November 27, 2004

The Course of a Particular [Filed under: Stevens, Wallace]

The Course of a Particular

Today the leaves cry, hanging on branches swept by wind,
Yet the nothingness of winter becomes a little less.
It is still full of icy shades and shapen snow.

The leaves cry . . . One holds off and merely hears the cry.
It is a busy cry, concerning someone else.
And though one says that one is part of everything,

There is a conflict, there is a resistance involved;
And being part is an exertion that declines:
One feels the life of that which gives life as it is.

The leaves cry. It is not a cry of divine attention,
Nor the smoke-drift of puffed-out heroes, nor human cry.
It is the cry of leaves that do not transcend themselves,

In the absence of fantasia, without meaning more
Than they are in the final finding of the ear, in the thing
Itself, until, at last, the cry concerns no one at all.

No Comment [Filed under: Admin]

I realize this has absolutely no impact on anyone’s behaviour here, since very few comments have ever been posted, but due to a massive wave of comment spam I had to turn the comment feature off. Don’t be surprised if nobody comments on your posts—they can’t. I’m really very sorry; I just don’t have time to update WordPress and learn how to innoculate the site against all the people in the world who want to ruin the internet. So, until certain other countries start passing and enforcing laws to keep such idiots off the ‘net (I’m a-lookin’ at you Malaysia, and you too, Bulgaria, and don’t even think I didn’t notice you, China), comments here will be turned off.

November 21, 2004

The Flight of Language [Filed under: Merwin, W.S.]

The Flight of Language

Some of the leaves stay on all winter
and spring comes without knowing
whether there is suffering in them
or ever was
and what it is in the tongue they speak
that cannot be remembered by listening
for the whole time that they are on the tree
and then as they fly off with the air
that always through their lives was there

November 19, 2004

On Growing Old [Filed under: Masefield, John]

On Growing Old

Be with me, Beauty, for the fire is dying,
My dog and I are old, too old for roving,
Man, whose young passion sets the spindrift flying
Is soon too lame to march, too cold for loving.

I take the book and gather to the fire,
Turning old yellow leaves; minute by minute,
The clock ticks to my heart; a withered wire
Moves a thin ghost of music in the spinet.

I cannot sail your seas, I cannot wander
Your cornland, nor your hill-land, nor your valleys
Ever again, nor share the battle yonder
Where the young knight the broken squadron rallies.

Only stay quiet while my mind remembers
The beauty of fire from the beauty of embers.

Beauty, have pity! for the strong have power,
The rich their wealth, the beautiful their grace,
Summer of man its sunlight and its flower,
Spring-time of man, all April in a face.

Only, as in the jostling in the Strand,
Where the mob thrusts, or loiters, or is loud,
The beggar with the saucer in his hand
Asks only a penny from the passing crowd,

So, from this glittering world with all its fashion,
Its fire, and play of men, its stir, its march,
Let me have wisdom, Beauty, wisdom and passion,
Bread to the soul, rain when the summers parch.

Give me but these, and though the darkness close
Even the night will blossom as the rose.

November 13, 2004

The Stars at Tallapoosa [Filed under: Stevens, Wallace]

The Stars at Tallapoosa

The lines are straight and swift between the stars.
The night is not the cradle that they cry,
The criers, undulating the deep-oceaned phrase.
The lines are much too dark and much too sharp.

The mind herein attains simplicity.
There is no moon, on single, silvered leaf.
The body is no body to be seen
But is an eye that studies it’s black lid.

Let these be your delight, secretive hunter,
Wading the sea-lines, moist and ever-mingling,
Mounting the earth-lines, long and lax, lethargic.
These lines are swift and fall without diverging.

The melon-flower nor dew nor web of either
Is like to these. But in yourself is like:
A sheaf of brilliant arrows flying straight,
Flying and falling straightway for their pleasure,

Their pleasure that is all bright-edged and cold;
Or, if not arrows, then the nimblest motions,
Making recoveries of young nakedness
and the lost vehemence the midnights hold.