Roses for my grave

=== forget-me-nots ===

Let’s be frank, it’s as easy as A, B, C . . .

A.
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
.
B.
If I had a flower for every time I thought of you, I could walk in my garden forever.
.
C.
I hold it true, whate’er befall; I feel it, when I sorrow most; ‘Tis better to have loved and lost Than never to have loved at all.
Alfred Tennyson

. . . Love is love and there ain’t nothing greater. There is no emotion capable of so fundamentally altering and perturbing the human brain than can and does the one we call “love.” It clouds all reason and it’s the root cause of much of humankind’s best art: literature. Here are some noteworthy Tennyson poems:

01. — Milton
02. — Ulysses
03. — Claribel
04. — Mariana
05. — Timbuctoo
06. — The Charge of the Light Brigade
07. — Recollections of the Arabian Nights

Mars and Venus United by Love
“Mars and Venus United by Love”
by Paolo Veronese (c. 1575)

In this visually opulent and sensual painting, Cupid binds Mars (the god of war) to Venus with a love knot. It celebrates the civilizing and nurturing effects of love, as milk flows from Venus’s breast and Mars’s warhorse is restrained.

“Sap away”

· · · a poem · · ·


Sap my sap away
Switch A to a U
See now, it’s “Sup!”
.
Anyhow I’m drained
All’s so very strained
As in: “Depleted”
.
Paradise was there
Purgatory’s here:-
Penitence afire.


It’s all encapsulated, enveloped in a vividly coloured circular shape; it is not without ornithological appeal. I modelled it god-like out of willing and kneed full clay (sometimes viscus and earthy blue-gray brown, sometimes rocklike ochre, traced with terracotta). But the clay I am here referring to was actually a handful of timeless hourglass-grade sand; sometimes molten hot and sometimes, congealed, dull and cold, but either way, mine to sculpt. We can think of Madagascan spices and gemstones, we can think of what Ernest Shackleton[1] and Robert Falcon Scott[2] would have heard and observed. “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield” — it’s carved into a trunk of oak down there, below the Southern Ocean. The astute will note it is lifted from Tennyson’s “Ulysses.” it was chiselled out in 1913 and, 107 years on, faces out, steadfast and stoic, to the Roaring 40s. From that powerful poem I retype the following lines (Oh how divine, with hindsight, were those heady times):


It may be that the gulfs will wash us down
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles


Alfred Tennyson

Harland Miller
Harland Miller is an English artist born in Yorkshire in 1964. He studied at London’s Chelsea School of Art, graduating in 1988.
Harland Miller
Notable artworks by Harland Miller include his giant canvases of Penguin Book covers. The paintings include sardonic statements, e.g., “Whitby – The Self Catering Years,” “Rags to Polyester – My Story” and, “Incurable Romantic Seeks Dirty Filthy Whore.”
Aldridge & Miller
Miles Aldridge (born 1964, London) is a fashion photographer and artist.
Photograph by Miles Aldridge
Photo by Miles Aldridge, book in hand by Harland Miller.


Post Script

[1]   Ernest Shackleton
I paraphrase in a wholly unworthy parallel: I had seen God in his splendors, heard the text that Nature renders. I’d reached the naked soul of [my] man.

[2]   Robert Falcon Scott
I paraphrase in a wholly unworthy parallel: I took risks, I knew I took them; things finally came out against me, and therefore I have no cause for complaint, but bow to the will of happenstance [& one too many rolls of life’s Damoclesian dice], despite this truly frightful plight, determined still am I, to do my best to make amends for the the past …

[3]   Sword of Damocles
If you say that someone has the Sword of Damocles hanging over them, you mean that they are in a situation in which something very bad could happen at any moment (an imminent and ever-present peril). It can also be used to denote the sense of foreboding; you feel it in your bones that something bad’s about to happen but you can’t be sure what (or more probably ‘how’). William Shakespeare used it in a fashion: “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.” In The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer refers to it too: “Above, where seated in his tower, /I saw Conquest depicted in his power/ There was a sharpened sword above his head / That hung there by the thinnest simple thread.” Roman poet Horace also alluded to it by waxing lyrical about the virtues of living a simple, rustic life; favouring this in preference to the myriad threats and anxieties that accompany holding a position of power.

Sword of Damocles
“Sword of Damocles”
by Richard Westall (1812)

[4]   Gouge away / You can gouge away / Stay all day / If you want to //

The dreadful mistake

deader than dead


My mistake was to treat you my Muse
//
I’ll tell you about ‘complicated’:
“I will tell you how I wander lost
— the books I note and the texts I read —
and the pain felt by my tongue-tied heart”

//
as though you were simply my mistress.

Path

^ Winn, R. (2018). The Salt Path. London: Penguin.

Sand City / Date grove

Clay tablet / Baked-earth Masjid

“Sirocco (Al Haboob)”


Just as does The Mayfly —
There was a moment in time, under a iridescent blinding light.
Where I shone so very bright and everything was alright.
I had in my grasp the flower of rejuvenation.
It’s nectar was desert rose, it’s sent jasmine carnation.
I was rapt by its blossoming beauty but it’s clasp and grip led me to take it for granted.
I placed it in a bouquet, my drops of dew sowed others too that I’d casually collected.
It was the time and place where I was made.
It’s now a haunting taste that I’m forbade.
For a ‘Naja haje’ snatched us apart one fang to our heart one to our soul.
Time gnawed away, memories darkened and heaven was rewritten as hell.
— far from you, I shall die.


S/he’s the unforgettable, ever-changing and eternally great being that consumes me in every single way.


— Tolstoy (1867) & Bidoonism (2020)


p. s.

* Video One.The Epic of Gilgamesh is the earliest substantive work of literature currently known to humankind; it was written down (etched with sun-dried, hand-sharpened Euphrates marsh reed quill into a freshly kneaded tablet of Tigris bank clay) by the Sumerians in c. 2,100 BC (yep.. over 4,000 years ago). In the video — retreived, youtu.be/QUcTsFe1PVs — you hear the opening lines of part of the epic, accompanied by a long-neck, three-string, Sumerian lute known as a “gish-gu-di.”

** Video Two.Light in Babylon are a celebration of the cosmopolitan traditions of both Istanbul and its Sephardic Jewish community; wih the stunning voice of Elia Kamal and the beautiful sound of the “san-tur.”

*** Inspiration. — A lecture on The Epic of Gilgamesh, given in 2017 at the Harvard Semitic Museum by Andrew George (Professor of Babylonian, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London).

On love. . .

by Toni Morrison


Love is or it ain’t. Thin love ain’t love at all.



Love is divine only and difficult always. If you think it is easy you are a fool. If you think it is natural you are blind.



Something that is loved is never lost.

& now, some poetry

The following five poems were all penned by Toni Morrison. In my humble opinion, amongst other things, they talk of love (“Once more you know / You will never die again”), sexual awakening (“fruit that had lost its green” / “Red cherries become jam”), identity and place (“the fish mistake my hair for home”).

“Eve Remembering”


1
I tore from a limb fruit that had lost its green.
My hands were warmed by the heat of an apple
Fire red and humming.
I bit sweet power to the core.
How can I say what it was like?
The taste! The taste undid my eyes
And led me far from the gardens planted for a child
To wildernesses deeper than any master’s call.
2
Now these cool hands guide what they once caressed;
Lips forget what they have kissed.
My eyes now pool their light
Better the summit to see.
3
I would do it all over again:
Be the harbor and set the sail,
Loose the breeze and harness the gale,
Cherish the harvest of what I have been.
Better the summit to scale.
Better the summit to be.

“The Perfect Ease of Grain”


The perfect ease of grain
Time enough to spill
The flavor of a woman carried through the rain.

Honey-talk tongues
Down home dreams
A rushed by shapely prayer.
Evening lips part to hush
Questions raised at dawn.

The melon yields another slice.
Fingers understand.
Ecstasy becomes us all.
Red cherries become jam.

Deep juvenile sleep
A whistle trace
White shorelines in green air.
Welcome doors held open
When goodbye is “So long.”

The perfect poise of grain
Time enough to spill
The flavor of a woman remembered on a train.

“Someone Leans Near”


Someone leans near
And sees the salt your eyes have shed.

You wait, longing to hear
Words of reason, love or play
To lash or lull you toward the hollow day.

Silence kneads your fear
Of crumbled star-ash sifting down
Clouding the rooms here, here.

You shore up your heart to run. To stay.
But no sign or design marks the narrow way.

Then on your skin a breath caresses
The salt your eyes have shed.

And you remember a call clear, so clear
“You will never die again.”

Once more you know
You will never die again.

“It Comes Unadorned”


It comes
Unadorned
Like a phrase
Strong enough to cast a spell;
It comes
Unbidden,
Like the turn of sun through hills
Or stars in wheels of song.
The jeweled feet of women dance the earth.
Arousing it to spring.
Shoulders broad as a road bend to share the weight of years.
Profiles breach the distance and lean
Toward an ordinary kiss.
Bliss.
It comes naked into the world like a charm.

I Am Not Seaworthy”


I am not seaworthy.
Look how the fish mistake my hair for home.
I had a life, like you. I shouldn’t be riding the sea.
I am not seaworthy.
Let me be earth bound; star fixed
Mixed with sun and smacking air.
Give me the smile, the magic kiss
To trick little boy death of my hand.
I am not seaworthy. Look how the fish mistake my hair for home.

Map of Love

Can you read subtext ¿?¿


FB90743F-7569-48C8-93E9-93F1F65985A0


I wasn’t lookin’ but somehow you found me
I tried to hide from your love light
But like heaven above me
The spy who loved me
Is keepin’ all my secrets safe tonight

3AE50114-3BAC-41DD-9119-9BC04F7F39C5

And nobody does it better
Though sometimes I wish someone could
Nobody does it quite the way you do
Why’d you have to be so good?


— Carly Elisabeth Simon

verisimilitude
Verisimilitude: “A Kiss from Johnny”
by Robert Harris (1952)


I just lamely follow
I feel dead & hollow
I now feebly wallow
I am lower than low

‘Love’ by Coleridge

A literary analysis of Coleridge’s “Love.”

“Love”


All thoughts, all passions, all delights,
Whatever stirs this mortal frame,
All are but ministers of Love,
And feed his sacred flame.

Oft in my waking dreams do I
Live o’er again that happy hour,
When midway on the mount I lay,
Beside the ruined tower.

The moonshine, stealing o’er the scene
Had blended with the lights of eve;
And she was there, my hope, my joy,
My own dear Genevieve!

She leant against the arméd man,
The statue of the arméd knight;
She stood and listened to my lay,
Amid the lingering light.

Few sorrows hath she of her own,
My hope! my joy! my Genevieve!
She loves me best, whene’er I sing
The songs that make her grieve.

I played a soft and doleful air,
I sang an old and moving story—
An old rude song, that suited well
That ruin wild and hoary.

She listened with a flitting blush,
With downcast eyes and modest grace;
For well she knew, I could not choose
But gaze upon her face.

I told her of the Knight that wore
Upon his shield a burning brand;
And that for ten long years he wooed
The Lady of the Land.

I told her how he pined: and ah!
The deep, the low, the pleading tone
With which I sang another’s love,
Interpreted my own.

She listened with a flitting blush,
With downcast eyes, and modest grace;
And she forgave me, that I gazed
Too fondly on her face!

But when I told the cruel scorn
That crazed that bold and lovely Knight,
And that he crossed the mountain-woods,
Nor rested day nor night;

That sometimes from the savage den,
And sometimes from the darksome shade,
And sometimes starting up at once
In green and sunny glade,—

There came and looked him in the face
An angel beautiful and bright;
And that he knew it was a Fiend,
This miserable Knight!

And that unknowing what he did,
He leaped amid a murderous band,
And saved from outrage worse than death
The Lady of the Land!

And how she wept, and clasped his knees;
And how she tended him in vain—
And ever strove to expiate
The scorn that crazed his brain;—

And that she nursed him in a cave;
And how his madness went away,
When on the yellow forest-leaves
A dying man he lay;—

His dying words—but when I reached
That tenderest strain of all the ditty,
My faultering voice and pausing harp
Disturbed her soul with pity!

All impulses of soul and sense
Had thrilled my guileless Genevieve;
The music and the doleful tale,
The rich and balmy eve;

And hopes, and fears that kindle hope,
An undistinguishable throng,
And gentle wishes long subdued,
Subdued and cherished long!

She wept with pity and delight,
She blushed with love, and virgin-shame;
And like the murmur of a dream,
I heard her breathe my name.

Her bosom heaved—she stepped aside,
As conscious of my look she stepped—
Then suddenly, with timorous eye
She fled to me and wept.

She half enclosed me with her arms,
She pressed me with a meek embrace;
And bending back her head, looked up,
And gazed upon my face.

‘Twas partly love, and partly fear,
And partly ’twas a bashful art,
That I might rather feel, than see,
The swelling of her heart.

I calmed her fears, and she was calm,
And told her love with virgin pride;
And so I won my Genevieve,
My bright and beauteous Bride.

— Samuel Taylor Coleridge

“Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss”
Sculpted by Antonio Canova (c. 1787) @ The Louvre.

Literary Analysis

1. The poet

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834) was an English poet, literary critic and philosopher. Coleridge’s literary criticism, especially on William Shakespeare, was highly influential. In addition, he coined various phrases, including, “suspension of disbelief.” He was a contemporary of William Wordsworth — indeed they produced a number of collaborative works — and together they were amongst the key founding members of what we today class as the “Romantic Movement.”


The eye, it cannot choose but see;
We cannot bid the ear be still;
Our bodies feel, where’er they be,
Against or with our will.

— William Wordsworth

A poem of Coleridge’s, called “Christabel” is said to have had a major influence on Edgar Allan Poe — particularly Poe’s 1831 poem, “The Sleeper.”


For passionate love is still divine
I lov’d her as an angel might
With ray of the all living light
Which blazes upon Edis’ shrine.

— Edgar Allan Poe

One of Coleridge’s best known and most anthologised poems is called “Kubla Khan.” Listen to it here:

For all of his adult life Coleridge suffered from periods of intense anxiety and depression. Furthermore, he was physically unhealthy and, in attempting to overcome this used laudanum, which fostered a lifelong opium addiction (see: Lovelorn for more on opium and literature).

2. The poem

In Coleridge’s poem “Love,” the narrator (and read here: probably Coleridge writing about someone he himself was pining for) is attempting to win over a women by appealing to her tender emotions (her ‘soft spot’ so to speak). To do this he tells her a heart-wrenching story! He waxes poetic about the days of chivalry, in which a knight saved a lady from an “outrage worse than death” (let us presume it may well have been rape), is wounded in so doing and soon thereafter, dies in her arms. The women that the poem’s narrator fancies, on hearing the story, is deeply moved to tears and then — low and behold 😉 — succumbs to the narrator’s charms.

Each of this poem’s 24 stanzas is a quatrain (4 lines) and follows, I think, the ABCB rhyming pattern. The first three lines of each stanza — I’ve read it said — are written in iambic tetrameter (each line contains two sets of two beats, or “iambs” — firstly unstressed then stressed) each stanza’s last line contains only three iambs (i.e., it was written in “iambic trimeter”). [tri = three, think of a triangle!]


Learn more about literary analysis techniques:
Poetry & ProseLiterary devices
Poetry & ProseAnalytical techniques
Poetry & ProseGlossary of terminology

Theme

The theme of the poem is the glorification of love. Love, as a subject, is always engaging as it describes the most intense passion of the human heart (see: “Love letters”). In this poem there is only really a union of the hearts, and not of the body; there’s no suggestion of carnal passion. It is, in other words about love and not about sex.

Love, according to the poem’s narrator is the supreme passion of all human beings and all the other passions are slaves to it. These other passions and emotions, moreover, all contribute something to the passion of love. In their own ways they stimulate, inspire, and sustain love.

Coleridge’s “Love” has many thematic elements associated with the Romantic Period not least its stress of the emotional over the reasonable! This is evident from the second and final stanza. Another theme of poetry in the Romantic Period is the nostalgic view of past traditions such as e.g., the Medieval Era (the Middle Ages), as signified in the poem with the discussion of the knight, fighting for chivalry and a fair lady’s heart and honour:

for ten years he wooed the lady of the land

The the degree to which the poem’s narrator goes to win the heart of the woman he fancies — his true one & only — is the driving force of this poem. I say women, but maybe the narrator fancied a man… Love is Love; love is gender-blind.

Like a rainbow,
you come and go.

In the first stanza of “Love” the narrator begins by stating that every emotion one could experience influences and is influenced by love.

All thoughts, all passions, all delights,
Whatever stirs this mortal frame,
All are but ministers of Love,
And feed his sacred flame.

Love is given agency. In the second stanza the narrator goes on to refer to himself in the first person.

Oft in my waking dreams do I
Live o’er again that happy hour,
When midway on the mount I lay,
Beside the ruined tower.

This is he, this is Coleridge! His “waking dreams” his (opioid) day dreams… He recalls the “happy hour…”


I was happy in the haze of a drunken hour
But heaven knows I’m miserable now

I was looking for a job, and then I found a job
And heaven knows I’m miserable now

In my life
Why do I give valuable time
To people who don’t care if I live or die?

Two lovers entwined pass me by
And heaven knows I’m miserable now

— Steven Morrissey / Johnny Marr

The sixth stanza of Coleridge’s “Love” describes how the narrator is using his language (words & tone) to woo his woman:

I played a soft and doleful air,
I sang an old and moving story—
An old rude song...

The next stanza — I think — is meant to tell us how the women he fancies is both aroused and saddened by the somewhat risqué and scandalous medieval tale:

She listened with a flitting blush,
With downcast eyes and modest grace;

The 17th stanza again describes how the narrator is using his language (words & tone) to woo his woman:

My faltering voice and pausing harp
Disturbed her soul with pity!

The poem ends with a neat – happy for ever after — ending… lovely but a fucking myth (ain’t it mate?)

I calmed her fears, and she was calm,
And told her love with virgin pride;
And so I won my Genevieve,
My bright and beauteous Bride.



Read more of and on The Romantics:
Poetry & ProsePoetsS. T. Coleridge
Poetry & ProsePoetsJohn Keats
Poetry & ProsePoetsP. B. Shelley
Poetry & ProsePoetsLord Byron


Rear view one (derrière wide-angle)
Rear view one (derrière wide-angle)
Rear view two (derrière macro)
Rear view two (derrière macro)
“Psyche Receiving Cupid’s First Kiss”
By François Gérard (1798)

* A symbolic butterfly hovers over Psyche in a moment of innocence poised before sexual awakening.

I shall read…

for what else to do now?


This mournful and restless sound was a fit accompaniment to my meditations.


— Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim

Oh 2 be b’side the c-side with u write now! Can you hear it, can you hear me, can you hear the sonorous, no searing, sounds of the redolent, no relentless, sea.

Read The NYT Book review

Download a PDF copy here:
BooksNYT Book Review (Jan. 2020).

There is an ocean of silence between us. . . and I am drowning in it.
“No one compares to you, but there’s no you, except in my dreams tonight.”
— Lana Del Rey


Though lovers be lost, love shall not /
And death shall have no dominion.


— Dylan Thomas

There is an ocean of silence between us. . . and I am drowning in it 013
“It hurts to breathe. It hurts to live. I hate him, yet I do not think I can exist without him.”
― Charlotte Featherstone


There is an ocean of silence between us… and I am drowning in it.


— Ranata Suzuki

There is an ocean of silence between us. . . and I am drowning in it 012
“You can love someone so much… But you can never love people as much as you can miss them.”
― John Green


Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.


— Kahlil Gibran

There is an ocean of silence between us. . . and I am drowning in it 010
“When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.”
― George R. Martin


It’s painful, loving someone from afar /
Watching them – from the outside.


— Ranata Suzuki


“Your smile and your laughter lit my whole world.”