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sleep of reason
Posted on 2008.09.21 at 19:56
Current Mood: taciturn

In the corner of the living room was an album of unbearable photos,
many meters high and infinite minutes old,
over which everyone leaned
making fun of the dead in frock coats.

Then a worm began to chew the indifferent coats,
the pages, the inscriptions, and even the dust on the pictures.
The only thing it did not chew was the everlasting sob of life that broke 
and broke from those pages.

by Carlos Drummond de Andrade 1902-1988

From the Portuguese by Mark Strand in the anthology:
POEMS FOR THE MILLENNIUM  The University of California Book of Modern and Postmodern Poetry
Volume One: from Fin-de-Siecle to Negritude

blurred B
Posted on 2008.06.21 at 10:01

from: LES ANGES SONT BLANCS by George Seferis, Athens:1939

...these were things isolated even more than the poem
that you left behind when you fell heavily with its last word
without knowing anything more among the white eyeballs of the blind
and the sheets
that you unfolded feverishly to cover the procession
of people who won't bleed no matter how often they attack themselves
with hatchets and fingernails
...and you said your friends were knocking loudly with great despair and
you were with them:
"The angels are white flaming white and the eye that would confront
them withers
and there is no other way you've got to become like stone if you seek
their communion
and when you seek out the miracle you must scatter your blood to the
eight points of the winds
because the miracle is nowhere if not circulating in the veins of man."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This is from a longer poem dedicated to Henry Miller and translated from the Greek by George Economou

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Let me take this moment to register my annoyance with some of the more pernicious features of LJ's program, or whatever it's called: if I wanted my lines to all be left-justified I would have F-ing typed it that way. Cretins!

Posted on 2008.06.16 at 17:51


Only the compass, keeping hope alive,
stuttered on, uttering its paralyzed
directions; with something somewhere beyond
to which to respond.

And for another long day
We struggled ahead through desert sand

Then to the edge of stone cliffs
covered with hieroglyphs,

Line after line, incoherent, they read-
wrinkles on some mad forehead.

An ancient age
struggled there in desperate tones-

With nothing more to say-

And only the wind moans.

Sand in our eyes, Between sweating fingers, and
ground between teeth, sand.

We slaughtered the camel who knew the way...
had our final meal today.

by: Gyula Illyes 1902 - 1983

Translation from the Hungarian by William Jay Smith

Posted on 2008.06.12 at 19:01

From the Masque



Your anger charms me,
and yet all the time
I think of chaste, slight hands,
veined snow;
snow craters filled
with first wild-flowerlets;
glow of ice-gentian,
whitest violet:
snow craters
and the ice ridge
spilling light;
dawn and the lover
chaste dawn leaves bereft-
I think of these
and snow-cooled Phrygian wine.

Your anger charms me subtly
and I know
that you would take
the still hands
where I'd rest;
you would despoil
for very joy of theft;
list, lady,
I would give you one last hint:
quench your red mouth
in some cold forest lake,
cover your russet locks
with arum leaf,
quench out the colour,
still the fevered glance,
cover your want
your fire insatiate,
I can not match your fervour,
nay nor still my ache
with any
but white hands inviolate.

by: H.D.
from: Heliodora 1924.

Posted on 2008.06.08 at 20:55

Presentation binding from Oxford University on a 1901 edition of Bacon's "Essays on The Advancement of Learning and Understanding"

sleep of reason
Posted on 2008.06.08 at 18:17
Current Mood: worriedworried

Strange grows the river on the sunless evenings!
The river comforts me, grown spectral, vague and dumb:
Long was the day; at last the consoling shadows come:
Sufficient for the day are the day's evil things!

Labour and longing and despair the long day brings;
Patient till evening men watch the sun go west;
Deferred, expected night at last brings sleep and rest:
Sufficient for the day are the day's evil things!

At last the tranquil Angelus of evening rings
Night's curtain down for comfort and oblivion
Of all the vanities observ`ed by the sun:
Sufficient for the day are the day's evil things!

So, some time, when the last of all our evenings
Crowneth memorially the last of our days,
Not loath to take his poppies man goes down and says,
'Sufficient for the day were the day's evil things!'

-from 'Vesperal' by Ernest Dowson 1913

Posted on 2008.05.29 at 22:44

Today's book is a two volume edition of The Sketch Book by Geoffrey Crayon. Crayon was the pseudonym of Washington Irving.Originally published in parts in 1819/20, the bibliography of the early book editions is a bit sketchy,(couldn't help myself.) This is an English edition from 1822.What, you may ask, is the significance of this book? It includes the first appearance of "Rip Van Winkle."

Posted on 2008.05.24 at 11:27


Posted on 2008.05.21 at 18:26
So here is today's show and tell:

This is a leaf(recto and verso respectively) from the Liber Chronicarum(Book of Chronicles)popularly known to English speakers as The Nuremberg Chronicle, after the city where it was printed by Anton Koberger in 1493. Basically it is a (medieval-Euro-centric)history of the world from creation to 1490. It is a sizable folio(meaning the original sheets were folded once to make 4 pages.)My leaf is about 16 by 12 inches but has been cut down from the original 500mm by 342. The book is best known for its woodcut illustrations of bible scenes, battles, kings; and especially towns, Nuremburg getting a 2 page spread.The book contains 1809 woodcuts but here Koberger Cheats a little and uses the same cuts for more than one individual etc. Accounting for duplicates there are still 645 different woodcuts. Some copies were also beautifully handcoloured.
Anton Koberger was also godfather to the artist Albrecht Duer who served an apprenticeship in his workshop. While it is certain he was away during the actual printing, it is quite possible that he was involved in the design of some of the woodcuts.
Koberger published both German and Latin editions; mine is in Latin.(Just to be clear; I own one leaf. The entire book would set you back 6 figures.)
The thing I find most fascinating has nothing to do with the printing. The paper of this vintage was made of linen rags(I think this is where the term "rag picker" comes from) and is incredibly sturdy. If you hold the paper up to the light you can see a few spots, defects where the paper is a tiny bit thinner, watermarks are made by intentionally creating this effect in the shape of the desired design. Paper was made by pouring a slurry of the broken down rag fibers into a mold with a screen on the bottom through which the excess water drains. After pouring, the workman would give the mold a hard shake so the fibers would settle evenly. Hard work this; what these little spots are from are the beads of sweat that dripped off the nose of the paper maker over 500 years ago.

Posted on 2008.05.20 at 19:44

Oxyderces (ok-sea-DARE-seas) is an Epithet of the goddess Athena, meaning "Bright-eyed." Diomedes, whom the goddess so inspired with valor in the Trojan War that he attacked even the gods themselves, was wounded by an arrow of Pandarus during the struggle. Mist darkened his eyes and he faltered, but Athena came to him, healed his wound, and cleared the mist from his eyes. After the Trojan War Diomedes dedicated a sanctuary of Athena Oxyderces at Corinth.
Thanks to: The New Century Classical Handbook from which I took this more or less verbatim. I just fed Oxyderces into Reference.com and got zip. I also tried google again nothing pertaining to Greek Mythology however it is used in the species name for a kind of snout beetle.This is a long way of saying:not giving up the books just yet.

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