To all the things we are not remembered by,
Which we remember and bless. To all the things
That will not notice when we die,
Yet lend the passing moment words and wings.
– Louis Macneice
366 complete. My heartfelt thanks to my “cloud of witnesses”.
Fanfare for the Makers.
Beauty is but a flower
Which wrinkles will devour;
Brightness falls from the air;
Queens have died young and fair.
– Thomas Nashe
A Litany in Time of Plague.
The sunlight on the garden
Hardens and grows cold,
We cannot cage the minute
Within its nets of gold;
When all is told
We cannot beg for pardon.
– Louis Macneice
The Sunlight on the Garden.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.
– T.S. Eliot
Start off the year on a bit of nonsense: The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter…
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.
I wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year. And of course what this particular rose is named for: Peace.
Über allen Gipfeln
In allen Wipfeln
Kaum einen Hauch;
Die Vögelein schweigen im Walde.
Warte nur, balde
Ruhest du auch.
Over mountain peaks
In the tree-tops
No breath carries
Birds in the forest are still.
Wait, for you will
Soon sleep too.
Perhaps Goethe’s most famous poem. First reading it in school, I wasn’t impressed. A year or so later, I was gripped by it’s icy imagery.
A ragged urchin, aimless and alone,
Loitered about that vacancy; a bird
Flew up to safety from his well-aimed stone:
That girls are raped, that two boys knife a third,
Were axioms to him, who’d never heard
Of any world where promises were kept,
Or one could weep because another wept.
The thin-lipped armourer,
Hephaestos, hobbled away,
Thetis of the shining breasts
Cried out in dismay
At what the god had wrought
To please her son, the strong
Iron-hearted man-slaying Achilles
Who would not live long.
– W.H. Auden
From The Shield of Achilles.
I’m on holiday, and away from the net. I’ve scheduled some posts, mostly poetry. I hope you recognise some old favourites, or discover new ones.
‘Tis the last rose of summer, left blooming alone.
All her lovely companions are faded and gone.
No flower of her kindred, no rosebud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes and give sigh for sigh.
– Thomas Moore
More snow. Seems like winter is getting a foot in the door…
Listen to an ethereal recording of the poem set to music here.
i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
– e.e. cummings
The Travel Theme: Bright, and the Jake’s Sunday Post Challenge: Wonderful.
How sweet I roam’d from field to field,
And tasted all the summer’s pride,
‘Till I the prince of love beheld,
Who in the sunny beams did glide!
He shew’d me lilies for my hair,
And blushing roses for my brow;
He led me through his gardens fair,
Where all his golden pleasures grow.
– William Blake
(Song: How sweet…)
and the beautiful
Have no enemy
– William Butler Yeats
I do not know what is the reason
Why I am feeling so sad;
There is a fairy tale ancient
That haunts me since I was a lad.
The air is cool, darkness is falling,
Peacefully flows the Rhine,
The top of the mountain is glittering
In the evening sunshine.
The loveliest maiden is sitting
In singular beauty up there;
Her jewels of gold are shining,
She is combing her golden hair.
She sings a song while she is holding
A comb of glittering gold:
Her song it is so entrancing,
Its melody wondrous and bold.
The boatman below on the river
Is gripped by a feeling of woe
He looks to the cliff top to see her
And not at the rocks below.
I believe the waves will crash over
Boatman and boat leaving none.
And this is what with her singing
Fair Lore-Ley has done.
Ich weiß nicht was soll es bedeuten,
Dass ich so traurig bin;
Ein Märchen aus alten Zeiten,
Das kommt mir nicht aus dem Sinn.
Die Luft ist kühl und es dunkelt,
Und ruhig fließt der Rhein;
Der Gipfel des Berges funkelt
Die schönste Jungfrau sitzet
Dort oben wunderbar;
Ihr goldnes Geschmeide blitzet,
Sie kämmt ihr goldenes Haar.
Sie kämmt es mit goldenem Kamme
Und singt ein Lied dabei;
Das hat eine wundersame,
Den Schiffer im kleinen Schiffe
Ergreift es mit wildem Weh;
Er schaut nicht die Felsenriffe,
Er schaut nur hinauf in die Höh.
Ich glaube, die Wellen verschlingen
Am Ende Schiffer und Kahn;
Und das hat mit ihrem Singen
Die Lore-Ley getan.
– Heinrich Heine
Glimpsed from the train (Mainz-Koblenz): the Lorelei cliff at km 555 of the Rhine from upstream(top) and downstream.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
– Robert Frost
Wave upon wave like a sea’s green shallows
Or perhaps his own high hopes had made
The wizened look tall.
Walking in the fields taking photos for the “Today” challenge, I suddenly saw the “waves” and the “sea’s green shallows”, and realised I’d never seen it like that before. Is it perhaps the value of poetry, that it lets you see things differently?
“A Failure” by C. Day-Lewis (
O, that strange English habit of naming the eras for sovereigns
– Who knows when they reigned, with reigns of irregular lengths –
Like furlongs and Fahrenheit, barrels and sea-miles and guineas,
In a trunk full of memorabilia gathering dust.
So this is the age of Elizabeth, too, not-the-virgin,
With her handbag, her hat, and her signature pair of white gloves,
Her eyes straight ahead, turned away from her family’s follies,
Remote from the world of today, maybe sovereign, but lost.
A Chesterton figure, dignified, ancient, and quaint,
Who says “Lost? …but I’m here!”
Or maybe: “Where else would I be?”
This week’s 100wcgu was to write a poem prompted by the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.