cf. photograph by Nadia Valkouskaya via Unsplash and video by Coverr-Free-Footage via Pixabay
cf. photograph by Nadia Valkouskaya via Unsplash and video by Coverr-Free-Footage via Pixabay
Ladies’ Home Journal, 1948
And what is love? It is a doll dress’d up
For idleness to cosset, nurse, and dandle;
A thing of soft misnomers, so divine
That silly youth doth think to make itself
Divine by loving, and so goes on
Yawning and doting a whole summer long…
— Keats, Modern Love (excerpt)
cf. Cincinnati Magazine, 1979 with additional artwork by me
roman à clef
Here’s the key —
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
Unhappy verse, the witness of my unhappy state,
Make thy self flutt’ring wings of thy fast flying
Thought, and fly forth unto my love, wheresoever she be:
Whether lying restless in heavy bed, or else
Sitting so cheerless at the cheerful board, or else
Playing alone careless on her heavenly virginals.
If in bed, tell her, that my eyes can take no rest:
If at board, tell her, that my mouth can eat no meat:
If at her virginals, tell her, I can hear no mirth.
Asked why? say: waking love suffereth no sleep:
Say that raging love doth appal the weak stomach:
Say, that lamenting love marreth the musical.
— Edmund Spenser, Iambicum Trimetrum (excerpt)
Paris, August, 1984
Nothing should remain unsaid between us
— Robert Frost, To E. T. (excerpt)
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)
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. video by Coverr-Free-Footage via Pixabay (detail) (edit)
Donna, donna, dark,
Stooping in indigo gown
And cloudy constellations,
Conceal yourself or disclose
Fewest things to the lover —
A hand that bears a thick-leaved fruit,
A pungent bloom against your shade.
— Wallace Stevens, O Florida, Venereal Soil (excerpt)
Warren K. Leffler, “Couple listening to radio” (1957)
a hundred windings of the heart —
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
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
Jerome B. Thompson, “A Pic Nick in the Woods of New England” (detail) (ca. 1855)
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all…
— Emily Dickinson
Le feu follet (1963)
Now close the windows and hush all the fields;
If the trees must, let them silently toss;
No bird is singing now, and if there is,
Be it my loss.
It will be long ere the marshes resume,
It will be long ere the earliest bird:
So close the windows and not hear the wind,
But see all wind-stirred.
— Robert Frost
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
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. 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
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. Edward Hopper, “Nighthawks” (detail) (1942) and Paul Gauguin, “The Siesta” (detail) (ca. 1892–94)
Poor Wisdom’s chance
Against a glance
Is now as weak as ever.
— Thomas Moore, “The Time Iʼve Lost in Wooing” (excerpt)
cf. video by go_see via Pixabay
and with good luck
we will reach the harbor
and black earth
We sailors have no will
in big blasts of wind,
hoping for dry land
and to sail
until dry land
—Sappho, “In Time of Storm” (Tr. Barnstone)
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.
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
video by Coverr-Free-Footage via Pixabay
For spring-time is here! the summer is here! and what is this
in it and from it?
Thou, soul, unloosen’d—the restlessness after I know not what;
Come, let us lag here no longer, let us be up and away!
O if one could but fly like a bird!
O to escape, to sail forth as in a ship!
To glide with thee O soul, o’er all, in all, as a ship o’er the waters…
—Walt Whitman, Warble For Lilac-Time
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
Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
—T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
On First Looking into Greene’s “Chord Chemistry”
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Greene speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He star’d at the Pacific—and all his men
Look’d at each other with a wild surmise—
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.
(cf. Keats, On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer)
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)
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. 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 –
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)
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
cf. Christina Rossetti, Mirage (excerpt) and LIFE, 1965
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…
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
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)
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)
W. S. Merwin, “Separation”
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)
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
LITHIUM CARBONATE | Li2CO3 – PubChem
Elavil, Ludiomil, Doxepin,
Norpramin, Prozac, Lithium, Xanax,
Wellbutrin, Parnate, Nardil, Zoloft.
The coated ones smell sweet or have
no smell; the powdery ones smell
like the chemistry lab at school
that made me hold my breath.
—Jane Kenyon, “Having it Out with Melancholy” (excerpt)
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
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
cf. Library Company of Philadelphia, “Frankford Creek and Vicinity, Winter” (ca. late 19th century) and
photograph by Peter Gonzalez via Unsplash
Ashes denote that fire was;
Respect the grayest pile
For the departed creature’s sake
That hovered there awhile.
Fire exists the first in light,
And then consolidates,—
Only the chemist can disclose
Into what carbonates.
One hand she press’d upon that aching spot
Where beats the human heart, as if just there,
Though an immortal, she felt cruel pain…
Keats, “The Fall of Hyperion”
cf. Antonio Gai, “Meleager” (1735) and Mathew Brady’s studio, “Unidentified Man” (ca. 1860)
cf. Esther Bubley, “A Greyhound bus trip…” (1943)
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)
cf. photograph (musician) by Andrew Robles via Unsplash
I showed her heights she never saw—
“Wouldst climb?” I said,
She said “Not so”—
“With me?” I said, “With me?”
Léonard Misonne, “By The Mill” (ca. 1905)
And Deering’s Woods are fresh and fair,
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.
—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “My Lost Youth” (excerpt)
cf. photograph by Felix Russell-Saw via Unsplash
“Keats, walk a hundred yards over the rim”
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
(cf. “The Twilight Zone”, Season 2, Episode 23, 1961)
cf. Alfred Stieglitz, “An Icy Night” (1898) and video by CAMERAGE via Pixabay
Deep in the shady sadness of a vale
Far sunken from the healthy breath of morn,
Far from the fiery noon, and eve’s one star,
Sat gray-hair’d Saturn, quiet as a stone,
Still as the silence round about his lair;
Forest on forest hung about his head
Like cloud on cloud. No stir of air was there,
Not so much life as on a summer’s day
Robs not one light seed from the feather’d grass,
But where the dead leaf fell, there did it rest.
A stream went voiceless by, still deadened more
By reason of his fallen divinity
Spreading a shade: the Naiad ‘mid her reeds
Press’d her cold finger closer to her lips…
—Keats, Hyperion (excerpt)
at the college art gallery, october, 1981
the ultrablue sunset sky
radiated around the white church spire
I walked into the art gallery
because I was a romantic
fair creature of an hour
was looking at chippendale furniture
but I shall never look upon thee more
my footfalls echoed around decorative arts
down the passage which I did not take
another door was opening
into another rose-garden
this fire is now my quarry
vissi d’arte, vissi d’amore
Southworth & Hawes, “Classroom in the Emerson School…” (detail) (ca. 1850)
Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:
Already with thee! tender is the night,
And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
Cluster’d around by all her starry Fays;
But here there is no light,
Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.
—Keats, Ode to a Nightingale (excerpt)
But when I face the light
Somehow it all seems right…
Photograph by Guy Sapiro (1962-2009)
So huge, so hopeless to conceive,
As these that twice befell.
Parting is all we know of heaven,
And all we need of hell.
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
cf. video by Coverr-Free-Footage via Pixabay
And now, my Marian, from its shackles free,
My wearied fancy turns for ease to thee;
To thee, my compass through life’s varied stream,
My constant object, and unfailing theme…
—Warren Hastings, “Ode to his Wife” (Written in Patna, 1784)
John Sapiro, “Sunflower” (pastel/digital) (1998/2017)
There is a flower that bees prefer,
And butterflies desire…
O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall
Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed…
—Gerard Manley Hopkins, “No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief.” (excerpt)
Ernst Halberstadt, “Faneuil Square Outdoor Market” (1973)
No, no, go not to Lethe…
But when the melancholy fit shall fall
Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud,
That fosters the droop-headed flowers all,
And hides the green hill in an April shroud;
Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose,
Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave,
Or on the wealth of globed peonies…
—Keats, Ode on Melancholy
NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness – Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
cf. photographs by Tim Wright (guitarist) and Benjamin Child (conference room) via Unsplash
The fox knows many things,
but the hedgehog knows one big thing.
—Archilochus (ca. 700 BC)
David Stroble, “Students and Teacher in a Classroom…” (ca. 1975)
But then I found myself one winter afternoon
Remembering a quiet morning in a classroom
And inventing everything again, in ordinary
Terms that seemed to comprehend a childish
Dream of love, and then the loss of love,
And all the intricate years between.
—John Koethe, “Falling Water” (excerpt)
Left: H.E. Peck, “Cheer Up Lassie” (ca. 1908);
Right: H. E. Peck, “On Norway’s Coast” (ca. 1908)
The largest fire ever known
Occurs each afternoon,
Discovered is without surprise,
Proceeds without concern:
Consumes, and no report to men…
cf. J. Craig Annan, “Au Jardin” (ca. 1899)
A crowd will gather, and not know it walks the very street
Whereon a thing once walked that seemed a burning cloud.
—Yeats, Fallen Majesty (excerpt)
She’s a cloud
That hangs above my world…
cf. Terry Eiler, “Bather Under Water…” (ca. 1972)
Recalled To Life
when I was 17
I jumped off a boat
after my friend’s fallen eyeglasses
now, dark, cold, and
abandon the light
Left: Cesare Guilio, “Palestra Bianca” (ca. 1940)
Right: A.K. Aster, “On Salons” (Camera Craft, 1940)
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could…
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo…
cf. LIFE, 1971
Tarry, delight, so seldom met,
So sure to perish, tarry still;
Forbear to cease or languish yet,
Though soon you must and will.
By Sestos town, in Hero’s tower,
On Hero’s heart Leander lies;
The signal torch has burned its hour
And sputters as it dies.
Beneath him, in the nighted firth,
Between two continents complain
The seas he swam from earth to earth
And he must swim again.
—A. E. Housman
Fred G. Korth, “A Good Time In The Office” (ca. 1936)
Curtail far hopes to fit short destiny.
Even while we speak time, grudging time, has fled.
Seize eagerly each day, and trust the morrow’s grace as little as may be.
“The View of the Palace and Gardens of Versailles” exhibition, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 10/11/1956
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!
Photograph by Les Anderson via Unsplash
April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire…
—T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land
Tookapic, “Woman Wearing Jacket Sitting On Concrete During Night Time” (via pexels.com)
Hyperion arose, and on the stars
Lifted his curved lids, and kept them wide
Until it ceas’d; and still he kept them wide:
And still they were the same bright, patient stars.
Then with a slow incline of his broad breast,
Like to a diver in the pearly seas,
Forward he stoop’d over the airy shore,
And plung’d all noiseless into the deep night.
—Keats, Hyperion (excerpt)
cf. photograph by Eric Nopanen via Unsplash
Memory, hither come,
And tune your merry notes;
And, while upon the wind,
Your music floats,
I’ll pore upon the stream,
Where sighing lovers dream,
And fish for fancies as they pass
Within the watery glass.
I’ll drink of the clear stream,
And hear the linnet’s song;
And there I’ll lie and dream
The day along:
And, when night comes, I’ll go
To places fit for woe,
Walking along the darken’d valley,
With silent Melancholy.
O My Luve’s like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June…
H. C. Benedict, “Original And Unique The P. and H. Process Of Negative Development” (1939)
The question, O me! so sad, recurring — What good amid these,
O me, O life?
That you are here — that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.
—Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
I’m thinking of you Mary Anne…
Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be…
—Robert Browning, Rabbi Ben Ezra
Trevor T. White, “The Alley” (ca. 1938)
Transit Of Venus
half in sun
half in shadow
the last time I saw you
cf. Charles O’Rear, “Passengers of the Southwest Limited strolling beside the Amtrak train…” (1974)
When now the boy, whose childish thoughts aspire
To loftier aims, and make him ramble high’r,
Grown wild, and wanton, more embolden’d flies
Far from his guide, and soars among the skies…
If I didn’t try, how would I know? how would I know?
cf. Cincinnati Magazine, 1973
The thought of her
in that darkest winter
but your eternal summer
will not fade
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
As Spender said of Eliot,
A wonderful poet disguised as a businessman.
Just ask Clavdia.
(F. Scott Fitzgerald)
A romantic resting against a mantelpiece clock.
You were right, Scott—
the past is forever.
Summer for thee grant I may be
When summer days are flown!
Thy music still when whippoorwill
And oriole are done!
I saw you singing that song again
and I thought of art
burning like a flame
through time and tide
and I was driving with the radio on
(Arland D. Williams Jr.)
When you boarded the plane
Did the other passengers recognize you?
Put her letters in the fire
Striven back onto yourself
A place you’ve been before
When you listened to the aria in New Orleans
Did it unravel and fathom your heart?
Tom Hubbard, “…Saturday Night” (1973)
on a summer night
shining after light years
the light in the window
the wind and your voice
I looked up at the sky last night
and thought of you
John Collier, “Young man boarding train for New York state…” (1942)
Lovers, forget your love,
And list to the love of these,
She a window flower,
And he a winter breeze.
When the frosty window veil
Was melted down at noon,
And the cagèd yellow bird
Hung over her in tune,
He marked her through the pane,
He could not help but mark,
And only passed her by,
To come again at dark.
He was a winter wind,
Concerned with ice and snow,
Dead weeds and unmated birds,
And little of love could know.
But he sighed upon the sill,
He gave the sash a shake,
As witness all within
Who lay that night awake.
Perchance he half prevailed
To win her for the flight
From the firelit looking-glass
And warm stove-window light.
But the flower leaned aside
And thought of naught to say,
And morning found the breeze
A hundred miles away.
—Robert Frost, Wind and Window Flower
“Ho-Ho! my valiant page!
Bring hither Pegasus, and let me ride;
Smooth the winged-charger’s ruffled mane,
Tighten the curb, and let the loosen’d rein
Hang loose no more!
Bring hither Pegasus, and I will soar,
With my proud courser well in hand,
Into the presence of that fairyland
Wherein the far hills brood in the still mist
And the laughter-ripple of the mere is kissed
By the bright-eyed orb of day:
Now make good speed, my page…”
—William Wilson, “Pegasus in Lakeland”
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
a long time ago
you mailed me your copy of Ulysses
and I tried but
many years later
summoning my muse
Esther Bubley, “This boardinghouse room needs a heater in the winter and a fan in the summer” (1943)
Enough! Here’s the punishment.—Forward, march!
Ahhh! My lungs are burning, my skull roars!
Night rolls through my eyes by that sun!
—Rimbaud, A Season In Hell
William Alexander Alcock, “A lonely Vigil” (detail) (ca. 1922);
August Krug, “The Portal” (detail) (ca. 1922);
Sophie L. Lauffer, “A Canaan Evening” (detail) (ca. 1922);
Edwin B. Collins, “Good Cheer Within” (detail) (ca. 1922)
When I consider how my light is spent,
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one Talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my Soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide;
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er Land and Ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.”
–John Milton, Sonnet 19: When I consider how my light is spent
John Dillwyn Llewelyn, The Upper Fall (1853–56)
I dwell in a lonely house I know
That vanished many a summer ago,
And left no trace but the cellar walls,
And a cellar in which the daylight falls,
And the purple-stemmed wild raspberries grow…
–Robert Frost, Ghost House
Dave Thomas, “Girl With The Fishbowl” (LIFE, 1970)
How like a winter hath my absence been
From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!
What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen!
What old December’s bareness everywhere!
And yet this time remov’d was summer’s time,
The teeming autumn, big with rich increase,
Bearing the wanton burthen of the prime,
Like widow’d wombs after their lords’ decease:
Yet this abundant issue seem’d to me
But hope of orphans and unfather’d fruit;
For summer and his pleasures wait on thee,
And thou away, the very birds are mute;
Or if they sing, ’tis with so dull a cheer
That leaves look pale, dreading the winter’s near.
–Shakespeare, Sonnet 97: “How like a winter hath my absence been from thee”
Arkhip Kuindzhi, “Moonlight Night. Meditation”
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…
Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we’ll both be lonely.
Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage?
Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher, what America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and you got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear on the black waters of Lethe?
–Allen Ginsberg, A Supermarket in California (excerpt)
Tom Hubbard, “…Tyler Davidson Fountain” (1973)
You ask me, from what source so oft I draw my songs of love and whence comes my book that sounds so soft upon the tongue. ‘Tis not Calliope nor Apollo that singeth these things; ’tis my mistress’ self that makes my wit. If thou wilt have her walk radiant in silks of Cos, of Coan raiment all this my book shall tell; or have I seen her tresses stray dishevelled o’er her brow, I praise her locks and she walks abroad in pride and gladness; or struck she forth music from the lyre with ivory fingers, I marvel with what easy skill she sweeps her hands along the strings; or when she droops those eyes that call for sleep I find a thousand new themes for song; or if, flinging away her robe, she enter naked with me in the lists, then, then I write whole Iliads long. Whate’er she does, whate’er she says, from a mere nothing springs a mighty tale…
—Propertius, The Elegies
cf. from “Rockefeller Center” (1930)
The echoes of the human world, which tell
Of the low voice of love, almost unheard,
And dove-eyed pity’s murmured pain, and music,
Itself the echo of the heart, and all
That tempers or improves man’s life, now free;
And lovely apparitions,–dim at first,
Then radiant, as the mind arising bright
From the embrace of beauty (whence the forms
Of which these are the phantoms) casts on them
The gathered rays which are reality–
Shall visit us the progeny immortal
Of Painting, Sculpture, and rapt Poesy,
And arts, though unimagined, yet to be;
The wandering voices and the shadows these
Of all that man becomes, the mediators
Of that best worship, love, by him and us
Given and returned; swift shapes and sounds, which grow
More fair and soft as man grows wise and kind…
— Percy Bysshe Shelley, Prometheus Unbound
Ernst Halberstadt, “Commonwealth Avenue between Arlington and Berkeley Streets” (1973)
The season’s final blossoms bring
More dear delight than buds of spring.
They stir in us a live communion
Of sorrowfully poignant dreams.
Thus oft the hour of parting seems
More vivid than a sweet reunion.
cf. Harry W. Watrous, The Passing of Summer (1912)
Back out of all this now too much for us,
Back in a time made simple by the loss
Of detail, burned, dissolved, and broken off…
–Robert Frost, Directive
David Rees, “Students in the Courtyard of Senior High School…” (1974)
Buried Flash Drive
Can you possibly imagine
that morning sun
so bright and
the grandeur that was
Alter? When the hills do.
Falter? When the sun
Question if his glory
Be the perfect one.
Surfeit? When the daffodil
Doth of the dew:
Even as herself, O friend!
I will of you!
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, “Helen Keller, three-quarter length, seated, facing right; holding hand of her teacher, Mrs. John A. Macy (Anne Mansfield Sullivan)” (ca. 1909)
Where is my boy, my boy—
In what far part of the world?
The boy I loved best of all in the school?—
I, the teacher, the old maid, the virgin heart,
Who made them all my children.
Did I know my boy aright,
Thinking of him as spirit aflame,
Active, ever aspiring?
Oh, boy, boy, for whom I prayed and prayed
In many a watchful hour at night,
Do you remember the letter I wrote you
Of the beautiful love of Christ?
And whether you ever took it or not,
My boy, wherever you are,
Work for your soul’s sake,
That all the clay of you, all of the dross of you,
May yield to the fire of you,
Till the fire is nothing but light!…
Nothing but light!
–Edgar Lee Masters, Spoon River Anthology
Photograph by Morre Christophe via Unsplash
There is a Gull that rolls alone
over billows loud;
the Nightingale at night will moan
under her soft shroud.
—Allen Ginsberg, “A Very Dove” (excerpt)
Northeastern University Course Catalog, 1984-85
I remember the night the Green–Schwarz mechanism was discovered —
It was a stormy summer night in 1984.
The lightning that flashed across the equations on the blackboard
also flashed across my curtains,
two oranges on the dining room table,
a Pat Metheny album on the blue shag carpet.
I, too, thought I had solved something.
I, too, thought I was free of anomalies.
But the next day I still couldn’t figure it out.
Unknown, “Elizabeth Tappenden” (1876)
In Memory of Elizabeth Tappenden
I reach across time
to tell you
Cassius was wrong —
the fault is not yours.
Wilhelm von Gloeden, Man (ca. 1900)
Unscrew the locks from the doors!
Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs!
–Whitman, Song Of Myself
Tom Hubbard, “Rainy Night…” (1973)
I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain—and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.
I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.
I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,
But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
One luminary clock against the sky
Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.
–Robert Frost, Acquainted with the Night
State Archives of North Carolina, “…Duplin County Schools” (ca.1949)
I saw them and I knew them all. And yet
Dauntless the slug-horn to my lips I set,
And blew “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower came.”
—Robert Browning, “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came”
cf. photograph by Averie Woodard via Unsplash
I loved you, Atthis, long ago…
cf. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, “Landscape with dirt road and stone wall” (ca. 1900)
I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass…
—Whitman, Song Of Myself
Welby Sherman (After Samuel Palmer), “The Shepherd” (1828)
Come, my friends,
’Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
—Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Ulysses (excerpt)
Childe Hassam, “The Colonial Table” (1915)
Wild nights – Wild nights!
Were I with thee
Wild nights should be
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 – tonight –
cf. Edward Fletcher Stevens, “The American hospital of the twentieth century…” (1918) and
treetreeplant, Vancouver rainstorm August 29 2013 – YouTube
I sat on the edge of the bed
in the dark
spotlight sheet of rain traveling down the street
I remembered another night
when I looked at the rain
a long time ago
Northeastern University Bulletin, 1976-77
O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.
–Robert Frost, October
Life, so they say, is but a game
And they let it slip away…
cf. Patricia D. Duncan, “Former Home of Aviatrix Amelia Earhart…” (1974)
You cannot put a fire out;
A thing that can ignite
Can go, itself, without a fan
Upon the slowest night…
David De Vries, “Room 103, small classroom…” (2001)
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
Ernst Halberstadt, Midsummer Siesta at City Hall Plaza (1973)
My own heart let me more have pity on; let
Me live to my sad self hereafter kind,
Charitable; not live this tormented mind
With this tormented mind tormenting yet.
I cast for comfort I can no more get
By groping round my comfortless, than blind
Eyes in their dark can day or thirst can find
Thirst’s all-in-all in all a world of wet.
Soul, self; come, poor Jackself, I do advise
You, jaded, let be; call off thoughts awhile
Elsewhere; leave comfort root-room; let joy size
At God knows when to God knows what; whose smile
‘s not wrung, see you; unforeseen times rather — as skies
Betweenpie mountains — lights a lovely mile.
–Gerard Manley Hopkins, “My own heart let me more have pity on”