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
cf. Maclean’s Magazine (1986)
APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain…
— The Waste Land
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
You Take A Heart
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
Photograph by Luka Reedy via Unsplash
I went looking for myself
in a reflection
in city glass
I saw long ago
on a windy day
cf. Tom McCarthy, “Renaissance of the Upper West Side” (New York Magazine, 1969)
“What is time?” A mystery, a figment — and all-powerful. It conditions the exterior world, it is motion married to and mingled with the existence of bodies in space, and with the motion of these. Would there then be no time if there were no motion? No motion if no time? We fondly ask. Is time a function of space? Or space of time? Or are they identical? Echo answers. Time is functional, it can be referred to as action; we say a thing is “brought about” by time. What sort of thing? — Change! Now is not then, here not there, for between them lies motion. But the motion by which one measures time is circular, is in a closed circle; and might almost equally well be described as rest, as cessation of movement — for the there repeats itself constantly in the here, the past in the present…
— Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain (Tr. Lowe-Porter)
I Need You
cf. Prelinger Archives Home Movie (edited)
old and grey and full of sleep
then you were
We May Never Pass This Way (Again)
Marion S. Trikosko, “Working College Students” (1971)
Soon, O Ianthe! life is o’er,
And sooner beauty’s heavenly smile:
Grant only (and I ask no more),
Let love remain that little while.
— Walter Savage Landor
See A Little Light
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
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. 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. Videos by Life On Super 8 via Pexels
You’re The Love
cf. Video by Welton Souza via Pexels
ALAS! so all things now do hold their peace!
Heaven and earth disturbed in no thing;
The beasts, the air, the birds their song do cease,
The nightès car the stars about doth bring.
Calm is the sea; the waves work less and less:
So am not I, whom love, alas! doth wring,
Bringing before my face the great increase
Of my desires, whereat I weep and sing,
In joy and woe, as in a doubtful ease.
For my sweet thoughts sometime do pleasure bring;
But by and by, the cause of my disease
Gives me a pang, that inwardly doth sting,
When that I think what grief it is again,
To live and lack the thing should rid my pain.
— Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, “A Complaint by Night of the Lover not beloved”
Nights Are Forever Without You
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. Photographs by Les Anderson via Unsplash (edit)
on rainy nights
Almost Hear You Sigh
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)
WHEN you are very old, at evening
You’ll sit and spin beside the fire, and say,
Humming my songs, “Ah well, ah well-a-day!
When I was young, of me did Ronsard sing.”
None of your maidens that doth hear the thing,
Albeit with her weary task foredone,
But wakens at my name, and calls you one
Blest, to be held in long remembering.
I shall be low beneath the earth, and laid
On sleep, a phantom in the myrtle shade,
While you beside the fire, a grandame grey,
My love, your pride, remember and regret;
Ah, love me, love! we may be happy yet,
And gather roses, while ’tis called to-day.
— Pierre de Ronsard, “Of His Lady’s Old Age” (Tr. Lang)
The Waiting Game
Rainy day, Paris, August, 1984
WHEN I go up through the mowing field,
The headless aftermath,
Smooth-laid like thatch with the heavy dew,
Half closes the garden path.
And when I come to the garden ground,
The whir of sober birds
Up from the tangle of withered weeds
Is sadder than any words.
A tree beside the wall stands bare,
But a leaf that lingered brown,
Disturbed, I doubt not, by my thought,
Comes softly rattling down.
I end not far from my going forth
By picking the faded blue
Of the last remaining aster flower
To carry again to you.
— Robert Frost, “A Late Walk”
Another Park Another Sunday
cf. Maclean’s Magazine (1970)
Tide be runnin’ the great world over:
T’was only last June month I mind that we
Was thinkin’ the toss and the call in the breast of the lover
So everlastin’ as the sea.
Heer’s the same little fishes that sputter and swim,
Wi’ the moon’s old glim on the grey, wet sand;
An’ him no more to me nor me to him
Than the wind goin’ over my hand.
— Charlotte Mew, “Sea Love”
I Can’t Make You Love Me
David Stroble, “Students at Band Practice at Cathedral High School…” (ca. 1975)
Poetry was the memory of adolescence…
Poetry was Ayesha Akhter of my village school
with her long loose flowing hair.
— Al Mahmud, “Poetry Was Like This” (Tr. Chowdhury)
Baby, Now That I’ve Found You
cf. Maclean’s Magazine (1970)
When you break your heart
All exits are open…
— Ruth Krauss, End Song
Break Up To Make Up
cf. Maclean’s Magazine (1958) (edited collage by me)
Time’s on the wing,
Life never knows the return the spring.
— John Gay, The Beggar’s Opera
Julie, Do Ya Love Me
cf. National Geographic Magazine (1948)
EXERT thy voice, sweet harbinger of Spring!
This moment is thy time to sing,
This moment I attend to praise,
And set my numbers to thy lays.
Free as thine shall be my song;
As thy music, short or long.
Poets wild as thee were born,
Pleasing best when unconfined,
When to please is least designed,
Soothing but their cares to rest:
Cares do still their thoughts molest,
And still th’ unhappy poet’s breast,
Like thine, when best he sings, is placed against a thorn.
She begins, let all be still!
Muse, thy promise now fulfil!
Sweet, oh sweet! still sweeter yet!
— Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea, “To the Nightingale” (excerpt)
National Geographic Magazine (1948)
I waited all night, I remember that
smoked a cigarette
went out and saw some friends
drove by your house
went to a bar and had a beer
got back home and tried to sleep…
I knocked the phone off the nightstand
And the operator said, “May I help you please?”
and I said “No thanks, baby tonight there ain’t no help for me —
see I just had a bad dream, that’s all that’s wrong with me
see I just had a bad dream.”
Crying In My Sleep
cf. Maclean’s Magazine (1962)
all along the avenue
indulging in reminiscence
and sometimes why?
I Can’t Tell You Why
George C. Laur, “Students on Their Way to Senior High School…” (ca. 1975)
The Road Taken
Two hundred roads diverged from a yellow house,
And sorry I could not travel all two hundred
And be one traveler, briefly I stood
And looked down one and thought it was good;
And looked down the other one hundred and ninety nine
And thought they were mine.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Even knowing how way leads on to way losing track,
I never doubted that I could come back.
I am telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages ago:
Two hundred roads diverged —
I took number one ninety nine to my regret,
And that is what I can’t forget.
— J.S. (cf. Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken”)
cf. Thomas J. O’Halloran, “Christmas Shoppers…” (detail) (1969) (Edited by me)
FALSTAFF [to Doll]:
Thou dost give me flattering busses.
By my troth, I kiss thee with a most constant heart.
I am old, I am old.
I love thee better than I love e’er a scurvy young
boy of them all.
— Henry IV, Part 2
And The Beat Goes On
Warren K. Leffler, “Teen age [i.e., teenage] economy” (detail) (1964)
Love, therefore, and tongue-tied simplicity
In least speak most, to my capacity.
— A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Thomas J. O’Halloran, “WFC-AM & WKYS-FM radio operation” (1977)
Come, my queen, take hands with me,
And rock the ground whereon these sleepers be…
[Titania and Oberon dance.]
— A Midsummer Night’s Dream
poem and photograph by me
Library of Congress, “Reflection” (ca. 1910)
COME to me in the silence of the night;
Come in the speaking silence of a dream;
Come with soft rounded cheeks and eyes as bright
As sunlight on a stream;
Come back in tears,
O memory, hope, love of finished years.
— Christina Rossetti, “Echo”
Body And Soul
cf. Kim Rintling, “IMG_5859” (1980) (edited)
Et tu, Brutè? (a true story)
I stepped out of my office to have a cigarette.
It was about 11 o’clock and I needed a break.
I was standing near the parking lot when I noticed a large shadow.
I could vaguely hear a muffled argument.
I looked up and to my horror and surprise I saw the Little Caesars blimp
coming in fast, low and right towards me.
I could see the pilots arguing in the gondola so I started waving in what must have seemed like a futile gesture.
The wind picked up and the blimp began to fishtail down the street —would it hit me, my office or my car?
It must have been headed to a grand opening or something but my office had nothing to do with it.
I tried to light another cigarette out of nervousness but it’s difficult in the wind and then I realized it probably wasn’t a good idea to have an open flame in the area.
After what seemed like an eternity the ship seemed to right itself and it sauntered past me and down the adjacent street.
I ran inside and tried to pull myself together.
Up, Up and Away
cf. TV commercial (edited and modified)
ADVENTURE most unto itself
The Soul condemned to be;
Attended by a Single Hound—
Its own Identity.
— Emily Dickinson, The Single Hound: I
Forget About Us
Frances S. Allen, “The difficult step” (ca. 1900)
OH that those lips had language! Life has passed
With me but roughly since I heard thee last.
Those lips are thine—thy own sweet smile I see,
The same that oft in childhood solaced me;
Voice only fails, else how distinct they say,
‘Grieve not, my child, chase all thy fears away!’
— William Cowper, “On the Receipt of My Mother’s Picture out of Norfolk”
Everything I Own
cf. Photograph by Shane Rounce (detail) via Unsplash and CGI by pixel shox
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
true love chancer
gone again spacer
cf. “Shy Guy” (1947)
WHEN to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear times’ waste:
Then can I drown an eye, unus’d to flow,
For precious friends hid in death’s dateless night,
And weep afresh love’s long since cancell’d woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanish’d sight…
— Sonnet XXX
Whenever You’re On My Mind
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
cf. Library of Congress, “King’s Highway (Remains)”
here and gone
found and lost…
Here Comes a Regular
Carol M. Highsmith, “Dramatic View of John Hancock Building, Boston, Massachusetts” (ca. 1980)
i called you on the telephone
i was on mass ave
with a guitar and flowers
on the wind
and your voice
Sharing The Night Together
cf. Unknown, “Amateur Snapshot Album” (1890–92)
Many and many a verse I hope to write,
Before the daisies, vermeil rimm’d and white,
Hide in deep herbage; and ere yet the bees
Hum about globes of clover and sweet peas,
I must be near the middle of my story.
O may no wintry season, bare and hoary,
See it half finish’d: but let Autumn bold,
With universal tinge of sober gold,
Be all about me when I make an end.
And now, at once adventuresome, I send
My herald thought into a wilderness:
There let its trumpet blow, and quickly dress
My uncertain path with green, that I may speed
Easily onward, thorough flowers and weed.
— Keats, Endymion
Hillary G. Bailey, “The Last Chord” (ca. 1935)
I remember the songs you taught me
and I can still see your hands on the keys —
graceful and intuitive
and the old upright still reverberates your memory
through the light and dust
and the years
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”
Photograph by Daniel Monteiro via Unsplash
Ceci n’est pas une intersection.
In the warm twilight
I am translated
at the red light
the song on the radio
holding, as ‘twere,
the mirror up to nature
and unravels my heart
Harry E. Goodwin, “The Barker” (ca. 1935)
He seems very similar to the gods
That man who sits in front of you
And listens to you speaking
And smiles softly;
And suddenly my heart throbs.
When I glance at you,
I can no longer speak…
— Sappho, Fragment 31 (Tr. Labate)
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
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
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
Hatchie — Sure
Hot Rod Girl (1956)
In these deep solitudes and awful cells,
Where heav’nly-pensive contemplation dwells,
And ever-musing melancholy reigns;
What means this tumult…?
Why rove my thoughts beyond this last retreat?
Why feels my heart its long-forgotten heat?
— Alexander Pope, Eloisa to Abelard
I Want You Bad
Northeastern University, Course Catalog (1973-74)
Tired I feel now. Will I get up? O wait… She kissed me. Never again. My youth. Only once it comes. Or hers. Take the train there tomorrow. No. Returning not the same. Like kids your second visit to a house. The new I want. Nothing new under the sun. Care of P. O. Dolphin’s Barn. Are you not happy in your? Naughty darling. At Dolphin’s barn charades in Luke Doyle’s house. Mat Dillon and his bevy of daughters: Tiny, Atty, Floey, Maimy, Louy, Hetty. Molly too. Eightyseven that was. Year before we. And the old major, partial to his drop of spirits. Curious she an only child, I an only child. So it returns. Think you’re escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home. And just when he and she. Circus horse walking in a ring. Rip van Winkle we played. Rip: tear in Henny Doyle’s overcoat. Van: breadvan delivering. Winkle: cockles and periwinkles. Then I did Rip van Winkle coming back. She leaned on the sideboard watching. Moorish eyes. Twenty years asleep in Sleepy Hollow. All changed. Forgotten. The young are old…
— Joyce, Ulysses
cf. Carleton H. Graves, “A game of chess” (detail) (ca. 1905) (edited)
the car passed under
the lights on the overpass
your voice traced
a rush of autumn
at the restaurant
across the years
This was my Mom’s recipe from the 60’s as best as I can remember it.
1. ground beef
2. diced onions
3. diced green peppers
5. seasoned bread crumbs
6. garlic powder
Serve with mashed potatoes and peas.
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…
Way To Blue
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. 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