Saturday, October 12, 2002

Chanson de juillet

Blessing these much-trodden stones,
Making music visible,
There strides a noble demoiselle
Of sable mien and supple limb
Who topples towers with her laughter,
And scorns the pomp of passing power:
Churchbells primly ring the hour
But, lo! her soft ecstatic tread!


poem 3 of edward estlin cummings's 95 poems

here given in anticipation of the 108th anniversary of the poet's birth, 14 October, this year a Monday

:: :: :: :: :: :: ::

now air is air and thing is thing:no bliss

of heavenly earth beguiles our spirits,whose
miraculously disenchanted eyes

live the magnificent honesty of space.

Mountains are mountains now;skies now are skies--
and such a sharpening freedom lifts our blood
as if whole supreme this complete doubtless

universe we'd(and we alone had)made

--yes;or as if our souls,awakened from
summer's green trance,would not adventure soon
a deeper magic:that white sleep wherein
all human curiosity we'll spend
(gladly,as lovers must)immortal and

the courage to receive time's mightiest dream


Hobsonism of the day

"I see no need for prolonging this conversation. Unless you're planning to knock over a fruit stand later in the evening."

Friday, October 11, 2002



The web-log known as error503 has gone to its rest, and will not rise again.

La vita nuova è finita, perduta. Non vive ancora. L'erreur cinq cent trois est mort.

Perhaps the decision was impetuous, but the decision has been made, and no reversal is feasible.

Bennington Street Cemetery

When the graveyard whistles the tenth month's entrance,
Autumn begins its brisk and windy backbite
And days spill into night
With solemn and twilighted decadence.

Dead men's shadows at five o'clock on the headstone
Are outstared by the frowning glaring eye
Of the unwarming sun,
Daylight's half-brother to the nighttime sky.

Don't number me among those life-drained shadows. I'm
Alive and thriving, hale and fighting time :
I breathe and beat despite
The killing advancement of the twilight.

revised 2002

Sylvia Plath

Hardcastle Crags

by Sylvia Plath 27 October 1932 - 11 February 1963

Flintlike, her feet struck
Such a racket of echoes from the steely street,
Tacking in moon-blued crooks from the black
Stone-built town, that she heard the quick air ignite
Its tinder and shake

A firework of echoes from wall
To wall of the dark, dwarfed cottages.
But the echoes died at her back as the walls
Gave way to fields and the incessant seethe of grasses
Riding in the full

Of the moon, manes to the wind,
Tireless, tied, as a moon-bound sea
Moves on its root. Though a mist-wraith wound
Up from the fissured valley and hung shoulder-high
Ahead, it fattened

To no family-featured ghost,
Nor did any word body with a name
The blank mood she walked in. Once past
The dream-peopled village, her eyes entertained no dream,
And the sandman's dust

Lost luster under her footsoles.
The long wind, paring her person down
To a pinch of flame, blew its burdened whistle
In the whorl of her ear, and like a scooped-out pumpkin crown
Her head cupped the babel.

All the night gave her, in return
For the paltry gift of her bulk and the beat
Of her heart was the humped indifferent iron
Of its hills, and its pastures bordered by black stone set
On black stone. Barns

Guarded broods and litters
Behind shut doors; the dairy herds
Knelt in the meadow mute as boulders;
Sheep drowsed stoneward in their tussocks of wool, and birds,
Twig-sleep, wore

Granite ruffs, their shadows
The guise of leaves. The whole landscape
Loomed absolute as the antique world was
Once in its earliest sway of lymph and sap,
Unaltered by eyes,

Enough to snuff the quick
Of her small heat out, but before the weight
Of stones and hills of stones could break
Her down to mere quartz grit in that stony light
She turned back.


Hobsonism of the day

"You obviously have a wonderful economy with words, Gloria. I look forward to your next syllable with great eagerness."

Thursday, October 10, 2002

Dylan Thomas

When all my five and country senses see

by Dylan Marlais Thomas
27 October 1914 - 9 November 1953

When all my five and country senses see,
The fingers will forget green thumbs and mark
How, through the halfmoon's vegetable eye,
Husk of young stars and handfull zodiac,
Love in the frost is pared and wintered by,
The whispering ears will watch love drummed away
Down breeze and shell to a discordant beach,
And, lashed to syllables, the lynx tongue cry
That her fond wounds are mended bitterly.
My nostrils see her breath burn like a bush.

My one and noble heart has witnesses
In all love's countries, that will grope awake;
And when blind sleep drops on the spying senses,
The heart is sensual, though five eyes break.

Tunc hi tres

Tunc hi tres, quasi ex uno ore

laudabant et glorificabant et benedicebant Deo in fornace dicentes:

52 “ Benedictus es, Domine, Deus patrum nostrorum,
et laudabilis et superexaltatus in saecula;
et benedictum nomen gloriae tuae sanctum
et superlaudabile et superexaltatum in saecula.

53 Benedictus es in templo sanctae gloriae tuae
et superlaudabilis et supergloriosus in saecula.

54 Benedictus es in throno regni tui
et superlaudabilis et superexaltatus in saecula.

55 Benedictus es, qui intueris abyssos sedens super cherubim,
et laudabilis et superexaltatus in saecula.

56 Benedictus es in firmamento caeli
et laudabilis et gloriosus in saecula.

57 Benedicite, omnia opera Domini, Domino,
laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.

58 Benedicite, caeli, Domino,
laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.

59 Benedicite, angeli Domini, Domino,
laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.

60 Benedicite, aquae omnes, quae super caelos sunt, Domino,
laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.

61 Benedicat omnis virtus Domino,
laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.

62 Benedicite, sol et luna, Domino,
laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.

63 Benedicite, stellae caeli, Domino,
laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.

64 Benedicite, omnis imber et ros, Domino,
laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.

65 Benedicite, omnes venti, Domino,
laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.

66 Benedicite, ignis et aestus, Domino,
laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.

67 Benedicite, frigus et aestus, Domino,
laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.

68 Benedicite, rores et pruina, Domino,
laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.

69 Benedicite, gelu et frigus, Domino,
laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.

70 Benedicite, glacies et nives, Domino,
laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.

71 Benedicite, noctes et dies, Domino,
laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.

72 Benedicite, lux et tenebrae, Domino,
laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.

73 Benedicite, fulgura et nubes, Domino,
laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.

74 Benedicat terra Dominum,
laudet et superexaltet eum in saecula.

75 Benedicite, montes et colles, Domino,
laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.

76 Benedicite, universa germinantia in terra, Domino,
laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.

77 Benedicite, maria et flumina, Domino,
laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.

78 Benedicite, fontes, Domino,
laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.

79 Benedicite, cete et omnia quae moventur in aquis, Domino,
laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.

80 Benedicite, omnes volucres caeli, Domino,
laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.

81 Benedicite, omnes bestiae et pecora, Domino,
laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.

82 Benedicite, filii hominum, Domino,
laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.

83 Benedic, Israel, Domino,
laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.

84 Benedicite, sacerdotes Domini, Domino,
laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.

85 Benedicite, servi Domini, Domino,
laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.

86 Benedicite, spiritus et animae iustorum, Domino,
laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.

87 Benedicite, sancti et humiles corde, Domino,
laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.

88 Benedicite, Anania, Azaria, Misael, Domino,
laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula;
quia eruit nos de inferno et salvos fecit de manu mortis
et liberavit nos de medio fornacis ardentis flammae
et de medio ignis eruit nos.

89 Confitemini Domino, quoniam bonus,
quoniam in saeculum misericordia eius.

90 Benedicite, omnes, qui timetis Dominum, Deo deorum;
laudate et confitemini ei, quia in saecula misericordia eius ”.


Théophile Gautier (1811-72)
La chanson du pêcheur

Ma belle amie est morte :
Je pleurerai toujours,
Sous la tombe elle emporte
Mon âme et mes amours.
Dans le ciel, sans m'attendre,
Elle s'en retourna.
L'ange qui l'emmena
Ne voulut pas me prendre.
Que mon sort est amer !
Ah ! Sans amour s'en aller sur la mer !

La blanche créature
Est couchée au cercueil.
Comme dans la nature
Tout me paraît en deuil !
La colombe oubliée
Pleure et songe à l'absent.
Mon âme pleure et sent
Qu'elle est dépareillée.
Que mon sort est amer !
Ah ! Sans amour s'en aller sur la mer !

Sur moi la nuit immense
S'étend comme un linceul.
Je chante ma romance
Que le ciel entend seul.
Ah ! Comme elle était belle
Et comme je l'aimais !
Je n'aimerai jamais
Une femme autant qu'elle.
Que mon sort est amer !
Ah ! Sans amour s'en aller sur la mer !


The Coming of Wisdom with Time
by William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

Though leaves are many, the root is one;
Through all the lying days of my youth
I swayed my leaves and flowers in the sun;
Now I may wither into the truth.

Psalm 102

Psalm 102. Domine, exaudi.

HEAR my prayer, O LORD, * and let my crying come unto thee.

2 Hide not thy face from me in the time of my trouble; * incline thine ear unto me when I call; O hear me, and that right soon.

3 For my days are consumed away like smoke, * and my bones are burnt up as it were a firebrand.

4 My heart is smitten down, and withered like grass; * so that I forget to eat my bread.

5 For the voice of my groaning, * my bones will scarce cleave to my flesh.

6 I am become like a pelican in the wilderness, * and like an owl that is in the desert.

7 I have watched, and am even as it were a sparrow, * that sitteth alone upon the housetop.

8 Mine enemies revile me all the day long; * and they that are mad upon me are sworn together against me.

9 For I have eaten ashes as it were bread, * and mingled my drink with weeping;

10 And that, because of thine indignation and wrath; * for thou hast taken me up, and cast me down.

11 My days are gone like a shadow, * and I am withered like grass.

12 But thou, O LORD, shalt endure for ever, * and thy remembrance throughout all generations.

13 Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Sion; * for it is time that thou have mercy upon her, yea, the time is come.

14 And why? thy servants think upon her stones, * and it pitieth them to see her in the dust.

15 The nations shall fear thy Name, O LORD; * and all the kings of the earth thy majesty;

16 When the LORD shall build up Sion, * and when his glory shall appear;

17 When he turneth him unto the prayer of the poor destitute, * and despiseth not their desire.

18 This shall be written for those that come after, * and the people which shall be born shall praise the LORD.

19 For he hath looked down from his sanctuary; * out of the heaven did the LORD behold the earth;

20 That he might hear the mournings of such as are in captivity, * and deliver them that are appointed unto death;

21 That they may declare the Name of the LORD in Sion, * and his worship at Jerusalem;

22 When the peoples are gathered together, * and the kingdoms also, to serve the LORD.

23 He brought down my strength in my journey, * and shortened my days.

24 But I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of mine age; * as for thy years, they endure throughout all generations.

25 Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth, * and the heavens are the work of thy hands.

26 They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: * they all shall wax old as doth a garment;

27 And as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed; * but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.

28 The children of thy servants shall continue, * and their seed shall stand fast in thy sight.


Hobsonism of the day

"If she murdered the tie, it would be a perfect crime."

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Harry to Kate

Harry to Kate
Henry the Fifth, V. ii. 241-2

Come, your answer in broken music; for thy voice is music, and thy English broken [...]


La chanson d'Eve : Paradis
words by Charles van Lerberghe
music by Gabriel Fauré

C'est le premier matin du monde.
Comme une fleur confuse exhalée de la nuit,
Au souffle nouveau qui se lève des ondes,
Un jardin bleu s'épanouit.

Tout s'y confond encore et tout s'y mêle,
Frissons de feuilles, chants d'oiseaux,
Glissements d'ailes,
Sources qui sourdent, voix des airs, voix des eaux,
Murmure immense;
Et qui pourtant est du silence.

Ouvrant à la clarté ses doux et vagues yeux,
La jeune et divine Ève
S'est éveillée de Dieu.
Et le monde à ses pieds s'étend comme un beau rêve.

Or Dieu lui dit: Va, fille humaine,
Et donne à tous les êtres
Que j'ai créés, une parole de tes lèvres,
Un son pour les connaître.

Et Ève s'en alla, docile à son seigneur,
En son bosquet de roses,
Donnant à toutes choses
Une parole, un son de ses lèvres de fleur:

Chose qui fuit, chose qui souffle, chose qui vole…

Cependant le jour passe, et vague, comme à l'aube,
Au crépuscule, peu à peu,
L'Éden s'endort et se dérobe
Dans le silence d'un songe bleu.

La voix s'est tue, mais tout l'écoute encore,
Tout demeure en attente;
Lorsque avec le lever de l'étoile du soir,
Ève chante.

Très doucement, et comme on prie,
Lents, extasiés, un à un,
Dans le silence, dans les parfums
Des fleurs assoupies,
Elle évoque les mots divins qu'elle a créés;
Elle redit du son de sa bouche tremblante:
Chose qui fuit, chose qui souffle, chose qui vole…
Elle assemble devant Dieu
Ses premières paroles,
En sa première chanson.

Untitled poems

from winter 1991-92
by TD


of botany
strewn on

The amorist
of palimpsest.

Whence cometh
solace, and

what next
will vex.

Doings in
this depth of
dark cannot.

Peace is
in pieces.

The wage of
whim is

:: :: :: :: :: :: ::


Broken frost
spills from
upper sky.

Hint of
dazzle in
midst of


Detachment from
fixation on the
pilfered thorn,
glanced sinew,
hankered blood.


Shrubs of dust and
dank, thinks twisted.

:: :: :: :: :: :: ::


Live among
twigs and hills
and trees and
chills and bright


Gaius Valerius Catullus (84-54 BC)
Poem 50

Hesterno, Licini, die otiosi
multum lusimus in meis tabellis,
ut convenerat esse delicatos:
scribens versiculos uterque nostrum
ludebat numero modo hoc modo illoc,
reddens mutua per iocum atque vinum.
Atque illinc abii tuo lepore
incensus, Licini, facetiisque,
ut nec me miserum cibus iuvaret
nec somnus tegeret quiete ocellos,
sed toto indomitus furore lecto
versarer, cupiens videre lucem,
ut tecum loquerer, simulque ut essem.
At defessa labore membra postquam
semimortua lectulo iacebant,
hoc, iucunde, tibi poema feci,
ex quo perspiceres meum dolorem.
Nunc audax cave sis, precesque nostras,
oramus, cave despuas, ocelle,
ne poenas Nemesis reposcat a te.
est vehemens dea: laedere hanc caveto.

As we can all see

As we can all see, it's a lovely day, which would seem to indicate that the night is over.

I figure it would feel good
To be called Sir John Gielgud.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson (1830-86)
The Complete Poems #288

I'm Nobody! Who are you?
Are you -- Nobody -- too?
Then there's a pair of us?
Don't tell! they'd advertise -- you know!

How dreary -- to be -- Somebody!
How public -- like a Frog --
To tell one's name -- the livelong June --
To an admiring Bog!

Psalm 139

Psalm 139. Domine, probasti.

O LORD, thou hast searched me out, and known me. * Thou knowest my down-sitting, and mine uprising; thou understandest my thoughts long before.

2 Thou art about my path, and about my bed; * and art acquainted with all my ways.

3 For lo, there is not a word in my tongue, * but thou, O LORD, knowest it altogether.

4 Thou hast beset me behind and before, * and laid thine hand upon me.

5 Such knowledge is too wonderful and excellent for me; * I cannot attain unto it.

6 Whither shall I go then from thy Spirit? * or whither shall I go then from thy presence?

7 If I climb up into heaven, thou art there; * if I go down to hell, thou art there also.

8 If I take the wings of the morning, * and remain in the uttermost parts of the sea;

9 Even there also shall thy hand lead me, * and thy right hand shall hold me.

10 If I say, Peradventure the darkness shall cover me; * then shall my night be turned to day.

11 Yea, the darkness is no darkness with thee, but the night is as clear as the day; * the darkness and light to thee are both alike.

12 For my reins are thine; * thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.

13 I will give thanks unto thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: * marvellous are thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well.

14 My bones are not hid from thee, * though I be made secretly, and fashioned beneath in the earth.

15 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being imperfect; * and in thy book were all my members written;

16 Which day by day were fashioned, * when as yet there was none of them.

17 How dear are thy counsels unto me, O God; * O how great is the sum of them!

18 If I tell them, they are more in number than the sand: * when I wake up, I am present with thee.

19 Wilt thou not slay the wicked, O God? * Depart from me, ye blood-thirsty men.

20 For they speak unrighteously against thee; * and thine enemies take thy Name in vain.

21 Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? * and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?

22 Yea, I hate them right sore; * even as though they were mine enemies.

23 Try me, O God, and seek the ground of my heart; * prove me, and examine my thoughts.

24 Look well if there be any way of wickedness in me; * and lead me in the way everlasting.

Rudolphus, cervus nasum

Rudolphus, cervus nasum
a bit early, but why not ...

Rudolphus cervus nasum rubicundum habebat
Quem si videre possis, elucere referas;
Ludificare cervi deridentes solebant,
Neque sinebant eum comminus colludere.

"Ecce," dixit Nicholas, pridie Festum,
"O Rudolphe, nocte hac visne traham ducere?"
Jam tunc jucundus fuit, cervis jubilantibus --
"Rudolphe," nunc dicebant, "notus eris posteris!"

In Evening Air

In Evening Air
by Theodore Roethke (1908-63)

A dark theme keeps me here,
Though summer blazes in the vireo's eye.
Who would be half possessed
By his own nakedness?
Waking's my care --
I'll make a broken music, or I'll die.

Ye littles, lie more close!
Make me, O Lord, a last, a simple thing
Time cannot overwhelm.
Once I transcended time :
A bud broke to a rose,
And I rose from a last diminishing.

I look down the far light
And I behold the dark side of a tree
Far down a billowing plain,
And when I look again,
It's lost upon the night --
Night I embrace, a dear proximity.

I stand by a low fire
Counting the wisps of flame, and I watch how
Light shifts upon the wall.
I bid stillness be still.
I see, in evening air,
How slowly dark comes down on what we do.