The worst.

+++ [NO WORST, THERE IS NONE] No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief,More pangs will, schooled at forepangs, wilder wring.Comforter, where, where is your comforting?Mary, mother of us, where is your relief?My cries heave, herds-long; huddle in a main, a chiefWoe, wórld-sorrow; on an áge-old anvil wince and sing —Then lull, then leave off. Fury had shrieked ‘No ling-ering! Let me be fell: force I must be brief.”‘ O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fallFrightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheapMay who ne’er hung there. Nor does long our smallDurance deal with that steep or deep….

He was a good trout.

+++ I got my rod that was leaning against the tree, took the bait-can and landing-net, and walked out onto the dam. It was built to provide a head of water for driving logs. The gate was up, and I sat on one of the squared timbers and watched the smooth apron of water before the river tumbled into the falls. In the white water at the foot of the dam it was deep. As I baited up, a trout shot up out of the white water into the falls and was carried down. Before I could finish baiting, another…

At least for a while, and maybe never

+++ Rereading The Sun Also Rises and feeling really sorry for myself because there’s no snow. I know. Brutal. +++ At the end of the street I saw the cathedral and walked up toward it. The first time I ever saw it I thought the facade was ugly but I liked it now. I went inside. It was dim and dark and the pillars went high up, and there were people praying, and it smelt of incense, and there were some wonderful big windows. I knelt and started to pray and prayed for everybody I thought of, Brett and Mike…

Vocab from Virginia

prehensile, adj. (chiefly of an animal’s limb or tail) Capable of grasping. nacreous, adj. consisting of or resembling mother-of-pearl. scrolloping, adj. Characterized by or possessing heavy, florid, ornament. Also transf. and as pres. pple., proceeding in involutions, rambling. (Virginia’s portmanteau!) sultana, n. a. The wife (or a concubine) of a sultan; also, the queen-mother or some other woman of a sultan’s family. scrannel, adj. Thin, meagre. Now chiefly as a reminiscence of Milton’s use, usually with the sense: Harsh, unmelodious. marmoreal, adj. 1. Resembling marble or a marble statue; cold (also smooth, white, etc.) like marble. brindle, verb. ‘To be irritated, to…

Where can the shadow enter?

+++ I ask now, standing with my scissors among my flowers, Where can the shadow enter? +++ To read this poem one must have myriad eyes… +++ I have sliced the waters of beauty in the evening when the hills close themselves like birds’ wings folded. +++ Your voices sound like trees creaking in the forest. So with your faces and their prominences and hollows. +++ ‘I am still vigorous,’ they are saying, ‘My face shall be cut against the black infinite space.’ They do not finish their sentences. ‘It is time,’ they keep saying. ‘The gardens will be shut.’…

In Othello’s Vise

OR OUR OTHELLO’S VICE Othello isn’t easy. As A.C. Bradley noted in 1913, “from the moment when the temptation of the hero begins, the reader’s heart and mind are held in a vise, experiencing the extremes of pity and fear, sympathy and repulsion, sickening hope and dreadful expectation.” I find this to be terribly true; in fact I have a hard time reading Othello or watching a production of Othello, and I think this is not only due to the fact that I ‘know what’s coming’ (as I do, or we all do, with most of Shakespeare’s classic plays) but…

The saint manqué

+++ “In Iago we have, I think, a very remarkable portrait by Shakespeare of the villain as an inverted saint, a saint manqué. On the surface, nothing might seem less probable. Yet Shakespeare was surely right in suggesting this, because the saint and the villain have very similar psychologies. In both, ethics and aesthetics become almost the same thing.” -AUDEN, Lectures on Shakespeare +++

My past is cut from me.

+++ “I am astonished, as I draw the veils off things with words, how much, how infinitely more than I can say I have observed.” +++ “I can imagine nothing beyond the circle cast by my body. My body goes before me, like a lantern down a dark land, bringing one thing after another out of darkness into a ring of light. I dazzle you; I make you believe that this is all.” +++ “Barns and summer days in the country, rooms where we sat — all now lies in the unreal world which is gone. My past is cut…

Bells that ring for life

+++ “In a world which contains the present moment,” said Neville, “why discriminate? Nothing should be named lest by so doing we change it. Let it exist, this bank, this beauty, and I, for instant, steeped in pleasure. The sun is hot. I see the river. I see trees specked and burnt in the autumn sunlight. Boats float past, through the red, through the green. Far away a bell tolls, but not for death. There are bells that ring for life. A leaf falls, from joy. Oh, I am in love with life! Look how the willow shoots its fine…

Not love

+++ …Love’s not loveWhen it is mingled with regards that standsAloof from the entire point. -KING LEAR, Act 1, scene 1, lines 236-38 +++ …Admit impediments. Love is not loveWhich alters when it alteration finds,Or bends with the remover to remove; -SONNET 116 +++

Vocab (via Virginia)

fulvous, adj. Tawny colored. stile, noun. An arrangement of steps allowing people, but not animals, to pass over a fence or wall. cruets, noun. Small containers used at the table to hold vinegar or sauces. olegraphs, noun. Prints made to resemble oil paintings. lachrymose, adj. Tearful or given to weeping.

I dream; I dream.

+++ “I dance. I ripple. I am thrown over you like a net of light. I lie quivering flung over you.” +++ “Among the tortures and devastations of life is this then — our friends are not able to finish their stories.” +++ “But I attach myself only to names and faces: And hoard them like amulets against disaster.” +++ “Month by month things are losing their hardness; even my body now lets the light through; my spine is soft like wax near the flame of the candle. I dream; I dream.” +++ -VIRGINIA WOOLF, The Waves