Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Times, Tides and Saint Trillo

Calendar – June
Just look around and see a miracle.
Its brow quite smooth, the sky is bright. It's noon.
There's a gold crest, now, on the stream and all

The acacias by the roadside are in bloom.
With diamond body a big, devil-may-care
Braggart of a dragonfly is writing
Signals that flash on the bright summer air.
Miklos Radnoti

I was going to say that for the past month or so I've been living in a very different time, but there's something innately absurd about such a statement, even if when I thought it, it seemed to be truthful. How can we live in any time other than now? Our thoughts, feelings and imagination may not be concerned with what is happening around us, but that does not mean we are somewhere else – or does it? In the grip of some summer fever, with the chill of autumn bedraggling the nasturtiums, just when they're about to burst into glorious reds and oranges, my mind is not too sharp right now. Time seems to have many scenes and acts, characters and centuries, and when a friend of mine said years ago that he dreamed that time was a sphere, that felt profoundly right. So much can be within a sphere, not just in terms of right or left, north or south, perimeter or centre, but all the 'places' in between. So many layers of it.

Nestled in between the surf
ace activities of watering plants and watching them grow, of watching cats watching mice,

of short journeys into a sunny city, [where I had a rare sighting of the famous headless seagull ] I've been editing a book that describes the years of the Hoxha dictatorship in Albania, hence the 'different time'. There's not a lot of humour in it, so I was glad of a bit of light relief when the writer, Fahri Balliu, described the mourners at Hoxha's funeral.

'The mourners were paid out of the state coffers. They were paid up to 200 old leks if they scratched their faces and tore their shirts, 150 when they sobbed, and in some special cases they were paid more if they managed to break into the queue of weeping mourners. …......[These] scenes full of various plaintive and mournful characters would have been the envy of Dante's Divina Commedia. '

Between the end of the editing and the beginning of the fever I took a train to Wales, where I saw a preview of F's film about Albanian immigrants in the UK. It will be shown in Albania first, and then translated into English when it will hopefully find an outlet here. But all this will take some time. It was a gloriously sunny week-end, and I caught the last performance of Re-Act Theatre Company's hilarious Charity Begins, written by Sylvia Jenkins. The following day M and I went to Colwyn Bay, strolled by the water, and discovered the Chapel of Saint Trillo, said to be the smallest church in Britain. It is built over a Holy well, which is still there, and is said to have healing properties. St. Trillo apparently came from Brittany, but apart from that, I haven't been able to find out much about him.


Albert Lázaro-Tinaut said...

Un post très interessant, introduit par un morceau d'un poète Hongrois que j'aime beaucoup, Miklós Radnóti, assassiné si jeune par les Nazis... Les poèmes qu'on a trouvé après dans sa poche, publiés avec le titre "Marche forcée", sont parmi les pièces littéraires les plus frappantes de la littérature hongroise.
L'Albanie aussi m'interesse bien, je ne connaissais pas ce texte que vous avez réproduit sur les funerailles de Hoxha: surréaliste!
Salutations amicales.

three sea horses said...

Oh M, your lovely garden! oh oh .. lovely to see!
like the other pics too and your week away..
unable to visit your part of the world just now.. thank you for the offer love.
lots love

dritanje said...

Merci Albert, oui j'ai recemment decouvert les poemes de Miklos Radnoti, apres que j'ai lu un peu son histoire tragique, et moi aussi j'aime beaucoup ses vers. Le texte sur les surrealistes funerailles est par Fahri Balliu, publie deja en francais, il viens d'etre traduit en anglais et ne sont pas deja publie. Par contre, j'ai vu votre poste de Ljubljana et c'est comment j'ai decouvert que le livre est publie des textes d'etrangers sur Ljubljana - et quelquechose que j'ai ecrit est inclu. J'attends a voir une exemplaire - alors merci pour ca!
Salutations amicales

dritanje said...

Dear three sea horses,
Thank you! I was up very early one morning and caught the first light. But I seem to have some kind of bug, I think it was after the push to finish the editing, and then - but I'm feeling better today. Hope all well with you. xx

Gledwood said...

Bi what a beautiful garden ;-).
I found you by bloghopping at random through German blogs then Albert's blog in Catalan, where I saw your comment in French. Très européen!
I'm trying to work out what country you live in, but still am not sure...
Anyway your seemed a fascinating person so I thought I would say hello as I passed by...
Wherever you are, I hope it's not too HOT!

PS I'm in London, where Albanian was practically unheard of until about five or so years ago. Now some of the local councils translate into "Shqip" as a matter of course... I take it that means Albanian..?