Tuesday, 26 April 2016

My 22nd Birthday Wish to the World

I have decided I no longer want to eat like a poor girl - toast and jam, and baked potato for variety. So, this morning, I'm having lightly steamed vegetables and sliced apple, with a side plate of buttered toast. Since making it all I have sinned a thousand times, apparently, and they're all squeezed into one offense: scooping excess butter back into the butter container. And since this little action, the kitchen has, without me in it, EXPLODED with my grandmother's fury.

My wish? Please stop exploding. Yes. What I did wasn't considerate of the prettiness of the butter container, but still... There is no rational reason for ANYONE at ANY TIME to go into a fit of passion and make others rue the day. She does not read my blog, and that's good, for I wouldn't dare confront her. Why? Because you have to respect the elderly and God be with you if you ever offend "your mother's mother" - no blasphemy intended.

Emotional awareness and control is so important and exploding family members are so very unsettling.

PS. I'm leaving this without tags so that it may get lost in the archives until I decide to delete all my rants.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Poetry: Le cimetière marin by Paul Valéry translated

The Graveyard By The Sea 

Translated by C. Day Lewis 

This quiet roof, where dove-sails saunter by,
Between the pines, the tombs, throbs visibly.
Impartial noon patterns the sea in flame --
That sea forever starting and re-starting.
When thought has had its hour, oh how rewarding
Are the long vistas of celestial calm!

What grace of light, what pure toil goes to form
The manifold diamond of the elusive foam!
What peace I feel begotten at that source!
When sunlight rests upon a profound sea,
Time's air is sparkling, dream is certainty --
Pure artifice both of an eternal Cause.

Sure treasure, simple shrine to intelligence,
Palpable calm, visible reticence,
Proud-lidded water, Eye wherein there wells
Under a film of fire such depth of sleep --
O silence! . . . Mansion in my soul, you slope
Of gold, roof of a myriad golden tiles.

Temple of time, within a brief sigh bounded,
To this rare height inured I climb, surrounded
By the horizons of a sea-girt eye.
And, like my supreme offering to the gods,
That peaceful coruscation only breeds
A loftier indifference on the sky.

Even as a fruit's absorbed in the enjoying,
Even as within the mouth its body dying
Changes into delight through dissolution,
So to my melted soul the heavens declare
All bounds transfigured into a boundless air,
And I breathe now my future's emanation.

Beautiful heaven, true heaven, look how I change!
After such arrogance, after so much strange
Idleness -- strange, yet full of potency --
I am all open to these shining spaces;
Over the homes of the dead my shadow passes,
Ghosting along -- a ghost subduing me.

My soul laid bare to your midsummer fire,
O just, impartial light whom I admire,
Whose arms are merciless, you have I stayed
And give back, pure, to your original place.
Look at yourself . . . But to give light implies
No less a somber moiety of shade.

Oh, for myself alone, mine, deep within
At the heart's quick, the poem's fount, between
The void and its pure issue, I beseech
The intimations of my secret power.
O bitter, dark, and echoing reservoir
Speaking of depths always beyond my reach.

But know you -- feigning prisoner of the boughs,
Gulf which cats up their slender prison-bars,
Secret which dazzles though mine eyes are closed --
What body drags me to its lingering end,
What mind draws it to this bone-peopled ground?
A star broods there on all that I have lost.

Closed, hallowed, full of insubstantial fire,
Morsel of earth to heaven's light given o'er --
This plot, ruled by its flambeaux, pleases me --
A place all gold, stone, and dark wood, where shudders
So much marble above so many shadows:
And on my tombs, asleep, the faithful sea.

Keep off the idolaters, bright watch-dog, while --
A solitary with the shepherd's smile --
I pasture long my sheep, my mysteries,
My snow-white flock of undisturbed graves!
Drive far away from here the careful doves,
The vain daydreams, the angels' questioning eyes!

Now present here, the future takes its time.
The brittle insect scrapes at the dry loam;
All is burnt up, used up, drawn up in air
To some ineffably rarefied solution . . .
Life is enlarged, drunk with annihilation,
And bitterness is sweet, and the spirit clear.

The dead lie easy, hidden in earth where they
Are warmed and have their mysteries burnt away.
Motionless noon, noon aloft in the blue
Broods on itself -- a self-sufficient theme.
O rounded dome and perfect diadem,
I am what's changing secretly in you.

I am the only medium for your fears.
My penitence, my doubts, my baulked desires --
These are the flaw within your diamond pride . . .
But in their heavy night, cumbered with marble,
Under the roots of trees a shadow people
Has slowly now come over to your side.

To an impervious nothingness they're thinned,
For the red clay has swallowed the white kind;
Into the flowers that gift of life has passed.
Where are the dead? -- their homely turns of speech,
The personal grace, the soul informing each?
Grubs thread their way where tears were once composed.

The bird-sharp cries of girls whom love is teasing,
The eyes, the teeth, the eyelids moistly closing,
The pretty breast that gambles with the flame,
The crimson blood shining when lips are yielded,
The last gift, and the fingers that would shield it --
All go to earth, go back into the game.

And you, great soul, is there yet hope in you
To find some dream without the lying hue
That gold or wave offers to fleshly eyes?
Will you be singing still when you're thin air?
All perishes. A thing of flesh and pore
Am I. Divine impatience also dies.

Lean immortality, all crêpe and gold,
Laurelled consoler frightening to behold,
Death is a womb, a mother's breast, you feign
The fine illusion, oh the pious trick!
Who does not know them, and is not made sick
That empty skull, that everlasting grin?

Ancestors deep down there, O derelict heads
Whom such a weight of spaded earth o'erspreads,
Who are the earth, in whom our steps are lost,
The real flesh-eater, worm unanswerable
Is not for you that sleep under the table:
Life is his meat, and I am still his host.

'Love,' shall we call him? 'Hatred of self,' maybe?
His secret tooth is so intimate with me
That any name would suit him well enough,
Enough that he can see, will, daydream, touch --
My flesh delights him, even upon my couch
I live but as a morsel of his life.

Zeno, Zeno, cruel philosopher Zeno,
Have you then pierced me with your feathered arrow
That hums and flies, yet does not fly! The sounding
Shaft gives me life, the arrow kills. Oh, sun! --
Oh, what a tortoise-shadow to outrun
My soul, Achilles' giant stride left standing!

No, no! Arise! The future years unfold.
Shatter, O body, meditation's mould!
And, O my breast, drink in the wind's reviving!
A freshness, exhalation of the sea,
Restores my soul . . . Salt-breathing potency!
Let's run at the waves and be hurled back to living!

Yes, mighty sea with such wild frenzies gifted
(The panther skin and the rent chlamys), sifted
All over with sun-images that glisten,
Creature supreme, drunk on your own blue flesh,
Who in a tumult like the deepest hush
Bite at your sequin-glittering tail -- yes, listen!

The wind is rising! . . . We must try to live!
The huge air opens and shuts my book: the wave
Dares to explode out of the rocks in reeking
Spray. Fly away, my sun-bewildered pages!
Break, waves! Break up with your rejoicing surges
This quiet roof where sails like doves were pecking.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Free Lessons in Etiquette & Manners #1

Lessons on Manners for Home and School Use

It is true that good manners, like good morals, are best taught by the teacher's example. It is also true that definite lessons, in which the subject can be considered in its appropriate divisions, are of no little value if we would have our children attain to "that finest of the fine arts, a beautiful behavior." (From the author's Introduction)
Genre(s): Social Science
Language: English
Running Time: 1:39:09

Click here for the free audiobook, hosted by Librivox.org.

A Brief Review: A family-friendly, children-orientated but ageless guide to manners and basic etiquette. A must read for parents in raising little ladies and gentlemen.

Personal: Sensitivity and Sensational news on the telly

Vent: No, do not speak to me unless you have something pleasant or relevant to share.

Dear Grandmama,

I love you very much, but please forgive my reluctance to listen to the things you saw on the telly. I am not interested, at all, in rapists in France. I am sorry for that poor woman who then had to struggle six years between Australia and France, to and fro, for the court cases, but I am not her and I am not related to her in any way, and simply because I love France does not mean I wish to learn of these horrid stories. I am not half so in love with South Africa and I still choose to avoid the horrific news on the telly. Or whatever else people are talking about that the media might be suppressing. It is a tragedy, and my heart goes out to the victims and their families, but surely it is pardonable to be someone who wishes rather not to know! There are enough people in the world to whom one can expose these crimes, but let me be not one of them. I cannot do anything to help and you are placing me in a position of helpless despair and nauseating disgust at humanity's idiocy and weak will to do good.

It is not personal. Please stop marching out when I tell you I do not wish to hear these things, and claim that you only wanted to innocently share what you had learned of my heartland. There's no need to blow the whole thing up. I simply do not like it and that's it. There's nothing more to it and I'd appreciate it if you didn't tell me of these horror stories. Tell them to Mother, or Brother, or the dear maid. But, I beg of you, not to me.


Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Music: a musical tour through history

Fashion me after your Fantasy

Picking up on a topic touched this morning, I delve further into the realm of romantic idealism. As we consider our target audience when creating a product to sell to them, isn't it logical to consider our ideal lover and then fashion ourselves after the image that is his fantasy? Which, in turn, happens to be our ideal self, for that is simply how our minds have put two and two together: the perfect spouse to our perfect self, and vice versa.

Firstly, we are in love with well-rounded characters, are we not? To become such a character, one must pay acute attention to the following areas of life:

  • The Body: health and wellness, appearance, self-defense, and gentleness in touch.
  • The Mind: mindfulness, the ability to think rationally, well educated, a patient mentor and an eternal student.
  • The Heart: emotional stability, kindness and compassion, generosity within reason, consideration of others (etiquette), and courage.

Whether he be a musician, or only know one song on the piano is of little consequence. When a man, or a woman, possess awareness in these areas, they are on their way to success. At least, this is my idea of excellence.

If it is to be expected in a lover, one must rise to the standard.

The truth:
Oh, the anxiety is a bit much for me right now - I'd feel much safer thinking of myself as alone forever. I don't mind it. It feels comfortable and away from people who might hurt you, and whom you might disappoint. And I'd rather work on my own flaws in my own way without having others governing my life in any way. And for that reason, fearing the intimacy which gives my power away for my heart is ever so fragile, I've grown a cold, detached air. When in company I am no more friendly than is polite and I make sure to appear irreproachable, because being approached is ever so uncomfortable and nerve-wrecking.

My cowardice makes me seem a snob, which is true in a way, for my high standards to which I hold others and myself are often disappointed by those less academically ambitious than I am. But, lo and behold, my timidness when I am matched or surpassed. How shameful and nervous I feel then. And so, I seem to be trapped between complexes of veiled boredom and blushing inferiority.

Tuesday morning blather about standards and tact

I'm experiencing a growing fondness for this blog: no pre-meditated posts or themes and reputations to uphold, and I can lose myself in Fragonard's brilliance while typing and leisurely sipping breakfast tea. No one to impress by careful choice of words and phrases, nor any structures to maintain. It's akin to that moment you take off the corset and let your belly flop out a little before pulling it in to be comfortably presentable. A breath of fresh air in the most unromantic sense.

Speaking of which, do you suppose we all entertain fantasies and act accordingly?

A preconception of our ideal selves, lovers, and friends. Of course, we are not impartial to reality and have enough decency in our idealism to accept our loved ones as they are - hopefully we all do - while still encouraging them to become the best version of themselves. The latter, if done at all, should be done with a sense of respect and tenderness to the feelings of inadequacy the individual might be experiencing.

People often forget this.

This 2016 seems a year of idealism with vegans campaigning against others, the "spiritual" people correcting other religions, and, on the other side, conservative persons condemning all things new, and people like Trump making fools of themselves - not even to touch upon South Africa's politics, oh my. Yet, what we all tend to forget is that people are human beings no matter what they believe.

And all beings want to be valued. Kindness above being right. Even for the best reasons, "being right" can translate to an egoist desire. Moreover, if we were to force our opinions on the delicate minds of others, we should be sure to experience rebellion or empty submission. You must acquire the skill, as the saying goes, to sell ice to Eskimos - not in the way to trick them, but to make them passionate about something familiar, but that they're missing. In this way, tact and etiquette truly means everything and that some famous saying, "If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor," is either sorely misunderstood or abused and entirely incorrect. Society has built etiquette for a reason, and it, in turn, has built society. Therefore, if you want to be effective in your endeavours, you should do your best to remember the simple rules of politeness.

What else is important? I see people very rarely argue with persons possessing these few things: proper conduct, elegance, grace, and excellence. Unless they are jealous of their attributes, which it is difficult not to be. There is a certain magnetic glow about a person with these characteristics.

Perhaps I'll figure it out some day soon.
© La Dame Délicat
Maria Gall