Tuesday, October 28, 2014

She was too kind, wooed too persistently
-Samuel Butler

i
She was too kind, wooed too persistently,
Wrote moving letters to me day by day;
The more she wrote, the more unmoved was I,
The more she gave, the less could I repay.
Therefore I grieve, not that I was not loved,
But that, being loved, I could not love again.
I liked, but like and love are far removed;
Hard though I tried to love I tried in vain.
For she was plain and lame and fat and short,
Forty and over-kind. Hence it befell
That though I loved her in a certain sort,
Yet did I love too wisely but not well.
Ah! had she been more beauteous or less kind
She might have found me of another mind.


ii
And now, though twenty years are come and gone,
That little lame lady's face is with me still;
Never a day but what, on every one,
She dwells with me, as dwell she ever will.
She said she wished I knew not wrong from right;
It was not that; I knew, and would have chosen
Wrong if I could, but, in my own despite,
Power to choose wrong in my chilled veins was frozen.
'Tis said that if a woman woo, no man
Should leave her till she have prevailed; and, true,
A man will yield for pity, if he can,
But if the flesh rebels what can he do?
I could not. Hence I grieve my whole life long
The wrong I did, in that I did no wrong.


iii
Had I been some young sailor, continent
Perforce three weeks and then well plied with wine,
I might in time have tried to yield consent
And almost (though I doubt it) made her mine.
Or had it been but once and never again,
Come what come might, she should have had her way;
But yielding once were yielding twice, and then
I had been hers for ever and a day.
Or had she only been content to crave
A marriage of true minds, her wish was granted;
My mind was hers, I was her willing slave
In all things else except the one she wanted:
And here, alas! at any rate to me
She was an all too, too impossible she.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Frost at Midnight
-Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The Frost performs its secret ministry,
Unhelped by any wind. The owlet's cry
Came loud---and hark, again! loud as before.
The inmates of my cottage, all at rest,
Have left me to that solitude, which suits
Abstruser musings: save that at my side
My cradled infant slumbers peacefully.
`Tis calm indeed! so calm, that it disturbs
And vexes meditation with its strange
And extreme silentness. Sea, hill, and wood,
This populous village! Sea, and hill, and wood,
With all the numberless goings-on of life,
Inaudible as dreams! the thin blue flame
Lies on my low-burnt fire, and quivers not;
Only that film, which fluttered on the grate,
Still flutters there, the sole unquiet thing.
Methinks, its motion in this hush of nature
Gives it dim sympathies with me who live,
Making it a companionable form,
Whose puny flaps and freaks the idling Spirit
By its own moods interprets, every where
Echo or mirror seeking of itself,
And makes a toy of Thought.


But O! how oft,
How oft, at school, with most believing mind,
Presageful, have I gazed upon the bars,
To watch that fluttering stranger! and as oft
With unclosed lids, already had I dreamt
Of my sweet birth-place, and the old church-tower,
Whose bells, the poor man's only music, rang
>From morn to evening, all the hot Fair-day,
So sweetly, that they stirred and haunted me
With a wild pleasure, falling on mine ear
Most like articulate sounds of things to come!
So gazed I, till the soothing things, I dreamt,
Lulled me to sleep, and sleep prolonged my dreams!
And so I brooded all the following morn,
Awed by the stern preceptor's face, mine eye
Fixed with mock study on my swimming book:
Save if the door half opened, and I snatched
A hasty glance, and still my heart leaped up,
For still I hoped to see the stranger's face,
Townsman, or aunt, or sister more beloved,
My play-mate when we both were clothed alike!


Dear Babe, that sleepest cradled by my side,
Whose gentle breathings, heard in this deep calm,
Fill up the interspersed vacancies
And momentary pauses of the thought!
My babe so beautiful! it thrills my heart
With tender gladness, thus to look at thee,
And think that thou shall learn far other lore,
And in far other scenes! For I was reared
In the great city, pent 'mid cloisters dim,
And saw nought lovely but the sky and stars.
But thou, my babe! shalt wander like a breeze
By lakes and sandy shores, beneath the crags
Of ancient mountain, and beneath the clouds,
Which image in their bulk both lakes and shores
And mountain crags: so shalt thou see and hear
The lovely shapes and sounds intelligible
Of that eternal language, which thy God
Utters, who from eternity doth teach
Himself in all, and all things in himself.
Great universal Teacher! he shall mould
Thy spirit, and by giving make it ask.


Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether the summer clothe the general earth
With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

In A Station of the Metro

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.


  Ezra Pound

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Friday, October 10, 2014

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Enivrez Vous
-Charles Baudelaire, unknown translator 

Always be drunk.
That's it!
The great imperative!
In order not to feel
Time's horrid fardel
bruise your shoulders,
grinding you into the earth,
get drunk and stay that way.
On what?
On wine, poetry, virtue, whatever.
But get drunk.
And if you sometimes happen to wake up
on the porches of a palace,
in the green grass of a ditch,
in the dismal loneliness
of your own room,
your drunkenness gone or disappearing,
ask the wind,
the wave,
the star,
the bird,
the clock,
ask everything that flees,
everything that groans
or rolls
or sings,
everything that speaks,
ask what time it is;
and the wind, 
the wave, 
the star, 
the bird, 
the clock
will answer you:
"Time to get drunk!
Don't be martyred slaves of Time,
Get drunk!
Stay drunk!
On wine, virtue, poetry, whatever!"

Monday, October 6, 2014

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Grass
Carl Sandburg
 
 
Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
Shovel them under and let me work---
                    I am the grass; I cover all.
 
And pile them high at Gettysburg
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
Shovel them under and let me work.
Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:
                    What place is this?
                    Where are we now?
 
                    I am the grass.
                    Let me work.
Lee Guk Hyun

Monday, September 29, 2014

Saturday, September 27, 2014