Sunday, July 29, 2012

Walk in the park- The sculptures in Middelheim

 A visit  of the sculpture collection of the Middelheim Park in Antwerp is a joy for heart and soul. The collection holds older work by Meunier, Rodin, Moore, Zadkine and more.

 This is Orpheus by Zadkine and then there is the variation on a horse as Pegasus. The park itself is wonderful and the entrance is free. It is used to stroll, sunbathe, read and to look at the art.
 This sculpting shows that two parallel lines always are at the same distance, whatever form and shape they might be in.
It feels nice and warm, smooth almost loving when one caresses the sculpting.
 The light under the trees and the spacing of the sculptures is perfect, it adds to attraction of the sculptings, some of which inspire kids to play with them...

 Here the bridge by Wei Wei. Pretty, yet hard to walk on. Some artists have polished and planned to the smallest detail and others let drop iron or steal beams at random and that also has its charm.

Sometimes old statues are no longer part of the collection, or were standing somewhere in town, but serve no more

 It is also fun to give new names when one is a bit disillusioned by what is written on the nameplates. The discarded statue left here I feel inclined to call the end of patriotism...
 These two octogenarians sit like the King and Queen by Moore.
The prophet by Pablo Gargallo has been a long time favorite of mine. I could have posted  fifty more pictures, but the best thing to do is get up and go and visit for your self.

Don't forget to look at the different pavilions made by architects...

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sweatlodge in the rain

 First the lodge was build from fresh willow, growing abundantly in the waterlogged polders of Flanders. here you see the utensils, sage and some other herbs to be used in the water that will be poured over the rocks.

The fire heating the red lava rocks is burning in a friendly way under the watchful eye of the fire woman. The door woman too got a good dose of the pelting rain. Every one got soaking wet, even the stones in the fire pit were under water. The puddles grew, crawled into the sweat lodge, cooling off the participants.

So we had to stop stop after the third round, for lack of heated stones. It was however a good gathering, with a thought for Leonard Peltier, the leader of the sweat singing so that the spirit of Leonard might be free even when his body is still jailed, people praying, meditating for justice.

We also laughed and giggled, one participant cooling off by laying the largest puddle...

Wet stones, rain having doused the fire pit. Fire women is seen here getting soaked through blankets off the structure. Trying to dry them out in front of a blazing stove...

It was a good thing to have warm coffee and stew afterwards...
All was organized by the local chapter of Free Leonard Peltier, a bunch of good hearted folks.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Sweat lodges

Most, if not all, Native American nations hold sweat lodges. To the eastern Cherokee it doesn't seem to be a typical thing to  practice. Here a description by a singer of the Hualapai way of doing a sweat:

“ The East represents the fire; there rises the sun we greet in the morning. It represents your emotions. It is the first thing to get hurt. It is the same with the world: volcanoes and fire, caused by wrong emotions like anger, envy and greed, destroyed our first world. Those will still hurt you. That is what has to be worked through in the East. It is considered a male energy.

“ Next to the door in the South you put the hot rocks. This represents the earth and stands for our body. This is a feminine power. She destroyed the second world, by earthquakes.

“ In the West, next to the rocks is the place of the water in which you can put the plants and herbs or oils for healing. That is our spirituality and as you will remember floods have destroyed the third world. You use different plants for different illnesses. Eucalyptus for the lungs, ephedra, like the Mormon tea, is for the stomach and for colds. Juniper cleanses your liver and such.

“ The North side is the emptiness in the lodge; it stands for the sky, the air and our mind. When you know about the polluted air all around then you know how this, the fourth world will be destroyed. We already have this huge hole in ozone layer. The element of the North is the wind."

Black Eagle, half Navajo, is leading a sweat in the Flemish countryside today.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Proofreading Sequenza

The stages for me in a translation process of poetry are manifold: reading the text through, talking to the poet, do a first translation, noting alternatives, problems unsolved at that moment and sending the text to the poet if s/he knows the target language. Then think to through the remarks of the poet and making a clean copy with just very few options still open. It is always about the right word, rhythm and meaning. Then we read through the text together, discuss the merits of each choice and reach a conclusion together. It is obvious that the end result should be a poem, mirroring the original in its new cloak, in the other language.

After the work is  done there are cookies and coffee and chatting and walking through the marvelous garden of the poet...

The first  poems I read written by Marleen De Crée was  the book 'Brieven aan Plinius' from which an example follows:

ik zeg je, Plinius, het is september.
de dichters keren in ’t getij.
vruchten rijpen aan de warme muren,
vergeet dat niet: het zijn de laatste uren

van de zomer. warmte, niets kan nog gebeuren.
het zijn de stille dagen van het jaar,
want alles wordt geduldiger gedragen
in veelvoud van de laatste dracht.

september weet wat dierbaarheid betekent
en liefde tekent schaduwen van was.
ik zeg: voorzichtigheid werd ooit berekend

aan de contouren van een waterglas.
de druiven, Plinius, de laatste schragen
van wat een dichterzomer was.

I tell you, Plinius, it is September
poets turn in the tide.
fruit ripens on warm walls,
don’t forget: these are the last hours

of summer. warmth, nothing can happen still.
it are the quiet days of the year,
because more patiently all is carried
in multiples of the last gestation.

September knows what fondness means
and love draws shadows of wax.
I say: once prudence was calculated  

by the outline of a water glass.
the grapes, Plinius, the last trestles
of what a poet’s summer was.

This is the first poem in the upcoming bilingual book 'sequenza', published by world internet books

Monday, July 16, 2012

'Brugge', city of water from the middle ages

Brugge and the 'Reien', the canals through Brugge are a real attraction.  My last visit to Brugge was with wonderful Rose Van de Walle for the presentation of Annie Reniers' 'Grasschriftuur'. Years ago.

 So it was a pleasure once again in good company to rediscover the charms of this old city. It rained on and off, so it wasn't as if  we were just walking through a film set for a period film. Brugge is not a city in decay.
 Official buildings, the town hall where Napoleon visited and which now houses a Museum and also private buildings and churches are well kept. The town is a tourist trap and in certain periods can be a bit overrun. It is sad that the main shopping area has exactly the same shops as in other European main streets. But in Brugge the lace is still hand made and pretty. The food is generally good and the atmosphere relaxed

 There is however also a modern part pf Brugge with a concert hall with a great sound and this pleasant sculpting. And old ladies up for a conversation, proud of their town.

So a good time was had by all.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sightseeing in Belgium

 When a friend visits you in a place she has never been, what do you show? My friend having worries, I decided to show her my favorite chapel: it is where the working girls would go to confession and there always is a nice quite and peaceful atmosphere. It is an beautiful baroque chapel, dedicated to Mary and St Antony. As you can tell many do light a candle to lighten their load, adding to the warmth and meditative ambiente.

Then we walked and visited many enclosed city gardens and small squares and even the botanical garden, smack in the middle of town. The whole city is  also filled with hundred of Madonnas.

 And yes, Antwerp is a playful city as one can tell by the the lion.

My Italian friend visited because of a European swimming competition. Her son won two gold medals and a bronze one. The Italian team won the relay swimming.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Occupy birthdays

The building is a former monastery, empty for years. And then long before the occupy movement homeless people started squatting there. Now only a small group of squatters still live at the premises. Poetry nights were organized and parties can be organized there as well.There is also a people's kitchen.

 Music was made, people were fed and people had a good time, talking, laughing, enjoying the music. We were invited by Ken on the guitar who celebrated his 59th birthday among friends and strangers. There was even a real technician for the sound system present.

The last picture was meant to render the general atmosphere:  children and grown ups eating ice cream, girls and boys standing in a group discussing hairstyles, dogs playing and yes a dog came by and changed the focus of the picture. It became an abstraction with warm vibrations, probably a better general mood picture after all.