It's still acceptable to use livejournal to announce shitty things in one's life, right?
Well, my grand-uncle's been diagnosed with dementia, and his short-term memory seems to be degrading by the week. And I'm stuck in Montana, rather than hauling ass to Boston, because I can't get a fucking job anywhere in this damn country.
This is turning out to be one hell of a bad year.
For a long time I've been a big fan of the old Arthurian tales, Mallory & Gottfried and the like. So about three months ago I wrote a short story, my attempt to take an episode like you might find in Le Morte, and do it in a more modern, naturalistic style. If anyone happens to read this, I hope you enjoy.
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CVSTODES ouium tenerae propaginis, agnum,
quaeritis ignem? ite huc. quaeritis? ignis homost.
si digito attigero, incendam siluam simul omnem,
omne pecus flammast, omnia qua uideo.
Guardians of the tender sheep & lamb of the race,
Ignis Homo Est, Porcius Licinus, ca. 100 B.C.
So I've taken to translating lesser-known pieces of Latin poetry, including the Old Latinists. It's good practice, and while some of them may not be the best poetry ever, they have some interesting images. Here's the first one.
ADVLESCENS tam etsi properas, hoc te saxulum
Although you, so young, hurry, this little rock
— The Epitaph of M. Pacuvius (220-130 B.C.)
I'm sorry for the break for the past few weeks - the end of the semester got pretty hectic. But the first semester of thesis is complete, and I get a month off to relax and read a whole myriad of stuff. To make up for the silence, have a poem I wrote for the Great Books class.
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The original Fata Apostolorum is an Anglo-Saxon poem by Cynewulf, and it's not much longer than mine - only 122 lines. I wrote this as an attempt to render that Old English verse into a Miltonian blank verse style (think Paradise Lost). I don't think I succeeded. Where Milton is dramatic (all those speeches!), I'm almost all narrative. One might say that if this poem was extended, then perhaps that might be overcome? But I think the problem in synthesizing the two is deeper. The unifying image of the original work is that of the Twelve Apostles as war-retainers to Jesus, who engage in battle against pagans, and in their deaths are accorded glory and honor worthy of a loyal thane. Milton doesn't really take that tone. His angels can be glorious in battle, but people are too spirit-wounded for that kind of glory to be a good indicator of what to do.
I may not have succeeded in what I set out to do - make a work that unifies the two styles - but my appreciation for both grew tremendously with the task completed.
I finished Njal's Saga earlier this week, but haven't really had the time to write about it. Time to rectify that.
For today, have some Boards of Canada. This song, off of the "Boc Maxima" release, is one of my favorites by the duo.
TURNING and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
--The Second Coming, William Butler Yeats (1919)
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