summer

summer

Reblogged from THE NOCTURNALS
Other slow arts entirely keep the brain,
And therefore, finding barren practisers, 
Scarce show a harvest of their heavy toil; 
But love, first learned in a lady’s eyes,
Lives not alone immured in the brain,
But, with the motion of all elements, 
Courses as swift as thought in every power,
And gives to every power a double power,
Above their functions and their offices.
It adds a precious seeing to the eye;
A lover’s eyes will gaze an eagle blind; 
A lover’s ear will hear the lowest sound,
When the suspicious head of theft is stopp’d:
Love’s feeling is more soft and sensible
Than are the tender horns of cockled snails:
Love’s tongue proves dainty Bacchus gross in taste.
For valour, is not Love a Hercules,
Still climbing trees in the Hesperides?
Subtle as Sphinx; as sweet and musical 
As bright Apollo’s lute, strung with his hair;
And when Love speaks, the voice of all the gods 
Makes heaven drowsy with the harmony. 

On the subject of colour, by Yannis Ritsos

No colours, he said - none… except, perhaps,
browns and greys and near-whites - ash-tones, sombre and tested,
But his open mouth showed red, and a lilac shadow lay on his underlip.

Translated by David Harsent

Arctic explorer and otherwise cool dude, Peter Freuchen (left) with pal Knud Rasmussen. Read more about his life here. 

Arctic explorer and otherwise cool dude, Peter Freuchen (left) with pal Knud Rasmussen. Read more about his life here

Winter feels like it’s almost behind us

But since it’s not yet, let’s hear what Emily Dickinson has to say about it.

———
There’s a certain Slant of light,
Winter Afternoons –
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes –

Heavenly Hurt, it gives us –
We can find no scar,
But internal difference –
Where the Meanings, are –

None may teach it – Any –
'Tis the seal Despair –
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the Air –

When it comes, the Landscape listens –
Shadows – hold their breath –
When it goes, ‘tis like the Distance
On the look of Death –

Photograph by Nina Leen

Photograph by Nina Leen

More Frost

The man is good. 

——

Love at the lips was touch 
As sweet as I could bear; 
And once that seemed too much; 
I lived on air 

That crossed me from sweet things, 
The flow of - was it musk 
From hidden grapevine springs 
Down hill at dusk? 

I had the swirl and ache 
From sprays of honeysuckle 
That when they’re gathered shake 
Dew on the knuckle. 

I craved strong sweets, but those 
Seemed strong when I was young; 
The petal of the rose 
It was that stung. 

Now no joy but lacks salt 
That is not dashed with pain 
And weariness and fault; 
I crave the stain 

Of tears, the aftermark 
Of almost too much love, 
The sweet of bitter bark 
And burning clove. 

When stiff and sore and scarred 
I take away my hand 
From leaning on it hard 
In grass and sand, 

The hurt is not enough: 
I long for weight and strength 
To feel the earth as rough 
To all my length. 

September 1, 1939 by W.H. Auden

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright 
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.  

Accurate scholarship can 
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.   

Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
About Democracy,
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analysed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again.  

Into this neutral air
Where blind skyscrapers use
Their full height to proclaim
The strength of Collective Man,
Each language pours its vain
Competitive excuse:
But who can live for long
In an euphoric dream;
Out of the mirror they stare,
Imperialism’s face
And the international wrong.  

Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire 
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.  

The windiest militant trash
Important Persons shout
Is not so crude as our wish:
What mad Nijinsky wrote
About Diaghilev
Is true of the normal heart;
For the error bred in the bone
Of each woman and each man
Craves what it cannot have,
Not universal love
But to be loved alone.  

From the conservative dark
Into the ethical life
The dense commuters come,
Repeating their morning vow;
"I will be true to the wife,
I’ll concentrate more on my work,”
And helpless governors wake
To resume their compulsory game:
Who can release them now,
Who can reach the deaf,
Who can speak for the dumb?  

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.  

Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the
Just Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.