Saturday, July 23, 2011

First and Last Things

The first actual content in this blog was this loose translation of ‘The Milonga of Manuel Flores’, by Borges, from where I could probably have gone anywhere.

The original poem is one of those places where what C.S. Lewis called Joy almost breaks through the veil of humdrum reality for me:  “I idly turned the pages of the book and found the unrhymed translation of Tegner's Drapa and read, 'I heard a voice that cried, Balder the beautiful Is dead, is dead.' ...I knew nothing about Balder, but instantly I was uplifted.... I desired with almost sickening intensity something never to be described....”

Of course the truth is that I have almost no Spanish at all. One of my big regrets is that when I was growing up in the part of Mexico occupied by the rebel colonists I never bothered to learn it. It was such an unglamorous, uninteresting language to the young me. Thinking about this got me thinking about the many links between my family and the Latin American world and how being an Anglophone Catholic in the occupied territories was in retrospect a kind of amphibious existence; neither of the two cultures in the bicultural society could really be considered the ‘other’.

Which reminded me that I had a strong urge to show you the picture below earlier in the year.

The shopping centre at the bottom right is where Gabrielle Giffords was shot. If I remember correctly, I bought my copy of ‘Awful Green Things from Outer Space’ at another shopping centre that once existed on that site. The triangular building at upper left is St. Odilia’s, where I was an altar boy, and where Christina Green sang in a choir with the same name as my Mum's guitar. 

I don’t really have any words but I wanted to show you the picture.

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