Saturday, December 17, 2016
From Quentin Durward, by Walter Scott
"When I reflect with what slow and limited supplies the stream of science hath hitherto descended to us, how difficult to be obtained by those most ardent in its search, how certain to be neglected by all who regard their ease; how liable to be diverted, altogether dried up, by the invasions of barbarism; can I look forward without wonder and astonishment to the lot of a succeeding generation on whom knowledge will descend like the first and second rain, uninterrupted, unabated, unbounded; fertilizing some grounds, and overflowing others; changing the whole form of social life; establishing and overthrowing religions; erecting and destroying kingdoms."
From Chapter 13, The Journey
Friday, December 16, 2016
From Collected Poems, by Mark Strand
FROM THE LONG SAD PARTY
Someone was saying
something about shadows covering the field, about
how things pass, how one sleeps towards morning
and the morning goes.
Someone was saying
how the wind dies down but comes back,
how shells are the coffins of wind
but the weather continues.
It was a long night
and someone said something about the moon shedding its
on the cold field, that there was nothing ahead
but more of the same.
a city she had been in before the war, a room with two
against a wall, someone dancing, someone watching.
We began to believe
the night would not end.
Someone was saying the music was over and no one had
Then someone said something about the planets, about the
how small they were, how far away.
Thursday, December 15, 2016
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
From Moby Dick, by Herman Melville
"And here, shipmates, is true and faithful repentance; not clamorous for pardon, but grateful for punishment."
From Chapter IX, the Sermon
Monday, December 12, 2016
Sunday, December 11, 2016
Saturday, December 10, 2016
From The Simone Weil Reader, edited by George A. Panichas
"At the bottom of the heart of every human being, from earliest infancy until the tomb, there is something that goes on indomitably expecting, in the teeth of all experience of crimes committed, suffered and witnessed, that good and not evil will be done to him. It is this above all that is sacred in every human being."
From Human Personality
Friday, December 9, 2016
From The Cocktail Party, by T. S. Eliot
"I must tell you that I should really like to think there's something wrong with me- Because, if there isn't, then there's something wrong with the world itself-and that's much more frightening! That would be terrible. So I'd rather believe there is something wrong with me, that could be put right."
From page 132
Thursday, December 8, 2016
“My dear friend, clear your mind of cant. You may talk as other people do: you may say to a man, "Sir, I am your most humble servant." You are not his most humble servant. You may say, "These are bad times; it is a melancholy thing to be reserved to such times." You don't mind the times ... You may talk in this manner; it is a mode of talking in Society; but don't think foolishly.”
From Volume 4
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
From E. E. Cummings: Complete Poems 1904 - 1962, edited by George James Firmage
my father moved through dooms of love
through sames of am through haves of give,
singing each morning out of each night
my father moved through depths of height
this motionless forgetful where
turned at his glance to shining here;
that if(so timid air is firm)
under his eyes would stir and squirm
newly as from unburied which
floats the first who,his april touch
drove sleeping selves to swarm their fates
woke dreamers to their ghostly roots
and should some why completely weep
my father's fingers brought her sleep:
vainly no smallest voice might cry
for he could feel the mountains grow.
Lifting the valleys of the sea
my father moved through griefs of joy;
praising a forehead called the moon
singing desire into begin
joy was his song and joy so pure
a heart of star by him could steer
and pure so now and now so yes
the wrists of twilight would rejoice
keen as midsummer's keen beyond
conceiving mind of sun will stand,
so strictly(over utmost him
so hugely) stood my father's dream
his flesh was flesh his blood was blood:
no hungry man but wished him food;
no cripple wouldn't creep one mile
uphill to only see him smile.
Scorning the Pomp of must and shall
my father moved through dooms of feel;
his anger was as right as rain
his pity was as green as grain
septembering arms of year extend
yes humbly wealth to foe and friend
than he to foolish and to wise
offered immeasurable is
proudly and(by octobering flame
beckoned)as earth will downward climb,
so naked for immortal work
his shoulders marched against the dark
his sorrow was as true as bread:
no liar looked him in the head;
if every friend became his foe
he'd laugh and build a world with snow.
My father moved through theys of we,
singing each new leaf out of each tree
(and every child was sure that spring
danced when she heard my father sing)
then let men kill which cannot share,
let blood and flesh be mud and mire,
scheming imagine,passion willed,
freedom a drug that's bought and sold
giving to steal and cruel kind,
a heart to fear,to doubt a mind,
to differ a disease of same,
conform the pinnacle of am
though dull were all we taste as bright,
bitter all utterly things sweet,
maggoty minus and dumb death
all we inherit,all bequeath
and nothing quite so least as truth
--i say though hate were why men breathe--
because my Father lived his soul
love is the whole and more than all
Monday, December 5, 2016
From The Poems of Sarah Teasdale
Fairy snow, fairy snow,
Blowing, blowing everywhere,
Would that I
Too, could fly
Lightly, lightly through the air.
Like a wee, crystal star
I should drift, I should blow
Near, more near,
To my dear
Where he comes through the snow.
I should fly to my love
Like a flake in the storm,
I should die,
I should die,
On his lips that are warm.
Sunday, December 4, 2016
From The Collected Poems, by Sylvia Plath
THE SNOWMAN ON THE MOOR
Stalemated their armies stood, with tottering banners:
She flung from a room
Still ringing with bruit of insults and dishonors
And in fury left him
Glowering at the coal-fire: ‘Come find me'—her last taunt.
He did not come
But sat on, guarding his grim battlement.
By the doorstep
Her winter-beheaded daisies, marrowless, gaunt,
Warned her to keep
Indoors with politic goodwill, not haste
Into a landscape
Of stark wind-harrowed hills and weltering mist;
But from the house
She stalked intractable as a driven ghost
Across moor snows
Pocked by rock-claw and rabbit-track: she must yet win
Him to his knees—
Let him send police and hounds to bring her in.
Nursing her rage
Through bare whistling heather, over stiles of black stone,
To the world's white edge
She came, and called hell to subdue an unruly man
And join her siege.
It was no fire-blurting fork-tailed demon
From marble snow-heap of moor to ride that woman
With spur and knout
Down from pride's size: instead, a grisly-thewed,
Giant heaved into the distance, stone-hatcheted,
Sky-high, and snow
Floured his whirling beard, and at his tread
Ambushed birds by
Dozens dropped dead in the hedges: o she felt
No love in his eye,
Worse—saw dangling from that spike-studded belt
Ladies' sheaved skulls:
Mournfully the dry tongues clacked their guilt:
‘Our wit made fools
Of kings, unmanned kings' sons: our masteries
Amused court halls:
For that brag, we barnacle these iron thighs.'
Throned in the thick
Of a blizzard, the giant roared up with his chittering trophies.
From brunt of axe-crack
She shied sideways: a white fizz! and the giant, pursuing,
Crumbled to smoke.
Humbled then, and crying,
The girl bent homeward, brimful of gentle talk
And mild obeying.
Saturday, December 3, 2016
Friday, December 2, 2016
From Last and Lost Poems, by Delmore Schwartz
Old man in the crystal morning after snow,
Your throat swathed in a muffler, your bent
Figure building the snow man which is meant
For the grandchild's target,
do you know
This fat cartoon, his eyes pocked in with coal
Nears you each time your breath smokes the air,
Lewdly grinning out of a private nightmare?
He is the white cold shadow of your soul.
You build his comic head, you place his comic hat;
Old age is not so serious, and I
By the window sad and watchful as a cat,
Build to this poem of old age and of snow,
And weep: you are my snow man and I know
I near you, you near him, all of us must die.
Thursday, December 1, 2016
From Wayward Heroes, by Halldor Laxness, translated by Philip Roughton
“The night passes like any other, and the day dawns over the forest of Rouen. Þorgeir Hávarsson is woken from sleep by a huge flock of sheep trampling him where he lies.”
From Chapter 29