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Translating Prévert: De langage dément

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De langage dément
Par Jacques Prévert

Le langage dément dément le langage savant
Le langage savant ça vend des idées

Brocanteurs d’idées
receleurs d’idées
Quand l’art est de rigueur
l’art est nié.


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Insane Language
(Trans. J. A. Odartey)

Insane language rejects the erudite’s tongue
The learned tongue that sells ideas

Antique dealers of ideas
reservoirs of stolen ideas
When art lacks flexibility
it lies.

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Steeping: Hibiscus Fruit Iced Tea

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The first half of 2019 is off to somewhere. Aish! Well, congrats for making it through. (Eh, I'm a little high on ice-cream at the moment! Got this "family size" tub and I'm almost done with the whole thing. What's there to say, it's Summersummersummer after all. ^_^) But is it just me or is the year, like, rocketing away? Well, my resolution for the second half of '19 is to show mad gratitude by making some genuine effort with my days. Hope you are planning a real festival. The sort that makes you slap yourself on the back when, you think, no one is watching. Wink-wink.

Okay let's get down to things. This hibiscus fruit tea recipe was a spontaneous one. Very very little effort went into it. The idea came to me while I was trying to think of a good summer tea to share with you. But I love it and I hope you would, too. It has high caffeine because I am especially lazy in the summer and need a little help staying up. Also the pepper is optional; the th…

From I won’t let you go by Rabindranath Tagore

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From I Won’t let you go
by Rabindranath Tagore *


Beside the door, wrapped in her thoughts, there sat
My daughter, four years old. On other days
She’d have had her bath before this, and her eyes,
Before she’d swallowed scarce two mouthfuls of
Her mid-day rice, been shut in sleep. Today
Her mother had not seen to her: even now
She had not bathed or eaten, but like a shadow
hugged my steps all this time, watching each move
With mute unblinking eyes. Worn out at last,
She now sat silently beside the door
With who knows what intent: and when I said
‘I’m leaving, little mother,’ with sad eyes
And pale look answered, ‘I won’t let you go.’
She sat where she was, neither clutched my hand
Nor shut the door; only declared the right
Born of her hearts’s love: ‘I won’t let you go.’
Yet the time came to an end, and she, alas,
Could not but let me.

                                 O my foolish girl,
Who are you? Where could you have drawn such strength
To say so boldly, ‘I won’t let you go’?
Whom in…

Photography: In and Through a Space

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Staying the night at Wang Changling's retreat*
by Chang Jian

The clear stream is immeasurably deep;
Where you live as a hermit there is only a lonely cloud.
At the edge of the pines a sliver of moon is showing,
Its limpid light still shinning there for you.
Shadows of flowers sleep under your thatched roof;
Moss grows in veins over your peony courtyard.
I'm going to take my leave of the world, like you,
And join the phoenixes and cranes in the western hills.

*From Three Hundred Tang poems. Translated by Peter Harris. Everyman's Library Pocket Poets 


--- JAO