CityCyclingEdinburgh Forum » General Edinburgh

OT: well versed

(120 posts)


  1. I were right about that saddle

    I'm considering a Scots translation of Queneau's Le chardon. Help will be needed. Anyone up for it?

    The first line might be;

    For aw that fan on the butcher's steen I shall lie

    Posted 1 year ago #
  2. Rosie


    Good King Wenceslas looked out,
    On the feast of Stephen,
    Where the tarmac lay about
    Potholed and uneven,
    Brightly shone the glass around,
    On the infrastructure,
    When a cyclist hit the ground,
    Suffering a pu- u- -uncture.

    “Hither, page and stand by me,
    Why’s that cyclist falling?
    Yonder transport policy,
    Looks like it’s appalling.”
    “Sire that is without an end,
    Trunk roads get full budget,
    When it comes to cycling spend,
    They will always fu- u – dge -it.

    “Bring me plans and bring me powers
    Bring me active travel
    Thou and I will ride some hours,
    In the mud and gravel.”
    Page and monarch forth they rode,
    Motorists were brisker,
    In the weather nothing slowed.
    Passed them by a whi – i -isker.

    “Sire this path’s as slick as grease,
    Leaf mush makes it slippery,
    Undermined by roots from trees,
    Hazardous and cripply.”
    “Yes my page, this is insane,
    Drainage badly fitted,
    Bend your way through this chicane
    Back to where it’s gri-i -ted.”

    In his master’s tracks he rolled,
    Tortuous and gated,
    Nothing breaks the motors’ mould,
    Lanes unsegregated.
    Cyclists pray to all the saints,
    One day they’ll deliver,
    Routes instead of signs and paints,
    This year next year ne -e -ver.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  3. unhurt

    @Rosie bravo, and also now have nice image of King W out on a fat bike in the snow in his winter robes... (once the weather changes, of course).

    Posted 11 months ago #
  4. I were right about that saddle

    I didn't read much for pleasure last year, so have a stash of books built up. I held on to Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf as a treat to get back in the habit.

    Apart from the total disregard for modern gender norms* in late Iron Age heroic poetry it is a thing of great beauty.

    My vocabulary is reasonable but I needed a dictionary to read the introduction. This made me feel special, not stupid or irritated, so well is it written.

    *All female characters in Beowulf are silent douce maidens or silent hideous harridans. That's not modern, is it?

    Posted 11 months ago #
  5. unhurt

    Have you got John Gardner's Grendel on the pile? Is a good follow on (can lend) (not the German edition). Though I'd like to read Grendel's ma's PoV some time.
    (Related: I loved this.)

    All female characters in Beowulf are silent douce maidens or silent hideous harridans. That's not modern, is it?

    Cue hollow laughter. If only those tropes were restricted to Anglo-Saxon epics...

    Posted 11 months ago #
  6. urchaidh

    Blue Toboggans

    scarves for the apaches
    wet gloves for snowballs
    whoops for white clouds
    and blue toboggans

    stamping for a tingle
    lamps for four o'clock
    steamed glass for buses
    and blue toboggans

    tuning-forks for Wenceslas
    white fogs for Prestwick
    mince pies for eventide
    and blue toboggans

    TV for the lonely
    a long haul to Heaven
    a shilling for the gas
    and blue toboggans

    Posted 11 months ago #
  7. unhurt


    The time will come
    when, with elation,
    you will greet yourself arriving
    at your own door, in your own mirror,
    and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
    and say, sit here. Eat.
    You will love again the stranger who was your self.
    Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
    to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

    all your life, whom you ignored
    for another, who knows you by heart.
    Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

    the photographs, the desperate notes,
    peel your own image from the mirror.
    Sit. Feast on your life.

    - Derek Walcott

    Posted 10 months ago #
  8. I were right about that saddle

    You'll have seen this gem by 'Nael' aged but 6;

    The tiger
    He destroyed his cage
    The tiger is out

    Can't wait to see what she comes up with when she's 7.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  9. unhurt

    I have seen now, and I am happier for it!

    Posted 10 months ago #
  10. gembo

    @iwrats, I can swap you on the aqueduct your famous Seamus for the best book I have read in ages Karoo by Steve Tesich. Steve won Oscar for his screenplay Breaking Away the cycling movie we are putting on for Edfoc. Is Edfoc happening this year?

    Posted 10 months ago #
  11. jdanielp

    @gembo I believe so - I received an email about EdFoC from the Heriot-Watt cycling mailing list just the other day. I don't remember the details, but it will spread out over three full weekends this year.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  12. I were right about that saddle


    Up for that mate. Timings? Or will I just set up camp on the verge?

    EdFoC very much on the go I hear.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  13. gembo

    @iwrats any day really, mom to fri on the aqueduct, otherwise you can pop in. No brambles picked this year alas due to events.

    Quick turnaround appreciated as others will want to read, it is pricey in hard copy but cheaper on kindle. Kindle I do not do.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  14. unhurt

    World Poetry Day today.

    The Gowk

    Half doun the hill, whaur fa's the linn
    Far frae the flaught o' fowk,
    I saw upon a lanely whin
    A lanely singin' gowk:
    Cuckoo, cuckoo;
    And at my back
    The howie hill stüde up and spak:
    Cuckoo, cuckoo.

    There was nae soun': the loupin' linn
    Was frostit in its fa':
    Nae bird was on the lanely whin
    Sae white wi’ fleurs o' snaw:
    Cuckoo, cuckoo;
    I stüde stane still;
    And saftly spak the howie hill:
    Cuckoo, cuckoo.

    William Soutar
    from Poems in Scots (The Moray Press, 1935)

    Posted 9 months ago #
  15. I were right about that saddle

    World Poetry Day, eh? Time to bust out some more Queneau alors.

    Le Feu

    Raymond QUENEAU

    Lorsqu'en léthargie le fen sommeille
    sous les herbes rasées par les brûlures
    les pas dans la poussière des hommes
    font lever les oiseaux assoiffés
    gymnote rouge la flamme parle
    aux sons qui s'enfuient des poteaux électriques
    l'été qui donc meurt sous le chaume?
    l'hiver jette la braise dans le foyer gelé
    reliquaire brillant d'anciens soleils
    déteints dans les terrains bourbeux
    le charbon se casse comme la nuit des pôles
    moucherons endormis dans l'ombre de
    bulle enclavée dans le cristal
    palimpsestes témoins des forêts de résine
    l'activité du ciel donne à tous le courage
    sous la poussée du tonnerre vers le sol
    l'éclair une fleur un cœur
    dans nos mains rouge comme est devenu

    Posted 9 months ago #
  16. unhurt

    gymnote rouge - am guessing this does not translate as a red letter to a P.E. teacher?

    Posted 9 months ago #
  17. I were right about that saddle

    Gerda Stevenson

    Hame, hame, hame on the truck,
    the wheels grind their grumly air,
    hame tae ma mither, ma faither, ma lass,
    but I canna come hame in ma hert nae mair,
    noo that ma fieres are laid in the grund,
    and the desert sun has blurred ma een,
    stour in ma mind frae yon cramasie flooer
    that smoors aa pain on field and street,
    no, I canna, canna come hame in ma hert
    noo I’ve duin whit I’ve duin
    (orders are orders, ye dae whit ye maun),
    and I’ve seen whit I’ve seen:

    oh, the bluid that brak through her skin
    like a flooer frae its bud, yon bairn
    that cam runnin, birlin, lauchin, skirlin
    intae the faimily dance o mirth
    we blew tae hell like a smirr o eldritch confetti;

    and noo I’m here, hame on the truck,
    ma fieres in the grund, but I canna come hame
    nae mair in ma hert, for hame’s naewhaur
    when yer hert’s deid – nae langer sair – juist deid
    wi dule and the wecht o bluid fallin like flooers,
    cramasie flooers, that kill aa pain, smoor yer mind,
    deid, deid, as the wheels grind.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  18. unhurt

    Oh, I need to read the collection that's in now. (Found a review: "Stevenson's childhood 'Eden' is a very Scottish paradise, one in which a neighbour, with Calvinist zeal, berates the happily playing girls, 'Get out! / Get out of my garden, / you dirty, dirty girls!', a cry akin to Alastair Reid's famous 'We'll pay for it!'")

    Posted 9 months ago #
  19. I were right about that saddle

    Can't help myself with translating Queneau now. Who do I think I am exactly?

    That Doesn't Scare Me So Much
    Raymond Queneau

    I'm not so scared of my innards dying or the death of my nose or my bones
    I'm not so scared me, this mosquitard baptised Raymond out of a father named Queneau

    I'm not so scared of where the bookard the embankments the offices the dust and boredom go
    I'm not so scared me who writard and distils death in a few verses

    I'm not so scared
    Night slips away between the moth-eaten eyelids of the dead
    The night is gentle a readhead's caress the honey of the meridians of the north and south poles

    I'm not scared of tonight
    I'm not scared of sleep

    absolut That must be heavy as lead

    as dry as lava as black as the sky

    as deaf as a beggar braying at the edge of a bridge

    I'm scared of misfortune grief and suffering and anguish and wild cherries and the excess of absence
    I'm scared of the obese abyss where lies sickness and time and space and all the sins of the soul

    But I'm not so scared of that lugubrious imbecile who'll spear me on the point of his tootpick when with a listless and placid eye defeated I have given up all my courage to the vermin of the present

    One day I'll sing of
    Ulyses or maybe
    Aeneas or maybe
    Quixote or maybe
    One day I'll sing of the happiness of the restfull the pleasures of angling or suburban peace

    Today exhausted by the advancing hour rolling and twisted like a loutish oaf all round the dial beg a thousand pardonz for this skull - this bowling ball - the wistful whisper
    the song of nothingness

    What other cycling forum would stand for this?

    Posted 9 months ago #
  20. unhurt

    If you'd done that a wee bit faster I wouldn't have needed Google translate*. NB you realise What other cycling forum would stand for this? reads like an intentional coda?

    (*which gave me "yielded all my courage to the rodents of the present" which, while the rest was mangled, is pretty good, no?)

    Posted 9 months ago #
  21. I were right about that saddle

    'Rongeurs' is problematic. It does mean rodents zoologically, but also carries the same meaning as the adjective as in rodent ulcer (don't Google that).

    I thought 'vermin' captured the unpleasantness. I can't see how to get the erosion/corrosion/consumption in there.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  22. gembo

    My eldest daughter wishes to record me reading a late ditty of Rabbie Burns, Fairest Mad on Devon Banks (to the tune of Rothiemurchie). For the university project she is involved in. They need someone with a Scottish accent which is quite telling?

    Rabbie kind of running out of steam by this point?

    Err, also, how does Rothiemurchie go?

    In cycling news The boys from the WHEC are coming to fix my brakes.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  23. unhurt

    For the attention of @gembo and @bax:I'm guessing you will both know all about this already, but I didn't: Lichens for Marxists. One part poetry, one part cryptic crossword clues, one part random text generation meets stream of consciousness.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  24. gembo

    @unhurt very good title to Drew's anthology. Not sure what goes on after that

    I was reciting only last night Dane Le petit tabac rouge. A poem I cobbled entitled Whisky Sours

    Quite a miserable piece about pain, getting chucked and not being able to change. Now I had a colleague up the back started laughing which made me laugh right at the very serious bit. I am keen she accompanies me on accordion (think Gogol Bordello gipsy rather than killing Jimmy shand by nailing his feet to the floor).

    Feedback from the daughter's project. The tutor thought the routine we did (me and my son) was like the archers. Though we were channellling Lard O'Connor and his henchman Gerry from radio dramatisation of Alex McCall smith

    Posted 8 months ago #
  25. unhurt

    The Death of the Loch Ness Monster

    Consider that the thing has died before we proved it ever lived
    and that it died of loneliness, dark lord of the loch,
    fathomless Worm, great Orm, this last of our mysteries –
    haifend ane meikill fin on ilk syde
    with ane taill and ane terribill heid —

    and that it had no tales to tell us, only that it lived there,
    lake-locked, lost in its own coils,
    waiting to be found; in the black light of midnight
    surfacing, its whole elastic length unwound,
    and the sound it made as it broke the water
    was the single plucked string of a harp –
    this newt or salamander, graceful as a swan,
    this water-snake, this water-horse, this water-dancer.

    Consider him tired of pondering the possible existence of man
    whom he thinks he has sighted sometimes on the shore,
    and rearing up from the purple churning water,
    weird little worm head swaying from side to side
    he denies the vision before his eyes;
    his long neck, swan of Hell, a silhouette against the moon
    his green heart beating its last
    his noble, sordid soul in ruins.

    Now the mist is a blanket of doom, and we pluck from the depth
    a prize of primordial slime –
    the beast who was born from some terrible ancient kiss,
    lovechild of unspeakable histories,
    this ugly slug half blind no doubt, and very cold,
    his head which is horror to behold
    no bigger than our own;
    whom we loathe, for his kind ruled the earth before us,
    who died of loneliness in a small lake in Scotland,
    and in his mind’s dark land,
    where he dreamed up his luminous myths, the last of which was man.

    - Gwendolyn MacEwen

    Posted 6 months ago #
  26. Rosie

    Lionel Shriver's early novel, Checker and the Derailleurs. Checker is a cycle courier in New York, also a drummer and song writer in a band the Derailleurs. His bicycle is called Zefal (trigger warning - bicycles were hurt in this novel).

    This is one of Checker's songs:-

    Don’t jump your red tonight,
    You big yellow Checker,
    I’m coming through light
    At its last yellow flicker.
    Show your bulging brights
    Rights into my reflectors.
    Listen close and you might
    Here my freewheel ticker-ticker.
    Hey city slickers:

    Lay perpendicular grates!
    Check those rectangular plates!
    One pothole on Sixth Avenue
    Goes all the way to China.

    I am a midtown
    Pedal pusher.
    I am a traffic
    My brakes are clogged
    With little children.
    Greasy strays
    Keep my gears workin’.

    Diggers, watch your tails;
    Old ladies, hold your bladders.
    Scarvy starlets, trim your sails
    Or choke on Isadora tatters.
    Better step back to the curb-
    Enough women are batters.
    Brave Lolitas, round the curve,
    You don’t want to be flatter.
    Hey hard-hatters:

    Lay perpendicular grates!
    Check those rectangular plates!
    One pothole on Sixth Avenue
    Goes all the way to China.

    I am a midtown
    Pedal pusher.
    I am a traffic
    My brakes are clogged
    With little children.
    Greasy strays
    Keep my gears workin’.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  27. I were right about that saddle

    Edwin Morgan, The Summons

    The year was ending, and the land lay still.
    Despite our countdown, we were loath to go,
    kept padding along the ridge, the broad glow
    of the city beneath us, and the hill
    swirling with a little mist. Stars were right,
    plans, power; only now this unforeseen
    reluctance, like a slate we could not clean
    of characters, yet could not read, or write
    our answers on, or smash, or take with us.
    Not a hedgehog stirred. We sighed, climbed in, locked.
    If it was love we felt, would it not keep,
    and travel where we travelled? Without fuss
    we lifted off, but as we checked and talked
    a far horn grew to break that people's sleep.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  28. unhurt

    Love that.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  29. bax

    well it mentions hedgehogs, and that's what matters

    fattening my visiting snufflers up with whiskas

    now that we're into oktober -

    big city
    bright lights
    cool, cool people
    big city

    everybody I know can be found here

    oh let the good times roll

    waves of joy

    yeah, I love you too

    Posted 2 months ago #
  30. bax

    Somebody shut the door

    You don't look like Martha and the Vandellas

    Electricity comes from other Planets

    Lock the door this time

    Posted 2 months ago #

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