Saturday, June 5, 2010

Andrei Voznesensky (1933-2010)

A ballad - Doctoral thesis

The nose grows
during the whole of one’s life.
(from scientific sources)

Yesterday my doctor told me:
“Clever you may be, however
Your snout is frozen.”
So don’t go out in the cold,

On me, on you, on Capuchine monks,
According to well-known medical laws,
Relentless as clocks, without pause
Nose-trunks triumphantly grow.

During the night they grow
On every citizen, high or low,
On janitors, ministers, rich and poor,
Hooting endlessly like owls,
Chilly and out of kilter,
Brutally bashed by a boxer
Or foully crushed by a door,
And those of our feminine neighbors
Are foxily screwed like drills
Into many a key-hole.

Gogol, that mystical uneasy soul,
Intuitively sensed their role.

My good friend Buggins got drunk: in his dream
It seemed that, like a church-spire
Breaking through wash-bowls and chandeliers,
Piercing and waking startled ceilings,
Impaling each floor like
Receipts on a spike,
Higher and higher
his nose
“What could that mean?”, he wondered next morning.
“A warning,” I said, “of Doomsday: it looks
As if they were going to check your books.”
On the 30th poor Buggins was haled off to jail.

Why, O Prime Mover of Noses, why
Do our noses grow longer, our lives shorter,
Why during the night should these fleshly lumps,
Like vampires or suction-pumps,
Drain us dry?

They report that Eskimos
Kiss with their nose.

Among us this has not caught on...

A. Voznesensky (transl. W. H. Auden)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Merci Bon Dieu

Merci Bon Dieu - or Mèci bon Dié in Creole - by Harry Belafonte, live from 1976.
Thanks Baris.

Mèci bon Dié,
Gadé tout ça la natu poté pou nous.
Mèci bon Dié,
Gadé couman la mizè fini pou nous.
La pli tombé,
Mai poussé,
Toute ti moune qui grand gout pralé mangé.
An nous dansé Congo,
An nous dansé Pétro,
Papa bon Dié di nan ciel la mizè fini pou nous.

Charlie Rouse rendition, brought to light by Jazzanova

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


First heard about the concept of Mottainai (regretting to waste) while listening to a story on WNYC radio. I was brought up with daily reminders not to waste food, and I like to think that I extend the idea of no waste onto everything I do.

Early last year though, preparing for something in school, I read a bit more about mottainai, and came across the concept of Muda. Originating in Shintoism, and used notably by Toyota, the thought of it doesn't seize to tickle my funny bone - however cheap and silly the joke may seem. The word muda in Japanese means something like 'waste', 'wasteful activity', 'doing something in vain', so Mottainai means 'regret to Muda'. Best of all, and this relates to how I started to inform myself on the other muda, is that the wikipedia page is titled 'Muda (Japanese term)' - presumably to differentiate from 'Muda (Serbian term)'.

Following from this, on a cross-religion and cross-language platform, Monty Python's song Every Sperm is Sacred gets a fresh nuance to it, an added value.