Friday, March 11, 2016

Daily Dose


From The Collected Poetical Works of Algernon Charles Swinburne

TO DR. JOHN BROWN

BEYOND the north wind lay the land of old
Where men dwelt blithe and blameless, clothed and fed
With joy’s bright raiment and with love’s sweet bread,
The whitest flock of earth’s maternal fold.
None there might wear about his brows enrolled
A light of lovelier fame than rings your head,
Whose lovesome love of children and the dead
All men give thanks for: I far off behold
A dear dead hand that links us, and a light
The blithest and benignest of the night,
The night of death’s sweet sleep, wherein may be
A star to show your spirit in present sight
Some happier island in the Elysian sea
Where Rab may lick the hand of Marjorie.

From Sonnets

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Breakfast at the Bookstore with Brad and Nick #68

Daily Dose


from The Collected Poetical Works of Algernon Charles Swinburne

BEN JONSON

BROAD-BASED, broad-fronted, bounteous, multiform,
With many a valley impleached with ivy and vine,
Wherein the springs of all the streams run wine,
And many a crag full-faced against the storm,
The mountain where thy Muse’s feet made warm
Those lawns that revelled with her dance divine
Shines yet with fire as it was wont to shine
From tossing torches round the dance aswarm.

Nor less, high-stationed on the grey grave heights,
High-thoughted seers with heaven’s heart-kindling lights
Hold converse: and the herd of meaner things
Knows or by fiery scourge or fiery shaft
When wrath on thy broad brows has risen, and laughed,
Darkening thy soul with shadow of thunderous wings.

From Sonnets

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Caricature


Daily Dose


From The Collected Poetical Works of Algernon Charles Swinburne

ON LAMB'S SPECIMENS OF ENGLISH DRAMATIC POETS


I.

IF ALL the flowers of all the fields on earth
By wonder-working summer were made one,
Its fragrance were not sweeter in the sun,
Its treasure-house of leaves were not more worth
Than those wherefrom thy light of musing mirth
Shone, till each leaf whereon thy pen would run
Breathed life, and all its breath was benison.
Beloved beyond all names of English birth,
More dear than mightier memories; gentlest name
That ever clothed itself with flower-sweet fame,
Or linked itself with loftiest names of old
By right and might of loving; I, that am
Less than the least of those within thy fold,
Give only thanks for them to thee, Charles Lamb.



II.

So many a year had borne its own bright bees
And slain them since thy honey-bees were hived,
John Day, in cells of flower-sweet verse contrived
So well with craft of moulding melodies,
Thy soul perchance in amaranth fields at ease
Thought not to hear the sound on earth revived
Of summer music from the spring derived
When thy song sucked the flower of flowering trees
But thine was not the chance of every day:
Time, after many a darkling hour, grew sunny,
And light between the clouds ere sunset swam,
Laughing, and kissed their darkness all away,
When, touched and tasted and approved, thy honey
Took subtler sweetness from the lips of Lamb.

From Sonnets

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A Caricature


Daily Dose


From New and Collected Poems: 1931 - 2001, by Czeslaw Milosz

I SLEEP A LOT

I sleep a lot and read St. Thomas Aquinas
Or The Death of God (that's a Protestant book).
To the right the bay as if molten tin,
Beyond the bay, city, beyond the city, ocean,
Beyond the ocean, ocean, till Japan.
To the left dry hills with white grass,
Beyond the hills an irrigated valley where rice is grown,
Beyond the valley, mountains and Ponderosa pines,
Beyond the mountains, desert and sheep.

When I couldn't do without alcohol, I drove myself on alcohol,
When I couldn't do without cigarettes and coffee, I drove myself
On cigarettes and coffee.
I was courageous. Industrious. Nearly a model of virtue.
But that is good for nothing.

I feel a pain.
not here. Even I don't know.
many islands and continents,
words, bazaars, wooden flutes,
Or too much drinking to the mirror, without beauty,
Though one was to be a kind of archangel
Or a Saint George, over there, on St. George Street.
Please, Doctor,
Not here. No,
Maybe it's too
Unpronounced

Please, Medicine Man, I feel a pain.
I always believed in spells and incantations.
Sure, women have only one, Catholic, soul,
But we have two. When you start to dance
You visit remote pueblos in your sleep
And even lands you have never seen.
Put on, I beg you, charms made of feathers,
Now it's time to help one of your own.
I have read many books but I don't believe them.
When it hurts we return to the banks of certain rivers.

I remember those crosses with chiseled suns and moons
And wizards, how they worked during an outbreak of typhus.
Send your second soul beyond the mountains, beyond time.
Tell me what you saw, I will wait.