photograph by Florencia Viadana via Unsplash
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
— Robert Frost
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 Samantha Hentosh via Unsplash
“…since you can’t sleep, and Mamma can’t either, we mustn’t go on in this stupid way; we must do something; I’ll get one of your books.” But I had none there. “Would you like me to get out the books now that your grandmother is going to give you for your birthday?”
— Proust, Swann’s Way
In The House Of Stone And Light
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
photograph by Christian Holzinger via Unsplash
a string of mercies
held to heart
photograph by National Cancer Institute via Unsplash
and the night
“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
photograph by Khanh Tu Nguyen Huy via Unsplash
De consolatione philosophiae
I did the best that I could
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 Scott Broome via Unsplash
Aristotle and Pythias
I know not seems
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 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
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 Priscilla Du Preez via Unsplash
Do you still remember: falling stars,
how they leapt slantwise through the sky
like horses over suddenly held-out hurdles
of our wishes—did we have so many?—
for stars, innumerable, leapt everywhere;
almost every gaze upward became
wedded to the swift hazard of their play,
and our heart felt like a single thing
beneath that vast disintegration of their brilliance—
and was whole, as if it would survive them!
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
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
Place In This World
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
cf. photographs by Caseen Kyle Registos via Unsplash and Matheus Bertelli via Pexels (edited digital collage)
WEARY with toil, I haste me to my bed
The dear repose for limbs with travel tired;
But then begins a journey in my head
To work my mind, when body’s work’s expir’d:
For then my thoughts—from far where I abide—
Intend a zealous pilgrimage to thee,
And keep my drooping eyelids open wide,
Looking on darkness which the blind do see:
Save that my soul’s imaginary sight
Presents thy shadow to my sightless view,
Which, like a jewel hung in ghastly night,
Makes black night beauteous and her old face new.
Lo! thus, by day my limbs, by night my mind,
For thee, and for myself no quiet find.
— Sonnet XXVII
Whenever You’re On My Mind
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
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
Northeastern University Course Catalog (1982-83)
10 people in a canoe
each is wearing a different colored hat
how far away is the man in the blue hat
So Very Hard To Go
Photograph by Daniel Monteiro via Unsplash
Ceci n’est pas une intersection.
In the warm twilight
I am translated
at the red light
the song on the radio
holding, as ‘twere,
the mirror up to nature
and unravels my heart
photograph by Leon Bublitz via Unsplash
the train rolled around the bend
Life Savers refracting in the glass
I ran all the way down the station stop
my heart in my head
I love you
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)
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