From the Song of a Celebrated Singer
By Pak Chaesam
Translated by David R. McCann and Jiwon Shin
Wind that moves among the pine branches;
with such a gentle stirring, my love,
I wish I could go to you.
But this is a dream
that eighty years of practice will not bring.
So it is. With this flesh-stained,
blood-stained voice, my one, sole possession,
torn from the field that I
cultivate, ripped root, branch and trunk
from my innermost body
shaken to its core, I sing you
Another by the poet from Sunday's Poet's Choice by Robert Pinsky in The Washington Post Book World. "A poem's brevity can give excitement and pleasure," writes Pinsky, who did not talk about the above poem, which I found elsewhere while looking for more work by Korean poet Chaesam because it's lovely and I didn't want to cheat anyone of their daily dose of poetry by posting a poem of only four lines. Pinsky calls Chaesam's sequence of four-line poems "good-humored and delicate" and analyzes this one:
Four-Line Poems 3: Place
As you play the delightful melody,
your fingers trace between where strings are or not.
At this very moment there is no tracing
if my mind is here or not.
"The minute negative space traced by the musician's fingers, a graceful code of absences and presences, provides a revealing, intricate comparison for the alternately mindful or self-forgetful state of the mind in pleasure," notes Pinsky, "a dance of consciousness and unconsciousness as rapid and intricate as the movement of fingertips over frets and strings." The second poem is appropriate anyway, since my major activity for the day was going to hear live Celtic music.
We had a relatively quiet Sunday morning. I had a bit of work to catch up on -- editing and coding a long article about upcoming Star Trek Pocket Books for 2007, and the inevitable "OMG PARAMOUNT MADE A TREK XI POSTER!" brief article with which I could not include an image of said poster, distributed at San Diego Comic-Con and online, because TrekToday's FTP was down, the site owner is somewhere on a film shoot and the tech guy from England is on vacation somewhere in the US. I am torn looking at it between being thrilled at the indication that we're returning to Kirk's era and being paralyzed with fear about what J.J. Abrams and his buddies are going to do with it. Kurtzman and Orci wrote great crack on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys but they would not have been my first choice to reinvent Star Trek.
In the afternoon we tried to buy younger son shoes, but our favorite shoe store in the local mall was, to our astonishment, closed! So we wandered around in the toy store for a bit, then went once again to McLean Community Park...this time to hear IONA, the superb Celtic traditional group from the DC area whom we last saw at the Potomac Celtic Festival two years ago. They are really amazing musicians -- Barbara, the lead singer, also plays guitar, bodhrán, bouzouki and some kind of foot drum, and they have a superb bass player (carries most of the melodies since the guitar is used more for percussion, lovely voice, good sense of humor) and a fiddle player just back from placing second in the National Scottish Fiddle Championships. They were having a launch party for their new CD, A Celebration of Twenty, which is one disc of music they've played for two decades and another of music they recorded for the first time. Unlike last week when we saw Ocean Orchestra, the temperature was tolerable and we sat in the shade!
Argent, Chuck Lawhorn, Barbara Ryan and Andrew Dodds performing in the gazebo.
Look familiar? It's a great spot for summer concerts.
Brotherhood continues to be not really my sort of show -- I have to turn down the volume because the kids are generally not asleep by 10 and the amount of swearing and ethnic slurring is exhorbitant though likely realistic, there's far more violence than I want to see and I still find the supposedly virtuous characters harder to swallow than the ones who know how bad they are. Nonetheless, I'd watch for Jason Isaacs and Annabeth Gish even if I didn't like the rest of the cast, which is uniformly excellent. I am kind of astonished the city of Providence cooperated with the filming of this series, because they've certainly convinced me that I'd never want to live anywhere so dirty, corrupt, unsafe for children and fostering so many prejudices!
The kids start camp tomorrow! Don't take this the wrong way because I adore them and all, but yaaay I think we all need this! *g*