bellasemplicita

Regaining a lost love for beauty and simplicity.

Tag: Poetry

‘This Is Just To Say’

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I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

This Is Just To Say, William Carlos Williams

The words in this poem so remind me of the summer: ‘the plums in the icebox’; ‘they were delicious’;  ‘so cold’.  Like a drink of cold water.

What poems remind you of the summer?

Irony

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‘Leto and Niobe were deeply loving friends.’

– Sappho (no. 85)

When I first read this remnant of one of Sappho’s poems, I took it as a statement of fact.  Although, I knew the myth I was unable to detect a sense of irony.  It seemed to add an interesting quirk to the story.  Perhaps I took it as fact because I was more interested in it being so.

Leto and Niobe were deeply loving friends.’

However, when I now read this fragment I can not help but wonder what Sappho meant.  Perhaps it is only cruel irony.

Photo by Mario Giacomelli

I’m Back

Hello again!  After a very long hiatus I am back to blogging!  (My absence was mostly the result of technical difficulties, so hopefully I will be back here for good.)

In celebration, allow me to share one of my very favorite poems.

 

“Glory be to God for dappled things –

For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;

For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;

Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;

Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;

And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;

Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)

With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;

He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.”

 

Pied Beauty, Gerard Manley Hopkins

An Ordinary Life

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“do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
and make the ordinary come alive for them.
the extraordinary will take care of itself.”

 – William Martin

In Honor of Spring

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Nothing is so beautiful as spring –

When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;

Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush

Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring

The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;

The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush

The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush

With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.

What is all this juice and all this joy?

A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning

In Eden garden. – have, get, before it cloy,

Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,

Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,

Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.

– Gerard Manley Hopkins, Spring, (1918)

Some Goals

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I normally refrain from making any definite goals for the new year – things along the line of ‘run more, bike more, etc.’  Things that are far from helpful.  So this year I am making myself several very definite goals.  I thought I would share some of them with you.

–  Run a Marathon.

–  Run a 70.3 Ironman event.

–  Take a photo every day.

–  Read 156 books, that is 3 books a week.

–  Make one of those 3 books a Shakespeare play.  (I don’t know my Shakespeare nearly as well as I could wish!)

–  Read a new poet every week

–  Cook/bake a new recipe every week

–  Knit an Aran sweater.

May your New Year be blessed!

Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, ‘It will be happier.’     – Tennyson

‘Salvation to all that will is nigh’

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Botticelli, The Adoration of the Magi

……….

Annunciation

2.  Salvation to all that will is nigh,

That All, which always is All every where,

Which cannot sinne, and yet all sinnes must beare,

Which cannot die, yet cannot chuse but die,

Loe, faithfull Virgin, yields himselfe to lye

In Prison, in they wombe; and though he there

Can take no sinne, nor thou give, yet he’will weare

Taken from thence, flesh, which deaths force may trie.

Ere by the spheares time was created, thou

Wast in his minde, who is thy Sonne, and Brother,

Whom thou conceiv’st, conceiv’d; yea thou art now

Thy Makers maker, and thy Fathers mother,

Thou’hast light in darke; and shutst in little roome,

Immensity cloysterd in thy deare wombe.

Nativitie

3. Immensity cloysterd in thy deare wombe,

Now leaves his welbelov’d imprisonment,

There he hath made himselfe to his intent

Weake enough, now into our world to come;

But Oh, for thee, for him, hath th’Inne no roome?

Yet lay him in this stall, and from the’Orient,

Starres, and wisemen will travell to prevent

Th’effect of Herods jealous generall doome;

Seest thou, my Soule, with thy faiths eyes, how he

Which fils all place, yet none holds him, doth lye?

Was not his pity towards the wondrous high,

That would have need to be pittied by thee?

Kisse him, and with him into Egypt goe,

With his kinde mother, who partakes thy woe.

……….

– La Corona (2,3), John Donne

Autumn

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O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stain’d
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof; there thou may’st rest,
And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe,
And all the daughters of the year shall dance!
Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers.

“The narrow bud opens her beauties to
The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins;
Blossoms hang round the brows of Morning, and
Flourish down the bright cheek of modest Eve,
Till clust’ring Summer breaks forth into singing,
And feather’d clouds strew flowers round her head.

“The spirits of the air live in the smells
Of fruit; and Joy, with pinions light, roves round
The gardens, or sits singing in the trees.”
Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat,
Then rose, girded himself, and o’er the bleak
Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load.

– To Autumn, William Blake

‘Poetry’

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‘The very fact that she wrote poetry in Buchenwald suggests that poetry itself is a part of the mind reserved for resistance to force.  Poetry doesn’t just help someone survive, it is a survivor itself: fluid, protean, as it passes through walls, and brings a particular beat to a way of thinking and being.’

Fanny Howe

From ‘My Several Worlds’

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Well, I am back from my long and unintended hiatus! I had a lovely trip to Italy and have thoroughly enjoyed my summer. When the days grow shorter and the weather turns, I will post some of my favorite pictures of the trip.
In the meantime, I would love to share with you several passages from a book I just finished – My Several Worlds, by Pearl S. Buck. The book is a lovely autobiography after a type. As she states near the beginning, ‘the story is incomplete, and, worse still, that it is told upon different levels and about different places and peoples, the whole held together merely by time . . .’. I found this book utterly beautiful and refreshing. It was one of those lovely reads I wished would never end.

The great beauty of Japan is in the spots that you and I, if we be mere passerby, never really glimpse.
It is the beauty which moves the veriest coolie, after a day of crushing labor, to throw aside his carrying pole, and after a bit of fish and rice, to dig and plant in his garden the size of a pocket handkerchief.  There he works, absorbed, delighted; his whole being resting in the joy of creating beauty for himself and his family, who cluster about him to admire.  No one is without a garden.  If fate has denied a poor man a foot of ground, he buys a big plot for a penny and slowly, after hours of labor pleasant and painstaking, he constructs a miniature park, with a rockery, a tiny summerhouse, a pool, with bits of moss for lawns and grass heads for trees and toy ferns tucked into crevices for shrubbery.

It is the quality of beauty, too, which moves a Japanese host to place in his guest room each day for the delight of his guest one single exquisite note.  From his precious store he selects today a watercolor, in black and white, of a bird clinging to a reed, painted with a charming reserve.  Tomorrow it will be a dull blue vase with one spray of snowy pear bloom arranged in such a way as to be a living invitation to meditation.  Sometimes it is a piece of old tapestry, with a quaint procession of lantern bearers marching across its faded length.

………………..

Meanwhile I was also enjoying quite a different sort of life.  First of all were my house and garden.  Though I can live anywhere, be either rich or poor with equal acceptance, I have to have a setting, and if there is not one, I make it.  I subdued, therefore, the too large and somewhat graceless grey brick house where I lived, and within the limits of a small amount of money, I did as my mother had taught me to do and created as much beauty as I could.  The garden furnished plenty of flowers, and well-designed furniture of cheap materials could be cushioned with the inexpensive but beautiful chinese stuffs.  Wicker and rattan I had wearied of, but the Chinese about that time were weaving cash string, a thin robe made of grass, upon strong bamboo frames, and such chairs were comfortable and substantial.  Old chinese blackwood tables could be bought cheaply, and there were always delicate and beautiful bowls and vases in the chinashops.  One day in a silkshhop I found yards of faded silk going at a bargain price and I bought it for curtains and dyed it in different colors.  Matting rugs upon the floor gave good effect and sunshine and flowers did the rest.  I enjoyed the whole process and have often thought to myself that if I had not wanted to write books above all else, I would be a cook in a big family, perhaps in an orphanage, and make delicious dishes for everybody.  But there are many persons I would like to have been – for example, again, a sculptor – had I not wanted to write books.

 

These passages are just a selection among the many I found refreshing and inspiring.  They slightly readjusted my vision for a beautiful, peaceful, and God honoring home.