Thursday, April 30, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
For 5 months past my mind has been strangely shut up. I have taken the paper with the intention to write to you many times; but it has been all one blank Feeling, one blank idealess Feeling. I had nothing to say, I could say nothing. How dearly I love you, my very Dreams make known to me. I will not trouble you with the gloomy Tale of my Health. While I am awake, by patience, employment, effort of mind, and walking I can keep the fiend at Arm's length; but the Night is my Hell, Sleep my tormenting Angel. Three nights out of four I fall asleep, struggling to lie awake--and my frequent Night-screams have almost made me a nuisance in my own House. Dreams with me are no Shadows, but the very Substances and foot-thick Calamities of my Life. Beddoes, who has been to me ever a very kind man, suspects that my stomach "brews vinegar." . . . I myself fully believe it to be either atonic, hypochondriacal Gout, or a scrophulous affection of the Glands. In the hope of drawing the Gout, if Gout it should be, into my feet, I walked, previously to my getting into the Coach at Perth, 263 miles in eight Days, with no unpleasant fatigue: and if I could do you any service by coming to town, and there were no Coaches, I would undertake to be with you, on foot, in 7 days. I must have strength somewhere; my head is indefatigably strong; my limbs too are strong; but acid or not acid, Gout or Scrofula, something there is [in] my stomach or Guts that transubstantiates my Bread and Wine into the Body and Blood of the Devil.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
When a Catholic priest remonstrated with the Indians of the Oronoco on allowing their women to sow the fields in the blazing sun, with infants at their breasts, the men answered, "Father, you don't understand these things, and that is why they vex you."
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
In mourning the parakeet props his blue wings
awry, sourly fluffs his feathers; with a sort
of Willy Loman resignation he hunches his short
neck, his frail shoulders. Days past, he would sing
backup to any tune—the smoke alarm, the White
Stripes, erupt into an avian scat solo, wild child
of cool, jazz messenger from the bestiary side.
Now anyone can tell he’ll be dead before night
sifts down through these overripe maples, this sweet
mosquito gloaming: slit eye plunging fathoms
through an empty sea, pale breast a shallow cavern
of farewell, each tiny gasp a plummet
into dark; yet how long he takes to die!—death
killing pity even as it covets his brief, failing breath.
[forthcoming in How the Crimes Happened (CavanKerry Press, 2010)]
Monday, April 20, 2009
Does he like new cream, and hate mince pies?When he looks at the sun does he wink his eyes?
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
E. M. Forster, writing about Tolstoy's War and Peace in Aspects of the Novel:Such an untidy book. Yet, as we read it, do not great chords begin to sound behind us, and when we have finished does not every item--even the catalogue of strategies--lead a larger existence than was possible at the time?
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
A true Poet, a man in whose heart resides some effluence of Wisdom, some tone of the "Eternal Melodies," is the most precious gift that can be bestowed on a generation: we see in him a freer, purer development of whatever is noblest in ourselves; his life is a rich lesson to us; and we mourn his death as that of a benefactor who loved and taught us.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
A poem sent to me by my friend David, in response to yesterday's post and maybe today's earlier one as well:
In the cowslip pips I lie,
Hidden from the buzzing fly,
While green grass beneath me lies,
Pearled with dew like fishes' eyes,
Here I lie, a clock-o'-clay,
Waiting for the time o' day.
While the forest quakes surprise,
And the wild wind sobs and sighs,
My home rocks as like to fall,
On its pillar green and tall;
When the pattering rain drives by
Clock-o'-clay keeps warm and dry.
Day by day and night by night,
All the week I hide from sight;
In the cowslip pips I lie,
In the rain still warm and dry;
Day and night and night and day,
Red, black-spotted clock-o'-clay.
My home shakes in wind and showers,
Pale green pillar topped with flowers,
Bending at the wild wind's breath,
Till I touch the grass beneath;
Here I live, lone clock-o'-clay,
Watching for the time of day.
from his diary, September 3, 1664I have had a bad night's rest to-night, not sleeping well, as my wife observed, and I thought myself to be mightily bit with fleas, and in the morning she chid her mayds for not looking the fleas a-days. But, when I rose, I found that it is only the change of the weather from hot to cold, which, as I was two years ago, do stop my pores, and so my blood tingles and itches all day all over my body, but sweating cured me then, and I hope, and am told, will this also.
Monday, April 13, 2009
from ChristabelSamuel Taylor Coleridge'Tis a month before the month of May,And the Spring comes slowly up this way.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
PeaceGerard Manley HopkinsWhen will you ever, Peace, wild wooddove, shy wings shut,Your round me roaming end, and under be my boughs?When, when, Peace, will you, Peace? I'll not play hypocriteTo own my heart: I yield you do come sometimes; butThat piecemeal peace is poor peace. What pure peace allowsAlarms of wars, the daunting wars, the death of it?O surely, reaving Peace, my Lord should leave in lieuSome good! And so he does leave Patience exquisite,That plumes to Peace thereafter. And when Peace here doeshouseHe comes with work to do, he does not come to coo,He comes to brood and sit.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Yet, foul night-waking cat, he doth but dally,While in his hold-fast foot the weak mouse panteth.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
A green taloned hedge, so massive
a dove could not flutter over, so dense
an armored snake could not slip beneath—
This was the obstacle
between the Fiend and earthly delight!
chin in hand, he studied the situation.
Of course, far on the other side
of the Garden, due east, there was a gate,
if he chose to hike the border and rap
on the front door. What the Fiend
puzzled over, at the moment,
was not the trouble of getting in,
which for an angel was minimal,
but this curious pretense of a barricade—
Why make it so fraught yet convenient
to break into a park that, no matter how
buxom, was merely a dull facsimile of bliss?
This was the kind of setup that had always
irritated him—the King’s cunning
propensity for dramatic ambiguity, “free will”
with a catch, not to mention
these ridiculous processional formalities.
“Ugh,” muttered the Fiend;
and with a contemptuous snap of his wings
at one slight bound he leaped over the hedge,
landing on his feet as briskly as a cat
dropping through a hen-house window
into a huddle of fat chicks.
Then up he flew, up to the middle tree,
the highest that grew in the yard, and perched,
kneecaps tucked to his ears,
black as a cormorant in the frilled branches;
and there he devised his next really good idea.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Poem 160 from the Devonshire ManuscriptSir Thomas Wyatt
I abide and abide and better abide,And after the olde prouerbe, the happie daye;And ever my ladye to me dothe saye:"Let me alone and I will prouyde."I abide and abide and tarrye the tide,And with abiding spede well ye maye:Thus do I abide I wott allwaye,Nother obtayning nor yet denied.Aye me! this long abidyingSemithe to me as who sayetheA prolonging of a dieng detheOr a refusing of a desyred thing.Moche ware it bettre for to be playneThen to saye "abide" and yet shall not obtayne.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Persons without education certainly do not want either acuteness or strength of mind in what concerns themselves, or in things immediately within their observations; but they have no power of abstraction, no general standard of taste, or scale of opinion. They see their objects always near, and never in the horizon. Hence arises that egotism which has been remarked as the characteristic of self-taught men. (from The Round Table)It is better to be able neither to read nor write than to be able to do nothing else. (from On the Ignorance of the Learned)We are not hypocrites in our sleep. (from On Dreams)
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
Thursday, April 2, 2009
The girl took to wandering away of an afternoon, far down the forest track,merely for the chance to lie among the broken remnantsof last year's bracken ferns and whisper the bear's name. Her parents,puzzled and sad, watched her disappear into the woods;yet they were not more puzzled than their daughter, nor more sad.She did not think to ponder, "So what, after all, does home mean?"as she lay in her damp cot and watched the finches, garbed in their winter drab,flicker from bough to bough; but the question nonethelessdangled before her in the listless air; and when finally she sat up, stiff with cold,and gathered strength for her mother's too cheerful greeting,her father's anxious frown, she had advanced not a step toward contentment.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
"[Isabel] knew of no wrong that [her husband] had done; he was not violent, he was not cruel; she simply believed that he hated her. That was all she accused him of, and the miserable part of it was precisely that it was not a crime, for against a crime she might have found redress. He had discovered that she was so different, that she was not what he had believed she would prove herself to be. He had thought at first he could change her, and she had done her best to be what he would like. But she was, after all, herself--she couldn't help that; and now there was no use pretending, playing a part, for he knew her and had made up his mind."