Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Robert Herrick: Life is the Bodies Light


File:June odd-eyed-cat.jpg

Odd-eyed cat
: photo by Keith Kissel, 2007

Life is the Bodies light; which once declining, 
Those crimson clouds i'th'cheeks & lips leave shining.

Those counter-changed Tabbies in the ayre,

(The Sun once set) all of one colour are...

File:Rhinomuraena quaesita closeup.jpg

Ribbon Eel (Rhinomuraena quaesita), close-up: photo by Chris Watanabe, 2005

File:Blaue Primeln.JPG

Blue Primula (Primula acaulis), Germany: photo by 4028mdk09, 2010

File:Blue and yellow graps.jpg

Blue and yellow grapes, Tbilisi, Georgia: photo by Giga Paitchadze, 2007

File:Schläfrige Gelbbrustaras (sleepy Blue-and-yellow Macaws) Weltvogelpark Walsrode 2010.jpg

Sleepy Blue-and-yellow Macaws (Ara ararauna),Weltvogelpark Walsrode, Germany: photo by Olaf Oliver Riemer, 2010

Robert Herrick: Life is the Bodies Light (excerpt), from Hesperides, 1648

Tabbies: from the French tabis "striped silk taffeta", "a rich, watered silk," from Middle French atabis (14c.), from Arabic 'attabiya, from 'Attabiy, a neighborhood of Baghdad where such cloth was first made, named for prince 'Attab of the Omayyad dynasty.

Cf. The New-yeeres Gift:

Let others look for Pearle and Gold,
Tissues, or tabbies manifold...


TC said...

I very much regretted having to crop out part of the visage of the Blue-and-yellow Macaw on the right in the bottom image. The shy expression, in the pleasure of being groomed, is worth a click on the image to view in full.

And for those who might care for a further taste of the exquisite Herrick:

Robert Herrick: Silks

Robert Herrick: The comming of good luck



Ah yes, "the exquisite Herrick," and as "life is the bodies light," so too does light give life to bodies -- sun has just now risen over the ridge, after 49 consecutive days of fog. . . .


first silver of sun rising over shadowed
ridge, red-tailed hawk calling on branch
in foreground, sound of waves in channel

arbitrary formation, between
surface and the concept

of light, potential measured
by that, forms of field

grey-white of fog reflected in channel,
wingspan of pelican flapping across if

Julia said...

Yes, you were right, it really worth a click!
Lovely post!

TC said...

Thank you for looking at that beautiful shy Macaw, Julia, no wonder it seems to be blushing...

Steve, yes, Let light give life to the bodies...

(Ashamed to say I missed the first actual sunrise in two months, stuck in a dark chamber nursing this wretched dogbite... seems it's a dog's life, comme il dit, around here these days.)

ACravan said...

These are all so beautiful. And odd-eyed animals and people always stop you in your tracks. (My dog Edie is odd-eyed and when she fixes you with that intense, energetic stare, it's quite arresting.) Hearing that you are still laid-up because of the dog bite makes me sad and angry all at once. The Herrick lines are inspiring and memorable. I'm ashamed to say that I never looked into the derivation of "tabby" (I have several tabby cats. But I'm happy I know it now. Curtis

TC said...


Odd-eye mutations (as well as cross-eye mutations) are fairly comment in those beautiful white cats, which, though they tend to be aloof and independent and a bit dimwitted, have always seemed to us to be the angels of the feline world.

It was (obviously) that blue-and-yellow juxtaposition which was the light bulb behind this post. I've been thinking about that combination ever since getting into Goethe's comments on the colours.

(But of course Goethe was always thinking about painting, whereas the natural world has arts of a higher order.)

Elmo St. Rose said...

warming up so as not to
be confused

tripping the light

out of body

into mind
eye and ear

Herrick in the morning