Game of the week

Grandmaster Averbakh passed away two weeks ago at age 100. He was especially known for his widely translated volumes on endgames. I picked up the complete set in a cheap East German edition years ago but unfortunately it disappeared when I tried to ship it home. Sigh. Fittingly, this game of his involves an ending.

Views: 46

Poem of the day

De la brevedad engañosa de la vida
by Luis Góngora (1561-1627)

Menos solicitó veloz saeta
destinada señal, que mordió aguda;
agonal carro en la arena muda
no coronó con más silencio meta,

que presurosa corre, que secreta
a su fin nuestra edad. A quien lo duda,
fiera que sea de razón desnuda,
cada sol repetido es un cometa.

¿Confiésalo Cartago, y tú lo ignoras?
Peligro corres, Licio, si porfías
en seguir sombras y abrazar engaños.

Mal te perdonarán a ti las horas,
las horas que limando están los días,
los días que royendo están los años.

Views: 35

Game of the week

Views: 28

Poem of the day

The Negro Speaks of Rivers
(To W.E.B. DuBois)
by Langston Hughes (1902-1967)

I’ve known rivers:
I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to New Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I’ve known rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

Views: 31

Poem of the day

Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady
by Alexander Pope (1688-1744)

What beck’ning ghost, along the moonlight shade
Invites my steps, and points to yonder glade?
’Tis she!—but why that bleeding bosom gored,
Why dimly gleams the visionary sword?
O, ever beauteous, ever friendly! tell,
Is it, in Heav’n, a crime to love too well?
To bear too tender or too firm a heart,
To act a lover’s or a Roman’s part?
Is there no bright reversion in the sky
For those who greatly think, or bravely die?
Why bade ye else, ye Pow’rs! her soul aspire
Above the vulgar flight of low desire?
Ambition first sprung from your blest abodes;
The glorious fault of angels and of gods;
Thence to their images on earth it flows,
And in the breasts of kings and heroes glows.
Most souls, ’tis true, but peep out once an age,
Dull sullen pris’ners in the body’s cage:
Dim lights of life, that burn a length of years,
Useless, unseen, as lamps in sepulchres;
Like Eastern kings a lazy state they keep,
And close confined to their own palace, sleep.
From these perhaps (ere Nature bade her die)
Fate snatch’d her early to the pitying sky.
As into air the purer spirits flow,
And sep’rate from their kindred dregs below,
So flew the soul to its congenial place,
Nor left one virtue to redeem her race.
But thou, false guardian of a charge too good!
Thou, mean deserter of thy brother’s blood!
See on these ruby lips the trembling breath,
These cheeks now fading at the blast of Death:
Cold is that breast which warm’d the world before,
And those love-darting eyes must roll no more.
Thus, if eternal Justice rules the ball,
Thus shall your wives, and thus your children fall;
On all the line a sudden vengeance waits,
And frequent herses shall besiege your gates.
There passengers shall stand, and pointing say
(While the long fun’rals blacken all the way),
’Lo! these were they whose souls the Furies steel’d
And cursed with hearts unknowing how to yield.’
Thus unlamented pass the proud away,
The gaze of fools, and pageant of a day!
So perish all whose breast ne’er learn’d to glow
For others’ good, or melt at others’ woe!
What can atone (O ever-injured shade!)
Thy fate unpitied, and thy rites unpaid?
No friend’s complaint, no kind domestic tear
Pleased thy pale ghost, or graced thy mournful bier.
By foreign hands thy dying eyes were closed,
By foreign hands thy decent limbs composed,
By foreign hands thy humble grave adorn’d,
By strangers honour’d, and by strangers mourn’d!
What tho’ no friends in sable weeds appear,
Grieve for an hour, perhaps, then mourn a year,
And bear about the mockery of woe
To midnight dances, and the public show?
What tho’ no weeping Loves thy ashes grace,
Nor polish’d marble emulate thy face?
What tho’ no sacred earth allow thee room,
Nor hallow’d dirge be mutter’d o’er thy tomb?
Yet shall thy grave with rising flow’rs be drest,
And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast:
There shall the morn her earliest tears bestow,
There the first roses of the year shall blow;
While angels with their silver wings o’ershade
The ground now sacred by thy reliques made.
So peaceful rests, without a stone, a name,
What once had beauty, titles, wealth, and fame.
How loved, how honour’d once, avails thee not,
To whom related, or by whom begot;
A heap of dust alone remains of thee,
’Tis all thou art, and all the proud shall be!
Poets themselves must fall, like those they sung,
Deaf the praised ear, and mute the tuneful tongue.
Ev’n he, whose soul now melts in mournful lays,
Shall shortly want the gen’rous tear he pays;
Then from this closing eyes thy form shall part,
And the last pang shall tear thee from his heart;
Life’s idle business at one gasp be o’er,
The Muse forgot, and thou beloved no more!

Views: 44

Poem of the day

Ballade de Frère Lubin
by Clément Marot (1495-1544)

      Pour courir en poste à la Ville
Vingt fois, cent fois, ne sais combien;
Pour faire quelque chose vile,
Frère Lubin le fera bien;
Mais d’avoir honnête entretien,
Ou mener vie salutaire,
C’est à faire à un bon chrétien.
Frère Lubin ne le peut faire.

      Pour mettre, comme un homme habile,
Le bien d’aultrui avec le sien,
Et vous laissez sans croix ni pile,
Frère Lubin le fera bien:
On a beau dire, je le tien:
Et le presser de satisfaire,
Jamais ne vous en rendra rien,
Frère Lubin ne le peult faire.

      Pour débaucher par un doux style
Quelque fille de bon maintien,
Point ne faut de vieille subtile,
Frère Lubin le fera bien.
Il prêche en théologien,
Mais pour boire de belle eau claire,
Faites-la boire à votre chien,
Frère Lubin ne le peut faire.


      Pour faire plustôt mal que bien,
Frère Lubin le fera bien;
Et si c’est quelque bonne affaire,
Frère Lubin ne le peut faire.

Views: 37

Poem of the day

Sueño despierto
by José Martí (1853-1895)

Yo sueño con los ojos
Abiertos, y de día
Y noche siempre sueño.
Y sobre las espumas
Del ancho mar revuelto,
Y por entre las crespas
Arenas del desierto,
Y del león pujante,
Monarca de mi pecho,
Montado alegremente
Sobre el sumiso cuello,
Un niño que me llama
Flotando siempre veo.

Views: 38

Poem of the day

Lucifer in Starlight
by George Meredith (1828-1909)

On a starred night Prince Lucifer uprose.
Tired of his dark dominion swung the fiend
Above the rolling ball in cloud part screened,
Where sinners hugged their spectre of repose.
Poor prey to his hot fit of pride were those.
And now upon his western wing he leaned,
Now his huge bulk o’er Afric’s sands careened,
Now the black planet shadowed Arctic snows.
Soaring through wider zones that pricked his scars
With memory of the old revolt from Awe,
He reached a middle height, and at the stars,
Which are the brain of heaven, he looked, and sank.
Around the ancient track marched, rank on rank,
The army of unalterable law.

Views: 45

Poem of the day

With the Sunshine and the Swallows
by Joseph Noel Paton (1821-1901)

With the sunshine and the swallows and the flowers,
   She is coming, my belovèd, o’er the sea!
And I sit alone and count the weary hours,
   Till she cometh in her beauty back to me;
         And my heart will not be quiet,
         But, in a “purple riot,”
         Keeps ever madly beating
         At the thought of that sweet meeting,
When she cometh with the summer o’er the sea;
         All the sweetness of the south
         On the roses of her mouth,
         All the fervour of its skies
         In her gentle northern eyes,
As she cometh, my belovèd, home to me!

No more, o’ nights, the shivering north complains,
   But blithe birds twitter in the crimson dawn;
No more the fairy frost-flowers fret the panes,
   But snowdrops gleam by garden-path and lawn;
         And at times a white cloud wingeth
         From the southland up, and bringeth
         A warm wind, odour-laden,
         From the bowers of that fair Aden
Where she lingers by the blue Tyrrhenian Sea;
         And I turn my lips to meet
         Its kisses faint and sweet;
         For I know from hers they’ve brought
         The message: rapture-fraught:
“I am coming, love, with summer, home to thee.”

Views: 30