cf. Antoine-Émile Bourdelle, “Irene Millet” (1917) and Edouard Manet, A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (1882)

Yet diaries do, indirectly, lay claim to a certain kind of immortality, projecting a voice beyond the grave. Alice James’s diary was her dialogue with the future. It gave form to her sense of ironic detachment. And it created a communion in her lonely life…

—Jean Strouse, Alice James: A Biography

“Watermark” – Art Garfunkel

Love Won’t Let Me Wait

cf. Pompeo Batoni, “Portrait of a Young Man” (ca. 1760–65) and
image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images via Pixabay and
video by Felix_Broennimann (“Star, Long Exposure”) via Pixabay and
video by InspiredImages (“Lava Lamp”) via Pixabay


“Love Won’t Let Me Wait” by Major Harris

“The meaning is what the poem means to different sensitive readers.”

Albert Bartholomé, The Artist’s Wife Reading (1883)

“But as for the meaning of the poem as a whole, it is not exhausted by any explanation, for the meaning is what the poem means to different sensitive readers.”

—T. S. Eliot, “The Frontiers of Criticism”

“While our hero lies comfortably in his bed at home…”

Illustration by H. J. Ford from “The Book Of Romance” (1902)

Thus they drive on the day with such doings while our hero lies comfortably in his bed at home in clothes full rich of hue. The lady did not forget; she came to greet him; full early she was by him to change his mind. She comes to the curtain and peeps at the knight. Sir Gawain at once welcomes her worthily, and she returns his greeting right promptly, seats herself softly by his side, laughs openly, and with a lovely look addresses these words to him: “Sir, if ye be Gawain, it seems to me a very strange thing that a man of such quality should not follow the conventions of good society; and should after making acquaintance with a person cast him utterly from his mind. Thou hast already forgotten what I taught you yesterday in the best language that I knew.” “What is that?” quoth the hero. “Forsooth I know not. If what ye say be true, I am to blame.” “Yet I taught you about kissing,” replied the fair lady; “wherever a countenance is known, quickly to claim a kiss; that becomes every knight who practices courtesy…”

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

She’s turnin’ on the heat
And it’s a little too much
She’s turnin’ on the heat
And it’s a hundred above, yeah…

“Let us go then, you and I…”

cf. Remo Farruggio, Basin Street (1938) and LIFE, 1968

Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

–T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (excerpt)

“…of course you knew from Behrens that I was still here, waiting for you.”

cf. John Atkinson Grimshaw, Canny Glasgow (1887) and Daniel Chester French, Joe’s Farewell (1872–73)

“…of course you knew from Behrens that I was still here, waiting for you. But I’ve told you that I think of that night simply as a dream, our dream, and that I concede you have your freedom. After all, I did not really wait in vain, because you are here again, we are sitting next to one another just as then, I can hear the wonderful edge to your voice, so familiar to my ear for a very long time; and under that billowing silk are arms that I know well…”

—Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain

I can wait forever
Helping you to see
That I was meant for you
And you for me…


Everyone asks
Are we some kind of lovers?
Everyone asks what you’re doing with me
I know this is not what they want
They’re afraid you’ve been blinded
But I already know how it’s going to be

If anyone should ask
Say we’re mated
For as long as this life lasts
We are mated
Why else would you be here right now
And you know we’ll still be here tomorrow

Nobody else understands what I’m doing
Nobody else makes me act in this way
And because they can’t comprehend
What we mean to each other
They won’t leave you alone
So you know what to say…


Jacob Van Loo, An Amorous Couple (ca. 1650)

“I love thee to the level of every day’s most quiet need, by sun and candle-light…”

I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light…

—Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonnets from the Portuguese 43: “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways”

I never knew how complete love could be
Till she kissed me and said…


cf. Delphin Enjolras, The Fireplace and The Best Fireplace Video

Your memory seems like a living thing — I never know if I’m imagining

cf. Thomas Eakins, The Thinker: Portrait of Louis N. Kenton (1900) and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)

Your memory seems like a living thing
I never know if I’m imagining
I look at your face and I know that it’s impossible
Forgetting it’s just a dream
Now I’m hearing your voice saying anything is possible
Forgetting it’s just a dream…

“Heart, we will forget him!”

Robert Burns, The Window Seat (ca. 1905) and startgrid, “Clouds Time Lapse – YouTube”

Heart, we will forget him!
You and I, to-night!
You may forget the warmth he gave,
I will forget the light.

When you have done, pray tell me,
That I my thoughts may dim;
Haste! lest while you’re lagging,
I may remember him!

–Emily Dickinson

Back in my room I wonder
Then I sit on the bed
Look at the sky
Up in the sky
Clouds rearrange…

“Business!” cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business.”

Ferdinand Hodler, The Good Samaritan (1885)

“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!”

—Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

“Young John” (Painting By Arris Grace Hodge)

Source: Young John – arrisgracehodge / Saatchi Art: Young John Painting by Arris Grace Hodge

Artist: Arris Grace Hodge

Arris Grace Hodge | Saatchi Art



Young John Painting by Arris Grace Hodge

Arris Grace Hodge, “Young John” (Oil on Canvas, 18 H x 24 W x 2 in)


Peter Ilsted, Mother and Child in an Interior (1898)


1965: a song – “Come fly with me, said the little red sled”

1966: a hand in my hand on a frozen pond

1967: a poem – “Then there’s a pair of us–don’t tell!”

1968: a rush of perfume and cold air to say goodnight

1969: a light in the darkness

“Nessun maggior dolore
Che ricordarsi del tempo felice
Nella miseria…”

—J.S., “Sensorium”

“Drink to me only with thine eyes”

Drink to me only with thine eyes,
And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss but in the cup,
And I’ll not look for wine.
The thirst that from the soul doth rise,
Doth ask a drink divine;
But might I of Jove’s nectar sup,
I would not change for thine.

–Ben Jonson, Song—To Celia: “Drink to me only with thine eyes” (excerpt)

Frans Hals, Young Man and Woman in an Inn (1623)

Just when you think you got a good thing it seems to slip away

cf. Georges Seurat: A Sunday on La Grande Jatte — 1884 (detail) (1884/86),
Study for “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte” (1884)
and Gustave Caillebotte: Paris Street; Rainy Day, 1877 (detail) (1877)

“Was there another Troy for her to burn?”

Why, what could she have done being what she is?
Was there another Troy for her to burn?

–from W.B. Yeats, No Second Troy

Don’t you know that
It’s our love that’s burning
Burning like a flame…


Petrus van Schendel, Market Place By Candlelight (1851)

“You won’t like them,” she returned indirectly; “they’ve run wild…”

“You’re from the white boat that sailed in at sunset?”

“Yes,” he replied, “and I am returning immediately.”

“It was like magic! ” she continued. “Suddenly, without a sound, you were anchored in the bay.”

Even this quiet statement bore the shadowy alarm. John Woolfolk realized that it had not been caused by his abrupt appearance; the faint accent of dread was fixed in the illusive form before him.

“I have robbed you too,” he continued in a lighter tone. “Your oranges are in my pocket.”

“You won’t like them,” she returned indirectly; “they’ve run wild. We can’t sell them.”

“They have a distinct flavor of their own,” he assured her. “I should be glad to have some on the Gar.

“All you want…”

—Joseph Hergesheimer, “Wild Oranges”


cf. Eugene de Blaas, Young Woman With Basket Of Oranges And Lemons (1902)


Joan Jett and the Blackhearts – “Crimson and Clover”

“The day when I looked through the window…”

“My dearest fellow, This will not reach you till some time after our
wedding day, which as usual has taken me aback; but I mean to send you
a despatch on the day itself, and this is for dessert. Not that I think so
much of that day; if I had some other dates, I would think more of them:
that of the day when I looked through the window…”

—Letter from Robert Louis Stevenson to his Wife, Fanny, May 15, 1888

I never knew love before
Then came you…



Konstantin Korovin, At The Window (1919)

Madame Bovary

…yet all the time she was conscious of the scent of Rodolphe’s head by her side. This sweetness of sensation pierced through her old desires, and these, like grains of sand under a gust of wind, eddied to and fro in the subtle breath of the perfume which suffused her soul. She opened wide her nostrils several times to drink in the freshness of the ivy round the capitals. She took off her gloves, she wiped her hands, then fanned her face with her handkerchief, while athwart the throbbing of her temples she heard the murmur of the crowd and the voice of the councillor intoning his phrases. He said—“Continue, persevere; listen neither to the suggestions of routine, nor to the over-hasty councils of a rash empiricism…”

—Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary

Help me
I think I’m falling
In love again…


Charles Wilda, The Ball/Der Ball (1906)

“If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain”

Maximilien Luce, “The Good Samaritan” (1896)

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

“Rather, it represented his normal condition…”

cf. Julian Alden Weir, Man Reclining on a Beach (1879) and photograph by Markus Spiske via Unsplash

With Oblomov, lying in bed was neither a necessity (as in the case of an invalid or of a man who stands badly in need of sleep) nor an accident (as in the case of a man who is feeling worn out) nor a gratification (as in the case of a man who is purely lazy). Rather, it represented his normal condition. Whenever he was at home–and almost always he was at home–he would spend his time in lying on his back. Likewise he used but the one room–which was combined to serve both as bedroom, as study, and as reception-room–in which we have just discovered him. True, two other rooms lay at his disposal, but seldom did he look into them save on mornings (which did not comprise by any means every morning) when his old valet happened to be sweeping out the study. The furniture in them stood perennially covered over, and never were the blinds drawn up.

—Ivan Goncharov, Oblomov

I’m so tired
Tired of waiting
Tired of waiting for you…

“For no one in the world loves you…except for me.”

Oh, if I only had the right,
I’d be the most watchful guardian
Of your dear life.

What a thing to say!
Who cares what happens to me?

For no one in the world loves you

No one?

… except for me.

—Francesco Maria Piave (after Alexandre Dumas fils), “La Traviata”

I loved you since I knew you
I wouldn’t talk down to you
I have to tell you just how I feel
I won’t share you with another boy…

Nocturnal Street Scene Edit 1080

cf. Lesser Ury, Nocturnal Street Scene (ca. 1920)

“I only know that summer sang in me a little while, that in me sings no more.”

William Merritt Chase, The Song (Oil On Canvas) (1907)

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And in my heart there sits a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.

Thus in the winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone,
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.

–Edna St. Vincent Millay, “What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why”

Waiting (Sun And Moon)

cf. Anders Zorn, Summer Vacation (sketch for Summer Fun) (Watercolor) (1886)

…It’s the house where the woman
stands in the doorway
wearing the sun in her hair. The one
who’s been waiting
all this time.
The woman who loves you.
The one who can say,
“What’s kept you?”

–Raymond Carver, “Waiting” (excerpt) from All of Us: The Collected Poems (Alfred A. Knopf)

You are sunlight and I moon
Joined by the Gods of fortune
Midnight and high noon
Sharing the sky
We have been blessed, you and I…

Time Does Not Bring Relief

Woman in an Interior with a Mirror Large 1080
Carl Vilhelm Holsøe, Woman in an Interior with a Mirror (oil on canvas) (1898)

Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
The old snows melt from every mountainside,
And last year’s leaves are smoke in every lane;
But last year’s bitter loving must remain
Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide.
There are a hundred places where I fear
To go—so with his memory they brim.
And entering with relief some quiet place
Where never fell his foot or shone his face
I say, “There is no memory of him here!”
And so stand stricken, so remembering him.

–Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Time Does Not Bring Relief” from Collected Poems (Harper Collins)

And there’s a storm that’s raging
Through my frozen heart tonight…

“Whispers reach me of Miss Shepherd having said she wished I wouldn’t stare so, and having avowed a preference for Master Jones—for Jones!”

Francis William Edmonds, The City And Country Beaux (detail) (Oil on canvas) (ca. 1838)

Miss Shepherd being the one pervading theme and vision of my life, how do I ever come to break with her? I can’t conceive. And yet a coolness grows between Miss Shepherd and myself. Whispers reach me of Miss Shepherd having said she wished I wouldn’t stare so, and having avowed a preference for Master Jones—for Jones! a boy of no merit whatever!

–Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

Marry him or marry me
I’m the one that loves you baby can’t you see?
I ain’t got no future or family tree
But I know what a prince and lover ought to be…

“The bowl with all our happiness in it. The bowl without the crack.”

“…the point for me is that he understands.”

“Yes,” Fanny Assingham cooed, “understands—?”

“Well, what I want. I want a happiness without a hole in it big enough for you to poke in your finger.”

“A brilliant, perfect surface—to begin with at least. I see.”

“The golden bowl—as it WAS to have been.”

And Maggie dwelt musingly on this obscured figure.

“The bowl with all our happiness in it. The bowl without the crack.”

—Henry James, The Golden Bowl

Stop and take a big breath
Begin with something hollow…


Polishing the Brass Large 2
Thomas Benjamin Kennington, Polishing the Brass (1912)


William MacGregor Paxton, The Breakfast (1911)

MANDERS: It almost makes me dizzy. Your whole married life, the seeming union of all these years, was nothing more than a hidden abyss!…

MRS. ALVING: I had gone on bearing with him, although I knew very well the secrets of his life out of doors. But when he brought the scandal within our own walls—

MANDERS: Impossible! Here!

MRS. ALVING: Yes; here in our own home…

MANDERS: [Moved.] And you were able to bear all this!

MRS. ALVING: I had to bear it for my little boy’s sake. But when the last insult was added; when my own servant-maid—…

–Henrik Ibsen, Ghosts

“It is not upon you alone the dark patches fall”

Peter Severin Krøyer, Interior of a Tavern (1886) and Léon-Augustin Lhermitte, Woman with a Jug (1882)

It is not upon you alone the dark patches fall,
The dark threw its patches down upon me also,
The best I had done seem’d to me blank and suspicious,
My great thoughts as I supposed them, were they not in reality meagre?…

—Walt Whitman, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

Portrait Of A Lady

Louis-Joseph-Raphaël Collin, Morning (1884)

Now that lilacs are in bloom
She has a bowl of lilacs in her room
And twists one in her fingers while she talks.
“Ah, my friend, you do not know, you do not know
What life is, you who hold it in your hands”;
(Slowly twisting the lilac stalks)
“You let it flow from you, you let it flow,
And youth is cruel, and has no remorse
And smiles at situations which it cannot see.”
I smile, of course,
And go on drinking tea.
“Yet with these April sunsets, that somehow recall
My buried life, and Paris in the Spring,
I feel immeasurably at peace, and find the world
To be wonderful and youthful, after all…”

–T. S. Eliot, Portrait of a Lady

A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man

Thomas Hovenden, Breaking Home Ties (Oil on canvas) (1890)

APRIL 26. Mother is putting my new secondhand clothes in order. She prays now, she says, that I may learn in my own life and away from home and friends what the heart is and what it feels…

—James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

“The Oven Bird”

cf. Franz Marc, The Artist’s Father on His Sick Bed I (edited) (1906-1907)

There is a singer everyone has heard,
Loud, a mid-summer and a mid-wood bird,
Who makes the solid tree trunks sound again.
He says that leaves are old and that for flowers
Mid-summer is to spring as one to ten.
He says the early petal-fall is past
When pear and cherry bloom went down in showers
On sunny days a moment overcast;
And comes that other fall we name the fall.
He says the highway dust is over all.
The bird would cease and be as other birds
But that he knows in singing not to sing.
The question that he frames in all but words
Is what to make of a diminished thing.

–Robert Frost, The Oven Bird

“She was extended full length at her end of the divan, completely motionless, and with her chin raised a little…”

Harry Wilson Watrous, Just a Couple of Girls (1915)

The younger of the two was a stranger to me. She was extended full length at her end of the divan, completely motionless, and with her chin raised a little, as if she were balancing something on it which was quite likely to fall. If she saw me out of the corner of her eyes she gave no hint of it — indeed, I was almost surprised into murmuring an apology for having disturbed her by coming in…I enjoyed looking at her…Her gray sun-strained eyes looked back at me with polite reciprocal curiosity out of a wan, charming, discontented face. It occurred to me now that I had seen her, or a picture of her, somewhere before…

–F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

You go to my head
And you linger like a haunting refrain
And I find you spinning round in my brain
Like the bubbles in a glass of champagne…

“One white morning, you awoke to find your black feathers rooted in the lake’s early freeze.”

cf. Edvard Munch, Melancholy

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)

The sun went down and the crowd went home
I was left by the roadside all alone
I turned to speak as they went by
But this was the time of no reply…

Mezzo Cammin

cf. Caspar David Friedrich, Wanderer above the Sea of Fog (1818)

Half of my life is gone, and I have let
The years slip from me and have not fulfilled
The aspiration of my youth, to build
Some tower of song with lofty parapet…

Though, half-way up the hill, I see the Past
Lying beneath me with its sounds and sights,—
A city in the twilight dim and vast,
With smoking roofs, soft bells, and gleaming lights…

—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Mezzo Cammin (excerpt)

You can’t be twenty on Sugar Mountain
Though you’re thinking that you’re leaving there too soon…

The Art Of Painting

cf. Vermeer, The Art of Painting

The others that are to follow me, the ties between me and them,
The certainty of others, the life, love, sight, hearing of others…
A hundred years hence, or ever so many hundred years hence, others will see them…
It avails not, time nor place—distance avails not,
I am with you, you men and women of a generation, or ever so many generations hence…
What is it then between us?
What is the count of the scores or hundreds of years between us?
Whatever it is, it avails not—distance avails not, and place avails not…

“Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” from “Leaves of Grass” (1891-92)

I was dreaming of you and just for a moment I felt so peaceful and free…

cf. Walter Gay, An Interior (1897) and William Henry Fox Talbot, Nicolaas Henneman Asleep (ca. 1844)

If you love me true
Just like I love you
This ember would turn back to flame…

“Seen in the streets of cities, how great they are!”

cf. Maximilien Luce, The River Sambre in Charleroi (1896) and photograph by Greg Rakozy via Unsplash

But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars. The rays that come from those heavenly worlds, will separate between him and what he touches. One might think the atmosphere was made transparent with this design, to give man, in the heavenly bodies, the perpetual presence of the sublime. Seen in the streets of cities, how great they are! If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile…

—Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature

She said I love the night
The day is OK and the sun can be fun
But I live to see those rays slip away…

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

cf. Julius von Leypold, Wanderer in the Storm (1835) and Time Lapse Clouds Lightning Storm – YouTube

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.

–Robert Frost, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”

I can feel it coming in the air tonight

Martinus Rørbye, View from the Citadel Ramparts in Copenhagen by Moonlight (1839)

Last night of all,
When yond same star that’s westward from the pole
Had made his course to illume that part of heaven
Where now it burns, Marcellus and myself,
The bell then beating one,–

(Enter Ghost)

Peace, break thee off; look, where it comes again!

In the same figure, like the king that’s dead.

Thou art a scholar; speak to it, Horatio.

Looks it not like the king? mark it, Horatio.

Most like: it harrows me with fear and wonder.

Hamlet, Act I, Scene I

Don Quixote

Camille Corot, View of Genzano with a Rider and Peasant (ca. 1843)

Presently he broke out again, as if he were love-stricken in earnest, “O Princess Dulcinea, lady of this captive heart, a grievous wrong hast thou done me to drive me forth with scorn, and with inexorable obduracy banish me from the presence of thy beauty. O lady, deign to hold in remembrance this heart, thy vassal, that thus in anguish pines for love of thee.”

—Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

Venus In Atrium

cf. William de Leftwich Dodge, Venus in Atrium (edited) (ca. 1908)

The late afternoon sunlight is slanting through the window
Again, sketching the room in vague gestures of discontent
That roll off the mind, and then only seem to disappear.
What am I going to do now? And how am I going to sleep tonight?

–John Koethe, “Picture of Little Letters” (excerpt)

“First step: ask her out and treat her like a lady. Second step: tell her she’s the one you’re dreaming of. Third step: take her in your arms and never let her go.”

Charles Robert Leslie, Slender, with the Assistance of Shallow, Courting Anne Page, from “The Merry Wives of Windsor” (detail) (1825)

You gonna make a move you better make it now,
Don’t be afraid cause love will show you how–
You take that first step…

“Art, and the summer lightning of individual happiness: these are the only real goods we have.”

Marie-Louise-Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, Self-portrait (1790)

“Art, and the summer lightning of individual happiness: these are the only real goods we have.”

—Alexander Herzen, quoted in Isaiah Berlin, “Herzen and his Memoirs”

‘Cause it’s all right, I think we’re gonna make it

Jerome B. Thompson, A Pic Nick in the Woods of New England (detail) (ca. 1855)

I know, I know what’s on your mind
And I know it gets tough sometimes
But you can give it one more try
And find a reason why
You should pick it up
And try it again…

Rhapsody on a Windy Night (Transfigured Night)

cf. Girolamo Nerli, Street scene on a rainy night (ca. 1889-1890)

Twelve o’clock.
Along the reaches of the street
Held in a lunar synthesis,
Whispering lunar incantations
Dissolve the floors of memory
And all its clear relations,
Its divisions and precisions,
Every street lamp that I pass
Beats like a fatalistic drum,
And through the spaces of the dark
Midnight shakes the memory
As a madman shakes a dead geranium…

–T. S. Eliot, Rhapsody on a Windy Night