Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Eugene & Uncle Half-Dead Codger
Later than usual this Wednesday morning out here on 7H porch, and there goes the Navy heading out for another day’s victory at sea. Do I wish I were aboard? But yes, yes, of course.
Breakfast, oatmeal with walnuts and major splash of my maple syrup. I like food I can taste. Heavy dark dry red wine such as cabernet, malbec, shiraz/syrah, durif/petite sirah. Dark bread made with sticks and bakery floor sweepings. Strong cheese. Dark maple syrup I have to special order because stores only sell Grade A; my maple syrup would be Grade C but that they’re not allowed to retail it. I’ve ordered maple syrup from Vermont, Michigan, and this jug is from Wisconsin.
Projects, I like a project. Yesterday a friend’s email sent me back to Russian literature, poetry this time. On sabbatical I read some Russian novels old and new, watched a few Russian flicks, read a bunch of Russian short stories. Read, through and after sabbatical, A Gentleman in Moscow, an American book I loved but that’s situated in Moscow over a couple generations.
Now sabbatical is over I’m still there part time. So, this is poetry, Pushkin, specifically Yevgeny Onegin. Poor Onegin, what an alphabet loser, he inherits an estate from an uncle (read poem’s first stanza below to see what an ass Eugene is), he spurns a lovely girl who’s swooning over him, later flirts with his best friend’s fiance and gets into a duel in which he kills his friend, the fiance quickly dries her tears and marries some soldier (probably better anyway as her fiancé was a shy poet and this new guy’s a dashing young military officer), years later Onegin comes across the flirty girl again but now she is married to an old prince who is a general, and she tells Onegin to get lost. Read it twice last night, taking another read through later today. Pushkin has an unusual meter to the poem, almost a novel length sucker, and I’m going to see if I can discern its nuances in the English translation.
"My uncle, a most worthy gentleman,
When he fell seriously ill,
By snuffing it made us all respect him,
Couldn't have done better if he tried.
His behaviour was a lesson to us all.
But, God above, what crushing boredom
To sit with the malingerer night and day
Not moving even one footstep away.
What demeaning hypocrisy
To amuse the half-dead codger,
To fluff up his pillows, and then,
Mournfully to bring him his medicine;
To think to oneself, and to sigh:
When the devil will the old rascal die?"
What’re we watching this morning: it’s one of three things. WaterTag, or TugChess, or simply boys playing Boat.
POD: TAFB for another haircut?
Posted by Tom Weller at 8:20 AM