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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…

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…