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Nepalese Notebook: September 8th, 2014

September 8th, 2014

Chitwan

Chitwan: the Nepalese Terai, the land of the Tharu.  These are the lowlands of the Himalaya, a vast jungle filled with rhinos, tigers, and crocodiles, interspersed with the irrigated fields of the natives.  From Kathmandu it is a 5 hours bus ride along narrow and sometimes precipitous roads in which the drivers take every advantage of passing one another regardless of blind curves or the stories of overturned buses only days before.  And yet the driving is not reckless; for when you see your driver passing another bus without any hope of gauging a head-on collision, you are able to find in his unshakeability a small comfort, knowing that the danger he has put you in, he may now save you from, as he swerves back with amazing dexterity only seconds before another bus would have brought upon your ruin. This is only one of the shocks though; the city of Kathmandu itself holds more than one could ever imagine; danger becomes no more than an inability to understan…

Newly Published Translation!

We have left the solstice behind and our days are now guided by declining light and the heat of summer.  Let us take a moment then to step toward the pleasures of another world and warm ourselves with poetry.  Please scroll down or click on the following link to read the new translation:

A Translation of André Chénier’s ‘Elegy XX’ by Douglas Thornton
Art, feeble interpretation
Of the soul! Art and only verse,
While the heart alone is poet!
Oppressive to the fruitful mind
Are those adornments, which despite
Themselves, hide within such words
As truth and surety commit
To thought, the loss of thought itself.
The heart speaks, genius writes: master
To obey, his hand turns divine,
But only if loved and happy,
Freed of torment, only if joy
Light-hearted and ardent youth spread
Across his face their beaming glow,
Will his verse, as clear as amber,
Or as flowers blush, find renewed
With their fairest looks, a sweetness
To the world, and in ripe old age
A guide. But mild and generous
If his h…

A Poet's Journal: July 9th, 2013

July 9th, 2013

First blackberries of the season:  I took a handful out of sheer fancy because most were still in flower.  It is pleasant to walk on mornings when there is a coolness to the ground and our feet are wet from the dew; there is a stillness that resides, not from our being alone, but in the change we thought had not yet taken place.
Douglas Thornton

A Poet's Journal: July 7th, 2013

July 7th, 2013

There are things that if we do not force may never gain appreciation.  Effort is one of those to which I fear to look upon again when not having correctly adjusted myself to the task, for the most embarrassing or unenjoyable parts are brought to life in just the attempt, that it is enough not to be aware of our faults, but too much to know shame in changing them.  The creative power that we rely on is the reason for our inability; it lacks the truth for what it may actually see, so that what comes through not being able to do, finds power only in what is done; and in the end, what we have truly set our sights on, one day gives us cause to look past it.
Douglas Thornton

A Poet's Journal: June 4th, 2013

June 4th, 2013

It is often what we do that becomes most difficult to accept, because life, for most of us, is not filled with any regrets, but one in which decision has been left undecided.  We are not always attached to the ideal, and at times, must make amends with something less worthy, and though it is a compromise, it is something else to believe in rigor, even when we have nothing to show for our efforts.  Modern man is judged by results, and this our claim to importance, so for the less glorious, idleness is looked upon as of something we should be ashamed.  Here is the greatest difficulty to surmount, and the one I find hardest to accept because when one has chosen, and still keeps on choosing, with what elements his life must be made up, and those provide no solace to the curious, or those who await it, he is faced with the reflection of his own idleness, his own stupors, and must find in them the faint glimmer of poetry.  The walls become to us our own means of retirement a…