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Monday 31 May 2010

Peter Orlovsky: Namaste


"Before the mirror I look like a sahara desert gost"

File:Git govind large.jpg

"The light in me sees the light in you"

File:Allen Ginsberg und Peter Orlowski   ArM.jpg

Snail Poem

Make my grave shape of heart so like a flower be free aired & handsome felt,

Grave root pillow, tung up from grave & wigle at blown up clowd.

Ear turnes close to underlayer of green felt moss & sound of rain dribble thru this layer down to the roots that will tickle my ear.

Hay grave, my toes need cutting so file away in sound curve or

Garbage grave, way above my head, blood will soon trickle in my ear -- no choise but the grave, so cat & sheep are daisey turned.

Train will tug my grave, my breath hueing gentil vapor between weel & track.

So kitten string & ball, jumpe over this mound so gently & cutely

So my toe can curl & become a snail & go curiousely on its way.

1958 NYC

File:Grapevinesnail 01.jpg

Death of Peter Orlovsky

“The Shelleyan farmer astride his Pegasusian tractor” as Gregory Corso once knighted him passed on today, May 30 2010 to the elysian fields, a bardo of becoming. First glance hour earlier Peter was resting with “trach” in throat in orange sheets at the kind Vt Respite Center in Williston, Vermont (but no extra tubes/ heroic measures for this advanced cancer on his lung!), a copy of the Songs of Saraha by his pillow, photo of beloved Allen Ginsberg companion of many years on the wall, other Buddhist images, iPod of music he loved including chants by Buddhist nuns, cards from friends and out the window a bird feeder with finch and red-winged blackbirds landing/taking off. Chuck and Judith Lief, faithful guardians and friends at his side. He had been moved less than 48 hours earlier from intensive care at a hospital in Boston, finally to hospice. His body we were touching we noticed suddenly turned cold like death was in the room. We got the nurse. Judy and I stepped out when suddenly Chuck called us back. Peter had opened his eyes. Chuck said “It might be the last time”. By his side now, looking into his eyes told out love, I thanked him for his presence in our lives, his poetry his care and love for Allen, his work at Naropa. Ah, I thought a flash of recognition shivering through! slight movement of mouth, light coming in on his handsome face through the window now, and Judy singing om a hum vajra guua padma siddhi hum in crystal voice said “don’t be afraid”. Joined in. Last breaths, one coming late, staggered: his heart/breath stopt. Poet Christina Lovin in room with nurse gave gentle witness who checked the clock 11:39 I think or so a.m. Earlier we’d played recording of Peter singing his Raspberry Song with great heart-soaring yodel and “how sweet you are”. “Make my grave shape of heart so like a flower be free aired and handsome felt” (“The Snail”). Tibetan Book of the Dead readings, in full final repose arranged with blue shirt, hands folded, consciousness a joyful gardener sprite? no fear, no fear working its way out…

Anne Waldman 5.30.2010

Vt Study Center


Biographical note: Peter Orlovsky

"My biography was born July 1933. Grew up with dirty feet & giggles. Cant stand dust so pick my nose. Trouble in school: always thinking dreaming sad mistry problems. Quit high school in middle of last term & got lost working in Mental hospital old man's bed slopy ward. Love pretzles & cant remember dreams anymore. Will somebody please buy me mountain with a cave up there. I dont speack any more. Wanted to be a farmer went to high school for that & worked hard, hard, I tell you, very hard, you'd be amazed. Did weight lifting with bus stops. Got to enjoy burnt bacon with mothers help. Stare at my feet to much & need to undue paroniac suden clowds. Enjoy mopping floors, cleaning up cat vommit. Enjoy swinning underwater. I want the moon for fun. Getting to enjoy blank mind state, especially in tub. This summer got to like flies tickleing nose & face. I demand piss be sold on the market, it would help people to get to know eachother. I.Q. 90 in school, now specialized I.Q. is thousands."

In our presence Peter was never anything but gentle, sweet and kind. A lovely and wise person, with as it sometimes seemed a vulnerability as of someone at intermittent distance of abstracted remove from this world (I believe I envied him that) yet always in the same moment very much right here, with the dirt of the earth on his bare feet whenever possible. And indeed he was tougher than the rest. All through one icy Colorado winter, I would bump into him in the street, with snow on the pavement, in light clothing, never any shoes. Nature boy. Because he often was outshone in the domestic constellation it was sometimes thought by the imperceptive that he wasn't there. I was never tempted to think that, in fact the reverse. An intense unthreatening presence. Hey, where's Peter? Banging pans around in the kitchen, a dissonant music when necessary to keep the celestial mechanics in order. Peter, genius loci. In fact because of the feeling, probably errant as the deepest truths of human relations are (no doubt for good reason) hidden from understanding, that he was a kind of appointed protector for the poet friend, I suppose I was in the habit of thinking of him as a bit of an angel (though the last time I saw him was in a tipi, of all places). Angels of course are our superiors. Namaste, Peter.

Tom Clark 5.30.2010

Berkeley, Ca.

Peter Orlovsky: photographer unknown, n.d. (via American Museum of Beat Art)
The poet Jayadeva bows to Vishnu: artist unknown, 1730 A.D. (Government Museum and Art Gallery, Chandigarh)
"Before the mirror...": from Second Poem: Peter Orlovsky, in Clean Asshole Poems & Smiling Vegetable Songs, 1978
Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky, Frankfurt airport, 1978: photo by Ludwig Urning, 1978
Snail Poem: Peter Orlovsky, from Clean Asshole Poems & Smiling Vegetable Songs, 1978
Grapevine snail (Helix pomatia)
: photo by Jürgen Schoner, 23 May 2005

The Death of Peter Orlovsky: Anne Waldman e-mail to TC, 30 May, 2010
Moche land snails (Scutalus sp.), 200 A.D.: Larco Museum Collection, Lima, Peru
Biographical Note: Peter Orlovsky: from The New American Poetry, 1960
Peter Orlovsky (1933-2010): photographer unknown, n.d., via Brian Nation
I Took a Heavenly Ride Through Our Silence: photo by Lucy in the Sky, 2010

Sunday 30 May 2010

Edouard Vuillard: "Conceive of / a picture..."



Après le repas : Edouard Vuillard, 1900: image by Montalcino, 2010 (Musée d'Orsay, Paris)

Conceive of

a picture


as a


of harmonies

File:Vuillard Vallotton chez les Natanson  1897.jpg

Vallotton chez les Natanson: Edouard Vuillard, 1897: image by Szczebrzeszynski, 2010 (Christie's)

"Conceive of / a picture...": Edouard Vuillard, Private Journal, 31 August 1890

Saturday 29 May 2010

A Slice of Life As Bleeding Cheesecake

File:Cheesecake with strawberry and whipped  cream.jpg

We were all going to get a piece of the pie
Though now a microscope may be required.

File:Cheesecake with strawberry sauce.jpg

Eating is the repression of food, the body
And blood of the host organism survives
The triumph of the individual is never anything
But the triumph of the will
To subjugate other existents to one's body.

File:Extoll Cheesecake.jpg

(Anyone for dessert?...)

File:Find the differences (painting by Peter  Klashorst).jpg

Cheesecake with strawberry and whipped cream: photo by Chroma Pixels 123, 2009
Cheesecake with strawberry sauce: photo by Tristan Ferne, 2008
Extoll cheesecake: photo by Joshua Rappenecker, 2006
Find the difference: Peter Klashorst, 2008

Poetics of Colour (Goethe/Rimbaud)



Colour Wheel: Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Zur Farbenlehre (Theory of Colours), 1810


A black, E white, I red, U green, O blue: vowels,

One day I will reveal your mysterious latencies:

A, velour jacket of shining flies

Divebombing round things that are decomposing,

Abysses of shade; E, whitenesses of tents and vapours,

Blades of arrogant glaciers, pale kings, sprays of lily of the valley;

I, dark arterial blood, coughed up, beautiful lips

Drenched with anger or drunken penitential sighs;

U, cyclic waves, divine vibrations of deep green seas,

Peacefulness of animals in fields, and of

Ancient alchemists' visages;

O, mighty Trumpet of the weirdest dissonances,

Of silences traversed by Worlds, and Angels

-- O the Omega, ultraviolet ray of her eyes!

Fichier:Rimbaud manuscrit Voyelles.jpg

Voyelles: Arthur Rimbaud, autograph manuscript, 1871-1872: image by Siren-Com, 2010 (Musée Rimbaud, Charleville-Mézières)


A noir, E blanc, I rouge, U vert, O bleu: voyelles,
Je dirai quelque jour vos naissances latentes:
A, noir corset velu des mouches éclatantes
Qui bombinent autour des puanteurs cruelles,

Golfes d’ombre; E, candeurs des vapeurs et des tentes,
Lances des glaciers fiers, rois blancs, frissons d’ombelles;
I, pourpres, sang craché, rire des lèvres belles
Dans la colère ou les ivresses pénitentes;

U, cycles, vibrements divins des mers virides,
Paix des pâtis semés d’animaux, paix des rides
Que l’alchimie imprime aux grands fronts studieux;

O, suprême Clairon plein des strideurs étranges,
Silences traversés des Mondes et des Anges:
— O l’Oméga, rayon violet de Ses Yeux!

Fichier:Rimbaud Voyelles caricature.jpg

Arthur Rimbaud: caricature by Luque, from Revue: Les Hommes d'aujourd'hui, no. 318, janvier 1888 (Couverture humoristique photographié lors de l'exposition "Rimbaudmania" Paris): image by Siren-Com, 2010

Vowels: Arthur Rimbaud, 1871: translated by TC

Friday 28 May 2010

The Cretan

File:Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling unit  view from the Laney  Chouest.jpg

The last
wave of human
behaviour flashing
up on
the terminal shore
with the light
click and sheen
of plastic
cards touching.

There is no connect-
ion between
the oil spill
and "our way of life",
he said.

File:Deepwater Horizon oil spill - May 24,  2010.jpg

File:RBC Visa UV.jpg

File:Oiled Redish Egret Louisiana May  2010.jpg

Fire on offshore drilling rig Deepshore Horizon as viewed from offshore supply vessel Laney Chouest, 21 April 2010: photo by Richard Sullivan, 2010
Deepwater Horizon oil spill: sunlight illuminating lingering oil slick off Mississippi Delta, 24 May 2010: Terra satellite spectroradiometer image, 2010 (NASA)
RBC Visa card, taken under fluorescent light to show "hidden" Visa Bird: photo by Nebrot, 2010
Oiled reddish egret near water in Grand Isle, La., 20 May 2010: photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Patrick Kelley (U.S. Coast Guard)

Thursday 27 May 2010

Rojo (Red Garland)


File:Red Fuji southern wind clear  morning.jpg

Red drops his hands on the keyboard

And they fall exactly into place
Abstract particulars

File:Box car DSSA 18052.jpg

Red boxcars carrying red freight


Oxides of chromium that sing

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Red interpreting Bird's Constellation
You will hear a lot of notes racing
Through a charged or carved space
Block chords omitting the root
All constant with the sound laconic


The definition of articulate

Tempo arithmetic

Lights clinking in glass cubes to create
Quiet trick semaphores
As the red train of night rushes back
To fade

File:Pompejanischer Maler um 70 001.jpg

Like stains of pomegranate seeping into wood or paper


Into the great vacancy of the past


File:20100901-06a PR 207.JPG 

 Red Fuji (southern wind clear morning): Hokusai, from 36 Views of Mount Fuji, c. 1820: facsimile of wood block made c. 1930, image by Petrusbarbygere, 2005
Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic Railway boxcar, Mid-Continent Railway Museum, North Freedom, Wisconsin: photo by Sean Lamb, 2004
Chromium (VI) oxide: photo by BXXXD, 2005
Sveda (Uvijek švedi ali nešto bliže): photo by Stefano Grgic, 2008
Redredred: image by Stannered. 2007
Still life with glass bowl of fruit: Pompeii painter, ~70 AD (Museo Archeologicao Nazionale, Naples)
Red wall: photo by Moralist, 2007
C. I. Pigment Red 207, a mixed crystal phase of quinacridone and 4,11-Dichloroquinacridone: photo by Hardcoreraveman, 2010

Wednesday 26 May 2010



File:West European Hedgehog (Erinaceus  europaeus)2.jpg

The plum blossoms tumble

to the cold

north wind, all

through a long

slow spring. Older,

less wise. Someone

said simplicity

is the most complicated


File:Prunus mume 'Pendula'3.jpg

West European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus), Emmendennen wood, Emmen, Netherlands: photo by Hrald, 2009; image by Papa Lima Whiskey, 2010
Prunus mume, "Pendula", Osaka: photo by KENPEI, 2008

Knut Hamsun: The Finger of God


File:Eyjafjallajökull eruption Fimmvörðuháls  crater 20100325.jpg

The thought of God began to occupy me. It seemed to me in the highest degree indefensible of Him to interfere every time I sought for a place, and to upset the whole thing, while all the time I was but imploring enough for a daily meal.

I had remarked so plainly that, whenever I had been hungry for any length of time, it was just as if my brains ran quite gently out of my head and left me with a vacuum—my head grew light and far off, I no longer felt its weight on my shoulders, and I had a consciousness that my eyes stared far too widely open when I looked at anything.

I sat there on the seat and pondered over all this, and grew more and more bitter against God for His prolonged inflictions. If He meant to draw me nearer to Him, and make me better by exhausting me and placing obstacle after obstacle in my way, I could assure Him He made a slight mistake. And, almost crying with defiance, I looked up towards Heaven and told Him so mentally, once and for all.

Fragments of the teachings of my childhood ran through my memory. The rhythmical sound of Biblical language sang in my ears, and I talked quite softly to myself, and held my head sneeringly askew. Wherefore should I sorrow for what I eat, for what I drink, or for what I may array this miserable food for worms called my earthy body? Hath not my Heavenly Father provided for me, even as for the sparrow on the housetop, and hath He not in His graciousness pointed towards His lowly servitor? The Lord stuck His finger in the net of my nerves gently—yea, verily, in desultory fashion—and brought slight disorder among the threads. And then the Lord withdrew His finger, and there were fibres and delicate root-like filaments adhering to the finger, and they were the nerve-threads of the filaments. And there was a gaping hole after the finger, which was God’s finger, and a wound in my brain in the track of His finger. But when God had touched me with His finger, He let me be, and touched me no more, and let no evil befall me; but let me depart in peace, and let me depart with the gaping hole. And no evil hath befallen me from the God who is the Lord God of all Eternity.

File:Eyjafjallajökull first crater  20100329.jpg

Knut Hamsun: Hunger (excerpt), 1890 (translated by George Egerton)

Eyjafjallajökull eruption: Fimmvörðuháls crater
: the first crater and the steam cloud from the first lava river in Hrunagil, as seen from Fauskheiði
: photo by David Karnå, 25 March 2010

Eyjafjallajökull eruption: the first fissure that opened on Fimmvörðuháls, as seen from Austurgígar: photo by David Karnå, 29 March 2010

Et in Arcadia Ego (Pastoral)


A spiritual January in a material May evaporating into an as yet immaterial June, and I thought of Shakespeare's Sonnet 94 ("They that have power to hurt and will do none"):

The summer's flower is to the summer sweet,
Though to itself it only live and die

And of Empson:

The feeling that life is essentially inadequate to the human spirit, and yet that a good life must avoid saying so, is naturally at home with most versions of pastoral; in pastoral you take a limited life and pretend it is the full and normal one, and a suggestion that one must do this with all life, because the normal is itself limited, is easily put into the trick though not necessary to its power. Conversely any expression of the idea that all life is limited may be regarded as only a trick of pastoral, perhaps chiefly intended to hold all our attention and sympathy for some limited life, though again this is not necessary to it either on grounds of truth or beauty; in fact the suggestion of pastoral may be only a protection for the idea which must at last be taken alone.

File:RobertDuncanson-Valley Pasture 1857.jpg

only a trick of pastoral

According to Pliny, art is (as Empson would later remind us) only a trick of the pastoral. One day in Arcadia a shepherd made out the shadow of another on a tomb. The first shepherd traced the shadow with his finger. Thus was born the pastoral trick of representation. Poussin's Les Bergers d'Arcadie in the Louvre "documents" this moment.


The first image in the (or anyway this) history of art is also the first application of symbolism. The shadow on the tomb represents a death. (Poussin had underlined this meaning in an earlier version of the motif, now in Chatsworth House, in which a skull can be seen atop the tomb). Death thus enters Arcady, making it the scene of his mortal dominion. Art, however, challenges Death's dominion by producing images representing lost loved ones. In their commemoration the feelings of loss engendered by their absence are in part counteracted. Their memory is kept green in Arcadia. Unexpressed feelings lingering after their departure are articulated and in part resolved. Life goes on, though of course everyone knows this temporary sense of the perpetuation of the loved ones is only a trick. In time they will inevitably be forgotten. Unless more and more art intervenes. But the second temple was not like the first, and the later and later shades of green are less and less rich in hue, until finally they are merely pale imitations. Finally no one can remember any more what true green looked like, or where the early paths through the meadows lay; they were first overgrown, then over-run, and so variously degraded until at last somebody decided to pave paradise, put up a parking structure and subdivide the roof space for luxury condominums.


"The summer's flower...": Shakespeare, Sonnet 94

"The feeling that life...": William Empson: Some Versions of the Pastoral, 1935

Les Bergers d'Arcadie (II) ("Et in Arcadia Ego") (detail): Nicolas Poussin, 1637-1639 (Musée du Louvre, Paris)

Valley Pasture: Robert Duncanson, 1857 (Smithsonian American Art Museum)

Les Bergers d'Arcadie (I) ("Et in Arcadia Ego"): Nicolas Poussin, 1827 (Chatsworth House, Derbyshire)

Pastoral farm scene, Traverse City, Michigan: photo by David Ball, 2005

Tuesday 25 May 2010

W. H. Davies: Sheep



When I was once in Baltimore
A man came up to me and cried,
"Come, I have eighteen hundred sheep,
And we will sail on Tuesday's tide.

"If you will sail with me, young man,
I'll pay you fifty shillings down;
These eighteen hundred sheep I take
From Baltimore to Glasgow town."

He paid me fifty shillings down,
I sailed with eighteen hundred sheep;
We soon had cleared the harbour's mouth,
We soon were in the salt sea deep.

The first night we were out at sea
Those sheep were quiet in their mind;
The second night they cried with fear --
They smelt no pastures in the wind.

They sniffed poor things for their green fields,
They cried so loud I could not sleep:
For fifty thousand shillings down
I would not sail again with sheep.

File:Waldschafe retouched.jpg

We found the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad easy to beat, and were at the end of our journey in a very few days. When we entered the cattleman's office, from which place owners and foremen were supplied with men, it was evident to me that Australian Red was well known in this place, hearing him make many enquiries of Washington Shorty, New York Fatty, Philadelphia Slim, and others. At this place I made the acquaintance of Oklahoma Sam, an extremely quiet man, very much respected in that he had a cold-blooded fashion of whittling wood and paring his nails with a steel blade nearly a foot long. Another queer character was Baldy...

We also had on this trip two thousand head of sheep, quartered on the hurricane deck. When we were six days out there came a heavy storm, and the starboard side was made clean, as far as pens and sheep were concerned, one wave bearing them all away. This happened at night, and on the following morning the sheep-men were elated at having less work to do during the remainder of the voyage. The cattle, being protected on the main deck, and between decks, and their breath filling the air with warmth, make the cattleman's lot far more comfortable than that of the sheep-men. The condition of the cattle can be seen without difficulty, but ten or fifteen sheep lying or standing in the front of a crowded pen, may be concealing the dead or dying that are lying in the background. For this reason it is every morning necessary to crawl through the pens, far back, in quest of the sick and the dead, and it is nothing unusual to find half a dozen dead ones. The voyage would not be considered bad if thirty sheep only died out of two thousand...

File:A brown ewe portrait.jpg

The Welsh poet William H. Davies came from mean circumstances. He was born in 1871 in the working class Pillgwenlly district of Newport, in Monmouthshire. His father, an ironmoulder, died when he was two. He was raised by his grandparents, who ran a drinking establishment. In and out of trouble as a lad, he left school, put his hand briefly to his father's trade of ironworking, then apprenticed as a picture framer, but was driven by a restless nature to strike out into the world.

After stays in Bristol and London he migrated to North America in 1893, and for the next six years lived a vagrant's life. He picked up work as a casual labourer and seasonal fruit picker. Saloon adventures and misadventures segued into periods of panhandling and grifting. During these years he made a number of trips back to the British Isles as a deckhand and animal handler on merchant ships bound to Liverpool and Glasgow from Baltimore, where he had been spending his winters.

Davies wrote two poems about sheep are based on later recollections of such a voyage made in 1896. One of them is above. The other is "A Child's Pet":

When I sailed out of Baltimore,
With twice a thousand head of sheep,
They would not eat, they would not drink,
But bleated o'er the deep.

Inside the pens we crawled each day
To sort the living from the dead;
And when we reached the Mersey's mouth
Had lost five hundred head.

Yet every night and day one sheep,
That had no fear of man or sea
Stuck through the bars its pleading face,
And it was stroked by me.

And to the sheep-men standing near,
"You see," I said, "this one tame sheep?
It seems a child has lost her pet,
And cried herself to sleep."

So every time we passed it by
Sailing to England's slaughterhouse,
Eight ragged sheep-men -- tramps and thieves --
Would stroke that sheep's black nose.

By 1899 the rough and ready Davies had become an accomplished "super-tramp", but this phase of his life came to an abrupt end after a mishap on an 1899 journey northward toward the Klondike gold fields. While riding the rods in Renfrew, Ontario, he was dragged under a train he was attempting to hop, and lost a leg.

Back in England, equipped with a wooden limb, he drifted from shelter to doss-house to Salvation Army hostel, enduring years of extreme penury as a peddler and beggar before finally managing to self-publish his first book of poems in 1905.

His tales of his years as a hobo enliven the colourful (and likely somewhat fictionalized) memoir he would write a few years later, The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp. George Bernard Shaw, who along with the poets Arthur Symons and Edward Thomas was a strong Davies supporter, contributed an introduction. Davies was "taken up," and began a long literary career.

The Autobiography is a work that capitalizes, and enlarges, upon Davies' wide early experience of the world and its several toils and miseries. Some of the more poignant passages concern his attempts to ease the routinely cruel mistreatment of animals on merchant vessels. These betray a gentle heart beneath the rugged surface.

WH Davies - photo courtesy of Seren Books

W. H. Davies: Sheep from Songs of Joy and Others, 1911

W. H. Davies: The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp (excerpts), 1908

View of the mainland from Eigg: photo by griff le riff, 2006

Ovis orientalis f. aries: photo by 3268zauber, 2008, image retouched by AlMare, 2009

Sheep at sea: photographer unknown, n. d., via Poems and Prose, Kendrive, 2006
A brown ewe: photo by Jim Champion, 2007
W. H. Davies: photographer unknown, n. d., via BBC South East Wales Arts

John Clare: I Am


File:Sheep and May, Arkengarthdale.jpg

I am -- yet what I am, none cares or knows;
My friends forsake me like a memory lost: --
I am the self-consumer of my woes; --
They rise and vanish in oblivion's host,
Like shadows in love's frenzied stifled throes: --
And yet I am, and live -- like vapours tost

Into the nothingness of scorn and noise, --
Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of life or joys,
But the vast shipwreck of my lifes esteems:
Even the dearest, that I love the best
Are strange -- nay, rather stranger than the rest.

I long for scenes, where man hath never trod
A place where woman never smiled or wept
There to abide with my creator, God;
And sleep as I in childhood, sweetly slept,
Untroubling, and untroubled where I lie,
The grass below -- above the vaulted sky.

File:Schafspiegelung (tiegeltuf).jpg

John Clare: I Am, written late 1844 or early 1845, Northampton General Lunatic Asylum

Drystone walls, sheep in meadow beside Arkengarthdale Road, Reeth, Swaledale, North Yorkshire, "May" blossom on Crataegus monogyna (hawthorn) trees on Fremington Edge in background: photo by Simon Garbutt, 2006

Reflection of sheep in a moat: photo by tiegeltuf, 2009

Monday 24 May 2010

Andrew Marvell: Damon the Mower


I am the Mower Damon, known
Through all the Meadows I have mown.
On me the Morn her dew distills
Before her darling Daffadils.
And, if at Noon my toil me heat,
The Sun himself licks off my Sweat.
While, going home, the Ev'ning sweet
In cowslip-water bathes my feet.

What, though the piping Shepherd stock
The plains with an unnum'red Flock,
This Sithe of mine discovers wide
More ground then all his Sheep do hide.
With this the golden fleece I shear
Of all these Closes ev'ry Year.
And though in Wooll more poor then they,
Yet am I richer far in Hay.

Nor am I so deform'd to sight,
If in my Sithe I looked right;
In which I see my Picture done,
As in a crescent Moon the Sun.
The deathless Fairyes take me oft
To lead them in their Danses soft:
And, when I tune my self to sing,
About me they contract their Ring.

How happy might I still have mow'd,
Had not Love here his Thistles sow'd!
But now I all the day complain,
Joyning my Labour to my Pain;
And with my Sythe cut down the Grass,
Yet still my Grief is where it was:
But, when the Iron blunter grows,
Sighing I whet my Sythe and Woes.

While thus he threw his Elbow round,
Depopulating all the Ground,
And, with his whistling Sythe, does cut
Each stroke between the Earth and Root,
The edged Stele by careless chance
Did into his own Ankle glance;
And there among the Grass fell down,
By his own Sythe, the Mower mown.

File:Andrew Marvell.jpg

Andrew Marvell: Damon the Mower (excerpt) from Miscellaneous Poems, 1681

The Corn Harvest (detail): Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1565 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)
Andrew Marvell: artist unknown, c. 1655-1660: image by Adam sk, 2009

Philip Larkin: The Mower


File:Hedgehog cyprus hg.jpg

The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found
A hedgehog jammed up against the blades,
Killed. It had been in the long grass.

I had seen it before, and even fed it, once.
Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world
Unmendably. Burial was no help:

Next morning I got up and it did not.
The first day after a death, the new absence
Is always the same; we should be careful

Of each other, we should be kind
While there is still time.

File:Hedgehog2 cyprus hg.jpg

Philip Larkin: The Mower, from Humberside (Hull Literary Club magazine), in Collected Poems, 1988
European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaueus), Cyprus: photos by Hannes Grobe/AWI, 2009

Saturday 22 May 2010



not the burning storm
it once was

a light
against distance

in time

beyond lies

File:Pigeon Point Light house.jpg

The Lighthouse at Honfleur: Georges Seurat, 1886 (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.)
Pigeon Point Lighthouse: photo by Mila Zinkova, 2008