10th may 2005

Flowers are Man's little sisters.

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11th may 2005


I only went to Buscot for the gardens; I didn't realise that the house holds an excellent collection of pictures, as well as a few portraits of those types whose voice could be heard across three counties.

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12th may 2005

Looking up Indian poets; thinking, how well they do languor (Pauline Kael once wrote, rather cattily but then I don't trust the woman, that the male characters in Ray's films tended to be horizontal men); came across Tusar Roy, who died in 1977 at 43; who walked backwards in traffic with his eyes shut to see what would happen; who once ordered (in metre) a mounted policeman to doff his hat to him, the poet; who wrote this delicious poem, simple and domestic as a Gary Snyder:

Only Snow Drips Down Silently

Under cloudy sky of the queen of hills
All leave Darjeeling
Climbing down the famous and spiralling railway track.
It is now perfectly quiet all around,
Except the distant bells from the gompah, sounding solemn and deep,
And tiny flecks of snow and cold dewdrops,
That keep falling through.
Only Nikhil, Surekha and me have stayed back
Here at this 'Moonlight Grove'
Nilgiri coffee is whistling in the kettle
And a bottle of 'old monk rum' waits on the table
The trembling flames of fire-woods
Are flashing on the bottle and the glass.
We slept long till noon like a winter snake,
We chose to sleep together, all three in a row,
Nikhil and me on the flanks,
With Surekha Sanyal like a sandwich, in between.
We had agreed this and the deal is kept,
And will remain as thus.
It will be raining in our sleep,
Snow will drip down the firs and the pines,
The cold winter night will be colder and still . . .
But when my sleep was broken
I found nobody around!
Nikhil or Surekha Sanyal
All having vanished like dreams
Only Jung Bahadur standing with a cup of coffee in his hand
And the bells of the Tibetan gompah sounding from a distant hill.
This much and with nobody else around,
Snow flecks were dripping in the forest, far and near,
Only snow, drip after drip,
Endless, silent and deep.

- Tusar Roy  (translated from the Bengali)

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18th may 2005

Does anyone know (Ray? Ray? zu hilfe!) where this comes from, as Google doesn't - it's heard it around, but that's all:

Momma don't want no trumpet-playin' here
Momma don't want no trumpet-playin' here
Poppa don't care what momma don't 'low so we got trumpet-players anyhow
Momma don't want no trumpet-playin' here

You can make up your own variations as to other maternal strictures, and generate an infinity of verses.
I can sing the tune, too.

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19th may 2005

Time flows slowly, a river of stones.

He sits in purple on a palanquin, watching the birds fly through the court.

Chief of his village: chief of many villages. He looks out over flat roofs to flat country, which is his country. In the heat of the day the yard is empty. Red dust lies still; not even a dog. He waits in the shade of the fig tree that his ancestors planted, the first of men.
Now someone is coming, there are voices beyond the walls. A man appears, stands on the threshold of the court waiting admittance. He beckons and the messenger bows, comes forward and begins to speak.
Praise of his greatness, the greatness of his fathers. The beauty of his mothers. He waits.
Now the man speaks of his journey downriver, far into other lands. Where another king rules.
The chief leans forward; it was he who gave the messenger this commission.
The other king is building up his empire. With soldiers and ambassadors, he broadens out his territory. Takes tribute from a village here, a province there. He looks to found himself a dynasty, seeks fame and future riches, wants to rule the continent. And go beyond.
The chief sits back, relaxed. He smiles, relieved. He hands the messenger some coins; sends him to choose a sheep to take back to his family.
It is as he had hoped: his rival wastes his time in politics. A fool it is who spends his hours conducting intrigues and amassing wealth. Who stretches out the boundaries of his lands with foppish diplomats, with armoured men.

The afternoon is quiet, golden yellow. He drinks a little from a calabash, beneath the branches of the fig.

He sits in purple on a palanquin, watching the birds fly through the court.

Time flows slowly, a river of stones.

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23rd may 2005


The top fifty words entered on this site over the last three years or so. When processing this I vaguely thought 'moon' might come first - 'sea' was totally unexpected in the top spot with 96 inclusions, whereas 'moon' only made 28, behind 'sun' even. At position 50 was 'trees', with 21 mentions.

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25th may 2005


'Good morning,' said the little prince.

'Good morning,' said the merchant.

This was a merchant who sold pills that had been invented to quench thirst. You need only swallow one pill a week, and you would feel no need of anything to drink.

'Why are you selling those?' asked the little prince.

'Because they save a tremendous amount of time,' said the merchant. 'Computations have been made by experts. With these pills, you save fifty-three minutes in every week.'

'And what do I do with those fifty-three minutes?'

'Anything you like...'

'As for me,' said the little prince to himself, 'if I had fifty-three minutes to spend as I liked, I should walk at my leisure toward a spring of fresh water.'

Me, if I have 53 minutes spare, I like to surf the net.

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It's raining, I have a bottle of wine, six volumes of dastans - what else could I ask for?

- Ghalib