photograph by Ben Koorengevel via Unsplash
I can see the house on the hill where we make our own vegetables out back
and drink warm wine out of jam jars
and sing songs in the kitchen until the sun comes up
wena you make me feel like myself again.
— Yrsa Daley-Ward, “sthandwa sami (my beloved, isiZulu)” (excerpt)
photograph by cottonbro studio via Pexels
I HAD for my winter evening walk—
No one at all with whom to talk,
But I had the cottages in a row
Up to their shining eyes in snow.
And I thought I had the folk within:
I had the sound of a violin;
I had a glimpse through curtain laces
Of youthful forms and youthful faces.
I had such company outward bound.
I went till there were no cottages found.
I turned and repented, but coming back
I saw no window but that was black.
Over the snow my creaking feet
Disturbed the slumbering village street
Like profanation, by your leave,
At ten o’clock of a winter eve.
— Robert Frost, “Good Hours”
Nationaal Archief, “Enjoying the sunshine” (1965)
WHEN in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featur’d like him, like him with friends possess’d,
Desiring this man’s art, and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee,—and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
— Sonnet XXIX
photograph by Matheus Bertelli via Pexels
“I am certain of nothing but of the holiness of the Heart’s affections and the truth of Imagination…”
— Letter from John Keats to Benjamin Bailey, November 22, 1817
photograph by kevin turcios via Unsplash
Near the path through the woods I’ve seen it:
a trail of white candles.
I could find it again, I could follow
its light deep into shadows.
Didn’t I stand there once?
Didn’t I choose to go back
down the cleared path, the familiar?
Narcissus, you said. Wasn’t this
the flower whose sudden enchantments
led Persephone down into Hades?
You remember the way she was changed
when she came every spring, having seen
the withering branches, the chasms,
and how she had to return there
helplessly, having eaten
the seed of desire. What was it
I saw you were offering me
without meaning to, there in the sunlight,
while the flowers beckoned and shone
in their flickering season?
— Patricia Hooper
photograph by Pesce Huang via Unsplash
i found myself
in european sculpture and decorative arts
lost in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries
with so much to learn
and you resplendently reverberant
in a white blouse
like an impressionist painting
photograph by RODNAE Productions via Pexels
I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it…
— The Great Gatsby
Walk On Water
photograph by Maksym Kaharlytskyi via Unsplash
Gatsby, his hands still in his pockets, was reclining against the mantelpiece in a strained counterfeit of perfect ease, even of boredom. His head leaned back so far that it rested against the face of a defunct mantelpiece clock and from this position his distraught eyes stared down at Daisy who was sitting frightened but graceful on the edge of a stiff chair.
— The Great Gatsby
photograph by Jonathan Borba via Pexels
Someone will walk into your life,
Leave a footprint on your heart…
— Gary Lenhart
Look What You’ve Done To Me
photograph by Andrik Langfield via Unsplash
The horses started up, amid farewells and hand-wavings from the bystanders; and then, as Frau Chauchat sank smilingly back against the cushions of the sleigh, her eyes swept the facade of the Berghof, and rested for the fraction of a second upon Hans Castorp’s face. In pallid haste he sought his loggia, thence to get a last glimpse of the sleigh as it went jingling down the drive toward the Dorf. Then he flung himself into his chair…
— The Magic Mountain (Tr. H. T. Lowe-Porter)
Every Time You Go Away
photograph by Meghan Holmes via Unsplash
The silhouette of a moving cat wavered across the moonlight and turning my head to watch it I saw that I was not alone—fifty feet away a figure had emerged from the shadow of my neighbor’s mansion and was standing with his hands in his pockets regarding the silver pepper of the stars.
— The Great Gatsby
I’ll Be Over You
cf. photograph taken from video by cottonbro studio via Pexels
The highway is full of big cars
going nowhere fast
And folks is smoking anything that’ll burn
Some people wrap their lies around a cocktail glass
And you sit wondering
where you’re going to turn
I got it.
Come. And be my baby.
— Maya Angelou
Prayers for Roberta Flack
photograph by Dids via Pexels
“It was a strange coincidence,” I said.
“But it wasn’t a coincidence at all.”
“Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay.”
Then it had not been merely the stars to which he had aspired on that June night. He came alive to me, delivered suddenly from the womb of his purposeless splendor…
— The Great Gatsby
Northeastern University, Course Catalog (1986-87)
FULL many a glorious morning have I seen
Flatter the mountain-tops with sovereign eye,
Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy;
Anon permit the basest clouds to ride
With ugly rack on his celestial face,
And from the forlorn world his visage hide,
Stealing unseen to west with this disgrace:
Even so my sun one early morn did shine,
With all-triumphant splendour on my brow;
But, out! alack! he was but one hour mine,
The region cloud hath mask’d him from me now.
Yet him for this my love no whit disdaineth;
Suns of the world may stain when heaven’s sun staineth.
— Sonnet XXXIII
photograph by Joshua Teichroew via Pexels
THY gift, thy tables, are within my brain
Full character’d with lasting memory,
Which shall above that idle rank remain,
Beyond all date, even to eternity…
— Sonnet CXXII
photograph by Inga Seliverstova via Pexels
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.
In me thou see’st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west;
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consum’d with that which it was nourish’d by.
This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
— Sonnet LXXIII
And the Wichita Lineman is still on the line…
photograph by Jared Sluyter via Unsplash
To be in love, where scorn is bought with groans,
Coy looks with heart-sore sighs, one fading
With twenty watchful, weary, tedious nights;
If haply won, perhaps a hapless gain;
If lost, why then a grievous labor won;
How ever, but a folly bought with wit,
Or else a wit by folly vanquishèd.
— The Two Gentlemen of Verona
photograph by Joshua Sukoff via Unsplash
Admiringly, my liege. At first
I stuck my choice upon her, ere my heart
Durst make too bold a herald of my tongue;
Where the impression of mine eye infixing,
Contempt his scornful perspective did lend me,
Which warped the line of every other favor,
Scorned a fair color or expressed it stol’n,
Extended or contracted all proportions
To a most hideous object. Thence it came
That she whom all men praised and whom myself,
Since I have lost, have loved, was in mine eye
The dust that did offend it.
— All’s Well That Ends Well
Baby Come Back
photograph by Antoine Da cunha via Unsplash
To live without the one you love
an empty dream never known
true happiness except as such youth
watching snow at window
listening to old music through morning.
Riding down that deserted street
by evening in a lonely cab
past a blighted theatre
oh god yes, I missed the chance of my life
when I gasped, when I got up and
rushed out the room
away from you.
— John Wieners
photograph by Anthony Tran via Unsplash
TO me, fair friend, you never can be old
For as you were when first your eye I ey’d,
Such seems your beauty still. Three winters cold
Have from the forests shook three summers’ pride,
Three beauteous springs to yellow autumn turn’d
In process of the seasons have I seen,
Three April perfumes in three hot Junes burn’d,
Since first I saw you fresh, which yet are green.
Ah! yet doth beauty, like a dial-hand,
Steal from his figure, and no pace perceiv’d;
So your sweet hue, which methinks still doth stand,
— Sonnet CIV
Roll with the Changes
photograph by João Jesus via Pexels
Now I see
The mystery of your loneliness and find
Your salt tears’ head.
— All’s Well That Ends Well
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.
photograph by Christian Lue via Unsplash
Outside the sun
has rolled up her rugs
and night strewn salt
across the sky. My heart
is humming a tune
I haven’t heard in years!
— Rita Dove (excerpt)
cf. Charles O’Rear, “Passengers enjoy the view in the observation car…” (1974)
WINE comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That’s all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh.
cf. photograph by RODNAE Productions via Pexels
Just a rainy day or two
In a windy tower,
That was all I had of you—
Saving half an hour.
Marred by greeting passing groups
In a cinder walk,
Near some naked blackberry hoops
Dim with purple chalk.
I remember three or four
Things you said in spite,
And an ugly coat you wore,
Plaided black and white.
Just a rainy day or two
And a bitter word.
Why do I remember you
As a singing bird?
— Edna St. Vincent Millay
cf. LIFE Magazine (1963)
I LEFT you in the morning,
And in the morning glow,
You walked a way beside me
To make me sad to go.
Do you know me in the gloaming,
Gaunt and dusty grey with roaming?
Are you dumb because you know me not,
Or dumb because you know?
All for me? And not a question
For the faded flowers gay
That could take me from beside you
For the ages of a day?
They are yours, and be the measure
Of their worth for you to treasure,
The measure of the little while
That I’ve been long away.
— Robert Frost
Just Don’t Want to Be Lonely
photograph by Shaan Johari via Pexels
His soul has in its Autumn, when his wings
He furleth close; contented so to look
On mists in idleness—to let fair things
Pass by unheeded as a threshold brook.
— Keats, “The Human Seasons”
It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference
edited digital collage including photograph by Yoann Boyer via Unsplash
There’ll be that crowd to make men wild through all the centuries,
And maybe there’ll be some young belle walk out to make men wild
Who is my beauty’s equal, though that my heart denies,
But not the exact likeness, the simplicity of a child,
And that proud look as though she had gazed into the burning sun,
And all the shapely body no tittle gone astray,
I mourn for that most lonely thing; and yet God’s will be done,
I knew a phoenix in my youth, so let them have their day.
— W.B. Yeats
photograph by Robin Edqvist via Unsplash
It was a squyer of lowe degré
That loved the kings doughter of Hungré…
— “The Squire of Low Degree”
Just Got Lucky
photograph by Jackson Simmer via Unsplash
’Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus,
Another thing to fall.
— Measure for Measure
photograph by Kalle Saarinen via Unsplash
But when I came, alas, to wive,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
By swaggering could I never thrive,
For the rain it raineth every day.
— Twelfth Night
You Make Me Crazy
cf. photograph by Christian Wiediger via Unsplash
He hadde moore tow on his distaf
Than Gerveys knew…
— Chaucer, “The Milleres Tale”
Love with a Thinker
Image by Gerd Altmann via Pixabay
Again I feel the words inspire
Their mournful calm; serene,
Yet tinged with infinite desire
For all that might have been—
— Matthew Arnold, “Obermann Once More”
photograph by Ron Lach via Pexels
If this be error, and upon me prov’d,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.
— Sonnet CXVI
You Can Close Your Eyes
photograph by Jéssica Oliveira via Unsplash
Night is longing, longing, longing,
beyond all endurance.
— Henry Miller, from the Epigraph
photograph by Les Anderson via Unsplash
Once when I was among the young men …
And they said I was quite strong, among the young men …
Once there was a woman …
… but I forget … she was …
… I hope she will not come again.
… I do not remember …
I think she hurt me once, but …
That was very long ago.
— Ezra Pound
photograph from “Documerica” via Unsplash
Orpheus in the underworld
I turned back
seeing the sun again
and you were gone
Send Her My Love
photograph by Jan Tinneberg via Unsplash
“GOING to him! Happy letter! Tell him—
Tell him the page I did n’t write;
Tell him I only said the syntax,
And left the verb and the pronoun out.
Tell him just how the fingers hurried,
Then how they waded, slow, slow, slow;
And then you wished you had eyes in your pages,
So you could see what moved them so.
“Tell him it was n’t a practised writer,
You guessed, from the way the sentence toiled;
You could hear the bodice tug, behind you,
As if it held but the might of a child;
You almost pitied it, you, it worked so.
Tell him—No, you may quibble there,
For it would split his heart to know it,
And then you and I were silenter.
“Tell him night finished before we finished,
And the old clock kept neighing ‘day!’
And you got sleepy and begged to be ended—
What could it hinder so, to say?
Tell him just how she sealed you, cautious,
But if he ask where you are hid
Until to-morrow,—happy letter!
Gesture, coquette, and shake your head!”
— Emily Dickinson
2 Be Loved (Am I Ready)
photograph by Alisa Anton via Unsplash
The barge she sat in like a burnished throne
Burned on the water. The poop was beaten gold,
Purple the sails, and so perfumed that
The winds were lovesick with them. The oars were
Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made
The water which they beat to follow faster,
As amorous of their strokes. For her own person,
It beggared all description: she did lie
In her pavilion—cloth-of-gold, of tissue—
O’erpicturing that Venus where we see
The fancy outwork nature. On each side her
Stood pretty dimpled boys, like smiling Cupids,
With divers-colored fans, whose wind did seem
To glow the delicate cheeks which they did cool,
And what they undid did.
— Antony and Cleopatra
photograph by Andrej Nihil via Unsplash
Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back
Wherein he puts alms for oblivion…
— Troilus and Cressida
photograph by Hello Revival via Unsplash
Kind are her answers,
But her performance keeps no day;
Breaks time, as dancers
From their own music when they stray:
All her free favors
And smooth words wing my hopes in vain.
O did ever voice so sweet but only feign?
Can true love yield such delay,
Converting joy to pain?
— Thomas Campion
photograph by Jizo via Pexels
upon the stage
the time gives it proof —
I did love you once
photograph by Lisanto 李奕良 via Unsplash
All day I tried to distinguish
need from desire. Now, in the dark,
I feel only bitter sadness for us,
the builders, the planers of wood,
because I have been looking
steadily at these elms
and seen the process that creates
the writhing, stationary tree
is torment, and have understood
it will make no forms but twisted forms.
— Louise Glück
photograph by Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels
Yesterday the fields were only grey with scattered snow,
And now the longest grass-leaves hardly emerge;
Yet her deep footsteps mark the snow, and go
On towards the pines at the hills’ white verge.
I cannot see her, since the mist’s white scarf
Obscures the dark wood and the dull orange sky;
But she’s waiting, I know, impatient and cold, half
Sobs struggling into her frosty sigh.
Why does she come so promptly, when she must know
That she’s only the nearer to the inevitable farewell;
The hill is steep, on the snow my steps are slow –
Why does she come, when she knows what I have to tell?
— D. H. Lawrence
photograph by John Moeses Bauan via Unsplash
The passions that we fought with and subdued
Never quite die…
— Trumbull Stickney
Rock And Roll Never Forgets
photograph by Manuel Meurisse via Unsplash
swim in your iris
the rocks at low tide
Öd’ und leer das Meer
photograph by Mariano Nocetti via Unsplash
Could not once blinding me, cruel, suffice?
When first I look’d on thee, I lost mine eyes.
— Richard Crashaw
Modern Day Delilah
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
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
Paris, 1984 by John Sapiro
No donkey can cart
what weighs down your heart.
— Anonymous, East African Proverb (Tr. A. M. Juster)
Even a Fool Can See
“Edward?” said Abilene.
Yes, said Edward.
“Edward,” she said again, certain this time.
Yes, said Edward, yes, yes, yes.
— Kate DiCamillo, The miraculous journey of Edward Tulane
All my instincts, they return
The grand façade, so soon will burn
Without a noise, without my pride
I reach out from the inside…
In Your Eyes
cf. photograph by Joanna Nix-Walkup via Unsplash
turning point II
where did you park your car?
Right On Track
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,
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 that pale sustenance,
— Emily Dickinson
Here You Come Again
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 Scott Broome via Unsplash
Aristotle and Pythias
I know not seems
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
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
photograph by Tim Foster via Unsplash
Carthago adhuc vivit
bells in the distant temple
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
We’ll Never Have to Say Goodbye Again
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
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