Earth: In Celebration of, April 2017

The Daily Post reminds us that Earth Day is April 22.

Here are self’s shots celebrating Earth:

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Hills Above Annaghmakerrig Lake, April 2017

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Annagmakerrig Lake, March 2017

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Afternoon Train to Hull, First Week of March 2017

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

What the Writing Desk Looks Like Today, 17 April 2017

Writing. Writing and reading. Like mad.

Also, checking Facebook, lol

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The card on the MacBook is from Jacinta Oreilly, an artist from Dublin.

The small picture taped to my keyboard is from Bernadette Burns, an artist from Skibbereen, West Cork.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreadingpoetry: Liu Xia

Before you go into the grave
Don’t forget to write to me with your ashes
Don’t forget to leave your underworld address

quoted by Liao Yiwu in his introduction to Liu Xia’s collection Empty Chairs, the bilingual edition (Graywolf Press)

Now For One of Self’s: “The Lost Language”

This was published many years ago, in a magazine called Isotope.

Published in Utah and edited by a poet, Chris Cokinos.

It joined together two things: science writing and creative writing.

You would find, in the same issue, a play by a physicist, a nature essay, a poem by a mathematician. That sort of thing.

Self loved it.

Chris Cokinos, what are you doing now? Know that self considered Isotope a very noble experiment.

Here’s an excerpt from the story they published, which became the title of her third collection. It’s one of those hybrid things: part essay, part memoir, part myth, part short story.

The Lost Language

Filipinos once had an ancient written language. If I were to show you what the marks look like on a piece of paper, they would look like a series of waves. Or like Egyptian hieroglyphics. Like the eye of the Pharaoh I saw in my old high school history books.

The language was written on tree bark. Epics were probably written in this language, but I don’t know what they are. My ancestors are shadowy people. Shadows.

When I was a little girl, perhaps eight years old or so, my mother gave me a book of Philippine legends. The legends were mostly about beautiful maidens and enchanted animals. But the story I liked best was about Hari sa Bukid, which means King of the Mountain.

Hari is not a particularly kingly word to me. It begins with an explosion of breath, almost an exclamation. And the “ri” is soft, almost negligible. So that if you were to say this word out loud and quickly, it would sound like a Ha (pause)/ Ha(pause).

The legend, as far as I remember, went like this:

One day Hari called all his men together and said that he was going to a far-away land to visit friends. He commanded his people to be industrious and to plant the slopes of the mountain with tobacco, in case he was delayed on his return journey.

For years, the people faithfully fulfilled their vow to Hari and the slopes of the mountain were virtually flower gardens, full of beautifully cultivated tobacco plants. The tribe of Hari sa Bukid was happy and prosperous. Everyone tended his share of the land carefully. As more and more tobacco was produced, the fame of Hari sa Bukid’s tribe spread far and wide.

Eventually, however, the people grew lazy. They abandoned the care and cultivation of the fields. Their harvests diminished greatly and their business with other people was discredited because of the small quantity which they raised. Almost all the tobacco fields were abandoned.

With no tobacco providing them with income, the people were in dire need of the most basic goods and other necessities for the sustenance of their daily lives. One day, a strong earthquake shook the foundation of the earth. A volcano started spewing out fire and smoke. The people were frightened and ran in all directions towards the sea.

To their astonishment, Hari sa Bukid suddenly appeared. He was in a terrible rage. Looking down on his huddled tribe, he rebuked them. As he spoke, lightning flew from his nostrils. His voice sounded like a roar.

Hayop kayo! You are no better than animals, he shouted.

The people could find no words to defend themselves. Mutely, they cowered before their king. They knew they were guilty of the serious crimes of disobedience and laziness.

Whereupon Hari sa Bukid gathered the scanty tobacco left in the fields and departed. He carried the tobacco to the top of the mountain and with a terrific blow of his fist, bore a hole to the center of the earth. After he had entered the hole, the earth closed over him.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Earth Day 2017 in Annaghmakerrig

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Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Artists Studio # 1

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Yesterday During Self’s Walk

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Inside Unit # 1: Moonrise

In Honor of Earth Day 2017, #amreading

Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill (Flying Eye Books)

This is a grrrreat children’s book which gives a clear picture of the difficulties faced, through spare illustrations that evoke the truly epic nature of Shackleton’s journey.

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There’s a quote from Roald Amundsen on the publication information page:

  • No man fails who sets an example of high courage, of unbroken resolution, of unshrinking endurance.

— Roald Amundsen

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Self absolutely loves it.

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Stay tuned.

Front Page, The Guardian, 20 April 2017

Theresa May (one of Trump’s only remaining BFFs, after Putin) hints to the Sun that the UK may be cutting back on its spending commitments on overseas aid spending (current target: 0.7% of GDP on aid)

On the day the British government voted to hold an early general election, Bill Gates, billionaire philanthropist, spoke with The Guardian. He said: “The big aid givers now are the US, Britain, and Germany — those are the three biggest, and if those three back off, a lot of the ambitious things that are going on with malaria, agriculture and reproductive health simply would not get done.”

Gates said “the leadership role taken by the UK could determine whether ambitious efforts to eradicate malaria in Africa were launched. He added: “Malaria has always been the disease we really want to take on, and the UK has always, in terms of research capacity and aid, been a leader. In terms of where the aid ambition gets set, the UK can be a huge leader in driving that malaria eradication, or the world may have to back off and not get started on that.”

In an interview with the Sun, May “gave an evasive answer to the question of whether she would continue to back the 0.7% commitment . . . ”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Earth Day, April 2017

Share an image that means ‘earth’ to you — whether it’s a panorama of a landscape that takes your breath away, a close-up revealing a detail in nature, or another scene that honors the outdoors . . .

— Cheri Lucas Rowlands, The Daily Post

Went for a long walk this morning, in honor of Earth Day. It was peaceful and beautiful by the lake. Here are some pictures:

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The first swan she’s seen at the lake this year!

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More flowers popping up all over!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

CATO in Robert Harris (Conspirata, p. 92)

#amreading all Imperial Rome narratives

Until next week, when self begins Rinker Buck’s The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey

Robert Harris’s Conspirata (In the United Kingdom it’s got a different title: Lustrum) covers exactly the same ground as the books self just finished reading: SPQR by Mary Beard, and Rubicon by Tom Holland. So she knows how everything is going to end. But Harris is such a good writer (She read Fatherland, years ago: highly recommend) that self is giving Conspirata a go.

Here’s a speech by Cato which self thinks is fascinating for what it reveals of the character (Also, it is interesting that millions of youths around the world see the name Cato and think immediately of that blonde bully in The Hunger Games):

Never be moved by favour. Never appease. Never forgive a wrong. Never differentiate between things that are wrong — what is wrong is wrong, whatever the size of the misdemeanour, and that is the end of the matter. And finally, never compromise on any of these principles. “The man who has the strength to follow them — is always handsome however misshapen, always rich however needy, always a king however much a slave.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Translation: Domenico Adriano, transl. by Barbara Carle

Perhaps because within myself
I had already chosen your portrait
here they are in fields of thought
one thousand and a thousand more red poppies

— Domenico Adriano, excerpt from Da Papaveri Perversi, translated from the Italian by Barbara Carle

Surprise! It’s Spring

Poor, dear, silly Spring, preparing her annual surprise!

— Wallace Stevens, quoted in The Daily Post

Yesterday was self’s first walk to the lake in over a month. It’s but a five or 10-minute walk at the most. But self has been busy, and the weather’s been unpredictable.

Yesterday, Esther came to change the sheets. So self took advantage of the break to go out of her cottage. And the first thing she noticed was: close by the cottages, there were suddenly so many flowers! (Has it really been that long since she took a walk? Apparently, it has! Surprise!)

Self had a lovely walk. Spring has truly arrived!

Here are some other beautiful spring shots:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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