"Whenever I see you I am filled with one desire. Yes, I desire to learn your skill of making dress." (The girl is a clothes designer. Can we see a gay sub-text in this request??)
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Osbert Sitwell (1892-1969)
Sunday, April 26, 2009
someone dug a hole
I don't know where it came from
or how to fill it in
but here it is
in the middle of my life
getting in the way
all the time
whenever I want to go
anywhere, do anything
I have to leap over, step around
where once there was no hole
now there's a hole
it is as broad as your smile
and as deep as your eyes
it is the shape of your laugh
I gaze into the hole, and long
to jump in
Saturday, April 25, 2009
The Penultimate Picture Palace
The Prince Charles
Nameless cinema in Nadi, Fiji
The China Film Archive
Friday, April 24, 2009
Takes possession of one's life.
Illness, dread, despair.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
[Ah, if only I could draw.....]
A couple of days ago, for example, there was an editorial on the case of Wu Baoquan, a man from Ordos in Inner Mongolia, who has been jailed for posting online comments critical of the way in which the local government there had carried out forced land acquisitions (a common source of complaint in China today). The writer delicately notes that the apparent use of the police as "a tool of local government to tackle unfavourable opinion" (again, a very common source of complaint in China) is "a role that might go against the Constitution and relevant legal codes". Might?? It's amazing how no-one in this country has a clue how to handle modal verbs until it's necessary to make your English as wishy-washy as possible when expressing some criticism.
The piece also notes that, while you may not be able to trust your police or your government in China, it's all right, because the Internet these days is providing a useful avenue for righting such wrongs. This notion was prompted by the fact that the victim in a very similar recent case in Henan has been released from prison early and given an official apology, after there was an online outcry about what had happened to him. However, this praise of the power of the Internet seems somewhat grimly ironic, given that both these men, and others too, were jailed for precisely that - trying to use the Internet to publicize a grievance. There's no sign yet of a remission of sentence for Mr Wu. (We're told that he should be happy that he's been given leave to appeal again; but he might not be quite so stoked about that, because the first time he appealed, the judge doubled his sentence from one year to two because he had showed "a lack of contrition" by continuing to pursue his complaint against the local government.)
The real money quote, though, is this:
Bending laws by judicial organs such as public security departments should be the last thing to happen in a country with a sound rule of law.
Gosh! Are they implying - ever so gently and indirectly - that China doesn't have a sound rule of law? I think perhaps they are.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
J.M. Barrie (1860-1937)
E.M. Forster (1878-1970)
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
No, I couldn't.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Enter Escamilio, a balls-fighter. Enter two smuglers (Duet: 'We have in mind a business') but Carmen refuses to penetrate because Don José has liberated from prison. He just now arrives (Aria: 'Slop, here who comes!') but hear are the bugles singing his retreat. Don José will leave and draws his sword. Called by Carmen shrieks the two smuglers interfere with her, but Don José is bound to dessert, he will follow into them.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
[Hmmm - Homer S famously has three hairs; but in this picture I notice he has only two. Rats! Can't be bothered to dig out another one just now. Google Image searches are being heavily interfered with at the moment. It's hard to see how dear old Homer might subvert the rule of the Chinese Communist Party, but..... they're taking no chances this year!]
Monday, April 13, 2009
Unfortunately, the air quality was almost as bad as it has been in Beijing over the past few days (a shroud of humidity trapping tons of dust in the air, at times cutting visibility down to only a few hundred yards); and the hillsides were so crowded with blossom that it was difficult to get a clear view of anything as I hiked up this gorge - other than a formless sea of white and pink flowers. Stunning to experience live; but it doesn't make for good photographs.
Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007)
Sunday, April 12, 2009
"Loveliest of trees, the cherry now..."
(A Shropshire Lad, No. 2)
Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.
Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Forty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs two score,
It only leaves me thirty more.
And since to look at things in bloom
Thirty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.
A.E. Housman (1859-1936)
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
Lungs, throat, eyes all filled with dust;
Coughing all the time.
Thursday, April 09, 2009
The driver knows your name and you know his, and you almost killed him and because you got so close and didn't, you want to fall on him, weeping, because you are so lonely, and all contact is contact, and all contact makes us so grateful we want to cry and dance and cry and cry. In a moment of clarity you finally understand why boxers, who want so badly to hurt each other, can rest their heads on the shoulder of their opponent, can lean against one another like tired lovers, so thankful for a moment of rest.
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Monday, April 06, 2009
Sunday, April 05, 2009
somewhere i have never travelled
somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near
your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully, mysteriously) her first rose
or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
nothing we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing
(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands
E.E. Cummings (1894-1962)
[By the way, I've now updated my last 'Poetry Sunday' post on Baudelaire's Albatross, identifying the English translator (thanks, JES), adding the original French text of the poem, and providing a source link with a number of other English versions.]
Saturday, April 04, 2009
Saunders closes by saying:
To those who would oppose us, I would simply say: We are many. We are worldwide. We, in fact, outnumber you. Though you are louder, though you create a momentary ripple on the water of life, we will endure, and prevail.
Resistance is futile.
This cheered me up tremendously. And I'm in a really obstinate depression at the moment. Do follow the link to read the whole piece (especially if you're a fenqing or a fenwai).