I will always reply to comments and always re-reply to re-replies.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

THE DASH POEM


I found THIS very moving and thought that it should be shared. Makes you think!
(View with your sound on)

My daughter emailed it to me and I am grateful to Windblown Butterfly for letting me link to her blog from where it originally came.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

PROBLEMS WITH NEW BLOGGER

I have recently switched to new Blogger (I wish I hadn't). Can anyone tell me why old friends who post comments are now listed as "anonymous"? Is this because they are not signed up to new blogger? (If so and you are one of these, please sign your contribution with your blog name, so I can visit your blog)

Also why do the links to favourites in "my profile" no longer link?

Also I have to put my password in twice before it recognises it.

Also the "remember me on this computer" does not work - although ticked.

Is this the usual case of "if it ain't broke, don't try to fix it"? Or "Improvement means deterioration"?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

AT THE ORCHARD PAVILION


AT THE ORCHARD PAVILION
(Wang Shi Chih 321 – 379 AD)

This is the ninth year of Yung Ho (AD 353), kuei chou in the cycle. We met in the late spring at the Orchard pavilion in Shanyin to celebrate the water festival.
All the scholar friends are gathered and there is a goodly mixture of old and young. In the background lie high peaks and deep forests, while a clear gurgling brook catches the light to the right and to the left. We then arrange ourselves sitting on its bank, drinking in succession from the goblet as it floats down the stream. No music is provided, but with drinking and with song our hearts are gay and at ease. It is a clear spring day with mild, caressing breeze. The vast universe, throbbing with life, lies before us, entertaining the eye and pleasing the spirit and all the senses. It is perfect.
I often thought that the people of the past lived and felt exactly as we of today. Whenever I read their writings I felt this way and was seized with its pathos. It is a cool comfort to say that life and death are different phases of the same thing and that a long span of life or a short one does not matter. Alas! The people of the future will look on us as we look on those who have gone before us. Hence I have recorded here those present and what they said. Ages may pass and times change, but the human sentiments will be the same. I know that future readers who set their eyes on these words will be affected the same way.

Wang Shi Chih was a renowned Chinese calligraphist. The above thoughts he inscribed on a stele which became famous. So many people took rubbings of it that it became badly worn. He inscribed it anew, but could not catch the spontaneity of the original which is still the one preferred by scholars.

We are treated to a little cameo of a delightful, civilised picnic in China 1,700 years ago. His last two sentences are so true (and poignant). But I am sure he would never have foreseen that "future readers" would enjoy his thoughts via the Worldwide Web!
I am indebted to Lin Yutang for this translation (and thank you, Duchess, for the book I took it from!)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

WARNING TO CHILDREN

Children, if you dare to think
Of the greatness, rareness, muchness
Fewness of this precious only
Endless world in which you say
You live, you think of things like this:
Blocks of slate enclosing dappled
Red and green, enclosing tawny
Yellow nets, enclosing white
And black acres of dominoes,
Where a neat brown paper parcel
Tempts you to untie the string.
In the parcel a small island,
On the island a large tree,
On the tree a husky fruit.
Strip the husk and pare the rind off:
In the kernel you will see
Blocks of slate enclosed by dappled
Red and green, enclosed by tawny
Yellow nets, enclosed by white
And black acres of dominoes,
Where the same brown paper parcel -
Children, leave the string alone!
For who dares undo the parcel
Finds himself at once inside it,
On the island, in the fruit,
Blocks of slate about his head,
Finds himself enclosed by dappled
Green and red, enclosed by yellow
Tawny nets, enclosed by black
And white acres of dominoes,
With the same brown paper parcel
Still untied upon his knee.
And, if he then should dare to think
Of the fewness, muchness, rareness,
Greatness of this endless only
Precious world in which he says
He lives - he then unties the string.

Robert Graves

I love this poem. It somehow has great meaning, but I find it impossible to tie it down.
One commentator likens it to " the poetic equivalent of one of Escher's paintings (if you're not familiar with Escher, take a look at http://www.worldofescher.com/gallery/), where the question is not so much what it *means* as what it *is*. Look through some of the Escher paintings, then go back and read the poem aloud, noting the loops and subtle variations, the way parts of it appear to contain and be contained by other parts, the way the sound and imagery weave themselves into the theme." (for these latter thoughts, thank you Martin )