Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Sundry Remarks

Antonio Machado

I was hungry in the night, and I was wakeful in the early morning; but the moon was just past full and we don’t have the blackout curtains up, so I might have slept through that without noticing, if it had been full dark. Not a ferocious hunger, just a present one. It might have been wise to have eaten a little more when I broke my fast -- say half a bowl of stew -- I don’t think it would have taken much. In any case, I’m feeling quite stable at breakfast. So that’s good. So far I’m impressed by how fast things (meaning hunger, energy, etc.) have normalized. Now that I’ve had my breakfast, I don’t think that -- if you wiped my memory clean -- I’d have any way of knowing I was fasting yesterday.

All this fasting stuff is still experimental, and it’s way too early to plan schedules, but if I were to plan one right now, it would look like this:

1-day fast every other Tuesday (i.e. 4:30 Monday afternoon to 5:30 Wednesday morning), 
3-day fast every two months (i.e. 4:30 Monday afternoon to 4:30 Thursday afternoon)
5-day fast every six months (i.e. 4:30 Monday afternoon to 4:30 Saturday afternoon)

Yeah but
The thing is
With all this health ruckus settled, you are going to need to figure out what your days are supposed to be made of, Dale
What you are studying
What you are making
And how you know when you’ve done enough for the day
You have found one point of leverage
And that’s the moment you turn to
You need to turn to the study of the moment instead
There’s probably another point in the evening when you turn to YouTube
But anyway
Here’s a try:
In the morning half an hour, alternating Spanish literature and Canon
In the evening half an hour easy Spanish reading
That’s just an hour a day
And I’m sure you can do it
Even on hectic days
Maybe more on non-hectic days
But give this a shot
Right now it’s Machado’s poetry
And Lucretius
And the easy reading is Spanish’d Narnia
That’s not so hard, is it?
You can totally do this AND enjoy it
Silly boy.


Here's a go at translating "Sobre la tierra amarga..." (1903). I take unconscionable liberties with the stanza and the punctuation. Machado has three four line stanzas, but I think it works better in English with two sixes. And I can't bear ellipses in poetry. (What the hell are line breaks for?) But other than that it's a pretty close translation.

Dreaming, on this bitter earth,
has labyrinthine roads,
tortuous paths, parks
in flower and in shade and in silence;
deep crypts, ladders over stars;
altarpieces of hope and memory.

Figurines that walk and smile
(the melancholy toys of age):
kindly images
at the flowered turn of a lane,
and rosy chimaeras making their way
into the distance.

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