Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day Communion

The lines below are references to titles and quotations from the following sources (in no particular order):

Federico Garcia Lorca: In Search of Duende (New Directions, 2010);
Alberto Manguel: The Library at Night (Yale, 2006)
The Saga of Egil, from The Sagas of the Icelanders (Penguin, 2001)
Gustav Holst: The Planets
Benjamin Britten: Peter Grimes; War Requiem;
Letters from a Life, Volume Five: 1958-1965 (Boydell Press, 2010)
Walter Benjamin: The Origin of German Tragic Drama (Verso, 1998)
Kaija Saariaho: du cristal ... a la fumée

"...each of my books has escaped to tell me its story."

I: Dawn

Euthymia: well-being of the soul; tranquillitas.

"Memory without distraction, the intimacy of a reading time -
a secret period in the communal day."

There is a Moment in each Day that Satan cannot find
Nor can his Watch Fiends find it, but the Industrious find
This Moment & it multiply, & when it once is found
It renovates every Moment of the Day if rightly placed.

(William Blake, from Milton)

Jupiter, The Bringer of Jollity

"the language of silence..."

II: Sunday Morning

"The essence of those great moments in life is the experience of pure selfhood."

Candle, lamp,
lantern and firefly
The constellation
of the dart.

"A mysterious power that everyone senses and no philosopher explains."
(Lorca on the duende, quoting Goethe on Paganini)

Uranus, the Magician

"...the real purpose of drama was to communicate knowledge of the life of the soul."

I carve runes on this horn,
Redden words with my blood.

"...the duende loves the rim of the wound...he draws near places where forms fuse together into a yearning superior to their visible expression."

Sorrow wanes in sea-fire's fortress

"...not forms but the marrow of forms, pure music."

It is not the wind but the sad moon
in the Courtyard of the Dead

III: Moonlight


"Now the great bear and pleiades..."

"from crystal... into smoke..."

Neptune, the Mystic

"Tom Stoppard has one of his characters explain in his play The Invention of Love, 'in the last guttering light from classical antiquity, a man copied out bits from old books for his young son...so we have one sentence from The Loves of Achilles. 'Love, said Sophocles, feels like the ice held in the hand by children.' I trust that book-burners' dreams are haunted by such modest proof of the book's survival."

IV: Storm

"...hell takes on different shapes for its different inhabitants:
for Cain it has the face of Abel, for Nero that of Agrippina."

My subject is war, and the pity of war.
The poetry is in the pity.

"These magnificent poems, full of the hate of destruction..."

"Ardent struggle, endless vigil, like all art."

The scribes on all the people shove
And bawl allegiance to the state
But they who love the greater love
Lay down their life, they do not hate.

"...the stories that ultimately reach us are but the reports of the survivors."

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