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A Few Moments

Herself, a day, an hour ago; and herself now.  For we have every one of us felt how a very few minutes of the months and years called life, will sometimes suffice to place all time past and future in an entirely new light; will make us see the vanity or the criminality of the by-gone, and so change the aspect of the coming time that we look with loathing on the very thing we have most desired.  A few moments may change our character for life, by giving a totally different direction to our aims and energies.

~ From Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell, 1848


“The Seamstress” by Joseph DeCamp, 1916

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This spring as it comes bursts up in bonfires green,

Wild puffing of emerald trees, and flame-filled bushes,

Thorn-blossom lifting in wreaths of smoke between

Where the wood fumes up and the watery, flickering rushes.


I am amazed at this spring, this conflagration

Of green fires lit on the soil of the earth, this blaze

Of growing, and sparks that puff in wild gyration,

Faces of people streaming across my gaze.


And I, what fountain of fire am I among

This leaping combustion of spring? My spirit is tossed

About like a shadow buffeted in the throng

Of flames, a shadow that’s gone astray, and is lost.


                                                                ~ D. H. Lawrence


“Spring in Gościeradz” by Leon Wyczółkowski, 1933

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years of anger following

hours that float idly down –

the blizzard

drifts its weight

deeper and deeper for three days

or sixty years, eh? Then

the sun! a clutter of

yellow and blue flakes –

Hairy looking trees stand out

in long alleys

over a wild solitude.

The man turns and there –

his solitary track stretched out

upon the world.


~ William Carlos Williams


Posted with warm thoughts to all my friends and colleagues on the East Coast.


Richard Dorrell, courtesy of the Creative Commons Attribution license

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End of Winter

Over the still world, a bird calls

waking solitary among black boughs.


You wanted to be born; I let you be born.

When has my grief ever gotten

in the way of your pleasure?


Plunging ahead

into the dark and light at the same time

eager for sensation


as though you were some new thing, wanting

to express yourselves


all brilliance, all vivacity


never thinking

this would cost you anything,

never imagining the sound of my voice

as anything but part of you—


you won’t hear it in the other world,

not clearly again,

not in birdcall or human cry,


not the clear sound, only

persistent echoing

in all sound that means good-bye, good-bye—


the one continuous line

that binds us to each other.


                            ~ Louise Glück


Simon Glücklich Frühlingslied (1863-1943)

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The stormy March has come at last,

With winds and clouds and changing skies;

I hear the rushing of the blast

That through the snowy valley flies.


~ William Cullen Bryant


"Snowy Landscape" by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1870-1875

“Snowy Landscape” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1870-1875

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Pain—has an Element of Blank—

It cannot recollect

When it begun—Or if there were

A time when it was not—


It has no Future—but itself—

It’s Infinite contain

It’s Past—enlightened to perceive

New Periods—Of Pain.


~ Emily Dickinson


Marcel Rieder (1862-1942)

Marcel Rieder (1862-1942)

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In placid hours well-pleased we dream

Of many a brave unbodied scheme.

But form to lend, pulsed life create,

What unlike things must meet and mate:

A flame to melt—a wind to freeze;

Sad patience—joyous energies;

Humility—yet pride and scorn;

Instinct and study; love and hate;

Audacity—reverence. These must mate,

And fuse with Jacob’s mystic heart,

To wrestle with the angel—Art.


           ~ Herman Melville


"Jacob Wrestling with the Angel" by Eugène Delacroix, between 1854 and 1861

“Jacob Wrestling with the Angel” by Eugène Delacroix, between 1854 and 1861

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