cf. photograph by Cade Prior via Pexels
Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
— Langston Hughes, Mother to Son
Educational Screen and Audiovisual Guide Magazine, 1961
you held me and sang
come fly with me,
said the little red sled
and you gave me the wings of a bird
cf. photograph by Tookapic via Pexels
I was overcome with remorse…because I hadn’t lived up to her expectations.
— Ionesco, The Hermit
Heaven’s light forever shines, Earth’s shadows fly;
Life, like a dome of many-colour’d glass,
Stains the white radiance of Eternity
— Shelley, Adonais (excerpt)
Patricia D. Duncan, “Sunset View of a Horse in Pastureland…” (1975)
As my eyes search the prairie
I feel the summer in the spring.
—Anonymous, “Spring Song” (Tr. Frances Densmore) from Chippewa Music II Bulletin 53 (1913)
“Wildfire” by Michael Martin Murphey
Photograph by Guy Sapiro (1962-2009)
So huge, so hopeless to conceive,
As these that twice befell.
Parting is all we know of heaven,
And all we need of hell.
photograph by Zachary Staines via Unsplash
“…He, and another neighbour of mine, one Mr. Samuel Johnson, set out this morning for London together. Davy Garrick is to be with you early the next week, and Mr. Johnson to try his fate with a tragedy, and to see to get himself employed in some translation, either from the Latin or the French…”
—Letter from G. Walmsley to The Reverend Mr. Colson, March 2, 1737, quoted in Boswell’s Life Of Johnson
cf. Photograph by Annie Spratt via Unsplash
“Laura, illustrious by her own virtues, and long celebrated by my verses, I beheld for the first time, in my early youth, on the 6th of April, 1327, about the first hour of the day, in the church of Saint Claire in Avignon: and in the same city, in the same month of April, the same day and hour, in the year 1348, this light of my life was withdrawn from the world while I was at Verona, ignorant, alas! of what had befallen me.”
—Petrarch’s inscription in his copy of Virgil
“Think Of Laura” by Christopher Cross
I was saddened to read recently of the passing of Allan Holdsworth. This is a transcription I did a long time ago of his “In The Dead Of Night” solo. I saw him in the fall of 1983 and remember how much he inspired me.
“Hats off, gentlemen—a genius!”
—Robert Schumann, Review of Chopin’s variations on Mozart’s “Là ci darem la mano,” Op. 2 In “Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung”, Vol. 33, no. 49 (December 7, 1831)
Know’st thou the excellent joys of youth?
Joys of the dear companions and of the merry word and laughing
Joy of the glad light-beaming day, joy of the wide-breath’d games?
Joy of sweet music…
—Walt Whitman, A Song Of Joys
Peder Mork Mønsted, Winter Landscape (1927)
after the light of leaves
the light of snow
and white as coconut before the snow
—Joan Vayo, “all souls day”
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds,—and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of—wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air….
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark nor ever eagle flew—
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
—John Gillespie Magee, Jr., “High Flight”