dimarts, de desembre 28, 2004

Diwrnod i'r brenin (English / French / Spanish / Welsh)

Today really was a Diwrnod i'r Brenin, that's a Welsh expression meaning a day off. It was a beautifully lovely lazy day, in which nothing of any great consequence was accomplished. I was a real grand dormeur this morning, lounging in bed mostly asleep until 11:30. I refused to actually get out of bed though until 12:15. I really do love to faire la grosse matinée and just lay around and do nothing once in a while.

As I continue to read Michael Flocker's Hedonism Handbook, I realize that I am, with little doubt, a true Hedonist. It's really too bad that more people aren't. I am so fortunate to have a job that allows me five and a half months vacation! As it is, I only take 5 of them, and only 3.5 are really continuous, the other two being chopped up here and there amid holidays and what-have-you. Still, I think I take as many opportunities as I can, when there's not something more pressing or better still, fun to do, to sleep in and do only fun things, like eat fancy food and drink good booze, neu rhoi, neu gael, sugniad da.

I was coming home from Chinese last night when this great song came on the radio. I have a penchant (when I say, I do so with a totally American accent: I hate it when people who don't speak French pronounce French words as though they were French. I, who speak French, only pronounce them with a French accent when I'm speaking French...) for pre-1960 music, anything from the cakewalks and rags through the big-bands. Every once in a while I'm also up for a tipple of 1970's AM-schlock too, for example I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. At any rate, last night this song, Peggy Lee's Is That All There Is? In case you've never heard the song, I've cut and pasted the lyrics below, If you read the song or listen to it, you might think it's rather depressing, but I find it to be very positive. You know, really all we have is today, and when a rose moment comes along, we have to indulge it, and live even more within it.

Moreoever, all we can do is hope for rose moments, amid the less colorful, or downright unpleasant ones. In Spanish a common toast is: Al amor, al dinero, y al tiempo para disfrutarlos - to love, money and the time to enjoy them. Another great Spanish expression about life is: Hay que gozar de la vida - You have to enjoy life. Here, however, is a problem with translation. The real meaning behind the expression is much more colorful than it could ever be in English. The verb gozar is one of complete enjoyment, in essentially a sexual way. It's like say that you have get down and have wild sex with life. I think that's a very hard concept to sell to native English speaking people whose only thought form is this language. They're missing something.

In any case, ¡yo gozo de la vida tanto como posible!

By the way, since I'm on this bent of talking about expressions in other languages, diwrnod i'r brenin is another great one. Literally it means "a day for the king", although idiomatically it means "a day off", now how did a day for the king become a day off. Surely the king can take any day off. I will have to do some research someday to prove this, but my suspicion is that this in an ironic meaning reversal based in the Welsh "love" for the English king. More than likely, the English passed a law saying that on such and such days, the Welsh would have to work to pay their tithes, a typical arrangement in medieval Europe. The law probably said something to the effect that on days X, Y and Z, all the fruits of all the labor that day would go to the king. That being the case, the Welsh in their typical antagonistic way of interpreting English law, would have done nothing at all that day, and would have taken a day off!
Peggy LeeSong: Is That All There Is?By: Peggy LeeLyrics from: http://search.able2know.com

SPOKEN: I remember when I was a very little girl, our
house caught on fire. I'll never forget the look on my father's face as he
gathered me up in his arms and raced through the burning building out to the
pavement. I stood there shivering in my pajamas and watched the whole world go
up in flames. And when it was all over I said to myself, "Is that all there is
to a fire"

SUNG: Is that all there is, is that all there is If that's all
there is my friends, then let's keep dancingLet's break out the booze and have a
ballIf that's all there is

SPOKEN: And when I was 12 years old, my father
took me to a circus, the greatest show on earth. There were clowns and elephants
and dancing bears. And a beautiful lady in pink tights flew high above our
heads. And so I sat there watching the marvelous spectacle. I had the feeling
that something was missing. I don't know what, but when it was over, I said to
myself, "is that all there is to a circus?

SUNG: Is that all there is, is
that all there is If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep
dancingLet's break out the booze and have a ballIf that's all there
is

SPOKEN: Then I fell in love, head over heels in love, with the most
wonderful boy in the world. We would take long walks by the river or just sit
for hours gazing into each other's eyes. We were so very much in love. Then one
day he went away and I thought I'd die, but I didn't, and when I didn't I said
to myself, "is that all there is to love?"

SUNG: Is that all there is, is
that all there is If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep
dancing

SPOKEN: I know what you must be saying to yourselves, if that's the
way she feels about it why doesn't she just end it all? Oh, no, not me. I'm in
no hurry for that final disappointment, for I know just as well as I'm standing
here talking to you, when that final moment comes and I'm breathing my lst
breath, I'll be saying to myself

SUNG: Is that all there is, is that all
there is If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancingLet's break
out the booze and have a ballIf that's all there is

3 comentaris:

Cut-Rate Parasite ha dit...

Very interesting blog, from one professor to another. (Found you by clicking "Next Blog" - fascinating randomness on the web sometimes). I've always wanted to speak Welsh. Such a great language. I once ate dinner in a Chinese restaurant in Wales before spending the night in a parking lot waiting for a ferry to Ireland. More randomness. Anyway, just wanted to say I enjoyed the blog.

Gwyddno Schenectady ha dit...

Thanks Chris. Life is full of random thoughts and events, well at least they appear random at first. Perhaps one of these days you will get around to learning Welsh after all!

BTW, I bookmarked your blog, we're also fellow travelers!

Geraint ha dit...

Shwmae heddi'. Rwyt ti ar y trywydd iawn o ran tarddiad 'Diwrnod i'r Brenin', os cofiaf yn iawn. Dyna oedd y diwrnod a neilltuwyd ar gyfer cynnal a chadw heolydd, pontydd ac ati yn y plwyf - a chan nad oedd pawb yn ofnadwy o weithgar ar ddyddiau felly, fe ddaeth i olygu diwrnod o wyliau, i bob pwrpas. NEU mae gen i gof clywed esboniad arall, taw dyna'r diwrnod roedd y milisia lleol fod i ymarfer, a doedden nhw ddim yn gor-wneud pethau chwaith ar y dyddiau hynny. Fe holaf ymhellach!

I've heard two explanations for 'Diwrnod i'r Brenin'. Firstly, that it was a day upon which local people were called upon to carry out public works in the parish, such as road and bridge repairs and so on - and no-one was iclined to overdo things on the work front on such a day; secondly, it could be that it was the day the local militia was supposed to drill (and they didn't kill themselves either) I'll check up on it!