dissabte, de juliol 29, 2006

Post Libertine Thoughts (English / Welsh / Cornish)

You come into my world
from time to time
and I lust for you
yet I have never tasted you

I wish you into being
into my arms
into my bed
into my heart

Yet, you never come
you remain without
lurking about the periphries of my world
a ghost whose identity I wish I could recall

I heard the actress once say:
"I will not swap my certain glory
for your undependable love."
She was wise

I am not
for I am a small man
who lives in a small collection of rooms
I have means that are not vast, yet I have rose moments

and for those I live
for those I cling to this mortal coil
for those I rise each morning
with hope beating still in my weary and pain wracked breast

the more I get to know your ilk
the more I long to avoid you altogether
you are dark and empty
Llawn o anialwch

And still, I wish to show
dirgel ddyn fy nghalon
i rywun, i un dyn....
sooner or later

but the days wander on
day after day
and I know the score
the days ahead are fewer and fewer than they were

and as I approach the end
(we are all approaching the end
Do not fool yourselves...)
I come to agree with the ficticious Earl of Rochester's honest conclucsion:

"Life is not a succession of urgent nows. It is a listless trickle of 'Why should I's?'"

(Dhe bub den a garys po mynnys gara)

dimecres, de juliol 26, 2006

Hen gyfaill arbennig yn ymweld (Welsh)

Y gwir yw yr oeddwn yn ei golli i fo. Roedd hi wedi bod yn amser maith er pan iddo ddod i ymweld â fi, a heno roedd o'n rhydd. Pam? Dwi'm yn saf. Ta waith, roedd yn rhydd i ddod i fy ngweld i ar ei feic mawr. Roedd yn secsi iawn i'w weld o'n dod ata'i efo'i helmet ar ei ben, a gwen ar ei wedd, ei lygaid yn disgleirio. Roeddwn yn falch i'w dderbyn yn fy mreichiau, â rhannau eraill hyd at hyn, hen gyfaill arbennig wedi dod yn ôl ar ôl ysbaid rhy hir. Fyddaf yn ei weld rhrw dro arall, os bydd ei fywyd cyfrinachol yn ei adael? Yn bechodol, yn hunanol, rwyf yn ei obeithio....

dimecres, de juliol 19, 2006

Hen Ferchetan (English / Welsh)

Wow another great old song, and one with which I can so empathize! The term hen ferchetan in Welsh means a woman who never married; it does not mean that she goes to the grave a virgin...

Hen Ferchetan
(Old Maid)

Hen ferchetan wedi colli'i chariad
(An old maid lost her lover)
Ffol-di rol-di rol-lol ffol-di rol-di ro
Cael un arall, dyna oedd ei bwriad
(To get another one was her plan)
Ffol-di rol-di rol-lol ffol-di rol-di ro
Ond nid oedd un o lancie'r pentre
(But there wasn't one of the village boys )
Ffol-di rol-dol-di rol-di ro
Am briodi Lisa fach yr Hendre
(who wanted to marry Lisa fach yr Hendre)
Ffol-di rol-di rol-lol ffol-di rol-di ro

Hen ferchetan sydd yn dal i dreio
(So the old maid keeps on trying)
Ffol-di rol-di rol-lol ffol-di rol-di ro
Gwisgo lase sidan ac ymbincio
(All dolled up in satin lace and make-up)
Ffol-di rol-di rol-lol ffol-di rol-di ro
Ond er bod brân i frân yn rhywle
(But eventhough every raven finds his mate somewhere)
Ffol-di rol-dol-di rol-di ro
Nid oes neb i Lisa fach yr Hendre
(There's no one for Lisa fach yr Hendre)
Ffol-di rol-di rol-lol ffol-di rol-di ro

Hen ferchetan bron â thorri'i chalon
(The old maid's heart is nearly broken)
Ffol-di rol-di rol-lol ffol-di rol-di ro
Mynd i'r llan mae pawb o'i hen gariadon
(Everyone of her lovers has married)
Ffol-di rol-di rol-lol ffol-di rol-di ro
Bydd tatws newydd ar bren 'fale
(There'll be new potatoes on apple trees)
Ffol-di rol-dol-di rol-di ro
Cyn priodith Lisa fach yr Hendre
(Before Lisa fach yr Hendre will marry)
Ffol-di rol-di rol-lol ffol-di rol-di ro

Hen ferchetan aeth i Ffair y Bala
(The old maid went to the the Bala Fair)
Ffol-di rol-di rol-lol ffol-di rol-di ro
Gweld Siôn Prys yn fachgen digon smala
(Saw Siôn Prys a cute lad)
Ffol-di rol-di rol-lol ffol-di rol-di ro
Gair a ddywedodd wrth fynd adre'
(A word he said as he went home)
Ffol-di rol-dol-di rol-di ro
Gododd galon Lisa fach yr Hendre
(Lisa fach yr Hendre's heavy heart was lightened)
Ffol-di rol-di rol-lol ffol-di rol-di ro

Les mots d'amour (English / German / French / Spanish / Italian / Welsh)

Sie kammen von Norden und Süden...

these friends
we call them in this land
these well-loved as in the language of Gentle France,
ces amis,
in another amigos
cyfeillion in the Old Language,
fellow servants
like compatriots, those all in the same muck and milieu

They come, and they go
and are well loved while at our sides
sometimes only in our cybersphere today
those whom we call by nickname
of their making or of our own
such as
or even, gods help us
And others still whose names would bare no curtailment

Each of this kind holds a special place in our hearts
not unlike co-combatants in the Verdennes
not just for today, but for many years
tho as time moves on we may lose sight of them
may lose favor in their houses
may even more feel the icey shadows of impatience or rejection
yet we remember the warm embraces
the long days spent
in deep contemplation
or inebriation

Sie kommen und sie gehen
Freunden, wie kommt der Wind
und wie der Wind so schnell gehen Weg
aber wenn ist das Wetter heiβ
ein schöner, kühler Wind ist etwas rares
und daβ wert der Mühe...
... und das Leiden

In this quantum cosmos
My ancestors call it a World of Struggle
even when friendship dies or fades from view
one cannot change so much what was for it always is and never was
the moment is the moment and is real
as real as any experience however brief or enduring
those long summer days
those cold winter nights
coupled with poetry
Old Raj
Filet Mignon or chickpeas
whatever was real is
the love never dies but sometimes sleeps till death opens the door
to remembering, cherishing, regretting and holding dear

Tout simplement, si une fois je vous ai aimés,
Je vous aimerai toujours
Même que vous me trahissez peut-être un jour
d'une manque d'humilité, d'un orgueil mal-placé
Je ne me méfierai jamais de ce que je vous ai donné
Ni rejeterai-je jamais l'amour
qu'autrefois je me sentais chez vos meilleurs vœux....


Un petit mot de remerciement à tous ceux qui m'ont embrassé et à ceux qui m'embrasse actuellement, et, le veuille Dieu, à tous ceux qui n'ont pas encore fait ma conaissance...

Marwnad yr Ehedydd (English / Welsh)

I came home to a pile of things today. Well, honestly I come home all the time to piles of things that need doing, and that is why two whole rooms in my house are off limits to the public, since these are the places where the piles dwell, and well, I wouldn't want to lose a guest beneath the masses of ditritis, since, like tectonic plates, they can shift without warning. I keep hoping that they will not grow to consume a third, but I digress. One of the things I'm busy doing is ripping songs from my CD collection to my iPod, and today I had a small pile of CDs which I had lent to the Welsh Society for our booth at the Celebration of Celts back in May. They were sitting, waiting patiently to be ripped for weeks (an odd thing, both to anthropomorphize compact disks, and to imagine their waiting to be, of all things, ripped, but I digress again...) One of the tracks I ripped is an ancient song of symbolic love, the object of veneration and adoration being yr Ehedydd, the Lark. I think the symbolism is clear enough. Some attribute this song to the death of Owain Glyndŵr, but I think it's meaning much broader.

Marwnad yr Ehedydd

(Death of the Lark)

Mi glywais fod yr 'hedydd,
Wedi marw ar y mynydd;
Pe gwyddwn i mai gwir y geiriau,
Awn a gyrr o wŷr ac arfau,
I gyrchu corff yr 'hedydd adre.

(I heard that the Lark,
Has died on the mountain;
If I knew these words were true,
I would go with a group of men and arms,
To fetch the Lark's body home.)

Mi glywais fod yr hebog
Eto'n fynych uwch y fawnog,
A bod ei galon a'i adenydd
Wrth fynd heibio i gorff yr 'hedydd
Yn curo'n llwfr fel calon llofrudd.

(I heard that the hawk
Still frequent above the peatbog,
Has his heart and his wings aflutter
Ready to go after the body of the Lark
Beating cowardly like a murderer's heart.)

Mi a glywais fod cornchwiglan
Yn ei ddychryn i ffwrdd o'r siglan
Ac na chaiff, er dianc rhagddi,
Wedi rhusio o dan y drysni,
Ond aderyn y bawn i'w boeni.

(I heard that a loud horn
Can frighten him from the bog
And he won't get the body, but run away,
Hidden away beneath the thicket
But such a bird I would bring to suffer pain.)

diumenge, de juliol 16, 2006

Three New Expressions of Note (English)

This weekend, while watching a couple films, I heard three great expressions, versions of one of which I had heard before. But lest I forget them, I've blogged them.

1) You're as much use as farts in a jam jar.
2) No problem is insoluable if you have a large enough plastic bag.
3) We're up shit's crick in a matchbox.

dimarts, de juliol 11, 2006

Response to Query on Cornish from CMC (English / Welsh / Cornish)

My a yl kewsel Kernewek, mes nyns yn ta ;) Nyns yeth marow yu'n Gernewek. Dasvewa a wra!

Hynny yw: Rwyf yn gallu siarad Cernyweg, ond dim yn dda. Nid iaith farw yw'r Gernyweg. Mae hi wedi dod yn ôl!

That is, I can speak Cornish but not well. Cornish is not a dead language. It's living again!

Ok Noah, you asked for it, and you got it ;)

To preface, let me say that in my professional life I'm an Assistant Professor of Foreign Languages and Humanities at Fulton-Montgomery Community College in Upstate New York. There I teach French, Spanish, German, Intro to Linguistics and World Lit (as well as our equivalent to a Rhet/Comp course from time to time). In addition to those languages, I speak Welsh well, and a smattering of Cornish, Breton, Irish, Russian and Latin, and I can usually understand very slow and deliberatie conversations in Dutch and Italian. Ok, enough defending my background and on to the important stuff...

First off, we have to put Cornish into its proper place. The box into which it fits is under the heading of a "revived language" because while it ceased to be used a community language by large and far by the time of the death in the 18th century of the ever so famous Molly Pentraeth, it didn't really die. Incidentally, basically no one in the Cornish language movement in this day and age accepts Molly as the last "fluent" speaker of the language. A few people did indeed continue to use the language in certain daily activities (some fishermen in particular along the more watery edges of Cornwall). From those ashes was born the Cornish Revival among antiquarians and academics who took the small burning embers of a community language, looked at Welsh and Breton which were (and for now still are) very lively indeed, and tried to fill in the gaps so that Cornish could be used in every possible mode of daily life. They didn't quite succeed yet, and that work continues (check out the Govel website at http://www.govel.net/).

As for how any language dies, barring out and out genocide, which is not garanteed to work, the first people who hold responsibility are unequivocably those who speak it. Yes, there certainly was a certain amount of external pressure on the Cornish language from England, but the historical status of Cornwall (still in question among many camps) never saw the systematic banning of the language as was done in Wales and done much more so in Ireland. To the contrary, the social prestige of English had much more to do with it. Cornish ceased to function as a community language long before great institutions of English language supremacy and bureaucracy such as Inland Revenue, the NHS, and the national school system even came into being. In fact, thanks to the Stannary Parliament (http://www.cornish-stannary-parliament.abelgratis.com/), certain segments of Cornish society had their own legal system which functioned in whatever the individual's language was (so not all legal matters had to be addressed in English, as was the case in Wales).

So the case of Cornish moribundity was not so much the big bad English empire as much as the slow assimilation over time of a neighboring culture who came to view its own heritage as being worth less than the one belonging to the people next door. Moreover, it didn't just happen in the 18th century. It began happening long long ago. Cornish shows a lot of borrowings (implying the prestige of the borrowee) from Anglo-Saxon, French and Middle English. Among my favorites are such things as: Wolkomm (welcome, from Anglo-Saxon); kewsel (from causer in French, to converse (archaic)); and Gromercy (Thank you very much, from Middle English and before that Old French).

Cornwall was always a small country, and its people fell victim, as people often do it in small and relatively marginalized cultures, to the lure of power and prestige of a neighboring culture. There was not, at the time, unfortunately a consciousness of minority cultures, or indeed a consciousness of the benefits of being bilingual (still lagging behind in many countries, including my own country, the US). Parents, most likely mothers especially, saw the upward mobility of English over Cornish and began to instill in their children a disdain for their own language. Surely that message was delivered by the English aristocracy as well as those who sided with them. Eventually children raised with such ideas would come to look at their traditional language as something ugly and not worth saving. This pattern is not unique to Cornwall, rather it is a very common way in which languages become moribund and eventually die.

The good news is; it doesn't have to stay that way. Cornish and Manx (another Celtic language from the Q-side of the family) are both language revival success stories (although nowhere near as grand as the story of Hebrew). There are indeed several hundred each of Cornish and Manx native speakers, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,000 to 3,000 people who can speak the language to degrees varying from advanced or even near native to novice, and those numbers appear to be growing. Welsh hoochie hottie and songstress Gwenno Saunders, now at the "ripe old age" of 22 or 23, is an example of a young lady whose first languages were Welsh and Cornish, and is someone who represents not only Cool Cymru, but Cool Kernow (if you have not snapped up a recording of her Welsh and Cornish single Vodya, and you like Electronica/dance I highly recommend it - the video which accompanies it had a number of my Linguistic students drooling, could it have been that wet beach scene??). This transition from seeing a language as belonging to just impoverished old fisherman to hot twenty-somethings in a very revealing bikini is an emminently important transformation. It's one of the most important steps in language survival and revival. A language has to have a growing and vibrant youth culture, cos let's face it guys, old people are gonna be dead soon ;)

There ya go Noah, the story of Cornish with interspersed opinions from a quasi-professional in the field. Feel free to shoot back questions or comments, if you haven't fallen asleep by the end of this email.

Bennath Dyw genowgh!
Robert Jones

Hey just had a question...though it is kind of big...Why exactly did Cornish die out? I am assuming a lot of english persecution of the language similar to what happened to welsh, but it's a lot more fun and meaningful to ask a group like this, as a dictionary will reflect really what the historian wants you to believe...Hwyl, Noah

diumenge, de juliol 02, 2006

Happy July (English / Spanish / Cornish)

Happy July! Well happy or not, July is here. The weather of my childhood has finally migrated northwards. I can remember those old Poconian summers sans aire acondicionado, sitting on our black pleather furniture, my mother's notion of a Mediterranean look gone sadly awry, sweating more quickly than we would like into a moist and tawdry death, our corpses moldering within milliseconds should we have the sense to stop breathing. When I moved to Upstate New York, the summers were lovely and gentle, full of blue skies and languid little white puffy clouds decorating the heavens with cheerful curves. For two weeks the unbearable humidity, the sultry Mississippi afternoons, would invade our lives and then be gone into the oncoming truck of Autumn. Alas, those lovely cool summers have evaporated with the tropical moisture. It's the Red Dragon and the White Dragon all over again.

Nonetheless, with the work I'm doing inside, I've not been bothering with the AC. I'm blessed with two units, enough to cool my flat and dry it out. I've had rare opportunities to use them. It doesn't seem safe to run them in this tight house when I'm using caustic chemicals. So I've been sweating my ass off. I'm not joking. I sat down on a wooden chair yesterday and gave myself a black-and-blue mark on my buttox. My ass has melted away and left only loose flesh to wave in the wind like the New Orleans flag on my front porch.

The work has progressed however, inspite of the gross heat, the mosquitos, the malaria. Ok, Ok, I'm not digging the Panama Canal, but it sure feels like it at times. I have painted the wainscotting in the kitchen, and all the trim and doors. The Christian Bible says something about their God saying, "In my house are many mansions." Well in my kitchen are many openings. No one was thinking kitchens in 1920. For all the lovely hardwood they poured into this structure, they weren't thinking ahead. My kitchen has six doors and two windows. It is more a hallway than a kitchen. This leaves incredibly little room for counters or cupboards, but considering I have to install them, I'm not complaining about that right now. It does make for a hellishly long process in painting. Now I'm onto the papering. I managed to paper 1/3 of the room today. It can take an hour to trim around one doorway. Well it can take me that long. Alaas I am no handyman. While my skills are improving with the passing years, they are still far beyond what I need.

Yesterday I accomplished nothing, but that was because I went to Pam and Richard's July 4th party. Anna came along as well, and everyone seemed have a lovely time. As usually I got too drunk and perhaps a touch of the heat stroke, as the drink seemed to affect me much more quickly than normal. Nonetheless I managed not to say anything about sloppy vaginas or reveal anything untoward about my sex life.

Ha wosa hemma, nos a gara gans den-jentyl koth, mes pur wheg!