Saturday, 28 May 2016

Poetry is honey for the soul (5) - Federica Galetto, Federica Nightingale ... and Federica!

           Poetry is honey for the soul

Federica invites us to come into her world today, as Federica Galetto with her poem that she has translated from Italian into English, and as Federica Nightingale with the digital collage that introduces the text.
More at the end of the post.


I am like a stone under your tongue
 I am the bride’s veil
and the drop of salt  into an ocean
 I am an empty jug and the lost water
your arm and your wrist in a land of sounds
 I am the hole you have filled
and the coat that you need
gold and soul
 I am the descent you walk right through
And the desert you’ll obey
 I am everything
And now I am gone
 (ghost in your mind)
(I am)
Io sono come pietra sotto la tua lingua
 Io sono il velo della sposa
E la goccia di sale in un oceano
 Io sono una brocca vuota e l’acqua persa
Il tuo braccio e il tuo polso in una terra di suoni
 Io sono il buco che hai riempito
e il cappotto di cui hai bisogno
Oro e anima
 Io sono la discesa nella quale ti addentri
e il deserto  a cui ubbidisci
 Io sono tutto
E ora me ne sono andata
 (spettro nella tua mente)
(Io sono)
Testi di Federica Galetto

Federica Galetto is a contemporary Italian poet, writer, and artist who has already published part of her work. As an artist, she makes digital collages under the name of Federica Nightingale. She also uses photos as medium for her art. This is the link to her blog (at the page she gives me the authorization to cite today): 
She also has a Facebook page (mostly in English):
As she says of herself and her work:
Sono una poetessa, una scrittrice, una traduttrice, un'artista collagista. Sono ciò che ho sempre voluto essere. ("I am a poet, a writer, a translator, an artist who makes collages. I am the one I have always wanted to be")
La Poesia va diffusa. I mezzi che si utilizzano per farlo non sono importanti, ma importante è che cresca una coscienza poetica dalle radici umane al Cielo. Allora, come diceva un grande giardiniere inglese di nome Geoff Hamilton : "Il Cielo è il limite" ("Poetry shoud be spread. The means that are used to make it are not important. What is important is that a poetical conscience be born from the human roots up to the Heavens. Then, as a great British gardener, named Geoff Hamilton, used to say: 'Sky is the limit'").

(All work by Federica Galetto / Federica Nightingale protected by the laws of copyright). Hazardous translation of her words is mine and she may well correct me!

Friday, 27 May 2016

Poetry is honey for the soul (4) - Robert Frost (and Phillip)

           Poetry is honey for the soul

Phillip invites us to discover or re-discover the apparent simplicity and clarity of his favourite poet Robert Frost. Silence is best (although this reminds me of Schubert) but there is a lot to think.


Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village, though;

He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer 
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake. 
The only other sounds the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep, 
And miles to go before I sleep.

Illustration by Eric Ravilious

Phillip has no blog but works a lot on Facebook on his page but also on several groups, artistic, historic, about women and their history, about photography. He is well-known and sows joy and pleasure wherever he goes. Ah! One last word: he is a great cat lover and his photos of his favourite friends are always here to comfort his human friends.
Phillip has helped me through difficult patches with a quote, a painting, a little something I have found on my Facebook page when I opened it. I know he does the same with all his friends but will almost grumble if mentioned...

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Poetry is honey for the soul (3) - Anna Akharmatova (and Kaggsy - with a suggestion from Olga)

           Poetry is honey for the soul

Yesterday, Olga proposed to read the 130th sonnet by Shakespeare, and, mainly, to listen to it read by Alan Rickman. Today, poetry is shown as a part of the universal as Kaggsy (who is well known by her blog 
proposes one of Anna Akhamatova' poems. 
One Russian lady, suggesting a British poet, and one British Lady, suggesting a Russian then USSR "avant-garde poet";
And each choosing one's vision of a painting that might illustrate this poem.

Kaggsy says: "I love this poem - short, effective and evocative."


The roads to the past have long been closed 

and what is the past to me now?
What is there? Bloody slabs,
or a bricked up door,
or an echo that still could not 
keep quiet, although I ask so…
The same thing happened with the echo
as with what I carry in my heart


(translated by Richard McKane)

And Olga gives us the original and agrees that that the translation is very close to it, while being beautiful on its own.

Эхо В прошлое давно пути закрыты, И на что мне прошлое теперь? Что там? — окровавленные плиты, Или замурованная дверь, Или эхо, что еще не может Замолчать, хотя я так прошу... С этим эхом приключилось то же, Что и с тем, что в сердце я ношу. 1960

This is the painting with which Kaggsy would see as illustration of "Echo"

"Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge" (by El Lissitzky-1919)

And it is Olga's suggestion 

Alexandr Shevchenko ("Radiant composition", 1914)

In fact, Olga comments " I think about the so-called "radiant painting" - the abstract way of painting which was "invented" at the beginning of the XX century (M.Larionov, N. Goncharova etc.) Although the poem Echo was written in 1960 ("ottepel" in the soviet history) this way of painting illustrates very well the thoughts of Akhmatova."

Thank you to Kaggsy and to both ladies for their collaboration and their look on painting art as far as this poem is concerned!

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Thank you

Thank you.

When, on a whim, I thought about "a poem a day" by readers and not by bloggers, I thought, it might be read by a few persons and fewer would send me send something. I had already prepared some of my favourite poems to fill in the gaps!

And you have sent me ideas, actual poems, poems that are said by great voices, poems and paintings to illustrate them, poems and music, poems from your countries translated into English, poems from other countries you love as well... Bloggers do the same. We may end the week...

In fact, if you agree, we might turn it into a poem a week, after this one. And I shall go on linking blog and FB page because you do not all belong to the two media.

Blogger friends, it all started on Facebook and went on to the blog. I have contacted a few of yours. But I have not been able to reach each of you personally. Will you excuse me? If you do, please, I would be very happy to have you contribute. There is no prize, no give away, nothing, just a link to your blog. There is only poetry to share. There are poets among you as well... And you certainly like at least ONE poem?

 Would you contribute, please? 

So. You may be the poets or the readers of poets. But this is yours.

Thank you.

My blogger e-mail address is:

Poetry is honey for the soul (2) - William Shakespeare (and Olga)

           Poetry is honey for the soul

Today, we skip back in time. This is a privilege to go back and forth in poetry! From a contemporary American poet to a 16th/17th British poet. THE British poet, would some say. The poet or ONE OF THE poets, Anyway, I do not think Shakespeare needs an introduction. But, yet, there is a twist here again.

Olga offers us her choice of the 130th sonnet
as read by Alan Rickman.

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun; Coral is far more red than her lips' red; If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun; If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head. I have seen roses damask, red and white, But no such roses see I in her cheeks; And in some perfumes is there more delight Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks. I love to hear her speak, yet well I know That music hath a far more pleasing sound; I grant I never saw a goddess go; My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground: And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare As any she belied with false compare.
And what would we have to leave Shakespeare and Dowland?
In memoriam Alan Rickman:
poetry, music and voices.

Poetry is honey for the soul (1) - Mark Strand (and Geoff)

           Poetry is honey for the soul

I was so happy to see that my idea about "One poem a day" was being received with kindness by friends on Facebook, on this blog, and through answers to emails that I sent rashly to other friends, that I forgot some essentials when I posted the first contribution, on Sunday. I was not able to come back to my project before today, but here it is with it little logo of acacia flowers from which some honey will be made.

And from a discussion with Geoff,  here is a link he gave me about Mark Strand (who, for the French was mentioned with the Surréalistes - which I did not understand):

I see there that Strand has been compared with music and painters, among them Hopper. I would not have able to illustrate the presence/absence and wholeness that the poem evokes. So, I beg pardon to our contributor and keep Turner who is "a whole" himself. And I publish again, this time less in a daze but still with joy,

Geoff , first reader turned blogger today,
for our poetry week.

In a field

I am the absence
of field.

This is
always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.

When I walk
I part the air
and always
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body’s been.

We all have reasons
for moving.
I move
to keep things whole.

 Mark Strand

Monday, 23 May 2016

A week for poetry


Geoff is the first reader turned blogger today
for our poetry week.

In a field
I am the absence
of field.

This is
always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.

When I walk
I part the air
and always
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body’s been.

We all have reasons
for moving.
I move
to keep things whole.

 Mark Strand


Sunday, 22 May 2016


This week, the very good blog "Vulpes Libris" invites poetry lovers to read their bloggers' choices.
I invite you to make one more step: why would you not choose a poem you particularly love and share it with us? I would be glad to be hostess.
Let's make a week of poetry that would be the bloggers and readers' poetry with comments and interractions.
From my window, I can see acacias beginning to put on their white blossoms and smell their sweet scent.They will give us their summer perfumed honey in a few months.
We all have memories like these mauve, golden, pink, white.clusters of flowers that became scent or honey or more memories. Let them all come forward as poems we loved, still love, and how they live in our lives. 
Let's dare!
What are your favourite poetries and why?

Diary (1)

This is a short entry of diary as caregiver to a person with Down Syndrome


What a lovely flower is a poppy!
The most common flower is scarlet red. But some are more orangy. Others are are white. Others are mauve. They are all papery and delicate. As soon as the stem is cut, the petals wither and die. When we were children, Anne-Fleur and I were taught how to make very ephemeral dolls with them. The black heart was the head, and the petals, turned down along the bruised stem, were knotted with a silk black thread to make a skirt. Dancers ready for the ball  among the green meadow.
When I got oolder, I read about opium in Victorian novels, as well as morphin, and all those substances that Victorians were taking to soothe their nerves and their relatives' nerves - among them women and children who tended to be rebellious.
Later again, we had a gardener aid who came from Laos. He was part of a Roman Catholic programme to help Laotian people who wanted to flee from the regime and leave their plots of lands. When Mr Yang discovered our ornemental poppies, he smiled. I was giving him lessons in French and he was teaching me his language - not the easiest of experience but a beautiful challenge where I don't know who learnt most! 
So, seeing our ornamental poppies in their red splendour, he smiled. "I remember them", he said. "I went away from my country because of them. Do you use them?". I must have looked at him idiotically for five or ten seconds. Then I remembered photographs taken by Father and the wide, wide fields of beautiful deadly flowers. "No", I said, "we do not use them. They are only there because they are lovely". Mr Yang smiled again. "White people will pay a lot for them. Of course, they not pay the people like me who make them grow. We are still your slaves for this. Do you want to know..." He took his knife from one of his trousers' pockets, deftly made three or four incisions, and a thick whitish liquid came out. "This is the blood of the plant. We used to smoke it. But the white men pay for whole fields, make powder of it, and then it is for you to tell me. I know there are good drugs and bad drugs, you know."
When Ane-Fleur's family members were suffering too much, they were given opiates to lessen their pains. Were there good drugs? There were derivatives of the drug because of which Mr Yang had to flee his countries.
It has now been three days that I am suffering from acute migraine. It comes with stress. Stress is the first thing I feel when I open my eyes in the morning - even before I open my eyes.
I know that my fight to have a thorough house cleaning is lost. I know that there is no hope for a clean garden. I know that the Agency who sends the Shopping Lady is now trying to reduce the number of hours from three to two a week. I know that I have no news from the Anne-Fleur's financial administrator: this means that the car shall have none of the repairs it needs. Therefore we shall depend on the hours that we are allowed for the Shopping Lady to go out of the house and garden. We shall need her for the basic groceries, meat, fish, bread, vegetable and fruit, etc. We shall depend on her as well to buy new clothes for Anne-Fleur. But with two hours a week she cannot do all the shopping and the cleaning of the house. We need more money from her allowance (and this money does exist) to pay more hours that should be dedicated to Anne-Fleur only. Which means, there is no money for me to eat or to be clothed. This has been calculated for ONE person only. My basic needs are not covered.
It is as if we were punished, Anne-Fleur to be disabled, and I for doing nothing but be her caregiver. As we are not useful to the society, we are no human beings anymore, but reduced to the amount of money we cost this society. And even if there is enough money to make us live normally, it is denied to us. I, because I am not disabled and have no right to money even as caregiver. Anne-Fleur, because I might squander away her money in having the car repaired, her hair cut, her body fed and clothed, her brain nourished and cultivated. Meanwhile, I am told again and again that she does not "socialize" enough.
My own allowance (not as a caregiver, as a human being) has made no progress since January. And I have been written regularly every two weeks to check the progress.
There has been no answer from any administration.
Stress. Migraine. I need a dark place where to rest. But Anne-Fleur is scared by my not being available. So, I take the drugs that Dr Quack has prescribed for this case. Parcetamol plus codeine. This delivers some kind of opiate that drugs me and makes me sleep. This is to be added to the regular treatment of anti-depressors, anxiolytics, tranquillizers, blood pressure diminishings, ulcer painkillings, breathing help, heart's ease, etc. 
On Friday, I fainted thrice and fell down, lost consciousness. Anne-Fleur did not see anything and was waiting for her meal. On Saturday, I fainted in bed. I could not keep sitting. I had to sleep as much as I could and try to stand up, walk, and make my duties during the few moments of clearness I could master. Today, I still rely on papaver somniferum. If I were to talk of this situation, the immediate action would be to take Anne-Fleur from me. No search would be made of the roots of the malaise. And no money would be allowed to help the situation unblock. Shame on me and long live the French administration!
Lovely papaver somniferum!

papaver somniferum1