Saturday, July 12, 2008

William Blake

"Mock on, mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau"
by William Blake (1757-1827)


Mock on, mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau;
Mock on, mock on, 'tis all in vain!
You throw the sand against the wind,
And the wind blows it back again.

And every sand becomes a gem
Reflected in the beams divine;
Blown back they blind the mocking eye,
But still in Israel's paths they shine.

The Atoms of Democritus
And Newton's Particles of Light
Are sands upon the Red Sea shore,
Where Israel's tents do shine so bright.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Lament

I was nineteen in 1988;
Vigorous? young? athletic? I suppose.
I'm almost forty now -- a sorry state;
The bloom (to coin a phrase) has left the rose.
The muse, like clement weather, comes and goes;
But mostly I drink, eat, read, sleep, complain:
And what the future holds, nobody knows --
One thing's for sure: I won't be young again.

And what is left for me to celebrate?
The cerebellum shrinks, the belly grows.
(Try running windsprints when you're overweight,
When years of health are drawing to a close.)
The heavy limbs that trudge through winter snows,
The graying hair that's soaked by summer rain,
The litany of ills and psychic woes --
One thing's for sure: I won't be young again.

The blunted wit that fails me in debate,
The memory recalling pangs and throes,
The mind conspires to humiliate
By what it blots out and by what it shows:
The weakening soul that seeks a sweet repose
Suffers from merciless recurring pain
Dealt by those thoughts which are its fiercest foes --
One thing's for sure: I won't be young again.

Virgin most venerable, Mystical Rose,
Through your most gracious prayers may I regain
Some strength, some hope; for time's great river flows --
One thing's for sure: I won't be young again.

Monday, July 07, 2008

D. G. Rossetti

Sonnet XXVI: Mid-Rapture
by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-82)


Thou lovely and beloved, thou my love;
      Whose kiss seems still the first; whose summoning eyes,
      Even now, as for our love-world's new sunrise,
Shed very dawn; whose voice, attuned above
All modulation of the deep-bowered dove,
      Is like a hand laid softly on the soul;
      Whose hand is like a sweet voice to control
Those worn tired brows it hath the keeping of:--

What word can answer to thy word;--what gaze
      To thine, which now absorbs within its sphere
      My worshipping face, till I am mirrored there
Light-circled in a heaven of deep-drawn rays?
What clasp, what kiss mine inmost heart can prove,
O lovely and beloved, O my love?