“comme un reve singulierement profond”

cf. photograph by cottonbro via Pexels (edited)

“Yes, let’s,” Hans Castorp repeated, mechanically. They spoke in low tones, covered by the music. “Let us sit here, and look on, as though in a dream. For it is like a dream to me, that we are sitting like this — comme un reve singulierement profond, car il faut dormir tres profondement pour rever comme cela. Je veux dire — c’est un reve bien connu, reve de tout temps, long, eternel, oui, etre assis pres de toi comme a present…”

The Magic Mountain

Dreams

Or help one fainting robin unto his nest again

photograph by janaaa via Pixabay

IF I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

— Emily Dickinson

Love Is The Answer

“Nor jealousy was understood, the injur’d lover’s hell.”

photograph by cottonbro via Pexels

“You are hurt? You must not be. Let us put those feelings away, send them to Jericho. Do you agree? I have been wounded too sometimes — I will confess it, since we are sitting together like this. I have been angry with your phlegm, and your being such friends with him, on account of your egoistic craving for experience. Yet I was glad too, and grateful for the respect you paid him. You were loyal; if you were a bit impertinent too, after all I could make allowance for that.”

“Very kind of you.”

She looked at him. “You are incorrigible, it seems. And certainly I can’t quite tell how much esprit you have — but deep you are, a deep young man. Well, very good, one can do with it, and be friends. Shall we be friends, shall we make a league — not against but for him? Will you give me your hand on it? I am often frightened. — Sometimes I am afraid of the solitude with him — the inward solitude, tu sais — he is — frightening; sometimes I am afraid something may happen to him — it makes me shudder. — I should be glad to feel I had someone beside me. Enfin — if you care to know — that was why I came back here with him — chez toi…”

The Magic Mountain (Tr. Lowe-Porter)

Hey Jealousy

Already it was deep summer on roadhouse roofs and in front of wayside garages…

photograph by El Salanzo via Unsplash

Involuntarily I glanced seaward—and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock. When I looked once more for Gatsby he had vanished…

The Great Gatsby

You Took The Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)

Nineteen eighty-four

photograph by Eilis Garvey via Unsplash

Tragedy, he perceived, belonged to the ancient time, to a time when there was still privacy, love, and friendship, and when the members of a family stood by one another without needing to know the reason. His mother’s memory tore at his heart because she had died loving him, when he was too young and selfish to love her in return, and because somehow, he did not remember how, she had sacrificed herself to a conception of loyalty that was private and unalterable. Such things, he saw, could not happen today. Today there were fear, hatred, and pain, but no dignity of emotion, no deep or complex sorrows. All this he seemed to see in the large eyes of his mother and his sister, looking up at him through the green water, hundreds of fathoms down and still sinking.

— Orwell, Nineteen eighty-four


Message In A Bottle

“His head leaned back so far that it rested against the face of a defunct mantelpiece clock and from this position his distraught eyes stared down at Daisy…”

cf. photographs by Annie Spratt and Hector Reyes via Unsplash (edited)

I went in—after making every possible noise in the kitchen short of pushing over the stove—but I don’t believe they heard a sound. They were sitting at either end of the couch looking at each other as if some question had been asked or was in the air, and every vestige of embarrassment was gone. Daisy’s face was smeared with tears and when I came in she jumped up and began wiping at it with her handkerchief before a mirror. But there was a change in Gatsby that was simply confounding. He literally glowed; without a word or a gesture of exultation a new well-being radiated from him and filled the little room.

“Oh, hello, old sport,” he said, as if he hadn’t seen me for years. I thought for a moment he was going to shake hands.

The Great Gatsby

Mated

I sang in my chains like the sea

Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.

— Dylan Thomas, Fern Hill


Pride (In The Name Of Love)

Tempus fugit, amor manet

cf. video by Tima Miroshnichenko via Pexels (edited)

“I have been up here a long time, Mynheer Peeperkorn, years. How long I hardly know myself, but it has been years of my life. My cousin, to visit whom I came up, in the first instance, was a soldier, an upright and honourable soul, but that was no help to him — he died, and left me, and I remained here alone. I was no soldier, but a civilian, I had a profession, as you may have heard, a good, two-fisted job, which is even supposed to do its share in drawing together the nations of the earth — but somehow it did not draw me. I admit this freely; but the reasons for it I cannot describe otherwise than to say that they are veiled in obscurity, the same obscurity that envelops the origin of my feeling for Madame your mistress — I call her that expressly to show that I am not thinking of undermining the situation as it exists — my feeling for Clavdia Chauchat, and my intimate sense of her being, which I have had since the first moment her eyes met mine and bewitched me, enchanted me, you understand, beyond all reason. For love of her, in defiance of Herr Settembrini, I declared myself for the principle of unreason, the spirituel principle of disease, under whose aegis I had already, in reality, stood for a long time back; and I remained up here, I no longer know precisely how long. I have forgotten, broken with, everything, my relatives, my calling, all my ideas of life. When Clavdia went away, I waited here for her return, so that now I am wholly lost to life down below, and dead in the eyes of my friends. That is what I meant when I spoke of my destiny, and said there might be some justice in a complaint over my present state…”

— Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain (Tr. Lowe-Porter)

Oh Yeah!

The Tyger

photograph by Alistair MacRobert via Unsplash

TYGER, Tyger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water’d heaven with their tears,
Did He smile his work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?

Tyger, Tyger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

— William Blake

Sons of 1984

The Onset

photograph by J W via Unsplash

Always the same, when on a fated night
At last the gathered snow lets down as white
As may be in dark woods, and with a song
It shall not make again all winter long
Of hissing on the yet uncovered ground,
I almost stumble looking up and round,
As one who overtaken by the end
Gives up his errand, and lets death descend
Upon him where he is, with nothing done
To evil, no important triumph won,
More than if life had never been begun.

Yet all the precedent is on my side:
I know that winter death has never tried
The earth but it has failed: the snow may heap
In long storms an undrifted four feet deep
As measured again maple, birch, and oak,
It cannot check the peeper’s silver croak;
And I shall see the snow all go down hill
In water of a slender April rill
That flashes tail through last year’s withered brake
And dead weeds, like a disappearing snake.
Nothing will be left white but here a birch,
And there a clump of houses with a church.

— Robert Frost

One World

More Light

photograph by Josh Hild via Unsplash

Then the king in his great-heartedness unclasped
The collar of gold from his neck and gave it
To the young thane, telling him to use
It and the war shirt and the gilded helmet well.

Beowulf (Tr. Seamus Heaney)

More Light

A Christmas Carol

“Oh! captive, bound, and double-ironed,” cried the phantom, “not to know, that ages of incessant labour by immortal creatures, for this earth must pass into eternity before the good of which it is susceptible is all developed. Not to know that any Christian spirit working kindly in its little sphere, whatever it may be, will find its mortal life too short for its vast means of usefulness. Not to know that no space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused! Yet such was I! Oh! such was I!”

“But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,” faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.

“Business!” cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”

— Dickens, “A Christmas Carol”


One

Shine your light your love your hope

photograph by Ágatha Depiné via Unsplash

Aye, on the shores of darkness there is light,
And precipices show untrodden green,
There is a budding morrow in mid-night…

— Keats, “To Homer”

[Shine Your] Light Love Hope

“Loveliest of trees, the cherry now”

photograph by Roman Melnychuk via Unsplash

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

We May Never Pass This Way Again

Ulysses

photograph by Ben White via Unsplash

…for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

— Tennyson

Feelin’ Stronger Every Day

“The fearful unbelief is unbelief in yourself.”

Cast the bantling on the rocks,
Suckle him with the she-wolf’s teat;
Wintered with the hawk and fox,
Power and speed be hands and feet.

— Emerson, epigraph to “Self-Reliance”

All Star

Are you gatherin’ up the tears? Have you had enough of mine?

photograph by Ian Dooley via Unsplash

I remember the gleams and glooms that dart
Across the schoolboy’s brain;
The song and the silence in the heart,
That in part are prophecies, and in part
Are longings wild and vain.

— Longfellow, “My Lost Youth”

Reelin’ In The Years

“Lines on the Mermaid Tavern”

photograph by Dollar Gill via Unsplash

SOULS of Poets dead and gone,
What Elysium have ye known,
Happy field or mossy cavern,
Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern?
Have ye tippled drink more fine
Than mine host’s Canary wine?
Or are fruits of Paradise
Sweeter than those dainty pies
Of venison? O generous food!
Drest as though bold Robin Hood
Would, with his maid Marian,
Sup and bowse from horn and can.

— Keats

Don’t Rock The Jukebox

“The Cloud Confines”

photograph by cottonbro via Pexels

THE DAY is dark and the night
To him that would search their heart;
No lips of cloud that will part,
Nor morning song in the light:
Only, gazing alone,
To him wild shadows are shown,
Deep under deep unknown
And height above unknown height.
Still we say as we go,—
“Strange to think by the way,
Whatever there is to know,
That shall we know one day.”

— Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Part of the Plan

“My Heart and I”

cf. photograph by cottonbro via Pexels (edited collage)

Yet Who complains? My heart and I?
In this abundant earth no doubt
Is little room for things worn out:
Disdain them, break them, throw them by!
And if before the days grew rough
We once were lov’d, us’d,—well enough,
I think, we ’ve far’d, my heart and I.

— Elizabeth Barrett Browning


The First Cut Is the Deepest

“Spring and Fall”

cf. Carol M. Highsmith, “Tremont Street, Boston” (between 1980 and 2006) and
video by Coverr-Free-Footage via Pixabay (edited collage)

MÁRGARÉT, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves, líke the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Áh! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

— Gerard Manley Hopkins, “Spring and Fall”

If These Walls Could Speak

Autumn 1818

photograph by Anthony Tran via Unsplash

Some disturbing news was waiting for him as he stopped at the Dilkes’ the night of August 18 on his way home to Well Walk, looking, said Mrs. Dilke, “as brown and as shabby as you can imagine, scarcely any shoes left, his jacket all torn at the back, a fur cap, a great plaid, and his knapsack.” He quickly guessed that further trouble had arisen. But he sat back in the unaccustomed comfort of the cushioned chair (as Joseph Severn later heard), looked up with a tired smile, and quoted from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, “Bless thee, Bottom! bless thee! thou art translated.”

— Walter Jackson Bate, John Keats

Best of Both Worlds

The Song of the Lark

Jules Adolphe Breton, “The Song of the Lark” (1884)

“…and I walked in and there’s a painting there and I don’t even know who painted it but I think it’s called “The Song of the Lark” and it’s a woman working in a field and there’s a sunrise behind her and I saw it that day and I just thought well look — there’s a girl who doesn’t have a whole lot of prospects but the sun’s coming up anyway and she’s got another chance at it. I, too, am a person and get another chance; everyday the sun comes up.”

— Bill Murray

“Eros”

cf. Prelinger Archives, “Home Movie” (ca. 1963)

THE SENSE of the world is short,—
Long and various the report,—
To love and be beloved;
Men and gods have not outlearned it;
And, how oft soe’er they ’ve turned it,
Not to be improved.

— Emerson

“To a Greek Marble”

cf. photograph by The New York Public Library via Unsplash

I have whispered thee in thy solitudes
Of our loves in Phrygia,
The far ecstasy of burning noons
When the fragile pipes
Ceased in the cypress shade,
And the brown fingers of the shepherd
Moved over slim shoulders;
And only the cicada sang.

I have told thee of the hills
And the lisp of reeds
And the sun upon thy breasts,

And thou hearest me not,
Pótuia, pótuia
Thou hearest me not.

— Richard Aldington

All For Leyna

Per Angusta Ad Augusta

cf. photograph by The New York Public Library via Unsplash

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

 

Another Try

“Savez-vous quelque bien qui console du regret d’un monde?”

My genial spirits fail;
And what can these avail
To lift the smothering weight from off my breast?
It were a vain endeavour,
Though I should gaze for ever
On that green light that lingers in the west;
I may not hope from outward forms to win
The passion and the life, whose fountains are within.

— Coleridge

Change Myself

The Fountains

cf. photograph by Luke Stackpoole via Unsplash

WHEN you are drinking the water of joy from the alabaster fountain, you may form your wish, and it shall be granted. As you raise your wish higher, the water will be sweeter and sweeter to the taste; but beware that you are not tempted by its increasing sweetness to repeat your draughts, for the ill effects of your wish can only be removed by drinking the spring of sorrow from the bason of flint, which will be bitter in the same proportion as the water of joy was sweet.

— Samuel Johnson

A bell in your head will ring

photograph by Narges Pms via Unsplash

IF I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

— Emily Dickinson

All the Children Sing

The Eve of St. Agnes

So, purposing each moment to retire,
She linger’d still. Meantime, across the moors,
Had come young Porphyro, with heart on fire
For Madeline. Beside the portal doors,
Buttress’d from moonlight, stands he, and implores
All saints to give him sight of Madeline,
But for one moment in the tedious hours,
That he might gaze and worship all unseen;
Perchance speak, kneel, touch, kiss—in sooth such things have been.

— Keats

Invictus

photograph by SHVETS production via Pexels

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.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbow’d.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

— William Ernest Henley


Little Fighter

That time of year thou mayst in me behold

photograph by Andrea Riondino via Unsplash

THAT time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.

 

Tempora labuntur, tacitisque senescimus annis, et fugiunt freno non remorante dies.

Aalto University Commons, “Students in laboratory” (ca. 1960s)

These beauteous forms,
Through a long absence, have not been to me
As is a landscape to a blind man’s eye:
But oft, in lonely rooms, and ’mid the din
Of towns and cities, I have owed to them
In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;
And passing even into my purer mind,
With tranquil restoration:—feelings too
Of unremembered pleasure: such, perhaps,
As have no slight or trivial influence
On that best portion of a good man’s life

— Wordsworth


September Gurls

“To the couple that were kissing at the Greyhound Bus Station, July, 1981”

Charles O’Rear, “Train passengers bound for St. Louis, Missouri, board a chartered bus…” (1974)

To the couple that were kissing at the Greyhound Bus Station, July, 1981

You probably don’t remember me.

I was standing next to you waiting.

I was the guy with the guitar and the paperback copy of “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”.

You’re in your sixties now.

You’ve been married for 40 years.

It doesn’t seem possible

Because the sun is still reflecting off the luggage compartment door

And the driver is still getting impatient

And her blonde hair is still glistening in the late afternoon haze

And I knew I was going to be late.

— J.S.

What is Life?

cf. Maclean’s Magazine (1961)

And what is Life?—An hour-glass on the run,
A Mist retreating from the morning sun,
A busy, bustling, still repeated dream;
Its length?—A minute’s pause, a moment’s thought;
And happiness?—A bubble on the stream,
That in the act of seizing shrinks to nought.

— John Clare

Ode to the West Wind

Photograph by Mathilde LMD via Unsplash

Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is:
What if my leaves are falling like its own?
The tumult of thy mighty harmonies

Will take from both a deep autumnal tone,
Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce,
My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!

Drive my dead thoughts over the universe,
Like wither’d leaves, to quicken a new birth;
And, by the incantation of this verse,

Scatter, as from an unextinguish’d hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
Be through my lips to unawaken’d earth

The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

No Surprize

Anna Mirabilis

cf. photograph by Trinity Kubassek via Pexels

Anna Mirabilis

she did lie
in her pavilion—cloth-of-gold, of tissue—
o’erpicturing that Venus where we see
the fancy outwork nature
“I thought
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?

— J.S.


I’m On Fire

Frisch weht der Wind Der Heimat zu, Mein Irisch Kind, Wo weilest du?

photograph by Anthony Tran via Unsplash

“You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;
They called me the hyacinth girl.”
—Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,
Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,
Looking into the heart of light, the silence.
Öd’ und leer das Meer.

— The Waste Land
99

Nondum amabam, et amare amabam, quaerebam quid amarem amans amare.

cf. video by cottonbro via Pexels

Art and eloquence,
And all the shows o’ the world, are frail and vain
To weep a loss that turns their lights to shade.
It is a woe ‘too deep for tears’ when all
Is reft at once, when some surpassing Spirit,
Whose light adorned the world around it, leaves
Those who remain behind, not sobs or groans,
The passionate tumult of a clinging hope,—
But pale despair and cold tranquillity,
Nature’s vast frame, the web of human things,
Birth and the grave, that are not as they were.

— Shelley


Operator (That’s Not The Way It Feels)

The Docent

UMFA Docent Yearbook, 2014-2015

oh! then,
If solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief,
Should be thy portion, with what healing thoughts
Of tender joy wilt thou remember me,
And these my exhortations! Nor, perchance—
If I should be where I no more can hear
Thy voice, nor catch from thy wild eyes those gleams
Of past existence,—wilt thou then forget
That on the banks of this delightful stream
We stood together; and that I, so long
A worshipper of Nature, hither came
Unwearied in that service: rather say
With warmer love, oh! with far deeper zeal
Of holier love. Nor wilt thou then forget,
That after many wanderings, many years
Of absence, these steep woods and lofty cliffs,
And this green pastoral landscape, were to me
More dear, both for themselves and for thy sake!

— Wordsworth, “Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye During a Tour July 13, 1798”


Defying Gravity

Eleventh Song

photograph by Jane Palash via Unsplash

WHO is it that this dark night,
Underneath my window plaineth?
It is one who from thy sight,
Being, ah! exiled; disdaineth
Every other vulgar light.

Why, alas! and are you he?
Be not yet those fancies changèd?
Dear! when you find change in me,
Though from me you be estrangèd;
Let my change to ruin be.

Well in absence this will die.
Leave to see! and leave to wonder!
Absence sure will help, if I
Can learn how myself to sunder
From what in my heart doth lie.

But time will these thoughts remove:
Time doth work what no man knoweth.
Time doth as the subject prove,
With time still th’affection groweth
In the faithful turtle dove.

— Sir Philip Sidney


Daisy Jane

Endymion

O SOVEREIGN power of love! O grief! O balm!
All records, saving thine, come cool, and calm,
And shadowy, through the mist of passed years:
For others, good or bad, hatred and tears
Have become indolent; but touching thine,
One sigh doth echo, one poor sob doth pine,
One kiss brings honey-dew from buried days.
The woes of Troy, towers smothering o’er their blaze,
Stiff-holden shields, far-piercing spears, keen blades,
Struggling, and blood, and shrieks—all dimly fades
Into some backward corner of the brain;
Yet, in our very souls, we feel amain
The close of Troilus and Cressid sweet.
Hence, pageant history! hence, gilded cheat!
Swart planet in the universe of deeds!
Wide sea, that one continuous murmur breeds
Along the pebbled shore of memory!…

— Book II

“That sir which serves and seeks for gain and follows but for form will pack when it begins to rain and leave thee in the storm.”

cf. photograph by Noah Buscher via Unsplash

Poor naked wretches, whereso’er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,
Your loop’d and window’d raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these? O, I have ta’en
Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp;
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,
That thou may’st shake the superflux to them,
And show the heavens more just.

— King Lear


All Broken Hearts Break Differently

Dum vivimus, vivamus!

cf. Video by MART PRODUCTION via Pexels

“It’s not too late for you, on any side, and you don’t strike me as in danger of missing the train; besides which people can be in general pretty well trusted, of course—with the clock of their freedom ticking as loud as it seems to do here—to keep an eye on the fleeting hour. All the same don’t forget that you’re young—blessedly young; be glad of it on the contrary and live up to it. Live all you can; it’s a mistake not to. It doesn’t so much matter what you do in particular, so long as you have your life. If you haven’t had that what have you had?
…But that doesn’t affect the point that the right time is now yours. The right time is any time that one is still so lucky as to have. You’ve plenty; that’s the great thing; you’re, as I say, damn you, so happily and hatefully young. Don’t at any rate miss things out of stupidity. Of course I don’t take you for a fool, or I shouldn’t be addressing you thus awfully. Do what you like so long as you don’t make my mistake. For it was a mistake. Live!”

— Henry James, The Ambassadors

Born to Run

On a stormy sea of moving emotion

photograph by Warren Wong via Unsplash

Marlow ceased, and sat apart, indistinct and silent, in the pose of a meditating Buddha. Nobody moved for a time. “We have lost the first of the ebb,” said the Director suddenly. I raised my head. The offing was barred by a black bank of clouds, and the tranquil waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth flowed sombre under an overcast sky—seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness.

— Conrad, Heart of Darkness

“So foul a sky clears not without a storm.”

— Shakespeare, King John

Whosoever unceasingly strives upward … him can we save.

— Goethe


Carry On Wayward Son

a long and dangerous voyage

photograph by Mert Kahveci via Unsplash

At this moment, the tavern door opened. Several persons entered bringing with them an odor of wet dog to which was blent the smell of coal wafted by the wind through the opened door. Des Esseintes was incapable of moving a limb. A soft warm languor prevented him from even stretching out his hand to light a cigar. He told himself: “Come now, let us get up, we must take ourselves off.” Immediate objections thwarted his orders. What is the use of moving, when one can travel on a chair so magnificently? Was he not even now in London, whose aromas and atmosphere and inhabitants, whose food and utensils surrounded him? For what could he hope, if not new disillusionments, as had happened to him in Holland?

He had but sufficient time to race to the station. An overwhelming aversion for the trip, an imperious need of remaining tranquil, seized him with a more and more obvious and stubborn strength. Pensively, he let the minutes pass, thus cutting off all retreat, and he said to himself, “Now it would be necessary to rush to the gate and crowd into the baggage room! What ennui! What a bore that would be!” Then he repeated to himself once more, “In fine, I have experienced and seen all I wished to experience and see. I have been filled with English life since my departure. I would be mad indeed to go and, by an awkward trip, lose those imperishable sensations. How stupid of me to have sought to disown my old ideas, to have doubted the efficacy of the docile phantasmagories of my brain, like a very fool to have thought of the necessity, of the curiosity, of the interest of an excursion!”

“Well!” he exclaimed, consulting his watch, “it is now time to return home.”

This time, he arose and left, ordered the driver to bring him back to the Sceaux station, and returned with his trunks, packages, valises, rugs, umbrellas and canes, to Fontenay, feeling the physical stimulation and the moral fatigue of a man coming back to his home after a long and dangerous voyage.

— Huysmans, Against The Grain


Call me the breeze

madwoman in the attic

photograph by Isi Parente via Unsplash

“…but now I have a particular reason for wishing to hear all about the fire. Was it suspected that this lunatic, Mrs. Rochester, had any hand in it?”

“You’ve hit it, ma’am: it’s quite certain that it was her, and nobody but her, that set it going…”

— Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre


Seether

Icarus and Psyche

photograph by David Raichman via Unsplash

Icarus and Psyche

Keats, what thoughts I have of you tonight
O, Hyperion! O, aching time!
thoughts of the hopes of the past —
the burden of the mystery
of the wide world
I stand alone
a sick eagle
far from the fiery noon
and eve’s one star

— J.S.


Wouldn’t It Be Good

Monday, 11 o’clock.

photograph by gustavovillegas via Pixabay

Monday, 11 o’clock. Well, praised be God! here I am. Videlicet, Ruthin, sixteen miles from Wrexham. At Wrexham Church I glanced upon the face of a Miss E. Evans, a young lady with [whom] I had been in habits of fraternal correspondence. She turned excessively pale; she thought it my ghost, I suppose. I retreated with all possible speed to our inn. There, as I was standing at the window, passed by Eliza Evans, and with her to my utter surprise her sister, Mary Evans, quam efflictim et perdite amabam. I apprehend she is come from London on a visit to her grandmother, with whom Eliza lives. I turned sick, and all but fainted away! The two sisters, as H. informs me, passed by the window anxiously several times afterwards; but I had retired.

Vivit, sed mihi non vivit—nova forte marita,
Ah dolor! alterius carâ, a cervice pependit.
Vos, malefida valete accensæ insomnia mentis,
Littora amata valete! Vale, ah! formosa Maria!

My fortitude would not have supported me, had I recognized her—I mean appeared to do it! I neither ate nor slept yesterday. But love is a local anguish; I am sixteen miles distant, and am not half so miserable. I must endeavour to forget it amid the terrible graces of the wild wood scenery that surround me. I never durst even in a whisper avow my passion, though I knew she loved me. Where were my fortunes? and why should I make her miserable! Almighty God bless her! Her image is in the sanctuary of my heart, and never can it be torn away but with the strings that grapple it to life. Southey! there are few men of whose delicacy I think so highly as to have written all this. I am glad I have so deemed of you. We are soothed by communications.

— Letter from Coleridge to Robert Southey, Sunday, July 15, 1794


Amie

Roderick Hudson

photograph by REVOLT via Unsplash

“It’s greater happiness than you deserve, then! You have never chosen, I say; you have been afraid to choose. You have never really faced the fact that you are false, that you have broken your faith. You have never looked at it and seen that it was hideous, and yet said, ‘No matter, I’ll brave the penalty, I’ll bear the shame!’ You have closed your eyes; you have tried to stifle remembrance, to persuade yourself that you were not behaving as badly as you seemed to be, and there would be some way, after all, of compassing bliss and yet escaping trouble. You have faltered and drifted, you have gone on from accident to accident, and I am sure that at this present moment you can’t tell what it is you really desire!”

— Henry James, Roderick Hudson


Flaming Youth

What Counsel Has The Hooded Moon?

cf. video by Yaroslav Shuraev via Pexels

BERTHA:
Did you think of me last night?

ROBERT:
[Comes nearer.] I think of you always—as something beautiful and distant— the moon or some deep music.

BERTHA:
[Smiling.] And last night which was I?

ROBERT:
I was awake half the night. I could hear your voice. I could see your face in the dark. Your eyes… I want to speak to you. Will you listen to me? May I speak?

— Joyce, Exiles


Moonlight Feels Right