Andrew Marvell |
Clora, come view my soul, and tell
Whether I have contrived it well.
Now all its several lodgings lie
Composed into one gallery;
And the great arras-hangings, made
Of various faces, by are laid;
That, for all furniture, you'll find
Only your picture in my mind.
Here thou art painted in the dress
Of an inhuman murderess;
Examining upon our hearts
Thy fertile shop of cruel arts:
Engines more keen than ever yet
Adornèd tyrant's cabinet;
Of which the most tormenting are
Black eyes, red lips, and curlèd hair.
But, on the other side, thou'rt drawn
Like to Aurora in the dawn;
When in the east she slumb'ring lies,
And stretches out her milky thighs;
While all the morning choir does sing,
And manna falls, and roses spring;
And, at thy feet, the wooing doves
Sit perfecting their harmless loves.
Like an enchantress here thou show'st,
Vexing thy restless lover's ghost;
And, by a light obscure, dost rave
Over his entrails, in the cave;
Divining thence, with horrid care,
How long thou shalt continue fair;
And (when informed) them throw'st away,
To be the greedy vulture's prey.
But, against that, thou sit'st afloat
Like Venus in her pearly boat.
The halcyons, calming all that's nigh,
Betwixt the air and water fly:
Or, if some rolling wave appears,
A mass of ambergris it bears:
Nor blows more wind than what may well
Convoy the perfume to the smell.
These pictures and a thousand more,
Of thee, my gallery do store;
In all the forms thou canst invent
Either to please me, or torment:
For thou alone to people me,
Art grown a num'rous colony;
And a collection choicer far
Than or Whitehall's, or Mantua's were.
But, of these pictures and the rest,
That at the entrance likes me best;
Where the same posture, and the look
Remains, with which I first was took:
A tender shepherdess, whose hair
Hangs loosely playing in the air,
Transplanting flowers from the green hill,
To crown her head, and bosom fill.
Jorie Graham |
All this was written on the next day's list.
On which the busyness unfurled its cursive roots,
pale but effective,
and the long stem of the necessary, the sum of events,
built-up its tiniest cathedral.
(Or is it the sum of what takes place? )
If I lean down, to whisper, to them,
down into their gravitational field, there where they head busily on
into the woods, laying the gifts out one by one, onto the path,
hoping to be on the air,
hoping to please the children --
(and some gifts overwrapped and some not wrapped at all) -- if
I stir the wintered ground-leaves
up from the paths, nimbly, into a sheet of sun,
into an escape-route-width of sun, mildly gelatinous where wet, though mostly
fluffing them up a bit, and up, as if to choke the singularity of sun
with this jubilation of manyness, all through and round these passers-by --
just leaves, nothing that can vaporize into a thought,
no, a burning bush's worth of spidery, up-ratcheting, tender-cling leaves,
oh if -- the list gripped hard by the left hand of one,
the busyness buried so deep into the puffed-up greenish mind of one,
the hurried mind hovering over its rankings,
the heart -- there at the core of the drafting leaves -- wet and warm at the
the bright mock-stairwaying-up of the posthumous leaves -- the heart,
formulating its alleyways of discovery,
fussing about the integrity of the whole,
the heart trying to make time and place seem small,
sliding its slim tears into the deep wallet of each new event
on the list
then checking it off -- oh the satisfaction -- each check a small kiss,
an echo of the previous one, off off it goes the dry high-ceilinged
checked-off by the fingertips, by the small gust called done that swipes
the unfinishable's gold hem aside, revealing
what might have been, peeling away what should .
There are flowerpots at their feet.
There is fortune-telling in the air they breathe.
It filters-in with its flashlight-beam, its holy-water-tinted air,
down into the open eyes, the lampblack open mouth.
Oh listen to these words I'm spitting out for you.
My distance from you makes them louder.
Are we all waiting for the phone to ring?
Who should it be? What fountain is expected to
thrash forth mysteries of morning joy? What quail-like giant tail of
promises, pleiades, psalters, plane-trees,
what parapets petalling-forth the invisible
into the world of things,
turning the list into its spatial-form at last,
into its archival many-headed, many-legged colony .
Oh look at you.
What is it you hold back? What piece of time is it the list
won't cover? You down there, in the theater of
operations -- you, throat of the world -- so diacritical --
(are we all waiting for the phone to ring?) --
(what will you say? are you home? are you expected soon?) --
oh wanderer back from break, all your attention focused
-- as if the thinking were an oar, this ship the last of some
original fleet, the captains gone but some of us
who saw the plan drawn-out
still here -- who saw the thinking clot-up in the bodies of the greater men,
who saw them sit in silence while the voices in the other room
lit-up with passion, itchings, dreams of landings,
while the solitary ones,
heads in their hands, so still,
the idea barely forming
at the base of that stillness,
the idea like a homesickness starting just to fold and pleat and knot-itself
out of the manyness -- the plan -- before it's thought,
before it's a done deal or the name-you're-known-by --
the men of x, the outcomes of y -- before --
the mind still gripped hard by the hands
that would hold the skull even stiller if they could,
that nothing distract, that nothing but the possible be let to filter
the possible and then the finely filamented hope, the filigree,
without the distractions of wonder --
oh tiny golden spore just filtering-in to touch the good idea,
which taking-form begins to twist,
coursing for bottom-footing, palpating for edge-hold, limit,
now finally about to
rise, about to go into the other room -- and yet
not having done so yet, not yet -- the
intake -- before the credo, before the plan --
right at the homesickness -- before this list you hold
in your exhausted hand.
Oh put it down.
Alfred Lord Tennyson |
While about the shore of Mona those Neronian legionaries
Burnt and broke the grove and altar of the Druid and Druidess,
Far in the East Boadicea, standing loftily charioted,
Mad and maddening all that heard her in her fierce volubility,
Girt by half the tribes of Britain, near the colony Camulodune,
Yell'd and shriek'd between her daughters o'er a wild confederacy.
`They that scorn the tribes and call us Britain's barbarous populaces,
Did they hear me, would they listen, did they pity me supplicating?
Shall I heed them in their anguish? shall I brook to be supplicated?
Hear Icenian, Catieuchlanian, hear Coritanian, Trinobant!
Must their ever-ravening eagle's beak and talon annihilate us?
Tear the noble hear of Britain, leave it gorily quivering?
Bark an answer, Britain's raven! bark and blacken innumerable,
Blacken round the Roman carrion, make the carcase a skeleton,
Kite and kestrel, wolf and wolfkin, from the wilderness, wallow in it,
Till the face of Bel be brighten'd, Taranis be propitiated.
Lo their colony half-defended! lo their colony, Camulodune!
There the horde of Roman robbers mock at a barbarous adversary.
There the hive of Roman liars worship a gluttonous emperor-idiot.
Such is Rome, and this her deity: hear it, Spirit of Cassivelaun!
`Hear it, Gods! the Gods have heard it, O Icenian, O Coritanian!
Doubt not ye the Gods have answer'd, Catieuchlanian, Trinobant.
These have told us all their anger in miraculous utterances,
Thunder, a flying fire in heaven, a murmur heard aerially,
Phantom sound of blows descending, moan of an enemy massacred,
Phantom wail of women and children, multitudinous agonies.
Bloodily flow'd the Tamesa rolling phantom bodies of horses and men;
Then a phantom colony smoulder'd on the refluent estuary;
Lastly yonder yester-even, suddenly giddily tottering--
There was one who watch'd and told me--down their statue of Victory fell.
Lo their precious Roman bantling, lo the colony Camulodune,
Shall we teach it a Roman lesson? shall we care to be pitiful?
Shall we deal with it as an infant? shall we dandle it amorously?
`Hear Icenian, Catieuchlanian, hear Coritanian, Trinobant!
While I roved about the forest, long and bitterly meditating,
There I heard them in the darkness, at the mystical ceremony,
Loosely robed in flying raiment, sang the terrible prophetesses.
"Fear not, isle of blowing woodland, isle of silvery parapets!
Tho' the Roman eagle shadow thee, tho' the gathering enemy narrow thee,
Thou shalt wax and he shall dwindle, thou shalt be the mighty one yet!
Thine the liberty, thine the glory, thine the deeds to be celebrated,
Thine the myriad-rolling ocean, light and shadow illimitable,
Thine the lands of lasting summer, many-blossoming Paradises,
Thine the North and thine the South and thine the battle-thunder of God.
So they chanted: how shall Britain light upon auguries happier?
So they chanted in the darkness, and there cometh a victory now.
Hear Icenian, Catieuchlanian, hear Coritanian, Trinobant!
Me the wife of rich Prasutagus, me the lover of liberty,
Me they seized and me they tortured, me they lash'd and humiliated,
Me the sport of ribald Veterans, mine of ruffian violators!
See they sit, they hide their faces, miserable in ignominy!
Wherefore in me burns an anger, not by blood to be satiated.
Lo the palaces and the temple, lo the colony Camulodune!
There they ruled, and thence they wasted all the flourishing territory,
Thither at their will they haled the yellow-ringleted Britoness--
Bloodily, bloodily fall the battle-axe, unexhausted, inexorable.
Shout Icenian, Catieuchlanian, shout Coritanian, Trinobant,
Till the victim hear within and yearn to hurry precipitously
Like the leaf in a roaring whirlwind, like the smoke in a hurricane whirl'd.
Lo the colony, there they rioted in the city of Cunobeline!
There they drank in cups of emerald, there at tables of ebony lay,
Rolling on their purple couches in their tender effeminacy.
There they dwelt and there they rioted; there--there--they dwell no more.
Burst the gates, and burn the palaces, break the works of the statuary,
Take the hoary Roman head and shatter it, hold it abominable,
Cut the Roman boy to pieces in his lust and voluptuousness,
Lash the maiden into swooning, me they lash'd and humiliated,
Chop the breasts from off the mother, dash the brains of the little one out,
Up my Britons, on my chariot, on my chargers, trample them under us.
So the Queen Boadicea, standing loftily charioted,
Brandishing in her hand a dart and rolling glances lioness-like,
Yell'd and shriek'd between her daughters in her fierce volubility.
Till her people all around the royal chariot agitated,
Madly dash'd the darts together, writhing barbarous lineaments,
Made the noise of frosty woodlands, when they shiver in January,
Roar'd as when the rolling breakers boom and blanch on the precipices,
Yell'd as when the winds of winter tear an oak on a promontory.
So the silent colony hearing her tumultuous adversaries
Clash the darts and on the buckler beat with rapid unanimous hand,
Thought on all her evil tyrannies, all her pitiless avarice,
Till she felt the heart within her fall and flutter tremulously,
Then her pulses at the clamoring of her enemy fainted away.
Out of evil evil flourishes, out of tyranny tyranny buds.
Ran the land with Roman slaughter, multitudinous agonies.
Perish'd many a maid and matron, many a valorous legionary.
Fell the colony, city, and citadel, London, Verulam, Camulodune.