Above the antique mantel was displayed
As though a window gave upon the sylvan scene
The change of Philomel, by the barbarous king
So rudely forced; yet there the nightingale
Filled all the desert with inviolable voice
And still she cried, and still the world pursues,
“Jug Jug” to dirty ears.
And other withered stumps of time
Were told upon the walls; staring forms
Leaned out, leaning, hushing the room enclosed.
Footsteps shuffled on the stair.
Under the firelight, under the brush, her hair
Spread out in fiery points
Glowed into words, then would be savagely still.
T.S. Eliot - from 'The Waste Land'
Currently reading Hanif Kureishi's The Nothing - which deals with a dying man's penchant for revenge and self-torment. Death--or dying--has always been a crucial aspect of Kureishi's works, even his early novels, which are often criticized for not being "serious enough." It's clear, bracing prose; no embellishment, but still very provocative.
I'm also grading some student papers, and it is quite interesting that many students have mistaken psychological sublimation for chemical sublimation. I wonder if this was done deliberately, to see how I would react. Regardless, I'm priming myself for some very interesting conversations soon. But I gotta admit, it is quite hilarious if this is deliberate.
My love is strengthend, though more weak in seeming;
I love not less, though less the show appear.
That love is merchandised, whose rich esteeming
The owner's tongue doth publish everywhere.
Our love was new and then but in the spring,
When I was wont to greet it with my lays,
As Philomel in summer's front doth sing,
And stops her pipe in growth of riper days.
Not that the summer is less pleasant now
Than when her mournful hymns did hush the night;
But that wild music burthens every bough
And sweets grown common lose their dear delight:
Therefore, like her, I sometime hold my tongue,
Because I would not dull you with my song.
Shakespeare - Sonnet 102
When winter winds are piercing chill,
And through the hawthorn blows the gale,
With solemn feet I tread the hill,
That overbrows the lonely vale.
O'er the bare upland, and away
Through the long reach of desert woods,
The embracing sunbeams chastely play,
And gladden these deep solitudes.
Where, twisted round the barren oak,
The summer vine in beauty clung,
And summer winds the stillness broke,
The crystal icicle is hung.
Where, from their frozen urns, mute springs
Pour out the river's gradual tide,
Shrilly the skater's iron rings,
And voices fill the woodland side.
Alas! how changed from the fair scene,
When birds sang out their mellow lay,
And winds were soft, and woods were green,
And the song ceased not with the day!
But still wild music is abroad,
Pale, desert woods! within your crowd;
And gathering winds, in hoarse accord,
Amid the vocal reeds pipe loud.
Chill airs and wintry winds! my ear
Has grown familiar with your song;
I hear it in the opening year,
I listen, and it cheers me long.
Woods In Winter - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
[There you go, jfp, and solemn is in there too!]