Saturday, April 25, 2015

For The Fallen

For The Fallen - Laurence Binyon

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.


They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

This is one of the most famous and enduring war poems, and it was written at an historic moment … just after the retreat from Mons and the victory of the Marne.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

WILD GEESE

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Listen to Mary read Wild Geese

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Non Sum Qualis Eram Bonae Sub Regno Cynarae

I have forgot much, Cynara! gone with the wind,
Flung roses, roses riotously with the throng,
Dancing, to put thy pale, lost lilies out of mind;
But I was desolate and sick of an old passion,
Yea, all the time, because the dance was long:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.

I cried for madder music and for stronger wine,
But when the feast is finished and the lamps expire,
Then falls thy shadow, Cynara! the night is thine;
And I am desolate and sick of an old passion,
Yea, hungry for the lips of my desire:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Frank Stanford


 A body with very few clothes
An old radio
Some apples
You get to eat
as many slices of bacon as you want
the morning of a home game
The way his sweater smells
It gets so hot it smokes
After awhile
just when Sam Cooke’s new song
comes on
Worms and a homely girl from Texas
who can read quicker than you
Good marks
and a lost crop
like a whole season
that passed without a letter
from my brother.

Frank Stanford

The singer Lucinda Williams, a lover of Frank, wrote this song about him
Lyrics to Pineola 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Shakespeare

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing. (Macbeth, Act V, Scene v)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Endymion Excerpt - John Keats

From Endymion Book I

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases, it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o’er-darkened ways
Made of our searching; yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits.

Excerpt from "Endymion" Book I by John Keats.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Really Eternal City

Really Eternal City by George Bilgere

After we’d walked for at least an hour,
heading toward the Vatican
on a broiling August day,
I began thinking about how long
the tour we’d signed up for was going to be,
and how many sacred things would be on view,
and how much complicated information
the guide would tell us about the ancient paintings
and Roman numerals and relics
and tombs and holy knuckle bones.

I knew it would all kind of just melt together
and congeal into one big lumpen mass
of guilt and suffering and miracles
and gloomy old men in sandals.

And as I was thinking this
we were passing through a shady little square
where a couple of bare-breasted marble nymphs
were playing in the fountain,
and there were no tour guides anywhere,
there was no suffering or crucifixions,
nor was there even one important name or date
I would have to try to remember.

And the cheap red wine at the sidewalk ristorante
where we ended up spending the afternoon
instead of going to the Vatican
was wonderful, even miraculous,
as was the spaghetti bolognese.

“Really Eternal City” by George Bilgere. © George Bilgere. Reprinted with permission of the author