Saturday, May 31, 2014

Poems about Flowers: Playlist for May 30,2014


I Dug, Beneath the Cypress Shade


By  Thomas Love Peacock  


I dug, beneath the cypress shade,


    What well might seem an elfin's grave;


And every pledge in earth I laid,


    That erst thy false affection gave.



I pressed them down the sod beneath;


    I placed one mossy stone above;


And twined the rose's fading wreath


    Around the sepulchre of love.



Frail as thy love, the flowers were dead,


    Ere yet the evening sun was set:


But years shall see the cypress spread,


    Immutable as my regret.  

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Cypresses by Antonin Dvorak



valerie bertinelli 

By  Rodney Koeneke  



I am a girl who sees the world in everything.


I wonder in a 100 years if the world will just flip.


I upload the roar of children, chop cauliflower


because I want to see the ones I love


as loving me forever. I see colorful daisies


as the children of lawns


swaying unfruitfully in the wind. I want the ones


who pretend they are without wings to protect me


touch sun, feel hearts—


in that instant I understand almost everything



Pretending I am flying


over the worry and loss of this city


into the warm sun, to touch who l can.


I worry, making canap├ęs over the sink,


that nothing will be easy, ever


if all of this is happening for reasons,


that that family is my family, crying out in pain,


thin daisies bent flat in a summer wind.



I understand that almost, when they cry


why nothing is easy in this world with its reasons.


I pretend I am without wings to protect me—


I dream one day of a city that’s at peace.


I see something good that is in everyone. In a 100


years I wonder will the world just flip.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC:  Daisies by Sergei Rachmaninov





By  John Keats  


Ever let the Fancy roam,


Pleasure never is at home:


At a touch sweet Pleasure melteth,


Like to bubbles when rain pelteth;


Then let winged Fancy wander


Through the thought still spread beyond her:


Open wide the mind's cage-door,


She'll dart forth, and cloudward soar.


O sweet Fancy! let her loose;


Summer's joys are spoilt by use,


And the enjoying of the Spring


Fades as does its blossoming;


Autumn's red-lipp'd fruitage too,


Blushing through the mist and dew,


Cloys with tasting: What do then?


Sit thee by the ingle, when


The sear faggot blazes bright,


Spirit of a winter's night;


When the soundless earth is muffled,


And the caked snow is shuffled


From the ploughboy's heavy shoon;


When the Night doth meet the Noon


In a dark conspiracy


To banish Even from her sky.


Sit thee there, and send abroad,


With a mind self-overaw'd,


Fancy, high-commission'd:—send her!


She has vassals to attend her:


She will bring, in spite of frost,


Beauties that the earth hath lost;


She will bring thee, all together,


All delights of summer weather;


All the buds and bells of May,


From dewy sward or thorny spray;


All the heaped Autumn's wealth,


With a still, mysterious stealth:


She will mix these pleasures up


Like three fit wines in a cup,


And thou shalt quaff it:—thou shalt hear


Distant harvest-carols clear;


Rustle of the reaped corn;


Sweet birds antheming the morn:


And, in the same moment, hark!


'Tis the early April lark,


Or the rooks, with busy caw,


Foraging for sticks and straw.


Thou shalt, at one glance, behold


The daisy and the marigold;


White-plum'd lillies, and the first


Hedge-grown primrose that hath burst;


Shaded hyacinth, alway


Sapphire queen of the mid-May;


And every leaf, and every flower


Pearled with the self-same shower.


Thou shalt see the field-mouse peep


Meagre from its celled sleep;


And the snake all winter-thin


Cast on sunny bank its skin;


Freckled nest-eggs thou shalt see


Hatching in the hawthorn-tree,


When the hen-bird's wing doth rest


Quiet on her mossy nest;


Then the hurry and alarm


When the bee-hive casts its swarm;


Acorns ripe down-pattering,


While the autumn breezes sing.



       Oh, sweet Fancy! let her loose;


Every thing is spoilt by use:


Where's the cheek that doth not fade,


Too much gaz'd at? Where's the maid


Whose lip mature is ever new?


Where's the eye, however blue,


Doth not weary? Where's the face


One would meet in every place?


Where's the voice, however soft,


One would hear so very oft?


At a touch sweet Pleasure melteth


Like to bubbles when rain pelteth.


Let, then, winged Fancy find


Thee a mistress to thy mind:


Dulcet-ey'd as Ceres' daughter,


Ere the God of Torment taught her


How to frown and how to chide;


With a waist and with a side


White as Hebe's, when her zone


Slipt its golden clasp, and down


Fell her kirtle to her feet,


While she held the goblet sweet


And Jove grew languid.—Break the mesh


Of the Fancy's silken leash;


Quickly break her prison-string


And such joys as these she'll bring.—


Let the winged Fancy roam,


Pleasure never is at home.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC:  Lilacs by Sergei Rachmaninov




The Garden by Moonlight

By  Amy Lowell




A black cat among roses,


Phlox, lilac-misted under a first-quarter moon,


The sweet smells of heliotrope and night-scented stock.


The garden is very still,  


It is dazed with moonlight,


Contented with perfume,


Dreaming the opium dreams of its folded poppies.


Firefly lights open and vanish  


High as the tip buds of the golden glow


Low as the sweet alyssum flowers at my feet.


Moon-shimmer on leaves and trellises,


Moon-spikes shafting through the snow ball bush.  


Only the little faces of the ladies’ delight are alert and staring,


Only the cat, padding between the roses,


Shakes a branch and breaks the chequered pattern


As water is broken by the falling of a leaf.


Then you come,


And you are quiet like the garden,


And white like the alyssum flowers,  


And beautiful as the silent sparks of the fireflies.


Ah, Beloved, do you see those orange lilies?


They knew my mother,


But who belonging to me will they know


When I am gone.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Jardin abondonado by Antonio Carlos Jobim





By  John Ciardi    


Once I had 1000 roses.


Literally 1000 roses.


I was working for a florist


back in the shambling ‘Thirties  


when iced skids of 250 roses


sold for $2 at Faneuil Hall.


So for $8 I bought


1000 roses, 500


white and 500 red,


for Connie’s wedding to steadiness.



I strewed the church aisle whole  


and the bride came walking


on roses, roses all the way:


The white roses and the red roses.  


White for the bed we had shared.  


Red for the bed she went to


from the abundance in her


to the fear in what she wanted.  


The gift was not in the roses


but in the abundance of the roses.



                                                   To her  


whose abundance had never wholly


been mine, and could never be his.  


He had no gift of abundance in him  


but only the penuries of sobriety.


A good steady clerk, most mortgageable,  


returning in creaking shoes over  


the white and the red roses. Returning  


over the most flowering he would ever  


touch, with the most flowering I  


had ever touched. A feast of endings.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Sweeter Than Roses by Henry Purcell



Saturday, May 24, 2014

Sonnets: Playlist for May 23, 2014


By Anthony Maulucci

By loving you still I may be living
in the past but my heart, like the sun,
burns the same way now as then and I cannot
consign our days of love to oblivion.

Each day revives a recollection
of your tender kisses and flashing eyes
when we were drunk with the wine of love
and our glass could never hold enough.

Loving you still, I keep my youth alive.
In all the seasons of our love affair
from spring pastoral to darkening winter

we planted some hardy perennial.
I’ve come to gather them in my ark of days
which is why I can never leave this place.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Cantilena No. 3 by Carlos Guastavino

Sonnet  30: When to the sessions of sweet silent thought 

By  William Shakespeare  

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought 

I summon up remembrance of things past, 

I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought, 

And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste:

Then can I drown an eye, unus'd to flow,

For precious friends hid in death's dateless night,

And weep afresh love's long since cancell'd woe,

And moan th' expense of many a vanish'd sight;

Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,

And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er

The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,

Which I new pay as if not paid before.

But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,

All losses are restor'd, and sorrows end.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Come away, come sweet love by John Dowland

I Have Not Lived

By  Walter Clyde Curry 

Though half my years besiege the aged sun,

     I have not lived. My robust preparation

     Lags tardily behind fit consummation,

Droops sweatily in courses just begun.

Oh, I have loved and lusted with the best,

     Plucked momentary music from the senses;

     I’ve kissed a lip or two with fair pretenses

And wept for softness of a woman’s breast.

My mind rebounds to nether joys and pain,

     Toying with filth and pharisaic leaven;

     I know the lift up sundry peaks to heaven,

And every rockless path to hell again.

I wait the hour when gods have more to give

Than husks and bare insatiate will to live.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Sonata for Violin & Piano in F minor (4th movement), Op. 80 by Sergei Prokofiev


By  Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson 

I had not thought of violets late,

The wild, shy kind that spring beneath your feet

In wistful April days, when lovers mate

And wander through the fields in raptures sweet.

The thought of violets meant florists' shops,

And cabarets and soaps, and deadening wines.

So far from sweet real things my thoughts had strayed,

I had forgot wide fields; and clear brown streams;

The perfect loveliness that God has made,—

Wild violets shy and Heaven-mounting dreams.

And now—unwittingly, you've made me dream

Of violets, and my soul's forgotten gleam.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC:  Fantasie for Violin & Harp, Op. 124 by Camille Saint-Saens

Teach Me

By  Donald (Grady) Davidson  

Teach me, old World, your passion of slow change,

    Your calm of stars, watching the turn of earth,

Patient of man, and never thinking strange

    The mad red crash of each new system’s birth.

Teach me, for I would know your beauty’s way

    That waits and changes with each changing sun,

No dawn so fair but promises a day

    Of other perfectness than men have won.

Teach me, old World, not as vain men have taught,

    —Unpatient song, nor words of hollow brass,

Nor men’s dismay whose powerfullest thought

    Is woe that they and worlds alike must pass.

Nothing I learn by any mortal rule;

Teach me, old World, I would not be man’s fool.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: The Beatitudes by Arvo Part

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Poems from the Classical Chinese tradition: Playlist for May 16, 2014

I am grateful to Michelle and Roman Gershkovich of Easton,CT for envisioning (translating) these five poems from the original Mandarin.

The Valley Spirit

Author:  Lu Yun who lived 262-303

I carry an existence outside all worldly concerns
In silent isolation dear to me; for, after all,
I close the door, and screen the windows with dried roots and ferns,
Living in harmony with winter, spring, summer, and fall:
Felt in my heart, these cosmic transformations take their course
And magnify my rustic home into a universe.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Cavatina, from String Quartet No. 13 by Ludwig van Beethoven

  The Spring Night

Author:  Su Shi who lived 1037-1101

One thousand gold coins can't buy one hour of night in the spring:
The pale moonlight and the aroma of flowers abound;
The flutes and singing on the terrace weave the threads of sound
Suspending -- in the night -- the gliding of a garden swing.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: The Spirit of the Ink, by Alan Hovhaness


Author:  Li Pai  who lived 701-762

Immersed in drinking wine, I did not notice the twilight.
My robe is covered with the petals falling through the air.
Though drunk, I rise and walk across the valley of moonlight:
The birds have flown away, and people also appear rare.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Nocturne in D-flat, by Claude Debussy

 Harmony with Nature

Author:  Tu Fu  who lived 712-770

The flowers and I in the garden face a Spring sunrise.
Should others speak to me, I answer illogically.
When reading, I skip passages wrought with difficulty.
I keep my wine cup filled.  Birds are the envy of my eyes.
The hermit of Omei correctly conjectures the stature
This idleness of mine exemplifies:  it's true to nature.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Elegy by Heino Eller

 A Song of Spring

Author:  Liu Yu-hsi  who lived 772-842

Her face adorned, she comes down the vermilion tower.
Spring light fills the courtyard with sadness, being all walled in.
She walks towards the heart of the garden, looks at a flower --
A dragonfly flies up and alights on her jade hairpin.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC:  Never Far Away, by Bright Cheng