Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Diary III

1 March 2013
Comes a message in the morning with the title "Yikes"
Every day, every hour, it's just one problem after another, isn't it?
The fundamental problem is, of course, how we view ourselves, and the other. If all are truly One, then how can we possibly damage ourselves or any other living thing?This is the shift in perception and perspective which will mark an evolutionary step towards a new future.  Call it Non-Duality in Action, if you will.

GOn Fri, Mar 1, 2013 at 10:58 AM, Eabha Rosenstock <e.rosie@gmail.com> wrote:http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/28/ethiopian-women-given-contraceptives-israel

...and in the evening...

he refers to a promising poet in Belfast: Gearoid Mac Lochlainn and sends the following link:

Thomas Rain Crowe •  October 25, 2003

Speaking in Tongues

An Interview with Belfast poet Gearóid Mac Lochlainn

"In May of 2002, I received an e-mail message from Irish poet and translator Gabriel Rosenstock informing me of the publication, in Ireland, of a new bilingual collection of poems by a young Irish language poet named Gearóid Mac Lochlainn. In Gabriel’s e-letter to me, he praised Mac Lochlainn’s new book Stream of Tongues, saying: “Mac Lochlainn dances with coyotes, with pipers in the heather. Stream of Tongues is a waltz, a side-step, a tango, a Highland fling… Such lovely lunacy is as rare as good watercress these days. For fifteen measly euro, you can enjoy the book and the CD. The CD, you say? Yes, it’s a riot, a rattlebag, and if it doesn’t attract a cult following, I’m giving up on cults. I, for one, believe that this stream of tongues, this crazy confluence, deserves a wide readership, at home and abroad.”

Feeding off of Gabriel Rosenstock’s enthusiasm, I quickly emailed Cló-Iar-Chonnachta — the publisher of Stream of Tongues — requesting a review copy and to see for myself what all the excitement surrounding this book and this young poet from Belfast was about."

Source: http://www.ashevillepoetryreview.com/2003/issue-13/interview-with-gearoid-mac-lochlainn



This prompted following reply:

Dear Gabriel, so you are a real instigator. I shall pass it on to my friends in Belfast. Interesting, this search for a human voice... hatto
2 March 2013  a Saturday
Looks interesting.. I wonder would they support translations into minority languages (Irish, Welsh, Faroese etc) via English as a bridge language?
To which I replied:
Athens on Sat, Mar 2, 2013 at 1:42 PM
Dear Gabriel,
"taking recourse to tradition means always to distort the perception of the present."
- Paul Tillich
Surely the Indian government knows why it is doing this interesting website.
When I read first the title 'interesting site', for a moment I thought or rather asked myself did I tell you what I put up last on the website of Poiein kai Prattein? For we had once as visitor a politician who represents the German minority in Denmark. We showed him around in Athens before taking him to Spyros Mercouris, in order to link him up with the spirit of Melina who had initiated after all the European Capital of Culture idea. So linked to your question about Franz Fanon, there is the edifice called Acropolis. It poses an interesting question as to what can be the basis of European cultures, if we keep Franz Fanon in mind.
Then he send a link with the comment 'of possible interest':

John O’Donohue: The Sacred, Secret World of the Soul

John O’Donohue, beloved Irish poet and philosopher of the heart, made a lasting impression on Sounds True producer Mitchell Clute, who recalls John’s vast appetites, deep feelings, and laser-sharp mind. For this week’s Producer’s Pick, Mitchell chose a selection from Longing and Belonging: The John O’Donohue Collection. Though he hears John’s “magic” in all his recordings, Mitchell chose this particular selection, which gives us insight into the landscape that shaped John’s soul. This recording originally appeared on O’Donohue’s Anam Cara, an eight-hour audio journey into the heart of Ireland’s spiritual wisdom and practice.



The Website of Poiein kai Prattein attempts to stay free even from forms of advertisement as it leads inevitably to a kind of subtle commercialization. On the other hand, how to get to know what is happening in different cultural worlds, in this case the Irish one? The problem becomes even greater when the language used to praise can be written with intent to sell rather than to be critical while still able to give recognition. In the case with Gabriel, his judgement of others is very reliable even while he seeks to promote above all the Irish language and those who do write in that language.


March 4, 2013 Monday

Athens 4.3.2013

Dear Gabriel,

thanks for giving me a taste of Zen. Arthur Koestler used the spider's web as metaphor for balance, since no matter how many points of attachment (4, 5, 6 etc.), a spider's web is always balanced. The miracle of nature. Again in the poem you have translated so well, I cannot but get the feeling, there is always a knife's edge involved as if the spider and its net is somehow 'better' than what man ever does. This self negation makes me ask why we trust so often readily something nature does and even though we do not understand in reality what a spider thinks, we flatter ourselves as if we know more of that world than our own consciousness. That then leaves open the question about what is the 'mind'? Naturally we can be amazed in the way the poem describes it so elegantly. Like a breeze or was the spider really present? many thanks hatto


On Mon, 4 Mar 2013 11:15:46 +0000, Gabriel Rosenstock wrote:




“Ná caith do chuid ama ag scríobh dánta nó aistí ar Zen . . .”_                                            Nyogen Senzaki

Is fada anois ó leagas súil ar dhamhán alla ach tá an t-am féin tamall maith in easnamh: Cad is am damháin alla ann? An ndeir sé leis féin, ‘Tá tamall maith anois ann ambaist ó nocht mo dhuine an scrioblálaí a thugann faoi deara mé is nach gá dom eagla a bheith orm roimhe.’ Dá nochtfadh sé anois, an damhán alla, d’fhéadfaimis ár gcuid móideanna a thabhairt arís: Gan cur isteach ar a chéile go deo ár gconair féin a leanúint scéalta a fhí, neamhspleách ar a chéile.   Creathán sa líon folamh. An bhfuil sé chugainn? An damhán alla? As an bhfolús? Níl, níl ann ach feoithne séideán as ball éigin   Nó an aigne, díreach, gluaiseacht shíodúil na haigne


_“Do not spend time writing poems or essays on Zen . . .”_                                                    Nyogen Senzaki

A long time now since I have seen a spider but time, too, has been such a long while away: What is spider-time? Does spider think, ‘A long time now since that bloke appeared the scribbler who notices me the one I needn’t fear.’ If only he would show up now, spider, we could renew our vows – never to interfere with each other go our own way weave our tales, independently.   The empty cobweb flutters. Is he coming? Spider? From nowhere? No, it’s only a breeze a draught from somewhere   Or the mind, simply, silky movement of mind


12 June 2013 Wednesday

One day after the closure of ERT was announced in Greece, the poets responded to the news in various ways. Gabriel decided to refer to Martin Walser.

On Wed, Jun 12, 2013 at 10:24 PM, Gabriel Rosenstock wrote:
Dear Hatto,
It is good that we constantly return to the responsibility of poets in today's world.I believe that modern western civilsation has caused a spiritual and mental  paralysis among many poets and artists across all disciplines.Currently, myself and fellow-translator Hans-Christian Oeser, are working on our thirteenth trilingual volume together, German, English and Irish. This time it is the poems of Martin Walser (found in diaries and other writings). In my Afterword I intend to write something along these lines:
It is no wonder to me that Martin Walser wrote his Ph.D dissertaion on Kafka. After all, there's something Kafkaesquely wrong with the world he lives in - that we all live in - some kind of psychosis. Is that not so? Who suffers from this psychosis? The community/ society, the writer, the reader? All of us, of course. In his prose and in his poetry, we feel that various characters seem to be suffering various crises, the writer included, and happiness seems very far off indeed.
Such themes in modern literature have made  addicts of the reading public - and of anyone who watches a play, a TV entertainment or a film; we need our dose of pessimism, of despair and of cynicism since anything pleasant or happy or humane, or innocent would strike us as lacking veracity. That's the way it is. We need this pain. The irony. The mockery. The violence.
And yet, Walser is called by some a Heimatdichter. He wants to go home. Wouldn't we all! He would like to escape from the Kafkaesque maze, escape from the German shame of two world wars and the concentration camps. Can we escape from history? Reading and translating his poems, I found myself trapped in a Kafkaesque world. This was not created by Kafka, or Walser. It is we who have created this world. What must we do? Break it, break this world?
ich muß es zerschlagen
bevor es Nacht wird
This world of consumerism, this world of depersonalisation. Can we open our mouths about it? No, the modern condition is paralysis. Walser says if he opened his mouth he might scream:
ich weiß, er will schreien
The sickness of western society is such that it needs a crisis to be whole again. Walser is typical of the ennui, cynicism and disenchantment that pervades an awful lot of modern writing in the West. I have always done my best to avoid being infected by this dis-ease, a word I deliberately hyphenate. An early interest in macrobiotics, Transcendental Meditation and haiku, for starters, as well as minority cultures, all combined to work as an antidote to the dis-ease of the West. And so we look at the diseased patient and ask, what now? A crisis?
This is what we are waiting for, what we expect to happen to the patient: a crisis. Is it happening already? Or do we see just a few twitches here and there?
Warm wishes,


8 July 2013 Monday


News from the Celtic League:



Mon, 8 Jul 2013 10:51:24 +0100


Gabriel Rosenstock



If there was a Nobel Prize for hypocrisy it would most certainly be awarded to the Irish government and its police officers at Shannon Airport.
For several years the Celtic League and peace activists in Ireland have urged the Irish government to admit its involvement in rendition. We have also pressed the Irish authorities to accept that CIA and other US military air assets using the Airport at Shannon should have been thoroughly examined so that contraband munitions could have been seized and detained persons carried on these aircraft released. All efforts have been met with evasiveness.
In a somewhat bizarre development it was admitted last week that Irish officials are in receipt of an arrest warrant from the US relating to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden who it is assumed may transit via Shannon if/when his requests for asylum in Latin America are successful.
Shannon airport has been used as a stopover by International flights from Russia since the days of the Cold War when Soviet airline Aeroflot opened up routes via Ireland (the furthest west European non NATO country) to Cuba.
If enacted the arrest warrant will enable Snowden to be held for 18 days whilst Irish and US authorities process his extradition.
It seems that after years of inertia Irish police at Shannon may finally be in action not to apprehend wrongdoing but rather to arrest an individual being carried lawfully between Russia and his destination jurisdiction – you could not make it up!

Related links on CL News here:

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information

For comment or clarification on this news item in the first instance contact:
General Secretary, Celtic League: gensec@celticleague.net

The General Secretary will determine the appropriate branch or General Council Officer to respond to your query.


The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

Internet site at:



9 July 2013 Tuesday

Poets honour Norb Blei in Haiku form

As urged by Hatto Fischer

In memory of

NORB BLEI (1935-2013) who wrote this Haiku upon entering Basho's Road:

seven years now,

hanging from a nail in the barn

my father's cap and coat

(Published in tinywords, 2 October, 2006)

In memory of Norb Blei, Gabriel translated Norb's Haiku poem into Gaelic.

seacht mbliana

ar crochadh de thairne sa scioból

caidhp is cóta m'athar

Irish translation: Gabriel Rosenstock

In turn, it prompted a response by many poets around the world to do likewise a translation: http://roghaghabriel.blogspot.ie/


"Very touching.  Each time I step upward on a worn stair trend, I wonder who before me struggled with gravity as I add a little more polish and erosion to this world of ghosts."

- John and Liz Scarlett



23 July 2013 Wednesday

Gabriel Rosenstock introduces and translates a famous Irish poem,

 L. S. Gógan’s Na Coisithe.

Was Gógan (1891-1979) familiar with the works of his contemporary Walter de la Mare (1873-1956)? No reason to think not. The Listeners by de la Mare is from 1912 and Gógan began publishing poety from 1919 onwards. An indication of the popularity of this poem is the slightly different versions that can be found today.

Na Coisithe was the title of a TG4 film made by Johnny Gogan on the life of his extraordinary grandfather who, after his death, was described by The Irish Times thus: ‘With his well-bred voice and fine looks, his monocle and his bow tie, he did not seem somehow a typical supporter of the language movement. But his loyalty to the language was the passion of his life.’

The Walkers

In the dead of night I hear them

walkers on their rounds,

I see them not, know them not

I only hear their sounds.


In the very heart of darkness

when all are fast asleep

I hear them all advancing

out of the vast deep.


And who are they, those restless ones,

souls in a quandary?

Are they, unhappy with their lot,

 doomed to wandering?


In the very heart of the dark night

when all are wrapped in sleep

I hear the walkers trudging

out of the vast deep.


Na Coisithe

I gcoim na hoíche cloisim iad

Na coisithe ag siúl;

Airím iad, ní fheicim iad,

Ní fios cá mbíonn a gcuaird.


I gcoim na hoíche dorcha

Is an uile ní i suan,

Airím teacht na gcoisithe

I lár an bhaile chiúin.


An daoine iad nach sona dóibh?

Nó anamacha i bponc?

Nach aoibhinn dóibh an t-ionad sin

Ina gcónaíonn siad go buan?


I gcoim na hoíche dorcha

Is cách ina dtoirchim suain,

Is ea a chloisimse na coisithe

Ag teacht is ag imeacht uaim.



27 July 2013
Red Pine Bill Porter Translator of Chinese Poetry
RedPine - The Poet Translator wonderful short documentary with Red Pine (Bill Porter), the famous translator of Chinese Classics and Chinese
Gabriel calls translation the ultimate art, and sends this note as well to Satchi.

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