Because of time in my hands I think a lot about the meaning of words and their origin in both Spanish and English.
The origin of the idiom 'time on your hands' isn't known; what scholars do know, though, is that this saying is an old one. The earliest printed example available is from Charles Lamb's 1833 Last Essay of Elia: “It seemed to me that I had more time on my hands than I could ever manage.
As an example the origin of the Spanish word tabaco comes from the Arabic even though the plant was found in the “New World”. Tubbaq was used as a term to denote medicinal plants that made users dizzy.
One of the few activities my cats Niño and Niña allow me without their objection is for me to read on the bed with them on my lap. In this 21st century, a phone with access to Google, is a godsend (a quick consultation to Google right now informed me I need not capitalize that word).
And so I read.
I read new books and re-read old books but there are some that are my constant bibles and I will list them below with a few comments. One of the books on the list I never open. This is a beautiful The Poetry of Emily Dickinson. Because of that much vaunted internet all her poetry is available on line. It is easy for me to look at a photograph I may have a violinist. I write violin, Emily Dickinson and instantly get The Music of the Violin Does Not Emerge Alone. What is scary is that first link is my blog in Medium.
My bible is one that is illustrated by sketches and paintings by Rembrandt and it has that most important Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat (and would you believe a double one?)
I have several books by Harold Bloom. Shakespeare - The Invention of the Human is the book that Rosemary and I read before and even during going to Bard on the Beach. But the one below is one Bloom I constantly go back to.
One constant reference for me is Dag Hammarskjöld's Markings which I purchased at the Pigmalión bookstore on Calle Corrientes in 1965. The bookstore specialized in books in foreign languages. Both my mother and father had bought their books in English there. There was another gentleman who did that. And by coincidence, this blind old man was there the day I purchased Markings. I was too ignorant to realize he was Jorge Luís Borges.
Only in Argentina would you have an Argentina-born writer who never wrote in Spanish. Argentines insist on calling William Henry Hudson, Guillermo Enrique. His El ombú (in books in Spanish and particularly in Argentina only the first word of the title of a book is capitalized) is one of my favourites. And there is this on Hudson.
Outside of Argentina Alfonsina Storni, a Swiss-born Argentine proto-feminist poet is virtually unknown. At least twice a week I read a couple of poems from this book. She is a tad depressing and many years ago I found it to be delicious to read depressing stuff and listen to depressing music during my bouts of melancholy.
The above Storni book I bought in Buenos Aires this past December 2021. Sitting on a wing chair in the lobby of my Hotel Claridge I discovered upon reading her love poems that somehow I was falling in love with my Rosemary all over again.
I have as complete a library of Jorge Luís Borges that anybody could have. This one, of most of his poems until 1977 (he died in 1986) was one of my first Borges purchases. I bought it at Librería Gandi in Mexico City. I have always cut articles from magazines and newspapers and put them inside my books. Some would say that the acid in newspaper would degrade some of my first editions. Like Clark Gable I don't give a damn.
This Borges book is by my bed as I love to read and indulge in the obsession of a man who adored writing prologues for books. This one has a prologue for the prologues and it ranges from Ray Bradbury to Shakespeare.
Twenty Twenty (in the old style of writing you never began a sentence with a number that was not written with letters) was the year that three events fundamentally changed my life. We had Covid and my Rosemary died on December 2020. Reading Rayuela (I had before years ago) seriously from beginnn\ig to end and then in the various suggested variations by Cortázar took me 6 months. I belive that Rayuela might be as difficult a novel as Ulysses. I rested from Rayuela by reading my many books of Cortázar's poetry and short stories.
I can thruthfully write here that I have never opened this lovely Emily Dickinson book that has its own slip cover. Why? All of her poetry is available on the net and as I wrote above that is how I mate my photographs to her poems. Below you will find my many blogs where I have combined her poetry with my photographs. I have almost as many with Cortázar and with Borges.
A Slash of Blue – Emily Dickinson
Pink Small and punctual
A slash of blue
I cannot dance upon my toes
Ah little rose
For hold them, blue to blue
The colour of the grave is green
Linda Melsted - the music of the violin does not emerge alone
The Charm invests her face
A sepal, a petal and a thorn
The Savior must have been a docile Gentleman
T were blessed to have seen
There is no frigate like a book
I pay in satin cash
Water makes many beds
The viola da gamba
But sequence ravelled out of reach
A parasol is the umbrella's daughter
Without the power to die
Lessons on the piny
Ample make this bed
How happy is the little stone
The shutting of the eye
I dwell in possibility
when Sappho was a living girl
In a library
A light exists in spring
The lady dare not lift her veil
I took my power in my hand
I find my feet have further goals
I cannot dance upon my toes
The Music of the Violin does not emerge alone
He touched me, so I live to know
Rear Window- The Entering Takes Away
Said Death to Passion
We Wear the Mask That Grins And Lies
It was not death for I stood alone
The Music in the Violin Does Not Emerge Alone
I tend my flowers for thee
Lavinia Norcross Dickinson
Pray gather me anemone!
Ample make her bed
His caravan of red
Me-come! My dazzled face
Develops pearl and weed
But peers beyond her mesh
Surgeons must be very careful
Water is taught by thirst
I could not prove that years had feet
April played her fiddle
A violin in Baize replaced
I think the longest hour
The spirit lasts