Archive for September, 2015

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

My Loves by John Stuart Blackie

Air — ‘Shall I wasting in despair?’

(Suggested by Anæcreon’s ‘εί φύλλα, κ.τ.λ.’)

Name the leaves on all the trees,
Name the waves on all the seas,
Name the notes of all the groves,
Thus thou namest all my loves.

I do love the dark, the fair,
Golden ringlets, raven hair.
Eye that swims in sunny light.
Glance that shoots like lightning bright.

I do love the stately dame
And the sportive girl the same;
Every changeful phase between
Blooming cheek and brow serene.

I do love the young, the old,
Maiden modest, virgin bold.
Tiny beauties, and the tall;
Earth has room enough for all.

Which is better, who can say,
Lucy grave or Mary gay?
She who half her charms conceals,
She who flashes while she feels?

Why should I my love confine?
Why should fair be mine or thine?
If I praise a tulip, why
Should I pass a primrose by?

Paris was a pedant fool
Meting beauty by a rule,
Pallas? Juno? Venus? — he
Should have chosen all the three.

I am wise life’s every bliss
Thankful tasting; and a kiss
Is a sweet thing, I declare,
From a dark maid or a fair!

From: Blackie, John Stuart and Walker, Archibald Stodart (ed.), The Selected Poems of John Stuart Blackie, Edited with an Appreciation by Archibald Stodart Walker, 1896, John MacQueen: London, pp. 145-146.

Date: 1857

By: John Stuart Blackie (1809-1895)

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

The Trout by Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart

Across a clear brook gentle,
There shot in eager haste
The trout, so temperamental;
Quite arrow-like it raced.
I on the shore was gazing
And watched the brook disclose
The merry fish’s bathing
To me in sweet repose.

An angler’s reel unrolled
From where he stood below.
He watched with blood most cold
The fish swim to and fro.
So long no stone or sod
Stirred up the water pure
The trout from line and rod
Would stay, I thought, secure.

At length the thief lost patience
And made the brook obscure
With crafty agitations,
And ere I could be sure
The rod had started curving;
The squirming fish was hooked.
With pounding blood observing,
At the betrayed, I looked.

You, at the fountain golden,
Of youth, so free from doubt,
Be to the trout beholden;
At danger’s sign, clear out!
‘Tis oft for want of reason
That maids will shun the straight.
Beware the anglers’ treason
Else you may bleed too late!


Date: 1782 (German original); 1995 (English translation)

By: Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart (1739-1791)

Translated by: Walter Meyer (19??-?)

Monday, 28 September 2015

To the Immortall Memory of the Fairest and Most Vertuous Lady, the Lady by William Bosworth (Boxworth)

Her tongue hath ceast to speak, which might make dumb
All tongues, might stay all Pens, al hands benum;
Yet must I write, O that it might have been
While she had liv’d, and had my verses seen,
Before sad cries deaf’d my untuned ears,
When verses flow’d more easily than tears.
Ah why neglected I to write her praise,
And paint her Vertues in those happy dayes!
Then my now trembling hand and dazled eye,
Had seldome fail’d, having the pattern by;
Or had it err’d, or made some strokes amiss,
(For who can portray Vertue as it is?)
Art might with Nature have maintain’d her strife,
By curious lines to imitate true life.
But now those Pictures want their lively grace,
As after death none well can draw the face:
We let our friends passe idlely like our time,
Till they be gone, and then we see our crime,
And think what worth in them might have been known,
What duties done, and what affection shown:
Untimely knowledge, which so dear doth cost,
And then begins when the thing known is lost;
Yet this cold love, this envy, this neglect,
Proclaims us modest, while our due respect
To goodness is restrain’d by servile fear,
Lest to the world, it flatt’ry should appear:
As if the present hours deserv’d no praise:
But age is past, whose knowledge only stayes
On that weak prop which memory sustains,
Should be the proper subject of our strains:
Or as if foolish men asham’d to sing
Of Violets, and Roses in the Spring,
Should tarry till the flow’rs were blown away,
And till the Muses life and heat decay;
Then is the fury slack’d, the vigour fled,
As here in mine, since it with her was dead:
Which still may sparkle, but shall flame no more,
Because no time shall her to us restore:
Yet may these Sparks, thus kindled with her fame,
Shine brighter, and live longer than some flame.
Here expectation urgeth me to tell
Her high perfections, which the world knew well.
But they are far beyond my skill t’unfold,
They were poor vertues if they might be told.
But thou, who fain would’st take a gen’rall view
Of timely fruits which in this garden grew,
On all the vertues in mens actions look,
Or read their names writ in some morall book;
And sum the number which thou there shalt find:
So many liv’d, and triumph’d in her mind.
Nor dwelt these Graces in a house obscure,
But in a Palace fair, which might allure
The wretch, who no respect to vertue bore,
To love It, for the garments which it wore.
So that in her the body and the soule
Contended, which should most adorn the whole.
O happy soul for such a body meet,
How are the firm chains of that union sweet,
Dissever’d in the twinkling of an eye?
And we amaz’d dare ask no reason why,
But silent think, that God is pleas’d to show,
That he hath works, whose ends we cannot know:
Let us then cease to make a vain request,
To learn why die the fairest, why the best;
For all these things, which mortals hold most dear,
Most slipp’ry are, and yeeld less joy than fear;
And being lifted high by mens desire,
Are more propitious marks for heav’nly fire;
And are laid prostrate with the first assault,
Because, our love makes their desert their fault.
Then justice, us to some amends should move
For this our fruitless, nay our hurtfull love;
We in their Honour, piles of stone erect
With their dear Names, and worthy praises deckt:
But since those fail, their glories we reherse,
In better Marble, everlasting verse,
By which we gather from consuming hours,
Some parts of them, though time the rest devours;
Then if the Muses can forbid to die,
As we their Priests suppose, why may not I?
Although the least and hoarsest in the quire,
Clear beams of blessed immortality inspire
To keep thy blest remembrance ever young,
Still to be freshly in all ages sung:
Or if my work in this unable be,
Yet shall it ever live, upheld by thee:
For thou shalt live, though Poems should decay,
Since Parents teach their Sons, thy praise to say;
And to Posterity, from hand to hand
Convey it with their blessing and their land.
Thy quiet rest from death, this good derives,
Instead of one, it gives thee many lives:
While these lines last, thy shadow dwelleth here,
Thy fame, it self extendeth ev’ry where;
In Heav’n our hopes have plac’d thy better part:
Thine Image lives, in thy sad Husbands heart:
Who as when he enjoy’d thee, he was chief
In love and comfort, so is he now in grief.

From: Bosworth, William, The chast and lost lovers living shadowed in the person of Arcadius and Sepha and illustrated with the several stories of Haemon and Antigone, Eramio and Amissa, Phaon and Sappho, Delithason and Verista … : to which is added the contestation betwixt Bacchus and Diana, and certain sonnets of the author to Aurora / digested into three poems by Will. Bosworth, 2003, Text Creation Partnership: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oxford: pp. 119-122.

Date: 1651

By: William Bosworth (Boxworth) (1607-?1650)

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Cartography for Beginners by Emily Hasler

for CL

First of all, you will need to choose the correct blue
to indicate water. This should not be too watery.
You must remember: people do not like wet feet.
If there is no water to indicate, no matter,
you must still elect a blue. Let me recommend
eggshell, at a push, azure. Choose a symbol
for church/temple/mosque/synagogue. Choose
a symbol for pub. Dedicate your life
to the twin and warring gods of Precision
and Wild Abandon. People do not like
to be lost. Buy Mandelbrot’s 1967 paper
on the coastline paradox, put it on the highest shelf –
but get a stepladder. Take a little licence with rivers,
especially their curves and estuaries. Add
an oxbow lake if at all possible. If the area you
are mapping has no seas/lakes/rivers/streams,
I have to question why you are bothering. You
won’t get to use that lovely blue you spent so long
deciding upon. Do the Norfolk fens instead. Better
yet, East Anglia in its future state, quite utterly
submerged like a sodden Constable. Come on,
get your coat, I’ll show you. You won’t need your shoes.


Date: 2012

By: Emily Hasler (1985- )

Saturday, 26 September 2015

My Heart by Loureine Aber

This is my heart:
And sea gulls beating against them piteously,
Hungry and demented,
Flowers drying up before drought.

This is my heart:
The dusky presence of trees
Hung with night,
Stars falling……………
Who shall encompass it and bear chains to it?
Who shall measure its girth
Or give it a name?
Not you — girl with the pleading eyes —
Nor you — man with fire fingers……………
For where is its limit,
And where its boundaries?

From: Aber, Loureine, We, the Musk Chasers, 1921, Ralph Fletcher Seymour: Chicago, p. 39.

Date: 1921

By: Loureine Aber (1893-1930)

Friday, 25 September 2015

To — by Frances Anne Kemble

I would I might be with thee, when the year
Begins to wane, and that thou walk’st alone
Upon the rocky strand, whilst loud and clear,
The autumn wind sings, from his cloudy throne,
Wild requiems for the summer that is gone.
Or when, in sad and contemplative mood,
Thy feet explore the leafy-paven wood:
I would my soul might reason then with thine,
Upon those themes most solemn and most strange,
Which every falling leaf and fading flower,
Whisper unto us with a voice divine;
Filling the brief space of one mortal hour,
With fearful thoughts of death, decay, and change,
And the high mystery of that after birth,
That comes to us, as well as to the earth.

From: Butler, Frances Anne, Poems, 2008, Project Gutenberg: Salt Lake City, UT, p. 60.

Date: 1844

By: Frances Anne Kemble (1809-1893)

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Words of Delusion by Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller

Three words doth man hear, with meaning full
In good and in best mouths extolling,
They sound off but idly, their ring is null,
They can not give any consoling.
And mankind doth forfeit this life’s own fruit,
As long as mere shadows are his pursuit.

As long as he trusts in the Golden Age,
Where the righteous, the good conquer evil—
The righteous, the good in battle e’er rage,
Ne’er will he vanquish the Devil,
And thou strangle him not in the air that’s blue,
E’er grows in him strength from the earth anew.

As long as he trusts, that a coquettish chance
Is with nobleness bound up in spirit—
The evil she trails with loving glance,
Not the earth, will the good man inherit.
He is a stranger, he goes to roam
And seeks an everlasting home.

As long as he trusts, that mere logic can grasp
The truth that is ever shining,
Then her veil lifts not any mere mortal clasp,
We’re left but supposing, divining.
Thou’d ’prison the soul in an empty sound,
But it wanders off in the storm unbound.

So, noble soul, from delusion tear thee,
And to heavenly trust be most faithful!
What no ear doth hear, what the eyes do not see,
It is this that’s the beaut’ous, the truthful!
It is not outside, there fools do implore,
It is in you, you bring it forth evermore.

From: of delusion

Date: 1797 (German original); 1985 (English translation)

By: Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805)

Translated by: Marianna Stapel Wertz (1948-2003)

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Epilogue to “A Christian Turn’d Turke” by Robert Daborne

Who writes and thinkes to please the generall taste
Where eyes and eares are fed, shal find he hath placed
His worke with the fond Painter, who did mend
So long, that striving to please others, gave no end
To his owne labours; for us, and if not all
We know we have pleased some, whose judgements fall
Beyond the common ranke, to whom we humbly yield
Our selves and labours, they best deserve to shield
The worthy workes of Time, and with their view
To grace choyce Pennes, and such we hope are you,
To whom we owe our toyle, and willing give
All right in this, your favour makes it live.
Stand faire unto our ends then still, and crowne
With gentle hand this worke which now’s your owne.

From: Daborne, Robert, A Christian turn’d Turke: or, The tragicall lives and deaths of the two famous pyrates, Ward and Dansiker As it hath beene publickly acted. Written by Robert Daborn, Gentleman, 2003, Text Creation Partnership: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oxford.


Date: 1612

By: Robert Daborne (c1580-1628)

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Vervain by Fabian McPherson

…take dire map. It opens the small room,
vinyl rim cull’d in the star hour
Tho tok sche of the mist         / Unzoned,
along Spikes thread-shaped, & New Age
Supplies, Independence, MO 64053.
Galactagogue, the trumpet announces:
their persons a blade, and all the defects
under the damp peak of sparkling woods,
and by the inner wall.
Halt, yes. No,
Of herbes ben noght betre, oh Mercury’s
moist blood. Elena Stabs Stefan With Ver-
vain: Miss Mystic Falls Clip 28, which vain ism.
Neither, in the familiar Welsh names of those
plants, connected with the Druid.
Seeds four.—Withering. walk now the halls;
My Vampire Diaries Necklace with


Date: 2011

By: Fabian McPherson (19??- )

Monday, 21 September 2015

Etching of the Plague Years by Mary Karr

In the valley of your art history book,
the corpses stack in the back of a cart
drawn by an ox whose rolling shoulder muscles
show its considerable weight.

He does this often. His velvet nostrils
flare to indicate the stench.

It’s the smell you catch after class
while descending a urine-soaked
subway stair on a summer night
in a neighborhood where cabs won’t drive:
the odor of dead flowers, fear
multiplied a thousand times.

The train door’s hiss
seals you inside with a frail boy
swaying from a silver hoop.
He coughs in your direction, his eyes
are burn holes in his face.

Back in the fourteenth-century print
lying in your lap, a hand
white as an orchid has sprouted
from the pyramid of flesh.
It claws the smoky air.

Were it not for that,
the cart might carry green cordwood
(the human body knobby and unplaned).

Wrap your fingers around your neck
and feel the stony glands.
Count the holes in your belt loop
for lost weight.

In the black unfurling glass,
study the hard planes of your face.

Compare it to the prom picture
in your wallet, the orchid
pinned to your chest like a spider.

Think of the flames
at your high school bonfire
licking the black sky, ashes rising,
innumerable stars. The fingers that wove
with your fingers
have somehow turned to bone.

The subway shudders between dark and light.
The ox plods across the page.

Think of everyone
you ever loved: the boy
who gets off at your stop
is a faint ideogram for each.

Offer him your hand.
Help him climb the stair.


Date: 1990

By: Mary Karr (1955- )