Readings: Weeks 11-13

WEEK 11

"And I Will War" (Byron - R) — YT LL "The Fight Song" (Marilyn Manson) — LL “XXX” (Kendrick Lamar) ❧ — “This Compost” (Whitman -R) — “Dover Beach” (Arnold -R) — “Rubaiyat” (Khayyam/Fitzgerald -R)

WEEK 12

"Unto the Breach" (from Henry V - R ) — "Dulce et Decorum Est" "Anthem for Doomed Youth" ("Dulce" & "Anthem," Wilfred Owen - R) ❧ — LL "Us and Them" (Pink Floyd) — LL "Roads to Moscow" (Al Stewart) 

WEEK 13

"Dust" & "Dream" (from Hamlet - R) "When I Heard the Learned Astronomer" ("Astronomer," Walt Whitman - R) — LL"Brain Damage" &  LL "Eclipse" (Pink Floyd) ❧ — “Comme Un Lego” / “Like Lego” (“Lego,” Alain Bashung - R) — LL "Bohemian Rhapsody" (Queen) — ♫ "Una Breve Vacanza" / "A Short Vacation" ("Vacanza," Nina Zilli - R)

WEEK 11 

And I Will War (Byron, from Don Juan, Canto 9, 1823)

Byron lived during the Romantic Age, but also in what some refer to as The Age of Revolution — because of the American Revolution in 1776, the French Revolution in 1789, Haiti in 1791, Hidalgo, Bolívar, and Martín in Latin America c. 1810-1830, etc.

After many travels, Don Juan arrives in the Russia of Catherine the Great (1729-1796), an autocrat praised by Voltaire in the 18th C. (although after the French Revolution in 1789 she banned his writings). The "immortal Peter" is Peter the Great (1672-1725). Both leaders were progressive and pro-European, although serfdom wasn't abolished till 1861. Slavery was abolished in England in 1807, in the British Empire in 1831, in the U.S. after the Civil War (1861-5), and in Brazil in 1888.

XXIII.

Our hero (and, I trust, kind reader! yours)
Was left upon his way to the chief city
Of the immortal Peter's* polished boors, [* Peter the great]
Who still have shown themselves more brave than witty.
I know its mighty Empire now allures
Much flattery — even Voltaire's, and that's a pity.
For me, I deem an absolute autocrat
Not a barbarian, but much worse than that.

XXIV.

And I will war, at least in words (and — should
My chance so happen — deeds), with all who war
With Thought; — and of Thought's foes by far most rude,
Tyrants and sycophants have been and are.
I know not who may conquer: if I could
Have such a prescience, it should be no bar
To this my plain, sworn, downright detestation
Of every despotism in every nation.

XXV.

It is not that I adulate* the people:      [* fawn over]
Without me, there are demagogues enough,
And infidels, to pull down every steeple,
And set up in their stead some proper stuff.
Whether they may sow scepticism to reap Hell,
As is the Christian dogma rather rough,
I do not know; — I wish men to be free
As much from mobs as kings — from you as me.

XXVI.

The consequence is, being of no party,
I shall offend all parties: — never mind!
My words, at least, are more sincere and hearty
Than if I sought to sail before the wind.
He who has nought to gain can have small art: he
Who neither wishes to be bound nor bind,
May still expatiate freely, as will I,
Nor give my voice to slavery's jackal cry.

Fight Songs

The oldest American fight song is “For Boston” (T. J. Hurley, 1885). It’s the sports team song for Boston College (a prestigious Jesuit college) and goes like this: “We sing our proud refrain / For Boston, for Boston / ‘Tis wisdom's earthly fame / For here are all one / And our hearts are true / And the towers on the heights / Reach the heavens’ own blue / For Boston, for Boston / Till the echoes ring again / For Boston, for Boston / Thy glory is our own / For Boston, for Boston / ‘Tis here that truth is known / And ever with a right / Shall our heirs be found / Till time shall be no more / And thy work is crowned / For Boston, for Boston / Thy glory is our own.”

Q. How does Manson’s fight song differ from the one above? What is the level of rebellion in Byron, Manson, Hill, and Jarabe de Palo? How would you compare their sociopolitical strategies? What strategy does Jarabe de Palo use to make a point about history and race?   

❧    

This Compost (Walt Whitman, 1856)

The following excerpt from the introduction to “This Compost” comes from “EF” at the University of Iowa’s WhitmanWeb:

In the 1840s and 1850s, Walt Whitman was reading about and absorbing the latest advances in the sciences and learning how to turn them into poetry: “Hurrah for positive science!,” he wrote in the 1855 poem that would later be called “Song of Myself,” where he then directly addressed scientists: “Your facts are useful, and yet they are not my dwelling, / I but enter by them to an area of my dwelling.” One of the sciences that most fascinated him was chemistry, and in an 1847 review of a new book on organic chemistry by Justus Liebig, he celebrated the new revelations that the book opened up to him: “Chemistry! the elevating, beautiful study! which only the vulgar think technical, because they have not delved into its capacious recesses. Chemistry—that involves the essences of creation, and the changes, and the growths, and formations and decays, of so large a constituent part of the earth, and the things thereof!” So, in 1856, five years before the Civil War broke out, in his second edition of Leaves of Grass, Whitman published a poem about chemistry, based on the facts he had read. He entered through those facts into the realm of poetic truth—a realization that nonstop change, growth, formation, and decay are the “essence of creation.” The poem was called “Poem of Wonder at The Resurrection of the Wheat,” later titled “This Compost,” and at the heart of it was the same wondrous exclamation he had made when he read Liebig’s book: “What chemistry!”

1

Something startles me where I thought I was safest,
I withdraw from the still woods I loved,
I will not go now on the pastures to walk,
I will not strip the clothes from my body to meet my lover the sea,
I will not touch my flesh to the earth as to other flesh to renew me.

O how can it be that the ground itself does not sicken?
How can you be alive you growths of spring?
How can you furnish health you blood of herbs, roots, orchards, grain?
Are they not continually putting distemper'd corpses within you?
Is not every continent work'd over and over with sour dead?

Where have you disposed of their carcasses?
Those drunkards and gluttons of so many generations?
Where have you drawn off all the foul liquid and meat?
I do not see any of it upon you to-day, or perhaps I am deceiv'd,
I will run a furrow with my plough, I will press my spade through the sod and turn it up underneath,
I am sure I shall expose some of the foul meat.

2

Behold this compost! behold it well!
Perhaps every mite has once form'd part of a sick person—yet behold!
The grass of spring covers the prairies,
The bean bursts noiselessly through the mould in the garden,
The delicate spear of the onion pierces upward,
The apple-buds cluster together on the apple-branches,
The resurrection of the wheat appears with pale visage out of its graves,
The tinge awakes over the willow-tree and the mulberry-tree,
The he-birds carol mornings and evenings while the she-birds sit on their nests,
The young of poultry break through the hatch'd eggs,
The new-born of animals appear, the calf is dropt from the cow, the colt from the mare,
Out of its little hill faithfully rise the potato's dark green leaves,
Out of its hill rises the yellow maize-stalk, the lilacs bloom in the dooryards,
The summer growth is innocent and disdainful above all those strata of sour dead.

What chemistry!
That the winds are really not infectious,
That this is no cheat, this transparent green-wash of the sea which is so amorous after me,
That it is safe to allow it to lick my naked body all over with its tongues,
That it will not endanger me with the fevers that have deposited themselves in it,
That all is clean forever and forever,
That the cool drink from the well tastes so good,
That blackberries are so flavorous and juicy,
That the fruits of the apple-orchard and the orange-orchard, that melons, grapes, peaches, plums, will none of them poison me,
That when I recline on the grass I do not catch any disease,
Though probably every spear of grass rises out of what was once a catching disease.

Now I am terrified at the Earth, it is that calm and patient,
It grows such sweet things out of such corruptions,
It turns harmless and stainless on its axis, with such endless successions of diseas'd corpses,
It distills such exquisite winds out of such infused fetor,
It renews with such unwitting looks its prodigal, annual, sumptuous crops,
It gives such divine materials to men, and accepts such leavings from them at last.

Dover Beach (Matthew Arnold, 1867)

The sea is calm tonight.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits;-  on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand;
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Aegean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

                             

Rubaiyat (Omar Khayyam)

[The following are excerpts are from Fitzgerald’s free translation of the Persian quatrains (rubāʿiyāt) of Omar Khayyam (1048-1131):] 

1. Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night / Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight: / And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught / The Sultan's Turret in a Noose of Light.

2. Dreaming when Dawn's Left Hand was in the Sky / I heard a Voice within the Tavern cry, / "Awake, my Little ones, and fill the Cup / Before Life's Liquor in its Cup be dry."

11. Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough, / A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse — and Thou / Beside me singing in the Wilderness — / And Wilderness is Paradise enough.

16. Think, in this battered Caravanserai / Whose Doorways are alternate Night and Day, / How Sultan after Sultan with his Pomp / Abode his Hour or two, and went his way.

23. Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend, / Before we too into the Dust Descend; / Dust into Dust, and under Dust, to lie, / Sans [without] Wine, sans Song, sans Singer and — sans End!

26. Oh, come with old Khayyam, and leave the Wise / To talk; one thing is certain, that Life flies; / One thing is certain, and the Rest is Lies; / The Flower that once has blown for ever dies.

27. Myself when young did eagerly frequent / Doctor and Saint, and heard great Argument / About it and about: but evermore / Came out by the same Door as in I went.

28. With them the Seed of Wisdom did I sow, / And with my own hand laboured it to grow: / And this was all the Harvest that I reaped — / "I came like Water, and like Wind I go."

29. Into this Universe, and why not knowing, / Nor whence, like Water willy-nilly flowing: / And out of it, as Wind along the Waste, / I know not whither, willy-nilly blowing.

30. What, without asking, hither hurried whence? / And, without asking, whither hurried hence! / Another and another Cup to drown / The Memory of this Impertinence!

31. Up from Earth's Centre through the seventh Gate / I rose, and on the Throne of Saturn sate, / And many Knots unravelled by the Road; / But not the Knot of Human Death and Fate.

32. There was a Door to which I found no Key: / There was a Veil past which I could not see: / Some little Talk awhile of Me and Thee / There seemed — and then no more of Thee and Me.

33. Then to the rolling Heaven itself I cried, / Asking, "What Lamp had Destiny to guide / Her little Children stumbling in the Dark?" / And — "A blind understanding!" Heav'n replied.

34. Then to this earthen Bowl did I adjourn / My Lip the secret Well of Life to learn: / And Lip to Lip it murmured — "While you live, / Drink! — for once dead you never shall return."

35. I think the Vessel, that with fugitive / Articulation answered, once did live, / And merry-make; and the cold Lip I kissed / How many Kisses might it take — and give.

36. For in the Market-place, one Dusk of Day, / I watched the Potter thumping his wet Clay: / And with its all obliterated Tongue / It murmured — "Gently, Brother, gently, pray!"

37. Ah, fill the Cup: — what boots it to repeat / How Time is slipping underneath our Feet: / Unborn Tomorrow and dead Yesterday, / Why fret about them if Today be sweet!

38. One Moment in Annihilation's Waste, / One moment, of the Well of Life to taste — / The Stars are setting, and the Caravan / Starts for the dawn of Nothing — Oh, make haste!

39. How long, how long, in infinite Pursuit / Of This and That endeavour and dispute? / Better be merry with the fruitful Grape / Than sadden after none, or bitter, Fruit.

40. You know, my Friends, how long since in my House / For a new Marriage I did make Carouse: / Divorced old barren Reason from my Bed, / And took the Daughter of the Vine to Spouse.

41. For "Is" and "Is-Not" with Rule and Line, / And "Up-and-Down" I could define, / Yet all I only cared to know, / Was never deep in anything but — Wine.

42. And lately, by the Tavern Door agape, / Came stealing through the Dusk an Angel Shape, / Bearing a vessel on his Shoulder; and / He bid me taste of it; and 'twas — the Grape!

43. The Grape that can with Logic absolute / The Two-and-Seventy jarring Sects confute: / The subtle Alchemist that in a Trice / Life's leaden Metal into Gold transmute.

46. For in and out, above, about, below, / 'Tis nothing but a Magic Shadow-show, / Played in a Box whose Candle is the Sun, / Round which we Phantom Figures come and go.

47. And if the Wine you drink, the Lip you press, / End in the Nothing all Things end in — Yes— / Then fancy while Thou art, Thou art but what / Thou shalt be — Nothing — Thou shalt not be less.

48. While the Rose blows along the River Brink, / With old Khayyam the Ruby Vintage drink: / And when the Angel with his darker Draught / Draws up to thee — take that, and do not shrink.

49. 'Tis all a Chequer-board of Nights and Days / Where Destiny with Men for Pieces plays: / Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays, / And one by one back in the Closet lays.

50. The Ball no Question makes of Ayes and Noes, / But Right or Left as strikes the Player goes; / And He that tossed Thee down into the Field, / He knows about it all — He knows — He knows!

51. The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, / Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit / Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, / Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

52. And that inverted Bowl we call The Sky, / Whereunder crawling cooped we live and die, / Lift not thy hands to It for help — for It / Rolls impotently on as Thou or I.

73. Ah, Love! could thou and I with Fate conspire / To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire, Would not we shatter it to bits — and then / Re-mould it nearer to the Heart's Desire!

WEEK 12

What role does patriotism play in "Unto the Breach”? How does Owen argue against using patriotism to glorify war? How does Pink Floyd use oppositions, such as up and down? Is there a pattern?

For “Roads to Moscow,” I suggest looking up blitzkrieg, Operation Barbarossa, and the German invasion of Russia in 1941. How does Stewart combine personal narrative with the use of space (European geography) and time (military history)? How does he use shifts in music and instrumentation? What does he mean by “an avenger” and “Holy Russia”? 

Unto the Breach (Henry V 3.1)  

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favoured rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage [carrying] of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o’erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galléd [eroded] rock
O’erhang and jutty [jut out from] his confounded base,
Swilled with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet [made] from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought  
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:           
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you called fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’

Dulce et Decorum Est (Wilfred Owen, 1917-18)

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! -- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime...
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, --
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori
.*

* From the Roman poet Horace: “It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.”

Anthem for Doomed Youth (Wilfred Owen, 1917)

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, -
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes.
The pallor of girls’ brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

 

WEEK 13

Dust (from Hamlet 2.2) 

[…] it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory, this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o’erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?

Dream (from Hamlet 3.1)

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ‘tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance [perhaps] to dream: ay, there’s the rub;*
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,*
Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man's contumely,*
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus* make
With a bare bodkin?* who would fardels* bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country from whose bourn*
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er* with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith* and moment*
With this regard their currents turn awry,*
And lose the name of action.

*rub = crucial difficulty or problem  *coil = coil or confusion, turmoil  *contumely = insolence or insulting language  *quietus = death, release (soothing)  *bodkin = small sharp instrument or pin to pierce clothing  *fardels = burdens  *bourn = boundary line, limit; also, goal or destination  *sicklied o'er [over] = lacking vigour or strength (weakened)  *pith = essence; also, forceful and precise expression  *moment = importance  *awry = off course

“Astronomer”

When I Heard the Learned Astronomer (Walt Whitman, 1867)

When I heard the learn'd astronomer, 
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me, 
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, 
   to add, divide, and measure them, 
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured
   with much applause in the lecture room, 
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick, 
Till rising and gliding out I wander'd off by myself, 
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time
Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars

(cartoon version at http://zenpencils.com/comic/88-walt-whitman-when-i-heard-the-learnd-astronomer/)

Comme un Lego (Alain Bashung, 2008) / Like Lego (trans. RC)

C'est un grand terrain de nulle part / Avec de belles poignées d'argent / La lunette d'un microscope / Et tous ces petits êtres qui courent  ❧ It's a great stretch of nowhere / With great fistfs full of money / The lense of a microscope / And all these little beings that run  

Car chacun vaque à son destin / Petits ou grands / Comme durant des siècles égyptiens / Péniblement  ❧ Because each one follows his destiny / Little or big / Like during the Egyptian centuries / With difficulty

À porter mille fois son poids sur lui / Sous la chaleur et dans le vent / Dans le soleil ou dans la nuit / Voyez-vous ces êtres vivants?   ❧ Carrying a thousand times his own weight / Under the heat or in the wind / In the sunlight or in the night / Do you see these living beings?  (X2)

Quelqu'un a inventé ce jeu / Terrible, cruel, captivant / Les maisons, les lacs, les continents / Comme un lego avec du vent  ❧ Someone has invented this game / Terrible, cruel, captivating / The houses, the lakes, the continents / Like lego with wind

La faiblesse des tout-puissants / Comme un lego avec du sang / La force décuplée des perdants / Comme un lego avec des dents / Comme un lego avec des mains / Comme un lego  ❧ The weakness of the all-powerful / Like lego with blood / With tenfold the strength of the losers / Like lego with teeth / Like lego with hands / Like lego

Voyez-vous tous ces humains? / Danser ensemble à se donner la main / S'embrasser dans le noir à cheveux blonds / A ne pas voir demain comme ils seront  ❧ Do you see all these humans? / Dancing together, joining hands / Embracing each other in the dark with their blond hair / So as not to see what they will be tomorrow

Car si la terre est ronde / Et qu'ils s'y agrippent / Au delà c'est le vide / Assis devant le restant d'une portion de frites / Noir sidéral et quelques plats d'amibes  ❧ Because if the earth is round / And they're clinging to it / On the other side is the void / Sitting before the remainder of a portion of french fries / Starry black and some plates of amoeba

Les capitales sont toutes les mêmes devenues / Aux facettes d'un même miroir / Vêtues d'acier, vêtues de noir / Comme un lego mais sans mémoire  ❧ The capitals have all become the same / With facets of the same mirror / Dressed in steel, dressed in black / Like lego but without memory  (X2)

Pourquoi ne me réponds-tu jamais? / Sous ce manguier de plus de dix mille pages / À te balancer dans cette cage  ❧ Why do you never answer me? / Under this mango tree of more than ten thousand pages / Rocking yourself back and forth in this cage

A voir le monde de si haut / Comme un damier, comme un lego / Comme un imputrescible radeau / Comme un insecte mais sur le dos  ❧ Seeing the world from so high up / Like a checkerboard, like a lego /  Like an imperishable raft / Like an insect but on its back

C'est un grand terrain de nulle part / Avec de belles poignées d'argent / La lunette d'un microscope / On regarde, on regarde, on regarde dedans  ❧ It's a great stretch of nowhere / With great fists full of money / The lens of a microscope / We look, we look, we look within 

On voit de toutes petites choses qui luisent / Ce sont des gens dans des chemises / Comme durant ces siècles de la longue nuit / Dans le silence ou dans le bruit  ❧ We see all the little things that shine / These are some people in their shirts / Just as during those centuries of the long night / In silence or in noise

Una Breve Vacanza (Nina Zilli) / A Short Vacation (trans. R.C.)

Meglio così / Camminare sospesa / A passo lento / Tra finito e infinito / Nel breve spazio / Che contiene un minuto / Quella vita che morde / La sua coda di serpente / E per infinite volte / Un'altra volta ricomincerà  ❧ Better this way / To walk suspended / At a slow pace / Between the finite and infinity / In the brief space / A minute holds / This life that eats / It’s own serpent’s tail / And for the nth time / Once more it will start again

Meglio così / Siamo fatti per non rimanere / Meglio così / Perché dire per sempre è banale / Ogni esistenza è un incidente casuale / Ho cercato di vivere tutto ma come si fa / Se la vita è una breve vacanza dall'eternità / Godo di questo intervallo / Fino al mio ultimo giorno passato qui  ❧ Better this way / We’re not made to remain / Better this way / Because saying “forever” is banal / Every life is a lucky chance / I tried to live it all but how can you / If life is a brief vacation from eternity / I enjoy this interlude / Until my final day spent here

Meglio così / Rimanere in sospeso / Senza sapere / Cosa sarebbe stato / Andare via / Non è sempre una fuga / Ma è partire per un viaggio / Solo per poter viaggiare / Con il pretesto di una meta / Che non è nient'altro che un miraggio  ❧ Better like this / To stay suspended / Without knowing / What would have been / To go away / Isn’t always to escape / But it's to go on a voyage / For the sake of the voyage / With the pretext of a destination / Which is nothing but a mirage

Meglio così / Consumarsi in un lampo veloce / Nell'imperfetta geometria di un / passaggio fugace / Dietro di noi / Particelle di ombre di luce / Ogni amore vissuto è l'amore più bello del mondo / Ma riparte per altri naufràgi il mio cuor  vagabondo / Giuro che non è mai facile / Ma quando diventa passato è meglio così  ❧ Better this way / To burn up in a lightning flash / In the imperfect geometry of a / fleeting passage / Behind us / Particles of shadows of light / Each of our past loves is the most beautiful love in the world / But my vagabond heart sets off for other shipwrecks / I swear it’s never easy / But when it’s over it’s better this way

Ogni amore vissuto è l'amore più bello del mondo / Ma riparte per altri naufràgi il mio cuor  vagabondo / Giuro che non è mai facile / Giuro / Giuro che non è mai facile  / Ma quando diventa passato è meglio così  ❧ Each of our past loves is the most beautiful love in the world / But my vagabond heart sets off for other shipwrecks / I swear it’s never easy / I swear / I swear it’s never easy / But when it’s over it’s better this way

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Introduction - Contents - Outline

SCHEDULE: Week 1-7 - Week 8-14