mirrorshard: A photograph of the sea off Mull, with the word "Hiraeth" (Hiraeth)
2009-09-14 02:39 pm
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Irish history - two texts and five translations

At 5am last night, I finally gave up on chasing through odd translations of dodgy early-modern Irish history, and went to bed. Nevertheless, I'm going to share the reason for it and the results with you anyway.

While writing this post (last in the Tigana re-read series) I had to look up the Hen Ogledd, which led me through the usual odd byways to the history of Ireland and the Partholonians. A phrase in the Wikipedia entry caught my eye -
But Delgnat was unrepentant and insisted that Partholón himself was to blame, as leaving them alone together was like leaving honey before a woman, milk before a cat, edged tools before a craftsman or meat before a child and expecting them not to take advantage. This is recorded as the first adultery and the first jealousy in Ireland. The island they lived on was named Inis Saimera after Saimer, Dalgnat's dog.
On one level - oh, sweet misogyny, how we have missed you. OH WAIT. On the other, though - edged tools before a craftsman, as an example of paramount temptation? That rocks. So I went looking for the original source. )
mirrorshard: A photograph of the sea off Mull, with the word "Hiraeth" (Hiraeth)
2009-08-15 12:12 am
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Barddoniaeth

Byddaf yr hen iaith parhau!

Rwy'n gobeithio sefyll arholiadau beirddol y Gorsedd ymhen pum mlynedd. Trwy'r amser, rwy'n teimlo tipyn yn drafferthu pan rwy'n weld pobl yn galw ei hun feirdd heb adnabyddiad y cymdeithas traddodiadol, ond nid ydw i'n gwrthdystio; mae "bardd" yn deitl fel "shaman". Mae'n perthyn i'r diwylliant - i'r cymdeithas - penodol, ond dydi o ddim yn deitl fach fel "dug" neu "tywysog". Os nid ydych yn gall waith y fardd, does ddim ots eich galw felly; ac os ydych chi'n gwneud waith y fardd, does ddim ots beth yr ydych yn eich galw.
mirrorshard: (Default)
2008-11-12 06:47 pm
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Hedd Wyn

In the Welsh village where I grew up, there's a statue of Hedd Wyn, who was awarded a chair at the 1917 Eisteddfod in Birkenhead. The chair was given posthumously, swathed in black, because he died just before Passchendaele less than two months after sailing for France.

He described Belgium like this - "Heavy weather, heavy soul, heavy heart. That is an uncomfortable Trinity, isn't it. I never saw a land more beautiful in spite of the curse that has landed upon it. The trees are as beautiful as the dreams of old kings".

The Royal Welsh Fusiliers have a picture of him (the same one that hung on the wall in my school) and a biography here, not far from Robert Graves and Siegfried Sassoon. (They served in the 2nd Battalion - Evans was in the 15th.)

His real name was Ellis Evans - "Hedd Wyn" was his bardic name. ("Wyn" is variously translated as White, Shining, or Holy. "Hedd" means "Peace".)

This is the manuscript of his chair-winning poem Yr Arwr - here's the text in Welsh. It uses the metaphor of Prometheus, and the title translates as "The Hero". As far as I can tell, there's no English translation yet.

This is the Black Chair, which came to symbolise all the chairs sitting empty in Welsh farmhouses. I've sat in it - I was too young really to appreciate the significance, but I felt the honour.
mirrorshard: (The Book of Rainbows)
2007-06-18 07:25 pm
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So Bernard Manning went to heaven...

...wait, no, that's the worst setup for a joke I ever heard.

Image requested in the pub last night is here. Contains ewts and ferrets.

Robert Frost's poem I have been one acquainted with the night as referenced in conversation last night. [livejournal.com profile] ali_anarres managed to change my view on this one, it's not nearly as Prufrock as I thought.

And for your miscellaneous delectations and entertainment, The Oxford Hysteria of English Poetry by Adrian Mitchell.

Then Charles the Second swung down from the trees
And it was sexual medley time
And the only verses they wanted
Were epigrams an Chloe's breasts
But I only got published on the back of her left knee-cap.
Next came Pope and Dryden
So I went underground.
Don't mess with the Mafia.
mirrorshard: (Default)
2007-04-23 02:31 pm
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Pixel-Stained Technopeasantry

Our Lady of Stories’ End

Tell me a story, carry me home.
Give me wings to fly my fears;
Give me an ocean to dry my tears.
Give me a miracle, give me a dream;
Help me travel the worlds between.
Tell me a story, carry me home.

Dream a world or a word or two,
Send them walking to morning too.
Write me a forest and a sword of wind,
Sing them outward, and I’ll call them in.

Make me a dragon that runs on rails,
Make me a word that never fails,
Make me a ship with golden sails,
Tell me a story, carry me home.

Tell me a story, carry me home.
Give me wings to fly my fears;
Give me an ocean to dry my tears.
Give me a miracle, give me a dream;
Help me travel the worlds between.
Tell me a story, carry me home.

- original November 1998, updated 2007



Licensing: none. Do what you like with it.
mirrorshard: (The Book of Rainbows)
2007-02-22 04:52 am
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W.H. Auden, 21 February 1907 - 29 September 1973

After Reading a Child's Guide to Modern Physics

If all a top physicist knows
About the Truth be true,
Then, for all the so-and-so's,
Futility and grime,
Our common world contains,
We have a better time
Than the Greater Nebulae do,
Or the atoms in our brains.

For the rest, and a recording of the poet, look here (from the BBC).

When I went to my trusty ODQ to look up some more Auden, I found a bookmark on his name from the last time I'd used it.
mirrorshard: (The Book of Rainbows)
2006-12-17 11:04 pm
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Simon Armitage does Gawain and the Green Knight

His new translation looks really good. A taste of it, and an interview with him, can be seen here.


Gawain,' said the green knight, 'By God, I'm glad
the favour I've called for will fall from your fist.
You've perfectly repeated the promise we've made
and the terms of the contest are crystal clear.
Except for one thing: you must solemnly swear
that you'll seek me yourself; that you'll search me out
to the ends of the earth to earn the same blow
as you'll dole out today in this decorous hall.'
mirrorshard: (Default)
2006-01-27 12:05 pm
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Poetry meme

Lobbed my way by [livejournal.com profile] endless_change. Pick a favourite poem, and post it. Apparently I'm supposed to tag five people, but, well, grab it if you feel the need. This one's by Liz Lochhead.

The Suzanne Valadon Story )
mirrorshard: (Default)
2005-07-22 12:22 pm
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(no subject)

Sharp spiky needles to numb all the thrills
Poking with mirrors and torture with drills
Underdressed women with vibratey things
These are a few of my favourite things!

(saved for later, after a conversation about a certain Director's dentistry brothel.)