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Nepalese Notebook: September 13th, 2014

September 13th, 2014

Upper Jagat 1340m.

The country people are remarkable for their stature and muscle though none of them are very tall.  A boy of no more than 8 or 9 years old came up the trail today carrying a bag of damp sand from the river bottom; it must have been at least 50 pounds and as tall as him because he had to bend over with the tumpline almost perpendicular to the ground to be able to move forward.  Further down we saw the father and another boy filling up more bags to be taken in turn, and these, as we found out, were for house-constructing and repairs.  A woman in the village before, where we stopped for refreshments, spoke in a rather lively tone of voice about how she wanted to have 12 children with her husband, already had 3, and was pushing 31 years old. After we passed the hot springs of Tatopani where we cleansed our hair and face, the more prevalent signs of Tibetan culture began to appear, most notably the women wearing vibrantly coloured aprons of knitted woo…

Mineola: The Spirit of the War-Path

Here is the first act of a drama from Woodland Poems--feel free to comment!
Scene: A wood near an Indian Village (late evening) Enter: Two women (Mineola and Nakakowa) gathering wood Mineola: See you how this dark world in silence be? I think the evening awakes anxiousness Just as the morning delays it: Hear you? You may hear the birds, but they are far away; They sing, but their songs are echoes, long, faint; And yet they tell a truth, but it is scarce: That we are far from ourselves when we’d be The most intimate, and that our precious Moments are thoughts too lazy to be felt— And this, this, the worst sort of anxiousness! Nakakowa: And why? Mineola: Such times as this, when men are tired, I am awake, but cannot act myself, And being another, am an enemy To myself who was a friend, and un-friend The man who rises fresh to his passion.

Lost Poet Series: John Clare

If ever he were consoled by his own voice, even through loneliness of heart and failure of spirit, John Clare merits the attention of those who, not through pity, but of genuine desire, seek the inner motivations of man. His poetry, strange and wonderful, still remains intimate to those with a solitary moment to spare and his descriptions of the countryside offer a reason to escape.
Born on July 13th, 1793 at a time when men could still gain livings by titles such as 'wandering fiddler', of which Clare's grandfather was one, or 'wrestler and corn thrasher' as was his father, our poet grew up. Often said to be dreamy and shy--for one day he had gone off to search for the horizon--yet the boy gained from leisurely entertainment a scanty upbringing in poetry while listening 'to a curious old lady called Granny Baines' recite folk songs and ballads. Among the countryside he roamed much, but desiring in those early years to write verse, he was said to sit on hi…