Saturday, March 25

what there is

In this my green world
Flowers birds are hands
They hold me
I am loved all day

All this pleases me

I am amused
I have to laugh from crying
Trees mountains are arms
I am loved all day

Children grass are tears

I cry
I am loved all day
Pompous makes me laugh
I am amused often enough
In this
My beautiful green world

There's love all day

-- Kenneth Patchen

Friday, March 24

the dream

This woman sleeping on this sofa dreams that she is transported into the middle of this forest, hearing the notes of the charmer's pipe. This gives the motive for the sofa being in the picture. I thank you for your kind appreciation, and if I have kept my naïveté, it is because M. Gérôme, who was a professor at the Beaux-Arts, as well as M. Clément, director of Beaux-Arts at the Ecole de Lyon, always told me to keep it. You will no longer find that amazing in the future. And I have been told before that I was not of this century. I will not now be able to change my manner which I have acquired by stubborn application, believe me.

-- Henri Rousseau on Le rêve, quoted in The Banquet Years by Roger Shattuck

Thursday, March 23

gradual variation

Here we see the head increasing insensibly to the middle, from whence it lessens gradually until it mixes with the neck; the neck loses itself in a larger swell, which continues to the middle of the body, when the whole decreases again to the tail; the tail takes a new direction; but it soon varies its new course; it blends again with the other parts; and the line is perpetually changing, above, below, upon every side. In this description I have before me the idea of a dove; it agrees very well with most of the conditions of beauty. It is smooth and downy; its parts are (to use that expression) melted into one another; you are presented with no sudden protuberance through the whole, and yet the whole is continually changing.

-- Edmund Burke A Philosophical Enquiry into the Sublime and Beautiful

Wednesday, March 22


Transparency. To let the light not on but in or through. To look not at the text but through it; to see between the lines; to see language as lace, black on white; or white on black, as in the sky at night, or in the space on which our dreams are traced.

-- Stéphane Mallarmé, quoted in Love's Body by Norman O. Brown

Monday, March 20

Spring Night

The few minutes of a Spring night
Are worth ten thousand pieces of gold.
The perfume of the flowers is so pure.
The shadows of the moon are so black.
In the pavilion the voices and flutes are so high and light.
In the garden a hammock rocks
In the night so deep, so profound.

-- Su Dongpo
Translated by Kenneth Rexroth

Sunday, March 19

a tender shining

Most of the morning was spent in the open air. I led him out of the wet and wild wood into some cheerful fields: I described to him how brilliantly green they were; how the flowers and hedges looked refreshed; how sparklingly blue was the sky. I sought a seat for him in a hidden and lovely spot, a dry stump of a tree; nor did I refuse to let him, when seated, place me on his knee. Why should I, when both he and I were happier near than apart?

-- Charlotte Brontë Jane Eyre

Friday, March 17


While still I may, I write for you
The love I lived, the dream I knew.
From our birthday, until we die,
Is but the winking of an eye;
And we, our singing and our love,
The mariners of night above,
And all benighted things that go
About my table to and fro,
Are passing on to where may be,
In truth's consuming ecstasy,
No place for love and dream at all;
For God goes by with white footfall.
I cast my heart into my rhymes,
That you, in the dim coming times,
May know how my heart went with them
After the red-rose-bordered hem.

-- William Butler Yeats, from "To Ireland in the Coming Times"

Islandman (mp3- temporary link) from The Waterboys Room to Roam

Thursday, March 16


A man is revealed in his style, the language which he has created for himself. To the man who is pure at heart I believe that everything is as clear as a bell, even the most esoteric scripts. For such a man there is always mystery, but the mystery is not mysterious, it is logical, natural, ordained, and implicitly accepted. Understanding is not a piercing of the mystery, but an acceptance of it, a living blissfully with it, in it, through and by it. I would like my words to flow along in the same way that the world flows along, a serpentine movement through incalculable dimensions, axes, latitudes, climates, conditions. I accept a priori my inability to realize such an ideal. It does not bother me in the least.

-- Henry Miller, "Reflections on Writing" The Wisdom of the Heart

Wednesday, March 15

Push far enough towards the Void,
Hold fast enough to Quietness,
And of the ten thousand things none but can be worked on by you.
I have beheld them whither they go back.
See, all things howsoever they flourish
Return to the root from which they grew.
This return to the root is called Quietness;
Quietness is called submission to Fate;
What has submitted to Fate has become part of the always-so.
To know the always-so is to be illumined ....

-- Lao-tse
Translated by Arthur Whaley

Tuesday, March 14

depth and surface

In tranquil water how close the surface and the depths are! Depth and surface are reconciled. The deeper the water, the clearer the mirror. Light emerges from the abysses. Depth and surface belong one to the other, and the reverie of still waters goes endlessly from one to the other.

-- Gaston Bachelard The Poetics of Reverie
Translated by Daniel Russell

Monday, March 13

the object of longing

Some say a cavalry corps,
some infantry, some again,
will maintain that the swift oars

of our fleet are the finest
sight on dark earth; but I say
that whatever one loves, is.

-- Sappho
Translated by Mary Barnard

Friday, March 10


A creative person -- let's say that awful word: an artist -- makes what we call magical operations. Because if something lives only in his imagination, totally hidden to others, then people won't be able to imagine it. So, with his talent, experience, artisanal sense, materials and colors, an artist makes things visible for everybody, like the magician in a fairy tale who makes something that wasn't there suddenly appear. Because the artist always live somewhere in between the unconscious and the prevailing cultural standards, and he attempts to combine the two. Or one could refer to the twilight zone between the sun and the moon, which is the same borderline between what is unconscious and what is real. And so the artist is particularly moved by the light that is between -- between two attitudes, two sets of behavior, two dimensions. He is moved by the twilight because then one finds the union of contrasts. And the ground on which the artist stands and works is also like that of the magician who operates on what doesn't exist -- or just confusedly exists -- and turns it into something concrete and ordered.

-- Federico Fellini, interview with Jonathan Cott, in Visions and Voices

Thursday, March 9


Frank Sinatra stopped his car. The light was red. Pedestrians passed quickly across his windshield but, as usual, one did not. It was a girl in her twenties. She remained at the curb staring at him. Through the corner of his left eye he could see her, and he knew, because it happens almost every day, that she was thinking, It looks like him, but is it?

Just before the light turned green, Sinatra turned toward her, looked directly into her eyes waiting for the reaction he knew would come. It came and he smiled. She smiled and he was gone.

-- Gay Talese "Frank Sinatra Has a Cold" Esquire April 1966

Wednesday, March 8

the spirits speak

At that moment, I say most truly that the spirit of life, which hath its dwelling in the secretest chamber of the heart, began to tremble so violently that the least pulses of my body shook therewith; and in trembling it said these words: "Here is a deity stronger than I; who, coming, shall rule over me." At that moment the animate spirit, which dwelleth in the lofty chamber whither all the senses carry their perceptions, was filled with wonder, and speaking more especially unto the spirits of the eyes, said these words: "Your beatitude hath now been made manifest unto you." At that moment the natural spirit, which dwelleth there where our nourishment is administered began to weep, and in weeping said these words: "Alas! how often shall I be disturbed from this time forth." I say that, from that time forward, Love quite governed my soul.

-- Dante Alighieri Vita Nuova (on the moment he first saw Beatrice when they were children)
Translated by D.G. Rossetti

Monday, March 6

as sensitive as waters are

To every natural form, rock, fruits, or flower,
Even the loose stones that cover the highway,
I gave a moral life: I saw them feel,
Or linked them to some feeling: the great mass
Lay bedded in a quickening soul, and all
That I beheld respired with inward meaning.
Add that whate'er of Terror or of Love
Or Beauty, Nature's daily face put on
From transitory passion, unto this
I was as sensitive as waters are
To the sky's influence in a kindred mood
Of passion; was obedient as a lute
That waits upon the touches of the wind.
Unknown, unthought of, yet I was most rich--
I had a world about me--'twas my own;
I made it, for it only lived to me,
And to the God who sees into the heart.

-- William Wordsworth, from The Prelude

Sunday, March 5


I took the big umbrella the porter had given me and sat facing the bow and opened it. It opened with a clap. I held it on both sides, sitting astride the handle hooked over the seat. The wind was full in it and I felt the boat suck forward while I held as hard as I could to the two edges. It pulled hard. The boat was moving fast.

"We're going beautifully," Catherine said. All I could see was umbrella ribs. The umbrella strained and pulled and I felt us driving along with it. I braced my feet and held back on it, then suddenly, it buckled; I felt a rib snap on my forehead, I tried to grab the top that was bending with the wind and the whole thing buckled and went inside out and I was astride the handle of an inside-out, ripped umbrella, where I had been holding a wind-filled pulling sail.

-- Ernest Hemingway A Farewell to Arms

Saturday, March 4


Would you be completely unconscious of comfortable shoes? No. Something better than comfortable shoes are shoes that you know are comfortable. So in the same way self-consciousness adds something to life. It is one thing to be happy and not know it, and it is another thing to be happy and to know it! It is like one's voice in the shower room or bathtub, which has more resonance than one's voice in the open air. That's why temples and cathedrals and resonating boxes for guitars and drums are created --- to give this little quality of echo, for all echo is a certain kind of feedback which enables you to reflect upon what you are doing and to know that you know.

-- Alan Watts Uncarved Block, Unbleached Silk

Friday, March 3

sensing color

I understand how scarlet can differ from crimson because I know that the smell of an orange is not the smell of a grapefruit. I can also conceive that colors have shades and guess what shades are. In smell and taste there are varieties not broad enough to be fundamental; so I call them shades ... Without the color or its equivalent, life to me would be dark, barren, a vast blackness.

Thus through an inner law of completeness my thoughts are not permitted to remain colorless. It strains my mind to separate color and sound from objects. Since my education began I have always had things described to me with their colors and sounds, by one with keen senses and a fine feeling for the significant. Therefore, I habitually think of things as colored and resonant. Habit accounts for part. The soul sense accounts for another part. The brain with its five-sensed construction asserts its right and accounts for the rest. Inclusive of all, the unity of the world demands that color be kept in it whether I have cognizance of it or not. Rather than be shut out, I take part in it by discussing it, happy in the happiness of those near to me who gaze at the lovely hues of the sunset or the rainbow.

-- Helen Keller The World I Live In

Thursday, March 2

why not?

Light music could not entertain me unless something interested me about its musical substance and its working-out. And I do not see why, when other people are entertained, I too should not sometimes be entertained; I know indeed that I really ought at every single moment to behave like my own monument; but it would be hypocritical of me to conceal the fact that I occasionally step down from my pedestal and enjoy light music.

-- Arnold Schoenberg Style and Idea
Translated by Leo Black

Wednesday, March 1

There Was a Child Went Forth

There was a child went forth every day,
And the first object he look'd upon, that object he became,
And that object became part of him for the day or a certain part of the day,
Or for many years or stretching cycles of years.

The early lilacs became part of this child,
And grass and white and red morning-glories, and white and red clover, and the song of the phoebe-bird,
And the Third-month lambs and the sow's pink-faint litter, and the mare's foal and the cow's calf,
And the noisy brood of the barnyard or by the mire of the pondside,
And the fish suspending themselves so curiously below there, and the beautiful curious liquid,
And the water-plants with their graceful flat heads, all became part of him ...

The streets themselves and the facades of houses, and goods in the windows,
Vehicles, teams, the heavy-plank'd wharves, the huge crossing at the ferries,
The village on the highland seen from afar at sunset, the river between,
Shadows, aureole and mist, the light falling on roofs and gables of white or brown two miles off,
The schooner near by sleepily dropping down the tide, the little boat slack-tow'd astern,
The hurrying tumbling waves, quick-broken crests, slapping,
The strata of color'd clouds, the long bar of maroon-tint away solitary by itself, the spread of purity it lies motionless in,
The horizon's edge, the flying sea-crow, the fragrance of salt marsh and shore mud,
These became part of that child who went forth every day, and who now goes, and will always go forth every day.

-- Walt Whitman