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Sunday Scribblings #61: Of the City By the Bay

This week mostly passed uneventfully. The kids stayed home; well, who am I kidding, they have stayed home for a whole year already!!! But this week was their winter break, so they slept in as well everyday. And after trying out new things (like some art, and new pieces of music) this week, we decided to take a trip to where Tony Bennett left his heart! And now, our memory back includes more beautiful memories of the city of the bay!! Read more about it later in the post.

Sunday Scribblings #61: Of the City By the Bay

Poetic Sundays

Macaronic Poetry

In continuance with using the 3Rs to help keep up with my posting this month, as well as keeping in mind that February 21st is International Mother Language Day, I decided to talk about Macaronic poetry today.

I wrote about this form in earlier posts – here , here and here. Rewriting it in the Sunday Poetics format now.

What is Macaronic Poetry or the Macaronic Poetic Form?

Macaronic verse was invented by the poet Tisi degli Odassi in 1488 who mixed Italian and Latin in his work titled Carmen macaronicum  (Macaronic Songs). [Note: also appears as Tifi (dagli) Odasi. His real name was Michele di Bartolomeo degli Odasi – source: wikipedia]

It was later popularized by Teofilo Folengo, a Benedictine monk, who combined Latin rules to Italian vocabulary in his burlesque epic titled Baldus published in 1517. He described the macaronic as the literary equivalent of the Italian dish, which, in its 16th-century form, was a crude mixture of flour, butter, and cheese. The Baldus soon found imitators in Italy and France, and some macaronics were even written in mock Greek. (source: Britannica)

Other Notes on the Macaronic Form

In rewriting this post, I also noted references to the fact that this style of poetry using a mix of languages and colloquial dialects seems to be even older. Wandering medieval poets loved to mix Arabic, Spanish, French, and other languages, depending on where they were at the time and their expertise with the form and the languages.

The style was popular in medieval India as well, where the influence of the Muslim rulers led to poems being written in alternating indigenous Hindi and the Persian language. The famous poet Amir Khusro wrote many verses in this style.

The Andalusian zajal is another such form, that often used a mix of colloquial Arabic verses with a smattering of Spanish words.

The Macaronic Poetic Form’s Characteristics

So the Macaronic poetic form’s elements are that it:

  • is multi-lingual (or multi-dialectic): written using combination of two (or more) languages/dialects
  • has any number of lines – left to the writer
  • no specific meter or rhyme or syllable patterns to follow – left to the writer
My Tips On How To Write It
  • combine two or more languages – the more the merrier!
    • make up (nonsensical or not) words combining the languages to use in your poem
    • you know only one language – then fear not
      • you could also use slang with prosaic in the same ‘language’, Shakespearean English with #hashtags/acronyms, regular speech with textbook ‘language’
      • use Google translate to come up with words in your favorite language – the one you always wanted to learn but never did so far (this can be a start! – I know I have at least one such language)

My Example

Re-reusing this one!!! And you might end up totally confused.. but that is OK..

Macaronic (mis)graMmar
Mmmmm my heart go music makes
Rhythm to dance some cool shakes
Smile my heart does my kids see I
Glee with laugh sometimes till cry
their actions their words make me
Dil* for books it tudichify**
I reading ennaku*** time no knows
Grammar police to sorry from me
Writing always fun poetry

– ©2019 Vidya Tiru/LadyInRead @ LadyInReadWrites

*Dil means Heart (Hindi)
**tudichify– use of ‘fy’ at the end of Tamil words is a common pattern noticed in Tanglish (Tamil + English) – Tamil word here is tudichu (or tutippu) meaning beating
***ennaku – means ‘for me’ in Tamil


On My Blog

I am still working on a late shift for each day’s post but managing a post each day. Here are last week’s post

And the Home Front

The kids had a week long break this week, and while I did not get all the cleaning that I hoped completed, we did clean up and declutter a bit. And we started the weekend of this break with a trip to the city by the bay.

Of the City By the Bay

(And Of Hearts and Beaches and Bridges, Oh My!)

Beaches and Bridges

We started out later than planned, but our trip to the city was perfect. Clear skies, a sun that stayed up a little longer for us, weather that was delightfully warmer than usual (for San Francisco); all of these made it wonderful.

Trying to find parking at the Golden Gate Bridge was not hard, but looks like many had plans like we did. So we ended up in a different parking lot than usual. And that was good. It meant our steps took us down an unexplored path and we went to Crissy Field for the first time in the two plus decades I have been here!!! How did we miss this before? Anyway, I realized I had read and heard about it many time before. And I learned a lot during our walk there. Plus, it was beautiful and afforded us spectacularly different views of the Golden Gate (like the one below)

Of the City By the Bay
And then the Hearts

We then stopped at Union Square to check out the hearts of San Francisco. Read more about them here. While I could only find four of the six hearts that were mentioned to be on display there, I was thrilled (much to the embarrassment of my teens)!! I mean, here is their mommy grinning in joy because of some heart sculptures. For me, it was just one of those things I had planned for years, and finally ended up going to the city at the right time.

Of the City By the Bay
Me with one of the hearts.. I took off the mask (bright sunflower oranges and yellows) for the photo opp..

To wrap the day, we got our dinner to-go from the always awesome hole-in-the-wall restaurant called Shalimar. Back home, we enjoyed yummy garlic naans and fluffy saffron rice with the perfectly spiced kabuli chana (gorbanzo beans in gravy) as well as their drool-worthy masala paneer.


On My Blog and Home Front

I hope, I hope to work on some of the catch up posts for the reading challenges. As well as catch up on the reading itself specific to the challenges this week. And well, we will see how else things progress.

This Week’s Celebrations

Foodies Celebrate:
Other Celebrations
  • You do not need to be a Girl Scout to celebrate this wonderful event – World Thinking Day is observed annually by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts on the 22nd of February
  • National Tell a Fairy Tale Day is on February  26. And I think it is a totally delightful think to celebrate everyday!!
  • Celebrate the people of STEAM this week as it is Engineers Week (Feb 21 – 27). Learn more about it at DiscoverE.
  • Girl Day (February 25, 2021) is a worldwide campaign to engage girls in engineering.
  • And it is International Polar Bear Day on February 27th.

Wrapping up my Sunday Scribblings

So dear reader, this was it for my Sunday Scribblings. I would love to hear your comments on my post(s), poetic Sunday section, and anything else. And which of these days do you plan to celebrate (or any other)? Also, I do look forward to reading your poems (if you have attempted one or the other forms so far?!) 

Linking this to the Sunday Post over at the Caffeinated Reviewer and the Sunday Salon

30 thoughts on “Sunday Scribblings #61: Of the City By the Bay

  1. Thanks for introducing me to Macaronic Poetry – I have never heard of it until you wrote about it. However, I have heard music that uses it. I never gave it a second thought. I find it interesting when I get to learn more about the ‘behind the scenes’ of something like this. Thanks!

    I went to San Francisco a couple of times years ago. I loved it there! A couple of times for business, once on a layover on a trip to Hawaii (from the east coast – I took advantage of the connection and stay an extra day or so in CA to visit with a friend and to make the time zone change a little more bearable!) All in all, it was primarily visiting as a tourist would. Again, I loved it!

    Thanks for bringing up memories 🙂

    1. thank you Paul!! Come to think of it, I have heard a lot of macaronic music as well growing up; and growing up in a neighborhood where people speak multiple languages did introduce macaronic language automatically..
      Glad you loved your time in the city. We always love our trips there (and we always plan to do it more often than we actually do.. it is less than an hour’s drive.. )

  2. It looks like you had a wonderful trip. San Francisco was a place I’d always wanted to visit, so we did so, about fourteen years ago. What a lovely time we had, too. I had not heard about looking for the hearts then; maybe we will have to take another trip in the future.

    I see that by your definition I have written a macaronic! It’s a poem in English and Spanish, and it was inspired by a trip we took to a small village across the Rio Grande in Mexico. I will have to work on it a bit more, I think.

    Have a great week!

    1. Thanks Deb! It was a wonderful trip indeed, and we are planning to visit more often this year, considering it is less than an hour away.. There is so much still to explore in the city (and actually, even more locally)
      I will look forward to reading your macaronic poem soon..

  3. I have always loved San Francisco from Tony Bennett’s song. I have never been there but have seen Tony in concert, front row center! Then there’s Scott McKenzie’s San Francisco.

  4. Thanks, I’ve just learned through you that my name day is the same as Margarita day, I like that ^^ I’ve also learned about Macaronic poetry, something I didn’t know existed. I’m glad you had such a good day at San Francisco under a clear blue sky 🙂 Enjoy your week !

  5. HI Vidya, enjoyed your post and the city by the bay. I have seen the Golden Gate bridge a couple of times, but never seen that hearts. Looks like it would be fun to see (even if it embarrassed the kids. Then again, what mom doesn’t at that age, lol) . I also liked your Day of section at the end. I know you posted this yesterday, but I hought I would mention that today, Monday Feb 22, is National California day! Just wanted to share. Have a great day out there. Happy travels.

    1. thanks so much Samantha.. I recall seeing the National California Day entry but missed including it at the end..
      This is the first time I remembered and consciously visited the hearts though I have known about it for a few years now..

  6. Nice read Vidya, looks like a great time spent in the city. Loved the picture of you with the heart sculpture and am sure to end a day well spent with Shalimar food, just perfect!

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