Ursual LeGuin Talk; You Listen

Wednesday Poetry Blogging


The Wind

~Dafydd ap Gwilym (Translated By Gwyneth Lewis)

Skywind, skillful disorder,
Strong tumult walking over there,
Wondrous man, rowdy-sounding,
World hero, with neither foot nor wing.
Yeast in cloud loaves, you were thrown out
Of  sky’s pantry, with not one foot,
How swiftly you run, and so well
This moment above the high hill.

Tell me, north wind of the cwm,
Your route, reliable hymn.
Over the lengths of  the world you fly,
Tonight, hill weather, please stay high,
Ah man, go over Upper Aeron
Be lovely and cool, stay in clear tune.
Don’t hang about or let that maniac,
Litigious Little Bow, hold you back,
He’s poisonous. Society
And its goods are closed to me.

Thief  of  nests, though you winnow leaves
No one accuses you, nor impedes
You, no band of men, nor magistrate’s hand,
Nor blue blade, nor flood, nor rain.
Indeed, no son of  man can kill you,
Fire won’t burn nor treason harm you.
You shall not drown, as you’re aware,
You’re never stuck, you’re angle-less air.
No need of  swift horse to get about,
Nor bridge over water, nor any boat.
No officer or force will hand you over
To court for fingering treetop feathers.
Sight cannot see you, wide-open den,
But thousands hear you, nest of   great rain.

You are God’s grace across the world,
The roar when breaking tops of oaks are hurled,
You hang clouds’ notes in heavens’ score
And dance athletically over moors
Dry-humored, clever creature,
Over clouds’ stepping-stones you travel far,
Archer on fields of snow up high,
Disperser of rubbish piles in loud cries.
Storm that’s stirring up the sea
Randy surfer where land meets sea.
Bold poet, rhyming snowdrifts you are,
Sower, scatterer of  leaves you are,
Clown of peaks, you get off scot-free,
Hurler of mad-masted, foaming sea.

I was lost once I felt desire
For Morfudd of the golden hair.
A girl has caused my disgrace,
Run up to her father’s house,
Knock on the door, make him open
To my messenger before the dawn,
Find her if there’s any way,
Give song to the voice of  my sigh.
You come from unsullied stars,
Tell my noble, generous her:
For as long as I’m alive
I will be her loyal slave.
My face without her’s a mess
If it’s true she’s not been faithless.

Go up high, see the one who’s white,
Go down below, sky’s favorite.
Go to Morfudd Llwyd the fair,
Come back safe, wealth of the air.

Picture found here.

November Magic


Joanna Powell Colbert writes that November is her favorite month because it’s the month when she unhooks from all of life’s busyness and retreats into herself, her home, her own interior life. As the days grow shorter and it becomes, for many of us, too cold to do much outside, it makes sense to do as Joanna does. If we’re not careful, we can get caught up in the pre-pre-pre Winter holiday (you know the continual holiday that runs from before Thanksgiving until January 2nd) shuffle, grabbing at consumer goods and working ourselves into a frenzy micromanaging the “perfect, picture-book” holiday.

One of the most powerful magical acts that I know is to take some time and really envision the life that you’d like to be leading five years from now. I’ve done this magic with developmentally disabled adults, college students, groups of women and, of course, myself. Fill in all the details. Where do you live? What time do you wake up? Who do you see throughout the day? What do you wear? What occupies your time? What things that are currently in your life are banished? Journal or draw or dance all of it.

Now, ask yourself what underlying assumptions you’ve made. For example, do you assume you can turn on the tap and get clean, potable water? That you have access to medical care including birth control? That you can communicate without Big Brother listening?

It’s an interesting exercise. We’ll be talking more about it over the next couple of days.

Picture found here.

Monday at the Movies

A couple of weeks ago, I had dinner with Son, DiL, and G/Son. We were discussing the fact that G/Son was going to spend the night with me while his ‘rents went off to Annapolis for a race that Son was planning to run. As soon as he heard that he’d be staying with me, G/Son said, “I want to go see Big Hero 6! Can we go, Nonna?”

I admit that I’d never head of the movie, but G/Son and I have been to see a couple of movies that he picked out (The Leggo Movie, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Monsters University) and a couple of movies that I picked out (The Hobbit, The Desolation of Smaug, Malificent) and I didn’t have high hopes for Big Hero 6. But the weather’s turned cold. It’s difficult to spend time outside. And Nonna’s never reticent about commenting on the underlying themes (capitalism, colonialism, Patriarchy) in popular movies. And, so, on a chilly Saturday morning, G/Son and I found ourselves settling into the Lazy-Boy-lounger-like chairs of the local theater.

I was pleasantly surprised. I think of all the movies that G/Son’s picked out, I liked this one the best.

The plot wasn’t too simple and the answers weren’t too pat. There wasn’t too much of an element that shows up in in many “kids” films that I can only describe as an attempt to ape adulthood — a certain cynicism. Instead, the characters were true to their ages: the kids were kids, the grownups were grownups, the college students were college students. All of the main heroes and heroines were “nerds” — engineers who love to invent things. The location, San Fransokyo, was a very believable combination of San Francisco and Tokyo. (I said to G/Son that the city, with all of its hills and its focus on the bay, reminded me a lot of San Francisco, where I’ve been but he hasn’t, and he told me that all of the “tech” and “neon” was true to Tokyo — where neither of us have been. No idea where he got that.)

On the ride home, we had some interesting discussion about Asimov’s Laws of Robotics and whether those laws could have avoided the harm done in the film, about an inventor’s responsibility (or lack thereof) for the purposes for which his invention is used, and about how the capitalist in the film never stops to consider these issues and, so, causes what ultimately happens to him. (See, I told you Nonna could turn anything into a lesson on the evils of Patriarchy.)

Have you seen Big Hero 6? What did you think?

Sunday Ballet Blogging


It’s getting cold here in Columbia’s District! My Japanese Maples are fire-engine red, vermillion, the exact red of the spark of fire inside a goblet of merlot. We’re all going to be wanting to spend more time gathered around the fire. Here’s some music for viewing Japanese Maples and for staying warm.

My Grandma Always Told Me That I Was a Graceful Loser But a Bad Winner

I won a big case today and I’m going out for dinner. Sorry for not posting a better post.