cf. photograph by Trinity Kubassek via Pexels
she did lie
in her pavilion—cloth-of-gold, of tissue—
o’erpicturing that Venus where we see
the fancy outwork nature
she was going
to ask you out!”
let’s not confound the time
with conference harsh
there’s not a minute of our lives
should stretch without some pleasure now
what sport tonight?
I’m On Fire
photograph by Andrea Riondino via Unsplash
“No greater grief than to remember days of joy, when misery is at hand.”
When I Was Mary’s Prayer
George Eastman Museum, “Couple” (ca. 1910)
Is it worth a tear, is it worth an hour,
To think of things that are well outworn?
Of fruitless husk and fugitive flower,
The dream foregone and the deed forborne?
Though joy be done with and grief be vain,
Time shall not sever us wholly in twain;
Earth is not spoilt for a single shower;
But the rain has ruined the ungrown corn.
It will grow not again, this fruit of my heart,
Smitten with sunbeams, ruined with rain.
The singing seasons divide and depart,
Winter and summer depart in twain.
It will grow not again, it is ruined at root,
The bloodlike blossom, the dull red fruit;
Though the heart yet sickens, the lips yet smart,
With sullen savour of poisonous pain.
I have put my days and dreams out of mind,
Days that are over, dreams that are done…
Yea, I know this well: were you once sealed mine,
Mine in the blood’s beat, mine in the breath,
Mixed into me as honey in wine,
Not time, that sayeth and gainsayeth,
Nor all strong things had severed us then;
Not wrath of gods, nor wisdom of men,
Nor all things earthly, nor all divine,
Nor joy nor sorrow, nor life nor death.
The First Cut Is The Deepest
cf. video by C Technical via Pexels
A THING of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
I, Oh I
cf. Maclean’s Magazine (1969)
“When I compare the aspect of the world to me now with what it was twelve months ago, I am far from desponding or complaining. I seem to have a motive and a rallying-word in the fight of life: …Alles für Ruhm und Ihr!”
— Letter from Thomas Carlyle to Jane Welsh
Anybody in their right mind could see it’s you and me…
cf. Maclean’s Magazine (1969)
Dear as remembered kisses after death,
And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feigned
On lips that are for others; deep as love,
Deep as first love, and wild with all regret;
O Death in Life, the days that are no more.
cf. Maclean’s Magazine (1969)
YOU left me, sweet, two legacies,—
A legacy of love
A Heavenly Father would content,
Had He the offer of;
You left me boundaries of pain
Capacious as the sea,
Between eternity and time,
Your consciousness and me.
— Emily Dickinson
Marlene on the Wall
cf. Maclean’s Magazine (1969)
…the custom of all the gentlemen of the house was to betake themselves straightway after supper to my lady Duchess; where, among the other pleasant pastimes and music and dancing that continually were practiced, sometimes neat questions were proposed, sometimes ingenious games were devised at the choice of one or another, in which under various disguises the company disclosed their thoughts figuratively to whom they liked best.
— Castiglione, “The Book Of The Courtier” (1528)
Queen of Hearts
Nationaal Archief, “Men’s fashion fair at the RAI in Amsterdam” (1973)
Recovering himself in a minute he opened for us two hulking patent cabinets which held his massed suits and dressing-gowns and ties, and his shirts, piled like bricks in stacks a dozen high.
“I’ve got a man in England who buys me clothes. He sends over a selection of things at the beginning of each season, spring and fall.”
He took out a pile of shirts and began throwing them, one by one before us, shirts of sheer linen and thick silk and fine flannel which lost their folds as they fell and covered the table in many-colored disarray. While we admired he brought more and the soft rich heap mounted higher–shirts with stripes and scrolls and plaids in coral and apple-green and lavender and faint orange with monograms of Indian blue. Suddenly with a strained sound, Daisy bent her head into the shirts and began to cry stormily.
“They’re such beautiful shirts,” she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds. “It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such–such beautiful shirts before.”
— Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
I’ll Be Good To You
Thomas J. O’Halloran, “Students leaving school” (1977)
Ne regarde pas la figure,
Jeune fille, regarde le cœur.
Le cœur d’un beau jeune homme est souvent difforme.
Il y a des cœurs où l’amour ne se conserve pas.
Jeune fille, le sapin n’est pas beau,
N’est pas beau comme le peuplier,
Mais il garde son feuillage l’hiver…
— Victor Hugo, Notre-Dame de Paris
The First Cut Is the Deepest
Warren K. Leffler, “New York Scenes” (1969)
Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may…
— Andrew Marvell
E. Anthony Valainis, “A Thin Line” (Indianapolis Monthly Magazine, 1996)
SUCCESS is counted sweetest
By those who ne’er succeed…
— Emily Dickinson
Photograph by Etienne Boulanger via Unsplash
It was after nine o’clock when he left the shop. The night was cold and gloomy. He entered the Park by the first gate and walked along under the gaunt trees. He walked through the bleak alleys where they had walked four years before. She seemed to be near him in the darkness. At moments he seemed to feel her voice touch his ear, her hand touch his. He stood still to listen. Why had he withheld life from her?…He felt his moral nature falling to pieces.
— Joyce, from Dubliners
cf. LIFE Magazine (1966) (Edit)
Living After Midnight
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)
Still the One
cf. Nation’s Business Magazine (1970)
TO all those happy blessings, which ye have
With plenteous hand by heaven upon you thrown;
This one disparagement they to you gave,
That ye your love lent to so mean a one.
Ye, whose high worth’s surpassing paragon
Could not on earth have found one fit for mate,
Ne but in heaven matchable to none,
Why did ye stoop unto so lowly state?
But ye thereby much greater glory gat,
Than had ye sorted with a prince’s peer:
For, now your light doth more itself dilate,
And, in my darkness, greater doth appear.
Yet, since your light hath once illumined me,
With my reflex yours shall increased be.
— Edmund Spenser
Just Got Lucky
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.
cf. LIFE Magazine (ca. 1970)
Far and Close
Look a while at me,
Look a while at a cloud.
You are far away while looking at me,
So very close while looking at the cloud.
— Gu Cheng (Tr. Morin)
Shower the People
State Archives of Florida, “Ski Champs in Action” (ca. 1955)
I got everything you wanted
Give you everything you need
Still you want that sugar daddy over me?
Photograph by Renate Vanaga via Unsplash
YES! hope may with my strong desire keep pace,
And I be undeluded, unbetrayed;
For if of our affections none find grace
In sight of Heaven, then wherefore hath God made
The world which we inhabit? Better plea
Love cannot have, than that in loving thee
Glory to that eternal peace is paid,
Who such divinity to thee imparts
As hallows and makes pure all gentle hearts.
His hope is treacherous only whose love dies
With beauty, which is varying every hour;
But, in chaste hearts uninfluenced by the power
Of outward change, there blooms a deathless flower,
That breathes on earth the air of paradise.
— Michelangelo (Tr. Wordsworth)
Grow Old With Me
cf. Left: Maclean’s Magazine (1969) and Right: LIFE Magazine (1970)
There’s Only One Way To Rock
cf. Video by cottonbro via Pexels and Gustave Caillebotte, “Paris Street; Rainy Day” (1877) (collage by me)
Strawberry Letter 23
cf. Maclean’s Magazine (1987)
was the past in color?
1987 was in color
bigger than life
but then again
it could have been
only black and white —
I can’t see in this light
late at night
Maclean’s Magazine (1976)
Jill: I’m not so sure you can’t hurt him. Maybe more than anybody. (Crosses above table.) I think you deserve all the credit you can get for turning out a pretty marvelous guy—but bringing up a son—even a blind one—isn’t a lifetime occupation. (Mrs. Baker turns U., away from Jill.) Now the more you help him, the more you hurt him. It was Linda Fletcher—not you— (Mrs. Baker turns and looks at Jill Slowly.) who gave him the thing he needed most—confidence in himself. (Crossing away L.) You’re always dwelling on the negative—always what he needs, never what he wants … always what he can’t do, never what he can. (Crosses D. end of sofa.) What about his music? Have you heard the song he wrote? I’ll bet you didn’t even know he could write songs! (Crosses above table.) You’re probably dead right about me. I’m not the ideal girl for Don, but I know one thing—neither are you!! And if I’m going to tell anyone to go home, it’ll be you, Mrs. Baker. YOU go home!! (Turns and exits into her apartment, closing door behind her. Mrs. Baker watches her go.)
Wild Strawberries (1957)
But now he was an over-the-hill actor playing his younger self, and the setting was all wrong…
— Jonathan Rose, “The Literary Churchill”
Out of Touch
cf. Maclean’s Magazine (1971)
Drink to me only with thine eyes,
And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss but in the cup,
And I’ll not look for wine…
— Ben Jonson
One Night Stand
“You and Your Friends”, Blake (B.K.) Inc.
Toni Frissell, “Woman and man seated on grass near trees” (ca. 1940)
I really do…
I Love Your Smile
Jaroslav A. Polák, “…Old Couple”
This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
— Sonnet LXXIII
From the Beginning
cf. Maclean’s Magazine (1965)
Hear me, queen:
The strong necessity of time commands
Our services awhile, but my full heart
Remains in use with you.
— Antony and Cleopatra
Never Can Say Goodbye
Photograph by Amarpreet Singh via Pixabay
THOSE lips that Love’s own hand did make
Breath’d forth the sound that said ‘I hate,’
To me that languish’d for her sake:
But when she saw my woeful state,
Straight in her heart did mercy come,
Chiding that tongue that ever sweet
Was us’d in giving gentle doom;
And taught it thus anew to greet;
‘I hate,’ she alter’d with an end,
That follow’d it as gentle day
Doth follow night, who like a fiend
From heaven to hell is flown away.
‘I hate’ from hate away she threw,
And sav’d my life, saying—‘Not you.’
— Sonnet CXLV (in late 1582 William Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway)
Sooner Or Later
magazine advertisement (1967)
“Your own feeling tells you that you were not what you are,” she returned. “I am. That which promised happiness when we were one in heart, is fraught with misery now that we are two. How often and how keenly I have thought of this, I will not say. It is enough that I have thought of it, and can release you.”
“Have I ever sought release?”
“In words. No. Never.”
“In what, then?”
“In a changed nature; in an altered spirit; in another atmosphere of life; another Hope as its great end. In everything that made my love of any worth or value in your sight. If this had never been between us,” said the girl, looking mildly, but with steadiness, upon him; “tell me, would you seek me out and try to win me now? Ah, no!”
He seemed to yield to the justice of this supposition, in spite of himself. But he said with a struggle, “You think not.”
“I would gladly think otherwise if I could,” she answered, “Heaven knows! When I have learned a Truth like this, I know how strong and irresistible it must be. But if you were free to-day, to-morrow, yesterday, can even I believe that you would choose a dowerless girl— you who, in your very confidence with her, weigh everything by Gain: or, choosing her, if for a moment you were false enough to your one guiding principle to do so, do I not know that your repentance and regret would surely follow? I do; and I release you. With a full heart, for the love of him you once were.”
— Dickens, A Christmas Carol
Love Is The Answer
cf. Strohmeyer & Wyman, “The new woman – wash day” (ca. 1897)
What Has Happened?
H.C. White Co., “Giving him her hand with all her heart” (ca. 1902)
Don’t Talk Just Kiss
cf. magazine advertisements
Piece By Piece
Universal Photo Art Co., “1:30 A.M. Oh! How shocking!” (ca. 1904)
Where Does the Time Go?
cf. John Singer Sargent: Madame X, Dr. Pozzi at Home, and The Dinner Table (edited and rearranged collage)
Encyclopaedia Britannica Films, Inc., Beginning to Date (1953)
Out of your whole life give but one moment!
All of your life that has gone before,
All to come after it, – so you ignore,
So you make perfect the present, – condense,
In a rapture of rage, for perfection’s endowment,
Thought and feeling and soul and sense –
Merged in a moment which gives me at last
You around me for once, you beneath me, above me –
Me – sure that despite of time future, time past, –
This tick of our life-time’s one moment you love me!
How long such suspension may linger? Ah, Sweet –
The moment eternal – just that and no more –
When ecstasy’s utmost we clutch at the core
While cheeks burn, arms open, eyes shut and lips meet!
— Robert Browning, “Now”
cf. Popular Mechanics, 1974 (edited collage)
I Love Lucy
Maclean’s Magazine (1967)
Unto the boundless Ocean of thy beauty
Runs this poor river, charged with streams of zeal:
Returning thee the tribute of my duty,
Which here my love, my youth, my plaints reveal.
Here I unclasp the book of my charged soul,
Where I have cast th’accounts of all my care:
Here have I summed my sighs, here I enroll
How they were spent for thee; look what they are.
Look on the dear expenses of my youth,
And see how just I reckon with thine eyes:
Examine well thy beauty with my truth,
And cross my cares ere greater sum arise.
Read it sweet maid, though it be done but slightly;
Who can show all his love, doth love but lightly.
— Samuel Daniel, Delia 1: Unto the boundless Ocean of thy beauty
The Strawberry Blonde
Lynn Pelham, “A public machine vends customers’ blood pressure for 25¢” (LIFE, 1960)
High Blood Pressure
Left: Nationaal Archief, “Youngsters having a good time” (1961)
Right: Joseph B. Bergstresser, “Unidentified group playing cards” (ca. 1860-1900)
“Still The One” by Orleans
Business Screen magazine, 1973
The evening, blue, voluptuous, of June
Settled slowly on the beach with pulsating wings,
Like a sea-gull come to rest: far, far-off twinkled
Gold lights from the towers of a city and a passing ship.
The dark sea rolled its body at the end of the beach,
The warm soft beach which it was too tired to climb,
And we two walked together there
Arm in arm, having nothing in our souls but love.
— John Gould Fletcher, Memory: The Walk on the Beach (excerpt)
Julie, Do Ya Love Me by Bobby Sherman
Nationaal Archief, “Clients in a record shop” (1979)
Who can undo what time hath done?
Beckon lost music from a broken lute?
— Owen Meredith, “Orval or The Fool Of Time” (excerpt)
Song On The Radio
Ladies’ Home Journal, 1948
And what is love? It is a doll dress’d up
For idleness to cosset, nurse, and dandle;
A thing of soft misnomers, so divine
That silly youth doth think to make itself
Divine by loving, and so goes on
Yawning and doting a whole summer long…
— Keats, Modern Love (excerpt)
cf. G. W. Thorne/London Stereoscopic Company, “The Bashful Lover” (hand-colored) (ca. 1860-1870)
Get Used To It
Warren K. Leffler, “Couple listening to radio” (1957)
a hundred windings of the heart —
cf. John Sapiro, Wedge Of Cheese (2018) and Edward Hopper, Nighthawks (detail) (1942)
Who will in fairest book of nature know
How virtue may best lodg’d in beauty be,
Let him but learn of love to read in thee,
Stella, those fair lines which true goodness show.
There shall he find all vices’ overthrow,
Not by rude force, but sweetest sovereignty
Of reason, from whose light those night-birds fly;
That inward sun in thine eyes shineth so.
And, not content to be perfection’s heir
Thyself, dost strive all minds that way to move,
Who mark in thee what is in thee most fair.
So while thy beauty draws thy heart to love,
As fast thy virtue bends that love to good:
But “Ah,” Desire still cries, “Give me some food!”
— Sir Philip Sidney, Astrophil and Stella 71: “Who will in fairest book of nature know”
“Bad Time” — Grand Funk
cf. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, “Man sitting with dog on front porch as woman looks through door…” (between 1860 and 1930)
“Move It On Over” — George Thorogood and the Destroyers
Billy Rose Theatre Division, “Harvest” (1913)
Newman uttered one of the least attenuated imprecations that had ever passed his lips…
—Henry James, The American
“Into The Fire” – Dokken
cf. Sonnet 87 and photograph by Timo Stern via Unsplash (detail)
“Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” – Meat Loaf
cf. Marc St. Gil, “Teenagers Enjoy Each Other’s Company…” (detail) (1973)
cf. Finnish Museum of Photography, “Osuusliike Mäki-Matin uuden liikekeskuksen ravintolasali.” (1958)
a long time ago
someone told me
reflected light waves travel out into space
if you turn around
from someplace far away
you will see
“Sweet Baby” – George Duke / Stanley Clarke
cf. UL Digital Library, “Interior of Foundation Building”
so much milk spilled
so much bridged water
so much greener grass
so much silver lining
so much unglittered gold—
so much unsaid
so much unsaid,