Friday, February 11, 2011

Longing Alone Is Singer To The Lute

Darling House High Window, Santa Cruz
—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—Robin Gale Odam, Sacramento

The cottage was a puzzle of mysteries,
portioned by artful window panes and arches
that led to the shoreline. Late sun found the
arches and shadows reached toward the
beveled panes.

Inside a darkened room they slept, the
woman and the man—they had come
in search of tales, and to touch the sea.
They had come to . . . stir and grow restless as
shadows spilled through the arches and fractured
in the bevels and lay fallen among the mysteries
and the woman and the man, who stirred in their
dreaming of sailing ships and giant turtles and
sea snakes and old men who had followed
sixty-five silver-bellied gulls into the salt wind...

Legend claims that, if you look carefully through
the beveled windows, they can still be seen, the
woman and the man, dreaming with the mysteries
in search of tales in the darkened cottage room,
past the arches that lead to the shoreline.


Thanks, Robin Gale Odam, for this poem that I woke up to this morning in my inbox. It's based on Katy Brown's wonderful Darling House photo that I posted before we went to Santa Cruz last Saturday. Katy and her bf, Robert, are friends with the owners of Darling House, a stately old mansion next to the sea in Santa Cruz that is now a bed-and-breakfast, so they visit it sometimes, and Katy, of course, always has her trusty camera at the ready. Valentines can be sent to anyone and anything, yes? Even to the beautiful windows in a mansion overlooking the sea, or the dreams of the people who look out of them. And what better way to send a valentine than to write a poem...?

WARNING: The reading at La Raza which I originally posted as happening Friday night actually took place on Thursday, not tonight. My bad—sorry.

Here are some poems from Eddie Millay, who knew how to talk about love and loss and everything in between. She knew it t'warn't easy...

—Edna St. Vincent Millay

I will be the gladdest thing
   Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
   And not pick one.

I will look at cliffs and clouds
   With quiet eyes,
Watch the wind bow down the grass,
   And the grass rise.

And when lights begin to show
   Up from the town,
I will mark which must be mine,
   And then start down!


—Edna St. Vincent Millay

Sorrow like a ceaseless rain
   Beats upon my heart.
People twist and scream in pain,—
Dawn will find them still again;
This has neither wax nor wane,
   Neither stop nor start.

People dress and go to town;
   I sit in my chair.
All my thoughts are slow and brown:
Standing up or sitting down
Little matters, or what gown,
   Or what shoes I wear.


—Edna St. Vincent Millay

We talk of taxes, and I call you friend;
Well, such you are,—but well enough we know
How thick about us root, how rankly grow
Those subtle weeds no man has need to tend,
That flourish through neglect, and soon must send
Perfume too sweet upon us and overthrow
Our steady senses; how such matters go
We are aware, and how such matters end.
Yet shall be told no meagre passion here;
With lovers such as we forevermore
Isolde drinks the draught, and Guinevere
Receives the Table's ruin through her door,
Francesca, with the loud surf at her ear,
Lets fall the coloured book upon the floor.


—Edna St. Vincent Millay

Only until this cigarette is ended,
A little moment at the end of all,
While on the floor the quiet ashes fall,
And in the firelight to a lance extended,
Bizarrely with the jazzing music blended,
The broken shadow dances on the wall,
I will permit my memory to recall
The vision of you, by all my dreams attended.
And then adieu,—farewell!—the dream is done.
Yours is a face of which I can forget
The colour and the features, every one,
The words not ever, and the smiles not yet;
But in your day this moment is the sun
Upon a hill, after the sun has set.


—Edna St. Vincent Millay

Into the golden vessel of great song
Let us pour all our passion; breast to breast
Let other lovers lie, in love and rest;
Not we,—articulate, so, but with the tongue
Of all the world: the churning blood, the long
Shuddering quiet, the desperate hot palms pressed
Sharply together upon the escaping guest,
The common soul, unguarded, and grown strong.
Longing alone is singer to the lute;
Let still on nettles in the open sigh
The minstrel, that in slumber is as mute
As any man, and love be far and high,
That else forsakes the topmost branch, a fruit
Found on the ground by every passer-by.


Today's LittleNip: 

—Robin Gale Odam

If you would suit my mood,
if you would bring me morning...

I would reflect you in my eyes...

I would place your flowers in my jar
and remove those that withered, evening
by evening until the last one remained,
which I would then press, for my
book of loves...

You would love me for a week.



Bring Me Morning
—Photo by Robin Gale Odam