Friday, August 28, 2009

Our August Gardens

Mini Garden report:

The garden manager posted a sign warning trespassers not to try stealing our veggies. $100 fine, it says, if you get caught. No such surveillance camera, of course, exists. You can tell that immediately just by looking. It's just a little wooden shed with some garden tools inside.

So few people signed up for a garden this year that a tract of land that would have supported six more gardens was left completely fallow. Of the 11 plots that were assigned, three have already been abandoned. The owners planted and never came back.

Andre, who has a corner plot, planted only onions and cucumbers. Hundreds of onions, and he ate every one of them, raked the soil, and planted more.

This was the first year I've tried growing radishes. They came out fine but tasted different from the ones I usually like--the only adjective that comes to mind to describe it is: too "boingy". Some tomato leaves turned yellow, looked blotchy & dried up. Some tomatoes are still tiny, rock hard, and green. Not nearly the crop that I produced last year, with half the effort. We've had so much rain this summer, and this was my first garden in a new terrain.

The peppers are coming along nicely. Wish I had planted more of them. My garden produced exactly three cucumbers so far. One was over a foot and a half long. When I showed it to Andre, he laughed. Said it might not taste as good as it looks. If cukes could talk, I imagine it'd say: "I'm too special to eat. You should stuff and mount me, put me on display. People would marvel." When pigs fly, Cucumber, ha ha.

This is my Brazilian friend Antonia's garden scarecrow. -->
An imposing presence wearing her husband's workshirt and a baseball cap. To tell the truth, he looks too kindly to be much of a real threat to anyone. He is over six feet tall and no wind has yet blown him down, a testiment to his stalwartness.

The beets and carrots are growing well. They like the cooller weather and will still be around after many of their companion veggies have long been picked and eaten. Ate some beet greens in a stir fry with onions and tofu the other day. Yum.

These are not my cabbages at the right. They belong to the plot adjacent to mine and seem to get bigger every day.

The green beans came and went. Ate some. Froze some. I didn't do yellow beans this season. Or eggplants. Or lettuce.

I definitely planted too much chard: 3 rows, with dozens of plants. What was I thinking?! No chance anyone will steal it -- most people I offered it to don't know what it is, or what to do with it. It doesn't often appear in our supermarkets, and even more rarely, kale. Which is surprising because it's so easy to grow. Perhaps it's an acquired taste. I had never eaten it before moving to Vermont.
Filled two large bags full twice in 3 days and I didn't even make a dent, it seems. Chard, anyone? Anyone? I can't even GIVE it away! ha ha.

The weeds in these plots were horrendous the first several weeks.
The soil there is different from that of my home garden--more sandy. Next year I'm only taking one plot instead of two. They're so large it's like having a mini-farm.

The cappucines did me proud this year. The cosmos are only just blooming. The marigolds sit, like bold little sentinels, at the base of each tomato plant, to ward off certain insects with their pungent aroma.

That's it for Summer 2009 at the "Garden of Friends" community garden at our quartier. I hope more people sign up next year. It's so ridiculously inexpensive--a mere $10.00 a year, and all the support and free tools you need. Now if only the weather would cooperate more, what great little crops we could all produce.

Am already planning for next year!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Naming our Meds

Ever wonder how they come up with the names for the meds pharmaceuticals develop and market?

My fun wordplay for the day is to concoct a pharmictionary describing the meanings that immediately come to mind when I hear the names of certain drugs.

Okay, here goes:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Abilify = The capacity to construct and mail out an invoice.

Prozac = Everybody who’s not against Zack.

Accutane = An additive that keeps your car from coughing.

Allegra = Increases music appreciation in haters of classical music.

Amerge = What they call the fusion of two lanes into one on the highway.

Botox = What happens when the interrogator threatens Beau.

Antivert = An opponent of the Green Movement.

Bleph = Noun generally applied to persons endowed with excessive blandness.

Celebrex = What divorcees do when the papers become final.

Cialis? = You'll find her at her restaurant, of course.

Dynapen = A large, enclosed structure used to protect the bones of prehistoric animals from museum-goers wishing to touch them.

Femring = A group of women knitting squares for a quilt; or the hum of your cell phone indicating a woman is calling you.

= The result of taking too many laxatives.

Gardasil = A protective covering for window ledges.

Lipitor = Guided visit to a lipstick factory.

Lunesta = Annual festival to honor the moon.

Lyrica = Popular name often adopted by some female singers.

Macrobid = A huge amount of money offered for an item at an auction

MiraLAX= Used by lazy people reluctant to clean their mirrors.

Maxair = What an air conditioner will give you if you push the right button.

Mentax = Not the same as Femtax, but both payable at the end of the year regardless of gender.

Pataday = What you should give yourself if you keep to your daily writing schedule.

Prepidil = The act of getting a certain type pickle ready to be sliced.

Remicade = Name for the section of the mall where former research subjects congregate to relive their REM sleep-study experiences.

Requip = A rejoinder by someone who just has to get the last word in.

Toradol = A small stuffed animal sold as a souvenir to tourists exiting the Spanish bullfight arena.

And finally, a made-up one: Darpacet = A defense-related project go-ahead, as in, “All set”. (DARPA = Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency).

As if I have nothing else to do today, ha ha.

My all-time-favorite on this list is the first one: "Abilify." All the other terms could pass as nouns. Abilify is the only one that sounds like a verb. In keeping with former pharmtrends they should have nounified it. But it would sound ridiculous:

"I'm taking Viagra. What do you take?"

-- "Me? I got something called Abilification."

"Oh jeez, I hope it's nothing serious, man."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I rest my case, LOL.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Away from home

So the other night we were nine. Yes, nine. Four adults and five children, crammed into a tiny living room, on one of the hottest and most humid nights of the summer.

It's because my daughter, who herself is not well, graciously offered to help out a friend in need, who needed to work till after midnight and so there were five children to put to bed, instead of only three. Ages 7, 5, 4, 2, and 8 months. A most interesting two days. I'd forgotten how exhausting raising small beings can be--there is so little time for the caretaker and when it finally does become available, one is too tired to profit from it.

The littlest one has taken to me, a complete stranger. We stood at the kitchen window and watched the morning birds descending in a swoop on the concrete steps of the courtyard as a squirrel raced by on a fence top.

I've been down in Beantown, visiting, and landed in the middle of a sweltering heat wave, which promises to be somewhat alleviated perhaps with the arrival of Hurricane Bill, who may or may not hit inland from the coast, but for sure there will be wind and rain. There have also been periodic tornado warnings but nothing came of it.

Not a lot of time or opportunity to blog this time. Leaving here Sunday, with more luggage than I came down with, thanks to Bookcrossing, which I'll write about when I get back home.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Essays, Anyone?

The impertinence of Bartleby: he does not negotiate the terms of his employment; he decides and acts off his own bat. Despite his mildness, his is the grossest kind of insubordination. Subordinates who take their own
preferences in hand and follow them up challenge the legitimacy of authority. Thus the latent, nearly extinguished utopianism of "Bartleby": what would be if all the wretched of the earth declared, "I prefer not to"?[1]

The essay from which this is quoted (in the February 18, 2008 issue of "Identity Theory"--"a literary website, sort of"--was then part of a book-length manuscript that was published in the Spring under the title After Paradise: Essays on the Fate of American Writing.

Part cultural reflection, part lyrical criticism, part idiosyncratic literary history, After Paradise attempts to restore a sense of the original strangeness of American literature and culture by pushing the boundaries of the essay form. [2]

I have not yet read it but intend to pick up a copy when I'm down in the States next week. I am a sucker for good essays. And I'm especially drawn to discussions about ol' Bartleby, whose "I prefer not to" principle, has unfortunately sometimes been added to many an arsenal of excuses for non-action by those who have never even read this Melville story--i.e., the predilecton to abstain, sit on the fence and let others make the decisions, do the hard work, etc. Bartleby wasn't about cowardice or arrogance, and though fictional, he had his real-life counterparts in preferring not to eat, resulting in death--never mind the reason: out of compassion for others (Simone Weil), political protest (Bobby Sands) or despair (writer Jim Thompson).

Another one on my must-get list is the "never-before published" essays of Mark Twain, in Who is Mark Twain?, also published this past Spring.

You can read page-long samples of the 55 essays and stories contained in this book by clicking here.

To hear John Lithgow reading Twain's "Whenever I am About to Publish a Book", check out Flash Rosenberg's animation of a hand with a pencil sketching Twain's 'characters' as Lithgow reads: here. (The full text can be found here.)

My list of Must-Gets is growing (groan). Add to that Henry Petroski's biography of The Pencil, Carlos Ruiz Zafón's The Shadow of the Wind, and Maryanne Wolf's Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain. And if I hit the used book stores in Harvard, Porter and Davis Square--whoa, better bring a second suitcase!

I'm dreaming, of course. I may actually have neither the time nor the funds to add to my book wish-list this time. If I had to pick just one, though, which one would it be? Argghhhhhhhh. Okay, which TWO, then? :)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Afternoon Ride Across the Bridge

We went for a little ride yesterday afternoon, my mate and I, to get out of the house and go "take some air", as they say here--that is, find some woods and walk around a bit, visit some trees, check out a farmers' market, just get out of the house and "go" someplace.

I notice the Googlebot has been poaching some of the photos I place on my blog and posting them in their public Google Images archives. Go ahead and take these if you want, Google--they're from the Mauricie region of Québec (the middle part, between Montréal and Québec City), in case anyone wants to travel here vicariously or come check it out in person.

This (below) is the Pont Laviolette, the bridge that crosses over the St. Lawrence river from Trois-Rivière to Bécancour.

First stop, Marché Godefroy, a farmers' cooperative that sells locally grown and hand-crafted products: organic flour, goat yogurt/cheese/soap, cranberry honey, "ice wine"; Belgian-chocolate-covered strawberries and blueberries; bins of fresh eggplant, cauliflower and broccoli; bags of unripened cheese curd, which is so popular here but which I can never find, anywhere, when I visit the States.

I found this woman literally dancing in the aisles. The spontaneous song of a vegetable seller.

This fellow agreed to pose for me, in front of the wine stand. I'm not sure what his costume represents and perhaps they took me for an out-of-town tourist. (I'm sure the locals don't come to this market toting a camera--I took mine today because I wanted to get nature shots for the planned trip after the market stop.)

By the way, if you're going to be in the area later his fall by any chance, you might like to check out their Beer and Sausage Festival, 12-13 September; Apple Festival, 24-27 September; or Cranberry Festival, 10-11 October.

Next stop, the little ecological park just a few minutes down the road from the market--a quiet, pleasant walk in the paths surrounded by unbelievably tall, thin, or thick, old majestic trees. At one point you'll come across a wooden barn in the woods, which looks abandoned but there's a huge, shiny, new looking vat alongside it, as well as stacks of freshly cut wood. Aha! It's a sugar house!! (cabane à sucre) Come spring, you'll see a lot of these sugar on snow parties here and in certain parts of New England. If you've never tasted maple syrup on snow, you're in for a treat. (Just make sure the snow is clean first.)

The path in the woods at the start of our walk. Look how thin some of these trees are, without a speck of foliage, climbing so far skyward you can barely find their tops. Amazingly sturdy for as fragile as they look.

Looking up, I couldn't find the top on this one. Perhaps it's in the clouds already.

This poor darling exhibits the ravages of nature, the scars of its life. It's its character, marking it off from the rest of its companions. I will know it again when next I visit here.

Unlike the tree below, which has been carved into by people wishing to proclaim their love for someone, or just plain leave their mark: "I was here."

What IS this human tendency we have to want to mark our passage somewhere, make sure it's noted that we were here, we passed through here, we existed. Some people do it by writing poems. Others spraypaint their logos on a building or carve their initials into a tree. This is not a judgment, just an observation. The tree in this photo seems to be saying, "See my scars." Or perhaps it doesn't mind, in which case it might be proclaiming: "Look who was here." Who knows. Anthropomorphizing nature won't really tell us, and the tree is silent.

And so that was our little day trip yesterday afternoon, over to Bécancour.

I love it that you can go downtown and stand at the port and watch the big ships arrive on the St. Lawrence, turn around and walk down the street and visit a museum and the beautiful, large public library, hop in your car and in ten minutes be deep in the countryside, traipsing among acres of blueberries or walking a path in the woods surrounded by silence.

Yes, we are a heavily industrial city here. Yes we have pollution from the adjacent paper mills spewing their toxic particulates across our gardens. Yes, we get an enormous amount of snow for five months of the year (which for me is kind of a plus, but I am in the minority, I think). But there are so many good things about this area. I admit I miss the rolling green mountains of Vermont, I miss swimming in Lake Champlain, my "other" home; I miss the woods of Pennsylvania, where I grew up. I miss here, too, whenever I'm away from it too long.

Anyway, should you ever decide to visit the Mauricie region of Québec , you won't be disappointed. There is something for everyone. For those who can't do so in person, I will from time to time post pictures of other places of interest--for example, the Moulin at Pointe-du-Lac, and a snowfall in March, and you can be a vicarious visitor, an armchair traveler as it were, which is not the same but oftentimes rewarding nevertheless.

Clouds today, and a bit chilly. Very strange weather for almost mid-August. The public swimming pools close here next week--way too early in my opinion--I guess because the lifeguards, who are mostly college students, will be returning to school soon. I would go swim in the St. Lawrence but the last time I tried that I got carried away by an incredibly strong current, so fast it took my breath away, and in a mere minute landed up so far past my starting point I had a stroke of panic. (I wondered why everyone else was sitting on the beach, not swimming, ha ha. Shoulda paid more attention.)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Sibel Edmonds Finally Gets to Speak

Sibel Edmonds, former FBI language specialist, was subpoened to testify today, in a closed door session, in Washington, DC. Most Americans don't even know who Sibel Edmonds is. What's so special about her testifying at a hearing today? It's because up to now, she's been gagged from speaking publicly about certain events which transpired while she was a contract translator for the FBI.

Sibel Edmonds claims to have discovered serious security breaches and attempts to cover them up, as well as the intentional blocking of incoming intelligence. She reported this to her superiors at the FBI. Instead of immediately looking into the matter, they harassed, intimidated and then fired her. That was in 2002--seven years ago. Since then, she has been effectively prevented from publicly discussing the case.

This brave woman has been repeatedly gagged from speaking in detail about her discoveries. And as of two days ago she has been unable to post anything to her blog. It has been blocked by Google, who informed her that it will be deleted within 20 days unless she fills out a special form and returns it to them to be reviewed for being a "potential spam blog". Two days before her testimony, her blog suddenly blocks her from posting anything. How interesting.

Sibel planned to talk today about "how certain Turkish entities had illegally infiltrated and influenced various U.S. government agencies and officials, including but not limited to the Department of State, the Department of Defense and individual members of the United States Congress" ... and "how certain Turkish American cultural and business lobby groups conduct their illegal operations with direct and indirect support from the foreign governments."[1]

Certain entities would prefer that Sibel Edmonds not have brought this and other information to light. Which is why many of her supporters are concerned for her safety. One of them, a teacher currently on vacation in Washington, even offered to act as a body guard today while she was en route to give testimony, saying he "would take a bullet to keep her speaking out." [Comments section on her blog]

Why did I choose Sibel Edmonds as the topic for today's posting (apart from its timeliness)? Irony. I find it ironic that the U.S. is so concerned about security that it recently found it necessary to remove a sign with bright, yellow 6.4-metre-high letters that spell out "United States" from the border crossing at Massena, NY (just across the way from Cornwall, Ontario, Canada) as a security concern. (The reason? "The sign could be a huge target and attract undue attention," says a spokesman for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency" [2]. Here they sensed a perceived security threat and acted.) It struck me as ironic that they're more concerned, apparently, with a sign identifying a U.S. border post, for fear someone might try to "target it" (throw eggs at the sign?) or attract attention to the fact that yes, this is, indeed, the U.S. border, than with a report from one of its translators about a serious internal breach of security in its own ranks, attempted cover up, and intentional blocking of intelligence. Their reaction to the second incident?--the whistleblower (Sibel Edmonds) was ridiculed, harassed, fired, and forbidden to discuss it. What's WRONG with this picture??!!

One would think, despite any possible embarassment resulting from the acknowledgment that elements of a government agency were or are incompetent, corrupt or in violation of the law (or might deliberately, for whatever reason, allow entities that normally would constitute a security risk to escape accountability or continue to operate undeterred), that concrete steps might be taken to immediately address and deal with the matter. But no, their solution is to ... punish the whistleblower, with smear campaigns, intimidation, and termination. Instead of a "Thank you for calling this to our attention," whistleblowers are told, "You're fired."

Maybe it's not a question of merely wanting to save face. Maybe there's more at stake than having to admit to a security lapse and correcting it. (Er... HAS it been corrected? Or have certain players simply been reshuffled?)

The Brad Blog has been following reports of Sibel's deposition today, where according to information from people emerging from inside the closed-door hearing, Sibel has been able to say "everything that she hasn't been able to say so far, implicating many members of Congress in a criminal conspiracy."( "Many"?? This could be potentially explosive.) I wonder if the mainstream media will pick up on it. (When pigs fly maybe.)

In short, Sibel Edmonds, a credible witness, testified today, under oath, implicating members of the U.S. Congress in acts of bribery and espionage.

What to make of all this? The media has been strangely silent on this news.

[For more on Sibel Edmonds's story, see these videos here, here, and here; and articles here and here.]

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Bloggers Weigh in on Today's Poetry Scene

A friend recently voiced his utter frustration at the type of poetry that gets selected for publication in the journals and magazines to which he's been submitting his work lately, many of which some people would give their right arm to be published in. Is it just me, or does it seem to be getting harder and harder to find really good poetry being written in and/or published today in America? (By that I mean poems that offer more than chaotic emotional eruptions or deliberate wordmangle "just because one can"). Why are there not more insightful, meaningful poems that actually SAY something--rather than just confuse, irritate, "entertain" or bore?

Hybrids in corn produce interesting, and sometimes alarming, results. The same can be said for hybrids in poetry. Norton’s Anthology of New Poetry, titled American Hybrid, focuses on the blend of traditional and experimental poetry by today's poets, constituting what they deem is a new hybrid. One blogger calls it "a textbook of bland self-absorption" and "a sad case that unknowingly expresses the malaise of our time's poetry." He finds very few poems in the book worth a second look. "If this is the best writing of our era ... then we are in an era of shit."[1] He is referring to the books' poems representing 70 of today's published American poets.

Johannes Göransson over at Exoskeleton gives a less blunt and more detailed review of American Hybrid, beginning with their premise: "In order to have a 'hybrid' of two kinds of poetry, you must subscribe to the two-camp structure; viewing the proliferation of styles and aesthetics as more complicated disturbs the attempt to create a synthesis." For him, "American Hybrid merely proves that 'indeterminate' poetics has shaped the tradition, leaving it as high-minded and ambiguous as ever."[2]

Gary Charles Wilkens questions the book's calling American poetry today a hybridization, saying it's "too slip-shod to call [it] a way, or a movement or a style." The book is "simply the numerical collection of isolated writers plugging away at doing what they want." He nevertheless recommends reading it, because he says it's like looking in the mirror at how "American poetry is slowly, painfully, changing."[3]

One of the newer trends in poetry that some find painful, is flarf, which Meg, another poetry-loving blogger believes exists "because the language of poetry has become dismal." [For more recent flarfspew, see Poetry Mag's July/August 2009 edition.] Could new and better technology have anything to do with that?

"What does it mean to be a poet in the Internet age?" asks Kenneth Goldsmith in discussing flarf and conceptual writing in his "Introduction to the 21st Century's Most Controversial Poetry Movements".[4] The Internet makes poetry infinitely more accessible. More poetry can be shared, and published. Start a personal blog, fill it with your poems, and that's "publishing" them.
That way you're not at the mercy of publishing trends. (A number of years ago the proliferation of fiction written in the present tense was an unnerving trend. If you submitted fiction written in the present tense you'd have had 80 times more chance of getting published than had you not, for example.)

Poems that have survived the centuries that are still being read today, quietly watch as each generation attempts to stretch its voice. What would anthropomorphized Grandfather Poem say to Young Flarf, I wonder. Like a tasty watermelon, great for the moment, but it's not got much shelf life. (Into the Tortured Metaphor bin with you for that one, ha ha). Seriously, apart from intentional shock or clever word positioning or high entertainment, what does flarf offer to the reader other than novelty? What's my beef with it, then? (playing the Devil's advocate here). Is it that it dares to call itself Poetry? Well but it is-- poetry. It's a part of what constitutes poetry today and it's claiming its place. (Define Poetry.)

Granted, much of what is being written today is a mixture of the old and the new. No matter what they label the evolution of poetry from generation to generation, it's not the method, process, or end product as product that interests me so much as the content. Why is there not more really GOOD poetry being published, whatever its lineage? Is there "good" flarf poetry? (Define good.)

I admit I'm not very well acquainted with the trends and movements re: poetry, past or present, much less to which school(s) a poet might or might not belong. My interest in a poem lies not to which school a poet belongs nor to what movement he/she represents, but what a particular poem "says" to me. It's entirely subjective. Do the words mean something to me, do they resonate, does the poem awaken something in me that prompts me to say: "Wow, this is REALLY GOOD!!!" Does it draw me to read it again and again and again, savoring its words, its images, the sense it gives me that something really important is being expressed here. That sometimes happens for me with a single poem from someone whose writings I wouldn't ordinarily spend much time on. So I guess, for me, the WORDS and their impact are their true measure of worth.

I am late for Mado's 86th birthday party--gotta go. Just some random jottings re: fellow bloggers weighing in on the state of poetry today. The discussion will continue ...

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Littlest One

When I transplanted this little guy he was the puniest of all the others.
By the second week he had gone all wimpy and lost most of his leaves.
Some bug had gnawed at his stem. He was leaning precipitously close to falling over. He didn't look... healthy.

I considered yanking him out. What kind of tomato plant, with only one offshoot, four times smaller than any of the others, would produce anything at all?

He looked so pathetic. I reached for my trowel and took a second look. He seemed to be saying, Ah c'mon, gimme a chance. Leave me be.

So I did.

I don't get over to the community garden as often as I should.
A kazillion mauvaises herbes invaded and I spent 3-1/2 hours weeding and working the soil. Then I saw it--my first tomato! Out of 17 of his other, far sturdier and much larger companions, this little bugger produced the first tomato!! The first one!!! How about that!!!

We've had so much rain this summer the tomatoes in general are not doing very well. Ditto for strawberries and blueberries (so the farmers tell me).

Later this week I'll post some updates on the other 'crops' over there. But I just had to show this little guy. So glad I listened to my inner voice and let him grow at his own rate. And hot damn, if he didn't come in first in the tomato production department.

Lessons nature teaches us: Don't give up on a thing (or person). You never know when they might far exceed your expectations.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Gleneden Beach, vicariously

Some places you have never gone
and yet you must have ...
otherwise how would they seem
so hauntingly


Thanks to Chris and Tina Pfeiffer of Pfeiffer Photos for permission to post their photograph of Gleneden Beach, OR here. [Printed cards of this image can be had by contacting them through their web site.]

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Singing with the Greeks

Greek poet Seferis (1900-1971) wrote a poem that Theodorakis put to music, sung in the above video by Maria Farantouri (Version #1).

People all over the world are singing this song.

Version #2:
Wrazas, Kaminski and Koscielniak sing and dance it here
in Polish.

Version #3:
Jocyln P. Smith, a jazz singer from Queens, NY sings it here
in English.

Version #4:
Finnish singer and human rights activist Arja Saijonmaa sings it here
in Swedish.

Version #5:
It's sung here as background in Jules Dassin's film "The Rehearsal" ("I Dokimi", 1974).

Version #6:
Here's Mihalis Rizes's version, where he gives us a mini visual tour of Greece.

Version #7:
Here is Grigoris Bithikotsis singing it.

Version #8:
Here finally, a room full of people at a reception belt it out, while the text in the original Greek is displayed on the screen.

I love this song. I remember the first time I heard it, wanting so much to be able to sing it in the original Greek but I was still struggling to learn and pronounce the Greek alphabet.

For anybody who has happened on my blog today who would like to join in and sing along (oh come on, plunge in and give it a try, all three of you!), here's a crude phonetic helper that you might find useful. I emphasize the word crude, ha ha. Some syllables are drawn out when sung, which accounts for the ah-ah-ah's and o-o-o-ee's, etc. My apologies to Greeks (and linguists) everywhere.

Sto pair-ee-YAH-ah-ah-lee DOH-kree-fo
k’YAS-pro sahn PAIR-e stair-ee-air-ee.
Theep-SAH sa-meh toh-mess-ee mair-ah-air-ah-air-ee
Ma-DOH nair-o-o glee-ee-ee fo
Theep-SAH sa-meh toh-mess-ee mair-ah-air-ah-air-ee
Ma-DOH nair-o-o glee-ee-ee fo.

Pahn-oh stin ah-ah-ah mo TEEN ZAHN-THEE
GRAHP-SAH-meh Toh-no-ma-ah-ah-teece
o-RAY-a poo fiz-eek-seh o bah-ah-ah-ah-ah-teece
Kay zfis-tee-kee ee gra-ah-ah fee
o-RAY-a poo fiz-eek-seh o bah-ah-ah-ah-ah-teece
Kay zfis-tee-kee ee gra-ah-ah fee.

Meh tee kardia-ah-ah meh TEE pno-ee
TEE POTH-os keh-tee pa-ah-ah-thos
PEER-a-meh TEE zo-ee-maz LA-ah-ah-ah-ah-thos
K’yah-LAK sah-meh-eh zo-o-o-ee
PEER-a-meh TEE zo-ee-maz LA-ah-ah-ah-ah-thos
K’yah-LAK sah-meh-eh zo-o-o-ee.

I realize few readers will actually take the time to click on and listen to all eight versions listed above. But I'm keeping them anyway in case I ever want to hear any of them again. Blogs as personal music archives (for those without an IPod), accessible at the click of a mouse (provided you can locate a computer).

Music connects us all. Understanding the words takes us deeper into a people's culture where we don't just feel their joy or pain, we begin to comprehend it. Life without words or music--unimaginable. Whatever would we do without our poets and musicians!

In case anyone is curious, here are the words in the original Greek, followed by an English translation. It's a good way to learn a language, by the way. Listen to Versions #1, #5, #6, #7 and #8 sung in Greek, for example, while looking at the original Greek text below. Your brain will begin to associate the letters with the sung sounds, which recognition may later prompt you to want to say--go and learn Greek--("Your personal challenge for the year is to ... learn a new language!").

You can use this method, not only for Greek but to introduce yourself to ANY other language. Heck, why not. You never know, it might open up a door to surprising new insights re: language and culture and the written word. It did for me. Anyway here it is:

[a/k/a Στο περιγιάλι το κρυφό]

Στο περιγιάλι το κρυφό
κι άσπρο σαν περιστέρι
διψάσαμε το μεσημέρι•
μα το νερό γλυφό.

Πάνω στην άμμο την ξανθή
γράψαμε τ' όνομά της•
ωραία που φύσηξεν ο μπάτης
και σβύστηκε η γραφή.

Mε τι καρδιά, με τι πνοή,
τι πόθους και τι πάθος,
πήραμε τη ζωή μας; λάθος!
κι αλλάξαμε ζωή.

Here is an English translation:

DENIAL [a/k/a On the Secret Seashore]

On the secret seashore
white like a pigeon
we thirsted at noon;
but the water was brackish.

On the golden sand
we wrote her name;
but the sea-breeze blew
and the writing vanished.

With what spirit, what heart,
what desire and passion
we lived our life; a mistake!
So we changed our life... [1]

[English translation by Edmund Keeley and Phillip Sherrard]