SPOKEN PROJECT

Partecipo insieme a Sjón, due pezzi in inglese. Il primo “words in progress” è un gioco nato dall’espressione idiomatica “Happy as Larry”, il secondo è una rielaborazione di una mia raccolta di haiku, ripensata in inglese. Ecco il link, buona lettura!
THE FUTURE IS SPOKEN
Words in progress
Happy as Larry

Apparently the original English expression was “happy as a sandboy”. North America: plenty of clams everywhere; contented with what one’s got. Happy as a clam. In an old dictionary (1823) the sandboy was “an urchin who hawked sand around the streets”. Was it illegal? I don’t know…later the expression became a synonym for being merry…basically Larry was happy because he had a few pints. Larry was also a reference to the Australian boxer Larry Fowley (1847-1917); oh yes that Larry, now everything is as clear as a middleweight undefeated champion. Happy as Larry (Fowley). Larry Fowley was happy, it’s a fact. For those who love Thomas Hardy and his novels, “larry” was a dialect word meaning “in a state of excitement”. The US variation with clam came from the east coast, and to be even more precise, one should say “happy as a clam at high water.” Having said that, I’m very happy to be part of the SPOKEN PROJECT, so here are a few “larry” connections. Larry was already in the air in 1596:

The grey-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night,

Chequering the eastern clouds with streaks of light,

And flecked darkness like a drunkard reels

From forth day’s path and Titan’s fiery wheels:

Now, ere the sun advance his burning eye,

The day to cheer and nights dank dew to dray,

I must up-fill this osier cage of ours

With baleful weeds and precious-juiced flowers.

(Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet, Act II, scene III, 1059-1066)

Come, come with me, and we will make short work;

For, by your leaves, you shall not stay alone

Till holy church incorporate two in one.

Things didn’t go according to plan, but Larry was happy to play his role, Father Laurence reappeared in a mysterious way four centuries later in a famous prog song, Genesis’ The Cinema Show. He’s no longer Father Laurence but he’s Father Tiresias, a blind prophet of Thebes, famous for clairvoyance and for being transformed into a woman for seven years. This adds a new spin on Shakespeare’s plot.

Home from work our Juliet

Clears her morning meal 

She dabs her skin with pretty smells

Concealing to appeal

I will make my bed She said,

but turned to go 

Can she be late for her Cinema show? Cinema Show?

Romeo locks his basement flat

And scurries up the stair

With head held high and floral tie

A weekend millionaire

I will make my bed With her tonight, he cries

Can he fail Armed with his chocolate surprise?

Take a little trip back with Father Tiresias

Listen to the old one speak of all he has lived through

I have crossed between the poles

For me there’s no mystery.

For us the mystery remains, Larry knows better.

§

What follows is Carla’s second contribution.

In the city fields

Contemplating cherry-trees

Strangers are like friends.

Matsuo Basho

What haiku do you want? was a collection of 68 haikus I wrote some time ago; 17 haikus for each season, following the rhythm framed in a precise sequence of syllables, 5-7-5 (=17 syllables). The original idea was to create a game of chance on an imaginary boardgame. Here’s a small selection for every season, inevitably adding some variations in the English version, from Italy with love. Think of a number between 1 and 17 and select the corresponding haiku. And remember:

Un Coup de Dés Jamais N’Abolira Le Hasard – A Throw of the Dice will Never Abolish Chance:

17

Ghostly mulberries

Facing obscure lands

No goals in their life

16

Deserted avenues

Motorcycles whizz by

Just bullyboys’ races

15

The past perfect is

Like the present perfect mode

Undeniably past

14

A restless secret

Held inside for too long

Blooms and vanishes

13

Gentle cold wind outside

Whistles brief and intense sounds

They ring a bell, the same

12

Butterfly collector loves art

A PhD in French medieval history

Even part-time, starts NOW

11

I have learned the I Ching

Simply by reading and reading them

Perseverance is all

10

Looking at the golden sand

Nobody on the horizon

Just waves and waves

9

Serendipity

Under layers of moss and grass

A blue, rare mosaic

8

A red bud in the rosebush

Bows its head listlessly

A rose is a rose, is it?

7

I dream of going back

To places that I don’t inhabit

Any longer exactly like you

6

White lights crossing the sky

Bouncing quick intermittent rays

Waiting for the traffic light

5

Inside my heart I recognize

Voices that I hardly sing

More cautious than sorry

4

Snippets are dangerous

Un-solving the cryptic crossword

Not a sausage today

3

A sweet flute playing

A duet with a melancholic viola

The fugue is much better

2

Fast but not too much

A glass-house sails in the garden

Surrounded by pink stones

1

The bread was a rock

The Parmisan tasted like sawdust

Farewell, adios, addio, ciao.

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