Quotidian Report 9.82.b.i

Beautiful calm blue-sky day with a TINY bit of moisture in the forecast. Yesterday in the wild wind, trees came crashing down, roofs went flying, and trampolines! Trampolines took flight here and there landing in ditches and in neighbor’s yards.

Now the wind is in Kansas.

I am becoming skilled at physical therapy, and it’s really helped me. I think it’s pretty boring for the therapist, though, day in and day out to watch a bunch of people riding a stationary bike, struggling with a giant stability ball, trying to stand up on a balance board, complaining about their ailments. Yesterday a young guy — an athlete was on the therapy bed next to mine. He was talking about a friend of his who was a physica therapist for a pro football team. “It can’t be all that interesting. You have to wait around all day, like from 6 am to midnight, just in case someone gets hurt.”

“Good point,” said his PT. “And the coaches are probably always calling, ‘When can he play? When can I put him in the game?'”

I just cracked up (which did not interfere at all with squeezing a basketball between my knees). My PT looked at me. I said, “That’s what you’re going to deal with after my surgery,” I said, “My coach calling you to find out when I can play again.”

The whole place was in mad guffaws. I wish it hadn’t been QUITE so funny, but, it was.

In OTHER news, I listen to music on Youtube. It makes mixes for me — most of the songs are awful — but somehow they threw in something by Big Country. It sounded like a medieval song.

I happen to love medieval music. As I listened to Big Country it hit me. It’s time to write about Michele, the artist in Martin of Gfenn who teaches Martin to paint. I’m SO ready to return to the High Middle Ages, such a kinder, gentler time than the post apocalyptic eras (apocalypse being the first most devastating onslaught of the bubonic plague and the 100 Years War) following, uh, the plague and the 100 years war. The times when peope really BELIEVED. Sure, times were hard, but they just lived in them like we live in ours…

Back in 2013 I went to the SISSI Conference (Society for the Interdisciplinary Study of Social Imagery). I gave a paper on the truth about the medieval leper and I noticed a woman, a Classics professor from Purdue, was giving a paper on the Goliards — about which I knew next to nothing. She also appeared (from the bio) to be a very interesting person. So…before my gig, I was sitting outside, drinking coffee, talking to a kid and she came up. She was going to attend my talk. I read her name tag and introduced myself, saying, “I really wanted to meet you!” She was kind of embarrassed.

“You wanted to meet ME?”

Obviously we hit it off. Anyway, when she gave her paper, I knew that Martin’s painting teacher was a Goliard. I wanted to write that story, but the damned Protestant Reformation got in the way as it has so many times for so many of us. (?)

The Goliards (if they’re known by anyone at all) are known through Carl Orff’s opera version of the Carmina Burana which is (in real life) a collection of hundreds of Goliard poems and songs put together over a period of 300 years. Many of the poems are satirical “hymns” that parody Church songs.

The Goliards were “rogue” clergy who wanted more from life than the monastery, who objected to the abuses of the Church and lived lives of various kinds of debauchery — wine, women and song — along with wandering from city to city, university to university, in search of knowledge. They were often mendicant teachers, too, tutors to rich families. Since Michele — Martin’s teacher — was exiled from his order in Verona and sent to Zürich for mysterious (salacious?) reasons, he MUST have been a Goliard, right?

I have a lot to learn, and there’s no genie who’s going to put all that knowledge into my brain, but I have my friend’s paper to start with. I read it yesterday and was struck again by her beautiful writing. ❤

I like Ray Manzarek’s “cover” of Carl Orff’s rendition of “O Fortuna” from the Carmina Burana:


1. O Fortuna (Chorus) (O Fortune)

O Fortuna O Fortune,
velut luna like the moon
statu variabilis, you are changeable,
semper crescis ever waxing
aut decrescis; and waning;
vita detestabilis hateful life
nunc obdurat first oppresses
et tunc curat and then soothes
ludo mentis aciem, as fancy takes it;
egestatem, poverty
potestatem and power
dissolvit ut glaciem. it melts them like ice.
Sors immanis Fate – monstrous
et inanis, and empty,
rota tu volubilis, you whirling wheel,
status malus, you are malevolent,
vana salus well-being is vain
semper dissolubilis, and always fades to nothing,
obumbrata shadowed
et velata and veiled
michi quoque niteris; you plague me too;
nunc per ludum now through the game
dorsum nudum I bring my bare back
fero tui sceleris. to your villainy.
Sors salutis Fate is against me
et virtutis in health
michi nunc contraria, and virtue,
est affectus driven on
et defectus and weighted down,
semper in angaria. always enslaved.
Hac in hora So at this hour
sine mora without delay
corde pulsum tangite; pluck the vibrating strings;
quod per sortem since Fate
sternit fortem, strikes down the strong man,
mecum omnes plangite! everyone weep with me!



25 thoughts on “Quotidian Report 9.82.b.i

  1. For me, the middle ages for my people were not the same period of time at all. It was slaughtering time, survival time. Getting tossed out of one country after another and just trying to hang together as a group until better times came. There were better and worse periods, of course, but more worse and fewer better. I loved that when fewer Jews died during the Plague, the neighbors figured it must be because We Killed God and came to kill us. The whole concept of superior household cleanliness had not quite reached them … not to mention that most of the good doctors were Jews and a nice “thank you” would have been sufficient.

  2. “That’s what you’re going to deal with after my surgery,” I said, “My coach is going to be calling you to find out when I can play again.”

    The whole place was in mad guffaws. I wish it hadn’t been QUITE so funny, but, it was. LMAO
    True, Marilyn.

      • I’m a former English major with minors in history and writing, and I completed the coursework for an MA in English Literature with a concentration in Medieval studies and Old English but burned out before completing a thesis or taking comps. I also read extensively in religion & church history. I have no excuse for not knowing about them. Thanks for trying to cheer me up, though!

        • I wasn’t trying to cheer you up.

          My experience since grad school is that our educational system is very Anglocentric AND there’s something to that idea that history belongs to the “winners” or those in power, anyway. There’s no reason to have learned about the Goliards in studying religion or church history. The church hated them because they undermined the party line.

          I don’t think my friend would have heard about the Goliards if she hadn’t been a classics major and had to study the various forms of Latin. I heard about them when I was a freshman because one of my profs (Middle English Verse Romances) was a passionate iconoclast, but I had only just “heard” of them.

          I had a few profs over the years who said straight up that the “canon” was not what people actually loved and read during the various “back in the days.” It’s true. In some ways, academia just pushes the bullshit forward… 😦 But what can you do? There’s just so much. It’s a Mandelbrot sequence…

  3. I know so little. History was not in vogue when I went through school. But I read a lot of books, most of which I’ve forgotten. I think a little medieval music and some folk dancing may have helped it stick. Thanks for shedding some light on this, Martha.

    Martin of Gfenn is on my reading list.

    • There’s a really funny Goliard song about a swan who is eaten for dinner. It gives a different meaning to “swan song” 😀


      Olim lacus colueram,
      olim pulcher exstiteram,
      dum cygnus ego fueram.
      Miser, miser!
      modo niger
      et ustus fortiter!

      Girat, regirat garcifer;
      me rogus urit fortiter;
      propinat me nunc dapifer.
      Miser, miser!
      modo niger
      et ustus fortiter!

      Nunc in scutella iaceo,
      et volitare nequeo;
      dentes frendentes video.
      Miser, miser!
      modo niger
      et ustus fortiter!

      Once I had dwelt on lakes, once I had been beautiful, when I was a swan. Poor wretch! Now black and well roasted!

      The cook turns me back and forth; I am roasted to a turn on my pyre; now the waiter serves me. Poor wretch! Now black and well roasted!

      Now I lie on the dish, and I cannot fly; I see the gnashing teeth. Poor wretch! Now black and well roasted!

            • Hmmm… You guys exported roo to one of our fast food chains in the 70s and they secretly put it in their burgers which then went drastically down in price. My bro took me to eat there (Jack in the Box) and we’re sitting there eating burgers and he says, “What’s the big deal? Kangaroo meat? Oid loik to know what the blinkin’ difference it makes, mate? It’s not like some sodding snake or summat!” I hope you get the idea of what he did. I about died laughing. Not long before we’d been englightened by this great hit from Australia:

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