Robert Hicks, “…Bedroom. Facing Northeast…” (1996)
a familiar voice
to focus and
take all the lightning
Robert Hicks, “…Bedroom. Facing Northeast…” (1996)
a familiar voice
to focus and
take all the lightning
Nationaal Archief, “Presents at the top of a car” (detail)
His Notebooks, increasingly filled with intricate technical speculations on science and theology, lose much of their intimacy. But, at least until 1820, they are also far less painful and unhappy, apart from the occasional visitation of the ghosts and wolves of memory and loss.
In December 1816, after a long metaphysical speculation on “the three Protoplasms, or primary Forms” of Gravity, Light and Water, he suddenly stopped short and wrote:
“ASRA. Written as of yore. Christmas 1816. ASRA. Does the Past live with me alone? Coleridge.”
— Richard Holmes, Coleridge: Darker Reflections
cf. video by abele62 and silhouette by geralt both via Pixabay (edited collage)
on that window frame
Love brought me here…
— Dante, Inferno
Everything returns again
Both the laughter and the rain
She is living somewhere far away…
— The Left Banke, “Desiree”
photograph by Jon Asato via Unsplash
We never know how high we are
Till we are called to rise;
And then, if we are true to plan,
Our statures touch the skies…
— Emily Dickinson
photograph by John Sapiro
cf. photograph by Erik Witsoe via Unsplash (edited) and video by Vimeo-Free-Videos via Pixabay (edited)
cf. photograph by Sophia Baboolal via Unsplash and video by Coverr-Free-Footage via Pixabay (edited)
I can see them at this moment, those mountain meadows, if I rise from my writing-table, and open the old barred valves of the corner window of the Hotel Bellevue;—yes, and there is the very path we climbed that day together, apparently unchanged. But on what seemed then the everlasting hills, beyond which the dawn rose cloudless, and on the heaven in which it rose, and on all that we that day knew, of human mind and virtue,—how great the change, and sorrowful, I cannot measure, and, in this place, I will not speak.
— John Ruskin, Praeterita
cf. photograph by evalynn via Pixabay (edited)
Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Betimes I found myself alive again and in downtown London.
And so to the office but I greatly found large crowds about and lost my way and strange moving carriages betimes almost hit me and large houses and great noises all about me so that I could not even collect my thoughts and so lost my wits and many strangers who were moving greatly fast and past me in the streets.
And so to bed. I miss my wife.
(cf. Diary of Samuel Pepys)
Nationaal Archief, “Festive lights in Amsterdam”
for I walked down the sidestreets
with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon
whispered lunar incantations
dissolved the floors of memory
a fever, longing still —
absence seems my flame
I am as steadfast as thou art
John Dillwyn Llewelyn, “After the Storm” (ca. 1853)
I fit for them,
I seek the dark till I am thorough fit.
The labor is a solemn one,
With this sufficient sweet —
That abstinence as mine produce
A purer good for them,
If I succeed, —
If not, I had
The transport of the Aim.
— Emily Dickinson
cf. Alfred Stieglitz, “Picasso-Braque Exhibition” (1915) and
Frank Waller, “Interior View of the Metropolitan Museum of Art…” (detail) (1881)
and never out of style
speaking of Michelangelo!
beautiful truth, truth in beauty
cloudless climes and starry skies
dark and bright
meet in her eyes
Northeastern University Course Catalog, 1985-86
hearing your voice again
so long ago
was that me
as the radio played
nothing stands between love and you
Entering the Thimble Shoal Channel Tunnel, March, 1985
Queequeg was a native of Rokovoko, an island far away to the West and South. It is not down in any map; true places never are.
— Melville, Moby Dick
I have a hunch myself
not only about Mozart
and I also speculate about transcendence
but it doesn’t make me uncomfortable
(cf. Saul Bellow, “Mozart: An Overture”)
The Saint and the Singer (1914)
“What are you going to do?” Hans Castorp asked, flabbergasted.
“I am leaving,” she repeated, smiling in apparent amazement at the frozen look on his face.
“It’s not possible,” he said. “You’re joking.”
“Most certainly not. I am perfectly serious. I am leaving…”
A whole world was collapsing inside him.
— The Magic Mountain
cf. Carol M. Highsmith, “Tremont Street, Boston” (between 1980 and 2006) and
video by Coverr-Free-Footage via Pixabay (edited)
Márgarét, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! 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
Just Mother (1914)
How say you? Let us, O my dove,
Let us be unashamed of soul,
As earth lies bare to heaven above!
How is it under our control
To love or not to love?
— Robert Browning, Two in the Campagna (excerpt)
William James Mullins, “Children Fishing” (ca. 1900)
“…I worry about so many things, and everything is so hard for me. For instance, I cut my finger or hurt myself some way — and it’s a wound that heals for other people in a week, but it takes four weeks with me. It just won’t heal, it gets infected, gets really ghastly, and gives me all kinds of trouble. The other day Herr Brecht told me that my teeth look horrible, that they’re all deteriorating and wearing down, not to mention the ones he’s already pulled. That’s how things stand now. And what will I bite with when I’m thirty, or forty? I’ve lost all hope.”
“Come on,” Kai said and picked up the pace of their stroll. “And now tell me a little about your piano playing…are you going to play the piano this afternoon?”
Hanno was silent for a moment. A bleak, confused, feverish look came to his eyes. “Yes, I’ll probably improvise a while,” he said…
— Thomas Mann, Buddenbrooks
and other regrets
I found a picture of your cat
I never knew but
on Lear’s heath
cf. LIFE, 1970
Northeastern University Course Catalog, 1982-83
10 people in a canoe
each is wearing a different colored hat
how far away is the man in the blue hat
cf. C.M. Bell, “Unidentified man” (between 1873 and ca. 1916) and
John Rogers, “Rip Van Winkle Returned” (1871)
Then the rambling old house lay tightly wrapped in darkness and silence. Pride, hope, and fear all slept, while rain pelted the deserted streets and an autumn wind whistled around corners and gables.
— Thomas Mann, Buddenbrooks
cf. Tom Hubbard, “Fountain Square…” (1973) and video by tmeier1964 via Pixabay (edited)
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.
— William Ernest Henley, Invictus (excerpt)
cf. photograph by Lukasz Szmigiel via Unsplash (edited)
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
— Emily Dickinson, “Hope” is the thing with feathers (excerpt)
cf. photograph by Chad Madden via Unsplash (edited)
I cried for madder music and for stronger wine,
But when the feast is finished and the lamps expire,
Then falls thy shadow, Cynara! the night is thine;
And I am desolate and sick of an old passion,
Yea, hungry for the lips of my desire:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.
— Ernest Dowson, Non sum qualis eram bonae sub regno Cynarae (excerpt)
Risdon Tillery, “A young draftsman drawing plans for a house and developing his favorite hobby…” (detail) (1944)
“What career do you intend to take up, Mr. Joyce?” he asked. “The career of letters.” The dean persisted, “Isn’t there some danger of perishing of inanition in the meantime?” And Joyce, as his brother recorded, said this was one of the perils, but there were prizes too.
— Richard Ellmann, James Joyce
Mr. Wilcox, the bookseller, on being informed by him that his intention was to get his livelihood as an author, eyed his robust frame attentively, and with a significant look, said, “You had better buy a porter’s knot.”
— Boswell’s Life Of Johnson
cf. photograph by StockSnap via Pixabay (edit)
like Keats and Fanny Brawne
for three summer days
filled with more delight than those fifty common years
in the twilight streetlamps
the warm night air
and the car radio
and looked at you
cf. London Stereoscopic Company, “Jeames at Home!” (ca. 1860-1870)
Who will go drive with Fergus now,
And pierce the deep wood’s woven shade,
And dance upon the level shore?
Young man, lift up your russet brow,
And lift your tender eyelids, maid,
And brood on hopes and fear no more.
And no more turn aside and brood
Upon love’s bitter mystery;
For Fergus rules the brazen cars,
And rules the shadows of the wood,
And the white breast of the dim sea
And all dishevelled wandering stars.
— W. B. Yeats, Who Goes with Fergus?
Business Screen magazine, 1973
The evening, blue, voluptuous, of June
Settled slowly on the beach with pulsating wings,
Like a sea-gull come to rest: far, far-off twinkled
Gold lights from the towers of a city and a passing ship.
The dark sea rolled its body at the end of the beach,
The warm soft beach which it was too tired to climb,
And we two walked together there
Arm in arm, having nothing in our souls but love.
— John Gould Fletcher, Memory: The Walk on the Beach (excerpt)
Ernst Halberstadt, “Elevated Railroad Structure…” (1973)
A kind of strange oblivion has overspread me, so that I know not what has become of the last year; and perceive that incidents and intelligence pass over me without leaving any impression.
— Samuel Johnson, Prayers and Meditations
Aalto University Commons, “Metal forging class” (detail) (ca. 1920s)
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
— The Great Gatsby
Nationaal Archief, “Clients in a record shop” (1979)
Who can undo what time hath done?
Beckon lost music from a broken lute?
— Owen Meredith, “Orval or The Fool Of Time” (excerpt)
cf. photograph by Nadia Valkouskaya via Unsplash and video by Coverr-Free-Footage via Pixabay
cf. American Scenery publishing company, “Top Corridor of Palace Hotel” (ca. 1850s–1910s)
April 15. Met her today point blank in Grafton Street. The crowd brought us together. We both stopped. She asked me why I never came, said she had heard all sorts of stories about me. This was only to gain time. Asked me was I writing poems? About whom? I asked her. This confused her more and I felt sorry and mean. Turned off that valve at once and opened the spiritual-heroic refrigerating apparatus, invented and patented in all countries by Dante Alighieri. Talked rapidly of myself and my plans. In the midst of it unluckily I made a sudden gesture of a revolutionary nature. I must have looked like a fellow throwing a handful of peas into the air. People began to look at us. She shook hands a moment after and, in going away, said she hoped I would do what I said.
Now I call that friendly, don’t you?
Yes, I liked her today. A little or much? Don’t know. I liked her and it seems a new feeling to me. Then, in that case, all the rest, all that I thought I thought and all that I felt I felt, all the rest before now, in fact… O, give it up, old chap! Sleep it off!
— Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
cf. Cincinnati Magazine, 1979 with additional artwork by me
roman à clef
Here’s the key —
Jim Matchinga, “Roots” (Cincinnati Magazine, 1980)
Now this interconnection or adaptation of all created things to each and of each to all, means that each simple substance has relations which express all the others, and, consequently, that it is a perpetual living mirror of the universe.
— Leibniz, The Monadology
cf. G. W. Thorne/London Stereoscopic Company, “The Bashful Lover” (hand-colored) (ca. 1860-1870)
Jack Delano, “Flagman walks back to flag any oncoming trains…” (1943)
Do not wear your soul out with tears but be as usually brave and look hopefully to the future.
— Letter to James Joyce from his mother (quoted in Richard Ellmann, James Joyce)
Jack Corn, “Children During Recess…” (1974)
but I —
I was there
in that bright autumn dawn
on the playground
when we sparkled
and our dreams were the morning stars
still in the sky
Paris, August, 1984
Nothing should remain unsaid between us
— Robert Frost, To E. T. (excerpt)
cf. photograph by Nik Shuliahin via Unsplash (edit)
Down, down, down. Would the fall never come to an end! “I wonder how many miles I’ve fallen by this time?” she said aloud. “I must be getting somewhere near the center of the earth…”
— Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
photograph by Liane Metzler via Unsplash
I believe I can cover most of the expenses of publication of my daughter’s “Alphabet.” My idea is not to persuade her that she is a Cézanne but that, on her 29th birthday, she may see something to persuade her that her whole past has not been a failure.
The reason I keep on trying by every means to find a solution for her case — which may come at any time as it did with my eyes — is that she may not think that she is left with a blank future as well.
I am aware that I am blamed by everybody for sacrificing that “precious metal” — money — to such an extent for such a purpose when it could be done so cheaply and quietly by locking her up in an economical “mental prison” for the rest of her life. I will not do so as long as I see a single chance of hope for her recovery nor blame her or punish her for the great crime she has committed in being a victim to one of the most elusive diseases known to men and unknown to medicine.
And I imagine that if you were where she is and felt as she must you would perhaps feel some hope if you felt that you were neither abandoned nor forgotten.
— Letter from James Joyce to Harriet Weaver, 1936 (quoted in Richard Ellmann, James Joyce)
cf. photograph by Lefty Kasdaglis via Unsplash (edit)
Farewell to an idea . . .
A darkness gathers though it does not fall
And the whiteness grows less vivid on the wall.
— Wallace Stevens, The Auroras of Autumn (excerpt)
cf. photograph by freestocks-photos via Pixabay (edit)
Ian Livesey, “Rainy rainy Manchester” (detail) (2015)
On Margate Sands
I can’t stop connecting
everything with everything
with the past
the broken fingernails of dirty hands.
To Carthage I came, once, many years ago
now dull roots with spring rain
cf. photograph by Kyle Popineau via unsplash and Abul Haque, “Students Arriving by Schoolbus…” (1976)
Up from the earth, O weary head!
This is not Troy, about, above—
— Euripides, The Trojan Women (Tr. Murray)
Northeastern University Course Catalog, 1975-76
He thought he kept the universe alone;
For all the voice in answer he could wake
Was but the mocking echo of his own
From some tree-hidden cliff across the lake.
Some morning from the boulder-broken beach
He would cry out on life, that what it wants
Is not its own love back in copy speech,
But counter-love, original response.
And nothing ever came of what he cried…
— Robert Frost, The Most Of It (excerpt)
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself…
— Clement Clarke Moore, A Visit from St. Nicholas
cf. photograph by Joshua Coleman via Unsplash (edit)
The possibility of having [Ulysses] published in a more regular way came up again in June 1918, when Roger Fry suggested Miss Weaver call on Leonard and Virginia Woolf to induce them to publish the book at their new Hogarth Press. Virginia Woolf noted in her diary the incongruous appearance of Miss Weaver as the ‘buttoned-up’ and woollen-gloved missionary for a book that ‘reeled with indecency.’*
*Miss Weaver, when the passage was quoted to her, demanded with acerbity, ‘What is wrong with woollen gloves?’
— Richard Ellmann, James Joyce
cf. LIFE, 1972
“…For you to wait like that was stupid and quite impermissible. But you aren’t angry with me, are you, because you waited in vain?”
“Well, it was rather hard, Clavdia, even for a man with detached passions — hard on me and hard-hearted of you to come back with him, because 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…”
— Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain
When it came to concealing his troubles, Tommy Wilhelm was not less capable than the next fellow…
— Saul Bellow, Seize the Day
Warren K. Leffler, “Couple listening to radio” (1957)
a hundred windings of the heart —
A great dog.
Oh, how I wish we were back on the road again…
Carol M. Highsmith, “The character Dorothy models her sparkling ruby slippers at the Land of Oz…” (2017)
You road I enter upon and look around, I believe you are not all
that is here,
I believe that much unseen is also here.
— Whitman, Song Of The Open Road
Northeastern University Bulletin, 1980-81
STEPHEN: (Brings the match near his eye.) Lynx eye. Must get glasses. Broke them yesterday. Sixteen years ago. Distance. The eye sees all flat. (He draws the match away. It goes out.) Brain thinks. Near: far. Ineluctable modality of the visible. (He frowns mysteriously.) Hm… Married.
— Joyce, Ulysses
photograph by Hannah Grace via Unsplash (edit)
Ars Nova (1980)
to the window
a new room
a whole world
I found it — here
a Dowland transcription
cf. Gustave Caillebotte, “Interior, Woman at the Window” (detail) (1880) and photograph via unsplash (edit)
The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster…
— Elizabeth Bishop, One Art
To be sure, it is sheer madness… to return to the sites of one’s youth and try to relive at forty what one loved or keenly enjoyed at twenty. But I was forewarned of that madness… I hoped, I think, to recapture there a freedom I could not forget. In that spot, indeed, more than twenty years ago, I had spent whole mornings wandering… I was alive then.
— Camus, Return To Tipasa
Ernst Halberstadt, “City Hall Plaza–A Pleasant Setting for Rest and Conversation” (1973)
—He’s pretty well on, professor MacHugh said in a low voice.
—Seems to be, J. J. O’Molloy said, taking out a cigarettecase in murmuring meditation, but it is not always as it seems. Who has the most matches?
— Joyce, Ulysses
photograph by Jonathan Dubon via Unsplash (edit)
tanglewood in blue
in the summer grass
steadfast bright stars
—Yes. So you think…
The door closed behind the outgoer.
Rest suddenly possessed the discreet vaulted cell, rest of warm and brooding air.
A vestal’s lamp.
Here he ponders things that were not… what might have been: possibilities of the possible as possible: things not known…
— Joyce, Ulysses
Horacio Villalobos, “Housewife in the Kitchen…” (ca. 1975)
“The problem with life is that it’s too daily.”
— Sarah E. Sapiro
At the violet hour, when the eyes and back
Turn upward from the desk, when the human engine waits
Like a taxi throbbing waiting,
I Tiresias, though blind, throbbing between two lives,
Old man with wrinkled female breasts, can see
At the violet hour, the evening hour that strives
Homeward, and brings the sailor home from sea,
The typist home at teatime, clears her breakfast, lights
Her stove, and lays out food in tins.
Out of the window perilously spread
Her drying combinations touched by the sun’s last rays,
On the divan are piled (at night her bed)
Stockings, slippers, camisoles, and stays.
I Tiresias, old man with wrinkled dugs
Perceived the scene, and foretold the rest…
— T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land
cf. photograph by Genessa Panainte via Unsplash (edit)
open tuning (august, 1981)
under the proscenium arch
seeming you near me
inspired and altered
what chord is that?
and I answered
photograph by RyanMcGuire via Pixabay
Hold to the now, the here, through which all future plunges to the past.
— Joyce, Ulysses
photograph by Forrest Cavale via Unsplash (edit)
Dick tried to rest — the struggle would come presently at home and he might have to sit a long time, restating the universe for her… But the brilliance, the versatility of madness is akin to the resourcefulness of water seeping through, over and around a dike. It requires the united front of many people to work against it… In a tired way, he planned that they would again resume the régime relaxed a year before…
— F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night
Tom Hubbard, “…Public Plaza, Fountain Square…” (1973)
I diverged in a yellow wood
and sorry I could not travel
long I stood
and looked as far as I could
doubting I should ever come back
I am telling this with a sigh
has made all the difference
Who will in fairest book of nature know
How virtue may best lodg’d in beauty be,
Let him but learn of love to read in thee,
Stella, those fair lines which true goodness show.
There shall he find all vices’ overthrow,
Not by rude force, but sweetest sovereignty
Of reason, from whose light those night-birds fly;
That inward sun in thine eyes shineth so.
And, not content to be perfection’s heir
Thyself, dost strive all minds that way to move,
Who mark in thee what is in thee most fair.
So while thy beauty draws thy heart to love,
As fast thy virtue bends that love to good:
But “Ah,” Desire still cries, “Give me some food!”
— Sir Philip Sidney, Astrophil and Stella 71: “Who will in fairest book of nature know”
cf. Alphonse François (After Delaroche), “Napoleon Crossing the Alps” (1851) and
Dihl et Guérhard, “Napoleon Bonaparte as First Consul” (ca. 1800)
cf. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, “Man sitting with dog on front porch as woman looks through door…” (between 1860 and 1930)
photograph by Kristopher Roller via Unsplash
All Sisyphus’ silent joy is contained therein. His fate belongs to him. His rock is his thing…There is no sun without shadow, and it is essential to know the night…Thus, convinced of the wholly human origin of all that is human, a blind man eager to see who knows that the night has no end, he is still on the go. The rock is still rolling…
— Camus, The Myth Of Sisyphus
cf. Cincinnati Magazine, 1985
Ernst Halberstadt, “Ice Skating in the Public Garden” (detail) (1973)
“Are you going to stay in town long?” asked Kitty.
“I don’t know,” he answered, not thinking of what he was saying.
The thought that if he were held in check by her tone of quiet friendliness he would end by going back again without deciding anything came into his mind, and he resolved to rebel against it.
“How is it you don’t know?”
“I don’t know why. It depends on you,” he said, and instantly he was horrified at his own words.
She either did not understand his words, or did not want to understand them, for, seeming to stumble once or twice, catching her foot, she hurriedly skated away from him. She skated up to Mlle. Linon, said something to her, and went towards the pavilion where the ladies took off their skates.
— Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
Utopia – “Say Yeah”
cf. photograph by Gabriel Laroche (edit) via Unsplash
Muse, tell me why, for what attaint of her deity, or in what vexation, did the Queen of heaven drive one so excellent in goodness to circle through so many afflictions, to face so many toils? Is anger so fierce in celestial spirits?
— Virgil, Aeneid
David Falconer, “One Family of Four Moved Into the Attic of Their Home…” (1973)
I was happier then. Or was that I? Or am I now I?
Twentyeight I was. She twentythree.
When we left Lombard street west something changed.
Could never like it again after Rudy.
Can’t bring back time. Like holding water in your hand.
Would you go back to then? Just beginning then. Would you?
—James Joyce, Ulysses
cf. John Margotta, “La Galleria” (Orange Coast Magazine, 1986)
Ah! Vanitas Vanitatum! which of us is happy in this world? Which of us has his desire? or, having it, is satisfied?
— Thackeray, Vanity Fair
Miroslav Sido, “Mother”
As from the house your mother sees
You playing round the garden trees,
So you may see, if you will look
Through the windows of this book,
Another child, far, far away…
That lingers in the garden there.
— Robert Louis Stevenson, “To Any Reader” (excerpt)
cf. Jane Reece, “Interior” (edit) (ca. 1922)
but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
— Edna St. Vincent Millay, “What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why” (excerpt)
cf. Harry C. Phibbs, “The Woodchopper’s Woman” (ca. 1922) and video by WolfBlur via Pixabay
is it still
yes i think
there is something
i have to
cf. “Reflections”, after Bayard Jones (edit) (ca. 1903)
I held a jewel in my fingers
And went to sleep.
The day was warm, and winds were prosy;
I said: “’T will keep.”
I woke and chid my honest fingers,—
The gem was gone;
And now an amethyst remembrance
Is all I own.
photograph by Mark Jefferson Paraan via Unsplash
Because no man can ever feel his own identity aright except his eyes be closed; as if darkness were indeed the proper element of our essences, though light be more congenial to our clayey part.
— Melville, Moby Dick
cf. “Waterproof”, After C. Clyde Squires (ca. 1907) and video by tmeier1964 via Pixabay
O Lear, Lear, Lear!
Beat at this gate that let thy folly in,
And thy dear judgment out!
cf. Eugene Aizelin, “Mignon” (photograph by S. Almquist, ca. 1921) and
John H. Stocksdale, “Margaret” (ca. 1920)
Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
Fled is that music:—Do I wake or sleep?
— Keats, Ode to a Nightingale
cf. J. Thornton Johnston, “The Short Cut” (ca. 1922)
when pluto was still a planet
the universe was full of surprises
cf. photograph by Sam Soffes via Unsplash (edit)
fog of fluorescence
this watch said
photograph by StockSnap via Pixabay
My tables—meet it is I set it down…
Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
—T. S. Eliot, The Hollow Men
cf. image (flow chart) by geralt via Pixabay and photographs via Unsplash
Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
—T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
cf. LIFE, 1972
Good shepherd, tell this youth what ’tis to love.
It is to be all made of sighs and tears,
It is to be all made of faith and service,
It is to be all made of fantasy,
All made of passion and all made of wishes,
All adoration, duty, and observance,
All humbleness, all patience and impatience,
All purity, all trial, all observance…
—As You Like It
Photograph by Bruce Mars via Pexels
Doth any here know me? This is not Lear.
Doth Lear walk thus? speak thus? Where are his eyes?
Either his notion weakens, his discernings
Are lethargied—Ha! Waking? ’Tis not so.
Who is it that can tell me who I am?
cf. LIFE, 1972 and Oscar Wilde, “The Importance of Being Earnest”
Photograph by Easton Oliver via Unsplash
His railings and outbursts expressed not the conviction of failure but the passion for success. They touched off his disappointment, his injured self-esteem, his wounded pride, without ultimately concealing his determination to persevere — his finally unshakeable will to achieve. The strain of remonstrative self-pity and pessimism in Conrad was an overlay to the iron in him.
—Leo Gurko, “Joseph Conrad: Giant in Exile”
Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.
—Emerson, Self Reliance
Tom Hubbard, “…Sale of Donated Books…” (1973)
For me that white figure in the stillness of coast and sea seemed to stand at the heart of a vast enigma. The twilight was ebbing fast from the sky above his head, the strip of sand had sunk already under his feet, he himself appeared no bigger than a child — then only a speck, a tiny white speck, that seemed to catch all the light left in a darkened world. . . . And, suddenly, I lost him. . . .
—Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim
cf. The Finnish Museum of Photography, “Kulutusosuuskuntien Keskusliiton kokoelma” and
Grant Wood, “American Gothic” (1930)
Photograph by Florian Pérennès via Unsplash
The Year Of Living Collinsly (1985)
there’s a girl that’s been on my mind
all the time
i’ve been sitting here so long
just staring at the phone
you got me inside out
they all warned me
they told me don’t lose your heart to her
she’ll never give it back
now i know that i’m too young
my love has just begun
cf. LIFE, 1968 and Vincent van Gogh, “Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat” (1887)
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)
photograph by Annie Spratt via Unsplash
There’s not a string attuned to mirth,
But has its chord in melancholy.
—Thomas Hood, Ode to Melancholy
cf. photograph by Tim Gouw via Unsplash and Northeastern University Course Catalog, 1980-82
I see you
cf. Thomas A. Morgan, “After The Dip” (edit) (ca. 1904)
And all those acts which Deity supreme
Doth ease its heart of love in.—I am gone
Away from my own bosom: I have left
My strong identity, my real self,
Somewhere between the throne, and where I sit
Here on this spot of earth. Search, Thea, search!
Open thine eyes eterne, and sphere them round
Upon all space: space starr’d, and lorn of light;
Space region’d with life-air; and barren void;
Spaces of fire, and all the yawn of hell.—
Search, Thea, search! and tell me, if thou seest
A certain shape or shadow, making way
With wings or chariot fierce to repossess
A heaven he lost erewhile…
—John Keats, Hyperion
cf. Sonnet 87 and photograph by Timo Stern via Unsplash (detail)
cf. John Adams Whipple, “Cornelius Conway Felton with His Hat and Coat” (detail) (ca. 1850) and
video by Activedia via Pixabay
An unassuming young man was travelling, in midsummer, from his native city of Hamburg to Davos-Platz in the Canton of the Grisons, on a three weeks’ visit.
From Hamburg to Davos is a long journey — too long, indeed, for so brief a stay…
—Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain
cf. Marc St. Gil, “Teenagers Enjoy Each Other’s Company…” (detail) (1973)
Camden Public Library, “The 6-masted schooner George W. Wells…” (detail) (ca. 1900)
a closed book
just for an instant
ionized and incandescent
split the sky
then was lost
Terry Eiler, “Training Class For Havasupai Teachers in Reading and Language Instruction Methods” (ca. 1972)
Your voice and his I heard in those non-lectures —
Hammock chairs sprawled skew-wise all about;
Moore in the armchair bent on writing it all out —
Each soul agog for any word of yours…
Poke the fire again!
Open the window!
Shut it! — patient pacing unavailing.
Barren the revelations on the ceiling —
Dash back again to agitate a cinder.
“Oh it’s so clear! It’s absolutely clear!”
—I.A. Richards, “The Strayed Poet” (excerpt)
cf. LIFE, 1937
cf. photograph by Tyler Springhetti via Unsplash
back issue (june, 1981)
on the prudential tower escalator
and your smile
moving beyond me
cf. Jean Antoine Houdon, “Bather” (1782) and video by Vimeo-Free-Videos via Pixabay
They shut me up in Prose –
As when a little Girl
They put me in the Closet –
Because they liked me “still” –
Still! Could themself have peeped –
And seen my Brain – go round –
They might as wise have lodged a Bird
For Treason – in the Pound –
Himself has but to will
And easy as a Star
Abolish his Captivity –
And laugh – No more have I –
cf. video by Ventus17 via Pixabay
Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make of me!
You would play upon me;
You would seem to know my stops;
You would pluck out the heart of my mystery;
You would sound me from my lowest note to the top of my compass;
and there is much music, excellent voice, in this little organ;
Yet cannot you make it speak…
It was never for the mean;
It requireth courage stout.
Souls above doubt,
It will reward,—
They shall return
More than they were,
And ever ascending.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson, Give All to Love (excerpt)
LSE Library, “Student in the library, 1981”
CHAPTER 1. Loomings.
Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul…then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.
—Herman Melville, Moby Dick
cf. photographs by Noel Y. C., Artful Dioramas of North American Mammals at the American Museum of Natural History and Warren Wong via unsplash
into the diorama
quickly by the buffalo
down the mountain
along the freeway
I flag down the driver
of a 1965 ford fairlane
The Finnish Museum of Photography, “The counter of a café at the new Centrum department store of Voima cooperative.” (detail) (1961)
What passion hangs these weights upon my tongue?
I cannot speak to her, yet she urged conference.
O poor Orlando! Thou art overthrown.
—As You Like It
cf. photograph by Mike Fox via Unsplash
O, brave new world
That has such people in’t!
Tom Hubbard, “…Troupes Dancing in the Square Are Joined by Young-In-Heart Spectator” (1973)
Thou shalt find
That I’ll resume the shape which thou dost think
I have cast off forever…
The Finnish Museum of Photography, “At Hotel Aulanko’s Cafe Terrace” (ca. 1950’s)
Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante,
Had a bad cold, nevertheless
Is known to be the wisest woman in Europe…
—The Waste Land
Read my palm and tell me why do lovers come and go…
Photograph by Paul Trienekens via Unsplash
“My sister is in the country. I have a house all to myself, wear no clothes, take 10 big baths a day, & dine on lemonade and ice-cream…”
—Letter from Henry James to his London publisher quoted in Jean Strouse, Alice James: A Biography
cf. Finnish Museum of Photography, “Osuusliike Mäki-Matin uuden liikekeskuksen ravintolasali.” (1958)
a long time ago
someone told me
reflected light waves travel out into space
if you turn around
from someplace far away
you will see
Missouri Historical Society, “Capturing the City: Photographs from the Streets of St. Louis, 1900–1930 — Strand Motion Picture Theater entrance at 419 North Sixth Street featuring advertisement for the movie “Bootles’ Baby,” 1915. The large colorful poster catches the attention of the woman passing at far right.” (detail)
Darling, I’ve nearly sat it off in the Strand to-day and all because W.E. Lawrence of the Movies is your physical counter-part. So I was informed by half a dozen girls before I could slam on a hat and see for myself—He made me so homesick…
—letter from Zelda Fitzgerald to F. Scott Fitzgerald, March, 1919
cf. UL Digital Library, “Interior of Foundation Building”
so much milk spilled
so much bridged water
so much greener grass
so much silver lining
so much unglittered gold—
so much unsaid
so much unsaid,
Patricia D. Duncan, “Sunset View of a Horse in Pastureland…” (1975)
As my eyes search the prairie
I feel the summer in the spring.
—Anonymous, “Spring Song” (Tr. Frances Densmore) from Chippewa Music II Bulletin 53 (1913)
cf. photographs via Unsplash and video (rain) by Vimeo-Free-Videos via Pixabay
Or is it only the breeze, in its listlessness
Travelling across the wet mead to me here,
You being ever dissolved to wan wistlessness,
Heard no more again far or near?
Thomas Hardy, The Voice (excerpt)
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
…as he lay trying desperately to put poetry, ambition, and Fanny Brawne out of his mind, suddenly an early thrush had appeared…
Walter Jackson Bate, John Keats
Russell Lee, “Visitors’ hour at the Cairns General Hospital at the FSA (Farm Security Administration) farmworkers’ community” (1942)
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “A Psalm of Life” (excerpt)
Doug Cronk, “Supervalu Supermarket…” (1952)
What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon.
In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
Allen Ginsberg, A Supermarket in California (excerpt)
Marc St. Gil, “Den behind a Store Which Caters to the Teenage Group…” (1973)
I think about the first time I beheld you…
Petrarch, Canzoniere XX
Horacio Villalobos, “…a Member of the Parish Is Shown Playing a Guitar at a Folk Mass…” (1975)
Come down Canyon Creek trail on a summer
that one place where the valley floor opens out.
You will see
the white butterflies…
—William Stafford, How to Regain Your Soul (excerpt)
cf. Photograph by The Creative Exchange via Unsplash
One sound is saying, ‘You are not worth tuppence,
But neither is anybody. Watch it! Be severe.’
The other says, ‘Go with it! Give and swerve.
You are everything you feel beside the river.’
—Seamus Heaney, Casting and Gathering (excerpt)
cf. Glucksman Library, “Students in Block D main building” (ca. 1990)
The Finnish Museum of Photography, “A customer ascending to the fabrics department of Kyminlaakso cooperative’s new department store.” (1961)
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…
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, “Youth at a restaurant night club…” (ca. 1941)
Scarlatti went to dinner with
Scriabin and Rameau
and at the table next to them were
Schoenberg and Milhaud
Scarlatti sang 440 “A”
to catch the waiter’s ear
Arnold sang eleven more
and Webern drank his beer
cf. Photograph by Mike Wilson via Unsplash and Nationaal Archief, “Testing guitar in a music shop…” (1957)
cf. Provincial Archives of Alberta, “Vermilion Agricultural and Vocational College” (1970)
For thou art with me here upon the banks
Of this fair river; thou my dearest Friend,
My dear, dear Friend; and in thy voice I catch
The language of my former heart, and read
My former pleasures in the shooting lights
Of thy wild eyes. Oh! yet a little while
May I behold in thee what I was once…
—William Wordsworth, Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey…
Finnish Museum of Photography, “Autoja ylittämässä salmea lossilla…” (1959)
I on my horse, and Love on me, doth try
—Sir Philip Sidney, “Astrophil and Stella 49”
cf. Jonathan Petersson, “346” (2017)
antediluvian (august, 1986)
in my car at the red light
cascades of rain
empty the town
for an eternity
tried to begin again
cf. NASA/JPL, “Sunset at the Viking Lander 1 Site” (1976) and video by Vimeo-Free-Videos via Pixabay
Earth’s the right place for love:
I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.
Robert Frost, Birches
cf. video by chayka1270 via Pixabay
Pour on. I will endure.
cf. Curt Lang, “Granville Theatres” (1972)
cf. Picture Story Magazine, 1962
Provincial Archives of Alberta, “Marten River Provincial Park, Alberta” (1970)
suddenly the memory reveals itself
so then, what is time?
time past is time present
I begin again with that summer
(borne back ceaselessly)
(It avails not, time)
sun clouds glinting
forsaking the fragile
I call to you