Part III: It is the autumnal mood with a difference.

cf. Katsushika Hokusai, “Under the Wave off Kanagawa…” (ca. 1830–32)

Oh, never this whelming east wind swells
But it seems like the sea’s return
To the ancient lands where it left the shells
Before the age of the fern;
And it seems like the time when after doubt
Our love came back amain.
Oh, come forth into the storm and rout
And be my love in the rain.

—Robert Frost, “A Line-storm Song” (excerpt)

“King Of August”

cf. photograph by StockSnap via Pixabay

king of august

driving home from my first date
a symphony of street lights
and a million stars in the sky
an incandescent spark
flying through a dark street
midnight holds no secret
only my triumphant heart

—J.S.

Quote

“Portraits” (V-VIII)

“Portraits” (V-VIII)

V
(John Keats)

The thought of her
in that darkest winter
fevered torment
but your eternal summer
will not fade

VI
(Jane Dornacker)

You did not know me
but I was always listening
and when I lost you
I pulled my car over to the side of the road
and prayed

VII
(Hans Castorp)

As Spender said of Eliot,
A wonderful poet disguised as a businessman.
Just ask Clavdia.

VIII
(F. Scott Fitzgerald)

A romantic resting against a mantelpiece clock.
You were right, Scott—
the past is forever.

—J.S.

“And Wilt Thou Leave Me Thus?”

cf. Cincinnati Magazine, 1971

And wilt thou leave me thus?
Say nay, say nay, for shame,
To save thee from the blame
Of all my grief and grame;
And wilt thou leave me thus?
Say nay, say nay!

And wilt thou leave me thus,
That hath loved thee so long
In wealth and woe among?
And is thy heart so strong
As for to leave me thus?
Say nay, say nay!

And wilt thou leave me thus,
That hath given thee my heart
Never for to depart,
Nother for pain nor smart;
And wilt thou leave me thus?
Say nay, say nay!

And wilt thou leave me thus
And have no more pity
Of him that loveth thee?
Hélas, thy cruelty!
And wilt thou leave me thus?
Say nay, say nay!

—Sir Thomas Wyatt

ENG 101

David De Vries, “Room 103, small classroom…” (2001)

ENG 101

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

and wondered

about designs

–J.S.

Kinderszenen

Anna Curtis Chandler & Irene F. Cypher, “Audio-Visual Techniques For Enrichment Of The Curriculum” (1948)

Kinderszenen

after school

I finished my Yodel and the telephone rang

unable to contain my excitement

I ran through backyards

until I reached her house

she lowered the tone arm

and I fell in love

–J.S.
 

Last Train To Clarksville by The Monkees

“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)

“Soli Deo Gloria”: Grand Central, December, 1982

Grego, Street Musician (2014)

“Soli Deo Gloria”: Grand Central, December, 1982

onrushing out into the

42nd street passage

huddled in the corner

frayed and fallen

drifted from the street

in pieces and broken-down

Yamaha nylon string guitar

the third Brandenburg

reverberated, echoed, re-echoed

transfixed and transfigured

I put all my money in his well-worn open case

It was almost Christmas

–J.S.
 

Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, BWV 1048 – III. Allegro by TXGQ

at the music store, August, 1979

Benjamin Balázs, “Where My Heart Belongs…”

at the music store, August, 1979

I had to reach way up

rosewood,
sunburst,
cigarette burn—

the salesman plugged it into a Pignose

the sun was streaming in through the windows

He gave me an imitation tortoise-shell pick

my index finger pressed across

e

a

c#

a circuit closed

on the way home

the late summer afternoon sun was starting to set

I rolled down the car window and

reached for the Pat Travers 8-track tape on the passenger seat

–J.S.

“Between midnight and dawn, when the past is all deception…”

cf. Home Movie PA 000111 and photograph by Kevin Lee via Unsplash

Between midnight and dawn, when the past is all deception,
The future futureless, before the morning watch
When time stops and time is never ending…

–T.S. Eliot, The Dry Salvages

She put her finger in your cheek so hard it must have made your dimple there, and said, “Maple.”

“Tornado”

Your mother named you. You and she just saw
Each other in passing in the room upstairs,
One coming this way into life, and one
Going the other out of life—you know?
So you can’t have much recollection of her.
She had been having a long look at you.
She put her finger in your cheek so hard
It must have made your dimple there, and said,
‘Maple.’ I said it too: ‘Yes, for her name.’
She nodded. So we’re sure there’s no mistake.
I don’t know what she wanted it to mean,
But it seems like some word she left to bid you
Be a good girl—be like a maple tree.
How like a maple tree’s for us to guess…

–Robert Frost, Maple (excerpt)

Duet On Mass Ave, June, 1981

Mohamed Hayibor, Church of Christ, Scientist (2016)

Duet On Mass Ave, June, 1981

Over the sound of water splashing in the fountain
and the warm summer night air

I heard your melody echoing around the entire city

then I gave you my guitar and you played the introduction to Roundabout

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very heaven!

–J.S.

“Yet see in the uncertain sky above your uncertain station– the sign she left you…”

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

Nighthawks

cf. Edward Hopper, Nighthawks (detail) (1942) and Detour (1945)

Your eyes that once were never weary of mine
Are bowed in sorrow under pendulous lids,
Because our love is waning.

–William Butler Yeats, Ephemera (excerpt)

You’re leaving now
It’s in your eyes…

February

Ron Hoffman, Helping Hands Will Get This Skier’s Car off the Ice (1974)

Don’t think Brown ever gave up hope
Of getting home again because
He couldn’t climb that slippery slope;

Or even thought of standing there
Until the January thaw
Should take the polish off the crust.
He bowed with grace to natural law,

And then went round it on his feet,
After the manner of our stock;
Not much concerned for those to whom,
At that particular time o’clock,

It must have looked as if the course
He steered was really straight away
From that which he was headed for—
Not much concerned for them, I say:

No more so than became a man—
And politician at odd seasons.
I’ve kept Brown standing in the cold
While I invested him with reasons;

But now he snapped his eyes three times;
Then shook his lantern, saying, “Ile’s
’Bout out!” and took the long way home
By road, a matter of several miles.

–Robert Frost, Brown’s Descent, or the Willy-nilly Slide (excerpt)

Look on the map, I think we’ve been there before
Close up the doors, let’s roll once more…

Reading “Ivy Day In The Committee Room” On The Train, November, 1980

cf. Lottie, “Train view” (2012)

Reading “Ivy Day In The Committee Room” On The Train, November, 1980

his face lapsed into darkness but, as he set himself to fan the fire again, his crouching shadow ascended the opposite wall and his face slowly reemerged into light. It was

a gray day with an almost constant and heavy rain beating down against the train window.

“What are you doing in the dark?” asked a voice.

The cabin lights were off. I stared at the distant red signal light in the mist and felt a chill. I fumbled for my book.

A denuded room came into view and the fire lost all its cheerful colour. The walls of the room were bare except for a

smoking compartment sign. I was alone. A voice asked for my ticket.

“Is that you, Hynes?” asked Mr. O’Connor.
“Yes. What are you doing in the dark?” said Mr. Hynes. advancing into the light of the fire.

The train pulled out of the station and I thought about what you said.

“Tell me,” he said across the fire, “what brings our friend in here? What does he want?”

I guess I just wanted to see you one last time.

“What age are you?” he asked.
“Seventeen,” said the boy.

As the train slowed into the station I looked for you. A man was getting into his car and heading home.

“Tell me, John,” said Mr. O’Connor, lighting his cigarette with another pasteboard card.
“Hm? ”
“What he is exactly?”
“Ask me an easier one,” said Mr. Henchy.

–J.S.

Into My Own

Ernst Halberstadt, “Westward” Sails Back to Long Wharf from Outing at Great Brewster Island… (1973)

One of my wishes is that those dark trees,
So old and firm they scarcely show the breeze,
Were not, as ’twere, the merest mask of gloom,
But stretched away unto the edge of doom.

I should not be withheld but that some day
Into their vastness I should steal away,
Fearless of ever finding open land,
Or highway where the slow wheel pours the sand.

I do not see why I should e’er turn back,
Or those should not set forth upon my track
To overtake me, who should miss me here
And long to know if still I held them dear.

They would not find me changed from him they knew—
Only more sure of all I thought was true.

–Robert Frost, Into My Own
 

Kansas – “Point Of Know Return”

Love and a Question

cf. “Miscellaneous Color Shots”

A Stranger came to the door at eve,
And he spoke the bridegroom fair.
He bore a green-white stick in his hand,
And, for all burden, care.
He asked with the eyes more than the lips
For a shelter for the night,
And he turned and looked at the road afar
Without a window light.

The bridegroom came forth into the porch
With, ‘Let us look at the sky,
And question what of the night to be,
Stranger, you and I.’
The woodbine leaves littered the yard,
The woodbine berries were blue,
Autumn, yes, winter was in the wind;
‘Stranger, I wish I knew.’

Within, the bride in the dusk alone
Bent over the open fire,
Her face rose-red with the glowing coal
And the thought of the heart’s desire.
The bridegroom looked at the weary road,
Yet saw but her within,
And wished her heart in a case of gold
And pinned with a silver pin.

The bridegroom thought it little to give
A dole of bread, a purse,
A heartfelt prayer for the poor of God,
Or for the rich a curse;
But whether or not a man was asked
To mar the love of two
By harboring woe in the bridal house,
The bridegroom wished he knew.

–Robert Frost, Love and a Question

How could love be so wrong?
I don’t know why…

“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…

 
delphin-enjolras-and-the-best-fireplace-video-edit-1080

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

“While on the shop and street I gazed my body of a sudden blazed”

cf. Deseronto Archives, “Woman standing outside Bismark Leroy Detlor’s bake shop…” (ca. 1920)
and photograph by Jeff Sheldon via Unsplash

My fiftieth year had come and gone,
I sat, a solitary man,
In a crowded London shop,
An open book and empty cup
On the marble table-top.

While on the shop and street I gazed
My body of a sudden blazed;
And twenty minutes more or less
It seemed, so great my happiness,
That I was blessed and could bless.

–W. B. Yeats, “Vacillation” (IV)

“He noticed nothing in it to remark. He was not used to handling stars thrown dark”

cf. Photograph by Dewang Gupta via Unsplash

Never tell me that not one star of all
That slip from heaven at night and softly fall
Has been picked up with stones to build a wall.

Some laborer found one faded and stone-cold,
And saving that its weight suggested gold
And tugged it from his first too certain hold,

He noticed nothing in it to remark.
He was not used to handling stars thrown dark
And lifeless from an interrupted arc.

He did not recognize in that smooth coal
The one thing palpable besides the soul
To penetrate the air in which we roll…

—Robert Frost, A Star In A Stoneboat (excerpt)

Only shooting stars break the mold…

“Now you recall this memory as if it were someone else’s story.”

cf. The Fire Within (Le feu follet) (1963) and Home Movie: 98927: St. Croix River and 1956 Honeymoon

“Now, you recall this memory, as if
it were someone else’s story…”

—from Margo Button, “With No Explanation”

Been breaking down
Do you want me now?

“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…

Who goes with Fergus?

8 1/2 (1963)

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?

His head halted again for a moment at the top of the staircase, level with the roof:

Don’t mope over it all day, he said. I’m inconsequent. Give up the moody brooding.

His head vanished but the drone of his descending voice boomed out of the stairhead:

And no more turn aside and brood
Upon love’s bitter mystery
For Fergus rules the brazen cars.

—James Joyce, Ulysses

“I think I’ll just call up my wife…”

Ron Hoffman, Vail Village at Night (1974)

I think I’ll just call up my wife and tell her
I’m here—so far—and starting on again.
I’ll call her softly so that if she’s wise
And gone to sleep, she needn’t wake to answer.”
Three times he barely stirred the bell, then listened.
“Why, Lett, still up? Lett, I’m at Cole’s. I’m late.
I called you up to say Good-night from here
Before I went to say Good-morning there.—
I thought I would.— I know, but, Lett—I know—
I could, but what’s the sense? The rest won’t be
So bad.— Give me an hour for it.— Ho, ho,
Three hours to here! But that was all up hill;
The rest is down.— Why no, no, not a wallow:
They kept their heads and took their time to it
Like darlings, both of them. They’re in the barn.—
My dear, I’m coming just the same. I didn’t
Call you to ask you to invite me home.—”
He lingered for some word she wouldn’t say,
Said it at last himself, “Good-night,” and then,
Getting no answer, closed the telephone.
The three stood in the lamplight round the table
With lowered eyes a moment till he said,
“I’ll just see how the horses are.”

–Robert Frost, Snow (excerpt)

“Sensorium”

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

“Sensorium”

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”

“Driftwood”

At Cape Cod, August, 1969

I am scattered in a thousand places

here and there —

now and then

the wind and waves wash me ashore

ceaselessly

leaving something behind

a remindering

a finding of lost time

I never left

–J.S., “Driftwood”

To the couple that were kissing at the Greyhound Bus Station, July, 1981

Charles O’Rear, “Train passengers bound for St. Louis, Missouri, board a chartered bus…” (1974)

To the couple that were kissing at the Greyhound Bus Station, July, 1981

You probably don’t remember me.

I was standing next to you waiting.

I was the guy with the guitar and the paperback copy of “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”.

You’re in your late fifties or early sixties now.

You’ve been married for 35 years.

It doesn’t seem possible

Because the sun is still reflecting off the luggage compartment door

And the driver is still getting impatient

And her blonde hair is still glistening in the late afternoon haze

And I knew I was going to be late.

–J.S.

“I am with you, you men and women of a generation, or ever so many generations hence…”

Left: Helen D. Van Eaton, “My First Glimpse…From A Pennsylvania Ferry-Boat” (ca. 1910)
Right: Arthur Tress, “View of Upper New York Bay from the Staten Island Ferry” (1973)

Others will enter the gates of the ferry and cross from shore to shore,
Others will watch the run of the flood-tide,
Others will see the shipping of Manhattan north and west, and
the heights of Brooklyn to the south and east,
Others will see the islands large and small;
Fifty years hence, others will see them as they cross, the sun half
an hour high,
A hundred years hence, or ever so many hundred years hence,
others will see them,
Will enjoy the sunset, the pouring-in of the flood-tide, the falling-
back to the sea of the ebb-tide.

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…

—Walt Whitman, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

I’ll be waiting
Time after time…

“So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years- twenty years largely wasted…”

cf. “Build Your Vocabulary”

So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years-
Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l’entre deux guerres-
Trying to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholy new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate,
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulate – but there is no competition –
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.

—T. S. Eliot, East Coker (excerpt)

“legato con amore in un volume”

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

“Feels at each thread, and lives along the line…”

The spider’s touch, how exquisitely fine!
Feels at each thread, and lives along the line…

—Alexander Pope, Epistle I—Of the Nature and State of Man, with Respect to the Universe
 

pinball-edit-1200
Nicolas Vigier, pinball (detail) (2009)

“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…

 

market-place-by-candlelight-1200
Petrus van Schendel, Market Place By Candlelight (1851)

The World Is Too Much With Us

Charles O’Rear, Las Vegas street scene (1972)

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.–Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

–William Wordsworth

One time a thing occurred to me…

“So are you to my thoughts as food to life”

So are you to my thoughts as food to life
Or as sweet-season’d showers are to the ground;
And for the peace of you I hold such strife
As ’twixt a miser and his wealth is found;
Now proud as an enjoyer, and anon
Doubting the filching age will steal his treasure;
Now counting best to be with you alone,
Then better’d that the world may see my pleasure:
Sometime, all full with feasting on your sight,
And by and by clean starved for a look;
Possessing or pursuing no delight,
Save what is had or must from you be took.
Thus do I pine and surfeit day by day,
Or gluttoning on all, or all away.

–Sonnet LXXV

Whenever you’re on my mind
I leave the world behind…

 


LIFE (1957)

In The Dark

The night is darkening round me,
The wild winds coldly blow;
But a tyrant spell has bound me,
And I cannot, cannot go.

The giant trees are bending
Their bare boughs weighed with snow;
The storm is fast descending,
And yet I cannot go.

Clouds beyond clouds above me,
Wastes beyond wastes below;
But nothing drear can move me;
I will not, cannot go.

–Emily Brontë, The night is darkening round me
 
stereoscopic-night-photography-and-john-sting-edit-2-1200

cf. from “The Book Of Photography, Practical, Theoretic And Applied”, Paul N. Hasluck, Ed. (1907)
and
Photograph by John Sting via Unsplash

“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

“Just as you feel when you look on the river and sky, so I felt…”

cf. from William Findlay, “Early Morning Photography” (ca. 1909)

I am with you, you men and women of a generation, or ever so
many generations hence,
Just as you feel when you look on the river and sky, so I felt,
Just as any of you is one of a living crowd, I was one of a crowd,
Just as you are refresh’d by the gladness of the river and the
bright flow, I was refresh’d,
Just as you stand and lean on the rail, yet hurry with the swift
current, I stood yet was hurried,
Just as you look on the numberless masts of ships and the thick-
stemm’d pipes of steamboats, I look’d…

—Walt Whitman, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

“I can wade grief, whole pools of it,—”

cf. A. McFarlin, “A Symphony” (ca. 1918)

I can wade grief,
Whole pools of it,—
I ’m used to that.
But the least push of joy
Breaks up my feet,
And I tip—drunken.
Let no pebble smile,
’T was the new liquor,—
That was all!

–Emily Dickinson

Sad lady, blue lady…

“That mingles Grecian grandeur with the rude wasting of old time…” (At The Louvre, August, 1984)

At The Louvre, August, 1984

Such dim-conceivèd glories of the brain
Bring round the heart an undescribable feud;
So do these wonders a most dizzy pain,
That mingles Grecian grandeur with the rude
Wasting of old Time—with a billowy main—
A sun—a shadow of a magnitude.

–John Keats, On Seeing the Elgin Marbles (excerpt)

“Ah think not you finally triumph, my real self has yet to come forth”

AH poverties, wincings, and sulky retreats,
Ah you foes that in conflict have overcome me,
(For what is my life or any man’s life but a conflict with foes, the
old, the incessant war?)
You degradations, you tussle with passions and appetites,
You smarts from dissatisfied friendships, (ah wounds the sharpest
of all!)
You toil of painful and choked articulations, you meannesses,
You shallow tongue-talks at tables, (my tongue the shallowest of
any;)
You broken resolutions, you racking angers, you smother’d ennuis!
Ah think not you finally triumph, my real self has yet to come
forth,
It shall yet march forth o’ermastering, till all lies beneath me,
It shall yet stand up the soldier of ultimate victory.

—Walt Whitman, “Ah Poverties, Wincings, And Sulky Retreats”

There it is – way down inside me…

 

despondency-1080
Arthur W. Walburn, “Despondency” (ca. 1911)

“Then if he thrive and I be cast away, the worst was this,—my love was my decay.”

cf. Everett Shinn, All Night Cafe (ca. 1900)

O, how I faint when I of you do write
Knowing a better spirit doth use your name,
And in the praise thereof spends all his might,
To make me tongue-tied, speaking of your fame!
But since your worth—wide as the ocean is,—
The humble as the proudest sail doth bear,
My saucy bark, inferior far to his,
On your broad main doth wilfully appear.
Your shallowest help will hold me up afloat,
Whilst he upon your soundless deep doth ride;
Or, being wrack’d, I am a worthless boat,
He of tall building and of goodly pride:
Then if he thrive and I be cast away,
The worst was this,—my love was my decay.

Sonnet LXXX
 

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”

cf. Eva Watson Schütze, The May Apple Leaf (ca. 1900) and
MiniPCEU, Time Lapse 1080p – Sky, sun, halo, clouds – YouTube

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

“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…

The Changed Man

Drop by on Sunday—I’ll Turtlewax
your sky-blue sports car, no sweat. I’ll greet
enemies with a handshake, forgive debtors

with a papal largesse. It’s all because
of you. Because of you and me,
I’ve become one changed man.

–Robert Phillips, “The Changed Man” (excerpt) from Spinach Days (The Johns Hopkins University Press)

And then Bill got himself a wife,
Now he leads a different life…

“meanwhile my self etcetera lay quietly…”

LIFE (1966)

…meanwhile my
self etcetera lay quietly
in the deep mud et
cetera
(dreaming,
et
cetera, of
Your smile
eyes knees and of your Etcetera)

—e.e.cummings, my sweet old etcetera (excerpt)

More and more I’m thinkin’ ’bout love…

“In the midway of this our mortal life, I found me in a gloomy wood…”

In the midway of this our mortal life,
I found me in a gloomy wood, astray
Gone from the path direct…

–Dante Alighieri, Inferno


David Falconer, The Gas Shortage in the Pacific Northwest… (detail) (1973)

“Astrophysics” (Halley’s Poem)

On a planet that is spinning
Things move away from you at 1,037 miles per hour.
On your knees
You look for some solid to hold on.
It only comes near you once every 75 or 76 years—
It was last seen in 1986.
“Eppur si muove”, she said.

–John Sapiro, “Astrophysics” (Halley’s Poem)
 

Adrienne Crow Unsplash 1080
Photograph by Adrienne Crow via Unsplash

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…

Mark Stern Wakes Up

cf. Sebastian Ortiz Vasquez, Walking Wall St. NY – YouTube

Shining cratefuls of plum, peach, apricot
Are flung out of the fruit man’s tiny store.
Behind the supermarket glass next door:
Landslides of grapefruit, orange, tangerine,
Persimmon, boysenberry, nectarine.
The florist tilts his giant crayon box
Of yellow roses, daffodils, and phlox.
A Disney sun breaks through, makes toys of trucks
And waddling movers look like Donald Ducks
And joke book captions out of storefront signs:
Café du Soir, Austrian Village, Wines.
Pedestrians in olive drabs and grays
Are startled by the sun’s kinetic rays,
Then mottled into pointillistic patches.
The light turns green, cars passing hurl out snatches
Of rock-and-roll and Mozart and the weather.
The light turns red. Why aren’t we together?

–Frederick Feirstein, “Mark Stern Wakes Up” from New and Selected Poems (Story Line Press)

On every crowded street
All the places we would meet
What will I do without you?
They say that life goes on
I’m feeling sorry for myself
I can’t belive you’re gone…

Aspens

Imagine a young man, alone, without anyone.
The moment a few raindrops streaked his glass
he began to scribble.
He lived in a tenement with mice for company.
I loved his bravery.

Someone else a few doors down
played Segovia records all day.
He never left his room, and no one could blame him.
At night he could hear the other’s
typewriter going, and feel comforted.

Literature and music.
Everyone dreaming of Spanish horsemen
and courtyards.
Processions. Ceremony, and
resplendence.

Aspen trees.
Days of rain and high water.
Leaves hammered into the ground finally.
In my heart, this plot of earth
that the storm lights.

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

Northeastern University Course Catalog 1982-83 Detail Large
Northeastern University Course Catalog (1982-83)

“Listen, you can say anything you want now. Here is the instrument.”

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) from The Sanity of Earth and Grass (Tilbury House)

 
Daughter of FSA (Farm Security Administration) rehabilitation borrower listening to phonograph Edit Large

John Vachon, Daughter of FSA rehabilitation borrower listening to phonograph (detail) (1940)

Magellan Street, 1974

cf. Photograph by Petr Novak via Unsplash and State Library and Archives of Florida, The Road to Beauty

This is the year you fall in
love with the Bengali poet,
and the Armenian bakery stays open
Saturday nights until eleven
across the street from your sunny
apartment with steep fo’c’sle stairs
up to an attic bedroom.
Three-decker tenement flank you.
Cyclone fences enclose
flamingos on diaper-size lawns.

This is the year, in a kitchen
you brighten with pots of basil
and untidy mint, I see how
your life will open, will burst from
the maze in its walled-in garden
and streak towards the horizon.
Your pastel maps lie open
on the counter as we stand here
not quite up to exchanging
our lists of sorrows, our day books,
our night thoughts, and burn the first batch
of chocolate walnut cookies.

Of course you move on,
my circumnavigator.
Tonight as I cruise past your corner,
a light goes on in the window.
Two shapes sit at the table.

–Maxine Kumin, “Magellan Street, 1974” from Nurture Poems (Penguin Books).

There are places I remember all my life
Though some have changed…

“Nothing, not even the fate of one small button, turns out as planned.”

Rupert Essinger, Snowed in road sign (2016)

That is,
nothing, not even the fate
of one small
button, turns out as planned.

–Sue Owen, “A Basket of Buttons” (excerpt) from The Book of Winter (Ohio State University Press, 1989)

I’ve been wrong
I had plans so big…

“We’d leave the others and find a night like this, whatever we had to give, and no matter how far, to be so happy again.”

Boyd Norton, Hills and forest of northern Cheyenne Indian reservation… (Billings, Montana) (1973)

We were alone one night on a long
road in Montana. This was in winter, a big
night, far to the stars. We had hitched,
my wife and I, and left our ride at
a crossing to go on. Tired and cold-but
brave-we trudged along. This, we said,
was our life, watched over, allowed to go
where we wanted. We said we’d come back some time
when we got rich. We’d leave the others and find
a night like this, whatever we had to give,
and no matter how far, to be so happy again.

–William Stafford, “Once in the Forties”

Won’t you meet me in Montana?
I want to see the mountains in your eyes
I’ve had all of this life I can handle
Meet me underneath that big Montana sky…

“…Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.”

Thematic Apperception Test Image

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
connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor
hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.

—Walt Whitman, A Noiseless Patient Spider

“Yet still I persevere, and find them where I may…”

Tom Hubbard, Strolling Among Pigeons at Fountain Square (1973)

He with a smile did then his words repeat;
And said that, gathering leeches, far and wide
He travelled; stirring thus about his feet
The waters of the pools where they abide.
“Once I could meet with them on every side;
But they have dwindled long by slow decay;
Yet still I persevere, and find them where I may…”

And soon with this he other matter blended,
Cheerfully uttered, with demeanour kind,
But stately in the main; and, when he ended,
I could have laughed myself to scorn to find
In that decrepit Man so firm a mind.
“God,” said I, “be my help and stay secure;
I’ll think of the Leech-gatherer on the lonely moor!”

—William Wordsworth, Resolution and Independence

Three days in the rain and I ain’t had no sleep
But I won’t break down now, I got a promise to keep
Showing my determination…

“Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, but bears it out even to the edge of doom.”

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov’d,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.

Sonnet 116

Valentine rescues Sylvia Large
Edwin Austin Abbey, Valentine rescues Sylvia – Act V, Scene IV, Two Gentlemen of Verona (Pen and ink) (1892)

“My Lost Youth”

cf. Gene Daniels, Children Play in Yard… (1972) and photograph by Frantzou Fleurine via Unsplash

…And with joy that is almost pain
My heart goes back to wander there,
And among the dreams of the days that were,
I find my lost youth again.
And the strange and beautiful song,
The groves are repeating it still:
“A boy’s will is the wind’s will,
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts.”

–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, My Lost Youth

“The Lady In The White Dress, Whom I Helped Into The Omnibus”

Charles O’Rear, Passengers view the scenery… (1974)

I know her not! Her hand has been in mine,
And the warm pressure of her taper arm
Has thrill’d upon my fingers, and the hem
Of her white dress has lain upon my feet,
Till my hush’d pulse, by the caressing folds,
Was kindled to a fever! I, to her,
Am but the undistinguishable leaf
Blown by upon the breeze — yet I have sat,
And in the blue depths of her stainless eyes,
(Close as a lover in his hour of bliss,
And steadfastly as look the twin stars down
Into unfathomable wells,) have gazed!
And I have felt from out its gate of pearl
Her warm breath on my cheek, and while she sat
Dreaming away the moments, I have tried
To count the long dark lashes in the fringe
Of her bewildering eyes! The kerchief sweet
That enviably visits her red lip
Has slumber’d, while she held it, on my knee, —
And her small foot has crept between mine own —
And yet, she knows me not!…

—Nathaniel Parker Willis, The Lady in the White Dress, Whom I Helped Into the Omnibus

It’s got what it takes
So tell me why can’t this be love?

“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

To My Twenties

Ernst Halberstadt, Sidewalk Cafe… (1973)

To My Twenties:

How lucky that I ran into you
When everything was possible…
Kenneth do you have a minute?
And I say yes! I am in my twenties!
I have plenty of time!…
I write a lot and am living all the time…
Twenties, my soul
Is yours for the asking
You know that, if you ever come back.

—Kenneth Koch, “To My Twenties”

“Men at forty learn to close softly the doors to rooms they will not be coming back to.”

from Northeastern University Bulletin (1974 -1975)

Men at forty
Learn to close softly
The doors to rooms they will not be
Coming back to…

–Donald Justice, Men at Forty

Now I guess it’s too late to speculate
On things as they might have been…

“Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee…”

Frances Benjamin Johnston, Unidentified house. Iris along pathway (glass lantern slide, hand-colored) (between 1910 and 1935)

Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee…

—T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land

Where is the light from yesterday?
When you and I were unafraid
And lost inside a world we made…

Dolor

Erik Calonius, Commuters on Subway (1973)

I have known the inexorable sadness of pencils,
Neat in their boxes, dolor of pad and paper weight,
All the misery of manilla folders and mucilage,
Desolation in immaculate public places,
Lonely reception room, lavatory, switchboard,
The unalterable pathos of basin and pitcher,
Ritual of multigraph, paper-clip, comma,
Endless duplication of lives and objects…

—Theodore Roethke, Dolor (excerpt)

But then they sent me away to teach me how to be sensible, logical, responsible, practical.
And they showed me a world where I could be so dependable, clinical, intellectual, cynical…

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)

Swimming In The Flood (“The Swimmer” and “Mr. Flood’s Party”)

“For auld lang syne.” The weary throat gave out, 
The last word wavered; and the song being done, 
He raised again the jug regretfully 
And shook his head, and was again alone. 
There was not much that was ahead of him, 
And there was nothing in the town below— 
Where strangers would have shut the many doors 
That many friends had opened long ago.

—Edwin Arlington Robinson, “Mr. Flood’s Party”

The place was dark. Was it so late that they had all gone to bed? Had Lucinda stayed at the Westerhazys’ for supper? Had the girls joined her there or gone someplace else? Hadn’t they agreed, as they usually did on Sunday, to regret all their invitations and stay at home? He tried the garage doors to see what cars were in but the doors were locked and rust came off the handles onto his hands. Going toward the house, he saw that the force of the thunderstorm had knocked one of the rain gutters loose. It hung down over the front door like an umbrella rib, but it could be fixed in the morning. The house was locked, and he thought that the stupid cook or the stupid maid must have locked the place up until he remembered that it had been some time since they had employed a maid or a cook. He shouted, pounded on the door, tried to force it with his shoulder, and then, looking in at the windows, saw that the place was empty.

—John Cheever, “The Swimmer”

I don’t know you anymore
Name and face have been obscured
Change them if you want but
I don’t know you anymore…

Mr. Flood's Party
The Swimmer

“The music in my heart I bore, Long after it was heard no more.”

cf. Allen Tucker, Interior (edited) (1921)

I listened, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.

–William Wordsworth, The Solitary Reaper (excerpt)

‘Tis not love’s going hurts my days, but that it went in little ways.

Walker Evans, Unidentified Couple (ca. 1930s)

‘Tis not love’s going hurts my days,
But that it went in little ways.

–Edna St. Vincent Millay, The Spring and the Fall

A Modern Odyssey: Book V

But Minerva resolved to help Ulysses, so she bound the ways of all the
winds except one, and made them lie quite still; but she roused a good
stiff breeze from the North that should lay the waters till Ulysses
reached the land of the Phaeacians where he would be safe…

a wave caught him and took him with such
force against the rocks that he would have been smashed and torn to
pieces if Minerva had not shown him what to do…

Here poor Ulysses would have certainly perished even in spite of his own
destiny, if Minerva had not helped him to keep his wits about him…

–Homer, The Odyssey, Book V

Pfc. Monica Brown cracked open the door of her Humvee outside a remote village in eastern Afghanistan to the soft pop of bullets shot by Taliban fighters. But instead of taking cover, the 18-year-old medic grabbed her bag and ran through gunfire toward fellow soldiers in a crippled and burning vehicle. Vice President Cheney pinned Brown, of Lake Jackson, Tex., with a Silver Star in March for repeatedly risking her life on April 25, 2007, to shield and treat her wounded comrades, displaying bravery and grit. She is the second woman since World War II to receive the nation’s third-highest combat medal.

–Washington Post, May 1, 2008