Monday, 1 March 2010

The Little Things in Life: A story, and some poetry and fables.

This week I've read a few bits and pieces which aren't big enough to have a post each but I thought I'd like to share them with you.

The Star Above the Forest by Stefan Zweig this has to be the most wonderfully written short story that I have ever read. Zweig depicts the moment that a waiter falls passionatly in love with a lady who he can never tell of his love let alone have. Knowing that she will soon leave and he won't get sight of her again he sets out to commit suicide.
Zweig's language is stunning, the suicide is wonderfully and subtly portrayed showing the mans deep desire to die for love of another rather than the love of himself. I have copied part of a paragraph
so you can see how beautiful the language is:
"... it was one of those seconds in which thousands of hours and days of rejoicing and torment are held spellbound, just as all the wild force of a forest of tall, dark, rustling oak trees, with their rocking branches and swaying crowns, is contained in a single tiny acorn dropping through the air."

This story is to be found in Amok and Other Stories, published by Pushkin Press.

Whilst browsing poetry in the Oxfam bookshop I came across this miniscule book of poems, and had to have it for its size and the little sketches and poems contained within. The 'Parson and Poet' is a tiny, both in size and page numbers, collection by Robert Herrick, a seventeenth century British poet. This tiny 18 page book is filled with verse, epitaphs and odd lines of poetry. The main themes seem to center around the idea that life is short so enjoy it while you can.
An example of the poetry contained:
To the Virgins, To Make Much of Time

Polish Fables: Bilingual Edition by Ignacy Krasicki (trans. Greard T. Kapolka). I grabbed this from the library the other day when I was searching out poery. The fables are similar to Aesop's Fables in many ways, although apparently many can be read as a response to the first partition of Poland (about which I know nothing). Despite this it is clear to say that the messages often focus on the strong taking advantages of the weak.
Ignacy Krasicki published these poems in their original form in 1779, yet it is interesting to see how many of them still relate to the modern world.
Here's a taster:
The Flattering Mirror
When she looked in the mirror at her reflection
The girl was pleased that it lightened her complexion
When her friend came by, much plainer than she,
She saw that it made her less ugly.
That the neighbor was pleased just gave the girl fits,
So she shattered the flattering mirror to bits.

No comments: