...and so true. Don't you have days like this Lion?
Where you are on top of the world and can conquer everything,
and the very next day, you're barely able to function and
lose yourself in selfdoubt.
I have hours like this CJ.
It just whacked me on the back of the head... In a good way.
Here is some more Keats--i guess i like him so much because in the brief period of my life in which i was very much into poetry, i was of an age with Keats when he wrote.
On First Looking into Chapman's Homer
Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne;
Yet never did I breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold.
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez, when with eagle eyes
He star'd at the Pacific - and all his men
Look'd at each other with a wild surmise -
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.
I liked this because it expresses so well the means by which i traveled out of my narrow daily round as a child, on wings of words. I also liked the word picture of Cortez in Darien (Panama, and it was Balboa, but the boy was a poet, not an historian). I even liked it because he uses Darien, rather than Panama, and i've always liked old timey things.
So you've traveled extensively as a child Sentanta?
It is a nice poem, indeed.
Longfellow - DANTE
Tuscan, that wanderest through the realms of gloom,
With thoughtful pace, and sad, majestic eyes,
Stern thoughts and awful from thy soul arise,
Like Farinata from his fiery tomb.
Thy sacred song is like the trump of doom;
Yet in thy heart what human sympathies,
What soft compassion glows, as in the skies
The tender stars their clouded lamps relume!
Methinks I see thee stand, with pallid cheeks,
By Fra Hilario in his diocese,
As up the convent-walls, in golden streaks,
The ascending sunbeams mark the day's decrease;
And, as he asks what there the stranger seeks,
Thy voice along the cloister whispers, "Peace!"
Setanta, WOW! edgar just directed me to your thread. Be back in a flash.
As a child, i sailed the seas of imagination on barques of paper.
Here is one that is evocative for me, it paints such a lovely picture, and later in life, i had the pleasure of living briefly near the lake, and seeing it often:
The Lake Isle of Innisfree
-- William Butler Yeats
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all aglimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.
I briefly lived in Sligo, and worked for a painter. On days when our work took us south, we drove past the lake early, through "the veils of the morning."
Oh, Setanta, what a lovely illustrated poem. Yeats is a must for not only the Irish, but for everyone.
from the poet of a lesser god:
Still sits the school-house by the road,
A ragged beggar sleeping;
Around it still the sumachs grow,
And blackberry-vines are creeping.
Within, the master's desk is seen,
Deep-scarred by raps official;
The warping floor, the battered seats,
The jack-knife's carved initial;
The charcoal frescoes on its wall;
Its door's worn sill, betraying
The feet that, creeping slow to school,
Went storming out to playing!
Long years ago a winter sun
Shone over it at setting;
Lit up its western window-panes,
And low eaves' icy fretting.
It touched the tangled golden curls,
And brown eyes full of grieving,
Of one who still her steps delayed
When all the school were leaving.
For near it stood the little boy
Her childish favor singled;
His cap pulled low upon a face
Where pride and shame were mingled.
Pushing with restless feet the snow
To right and left, he lingered;---
As restlessly her tiny hands
The blue-checked apron fingered.
He saw her lift her eyes; he felt
The soft hand's light caressing,
And heard the tremble of her voice,
As if a fault confessing.
"I'm sorry that I spelt the word:
I hate to go above you,
Because,"---the brown eyes lower fell,---
"Because, you see, I love you!"
Still memory to a gray-haired man
That sweet child-face is showing.
Dear girl! the grasses on her grave
Have forty years been growing!
He lives to learn, in life's hard school,
How few who pass above him
Lament their triumph and his loss,
Like her, because they love him.
John Greenleaf Whittier
That last stanza always makes me cry in a happy way.
Whittier was another of those poor boys, like Keats, who discovered within himself a passion for verse. Fortunately for him, in our early republic, far from being denigrated for his poverty, as Keats was for being Cockney, he was "discovered" by William Lloyd Garrison while still quite young, and encouraged to pursue his education. Various journalistic jobs in the abolitionist press (from his Garrison connection) kept body and soul together while he wrote.
In Columbus, the major east-west thoroughfare on the south side of German Village is Whittier. I always wondered why this were so, but now it occurs to me that as the majority of the great German immigration in the mid-19th century were "Forty-eighters," the refugees of the failed 1848 socialist uprisings, they probably thought very highly of Mr. Whittier--they became staunch abolitionists when they arrived here.
Keats was cockney? I am stunned to realize that, Setanta. I often equate his "Ode to a Grecian Urn" with a short story about an amphora. Don't ask, 'cause I can't remember.
I searched for one of my favorite poets, William Stafford, and could not locate his wondrous poem, The Animal that Drank up Sound.
But here is one that is terse and telling:
I saw a man pursuing the horizon
Round and round they sped.
I was disturbed at this;
I accosted the man.
"It is futile," I said.
"You can never--"
"You lie!" he cried,
and ran on.
Excellent, Miss Letty, and very "Crane-like."
Stephen Crane was another poor boy . . . he was the fourteenth child of a Methodist minister. Although he attended Syracuse University, and was accounted the best shortstop their baseball team ever had, his poverty caught up to him. After his father's death, his mother supported the family, but died when he was just 18. He eventully ended up in the Bowery, and his first novel, Maggie, or a Child of the Streets
, was turned down in Victorian America as being too realistic and low brow. He took what little funds he had, and had it printed privately, selling it for 50 cents a copy on newsstands. It was a failure. He was starving when The Red Badge of Courage
made him famous, and paid the bills. Veterans of the American Civil War praised the novel for its realistic depiction of the sensation of combat, although Crane was born five years after the war. Editors who scorned his first novel now chased after him for stories--but he spent his money as fast as it came in. He became a war correspondent, and at some point contracted tuberculosis. So, as with Keats, he died of that disease, and died young, not yet thirty.
With Set in mind:
I made my song a coat
Covered with embroideries
Out of old mythologies
From heel to throat;
But the fools caught it,
Wore it in the world's eyes
As though they'd wrought it.
Song, let them take it,
For there's more enterprise
In walking naked.
If it's nice out,
leave it out.
I have so many favorites. Here is one by Charles Baudelaire from his poems Les Fleurs du Mal (Flowers of Evil).
Souvent, pour s'amuser, les hommes d'équipage
Prennent des albatros, vastes oiseaux des mers,
Qui suivent, indolents compagnons de voyage,
Le navire glissant sur les gouffres amers.
A peine les ont-ils déposés sur les planches,
Que ces rois de l'azur, maladroits et honteux,
Laissent piteusement leurs grandes ailes blanches
Comme des avirons traîner à côté d'eux.
Ce voyageur ailé, comme il est gauche et veule!
Lui, naguère si beau, qu'il est comique et laid!
L'un agace son bec avec un brûle-gueule,
L'autre mime, en boitant, l'infirme qui volait!
Le Poëte est semblable au prince des nuées
Qui hante la tempête et se rit de l'archer;
Exile sur le sol au milieu des huées,
Ses ailes de géant l'empêchent de marcher.
Often will sailors, for their sport, ensnare
The albatross, flying with languid sweep-
Sea-bird companion, soaring on the air-
Behind their boats, plying the bitter deep.
Scarce are they thrust on deck than these proud kings
Of azure climes, awkward and mortified,
Let droop, pathetically, their vast white wings,
Like two oars, trailing useless by their side.
How clumsy this winged voyager! How weak,
Comic, and ugly! He, so fair of late!
Some, with their clay pipes, taunt him, jab his beak;
Some ape the erstwhile flier's limping gait.
So too the Poet, like that prince of space,
Who haunts the storm and scorns the archer's bow:
Mocked, jeered, his giant's wings hobble his pace
When exiled from his heights to earth below.
Oops forgot to say why I like it. Well, I like it because it lifts me, speaks to me in a special way. I like the poet very much, and it helps me with my french which is very bad.
Thanks to all . . . keep those cards and letters coming in, sports fans.
Nice to see "Angelique" connected with "Les fleurs du mal"
with a reference for Setanta:
"The Year's at the Spring"
by: Robert Browning
The year's at the spring,
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in his Heaven --
All's right with the world!
I like it because I like it.<smile> and because an Italian child sang it.
Did Pippa just pass by ?
Robert Browning . . .
married Elizabeth Barrett . .
. . . who was six years his senior, and already an internationally renowned poet. Even at the time of his wife's death in 1861, Browning was not considered to be an exceptional poet. It was not until eight years later that he published a long, epic poem entitled The Ring and the Book
that he suddenly leaped to the fore among Victorian poets. Today his remains lie in Westminster Abbey. I rather suspect he would have placed his wife's remains there given the opportunity. Because he and she had gone to Italy, to Florence and Rome, to relieve her ill health, after her death, he never returned to those cities. He did go to Venice each year, and it was there that he died. He described his wife thus: "Oh Lyric Love, half angel and half bird . . ."
He called her "my little Portugese," and she responded by dedicating a small volume of poetry to him, entitled Sonnets from the Portugese
. With her fame and the evident deep and abiding love within the slim book, it was an immense success. Although it is hardly to modern tastes any longer, one poem survives, in literature text books at least, to this day . . .
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,--I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!--and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
Hey, Setanta. I have always loved Browning and his lady, but, with your permission, I would like to "resuscitate" this one.
The wind was a torrent of darkness upon the gusty trees,
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
The road was a ribbon of moonlight looping the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn door.
He'd a French cocked hat on his forehead, and a bunch of lace at his chin;
He'd a coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of fine doe-skin.
They fitted with never a wrinkle; his boots were up to his thigh!
And he rode with a jeweled twinkle
His rapier hilt a-twinkle
His pistol butts a-twinkle, under the jeweled sky.
Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard,
He tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred,
He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord's black-eyed daughter
Bess, the landlord's daughter
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.
Dark in the dark old inn-yard a stable-wicket creaked
Where Tim, the ostler listened--his face was white and peaked
His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like mouldy hay,
But he loved the landlord's daughter
The landlord's black-eyed daughter;
Dumb as a dog he listened, and he heard the robber say:
"One kiss, my bonny sweetheart; I'm after a prize tonight,
But I shall be back with the yellow gold before the morning light.
Yet if they press me sharply, and harry me through the day,
Then look for me by moonlight,
Watch for me by moonlight,
I'll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way."
He stood upright in the stirrups; he scarce could reach her hand,
But she loosened her hair in the casement! His face burnt like a brand
As the sweet black waves of perfume came tumbling o'er his breast,
Then he kissed its waves in the moonlight
(O sweet black waves in the moonlight!),
And he tugged at his reins in the moonlight, and galloped away to the west.
He did not come in the dawning; he did not come at noon.
And out of the tawny sunset, before the rise of the moon,
When the road was a gypsy's ribbon over the purple moor,
The redcoat troops came marching
King George's men came marching, up to the old inn-door.
They said no word to the landlord; they drank his ale instead,
But they gagged his daughter and bound her to the foot of her narrow bed.
Two of them knelt at her casement, with muskets by their side;
There was Death at every window,
And Hell at one dark window,
For Bess could see, through her casement, the road that he would ride.
They had bound her up at attention, with many a sniggering jest!
They had tied a rifle beside her, with the barrel beneath her breast!
"Now keep good watch!" and they kissed her. She heard the dead man say,
"Look for me by moonlight,
Watch for me by moonlight,
I'll come to thee by moonlight, though Hell should bar the way."
She twisted her hands behind her, but all the knots held good!
She writhed her hands till her fingers were wet with sweat or blood!
They stretched and strained in the darkness, and the hours crawled by like years,
Till, on the stroke of midnight,
Cold on the stroke of midnight,
The tip of one finger touched it! The trigger at least was hers!
The tip of one finger touched it, she strove no more for the rest;
Up, she stood up at attention, with the barrel beneath her breast.
She would not risk their hearing, she would not strive again,
For the road lay bare in the moonlight,
Blank and bare in the moonlight,
And the blood in her veins, in the moonlight, throbbed to her love's refrain.
Tlot tlot, tlot tlot! Had they heard it? The horse-hooves, ringing clear;
Tlot tlot, tlot tlot, in the distance! Were they deaf that they did not hear?
Down the ribbon of moonlight, over the brow of the hill,
The highwayman came riding
The redcoats looked to their priming! She stood up straight and still.
Tlot tlot, in the frosty silence! Tlot tlot, in the echoing night!
Nearer he came and nearer! Her face was like a light!
Her eyes grew wide for a moment, she drew one last deep breath,
Then her finger moved in the moonlight
Her musket shattered the moonlight
Shattered her breast in the moonlight and warned him with her death.
He turned, he spurred to the West; he did not know who stood
Bowed, with her head o'er the casement, drenched in her own red blood!
Not till the dawn did he hear it, and his face grew grey to hear
How Bess, the landlord's daughter,
The landlord's black-eyed daughter,
Had watched for her love in the moonlight, and died in the darkness there.
Back, he spurred like a madman, shrieking a curse to the sky,
With the white road smoking behind him and his rapier brandished high!
Blood-red were his spurs in the golden noon, wine-red was his velvet coat
When they shot him down in the highway,
Down like a dog in the highway,
And he lay in his blood in the highway, with the bunch of lace at his throat.
And still on a winter's night, they say, when the wind is in the trees,
When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
When the road is a gypsy's ribbon looping the purple moor,
The highwayman comes riding
The highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.
Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard,
He taps with his whip on the shutters, but all is locked and barred,
He whistles a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord's black-eyed daughter
Bess, the landlord's daughter
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair
You don't need my permission to do nothing, Miss Letty . . .
You're a caution, you are . . .
Setanta, I was scheduled to read that poem at a forensic meet when I was in middle school. I awoke with measles and in a way I was glad.
and from James Joyce, referred to as chamber music:
All day I hear the noise of waters
Sad as the sea-bird is when, going
He hears the winds cry to the water's
The grey winds, the cold winds are blowing
Where I go.
I hear the noise of many waters
All day, all night, I hear them flowing
To and fro.