cf. Antoine-Émile Bourdelle, “Irene Millet” (1917) and Edouard Manet, A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (1882)

Yet diaries do, indirectly, lay claim to a certain kind of immortality, projecting a voice beyond the grave. Alice James’s diary was her dialogue with the future. It gave form to her sense of ironic detachment. And it created a communion in her lonely life…

—Jean Strouse, Alice James: A Biography

“Watermark” – Art Garfunkel

Love Won’t Let Me Wait

cf. Pompeo Batoni, “Portrait of a Young Man” (ca. 1760–65) and
image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images via Pixabay and
video by Felix_Broennimann (“Star, Long Exposure”) via Pixabay and
video by InspiredImages (“Lava Lamp”) via Pixabay


“Love Won’t Let Me Wait” by Major Harris

On Revisiting the Banks of the Wye

cf. Provincial Archives of Alberta, “Vermilion Agricultural and Vocational College” (1970)

For thou art with me here upon the banks
Of this fair river; thou my dearest Friend,
My dear, dear Friend; and in thy voice I catch
The language of my former heart, and read
My former pleasures in the shooting lights
Of thy wild eyes. Oh! yet a little while
May I behold in thee what I was once…

—William Wordsworth, Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey…

Part One: Life

cf. Library Company of Philadelphia, “Frankford Creek and Vicinity, Winter” (ca. late 19th century) and
photograph by Peter Gonzalez via Unsplash

Ashes denote that fire was;
Respect the grayest pile
For the departed creature’s sake
That hovered there awhile.

Fire exists the first in light,
And then consolidates,—
Only the chemist can disclose
Into what carbonates.

Emily Dickinson

Another Lycidas

One hand she press’d upon that aching spot
Where beats the human heart, as if just there,
Though an immortal, she felt cruel pain…

Keats, “The Fall of Hyperion”

cf. Antonio Gai, “Meleager” (1735) and Mathew Brady’s studio, “Unidentified Man” (ca. 1860)


cf. Alfred Stieglitz, “An Icy Night” (1898) and video by CAMERAGE via Pixabay

Deep in the shady sadness of a vale
Far sunken from the healthy breath of morn,
Far from the fiery noon, and eve’s one star,
Sat gray-hair’d Saturn, quiet as a stone,
Still as the silence round about his lair;
Forest on forest hung about his head
Like cloud on cloud. No stir of air was there,
Not so much life as on a summer’s day
Robs not one light seed from the feather’d grass,
But where the dead leaf fell, there did it rest.
A stream went voiceless by, still deadened more
By reason of his fallen divinity
Spreading a shade: the Naiad ‘mid her reeds
Press’d her cold finger closer to her lips…

—Keats, Hyperion (excerpt)

“What seest thou else in the dark backward and abysm of time?”

cf. LIFE, 1968

‘Tis far off
And rather like a dream than an assurance
That my remembrance warrants. Had I not
Four or five women once that tended me?

Thou hadst, and more, Miranda. But how is it
That this lives in thy mind? What seest thou else
In the dark backward and abysm of time?

—Shakespeare, The Tempest

“Love like a shadow flies when substance love pursues; pursuing that that flies, and flying what pursues.”

cf. David Vinckboons, “A Young Man Pursuing His Beloved into the Woods” (ca. 1621)

The Box Tops – “Cry Like a Baby”                                             Utopia – “Crybaby”

“Some woman, who knows what that self was, in whom it still lives a little.”

cf. photograph by Yoann Boyer via Unsplash

“…the situation of the man of genius who, in some accursed hour of his youth, has bartered away the fondest vision of that youth and lives ever afterwards in the shadow of the bitterness of the regret…the fancy of his recovering a little of the lost joy, of the Dead Self, in his intercourse with some person, some woman, who knows what that self was, in whom it still lives a little.”

The Notebooks of Henry James

“His heart is a lute strung tight; As soon as one touches it, it resounds.”

cf. LIFE, 1969

“Son coeur est un luth suspendu;
Sitôt qu’on le touche il résonne.”
–de Béranger.

–epigraph from Edgar Allan Poe, The Fall of the House of Usher

“Presto in F Major” by Silvius Leopold Weiss performed by John H. Schneiderman on a baroque lute

“I have of late turned my thoughts with a very useless earnestness upon past incidents.”

cf. Cincinnati Magazine, 1989 and Lightning : Calvin Company

“My mind is unsettled and my memory confused. I have of late turned my thoughts with a very useless earnestness upon past incidents. I have yet got no command over my thoughts; an unpleasing incident is almost certain to hinder my rest…”

—Johnson’s diary quoted in Boswell’s Life of Johnson

Ghosts appear and fade away…


Colin Hay – “Overkill”

“I fell in love with James Tyrone and was so happy for a time.”

cf. Gaston Lachaise, Lachaise’s Mother Resting (ca. 1912) and
Whistler, Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1 (1871)

…That was in the winter of senior year. Then in the spring something happened to me. Yes, I remember. I fell in love with James Tyrone and was so happy for a time.

—Eugene O’Neill, Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Blue by Joni Mitchell

“Her eye discourses; I will answer it…”

cf. Gustav Kalhammer, “View from Café Heinrichhof…” (1911)

Her eye discourses; I will answer it.
I am too bold, ’tis not to me she speaks:
Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,
Having some business, do entreat her eyes
To twinkle in their spheres till they return.
What if her eyes were there, they in her head?
The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars,
As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven
Would through the airy region stream so bright
That birds would sing and think it were not night.
See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
O, that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek!

Romeo and Juliet

“Between midnight and dawn, when the past is all deception…”

cf. Home Movie PA 000111 and photograph by Kevin Lee via Unsplash

Between midnight and dawn, when the past is all deception,
The future futureless, before the morning watch
When time stops and time is never ending…

–T.S. Eliot, The Dry Salvages

“His life had been confused and disordered since then…”

cf. photograph by Henrique Félix via Unsplash

He talked a lot about the past and I gathered that he wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy. His life had been confused and disordered since then, but if he could once return to a certain starting place and go over it all slowly, he could find out what that thing was….

–F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

I get the same old dreams same time every night…

“…of course you knew from Behrens that I was still here, waiting for you.”

cf. John Atkinson Grimshaw, Canny Glasgow (1887) and Daniel Chester French, Joe’s Farewell (1872–73)

“…of course you knew from Behrens that I was still here, waiting for you. But I’ve told you that I think of that night simply as a dream, our dream, and that I concede you have your freedom. After all, I did not really wait in vain, because you are here again, we are sitting next to one another just as then, I can hear the wonderful edge to your voice, so familiar to my ear for a very long time; and under that billowing silk are arms that I know well…”

—Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain

I can wait forever
Helping you to see
That I was meant for you
And you for me…

“Cheering” is a paltry description…

cf. LIFE, 1957 and Skyline New York : Dudley Pictures Corporation

Each weekend I traveled the fifty-odd miles from Glacial Falls to Watertown, where I spent Friday night and all day Saturday in some sustained whisky drinking, tapering off Sundays with a few bottles of beer at The Parrot, eyes fixed on the television screen, cheering for my team. “Cheering” is a paltry description. The Giants were my delight, my folly, my anodyne…

—Frederick Exley, A Fan’s Notes

“I love thee to the level of every day’s most quiet need, by sun and candle-light…”

I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light…

—Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonnets from the Portuguese 43: “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways”

I never knew how complete love could be
Till she kissed me and said…


cf. Delphin Enjolras, The Fireplace and The Best Fireplace Video

Your memory seems like a living thing — I never know if I’m imagining

cf. Thomas Eakins, The Thinker: Portrait of Louis N. Kenton (1900) and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)

Your memory seems like a living thing
I never know if I’m imagining
I look at your face and I know that it’s impossible
Forgetting it’s just a dream
Now I’m hearing your voice saying anything is possible
Forgetting it’s just a dream…

“Now you recall this memory as if it were someone else’s story.”

cf. The Fire Within (Le feu follet) (1963) and Home Movie: 98927: St. Croix River and 1956 Honeymoon

“Now, you recall this memory, as if
it were someone else’s story…”

—from Margo Button, “With No Explanation”

Been breaking down
Do you want me now?

“Heart, we will forget him!”

Robert Burns, The Window Seat (ca. 1905) and startgrid, “Clouds Time Lapse – YouTube”

Heart, we will forget him!
You and I, to-night!
You may forget the warmth he gave,
I will forget the light.

When you have done, pray tell me,
That I my thoughts may dim;
Haste! lest while you’re lagging,
I may remember him!

–Emily Dickinson

Back in my room I wonder
Then I sit on the bed
Look at the sky
Up in the sky
Clouds rearrange…

Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be ere one can say “It lightens.”

cf. photograph by Everton Vila via Unsplash and ridgerider04, Time Lapse Lightning Storm 2012

Well, do not swear: although I joy in thee,
I have no joy of this contract tonight:
It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden;
Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be
Ere one can say “It lightens.”

Romeo and Juliet

To a Skylark

Hail to thee, blithe spirit!
Bird thou never wert—
That from heaven or near it
Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.

Higher still and higher
From the earth thou springest,
Like a cloud of fire;
The blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest…

–Percy Bysshe Shelley, To a Skylark (excerpt)

Just when you think you got a good thing it seems to slip away

cf. Georges Seurat: A Sunday on La Grande Jatte — 1884 (detail) (1884/86),
Study for “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte” (1884)
and Gustave Caillebotte: Paris Street; Rainy Day, 1877 (detail) (1877)

“Why should he seem to see Andromeda, Cepheus, and Cassiopeia?”

cf. photographs by Jay Mantri and Paul Itkin via Unsplash

He dove in and swam the pool, but when he tried to haul himself up onto the curb he found that the strength in his arms and shoulders had gone, and he paddled to the ladder and climbed out. Looking over his shoulder he saw, in the lighted bathhouse, a young man. Going out onto the dark lawn he smelled chrysanthemums or marigolds—some stubborn autumnal fragrance—on the night air, strong as gas. Looking overhead he saw that the stars had come out, but why should he seem to see Andromeda, Cepheus, and Cassiopeia? What had become of the constellations of midsummer? He began to cry.

— John Cheever, The Swimmer

The world that we used to know
People tell me it don’t turn no more
The places we used to go
Familiar faces that ain’t smiling like before
The time of our time has come and gone
I fear we’ve been waiting too long…

“Consider them both, the sea and the land; and do you not find a strange analogy to something in yourself?”

cf. Photographs by Clem Onojeghuo (ocean) and Lukas Budimaier (man) via Unsplash

“Consider them both, the sea and the land; and do you not find a strange analogy to something in yourself? For as this appalling ocean surrounds the verdant land, so in the soul of man there lies one insular Tahiti, full of peace and joy, but encompassed by all the horrors of the half-known life. God keep thee! Push not off from that isle, thou canst never return!”

—Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Turn Around

Take, O, take those lips away,
That so sweetly were forsworn;
And those eyes, the break of day,
Lights that do mislead the morn:
But my kisses bring again, bring again;
Seals of love, but sealed in vain, sealed in vain.

–Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

cf. H. L. Bostwick, “Multi-Photograph Of Cissy Fitzgerald” (ca. 1905)

In The Dark

The night is darkening round me,
The wild winds coldly blow;
But a tyrant spell has bound me,
And I cannot, cannot go.

The giant trees are bending
Their bare boughs weighed with snow;
The storm is fast descending,
And yet I cannot go.

Clouds beyond clouds above me,
Wastes beyond wastes below;
But nothing drear can move me;
I will not, cannot go.

–Emily Brontë, The night is darkening round me

cf. from “The Book Of Photography, Practical, Theoretic And Applied”, Paul N. Hasluck, Ed. (1907)
Photograph by John Sting via Unsplash

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”

cf. Eva Watson Schütze, The May Apple Leaf (ca. 1900) and
MiniPCEU, Time Lapse 1080p – Sky, sun, halo, clouds – YouTube

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st;
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

–Sonnet XVIII

Mark Stern Wakes Up

cf. Sebastian Ortiz Vasquez, Walking Wall St. NY – YouTube

Shining cratefuls of plum, peach, apricot
Are flung out of the fruit man’s tiny store.
Behind the supermarket glass next door:
Landslides of grapefruit, orange, tangerine,
Persimmon, boysenberry, nectarine.
The florist tilts his giant crayon box
Of yellow roses, daffodils, and phlox.
A Disney sun breaks through, makes toys of trucks
And waddling movers look like Donald Ducks
And joke book captions out of storefront signs:
Café du Soir, Austrian Village, Wines.
Pedestrians in olive drabs and grays
Are startled by the sun’s kinetic rays,
Then mottled into pointillistic patches.
The light turns green, cars passing hurl out snatches
Of rock-and-roll and Mozart and the weather.
The light turns red. Why aren’t we together?

–Frederick Feirstein, “Mark Stern Wakes Up” from New and Selected Poems (Story Line Press)

On every crowded street
All the places we would meet
What will I do without you?
They say that life goes on
I’m feeling sorry for myself
I can’t belive you’re gone…

“My Lost Youth”

cf. Gene Daniels, Children Play in Yard… (1972) and photograph by Frantzou Fleurine via Unsplash

…And with joy that is almost pain
My heart goes back to wander there,
And among the dreams of the days that were,
I find my lost youth again.
And the strange and beautiful song,
The groves are repeating it still:
“A boy’s will is the wind’s will,
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts.”

–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, My Lost Youth

“You allowed some Chapeaux to measure the calves of your legs…”

“…So I call on you once more to think and reflect about the cause of this unfortunate incident, namely the fact that I voiced my disapproval that you had been so impudent and inconsiderate as to tell your sisters—Nota bene, in my presence—that you allowed some Chapeaux to measure the calves of your legs…But it’s over now—and a mere acknowledgment of this unwise exhibition would have been enough to make everything all right and—if you don’t take it amiss, dearest friend—would still make it all right.—You can see from this how much I love you…”

Letter from Mozart to Constanze Weber (April 29, 1782)