Poem of the day

Chorus Sacerdotum
by Fulke Greville (1554-1628)

O wearisome condition of humanity!
Born under one law, to another bound;
Vainly begot and yet forbidden vanity;
Created sick, commanded to be sound.
What meaneth nature by these diverse laws?
Passion and reason, self-division cause.
Is it the mark or majesty of power
To make offenses that it may forgive?
Nature herself doth her own self deflower
To hate those errors she herself doth give.
For how should man think that he may not do,
If nature did not fail and punish, too?
Tyrant to others, to herself unjust,
Only commands things difficult and hard,
Forbids us all things which it knows is lust,
Makes easy pains, unpossible reward.
If nature did not take delight in blood,
She would have made more easy ways to good.
We that are bound by vows and by promotion,
With pomp of holy sacrifice and rites,
To teach belief in good and still devotion,
To preach of heaven’s wonders and delights;
Yet when each of us in his own heart looks
He finds the God there, far unlike his books.

Views: 47

Poem of the day

    Ode on Indolence
    by John Keats (1795-1821)

    “They toil not, neither do they spin.”

    One morn before me were three figures seen,
          With bowed necks, and joined hands, side-faced;
    And one behind the other stepp’d serene,
          In placid sandals, and in white robes graced;
    They pass’d, like figures on a marble urn
          When shifted round, to see the other side;
                They came again; as when the urn once more
    Is shifted round, the first seen shades return;
          And they were strange to me, as may betide
                With vases, to one deep in Phidian lore.

    How is it, Shadows! that I knew ye not?
          How came ye muffled in so hush a masque?
    Was it a silent deep-disguised plot
          To steal away, and leave without a task
    My idle days? Ripe was the drowsy hour;
          The blissful cloud of summer-indolence
                Benumb’d my eyes; my pulse grew less and less;
    Pain had no sting, and pleasure’s wreath no flower:
          O, why did ye not melt, and leave my sense
                Unhaunted quite of all but—nothingness?

    A third time pass’d they by, and, passing, turn’d
          Each one the face a moment whiles to me;
    Then faded, and to follow them I burn’d
          And ach’d for wings because I knew the three;
    The first was a fair Maid, and Love her name;
          The second was Ambition, pale of cheek,
                And ever watchful with fatigued eye;
    The last, whom I love more, the more of blame
          Is heap’d upon her, maiden most unmeek,—
                I knew to be my demon Poesy.

    They faded, and, forsooth! I wanted wings:
          O folly! What is Love! and where is it?
    And for that poor Ambition! it springs
          From a man’s little heart’s short fever-fit;
    For Poesy!—no,—she has not a joy,—
          At least for me,—so sweet as drowsy noons,
                And evenings steep’d in honied indolence;
    O, for an age so shelter’d from annoy,
          That I may never know how change the moons,
                Or hear the voice of busy common-sense!

    And once more came they by:—alas! wherefore?
          My sleep had been embroider’d with dim dreams;
    My soul had been a lawn besprinkled o’er
          With flowers, and stirring shades, and baffled beams:
    The morn was clouded, but no shower fell,
          Tho’ in her lids hung the sweet tears of May;
                The open casement press’d a new-leaved vine,
          Let in the budding warmth and throstle’s lay;
    O Shadows! ’twas a time to bid farewell!
                Upon your skirts had fallen no tears of mine.

    So, ye three Ghosts, adieu! Ye cannot raise
          My head cool-bedded in the flowery grass;
    For I would not be dieted with praise,
          A pet-lamb in a sentimental farce!
    Fade softly from my eyes, and be once more
                In masque-like figures on the dreamy urn;
          Farewell! I yet have visions for the night,
    And for the day faint visions there is store;
          Vanish, ye Phantoms! from my idle spright,
                Into the clouds, and never more return!

    Views: 45

Game of the week

Kira Zvorykina (1919-2014) was three-time Soviet women’s champion (married to Alexei Suetin), who lost a match for the women’s world championship in 1960. Today would have been her hundredth birthday.

Views: 45

Poem of the day

Past and Present
by Francis Turner Palgrave (1824-1897)

As I hear the breath of the mother
      To the breath of the child at her feet
Answer in even whispers,
      When night falls heavy and sweet:

Sleep puts out silent fingers,
      And leads me back to the roar
Of the dead salt sea that vomits
      Wrecks of the past ashore.

I see the lost Love in beauty
      Go gliding over the main:
I feel the ancient sweetness,
      The worm and the wormwood again.

Earth all one tomb lies round me,
      Domed with an iron sky:
And God Himself in His power,
      God cannot save me!
I cry.

With the cry I wake;—and around me
      The mother and child at her feet
Breathe peace in even whispers;
      And the night falls heavy and sweet.

Views: 44

Poem of the day

by Corinne Roosevelt Robinson (1861-1933)

We ask that Love shall rise to the divine,
And yet we crave him very human, too;
Our hearts would drain the crimson of his wine,
Our souls despise him if he prove untrue!
Poor Love! I hardly see what you can do!
We know all human things are weak and frail,
And yet we claim that very part of you,
Then, inconsistent, blame you if you fail.
When you would soar, ’tis we who clip your wings,
Although we weep because you faint and fall.
Alas! it seems we want so many things,
That no dear love could ever grant them all!
Which shall we choose, the human or divine,
The crystal stream, or yet the crimson wine?

Views: 51

If the Republican Party had a spine, they could stop him

David Frum: “Trump has never been furtive. He commits his wrongs in the full glare of publicity. Bribes to Trump are not delivered by shadowy men in underground garages. They are collected right on Pennsylvania Avenue, in a garish hotel with Trump’s name right on the door. Trump does not stealthily embezzle Republican donations. The party simply books its events on his premises, every misappropriated dollar counted and disclosed. When Trump invited Russia to hack his opponent and deliver her emails to him, he did it on live television.

“Trump takes advantage of a human tendency to think, If he’s not ashamed, maybe he did nothing wrong. Normal people are taken aback by pathological people, and Trump is the most pathological president in American history.

“But we’re at the breaking point. The Ukraine story confirms that Trump will do anything. Anything. Everything.

“He relies on everybody around him being too dazed, too psychologically weak to resist him and uphold even the most basic legality and decency. So far, he’s gambled right. It’s time—way past time—to prove him wrong.”

The Ukraine scandal confirms that Trump knows he can act with impunity?and no one will stop him.

Views: 96

Poem of the day

The Stranger
by Edwin Keppel Bennett (1887-1958)

The room grows silent, and the dead return:
Whispering faintly in the corridor,
They try the latch and steal across the floor
Towards my chair; and in the hush I turn
Eagerly to the shadows, and discern
The ghosts of friends whom I shall see no more,
Come back, come back from some Lethean shore
To the old kindly life for which they yearn.

How still they are! O, wherefore can I see
No sign of recognition in the eyes
That gaze in mine? Have they forgotten me
Who was their friend? They fade into the gloom;
And on my heart their plaintive murmur dies:
“A stranger now, a stranger fills his room.”

Views: 58

Poem of the day

A Poplar
by William Faulkner (1897-1962)

Why do you shiver there
Between the white river and the road?
You are not cold,
With the sun light dreaming about you;
And yet you lift your pliant supplicating arms as though
To draw clouds from the sky to hide your slenderness.

You are a young girl
Trembling in the throes of ecstatic modesty,
A white objective girl
Whose clothing has been forcibly taken away from her.

Views: 42

Poem of the day

Thorp Green
by Bramwell Brontë (1817-1848)

I sit, this evening, far away,
      From all I used to know,
And nought reminds my soul to-day
      Of happy long ago.

Unwelcome cares, unthought-of fears,
      Around my room arise;
I seek for suns of former years
      But clouds o’ercast my skies.

Yes—Memory, wherefore does thy voice
      Bring old times back to view,
As thou wouldst bid me not rejoice
      In thoughts and prospects new?

I’ll thank thee, Memory, in the hour
      When troubled thoughts are mine—
For thou, like suns in April’s shower,
      On shadowy scenes wilt shine.

I’ll thank thee when approaching death
      Would quench life’s feeble ember,
For thou wouldst even renew my breath
      With thy sweet word ‛Remember’!

Views: 43

Poem of the day

by Jean de la Fontaine (1621-1695)

Ô douce Volupté, sans qui, dès notre enfance,
Le vivre et le mourir nous deviendraient égaux ;
Aimant universel de tous les animaux,
Que tu sais attirer avecque violence!
      Par toi tout se meut ici-bas.
      C’est pour toi, c’est pour tes appâts,
      Que nous courons après la peine :
      Il n’est soldat, ni capitaine,
Ni ministre d’État, ni prince, ni sujet,
      Qui ne t’ait pour unique objet.
Nous autres nourrissons, si pour fruit de nos veilles
Un bruit délicieux ne charmait nos oreilles,
Si nous ne nous sentions chatouillés de ce son,
      Ferions-nous un mot de chanson?
Ce qu’on appelle gloire en termes magnifiques,
Ce qui servait de prix dans les jeux olympiques,
N’est que toi proprement, divine Volupté.
Et le plaisir des sens n’est-il de rien compté?
      Pour quoi sont faits les dons de Flore,
      Le Soleil couchant et l’Aurore,
      Pomone et ses mets délicats,
      Bacchus, l’âme des bons repas,
      Les forêts, les eaux, les prairies,
      Mères des douces rêveries?
Pour quoi tant de beaux arts, qui tous sont tes enfants?
Mais pour quoi les Chloris aux appâts triomphants,
      Que pour maintenir ton commerce​?
J’entends innocemment : sur son propre désir
      Quelque rigueur que l’on exerce,
      Encore y prend-on du plaisir.
Volupté, Volupté, qui fus jadis maîtresse
      Du plus bel esprit de la Grèce,
Ne me dédaigne pas, viens-t’en loger chez moi;
      Tu n’y seras pas sans emploi.
J’aime le jeu, l’amour, les livres, la musique,
La ville et la campagne, enfin tout; il n’est rien
      Qui ne me soit souverain bien,
Jusqu’au sombre plaisir d’un cœur mélancolique.
Viens donc; et de ce bien, ô douce Volupté,
Veux-tu savoir au vrai la mesure certaine?
Il m’en faut tout au moins un siècle bien compté;
      Car trente ans, ce n’est pas la peine.

Views: 64