The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Poem for Saturday


Cancionero Sin Nombre
By Nicanor Parra
Translated by D. Ohmans


My God, yes indeed! no one knows
how to appreciate a true word,
when we imagine it most distant
just when it is closest.
Oh me, oh me! something tells me
that living is no more than a chimera;
an illusion, a dream without boundaries,
a small passing cloud.
Let's take it easy, I don't know what I'm saying,
emotion is rising to my head.
Since it was already the hour of silence
when I started my singular assignment,
one behind the other, in dumb procession
to the empty stable the sheep returned.
I greeted each personally
and when I was near the grove
which sharpens the traveler's hearing
with its ineffable secret music,
I remembered the sea and reviewed the pages
in homage to my lost sisters.
Very well. I continued my voyage
like one who expects nothing from living...
How much time has passed since then
I could not say with certainty;
everything is the same, surely,
the wine and the nightingale upon the table,
at this time my younger brothers
should return home from school:
Just that time has erased everything
like a white storm of sand!

--------

"Nicanor Parra moves us especially when he writes of the nostalgic sentiment that man discovers in his possession of things in that secret sense which only their mortality deposits in them...nostalgia follows him like a dog, sucking at him, biting him, lacerating the smooth skin of his memories," writes Fernando Alegria in Literature and Revolution. "The sweeter the hour evoked, the more painful. On a summer afternoon, smelling of oranges and jasmine, thick with warm country dust, open like a sky without clouds, dying hurts more...Parra responds to the nostalgia with a poetry that grows in liturgical waves. He himself has said that in his poetry he does what God creates ceaselessly from wave to wave."

Daniel has definitely shared his sore throat and cough with me. Sigh. Again I did not get to any of the sales I intended to visit -- the last thing I want to do is look at bathing suits when I'm coughing and crampy and generally miserable. Stayed home, wrote a review of "Booby Trap" (not a very good one, I'm afraid, but it's kind of a mediocre, forgettable episode in terms of plot and kicks off a long trend of dysfunctional holographic relationships culminating in Janeway's utterly embarrassing romance with a cliche of an Irishman). Had dinner with my parents -- pasta, since we obviously can't have that tomorrow. I gather I'm supposed to be pleased that the Pope visited a synagogue in New York, but he visited one that won't let women read from the Torah, so it isn't a synagogue that I would ever visit, so it's hard for me to have warm fuzzies about this.

fridayfiver: Growin' like a breeze
1. What is heaven?
Everyone able to appreciate everyone else, even when they passionately disagree with their points of view.
2. What is older than you? The Horsehead Nebula.
3. Where do you belong? Curled up in bed with cats all around me.
4. Who is no longer a stranger to you? George Takei.
5. Friday fill-in: I hear ____. David Tennant saying "Now you can travel forever."

thefridayfive: Label the following fact of fiction and state why you did.
1. Love at First Sight: Fact or Fiction?
Certainly happens to people, whether you want to call it pheremones or attraction that deepens into love.
2. Fortune Telling: Fact or Fiction? I don't believe in prognostication, but people sometimes use the clues in Tarot cards or astrology to put together things they already suspected or knew.
3. Other Life: Fact or Fiction? I don't know what this one means. On other planets -- this is a very, very big universe and believe there is intelligent life elsewhere, though not that it has ever visited us here. A world-behind-the-world, like the Kingdom of Faerie -- only as legend or metaphor.
4. Afterlife: Fact or Fiction? Not literal resurrection of the body or ghostly form, but I wouldn't presume to assume I know what happens to people's mental energy after death.
5. Bigfoot: Fact or Fiction? I just saw him in a commercial for some Sci Fi exclusive, so he MUST be real.

fannish5: What are the five best tv opening credits sequences?
1. Star Trek
. "Space -- the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise, its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before." I understand the partiality to the Next Gen wording, but the original is the original.
2. Xena: Warrior Princess. "In a time of ancient gods, warlords, and kings, a land in turmoil cried out for a hero. She was Xena, a mighty princess, forged in the heat of battle. Her courage will change the world." I get chills every single time I see that opening.
3. Battlestar Galactica. Not what you think -- the other one. "Fleeing from the Cylon tyranny, the last battlestar, Galactica, leads a ragtag, fugitive fleet on a lonely quest: a shining planet known as Earth." The woo-woo vocalizations of the new one don't have anywhere near the impact.
4. Monty Python's Flying Circus. And then the foot comes down.
5. Star Trek: Enterprise. Say what you will about the song, but I got a thrill every single time I saw the tall ship Enterprise, Amelia Earhart, the space shuttle...I love that opening.


I love the architecture of this glass building in downtown Richmond so that it reflects the much older ones across the street.


The building on the left in the first photo is the Old City Hall, built in 1894. The Gothic tower may look impressive but the building suffered a 400 percent cost overrun during construction.


The current city hall is not nearly so interesting in design, but Douglas Wilder, who used to be the governor of Virginia, is the mayor, which is pretty cool.


And all the windows create rainbows over the building. Pretty!


This is the Richmond home of John Marshall, longest-serving Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court (1801-1835), who also served in the House of Representatives and as Secretary of State under John Adams. He outlived his own Federalist Party.


This is the view of downtown Richmond from Tredegar Iron Works.


And the big estate visible behind Tredegar Iron Works -- I can't figure out what it is from web searches, does anyone know?
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Watched the wonderful Sarah Jane Chronicles -- a show with a woman in her late 50s and a teenage girl as the main characters! -- and hee, the Slitheen are just perfect as evil schoolteachers and administrators, and I don't know how it ends so don't tell me! Then watched "Voyage of the Damned," even though I watched it when it first aired in the UK; Astrid isn't my favorite companion, particularly now that I've got more Donna Noble, but it's a beautifully made episode and I love all the Poseidon Adventure references. And really, I like Astrid so much better than every single character on Battlestar Galactica, which I think I'm finished with even though Laura is still alive and Cally, played by an actress I largely can't stand, is dead.

I'm so glad my kids were off getting ready for bed and if I had daughters, there's no way I'd let them watch this show where marital violence is the norm. I imagine we're supposed to be impressed that Cally's doctor is worried that her husband is hitting her, but then we get Starbuck getting turned on smacking around her husband and previews of Six smiling and smacking Tigh...the Cylon Civil War is easier to take than family relations on this show. I thought Starbuck was painting with her own blood at first, there was a definite self-mutilation vibe going on there, with her saying her body is like alien thing she's still attached to...yeah, we're supposed to think Cylons or mysticism but I'm thinking sexual abuse survivor with Leoben which is something she'd never admit, because the writers won't give her enough dimension for that, and MooreRon is too busy making Weapons Locker 1701D jokes to remind us of his cred and it all really makes my skin crawl. That's three strikes for BSG -- I'm done.

Have a great Passover if you're celebrating!
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