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Lost in Decoration

A Tumblr Blog
"Style can make complicated things seem simple, or simple things complicated."

— Jean Cocteau
  • July 7, 2011 2:34 am

    To Brooklyn Bridge

    To Brooklyn Bridge

    By Hart Crane

    How many dawns, chill from his rippling rest
    The seagull’s wings shall dip and pivot him,
    Shedding white rings of tumult, building high
    Over the chained bay waters Liberty—

    Then, with inviolate curve, forsake our eyes
    As apparitional as sails that cross
    Some page of figures to be filed away;
    —Till elevators drop us from our day …

    I think of cinemas, panoramic sleights
    With multitudes bent toward some flashing scene
    Never disclosed, but hastened to again,
    Foretold to other eyes on the same screen;

    And Thee, across the harbor, silver-paced
    As though the sun took step of thee, yet left
    Some motion ever unspent in thy stride,—
    Implicitly thy freedom staying thee!

    Out of some subway scuttle, cell or loft
    A bedlamite speeds to thy parapets,
    Tilting there momently, shrill shirt ballooning,
    A jest falls from the speechless caravan.

    Down Wall, from girder into street noon leaks,
    A rip-tooth of the sky’s acetylene;
    All afternoon the cloud-flown derricks turn …
    Thy cables breathe the North Atlantic still.

    And obscure as that heaven of the Jews,
    Thy guerdon … Accolade thou dost bestow
    Of anonymity time cannot raise:
    Vibrant reprieve and pardon thou dost show.

    O harp and altar, of the fury fused,
    (How could mere toil align thy choiring strings!)
    Terrific threshold of the prophet’s pledge,
    Prayer of pariah, and the lover’s cry,—

    Again the traffic lights that skim thy swift
    Unfractioned idiom, immaculate sigh of stars,
    Beading thy path—condense eternity:
    And we have seen night lifted in thine arms.

    Under thy shadow by the piers I waited;
    Only in darkness is thy shadow clear.
    The City’s fiery parcels all undone,
    Already snow submerges an iron year …

    O Sleepless as the river under thee,
    Vaulting the sea, the prairies’ dreaming sod,
    Unto us lowliest sometime sweep, descend
    And of the curveship lend a myth to God.

  • May 19, 2010 10:49 am

    The Death of the Hat

    The Death of the Hat, by Billy Collins

    Once every man wore a hat.

    In the ashen newsreels,
    the avenues of cities
    are broad rivers flowing with hats.

    The ballparks swelled
    with thousands of strawhats,
    brims and bands,
    rows of men smoking
    and cheering in shirtsleeves.

    Hats were the law.
    They went without saying.
    You noticed a man without a hat in a crowd.

    You bought them from Adams or Dobbs
    who branded your initials in gold
    on the inside band.

    Trolleys crisscrossed the city.
    Steamships sailed in and out of the harbor.
    Men with hats gathered on the docks.

    There was a person to block your hat
    and a hatcheck girl to mind it

    while you had a drink
    or ate a steak with peas and a baked potato.
    In your office stood a hat rack.

    The day war was declared
    everyone in the street was wearing a hat.
    And they were wearing hats

    when a ship loaded with men sank in the icy sea.

    My father wore one to work every day
    and returned home
    carrying the evening paper,
    the winter chill radiating from his overcoat.

    And now my father, after a life of work,
    wears a hat of earth,
    and on top of that,
    a lighter one of cloud and sky—a hat of wind.


  • April 26, 2010 12:51 am

    April is Poetry Month!

    I couldn’t let poetry month go by with out posting at least one poem.  Since I happen to be reading about wine recently I was particularly taken with this one by Pablo Neruda.  Robert Louis Stevenson said “wine is bottled poetry,” and I couldn’t agree more.  I hope you enjoy “Ode to Wine” as much as I do.

    Ode to Wine

    Wine, color of day,
    wine, color of night
    wine with your feet of purple
    or topaz blood,
    wine,
    starry child
    of earth,
    wine, smooth
    as a golden sword,
    soft
    as velvet,
    wine, spiral-shelled
    and astonished
    amorous,
    oceanic,
    never have you been contained
    in one glass, one song, one man,
    you are choral, gregarious,
    and at the least, mutual.
    Sometimes
    you feed on deadly
    memories,
    on your wave
    we travel from tomb to tomb,
    stonecutter of frozen graves,
    and we weep
    transitory tears,
    but
    your beautiful
    spring clothing
    is different,the heart rises to the branches,
    wind incites the day,
    nothing remains
    within your motionless soul.
    Wine
    moves the whole springtime,
    bursts through the earth like a plant,
    walls crumble,
    boulders,
    abysses close up,
    song is born.
    Oh thou, jug of wine, in the desert
    beside me, with the woman i love
    sang the ancient poet.
    Let the pitcher of wine
    add it’s kiss to the kiss of love.

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