Friday, November 23, 2007

The 1960s

The Honeycombs' "Have I The Right?" Lower your volume before playing; it is a little loud:

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

The first snow of the season came to the Boston area on Tuesday ... mixed with a little rain ... no accumulation, alas! (Can you tell I don't drive?)

It's supposed to hit 60 today. I'm glad we've reached the time of the year when such temperatures are considered unseasonable ...

A good day to one and all ...

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Bridge of Sighs
by Thomas Hood (1799-1845)

One more Unfortunate,
Weary of breath,
Rashly importunate,
Gone to her death!

Take her up tenderly,
Lift her with care;
Fashion'd so slenderly
Young, and so fair!

Look at her garments
Clinging like cerements;
Whilst the wave constantly
Drips from her clothing;
Take her up instantly,
Loving, not loathing.

Touch her not scornfully;
Think of her mournfully,
Gently and humanly;
Not of the stains of her,
All that remains of her
Now is pure womanly.

Make no deep scrutiny
Into her mutiny
Rash and undutiful:
Past all dishonour,
Death has left on her
Only the beautiful.

Still, for all slips of hers,
One of Eve's family
Wipe those poor lips of hers
Oozing so clammily.

Loop up her tresses
Escaped from the comb,
Her fair auburn tresses;
Whilst wonderment guesses
Where was her home?

Who was her father?
Who was her mother?
Had she a sister?
Had she a brother?
Or was there a dearer one
Still, and a nearer one
Yet, than all other?

Alas! for the rarity
Of Christian charity
Under the sun!
O, it was pitiful!
Near a whole city full,
Home she had none.

Sisterly, brotherly,
Fatherly, motherly
Feelings had changed:
Love, by harsh evidence,
Thrown from its eminence;
Even God's providence
Seeming estranged.

Where the lamps quiver
So far in the river,
With many a light
From window and casement,
From garret to basement,
She stood, with amazement,
Houseless by night.

The bleak wind of March
Made her tremble and shiver;
But not the dark arch,
Or the black flowing river:
Mad from life's history,
Glad to death's mystery,
Swift to be hurl'd
Anywhere, anywhere
Out of the world!

In she plunged boldly
No matter how coldly
The rough river ran
Over the brink of it,
Picture it think of it,
Dissolute Man!
Lave in it, drink of it,
Then, if you can!

Take her up tenderly,
Lift her with care;
Fashion'd so slenderly,
Young, and so fair!

Ere her limbs frigidly
Stiffen too rigidly,
Decently, kindly,
Smooth and compose them;
And her eyes, close them,
Staring so blindly!

Dreadfully staring
Thro' muddy impurity,
As when with the daring
Last look of despairing
Fix'd on futurity.

Perishing gloomily,
Spurr'd by contumely,
Cold inhumanity,
Burning insanity,
Into her rest.
Cross her hands humbly
As if praying dumbly,
Over her breast!

Owning her weakness,
Her evil behaviour,
And leaving, with meekness,
Her sins to her Saviour!


I cherish the rhyme of "family" and "clammily" ...
The 1970s

The blogger at Enchiridion has posted the lyrics (in Spanish and English) to the song "Eres tú" by Juan Carlos Calderón. I remember hearing the song on AM radio in the '70s, when I was quite young. Here it is on YouTube as performed by Mocedades:

Sunday, November 18, 2007

John Berryman

Eleven Addresses to the Lord.

Not a perfect poem -- the record of a man trying to talk himself into faith, or to talk himself into not losing the little faith he has -- but there are some fine moments:

Jonquils respond with wit to the teasing breeze


Unite my various soul,
sole watchman of the wide & single stars.
I think continually of those who were truly great
by Stephen Spender (1909-95)

I think continually of those who were truly great.
Who, from the womb, remembered the soul's history
Through corridors of light, where the hours are suns,
Endless and singing. Whose lovely ambition
Was that their lips, still touched with fire,
Should tell of the Spirit, clothed from head to foot in song.
And who hoarded from the Spring branches
The desires falling across their bodies like blossoms.

What is precious, is never to forget
The essential delight of the blood drawn from ageless springs
Breaking through rocks in worlds before our earth.
Never to deny its pleasures in the morning simple light
Nor its grave evening demand for love.
Never to allow gradually the traffic to smother
With noise and fog, the flowering of spirit.

Near the snow, near the sun, in the highest fields
See how these names are fêted by the waving grass
And by the streamers of white cloud
And whispers of wind in the listening sky.
The names of those who in their lives fought for life
Who wore at their hearts the fire's centre.
Born of the sun, they traveled a short while toward the sun
And left the vivid air signed with their honour.
From the 1981 film Arthur

A few Hobsonisms.
Am I alone

in being somewhat mystified by the preposthumous canonization of the group of lads known as the Jena 6?