Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Darkness
-George Gordon, Lord Byron

I had a dream, which was not all a dream. The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars Did wander darkling in the eternal space, Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air; Morn came and went--and came, and brought no day, And men forgot their passions in the dread Of this their desolation; and all hearts Were chill'd into a selfish prayer for light: And they did live by watchfires--and the thrones, The palaces of crowned kings--the huts, The habitations of all things which dwell, Were burnt for beacons; cities were consum'd, And men were gather'd round their blazing homes To look once more into each other's face; Happy were those who dwelt within the eye Of the volcanos, and their mountain-torch: A fearful hope was all the world contain'd; Forests were set on fire--but hour by hour They fell and faded--and the crackling trunks Extinguish'd with a crash--and all was black. The brows of men by the despairing light Wore an unearthly aspect, as by fits The flashes fell upon them; some lay down And hid their eyes and wept; and some did rest Their chins upon their clenched hands, and smil'd; And others hurried to and fro, and fed Their funeral piles with fuel, and look'd up With mad disquietude on the dull sky, The pall of a past world; and then again With curses cast them down upon the dust, And gnash'd their teeth and howl'd: the wild birds shriek'd And, terrified, did flutter on the ground, And flap their useless wings; the wildest brutes Came tame and tremulous; and vipers crawl'd And twin'd themselves among the multitude, Hissing, but stingless--they were slain for food. And War, which for a moment was no more, Did glut himself again: a meal was bought With blood, and each sate sullenly apart Gorging himself in gloom: no love was left; All earth was but one thought--and that was death Immediate and inglorious; and the pang Of famine fed upon all entrails--men Died, and their bones were tombless as their flesh; The meagre by the meagre were devour'd, Even dogs assail'd their masters, all save one, And he was faithful to a corse, and kept The birds and beasts and famish'd men at bay, Till hunger clung them, or the dropping dead Lur'd their lank jaws; himself sought out no food, But with a piteous and perpetual moan, And a quick desolate cry, licking the hand Which answer'd not with a caress--he died. The crowd was famish'd by degrees; but two Of an enormous city did survive, And they were enemies: they met beside The dying embers of an altar-place Where had been heap'd a mass of holy things For an unholy usage; they rak'd up, And shivering scrap'd with their cold skeleton hands The feeble ashes, and their feeble breath Blew for a little life, and made a flame Which was a mockery; then they lifted up Their eyes as it grew lighter, and beheld Each other's aspects--saw, and shriek'd, and died-- Even of their mutual hideousness they died, Unknowing who he was upon whose brow Famine had written Fiend. The world was void, The populous and the powerful was a lump, Seasonless, herbless, treeless, manless, lifeless-- A lump of death--a chaos of hard clay. The rivers, lakes and ocean all stood still, And nothing stirr'd within their silent depths; Ships sailorless lay rotting on the sea, And their masts fell down piecemeal: as they dropp'd They slept on the abyss without a surge-- The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave, The moon, their mistress, had expir'd before; The winds were wither'd in the stagnant air, And the clouds perish'd; Darkness had no need Of aid from them--She was the Universe.
Wang Hongzhen

Monday, December 29, 2014

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Stanzas for Music
-George Gordon, Lord Byron

There be none of Beauty's daughters With a magic like thee; And like music on the waters Is thy sweet voice to me: When, as if its sound were causing The charmed Ocean's pausing, The waves lie still and gleaming, And the lulled winds seem dreaming: And the midnight Moon is weaving Her bright chain o'er the deep; Whose breast is gently heaving, As an infant's asleep: So the spirit bows before thee, To listen and adore thee; With a full but soft emotion, Like the swell of Summer's ocean.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

To Mary, On Receiving Her Portrait
-George Gordon, Lord Byron

This faint resemblance of thy charms, (Though strong as mortal art could give,) My constant heart of fear disarms, Revives my hopes, and bids me live. Here, I can trace the locks of gold Which round thy snowy forehead wave; The cheeks which sprung from Beauty's mould, The lips, which made me Beauty's slave. Here I can trace---ah, no! that eye, Whose azure floats in liquid fire, Must all the painter's art defy, And bid him from the task retire. Here, I behold its beauteous hue; But where's the beam so sweetly straying, Which gave a lustre to its blue, Like Luna o'er the ocean playing? Sweet copy! far more dear to me, Lifeless, unfeeling as thou art, Than all the living forms could be, Save her who plac'd thee next my heart. She plac'd it, sad, with needless fear, Lest time might shake my wavering soul, Unconscious that her image there Held every sense in fast control. Thro' hours, thro' years, thro' time, 'twill cheer--- My hope, in gloomy moments, raise; In life's last conflict 'twill appear, And meet my fond, expiring gaze.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I Hear America Singing
-Walt Whitman

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear, Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it whould be blithe and strong, 
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam, The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work, The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck, The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands, The woodcutter's song, the ploughboy's on his way in the morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown, The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or washing, Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else, The day what belongs to the day--at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly, Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Friday, December 5, 2014

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Despairing Cries
-Walt Whitman

1 Despairing cries float ceaselessly toward me, day and night, The sad voice of Death--the call of my nearest lover, putting forth, alarmed, uncertain, "This sea I am quickly to sail, come tell me, Come tell me where I am speeding--tell me my destination." 2 I understand your anguish, but I cannot help you, I approach, hear, behold--the sad mouth, the look out of the eyes, your mute inquiry, "Whither I go from the bed I now recline on, come tell me;" Old age, alarmed, uncertain--A young woman's voice appealing to me, for comfort, A young man's voice, "Shall I not escape?"

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thursday, November 27, 2014