Discussion in 'The Reading Room' started by Harp, Oct 17, 2010.

  1. JazzyDame

    JazzyDame One of the Regulars


    Ode to a Nightingale by John Keats

    My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
    My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
    Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
    One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
    ‘Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
    But being too happy in thine happiness, -
    That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees,
    In some melodious plot
    Of beechen green and shadows numberless,
    Singest of summer in full-throated ease.

    O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been
    Cool’d a long age in the deep-delved earth,
    Tasting of Flora and the country green,
    Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth!
    O for a beaker full of the warm South,
    Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
    With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
    And purple-stained mouth;
    That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
    And with thee fade away into the forest dim:

    Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
    What thou among the leaves hast never known,
    The weariness, the fever, and the fret
    Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
    Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,
    Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
    Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
    And leaden-eyed despairs,
    Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
    Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.

    Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
    Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
    But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
    Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:
    Already with thee! tender is the night,
    And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
    Cluster’d around by all her starry Fays;
    But here there is no light,
    Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
    Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.

    I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
    Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
    But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet
    Wherewith the seasonable month endows
    The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
    White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
    Fast fading violets cover’d up in leaves;
    And mid-May’s eldest child,
    The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
    The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.

    Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
    I have been half in love with easeful Death,
    Call’d him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
    To take into the air my quiet breath;
    Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
    To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
    While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
    In such an ecstasy!
    Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain -
    To thy high requiem become a sod.

    Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
    No hungry generations tread thee down;
    The voice I hear this passing night was heard
    In ancient days by emperor and clown:
    Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
    Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
    She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
    The same that oft-times hath
    Charm’d magic casements, opening on the foam
    Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.

    Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
    To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
    Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
    As she is fam’d to do, deceiving elf.
    Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
    Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
    Up the hill-side; and now ‘tis buried deep
    In the next valley-glades:
    Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
    Fled is that music: - Do I wake or sleep?
  2. Borscht

    Borscht New in Town

    Boston Proper
    Gents, I found mine, hope you find yours as well.

    As the tide went out she found him
    Lashed to a spar of Despair,
    The wreck of his Ship around him--
    The wreck of his Dreams in the air;
    Found him and loved him and gathered
    The soul of him close to her heart--
    The soul that had sailed an uncharted sea,
    The soul that had sought to win and be free--
    The soul of which _she_ was part!
    And there in the dusk she cried to the man,
    'Win your battle--you can, you can!'

    Broken by Fate, unrelenting,
    Scarred by the lashings of Chance;
    Bitter his heart--unrepenting--
    Hardened by Circumstance;
    Shadowed by Failure ever,
    Cursing, he would have died,
    But the touch of her hand, her strong warm hand,
    And her love of his soul, took full command,
    Just at the turn of the tide!
    Standing beside him, filled with trust,
    'Win!' she whispered, 'you must, you must!'

    Helping and loving and guiding,
    Urging when that were best,
    Holding her fears in hiding
    Deep in her quiet breast;
    This is the woman who kept him
    True to his standards lost,
    When, tossed in the storm and stress of strife,
    He thought himself through with the game of life
    And ready to pay the cost.
    Watching and guarding, whispering still,
    'Win you can--and you will, you will!'

    This is the story of ages,
    This is the Woman's way;
    Wiser than seers or sages,
    Lifting us day by day;
    Facing all things with a courage
    Nothing can daunt or dim,
    Treading Life's path, wherever it leads--
    Lined with flowers or choked with weeds,
    But ever with him--with him!
    Guidon--comrade--golden spur--
    The men who win are helped by _her_!

    Somewhere she waits, strong in belief, your soul in her firm, white hands:
    Thank well the gods, when she comes to you--the Woman Who Understands!

    Everard Jack Appleton
  3. John Boyer

    John Boyer A-List Customer

    Kingman, Kansas USA
    Matthew Arnold, romantically describing the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland:

    Hark! the wind rushes past us!
    Ah! with that let me go.

    There to watch, o'er the sunk vale
    The frore mountain-wall,
    Where the niched snow-bed sprays down
    Its powdery fall.
    There its dusky blue clusters
    The aconite spreads;
    There the pines slope, the cloud-strips
    Hung soft in their heads.
    No life but, at moments,
    The mountain-bee's hum.
    --I come, O ye mountains!
    Ye pine-woods, I come!

    -Matthew Arnold [excerpt from "Parting"]
  4. ^^Borscht, thanks for posting that! And I'm glad that you've found yours...
  5. John Boyer

    John Boyer A-List Customer

    Kingman, Kansas USA
    Dead Cleopatra lies in a crystal casket,
    Wrapped and spiced by the cunningest of hands.
    Around her neck they have put a golden necklace,
    Her tatbebs, it is said, are worn with sands.

    Dead Cleopatra was once revered in Egypt,
    Warm-eyed she was, this princess of the South.
    Now she is old and dry and faded,
    With black bitumen they have sealed up her mouth.

    O sweet clean earth, from whom the green blade cometh!
    When we are dead, my best belovèd and I,
    Close well above us, that we may rest forever,
    Sending up grass and blossoms to the sky.

    -Conrad Aikens [Excerpt from Discordant]
  6. John Boyer

    John Boyer A-List Customer

    Kingman, Kansas USA
    A case of contradictories, both of them true.
    There is a God, There is no God.
    Where is the problem? I am quite sure that
    there is a God in the sense that I am
    sure my love is no illusion. I am quite sure
    there is no God, in the sense that I am sure
    there is nothing which resembles what
    I can conceive when I say that word.

    --Simone Weil
  7. DavidJones

    DavidJones One of the Regulars

    C.P. Cavafy, Thermopylae
    Honor is due to those who are keeping watch,
    Sentinels guarding their own Thermopylae;
    Never distracted from what is right to do,
    And right to be; in all things virtuous,
    But never so hardened by virtue as not to be

    Compassionate, available to pity;
    Generous if they’re rich, but generous too,
    Doing whatever they can, if they are poor;
    Always true to the truth, no matter what,
    But never scornful of those who have to lie.

    Even more honor is due when, keeping watch,
    They see that the time will come when Ephialtes
    Will tell the secret to the Medes and they
    Will know the way to get in through the goat-path.
  8. Locrian

    Locrian New in Town

    The Pentaverse
    The Silence of Night

    The clock kisses you, surprised.
    It is welcome.
    Dreams have not yet begun to float upward
    darkening in the developing tray, like a mystery.
    That always comes later, at four in the morning,
    when everything is grasped at once
    along with the fear.

    A black space breathes on the stars, kindles them
    into a kind of life.
    The ghosts gather around you, invite you
    to blow them out.
    `Make a wish', they say. I can do nothing but.
    The silence of night…

    … is broken only by one animal killing another.

  9. John Boyer

    John Boyer A-List Customer

    Kingman, Kansas USA
    Saddened to learn of the passing of Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney, noted once by Robert Lowell as the “most important Irish poet since Yeats."

    After "L'Aquilone" by Giovanni Pascoli (1855-1912)

    Air from another life and time and place,
    Pale blue heavenly air is supporting
    A white wing beating high against the breeze,

    And yes, it is a kite! As when one afternoon
    All of us there trooped out
    Among the briar hedges and stripped thorn,

    I take my stand again, halt opposite
    Anahorish Hill to scan the blue,
    Back in that field to launch our long-tailed comet.

    And now it hovers, tugs, veers, dives askew,
    Lifts itself, goes with the wind until
    It rises to loud cheers from us below.

    Rises, and my hand is like a spindle
    Unspooling, the kite a thin-stemmed flower
    Climbing and carrying, carrying farther, higher

    The longing in the breast and planted feet
    And gazing face and heart of the kite flier
    Until string breaks and—separate, elate—

    The kite takes off, itself alone, a windfall.

    - Seamus Heaney (4/13/39 – 8/30/13)

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