Saturday, July 07, 2007

To Emily Dickinson
by Hart Crane (1899-1932)

You who desired so much — in vain to ask —
Yet fed you hunger like an endless task,
Dared dignify the labor, bless the quest —
Achieved that stillness ultimately best,

Being, of all, least sought for: Emily, hear!
O sweet, dead Silencer, most suddenly clear
When singing that Eternity possessed
And plundered momently in every breast;

— Truly no flower yet withers in your hand.
The harvest you descried and understand
Needs more than wit to gather, love to bind.
Some reconcilement of remotest mind —

Leaves Ormus rubyless, and Ophir chill.
Else tears heap all within one clay-cold hill.

* * *

To Emily Dickinson
by Yvor Winters (1900-1968)

Dear Emily, my tears would burn your page,
But for the fire-dry line that makes them burn—
Burning my eyes, my fingers, while I turn
Singly the words that crease my heart with age.
If I could make some tortured pilgrimage
Through words or Time or the blank pain of Doom
And kneel before you as you found your tomb,
Then I might rise to face my heritage.

Yours was an empty upland solitude
Bleached to the powder of a dying name;
The mind, lost in a word’s lost certitude
That faded as the fading footsteps came
To trace an epilogue to words grown odd
In that hard argument which led to God.

it is at moments after i have dreamed
of the rare entertainment of your eyes,
when(being fool to fancy)i have deemed

with your peculiar mouth my heart made wise;
at moments when the glassy darkness holds

the genuine apparition of your smile
(it was through tears always)and silence moulds
such strangeness as was mine a little while;

moments when my once more illustrious arms
are filled with fascination,when my breast
wears the intolerant brightness of your charms:

one pierced moment whiter than the rest

--turning from the tremendous lie of sleep
i watch the roses of the day grow deep.

Friday, July 06, 2007

The Cross of Snow
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

In the long, sleepless watches of the night,
A gentle face — the face of one long dead —
Looks at me from the wall, where round its head
The night-lamp casts a halo of pale light.

Here in this room she died; and soul more white
Never through martyrdom of fire was led
To its repose; nor can in books be read
The legend of a life more benedight.

There is a mountain in the distant West
That, sun-defying, in its deep ravine,
Displays a cross of snow upon its side.

Such is the cross I wear upon my breast
These eighteen years, through all the changing scenes
And seasons, changeless since the day she died.
The Author Loving These Homely Meats
Specially, Viz.: Cream, Pancakes, Buttered Pippin-Pies
(Laugh, Good People) and Tobacco;
Writ to That Worthy and Virtuous Gentlewoman,
Whom He Calleth Mistress, As Followeth

by John Davies of Hereford (1563?-1618)

If there were, oh! an Hellespont of cream
Between us, milk-white mistress, I would swim
To you, to show to both my love's extreme,
Leander-like, -- yea! dive from brim to brim.
But met I with a buttered pippin-pie
Floating upon 't, that would I make my boat
To waft me to you without jeopardy,
Though sea-sick I might be while it did float.
Yet if a storm should rise, by night or day,
Of sugar-snows and hail of caraways,
Then, if I found a pancake in my way,
It like a plank should bring me to your kays;
    Which having found, if they tobacco kept,
    The smoke should dry me well before I slept.
More eagerly anticipated than the Motu Proprio

Theological Implications of Henry John Deutschendorf's Lyrics.

A lecture given by TSO to his cats and dog.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

pen-name of Friedrich von Hardenberg (1772-1801)

Ich sehe dich in tausend Bildern,
Maria, lieblich ausgedrückt,
Doch keins von allen kann dich schildern,
Wie meine Seele dich erblickt.

Ich weiß nur, daß der Welt Getümmel
Seitdem mir wie ein Traum verweht,
Und ein unnennbar süßer Himmel
Mir ewig im Gemüte steht.

A prose paraphrase: I see you in a thousand pictures, Mary, lovingly expressed, yet none of them can portray you as my soul looks upon you. I only know that the world's turmoil fades like a dream since then, and an ineffably sweeter heaven stays ever in my mind.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Carlo Carretto

The blogger at TCRNews Musings gives us an ample sampling from the works of the noted spiritual writer (1910-88), and indicates that this is part one of a two-part post.

(And from this blog, four and a half years ago, is Carretto on chastity.)
from the sonnet beginning
"you shall above all things be glad and young"

I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance