Thought of the Day

I don't believe in morality, but I believe in ethical conduct as set out by His Holiness the Dalai Lama: "Ethical conduct = a way of behaving that respects others’ right to be happy".

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Double Recurrence

11th November is Remembrance Day in the UK and St Martyn's Day in Italy ~ double celebration!

Remembrance Day is in honour of the victims and  veterans from the World Wars and beyond. St Martyn was a Roman soldier. The most famous legend of his life is that he once cut his cloak in half to share with a beggar during a snowstorm, to save the beggar from dying of the cold.

In England people wear a poppy as a sign of respect and observe a couple of minutes of silence in remembrance, as well as participating to various public celebrations.

In Italy, as in other European countries, it is tradition to eat roasted chestnuts in front of the fire and drink red wine with friends. It's a lovely custom that I have sadly lost because a. I don't own a fireplace, b. this is the first time in years that I remember it. Leaving in a secular country like England you can easily forget any religious festivity that is not Christmas.

I have never been a huge fan of Carducci, his poems being a bit too far-fetched and nursery-rhymed for my tastes {very unaccademic observation!}. But it is the very first poem children learn at school. It's a classic:

La nebbia agli irti colli
Piovigginando sale,
E sotto il maestrale
Urla e biancheggia il mar;

Ma per le vie del borgo
Dal ribollir de’ tini
Va l’aspro odor de i vini
L’anime a rallegrar.

Gira su’ ceppi accesi
Lo spiedo scoppiettando:
Sta il cacciator fischiando
Su l’uscio a rimirar

Tra le rossastre nubi
Stormi d’uccelli neri,
Com’ esuli pensieri,
Nel vespero migrar.

Giosue Carducci

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