Morning Song, from Ariel, a collection of poems by Sylvia Plath, published posthumously in 1965

Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.

Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.

I’m no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind’s hand.

All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.

One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat’s. The window square

Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.

A passable insight into this work may be found here. LJ

La ratatouille provençale

I love this dish, but only when it is prepared perfectly, for botched approximations are invariably grotesque parodies and an offence to the palate. I have never eaten a good one outside France and I have yet to be served a good one in a restaurant. The best I have ever had was with a wonderful family who welcomed me when I was hitch-hiking as a student. They had fought with the resistance in the mountains near Grenoble during the war and I was greatly privileged to be shown the location of their operations and to join them at the ceremony commemorating the massacre at the Massif du Vercors. They were amongst friends there and the poignancy of the enduring solidarity between them was palpable. LJ

“L’art de préparer une vraie ratatouille provençale” : http://madame.lefigaro.fr/cuisine/lart-de-preparer-une-vraie-ratatouille-provencale-090818-150053

I’m not quite sure how convincing this is. It concerns a scientific analysis of the conflicting claims of Lennon and McCartney to authorship of certain songs that will soon have sunk into oblivion. Who finances this research?

www.franceinter.fr/culture/comment-la-science-a-aide-a-savoir-qui-a-vraiment-ecrit-les-chansons-des-beatles

It is difficult to imagine that such research can attract financial support, given the competition for funds from far more worthwhile fields of human endeavour. It can only be imputable to a kind of infatuation, I infer, notwithstanding the ephemeral charm of certain of their songs. LJ

Behemoth, bully, thief: how the English language is taking over the planet | News | The Guardian

The international hegemony of English is indeed troubling, as is the tentacular presence of American culture. Vive la différence! That said, mastery of the lingua franca within a nation, English in England, French in France and so on, would seem to me to be a fitting intellectual project, if not a requirement (but let us be compassionate here) for those aspiring to citizenship.

Let us not forget Goethe’s aphoristic injunction:

“Wer fremde Sprachen nicht kennt, weiß nichts von seiner eigenen.”

(He who cannot speak languages other than his own, knows nothing of his own. Goethe: Maxim 91)

Personally, I have no time for the zealous indignation of the lawyer who arrogantly sought to upbraid those speaking Spanish (thug and fool), but perhaps still less for the angry herd that subsequently persecuted him (thugs, fools and creatures of the crowd). America seems unwell. 

Some very interesting points are raised in the article below, admittedly not for the first time, but the timing of their exposition nevertheless seems appropriate, in this troubled world, with its conflicting bogus certitudes and their crassly indignant advocates.

LJ

The long read: No language in history has dominated the world quite like English does today. Is there any point in resisting?
— Read on www.theguardian.com/news/2018/jul/27/english-language-global-dominance