Sunday, July 23, 2006

Foucault's Pendulum

Every now and then someone on the ZBB will come along with a bright idea, say a translation exercise. "I can do that", I think, and off I go.

This time someone suggested translating the first four paragraphs of Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum. Bastards. It's taken me the best part of 4 days, but here are the first four paragraphs in Gevey:

Yuu citwhaj gluefathe ta'skesnisuulhs telaa te.

Laebuu kuun oucizhuu li seduu citwanti blodrateh ska'suatismuuksim zhek suusyuu jaevmizhuu daebouwg les seduu boisendou cozheh stieshtuu daesovizhuu les seduu shaamanti ta'kuubz.

Sekate naslateh koiy te - ulgaarh galshone klov waplate koiy, yuu kon draav ghep yuu kon giejohb vae'hizhuu les seduu butsanti. Sekate te evd nonhuu onizhuu ghep traviejuu daebwuun al sievwuu khmeden yuu kon acituuwhk les seduu ristanti. Sievwuu tuzaa zhek as suu tsiethanti cisa'zdan'hales apuu as suu bliedronti cisa'zdanfoeddhes - yuu traviej al yuu trafoedadh laes frouconuunesh as shuu moufrhanti kuu. Sliezmizmuu askrhanizhuu yuu traviejizhuu skesk cat yo brants acituuwhk rhuut laeb les seduu noisoghtuumanti di'jetohpuuks ta'jetohpuugz vih'taelhgohpuuksesh antsskesaevduush: onistrhuu noezd boiseefuu; drasistrhuu noest taelhgohpuum togrhuun; besistrhuu noezd beecuu onizhuu sievwuun khmeden; vilistrhatsiethuu noest nonhuu onizhuu; sievwistrhuu savaevduu noest froucono.

Pits sekate te evd batuu uhn snondomuu gwoizizhuu yuush kuun agizehr cisyuu togrhebesuu les seduu primanti kosh cuu righisem suusyuu gripent polate al sosh tsiethate ta'righismuubz gles'laebuus, broisuu yuu giejohp les suu shmigrhonti. Batuu telaa yuu citwhajuun zgakfyeets na seduu liscanti, rhuutapuu yuu kuun akhnafehr se seduu friethonti; mikas baluu shonaa iscuu jarhizhuu cofehrh les suu boisendou modo'daebwuuks taelhgohpmarhizhuu zheks nana seg suu pruestanti al zhekteh yuu erodrisem al yuu abrol nana suu stiganti brois skas'sedhuu giejendou laes dezde'skesuulhs kuu.

Transliteration of the Gevey:
I saw the pendulum at that moment.

Its heavy ball swung to-and-fro in equal moments of time, hung from a long wire that the ceiling of the temple hugged tight to itself.

I knew it immediately - although anyone could have sensed it, its magic built from its uncomplicated motion. I knew the square root of the length of the wire and the number pi governed its period. That number which hides from the idiot but performs for an intelligent person - it binds the circumference and diameter of all possibe circles. An arcane conspiracy determined the timelength for each swing of the sphere from stillness to stillness between the most timeless of measures: the one-ness of the point of suspension; the two-ness of the dimension's measurements; the three-ness of pi's first digit; the hidden four-ness of the square root; the unnumbered perfection of the circle.

I also knew that a magnetic driver centred under the floor directed a cylinder hidden in the heart of the sphere, thus assuring continual motion. This engine did not frustrate the laws of the Pendulum, but rather permitted its manifestation; for any object hanging from a weightless and unstretchable wire inside a great space will oscillate for all time.

Original (English) text:
That was when I saw the Pendulum.

The sphere, hanging from a long wire set into the ceiling of the choir, swayed back and forth with isochronal majesty.

I knew - but anyone could have sensed it in the magic of that serene breathing - that the period was governed by the square root of the length of the wire and by pi, that number which, however irrational to sublunar minds, through a higher rationality binds the circumference and diameter of all possible circles. The time it took the sphere to swing from end to end was determined by an arcane conspiracy between the most timeless of measures: the singularity of the point of suspension, the duality of the plane's dimensions, the triadic beginning of pi, the secret quadratic nature of the root and the unnumbered perfection of the circle itself.

I also knew that a magnetic device centred in the floor beneath issued its command to a cylinder hidden in the heart of the sphere, thus assuring continual motion. This device, far from interfering with the law of the Pendulum, in fact permitted its manifestation, for in a vacuum any object hanging from a weightless and unstretchable wire free of air resistance and friction will oscillate for eternity.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Office Dream

Last night I dreamed about The Office again.

Now, I've been dreaming about The Office for decades. Of course, when I was a kiddie I called it The School - only as time went on did it change into The College, The Factory, The Office. The name changes, but its basic structure remains the same.

The Office is tall, a towering construction of grey slabs, confusing corridors, rooms that do not connect logically. Staircases - often spiralling - are accessed by climbing out of windows; lifts (elevators) are big, clanking mechanical machines that are relentless in their desire to move up rather than down, and often lacking safety doors on the higher floors - jumping on and off the rising platform is especially scary. Those spiralling staircases get very shaky and semi detached the higher I climb. Lower rooms are familiar, but the higher ones drafty, bare, skeletal, alien affairs.

So basically an archetypal dream investigating my fears of development, change, aging and death. I get to visit it when I'm feeling particularly vulnerable about the world and its expectations for me. Fun, huh?

This morning I found my way to the canteen, in search of beef goulash and rice. And bread. People are taking all the bread while I'm still searching for a plate for my goulash. After a few repetitions of this scenario I got bored and decided to change the dream (a useful technique if you find yourself doing the searching for pizza in the supermarket while naked dream - just intervene and steal a pair of shorts from someone else's shopping trolley). The food was tipped into a shoulder bag I imagined into existence and I got to grab a couple of rolls out of the breadbasket. Mission accomplished, The Office disappeared and scenes of an erotic nature (which I shall not detail) ensued.

Slowly, me and my subconscious, we're edging towards a Big Decision about work. Big, life-changing decisions about attempting a writing career.

In fact I'm pretty much there on the decision-making front; the only thing holding me back is the money fears. Yet with reorganisation and downsizing issues on the horizon at my real office, a reasonable redundancy package is all I need to push me onto the highest, spindliest spiral staircase of them all.

And as a sideline I could go round hippy markets offering to interpret dreams. Anyone interested?

Friday, July 14, 2006

Time to rearrange the deckchairs

Over the past 18 years I've written a grand total of 132 poems. 35 of those poems (just over a quarter of them) have been drafted and/or completed over the past 6 months. Of course, one of the drafts is my work-in-progress Snowdrop, which in itself includes 68ish poems (depending on how I count them, and that's only a third of the work completed).

Anyways, given this spurt of creativity I decided it was time to refresh my Poetry Showcase. I've reduced the number of poems down from 17 to 10, retaining four (Death, Judgement, Roadkill and The Production Line) and adding in 4 newly minted poems (Acolyte, Mad Mary, Transaction and When the Battle Ends) and 2 golden oldies - Candle (the one the teenagers seem to enjoy plagiarising, the bastards) and Drafting.

Which just goes to prove that NaPo can yield diamonds as well as bucketloads of shit.


Monday, July 10, 2006

NaPo redraft: Rogues

Not that this one needed much revision - just cut out the middle and sew the ends together:


A grift of sunshine teases bulbs to bloom
through snow, whose cold wheeze huffs
through a jemmied window; men with badges
paint the frame, looking for clues. Who
dumped the fridge across the driveway,
let its vapours heist ozones from the sky?
Breeze-blocks hold up a car where kids
play out their game of cops and fathers -
they'll harvest the world for a laugh.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Weestruum Gvekizhuum (Week 2)

The week 2 results make good reading for the Harbour folk of Pidome: Aruasuu win their fourth game in a row by scoring a single goal in their home game with defending champions Tuusrhesh. They're joined at the top of the table by the Simakere River team Merundeme, who only just beat relegation last year, and Ceves Isles' very own Gadite. The islander's 2:1 victory over Fanstrate was particularly impressive in a match that saw them fall behind early on, only to claw their way back into the game with two excellently taken goals in the second half. At the other end of the table the luckless Emadiase college team Krasistesh conceded 8 goals away to Elfane's boaters Osemevrhesh, making it 14 goals in 2 games. It's been 25 orbits since the students last brought the championship back to Emadiase; on this form it's going to be a few more orbits before they manage to do it again.

The first, and so far only, score draw of the season came from the Journeyman League, and typically involved Emadiase's Krhovlestosh who have drawn four of their last six games. It was enough to secure them second place in the league tables, and gave Tratoune, Elfane's ever underperfoming blues, their first point of the season. Merundeme's fellow Simakere River team Elpikem are the only other team not to have yet lost a game, recording a 7:3 home win against Vopshe.

Panoste Strate, relegated from the Journeyman League last year, celebrated a second win to retain their 100% record in the Apprentice League, beating Mintose 1:3 away.

Monday, July 03, 2006

South Park Rik

Thanks to those nice people at South Park Studio ...

... and to Julie, of course, who's always guilty of diverting me away from serious work, like formalising how ditransitive verbs operate in Gevey.

Talking of Julie, verselovers are strongly advised to scoot over to her Lulu-shop to invest in her new book of poems. Sonneteers of her high calibre are as rare as a very rare thing indeed!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

London calling

Everything seems to happen at the same time around this time of year. Last year saw Live8 and London Pride and Olympic celebrations (and a terrorist outrage) in the space of a few days. This year we get to host Europride and everyone else will be off to the pubs to watch England battle Portugal for a place in the World Cup semi-finals.

What am I doing? I'm getting ready to witness a friend become Deaconated at St Paul's Cathedral. Maybe after me and the SO will manage some Europride partying - if we can dodge the clutches of the GodSquad.