Poem of the day

The Dragon-Fly
by Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950)

I wound myself in a white cocoon of singing,
   All day long in the brook’s uneven bed,
   Measuring out my soul in a mucous thread;
Dimly now to the brook’s green bottom clinging,
   Men behold me, a worm spun-out and dead,
Walled in an iron house of silky singing.

Nevertheless at length, O reedy shallows,
   Not as a plodding nose to the slimy stem,
   But as a brazen wing with a spangled hem,
Over the jewel-weed and the pink marsh-mallows,
   Free of these and making a song of them,
I shall arise, and a song of the reedy shallows!

Poem of the day

The Lamp
by Charles Whitehead (1804-1862)

As yonder lamp in my vacated room
   With arduous flame disputes the darksome night,
   And can, with its involuntary light,
But lifeless things, that near it stand, illume;
Yet all the while it doth itself consume.
   And, ere the sun begins jts heavenly height
   With courier beams that meet the shepherd’s sight,
There, whence its life arose, shall be its tomb:—

So wastes my light away. Perforce confin’d
   To common things, a limit to its sphere,
It shines on worthless trifles undesign’d
   With fainter ray each hour imprison’d here.
Alas! to know that the consuming mind
   Shall leave its lamp cold, ere the sun appear.

Poem of the day

The Song of Callicles
by Matthew Arnold (1822-1888)

Through the black, rushing smoke-bursts,
Thick breaks the red flame;
All Etna heaves fiercely
Her forest-clothed frame.

Not here, O Apollo!
Are haunts meet for thee.
But, where Helicon breaks down
In cliff to the sea.

Where the moon-silver’d inlets
Send far their light voice
Up the still vale of Thisbe,
O speed, and rejoice!

On the sward at the cliff-top
Lie strewn the white flocks,
On the cliff-side the pigeons
Roost deep in the rocks.

In the moonlight the shepherds,
Soft lull’d by the rills,
Lie wrapped in their blankets
Asleep on the hills.

—What forms are these coming
So white through the gloom?
What garments out-glistening
The gold-flower’d broom?

What sweet-breathing presence
Out-perfumes the thyme?
What voices enrapture
The night’s balmy prime?

’Tis Apollo comes leading
His choir, the Nine.
—The leader is fairest,
But all are divine.

They are lost in the hollows!
They stream up again!
What seeks on this mountain
The glorified train?—

They bathe on this mountain,
In the spring by their road;
Then on to Olympus,
Their endless abode.

—Whose praise do they mention:
Of what is it told?—
What will be for ever;
What was from of old.

First hymn they the Father
Of all things; and then,
The rest of immortals,
The action of men.

The day in his hotness,
The strife with the palm;
The night in her silence,
The stars in their calm.

Game of the week

A day late. My apologies. Busy at the Amateur Team Championships.

Poem of the day

The Monument of Giordano Bruno
by Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909)

                                    I
Not from without us, only from within,
   Comes or can ever come upon us light
   Whereby the soul keeps ever truth in sight.
No truth, no strength, no comfort man may win,
No grace for guidance, no release from sin,
   Save of his own soul’s giving. Deep and bright
   As fire enkindled in the core of night
Burns in the soul where once its fire has been
The light that leads and quickens thought, inspired
   To doubt and trust and conquer. So he said
   Whom Sidney, flower of England, lordliest head
Of all we love, loved: but the fates required
   A sacrifice to hate and hell, ere fame
   Should set with his in heaven Giordano’s name.

                                    II
Cover thine eyes and weep, O child of hell,
   Grey spouse of Satan, Church of name abhorred.
   Weep, withered harlot, with thy weeping lord,
Now none will buy the heaven thou hast to sell
At price of prostituted souls, and swell
   Thy loveless list of lovers. Fire and sword
   No more are thine: the steel, the wheel, the cord,
The flames that rose round living limbs, and fell
In lifeless ash and ember, now no more
   Approve thee godlike. Rome, redeemed at last
   From all the red pollution of thy past,
Acclaims the grave bright face that smiled of yore
   Even on the fire that caught it round and clomb
   To cast its ashes on the face of Rome.

Poem of the day

Alt Heidelberg, du feine
by Joseph Viktor von Scheffel (1826-1886)

Alt Heidelberg, du feine
Du Stadt an Ehren reich
Am Neckar und am Rheine
Kein’ andre kommt dir gleich.

Stadt fröhlicher Gesellen
An Weisheit schwer und Wein
Klar ziehn des Stromes Wellen
Blauäuglein blitzen drein.

Und kommt aus lindem Süden
Der Frühling übers Land,
So webt er dir aus Blüten
Ein schimmernd Brautgewand.

Auch mir stehst du geschrieben
Ins Herz gleich einer Braut,
Es klingt wie junges Lieben
Dein Name mir so traut.

Und stechen mich die Dornen
Und wird mir’s draus zu kahl
Geb’ ich dem Roß die Sporen
Und reit’ ins Neckartal.