"The Precision of Pain" by Yehuda Amichai, translated by Chana Bloch:
The precision of pain and the blurriness of joy. I'm thinking
how precise people are when they describe their pain in a doctor's office.
Even those who haven't learned to read and write are precise:
"This one's a throbbing pain, that one's a wrenching pain,
this one gnaws, that one burns, this is a sharp pain
and that --- a dull one. Right here. Precisely here,
yes, yes." Joy blurs everything. I've heard people say
after nights of love and feasting, "It was great,
I was in seventh heaven." Even the spaceman who floated
in outer space, tethered to a spaceship, could say only, "Great,
wonderful, I have no words."
The blurriness of joy and the precision of pain --
I want to describe, with a sharp pain's precision, happiness
and blurry joy. I learned to speak among the pains.
[A joyous Simchat Torah to my friends celebrating it!]
"It seems to me that when Brett Kavanaugh attempted to deny a 17-year-old immigrant an abortion, he believed that the decisions you make as a minor ought to have lifelong consequences. Let's treat him the same way." -- Lauren Duca (@laurenduca), 2018-09-17
"Each generation thinks it invented sex; each generation is totally mistaken. Anything along that line today was commonplace both in Pompeii and in Victorian England; the differences lie only in the degree of coverup -- if any." -- Robert Heinlein (b. 1908-07-07, d. 1988-05-08), in Expanded Universe (1980, Ace Books)
"If I could stick my pen in my heart
And spill it all over the stage
Would it satisfy ya, would it slide on by ya
Would you think the boy is strange?"
-- Keith Richards (b. 1943-12-18) and Mick Jagger (b. 1943-07-26), "It's Only Rock 'n Roll (But I Like It)" (1974)
"A man either has character or he doesn't. When one has character, power and wealth cannot diminish that. When one lacks character, power and wealth amplify the damage he leaves in his wake." -- casey mooney (@casey_connects), 2018-09-20 [second tweet of a short thread>]
"I have seen the signatures of my schoolmates saying Kavanaugh never treated them with disrespect. Perhaps they don't realize that some men in their social circles did not treat the women on the periphery of those circles with the same reverence as the ones in the center." -- casey mooney, later in the same thread
"We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics." -- Franklin Delano Roosevelt (b. 1882-01-30, d. 1945-04-12; President of the United States 1933-03-04 to 1945-04-12), Second Inaugural Address, 1937-01-20
"The best programs are written so that computing machines can perform them quickly and so that human beings can understand them clearly. A programmer is ideally an essayist who works with traditional aesthetic and literary forms as well as mathematical concepts, to communicate the way that an algorithm works and to convince a reader that the results will be correct." -- Donald Ervin Knuth
"Dysphoria isn't this obvious neon sign that appears from the minute you exit the womb, especially in a society that does everything it can to make transgender people totally invisible to begin with." -- Sam Dylan Finch, "My parents and I survived my 'Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria.' This is our story."</i>, 2018-09-13
"Oh, 'tis sweet, when fields are ringing
With the merry cricket's singing,
Oft to mark with curious eye
If the vine-tree's time be nigh:
Here is now the fruit whose birth
Cost a throe to Mother Earth.
Sweet it is, too, to be telling,
How the luscious figs are swelling;
Then to riot without measure
In the rich, nectareous treasure,
While our grateful voices chime,--
Happy season! blessed time."
-- Aristophanes (Αριστοφανης -- b. ca 446 BCE, d. ca 386 BCE), Ειρηνη ( Peace), 421 BCE. Translator unknown. (If anyone recognizes it and can provide a name, that'd be great.) Found at Poemhunter
Another translation, this one from The Athenian Society (Wikipedia says the tanslator may have been Oscar Wilde): "When the grasshopper sings its dulcet tune, I love to see the Lemnian vines beginning to ripen, for 'tis the earliest plant of all. I love likewise to watch the fig filling out, and when it has reached maturity I eat with appreciation and exclaim, 'Oh! delightful season!'"
I think I've found the right passage in the original[*] (at here about 5/6 of the way down.):
Όταν ο τζίτζικας
το γλυκοτράγουδο λαλεί
χαίρομαι κι αποχαζεύω
τα λημνώτικα αμπέλια μου
- είναι ράτσα πρώιμη -
και τα σύκα να φουσκώσουν
κι όταν γίνουν μέλι γλύκα
τα ζουπώ στο στόμα μου
και πίνω θυμαρόμελο μετά
και τα ανακατεύω.
Google Translate renders the passage I found as:
When the jizzik
the sweet pepper is sweet
I am glad and relish
my dormant vines
- is early in breed -
and the figs inflate
and when they become sweet honey
I die in my mouth
and I drink a thief afterwards
and mix them.
which looks like a combination of the usual machine-translation glitches, and differences betwen Attic and Modern Greek.
Anyhow, I wanted something harvest-related for today...
[*] Converted to modern orthography -- i.e. mixed-case, interword spaces, punctuation, etc. -- as is normal for samples of Ancient Greek longer than an short inscriptions or ostraca, thank goodness. I'm interested in seeing what the original manuscript / early copies looked like, but parsing it would be a chore.
"if you're feeling discouraged about the future of our world, just remember that somewhere right now a little girl is reading a book about brave kids who battle tremendous evil, and she is beginning to make plans." -- the library haunter (@SketchesbyBoze), 2018-09-21
[Wishing pleasant weather to all my friends observing Sukkot starting tonight!]
"Walking on water and developing software from a specification are easy if both are frozen." -- Edward V Berard
[Happy autumnal equinox to folks who pbserve it in some regard! Astronomical autumn begins at 21:54 Eastern Time.]
"Success is hard to measure. Well--that's entirely not true. In capitalism, we have one metric: profitability. If something makes money, garners the most sales, we call it 'successful'.
"I think that making things that users fight for--that they dredge old machines out of the closet for, that they tell all their friends about, that they still speak dreamily of 40 years later--well, that's a form of success, too.
"I guess it all depends on how you measure."
-- Alex Feinman, "Come for the features, stay for the experience", 2017-10-30
[To folks observing Ashura, whichever way you do so, may it be the kind of day you need it to be.]
"Apologies to everyone outside Toronto who's probably sick of all the local politics tweets, but I cannot stress enough that a failed sticker salesman has launched a constitutional crisis because he was hellbent on revenge against the city that laughed at his ferris wheel" -- @matttomic, 2018-09-17
"The only other time the Sh'ma is recited over and over, which is what I did during the evening service in Plainfield, is at the end of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Jews spend twenty-five hours (as if twenty-four were not enough) fasting, meditating, praying, and abstaining from bathing and making love. In effect, we play dead for that long day and reemerge reborn, certain that there is nothing that could not be forgiven from the perspective of aninfinite, loving, God.
"That's why, for me at least, the holiest moment of Yom Kippur actually occurs after the day has ended, when we come back to life and break the fast. In my family, the vodka comes out of the freezer and the Scotch out of the liquor cabinet. We stand, raise our glasses, and shout 'L'chayim!' To life! We are back! We can start again and know that there is room for all of us."
-- Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, You Don't Have to Be Wrong for Me to Be Right (2007, Three Rivers Press, New York; ISBN 978-0-307-38298-6, Dewey 201'.5--dc22, LC BL624.H53 2007), p. 153
[Wishing an easy fast for my friends observing Yom Kippur tonight and tomorrow. Gemar chatimah tovah]
"Remember when the denial of passports started with trans people and [y'all] called us hysterical?" -- Emily G (@EmilyGorcenski), 2018-08-29 ["You" changed to "y'all" in keeping with author's followup tweets indicating that that's what she meant, not the author of the tweet she was replying to.]
More info about what's going on (collected from Twitter, twistedchicj, Facebook, email, and stuff I ran across while web surfing) just in case any of my friends aren't already up to speed on this:
"To achieve impartiality, you do not need to include outright deniers of climate change in BBC coverage, in the same way you would not have someone denying that Manchester United won 2-0 last Saturday. The referee has spoken." -- internal BBC memo, quoted at Snopes [thanks to zenlizard for linking to this]
"It's funny how wearing a dress makes people think you're dressed up when actually you were too lazy to match two articles of clothing" -- "To all the boys I've blocked before" (@fleur_de_livres), 2018-08-12
"Such truth, as opposeth no man's profit, nor pleasure, is to all men welcome." -- Thomas Hobbes (b. 1588-04-05, d. 1679-12-04)
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