Sunday, April 25, 2010

Keats on Poetry

Tree in Gold by Midenian Scholar
"In Poetry I have a few Axioms," wrote John Keats in 1818, in one of his famous letters. "1st. I think Poetry should surprise by a fine excess and not by Singularity—it should strike the Reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a Remembrance—2nd. Its touches of Beauty should never be half way thereby making the reader breathless instead of content: the rise, the progress, the setting of imagery should like the Sun come natural to him—shine over him and set soberly although in magnificence leaving him in the Luxury of twilight—but it is easier to think what Poetry should be than to write it—and this leads me on to another axiom. That if Poetry comes not as naturally as the Leaves to a tree it had better not come at all." Two centuries on, much of our poetry is still written in the long shadow of these ideas. Indeed, just a few lines by Keats are a tonic reminder of the stunning naturalness of a good poem and what issues from it: the transformation of basic human experience into a form that enlarges it, and us.

~ from here

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Love alters not. . .

Forever by Irena Orlov

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no, it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come,
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom:
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

~ Shakespeare, Sonnet CXVI

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What else?

orderly disorder by Branimir Zlamalik
From under her pillow, with shaking fingers, Mrs. Mitwisser drew out a pencil (a dirty stub escaped from a boy's schoolbag) and a shred of paper. It was the corner of a page from the torn-up Sense and Sensibility. Weeks ago it had evaded my broom. On this scrap she wrote, slowly, patiently, gleefully, with all her fragile force pounding downward, as if carving on cold stone:

3.2983.10-24 cal./°C. log D

I asked what it meant; what was the "D"?

The formula for entropy, she told me; for disorder; for (and here she amazed me by enunciating these syllables in English, with unmistakable clarity)
"thermodynamical equilibrium." The "D," she said, stood for Death--what else did I think it could be?

~ Cynthia Ozick, Heir to the Glimmering World

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rectius Vives

Storm over Zion by Peter Kunasz
The proper course in life, Licinius,
is neither always to dare the deep, nor,
timidly chary of storms, to hug
the dangerous shore.

Who values most the middle way
avoids discreetly both the squalor
of the slum and the palace liable
to excite envy.

The gale shakes most the lofty pine,
tall towers fall with the louder
crash and the highest peaks most often
are struck by lightning.

Hopeful in evil times and cautious
in good, ready for weal or woe,
be prepared. Jupiter imposes
the ugly winter,

but then withdraws it. Bad luck
is not for ever: Apollo varies
his archery sometimes by harping
to waken the Muse.

In difficult straits show spirit
and fortitude, but on the other hand
always shorten sail when you
run before the wind.

~ Horace, Odes Book II:10 (W. G. Shepherd Translation)

Monday, April 19, 2010

One of my favorite chamber music pieces

Sunday, April 18, 2010

De Profundis

Hope by Andreas Stridsberg
Oh why is heaven built so far,
Oh why is earth set so remote?
I cannot reach the nearest star
That hangs afloat.

I would not care to reach the moon,
One round monotonous of change;
Yet even she repeats her tune
Beyond my range.

I never watch the scatter'd fire
Of stars, or sun's far-trailing train,
But all my heart is one desire,
And all in vain:

For I am bound with fleshly bands,
Joy, beauty, lie beyond my scope;
I strain my heart, I stretch my hands,
And catch at hope.

~ Christina Rossetti

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Garden between Dawn and Sunrise

The Rock Garden by Jessica Jenney
This was a wonderful garden: yet nothing therein was strange. Instead, it seemed that everything hereabouts was heart-breakingly familiar and very dear to Jurgen. For he had come to a broad lawn which slanted northward to a well-remembered brook: and multitudinous maples and locust-trees stood here and there, irregularly, and were being played with very lazily by an irresolute west wind, so that foliage seemed to toss and ripple everywhere like green spray: but autumn was at hand, for the locust-trees were dropping a Danae's shower of small round yellow leaves. Around the garden was an unforgotten circle of blue hills. And this was a place of lucent twilight, unlit by either sun or stars, and with no shadows anywhere in the diffused faint radiancy that revealed this garden, which is not visible to any man except in the brief interval between dawn and sunrise.

~ James Branch Cabell, Jurgen

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Higher Man

Antelope Canyon by Mike Erwin
The Higher Man has [the following] things which are subjects with him of thoughtful consideration. In regard to the use of his eyes he is anxious to see clearly. In regard to his countenance he is anxious that it should be benign. In regard to his demeanor he is anxious that it should be respectful. In regard to his speech he is anxious that it should be sincere. In regard to his doing of business he is anxious that it should be reverently careful. In regard to what he doubts about he is anxious to question others. When he is angry, he thinks of the difficulties his anger may involve him in. When he sees gain to be got he thinks of righteousness.

~ Confucius

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

April Rain

Laughter in the Rain by Wenata Babkowski
April Rain Song

Let the rain kiss you
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops
Let the rain sing you a lullaby
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk
The rain makes running pools in the gutter
The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night
And I love the rain.

~ Langston Hughes

Monday, April 12, 2010

Jazz in HOT space! Big Frank Gambale on guitar.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Fasting of the Heart

Window of Dreams by Diane Romanello
Look at this window: it is nothing but a hole in the wall, but because of it the whole room is full of light. So when the faculties are empty, the heart is full of light. Being full of light it becomes an influence by which others are secretly transformed.

~ Chuang Tzu

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Novel thinking

chapter of my life, Menachem Krinsky
In reading a novel, any novel, we have to know perfectly well that the whole thing is nonsense, and then, while reading, believe every word of it. Finally, when we're done with it, we may find--if it's a good novel--that we're a bit different from what we were before we read it, that we have been changed a little, as if by having met a new face, crossed a street we never crossed before.

~ Ursula K. Le Guin

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Mahler Third

Monday, April 5, 2010

Home is the sailor. . .

A Hopeless Dawn (1888) by Frank Bramley

A Hopeless Dawn by Frank Bramley


UNDER the wide and starry sky
Dig the grave and let me lie:
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he long'd to be;
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.

~ Robert Louis Stevenson

(Thank you Thomas S. Monson)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter! ("with healing in His wings")

Resurrection by Josh Wentz
Easter Wings

Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store,
Though foolishly he lost the same,
Decaying more and more,
Till he became
Most poore:
With thee
Oh let me rise
As larks, harmoniously,
And sing this day thy victories:
Then shall the fall further the flight in me.

My tender age in sorrow did beginne:
And still with sicknesses and shame
Thou didst so punish sinne,
That I became
Most thinne.
With thee
Let me combine
And feel this day thy victorie:
For, if I imp my wing on thine
Affliction shall advance the flight in me.

~ George Herbert

Saturday, April 3, 2010

"I believe while I tremble; I trust while I weep."

stairs by Diana Claxton
"Courage, Lucy Snowe! With self-denial and economy now, and steady exertion by-and-by, an object in life need not fail you. Venture not to complain that such an object is too selfish, too limited, and lacks interest; be content to labour for independence until you have proved, by winning that prize, your right to look higher. But afterwards, is there nothing more for me in life--no true home--nothing to be dearer to me than myself, and by its paramount preciousness, to draw from me better things than I care to culture for myself only? Nothing, at whose feet I can willingly lay down the whole burden of human egotism, and gloriously take up the nobler charge of labouring and living for others? I suppose, Lucy Snowe, the orb of your life is not to be so rounded: for you, the crescent-phase must suffice. Very good. I see a huge mass of my fellow-creatures in no better circumstances. I see that a great many men, and more women, hold their span of life on conditions of denial and privation. I find no reason why I should be of the few favoured. I believe in some blending of hope and sunshine sweetening the worst lots. I believe that this life is not all; neither the beginning nor the end. I believe while I tremble; I trust while I weep."

So this subject is done with. It is right to look our life-accounts bravely in the face now and then, and settle them honestly. And he is a poor self-swindler who lies to himself while he reckons the items, and sets down under the head--happiness that which is misery. Call anguish--anguish, and despair--despair; write both down in strong characters with a resolute pen: you will the better pay your debt to Doom. Falsify: insert "privilege" where you should have written "pain;" and see if your mighty creditor will allow the fraud to pass, or accept the coin with which you would cheat him. Offer to the strongest--if the darkest angel of God's host--water, when he has asked blood--will he take it? Not a whole pale sea for one red drop. I settled another account.

~ Charlotte Bronte, Villette

Friday, April 2, 2010

Bach - St Matthew Passion

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Keen lessons

Winter Symphony Illustrated Fine Art
Neutral Tones

We stood by a pond that winter day,
And the sun was white, as though chidden of God,
And a few leaves lay on the starving sod,
--They had fallen from an ash, and were gray.

Your eyes on me were as eyes that rove
Over tedious riddles solved years ago;
And some words played between us to and fro--
On which lost the more by our love.

The smile on your mouth was the deadest thing
Alive enough to have strength to die;
And a grin of bitterness swept thereby
Like an ominous bird a-wing….

Since then, keen lessons that love deceives,
And wrings with wrong, have shaped to me
Your face, and the God-curst sun, and a tree,
And a pond edged with grayish leaves.

~ Thomas Hardy

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