Sunday, January 16, 2011
Ponderings and Poetry
January. A new year begins and with it a host of fresh aspirations and resolutions. Is that quintessentially American? When I explained the tradition of New Year's Resolutions to my Romanian students and asked them to come up with three things they could do "to be a better person" in the coming year, they blinked in an innocent-calf sort of way and waited for me to make suggestions. Which I did, of course. But the concept seemed totally foreign. "A promise to yourself," I said. "It can be something you will do or will NOT do." I gave examples in my own life--too much chocolate, not enough stretching exercises. They found me amusing, as they often do. They complied but with statements that were clearly not from the heart (I will not play football (soccer) every day. "But why not?" I wanted to know!) Anyway, I found the whole experience interesting in a sociological sort of way. I often hear Romanians comment on American optimism and maybe that's what this is about--but where do you draw the line between optimism and hope?****Lee, my long-suffering husband, returned to the states yesterday after a month-long stay in the Red House. We had a fine visit with lots of good times in Oradea, Astileu, Maramures, and Brasov. I'll miss him, but I'm seeing our time together as a good tonic to get me through the dark months of winter ahead, and there's a possibility of a rendezvous in Spain in the spring. In truth, I have my hands full here with teaching, my adult class, community projects and just keeping myself fed and in clean clothes. This week besides my 16 classes and adult club, I need to fill out a quarterly report for PC AGAIN since they decided to change the form right after we submitted the lengthy report last month, I have to get grades in (writing them into the "big book"), start plans for a Valentine dance/contest, and be observed by PC staff in the classroom. Staying busy is no problem.**** Sometimes too busy. Several of you have asked about my poetry writing. I was quite prolific back in the states and would feel very antsy if two weeks went by and I hadn't written a new poem. It's different here--even if I have some time to write (as I clearly do at the moment), the climate of my brain is not always "right" for poetry. However, I have written a few that I'll hang on to for the possibility of future publication. We are not allowed to seek publication while on assignment, anyway. I tried to paste two poems below, one published in the PC Romanian lit magazine and one just for fun and not one I'll publish later. However, though the preview showed the poems perfectly copied, the final posting made a mess of the formatting, so I've deleted them. For those readers who may not know, I have poetry in the archives of some online journals, and I have books available through Amazon.com and one that is also Kindle loadable. **** As I struggle with learning Romanian, I was especially touched when a friend said not to worry, that poetry was my true language. I was reminded of this when reading Romanian poet Nina Cassian's beautifully translated poetry (a gift from Lee). She rhapsodizes about her devotion to her language as she speaks of the "...clitoris in my throat/ vibrating, sensitive, pulsating,/ exploding in the orgasm of Romanian." Oh, dear Nina, I'm afraid I've scarcely begun the foreplay!