Proverbial Thursday – Global Words of Wisdom

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In the current climate, perhaps these words will resonate and give us Something to Ponder About

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Monday Mystery Photo – Last time Faroe Islands

Each Monday, I post a mystery photo, or occasionally a mystery object. I encourage you to leave a comment if you think you might know where this week’s mystery photograph, supplied by Dudda St., is located, or what it is.

Where in the world could the following photo be found?

Albaprovincia di Cuneo, regione di PiemonteMR

Last week’s Mystery photo was a difficult one. It was a statue located outside the local swimming hall in Thorshavn in the Faroes. Here is a reminder of what it looked like:

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As the Faroe Islands are part of the Kingdom of Denmark, Gerard  answer was correct!  Thanks Gerard for participating!!! Well done!!

Who will be the next winner of Monday Mystery Photo on Something to Ponder About?

Monday Mystery

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Travel Tuesday – Hong Kong Airport

20160715_164828.jpgSpending long layovers at airports awaiting international flights can be a real drag and whilst the Airport in Hong Kong is far from the best I’ve visited, it does have some extra comfort features which others often lack.  If you are heading to Hong Kong in the near future, knowing the following could make your wait time a more pleasant experience.

Power Access

There are power access and charging points located at stations throughout the seating areas, at all the departure gates. Lift the tiny slot and insert your USB charging cable from your device or smart phone for a quick re-charge. Especially handy if you have your boarding pass saved on your device and your phone shuts down due to low battery!

Where can you Rest and Relax?

The departure gates have large seating areas and alternate rows of 3- seater continuum, (i.e. seats without inside armrests), for passengers with long layovers who really need to lie flat to rest. You can also find reclining lounges in the ‘snooze area,’ sectioned off, as it is, amidst potted plants, in a quiet zone behind the shops. Please note that there are only about ten of these highly sought after lounges, so it might be necessary to stake one out, if you wish to secure one, when it becomes free. The reason: many passengers, (annoyingly), place their bags on the vacant lounge and walk away to explore the shops, leaving other family members to guard both the bag and vacant lounge, which they do, in a way not dissimilar to a rottweiler trained to kill any contender who comes a bit too close.

Lounges

There is a pay-to-use lounge open for all departing passengers, upstairs, and this along with the airline’s business lounge, looked to be a fairly basic affair. Massages and the usual gym are also available at a price.

Get Connected

If you are without a smart device of your own, there are still plenty of free internet stations in both terminals, that will grant you web access in free 15 minute blocks (renewable). Just remember to log out of social media/sites to protect your privacy as it is a public computer and stores your history.

Anything Special?

Chek Lap Kok is a very busy airport and the massive glass windows, lining both sides of the departure hall, not only let in lots of natural light, they also allow departing passengers to view the spectacular landings and takeoffs of planes at close proximity compared to many modern airports. In fact, you can see quite a bit of Hong Kong in the distance, again unlike other airports, that I find, are often situated far out of the city areas. A bonus if you are merely transiting through Hong Kong.

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Food/Drink

Another feature you won’t find in many other airports, is the provision of hot, cold and warm water, on tap – gratis. This is particularly useful if you like your own special type of tea or have a spare teabag/cocoa from generic hotel chain stays or even need to warm the baby’s bottle.  It was a godsend for me. I know the Workplace health and Safety workers are uttering loud audible gasps right about now, but of course quite sensibly, there is a child proof lock on the hot water tap, so it is all good.

Starbucks maintain a store here, as well as several high-end fashion stores. Usual pricing prevails.

The Down Side

Transit passengers at Hong Kong Airport, must go through security a second time before they access the shopping areas. Furthermore, a manual check of hand luggage is often conducted at boarding time, as you pass through the departure gate itself. At least they have safety in mind!

Since the airport’s redevelopment and the Chinese government officially re-gained control over Hong Kong,  there are now many more street and advisory signs written predominantly in Chinese. English language signage is present, but you won’t find it on every corner,  so at times one needs to make use of the picture icons to make sense of the sign, in particular those detailing the airport layout and direction of movement for some of the 68,488,000 passengers that pass through its hall.

Smokers have a specially designated area at the airport but I have, unfortunately, noted that the disabled toilets often reek of tobacco, despite signs prohibiting smoking in those locations. Hefty fines are imposed if caught, so beware!

New Zealand TeMata

And my final tips for an enjoyable layover, are to remember to drink plenty of water or fluids other than tea, coffee and alcohol, (which dehydrates the body), and, walk around the departure hall prior to your flight, as maintaining fluids and exercise are important to reduce the risk of flight related health problems, such as Flight- related Deep Vein Thrombosis.

Travel Tuesday – Something to Ponder About

 

 

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Monday Mystery Photo – Last time Malta

Each Monday, I post a mystery photo, or occasionally a mystery object. I encourage you to leave a comment if you think you might know where this week’s mystery photograph, supplied by Dudda St., is located, or what it is.

Where in the world could the following structure be found?

imageCindy and Drake very quickly identified the Monday mystery photo last time. It was indeed the rotunda in Mosta, Malta. Thanks so much to Milliethom for submitting this photo to Monday Mystery Photo.

Mosta Dome, Malta

Do you have a photo you would like to contribute to my Monday Mystery Photo feature? Simply drop me an email if you are interested.

Monday Mystery

 

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Proverbial Thursday – Global Words of Wisdom

I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.

Each Thursday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking. 

I hope you will too.

Proverbial sml

“A thousand workers, a thousand plans” – Chinese Proverb

pulling-out-hair

You do the thing you’re scared shitless of and then you get your courage. Not before. That’s the way it works. Three Kings, (Movie)

What do you make of the saying and the Proverb? Do you agree?

If not, why not?

(Oh! I sound like one of those dreadful surveys asking you to rate things between 1 and 10 then asking you to justify your answers…. please let me know your thoughts anyway).

Something to Ponder About this Thursday*

  • for past discussions on Proverbial Thursday, use the Search bar and enter Proverbial Thursday
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Monday Mystery Photo – Last time Switzerland

Each Monday*, I post a mystery photo, or occasionally a mystery object. I do encourage you to leave a comment if you think you might know where this week’s mystery photograph is located, or what it is. Thanks to Millie Thom for contributing the photograph this week.

Where is the world is this?

Mosta Dome, Malta

Last time on MMP,  (photo shown below), we were in Switzerland, casting our glances over a wintry day on the Linmat river in Zurich. Tidious Ted and NonsmokingLadyBug and SnowSomewhere both correctly recognized the photograph. Perhaps they have been to Zurich and know that it was founded as a Roman settlement in 15 BC, or that the Bahnhofstaße is a very wealthy street as Zurich’s banks hold the largest stocks of gold reserves in the world. Despite this fact, 4/5 of Zurich’s population works in the service industries.

zurich LImmat river

*Please note that during the Northern summer of 2016, MMP may not be posted each and  every week due to circumstances beyond my control.

Monday Mystery

 

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Monday Mystery Photo – last time India

Each Monday, I post a mystery photo, or occasionally a mystery object. I do encourage you to leave a comment if you think you might know where this week’s mystery photograph is located, or what it is.   Where is the world is this?

If you guess the location of the above photograph correctly, I will credit you the following week* and post a link to your site/blog.

 Last time,  SnowSomewhere had a great guess, however, Drake, TidiousTed,and Freda from Aromatic Essence correctly revealed the MMP was in India. It was, in fact, a door in the city palace in Jaipur, India, that forms part of a Maharaja’s palace. Dating back to the 18th Century, the palace was built for the Maharaja of Jaipur, and remains a royal residence even today.

mmp may13

In an inner courtyard, there are a series of four doorways or ‘gates.’ Each of the doors is decorated in a unique way and represents one of the four seasons and a Hindu god. The one featured last time on MMP,  was the Southwest Lotus Gate, dedicated to Shiva and Parvati, representing the summer season. A marvelous example of traditional art and architecture.

Monday Mystery

Monday Mystery Photo is something to ponder about*

  • *Due to circumstances, MMP may not be posted every week over the Northern Summertime
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Monday Mystery Photograph – Last week Tasmania

Each Monday, I post a mystery photo, or occasionally a mystery object. I do encourage you to leave a comment if you think you might know where this week’s mystery photograph is located, or what it is.

Where is the world is this?

mmp may13

If you guess the location of the above photograph correctly, I will credit you the following week and post a link to your site/blog.

 

Last week, Tara, Drake, TidiousTed and Mosy and Millie Thom correctly revealed the MMP was in Port Arthur,  Australia, on the island of Tasmania, at a location infamous for its violent criminal offenders and harsh treatment of inmates, in the early days of penal (convict) settlement, in Australia.

MMP March28

Convict prisoners, at this seemingly idyllic spot, spent their time doing hard labour in complete silence. The only time they were permitted to speak was in Church on Sundays when they could sing along with the hymns, whilst positioned in high panelled wooden boxes, which prevented them making eye contact or engaging in any dialogue with other prisoners. A hell on earth, surely….

In modern times, Port Arthur has also been associated with violence and a great tragedy. In 1996, a lone gunmen killed 35 people, including children, in cold blood, and injured at least 20 more, using a high powered assault rifle.  In less than a minute, he had killed 15 people in the cafe located on this site. A senseless waste of human life, and untold life-long misery for the families left behind. The gunman, who was judged not to be criminally insane, had the capacity to shoot, kill and maim without warning or provocation. He later stated he deliberately chose Port Arthur for his killing sprees, particularly because of its history as a prison for violent offenders in penal times.

This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the Port Arthur Massacre in Tasmania. The photo above dates from a time close to the event. As a result of the massacre, Australia introduced severe restrictions on firearms, and despite Tasmania’s attempt to refuse to comply, Australia now has in place stringent laws governing purchase, ownership and storage of firearms. There have been no further massacres in Australia,since these laws have been introduced.

Monday Mystery

Something sobering to Ponder About

 

 

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Proverbial Thursday – World Proverbs

I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.

Proverbial sml

Each Thursday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking. 

I hope you will too.

Talk does not cook rice – Chinese proverb

slowcooker

Gertrude Stein was  an educated American writer and art collector who lived in the first half of the twentieth century, promoting post impressionist painters like Matisse and Picasso. Some of her words are provocative, innovative and profound.

When you get there, there isn’t any there, there – Gertrude Stein

It is funny that men who are supposed to be scientific cannot get themselves to realize the basic principle of physics, that action and reaction are equal and opposite, that when you persecute people you always rouse them to be strong and stronger – Gertrude Stein
 
Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense – Gertrude Stein

What do you make of the Chinese proverb?

Do you think Gertrude Stein makes a profound point in the quotes?

Intrigued and wish to read more of her words? Find them here:

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/g/gertrude_stein.html

Something Proverbial to Ponder About this Thursday

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Monday Mystery Photo – Last week Whitby, U.K.

Each Monday, I post a mystery photo, or occasionally a mystery object. I do encourage you to leave a comment if you think you might know where this week’s mystery photograph is located, or what it is.

MMP March28

Can you identify the location of these mystery photographs?

If you guess the location of the above photographs correctly, I will credit you the following week and post a link to your site/blog.

Last week the Mystery Photo was taken by Millie Thom at Whitby Harbour, UK with Whitby Abbey in the background. Gerard, Drake and Ted were the quickest off the mark to tell me it was the town of Whitby in the UK. Not ever having visited the town myself, I have to trust Ted that it is on the Yorkshire coast, which I am sure it is.

Interestingly, there is two other Whitby towns in the world. Captain James Cook would indeed be pleased!!! One Whitby is located in Canada, [thanks TidiousTed], and the other  is located in New Zealand, not far from Wellington, the capital city. However, one might imagine it looks vastly different from its British namesake, although it doesn’t have a harbor.

Monday Mystery

Something to Ponder About this Monday

** Please note that Monday Mystery Photo will likely be in recess for most of the 2016 European summer. Please let me know if you would like to take the task on as MMP guest writer, for several weeks during mid June-July.  ***

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Proverbial Thursday -Global Words of Wisdom

I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.

Proverbial sml

Each Thursday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking. 

I hope you will too.

Live your own life, for you will die your own death.
Latin Proverb

Challenge doesn’t build character, it reveals it – Unknown

Do you agree?

Something to Ponder About this Thursday

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Traditional Art – Boleslawiec Stoneware

The Polish Pottery Festival in Boleslawiec, Poland celebrates a tradition of ceramic pottery dating back to the 14th century. Largely unknown in some parts of the world, it has become a sought after souvenir by tourists visiting the German-Czech border region. In this month’s Traditional Art Post, I explore Bolesławiec (pronounced Bowl-e-swa-vee-etz) stoneware.

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Polish Pottery Festival in Bolesławiec

 

Using a fine, white kaolin clay found in the river basins of the surrounding area, Boleslawiec pottery is molded or turned, and then fired in ovens, at temperatures in excess of 1350°C with a clear, lead-free glaze, thus making it non-toxic and highly impervious to abrasives. Incredibly, it doesn’t chip or crack easily and can not only be used in the oven or microwave, but is also dishwasher safe!!  The perfect stoneware!!!

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Traditional Boleslawiec patterns were punched using hand-stencils,  originally using vegetables such as the humble potato. [Remember doing this kind of stamping in kindergarten art?]

This was the preferred decorative design standard for hundreds of years until the master potter, Johann Gottlieb Altman, introduced designs of circles, dots, scales and clover leaves in the early 1830’s.  The colorful and durable work of arts on white backgrounds appealed to the European nobility and as a result, Boleslawiec’ popularity grew.

Today, the contemporary ‘Unikat’ series has taken Boleslawiec ceramic design to a whole new level. With ever more complicated motifs, patterns and colours, and complemented by hand-painting techniques, this means a finished piece of Boleslawiec pottery will now easily command a high price in the marketplace.

Tradycyjna-polska-ceramika-z-Boleslawca

The fine grain white clay, Kaolin, is of such high quality, it is used to make fine porcelain dishes as well. Once processed to the right consistency it begins its metamorphosis from earth to heirloom quality stoneware. Either molded or formed on a potter’s wheel, the piece is air-dried, trimmed and cleaned, then pre-burnt in preparation for the application of the final design. Originally stamped or “punched” using vegetables, the artists’ tools have evolved to longer lasting media like sea sponges or rubber stamps. This time-consuming process may require from one to ten different sized or shaped stencils to fill the ceramic’s surface design.  Moreover, the number of punches may reach into the thousands on a particular piece. The paints used are completely non-toxic, free of lead and cadmium. Source: http://neveradulldayinpoland.com/boleslawiec-poland-aka-polish-pottery-heaven/

Boleslawiecpottery

Stamped pottery decorations with the famous “eye of the peacock’s tail” motif have been produced since the beginning of the 19th century and are recognized among the finest examples of European pottery. Village craftsmen and peasants of lower Silesia, inspired by the peacock’s feather motif, have added incredible strength and beauty to these objects, which have long been admired for their quality and decorative appeal. Each piece is hand painted and initialed/signed by skilled artisans. 

 

boleslawiec talerze wzory

In 1897, the Professional School of Ceramics was established in Bolesławiec.  The many technological advances and innovative methods taught helped town of Bolesławiec to earn the reputation, “town of good clay” in the region.

However, World War II took its toll on the Bolesławiec ceramics industry. The ceramic workshops were destroyed. In 1946, efforts began to revive the ceramics industry in Bolesławiec. Over time, new cooperatives were formed and the skilled and talented potters in the region began rebuilding the pottery industry in Bolesławiec to what it is today. Source: (http://www.polishstoneware.com/about_polish_pottery/sec_polish_pottery_history/)

 

Traditional art is always something so inspiring to ponder about.

Rosemaling traditional art

Something to Ponder About

 

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Monday Mystery Photo – Last week Abu Dhabi

Each Monday, I post a mystery photo, or occasionally a mystery object. I do encourage you to leave a comment, if you think you might know, where this week’s mystery photograph is located, or what it is. Thanks goes to  Millie Thom for submitting this week’s photo. Hopefully Millie can elaborate on the location when the answer is given next week.

MMPMay1

If you guess the location of the above photograph correctly, I will credit you the following week and post a link to your site/blog.

Last week the Mystery Photo – Ferrari World is an amusement park on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. – was guessed by Leya, Mosy and Drake  with Andy tracking it as far as the Middle East. An impressive building, don’t you agree?

MMPApril25

 

Do you have a photo that you think could mystify my readers?

Monday Mystery

That is Something to Ponder About

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Shadow – Book by Karin Altvegen

Very Lord of the RingsNowadays people talk a lot about chasing happiness. There are a multitude of books courses about being happy. Feeling happy has become something that we constantly desire convinced that when we have found the secret to being happy, everything will fall into place perfectly. Not being happy has come to be equated with failure. Is it possible to be happy each waking day, year in year out? Is it something worth striving for? Karin Altvegen explores this in her novel, “Shadow.”

Prior to reading this book, I had only read one other book by this author. Shame which had been described as:

“An existential thriller about the power of fear and the brains capability to repress things that is to painful to remember. About the fatal consequences of an atypical childhood.  And about the biggest shame of all: The feeling of not having been loved by one’s parents.”

It seems this theme and moral stand is continued in Karin’s novel, Shadow; So it was with trepidation and a pre-conceived idea that I read this book. And it certainly was about not facing one’s fears and loneliness! The shadows of the past can be forgotten, but their imprint might be indelibly fixed.

This is the story of a son trying to emulate his father: a psychological thriller about relationships and how the past can influence the future – how actions live on after they are long forgotten – what starts from a lack of good parenting, is then compounded by a serious lack of communication, ends with characters who take drastic and monumentally tragic couses of action.

shadow3

Featuring the writers Alice and Axel Ragnerfelt who hold a dark secret, ‘Shadow’ is a family history marked by what seems almost to be a generational pattern of despair. communication.

“She remembered how at first she was so proud to bear the Ragnerfeldt name. Her friends would get a dreamy look in their eyes whenever he was mentioned, and they wanted to hear all about what he was like. But when they noticed her ambivalence and lack of enthusiasm, she was met with suspicion, as if her words had sprung from envy. No one wanted to hear anything negative about Axel, the national treasure. She stopped saying what she felt and joined his crowd of admirers, at least outwardly. It was easier that way.”

One protagonist ponders the moment at which a personal calamity begins?

“When does the first flake fall that will form the snowball? At what stage does the movement start? Was it the day when he secretly chose the linguistic path, …. By now everything had been in motion for a long time. There was only one hour left until what they thought was theirs would be lost for ever.”

“But even a bell’s invisible crack is revealed by a dull peal. Had the evil always been inside him? Or had it taken over when everything was stolen from him. When all that remained to him was the ability to shatter in order to retaliate.  Too late he realized that he had directed his revenge at himself. That what he had shown himself to be capable of had chained him to a shame too heavy to bear.

So how does he handle it?

Gratefully he felt it (the alcohol) take over. The feeling of liberation when the brain when numb. When he was no longer capable of comprehending the depth of his pain. Why weren’t human beings born this way? With their blood spiked from the start with a small percentage of alcohol? With the defense mechanism disconnected and the soul in a state of peace. Was survival really so important that it outweighed all suffering?

Sometimes I think that today we have trouble finding happiness because of our deep fear of suffering. Is happiness a type of contentment?
Contentment is a feeling of having obtained or achieved what can reasonable be desired. And this novel discusses individuals who struggle with contentment…..the courage to settle down and dare to be satisfied with what they have.Very Lord of the Rings

But then on page 154 Altvegen writes, “Someone who puts caution first stifles the life he’s trying to save.”  and the writer’s astute observations made me ponder more about happiness and life, but in a different way.  A tale of murder and family secrets is not for everyone, yet I wondered why this novel was left sitting on my TBR shelf, for so long. It is seriously good.

Shadow is a novel  by Karin Altvegen from 2007 that has been translated into English.

Rating: 8/10

The good: Skillful and suspenseful convoluted plot that switches back and forth with  surprising twists and turns. The depth and layers of this book gives me somethings to ponder about.

 

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Proverbial Thursday – Silesian Weavers

I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.

A bad worker blames his tools – Australian Proverb

silesisan weavers woodcut

Wood engraving, c. 1850.

The year 1844 saw the famous “Weaver’s Revolt,” an event that led to the revolution of 1848/49. The revolt of the Silesian weavers, a response to the injustices of the low paying putting-out system, was violently suppressed by the Prussian military, and the situation of the weavers remained unchanged. Heinrich Heine (1795 – 1856), a famous Prussian poet wrote the poem, reproduced below, titled, “The Silesian Weavers. ” Proving to be his most famous work, it is highlighted, along with his portentous quote/s, this week on Proverbial Thursday, due in part because of the proximity of May day celebrations:

Heinrich Heine:

“Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings”. 

and this:

“We should forgive our enemies, but not before they are hanged”.

Background:

“The weavers worked for incredibly low wages, and as the industrial revolution gathered pace were gradually made unemployed in ever-increasing numbers. Their landlords also took most of their wages, to the point where they were effectively being treated as slave labor. As a result they rebelled against the state in 1844. The uprising was crushed but marked one of the first times that organized workers really attempted to improve their lot in life by working together. As a result, it still has a huge symbolic significance amongst socialist movements worldwide. The weavers inspired Heine to write the following poem which tells how the workers were  exploited and oppressed by the rich. Heine suggests that a day of reckoning can not be long postponed, and that sooner or later the rich will be forced to make amends. ”

The Silesian Weavers (1844)

weber_1844_11

In light-less eyes there are not tears.
They sit at the loom and gnash the gears.
Germany, we weave the cloth of the dead
Threefold be the curse we weave ’round your head
We’re weaving, we’re weaving.

A curse to the god to whom we knelt.
Through the winter’s cold, such hunger felt.
In the past we hoped, we waited, we cried
You’ve mocked us and poxed us and cast us aside
We’re weaving, we’re weaving.

weber_1844_12

A curse on the king of the empire,
Who would not quell our misery’s fire.
He took every penny we had to give
Then shot us like dogs with no right to live
We’re weaving, we’re weaving.

A curse on the cold, ruthless fatherland,
Where outrage and shame fester by your hand,
Where blossoms are trampled under your boot,
Where rot and decay are allowed to take root.
We’re weaving, we’re weaving.

The shuttle is flying, the weaving looms roar.
Day and night we weave with you at our door.
Old Germany, we weave the cloth of the dead.
Threefold be the curse we weave ’round your head.
We’re weaving, we’re weaving.

————————————————-

In the poem monarchy, religion and nationalism are dismissed as being of little comfort when your family is starving and your rights are crushed underfoot. Heine was familiar with Karl Marx and it was Marx’s colleague and friend, Friedrich Engels, who first translated the poem into English.

As a result of this poem, and the riots resulting in revolution, the king of Prussia was forced to allow his people a constitution. This theme was also treated in a naturalistic play called “Die Weber” by Gerhart Hauptman, inspired by the accounts of Wilhelm Wolff. When first preformed in 1983 in Berlin, the German authority banned it.

 Source: http://ciml.250x.com/archive/events/english/1844_weaver_revolt/weaver_revolt_1844_silesia.html

What do you make of Heine’s quote?

Have we really learned any lessons from the worker’s sacrifice? Is the clock winding back?

trickle down

Something to Ponder About this upcoming May Day

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