As it turns out, the Simola family does have a history that is more than just a couple of generations old. The surname Simola was first recorded in Sardinia in 1410. There is no evidence, only wishful thinking on my part, but I prefer to believe that he came from Finland since there are a huge number of Simolas in Finland, and that he stopped in England and met Geoffrey Chaucer. As a result of this unrecorded meeting, this first Sardinian Simola had a copy of The Canterbury Tales made up just for him and that copy is still hiding somewhere in a used bookstore in Sassari, Sardinia and someday I will find it and buy it. Of course this is all just speculation and wishful thinking. Here is what I really know:
The optional prompt for the last day of NaPoWriMo is to translate a poem from another language, so here is my translation of the first 18 lines of the General Prologue of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. My goal was to get the meter of the original right and not worry about the rhyme.
When April’s showers come to ease the drought
of March that shrivels every flower’s roots,
and bathe each leaf in soothing, liquid balm;
his power germinates the waiting flowers;
when Zephyr softly blows with his sweet breath
and turns the brown and barren groves and fields
to green with newly growing leaves and shoots;
and the new year is half through Ares’ course;
then once again the birds begin to sing
throughout the day and hardly sleep at night
(with Nature’s help and her encouragement);
then people start to think about their souls.
They want to make a holy a pilgrimage and go,
to foreign lands and visit famous shrines;
and specially from every English shire,
these pilgrims want to visit Canterbury,
to seek the holy blessed martyred saint
who helped to cure them of their winter ills.
It is still April, still time for a poem a day, but it is also time to work on my bestiary.
The apieryist is worried cause
an alligator’s eating all his bees.
Of course the bees are very, very large
and Allie, well he’s very, very small
and ordinarily is very nice.
It has to be the bees that made him mean.
So monsters really do exist. I know.
They do. I saw another one last night.
I’d gone to call the dog, and there it was.
It wasn’t my imagination. No.
I stood and watched it as it walked right past
my feet. The thing was close enough to touch,
but it ignored me. Treated me as if
I wasn’t even there, like I’m the myth
and it reality. I wonder if
there possibly could be some truth to that.
If we are merely figments, nightmares, dreams
that will be banished with the rising sun.
Though much is taken, much abides, and yet
too often all that anyone can see
is what is taken, what is gone, is lost.
You ask a kid of twenty, “What is old?”
and he might tell you forty, forty-five;
and he’ll be right. He will be old by then.
He will be old because he’ll think he’s old.
And fifty-five? A senior citizen.
His life is over. When can he retire?
And where’s the warehouse where he can be put
until he does the world a favor and
he dies? I look at people who are old
in years and in infirmities and yet
they are not old. They do not wait to die.
Instead they live. For them the world awaits.
It isn’t over till you think it is.
How dull it is to pause and make an end.
It isn’t Armageddon. So? So What?
The lilacs blooming in the Spring are worse.
Remember Eliot’s disdain, disgust
about them growing when the land is dead?
Forget about the lilacs. Anyway
it’s not about the lilacs. They are just
a metaphor, a blazing semaphore
at sea. I know I’m mixing metaphors.
That’s not the point. The point is it’s about
the . . . . Now you’ve got me all confused again.
It isn’t Armageddon. Yes, I know
it’s been already said. Don’t interrupt.
It isn’t Armageddon. It’s about. . . .
I don’t care that you think that it’s about.
It isn’t what you think. That isn’t it
at all. That really isn’t it at all.
Just let me finish. Would you, just for once?