Archive for the ‘Bookshelf’ Category

For Love

She was bored. She loved, had capacity to love, for love, to give and accept love.  Only she tried twice and failed twice to find somebody not just strong enough to deserve it, earn it, match it, but even brave enough to accept it.


~ From The Town by William Faulkner, born on this day in 1897


"Solitude" by Frederic Leighton, 1890

“Solitude” by Frederic Leighton, 1890


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Clouds go over.  The maples flare again.

In the garden the last bright asters

blaze in the autumn air

the way my skin burned

when you turned to me

in the chill breeze off the lake.


The days are cool now,

the nights are deep, and long.

At the feeder a red-winged blackbird

has come in from the fields

and sorts among the seeds.

A rare visitor –

even if he finds what he wants,

he’ll never stay here.


These are the last days.

Already the stalks of lilies

have withered, and the gold petals

of the rose melt on the grass.

But the sky flames, more intense.

I didn’t see it coming.

For the few days you were here with me,

all the familiar warnings disappeared.


                     ~ Patricia Hooper


"Red-Winged Blackbird" by Ltshears

“Red-Winged Blackbird” by Ltshears

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It is therefore of the utmost importance that those who have any intention of deviating from the beaten roads of life, and requiring a reputation superior to names hourly swept away by time among the refuse of fame, should add to their reason, and their spirit, the power of persisting in their purposes; acquire the art of sapping what they cannot batter, and the habit of vanquishing obstinate resistance by obstinate attacks.


~ Samuel Johnson, born on this day in 1709


Portrait of Samuel Johnson by Joshua Reynolds, 1775 Johnson's "A Dictionary of the English Language" was published in 1755 and has been described as "one of the greatest single achievements of scholarship."

Portrait of Samuel Johnson by Joshua Reynolds, 1775.  Johnson’s “A Dictionary of the English Language” was published in 1755 and has been described as “one of the greatest single achievements of scholarship.”

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End of Summer

An agitation of the air,

A perturbation of the light

Admonished me the unloved year

Would turn on its hinge that night.


I stood in the disenchanted field

Amid the stubble and the stones,

Amazed, while a small worm lisped to me

The song of my marrow-bones.


Blue poured into summer blue,

A hawk broke from his cloudless tower,

The roof of the silo blazed, and I knew

That part of my life was over.


Already the iron door of the north

Clangs open: birds, leaves, snows

Order their populations forth,

And a cruel wind blows.


~ Stanley Kunitz


Caspar David Friedrich, circa 1830

Caspar David Friedrich, circa 1830



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My Ambition

is to become a footnote

in a learned work of the


22nd century   not just a

“cf” or a “see” but a sol-


id note such as Raby gives

Walafrid Straho in Christ-


ian Latin Poetry or Ernst

Robert Curtius (the most


erudite German who ever

lived) devotes to Alber-


tino Mussato in his Euro-

päische Literatur und La-


teinisches Mittelalter   I

hope the scholar of the


22nd will lick his schol-

arly lips when he finds me


in some forgotten source

(perhaps the Obloquies of


Dreadful Edward Dahlberg)

and think here is an odd-

ball I would have liked,

immortalizing me in six


turgid lines of footnote.


~ James Laughlin


"Daydreams" by Thomas Couture, 1859

“Daydreams” by Thomas Couture, 1859

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September Midnight

Lyric night of the lingering Indian Summer,

Shadowy fields that are scentless but full of singing,

Never a bird, but the passionless chant of insects,

Ceaseless, insistent.


The grasshopper’s horn, and far-off, high in the maples,

The wheel of a locust leisurely grinding the silence

Under a moon waning and worn, broken,

Tired with summer.


Let me remember you, voices of little insects,

Weeds in the moonlight, fields that are tangled with asters,

Let me remember, soon will the winter be on us,

Snow-hushed and heavy.


Over my soul murmur your mute benediction,

While I gaze, O fields that rest after harvest,

As those who part look long in the eyes they lean to,

Lest they forget them.


                                                             ~ Sara Teasdale


"A Moonlit Evening" by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1880

“A Moonlit Evening” by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1880

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As I prepare the various components of my doctoral application package, it seems fitting that I should once again post this passage by Mary Shelley, born on this day in 1797.


I cannot describe to you my sensations on the near prospect of my undertaking.  It is impossible to communicate to you a conception of the trembling sensation, half pleasurable and half fearful, with which I am preparing to depart.  I am going to unexplored regions to ‘the land of mist and snow’ […].  You will smile at my allusion; but I will disclose a secret.  I have often attributed my attachment to, my passionate enthusiasm for, the dangerous mysteries of ocean, to that production of the most imaginative of modern poets.  There is something at work in my soul, which I do not understand.


Leonid Pasternak

Leonid Pasternak

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