Thursday, April 30, 2015

Mezzo Cammin

"Half of my life is gone, and I have let
   The years slip from me and have not fulfilled
   The aspiration of my youth, to build
   Some tower of song with lofty parapet.
Not indolence, nor pleasure, nor the fret
   Of restless passions that would not be stilled,
   But sorrow, and a care that almost killed,
   Kept me from what I may accomplish yet;
Though, half-way up the hill, I see the Past
   Lying beneath me with its sounds and sights,—
   A city in the twilight dim and vast,
With smoking roofs, soft bells, and gleaming lights,—
   And hear above me on the autumnal blast
   The cataract of Death far thundering from the heights."

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

So I am officially retired,  from working, not blogging.

"O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

"This is the life I wanted, and could never see.
For almost twenty years I thought that it was enough:
That real happiness was either unreal, or lost, or endless,
And that remembrance was as close to it as I could ever come.
And I believed that deep in the past, buried in my heart
Beyond the depth of sight, there was a kingdom of peace.
And so I never imagined that when peace would finally come
It would be on a summer evening, a few blocks away from home
In a small suburban park, with some children playing aimlessly
In an endless light, and a lake shining in the distance."
from In the Park
by John Koethe

“And beyond the Wild Wood again. he asked:
Where its all dim and blue, and one sees what may
be hills or perhaps they mayn t, and something like
the smoke of towns, or is it only cloud-drift.
Beyond the Wild Wood comes the Wide World,"
said the Rat."And that's something that doesn't matter,
either to you or to me. I've never been there,
and I'm never going' nor you either, if you've got any
sense at all.”

from The Wind in the Willows
by Kenneth Grahame

Friday, April 3, 2015

" But when I came to stop
Below a hill that marked one end of the valley
That had pierced my heart with terror, I looked up

Toward the crest and saw its shoulders already
Mantled in rays of that bright planet that shows
The road to everyone, whatever our journey.

Then I could feel the terror begin to ease
That churned in my heart's lake all through the night.
As one still panting, ashore from dangerous seas,

Looks back a the deep he has escaped,"

                       Inferno from Canto 1
                                    Dante Pinsky trans.

 Our weather which has been unseasonably warm was 
interrupted by a skiff of winter snow last night. So I took 
these photos while out in the yard with the dogs on the
morning of Good Friday. My poetry selections are made
because I remember something that seems apt or because
I am reading some particular work at the time. Today
it is both, I have several translation, courses etc of Dante's
Divine Comedy and have been collecting
materials on him for years. So this afternoon while 
looking through Pinsky's translation I found a passage
 that seemed to fit my present mood. Eventually
it occurred to me that Dante sets the first Canto of the 
Inferno  on Good Friday of the year 1300. These connections
are one of the great joys that literature can bring to my life.
It was while looking through Longfellow's note to his translation
that I found the passage below on one of the end pages of my  
Routledge edition.

"How strange the sculptures that adorn these towers!
This crowd of statues, in whose folded sleeves
Birds build their nests; while canopied with leaves
Parvis and portal bloom like trellised bowers,
And the vast minster seems a cross of flowers!"

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow