Monday, January 30, 2017

Letters in Music: "Straight to the Bone"

"The pen is mightier than the sword"

Esta famosa frase que se traduce en algo así como que "A pluma é máis poderosa que a espada",  remóntase nas súas orixes ao parecer á obra Cardinal Richelieu, de Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1839). Na obra, nun momento determinado, Richelieu descobre un complot para matalo pero como relixioso, non toma as armas contra os seus inimigos e François dille: "Pero tes outras armas ao teu dispor, meu bo señor" ao que Richelieu responde: "A pluma é máis poderosa que a espada... Quita a espada! Pódense salvar estados sen recorrer a ela!".

E é ben certo... moito poder teñen as palabras, e máis as escritas. Un poder alén da (re)conciliación, pois apela ao corazón dun xeito único e persoal. Emociona, evoca, convoca, move... cun ar case místico. Disto fala Martina McBride (1966) nesta canción "Straight To The Bone".

"Straight To The Bone"

I'm starin' at this empty chair, listenin' for the laughter that went clear up to the ceiling.
It's so long since you were sitting there and now the rust is rustin' and the paint is peelin'
I miss you

I read your letters and I almost break.
They're warm like flannel, I can still smell your after shave.
I don't spend all my time missin' you like this, but when it hits, it hits.

You felt like home, and I feel you now straight to the bone.
I miss you...

This sure can be a lonely place.
I wanna look up and see you there standin' in the doorway.
And I'd give anything to kiss your face and help ya blow out the candles on your next birthday.

You felt like home.
I feel you now, straight to the bone.
I miss you...

I wanna hear you in the kitchen, makin' noise, singin' out a tune at the top of your voice.
I wear these memories, it's a blessing and a curse 'cause when it hurts, it hurts.

You felt like home and I feel you now, straight to the bone.
I miss you... I miss you...

Friday, January 27, 2017

Personal Correspondence: Maruja Mallo - Alfonso Reyes

Fonte da imaxe:
MOITO lle teño que agradecer a Anxo Vieites Salgado, o meu profesor de arte de COU. Non esquecerei xamais esas clases rigorosas e detalladas, coa arte como única protagonista, as obras maxistrais en filmina iluminando o salón de actos do IES Terra de Xallas: a ménade danzante, O chamamento de San Mateo, o matrimonio Arnolfini, o Partenón, as obras de Christo e Jean-Claude,... Saiamos da clase con síndrome de Stendhal e rematamos o curso coa sensación de ter vivido tanto!

Hai dez anos, volveu ensinarme, esta vez a través de miña irmá. Moito antes de que iso da clase invertida estivese de moda, as alumnas de arte prepararon unha exposición de mulleres artistas verdadeiramente ben feita e fascinante de ver. As rapazas, aparte de elixir as pintoras e as obras, facer o traballo de investigación, redacción e montaxe, eran tamén as guías, falando entusiasmadas de Frida Kahlo, Tamara Lempicka, e outras, entre elas tamén Dona Maruxa Mallo (1902-1995), unha feliz descuberta. Esa sensación de formiguiño ao ver por primeira vez os seus cadros enfeitizantes, cun aquel hipnótico que fai que non poidas deixar de miralos.

Seguinlle a pista a través dalgunha revisión da súa vida e obra como o programa de "Imprescindibles", vendo así a muller libre, independiente, talentosa, transgresora e anacrónica. Dicía que pintaba desde o asombro, desde a sede, desde unha sensibilidade profunda, e será por iso que cando miro a súa obra, se me desnuda a mirada e se me sincopa o corazón.

Quédavos aquí un estudo da súa correspondencia con Alfonso Reyes: trece cartas escritas sobre papel con caligrafía enrevesada, cartas que recollen as súas "pintorescas impresiones" en palabras de Alfonso Reyes, e que "despiertan en mí la viva emoción". Gozade!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Letters in Music: "Soldier's Last Letter"

Ernest Tubb (1914-1984) is a well-known American singer and songwriter, one of the pioneers of country and honky tonk music. This song in particular speaks of a soldier's last letter. 

I find this topic of last letters really appealing and fascinating. Would you consider writing a last letter? What would you write in it? There was an interesting article in The New York Times last year written by Dr VJ Periyakoil, director of the Stanford Palliative Care Education & Training program and founder of the Stanford Letter Project

From his experience, Dr Periyakoil says the most common emotion expressed in these last letters is regret, that's why he came up with the Stanford Letter Project to encourage people to write a last letter to their loved ones - not only when someone is ill, but also when one is still healthy, before it's too late.

If you visit the website for the project, you will see a free template for a letter to help people complete seven life review tasks: acknowledging important people in our lives; remembering treasured moments; apologizing to those we may have hurt; forgiving those who have hurt us, and saying "thank you", "I love you" and "goodbye".
Image source: The New York Times

Once finished, you can choose to share the letter with your loved ones right away or store it in a safe place of with a trusted person to be given to your family in the future.

As the article concludes, "it may take tremendous courage to write a life review letter (...) it evokes deep and troubling emotions. Yet it may be the most important letter you will ever write".

"Soldier's Last Letter"

When the postman delivered a letter
It filled her dear heart full of joy
But she didn't know 'til she read the inside
It was the last one from her darling boy
Dear Mom, was the way that it started
I miss you so much, it went on
Mom, I didn't know, that I loved you so
But I'll prove it when this war is won
I'm writing this down in a trench, Mom
Don't scold if it isn't so neat
You know as you did, when I was a kid
And I'd come home with mud on my feet
The captain just gave us our orders
And Mom, we will carry them through
I'll finish this letter the first chance I get
But now I'll just say I love you
Then the mother's old hands began to tremble
And she fought against tears in her eyes
But they came unashamed for there was no name
And she knew that her darling had died
That night as she knelt by her bedside
She prayed, "Lord above, hear my plea
And protect all the sons that are fighting tonight
And dear God, keep America free"

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Cards in Poems: Joan Margarit (IV)

Platja de setembre
Sota la volta de racola lava que arriba a l'horitzó,
hi ha el mosaic net del mar, i les pinedes
lluents com vidres d'un verd fosc d'ampolla:
la postal de la vida que, al arree,
amb la infantil, difícil lletra tema,
i amb el mata-segells de la mort, diu:
mai més, papà, mai més.
Les ones es cargolen i copleen
amo força i amo el gest
tetinejant d l'orbetat del temps.
La nostàlgia ens envia les teves precioses
postals des de la fosca.

Playa de septiembre
Debajo de la bóveda
de azulejos que llega al horizonte,
está el mosaico límpido del mar,
y pinares que son como cristales
de un color verde oscuro de botella:
la postal de la vida que, detrás,
con tu letra difícil e infantil,
y con el matasellos de la muerte,
dice, ya nunca más, papá, ya nunca más.
Las olas se retuercen y golpean 
con fuerza y con el gesto
de tanteo del tiempo y su ceguera.
La nostalgia nos manda unas preciosas
postales tuyas desde las tinieblas.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Letters in Music: "The Letter"

The Box Tops (1967) were an American rock band, formed in Memphis in 1963. They are considered a major blue-eyed soul group of the period. 

Ranked by Rolling Stone at #363 on the magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, "The Letter" was reported in July 1979 to have been recorded in over 200 different versions. Among the artists who have recorded the song are Charly García, Bachman–Turner Overdrive, The Beach Boys, Eva Cassidy or Shaun Cassidy.


"The Letter"

Gimme a ticket for an aeroplane
Ain't got time to take a fast train
Lonely days are gone, I'm a-goin' home
My baby, just-a wrote me a letter
I don't care how much money I gotta spend
Got to get back to my baby again
Lonely days are gone, I'm a-goin' home
My baby, just-a wrote me a letter
Well, she wrote me a letter
Said she couldn't live without me no more
Listen mister, can't you see I got to get back
To my baby once-a more
Anyway, yeah!
Gimme a ticket for an aeroplane
Ain't got time to take a fast train
Lonely days are gone, I'm a-goin' home
My baby, just-a wrote me a letter
Well, she wrote me a letter
Said she couldn't live without me no more
Listen mister, can't you see I got to get back
To my baby once-a more
Anyway, yeah!
Gimme a ticket for an aeroplane
Ain't got time to take a fast train
Lonely days are gone, I'm a-goin' home
My baby, just-a wrote me a letter, my baby just-a wrote me a letter

Monday, January 23, 2017

Hands in Poems: Sanober Khan

Sanober Khan

“I keep my kindness in my eyes
Gently folded around my iris
Like a velvety, brown blanket
That warms my vision

I keep my shyness in my hair
Tucked away into a ponytail
Looking for a chance to escape
On a few loose strands in the air

I keep my anger on my lips
Just waiting to unleash into the world
But trust me; it’s never in my heart
It evaporates into words

I keep my dignity upon my chin
Like a torch held up high
For those who have betrayed me
Radiating a silent, strong message

I keep my gratitude in my smile
A glistening waterfall in the sun
Gently splashing at that person
Who made me happy for some reason

I keep my sensitivity in my hands
Reaching out for your wet cheek
Holding you, with all the love
The love I want to share, and feel

I keep my passion in my writing
My words breathing like fire
Screeching against an endless road
As I continue to be inspired

I keep my simplicity in my soul
Spread over me like a clear sky
Reflecting all that I am
And all that’s ever passed me by

And I hope you will look
Beyond my ordinary face
My simple, tied hair
My ordinary tastes
And I hope you will see me
From everyone...apart
As I keep my beauty
in my heart.”

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Words in Poems: Kokinwakashū

En cada palabra
y hoja del suspiro,
el rocío que queda
es una lágrima 
que añora el pasado 

(Autor desconocido)

aware chō / koto no ha goto ni / oku tsuyu wa / mukashi o kouru / namida narikeri

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Letters in Poems: Bertolt Brecht



Por cuarta vez me confiesas
Que has quemado todas las naves tras de ti
Destruido todas las cartas, retirado todas tus palabras
Te encuentras en la vorágine de lo nuevo y
Esta vez definitivamente.
Hubiera preferido oír de ti que andabas
Tras lo nuevo, aunque necesitaras tiempo
Que estabas de buen humor y te alegraban
Tus buenas relaciones.
Así te veo pronto
Construyendo nuevas naves, guardando cartas y tomando
la palabra.
Cansancio de la edad es, aunque nada definitivo de nuevo.

En Poemas eróticos (2002)

Friday, January 20, 2017

Libraries (I) Biblioteca Pública e Arquivo Regional Luís da Silva Ribeiro

Para aqueles que nos sentimos cómodos entre libros, visitar bibliotecas e librarías é un pracer. Sempre teño curiosidade por ver o tipo de edificio que a cidade elixiu, entrar a explorar o seu interior e ver se o espazo é agradable e acolledor, o tipo de libros que enchen os andeis... e nun exercicio de puro voyeurismo, ver que tipo de persoas ocupan as cadeiras e sofás e o que están a ler.

O pasado decembro, tivemos a oportunidade de visitar a Biblioteca Pública e Arquivo Regional Luís da Silva Ribeiro, en Angra do Heroísmo, na illa de Terceira (Azores) recentemente inaugurada (o 16 de setembro de 2016) e que leva o nome do açoriano Luís da Silva Ribeiro (1882-1955), xurista, intelectual, político e etnógrafo destacado. O edificio chama a atención pola súa estrutura xeométrica e as amplas cristaleiras, pero alén disto, o interior -luminoso, atractivo- constitúe unha celebración deste pobo e os/as seus/súas lectores/as.

As bibliotecarias explicáronnos orgullosas e entusiasmadas a historia da biblioteca, a mudanza dun edificio antigo e pequeno a este amplo e moderno, a adquisición de novos fondos e o uso continuado que fai a comunidade dos espazos lectores e audiovisuais.

Quedei prendada da clasificación sinxela para o público infantil e xuvenil: seccións nomeadas de xeito transparente e comprensible, que favorecen a autonomía dos/as lectores/as á hora de buscar o que desexan. 

Recunchiños para bebés, para debuxar, para contar, para xogar con monicreques, ... E, ante todo, uns fondos variados e crecentes e un espazo amable para un pobo que ama aos seus literatos e que enche de poesía as rúas, as paredes, e mesmo as servilletas ou as botellas de auga. E así me foron envolvendo os versos tatuados no asfalto do porto de Ponta Delgada de Natalia Correia; os sonetos de Antero de Quental, ondulando os estanques dos parques; e os cadernos de caligrafía na casa natal de Vitorino Nemésio


E enchéuseme a maleta de polisóns.

Pedro e Inés, 2009 (José Nuno da Cámara Pereira)

Espaço bebé
Oficina dos sentidos (1)

Oficina dos sentidos (2)

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Words in Poems: Francisco Castaño


Cuando tú me miras
Como si supieses,
Tejen mis palabras
Penélope redes.

Tus ojos entonces
Son de luz dos peces
Que aunque fijos huyen

Cuando tú me miras
Como si supieses,
Juegan mis palabras
A que no se atreven.

Tus ojos entonces
Ríen porque advierten
En los míos modos
De amena intemperie.

Cuando tú me miras
Como si supieses
¿Quién dijo que el río
Que pasa no vuelve?


Cuando tú las dices
Mis palabras tienen
Perfil más amable
Y tono más tenue.

Todas sus aristas
En tu voz se vuelven
Voluntad de pétalo, 
Levedad de nieve.

Mis palabras saben
La escondida fuente
Porque reconocen
De qué labios vienen.

Primicia de aurora
Cuando así amanecen
Como si durmieran
En ti desde siempre.

Pero ensombrecidas
Cuando tú enmudeces
Porque son tus labios
El edén que pierden.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Hands in Poems: Maya Angelou (VI)

                                   For Paul

Your hands easy
weight, teasing the bees
hived in my hair, your smile at the
slope of my cheek. On the
occasion, you press
above me, glowing, spouting 
readiness, mystery rapes
my reason.

When you have withdrawn
your self and the magic, when
only the smell of your
love lingers between
my breasts, then, only
then, can I greedily consume
your presence.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Our Hands and their Importance

Last year Darian Leader published a really interesting article in The Guardian which looked into the way technology is changing our hands. It analyzed a prediction doctors make that our increasing use of computers and mobile phones will permanently alter our hands, modifying the way we touch, feel and communicate. 


It argued the most obvious (yet neglected) feature of this digital age is that it allows people to keep their hands busy in a variety of unprecedented ways, leading to increases in computer -and phone-related hand problems, which will ultimately lead to us having different hands.

It also went into the need we feel to keep our hands busy, which has always been a part of our human nature: spinning, knitting, Lego and other games... and nowadays, cell phones.

On top of that, another article by CNN also examined how technology is affecting handwriting, specifically going ton the state of handwriting in the United States, which is seeing a dramatic decline in handwriting which is causing "great" deterioration of the mind.

"I have discovered the secret of happiness - it is work, either with the hands or the head. The moment I have something to do, the draughts are open and my chimney draws, and I am happy"

(John Burroughs)

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Heart in Poems: Modesto Fraga (II)


A túa pel tan suave é a caricia
que ansío ter nas noites de outonía,
o saboroso celme da alegría
a ensalitrada man que me acaricia.

A pel, o celme, a man. Esa ledicia
que nos devora, amor, día tras día
esta ardente paixón, esa avreguía
que sabe a mar e a exótica delicia.

Eu desexo habitar nas túas ondas
na cálida ambrosía da rompente,
ser lobo para anexarte onde te escondas;

vivir e naufragar na pel gozosa,
ouvearlle á lúa azul libidinosa
por te soñar, inevitablemente.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Words in Poems: Luis Alberto de Cuenca


Cada vez que te hablo, otras palabras
escapan de mi boca, otras palabras.
No son mías. Proceden de otro sitio.
Me muerden en la lengua. Me hacen daño.
Tienen, como las lanzas de los héroes, 
doble filo, y los labios se me rompen
a su contacto, y cada vez que surgen
de dentro -o de muy lejos, o de nunca-,
me fluye de la boca un hilo tibio
de sangre que resbala por mi cuerpo.
Cada vez que te hablo, otras palabras
hablan por mí, como si ya no hubiese
nada mío en el mundo, nada mío
en el agotamiento interminable
de amarte y sentirme desamado.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Words in Poems: Mario Benedetti (II)



En cada libro que leo
siempre encuentro  una palabra
que sobrevive al olvido
y me acompaña

son palabras que a menudo
me defienden de la pálida
unas parecen de cuarzo
otras de lata

yo las prefiero milongas
y hasta un poquito canallas
pues si se vuelven decentes
quién las aguanta

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Fan Letters to Agatha Christie

We have devoted previous entries to the queen of the roman noir, writer Agatha Christie, who I profoundly admire since she provided many hours of entertainment in my younger years and who died on this day in 1976. The bestselling writer hoarded hundreds of letters from her readers which were published for the first time last year (2015) to mark the 125th anniversary of her birth.


A summary of these letters was included in this Guardian article, which I am partially including below:

[The letters] include a note from the author PG Wodehouse and a Polish woman in London, who told how one of Christie’s novels helped her to survive a wartime labour camp in Germany. The woman exchanged a piece of candle for a Polish translation of Christie’s The Man in the Brown Suit.
“I read and reread (it) so often that I almost knew it by heart,” she wrote. “The first few pages were missing so I didn’t know the title or the author but for seven months it was my only link with a normal world.
I know your writings have given pleasure and amusement to millions of people all over the world but never can one of your books have meant more to anyone than that tattered Polish translation did to me.”
Christie, who penned 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections, also treasured a 1958 letter from a 14-year-old boy in Bristol who started a book club at his school so he could raise funds to buy her work.
“I have bought 28 books by you and this is how I have managed it,” he wrote. “I charge the boys 3d per book to read at school, and 6d if they wished to take them home.
“With the money I obtained... I bought more ‘AC’ books... Now my scheme is bringing in so much money, I can afford to buy one of your books a week.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Letters in Poems: Gabriel García Márquez


Viajar es marcharse de casa,
es dejar los amigos
es intentar volar
volar conociendo otras ramas 
recorriendo caminos
es intentar cambiar.

Viajar es vestirse de loco
es decir “no me importa
es querer regresar.
Regresar valorando lo poco
saboreando una copa,
es desear empezar.

Viajar es sentirse poeta,
es escribir una carta
es querer abrazar. 
Abrazar al llegar a una puerta
añorando la calma 
es dejarse besar.

Viajar es volverse mundano 
es conocer otra gente
es volver a empezar. 
Empezar extendiendo la mano,
aprendiendo del fuerte, 
es sentir soledad.

Viajar es marcharse de casa,
es vestirse de loco
diciendo todo y nada con una postal,
Es dormir en otra cama,
sentir que el tiempo es corto,
viajar es regresar.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Letters in Poems: Nazim Hikmet (II)

Nazim Hikmet

Last Letter to My Son

(translation by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk)

For one thing, hangmen separated us;
for another, this rotten heart of mine
played a trick on me.
It isn’t in the cards
that I’ll see you again.

I know
as a young man you’ll be like a sheaf of wheat
– tall, blond, and lean
like me in my youth – 
with your mother’s big eyes,
and now and then you’ll grow strangely quiet,
your forehead full of light.
You’ll probably even have a good voice
– mine was awful –
and you’ll sing bittersweet, heartbreaking songs . . .
And you’ll know how to talk
– I did okay at that myself,
when I wasn’t too upset –
works will be honey on your tongue.

Yes, Memet,
you’ll drive the girls crazy . . .
It’s hard
to bring up a boy without a father.
Go easy on your mother, son –
I couldn’t make her happy,
but you try.

Your mother is
as strong and soft as silk;
she’ll be as beautiful
when she’s a grandmother
as she was the day I first saw her
on the Bosporus
at seventeen -
she is moonlight and sunshine, a heart cherry,
a true beauty.

Your mother
and I said good-bye one morning,
thinking we’d meet again,
but we couldn’t.
She is the kindest
and smartest of mothers –
may she live to be a hundred!

I don’t fear death.
it’s no fun
to startle in the middle of work sometimes
or count the days
before falling asleep alone.
You can never have enough of the world,
Memet, never enough. . .

Don’t live in the world as if you were renting
or here only for the summer,
but act as if it was your father’s house. . .
Believe in seeds, earth, and the sea,
but people above all.
Love clouds, machines, and books,
but people above all.
for the withering branch,
the dying star,
and the hurt animal,
but feel for people above all.

Rejoice in all the earth’s blessings –
darkness and light,
the four seasons,
but people above all.

our Turkey
is one sweet
And its people,
its real people,
are hard-working, serious, and brave
but frightfully poor.
Its people are long-suffering.
But it will turn out good.
You and your people there
will build Communism –
you’ll see it with your eyes and touch it with your hands.

I’ll die far from my language and my songs,
my salt and my bread,
homesick for you and your mother,
my friends and my people,
but not in exile,
not in some foreign land –
I will die in the country of my dreams,
in the white city of my best days.

my son,
I leave you in the care
of Turkey’s Communist Party.
I go
at peace.
The life that’s coming to an end in me
will survive for a time in you
but will last forever in our people.


Monday, January 9, 2017

Words in Poems: Daniel Gonçalves (I)

há um lugar submerso en cada poema, uma ilha ao
contrário, enraizando as palavras, até ao fundo da
escuridão, onde chove a luz de deus, e há o lugar
da magnólia, a vez dos outros poetas, como uma 
escadaria admirável, na eternidade da boca, como um
instrumento de sopro, mexendo nas cordas da poesia.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Heart in Poems: Antero de Quental (II)

Sepultura Romântica

Ali, onde o mar quebra, n'um cachão 
Rugidor e monótono, e os ventos 
Erguem pelo areal os seus lamentos, 
Ali se há-de enterrar meu coração

Queimem-no os sóis da adusta solidão 
Na fornalha do estio, em dias lentos; 
Depois, no inverno, os sopros violentos 
Lhe revolvam em torno o árido chão... 

Até que se desfaça e, já tornado 
Em impalpavel pó, seja levado 
Nos turbilhões que o vento levantar... 

Com suas lutas, seu cansado anseio, 
Seu louco amor, dissolva-se no seio 
D'esse infecundo, d'esse amargo mar!

De Sonetos (2016)

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Epitaphs (XI): Posthumous Letters in Moraime

"no represado novembro, no céu escutado, no frio
recente, há uma luz que o vento apaga, uma luz
que descore, ou uma palavra, perdendo o vasto
perfil da acentuação, um fruto que cai, um grito que
flui na loucura da terra, há o paraíso inviolável, um
pensamento que o toca, a ilha do sul, o clarão dos
presságios, o precipício encantado, o corpo sem
varandas, as pedras do rosto cegando pulso, há as
flores do mal, o emudecido lamento, e a morte que 
entra na epidemia do esquecimento, um tempo que se 
desfoca no amplexo do outono, e há sobretudo o salmo
do sufoco, a morte anunciada, o poema sobreposto, o
gesto transfigurado, o suspiro."

"A túa familia non te esquence" 

"Es propiedad de... Párroco de esta feligresía y deja prohibido tanto a herederos como a estraños
el que en ningún tiempo usen y usurpen esta propiedad"
(por se acaso, non vaia ser)
"Recuerdo de tus nietos de Francia"
Dous fillos. Mesmo nome. Tráxico final.