jeudi 24 mars 2011

Days in Switzerland. 温泉

Switzerland is blessed by a number of hot springs which stand one of our favourite activities while there ... swimming idly in the warm outdoor pools. 

lundi 21 mars 2011

Days in Switzerland. Falling snow

有山有水, 雪下

As are Japan and Norway, Switzerland is a favourite holidays destination of our family (and, being much closer, is a much more frequent one !).
While living there years ago, I fell in love with Montreux. Little Elsa playing under the falling snow here is just about to turn 4, two years ago.

Snowing; snowing;
Oh, between earth and sky
A wintry wind is blowing,
Scattering with its sigh
Petals from trees of silver that shine
Like invisible glass, when the moon
In the void of night on high
Paces her orchards divine.

Snowing; snowing;
Ah me, how still, and how fair
The air with flakes interflowing,
The fields crystal and bare,
When the brawling brooks are dumb
And the parched trees matted with frost,
And the birds in this wilderness stare
Dazzled and numb !

Snowing… snowing…  snowing:
Moments of time through space
Into hours, centuries growing,
Till the world's marred lovely face,
Wearied of change and chance,
Radiant in an innocence dream -
Lulled by an infinite grace
To rest an eternal trance.

Walter de la Mare
Snowing in The fleeting and Other Poems 

dimanche 13 mars 2011

Ore Giapponesi. 日本

I was preparing a series of posts about books Elsa and I like much. With our thoughts turned toward Japan in these terrible days, I choose this one as my first literary post. It's not really for Elsa yet, although she may be interested in some parts already. 
"Ore Giapponesi" by Fosco Maraini is a very precious gift from one of my dearest and oldest friends, Sophie. We met nearly 25 years ago, in Chengdu. The book can't be found any longer in its french translation and she offered me her own. 
Fosco Maraini was an Italian ethonologist who lived in Japan with his family from 1938 to 1945. He returned in the 50's and wrote this book. Every sentence is a treasure of elegance and intelligence and his breathtaking photos are marvels. My great joy is that it is a very thick book and that the reading pleasure lasts long…

"Printemps au parc Meiji", "Vieux paysan de la région de Tottori", "Jeune paysanne d'Ohara", photos by Fosco Maraini

"C'est un peu comme cette part de la réalité de notre âme que nous apercevons dans nos rêves et sans laquelle on ne pourrait jamais saisir la vraie nature de notre très mystérieux être".  
Henry Miller, writing about about Japon and japanese culture in preface to "A portrait of Shunkin" by Tanizaki Jun'ichiro.

mardi 8 mars 2011

Spring flowers. 早春花

Carnival at Elsa's school. She asked me for a spring flower dress. 
So, here's my little daffodil.

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed - and gazed - but little thought
what wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

William Wordsworth. The Daffodils.