Nothing but the rain

I’ve been thinking that I really should use this place more. I don’t know if it’s laziness or shyness or lack of inspiration – arguably, some of my best ideas come in the middle of the night, and by morning they are often forgotten or lacking… something…

Anyway, I was idly going through some files in the Stuff And Things folder on my laptop, and I came across this. It’s a ridiculous thing, really: a translation from the Czech (which I don’t speak) into English of a song I’ve since discovered was originally by Black Sabbath, but was made famous by Jaromír Nohavica, who adapted it for Marie Rottrová. Still with me? Good, good.

So, anyway, my convoluted translation is below. As is the link to Marie Rottrová’s version. (Which, incidentally, features in the utterly, utterly brilliant film Rok d’abla.)

It’s raining and I’m with you, in a city we know
seeking traces of yesterday
I’m going in the same direction as before, and I remember
and everything seems more  beautiful

Oh, my love, you smell like the rain – you said to me;
I thought the wind was blowing
it’s been a hundred years; take off your coat
it’s kept me so warm, my beautiful love

How long, how much longer before I see you
we are so short lived
my love, you smell like the rain; you’re crying
and yet you’re just as warm as before

Even the rain is the same as before, and I am the same
the clock moves in silence
you are still here, yet you are hidden
the rain coming in your footsteps. Oh, my love

Lásko, voníš deštěm

(As I said, I don’t speak Czech. And it’s late. Perhaps I shouldn’t post here too often after all. Also I don’t know how to embed videos. Sigh.)

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In which I have been staying up too late

My life seems to be assembled from bits I try not to think about. Memories I block lest they haunt my dreams. Ongoing anxieties that mean I’m not getting on with my work; whatever it is that means I feel like I’m constantly stalling, hesitating, freezing. Worries about the future, uncertainties, what-ifs, but-what-abouts. I patch my disappointments in myself, tell myself that I’m over bad things that have happened to me, that I have no regrets, that things happen for a reason, that things happen just because they do, that somehow things will be different. Next time. A clean sheet. It’s all in the past; I can make my future.

It’s all bollocks. I’m empty. I have nothing. I look back and I’ve done nothing. I feel blank about myself, at best. I am wearing out, patching up one faded, frayed bit with another. I hurt and ache, mind and body. I feel as though I’ve run out of strong bits of me to cover up the weak; there was only a finite amount to start with, after all. And I’m tired; threadbare.

I want a new me. This one’s exhausted.

As it is, if course, tomorrow I’m going to tell myself this was just one of those moments in the night. Everything looks better in the sunshine: the patches don’t show up so much, the colours are more vibrant, things feel possible. I’ll put a good face on it and keep on keeping on and patch patch patch. Until next time I’ve worn through a strong patch, but that’s next time; no point worrying about it now.

Each day, a new beginning. A bleak future over and over again.

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2012, Twitter friends, #ff

Some may say (and have indeed said) that I spend too much time on Twitter. It is of course primarily a virtual world, but it has also become very much part of my life in the 3d, in-the-flesh, real life way. I’ve yet to compile a list of All The Things my Twitter friends have sent me (from tea and Marmite to books and CDs – I have photos of all of it). And last year I was fortunate enough to finally meet many of the wonderful people I first got to know on Twitter.

Here they are. I hope I haven’t missed anyone out, but please shout if I have. They are, one and all, thoroughly splendid people.

In London in the autumn:
@solamiga (first met in Warsaw a few months earlier)
@TheRealBagLady
@HutchinsonDave
@ntlk
@CaffyRelf
@Y_T__
@alezed
@santaevita
@Kingaladeeda
@BellaServal
@GrouchoTendency
@DrMackers
@scientits
@MargoJMilne
@Polishbooks
@StorkPressBooks
@grhydian
@NickehBee
@mynameisedd
@singinglift

In Kraków:
@pow3rdigm
@lisakalloo
@Anna__Hyde
@henryflitton
@oli_kun
@bobzed

In 2011, Kraków and Warsaw:
@juliethaley
@PME2013
@fulhammatty
@ergophizmiz

Honorary mentions (people I’ve met before Twitter, but have seen again last year):
@cairnage
@sodslawyer
@davidfirn
@leif5000
@Pan_T_Linus

None of this would have been possible had @neverfadingwood not introduced me to Twitter in the first place 🙂

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On death, without exaggeration

It can’t take a joke,

find a star, make a bridge,
It knows nothing about weaving, mining, farming,
building ships or baking cakes.

In our planning for tomorrow,
it has the final word,
which is always beside the point.

It can’t even get the things done
that are part of its trade:
dig a grave,
make a coffin,
clean up after itself.

Preoccupied with killing,
it does the job awkwardly,
without system or skill.
As though each of us were its first kill.

Oh, it has its triumphs,
but look at its countless defeats,
missed blows,
and repeat attempts!

Sometimes it isn’t strong enough
to swat a fly from the air.
Many are the caterpillars
that have outcrawled it.

All those bulbs, pods,
tentacles, fins, tracheae,
nuptial plumage, and winter fur
show that it has fallen behind
with its halfhearted work.

Ill will won’t help
and even our lending a hand with wars and coups d’etat
is so far not enough.

Hearts beat inside eggs.
Babies’ skeletons grow.
Seeds, hard at work, sprout their first tiny pair of leaves
and sometimes even tall trees far away.

Whoever claims that it’s omnipotent
is himself living proof
that it’s not.

There’s no life
that couldn’t be immortal
if only for a moment.

Death
always arrives by that very moment too late.

In vain it tugs at the knob
of the invisible door.
As far as you’ve come
can’t be undone.

(Wisława Szymborska, from The People On The Bridge, 1986)

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