Off topic: Do you have some favorite one-paragraph description to share?
Thread poster: two2tango

two2tango  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 03:35
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jul 26, 2003

"The rain continued. It was a hard rain, a perpetual rain, a sweating and steaming rain; it was a mizzle, a downpour, a fountain, a whipping at the eyes, an undertow at the ankles; it was a rain to drown all rains and the memory of rains. It came by the pound and the ton, it hacked at the jungle and cut the trees like scissors and shaved the grass and tunneled the soil and molted the bushes. It shrank men's hands into the hands of wrinkled apes; it rained a solid glassy rain, and it never stopped."

With this rainy paragraph, one of the strongest descriptions I ever read, Ray Bradbury takes you into his short story "the long rain".

Do you have some favorite one-paragraph description to share?


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Andrea Ali  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 03:35
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
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What can I say? Jul 26, 2003

A great whirling whisper made him look to the sky. The police helicopters were rising so far away that it seemed someone had blown the gray head off a dry dandelion flower. Two dozen of them flurried, wavering, indecisive, three miles off, like butterflies puzzled by autumn, and then they were plummeting down to land, one by one, here, there, softly kneading the streets where, turned back to beetles, they shrieked along the boulevards or, as suddenly, leapt back into the air, continuing their search.

Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury

Who else but Master Ray would describe a helicopter like this???
I think he has no "light" way of describing things...

I just love Bradbury!

Thanks, Tangueros!
Have a great weekend!

Andrea


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Ruben Berrozpe  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
What about snow... Jul 26, 2003

"Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead."

Description of snow, of Ireland, the falling of flakes like the beating of a shaken soul... I just love this young Joyce, I need to read it from time to time...

Well, back to a VERY hot summer...

Rb


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Maria Luisa Duarte  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:35
English to Portuguese
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"The Greatest Shoal on Earth" Jul 27, 2003

South Africa Sardine Migration Draws Crowds

Like the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, and the migration of the wildebeest across the Serengeti in east Africa, the annual sardine run along South Africa's east coast is fast becoming a major tourist attraction.
Each year during June and July, huge shoals of sardines make their way north to the waters of holiday province KwaZulu Natal. The shoals, which can be several miles long, sometimes look like a giant sea monster, shimmering in the sun, weaving through the water. And they draw crowds; thousands of sharks, dolphins, and other predatory fish follow the sardines, birds hover above, and masses of people line the shores to watch.
People are packing the beaches of KwaZulu Natal to watch and catch crowds of sardines.

The annual run is "unique and as a market, virtually untapped in South Africa," said Robbie Naidoo, a spokesman for Tourism KZN, the province's official tourism promotion body.
The tourism board is working hard to bring "The Greatest Shoal on Earth" to the world's attention.
As the shoals draw nearer to shore, small commercial fishing boats set out through the surf, trailing their nets behind them. When a net fills with sardines, swimmers jump into the water and tie the ends to form a large bag. Timing is everything; if the shoal is very active and "bubbling," the fishermen know it's being chased by sharks and the swimmers must wait.

The crowds on the beach frequently help pull the ropes used to haul the sardine-filled nets onto the sand, and then bargain furiously to buy the fish, which are sold by the basket.

Herded into shallow water by dolphins, sharks, and other predators, the shoals sometimes become trapped and beach themselves. That's when "sardine fever" really grips the crowd. People surge into the shallows, oblivious of the shark danger.

Jostling for space, they use buckets, hats, shirts, pants and every conceivable container as well as their bare hands to catch as much as they can.

Flocks of seabirds, particularly gannets, hovering overhead are just as greedy, and frequently gorge themselves to the point that, unable to lift off the water, they in turn fall prey to the thousands of sharks following the shoals

The sardines like water temperatures below 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius). In winter—June and July in the southern hemisphere—the surface water cools along the east coast, allowing the sardines to expand their habitat and move north.

This year's run has been particularly good; sardine stocks are high, foreign tourism numbers are up. Even better, the businesses supporting sardine tourism—boat tours, dive trips, beach guides, and expeditions—are multiplying as word of the "The Greatest Shoal on Earth" spreads.

Leon Marshall
for National Geographic News
July 16, 2002


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Pablo Cañamares  Identity Verified
Bulgaria
Local time: 09:35
Russian to Spanish
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Screaming trees - Witness Jul 27, 2003

Shine your lonely light on me
I'll be there to hold the mirror
I can show you down with me
and show you lone, and lone and lonely...

-From the song "Witness" by the Screaming trees.

I have never heard a better way to describe a depression (although, of course, it is a personal appreciation)


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Lorenzo Lilli  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:35
German to Italian
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Perfume - Patrick Süskind Jul 28, 2003

Sorry, not an original text: just a translation from German (and the translation in Italian is well done too). I just love the beginning of this novel: once you've read the first page, you either close the book, utterly disgusted, or just can't stop reading.

In eighteenth-century France there lived a man who was one of the most gifted and abominable personages in an era that knew no lack of gifted and abominable personages. His story will be told here. His name was Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, and if his name - in contrast to the names of other gifted abominations, de Sade's, for instance, or Saint-Just's, Fouché's, Bonaparte's, etc. - has been forgotten today, it is certainly not because Grenouille fell short of those more famous blackguards when it came to arrogance, misanthropy, immorality, or, more succinctly, wickedness, but because his gifts and his sole ambition were restricted to a domain that leaves no traces in history: to the fleeting realm of scent.

In the period of which we speak, there reigned in the cities a stench barely conceivable to us modern men and women. The streets stank of manure, the courtyards of urine, the stairwells stank of mouldering wood and rat droppings, the kitchens of spilled cabbage and mutton fat; the unaired parlours stank of stale dust, the bedrooms of greasy sheets, damp featherbeds, and the pungently sweet aroma of chamber-pots.


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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 03:35
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
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Thanks Lorenzo Jul 29, 2003

I read it in French, and as you reminded it to me, now I'd like to read it again.

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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:05
English to Tamil
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I read perfume in French and in German Jul 29, 2003

The first half I read in French. Then I got hold of the German original and continued from where I left off. The French translation was superb and the German original breath taking. In fact I thought of reproducing one para from the original.
Here it is:
Im achtzehnten Jahrhundert lebte in Frankreich ein Mann, der zu den genialsten und abscheulichsten Gestalten dieser an genialen und abscheulichen Gestalten nicht armen Epoche gehörte. Seine Geschichte soll hier erzählt werden. Er hieß Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, und wenn sein Name im Gegensatz zu den Namen anderer genialer Scheusale, wie etwa de Sades, Saint-Justs, Fouchés, Bonapartes usw., heute in Vergessenheit geraten ist, so sicher nicht deshalb, weil Grenouille diesen berühmten Finstermännern an Selbstüberhebung, Menschenverachtung, Immoralität, kurz an Gottlosigkeit nachgestanden hättes, sondern weil sich sein Genie und sein einziger Ehrgeiz auf ein Gebiet beschränkte, welches in der Geschichte keine Spuren hinterläßt: auf das flüchtige Reich der Gerüche.
Lorenzo Lilli wrote:

Sorry, not an original text: just a translation from German (and the translation in Italian is well done too). I just love the beginning of this novel: once you've read the first page, you either close the book, utterly disgusted, or just can't stop reading.

In eighteenth-century France there lived a man who was one of the most gifted and abominable personages in an era that knew no lack of gifted and abominable personages. His story will be told here. His name was Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, and if his name - in contrast to the names of other gifted abominations, de Sade's, for instance, or Saint-Just's, Fouché's, Bonaparte's, etc. - has been forgotten today, it is certainly not because Grenouille fell short of those more famous blackguards when it came to arrogance, misanthropy, immorality, or, more succinctly, wickedness, but because his gifts and his sole ambition were restricted to a domain that leaves no traces in history: to the fleeting realm of scent.

In the period of which we speak, there reigned in the cities a stench barely conceivable to us modern men and women. The streets stank of manure, the courtyards of urine, the stairwells stank of mouldering wood and rat droppings, the kitchens of spilled cabbage and mutton fat; the unaired parlours stank of stale dust, the bedrooms of greasy sheets, damp featherbeds, and the pungently sweet aroma of chamber-pots.


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Lorenzo Lilli  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:35
German to Italian
+ ...
thanks Narasimhan Jul 29, 2003

The original version is even better, but in this case only the English version is acccessible to everyone, that's why I copied it. I could have copied from paper the German version too but I was so tired, almost falling asleep

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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:35
Member (2000)
Russian to English
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The Yukon Jul 29, 2003

From "The Spell of the Yukon", by Robert W. Service.

I've stood in some mighty-mouthed hollow,
That's plumb-full of hush to the brim;
I've watched the big, husky sun wallow
In crimson and gold, and grow dim,
Till the moon set the pearly peaks gleaming,
And the stars tumbled out, neck and crop;
And I've thought that I surely was dreaming,
With the peace o' the world piled on top.

The summer - no sweeter was ever;
The sunshiny woods all athrill;
The grayling aleap in the river,
The bighorn asleep on the hill.
The strong life that never knows harness;
The wilds where the caribou call;
The freshness, the freedom, the farness -
O God! How I'm stuck on it all.

The winter! The whiteness that blinds you,
The white land locked tight as a drum,
The cold fear that follows and finds you,
The silence that blugeons you dumb.
The snows that are older than history,
The woods where the weird shadows slant;
The stillness, the moonlight, the mystery,
I've bade 'em goodbye - but I can't.

There's a land where the mountains are nameless,
And the rivers all run God knows where;
There are lives that are erring and aimless,
And deaths that just hang by a hair.
There are hardships that nobody reckons;
There are valleys unpeopled and still;
There's a land - oh, it beckons and beckons,
And I want to go back - and I will.


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xxxErika P  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:35
English to Hungarian
+ ...
the awakening forest Jul 29, 2003

From "Embers" by Sándor Márai.
A remarkable achievement, it was translated into English for the first time by Carol Brown Janeway – not from the original Hungarian, but as far as I know, from French:

"The wind stirs too, at this moment gently, carefully, like the sight of a sleeping man as he senses the return of the earthly reality into which he was born. The scent of wet leaves, of ferns, of crumbling tree trunks, of rotting pine cones, of the soft carpet of fallen leaves and pine needles slippery from the dew, rises up from the earth to assault you like the smell of two lovers locked in sweat-soaked embrace. A magical moment, which our heathen ancestors used to celebrate deep in the forest, worshipfully, arms outstreched, facing East: earthbound man in the eternally recurring, spellbound expectation of light, insight, reason."

For those lucky ones who are in the position to compare, here is the original Hungarian text:

Márai Sándor: "A gyertyák csonkig égnek"
(részlet)
"Szél kel e pillanatban, oly óvatosan, mint mikor az ébredõ felsóhajt, mert eszébe jut a világ, melybe született. A nedves lomb, a vadpáfrány, a fák mohos hulladéka, a rothadt tobozból, avarból, tûlevelekbõl puha, síkos szõnyeggé összetapadt harmatos erdei csapás illata úgy csap föl a föld anyagából, mint a szeretõk testébõl a szenvedély verejtékének illata. Titokzatos pillanat ez, a régiek, a pogányok az erdõk mélyén ünnepelték, áhítattal és széttárt karokkal, Kelet felé fordított arccal, abban a varázsos várakozásban, ahogy örökké várja az anyag kötött ember szívében és a világban a fény, az értelem és a belátás pillanatát."


[Edited at 2003-07-29 20:47]


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two2tango  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 03:35
Member
English to Spanish
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TOPIC STARTER
New Kilpatrick Aug 1, 2003

"New Kilpatrick is a very tiny hamlet. We should suppose that there cannot be more than a dozen or so of humble cottages in it altogether, if there are even so many. These, however, have been set down with an admirable irregularity, and with their patches of garden, well stocked with apple trees, gooseberry bushes, and kitchen vegetables, make altogether a most agreeable rural picture. Then there is the burn wimpling along its own little vale of flowers, with generally a group of fair-headed urchins paidlin’ about in its waters, pursuing the minnow, the eel, or the beardie, while their gleeful voices fall with a fitful music on the ear. Beyond the burn, but half enclosed by one of its links, is the neat little church, plain, unpretending, but elegant withal, and begirt with a kirk-yard so green and quiet that one could almost wish to lie down in its verdant lap, and be at rest. "

http://www.electricscotland.com/history/glasgow/whangie.htm


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