February 28, 2009

Joy and Sorrow, Chapter VIII

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--Description: Gibran K., 20th C, Humanity, Joy, Sorrow


Then a woman said, "Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow."
And he answered:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Is not the cup that hold your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?

And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater."

But I say unto you, they are inseparable.

Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.

Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.

When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.




--Did You Know: Much of Gibran's writings deal with Christianity, especially on the topic of spiritual love. His poetry is notable for its use of formal language, as well as insights on topics of life using spiritual terms. Gibran's best-known work is The Prophet.

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February 27, 2009

A Strange Wild Song

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--Description: Carroll L., 19th C, Children, Fantasy


He thought he saw an Elephant
That practised on a fife:
He looked again, and found it was
A letter from his wife.
"At length I realize," he said,
"The bitterness of life!"

He thought he saw a Buffalo
Upon the chimney-piece:
He looked again, and found it was
His Sister's Husband's Niece.
"Unless you leave this house," he said,
"I'll send for the police!"

He thought he saw a Rattlesnake
That questioned him in Greek:
He looked again, and found it was

The Middle of Next Week.
"The one thing I regret," he said,
"Is that it cannot speak!"

He thought he saw a Banker's Clerk
Descending from the bus:
He looked again, and found it was
A Hippopotamus.
"If this should stay to dine," he said,
"There won't be much for us!"

He thought he saw a Kangaroo
That worked a Coffee-mill:
He looked again, and found it was
A Vegetable-Pill.
"Were I to swallow this," he said,
"I should be very ill!"

He thought he saw a Coach-and-Four
That stood beside his bed:
He looked again, and found it was
A Bear without a Head.
"Poor thing," he said, "poor silly thing!
It's waiting to be fed!"


LEWIS CARROLL


--Did You Know:  Carroll's most famous writings are Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass as well as the poems "The Hunting of the Snark" and "Jabberwocky", all considered to be within the genre of literary nonsense.

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February 25, 2009

Afternoon Song

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--Description: Baudelaire C., 19th C, Adoration, Humanity, Love 


Though your wicked eyebrows call
Your nature into question
(Unangelic's their suggestion,
Witch whose eyes enthrall)

I adore you still
O foolish terrible emotion
Kneeling in devotion
As a priest to his idol will.

Your undone braids conceal
Desert, forest scents,
In your exotic countenance
Lie secrets unrevealed.

Over your flesh perfume drifts
Like incense 'round a censor,
Tantalizing dispenser
Of evening's ardent gifts.

No Philtres could compete
With your potent idleness:
You've mastered the caress
That raises dead me to their feet.

Your hips themselves are romanced
By your back and by your breasts:
By your languid dalliance.

Now and then, your appetite's
Uncontrolled, unassuaged:
Mysteriously enraged,
You kiss me and you bite.

Dark one, I am torn
By your savage ways,
Then, soft as the moon, your gaze
Sees my tortured heart reborn.

Beneath your satin shoe,
Beneath your charming silken foot.
My greatest joy I put
My genius and destiny, too.

You bring my spirit back,
Bringer of the light.
Exploding color in the night
Of my Siberia so black.


Charles Baudelaire


--Did You Know: Many of Baudelaire's philosophical proclamations were considered scandalous and intentionally provocative in his time. This drew criticism and outrage from many quarters. For instance, on love, "There is an invincible taste for prostitution in the heart of man, from which comes his horror of solitude. He wants to be 'two'."

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February 24, 2009

Written in Early Spring

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--Description: Wordsworth W., 19th C, Humanity, Nature, Seasons


I heard a thousand blended notes
While in a grove I sat reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What Man has made of Man.

Through primrose tufts, in that sweet bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And 'tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure -
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

The budding twigs spread out their fan
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.

If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature's holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What Man has made of Man?


William Wordsworth


--Did You Know:  Wordsworth's widow Mary (one of his four wives) published his lengthy autobiographical "poem to Coleridge" as The Prelude several months after his death..  It has since come to be recognized as his masterpiece.

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February 20, 2009

A Night to Remember

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--Description: Mahfood V., 21st C, Humanity, Love, Passion



In the early hours of the morning
The birds began to trill their songs,
Singing such sweet melodies of old
To Phoebus' fiery chariot of gold.

I lay content upon my downy pillows,
The gentle warmth of love suffusing me.
And as I turned in the arms of my man,
The cool air caressed me with soothing hands.

The bottle of wine dominated the table,
With ruby drops splashed on our goblets.
While the silver platters of uneaten food,
Implied the passionate nature last night of our mood.

I gently smoothed my lover's hair
Seeing the peace with which he slept.
And the love in my heart strengthened my soul,
As I saw my beloved in this vulnerable role.

A deep sigh broke the stillness as my life flowed into his.
I watched as he wakened, to meet his loving eyes.
A glow suffused  my body for I knew now as always,
We were destined for each other, it was meant to be this way.



V. Mahfood

  
 
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February 16, 2009

Sonnet on Approaching Italy

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--Description: Wilde O., 19th C, Nature, Travel, Sonnet



I reached the Alps: the soul within me burned,
Italia, my Italia, at thy name:
And when from out the mountain's heart I came
And saw the land for which my life had yearned,
I laughed as one who some great prize had earned:
And musing on the marvel of thy fame
I watched the day, till marked with wounds of flame
The turquoise sky to burnished gold was turned.
The pine-trees waved as waves a woman's hair,
And in the orchards every twining spray
Was breaking into flakes of blossoming foam:
But when I knew that far away at Rome
In evil bonds a second Peter lay,
I wept to see the land so very fair.

TURIN.

 Oscar Wilde

--Did You Know: was an Irish playwright, poet and author of numerous short stories and one novel. Known for his biting wit, he became one of the most successful playwrights of the late Victorian era in London.

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February 13, 2009

I Don't Love You as if You Were a Rose

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--Description: Neruda P., 20th C, Adoration, Love


I do not love you as if you were salt-rose,or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.

I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.


Pablo Neruda


--Did You Know:  was the pen name and, later, legal name of the Chilean writer and politician NeftalĂ­ Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. Neruda assumed his pen name as a teenager, partly because it was in vogue, partly to hide his poetry from his father, a rigid man who wanted his son to have a "practical" occupation.

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February 10, 2009

How Do I Love Thee?

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--Description: Browning E., 19th C, Adoration, Love


How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
 
 
Elizabeth Barrett Browning


--Did You Know:  was one of the most respected poets of the Victorian era.  Her father Edward, made most of his considerable fortune from Jamaican sugar plantations which he inherited.

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February 7, 2009

You Are A Tear and a Smile

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--Description: Mahfood V., 21st C, Adoration, Love, Separation--


For me you are both a tear and a smile,
Feelings exquisitely beautiful.
A tear so soothing to heal sadness within me,
And a smile setting my spirit free.

I would not change my sorrow for the joy of the world,
For tears cleanse my heart with understanding.
Yet I would shout my joy from the heavens to all,
For the wind to bind my love to you in thrall.

The life of the clouds is a parting and meeting,
Again a tear and a smile.
You were a gift bestowed by heaven and snatched away,
Will I ever find you again some day?

Heavy are my eyes with the wine of tears
When I remember our past together.
I see you when dreaming, and kiss you in my aloneness,
You are are my dearest half, making me smile in remembrance.

Love has opened our eyes and made us its servants,
It will grant us the blessing of patience.
And for our meeting will I wait in great anticipation,
To end the torment and doubt of separation.


           V. Mahfood
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February 4, 2009

I Crave Your Mouth, Your Voice, Your Hair

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--Description: Neruda P., 20th C, Adoration, Love



DON'T GO FAR OFF, NOT EVEN FOR A DAY
Don't go far off, not even for a day, because --
because -- I don't know how to say it: a day is long
and I will be waiting for you, as in an empty station
when the trains are parked off somewhere else, asleep.

Don't leave me, even for an hour, because
then the little drops of anguish will all run together,
the smoke that roams looking for a home will drift
into me, choking my lost heart.

Oh, may your silhouette never dissolve on the beach;
may your eyelids never flutter into the empty distance.
Don't leave me for a second, my dearest,

because in that moment you'll have gone so far
I'll wander mazily over all the earth, asking,
Will you come back? Will you leave me here, dying?


Pablo Neruda


--Did You Know: With his works translated into many languages, Pablo Neruda is considered one of the greatest and most influential poets of the 20th century.

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