That’s a nod to this site’s international readers. Maybe it’s worth posting some poems and music to share with others.
Thanks to everyone for stopping by. It’s appreciated.
Sailing After Lunch
It is the word pejorative that hurts.
My old boat goes round on a crutch
And doesn’t get under way.
It’s the time of the year
And the time of the day.
Perhaps it’s the lunch that we had
Or the lunch that we should have had.
But I am, in any case,
A most inappropriate man
In a most unpropitious place.
Mon Dieu, hear the poet’s prayer.
The romantic should be here.
The romantic should be there.
It ought to be everywhere.
But the romantic must never remain,
Mon Dieu, and must never again return.
This heavy historical sail
Through the mustiest blue of the lake
In a really vertiginous boat
Is wholly the vapidest fake. . . .
It is least what one ever sees.
It is only the way one feels, to say
Where my spirit is I am,
To say the light wind worries the sail,
To say the water is swift today,
To expunge all people and be a pupil
Of the gorgeous wheel and so to give
That slight transcendence to the dirty sail,
By light, the way one feels, sharp white,
And then rush brightly through the summer air.
***Wallace Stevens is often going meta and abstract, confusing nearly all readers, while indulging heavily in a lush Romantic style which later transitions to more blank verse modernism. He’s sailing and he’s writing. He’s charting new waters, the old dandy.
Neither Far Out Nor In Deep
The people along the sand
All turn and look one way.
They turn their back on the land.
They look at the sea all day.
As long as it takes to pass
A ship keeps raising its hull;
The wetter ground like glass
Reflects a standing gull.
The land may vary more;
But wherever the truth may be—
The water comes ashore,
And the people look at the sea.
They cannot look out far.
They cannot look in deep.
But when was that ever a bar
To any watch they keep
Flowers through the window
lavender and yellow
changed by white curtains—
Smell of cleanliness—
Sunshine of late afternoon—
On the glass tray
a glass pitcher, the tumbler
turned down, by which
a key is lying— And the
immaculate white bed
A Long Branch Song
Some days in May, little stars
Winked all over the ocean. The blue
Barely changed all morning and afternoon:
The chimes of the bank’s bronze clock;
The hoarse voice of Cookie, hawking
The Daily Record for thirty-five years
Some popular songs have buried themselves into people’s minds as well: Young love on a blanket. Shadow and sun. Days that seem to last forever. Songwriting that appeals to innocence and common experience.
Life’s got darker sides, too, and so does human nature. Atlantic City became an East-Coast economic center for legal gambling; an empire which rose and fell. The seediness was never that far from the surface.
From ‘Atlantic City Waiter’ by Countee Cullen
Just one stanza might do, to show there are many eyes you see, that may also see you:
‘For him to be humble who is proud
Needs colder artifice;
Though half his pride is disavowed,
In vain the sacrifice.’
It’s also the backdrop of a hard-luck guy with mob connections at the end of his rope. Desperate hopes.