icewolf: snowy wolf (Default)
Autumn Daybreak

Cold wind of autumn, blowing loud
At dawn, a fortnight overdue,
Jostling the doors, and tearing through
My bedroom to rejoin the cloud,
I know—for I can hear the hiss
And scrape of leaves along the floor—
How may boughs, lashed bare by this,
Will rake the cluttered sky once more.
Tardy, and somewhat south of east,
The sun will rise at length, made known
More by the meagre light increased
Than by a disk in splendour shown;
When, having but to turn my head,
Through the stripped maple I shall see,
Bleak and remembered, patched with red,
The hill all summer hid from me.

Edna St. Vincent Millay
icewolf: snowy wolf (Default)
North Country by Kenneth Slessor

North Country, filled with gesturing wood,
With trees that fence, like archers' volleys,
The flanks of hidden valleys
Where nothing's left to hide

But verticals and perpendiculars,
Like rain gone wooden, fixed in falling,
Or fingers blindly feeling
For what nobody cares;

Or trunks of pewter, bangled by greedy death,
Stuck with black staghorns, quietly sucking,
And trees whose boughs go seeking,
And tress like broken teeth

With smoky antlers broken in the sky;
Or trunks that lie grotesquely rigid,
Like bodies blank and wretched
After a fool's battue,

As if they've secret ways of dying here
And secret places for their anguish
When boughs at last relinquish
Their clench of blowing air

But this gaunt country, filled with mills and saws,
With butter-works and railway-stations
And public institutions,
And scornful rumps of cows,

North Country, filled with gesturing wood–
Timber's the end it gives to branches,
Cut off in cubic inches,
Dripping red with blood.
icewolf: crescent moon (crescent moon)
Iascaire is ea m’athair le ceart

Conas ná raibh a fhios againn cheana
agus diamhair na mara
chomh glé sin ina shúil?

Lá an adhlactha, iompraíonn sé
doircheacht mhoch na maidine
ar an trá sin a shíneann

ó dhoras an tséipéil
go dtí bruach an tsaoil.
Siúlann thar an slua

atá bailithe sa chlós,
a chois báite sa ghaineamh
gan cabhair a iarraidh

ó éinne dá chlann mhór mhac.
Ní thuigimid an fharraige fós,
dar leis, a cneastacht ná a racht.

Tá naomhóg an bhróin
bun os cionn ar a ghualainn
chomh dubh le fuil théachta,

an fharraige ag fiuchadh
le deora goirt
a loiscfeadh súil na gréine.

Scarann tonn na sochraide roimis
is cuireann sé a dheartháir
sa pholl atá tochailte

aige féin is an ngealaigh
ó aréir. Nuair a shiúlann
ón uaigh ar ais,

tá gile na dtonn
is uaigneas an domhain i ngleic
i súil ghlas mo shinsir.
My father is really a fisherman

How did we not know already,
when the deep mystery of the sea
shines so brightly in his eyes?

On the day of the burial, he carries
the early morning dark
on that beach that stretches

from the church door
to the edge of the world.
Walks past the crowd

that has gathered in the yard,
his feet sunk in sand,
asking no help

from any of his many sons.
We still don’t understand the sea,
he says, its kindness or its anger.

The naomhóg of sorrow
is upside down on his shoulders,
as black as clotted blood,

the ocean boiling
with salt tears
that would burn the eye of the sun.

The funeral-wave parts
and he buries his brother
in the hole

he dug up with the moon
the night before. When he walks
back from the grave,

the brightness of the sea
and the loneliness of the world
grapple in my father’s green eyes.

translated by Michael S. Begnal
icewolf: box of hearts (box of hearts)
This is a stitch. Apparently, Ovid wrote a series of poems as letters from the women of mythology to their men. This one is from Paris's first wife, the nymph Oenone...

V: Oenone to Paris

Translated by A. S. Kline

The Nymph sends words you ordered her to write,
from Mount Ida, to her Paris, though you refuse her as yours.
Will you read them? Or does your new wife forbid it?
Read! This is not a letter created by a Mycenean hand.
I, Oenone, the fountain-nymph, famous in Phrygian woods,
wounded, complain of you, who are my own if you allow it.
What god opposes my prayers with his divine will?
Might I be suffering from some crime of yours that harms me?
Whatever one deserves to suffer should be borne lightly:
what comes undeservedly, comes as bitter punishment.
You were not important as yet, when I was happy
with you as my husband, I, a nymph born of a mighty river.
You who now are a son of Priam, (let fear of the truth be absent) )
icewolf: snowy wolf (Default)
Love's redeeming work is done;
Fought the fight, the battle won:
Lo, our Sun's eclipse is o'er!
Lo, he sets in blood no more.

Vain the sstone, the watch, the seal,
Christ has burst the gates of hell;
Death in vain forbids his rise;
Christ has opened Paradise.

Lives again our glorious King;
Where O death, is now thy sting?
Dying once, he all doth save;
Where thy victory, O grave?

Charles Wesley
icewolf: snowflake (snowflake)
Most blessed of all nights, chosen by God
to see Christ rising from the dead!

Of this night scripture says:
'The night will be as clear as day:
it will become my light, my joy.'

Te power of his holy night
dispels all evil, washes guilt away,
restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy;
it casts out hatred, brings us peace, and humbles earthly pride.

Night truly blessed when heaven is wedded to earth
and man is reconciled with God!

Therefore, heavenly Father, in the joy of this night,
receive our evening sacrifice of praise,
your Church's solemn offering.

Accept this Easter candle,
a flame divided but undimmed,
a pillar of fire that glows to the honour of God.

Let it mingle with the lights of heaven
and continue bravely burning
to dispel the darkness of this night!

May the Morning Star, which never sets find this flame still burning:
and shed his peaceful light on all mankind,
your Son who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

Exsultet, Easter Vigil, The Roman Missal
icewolf: crescent moon (crescent moon)
Good Friday, 1613. Riding Westward

by John Donne

Let mans Soule be a Spheare, and then, in this,
The intelligence that moves, devotion is,
And as the other Spheares, by being growne
Subject to forraigne motion, lose their owne,
And being by others hurried every day,
Scarce in a yeare their naturall forme obey:
Pleasure or businesse, so, our Soules admit
For their first mover, and are whirld by it.
Hence is't, that I am carryed towards the West
This day, when my Soules forme bends toward the East.
There I should see a Sunne, by rising set,
And by that setting endlesse day beget;
But that Christ on this Crosse, did rise and fall,
Sinne had eternally benighted all.
Yet dare I'almost be glad, I do not see
That spectacle of too much weight for mee.
Who sees Gods face, that is selfe life, must dye;
What a death were it then to see God dye?
It made his owne Lieutenant Nature shrinke,
It made his footstoole crack, and the Sunne winke.
Could I behold those hands which span the Poles,
And tune all spheares at once peirc'd with those holes?
Could I behold that endlesse height which is
Zenith to us, and our Antipodes,
Humbled below us? or that blood which is
The seat of all our Soules, if not of his,
Made durt of dust, or that flesh which was worne
By God, for his apparell, rag'd, and torne?
If on these things I durst not looke, durst I
Upon his miserable mother cast mine eye,
Who was Gods partner here, and furnish'd thus
Halfe of that Sacrifice, which ransom'd us?
Though these things, as I ride, be from mine eye,
They'are present yet unto my memory,
For that looks towards them; and thou look'st towards mee,
O Saviour, as thou hang'st upon the tree;
I turne my backe to thee, but to receive
Corrections, till thy mercies bid thee leave.
O thinke mee worth thine anger, punish mee,
Burne off my rusts, and my deformity,
Restore thine Image, so much, by thy grace,
That thou may'st know mee, and I'll turne my face.
icewolf: snowy wolf (english language)
A Ballad of Gentleness

The firste stock-father of gentleness,
What man desireth gentle for to be,
Must follow his trace, and all his wittes dress,
Virtue to love, and vices for to flee;
For unto virtue longeth dignity,
And not the reverse, safely dare I deem,
All wear he mitre, crown, or diademe.

This firste stock was full of righteousness,
True of his word, sober, pious, and free,
Clean of his ghost, and loved business,
Against the vice of sloth, in honesty;
And, but his heir love virtue as did he,
He is not gentle, though he riche seem,
All wear he mitre, crown, or diademe.

Vice may well be heir to old richess,
But there may no man, as men may well see,
Bequeath his heir his virtuous nobless;
That is appropried to no degree,
But to the first Father in majesty,
Which makes his heire him that doth him queme,
All wear he mitre, crown, or diademe.

Geoffrey Chaucer
icewolf: snowy wolf (Default)
I'm going to finish out National Poetry Month, dammit, if it kills me. Hence the backdating.

I have a student making me crazed. Milton always makes me feel better when that happens.

John Milton

HAIL holy light, ofspring of Heav'n first-born,
Or of th' Eternal Coeternal beam
May I express thee unblam'd? since God is light,
And never but in unapproachèd light
Dwelt from Eternitie, dwelt then in thee,
Bright effluence of bright essence increate.
Or hear'st thou rather pure Ethereal stream,
Whose Fountain who shall tell? before the Sun,
Before the Heavens thou wert, and at the voice
Of God, as with a Mantle didst invest
The rising world of waters dark and deep,
Won from the void and formless infinite.
Thee I re-visit now with bolder wing,
Escap't the Stygian Pool, though long detain'd
In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight
Through utter and through middle darkness borne
With other notes then to th' Orphean Lyre
I sung of Chaos and Eternal Night,
Taught by the heav'nly Muse to venture down
The dark descent, and up to reascend,
Though hard and rare: thee I revisit safe,
And feel thy sovran vital Lamp; but thou
Revisit'st not these eyes, that rowle in vain
To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn;
So thick a drop serene hath quencht thir Orbs,
Or dim suffusion veild. Yet not the more
Cease I to wander where the Muses haunt
Cleer Spring, or shadie Grove, or Sunnie Hill,
Smit with the love of sacred song; but chief
Thee Sion and the flowrie Brooks beneath
That wash thy hallowd feet, and warbling flow,
Nightly I visit: nor sometimes forget
Those other two equal'd with me in Fate,
So were I equal'd with them in renown.
Blind Thamyris and blind Mæonides,
And Tiresias and Phineus Prophets old.
Then feed on thoughts, that voluntarie move
Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful Bird
Sings darkling, and in shadiest Covert hid
Tunes her nocturnal Note. Thus with the Year
Seasons return, but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of Ev'n or Morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or Summers Rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
But cloud in stead, and ever-during dark
Surrounds me, from the chearful waies of men
Cut off, and for the Book of knowledge fair
Presented with a Universal blanc
Of Natures works to mee expung'd and ras'd,
And wisdome at one entrance quite shut out.
So much the rather thou Celestial light
Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers
Irradiate, there plant eyes, all mist from thence
Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell
Of things invisible to mortal sight.
icewolf: snowy wolf (bolingbroke)
There's been a lot of religious imagery this month, not to mention all the Protectorate and Restoration poets. No clue why.

"Guiltless Heart"
Sir Francis Bacon

The man of life upright, whose guiltless heart is free
From all dishonest deeds and thoughts of vanity:
The man whose silent days in harmless joys are spent,
Whom hopes cannot delude, nor fortune discontent;
That man needs neither towers nor armor for defense,
Nor secret vaults to fly from thunder's violence:
He only can behold with unaffrighted eyes
The horrors of the deep and terrors of the skies;
Thus scorning all the care that fate or fortune brings,
He makes the heaven his book, his wisdom heavenly things;
Good thoughts his only friends, his wealth a well-spent age,
The earth his sober inn and quiet pilgrimage.
icewolf: snowy wolf (queen of swords)
"A Mien to move a Queen"
Emily Dickinson

A Mien to move a Queen—
Half Child—Half Heroine—
An Orleans in the Eye
That puts its manner by
For humbler Company
When none are near
Even a Tear—
Its frequent Visitor—

A Bonnet like a Duke—
And yet a Wren's Peruke
Were not so shy
Of Goer by—
And Hands—so slight—
They would elate a Sprite
With Merriment—

A Voice that Alters—Low
And on the Ear can go
Like Let of Snow—
Or shift supreme—
As tone of Realm
On Subjects Diadem—

Too small—to fear—
Too distant—to endear—
And so Men Compromise
And just—revere—
icewolf: snowy wolf (sunlit mask)
Early Donne, from his wilder, younger days...

"The Sun Rising"
John Donne

     BUSY old fool, unruly Sun,
     Why dost thou thus,
Through windows, and through curtains, call on us ?
Must to thy motions lovers' seasons run ?
      Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide
     Late school-boys and sour prentices,
  Go tell court-huntsmen that the king will ride,
  Call country ants to harvest offices ;
Love, all alike, no season knows nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.

      Thy beams so reverend, and strong
     Why shouldst thou think ?
I could eclipse and cloud them with a wink,
But that I would not lose her sight so long.
     If her eyes have not blinded thine,
     Look, and to-morrow late tell me,
  Whether both th' Indias of spice and mine
  Be where thou left'st them, or lie here with me.
Ask for those kings whom thou saw'st yesterday,
And thou shalt hear, "All here in one bed lay."

     She's all states, and all princes I ;
     Nothing else is ;
Princes do but play us ; compared to this,
All honour's mimic, all wealth alchemy.
     Thou, Sun, art half as happy as we,
     In that the world's contracted thus ;
  Thine age asks ease, and since thy duties be
  To warm the world, that's done in warming us.
Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere ;
This bed thy center is, these walls thy sphere.
icewolf: snowy wolf (blue coastline)
And we come at last to today.

"Science-fiction Cradlesong"
C. S. Lewis

By and by Man will try
To get out into the sky,
Sailing far beyond the air
From Down and Here to Up and There.
Stars and sky, sky and stars
Make us feel the prison bars.

Suppose it done. Now we ride
Closed in steel, up there, outside
Through our port-holes see the vast
Heaven-scape go rushing past.
Shall we? All that meets the eye
Is sky and stars, stars and sky.

Points of light with black between
Hang like a painted scene
Motionless, no nearer there
Than on Earth, everywhere
Equidistant from our ship.
Heaven has given us the slip.

Hush, be still. Outer space
Is a concept, not a place.
Try no more. Where we are
Never can be sky or star.
From prison, in a prison, we fly;
There's no way into the sky.
icewolf: snowy wolf (love)
Here's Monday's poem. It's a relatively anonymous medieval poem. (For that alone you must love medieval poetry, where relative anonymity is a possibility.) Here's what the translator and explicator, Brian Stone, says in his Medieval English Verse (Penguin 1964):

[The poem] is a full working of a favourite motif, the definition of love, and is interesting for the indication it gives of an early approximation to standard ballad metre.

Love is soft and love is sweet, and speaks in accents fair;
Love is mighty agony, and love is might care;
Love is utmost ecstasy and love is keen to dare;
Love is wretched misery; to live with, it's despair.

Love's a lottery, mars your luck or gives you pleasures gay;
Love is lecherous, love is loose, and likely to betray;
Love's a tyrant here on earth, not easy to gainsay;
Love throughout this land of ours sends faithful ones astray.

Love's a stern and valiant knight, strong astride a steed;
Love's a thing that pleasures every longing woman's need;
Love persists and keeps its heat like any glowing gleed;
Love puts girls in floods of tears, they rage and cry indeed.

Love maintains his bailiwick in every path and street;
Love can wet with tears the cheek of any maiden sweet;
Love by chance brings misery inflamed with fever heat;
Love is wise and love is wary, wants its way complete.

Love's the softest, sweetest thing that in the heart may sleep;
Love is craft, and for its woes is well equipped to weep;
Love is false and love is eager, forces folk to long;
Love is foolish, love is firm, and love is comfort strong:
Love's a marvel to the man who treats of it in song.

Love is weal and love is woe, in gladness can maintain us;
Love is life and love is death, and love can well sustain us.

If love had strength for suffering as first it has when keen,
Then love would be the worthiest thing the world had ever seen;
But this is what is sung of it, and so it's ever been:
'Love begins in mighty pain and ends in grief and spleen,
With noble lady, steady wife, with virgin or with queen!'
icewolf: snowy wolf (Easter)
This is for Sunday.

"Easter Communion"
Gerard Manley Hopkins

Pure fasted faces draw unto this feast:
God comes all sweetness to your Lenten lips.
You striped in secret with breath-taking whips,
Those crooked rough-scored chequers may be pieced
To crosses meant for Jesu's; you whom the East
With draught of thin and pursuant cold so nips
Breathe Easter now; you serged fellowships,
You vigil-keepers with low flames decreased,

God shall o'er-brim the measures you have spent
With oil of gladness, for sackcloth and frieze
And the ever-fretting shirt of punishment
Give myrrhy-threaded golden folds of ease.
Your scarce-sheathed bones are weary of being bent:
Lo, God shall strengthen all the feeble knees.

And a special Easter bonus... )
icewolf: text: Catholic Socialist Weirdo (catholic socialist weirdo)
Holy cats am I behind on the poetry postings. Here's the poem for this past Saturday, which was Easter Saturday. I thought this appropriate.

"The Dying Christian To His Soul"
Alexander Pope

Vital spark of heav'nly flame,
Quit, oh, quit, this mortal frame!
Trembling, hoping, ling'ring, flying,
Oh, the pain, the bliss of dying!
Cease, fond Nature, cease thy strife,
And let me languish into life!

Hark! they whisper; Angels say,
Sister Spirit, come away.
What is this absorbs me quite,
Steals my senses, shuts my sight,
Drowns my spirits, draws my breath?
Tell me, my Soul! can this be Death?

The world recedes; it disappears;
Heav'n opens on my eyes; my ears
With sounds seraphic ring:
Lend, lend your wings! I mount! I fly!
O Grave! where is thy Victory?
O Death! where is thy Sting?
icewolf: snowy wolf (Default)
Still running a day behind...

"Good-Friday, 1613, Riding Westward"
John Donne

LET man's soul be a sphere, and then, in this,
Th' intelligence that moves, devotion is ;
And as the other spheres, by being grown
Subject to foreign motion, lose their own,
And being by others hurried every day,
Scarce in a year their natural form obey ;
Pleasure or business, so, our souls admit
For their first mover, and are whirl'd by it.
Hence is't, that I am carried towards the west,
This day, when my soul's form bends to the East.
There I should see a Sun by rising set,
And by that setting endless day beget.
But that Christ on His cross did rise and fall,
Sin had eternally benighted all.
Yet dare I almost be glad, I do not see
That spectacle of too much weight for me.
Who sees Gods face, that is self-life, must die ;
What a death were it then to see God die ?
It made His own lieutenant, Nature, shrink,
It made His footstool crack, and the sun wink.
Could I behold those hands, which span the poles
And tune all spheres at once, pierced with those holes ?
Could I behold that endless height, which is
Zenith to us and our antipodes,
Humbled below us ? or that blood, which is
The seat of all our soul's, if not of His,
Made dirt of dust, or that flesh which was worn
By God for His apparel, ragg'd and torn ?
If on these things I durst not look, durst I
On His distressed Mother cast mine eye,
Who was God's partner here, and furnish'd thus
Half of that sacrifice which ransom'd us ?
Though these things as I ride be from mine eye,
They're present yet unto my memory,
For that looks towards them ; and Thou look'st towards me,
O Saviour, as Thou hang'st upon the tree.
I turn my back to thee but to receive
Corrections till Thy mercies bid Thee leave.
O think me worth Thine anger, punish me,
Burn off my rust, and my deformity ;
Restore Thine image, so much, by Thy grace,
That Thou mayst know me, and I'll turn my face.
icewolf: (sanctuary)
Sorry about missing yesterday (and the day before--I started this entry at around noon on Friday), everyone. This is from Prudentius, "Hymnus Omnes Horae." Lines 22-24 are frequently used in Holy Week services.


Da puer plectrum, choreis ut canam fidelibus
dulce carmen et melodum, gesta Christi insignia:
hunc camena nostra solum pangat, hunc laudet lyra.

Christus est, quem rex sacerdos adfuturum protinus
infulatus concinebat voce, chorda et tympano, 5
zaspiritum caelo influentem per medullas hauriens.

Facta nos et iam probata pangimus miracula... )
icewolf: snowy wolf (Default)
Whoops! Busy day today, between chasing Herself away from the cats' food bowls and then having Passover.

"Mac Flecknoe: A Satire upon the True-blue Protestant Poet T"
John Dryden

All human things are subject to decay,
And, when Fate summons, monarchs must obey:
This Flecknoe found, who, like Augustus, young
Was call'd to empire, and had govern'd long:
In prose and verse, was own'd, without dispute
Through all the realms of Non-sense, absolute.
This aged prince now flourishing in peace,
And blest with issue of a large increase,
Worn out with business, did at length debate
To settle the succession of the State:
And pond'ring which of all his sons was fit
To reign, and wage immortal war with wit;
Cry'd, 'tis resolv'd; for nature pleads that he
Should only rule, who most resembles me:
Shadwell alone my perfect image bears,
Mature in dullness from his tender years.
Shadwell alone, of all my sons, is he
Who stands confirm'd in full stupidity.
The rest to some faint meaning make pretence,
But Shadwell never deviates into sense.
Some beams of wit on other souls may fall,
Strike through and make a lucid interval;
But Shadwell's genuine night admits no ray,
His rising fogs prevail upon the day:
Besides his goodly fabric fills the eye,
And seems design'd for thoughtless majesty:
Thoughtless as monarch oaks, that shade the plain,
And, spread in solemn state, supinely reign.
Heywood and Shirley were but types of thee,
Thou last great prophet of tautology:
Even I, a dunce of more renown than they,
Was sent before but to prepare thy way;
And coarsely clad in Norwich drugget came
To teach the nations in thy greater name.
My warbling lute, the lute I whilom strung
When to King John of Portugal I sung,
Was but the prelude to that glorious day,
When thou on silver Thames did'st cut thy way,
With well tim'd oars before the royal barge,
Swell'd with the pride of thy celestial charge;
And big with hymn, commander of an host,
The like was ne'er in Epsom blankets toss'd.
Methinks I see the new Arion sail,
The lute still trembling underneath thy nail.
At thy well sharpen'd thumb from shore to shore
The treble squeaks for fear, the basses roar:
Echoes from Pissing-Alley, Shadwell call,
And Shadwell they resound from Aston Hall.
About thy boat the little fishes throng,
As at the morning toast, that floats along.
Sometimes as prince of thy harmonious band
Thou wield'st thy papers in thy threshing hand.
St. Andre's feet ne'er kept more equal time,
Not ev'n the feet of thy own Psyche's rhyme:
Though they in number as in sense excel;
So just, so like tautology they fell,
That, pale with envy, Singleton forswore
The lute and sword which he in triumph bore
And vow'd he ne'er would act Villerius more.
Here stopt the good old sire; and wept for joy
In silent raptures of the hopeful boy.
All arguments, but most his plays, persuade,
That for anointed dullness he was made.

Close to the walls which fair Augusta bind, )
icewolf: (sanctuary)
And here's today's poem from my other favorite 19th/20th century poet:

"The Mother of God"
William Butler Yeats

THE threefold terror of love; a fallen flare
Through the hollow of an ear;
Wings beating about the room;
The terror of all terrors that I bore
The Heavens in my womb.

Had I not found content among the shows
Every common woman knows,
Chimney corner, garden walk,
Or rocky cistern where we tread the clothes
And gather all the talk?

What is this flesh I purchased with my pains,
This fallen star my milk sustains,
This love that makes my heart's blood stop
Or strikes a Sudden chill into my bones
And bids my hair stand up?


icewolf: snowy wolf (Default)

August 2011

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