Post »

Read Full Post »

#81
If you are poor now, my friend, then you’ll stay poor.
These days only the rich get even more.
LXXXI

Semper pauper eris, si pauper es, Aeimiliane.
dantur opes nullis nunc nisi divitibus (ack: Martial/The Epigrams-pub.Penguin Classics-tr.James Michie)
As it was in the first-century Rome as true even these times.
It is true under democracy or any crazy system of political ideology man has devised. It would seem the moment the archangel announced ‘liberty’ man just took it to mean ‘money!’In India they have been mouthing platitudes while kickbacks kept filling the pockets of powers that be. In the US their fine art of making money gave capitalism a new synonym-crapitalism.
benny

Read Full Post »

Read Full Post »

Once upon a time Chicken Little was walking along the village lane and saw a gaggle of geese going in a file. He crossed the lane in order to see them better. One goose stepped smartly and stepped on his little toe and it hurt. He flapped his tiny wings and was all astir. ‘This must be war!’ Chicken Little was certain. He ran to tell his Mama. But Mother Hen said geese were not on warpath. Chicken Little didn’t like to be proved wrong. So he asked, ‘How can you be sure of what I have seen, Mama?’ Mother Hen knew that she had to come up with a better answer to silence him. ‘It is common knowledge, Chicken Little,’ Mother Hen giving him an indulgent look said, ‘Had you laid as many eggs as I have, you will know you have been shooting your mouth.’ Chicken Little stood his ground and said, ‘But I felt its brutal thrust, yes I did.’ Chicken Little still staring at the scratch said,’ The goose-stepping marauders are on the war path.’ Mother Hen shooed him to attend to his supper and sleep off. Chicken Little did as he was told.
Later in the evening when the rooster came home Mother Hen lost no time in telling the news. ‘Order for mobilization has gone out. Geese have been given their marching orders.’
The Rooster said, ‘Is my comb all in order, Dearie?’
‘You are not getting mixed up in any of this?’
‘Sure I am,’ The Rooster crowed, ‘A war comes and I cannot let it go by.’
The rooster already saw himself as a Field Marshall. Mother Hen cackled in frustration. But Mr. Cock-a-lock said firmly, ‘I do not ask why I was given such colors when I cut a figure in a fight.’ Without so much as a good bye he preened himself and made a right about turn to face his imaginary enemies. Mother Hen ran a little behind him telling, ‘Go There shall be drumbeats and trumpets blaring as you march off. But when you return there shall be none.’
The rooster stopped dead in his tracks and looking at Mother Hen he said, ‘Lay your eggs if that cheer you up but leave the war to me.’ Without waiting to hear reason the Rooster merely marched on promising not to come back without covering himself in glory. On the way he met Porky who just had wallowed in mud and was feeling frisky. Porky saw Rooster and hollered, ‘What is the tearing hurry, Mr. Cock-a-lock? The Rooster mentioned a war had been declared. ‘How do you know that?’ Porky was not taking things at their face value. He countered it by asking, ‘ Tell me in a way I can understand: why would geese march in formation, goose-stepping across the country if not for war?’
Porky took time to digest this and the Rooster made a turn as though he had his baton already, ‘It is time to cover myself in glory.’ Porky didn’t buy this talk about glory. He grunted to admit,’ I covered myself in mud and let me tell you, and I feel great.’ The Rooster went off all spruced up. On the way he saw a Turkey who said war never appealed to him. The Rooster suggested he could prove his mettle. ‘Only war can take us to the top.’
The Rooster was sure war always ended in great rejoicing. ‘Don’t you wish when the President reads out recipients for Medal for Valor and you are among them?’
Mr. Turkey excused his lack of enthusiasm and said, ‘A war always ends badly for us. There will be thanksgiving and invariably we end on the occasion stuffed with sage. ’
The rooster thought the trouble with the world was they had no stomach for war. ‘There is a war and Mr. Turkey is already reaching wrong conclusions.’ He was certain he would not like to spend company with such fearful fowls.
On the way the rooster saw a fox and asked where the recruiting office was. The Red Fox saw the plump cockerel and said, ‘What a magnificent get up!’ Mr. Cock-a lock felt pleased. He returned the compliment, ‘You look no bad yourself‘
Yes Mr. Fox had his whiskers neatly drawn to a point and his thick tail fluttered, ‘’But are you dressed for the occasion?’
‘I hope I am,’ the rooster said somewhat shaken by the commanding presence of the fox.
‘Mr. Fox,’ the rooster stuttered,’ I ho-ho-hope you don’t think I will shy away when war has been declared?’
‘No, no’ the fox was certain, ‘ but you could do with more medals.’
The rooster crowed, ‘Cock-a doodle doo! That is why I am here to enlist.’
The rooster reminded again the fox where he was to enlist. The fox led him to his den where he asked the rooster to be bound over. ‘Why?’
‘Discipline, discipline. Think of it when your comrade’s life is in your hand. If you don’t have it you put your comrade’s life in danger. Think where this lack of discipline will lead to?’
Mr. Fox was very convincing and the cockerel was sure that the nation’s life was safe in his hands. Thus the cock let himself tied and taken to deeper recesses where he saw heaps of bones chewed clean. Shrugging at the mess the fox observed they were recruits who had no stomach for discipline.
Brightening up Mr. Fox looked at the trussed up cock and said, ‘Have no fear. But I have discipline that is far greater than all they had.’
(reprinted from Elves Bells of Nov.9-’10)
benny

Read Full Post »

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,511 other followers