Through a Glass Darkly

Through a Glass Darkly

   . .  . . . . . . . Withered willows in the Fall  . . . .  . . . .. . whither go thy leaves? The layers of oversight have been changed. Bare ruined choirs stain the landscape dripping with rain in late November. The 21st century limited exists in tandem with the 16th and the 1st when early Christians walked the earth, were persecuted for forsaking Jupiter and Roma and Nero the Living God. The 23rd century is here too with its impossible robotic perfection swelling above the iron trees and glass domes that cover still self-functioning cities :– emotion sensors in every room to quickly suss out layers of psychic stress and oversight with an always watchful awe-full eye toward change and maxi-fluidity winking above the intersections of streets and hallways: Is this not the Ides of March asks Brutus and Shakespeare writes this down in his panoptical play that plays with time simultaneously perceived: a clock in ancient Rome, chimney tops above the Tiber (or is it really the Thames?) and a pulpit for Antony’s flaming speech. In 200 years will mourning doves and deer searching together for acorns and seeds seem an anachronism too silly to speak or think, as silly as Newton’s planets still towing the same old millennial line, elliptical routes gone haywire the way of the dino and dodo? But they will (of necessity) still be there by definition in the quantum merging of past, present, and future all rolled into one jelly evenly spread on slices of the time-space continuum likened to a universal loaf of wonder bread...
Ode to a Nightingale

Ode to a Nightingale

Jack Ramey reads Ode To a Nightingale. http://www.springwoodpress.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Nightingale1_01.mp3   My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains ….My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk, Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains ….One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk: ‘Tis not through envy of thy happy lot, ….But being too happy in thine happiness, — ……..That thou, light-wingèd Dryad of the trees, ……………..In some melodious plot ….Of beechen green, and shadows numberless, ……..Singest of summer in full-throated ease. O for a draught of vintage! that hath been ….Cool’d a long age in the deep-delvèd earth, Tasting of Flora and the country-green, ….Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth! O for a beaker full of the warm South! ….Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene, ……..With beaded bubbles winking at the brim, ……………..And purple-stainèd mouth; ….That I might drink, and leave the world unseen, ……..And with thee fade away into the forest dim: Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget ….What thou among the leaves hast never known, The weariness, the fever, and the fret ….Here, where men sit and hear each other groan; Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last grey hairs, ….Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies; ……..Where but to think is to be full of sorrow ……………..And leaden-eyed despairs; ….Where beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes, ……..Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow. Away! away! for I will fly to thee, ….Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards, But on the viewless wings of Poesy, ….Though the dull brain perplexes and retards: Already with thee! tender is the night, ….And haply the...
Ode on a Grecian Urn

Ode on a Grecian Urn

Jack Ramey reads Ode on a Grecian Urn. http://www.springwoodpress.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Grecian-Urn-2.mp3   Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness, …..Thou foster-child of silence and slow time, Sylvan historian, who canst thus express …..A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme: What leaf-fring’d legend haunts about thy shape …..Of deities or mortals, or of both, …..In Tempe or the dales of Arcady? What men or gods are these? What maidens loth? …..What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape? ……….What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy? Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard …..Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on; Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear’d, …..Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone: Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave …..Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare; …..Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss, Though winning near the goal yet, do not grieve; …..She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss, …..…..For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair! Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed …..Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu; And, happy melodist, unwearied, …..For ever piping songs for ever new; More happy love! more happy, happy love! …..For ever warm and still to be enjoy’d, …..For ever panting, and for ever young; All breathing human passion far above, …..That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy’d, …..…..A burning forehead, and a parching tongue. Who are these coming to the sacrifice? …..To what green altar, O mysterious priest, Lead’st thou that heifer lowing at the skies, …..And all her silken flanks with garlands drest? What little town by river or sea...
Ode to the West Wind

Ode to the West Wind

    I O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being, Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing, Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red, Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou, Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed The wingèd seeds, where they lie cold and low, Each like a corpse within its grave, until Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow Her clarion o’er the dreaming earth, and fill (Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air) With living hues and odours plain and hill: Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere; Destroyer and Preserver; hear, O hear! II Thou on whose stream, ‘mid the steep sky’s commotion, Loose clouds like Earth’s decaying leaves are shed, Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean, Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread On the blue surface of thine airy surge, Like the bright hair uplifted from the head Of some fierce Maenad, even from the dim verge Of the horizon to the zenith’s height, The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge Of the dying year, to which this closing night Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre Vaulted with all thy congregated might Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst: O hear! III Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams The blue Mediterranean, where he lay, Lulled by the coil of his crystalline streams, Beside a pumice isle in Baiae’s bay, And saw in sleep old palaces and towers Quivering within the wave’s intenser day, All overgrown...
Ozymandias

Ozymandias

    I met a traveller from an antique land Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert . . . Near them, on the sand, Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed: And on the pedestal these words appear: ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’ Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away.”   by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) Portrait of Shelley Writing Prometheus Unbound by Joseph Severn (1793–1879) via Wikimedia Commons Jack Ramey talks about Shelley and reads Ozymandias.   Shelley was a radical. He hated tyranny and loved freedom and liberty and the rights of the common man. The Mask of Anarchy, Prometheus Unbound, and The Triumph of Life are all great long poems that celebrate the triumph of libertarian values over tyranny. Shelley’s sonnet, Ozymandias, is one of his most famous poems. It began as a friendly competition between Shelley and his friend Horace Smith, based on a recent announcement of the British Museum‘s acquisition of the adjacent statue.  They chose a passage from the Greek Historian Diodorus, which described a massive Egyptian statue and quoted its inscription: “King of Kings Ozymandias am I.” This fine poem reflects Shelley’s view that tyranny cannot last and that tyrants will always vanish in the end...
Fragments from the Gone World

Fragments from the Gone World

I The gods are far too literal minded : Ithmonike of Pellene pregnant for three entire years after imploring the god Asklepios at Epidaurus. You silly woman, he said upon her return, why did you not say you wanted to give birth?   II Fingernail-clipping moon Above dustbin horsetail cloud. A small moth ascends As day descends into darkness. Dawn breaks My heart Apart. Opens up the night Like a knife wound Spilling red across the horizon.   III Great Egyptian Ptah, lord of creation, spoke out loud his green-skinned imagination : and the universe hurled off his tongue into being.   IV Rose taffeta unwinds from her spinning dancer’s dress You’ve hurt me for the last time, she says. A rogue’s gallery of blackguards lines the walls of her memory like a portico around her cerebellum’s cloister as baroque violoncellos squawk in the nautilus hollows of her ears like a dead sea of ancient tears. You are gone now in dust and I am still here, dancing.   from Eavesdropping in Plato’s Café Featured Print:  Ship Wreck  by Linda Lyke Newfoundland Paintings:  Ship Wreck is from a series of paintings that convey the struggle for survival of the Beothuk Natives and European settlers of Newfoundland and memorializes the images of both cultures with their complex topography of land and...