How I Would Paint Happiness
Something sudden, a windfall,
a meteor shower. No—
a flowering tree releasing
all its blossoms at once,
and the one standing beneath it
unexpectedly robed in bloom,
transformed into a stranger
too beautiful to touch.
On the twelfth day of the twelfth month of 2012 … we bring you an excerpt from Russian Symbolist poet Aleksandr Blok’s 1918 poem The Twelve. “Today I am a genius,” he wrote after completing the twelve-canto chronicle of the October Revolution. The opening lines are amongst the most famous in Russian literature.
The wind, the wind!
It will not let you go. The wind, the wind!
Through God’s whole world it blows
The wind is weaving
The white snow.
Brother ice peeps from below
Stumbling and tumbling
Folk slip and fall.
God pity all!
Here let me stop. Let me too look at Nature for a while.
The morning sea and cloudless sky
a brilliant blue, the yellow shore: all
illuminated, beautiful and grand.
Here let me stop. Let me pretend that these are what I see
(I really saw them for a moment when I first stopped)
instead of seeing, even here, my fantasies,
my recollections, the icons of pleasure.
—Constantine P. Cavafy, “Morning Sea”
Photography Credit Suzanne Opton
NYPL Wire–The New York Public Library: This Land Is Your LandWords and Music by Woody GuthrieThis land is...
This Land Is Your Land
Words and Music by Woody Guthrie
This land is your land This land is my land
From California to the New York island;
From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and Me.
As I was walking that ribbon of highway,
I saw above me that…
photo: cherry trees in riverside park by ana traina (2011)
Spring by Edna St. Vincent Millay
To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots.
Life in itself
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.
An Argument by Thomas Moore
I’ve oft been told by learned friars,
That wishing and the crime are one,
And Heaven punishes desires
As much as if the deed were done.
If wishing damns us, you and I
Are damned to all our heart’s content;
Come, then, at least we may enjoy
Some pleasure for our punishment!
Longing for Love by Endre Ady (1909)
Neither the issue nor the sire,
neither fulfillment nor desire
am I for anyone,
am I for anyone.
I am as all men, the sunless sea,
the alien Thule, mystery,
a fleeing wisp of light,
a fleeing wisp of light.
But I must look for friends and brothers;
I want to show myself to others
that seeing they will see,
that seeing they will see.
For this my lyric masochism;
I long to close the gaping schism,
and thus belong somewhere,
and thus belong somewhere.
An die Musik by Rainer Maria Rilke
Musik: Atem der Statuen. Vielleicht:
Stille der Bilder. Du Sprache wo Sprachen
enden. Du Zeit
die senkrecht steht auf der Richtung
Gefühle zu wem? O du der Gefühle
Wandlung in was?— in hörbare Landschaft.
Du Fremde: Musik. Du uns entwachsener
Herzraum. Innigstes unser, das, uns übersteigend, hinausdrängt,—
da uns das Innre umsteht
als geübteste Ferne, als andre
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