Sunday, 2 November 2008

Cultural update

Back in business -- thanks to those who encouraged me -- and lots of ideas for more blogs. In my absence I see Jim Medway’s blog has been steaming ahead: he’s even got a shop on it for his arty products.

The bathroom’s in. Attended with Anton an evening celebrating the Polish poet Zbigniew Herbert, who’s terrific even in translation. The panel included Al Alvarez -- he of Suicide and Sylvia Plath fame -- good to see him in the flesh -- and an Irish poet, Nick Laird, whose comments I liked and whose book On Purpose I then bought from the stand outside but didn’t like as much.

Also saw four films in the London Film Festival. Spike Lee’s new one, Miracle at Santa Anna, about a black regiment in the US Army in Italy in World War II, was powerful -- best small battle scenes ever -- and I certainly want to see it again. May have been too long -- not sure.

There was an interesting French entry, Entre les Murs (The Class), based on a book by François Bégaudeau, a teacher who plays himself in the film: the acting, especially by the 14-year-old students in their Français class, was good and the situation seemed real enough, but the teacher could have done with going on one of our better PGCE (teacher training) courses because his lessons were boring.

Finally, here’s ‘Pebble’ by Zbigniew Herbert LINK

The pebble
is a perfect creature

equal to itself
mindful of its limits

filled exactly
with a pebbly meaning

with a scent that does not remind one of anything
does not frighten anything away does not arouse desire

its ardour and coldness
are just and full of dignity

I feel a heavy remorse
when I hold it in my hand
and its noble body
is permeated by false warmth

- Pebbles cannot be tamed
to the end they will look at us
with a calm and very clear eye

Translated by Peter Dale Scott and Czeslaw Milosz

No comments: