We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Saturday, April 12. 2014
Hours before dawn we were woken by the quake.
And far too large for my feet to step by.
It seemed quite safe till she got up and dressed.
The language problem but you have to try.
None of these deaths were her point at all.
I slept, and blank as that I would yet lie.
Tell me again about Europe and her pains,
A bedshift flight to a Far Eastern sky.
Tell me more quickly what I lost by this,
But as to risings, I can tell you why.
The poem is partly about WW2, I think. An "aubade" is a lyric poem about lovers separating at dawn. Sir William Empson, a poet and great literary critic, wrote the fascinating and masterful 7 Types of Ambiguity (when he was 21), which I recommend to anyone who enjoys language and writing.
Saturday, April 5. 2014
ELEGY WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY CHURCH-YARD
The rest of the poem is below the fold. Dalrymple recently discussed Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey)
Continue reading "Saturday Verse: Thomas Grey (1717-1771)"
Saturday, March 15. 2014
The evening comes, the fields are still
Part II (below) is even better
Continue reading "Saturday Verse: Matthew Arnold (1822-1888)"
Saturday, March 8. 2014
My Mistress' Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Saturday, March 1. 2014
To A Skylark
Hail to thee blithe spirit!
Higher still and higher
Continue reading "Saturday Verse: Percy Bysshe Shelley "
Saturday, February 22. 2014
A Lady at her Mirror (Translated by Len Krisak)
As spices blend into her sleeping-drink,
Krisak's translations often appear in The New English Review, with this: Len Krisak has published in The London Magazine, The Oxonian Review, PN Review, Standpoint, Agni, The Antioch Review, The Sewanee Review, The Hudson Review, The Dark Horse, Agenda, The Hopkins Review, Commonweal, Literary Imagination, The Oxford Book of Poems on Classical Mythology, and others. His latest book is Virgil’s Eclogues, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010. Forthcoming: The Carmina of Catullus, Carcanet Press, 2015, Afterimage, Measure Press, 2014, Rilke: New Poems, Boydell & Brewer, 2015 and Ovid: The Amores and The Ars Amatoria, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014.
Saturday, February 15. 2014
Saturday, February 8. 2014
On His Blindness
Milton's best-known sonnet (c. 1652) was written shortly after blindness overtook him. This poem is briefly but well-discussed here.
Saturday, February 1. 2014
Not but they die, the teasers and the dreams,
Continue reading "Saturday Verse: William Empson (1906-1984)"
Saturday, January 25. 2014
Dream Song 45: He stared at ruin
He stared at ruin. Ruin stared straight back.
Here's the wiki on Berryman.
Saturday, January 18. 2014
The House by the Side of the Road
There are hermit souls that live withdrawn
Let me live in a house by the side of the road,
I see from my house by the side of the road,
I know there are brook-gladdened meadows ahead
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
Sam Walter Foss (1858-1911) wrote plain verse for the "common man". Homey, corny, comfortably instructive stuff. In fact, for many years Foss turned out a poem a day for his local Somerville, MA newspaper. We recently saw a graveyard monument (1936) with "Let me live by the side of the road and be a friend to man." inscribed upon it.
Saturday, January 11. 2014
The Wood Pile
Out walking in the frozen swamp one grey day
Image is Robert Frost's New Hampshire farmhouse.
Saturday, January 4. 2014
The Sicilian Mariner's Prayer
O Sanctissima O Piissima
Tota pulchraes O Maria
Sicut lilium inter spinas
In miseria in angustia
Saturday, December 28. 2013
Saturday, December 21. 2013
Christmas Party at the South Danbury Church
Saturday, December 14. 2013
Death Of A Naturalist
Here are some memories of Heaney
Saturday, December 7. 2013
He wrote lots of poetry. This is a piece he wrote about the travails of painting the Sistine chapel ceiling:
I’ve already grown a goiter from this torture,
That is via Art Is Work. It Isn’t Theory. - Great masterpieces don't flow out without devotion and sacrifice.
Here's a fun essay: Was Michelangelo the first celebrity artist?
Probably was. Before the Renaissance, artists were artisans and nobody knew or cared who made the pretty pictures. Same with music too.
Saturday, November 23. 2013
Saturday, November 16. 2013
Excerpted from Thanatopsis:
So shalt thou rest- and what if thou withdraw
Read entire master work by the Massachusetts Berkshire poet below the fold.
Bryant is the man for whom NYC's Bryant Park was named, a lawyer-journalist-poet who turned the New York (Evening) Post into a Republican, abolitionist, pro-Lincoln and highly influential newspaper.
Continue reading "Saturday Verse: William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878). It's about death."
Saturday, November 9. 2013
If You Forget Me
I want you to know
You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.
If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.
if each day,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine
Saturday, November 2. 2013
It is impossible to make English sing like Italian, but people try:
Reading together one day for delight
What is sexier than studying with a gal in your dorm room? That's pretty much what they were doing.
Here's a good brief essay on Dante translations: Dante: The Most Vivid Version.
Image on top is Domenico di Michelino: Dante Reading from the ‘Divine Comedy,’ 1465. Note that the lantern on top of Brunelleschi's dome is completed.
Saturday, October 26. 2013
It's not because I knew you well or thought you faithful,
(Translated by T. Kline at this Catullus website.)
Saturday, October 19. 2013
By Carl H. Emmons (h/t American Digest)
Did you ever have a longin’ to get out and buck the trail,
Saturday, October 12. 2013
The River of Bees (from Merwin's The Second Four Books of Poems)
In a dream I returned to the river of bees
Soon it will be fifteen years
He was old he will have fallen into his eyes
I took my eyes
One of the ends is made of streets
Once once and once
He will have fallen into his mouth
I return to his voice rising like a forkful of hay
He was old he is not real nothing is real
We are the echo of the future
On the door it says what to do to survive
Saturday, September 28. 2013
Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard
The Curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade,
The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,
For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
The rest of his poem is below the fold -
Continue reading "Saturday Verse: Thomas Gray (1716-1771)"
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