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Friday, 11 February 2011

Oliver Goldsmith: The Deserted Village


File:Rowley, Alberta 017a.jpg

Abandoned street and home, Rowley, Alberta
: photo by Kappakapa, 2008

Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn,
Thy sports are fled, and all thy charms withdrawn;
Amidst thy bowers the tyrant's hand is seen,
And desolation saddens all thy green:
One only master grasps the whole domain,
And half a tillage stints thy smiling plain.
No more thy glassy brook reflects the day,
But, chok'd with sedges, works its weedy way;
Along thy glades, a solitary guest,
The hollow-sounding bittern guards its nest;
Amidst thy desert walks the lapwing flies,
And tires their echoes with unvaried cries;
Sunk are thy bowers in shapeless ruin all,
And the long grass o'ertops the mould'ring wall;
And trembling, shrinking from the spoiler's hand,
Far, far away, thy children leave the land.

Disused grain elevators, Rowley, Alberta: photo by Kappakapa, 2008

Oliver Goldsmith: excerpt from The Deserted Village, 1770




"the long grass o'ertops the mould'ring wall" . . . .


light coming into sky above still black
plane of ridge, robin calling on branch
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

bright white of almost half
moon, planet below it

above cypress branch, Orion
on left, following it

silver of sunlight reflected in channel,
cloudless blue sky to the left of point

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I stopped to read this (these, actually; Steve's poem reminds me that coming home last night I looked up and said "Hello, Orion"). I haven't forgotten the previous images of Alberta and seeing these joined with The Deserted Village really resonates. I read some background material on Goldsmith. Amazing. I'm surprised that no one has essayed a film biography of him, e.g., "Johnny Depp IS Oliver Goldsmith in ______." Tom: Could you please remind me of the origin of "aim low, aim true? Thank you.



"Far, far away, the children leave the land" -- yesterday afternoon Johnny's 6th birthday party, the children not yet having left the land (hello to Orion still up there last night, Venus rising now) . . . .


grey blackness of sky above still black
ridge, silver of planet beside branches
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

“way” which comes into view,
that related to still

that is what, maybe what is,
not that it was still

silver of sunlight reflected in channel,
white cloud in pale blue sky on horizon

TC said...

Happy birthday, Johnny!

Curtis, I believe that was the saying of Dr. Ferdinand Destouches (aka Louis-Ferdinand Céline.)

(Though I would be surprised to hear he was either the first or the last to express such sentiments.)