“If no love is, O God, what fele I so?”

Photograph by Les Anderson on Unsplash (edited collage)

if you ever fall in love
to the sounds of violins
and bells
and a melody that wraps itself
around your heart
look for her
one more time

— J.S.

Bells of St. Augustine

Oh, when I was in love with you

cf. Video by cottonbro via Pexels (Edit)

OH, when I was in love with you,
Then I was clean and brave,
And miles around the wonder grew
How well did I behave.

And now the fancy passes by,
And nothing will remain,
And miles around they ’ll say that I
Am quite myself again.

— A. E. Housman

Sonnet CXXII

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…

Mainstreet

“A Complaint by Night of the Lover not beloved”

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

Bipolar Depression II

cf. photograph by Gerd Altmann via Pixabay (edit)

This is the debt I pay
Just for one riotous day,
Years of regret and grief,
Sorrow without relief.

Pay it I will to the end —
Until the grave, my friend,
Gives me a true release —
Gives me the clasp of peace.

Slight was the thing I bought,
Small was the debt I thought,
Poor was the loan at best —
God! but the interest!

— Paul Laurence Dunbar, The Debt

Lithium

Invictus

cf. photograph by Denis Streltsov via Pixabay (edit, modification and 3D recomposition by me)

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

Back In Black

The largest fire ever known

cf. Videos by mohamed Hassan (storm) and Moshe Harosh (woman) both via Pixabay (edited collage by me)

THE LARGEST fire ever known
Occurs each afternoon,
Discovered is without surprise,
Proceeds without concern:
Consumes, and no report to men,
An Occidental town,
Rebuilt another morning
To be again burned down.

— Emily Dickinson

10,000 Lovers (In One)

A Serenade at the Villa

cf. Maclean’s Magazine (1966) (edit)

I
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.

II
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…

IV
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)

Gabrielle

“Lock the Place in your Heart”

cf. Photograph by María Victoria Heredia Reyes via Unsplash (edit)

Lock the place in your heart
into which I have poured my emotions

I do not want to be hurt again
use your heartbeat as the key
only you can hear if it unlocks itself

If the wind around you
should blow away
breathe into it and let my secrets go

— Zindzi Mandela, “Lock the Place in your Heart”

Same Old Lang Syne

“The Meaning of Simplicity”

Photograph by John-Mark Smith via Unsplash (detail) (edit)

I hide behind simple things so you’ll find me;
if you don’t find me, you’ll find the things,
you’ll touch what my hand has touched,
our hand-prints will merge…

— Yannis Ritsos, “The Meaning of Simplicity” (Tr. Keeley)

Lorelei

The Heart wants what it wants

cf. Edward Hopper, Nighthawks (1942) and Maclean’s Magazine (1971) and letter from Emily Dickinson to Mary Bowles, Spring, 1862
(Thank you to Marcy at Illustrated Poetry | Art by Marcy Erb for the quotation.)

If I Can’t Have You

“The Model And The Statue”

cf. Video by Bassman5420 via Pixabay (edited and modified by me)

When divine Art conceives a form and face,
She bids the craftsman for his first essay
To shape a simple model in mere clay:
This is the earliest birth of Art’s embrace.
From the live marble in the second place
His mallet brings into the light of day
A thing so beautiful that who can say
When time shall conquer that immortal grace?
Thus my own model I was born to be–
The model of that nobler self, whereto
Schooled by your pity, lady, I shall grow.
Each overplus and each deficiency
You will make good. What penance then is due
For my fierce heat, chastened and taught by you?

— Michelangelo, The Model And The Statue

Hot Cherie

“Love’s Philosophy”

cf. from the Toni Frissell Collection, Library of Congress, (detail) (1946)

THE fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single,
All things by a law divine
In one another’s being mingle—
Why not I with thine?

See the mountains kiss high heaven,
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdain’d its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea—
What are all these kissings worth,
If thou kiss not me?

— Shelley, “Love’s Philosophy”

Could It Be I’m Falling in Love

dreamless

cf. photograph by Toni Frissell, “Weeki Wachee spring, Florida” (underwater view of a woman, wearing a long gown, floating in water) (1947) and video (underwater seabed light) by motionstock via Pixabay (edited collage by me)

I placed my dream in a boat
and the boat into the sea;
then I ripped the sea with my hands
so that my dream would sink.

My hands are still wet
with the blue of the slashed waves,
and the color that runs from my fingers
colors the deserted sands.

The wind arrives from far away,
night bends itself with the cold;
under the water in a boat
my dream is dying away.

I’ll cry as much as necessary
to make the sea grow
so that my boat will sink to the bottom
and my dream disappear…

— Cecilia Meireles, “Song” (Tr. Giacomelli)

Jackie Blue

“House of Spring”

cf. Photographs via Unsplash and Pexels

Hundreds of open flowers
all come from
the one branch
Look
all their colors
appear in my garden
I open the clattering gate
and in the wind
I see
the spring sunlight
already it has reached
worlds without number

— Musō Soseki (Tr. Merwin & Shigematsu)

I Just Want To Celebrate

Takin’ Care Of Business

cf. Maclean’s Magazine (1964) and Maclean’s Magazine (1961)

If seriously I may convey my thoughts
In this my light deliverance, I have spoke
With one that in her sex, her years, profession,
Wisdom, and constancy hath amazed me more
Than I dare blame my weakness…

All’s Well That Ends Well

Takin’ Care Of Business

[He reads the letter.]

cf. Toni Frissell, “Woman and man lying on a dock” (ca. 1969) and video by 5239640 via Pixabay (edited, modified and collage recomposition by me)

Doubt thou the stars are fire,
Doubt that the sun doth move,
Doubt truth to be a liar,
But never doubt I love.

Hamlet

We’ll Never Have to Say Goodbye Again

meditating upon the meaning of the line “clams on the halfshell and rollerskates” in the song “good times” by chic

cf. photograph by Thomas J. O’Halloran, “The Plum disco dancing [1119 21st St. NW]” (1977) and
video by Luiz-Jorge-Artista via Pixabay (edited and recomposed collage by me)

go away, you bitter cuss.   it’s still 1980 somewhere, some corner
  of your dark apartment
where the mystery of the lyric hasn’t faded.   and love is in the
 chorus waiting to be born

— D. A. Powell, meditating upon the meaning of the line “clams on the halfshell and rollerskates” in the song “good times” by chic (excerpt) (Poetry, September 2006)

Good Times by Chic

Greeting Card

cf. TV commercial (ca. 1987)

Alas! is even love too weak To unlock the heart, and let it speak?

Ah, love, let us be true To one another!

Bright are the stars that shine Dark is the sky

Love seeketh not itself to please,

If thou must love me, let it be for nought Except for love’s sake only

And to his eye There was but one beloved face on earth, And that was shining on him.

She knew she was by him beloved

All passions, all delights, Whatever stirs this mortal frame, All are but ministers of Love,

And in Life’s noisiest hour, There whispers still the ceaseless Love of Thee,

Love is not a feeling to pass away

My heart’s so full of joy, That I shall do some wild extravagance

Love is most nearly itself When here and now cease to matter.

You who suffer because you love, love still more.

A thing of beauty is a joy forever

I love thee, as the good love heaven.

Love keeps the cold out better than a cloak.

Imparadis’d in one another’s arms.

Love is the crowning grace of humanity,

Not grace, or zeal, love only was my call,

Love’s too precious to be lost,

We love but while we may

Love will conquer at the last.

Omnia vincit Amor; et nos cedamus Amori.

To see her is to love her,

Oh my luve’s like a red, red rose,

❤️
— J.S.

Chapter and Verse

The Waste Land

cf. Maclean’s Magazine (1969) and The Mechanical & Landscape Photo Co., “bedroom interior…” (ca.1870)

APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain…

Only A Memory

Chapter 8

cf. Toni Frissell, “Fashion model underwater…” (1939) and video by Relaxing_Guru via Pixabay (edited, modified, and combined recomposition)

The track curved and now it was going away from the sun which, as it sank lower, seemed to spread itself in benediction over the vanishing city where she had drawn her breath. He stretched out his hand desperately as if to snatch only a wisp of air, to save a fragment of the spot that she had made lovely for him. But it was all going by too fast now for his blurred eyes and he knew that he had lost that part of it, the freshest and the best, forever.

— F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Love Is Like Oxygen

O! for my sake do you with Fortune chide

O! FOR my sake do you with Fortune chide
The guilty goddess of my harmful deeds,
That did not better for my life provide
Than public means which public manners breeds.
Thence comes it that my name receives a brand,
And almost thence my nature is subdu’d
To what it works in, like the dyer’s hand:
Pity me, then, and wish I were renew’d;
Whilst, like a willing patient, I will drink
Potions of eisel ’gainst my strong infection;
No bitterness that I will bitter think,
Nor double penance, to correct correction.
Pity me, then, dear friend, and I assure ye
Even that your pity is enough to cure me.

— Sonnet CXI

Work To Do

So thy great gift, upon misprision growing, comes home again, on better judgment making.

cf. Maclean’s Magazine (1962)

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

Don’t Hurt Yourself

[Storm still.]

cf. Image by Engin Akyurt via Pixabay (edited)

This tempest in my mind
Doth from my senses take all feeling else
Save what beats there…
O, that way madness lies. let me shun that;
No more of that.

King Lear

Beethoven: Grosse Fuge, Op. 133

My magic won’t work on you

cf. Image by Enrique Meseguer via Pixabay (edited, modified and 3D recomposition)

Now my charms are all o’erthrown,
And what strength I have ’s mine own,
Which is most faint…

The Tempest

Supernatural Thing

Dépression à Tucson

cf. National Geographic, 1953

A little less returned for him each spring.
Music began to fail him. Brahms, although
His dark familiar, often walked apart.

His spirit grew uncertain of delight,
Certain of its uncertainty, in which
That dark companion left him unconsoled

For a self returning mostly memory.
Only last year he said that the naked moon
Was not the moon he used to see, to feel

(In the pale coherences of moon and mood
When he was young), naked and alien,
More leanly shining from a lankier sky.

Its ruddy pallor had grown cadaverous.
He used his reason, exercised his will,
Turning in time to Brahms as alternate

In speech. He was that music and himself.
They were particles of order, a single majesty:
But he remembered the time when he stood alone.

He stood at last by God’s help and the police;
But he remembered the time when he stood alone.
He yielded himself to that single majesty;

But he remembered the time when he stood alone,
When to be and delight to be seemed to be one,
Before the colors deepened and grew small.

— Wallace Stevens, “Anglais Mort à Florence”

Born yesterday

The Birth of Bacchus

La Dolce Vita (1960)

But if he be indeed the thund’ring Jove,
Bid him, when next he courts the rites of love,
Descend triumphant from th’ etherial sky,
In all the pomp of his divinity,
Encompass’d round by those celestial charms,
With which he fills th’ immortal Juno’s arms…

— Ovid, Metamorphoses (Tr. Garth, Dryden, et al.)

Give Me An Inch

footfall

cf. Photograph by Shane Rounce (detail) via Unsplash and CGI by pixel shox

footfall

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
romance glancer
true love chancer
happiness chaser
gone again spacer

— J.S.

Spacer

I thought once how Theocritus had sung

Polaroid by Andrei Tarkovsky

I THOUGHT once how Theocritus had sung
Of the sweet years, the dear and wish’d-for years,
Who each one in a gracious hand appears
To bear a gift for mortals old or young:
And, as I mused it in his antique tongue,
I saw in gradual vision through my tears
The sweet, sad years, the melancholy years—
Those of my own life, who by turns had flung
A shadow across me. Straightway I was ‘ware,
So weeping, how a mystic Shape did move
Behind me, and drew me backward by the hair;
And a voice said in mastery, while I strove,
‘Guess now who holds thee?’— ‘Death,’ I said. But there
The silver answer rang— ‘Not Death, but Love.’

— Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonnets from the Portuguese: i

The Power of Love

When I consider every thing that grows holds in perfection but a little moment

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

Phenomenal

cf. Arthur Murray Dance Studio television commercial (ca. 1970)

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet…

— Maya Angelou, Phenomenal Woman

Extraordinary