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I can't now remember why I decided I needed a multi-lingual limerick, and this isn't a very good one, but...

Un vieillard de joli Paris
Whose deafness was legendary,
Said "Ich höre nicht
Aber ich bin nicht dicht
Parla piu forte, si si!"

Edited with a little help from a sister who's better at languages than I am.
and third time lucky?

janewilliams20: (Default)
Reading Burns on the subject, and taking note of the warning. On the whole, I think Aldi is the way to go.

Humphrey, the Sinister Haggis

The heather was blooming, the meadows were mawn, 
Our lads gaed a-hunting ae day at the dawn, 
O'er moors and o'er mosses and mony a hill, 
At length they discover'd a Haggis to kill


I rede you, beware of the haggis, my son,
I rede you, beware of the haggis, my son;
Take what you may get, 
as it fa's in the net, 
But ne'er chase the beast the way Phoebus do run

Sweet-brushing the dew from the brown heather bells 
His white tail betray'd him on yon mossy fells; 
The nooses and trappings, the nets that they bair
They placed them with cunning downhill of his lair.
I rede you,&c.

As still as the fairest he sat in their sight
The horn it was sounded, to put him to flight
But the crafty wee beastie did not as they kent
He had supped wi' the de'il, and widdershins went!
I rede you,&c.

They chased it oe'er gowans, they chased it round hill,
The best of our lads wi' the best o' their skill;
And into the gloaming, and almost to night
Around glaizie craigies continued its flight
I rede you,&c.

Auld Phoebus himself, came and stared in surprise
His rays sae did glitter, it dazzled their eyes
They ne'er saw the cliff till t'was under their feet
An owre they warsl'd: by Haggis well beat!
I rede you,&c.

janewilliams20: (Default)
Usually, yes, it is. Obviously. But yesterday I was trying to pick a poem or two to post for National Poetry Day, and I kept thinking today about poems I've liked and been haunted or inspired by, and Ozymandias came to mind.
Today, I wondered vaguely who the real Ozymandias had been, and hit Wikipedia to find out. Egyptian king. Fine. I nod, and move on.

But way way back, when I was still in school, I didn't have the Internet to find out things like that. It wasn't in the big encyclopaedia, or any other books round the house, or, on a quick look, in the library.

So, still being curious, I made it up.

Read more... )If I'd had access to Wikipedia, back then, I'd never have created all that.

janewilliams20: (Default)
Or week, or something. I don't have time to write something (though I do have a self-inflicted prompt), but I can quote a couple of favourites. If, that is, DW lets me use a slightly archaic alphabet. C&Ping....
Hwæt! We Gardena         in geardagum,
þeodcyninga,         þrym gefrunon,
hu ða æþelingas         ellen fremedon.
Oft Scyld Scefing         sceaþena þreatum,
monegum mægþum,         meodosetla ofteah,
egsode eorlas.         Syððan ærest wearð
feasceaft funden,         he þæs frofre gebad,
weox under wolcnum,         weorðmyndum þah,
oðþæt him æghwylc         þara ymbsittendra
ofer hronrade         hyran scolde,
gomban gyldan.         þæt wæs god cyning!

And the other one that's haunted me ever since I first met it, where I still want to read (or write) the rest of the story:

The Listeners

"Is there anybody there?" said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champed the grass
Of the forest's ferny floor;
And a bird flew up out of the turret,
Above the Traveller's head:
And he smote upon the door again a second time;
"Is there anybody there?" he said.
But no one descended to the Traveller;
No head from the leaf-fringed sill
Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,
Where he stood perplexed and still.
But only a host of phantom listeners
That dwelt in the lone house then
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
To that voice from the world of men:
Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,
That goes down to the empty hall,
Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken
By the lonely Traveller's call.
And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
Their stillness answering his cry,
While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,
'Neath the starred and leafy sky;
For he suddenly smote on the door, even
Louder, and lifted his head:--
"Tell them I came, and no one answered,
That I kept my word," he said.
Never the least stir made the listeners,
Though every word he spake
Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house
From the one man left awake:
Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
And the sound of iron on stone,
And how the silence surged softly backward,
When the plunging hoofs were gone.

Walter de la Mare

janewilliams20: (Default)
POETS doesn't normally stand for this, but I was bored.

Perhaps a way to keep ourselves amused
On Fridays, when we’re feeling all confused:
Extrapolating rhymes that seem to say:
“That’s quite enough, it must be time to play”
So pick a meter, one that won’t cause stress
Decide a subject you’d like to address
And scribble rubbish: then, before you know it
You’ll find you are a Friday-pm Poet!

Poetry meme

Mar. 2nd, 2010 10:50 pm
janewilliams20: (Default)
Apparently the rules are 'When you see this post, post a poem'. I'd been meaning to rave about a book my kid sister gave me in any case: "How to be well-versed in poetry" is a brilliant work that explains every possible poetic form (and some previously deemed impossible) by means of examples, most hilarious. This is an extract from a sample Ballad, by Paul Griffin.

He hadna writ a line or twa,
A line but barely trey,
When he scratched his heid, and cried out loud:
'Why do I talk this way?'

'Why do I break into Scottish brogue
When Scots is what I'm not?
And if I'm going to write some more
Shouldn't I have a plot?

'The reason I break into Scottish brogue
And sail this perilous sea
Is the helpful rhymes; as anyone kens
Wha gleeks wi' half an ee.'


He's laid his pen upon his lip,
And he's looking quite perplexed;
Oh, that's because he doesna ken
What on earth comes next.
janewilliams20: (Default)
I have just been to see Benjamin Bagby performing Beowulf at the British Library. A guy dressed in black, sitting on a stool with a six-string harp, reciting a poem in a language that hardly any of the audience knew a word of, for an hour and a half. OK, there were "surtitles", but they were an abbreviated form of the translation. No scenery, nothing. Bound to be boring, right?

He held us spell-bound. We were engrossed by the characterisation, we laughed at the jokes, we regretted that we only got to hear a third of the story (Grendel is dead, and we're celebrating that, not knowing that's he'd told on us to his mum). Now that's a storyteller!

I went in knowing perhaps three words of Old English. My vocabulary at least doubled as we went along, hence my ability to give this post a suitable title.

I refrained from buying yet another Beowulf translation as I left, but I did buy the DVD of the performance. I've seen the 3D film version, and expect to prefer this: the pictures are better :)

There are two more performances, Monday and Wednesday evening. They're not yet sold out (today was). If you're in the wrong country for that, here's his web-site,
where you can at least purchase the DVD, and maybe find when he'll be in your area.
More importantly for me, it has a copy of the research documentation for the tuning and use of that harp - and since I have a half-built version that I was wondering how to tune.... add another project to the list of things I want to finish!
janewilliams20: (Default)
If you're going to Mel's Burns Night party tomorrow, warning, spoilers ahead. Read if you wish, of course.

I started with this:

and ended up with something called "Humphrey, the Sinister Haggis". It assumes you know the basics of haggis-hunting (the beastie has a round, smooth body, a long white furry tail from which sporrans are made, and the legs on one side are longer than those on the other so it can run round mountains: to hunt, chase it the wrong way round the mountain, and it rolls down into the nets.)

Five verses, plus chorus.
Read more... )
janewilliams20: (Default)
There's a Burns poem called "The Bonny Moorhen" (spellings vary). http://www.worldburnsclub.com/poems/translations/459.htm
I gather that it's a song as well as a poem, and I'd like to know what it sounds like. Can any of my FL recommend a recording, so I can go and hunt Ebay/Amazon for CDs? About all I've found is something the Corries did many years ago, and it doesn't seem to be available.

edit: getting somewhere, even if a single-track MIDI isn't quite what I was hoping for
Having listened to that, I can see why nobody's bothered recording it.


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