Bourbaki's Axiom

Palm Sunday: March for Refugees in Adelaide.

This Sunday in Adelaide, over a thousand people protested against the Australian Government’s inhumane and unjust policy towards asylum seekers. Those represented spread from many church groups, through to the Greens, and socialist alliances - but many taking part were independent protesters.

The protest concluded with a minutes silence in prayer/respect of Reza Barati, the asylum seeker recently murdered at the offshore detention centre on Manus Island in PNG.

Similar protests occurred in other capital cities; as usual MSM is almost silent on reporting the protests (the Sydney protest was reported on ABC Radio National)

46 plays

jenni-snake:

Eliza Aria from Australian composer Elena Kats-Chernin’s Wild Swans Concert Suite. Was used in a commercial for a Lloyds TSB commercial in about 2007.

Spare a even just a minute of your life to listen - the main theme starts within the first few seconds, so you can decide right away if you like it or not.

So my son is studying composition this year, and they had Elena Kats-Chernin visit this week - which is pretty cool! I guess this really is her most familiar piece; I really like it.

There can never be too much Moomintroll…

(The Bar (1954), by John Brack (1920-1999))
Epiphany
- Imants Ziedonis (my translation from the Latvian)
It’s nothing, don’t be worried. I bought you a ticket, and you’ve the right to sit beside me. No one will evict from this seat, so just calm down!No, civilian, this place is not empty. My spirit sits here, and has a right to sit. Yes, he has the form of an overcoat, but it is my spirit. And within myself? I have a spirit, and this also is mine. I have two souls. Just as you have twice the flesh. You with your flesh have often shoved me out and taken two places, so let me sit now, with my spirit.
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Yes, you press the flesh! I recognize your flesh in the trolleybus, and in the queue in the shop. I know, that you are capable of battling flesh-over-flesh.
My soul was ill last night, he needed some warm sea and a bit of the southern sun - for my spirit. But you took the ticket to the South, your flesh pushed me out, because it wanted to be with other bodies, there by the Black Sea, the paradise of all flesh. My spirit and I, we were left in the city, our ticket gave us winter, when there were no summers. But my spirit really needed summer at that time. Not wanted - it needed it.
Cool it, don’t be alarmed, you have a right to sit here. The citizen is shameless and gets on the nerves. The flesh is always shameless. Only the ballerinas on the stage, and the artistic gymnasts, have flesh that is not flesh, but a soul in form. Sit confidently! This is naturally just trifling - all over a resort.
But you also squeezed me out of the picture. You got into it. I was left behind the frames. You were at that time in close connections with some hierarchy of frames. Your acquaintances liked frames. Beyond all else in life, you cared more for frames than for anything else. But the best thing to see in the frame was flesh. Stripped, palpable and thoughtless. Better to have the cow than the milker! And so I was left behind the frame.
You have this place reserved? Yes, please, compare - the number on the ticket and the seat do coincide. Yes, this place is taken, there sits my spirit. Look, writers and artists have been allocated a more expansive existence. What do you think - flesh or spirit? Excuse me, please, to keep this citizen from sitting here, it will be pressed, it will press my spirit into spirit.
I, naturally, can take my spirit back into myself. They are very convenient people who live with their spirits internal. The have their flower bed within, their revolution within, their Bible within, and their gallows within. I have all that on the outside, beside me, it only appears like a coat. In reality it is my flower garden, revolution, Bible and gallows. And why then shouldn’t my spirit outside appear like a coat? Jesus Christ’s spirit was outside him, as a halo around his head, and Mayakovsky carried a green cucumber around his neck, and brought his spirit along with him, like clouds in your trousers. Why shouldn’t my spirit appear in the form of a coat, and sit beside me at the cinema, the theatre, the stadium?
By the way, citizen, you also squeezed me off the pulpit. That time, I was speaking, and you popped into the cathedral, not even noticing I was there. You were very fleshly, you spoke only of products of the flesh, fleshly perspectives, breathing so fleshly, that I lost my breathe, and fell silent. Now, when I see the cathedral, it seems to me like a herring barrel, a cabbage head. Yes, you have stuffed and pickled the podium.
So henceforth, I shall always take two places - I and my coat, which is also my spirit, and my second soul.
So just relax, don’t be troubled, sit peacefully! For you have rights. The citizens just doesn’t understand.
Imants Ziedonis (1933-2013)
Latvian original:
Epifanija
Nekas, tu neuztraucies. Es tev nopirku biļeti, un tev ir tiesības man sēdēt blakus. Tevi no šīs vietas neizliks, tikai mieru!
 Nē, pilsone, šī vieta nav tukša. Te sēž mans gars, un viņam ir tiesības tur sēdēt. Jā, viņam ir mēteļa apveids, bet viņš ir mans gars. Manī pašā? Manī pašā arī ir gars, un šis arī ir manējais. Man ir divas dvēseles. Tāpat kā jums dubultdaudz miesas. Jūs ar savu miesu bieži esat mani izstūmusi un aizņēmusi divas vietas, ļaujiet tagad sēdēt manam garam. Jā! Jūs izspiežat ar miesu. Es pazīstu jūsu miesu trolejbusā un veikala rindā. Es zinu, kā jūs protat cīnīties ar miesu par miesu.
 Mans gars bija pagājušvasar slims, viņam vajadzēja siltu jūru un mazliet dienvidu saules – manam garam. Bet ceļazīmi uz dienvidiem dabūjāt jūs, jūsu miesa mani izstūma, jo viņa gribēja pie citām miesām, tur pie Melnās jūras, visu miesu paradīzē. Mēs ar savu garu palikām pilsētā, ceļazīmi mums iedeva ziemā, kad vairs nebija vasaras. Bet vasaru manam garam toreiz ļoti vajadzēja. Nevis gribējās, bet vajadzēja. Tikai mieru, neuztraucies, tev ir tiesības te sēdēt. Pilsone ir nekaunīga un spēlē uz nerviem. Miesa vienmēr ir nekaunīga. Vienīgi uz skatuves balerīnām un mākslas vingrotājām miesa nav miesa, bet dvēseles forma. Sēdi pašapzinīgāk! Tas, protams, ir sīkumaini – par kūrortu.
 Bet jūs mani izspiedāt arī no gleznas. Jūs tajā tikāt iekšā. Es paliku aiz rāmjiem. Jums toreiz bija augsta pazīšanās kaut kādā rāmju pārvaldē. Jūsu paziņām patika rāmji. Viņu pēc vispār visa dzīve varētu būt tikai rāmji. Bet ierāmētu viņiem vislabāk patika redzēt miesu. Papliķējamu, pataustāmu, nedomājamu. Labāk traktēt govi nekā slaucēju! Un tā es paliku aiz rāmjiem.
 Jūs esat vietu ierādītāja? Jā, lūdzu, salīdziniet – biļešu un vietu numuri sakrīt. Jā, šī vieta ir aizņemta, tur sēž mans gars. Redziet, rakstniekiem un māksliniekiem piešķir papildu dzīvokļa platību. Kā jūs domājat – miesai vai garam? Palūdziet, lūdzu, lai šī pilsone tur nesēžas, viņa to nospiedīs, viņa izspiedīs garu manam garam.
 Es, protams, varu paņemt savu garu atpakaļ sevī. Tie ir ļoti ērti cilvēki, kas dzīvo ar savu garu sevī. Viņiem ir savs puķu dārziņš sevī, sava revolūcija sevī, sava Bībele sevī un savas karātavas. Man tas viss ir tagad ārpus sevis, blakus, tas tikai tā skata pēc ir mētelis. Būtībā tas ir mans puķu dārziņš, revolūcija, Bībele un karātavas. Kāpēc gan mans gars ārpus manis nevar izskatīties kā mētelis? Jēzus Kristus gars esot bijis ārpus viņa kā nimbs ap galvu, Majakovskis nēsājis pakārtu zaļu gurķi kaklā un savu garu ārpus sevis ņēmis līdz kā mākoni biksēs. Kāpēc lai mans gars nevarētu parādīties mēteļa veidā un sēdēt man blakus kinozālē, teātrī, prezidijā?
 Starp citu, pilsone, jūs mani izspiedāt arī no tribīnes. Toreiz, kad es no tās runāju, jūs iespraucāties katedrā, it kā manis tur nemaz nebūtu. Jūs bijāt ļoti miesiska, jūs runājāt tikai par miesas produkciju, miesas perspektīvu, elpojāt ļoti miesiski, tā, ka man pietrūka elpas, un es apklusu. No tās reizes, kad es tagad ieraugu katedru, man tā liekas kā siļķu muca, kā kāpostu baļļa. Jā, jūs apgurķojāt un apsiļķojāt tribīni. Es tagad sāku no gala – apdvēseļoju siļķu mucas un gurķu baļļas.
 Un turpmāk es visur aizņemšu divas vietas – es un mans mētelis, kas ir arī mans gars un mana otrā dvēsele.
 Tikai mieru, neuztraucies, sēdi mierīgs! Jo tev ir tiesības. Pilsone nesaprot.
- Imants Ziedonis (1933-2013)

(The Bar (1954), by John Brack (1920-1999))

Epiphany

- Imants Ziedonis (my translation from the Latvian)

It’s nothing, don’t be worried. I bought you a ticket, and you’ve the right to sit beside me. No one will evict from this seat, so just calm down!
No, civilian, this place is not empty. My spirit sits here, and has a right to sit. Yes, he has the form of an overcoat, but it is my spirit. And within myself? I have a spirit, and this also is mine. I have two souls. Just as you have twice the flesh. You with your flesh have often shoved me out and taken two places, so let me sit now, with my spirit.

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1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, …

The Swaheli Numeral System

At the time I was new to Africa, a shy young Swedish dairyman was to teach me the numbers in Swaheli. As the Swaheli word for nine, to Swedish ears, has a dubious ring, he did not like to tell it to me, and when he had counted: ‘seven’, ‘eight’, he stopped, looked away, and said: ‘They have no number nine in Swaheli.’ […]
‘They have not got nineteen either,’ he said, blushing, but very firm, ‘nor ninety, nor nine hundred’ - for these words in Swaheli are constructed out of the number nine - ‘But apart from that they have got all our numbers.’
The idea of this system for a long time gave me much to think of, and for some reason a great pleasure. Here, I thought, was a people who have got originality of mind, and courage to break with the pedantry of the numeral series. […]
It happened that I had at that time a houseboy, Zacharia, who had lost the fourth finger of his left hand. Perhaps, I thought, that is a common thing with Natives, and is done to facilitate their arithmetic to them, when they are counting upon their fingers.
When I began to develop my ideas to other people, I was stopped, and enlightened. Yet I have still got the feeling that there exists a native system of numeral characters without the number nine in it, which to them works well and by which you can find out many things.

- Karen Blixen, Out of Africa (1935)





Epiphany
Imants Ziedonis (my translation from the Latvian)
From which level are we speaking? Dialogues can be sorted by their levels. For example, first level dialogue. On the first level, the blind speak with the blind, the mute with the deaf, eater with eater, sleeper with sleeper. Here belong discussions of the weather and illnesses, of how clever your toddler is, and of how scandalous are the carryings-on of your neighbour Julie. Why are many people unable to converse, they begin then fall silent? The flow breaks off. There’s nothing to talk about. The reason is, they are each talking on different levels. One speaks on the first level, another - on the second. What can you say through the floor? What can you hear through the ceiling? On another floor they talk with a sharper wit, and a more twisted tongue.  Here they play tennis with word-balls: ver-balls. Serve demands volley, volley demands counter-volley. Here they skillfully serve and snatch, spike and block. Here dwell the acrobats and jugglers. Here they hide behind words, like hiding behind flower pots in a Goldoni comedy. It is fowl play. Words flirt, vowels the coquettes, the consonants amorous. Anecdotes are told here. Playful light shines on the word-shifting mosaics. Will we eat these gingerbread biscuits, or decorate the fir tree with them? Will our words today be cardamom, cinnamon or vanilla? On another level, bread is talking. Self baked bread speaks. The word, mashed into other words, itself waits to rise. The word led the chef, and stoked up the oven. Yes, the crust has sprung back, this time the crust has sprung back, but leaven again in the Spring, and it will not do so. Here the stones also speak. The stones you throw through windows, and the stone on which you build foundations.And here, the tarpaulin speaks. That the rain may not drip through. And if here the lacework speaks, then so also do the knitting needles.And these are not the only levels, and perhaps their sequence differs. But the tongue knows, that the word is the staple bread, the energy-giver, my energy and your energy.And when I am failing strength, will your words come and help me?When my words will be Jairus’s daughter, will your words be their Jesus of Nazareth?Will your words raise me from the dead?
Imants Ziedonis (1933-2013)
Latvian original (1971):
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Epifanija
- Imants Ziedonis
No kura stāva mēs runājam? Dialogus var iedalīt pa stāviem. Teiksim, pirmā stāva dialogs. Pirmajā stāvā runā aklais ar aklo, kurlais ar kurlo, ēdājs ar ēdāju, gulētājs ar gulētāju. Te pieder runas par laiku un slimībām, par to, cik bērniņš gudrs un cik kaimiņu Jūle nekrietni izdarījusies. Kāpēc daudzi cilvēki nevar sarunāties, iesāk un apklust? Pavediens pārtrūkst. Nav par ko runāt. Tāpēc, ka viņi runā katrs savā stāvā. Viens runā pirmajā, otrs – otrajā. Ko var pateikt caur grīdu? Ko var dzirdēt caur griestiem? Citā stāvā runā asāks prāts un lokanāka mēle. Te spēlē tenisu ar vārdu bumbiņām. Sitiens prasa atsitienu, atsitiens – pretsitienu. Te veikli servē un atņem, gremdē un bloķē. Te mīt ekvilibristi un vārdu žonglieri. Te aiz vārdiem slēpjas kā Goldoni komēdijās aiz puķu podiem. Te spēlē vistiņas. Vārdi flirtē, patskaņi koķetē, līdzskaņi amizējas. Te stāsta anekdotes. Rotaļīgā gaismā spīd vārdu mānīgās mozaīkas. Vai šīs piparkūkas ēdīs, vai ar tām dekorēs eglīti? Vai šodien runāsim kardamonu, kanēli vai vanīliju? Kādā citā stāvā runā maizi. Runā pašcepto maizi. Vārdu, ko pats iejāva citos vārdos, pats gaidīja, kad rūgs. Pats lika uz lizes un šāva krāsnī. Jā, garoza ir atlēkusi, šoreiz garoza ir atlēkusi, bet abrā rūgst atkal un vairs neatlēks. Te runā arī akmeņus. Akmeņus, ar kuriem logus dauza, un akmeņus, ko pamatā liek. Te runā brezentu. Lai lietus netek cauri. Un, ja te runā mežģīnes, tad te runā arī adāmās adatas. Un šie nav vienīgie stāvi, varbūt arī secība ir cita. Bet zini, mēle, ka vārds ir ikdienišķā maize, enerģijas nesējs, manas enerģijas nesējs, tev nesējs. Kad man pietrūks spēka, vai tavi vārdi atnāks un man palīdzēs? Kad mani vārdi būs Jaira meitiņa, vai tavi vārdi būs Jēzus Nācarietis? Vai tavi vārdi mani uzcels no miroņiem?

Epiphany

Imants Ziedonis (my translation from the Latvian)

From which level are we speaking? Dialogues can be sorted by their levels. For example, first level dialogue. On the first level, the blind speak with the blind, the mute with the deaf, eater with eater, sleeper with sleeper. Here belong discussions of the weather and illnesses, of how clever your toddler is, and of how scandalous are the carryings-on of your neighbour Julie.
Why are many people unable to converse, they begin then fall silent? The flow breaks off. There’s nothing to talk about. The reason is, they are each talking on different levels.
One speaks on the first level, another - on the second. What can you say through the floor? What can you hear through the ceiling? On another floor they talk with a sharper wit, and a more twisted tongue.
Here they play tennis with word-balls: ver-balls. Serve demands volley, volley demands counter-volley. Here they skillfully serve and snatch, spike and block. Here dwell the acrobats and jugglers. Here they hide behind words, like hiding behind flower pots in a Goldoni comedy. It is fowl play. Words flirt, vowels the coquettes, the consonants amorous. Anecdotes are told here. Playful light shines on the word-shifting mosaics. Will we eat these gingerbread biscuits, or decorate the fir tree with them? Will our words today be cardamom, cinnamon or vanilla?
On another level, bread is talking. Self baked bread speaks. The word, mashed into other words, itself waits to rise. The word led the chef, and stoked up the oven. Yes, the crust has sprung back, this time the crust has sprung back, but leaven again in the Spring, and it will not do so. Here the stones also speak. The stones you throw through windows, and the stone on which you build foundations.
And here, the tarpaulin speaks. That the rain may not drip through. And if here the lacework speaks, then so also do the knitting needles.
And these are not the only levels, and perhaps their sequence differs. But the tongue knows, that the word is the staple bread, the energy-giver, my energy and your energy.
And when I am failing strength, will your words come and help me?
When my words will be Jairus’s daughter, will your words be their Jesus of Nazareth?
Will your words raise me from the dead?

Imants Ziedonis (1933-2013)

Latvian original (1971):

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"The farmer slowly turns his eyes all round the horizon. […] Then south, to greet the Southern Cross, doorkeeper of the great world, faithful to travellers and beloved by them, and higher up, under the luminous streak of the Milky Way, Alpha and Beta in the Centaur. To the south-west sparkles Sirius, great in heavens, and the thoughtful Canopus, and to the west above the faint diamond ornament, Rigel, Betelgeuse and Bellatrix. He turns to the north last, for to the north we go back in the end, and there he runs upon the Great Bear himself, only he is now calmly standing on his head on account of the heavenly perspective, and that has all the air of a bearish joke, that cheers the heart of the Nordic emigrant."
- Karen Blixen, Out of Africa (1935)

"The farmer slowly turns his eyes all round the horizon. […] Then south, to greet the Southern Cross, doorkeeper of the great world, faithful to travellers and beloved by them, and higher up, under the luminous streak of the Milky Way, Alpha and Beta in the Centaur. To the south-west sparkles Sirius, great in heavens, and the thoughtful Canopus, and to the west above the faint diamond ornament, Rigel, Betelgeuse and Bellatrix. He turns to the north last, for to the north we go back in the end, and there he runs upon the Great Bear himself, only he is now calmly standing on his head on account of the heavenly perspective, and that has all the air of a bearish joke, that cheers the heart of the Nordic emigrant."

- Karen Blixen, Out of Africa (1935)

(Little Eva and Uncle Tom (1868) by Edwin Longden Long (1829-1891))
I have just finished reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), Harriet Beecher Stowe’s famous novel about slavery in the US. It is an excellent book, and I recommend it to everyone.
It is filled with a wide cast of characters, some a bit narrow, but most with complexity and development. The plot is a real page turner, and the structure is quite good (especially considering it was first written in instalments). A particularly effective aspect, is how almost all of the novel occurs not in the more brutal or gruesome situations, but rather in the very most “gentle and caring” of slave-owning households, with “good masters.”
Critics have dismissed it for being sentimental. It is true that I have found it an embarrassing read on the bus: I’ve frequently had tears streaming down, desperately trying to find a tissue. You really get to care about these people.
Obviously it is praised for the anti-slavery theme, and its historical importance in raising understanding and action, that led to abolition of slavery. Unfortunately, many will be put off by the fact that Harriet is unashamedly Christian, and her passionate portrayals of the vitality of faith in the lives of Tom, and several other characters, are central to the book. Not that the organised church itself is praised: she is quick to point out the hypocrisy of ministers who supported slavery; of those keen to send missionaries to Africa, but unwilling to assist Afro-Americans; and of the silence on the issue by the majority.
The main aspect I take from the book is its relevance today. So many of the counter-arguments that Harriet effectively demolishes, are regurgitated in our media and in our parliaments. As an Australian, I see huge applications to our treatment of indigenous Australians, and of asylum seeking refugees. Even to the ways that we are condemning future generations through our willing and active destruction of the planet’s climate. I cannot help but feel that we will one day be judged as harshly as the Americans of the 1850’s.

(Little Eva and Uncle Tom (1868) by Edwin Longden Long (1829-1891))

I have just finished reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), Harriet Beecher Stowe’s famous novel about slavery in the US. It is an excellent book, and I recommend it to everyone.

It is filled with a wide cast of characters, some a bit narrow, but most with complexity and development. The plot is a real page turner, and the structure is quite good (especially considering it was first written in instalments). A particularly effective aspect, is how almost all of the novel occurs not in the more brutal or gruesome situations, but rather in the very most “gentle and caring” of slave-owning households, with “good masters.”

Critics have dismissed it for being sentimental. It is true that I have found it an embarrassing read on the bus: I’ve frequently had tears streaming down, desperately trying to find a tissue. You really get to care about these people.

Obviously it is praised for the anti-slavery theme, and its historical importance in raising understanding and action, that led to abolition of slavery. Unfortunately, many will be put off by the fact that Harriet is unashamedly Christian, and her passionate portrayals of the vitality of faith in the lives of Tom, and several other characters, are central to the book. Not that the organised church itself is praised: she is quick to point out the hypocrisy of ministers who supported slavery; of those keen to send missionaries to Africa, but unwilling to assist Afro-Americans; and of the silence on the issue by the majority.

The main aspect I take from the book is its relevance today. So many of the counter-arguments that Harriet effectively demolishes, are regurgitated in our media and in our parliaments. As an Australian, I see huge applications to our treatment of indigenous Australians, and of asylum seeking refugees. Even to the ways that we are condemning future generations through our willing and active destruction of the planet’s climate. I cannot help but feel that we will one day be judged as harshly as the Americans of the 1850’s.

(No. 5 from Mao Tse-Tung  by Andy Warhol (1972), a series of ten colour screenprints.)
Epiphany
by Imants Ziedonis (my translation from the Latvian original)
It is a curious tradition of this country. To the joy of the populace. Each year, on New Years Eve, they hold the birthday lottery. (A similar lottery is held before Women’s Day - in the beginning of March.) You have the opportunity to enter, and if you’re a lucky winner, the paper will write and the radio broadcast, that on such and such a date your birthday will be celebrated. The whole of Latvia knows this, that again three people have won this year: a low-power engineer N. from a hardware store, pensioner S., and some girl from Viljaani. Or some other three, according to the year. This birthday will be recognized in Riga on widely-viewed podiums. You will be honoured and congratulated by delegations (including government members among the well-wishers) - all that, simply for being. That you work hard, and are a sociable person. And now, if you are actually a loafer and anti-social, the organizing committee will by-the-by find out and declare, that you have something good and laudable. For in the world there is no person so pitiful, that we each cannot be their comrade, friend and brother, somewhat as said by Francois Villon. And so there is something about you that can be congratulated. For example - perhaps you have never left a rake in the yard with its prongs pointing upwards. One has such a firm grip - another, has good taste. One is so quick-witted, that they are laughing before the joke even starts, another so righteous that not even a mad dog could deflect their path. You’ll be cheered and remembered, for the good you have done, and they will say you have not been born to the world for no purpose. And you are worthy! If your friends and relatives won’t tell you so, the organizing committee will discover it, formulate it and notify it on your birthday - to one and all. Naturally, if you don’t want your birthday celebrated like a national writer, or a well-paid, commissioned artist, you can avoid the lottery, and just spent it with your wife and children, and with your grandma. I am talking about those who do participate in the lottery. Our birthday calendar will become richer and more colourful. It seems only artists, scientists and such folk, are those whose worth is such, that we should gaze at their advancing age with wonder! Hence this interesting custom of our land - chance will lift you up, place you upon the stage and say: young he is and unseen, old he is and forgotten, ordinary he is like all our neighbours - come and tell him, that just so, he is worth something.
Imants Ziedonis (1933-2013)
Latvian original:
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Epifanie
Tā ir interesanta tradīcija šai zemē. Cilvēku priekam. Ik gadus vecgada vakarā izlozē dzimšanas dienu loteriju. (Līdzīga loterija tiek rīkota pirms Sieviešu dienas – marta sākumā.) Tev ir tiesības vilkt lozi, un tad tu izvelc laimīgo, un avīzes raksta un radio paziņo, ka tādā un tādā datumā svinēs tavu dzimšanas dienu. Visā Latvijā to zina, ka šogad atkal vinnējuši ir trīs pilsoņi: vājstrāvu aparatūras ceha inženieris N., pensionāre S. un kāda meitene no Viļāniem. Vai citi trīs, kā kuru gadu. Viņu dzimšanas diena tiks atzīmēta Rīgā uz plaši pazīstamas skatuves. Tevi godinās un apsveiks delegācijas (apsveicējos būs arī Valdības pārstāvji) – par to, ka tu esi. Ka tu labi strādā, ka tu esi godīgs cilvēks. Un, ja nu tu nestrādā un neesi nekāds godīgais, rīcības komisija tik un tā izzinās un izdibinās, ka tevī ir kaut kas labs un apsveicams. Jo pasaulē nav tik maza cilvēciņa, kuram mēs katrs nevarētu būt biedrs, draugs un brālis, kaut ko tādu teicis Fransuā Vijons. Tātad kaut kas jau nu tevī ir apsveicams. Teiksim – tu nekad neesi pametis grābekli pļavā zariem uz augšu. Vienam ir stiprs krampis, citam – laba gaume. Viens ir tik attapīgs, ka smejas jau, pirms anekdote sākusies, otrs tik dievtaisns, ka trakam sunim nevar ceļu pagriezt. Tevi sveiks un atcerēsies, ko tu labu esi darījis, un tev teiks, ka tu neesi velti dzimis pasaulē. Kuram gan vajadzīgs vairāk nekā tikai to – lai tev pasaka, ka tu esi ko vērts. Un tu esi ko vērts! Ja tavi draugi un radinieki to nepateiks, rīcības komisija izzinās, noformulēs un tavā jubilejā to paziņos – visiem, visiem. Protams, ja tu negribi, lai tevi apsveic tavā jubilejā kā Tautas rakstnieku vai Nopelniem bagāto mākslinieku, tu vari loterijā nepiedalīties un svinēt ar savu sievu un bērniem, un vecomāti. Es runāju par tiem, kas loterijā piedalīsies. Mūsu jubileju kalendārs kļūs daudz krāsaināks un bagātāks. It kā tikai mākslinieki, zinātnieki un citi diži ļaudis būtu tā vērti, lai viņu atnākušo vecumu apbrīnotu skatītāji! Tāpēc šī interesantā tradīcija šai zemē – gadījums tevi pacels uz plaukstas, noliks uz skatuves un teiks: jauns viņš ir un neredzēts, vecs viņš ir un aizmirsts, parasts viņš ir kā visi mūsu ciemā, - nāc un pasaki viņam, ir taču viņš kaut ko vērts!
Imants Ziedonis

(No. 5 from Mao Tse-Tung  by Andy Warhol (1972), a series of ten colour screenprints.)

Epiphany

by Imants Ziedonis (my translation from the Latvian original)

It is a curious tradition of this country. To the joy of the populace. Each year, on New Years Eve, they hold the birthday lottery. (A similar lottery is held before Women’s Day - in the beginning of March.) You have the opportunity to enter, and if you’re a lucky winner, the paper will write and the radio broadcast, that on such and such a date your birthday will be celebrated. The whole of Latvia knows this, that again three people have won this year: a low-power engineer N. from a hardware store, pensioner S., and some girl from Viljaani. Or some other three, according to the year.
This birthday will be recognized in Riga on widely-viewed podiums. You will be honoured and congratulated by delegations (including government members among the well-wishers) - all that, simply for being. That you work hard, and are a sociable person. And now, if you are actually a loafer and anti-social, the organizing committee will by-the-by find out and declare, that you have something good and laudable. For in the world there is no person so pitiful, that we each cannot be their comrade, friend and brother, somewhat as said by Francois Villon. And so there is something about you that can be congratulated. For example - perhaps you have never left a rake in the yard with its prongs pointing upwards. One has such a firm grip - another, has good taste. One is so quick-witted, that they are laughing before the joke even starts, another so righteous that not even a mad dog could deflect their path. You’ll be cheered and remembered, for the good you have done, and they will say you have not been born to the world for no purpose. And you are worthy! If your friends and relatives won’t tell you so, the organizing committee will discover it, formulate it and notify it on your birthday - to one and all.
Naturally, if you don’t want your birthday celebrated like a national writer, or a well-paid, commissioned artist, you can avoid the lottery, and just spent it with your wife and children, and with your grandma. I am talking about those who do participate in the lottery. Our birthday calendar will become richer and more colourful. It seems only artists, scientists and such folk, are those whose worth is such, that we should gaze at their advancing age with wonder! Hence this interesting custom of our land - chance will lift you up, place you upon the stage and say: young he is and unseen, old he is and forgotten, ordinary he is like all our neighbours - come and tell him, that just so, he is worth something.

Imants Ziedonis (1933-2013)

Latvian original:

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Seeing the Australian land in a completely fresh way was Fred Williams’s great life’s work. Comprising more than 90 works, many never before shown at the Gallery, ‘Fred Williams: Painter, Printmaker’ is a reassessment of a kind — a way for audiences to revisit Williams’s extraordinary achievements, as both painter and printmaker. More on our blog…

I like Fred Williams a lot.