If Only You Knew
cf. Unknown, “Street with Lamp Post and Wine Shop” (ca. 1850s) (edited negative)
…But one pale woman all alone,
The daylight kissing her wan hair,
Loitered beneath the gas lamps’ flare,
With lips of flame and heart of stone.
— Oscar Wilde
Degas, “The Collector of Prints” (1866)
BEFORE my drift-wood fire I sit,
And see, with every waif I burn,
Old dreams and fancies coloring it,
And folly’s unlaid ghosts return.
O ships of mine, whose swift keels cleft
The enchanted sea on which they sailed,
Are these poor fragments only left
Of vain desires and hopes that failed?
— John Greenleaf Whittier
cf. William Hamilton, “Male Traveler in a Storm” (1770–80)
The little world, the subject of my muse,
Is a huge task and labor infinite;
Like to a wilderness or mass confuse,
Or to an endless gulf, or to the night:
How many strange Meanders do I find?
How many paths do turn my straying pen?
How many doubtful twilights make me blind,
Which seek to limb out this strange All of men?
Easy it were the earth to portray out,
Or to draw forth the heavens’ purest frame,
Whose restless course, by order whirls about
Of change and place, and still remains the same.
But how shall man’s, or manner’s, form appear,
Which while I write, do change from what they were?
— Thomas Bastard, Book 1, Epigram 5: Ad lectorem de subjecto operis sui.
cf. from the Nationaal Archief collection, 1940 (edited)
pure of heart
I could not save myself
the lost time
and the person I was
Thomas Watson (After Henry Robert Morland), “A Girl Singing Ballads By a Paper Lanthorn” (1767–81)
When Diana lighteth
Late her crystal lamp,
Her pale glory kindleth
From her brother’s fire,
Little straying west winds
Wander over heaven,
With a sound of lute-strings shaken,
Hearts that have denied his reign
To love again…
— Latin; twelfth century (Tr. Waddell)
Photograph by Les Anderson on Unsplash (edited collage)
if you ever fall in love
to the sounds of violins
and a melody that wraps itself
around your heart
look for her
one more time
cf. LIFE Magazine (1966) (Edit)
cf. Video by cottonbro via Pexels (Edit)
OH, when I was in love with you,
Then I was clean and brave,
And miles around the wonder grew
How well did I behave.
And now the fancy passes by,
And nothing will remain,
And miles around they ’ll say that I
Am quite myself again.
— A. E. Housman
cf. National Geographic Magazine (1952) (Edited Collage)
THY gift, thy tables, are within my brain
Full character’d with lasting memory,
Which shall above that idle rank remain,
Beyond all date, even to eternity…
cf. Left: Wolves of Society (1915) Right: Cincinnati Magazine (1986)
cf. Left: Grant Wood, American Gothic (1930) Right: Ken Bell, “But Retire Well” (Maclean’s Magazine, 1975)
cf. Australian Women’s Weekly Magazine (1948)
MY mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun…
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.
Zach Muhlbauer, “Wyeth Eyewear” (2019)
Of this worlds Theatre in which we stay,
My love lyke the Spectator ydly sits
Beholding me that all the pageants play,
Disguysing diversly my troubled wits.
Sometimes I joy when glad occasion fits,
And mask in myrth lyke to a Comedy:
Soone after when my joy to sorrow flits,
I waile and make my woes a Tragedy.
Yet she beholding me with constant eye,
Delights not in my merth nor rues my smart:
But when I laugh she mocks, and when I cry
She laughes, and hardens evermore her hart.
What then can move her? if not merth nor mone,
She is no woman, but a sencelesse stone.
— Edmund Spenser, “Amoretti LIV: Of this worlds Theatre in which we stay”
cf. Left: Maclean’s Magazine (1969) and Right: LIFE Magazine (1970)
cf. Video by cottonbro via Pexels and Gustave Caillebotte, “Paris Street; Rainy Day” (1877) (collage by me)
Image by GeorgeB2 via Pixabay
Hide this one night thy crescent, kindly Moon;
So shall Endymion faithful prove, and rest
Loving and unawakened on the breast;
So shall no foul enchanter importune
Thy quiet course; for now the night is boon,
And through the friendly night unseen I fare,
Who dread the face of foemen unaware,
And watch of hostile spies in the bright noon.
Thou knowest, Moon, the bitter power of Love;
‘Tis told how shepherd Pan found ways to move,
For little price, thy heart; and of your grace,
Sweet stars, be kind to this not alien fire,
Because on earth ye did not scorn desire,
Bethink ye, now ye hold your heavenly place.
— Pierre de Ronsard (Tr. Lang)
Image by Vicki Nunn via Pixabay
That time of year
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold…
cf. photograph by Denis Streltsov via Pixabay (edit, modification and 3D recomposition by me)
OUT of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul…
— William Ernest Henley, Invictus
cf. Videos by mohamed Hassan (storm) and Moshe Harosh (woman) both via Pixabay (edited collage by me)
THE LARGEST fire ever known
Occurs each afternoon,
Discovered is without surprise,
Proceeds without concern:
Consumes, and no report to men,
An Occidental town,
Rebuilt another morning
To be again burned down.
— Emily Dickinson
cf. Maclean’s Magazine (1966) (edit)
That was I, you heard last night,
When there rose no moon at all,
Nor, to pierce the strained and tight
Tent of heaven, a planet small:
Life was dead and so was light.
Not a twinkle from the fly,
Not a glimmer from the worm;
When the crickets stopped their cry,
When the owls forbore a term,
You heard music; that was I…
What they could my words expressed,
O my love, my all, my one!
Singing helped the verses best,
And when singing’s best was done,
To my lute I left the rest…
— Robert Browning, A Serenade at the Villa (excerpt)
cf. Photograph by María Victoria Heredia Reyes via Unsplash (edit)
Lock the place in your heart
into which I have poured my emotions
I do not want to be hurt again
use your heartbeat as the key
only you can hear if it unlocks itself
If the wind around you
should blow away
breathe into it and let my secrets go
— Zindzi Mandela, “Lock the Place in your Heart”
cf. Video by Bassman5420 via Pixabay (edited and modified by me)
When divine Art conceives a form and face,
She bids the craftsman for his first essay
To shape a simple model in mere clay:
This is the earliest birth of Art’s embrace.
From the live marble in the second place
His mallet brings into the light of day
A thing so beautiful that who can say
When time shall conquer that immortal grace?
Thus my own model I was born to be–
The model of that nobler self, whereto
Schooled by your pity, lady, I shall grow.
Each overplus and each deficiency
You will make good. What penance then is due
For my fierce heat, chastened and taught by you?
— Michelangelo, The Model And The Statue
cf. photograph by Toni Frissell, “Weeki Wachee spring, Florida” (underwater view of a woman, wearing a long gown, floating in water) (1947) and video (underwater seabed light) by motionstock via Pixabay (edited collage by me)
I placed my dream in a boat
and the boat into the sea;
then I ripped the sea with my hands
so that my dream would sink.
My hands are still wet
with the blue of the slashed waves,
and the color that runs from my fingers
colors the deserted sands.
The wind arrives from far away,
night bends itself with the cold;
under the water in a boat
my dream is dying away.
I’ll cry as much as necessary
to make the sea grow
so that my boat will sink to the bottom
and my dream disappear…
— Cecilia Meireles, “Song” (Tr. Giacomelli)
cf. Images by Ralf Vetterle (laser) and alan9187 (woman) both via Pixabay (3D edited collage by me)
cf. Keats, “Bright Star!…” and cf. National Geographic Magazine (1948)
diaphane III: evolution (digital painting and animation by me)
“diaphane II: afterburn” (digital painting by me)
Video And Photograph Collage By Me (1978)
cf. Toni Frissell, “Woman and man lying on a dock” (ca. 1969) and video by 5239640 via Pixabay (edited, modified and collage recomposition by me)
Doubt thou the stars are fire,
Doubt that the sun doth move,
Doubt truth to be a liar,
But never doubt I love.
Here’s the link:
Party at The Met, ca. 1960s
LOVELIEST of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.
Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.
And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.
— A. E. Housman, A Shropshire Lad
cf. Library of Congress, “King’s Highway (Remains)”
here and gone
found and lost…
cf. Courier Company, Theatrical poster (1899)
She is neither pink nor pale,
And she never will be all mine;
She learned her hands in a fairy-tale,
And her mouth on a valentine.
She has more hair than she needs;
In the sun ’tis a woe to me!
And her voice is a string of colored beads,
Or steps leading into the sea.
She loves me all that she can,
And her ways to my ways resign;
But she was not made for any man,
And she never will be all mine.
— Edna St. Vincent Millay, Witch-Wife
cf. John Singer Sargent: Madame X, Dr. Pozzi at Home, and The Dinner Table (edited and rearranged collage)
cf. National Geographic Magazine, 1954
Before leaving Saint-Rémy, he wrote to Émile Bernard:
“…And yet, once again I let myself go reaching for stars that are too big —
a new failure — and I have had enough of it.”
cf. edited digital collage featuring photograph by Simon Migaj (man in jacket reaching) via Unsplash
Music, when soft voices die,
Vibrates in the memory—
Odours, when sweet violets sicken,
Live within the sense they quicken.
Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,
Are heaped for the belovèd’s bed;
And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,
Love itself shall slumber on.
— Shelley, “Music when Soft Voices Die (To –)”
Just once in a very blue moon
And I feel one comin’ on soon…
Patio from the Castle of Vélez Blanco (1506–15) on view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 534
i found myself
in european sculpture and decorative arts
lost in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries
with so much to learn
and you resplendently reverberant
in a white blouse
like an impressionist painting
cf. photograph by Myriams-Fotos via Pixabay and video by MixailMixail via Pixabay (edited collage)
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
John Sapiro, “mobile” (2019)
John Sapiro, “Diaphane 𝑰” (2019)
cf. Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse, Michelangelo (modeled before 1883) and
photograph by Nathan Fertig via Unsplash (edited collage)
Lenehan walked on again. He lifted his yachtingcap and scratched his hindhead rapidly. He glanced sideways in the sunlight at M’Coy.
—He’s a cultured allroundman, Bloom is, he said seriously. He’s not one of your common or garden … you know … There’s a touch of the artist about old Bloom.
cf. photograph by Andrew Neel via Unsplash (edited)
Yet I argue not
Against Heaven’s hand or will, nor bate a jot
Of heart or hope, but still bear up and steer
— Milton, “To the Same”
cf. photograph by guvo59 via Pixabay (edit) and video by McZerrill via Pixabay (edited collage)
The carriage swerved from the tramtrack to the smoother road past Watery lane. Mr Bloom at gaze saw a lithe young man, clad in mourning, a wide hat.
—There’s a friend of yours gone by, Dedalus, he said.
—Who is that?
—Your son and heir.
—Where is he? Mr Dedalus said, stretching over across.
The carriage, passing the open drains and mounds of rippedup roadway before the tenement houses, lurched round the corner and, swerving back to the tramtrack, rolled on noisily with chattering wheels. Mr Dedalus fell back, saying:
—Was that Mulligan cad with him? His fidus Achates!
—No, Mr Bloom said. He was alone…
Looking for something lost in a past life…
— Joyce, Ulysses
cf. photograph by Nathan Dumlao via Unsplash and video by Vimeo-Free-Videos via Pixabay (edited collage)
My blue dream…
— Fitzgerald, The Last Tycoon
I remember the feeling…
cf. Nancy Ford Cones, “Mending The Net” (ca. 1912) and John William Waterhouse, The Lady of Shalott (1888)
…trying as usual to get my picture of myself straight.
— Robert Lowell, Near the Unbalanced Aquarium
Dowland — Book of Songs, Book 1: “All ye whom love or fortune hath betrayed” (David Munderloh)
cf. Nationaal Archief, “Underneath a parasol” (1933) (edit)
Moments of their secret life together burst like stars upon his memory…
— Joyce, from Dubliners
cf. Edgar Allan Poe, “To One in Paradise”
cf. photograph by pieroor via Pixabay and video by Vimeo-Free-Videos via Pixabay (edited collage)
This terrible repetition of resolution and failure — like one of the endless, circular punishments of Dante’s “Inferno” — shaped much of what happened in the second part of his life. Yet he never stopped resolving, and this dogged determination to battle on also became characteristic and took him through experiences that few of his contemporaries shared or even remotely understood…
— Richard Holmes, Coleridge: Darker Reflections
John Sapiro, “Sunflower Variation I” (Pastel/Digital)
cf. John C. Higgins, “Man in Bottle” (detail) (ca. 1888) and
video by Vimeo-Free-Videos via Pixabay (edited collage)
Every man must take the measure of his own strength. I may, I do, regret my want of fortitude; but so it is, that incurable depression of Spirits, Brooding, Indolence, Despondence, thence Pains and nightly Horrors…
— Letter from Coleridge to Daniel Stuart quoted in Richard Holmes, Coleridge: Darker Reflections
collage including photograph from “Student Life” collection at UL Digital Library (1976) (detail) (edited)
No, Time, thou shalt not boast that I do change…
— Sonnet 123
collage including video by Anatwell-Group via Pixabay (edited)
Another expedition took him to Cambridge, the first return since undergraduate days twelve years previously, where the young men all looked just the same in the university pubs and “the only alteration” was in himself…
— Richard Holmes, Coleridge: Darker Reflections
cf. Patricia D. Duncan, “…Schoolhouse, near Troy in the Northeast Corner of the State…” (1974) and
video by Coverr-Free-Footage via Pixabay
It shall be no trespassing,
If I come again some spring
In the grey disguise of years,
Seeking ache of memory here.
— Robert Frost, On the Sale of My Farm (excerpt)
cf. Emily Dickinson and 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
portrait by Montmartre street artist, August, 1984
But Time, to make me grieve,
Part steals, lets part abide;
And shakes this fragile frame at eve
With throbbings of noontide.
— Thomas Hardy, “I Look into my Glass” (excerpt)
cf. photograph by Erik Witsoe via Unsplash (edited) and video by Vimeo-Free-Videos via Pixabay (edited)
Who, through long days of labor,
And nights devoid of ease,
Still heard in his soul the music
Of wonderful melodies.
Such songs have power to quiet
The restless pulse of care,
And come like the benediction
That follows after prayer.
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Day is Done (excerpt)