Monday, February 13, 2012

Whitman Larkin

Goodbye, my Fancy!
Farewell, dear mate, dear love!
I'm going away, I know not where,
Or to what fortune or whether I may ever see you again.
So Good-bye my Fancy.

Rather than words comes the thought of high windows
The sun-comprehending glass.
And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows
Nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


"The appeal of the Byronic hero is not hard to understand. He is, in Herbert Read's delightful phrase, the "super-realist personality" who by the absolute courage of his defiance of moral and social taboos becomes "the unconfessed hero of humanity." He exists in one form or another in the dream life of all of us, whether we like it or not, as the embodiment of those impulses cramped or inhibited by society. He is the expression of our social insecurity, our distrust of our fellows, our dissatisfaction with authority, our disillusionment with social achievement. He is the symbol of our defiant refusal to accept the insignificant role of the individual ego in society or the universe which modern knowledge forces upon us. In short, he represents the ego in conflict with the forces battering to subdue or destroy it - the ego which triumphs even in its moment of defeat." (Edward E. Bostetter, Introduction to Byron's "Selected Poetry And Letters" - Rinehart Editions)

Yet, inevitably:

So, we'll go no more a roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart be still as loving
And the moon be still as Bright.

For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul outwears the breast,
And the heart must pause to breathe,
And love itself have rest.

Though the night was made for loving,
And the day returns too soon,
Yet we'll go no more a roving
By the light of the moon.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

with thanks to my friend Keith Woolnough

Here's an excerpt from Longfellow in response to "F. Scott" Romney, who would be POTUS, and who believes the "very poor" are different from him, and, like Oliver Twist, mustn't ask for more.

Titled "Challenge" the poem closes Jack London's book THE PEOPLE OF THE ABYSS.

There is a greater army
That besets us round with strife,
A starving, numberless army
At all the gates of life.

The poverty-stricken millions
Who challenge our wine and bread,
And impeach us all as traitors,
Both the living an the dead.

And whenever I sit at the banquet,
Where the feast and song are high,
Amid the mirth and music
I can hear that fearful cry.

And hollow and haggard faces
Look into the lighted hall,
And wasted hands are extended
To catch the crumbs that fall.

And within there is light and plenty,
And odors fill the air;
But without there is cold and darkness,
And hunger and despair.

And there in the camp of famine,
In wind, and cold, and rain,
Christ, the great Lord of the Army,
Lies dead upon the plain.