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Archive for April, 2007

The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.

-William Carlos Williams

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Inconundrum Press

[rockyou id=62786706&w=500&h=376]

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Philthy Conversations with Artists

Process Conversations with Philadelphia artists.

This week: Rachel Cox and Anders Hansen

[splashcast XHZH9257MC]


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Betrothed

You have put your two hands upon me, and your mouth,
You have said my name as a prayer…

-Louise Bogan

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Three English Translations of Baudelaire’s “L’invitation au voyage”

Invitation to the Voyage

My child, my sister,
Think of the rapture
Of living together there!
Of loving at will,
Of loving till death,
In the land that is like you!
The misty sunlight
Of those cloudy skies
Has for my spirit the charms,
So mysterious,
Of your treacherous eyes,
Shining brightly through their tears.

There all is order and beauty,
Luxury, peace, and pleasure.

Gleaming furniture,
Polished by the years,
Will ornament our bedroom;
The rarest flowers
Mingling their fragrance
With the faint scent of amber,
The ornate ceilings,
The limpid mirrors,
The oriental splendor,
All would whisper there
Secretly to the soul
In its soft, native language.

There all is order and beauty,
Luxury, peace, and pleasure.

See on the canals
Those vessels sleeping.
Their mood is adventurous;
It’s to satisfy
Your slightest desire
That they come from the ends of the earth.
— The setting suns
Adorn the fields,
The canals, the whole city,
With hyacinth and gold;
The world falls asleep
In a warm glow of light.

There all is order and beauty,
Luxury, peace, and pleasure.

— William Aggeler, The Flowers of Evil (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954)

Invitation to the Voyage

My daughter, my sister,
Consider the vista
Of living out there, you and I,
To love at our leisure,
Then, ending our pleasure,
In climes you resemble to die.
There the suns, rainy-wet,
Through clouds rise and set
With the selfsame enchantment to charm me
That my senses receive
From your eyes, that deceive,
When they shine through your tears to disarm me.

There’ll be nothing but beauty, wealth, pleasure,
With all things in order and measure.

With old treasures furnished,
By centuries burnished,
To gleam in the shade of our chamber,
While the rarest of flowers
Vaguely mix through the hours
Their own with the perfume of amber:
Each sumptuous ceiling,
Each mirror revealing
The wealth of the East, will be hung
So the part and the whole
May speak to the soul
In its native, indigenous tongue.

There’ll be nothing but beauty, wealth, pleasure,
With all things in order and measure.

On the channels and streams
See each vessel that dreams
In its whimsical vagabond way,
Since its for your least whim
The oceans they swim
From the ends of the night and the day.
The sun, going down, With its glory will crown
Canals, fields, and cities entire,
While the whole earth is rolled
In the jacinth and gold
Of its warming and radiant fire.

There’ll be nothing but beauty, wealth, pleasure
With all things in order and measure.

— Roy Campbell, Poems of Baudelaire (New York: Pantheon Books, 1952)

Invitation to the Voyage

Think, would it not be
Sweet to live with me
All alone, my child, my love? —
Sleep together, share
All things, in that fair
Country you remind me of?
Charming in the dawn
There, the half-withdrawn
Drenched, mysterious sun appears
In the curdled skies,
Treacherous as your eyes
Shining from behind their tears.

There, restraint and order bless
Luxury and voluptuousness.

We should have a room
Never out of bloom:
Tables polished by the palm
Of the vanished hours
Should reflect rare flowers
In that amber-scented calm;
Ceilings richly wrought,
Mirrors deep as thought,
Walls with eastern splendor hung,
All should speak apart
To the homesick heart
In its own dear native tongue.

There, restraint and order bless
Luxury and voluptuousness.

See, their voyage past,
To their moorings fast,
On the still canals asleep,
These big ships; to bring
You some trifling thing
They have braved the furious deep.
— Now the sun goes down,
Tinting dyke and town,
Field, canal, all things in sight,
Hyacinth and gold;
All that we behold
Slumbers in its ruddy light.

There, restraint and order bless
Luxury and voluptuousness.

— Edna St. Vincent Millay, Flowers of Evil (NY: Harper and Brothers, 1936)

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The Holy Office

Myself unto myself will give
This name, Katharsis-Purgative.
I, who dishevelled ways forsook
To hold the poets’ grammar-book,
Bringing to tavern and to brothel
The mind of witty Aristotle,
Lest bards in the attempt should err
Must here be my interpreter:
Wherefore receive now from my lip
Peripatetic scholarship.
To enter heaven, travel hell,
Be piteous or terrible
One positively needs the ease
Of plenary indulgences.
For every true-born mysticist
A Dante is, unprejudiced,
Who safe at ingle-nook, by proxy,
Hazards extremes of heterodoxy,
Like him who finds joy at a table
Pondering the uncomfortable.
Ruling one’s life by common sense
How can one fail to be intense?
But I must not accounted be
One of that mumming company
With him who hies him to appease
His giddy dames’ frivolities
While they console him when he whinges
With gold-embroidered Celtic fringes
Or him who sober all the day
Mixes a naggin in his play
Or him whose conduct ‘seems to own’
His preference for a man of ‘tone’
Or him who plays the ragged patch
To millionaires in Hazelpatch
But weeping after holy fast
Confesses all his pagan past
Or him who will his hat unfix
Neither to malt nor crucifix
But show to all that poor-dressed be
His high Castilian courtesy
Or him who loves his Master dear
Or him who drinks his pint in fear
Or him who once when snug abed
Saw Jesus Christ without his head
And tried so hard to win for us
The long-lost works of Aeschylus.
But all these men of whom I speak
Make me the sewer of their clique.
That they may dream their dreamy dreams
I carry off their filthy streams
For I can do those things for them
Through which I lost my diadem,
Those things for which Grandmother Church
Left me severely in the lurch.
Thus I relieve their timid arses,
Perform my office of Katharsis.
My scarlet leaves them white as wool:
Through me they purge a bellyful.
To sister mummers one and all
I act as vicar-general
And for each maiden, shy and nervous,
I do a similar kind of service.
For I detect without surprise
That shadowy beauty in her eyes,
The ‘dare not’ of sweet maidenhood
That answers my corruptive ‘would’,
Whenever publicly we meet
She never seems to think of it;
At night when close in bed she lies
And feels my hand between her thighs
My little love in light attire
Knows the soft flame that is desire.
But Mammon places under ban
The uses of Leviathan
And that high spirit ever wars
On Mammon’s countless servitors
Nor can they ever be exempt
From his taxation of contempt.
So distantly I turn to view
The shamblings of that motley crew,
Those souls that hate the strength that mine has
Steeled in the school of old Aquinas.
Where they have crouched and crawled and prayed
I stand, the self-doomed, unafraid,
Unfellowed, friendless and alone,
Indifferent as the herring-bone,
Firm as the mountain-ridges where
I flash my antlers on the air.
Let them continue as is meet
To adequate the balance-sheet.
Though they may labour to the grave
My spirit shall they never have
Nor make my soul with theirs as one
Till the Mahamanvantara be done:
And though they spurn me from their door
My soul shall spurn them evermore.

-James Joyce

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Novel

I.

No one’s serious at seventeen.

–On beautiful nights when beer and lemonade

And loud, blinding cafés are the last thing you need

–You stroll beneath green lindens on the promenade.

Lindens smell fine on fine June nights!

Sometimes the air is so sweet that you close your eyes;

The wind brings sounds–the town is near–

And carries scents of vineyards and beer. . .

II.

–Over there, framed by a branch

You can see a little patch of dark blue

Stung by a sinister star that fades

With faint quiverings, so small and white. . .

June nights! Seventeen!–Drink it in.

Sap is champagne, it goes to your head. . .

The mind wanders, you feel a kiss

On your lips, quivering like a living thing. . .

III.

The wild heart Crusoes through a thousand novels

–And when a young girl walks alluringly

Through a streetlamp’s pale light, beneath the ominous shadow

Of her father’s starched collar. . .

Because as she passes by, boot heels tapping,

She turns on a dime, eyes wide,

Finding you too sweet to resist. . .

–And cavatinas die on your lips.

IV.

You’re in love. Off the market till August.

You’re in love.–Your sonnets make Her laugh.

Your friends are gone, you’re bad news.
–Then, one night, your beloved, writes. . .!

That night. . .you return to the blinding cafés;

You order beer or lemonade. . .

–No one’s serious at seventeen

When lindens line the promenade.

-Arthur Rimbaud

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