Updates, Live

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Arkady Gaidar, Chuk and Gek

Chuk and Gek
cover by ACT
(source: http://www.livelib.ru/book/1000352650)
no copyright infringement intended

Chuk and Gek (two kids always ready for childish follies) live with their mother in Moscow. The father is away in the Siberian taiga for geological research. As the New Year closes in, the father sends a telegram asking them to come over. After making a very long and eventful train journey and a two-day journey through taiga on a dog sled, they arrive to find that nobody is at the base. Actually the father has sent a second telegram warning about the change of plans, but the kids lost it in one of their routinely gamboling  and then were too afraid to tell anything to the mother. The next day the guard returns from hunting and announces that the geological research team is gone for a ten-day trip and he also will be gone for two days. While the three can stay in the guard's hut, he has no keys to the main houses or the storage. Chuk, Gek and their mother must now survive the next ten days in this wilderness all by themselves, with only the meager supply that they have brought with them. As in any children story, everything ends well, after a couple of adventures. And of course, the father and the rest of the team will come back just in time to spend the New Year together with the kids and their mother. Arkady Gaidar wrote the story in 1939. A movie was made in 1953.
(info source: wiki)



F. S. Kelly, Elegy for Strings In Memoriam Rupert Brooke

Frederick Septimus Kelly
photo c. 1903
no copyright infringement intended

I found this elegy on the Facebook page of poet A. E. Stallings. Says she, Kelly (the author of the elegy) was part of the burial party for Brooke on the island of Skyros. He began this elegy en route to Gallipoli. He survived Gallipoli, only to die at the Somme.

(video by Colin)

It is part of a Dutton disc featuring music written during the war by Edward Elgar, Ivor Gurney, Hubert Parry, and Lilian Elkington (Colin)

Kelly’s tone poem Elegy for Strings and Harp In Memoriam Rupert Brooke’ is dated 27 June 1915, when Kelly was himself in hospital in Alexandria. Brooke was buried in a grove on the island late in the evening under moonlight. The burial service was read, and then his closest friends and pallbearers, including Kelly and Denis Browne, stayed behind and covered the grave with stones and pieces of marble. It has been suggested that the music evokes the rustling of the single olive tree which provides shade for Brooke’s grave. The harp part was added a month before Kelly’s own death, and the work was performed at Eton College in 1916, at the Wigmore Hall and at a memorial concert to the composer (Behind the Lines - The Music and Composers of the First World War)

(A. E. Stallings)

(Rupert Brooke)

Labels: ,

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders
(Win McNamee/Getty Images)
no copyright infringement intended

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a blunt self-described socialist who has become a favorite of progressive activists for his denunciations of big banks and the financial elite, will jump into the 2016 presidential campaign on Thursday, according to two people familiar with his plans. Sanders shares many of the same political stances as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a darling of liberals who has repeatedly said she is not running for president. That means Sanders may end up serving as the most prominent voice for the left wing of the party — particularly voters who are suspicious of Clinton and her ties to Wall Street.

Read more in Washington Post today:

(Zoon Politikon)


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Arkady Gaidar, Timur and His Squad

the story of Timur and his Timurovtsy
(illustration by Mazurin)
no copyright infringement intended

As a kid I had in plan to read sometime Timur and His Squad, the story written by Arkady Gaidar: it enjoyed a certain fame among us, boys and girls in the primary school. Of course, I wanted to read the Romanian translation, my Russian knowledge was by that time less than poor. We started to learn Russian in school in the fourth grade. In that epoch (the 1950's) the study of Russian was mandatory in our schools, so we were treating Russian with the same casual indifference as any other mandatory discipline (I must confess: guilty!). But at least I was told a lot about Arkady Gaidar and about his books.

Well, I didn't read any of Gaidar's books, so it went. After many years, I was already in my late thirties, I realized that though I had forgotten all the bits of Russian that I had learned in school, there was something like a background in me (the same happened with German, other language that they kept on trying to teach me as a kid). And I became curious about these two tongues. I started to learn again Russian and German, more or less systematically. After some time I tried to read something in original, and I realized that the stories of Arkady Gaidar were very easy to read (also Ilf and Petrov, also, that's what I think, Chekhov). I read one of Gaidar's, not Timur and His Squad, maybe Chuk and Gek, but I wouldn't be now hundred percent positive.

Timur ja tema meeskond
(Timur and His Squad, Estonian translation)
no copyright infringement intended

And then English took its huge toll on me. For years I was forced to understand when other people around me were speaking English (and only English, and very fast), and to make me understood by the same people. This came with a price, that I paid by forgetting German and Russian. Better said, not forgetting, rather getting blocked anytime I tried to say something in German or Russian: the English sentence was coming immediately on my tongue, pushing away everything else.

Timur şi băieţii lui
(Timur and His Squad, Romanian translation)
no copyright infringement intended

Good, that's already history (старая история so to speak, or even alte Geschichte). A couple of days ago I was telling all this stuff to a friend (on Facebook) and he gave me two web links: one for a pdf English translation of Timur and His Squad, and the second for the movie based on it from 1940 (there was also a second adaptation, in 1976).

This is the book:

And this is the 1940 movie (subtitled in German):

Okay, you need a little presentation of the book! Here you go: the story of a gang of village kids who sneak around secretly doing good deeds, protecting families whose fathers and husbands are in the Red Army (and every father and husband seemed to be serving in the military those times), and doing battle against the rival gang of the bad boys (who were doing nasty things like stealing apples from old people, that kind of stuff) (wiki).

And my friend gave me also a link to the Russian text:



Borges, Las Cosas

(source: Caramelos de Violetas)
no copyright infringement intended

This post is dedicated to Deborah Schaffer-v: she brought on a list of Words and Palabras the Romanian translation of Las Cosas. ¡Gracias Deb!

El bastón, las monedas, el llavero,
la dócil cerradura, las tardías
notas que no leerán los pocos días
que me quedan, los naipes y el tablero,

un libro y en sus páginas la ajada
violeta, monumento de una tarde
sin duda inolvidable y ya olvidada,
el rojo espejo occidental en que arde

una ilusoria aurora. ¡Cuántas cosas,
láminas, umbrales, atlas, copas, clavos,
nos sirven como tácitos esclavos,

ciegas y extrañamente sigilosas!
Durarán más allá de nuestro olvido;
no sabrán nunca que nos hemos ido.


Bastonul tău, monedele, portcheiul,
Docila yală, notele târzii,
Pe care n-o s-apuci a le citi
În timpul ce-ţi rămâne, şi condeiul,
Un joc de şah, şi cărţile de joc,
Şi cartea cu o floare între file,
De neuitat şi-uitată amintire
A unei zile. Se-oglindeşte-un foc
De-apus în iluzoriul răsărit.
O, câte lucruri, cupă, prag, vâltoare,
Atlase, cuie, par a ne fi slugi!
Ciudate, oarbe, amalgam oprit.
Vor dăinui şi după-a ta uitare?
Vor şti cândva că tu pe veci te duci?
(traducere de Andrei Ionescu)

(El Atlas de las Nubes)
no copyright infringement intended

The docile lock and the belated
Notes my few days left will grant
No time to read, the cards, the table,
A book, in its pages, that pressed
Violet, the leavings of an afternoon
Doubtless unforgettable, forgotten,
The reddened mirror facing to the west
Where burns illusory dawn. Many things,
Files, sills, atlases, wine-glasses, nails,
Which serve us, like unspeaking slaves,
So blind and so mysteriously secret!
They’ll long outlast our oblivion;
And never know that we are gone.

Les Choses

Le bâton, les pièces de monnaie, le porte-clés,
la serrure docile, les lettres tardives
qui ne seront pas lues dans le peu de jours
qu’il me reste, les cartes de jeu et le tableau,
un livre, et, entre ses pages, la violette
flêtrie, monument d’un soir
sans doute inoubliable mais déjà oublié,
le rouge miroir occidental dans lequel
une illusoire aurore brille. Oh, combien de choses,
plaques, seuils, atlas, tasses, épingles,
nous servent d’esclaves tacites,
aveugles et si étrangement discrets !
Elles dureront au delà de notre oubli;
elles ne sauront jamais que nous sommes partis.
(traduit de l’espagnol par E. Dupas)

(las cosas que hemos Visto...)
no copyright infringement intended


Трость, монеты, цепочка, замок, что податлив,
Черновик, я который уже не прочту,
Карт колода, доска, помнящая ночь ту,
Книга, скрипка, цвет чей пуще кофе гадатлив,
Вечеров монумент, эдакий букводатлив,
Чьей услуги я вновь вот и не предпочту,
Потому что скажу лучше стенам речь ту,
Ну а к скифскому зелью больной митридатлив.
Пурпур зеркала западного, чья заря
Иллюзорна, напильник, гвоздь, рюмка. Как слуги
Молчаливые вещи свои нам услуги
Предлагают, порой даже очень не зря.
Вещи переживут человека, не зная,
Что мы есть. Жизнь у них совершенно иная.



Friday, April 24, 2015

Rupert Brooke: Beauty and Beauty (1912)

no copyright infringement intended

The moment of ecstasy, celebrated in a Cosmic wedding, the remnants of the moment, kept by the Cosmos-Priest, offered in reverberating memories

When Beauty and Beauty meet
   All naked, fair to fair,
The earth is crying-sweet,
   And scattering-bright the air,
Eddying, dizzying, closing round,
   With soft and drunken laughter;
Veiling all that may befall

Where Beauty and Beauty met,
   Earth's still a-tremble there,
And winds are scented yet,
   And memory-soft the air,
Bosoming, folding glints of light,
   And shreds of shadowy laughter;
Not the tears that fill the years

(Rupert Brooke)


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Arkady Gaidar

Arkady Gaidar
(Гайдар, Аркадий Петрович)
no copyright infringement intended

(Жизнь в Kнигах)

(Russian and Soviet Cinema)


Rupert Brooke: Dining-Room Tea (1911)

(blog of Jane Taehae Kim)
no copyright infringement intended

What is his poem " Dining-room Tea " but the lovely cage of an instant when in ecstasy time and the world stood still ?

When you were there, and you, and you,
Happiness crowned the night; I too,
Laughing and looking, one of all,
I watched the quivering lamplight fall
On plate and flowers and pouring tea
And cup and cloth; and they and we
Flung all the dancing moments by
With jest and glitter. Lip and eye
Flashed on the glory, shone and cried,
Improvident, unmemoried;
And fitfully and like a flame
The light of laughter went and came.
Proud in their careless transience moved
The changing faces that I loved.

Till suddenly, and otherwhence,
I looked upon your innocence.
For lifted clear and still and strange
From the dark woven flow of change
Under a vast and starless sky
I saw the immortal moment lie.
One Instant I, an instant, knew
As God knows all. And it and you
I, above Time, oh, blind! could see
In witless immortality.

I saw the marble cup; the tea,
Hung on the air, an amber stream;
I saw the fire’s unglittering gleam,
The painted flame, the frozen smoke.
No more the flooding lamplight broke
On flying eyes and lips and hair;
But lay, but slept unbroken there,
On stiller flesh, and body breathless,
And lips and laughter stayed and deathless,
And words on which no silence grew.
Light was more alive than you.

For suddenly, and otherwhence,
I looked on your magnificence.
I saw the stillness and the light,
And you, august, immortal, white,
Holy and strange; and every glint
Posture and jest and thought and tint
Freed from the mask of transiency,
Triumphant in eternity,
Immote, immortal.

Dazed at length
Human eyes grew, mortal strength
Wearied; and Time began to creep.
Change closed about me like a sleep.
Light glinted on the eyes I loved.
The cup was filled. The bodies moved.
The drifting petal came to ground.
The laughter chimed its perfect round.
The broken syllable was ended.
And I, so certain and so friended,
How could I cloud, or how distress,
The heaven of your unconsciousness?
Or shake at Time’s sufficient spell,
Stammering of lights unutterable?
The eternal holiness of you,
The timeless end, you never knew,
The peace that lay, the light that shone.
You never knew that I had gone
A million miles away, and stayed
A million years. The laughter played
Unbroken round me; and the jest
Flashed on. And we that knew the best
Down wonderful hours grew happier yet.
I sang at heart, and talked, and eat,
And lived from laugh to laugh, I too,
When you were there, and you, and you.

(Rupert Brooke)


A. E. Stallings: Visiting the Grave of Rupert Brooke

Brooke's grave on the Island of Skyros
(image source: wikimedia)
no copyright infringement intended

Rupert, this was where, I’m sure you knew,
The sea nymph Thetis took Achilles to,
And hid him, with his smooth cheek and gold curls,
Among the royal retinue of girls,
As any mother might, to save her son,
From war and death, by arrow or the gun.
Odysseus, recruiting, in disguise,
Set out for sale a range of merchandise,
Stuffs no princess easily resists—
Fine brocades, and bangles for the wrists,
All manner of adornments, silver, gold,
And set a blade among them, brazen, cold—
A simple trap that might catch any boy.
But only old men made it home from Troy.

Rupert Brooke died on his way to the landing at Gallipoli. As the expeditionary force had orders to depart immediately, he was buried rapidly in an olive grove on the Island of Skyros (wiki)

(A. E. Stallings)

(Rupert Brooke)

Labels: ,

Rupert Brooke

Rupert Brooke
photograph Q 71073
from the collections of the
Imperial War Museums
(source: wikimedia)
no copyright infringement intended

English poet known for his war sonnets written during WWI; also known for his handsome boyish looks (Yeats declared him the handsomest young boy in England, which is not small thing); was one of the top figures among the Georgian Poets; belonged also (together with Frost and others) to the circle of Dymock poets; his best known poem is The Soldier, written in 1914 (info source: wiki)

(A Life in Books)


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Ed Miliband

Ed Miliband
(photo: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters in Times)
no copyright infringement intended

An interesting - I would say challenging - presentation of Ed Miliband in an op-ed by Mehdi Hasan in today's NY Times:

(Zoon Politikon)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Doamna cu Pălărie de Fetru

Indiana Jones Fedora
(no copyright infringement intended)

Ziarele şi canalele de televiziune bucureştene au descris în amănunţime evenimentele regretabile care au avut loc ieri la cimitirul Eternitatea, aşa că nu are nici un rost să le repovestesc, vă sunt cu siguranţă cunoscute.

Eram ieri în autobuzul 311 şi la un moment dat s-au urcat două doamne cam de vârsta mea. Una din ele era corpolentă şi se sprijinea în baston. Le-am categorisit imediat în sinea mea drept foarte în vârstă, însă la o privire mai atentă am realizat că eu eram şi mai în vârstă. La fel şi cu corpolenţa doamnei în baston. Se apropia de greutatea mea, dar nu mă întrecea. În fine, asta este, trebuie să mă învăţ minte să nu mai vâr oamenii chiar imediat în categorii prestabilite.

Doamna cu bastonul s-a aşezat chiar în faţa mea (asta putea fi începutul unei povestiri de Cehov: n-a fost să fie) şi cele două au continuat discuţia pe care o începuseră probabil în staţie, în aşteptarea autobuzului (sau şi mai devreme, nu ştim niciodată când se termină o discuţie, ştim însă oare când începe? întrebare din categoria gândire cu intenţie).

Doamna cu baston nu avea numai baston, ci şi o pălărie de fetru, de felul celor pe care le purtau bărbaţii între cele două războaie mondiale. Le ştiam din filmele - multe, puţine - cu gangsteri din Chicago pe care le văzusem de-a lungul anilor. Adevărul este însă că nu-i puteai găsi nici un cusur în felul în care era îmbrăcată. Dovedea gust, dar şi personalitate.

Nu avem popor, ci populaţie, îi spune ea celeilalte doamne. Hopa-tropa, iarăşi gândire cu intenţie, îmi zic eu. Vorbea de fapt despre cele petrecute la cimitirul Eternitatea în ziua aceea, transmise cum zic şi la televizor. Felul în care vorbea era aidoma îmbrăcăminţii: gust şi personalitate. Folosea cu nonşalanţă neologisme, dar o făcea parcă în zeflemea, vorbea uşor în bătaie de joc, dar avea grijă ca zeflemeaua să fie subtil dozată cu o porţie prudentă de auto-zeflemea. Evident, subiectul Eternitatea se preta de minune cu tonul ei. Să comentezi micile defecte (foarte omeneşti) ale populaţiei de pe meleagurile noastre, şi să o faci cu distanţare ironică şi faţă de bieţii humanoizi, dar şi faţă de tine, ce să zic, avea material din belşug, dar era şi dată naibii de deşteaptă. Aşa încât tot ceea ce găsiţi în ziare asupra evenimentelor a fost pomenit şi de doamnă, însă într-un mod spumos: povestea dela cimitirul Eternitatea învăluită în spumă de fragi, bieţii mahalagii deveniţi personaje dintr-o bătaie cu trandafiri la Şosea.

La un moment dat, doamna (cu baston) deviază subiectul, dă-mi voie să îţi povestesc ceva ce realmente se potriveşte, însă te avertizez că e o piesă de umor negru. Hopa, mi-am zis, ce tare e! Trăgeam cu urechea ca un mitocan, şi chiar îmi dădeam seama că în felul acesta nu era nici o deosebire între mine şi humanoizii dela Eternitatea. Povestea părea desprinsă dintr-o nuvelă de Villiers de L'Isle-Adam: un mort transportat cu trenul dela Bucureşti la Suceava, îmbrăcat în costum şi cu pălărie (de fetru) trasă pe ochi, stropit bine cu alcool ca să pară beat mort şi nu mort pur şi simplu, însoţitorii îl lasă în compartiment şi merg la vagonul restaurant, când se întorc ia mortul de unde nu-i, între timp se urcaseră doi tineri îndrăgostiţi, mortul căzuse peste fată, băiatul îl plesnise supărat, mortul căzuse pe podeaua compartimentului, în disperare de cauză tânărul îl aruncase pe geam ... ce s-a mai întâmplat nu ştiu pentru că doamnele s-au dat jos din autobuz.


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Demostene Botez, Spleen de duminică

(estoy triste)
no copyright infringement intended

Ce-i fi făcând pe-acolo unde eşti?
Pe-aicea plouă liniştit… pustiu…
Cu unghia pe geamul străveziu
Scriu începutul unei vechi poveşti.

În jurul mesei fac călătorii,
Neobosit, deşi-am pornit de-un ceas.
Vreau parcă să ajung unde-ai rămas,
Deşi cu gândul tot te-aştept să vii.

Şi-aşa, absent, de mult călătoresc
Purtând în minte fericirea noastră…
Le geam o clipă ca să-mi răcoresc
Îmi razăm fruntea caldă de fereastră.

(Demostene Botez)


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Demostene Botez, Tristeţi atavice

Demostene Botez
no copyright infringement intended

Tristeţi adânci de iarmaroace,
De hăli cu cuşti şi panoramă,
Tristeţi de şubrede barace
Cu-ntortocheate diagrame ;

Tristeţi de birturi, cafenele,
De zgomot infernal de cleşte,
De-un vânzător de floricele
Şi-un papagal care ghiceşte ;

Tristeţi de după-amiezi cu soare
Cu moleşita lor căldură,
Cu cerşători fără picioare
Ce cântă dureros din gură ;

Tristeţi de barcice balansează
Caricaturi de-avânt schilod,
Şi de maimuţi ce imitează
Şi râd urâte la norod ;

Tristeţi haine şi adânci
De-acvile cu lanţuri la picioare,
Visând seninătăţi de stânci
La uşa cuştilor murdare ;

Tristeţi bolnave de flaşnete
Cu valsuri vechi şi anodine,
Tristeţi şi moaşte de regrete
Ce veac v-a îngropat în mine ?..

(Demostene Botez)


Demostene Botez

Demostene Botez (1893-1973)
schiţă de portret
no copyright infringement intended

Am avut prilejul să îl cunosc. Era prietenul unor prieteni ai părinţilor mei şi a venit de vreo două ori la noi în vizită. Aveam opt sau nouă ani şi eram emoţionat: vedeam un scriitor în carne şi oase!

(A Life in Books)


Thursday, April 09, 2015

Albert and David Maysles, Grey Gardens (1975)

Little Edie (Edith Bouvier Beale) and Albert Maysles
(still from Grey Gardens, 1975)
no copyright infringement intended

Grey Gardens, the 1975 documentary of the Maysles Brothers, tells the story of two women, mother and daughter. Big Edie and Little Edie. Two very kind persons deeply in decay, totally out of touch with the life running around.

The mother, Big Edie, in her eighties. Long time ago a well-known presence in the NY high society: a rich socialite with a lifestyle often eccentric while definitely good taste, an amateur singer organizing unforgettable parties at her mansion in East Hampton. That mansion was a great place to be, with a huge garden surrounding it on the ocean shore. The estate was known as The Grey Gardens (a name sounding perhaps weird; looking for an explanation I found in wikipedia that it was due to the special appearance put together by the garden walls, shore dunes, and ocean mist - and wikipedia was quoting in turn a post from 2013: A Return to Grey Gardens).

Meanwhile the estate got completely rundown. Like Big Edie, incapable any more of taking care of herself, almost bedridden, at the end of the road. Fully aware, therefore adding a touch of bitterness to her natural kindness.

The daughter, Little Edie, in her late fifties. At around twenty she had tried to enter the world of NY fashion and/or entertainment, whatever, without success. She was too kind, or too naive, too much a dreamer, too childish perhaps. At around thirty her life was already a failure. She came to live together with her mother (who was by then in her early sixties). To take care of the old lady? Rather to be taken care by? Anyway both went on in decaying. Together with the once famous mansion of fourteen rooms or so, now in shambles. No running water, garbage all over the place, holes in the walls, cats and raccoons on the loose, here and there beautiful portraits of them as young ladies, surrounded by cat feces and by mountains of old papers and magazines.

The two were closely related to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis: Big Edie was the aunt of the First Lady. Albert and David Maysles had originally intended to make a documentary about the sister of Jacqueline, Lee Radziwill, who told them about the Edie's. The two cinéastes paid a visit to The Grey Gardens and what they saw there made them change the subject of their movie. They got the accept of the two ladies, moved there with their camera and began shooting. And soon the camera and the filming team became part of the odd world of Grey Gardens, surrounded, challenged,  and risking to be swallowed.

Watching this movie is tough. You feel the same challenge the camera did, the risk to be swallowed. However, there is something beyond the nude reality. Something ineffable. Name it holiness. Or better, name it humanity: everything there in the Grey Gardens is depressing, but it is so deeply human, that it touches the chords of the Universe. Two human beings failed, it's not only the story of the aunt and cousin of the First Lady of the United States. It is often the story next door, it is often our own story: old age, sickness, lost dreams, failure to keep up to the challenges of the present, and you still remain a human being. You can loose everything, your health, your fortune, the esteem of the others, you still keep the intrinsic beauty of a human being. And this makes Grey Gardens a masterpiece.

(Albert and David Maysles)