cf. Keats, “Bright Star!…” and cf. National Geographic Magazine (1948)
the oxford companion to modern poetry
…the major part of his verse is published on his very sparsely visited WordPress blog.
He is still part of the Romantic school even though this mode has long been repudiated.
His work lumbers through the same recurring themes over and over again —
the failed (or failing) romance, the ever popular carpe diem trope and a kind of bitter melancholic nostalgia that this reviewer, for one, finds distasteful.
An early instructive example is “Astrophysics (Halley’s Poem)”.
Here the lover is unflatteringly compared to Halley’s Comet.
She left the poet in 1986 traveling at high rate of speed and the grandiose Galileo quotation would only gild the lily if there was a lily to gild.
His more recent work such as “And the operator said, ‘May I help you please?’” again finds the poet au fait with loving and losing.
Poems such as these have this reviewer wondering whether Tennyson’s famous aphorism is generally applicable.
Providentially his verse is interlarded with songs from the 1970s (the poet’s salad days) and occasionally (and regrettably) some hair metal classics.
We do not expect a volume of his collected works at this time but anticipate further elaboration of these leitmotifs on his blog.
Bob’s Love Affair (1915)
O my Luve is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June —
Two Women (ca. 1915)
‘For further I could say “This man’s untrue,”
And knew the patterns of his foul beguiling;
Heard where his plants in others’ orchards grew…
— A Lover’s Complaint
cf. Gold Bell Catalog (1963)
cf. Screen Magazine (2003)
Come, come, we are friends. Let’s have a
dance ere we are married, that we may lighten our
own hearts and our wives’ heels.
We’ll have dancing afterward.
First, of my word! Therefore play, music.—
Prince, thou art sad. Get thee a wife, get thee a wife…
— Much Ado About Nothing
Jack Delano, “In a physiology class at Iowa State College…” (1942)
Here’s the link:
Garry Winogrand, Untitled (ca. 1965)
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice…
— Robert Frost, Fire and Ice
cf. Handy (Jam) Organization, “American Look” (1958)
UNHAPPY pen! and ill accepted papers!
That intimate, in vain, my chaste desires:
My chaste desires, the ever-burning tapers,
Enkindled by her eyes’ celestial fires.
Celestial fires! and unrespecting powers,
That deign not view the glory of your might!
In humble lines, the work of careful hours,
The sacrifice I offer to her sight…
— Samuel Daniel, “Delia 53: Unhappy pen and ill accepted papers”
cf. James Abbott McNeill Whistler, “Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1”, also called “Portrait of the Artist’s Mother” (1871) and Maxell advertisement (1980) (edited and rearranged collage)
“PHILOSOPHICAL” DIALOGUES BETWEEN SOCRATES (S) AND AN IMAGINARY INTERLOCUTOR (ii):
S: Wittgenstein at a restaurant or we can dine at home.
ii: Bertrand, can you Russell up some dinner for me?
S: Francis, Bacon sure smells great when it’s cooking doesn’t it?
ii: That hits Lamarck.
S: I Goethe go.
ii: Rousseau long!
S: Let’s play Heidegger seek!
ii: I Kant find you!
S: Hegel, what’s going on?
ii: We were supposed to go Schopenhauers ago!
S: Don’t put Descartes before the horse! We’ve Spinoza this many times before.
ii: John, Locke the front door and we’ll get going.
S: Foucault? I didn’t hear the phone ring.
ii: Hume are you referring to?
S: Camus come over to visit today?
ii: I’m Newton town so I’m not sure where to go.
S: I’ll Nietzsche in front of my house. Drive Pascal and then take the next left. Husserl can you get here?
ii: Is your house Nietzsche and clean?
S: Rousseau it is. I really Fichte this place up. It looks great. Kierkegaard-en I told you about with lots of flowers.
ii: If that’s Sartre than I’m a Hottentot.
S: Santayana wants me, Lord, I can’t go back there!
ii: Don’t Thoreau your life away!
C. Milburn, “Made Simply For Amusement” (ca. 1911)
cf. National Geographic Magazine, 1954
cf. National Geographic Magazine, 1972
National Geographic, 1969
Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more.
Men were deceivers ever,
One foot in sea, and one on shore,
To one thing constant never.
Then sigh not so, but let them go,
And be you blithe and bonny,
Converting all your sounds of woe
Into hey nonny, nonny.
— Much Ado About Nothing
Sports Illustrated, 1978
cf. Popular Mechanics, 1974 (edited collage)
cf. Nation’s Business Magazine, 1969
cf. LIFE Magazine, 1970 and Romeo and Juliet
Business Screen Magazine, 1973
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express’d in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man…
Mrs. W. M. Gatch, “Waiting for the train” (ca. 1893)
cf. TV Commercial
PART II, Chapter X. Wherein is related the crafty device Sancho adopted to enchant The Lady Dulcinea, and other incidents as ludicrous as they are true.
— Cervantes, Don Quixote (Tr. Ormsby)
Educational Screen And AudioVisual Guide, 1959
I SING the body electric,
The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them,
They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them,
And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the
— Leaves of Grass
Lynn Pelham, “A public machine vends customers’ blood pressure for 25¢” (LIFE, 1960)
Educational Screen Magazine, 1954
Sometimes she tries to hide it from me
But when she starts talking over my head
It makes me dizzy…
cf. LIFE, 1967
Bell Telephone Magazine, 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
Arthur S. Siegel, “…National music camp…” (1942)
Sonata Allegro Form (a love story)
I tried moving to the relative major
but there was no development — only the same theme
I tried adding a coda but all you said was
Anna Curtis Chandler & Irene F. Cypher, “Audio-Visual Techniques For Enrichment Of The Curriculum” (1948)
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Mendelevium.
cf. Emily Dickinson and 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
What’s Up, Doc? (1972)
cf. LIFE, 1970
cf. Horace Bundy, Vermont Lawyer (1841)
Study our manuscripts, those myriads
Of letters, which have past twixt thee and me,
Thence write our annals, and in them will be
To all whom love’s subliming fire invades,
Rule and example found;
There, the faith of any ground
No schismatic will dare to wound,
That sees, how Love this grace to us affords,
To make, to keep, to use, to be these his records.
— John Donne, A Valediction of the Book (excerpt)
cf. London Stereoscopic Company, “Jeames at Home!” (ca. 1860-1870)
Who will go drive with Fergus now,
And pierce the deep wood’s woven shade,
And dance upon the level shore?
Young man, lift up your russet brow,
And lift your tender eyelids, maid,
And brood on hopes and fear no more.
And no more turn aside and brood
Upon love’s bitter mystery;
For Fergus rules the brazen cars,
And rules the shadows of the wood,
And the white breast of the dim sea
And all dishevelled wandering stars.
— W. B. Yeats, Who Goes with Fergus?
Business Screen magazine, 1973
The evening, blue, voluptuous, of June
Settled slowly on the beach with pulsating wings,
Like a sea-gull come to rest: far, far-off twinkled
Gold lights from the towers of a city and a passing ship.
The dark sea rolled its body at the end of the beach,
The warm soft beach which it was too tired to climb,
And we two walked together there
Arm in arm, having nothing in our souls but love.
— John Gould Fletcher, Memory: The Walk on the Beach (excerpt)
Aalto University Commons, “Metal forging class” (detail) (ca. 1920s)
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)
Business Screen magazine, 1971
Scan the shape of this dim shadow, once a man
And Oedipus . . . but I was different then.
— Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus (Tr. Murray)
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)
cf. Paul Delaroche, “Hémicycle” (detail) (1842)
cf. John Sapiro, Wedge Of Cheese (2018) and Edward Hopper, Nighthawks (detail) (1942)
cf. John Vanderlyn, Study for “The Landing of Columbus…” (ca. 1840–43)
Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much.
Walketh this way…
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. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, “Man sitting with dog on front porch as woman looks through door…” (between 1860 and 1930)
[To A Serving man] What lady is that, which doth enrich the paw
Of yonder Daniel Striped Tiger?
I know not, sir.
O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
As a rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear—
Beauty too rich for use, for Earth too dear!
So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows and X the Owl,
As yonder lady o’er her fellows and Lady Elaine Fairchilde shows…
Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight!
For I ne’er saw true beauty till this episode aired on PBS.
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. The Denison Limner, “Miss Denison of Stonington, Connecticut” (ca. 1790)
Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
—T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
cf. LIFE, 1972 and Oscar Wilde, “The Importance of Being Earnest”