Wednesday, 20 February 2013

And the term starts... a hooray for my fellow teachers!

Oh my, there we are: first week of classes. It's funny how things seem to be "unbedingt" hectic on this week, isn't it? Students in wrong groups, wrong class material, computer lags, missing audio tracks, a storm in São Paulo (which means: CHAOS, CHAOS, CHAOS), I mean... what else could go wrong?
There is something, indeed, that could go wrong and didn't: maybe I wouldn't be able to cope with all this! And you know what? These are problems which really WOULD get in the way of one's lessons, but they mostly just don't!
Alright, we might have to skip such and such exercise, we might have to apologise for technical problems, we might even have to kick books out of the classroom and start anew, pretend there were no guidelines whatsoever and just be creative... I normally start complaining when those things happen, but at the weekend I find myself having a nice Belgian beer with a coworker, as we tell each other about the mishaps we've had along the week. Among many other things, daily flukes make up that set of things that makes teaching a wonderful profession. We work so hard to predict and prepare, we focus on being ready for everything... but in the end, we get really jolly-trolly-happy when we succeed at addressing those unexpected issues!
Bravo, teachers of the world!!!

Monday, 4 February 2013

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

OMG, how come I haven't posted this yet? This is the best poem ever, written by the great monsieur Samuel Taylor Coleridge. I discovered the poem back in my teen days, a time when I would hear Iron Maiden's musical rendition of it until my ears bled.

I'll be working on two translations (one in European Portuguese and one in Brazilian Portuguese) of the poem as an academic assignment this year. I've got to post both the poem and Maiden's song here. The poem's a bit long, so I'm posting a teaser and a link to it. There you go:

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/173253

How a Ship having passed the Line was driven by storms to the cold Country towards the South Pole; and how from thence she made her course to the tropical Latitude of the Great Pacific Ocean; and of the strange things that befell; and in what manner the Ancyent Marinere came back to his own Country.

PART I

It is an ancient Mariner,

And he stoppeth one of three.

'By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,

Now wherefore stopp'st thou me?


The Bridegroom's doors are opened wide,

And I am next of kin;

The guests are met, the feast is set:

May'st hear the merry din.'


He holds him with his skinny hand,

'There was a ship,' quoth he.

'Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!'

Eftsoons his hand dropt he.


He holds him with his glittering eye—

The Wedding-Guest stood still,

And listens like a three years' child:

The Mariner hath his will.


The Wedding-Guest sat on a stone:

He cannot choose but hear;

And thus spake on that ancient man,

The bright-eyed Mariner.


'The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared,

Merrily did we drop

Below the kirk, below the hill,

Below the lighthouse top.


The Sun came up upon the left,

Out of the sea came he!

And he shone bright, and on the right

Went down into the sea.


Higher and higher every day,

Till over the mast at noon—'

The Wedding-Guest here beat his breast,

For he heard the loud bassoon.


The bride hath paced into the hall,

Red as a rose is she;

Nodding their heads before her goes

The merry minstrelsy.


The Wedding-Guest he beat his breast,

Yet he cannot choose but hear;

And thus spake on that ancient man,

The bright-eyed Mariner.


And now the STORM-BLAST came, and he

Was tyrannous and strong:

He struck with his o'ertaking wings,

And chased us south along.


With sloping masts and dipping prow,

As who pursued with yell and blow

Still treads the shadow of his foe,

And forward bends his head,

The ship drove fast, loud roared the blast,

And southward aye we fled.


And now there came both mist and snow,

And it grew wondrous cold:

And ice, mast-high, came floating by,

As green as emerald.


And through the drifts the snowy clifts

Did send a dismal sheen:

Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken—

The ice was all between.


The ice was here, the ice was there,

The ice was all around:

It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,

Like noises in a swound!


At length did cross an Albatross,

Thorough the fog it came;

As if it had been a Christian soul,

We hailed it in God's name.


It ate the food it ne'er had eat,

And round and round it flew.

The ice did split with a thunder-fit;

The helmsman steered us through!


And a good south wind sprung up behind;

The Albatross did follow,

And every day, for food or play,

Came to the mariner's hollo!


In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud,

It perched for vespers nine;

Whiles all the night, through fog-smoke white,

Glimmered the white Moon-shine.'


'God save thee, ancient Mariner!

From the fiends, that plague thee thus!—

Why look'st thou so?'—With my cross-bow

I shot the ALBATROSS.