photograph by Florencia Viadana via Unsplash
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
— Robert Frost
photograph by Scott Webb via Unsplash
They have no song, the sedges dry,
And still they sing.
It is within my breast they sing,
As I pass by.
Within my breast they touch a string,
They wake a sigh.
There is but sound of sedges dry;
In me they sing.
— George Meredith
photograph by Samantha Hentosh via Unsplash
“…since you can’t sleep, and Mamma can’t either, we mustn’t go on in this stupid way; we must do something; I’ll get one of your books.” But I had none there. “Would you like me to get out the books now that your grandmother is going to give you for your birthday?”
— Proust, Swann’s Way
In The House Of Stone And Light
photograph by John Moeses Bauan via Unsplash
You smiled, you spoke, and I believed,
By every word and smile deceived.
Another man would hope no more;
Nor hope I what I hoped before:
But let not this last wish be vain;
Deceive, deceive me once again!
— Walter Savage Landor
Found Out About You
photograph by Christian Holzinger via Unsplash
a string of mercies
held to heart
Paris, 1984 by John Sapiro
No donkey can cart
what weighs down your heart.
— Anonymous, East African Proverb (Tr. A. M. Juster)
Even a Fool Can See
photograph by National Cancer Institute via Unsplash
and the night
“Edward?” said Abilene.
Yes, said Edward.
“Edward,” she said again, certain this time.
Yes, said Edward, yes, yes, yes.
— Kate DiCamillo, The miraculous journey of Edward Tulane
All my instincts, they return
The grand façade, so soon will burn
Without a noise, without my pride
I reach out from the inside…
In Your Eyes
cf. photograph by Joanna Nix-Walkup via Unsplash
turning point II
where did you park your car?
Right On Track
photograph by Khanh Tu Nguyen Huy via Unsplash
De consolatione philosophiae
I did the best that I could
Texas State University Flickr Commons, Unidentified Negatives (1963)
I CANNOT live with you,
It would be life,
And life is over there
Behind the shelf
The sexton keeps the key to,
Our life, his porcelain,
Like a cup…
So we must keep apart,
You there, I here,
With just the door ajar
That oceans are,
And that pale sustenance,
— Emily Dickinson
Here You Come Again
Carol Highsmith, “Family Day on the grounds of the Alabama River Pulp Company” (2010)
Long neglect has worn away
Half the sweet enchanting smile;
Time has turned the bloom to gray;
Mold and damp the face defile.
But that lock of silky hair,
Still beneath the picture twined,
Tells what once those features were,
Paints their image on the mind.
Fair the hand that traced that line,
“Dearest, ever deem me true”;
Swiftly flew the fingers fine
When the pen that motto drew.
— Emily Brontë
photograph by Ilnur Kalimullin via Unsplash
light is dark
a fire burns
photograph by Scott Broome via Unsplash
Aristotle and Pythias
I know not seems
photograph by Artem Maltsev via Unsplash
SO, we’ll go no more a-roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,
And the moon be still as bright.
For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul wears out the breast,
And the heart must pause to breathe,
And love itself have rest.
Though the night was made for loving,
And the day returns too soon,
Yet we’ll go no more a-roving
By the light of the moon.
Bluer Than Blue
Maclean’s Magazine (1966)
SHALL I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st;
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
— Sonnet XVIII
photograph by Tim Foster via Unsplash
Carthago adhuc vivit
bells in the distant temple
winds on the water
the ghosts of Hannibal
you read to me of Hanno the Navigator
on the sands of hours
and held me spellbound
We’ll Never Have to Say Goodbye Again
photograph by Zachary Nelson via Unsplash
Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.
And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
In the sun that is young once only,
Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means…
— Dylan Thomas
I Don’t Wanna Know
photograph by David Sinclair via Unsplash
I am—yet what I am none cares or knows;
My friends forsake me like a memory lost:
I am the self-consumer of my woes—
They rise and vanish in oblivious host,
Like shadows in love’s frenzied stifled throes
And yet I am, and live—like vapours tossed
Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of life or joys,
But the vast shipwreck of my life’s esteems;
Even the dearest that I loved the best
Are strange—nay, rather, stranger than the rest.
I long for scenes where man hath never trod
A place where woman never smiled or wept
There to abide with my Creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie
The grass below—above the vaulted sky.
— John Clare
Mental Health Awareness Month | SAMHSA
Wouldn’t It Be Good
photograph by pasja1000 via Pixabay
With the love of the storm he burns,
He sings, he laughs, well I know how,
But forgets when he returns
As I shall not forget her ‘Go now’.
— Edward Thomas
Almost Hear You Sigh
photograph by Oswald Elsaboath via Unsplash
no user serviceable parts
the fault, dear Brutus
is ever Descartes’
cf. photograph by Ana Markovych via Unsplash
I so liked Spring last year
Because you were here; –
The thrushes too –
Because it was these you so liked to hear –
I so liked you.
This year’s a different thing, –
I’ll not think of you.
But I’ll like the Spring because it is simply Spring
As the thrushes do.
— Charlotte Mew
Touch and Go
photograph by Nicate Lee via Unsplash
is not here
at the same
Chris Clogg, “Busy Wall” (2010) (edit)
Then is courtesy a turncoat. But it is certain
I am loved of all ladies, only you excepted; and
I would I could find in my heart that I had not a
hard heart, for truly I love none.
A dear happiness to women. They would
else have been troubled with a pernicious suitor. I
thank God and my cold blood I am of your humor
for that. I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow
than a man swear he loves me.
— Much Ado About Nothing
cf. video by cottonbro via pexels
Gramercies, Tranio, well dost thou advise.
If, Biondello, thou wert come ashore,
We could at once put us in readiness
And take a lodging fit to entertain
Such friends as time in Padua shall beget.
[Enter Baptista with his two daughters, Katherine and
Bianca; Gremio, a pantaloon, and Hortensio, suitors
But stay awhile! What company is this?
Master, some show to welcome us to town.
— The Taming of the Shrew
Boom! There She Was
photograph by Christian Lue via Unsplash
SINCE there ’s no help, Come, let us kiss and part!
Nay, I have done. You get no more of me!
And I am glad, yea, glad, with all my heart,
That thus so cleanly, I my self can free.
Shake hands for ever! Cancel all our vows!
And when we meet at any time again,
Be it not seen in either of our brows,
That we one jot of former love retain!
Now at the last gasp of LOVE’s latest breath.
When his pulse failing, Passion speechless lies;
When Faith is kneeling by his bed of death,
And Innocence is closing up his eyes:
Now, if thou wouldst! when all have given him over,
From death to life, thou might’st him yet recover!
— Michael Drayton
photograph by Priscilla Du Preez via Unsplash
Do you still remember: falling stars,
how they leapt slantwise through the sky
like horses over suddenly held-out hurdles
of our wishes—did we have so many?—
for stars, innumerable, leapt everywhere;
almost every gaze upward became
wedded to the swift hazard of their play,
and our heart felt like a single thing
beneath that vast disintegration of their brilliance—
and was whole, as if it would survive them!
photograph by Yerlan Sadvakassov via Unsplash
WHY didst thou promise such a beauteous day
And make me travel forth without my cloak,
To let base clouds o’ertake me in my way,
Hiding thy bravery in their rotten smoke?
’Tis not enough that through the cloud thou break,
To dry the rain on my storm-beaten face,
For no man well of such a salve can speak
That heals the wound and cures not the disgrace:
Nor can thy shame give physic to my grief;
Though thou repent, yet I have still the loss:
The offender’s sorrow lends but weak relief
To him that bears the strong offence’s cross.
Ah! but those tears are pearl which thy love sheds,
And they are rich and ransom all ill deeds.
— Sonnet XXXIV
Mimi Gets Mad
photograph by Free Old Photos via Unsplash
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.
— William Ernest Henley
photograph by Rosie Kerr via Unsplash
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
— Gerard Manley Hopkins
Day by Day
photograph by Jonatán Becerra via Unsplash
THAT is solemn we have ended,—
Be it but a play,
Or a glee among the garrets,
Or a holiday…
— Emily Dickinson
Bluer Than Blue
cf. photograph by Matt Moloney via Unsplash (edit)
The heart asks more than life can give,
When that is learned, then all is learned
— Sara Teasdale, “Moonlight”
photograph by Mikita Yo via Unsplash
The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
— The Merchant of Venice
photograph by Casper Nichols via Unsplash
It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the vile wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors of Victory Mansions, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him.
— Orwell, Nineteen eighty-four
Eastman Kodak Company, “How to make good movies…” (1938)
The many faces of defeat
Invite you home:
They offer you such silence
As has no truck with time.
The face of horrid purpose,
The train of circumstance
There, the door is closed upon;
They shall no more advance.
Yet see in the uncertain sky
Above your uncertain station–
The sign she left you, passing,
Persists in affirmation.
— Ray Smith, “The Sign”
photograph by Abigail via Unsplash
FAREWELL! thou art too dear for my possessing
And like enough thou know’st thy estimate:
The charter of thy worth gives thee releasing;
My bonds in thee are all determinate.
For how do I hold thee but by thy granting?
And for that riches where is my deserving?
The cause of this fair gift in me is wanting,
And so my patent back again is swerving.
Thyself thou gav’st, thy own worth then not knowing,
Or me, to whom thou gav’st it, else mistaking;
So thy great gift, upon misprision growing,
Comes home again, on better judgment making.
Thus have I had thee, as a dream doth flatter,
In sleep a king, but, waking, no such matter.
— Sonnet LXXXVII
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. video by Kindel Media via Pexels
Spend all you have for loveliness,
Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstasy
Give all you have been, or could be.
—Sara Teasdale, “Barter” (excerpt)
“Crazy Crazy Nights” by Kiss
photograph by Kajetan Sumila via Unsplash
Again there has been a sad interval in our correspondence. But do not blame me. I have had a pretty severe return this summer of that mel- ancholy or hypochondria, which is inherent in my constitution and from which I have suffered miserably in former years, though since my marriage I have been wonderfully free from it. Your languor and discontent are occasioned by a gentler species of the distemper. You have a slow fever, I a raging one. While gloomy and fretful, and grossly indolent, I was shocked with the recollection of my good spirits, gayety, and activity, as a man with a headache is shocked by bright sunbeams. – But I need not describe my feelings to you. – The strange thing was that I did not write to you, a few lines, merely as firing guns of distress. Nobody here but my wife and worthy Johnson had the least notion of my being at all uneasy; for I have been remarkably busy this summer. I wrote about threescore law-papers, and got £124 in fees during last sessions two months. The court rose yesterday; and this day the clouds began to recede from my mind; I cannot tell from what cause.
— Letter from James Boswell to his friend Temple
Hitch a Ride
David De Vries, “Room 103, small classroom…” (2001)
I heard his raspy old voice talking
about a poem
about a spider
and he even looked like Frost
but I was looking
out the door
out the window
at the ultrablue sky
Place In This World
James Jowers, Tompkins Sq. Park (1967)
Nel suo profondo vidi che s’ interna,
legato con amore in un volume…
I saw within its depth how it conceives all things in a single volume bound by love…
— Dante Alighieri, “The Divine Comedy: Paradiso”
photograph by Brina Blum via Unsplash
A NOISELESS patient spider,
I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.
And you O my soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to
Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.
— Leaves of Grass
Make Your Own Kind Of Music
Northeastern University Course Catalog (1974-75)
WHEN you are old and gray and full of sleep
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true;
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead,
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
You Take A Heart
cf. photographs by Caseen Kyle Registos via Unsplash and Matheus Bertelli via Pexels (edited digital collage)
WEARY with toil, I haste me to my bed
The dear repose for limbs with travel tired;
But then begins a journey in my head
To work my mind, when body’s work’s expir’d:
For then my thoughts—from far where I abide—
Intend a zealous pilgrimage to thee,
And keep my drooping eyelids open wide,
Looking on darkness which the blind do see:
Save that my soul’s imaginary sight
Presents thy shadow to my sightless view,
Which, like a jewel hung in ghastly night,
Makes black night beauteous and her old face new.
Lo! thus, by day my limbs, by night my mind,
For thee, and for myself no quiet find.
— Sonnet XXVII
Whenever You’re On My Mind
photograph by Myicahel Tamburini via Pexels
…when the sun went down and darkness was over all the earth, we got into the deep waters of the river Oceanus, where lie the land and city of the Cimmerians who live enshrouded in mist and darkness which the rays of the sun never pierce neither at his rising nor as he goes down again out of the heavens…
Now That We Found Love
photograph by Nathan Anderson via Unsplash
ever ever spinning
photograph by Harold Wijnholds via Unsplash
WILD nights! Wild nights!
Were I with thee,
Wild nights should be
Futile the winds
To a heart in port,—
Done with the compass,
Done with the chart.
Rowing in Eden!
Ah! the sea!
Might I but moor
To-night in thee!
— Emily Dickinson
cf. photograph by Felix Russell-Saw via Unsplash (edited digital collage)
“Keats, walk a hundred yards over the rim”
leave the Piazza di Spagna
walk a hundred yards over the rim
I have your penicillin
I won’t let you go
there are more poems to write
and she is still waiting for you
(cf. “The Twilight Zone”, Season 2, Episode 23, 1961)
Love Lies Bleeding
photograph by jurien huggins via Unsplash
One white morning, you awoke to find
your black feathers rooted in the lake’s early freeze.
Your friends had fled…
— Margo Button, “With No Explanation” (excerpt)
photograph by Leslie Jones via Unsplash
Green apples dancing in a wash of sun—
Ripples of sense and fun—
A net of light that wavers as it weaves
The sunlight on the chattering leaves;
The half-dazed sound of feet,
And carriages that ripple in the heat.
The parasols like shadows of the sun
Cast wavering shades that run
Across the laughing faces and across
Hair with a bird-bright gloss.
The swinging greenery casts shadows dark,
Hides me that I may mark
How, buzzing in this dazzling mesh, my soul
Seems hardening it to flesh, and one bright whole.
O sudden feathers have a flashing sheen!
The sun’s swift javelin
The bird-songs seem, that through the dark leaves pass;
And life itself is but a flashing glass.
— Edith Sitwell
More Than a Feeling
photograph by Andrei Tarkovsky
I come no more to make you laugh: things now,
That bear a weighty and a serious brow,
Sad, high, and working, full of state and woe,
Such noble scenes as draw the eye to flow,
We now present…
— Henry VIII
Yes We Can Can
photograph by National Cancer Institute via Unsplash
Speak terms of manage to thy bounding steed,
Cry “Courage! To the field!”
— Henry IV, Part 1
Alicia Chen, “Girl listening to music by window” (ca. 2015)
Music—the world that might be,
and yet the world as it is. The heart
comes out of hiding, saying to us:
“Listen, you can say anything you want now.
Here is the instrument.”
— Robert Winner, The Instrument (excerpt)
This above all: to thine own self be true
photograph by Matthew Hamilton via Unsplash
O ME! what eyes hath Love put in my head
Which have no correspondence with true sight;
Or, if they have, where is my judgment fled,
That censures falsely what they see aright?
If that be fair whereon my false eyes dote,
What means the world to say it is not so?
If it be not, then love doth well denote
Love’s eye is not so true as all men’s: no.
How can it? O! how can Love’s eye be true,
That is so vex’d with watching and with tears?
No marvel then, though I mistake my view;
The sun itself sees not till heaven clears.
O cunning Love! with tears thou keep’st me blind,
Lest eyes well-seeing thy foul faults should find.
— Sonnet CXLVIII
Open My Eyes
photograph by Lisa Fotios via Pexels
MINDFUL of you the sodden earth in spring,
And all the flowers that in the springtime grow,
And dusty roads, and thistles, and the slow
Rising of the round moon, all throats that sing
The summer through, and each departing wing,
And all the nests that the bared branches show,
And all winds that in any weather blow,
And all the storms that the four seasons bring.
You go no more on your exultant feet
Up paths that only mist and morning knew,
Or watch the wind, or listen to the beat
Of a bird’s wings too high in air to view,—
But you were something more than young and sweet
And fair,—and the long year remembers you.
— Edna St. Vincent Millay
Shower the People
Northeastern University Course Catalog (1978-79)