Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Migrating Back to Older Pastures

Well, I have tried to make a go at this blog, but it never quite worked out for me.  I can't pinpoint a specific reason why.  However, a couple of weeks ago I decided that after a hiatus of over two years it was time to revive my LiveJournal.  I've had an account there since 2004, with nearly 4,000 total posts, and I guess that is where I will always feel most comfortable.  I don't want to abandon this site entirely, though.  I will let you all know once I've made up my mind what I'll be doing with it...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Poetic Interlude with Sara Teasdale

So, it's been rather a while since my last post.  I've been busy with work, as well as some other writing--a novel, in fact--so that it has once again become difficult for me to keep up the practice of regular blog entries.  However, in the course of researching the aforementioned novel I've spent a great deal of time combing the internet for 19th century texts pertaining to various aspects of my story.  Quite often I'll turn up something of tangential interest, intriguing but of little actual use for my book.  The thought then occurred that it couldn't hurt to occasionally through a few of those bits and bobs up here, for the enjoyment of others.  And so here we are!

All that being said, at the moment I'm here to discuss another topic entirely.  Today I woke up around 4am and started poking about various archival sites for works by some of my favorite early 20th century poets, like you do (I assume everyone does do this, yes?).  In particular I was looking for books by Sara Teasdale.  I was captured by her poetic voice long ago, when in a middle school English class we were assigned to read the Ray Bradbury short story inspired by her piece 'There Will Come Soft Rains'.  Ever since I have kept an eye out for more of her writing.  Teasdale was a prolific author, the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for poetry and quite popular in her day, but unfortunately over the years interest in her work has dwindled considerably.  Aside from the odd appearance in an old, battered poetry anthology turned up at a thrift store, she has remained frustratingly elusive.

Of course, all that was long before the glorious age of digitized texts in which we now find ourselves.  Project Gutenberg has provided me with several of Sara's books, and her very first volume of poetry, Sonnets to Duse and Other Poems, may be had from Amazon for a mere pittance.  After happily pouring over this bounty while enjoying my morning tea, I have settled upon the following set of verses to share.  I find it to be an especially striking declaration of aesthetic intent, and artistic purpose.

The Voice

Atoms as old as stars,
Mutation on mutation,
Millions and millions of cells
Dividing yet still the same,
From air and changing earth,
From ancient Eastern rivers,
From turquoise tropic seas,
Unto myself I came.

My spirit like my flesh
Sprang from a thousand sources,
From cave-man, hunter and shepherd,
From Karnak, Cyprus, Rome;
The living thoughts in me
Spring from dead men and women,
Forgotten time out of mind
And many as bubbles of foam.

Here for a moment's space
Into the light out of darkness,
I come and they come with me
Finding words with my breath;
From the wisdom of many life-times
I hear them cry:  "Forever
Seek for Beauty, she only
Fights with man against Death!"

~Sara Teasdale

Saturday, November 17, 2012

More Datura...

Found these on the camera. They're from the same set as the Datura photo I included in my very first post, so I don't know how I managed to overlook them! I'm already planning ahead to next summer, with thoughts towards dedicating even more of my garden space to these magical flowers...

The Day Dream ~ Dante Gabriel Rossetti

I would be remiss in continuing much further with my series of dark haired, blue robed Pre-Raphaelite beauties without including one of Rossetti's intriguing portraits of Jane Morris.  To me she has always radiated a stronger, earthier quality than many of Rossetti's red haired maidens, who tend more towards the ethereal or mystical side of things (though I think he struggled with this duality in the many, many versions of his Proserpine, which I will address in a later post).  At any rate, in Rossetti's imagining at the very least Jane always seems much more at home in the Green, and I think this image more than any other is the best representation of that affinity.

Musing from the Faerie Realm

Still working on how to best express my experience of this year's FaerieCon, but I've been reading so many beautiful posts by others sharing their thoughts and reflections on the weekend that needed to collect them all in one place.  I will continue to expand this list as I discover new entries to add...

Jenny Davies-Reazor FaerieCon 2012 - A Feast of Friends, Folklore, and Fantasy
Grace Nuth/Domythic Bliss My Mythic Heart
CSE Cooney FaerieCon: The Things They Don't Tell You
Suburban Girl Studio Medusa Necklace
Mary Layton/Blue Moon Atelier FaerieCon 2012

More to come...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Into My Own

Over the past year or two I have been overtaken with a great passion for the idea of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, which is to say, starting at the trail head in Georgia and over the course of about six months doing one continuous hike to the terminus on the summit of Mt. Katahdin in Maine.  Exactly why I am so obsessed with this desire is hard to explain, since I freely admit for the most part I am quite content to sit quietly at home with my books and tea, surrounded by various collections of beautiful objects.  I think there are a number of contributing factors: my love of hiking and walking; the draw I have always felt to forests and mountains, no doubt inspired by my childhood summers in Vermont; and my ever-present need to commune with Nature whenever possible (difficult when one lives in the city!).  I am also drawn to a concept that I have encountered repeatedly in both literature and film documentaries exploring the subject, that thru-hiking the AT is in a sense the closest thing we have to a truly American spiritual pilgrimage (though I would argue this could just as easily apply to many of the other beautiful long trails scattered around the country).

All these thoughts and more come to mind when I contemplate this hike, which ideally I would like to attempt sometime within the next five years.  It is very hard for me to articulate to other people in the course of a general conversation.  So, imagine my astonishment upon opening a volume of the early poetry of Robert Frost, which I haven't looked into in probably a decade, and finding on the very first page this sonnet which so concisely encapsulates the feelings I have such difficulty expressing.

Into My Own

One of my wishes is that those dark trees, 
So old and firm they scarcely show the breeze,
Were not, as 'twere, the merest mask of gloom,
But stretched away unto the edge of doom.

I should not be withheld but that some day
Into their vastness I should steal away, 
Fearless of ever finding open land, 
Or highway where the slow wheel pours the sand.

I do not see why I should e'er turn back,
Or those should not set forth upon my track
To overtake me, who should miss me here
And long to know if still I held them dear.

They would not find me changed from him they knew--
Only more sure of all I thought was true.

~ Robert Frost

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Circe Invidiosa ~ John William Waterhouse

Still quite tired, but this piece has been on my mind frequently of late, so I wanted to share it.  Giving Sir Edward a temporary respite so that we might enjoy this gorgeous portrait by Waterhouse, which is one of my all-time favorite paintings.

For an in-depth analysis of this work, please see Stephanie Pina's wonderfully informative and well-researched post over on Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood.