Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter 1916

Easter, 1916 - William Butler Yeats

I have met them at close of day
Coming with vivid faces
From counter or desk among grey
Eighteenth-century houses.
I have passed with a nod of the head
Or polite meaningless words,
Or have lingered awhile and said
Polite meaningless words,
And thought before I had done
Of a mocking tale or a gibe
To please a companion
Around the fire at the club,
Being certain that they and I
But lived where motley is worn:
All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

That woman's days were spent
In ignorant good-will,
Her nights in argument
Until her voice grew shrill.
What voice more sweet than hers
When, young and beautiful,
She rode to harriers?
This man had kept a school
And rode our winged horse;
This other his helper and friend
Was coming into his force;
He might have won fame in the end,
So sensitive his nature seemed,
So daring and sweet his thought.
This other man I had dreamed
A drunken, vainglorious lout.
He had done most bitter wrong
To some who are near my heart,
Yet I number him in the song;
He, too, has resigned his part
In the casual comedy;
He, too, has been changed in his turn,
Transformed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

Hearts with one purpose alone
Through summer and winter seem
Enchanted to a stone
To trouble the living stream.
The horse that comes from the road.
The rider, the birds that range
From cloud to tumbling cloud,
Minute by minute they change;
A shadow of cloud on the stream
Changes minute by minute;
A horse-hoof slides on the brim,
And a horse plashes within it;
The long-legged moor-hens dive,
And hens to moor-cocks call;
Minute by minute they live:
The stone's in the midst of all.

Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.
O when may it suffice?
That is Heaven's part, our part
To murmur name upon name,
As a mother names her child
When sleep at last has come
On limbs that had run wild.
What is it but nightfall?
No, no, not night but death;
Was it needless death after all?
For England may keep faith
For all that is done and said.
We know their dream; enough
To know they dreamed and are dead;
And what if excess of love
Bewildered them till they died?
I write it out in a verse -
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

A Primer of the Daily Round

A Primer of the Daily Round - by Howard Nemerov

A peels an apple, while B kneels to God,
C telephones to D, who has a hand
On E's knee, F coughs, G turns up the sod
For H's grave, I do not understand
But J is bringing one clay pigeon down
While K brings down a nightstick on L's head,
And M takes mustard, N drives into town,
O goes to bed with P, and Q drops dead,
R lies to S, but happens to be heard
By T, who tells U not to fire V
For having to give W the word
That X is now deceiving Y with Z,
Who happens just now to remember A
Peeling an apple somewhere far away.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I have been giving thought, Lord

I have been giving thought, Lord
-- you have a minute? - to getting old.
Natural enough, as the years pass.
DO the years pass more quickly, Lord?
Whatever happened to those longer
years we used to have?
Did you discontinue them? To speed up
the process, sort of? To replace us faster?
Hoping for improvement in the product?

However, getting old. Subject for today
- and I'm not talking about staying young.
Indeed not; I was young once and
wasn't mad on it. But to continue.
Getting old, a fellow said, is all in the mnd.
True. It's also inclined to get into the joints,
the digestion, and the poor old feet.
Spectacles appear, then a second pair.
Certain powers wane. Expected; allowed for.
But the fellow's right, or nearly right.

Now, Lord. To the point.
What if the mind gets stiff in the joints?
Where are you then?

What if the mind goes lame, needs two
pairs of specs?
Then it would seem, a person's got trouble.
I mean, if the mind is in charge, and
starts taking days off; loses grip.
Where are you then?
Seems it's time for a person to shut the office.

So, Lord, please, keep me young in the mind.
Let me enjoy, Lord, let me enjoy.
If creaky I must be, and many-spectacled,
And morning-stiff and food-careful,
If trembly-handed and slow-moving and
breath-short and head-noddy,
I won't complain. Not a word.
If, with your help, dear Friend, there
will dwell in this ancient monument,
A Young Mind. Please, Lord?

Candida Lund

Saturday, March 1, 2008

You Must Believe in Spring

I'm "cheating" a tad too, since these are song lyrics. The music is haunting and beautiful, I've linked a sample below the lyrics.

Music by Michael Legrand,
Lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman

When lonely feelings chill
The meadows of your mind,
Just think if Winter comes,
Can Spring be far behind?

Beneath the deepest snows,
The secret of a rose
Is merely that it knows
You must believe in Spring!

Just as a tree is sure
Its leaves will reappear;
It knows its emptiness
Is just the time of year

The frozen mountain dreams
Of April's melting streams,
How crystal clear it seems,
You must believe in Spring!

You must believe in love
And trust it's on its way,
Just as the sleeping rose
Awaits the kiss of May

So in a world of snow,
Of things that come and go,
Where what you think you know,
You can't be certain of,
You must believe in Spring

and love

March: An Ode

"Ere frost-flower and snow-blossom faded and fell,
and the splendor of winter had passed out of sight,
The ways of the woodlands were fairer and stranger
than dreams that fulfill us in sleep with delight;
The breath of the mouths of the winds had hardened on tree-tops
and branches that glittered and swayed
Such wonders and glories of blossom like snow
or of frost that outlightens all flowers till it fade
That the sea was not lovelier than here was the land,
nor the night than the day, nor the day than the night,
Nor the winter sublimer with storm than the spring:
such mirth had the madness and might in thee made,
March, master of winds, bright minstrel and marshal of storms
that enkindle the season they smite."
- Algernon C. Swinburne, March: An Ode

Visual Poetry

Jesus falls a third time

These stations of the cross are so close to poetry, that I had to add a link

Don Merserve's Stations of the Cross at NYC's Trinity Church

Also featured in the NY Times 3/1/08