Thursday, March 13, 2008

Diffugere Nives

It is amazing what 10 hours of contiguous sleep can do for a person. I feel much better today than yesterday.

I am afraid I did have to skip Japanese class last night. I try never to do this. I think I may have missed 3 classes in the last 2 years. But I was a corpse last night, and starting to stink by the time I closed down my computer. So, I informed my classmates, and sensei, that I wouldn't be coming.

Instead, I bought bottle of cabernet and caught the 6:04 home. I had two glasses of wine, a grilled pork chop, a mountain of mashed potatoes, a chocolate rectangle (a brownie) and went to bed at 9:14 pm. I woke up this morning famished and refreshed at 7:10am.

How exciting my life is, it is difficult--even for me--to comprehend.


I have been very remiss lately in blogging about celestial events, and in recent days there have been several noteworthy items in the news. There has been this, and this, this, and today, this.

I did mention the article in the New York Times the other day detailing the end of the word--I mean world. At that time, I posted a preliminary appraisal of the event in the form of a Shakespearean sonnet, which I took down a few hours after posting it because I re-read it, and it read like garbage.

So, here is a new version, dedicated to my friend Nancy, who is instrumental to mankind in many ways, not the least of which is helping me work out my poetic ideas.

The End of The World
For Nancy

If I were more convinced that God exists,
I’d probably have a quiet word with him:
According to the Astrophysicists,
The future of Manhattan’s looking grim.

A billion years from now, all the science
Suggests our friendly little sun will swell
Into a red, ill-tempered, gaseous giant,
Devouring my apartment—yours as well.

No mention how this will affect our rents:
This is a funny item to conceal.
Let’s find a lawyer: there are instruments
Available for renters to appeal

Lease changes. There is no apocalypse
A lengthy bit of litigation can’t eclipse.


Another thing I have been is poetically remiss. I have only posted one short fragment of our founder, A.E. Housman.

Here's a whole poem by Housman, a translation of Horace's "Diffugere Nives", "The Snows Are Fled Away", by one of the greatest classicists of the 20th century.

See you tomorrow!

Diffugere Nives

The snows are fled away, leaves on the shaws
And grasses in the mead renew their birth,
The river to the river-bed withdraws,
And altered is the fashion of the earth.

The Nymphs and Graces three put off their fear
And unapparelled in the woodland play.
The swift hour and the brief prime of the year
Say to the soul, Thou wast not born for aye.

Thaw follows frost; hard on the heel of spring
Treads summer sure to die, for hard on hers
Comes autumn with his apples scattering;
Then back to wintertide, when nothing stirs.

But oh, whate'er the sky-led seasons mar,
Moon upon moon rebuilds it with her beams;
Come we where Tullus and where Ancus are
And good Aeneas, we are dust and dreams.

Torquatus, if the gods in heaven shall add
The morrow to the day, what tongue has told?
Feast then thy heart, for what thy heart has had
The fingers of no heir will ever hold.

When thou descendest once the shades among,
The stern assize and equal judgment o'er,
Not thy long lineage nor thy golden tongue,
No, nor thy righteousness, shall friend thee more.

Night holds Hippolytus the pure of stain,
Diana steads him nothing, he must stay;
And Theseus leaves Pirithous in the chain
The love of comrades cannot take away.

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