Category: Mish-mash-mush

Funny Fennec

In a city filled with good fennecs
Lived one little brat worth a heck
Eager to break his neck
Such a fennec was Little Selleck

But when his birthday came
He stopped all his bragging
And simply gave a damn:
The seasons were not aging

Little Selleck took a puff
And thought off-the-cuff:
Although he was no killer
He’ll massacre Winter

His goal was crystal clear
And all the world rejoiced
Trusting his inner poise:
Time will no more be feared

But frost from the past
Refused to be cast
Bursting from anger
Renewed was Winter

Pecked on the neck
By his lack of luck
It was snot that he wept
A fennec cold as a duck

Yet his luck not all packed up
For he wept so much snot
That raised from all that rot
An gross army walked up

Snotty fennecs blazed the freezer
Their victory spread like wildfire
Cool was their leader, as a cucumber:
Little Selleck arrested Winter

Bonus track:

It is a day of joy for what is at stakes
A lover of fresh beats, of hashish and steaks
Little Selleck was able to feast
Spring had come with a banquet at least

On a road filled with funny fennecs
He entered debates to fill in his stomach
Luckily he found two Aztecs
Such a hungry fennec was Little Selleck

L’éveil des sens

‘In short, Mrs. Pontellier was not a mother-woman.

Edna Pontellier est-elle un être excentrique ? Dès les premières lignes, Kate Chopin dépeint un univers qui la caractérise comme telle sans nulle ambigüité : femme tombée dans l’institution du mariage, étrangère parmi les francophones, étrangère à ses pairs, femme étrangère à elle-même. Son singulier individualisme est généralement toléré en raison de son altitude sociale au sein de la communauté où elle évolue. Elle sait qu’elle est différente, cela lui vient de l’intérieur mais elle ne peut pas en saisir le sens. Elle aime ses enfants, et pourtant, ne peut leur consacrer sa propre existence. Elle respecte son mari ; mais elle lui désobéirait sans l’ombre d’un doute si elle s’en sentait le désir, la pulsion. Comme le titre l’indique, il s’agit de l’histoire d’une femme qui s’éveille à elle-même, qui réalise progressivement que tout ce qui la guide et qui ne peut être exprimé en mots, est la simple conscience d’exister en tant que femme, d’exister d’une vie qui ne pourrait se définir au travers des autres.

Le personnage d’Edna demeure mystérieux tout au long du roman. Elle est silencieuse, tranquille, et très languissante : elle pense, avant tout. La liberté lui vient par l’esprit. Elle donne l’impression d’être spectatrice de sa vie. Le rythme de la narration est hypnotique, une poupée indolente se voit animée au fur et à mesure des pages qui se tournent. J’ai terriblement aimé la modestie, la lenteur de cette mise en mouvements, le portrait d’une unvie domestique et statique, et le fleurissement d’une seconde jeunesse. Nul reproche, seul le témoignage d’une femme vivant loin des devoirs auxquels la société vise à la confiner. La force de The Awakening vient de cette prose poétique qui accomplit l’inexprimable : l’acte de regarder vers soi.




Version originale en anglais

In short, Mrs. Pontellier was not a mother-woman.

From the very beginning, there is no ambiguity about the eccentricity of the main character. Edna Pontellier is a woman who fell into the institution of marriage, a mere accident, nothing more than a social routine: alien among French speakers, alien among her peers, alien to herself. Her individualism is very odd yet it is generally tolerated since she is a prominent figure of the community. She knows she is different, it is something coming from the inside that she cannot figure out herself. She loves her children and yet cannot devote her life to their own. She respects her husband; but she would disobey him if she did not feel like it. As the title claims, it is the story of a woman who awakes to herself, who gradually understands that everything that guides her and cannot be expressed in words is the simple consciousness of existing as a woman, that is to say: a life that won’t find its meaning in the life of others.

The character of Edna remains somehow mysterious throughout the novel. She is silent, calm and very languid: she first thinks, freedom comes from her mind. She gives the impression of being a spectator of her life. The rhythm of the narrative is hypnotic, an indolent doll gets life. I really appreciated the modesty, the slowness of the process, the depiction of a static domestic non-life and the idea of a second youth. There is no reproach, only a testimony of a woman living apart from the duty society aimed at confining her to.  The pull of the Awakening directly comes from its poetic prose that manages to set out something unspeakable: the motion of looking inwards.

Ref :

AL, 16-12-08.The Awakening. Honey and Pomme. From http://avaringo.free.fr

Neighbouring Fields in O Pioneers!

In her novel, O Pioneers!, Willa Cather retells the story of a strong and determined pioneer, Alexandra, who overcomes all difficulties of the Wilderness in order to settle her clan. She works hard on the land and is depicted as rather calm and unpassionate. Although the novel seems to be on the side of the actions Alexandra undertakes, it also introduces Marie Shabata, a romantic and indomitable woman who does not share the interest of the pioneers for civilizing the land, but reveres instead the beauty of a natural world remained untouched.

In this extract, the chapter V of Neighboring Fields, Cather opposes two conceptions of Nature, the Pastoral mode and the Wilderness, in order to underline the imposssibility of being of the latter and the need to invest in human ability to find a sustainable environment. First, we will center on how the Wilderness gives a sense of a Lost Paradise in the following passage ; then how Fall and Death only are to follow this ephemeral state of Paradise; and finally, how the Pastoral is valued as the chance of a new beginning for humans.

I – The Wilderness as a (Lost) Paradise?

The passage takes place in the neighboring fields next to the farm of Alexandra. The domain of the Linstrum has been purchased and is now inhabited by Frank and Marie Shabata. Contrary to the ordered and cultivating Alexandra, Marie has left her space as undomesticated, matching her conception of Nature. Indeed, according to the young Bohemian, Nature should not be altered by humans. As she quotes Ivar, the figure embodying the belief in the supremacy of Nature over Man in the novel, she underlines the fact that humans have no right to print their mark on natural elements and, consequently, gets very distressed when she witnesses their hunting act, which she sees as a destruction of life.

But this Wilderness is first given a sense of primitivism with a handful of analogies with a state of (lost) Paradise. This is indicated with the choice of the setting, a garden let to a savage state. It is inhabited by a man and a woman who appear very close in looks and in actions. They « move softly, keeping close together » and with this Transcendentalist idea of togetherness, of one entity standing for two bodies, is reflected the fact that Nature seems to correspond with them. Marie identifies herself with the bird when she sympathizes with it: « they were having such a good time », « they were scared but they didn’t really think anything could hurt them ». They are intrinsically linked to Nature.

Their actions themselves send them back to a primitive picture of life: they are hunting, though not completely gathering as in the biblical myth of the Genesis. However, the adaptation of the myth with the introduction of a bird brings a sense of ethereal life, with the « sky » space and the feeling of protection conveyed by the sense of unreachability. As Paradise, the place seems to be a safe and a peaceful one. This is enhanced by the image of the flight and the wings recalling those of the angels. But as the red apple has been turned into a red bird, it literally comes up with a fall before even being eaten: this seeming heavenly vision is to be deceived.

II – The Wilderness as a place for Fall and Death

Notwithstanding its features echoing an image of a Lost Paradise, the Wilderness here is a place standing for Fall and Death. It is a place of Fall with the ominous one of the shot bird. Indeed, a few chapters later on, Emil and Marie – consuming their love – will be shot to death by Frank Shabata in their garden. The fall of the bird prefigures the tragedy to come, along with other ominous elements: the sympathy of Marie for the bird has a tragic connotation, intensified by the sense of time and of the color red, omnipresent throughout the passage. The warm color becomes the color of blood, of what is still warm (the shot bird, on the ground) but will soon join the cold of the dead. From unity, a still figure, they turn into two separated bodies. Once Emil has picked up the dying bird, the two young people cannot reconciliate. And Marie herself suffers from a double split, since she agreed at first to come on her own and cannot cope with the idea and the view of it anymore. She is overwhelmed by her dual feelings and moves one further step away from her young companion.

This movement of transition from a state to another is also expressed throughout the changing mood of Emil: when they first burst into laugh, it is joy and lightness that they both share. But the coming of a second laugh (« Emil gave a rather sore laugh ») suggests the transition to a more serious state; gravity has printed its mark on the Wilderness and its inhabitants. From the seemingly flapping of eternity in the air, the bird falls down to the ground to embrace a mortal existence: and with the sense of mortality comes along the sense of finitude, within the perspective of death.

III – Pastoral as a new beginning for humans (the only one?)

In the garden, Emil and Marie seem sheltered from the rest of the world. They are blind, « cannot think » any longer, but more importantly, they do not notice the fact that they are observed. The observer, Carl, stands as a compromise between two representations of Nature, the Pastoral and the Wilderness. Being a double for Alexandra, the pastoral is suggested as a possibility of a new beginning for humans. Indeed, once they have fallen, the land is theirs, they should consequently accomodate to it. It is represented through the laudatory images of fertility and rebirth.

Carl decides to get up before dawn to see the sun rising: he leaves the house of the Bergson with the intention of witnessing the birth of the day, a cyclic birth since it occurs every day (therefore an ultimate image of fertility for it cannot be exhausted). This is evoked through the diction of the day (« afternoon », « evening », « night », « dawn », « sun rise », « sun come up », « sun »), the repetition of « early » and « morning » (six times).

This image of birth is supported by the image of fertility of the pastoral with the vision of the cows milked. Cather uses repetitions to stress on the good to be drawn from the pastoral: « pasture », « grass » and « farm » are repeated over and over, among other « cornplowing », « field », « garden », and « prairie » (etc). The recurrence of the image of « milking » (four times) turns the nature that has been domesticated into a positive birth giver. Here the darkness of the night gives birth to the golden of the day and humans can help nature to be productive, as opposed to the young couple seen as life takers. They can even cohabit in peace with it, as it is given additional weight by the silent greeting with Ivar. This is highlighted by the Transcendentalist representation of Carl given in the extract.

Indeed, the path of Carl is characterized by movement and its counterpart, stillness. As he « steals downstairs », « hurries up », « walks rapidly », « comes over », « races in » etc, he triggers off a motion that must bring him very quickly to the state of stillness he is looking for. It is the stillness of meditation, of contemplation on top of the hill that he seeks for, a place in the pasture where serenity lies, where he can get closer to nature and its very origins. In this closeness, he can witness the awakening of Nature and the motioning of life: from silence, he gets to find out the first sounds of the morning « creatures » that « chirp », « twitter », « snap », « whistle », do « shrill noises ». There are euphonic sounds, musical noises that have nothing to see with the gunshot. It is a life he is in harmony with. This sense of harmony is emphasized by the vision of the past fathered by the present pastoral. The civilizing Alexandra is at peace with her environment and her beasts, she is associated with an abundance of light, and is herself pictured as an icon, basking in the glow of the golden light (and her non-sexual fertility, « milking » cows, somehow links her to the Virgin Mary).

In conclusion, if the Wilderness presents analogies with a mythical Paradise on Earth, it is only to emphasize that it is doomed to fall, showed with Marie’s displaying of romantic, extreme feelings that cut off from the rest of the environment. Whereas the civilized nature represented by Alexandra’s doing in the fields has more to share with a compromising vision of a Lost Paradise that can be re-born, a place where humans can work on the land and put their efforts together to work towards respect of their environment, and communication between the different elements, this thanks to the Transcendentalist oriented thinking. In the end, meditation and farmworking are both valued as fruitful and necessary activities.

I just realized

I just realized
My Freïnd
That you had been a maze
On that land
Where you choked, where you coked
By Yourselphe
And I wasn’t facing that
Offence
With Ye

Like a premonition of curses on my soul

Back out lonesoming stranger, I am turning you into a voided widower. I flay no flaws but my ones. I thrashed about for a beat; I harvested so many that a cool breeze fooled the bulletproof vest out of my chest; a breeze of breeding beats.

I fooled myself fooling around. I am full leashed.

Thanksgiving Gap Week

Dear you all,

I, currently a 404 Brock Street really fortunate inhabitant, found myself and my beloved housemates truly abandoned, neglected, mutilated after returning from the usual and noble Friday kitchen duty: an empty property, a battlefield without warhorses, a nursery school without any dinosaur figurines… a sad sick home!

Consequently, Alvin, Ada and I, your devoted servant, suggest that if you have no plan for tonight (Friday night), you can come to 404 and vegetate in our open and dusty living room. Don’t get my awkward words wrongly: we are as tired as Aberdeen’s road and sidewalks must have been after the Homecoming party, so we’re just gonna hang out, complain about turkeys and lobsters, sing and cry, but if you feel bored or lonesome, feel free to come (with your cure for boredom and solitude = drinks). Basically, we’ll be there (and Shanil too!)!

9 pm and not before, cause we’ll be sleeping and the bell will be openly ignored.

Anne
(and happy thanksgiving to our other favorite housemates who went home this weekend and who’re gonna miss this secret and pernicious meeting they didn’t even know a word about)

My So-Called Co-ops…

After one month of experimentation of the Co-op Adventure, the time has come for a checkup. Yes, dearest fellow disciples, Co-op is a human adventure, Co-op is a jungle, Co-op is an inferno: as a sauna where tempting to conceal the signature of the culinary excesses in which you have guiltily immersed yourself recently would be vain and way too obvious, the dining hall has become to me the modern embodiment of the noble tool regretted by some: the gallows. Now, I must confess, brothers, my abominable crime, this infamy which tortures me three times a day: one month has passed, and still, I can’t remember a single one of your bedevilled names!

I am surely not lacking in willingness, believe me dear hangmen, I have endeavoured everything in order to correct my awful flaw: I made you repeat twice, thrice, five, fifteen, thirty-seven times the sweet nicknames your high minded procreators had attributed to you and each time, you have thought, intercepting this reassuring look « This time she’ll get it, for sure! » while I was reiterating the same request twice in a row in a very short interval, as a result of forgetting the combination of your appellation and physiognomy: an explosive cocktail. 150 Co-opers and the memory storage space requires maintenance.

To work around this problem and to escape the wrath of my interlocutors accidentally mutilated, I opted for various alternatives, that I urge everyone else to use if you share those tribulations: the first option is passivity, it consists of remaining invisible in a conversation and of looking out for the opportune moment when the name of the unknown X will appear suddenly from the mouth of a resident at the table. Next step: parrot this interjection and repeat this name aloud in order to print it on your mind, repetition which can appear in a form of a “Go X!” or a more casual “You’re so silly, X” ; or even better: “Is there any crounchy-choco-top-banana-cinnamon explosions’ muffins left, X?”. Thus, you prove irrevocably to the dissidents that you take X’s name for granted, at least till the end of the meal…

Another way widespread among some Co-op brains enigmatically metamorphosed into oubliettes – is the Co-op’s Kitchen Schedule: you too, have remained petrified when you have desired to elegantly thank the cards checker who has remembered your own name (I know, one can argue that it’s his/her duty, but still, it goes right to the heart); if it turned impossible to irrigate your mouth when the moment has come to take back your plate; finally, despite all your most desperate attempts, you found both of your vocal cords stuck together when it comes to ask for an extra dollop of whipped cream on the top of your waffle? Soothe your stirred senses, the kitchen schedule is your best friend: you locate the function of the person you are looking for, the day and time, and use these coordinates to pinpoint your target.

The last tactic, and probably the safest one in terms of discretion and openings on a long-term period, consists of surrounding yourself with acolytes of attested competencies: you have unsuccessfully harassed X several times, you have failed at the time of the examination of the schedule, discerning the ponytail of X at the corner of Brock Street (or worst of all, on the stairs of the dining hall) is enough to have you perspire like a libidinous grown man addicted to those lewd websites… Then your acolyte is your second best friend, your Bible: you only need to interrogate in a low voice, to give him a quick questioning look pointing in X’s direction, then to execute with a subtle about-turn, a breathtaking descent of your nose in your mix tofu-leek soup, pricking your ears up attentively. Surely enough, the best way of getting access to the supreme knowledge – and getting pass the “hey…you!” step of dubious taste.

Therefore, thanks to the ingenious brainwaves of the Co-op community, I do not dread obeying the dictate of my stomach that drags me inexorably toward this source of nutritious comfort three times a day, and even better, I dare sometimes raise a shy hand and apostrophize a Co-op mate without feeling like a traitor!