Category: Poetry



Unkind

in commemoration of the savage attack on a Muslim mosque
in Quebec City, Sunday, January 29, 2017

kata-loukan-17-3-4

3 So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sister sins against you,
rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 
4 Even if they sin against you seven times in a day, and seven times
come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” 

Luke 17: 3-4


Is humankind so kind or so unkind
we have embraced and have abandoned love
we harmonized ... or despotize to blind
ourselves to pitying the mourning dove? —
or mob ourselves with xenophobic crime? —
and chase our dreams but chase them all away? —
We pillorize our neighbours half the time,
while terrorizing those for whom we pray.
Come on! What, come again?  Can you explain
why our religion has to reign supreme,
while theirs and yours must suffer mindless pain
to kill our worlds that no one can redeem. 
     Excuse me, God... Hey, do You give a damn
     as we expose our souls to another scam?


Richard Vallance,


January 30, 2017


If quantum... a sonnet on quantum mechanics & computing and the mind

boson-god-particle

If quantumGod does not play dice with the universe.” 
- Albert Einstein, The Born-Einstein Letters, 1916-55 
... or does He?


If quantum is the boson of the mind,
if D-Wave is the wave the future rides,
if we are ready not to be purblind,
if we can take in bounds prodigious strides,
if God is in our molecules (or not),
if we are God Himself... or He is we,
with what is heaven’s promise fraught?
... or what’s unseen beyond we’ve yet to see?
If we’ve overshot the rim of space and time,
where were we likely sooner to arrive?
... and is the universe still as sublime
as ever? ... or are we now in overdrive?
     If you are reading this and feel confused,
     Well, join the club. I also am bemused.


Richard Vallance,


January 18, 2017



Greece is suffering through the coldest winter in years & as testimony to this, take a look at this photo & the haiku in Mycenaean Greek, archaic ancient Greek, English & French:

snow-on-mountain-2017-kalo-horio

The photo was taken by Rita Roberts of Haghia Triada. That much snow almost never accumulates on mountains in Crete. A lovely photo of Kalo Horio Mountain, and a neat little haiku based on it.


Who the hell?

behind-me-satan

Matthew 16:23
Get behind me, Satan! 


As madness burrows through the psyche’s realm,
it means to chew her up and spit her out.
I ask you, who the hell was at the helm?
And who was God to prove, “What’s that all about?” 

It rankles me too few will dare to ask
why some of us are sane and others not,
why some are not, while some are called to task,
while others see their faith is come to naught.

If faith in God were not enough, then what  
in hell would satisfy our lust for love,
and what in Heaven’s name has madness wrought
to place us altogether on the spot?

Since your concern was just an empty show, 
Don’t ask me why. You know I’ll never know.

Richard Vallance,


January 10, 2017



2 more black haiku in Mycenaean Linear B, ancient Greek, English and French:

who-the-hell

 

 


2 more haiku in Mycenaean Linear B, ancient Greek, English & French, this time about silence in the temple…

 eni-temeno

 


Easy Prey

easy-prey-greek

Matthew 18:12

What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them
has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains
and go in search of the one that went astray?


Since Hell’s self resurrected on the mad,
the sane dare not consort with the insane,
unless they find themselves as ironclad
in mind as soul to shear across the grain
of equipoise and suffer the untold,
to cast themselves on Sinai’s desert rocks,
to wander off  and stray beyond the fold
where they’ll fall easy prey to Satan’s hawks.
But pause... and ask yourself if you’d submit
to humiliation, the same embraced
by martyrs such as they, or counterfeit,
and by the latter token be defaced.
      The wolf has left his lair, and shall attack
      the sane and the insane... and can’t turn back. 
      

Richard Vallance,


January 9, 2017



2 haiku about sheep in Mycenaean Linear B, ancient Greek, English & French

2-haiku-about-sheep-in-linear-b



First  2 haiku in Minoan Linear A, English et français : qareto & datara

cedar-tree
1

qareto
asasumaise
keda

in a lease field
a shepherd
and a cedar tree

dans un champ loué 
un berger
et un cèdre

2

datara
nirai
karopai

a grove of fig trees
figs
in a kylix

figuiers dans un bosquet
figues
dans un kylix

© by/ par Richard Vallance Janke
Sept. 27/ le 27 sept. 2016


Latin quotes in Linear B: Part C: Virgil and Julius Caesar: 

Greek and Latin quotations in Linear B Part C

Translations:
Equo ne credite. Do not put your faith in the horse. (Virgil)
Nimium ne crede colori. Do not rely too much on colours. (Virgil)
Paulo maiora canamus. Let us sing of rather greater matters. (Virgil)
Timeo Danaos. I fear the Danaans. (Virgil)
Divide et impera. Divide and conquer. (Julius Caesar)


Famous quotes from Latin authors in Linear B: Part B

Greek and Latin quotations in Linear B Part B

Translations:
amabalis insania = adorable insanity
Mater saeva cupidinum = the savage mother of avarice
Nil esse in summa, neque habere ubi corpora prima = in the sum of all things there exists nowhere an abyss, nowhere is a realm of rest for primal bodies.
Cuius, uti memoro, rei simulacrum et imago = An image of it, like an idea, as I recall (to  mind)...


2 Haiku in Mycenaean Linear B, archaic Greek, English & French on the Mycenaean invasion of Troy: Click to ENLARGE =

2 haïkou en linéaire B, en grec archaïque, en anglais et en français sur l’nvasion mycénienne de Troie: Cliquer pour ELARGIR

Mycenaean expedition to Troy warships

 The latinized Linear B texts of these haiku read as follows:

soteria *
aneu Akireyo
mene Toroya

Omero
Toroyade
peree

* Note that the archaic dative termination -i- does not appear in Mycenaean Greek.  

 

Double-Edged Sword - Haiku in Mycenaean Linear B: the sea, the wind & the navy... Who is the victor?

While this haiku is possible in Mycenaean Greek, it is impossible in any later ancient Greek dialect. This happens to be the case because in the Linear B syllabary all syllables must perforce end with a vowel, never a consonant. Hence, it is impossible to distinguish the subject from the object in the second declension in o in Mycenaean Greek composed in Linear B. But that is just what makes this haiku so intriguing. See the notes following the first translation into archaic Greek for my explanations. Click to ENLARGE:

Haiku in Mycenaean Linear B the sea the wind the victor
  

New article on academia.edu. My translation of Sappho’s Ode, “The Moon has set, and the Pleiades...” from Aeolic Greek to Mycenaean Linear B, Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, English and French, here: Click to OPEN

academiaedusublimesappho
This article with my translation of Sappho’s Ode, “The Moon has set, and the Pleiades...” into two archaic Greek dialects (Linear B & Linear C), as well as into English and French, is the first of its kind ever to appear on the Internet.

Osbert sapho ou  la poésie lyrique
It will eventually be followed by my translations of several other splendid lyrics by Sappho, as well as by serial installments of my translation of the entire Catalogue of Ships in Book II of the Iliad by Homer, and several haiku which I have already  composed in parallel Mycenaean Linear B, English & French (I kid you not!)

If you would like to keep up with my ongoing research on academia.edu, you should probably sign yourself up with them, and follow me. Additionally, you can follow anyone else you like, especially those researchers, scholars and authors who are of particular interest to you (not me). And of course, once you have signed up with academia.edu, which is free, you can upload your own research papers, documents, articles, book reviews etc. to your heart’s content.

Oh and by the way, we have a surprise coming up for you all, a research paper by none other than my co-administrator, Rita Roberts of Crete. 

Richard


Ode to the Archangel Michael = Ode à l’Archange Michel: Click to ENLARGE = Cliquer pour ÉLARGIR :

Ode to the Archangel Michael a l-archange Michel

As far as I am concerned, the French version of the original Ode in Mycenaean Greek is more successful and more convincing than the English.

Franchement et à mon avis, la traduction du texte intégral de l’Ode en grec mycénien est plus réussi, donc plus convaincant que celle en anglais.     

Richard


A Lovely Ode to the Archangel Michael in Mycenaean Linear B: Click to ENLARGE

Ode to the Archangel Michael Akero Mikero in Mycenaean Linear B

NOTE that the English & French translations of my Ode to the Archangel Michael appear in the next post. Have you ever wondered what Mycenaean Linear B poetry would have sounded like? I know I have, many times over. I invite you to simply read aloud the Latinized version of the Ode in Mycenaean Linear B, even if you do not understand it. The point is to enjoy the music of the poetry, not to worry about your pronunciation or your accent. Nobody really knows how any ancient Greek dialect sounded anyway.

Here a few hints on how to bring out the music in the Mycenaean Greek.

1. Whenever you see the ending, oyo (genitive singular), pronounce it like “oiyo”, but in a single breath. It will sing that way.
2. If you put a little stress on the second-last syllable (penultimate) of words such as “peDIra ”“euZOno” “doSOmo” & “paraDEso”, this will also assist the melody of the poem.
3. Be sure to pronounce all “u”s & “eu”s (euzono) as you would “u” in French, if you can.
4. The disposition of the phrase “para paradeso para meso”  is very peculiar for Greek poetry... “meso ” should be on the same line as the previous words. But I did this deliberately, again for melodic reason. If you read this phrase like this, “PAra paraDEso PAra MEso”, it should sound very nice.
5. The word “mana” (“manna” in English) is obviously not Mycenaean, and not even Greek. It is Hebrew. But I could take liberties introducing this word into a Christian poem. So I did.
6. Recite “pamako atanatoyo” (medicine of the immortal...) like this “PAmako aTAnaTOyo”...

So long as you are consistent and satisfied with how it sounds to you, that is all you need. Yes, and do read it aloud. Otherwise, you will not benefit from hearing the music and the harmony of the Mycenaean Greek, which is after all the earliest of the ancient East Greek dialects, the great-great-grandfather of dialects such as the Ionic & Attic. Besides, you can always allow yourself the pleasure of admiring the pretty Linear B script, however weird it may look to you at first. Just give it a chance.

Being a poet of sorts myself, I decided to write this lyric ode, somewhat along the lines of Sappho (although I cannot even remotely claim a foothold on her astonishing lyrical powers!) It is by no means inconceivable that poetry may very well have been composed in the Mycenaean era, ca. 1450 – 1200 BCE. Simply because we do not have any evidence at all of such activity does not mean that the Minoan/Mycenaean scribes never wrote any poetry at all. The problem lies not with the non-survival of any Mycenaean poetry, but with the impossibility of conserving anything written on papyrus in a humid environment, such as that of Minoan Crete and of Mycenae.

It is indeed fortunate, fortuitous and a great asset to us today that so many Egyptian papyri have been preserved intact since a distant period equal to that of the Mycenaean civilization at its apogee. Call it what you like, the extremely arid sand of Egypt was far far more favourable to the survival of ancient papyrus than the moist climate of Mycenaean Crete and the Mycenaean mainland. That is the real reason why we have no extant literature from their great civilization. But given the astonishing levels their civilization reached in so many areas, in art, architecture, fresco painting, the textile industry, crafts of all kinds, international commerce and even science, it strikes me as passingly strange that no literature of any kind survives, apart from the thousands of Linear B inventory, accounting and ritual tablets, which can hardly be called literature in any sense of the word.

There are those who contend that in fact the Catalogue of Ships in Book II of the Iliad was derived from an earlier Mycenaean epic poem, no doubt in a much simpler and more earthy guise, stripped of much of the telling Homeric metaphorical language which is his hallmark even in the Catalogue of Ships. You can count me among these. For this reason, it strikes me as a distinct possibility that, if the Mycenaeans were able to tackle even a mini-epic poem, even if it were a much shorter, stripped down version of its descendant (if ever there was) of the Catalogue of Ships in the Iliad, they surely would have been up to the task of composing considerably shorter poems along the lines of this one you see posted here. Of course, they would never have written about angels and archangels. But that is beside the point. Simply by successfully composing this lyric poem, I believe I have demonstrated that such poetry was, at least conceivably, within the grasp of soi-disant Mycenaean bards. We shall never know, but it is well worth the speculation.

A comment on the phrase epi pedira euzona. As a preposition, epi should take the dative. But here I have used the accusative plural. My reason is this: in archaic Greek, prepositions were less common than adverbs, and in many cases, what we would recognize as a preposition in classical, say, Attic Greek, could very well have been an adverb in Mycenaean Greek. This is how it should be read in this context... pedira euzona is thus to be seen as accusative of aspect or aspectual accusative, reading literally something like this:

with his feet on them...    

I welcome comments on any aspect, as suggested above or otherwise, of my stab at composing a lyric poem in Mycenaean Linear B, Christian though it be.

English and French versions to follow in the next post.


Richard


Sublime Sappho. The moon has set & the Pleiades (in Aeolic Greek, Linear B, Linear C, English & French): Click to ENLARGE

Sappho poetry Elihu Vedder 1836-1923 The Pleiades 1885

This is the first of many exquisite poems by the sublime Sappho (ca. 630-570 BCE), who was considered by the ancient Greeks to be second only to Homer, as well as the greatest lyric poet of their age. Indeed, even today, a great many poets and poetry critics, including myself, consider her to hold this exalted station still. You will all see this for yourselves as I post one after another of her exalted lyrics. I have decided to go all the way, by presenting you each poem in the original Aeolic Greek, as well as in Mycenaean Linear B & Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, and even English and French! Throughout history, to this very day, no one has ever done this. I am the first. I am so in awe Sappho’s consummate skill and artistry that I will do anything to broadcast her name and her sublime poetry to the whole world.

This particular poem is my absolute favourite. It flows so naturally in Aeolic Greek that it washes over me, emotionally and spiritually. Like Italian, Aeolic Greek is superbly suited for lyric poetry, as it has no aspirates. Aspiration can and sometimes does sound harsh in lyric poetry. Aeolic Greek is notable for its sublime melody. If you could only hear this stunning poem, even if you could not even read Aeolic Greek, the Harmony of the Spheres would fairly floor you. Sappho knew this perfectly well. Her lyrics were, of course, sung to the accompaniment of the lyre. I have never read any lyric poet in any language (English, French, Spanish, Italian, German or Russian) who has ever been able to rival her consummate artistry. I adore her. Click to ENLARGE her portrait.

Simeon Solomon 1840-1905 A Study of Sappho 1862

A few linguistic notes:

Being an East Greek dialect, Aeolic Greek is related to both the Mycenaean & Arcado-Cypriot dialects. There are many striking similarities and some notable differences in these three dialects.

Mycenaean Greek in Linear B:

Mycenaean Greek has no L series of syllabograms. The R series must be substituted, hence “serana” for Aeolic “selanna”. Since Linear B is an open syllabary, in which all syllabograms must end with a vowel, it is impossible to spell any word with two consecutive consonants, hence the last syllable of “serana” has only 1 N. For the same reason, final consonants, which are normative in almost all ancient Greek dialects, must be omitted in Mycenaean Greek. Hence, we have “me” for “men”. It is difficult to express the plural in Mycenaean Greek. However, there are precedents. The plural of “apore” (amphora) is “aporewe”. This allows us to write the Pleiades as “Periadewe”.

Arcado-Cypriot Linear C:

Similar bizarre (parallel) spelling conventions plague Arcado-Cypriot Linear C . Unlike Linear B, which has a dental D series of syllabograms, Linear C lacks it, and must substitute the dental T series. On the other hand, Linear C has both an L and an R series, and so both liquids can be accounted for. Since documents in alphabetic Arcado-Cypriot must express the final consonant, in line with almost all other ancient Greek dialects, Linear C has no choice but to resort to the opposite strategy from Mycenaean Linear B for the orthography of the ultimate, when it is meant to express the dative singular, the nominative plural and for all other Greek words ending with a consonant. The consonant must be expressed in Linear C, since it is always written in the alphabet. This is absolutely de rigueur, since many documents are simultaneously composed in Linear C and in the alphabet. In order to achieve this, Linear C has no choice but to use syllabograms, which still end in a vowel. It neatly skirts this annoying problem by expressing the ultimate consonant, following it with a filler vowel. A weird solution, but it works. If it works, it works. No hay problema nada.
 
Hence, we have “mene” for “men”, which is the opposite of “me” for “men” in Linear C. Likewise, the plural is always clearly expressed, as in “peleitese”, where Linear C must also insert a final filler vowel, in most cases SE (to express the consonantal plural in sigma), as well as NE for all nouns ending in the consonant N. Such nouns are extremely common in ancient Greek dialects. Notice also the “te” in “peleitese”, since Linear C has no D series of syllabograms. On the other hand, both Mycenaean Linear B & Arcado-Cypriot have no G series of syllabograms.

Mycenaean Linear B must substitute either the K or the Q series. Arcado-Cypriot has no guttural Q series either, so all words with G + vowel must be expressed by K + vowel, hence “eko” for “ego” in both Linear B & C. I can hear you who read ancient Greek well or who are ancient Greek linguistics loudly protest that there were no personal pronouns in either Linear B or Linear C. And you are right. However, I had to take liberties with the Aeolic Greek, because it does use personal pronouns, and frequently. As for the likelihood that Mycenaean Greek would have used the Q series of syllabograms to express words with guttural G + vowel, I would readily grant that this may have been true, except for one critical consideration. Mycenaean & Arcado-Cypriot were the closest ancient Greek dialects by far, being kissing cousins. So if Arcado-Cypriot expresses G + vowel with the guttural K series of syllabograms, it stands to reason that it is more likely than not that Mycenaean Greek must have done the same thing. But there is no guarantee of this. Still, the Q series of syllabograms would have fit the bill just as well.

And there you have it.

Richard

Le Prince aux lys (sonnet)

(fresque de Cnossos 1500 av. j.c.)

yZn ,<V wanaka kirino #a&nac xri&nwn

Prince of Lilies fresco Knossos

À l’alentour lys épars, échus à ses pieds,

le Prince aux lys séduit de son sortilège

les cuirassiers fiers et leurs coursiers dressés

qu’ils réjouissent en devançant le beau manège.

En pagne embelli d’azur si scintillant

qu’il éblouit les invités, voilà la grâce

d’onyx du bel éphèbe élu, insouciant

du sortilège insinuant Cnossos sans trace.

Devant les murailles aux dauphins ensoleillés,

les vieux augures arrivent à célébrer la joie

du dauphin qui s’incarne aussi aux invités

au mariage à vénérer l’épouse en soie.

Les bien-aimés s’agenouillent et, grâce aux dieux,

sans mot ils s’entrelacent à témoigner leur voeux.

Richard Vallance © 2015,

sonnet révisé ― été publié dans Sonnetto Poesia,

ISSN 1705-4524, pg. 16. Le vol. 6 no. 2, printemps 2007


The Prince of Lilies (Sonnet)

Prince of Lilies fresco Knossos

(Knossos Fresco 1500 BCE)

yZn ,<V wanaka kirino #a&nac xri&nwn

Lilies at his feet, lilies in his hands,

the Prince of Lilies casts his sortilège.

proceeds with friends, with loved ones and his bands

of cuirassiers, and their white manège.

His loin cloth purled in alabaster folds,

a lily chaplet crowns his onyx hair,

a peacock feather glistening with golds

and azures in the fragrant air.

In sea green silk soigné for Royalty,

this way he casts and that his princely glance

the bridegroom incarnates for all to see,

before they commence the epipthalamic dance.

To come and wed his modest virgin bride,

her fine illumined grace he’ll take in stride.

Richard Vallance © 2015

Sonnet revised, previously published in

Sonnetto Poesia, ISSN 1705-4524, pg. 15. Vol. 6 No. 2, spring 2007


Haiku: “peri rimeni Aminisi anemo paidio pasi” = “all around the port of Amnisos the wind is everyone’s child”

Haiku of Amnisos in Linear B, ancient Greek, English and French =
Haïkou d’Amnisos en linéaire B, en grec antique, en anglais et en français

Click to ENLARGE

peri rimeni Aminiso anemo paidio pasi

This is the one haiku in Linear B which appeals to my sensibilities more than any other I have composed en Mycenaean Greek. The reason is simple: the Linear B of this haiku, which anyone can read in its Latinized version beneath the original in Linear B, has an entrancing rhythm, a melody about it that truly appeals to the ear, evoking a light sea breeze wafting around the sunny harbour of Amnisos. The language of the haiku is simple and direct. The alliteration, assonance and onomatopoeia are almost Italianate and so very appealing. In a word, I love it.

I elected to use the miniature Minoan frieze of the harbour of Thera, rather than a frieze of Amnisos, for its exquisite beauty.

I sincerely hope you love it as much as I do, and that you will tag it with LIKE. I would also appreciate your comments.

Thank you

Grâce à sa musicalité innée qui se déroule si aisément à travers les lignes, ce haïkou est assurément celui qui plaît à mes sensibilités avant tous les autres que j’ai jamais composé en grec mycénien. La version du haïkou en lettrage latin de l’intégral en linéaire B a un charme tout particulier, une mélodie qui nous hante l’oreille, comme si une brise maritime légère s’élèvait sur le havre ensoleillé d’Amnisos. Son langage est simple et direct. Il y en a une allitération, une assonance et une onomatopée quasi italiennes qui s’y harmonisent si parfaitement. En un mot, je m’en raffole.

Au lieu de choisir une fresque d’Amnisos, j’ai pris la frise miniature minoenne du havre de Thère, grâce à sa beauté exquise.

J’espère donc qu’il vous plaise autant qu’à moi, et que vous l’évalueriez selon sa qualité poétique.  Je serais également reconnaissant de vos commentaires, si’il y en a.

Richard

 
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