Posts Tagged ‘poets’

The Moon

Posted: April 26, 2012 in poetry
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5 short poems to the Queen of the Night…

THE SADNESS OF THE MOON (by Charles Baudelaire)

The Moon more indolently dreams to-night
Than a fair woman on her couch at rest,
Caressing, with a hand distraught and light,
Before she sleeps, the contour of her breast.

Upon her silken avalanche of down,
Dying she breathes a long and swooning sigh;
And watches the white visions past her flown,
Which rise like blossoms to the azure sky.

And when, at times, wrapped in her languor deep,
Earthward she lets a furtive tear-drop flow,
Some pious poet, enemy of sleep,

Takes in his hollow hand the tear of snow
Whence gleams of iris and of opal start,
And hides it from the Sun, deep in his heart.

THE FREEDOM OF THE MOON (by Robert Frost)

I’ve tried the new moon tilted in the air
Above a hazy tree-and-farmhouse cluster
As you might try a jewel in your hair.
I’ve tried it fine with little breadth of luster,
Alone, or in one ornament combining
With one first-water start almost shining.

I put it shining anywhere I please.
By walking slowly on some evening later,
I’ve pulled it from a crate of crooked trees,
And brought it over glossy water, greater,
And dropped it in, and seen the image wallow,
The color run, all sorts of wonder follow.

SONG OF THE MOON (by Claude McKay)

The moonlight breaks upon the city’s domes,
And falls along cemented steel and stone,
Upon the grayness of a million homes,
Lugubrious in unchanging monotone.
Upon the clothes behind the tenement,
That hang like ghosts suspended from the lines,
Linking each flat to each indifferent,
Incongruous and strange the moonlight shines.

There is no magic from your presence here,
Ho, moon, sad moon, tuck up your trailing robe,
Whose silver seems antique and so severe
Against the glow of one electric globe.

Go spill your beauty on the laughing faces
Of happy flowers that bloom a thousand hues,
Waiting on tiptoe in the wilding spaces,
To drink your wine mixed with sweet drafts of dews.

THE MOON (by Robert Louis Stevenson)

The moon has a face like the clock in the hall;
She shines on thieves on the garden wall,
On streets and fields and harbour quays,
And birdies asleep in the forks of the trees.

The squalling cat and the squeaking mouse,
The howling dog by the door of the house,
The bat that lies in bed at noon,
All love to be out by the light of the moon.

But all of the things that belong to the day
Cuddle to sleep to be out of her way;
And flowers and children close their eyes
Till up in the morning the sun shall arise.

TO THE MOON (by Giacomo Leopardi)

Oh gracious moon, now as the year turns,
I remember how, heavy with sorrow,
I climbed this hill to gaze on you,
And then as now you hung above those trees
Illuminating all. But to my eyes
Your face seemed clouded, temulous
From the tears that rose beneath my lids,
So painful was my life: and is, my
Dearest moon; its tenor does not change.
And yet, memory and numbering the epochs
Of my grief is pleasing to me. How welcome
In that youthful time -when hope’s span is long,
And memory short -is the remembrance even of
Past sad things whose pain endures.

Happy B-Day, Victor Hugo

Posted: February 26, 2012 in poetry
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VICTOR HUGO (26 February 1802 – 22 May 1885)

Born in 1802 in Besancon, Victor Hugo was an extremely prolific poet, novelist and dramatist, the author of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and “Les Misérables”. He has been analyzed, praised, described, and criticized in many, many biographies; one of the first of these was published by his wife Adèle in 1863. He deeply influenced the Romantic movement and the formulation of its values in France.
Victor’s father Joseph Léopold Sigisbert Hugo was an officer and a general in Napoleon’s Army, and a governor of provinces in Italy and Spain. His mother raised Victor after the initial collapse of their marriage; she would rejoin her husband several times at his various posts of duty.


At an early age, Victor began to write tragedies and poetry, and to translate Virgil. At 17, he founded a literary review with his brothers, the Conservateur Littéraire. His first collection of poems was published in 1822, the year of his marriage to Adèle Foucher (which triggered the lifelong incarceration in a mental institution of his brother and competitor, Engène). It earned him a royal pension from Louis the eighteenth. His first novel, “Han D’Islande” appeared anonymously in four pocket-sized volumes (his second appeared three years later). “Cromwell”, his famous dramatic poem, was published in 1827.
Hugo’s political stance wavered from side to side. He wrote royalist odes and cursed Napoleon’s memory, would then defend his father’s role in Napoleon’s victory, and attack the injustices of the monarchist regime. When Léopold Hugo died in 1828, Victor started to call himself a baron. In his later life, he would become involved in politics as a supporter of the republican form of government. He was elected in 1841 to the Académie Francaise; in 1845, he was made a pair de France, and sat in the Upper Chamber among the lords. When the coup by Louis Napoleon the third took place in 1851, he believed his life to be in danger, and fled to various different places; finally to Guernsey in the English channel. His voluntary exile lasted for 20 years, until he returned to France when Napoleon III fell from power and the Republic was reclaimed. In 1876, he was elected a senator of Paris.

His lyrical style has been described as ‘rich, intense and full of powerful sounds and rhythms.. although it followed the bourgeois popular taste of the period it also had bitter personal tones.’ Verlaine describes the progression in a typical Hugo love poem as follows: ‘I like you. You yield to me. I love you – You resist me. Clear off…” In 1843, Hugo’s daughter Léopoldine drowned along with her husband. A decade passed before Hugo would publish anything new.
Hugo’s funeral in 1885 was a national event, attended by two million people.
Victor Hugo Bio and Poems: www.poemhunter.com
Images: Google and Wikipedia
Read another Post about Victor Hugo on this blog: Man and Woman, a poem by Victor Hugo

THE GRAVE AND THE ROSE

The Grave said to the Rose,
“What of the dews of dawn,
Love’s flower, what end is theirs?”
“And what of spirits flown,
The souls whereon doth close
The tomb’s mouth unawares?”
The Rose said to the Grave.

The Rose said, “In the shade
From the dawn’s tears is made
A perfume faint and strange,
Amber and honey sweet.”
“And all the spirits fleet
Do suffer a sky-change,
More strangely than the dew,
To God’s own angels new,”
The Grave said to the Rose.

THE EXILE’S CHOICE

Since justice slumbers in the abysm,
Since the crime’s crowned with despotism,
Since all most upright souls are smitten,
Since proudest souls are bowed for shame,
Since on the walls in lines of flame
My country’s dark dishonour’s written;

O grand Republic of our sires,
Pantheon filled with sacred fires,
In the free azure golden dome,
Temple with shades immortal thronged!
Since thus thy glory they have wronged,
With ‘Empire’ staining Freedom’s home;

Since in my country each soul born
Is base; since there are laughed to scorn
The true, the pure, the great, the brave,
The indignant eyes of history,
Honor, law, right, and liberty,
And those, alas! within the grave:

Solitude, exile ! I love them !
Sorrow, be thou my diadem !
Poverty love I, — for ‘t is pride !
My rugged home winds beat upon;
And even that awful Statue wan
Aye seated silent by my side.

I love the woe that proves me strong;
That shadow of fate which all ye throng,
O ye to whom high hearts aye bow, —
Faith, Virtue veiled, stern Dignity,
And thou, proud Exile, Liberty,
And, nobler yet, Devotion, thou!

I love this islet lonely, bold, —
Jersey, wherever England’s old
Free banner doth the storm-blast brave;
Yon darkling ocean’s ebb and flow,
Its vessels, each a wandering plough,
Whose mystic furrow is the wave.

I love thy gull, with snowy wing
In pearls to the wind blithe scattering,
O ocean vast, thy sunny spray;
Who darts beneath hugh billows gaping,
Soon from those monstrous throats escaping
As a soul from sorrow flits away!

I love the rock, — how solemn, stern !
Thence hearkening aye the plaint eterne
On the wild air around me shed,
Ever the sullen night outpours,
Of waves that sob on sombre shores,
Of mothers mourning children dead!

THE GENESIS OF BUTTERFLIES

The dawn is smiling on the dew that covers
The tearful roses; lo, the little lovers
That kiss the buds, and all the flutterings
In jasmine bloom, and privet, of white wings,
That go and come, and fly, and peep and hide,
With muffled music, murmured far and wide!
Ah, Spring time, when we think of all the lays
That dreamy lovers send to dreamy mays,
Of the fond hearts within a billet bound,
Of all the soft silk paper that pens wound,
The messages of love that mortals write
Filled with intoxication of delight,
Written in April, and before the May time
Shredded and flown, play things for the wind’s play-time,
We dream that all white butterflies above,
Who seek through clouds or waters souls to love,
And leave their lady mistress in despair,
To flit to flowers, as kinder and more fair,
Are but torn love-letters, that through the skies
Flutter, and float, and change to Butterflies.

SERENADE

When the voice of thy lute at the eve
Charmeth the ear,
In the hour of enchantment believe
What I murmur near.
That the tune can the Age of Gold
With its magic restore.
Play on, play on, my fair one,
Play on for evermore.

When thy laugh like the song of the dawn
Riseth so gay
That the shadows of Night are withdrawn
And melt away,
I remember my years of care
And misgiving no more.
Laugh on, laugh on, my fair one,
Laugh on for evermore.

When thy sleep like the moonlight above
Lulling the sea,
Doth enwind thee in visions of love,
Perchance, of me!
I can watch so in dream that enthralled me,
Never before!
Sleep on, sleep on, my fair one!
Sleep on for evermore.

MORE STRONG THAN TIME

Since I have set my lips to your full cup, my sweet,
Since I my pallid face between your hands have laid,
Since I have known your soul, and all the bloom of it,
And all the perfume rare, now buried in the shade;

Since it was given to me to hear on happy while,
The words wherein your heart spoke all its mysteries,
Since I have seen you weep, and since I have seen you smile,
Your lips upon my lips, and your eyes upon my eyes;

Since I have known above my forehead glance and gleam,
A ray, a single ray, of your star, veiled always,
Since I have felt the fall, upon my lifetime’s stream,
Of one rose petal plucked from the roses of your days;

I now am bold to say to the swift changing hours,
Pass, pass upon your way, for I grow never old,
Fleet to the dark abysm with all your fading flowers,
One rose that none may pluck, within my heart I hold.

Your flying wings may smite, but they can never spill
The cup fulfilled of love, from which my lips are wet;
My heart has far more fire than you can frost to chill,
My soul more love than you can make my soul forget.

Oscar Wilde

Posted: February 10, 2012 in cinema, movies, poetry
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Oscar Wilde, 1854 – 1900

Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde (Dublin, 1854 – Paris, 1900) was the son of an eye-surgeon and a literary hostess and writer (known under the pseudonym “Speranza”). After studying at Trinity College, Dublin, Wilde went to Magdalen College, Oxford, where he achieved a double first and won the Newdigate prize for a poem Ravenna.
While at Oxford he became notorious for his flamboyant wit, talent, charm and aestheticism, and this reputation soon won him a place in London society. In 1882 Wilde gave a one year lecture tour of America, visiting Paris in 1883 before returning to New York for the opening of his first play Vera. In 1884 he married and had two sons, for whom he probably wrote his first book of fairy tales, “The Happy Prince”. The next decade was his most prolific and the time when he wrote the plays for which he is best remembered. His writing and particularly his plays are epigramatic and witty and Wilde was not afraid to shock.

This period was also haunted by accusations about his personal life, chiefly prompted by the Marquess of Queensberry’s fierce opposition to the intense friendship between Wilde and her son, Lord Alfred. These accusations culminated in 1895 in Wilde’s imprisonment for homosexual offences.
While in prison, Wilde was declared bankrupt, and after his release he lived on the generosity of friends. From prison he wrote a long and bitter letter to Lord Alfred, part of which was afterwards published as “De Profundis”, but after his release he wrote nothing but the poem “The Ballad of Reading Gaol”.

A LOVE LETTER

In the summer of 1891, Oscar Wilde met Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas, third son of the Marquess of Queensberry and Oxford student, and he fell in love. Wilde and Bosie were lovers for four years until, in 1895, the Marquis led the writer to trial – on charges of “committing immoral acts with boys” – and Wilde was sentenced to two years imprisonment with hard labor.

Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas

The following correspondence was presented as evidence during the trial:

January 1893, Babbacombe Cliff

My Own Boy,

Your sonnet is quite lovely, and it is a marvel that those red-roseleaf lips of yours should be made no less for the madness of music and song than for the madness of kissing. Your slim gilt soul walks between passion and poetry. I know Hyacinthus, whom Apollo loved so madly, was you in Greek days.

Why are you alone in London, and when do you go to Salisbury? Do go there to cool your hands in the grey twilight of Gothic things, and come here whenever you like. It is a lovely place and lacks only you; but go to Salisbury first.

Always, with undying love,

Yours, OSCAR.

THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY

“The Picture of Dorian Gray” is the only published novel by Oscar Wilde, appearing as the lead story in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine on 20 June 1890, printed as the July 1890 issue of this magazine. Wilde later revised this edition, making several alterations, and adding new chapters; the amended version was published by Ward, Lock, and Company in April 1891.

The novel tells of a young man named Dorian Gray, the subject of a painting by artist Basil Hallward. Basil is impressed by Dorian’s beauty and becomes infatuated with him, believing his beauty is responsible for a new mode in his art. Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, a friend of Basil’s, and becomes enthralled by Lord Henry’s world view. Espousing a new hedonism, Lord Henry suggests the only things worth pursuing in life are beauty and fulfillment of the senses. Realizing that one day his beauty will fade, Dorian (whimsically) expresses a desire to sell his soul to ensure the portrait Basil has painted would age rather than he. Dorian’s wish is fulfilled, plunging him into debauched acts. The portrait serves as a reminder of the effect each act has upon his soul, with each sin displayed as a disfigurement of his form, or through a sign of aging.
“The Picture of Dorian Gray” is considered a work of classic gothic fiction with a strong Faustian theme.

Among the many film versions for Wilde’s novel, I highlight only the 1945 movie directed by Albert Lewin, one of my favourites classics. Released in March 1945 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the film is directed by Albert Lewin and stars George Sanders as Lord Henry Wotton and Hurd Hatfield as Dorian Gray. Shot primarily in black-and-white, the film features two inserts in 3-strip Technicolor of Dorian’s portrait as a special effect (one of his portrait’s original state, and the second after a major period of degeneracy).

The painting entitled Picture of Dorian Gray used in the film was painted on commission during the making of the film in 1943-1944 by Ivan Le Lorraine Albright, an American artist who was well-known as a painter of the macabre. Created specifically for use in the film, it is now part of the art collection of The Art Institute of Chicago. Albright had to paint the picture while the movie was being made in order to show Dorian Gray’s physical transformation as his evil actions changed him into a horrid image in the painting, while his actual physical appearance remained that of a young man. At the film’s climax, Gray “killed” the painting by piercing it through its heart with a knife, thus killing himself when his physical appearance changed to that of the painting.

THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
Directed by Albert Lewin
Produced by Pandro S. Berman
Written by Albert Lewin (screenplay) and Oscar Wilde (Novel)
Cast: Hurd Hatfield, George Sanders, Donna Reed, Angela Lansbury, Peter Lawford.
Music by Herbert Stothart
Cinematography by Harry Stradling
Editing by Ferris Webster
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release: March 1, 1945
Running time: 110 minutes
Country: United States

POEMS OF OSCAR WILDE

FLOWER OF LOVE

Sweet, I blame you not, for mine the fault was, had I not been made of common clay
I had climbed the higher heights unclimbed yet, seen the fuller air, the larger day.

From the wildness of my wasted passion I had struck a better, clearer song,
Lit some lighter light of freer freedom, battled with some Hydra-headed wrong.

Had my lips been smitten into music by the kisses that but made them bleed,
You had walked with Bice and the angels on that verdant and enamelled meed.

I had trod the road which Dante treading saw the suns of seven circles shine,
Ay! perchance had seen the heavens opening, as they opened to the Florentine.

And the mighty nations would have crowned me, who am crownless now and without name,
And some orient dawn had found me kneeling on the threshold of the House of Fame.

I had sat within that marble circle where the oldest bard is as the young,
And the pipe is ever dropping honey, and the lyre’s strings are ever strung.

Keats had lifted up his hymeneal curls from out the poppy-seeded wine,
With ambrosial mouth had kissed my forehead, clasped the hand of noble love in mine.

And at springtide, when the apple-blossoms brush the burnished bosom of the dove,
Two young lovers lying in an orchard would have read the story of our love;

Would have read the legend of my passion, known the bitter secret of my heart,
Kissed as we have kissed, but never parted as we two are fated now to part.

For the crimson flower of our life is eaten by the cankerworm of truth,
And no hand can gather up the fallen withered petals of the rose of youth.

Yet I am not sorry that I loved you -ah! what else had I a boy to do? –
For the hungry teeth of time devour, and the silent-footed years pursue.

Rudderless, we drift athwart a tempest, and when once the storm of youth is past,
Without lyre, without lute or chorus, Death the silent pilot comes at last.

And within the grave there is no pleasure, for the blindworm battens on the root,
And Desire shudders into ashes, and the tree of Passion bears no fruit.

Ah! what else had I to do but love you? God’s own mother was less dear to me,
And less dear the Cytheraean rising like an argent lily from the sea.

I have made my choice, have lived my poems, and, though youth is gone in wasted days,
I have found the lover’s crown of myrtle better than the poet’s crown of bays.

CANZONET

I have no store
Of gryphon-guarded gold;
Now, as before,
Bare is the shepherd’s fold.
Rubies nor pearls
Have I to gem thy throat;
Yet woodland girls
Have loved the shepherd’s note.

Then pluck a reed
And bid me sing to thee,
For I would feed
Thine ears with melody,
Who art more fair
Than fairest fleur-de-lys,
More sweet and rare
Than sweetest ambergris.

What dost thou fear?
Young Hyacinth is slain,
Pan is not here,
And will not come again.
No horned Faun
Treads down the yellow leas,
No God at dawn
Steals through the olive trees.

Hylas is dead,
Nor will he e’er divine
Those little red
Rose-petalled lips of thine.
On the high hill
No ivory dryads play,
Silver and still
Sinks the sad autumn day.

SERENADE

The western wind is blowing fair
Across the dark Ægean sea,
And at the secret marble stair
My Tyrian galley waits for thee.
Come down! the purple sail is spread,
The watchman sleeps within the town,
O leave thy lily-flowered bed,
O Lady mine come down, come down!

She will not come, I know her well,
Of lover’s vows she hath no care,
And little good a man can tell
Of one so cruel and so fair.
True love is but a woman’s toy,
They never know the lover’s pain,
And I who loved as loves a boy
Must love in vain, must love in vain.

O noble pilot tell me true
Is that the sheen of golden hair?
Or is it but the tangled dew
That binds the passion-flowers there?
Good sailor come and tell me now
Is that my Lady’s lily hand?
Or is it but the gleaming prow,
Or is it but the silver sand?

No! no! ’tis not the tangled dew,
‘Tis not the silver-fretted sand,
It is my own dear Lady true
With golden hair and lily hand!
O noble pilot steer for Troy,
Good sailor ply the labouring oar,
This is the Queen of life and joy
Whom we must bear from Grecian shore!

The waning sky grows faint and blue,
It wants an hour still of day,
Aboard! aboard! my gallant crew,
O Lady mine away! away!
O noble pilot steer for Troy,
Good sailor ply the labouring oar,
O loved as only loves a boy!
O loved for ever evermore!

Poems and Bio: http://www.poemhunter.com/
Download the pdf document: http://www.poemhunter.com/i/ebooks/pdf/oscar_wilde_2004_9.pdf
Source for The Picture of Dorian Gray:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Picture_of_Dorian_Gray (novel)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Picture_of_Dorian_Gray_(1945_film)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0037988/