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
photograph by Ilnur Kalimullin via Unsplash
light is dark
a fire burns
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.
Bluer Than Blue
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
photograph by pasja1000 via Pixabay
With the love of the storm he burns,
He sings, he laughs, well I know how,
But forgets when he returns
As I shall not forget her ‘Go now’.
— Edward Thomas
Almost Hear You Sigh
photograph by Oswald Elsaboath via Unsplash
no user serviceable parts
the fault, dear Brutus
is ever Descartes’
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
photograph by Nicate Lee via Unsplash
is not here
at the same
Chris Clogg, “Busy Wall” (2010) (edit)
Then is courtesy a turncoat. But it is certain
I am loved of all ladies, only you excepted; and
I would I could find in my heart that I had not a
hard heart, for truly I love none.
A dear happiness to women. They would
else have been troubled with a pernicious suitor. I
thank God and my cold blood I am of your humor
for that. I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow
than a man swear he loves me.
— Much Ado About Nothing
cf. video by cottonbro via pexels
Gramercies, Tranio, well dost thou advise.
If, Biondello, thou wert come ashore,
We could at once put us in readiness
And take a lodging fit to entertain
Such friends as time in Padua shall beget.
[Enter Baptista with his two daughters, Katherine and
Bianca; Gremio, a pantaloon, and Hortensio, suitors
But stay awhile! What company is this?
Master, some show to welcome us to town.
— The Taming of the Shrew
Boom! There She Was
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
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
photograph by Free Old Photos via Unsplash
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
— William Ernest Henley
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
photograph by Jonatán Becerra via Unsplash
THAT is solemn we have ended,—
Be it but a play,
Or a glee among the garrets,
Or a holiday…
— Emily Dickinson
Bluer Than Blue
cf. photograph by Matt Moloney via Unsplash (edit)
The heart asks more than life can give,
When that is learned, then all is learned
— Sara Teasdale, “Moonlight”
photograph by Mikita Yo via Unsplash
The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
— The Merchant of Venice
photograph by Casper Nichols via Unsplash
It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the vile wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors of Victory Mansions, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him.
— Orwell, Nineteen eighty-four
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
photograph by Kajetan Sumila via Unsplash
Again there has been a sad interval in our correspondence. But do not blame me. I have had a pretty severe return this summer of that mel- ancholy or hypochondria, which is inherent in my constitution and from which I have suffered miserably in former years, though since my marriage I have been wonderfully free from it. Your languor and discontent are occasioned by a gentler species of the distemper. You have a slow fever, I a raging one. While gloomy and fretful, and grossly indolent, I was shocked with the recollection of my good spirits, gayety, and activity, as a man with a headache is shocked by bright sunbeams. – But I need not describe my feelings to you. – The strange thing was that I did not write to you, a few lines, merely as firing guns of distress. Nobody here but my wife and worthy Johnson had the least notion of my being at all uneasy; for I have been remarkably busy this summer. I wrote about threescore law-papers, and got £124 in fees during last sessions two months. The court rose yesterday; and this day the clouds began to recede from my mind; I cannot tell from what cause.
— Letter from James Boswell to his friend Temple
Hitch a Ride
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
Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.
— Leaves of Grass
Make Your Own Kind Of Music
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.
You Take A Heart
photograph by Myicahel Tamburini via Pexels
…when the sun went down and darkness was over all the earth, we got into the deep waters of the river Oceanus, where lie the land and city of the Cimmerians who live enshrouded in mist and darkness which the rays of the sun never pierce neither at his rising nor as he goes down again out of the heavens…
Now That We Found Love
photograph by Nathan Anderson via Unsplash
ever ever spinning
photograph by Harold Wijnholds via Unsplash
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
To-night in thee!
— Emily Dickinson
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)
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
photograph by Andrei Tarkovsky
I come no more to make you laugh: things now,
That bear a weighty and a serious brow,
Sad, high, and working, full of state and woe,
Such noble scenes as draw the eye to flow,
We now present…
— Henry VIII
Yes We Can Can
photograph by National Cancer Institute via Unsplash
Speak terms of manage to thy bounding steed,
Cry “Courage! To the field!”
— Henry IV, Part 1
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
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
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
Northeastern University Course Catalog (1978-79)
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
cf. video by Anna Shvets via Pexels
Perseverance, dear my lord,
Keeps honor bright.
— Troilus and Cressida
Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now
cf. photograph by Eliott Reyna via Unsplash
The Teenage (Romantic)
Couldn’t I Just Tell You
Northeastern University Course Catalog (1985-86)
hearing your voice
so long ago
was that me
as the radio played
nothing stands between love and you
Girl Can’t Help It
photograph by Eren Li via Pexels
Archimedes in the Pleiades
in the autumn night sky
I saw you
stand in heaven
and move the earth
cf. photograph by Ivan Samkov via Pexels
He talked a lot about the past and I gathered that he wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy. His life had been confused and disordered since then, but if he could once return to a certain starting place and go over it all slowly, he could find out what that thing was…
— The Great Gatsby
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)
Image by Gerd Altmann via Pixabay
And next day she actually did know the name, and uttered it the moment the glass door slammed. Frau Chauchat’s name was Clavdia.
Hans Castorp did not grasp it at first. He had to have her repeat the name, even to spell it, before he understood. Then he pronounced it twice or thrice, turning his bloodshot eyes in Frau Chauchat’s direction, in order, as it were, to try if it suited.
“Clavdia,” he said. “ Yes, that is probably it; it fits her quite well.” He could not hide his pleasure in the degree of intimacy thus achieved, and from now on referred always to Frau Chauchat as Clavdia…
— The Magic Mountain
A Girl Like You
photograph by Inga Seliverstova via Pexels
He came back from France when Tom and Daisy were still on their wedding trip, and made a miserable but irresistible journey to Louisville on the last of his army pay. He stayed there a week, walking the streets where their footsteps had clicked together through the November night and revisiting the out-of-the-way places to which they had driven in her white car. Just as Daisy’s house had always seemed to him more mysterious and gay than other houses so his idea of the city itself, even though she was gone from it, was pervaded with a melancholy beauty.
He left feeling that if he had searched harder he might have found her—that he was leaving her behind…
— The Great Gatsby
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
cf. video by kokokara via Pexels
Tell the hours
By their shadows,
By their shadows.
— Adelaide Crapsey
Operator (That’s Not The Way It Feels)
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
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
The Hissing of Summer Lawns
photograph by Mateus Campos Felipe via Unsplash
The drama’s done. Why then here does any one step forth?—Because one did survive the wreck.
It so chanced, that after the Parsee’s disappearance, I was he whom the Fates ordained to take the place of Ahab’s bowsman, when that bowsman assumed the vacant post; the same, who, when on the last day the three men were tossed from out of the rocking boat, was dropped astern. So, floating on the margin of the ensuing scene, and in full sight of it, when the halfspent suction of the sunk ship reached me, I was then, but slowly, drawn towards the closing vortex. When I reached it, it had subsided to a creamy pool. Round and round, then, and ever contracting towards the button-like black bubble at the axis of that slowly wheeling circle, like another Ixion I did revolve. Till, gaining that vital centre, the black bubble upward burst; and now, liberated by reason of its cunning spring, and, owing to its great buoyancy, rising with great force, the coffin life-buoy shot lengthwise from the sea, fell over, and floated by my side. Buoyed up by that coffin, for almost one whole day and night, I floated on a soft and dirgelike main. The unharming sharks, they glided by as if with padlocks on their mouths; the savage sea-hawks sailed with sheathed beaks. On the second day, a sail drew near, nearer, and picked me up at last. It was the devious-cruising Rachel, that in her retracing search after her missing children, only found another orphan.
— Melville, Moby-Dick
I Think God Can Explain
photograph by Yoann Boyer via Unsplash
Scene: Int. Luke’s X-Wing – Cockpit
[Luke looks to the targeting device, then away as he hears Ben’s voice.]
BEN’S VOICE: “Luke, trust me.”
[Luke’s hand reaches for the control panel and presses the button. The targeting device moves away.]
I Won’t Back Down
photograph by Isabella and Zsa Fischer via Unsplash
There was the good, the upright Joachim, firm as a rock — yet whose eyes in these past months had come to hold such a tragic shadow, and who had never used to shrug his shoulders, as he did so often now.
— The Magic Mountain (Tr. Lowe-Porter)
photograph by Johnny Cohen via Unsplash
For the first time in a long time I thought about Maman. I felt as if I understood why at the end of her life she had taken a “fiancé,” why she had played at beginning again…
— Albert Camus
If These Walls Could Speak
cf. video by Alena Darmel via Pexels
When youth’s bright sun has once declined
And bid his smiling day expire,
Mem’ry, thy torch steals up behind,
And sets thy hidden stars on fire.
— George Moses Horton, Memory
photograph by Rachael Crowe via Unsplash
“Yes, we sit here and laugh,” he said, with a long face, his words interrupted by the heaving of his diaphragm, “we sit here and laugh, but there’s no telling when I shall get away. When Behrens says half a year, you can make up your mind it will be more. It is hard, isn’t it? — you just tell me if you don’t think it is pretty hard on me. I had already been accepted, I could have taken my exams next month. And now I have to drool about with a thermometer stuck in my mouth…and watch the time slipping away. A year is so important at our age. Down below, one goes through so many changes, and makes so much progress, in a single year of life. And I have to stagnate up here — yes, just stagnate like a filthy puddle; it isn’t too crass a comparison.”
Strange to say, Hans Castorp’s only reply to all this was a query as to whether it was possible to get porter up here…
— The Magic Mountain (Tr. Lowe-Porter)
Time (Clock Of The Heart)
photograph by cottonbro via Pexels
O, that way madness lies.
Let me shun that;
No more of that.
— King Lear
Can’t Get It out of My Head
photograph by Craig Ren via Unsplash
I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!
How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one’s name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!
— Emily Dickinson
Love Reign O’er Me
photograph by Gift Habeshaw via Unsplash
But Hans Castorp was convinced there was another and private reason why Joachim withdrew so early; he had known it since the time he saw his cousin’s face take on the mottled pallor, and his mouth assume the pathetic twist. He perfectly understood. For Marusja was almost always there in the evening — laughter-loving Marusja, with the little ruby on her charming hand, the handkerchief with the orange scent, and the swelling bosom, tainted within — Hans Castorp comprehended that it was her presence which drove Joachim away, precisely because it so strongly, so fearfully drew him toward her. Was Joachim too “immured” — and even worse off than himself, in that he had five times a day to sit at the same table with Marusja and her orange-scented handkerchief? However that might be, it was clear that Joachim was preoccupied with his own troubles; the thought of him could afford his cousin no mental support. That he took refuge in daily flight was a credit to him; but that he had to flee was anything but reassuring to Hans Castorp, who even began to feel that Joachim’s good example of faithful service of the cure and the initiation which he owed to his cousin’s experience might have also their bad side.
— The Magic Mountain (Tr. Lowe-Porter)
cf. video by George Pak via Pexels
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
To Each His Own
photograph by Elia Pellegrini via Unsplash
It was not really alarming at first, since the change was subtle, but I did notice that my surroundings took on a different tone at certain times: the shadows of nightfall seemed more somber, my mornings were less buoyant, walks in the woods became less zestful, and there was a moment during my working hours in the late afternoon when a kind of panic and anxiety overtook me, just for a few minutes, accompanied by a visceral queasiness—such a seizure was at least slightly alarming, after all. As I set down these recollections, I realize that it should have been plain to me that I was already in the grip of the beginning of a mood disorder, but I was ignorant of such a condition at that time.
— William Styron, Darkness Visible
Slippin’ Into Darkness