“If no love is, O God, what fele I so?”

Photograph by Les Anderson on Unsplash (edited collage)

if you ever fall in love
to the sounds of violins
and bells
and a melody that wraps itself
around your heart
look for her
one more time

— J.S.

Bells of St. Augustine

Oh, when I was in love with you

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

Sonnet CXXII

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…

Mainstreet

Bipolar Depression II

cf. photograph by Gerd Altmann via Pixabay (edit)

This is the debt I pay
Just for one riotous day,
Years of regret and grief,
Sorrow without relief.

Pay it I will to the end —
Until the grave, my friend,
Gives me a true release —
Gives me the clasp of peace.

Slight was the thing I bought,
Small was the debt I thought,
Poor was the loan at best —
God! but the interest!

— Paul Laurence Dunbar, The Debt

Lithium

Invictus

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

Back In Black

Atomic Courtesy Collaboration – Jacobson

A collaboration with the talented Marcy Erb and featured on her eclectic blog Illustrated Poetry | Art by Marcy Erb

Illustrated Poetry

GIF by John Sapiro

Atomic Courtesy

To smash the simple atom
All mankind was intent.
Now any day
The atom may
Return the compliment.

Ethel Jacobson

collage of beige and red particles escaping from a black concentric reactor

John Sapiro and I began our email correspondence about this little poem and the history of the atomic age a few months ago, before the early August anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but amidst the early chaos of the pandemic. It seemed almost ridiculous to be talking about yet another threat to worldwide health, peace, and humanity and yet, it was the mood of the day. I couldn’t find an exact date for Ethel Jacobson’s poem, although it is in a book I have that has a copyright date of 1952. And so our conversation centered mostly around the cold war of the 1950s and 60s but veered around widely. We talked about the physicist Richard Feynman and his…

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The largest fire ever known

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

10,000 Lovers (In One)

A Serenade at the Villa

cf. Maclean’s Magazine (1966) (edit)

I
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.

II
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…

IV
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)

Gabrielle

“Lock the Place in your Heart”

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”

Same Old Lang Syne

The Heart wants what it wants

cf. Edward Hopper, Nighthawks (1942) and Maclean’s Magazine (1971) and letter from Emily Dickinson to Mary Bowles, Spring, 1862
(Thank you to Marcy at Illustrated Poetry | Art by Marcy Erb for the quotation.)

If I Can’t Have You

“The Model And The Statue”

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

Hot Cherie

dreamless

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)

Jackie Blue

meditating upon the meaning of the line “clams on the halfshell and rollerskates” in the song “good times” by chic

cf. photograph by Thomas J. O’Halloran, “The Plum disco dancing [1119 21st St. NW]” (1977) and
video by Luiz-Jorge-Artista via Pixabay (edited and recomposed collage by me)

go away, you bitter cuss.   it’s still 1980 somewhere, some corner
  of your dark apartment
where the mystery of the lyric hasn’t faded.   and love is in the
 chorus waiting to be born

— D. A. Powell, meditating upon the meaning of the line “clams on the halfshell and rollerskates” in the song “good times” by chic (excerpt) (Poetry, September 2006)

Good Times by Chic

Greeting Card

cf. TV commercial (ca. 1987)

Alas! is even love too weak To unlock the heart, and let it speak?

Ah, love, let us be true To one another!

Bright are the stars that shine Dark is the sky

Love seeketh not itself to please,

If thou must love me, let it be for nought Except for love’s sake only

And to his eye There was but one beloved face on earth, And that was shining on him.

She knew she was by him beloved

All passions, all delights, Whatever stirs this mortal frame, All are but ministers of Love,

And in Life’s noisiest hour, There whispers still the ceaseless Love of Thee,

Love is not a feeling to pass away

My heart’s so full of joy, That I shall do some wild extravagance

Love is most nearly itself When here and now cease to matter.

You who suffer because you love, love still more.

A thing of beauty is a joy forever

I love thee, as the good love heaven.

Love keeps the cold out better than a cloak.

Imparadis’d in one another’s arms.

Love is the crowning grace of humanity,

Not grace, or zeal, love only was my call,

Love’s too precious to be lost,

We love but while we may

Love will conquer at the last.

Omnia vincit Amor; et nos cedamus Amori.

To see her is to love her,

Oh my luve’s like a red, red rose,

❤️
— J.S.

Chapter and Verse

The Waste Land

cf. Maclean’s Magazine (1969) and The Mechanical & Landscape Photo Co., “bedroom interior…” (ca.1870)

APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain…

Only A Memory

Chapter 8

cf. Toni Frissell, “Fashion model underwater…” (1939) and video by Relaxing_Guru via Pixabay (edited, modified, and combined recomposition)

The track curved and now it was going away from the sun which, as it sank lower, seemed to spread itself in benediction over the vanishing city where she had drawn her breath. He stretched out his hand desperately as if to snatch only a wisp of air, to save a fragment of the spot that she had made lovely for him. But it was all going by too fast now for his blurred eyes and he knew that he had lost that part of it, the freshest and the best, forever.

— F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Love Is Like Oxygen

[Storm still.]

cf. Image by Engin Akyurt via Pixabay (edited)

This tempest in my mind
Doth from my senses take all feeling else
Save what beats there…
O, that way madness lies. let me shun that;
No more of that.

King Lear

Beethoven: Grosse Fuge, Op. 133

footfall

cf. Photograph by Shane Rounce (detail) via Unsplash and CGI by pixel shox

footfall

i stepped back into time
waded into the same river twice
you know, nick had some really good advice for gatsby
it’s easy to get lost
romance glancer
true love chancer
happiness chaser
gone again spacer

— J.S.

Spacer

When I consider every thing that grows holds in perfection but a little moment

cf. Edwin Rosskam, “Untitled photo…” (1936)

WHEN I consider every thing that grows
Holds in perfection but a little moment,
That this huge stage presenteth nought but shows
Whereon the stars in secret influence comment;
When I perceive that men as plants increase,
Cheered and check’d e’en by the self-same sky,
Vaunt in their youthful sap, at height decrease,
And wear their brave state out of memory;
Then the conceit of this inconstant stay
Sets you most rich in youth before my sight,
Where wasteful Time debateth with Decay,
To change your day of youth to sullied night;
And, all in war with Time for love of you,
As he takes from you, I engraft you new.

— Sonnet XV

Who Knows Where The Time Goes

But she was not made for any man, and she never will be all mine

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

Mississippi Queen

“Scott, your last fragments I arrange tonight…”

Scott, your last fragments I arrange tonight,
Assigning commas, setting accents right,
As once I punctuated, spelled and trimmed
When, passing in a Princeton spring—how dimmed
By this damned quarter-century and more!—
You left your Shadow Laurels at my door.
That was a drama webbed of dreams: the scene
A shimmering beglamored bluish-green
Soiled Paris wineshop; the sad hero one
Who loved applause but had his life alone;
Who fed on drink for weeks; forgot to eat,
“Worked feverishly, ” nourished on defeat
A lyric pride, and lent a lyric voice
To all the tongueless knavish tavern boys,
The liquor-ridden, the illiterate;
Got stabbed one midnight by a tavern-mate—
Betrayed, but self-betrayed by stealthy sins—
And faded to the sound of violins…

— Edmund Wilson, from the Dedication to “The Crack-Up” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Back on the Chain Gang

In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire…

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…

Once In A Very Blue Moon

depression mantra

cf. edited collage featuring photograph by Sasha Freemind (man at window) via Unsplash

never give in, never give in, never, never, never…

— Winston Churchill, October 29, 1941, Harrow School

 

holding on

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

Violin Sonata No. 1 in G Minor, BWV 1001: I. Adagio

for all dishevelled wandering stars

cf. photograph by Alex Iby via Unsplash and

error46146, Subway Timelapse Experiment – YouTube (edited collage)

And brood on hopes and fear no more…

— W. B. Yeats, Who goes with Fergus?

Feelin’ Stronger Every Day

by heart

cf. Carleton H. Graves, “A game of chess” (detail) (ca. 1905) (edited)

by heart

the car passed under
the lights on the overpass
your voice traced
a rush of autumn
at the restaurant
your smile
echoes
across the years

— J.S.

Parallel Lines

parallax portrait

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.

Joyce, Ulysses

Make Your Own Kind Of Music

a portrait of the artist as a young man

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…

Joyce, Ulysses

Way To Blue

Super Bowl V ½

cf. Library Company of Philadelphia, “Wissahickon Creek” (detail) and
photograph by Bob Canning via Unsplash (edited collage)

Super Bowl V ½

the ultrablue winter twilight
and my huge snowsuit
as the ball sailed over the clothesline

— J.S.
 

my lost self

cf. photograph by Cherry Laithang via Unsplash (edited collage)

like Antaeus
drifting in the darkest night
searching for my long lost self —
my strength
my spirit
myself
and then I touch ground
again

— J.S.

Van Halen – 6/12/81 – Oakland Coliseum

“moment mirabilis (January, 1983)”

cf. photograph by Karsten Würth via Unsplash (edited)

moment mirabilis (January, 1983)

billie jean on the car radio
on the on ramp
sunlight through a distant willow tree
sparkles glass
far away
cold air through the clouds diverging
I took a deep breath
and accelerated

— J.S.