“Nothing Gold Can Stay”

photograph by Florencia Viadana via Unsplash

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

— Robert Frost

Mainstreet

“Song in the Songless”

photograph by Scott Webb via Unsplash

They have no song, the sedges dry,
And still they sing.
It is within my breast they sing,
As I pass by.
Within my breast they touch a string,
They wake a sigh.
There is but sound of sedges dry;
In me they sing.

— George Meredith

“Deceive, deceive me once again!”

photograph by John Moeses Bauan via Unsplash

You smiled, you spoke, and I believed,
By every word and smile deceived.
Another man would hope no more;
Nor hope I what I hoped before:
But let not this last wish be vain;
Deceive, deceive me once again!

— Walter Savage Landor

Found Out About You

“I cannot live with you”

Texas State University Flickr Commons, Unidentified Negatives (1963)

I CANNOT live with you,
It would be life,
And life is over there
Behind the shelf

The sexton keeps the key to,
Putting up
Our life, his porcelain,
Like a cup…

So we must keep apart,
You there, I here,
With just the door ajar
That oceans are,
And prayer,
And that pale sustenance,
Despair!

— Emily Dickinson

Here You Come Again

“Long Neglect Has Worn Away”

Carol Highsmith, “Family Day on the grounds of the Alabama River Pulp Company” (2010)

Long neglect has worn away
Half the sweet enchanting smile;
Time has turned the bloom to gray;
Mold and damp the face defile.

But that lock of silky hair,
Still beneath the picture twined,
Tells what once those features were,
Paints their image on the mind.

Fair the hand that traced that line,
“Dearest, ever deem me true”;
Swiftly flew the fingers fine
When the pen that motto drew.

— Emily Brontë

Hollyann

“We’ll go no more a-roving”

photograph by Artem Maltsev via Unsplash

SO, we’ll go no more a-roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,
And the moon be still as bright.

For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul wears out the breast,
And the heart must pause to breathe,
And love itself have rest.

Though the night was made for loving,
And the day returns too soon,
Yet we’ll go no more a-roving
By the light of the moon.

— Byron

Bluer Than Blue

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

Maclean’s Magazine (1966)

SHALL I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st;
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

— Sonnet XVIII

Holiday

“Carthago adhuc vivit”

photograph by Tim Foster via Unsplash

Carthago adhuc vivit

perfume nightsky
firelight
bells in the distant temple
tower
winds on the water
the ghosts of Hannibal
you read to me of Hanno the Navigator
on the sands of hours
and held me spellbound

— J.S.

We’ll Never Have to Say Goodbye Again

Fern Hill

photograph by Zachary Nelson via Unsplash

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.

And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
In the sun that is young once only,
Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means…

— Dylan Thomas

I Don’t Wanna Know

“I Am!”

photograph by David Sinclair via Unsplash

I am—yet what I am none cares or knows;
My friends forsake me like a memory lost:
I am the self-consumer of my woes—
They rise and vanish in oblivious host,
Like shadows in love’s frenzied stifled throes
And yet I am, and live—like vapours tossed

Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of life or joys,
But the vast shipwreck of my life’s esteems;
Even the dearest that I loved the best
Are strange—nay, rather, stranger than the rest.

I long for scenes where man hath never trod
A place where woman never smiled or wept
There to abide with my Creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie
The grass below—above the vaulted sky.

— John Clare

Mental Health Awareness Month | SAMHSA

Wouldn’t It Be Good

“I so liked Spring…”

cf. photograph by Ana Markovych via Unsplash

I so liked Spring last year
Because you were here; –
The thrushes too –
Because it was these you so liked to hear –
I so liked you.

This year’s a different thing, –
I’ll not think of you.
But I’ll like the Spring because it is simply Spring
As the thrushes do.

— Charlotte Mew

Touch and Go

Idea 61

photograph by Christian Lue via Unsplash

SINCE there ’s no help, Come, let us kiss and part!
Nay, I have done. You get no more of me!
And I am glad, yea, glad, with all my heart,
That thus so cleanly, I my self can free.
Shake hands for ever! Cancel all our vows!
And when we meet at any time again,
Be it not seen in either of our brows,
That we one jot of former love retain!
Now at the last gasp of LOVE’s latest breath.
When his pulse failing, Passion speechless lies;
When Faith is kneeling by his bed of death,
And Innocence is closing up his eyes:
Now, if thou wouldst! when all have given him over,
From death to life, thou might’st him yet recover!

— Michael Drayton

No Time

“Do you still remember: falling stars”

photograph by Priscilla Du Preez via Unsplash

Do you still remember: falling stars,
how they leapt slantwise through the sky
like horses over suddenly held-out hurdles
of our wishes—did we have so many?—
for stars, innumerable, leapt everywhere;
almost every gaze upward became
wedded to the swift hazard of their play,
and our heart felt like a single thing
beneath that vast disintegration of their brilliance—
and was whole, as if it would survive them!

— Rilke

“Why didst thou promise such a beauteous day”

photograph by Yerlan Sadvakassov via Unsplash

WHY didst thou promise such a beauteous day
And make me travel forth without my cloak,
To let base clouds o’ertake me in my way,
Hiding thy bravery in their rotten smoke?
’Tis not enough that through the cloud thou break,
To dry the rain on my storm-beaten face,
For no man well of such a salve can speak
That heals the wound and cures not the disgrace:
Nor can thy shame give physic to my grief;
Though thou repent, yet I have still the loss:
The offender’s sorrow lends but weak relief
To him that bears the strong offence’s cross.
Ah! but those tears are pearl which thy love sheds,
And they are rich and ransom all ill deeds.

— Sonnet XXXIV

Mimi Gets Mad

“God’s Grandeur”

photograph by Rosie Kerr via Unsplash

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

— Gerard Manley Hopkins

Day by Day

“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”

Bad Time

“Farewell! thou art too dear for my possessing”

photograph by Abigail via Unsplash

FAREWELL! thou art too dear for my possessing
And like enough thou know’st thy estimate:
The charter of thy worth gives thee releasing;
My bonds in thee are all determinate.
For how do I hold thee but by thy granting?
And for that riches where is my deserving?
The cause of this fair gift in me is wanting,
And so my patent back again is swerving.
Thyself thou gav’st, thy own worth then not knowing,
Or me, to whom thou gav’st it, else mistaking;
So thy great gift, upon misprision growing,
Comes home again, on better judgment making.
Thus have I had thee, as a dream doth flatter,
In sleep a king, but, waking, no such matter.

— Sonnet LXXXVII


Penny Lover

“Delia 1: Unto the boundless Ocean of thy beauty”

Maclean’s Magazine (1967)

Unto the boundless Ocean of thy beauty
Runs this poor river, charged with streams of zeal:
Returning thee the tribute of my duty,
Which here my love, my youth, my plaints reveal.
Here I unclasp the book of my charged soul,
Where I have cast th’accounts of all my care:
Here have I summed my sighs, here I enroll
How they were spent for thee; look what they are.
Look on the dear expenses of my youth,
And see how just I reckon with thine eyes:
Examine well thy beauty with my truth,
And cross my cares ere greater sum arise.
Read it sweet maid, though it be done but slightly;
Who can show all his love, doth love but lightly.

— Samuel Daniel, “Delia 1: Unto the boundless Ocean of thy beauty”

The Strawberry Blonde

“Barter”

cf. video by Kindel Media via Pexels

Spend all you have for loveliness,
Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstasy
Give all you have been, or could be.

—Sara Teasdale, “Barter” (excerpt)

“Crazy Crazy Nights” by Kiss

“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.

Place In This World

“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”

Love Song

“Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere…”

photograph by Brina Blum via Unsplash

A NOISELESS patient spider,
I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.

And you O my soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to
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.

Leaves of Grass

Make Your Own Kind Of Music

“one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, and loved the sorrows of your changing face”

Northeastern University Course Catalog (1974-75)

WHEN you are old and gray and full of sleep
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true;
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead,
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

— Yeats

You Take A Heart

“Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed”

cf. photographs by Caseen Kyle Registos via Unsplash and Matheus Bertelli via Pexels (edited digital collage)

WEARY with toil, I haste me to my bed
The dear repose for limbs with travel tired;
But then begins a journey in my head
To work my mind, when body’s work’s expir’d:
For then my thoughts—from far where I abide—
Intend a zealous pilgrimage to thee,
And keep my drooping eyelids open wide,
Looking on darkness which the blind do see:
Save that my soul’s imaginary sight
Presents thy shadow to my sightless view,
Which, like a jewel hung in ghastly night,
Makes black night beauteous and her old face new.
Lo! thus, by day my limbs, by night my mind,
For thee, and for myself no quiet find.

— Sonnet XXVII


Whenever You’re On My Mind

“Were I with thee…”

photograph by Harold Wijnholds via Unsplash

WILD nights! Wild nights!
Were I with thee,
Wild nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile the winds
To a heart in port,—
Done with the compass,
Done with the chart.

Rowing in Eden!
Ah! the sea!
Might I but moor
To-night in thee!

— Emily Dickinson

I Pretend

“Keats, walk a hundred yards over the rim”

cf. photograph by Felix Russell-Saw via Unsplash (edited digital collage)

“Keats, walk a hundred yards over the rim”

Keats,
leave the Piazza di Spagna
walk a hundred yards over the rim
I have your penicillin
I won’t let you go
there are more poems to write
and she is still waiting for you

— J.S.
(cf. “The Twilight Zone”, Season 2, Episode 23, 1961)

Love Lies Bleeding

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

photograph by jurien huggins via Unsplash

One white morning, you awoke to find
your black feathers rooted in the lake’s early freeze.
Your friends had fled…

— Margo Button, “With No Explanation” (excerpt)
 

“Déjeuner Sur L’Herbe”

photograph by Leslie Jones via Unsplash

Green apples dancing in a wash of sun—
Ripples of sense and fun—
A net of light that wavers as it weaves
The sunlight on the chattering leaves;
The half-dazed sound of feet,
And carriages that ripple in the heat.
The parasols like shadows of the sun
Cast wavering shades that run
Across the laughing faces and across
Hair with a bird-bright gloss.
The swinging greenery casts shadows dark,
Hides me that I may mark
How, buzzing in this dazzling mesh, my soul
Seems hardening it to flesh, and one bright whole.
O sudden feathers have a flashing sheen!
The sun’s swift javelin
The bird-songs seem, that through the dark leaves pass;
And life itself is but a flashing glass.

— Edith Sitwell

More Than a Feeling

“The heart comes out of hiding…”

Alicia Chen, “Girl listening to music by window” (ca. 2015)

Music—the world that might be,
and yet the world as it is. The heart
comes out of hiding, saying to us:
“Listen, you can say anything you want now.
Here is the instrument.”

— Robert Winner, The Instrument (excerpt)

This above all: to thine own self be true

Hamlet

Natural Thing

“Veggio co’ bei vostri occhi.”

photograph by Matthew Hamilton via Unsplash

O ME! what eyes hath Love put in my head
Which have no correspondence with true sight;
Or, if they have, where is my judgment fled,
That censures falsely what they see aright?
If that be fair whereon my false eyes dote,
What means the world to say it is not so?
If it be not, then love doth well denote
Love’s eye is not so true as all men’s: no.
How can it? O! how can Love’s eye be true,
That is so vex’d with watching and with tears?
No marvel then, though I mistake my view;
The sun itself sees not till heaven clears.
O cunning Love! with tears thou keep’st me blind,
Lest eyes well-seeing thy foul faults should find.

— Sonnet CXLVIII


Open My Eyes

“Mindful of you…”

photograph by Lisa Fotios via Pexels

MINDFUL of you the sodden earth in spring,
And all the flowers that in the springtime grow,
And dusty roads, and thistles, and the slow
Rising of the round moon, all throats that sing
The summer through, and each departing wing,
And all the nests that the bared branches show,
And all winds that in any weather blow,
And all the storms that the four seasons bring.

You go no more on your exultant feet
Up paths that only mist and morning knew,
Or watch the wind, or listen to the beat
Of a bird’s wings too high in air to view,—
But you were something more than young and sweet
And fair,—and the long year remembers you.

— Edna St. Vincent Millay

Shower the People

“The Sea and the Skylark”

cf. photograph by Pavel Nekoranec via Unsplash

ON ear and ear two noises too old to end
Trench—right, the tide that ramps against the shore;
With a flood or a fall, low lull-off or all roar,
Frequenting there while moon shall wear and wend.

Left hand, off land, I hear the lark ascend,
His rash-fresh re-winded new-skeinèd score
In crisps of curl off wild winch whirl, and pour
And pelt music, till none ’s to spill nor spend.

How these two shame this shallow and frail town!
How ring right out our sordid turbid time,
Being pure! We, life’s pride and cared-for crown,

Have lost that cheer and charm of earth’s past prime:
Our make and making break, are breaking, down
To man’s last dust, drain fast towards man’s first slime.

— Gerard Manley Hopkins

Just One Victory

If he could hold her so close in his arms…again

Northeastern University Course Catalog (1985-86)

hearing your voice
reminds me
one summer
so long ago
was that me
as the radio played
nothing stands between love and you

— J.S.

Girl Can’t Help It

“Figs from Thistles”

photograph by Sofia Alejandra via Pexels

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light!

— Edna St. Vincent Millay

Summer, Highland Falls (ShireiNUaCappella)

“Ceci n’est pas une intersection.”

Photograph by Daniel Monteiro via Unsplash

Ceci n’est pas une intersection.

In the warm twilight
I am translated
refracted
at the red light
the song on the radio
preternatural
holding, as ‘twere,
the mirror up to nature
and unravels my heart

— J.S.

Inside Out

“Life Savers”

photograph by Leon Bublitz via Unsplash

Life Savers

the train rolled around the bend
Life Savers refracting in the glass
autumn aurorae
I ran all the way down the station stop
my heart in my head
and said
I love you

— J.S.

Candy’s Room

“Sanctuary”

John Phelan, Berklee College of Music, Boston Massachusetts (2011) via Wikimedia Commons

My land is bare of chattering folk;
The clouds are low along the ridges,
And sweet’s the air with curly smoke
From all my burning bridges.

— Dorothy Parker

Finally Found A Home

y=mx+b

photograph by Ahmad Jajuli via Unsplash

Once upon a time a line saw itself
clear to its end. I have seen the shape
of happiness. (y=mx+b)
I am holding it. It is your hand.

— TC Tolbert, “What Space Faith Can Occupy”

Your Smiling Face

On Auden’s “Musée des Beaux Arts”

Nationaal Archief, “Dutch family having a picnic” (ca. 1960s)

On Auden’s “Musée des Beaux Arts”

and what of Daedalus? —
secretly deeply sorrowed
while somebody mowed the lawn

— J.S.

The Hissing of Summer Lawns