Saturday, July 14, 2007

Speaking of names

Channel 7 here in Boston has a weather forecaster whose given name is Dylan.

Dylan is a woman.
Political conversation
a name-recognition problem?

"Why do I think of a gay guy that cross-dresses when you say 'Ron Paul'?

"No, Mom, that's RuPaul."

Friday, July 13, 2007

from Ceremony after a Fire Raid
by Dylan Thomas (1914-1953)


Into the organpipes and steeples
Of the luminous cathedrals,
Into the weathercocks' molten mouths
Rippling in twelve-winded circles,
Into the dead clock burning the hour
Over the urn of sabbaths
Over the whirling ditch of daybreak
Over the sun's hovel and the slum of fire
And the golden pavements laid in requiems,
Into the cauldrons of the statuary,
Into the bread in a wheatfield of flames,
Into the wine burning like brandy,
The masses of the sea
The masses of the sea under
The masses of the infant-bearing sea
Erupt, fountain, and enter to utter forever
Glory glory glory
The sundering ultimate kingdom of genesis' thunder.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

from i: six nonlectures, Nonlecture Two

One ever memorable day, our ex-substantialist (deep in structural meditation) met head-on professor Royce; who was rolling peacefully home from a lecture. "Estlin" his courteous and gentle voice hazarded "I understand that you write poetry." I blushed. "Are you perhaps" he inquired, regarding a particular leaf of a particular tree "acquainted with the sonnets of Dante Gabriel Rossetti?" I blushed a different blush and shook an ignorant head. "Have you a moment?" he shyly suggested, less than half looking at me; and just perceptibly appended "I rather imagine you might enjoy them." Shortly thereafter, sage and ignoramus were sitting opposite each other in a diminutive study (marvellously smelling of tobacco and cluttered with student notebooks of a menacing bluish shade)--the ignoramus listening, enthralled; the sage intoning, lovingly and beautifully, his favorite poems. And very possibly (although I don't, as usual, know) that is the reason--or more likely the unreason--I've been writing sonnets ever since.
Mary's Girlhood
(For a Picture)

by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882)

This is that blessed Mary, pre-elect
    God's Virgin. Gone is a great while, and she
    Dwelt young in Nazareth of Galilee.
Unto God's will she brought devout respect,
Profound simplicity of intellect,
    And supreme patience. From her mother's knee
    Faithful and hopeful; wise in charity;
Strong in grave peace; in pity circumspect.

So held she through her girlhood; as it were
    An angel-water'd lily, that near God
        Grows and is quiet. Till, one dawn at home,
She woke in her white bed, and had no fear
    At all,—yet wept till sunshine, and felt aw'd:
        Because the fulness of the time was come.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The young Endymion sleeps Endymion's sleep;
      The shepherd-boy whose tale was left half told!
      The solemn grove uplifts its shield of gold
      To the red rising moon, and loud and deep
The nightingale is singing from the steep;
      It is midsummer, but the air is cold;
      Can it be death? Alas, beside the fold
      A shepherd's pipe lies shattered near his sheep.
Lo! in the moonlight gleams a marble white,
      On which I read: "Here lieth one whose name
      Was writ in water." And was this the meed
Of his sweet singing? Rather let me write:
      "The smoking flax before it burst to flame
      Was quenched by death, and broken the bruised reed."
Does God hate sinners?

From the Word Incarnate blog.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Dylan Thomas
from "There was a saviour"

Silence, silence to do, when earth grew loud,
In lairs and asylums of the tremendous shout.
from Divina Commedia
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


With snow-white veil, and garments as of flame,
    She stands before thee, who so long ago
    Filled thy young heart with passion and the woe
    From which thy song in all its splendors came;
And while with stern rebuke she speaks thy name,
    The ice about thy heart melts as the snow
    On mountain heights, and in swift overflow
    Comes gushing from thy lips in sobs of shame.
Thou makest full confession; and a gleam
    As of the dawn on some dark forest cast,
    Seems on thy lifted forehead to increase;
Lethe and Eunoë -- the remembered dream
    And the forgotten sorrow -- bring at last
    That perfect pardon which is perfect peace.


I lift mine eyes, and all the windows blaze
    With forms of saints and holy men who died,
    Here martyred and hereafter glorified;
    And the great Rose upon its leaves displays
Christ's Triumph, and the angelic roundelays,
    With splendor upon splendor multiplied;
    And Beatrice again at Dante's side
    No more rebukes, but smiles her words of praise.
And then the organ sounds, and unseen choirs
    Sing the old Latin hymns of peace and love
    And benedictions of the Holy Ghost;
And the melodious bells among the spires
    O'er all the house-tops and through heaven above
    Proclaim the elevation of the Host!
The Dark Angel
by Lionel Johnson (1867-1902)

Dark Angel, with thine aching lust
To rid the world of penitence:
Malicious Angel, who still dost
My soul such subtile violence!

Because of thee, no thought, no thing,
Abides for me undesecrate:
Dark Angel, ever on the wing,
Who never reachest me too late!

When music sounds, then changest thou
Its silvery to a sultry fire:
Nor will thine envious heart allow
Delight untortured by desire.

Through thee, the gracious Muses turn,
To Furies, O mine Enemy!
And all the things of beauty burn
With flames of evil ecstasy.

Because of thee, the land of dreams
Becomes a gathering place of fears:
Until tormented slumber seems
One vehemence of useless tears.

When sunlight glows upon the flowers,
Or ripples down the dancing sea:
Thou, with thy troop of passionate powers,
Beleaguerest, bewilderest, me.

Within the breath of autumn woods,
Within the winter silences:
Thy venomous spirit stirs and broods,
O Master of impieties!

The ardour of red flame is thine,
And thine the steely soul of ice:
Thou poisonest the fair design
Of nature, with unfair device.

Apples of ashes, golden bright;
Waters of bitterness, how sweet!
O banquet of a foul delight,
Prepared by thee, dark Paraclete!

Thou art the whisper in the gloom,
The hinting tone, the haunting laugh:
Thou art the adorner of my tomb,
The minstrel of mine epitaph.

I fight thee, in the Holy Name!
Yet, what thou dost, is what God saith:
Tempter! should I escape thy flame,
Thou wilt have helped my soul from Death:

The second Death, that never dies,
That cannot die, when time is dead:
Live Death, wherein the lost soul cries,
Eternally uncomforted.

Dark Angel, with thine aching lust!
Of two defeats, of two despairs:
Less dread, a change to drifting dust,
Than thine eternity of cares.

Do what thou wilt, thou shalt not so,
Dark Angel! triumph over me:
Lonely, unto the Lone I go;
Divine, to the Divinity.