​Keats, fears and a Shakesperean sonnet.

“When I have fears that I may cease to be 

Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain,

Before high-piled books, in charactery,

Hold like rich garners the full ripen’d grain;

When I behold, upon the night’s starr’d face,

Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,

And think that I may never live to trace

Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;

And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,

That I shall never look upon thee more,

Never have relish in the faery power

Of unreflecting love;–then on the shore

Of the wide world I stand alone, and think

Till love and fame to nothingness do sink. 

—When I have fears by John Keats.
📚 When it comes to rhyme, Keats wrote this sonnet in Shakespearean style i.e. abab cdcd efef gg. The way of writing is inspired by Elizabethan poets and Wordsworth. The words by his own fears.  
📚 In this one he expresses his fears of not managing to write all the poems he wants to write before he dies, but also the fear that he may not be given the chance to experience passionate love. He longed to be famous as a poet but was constantly haunted by the fear of death. It is said that the fact that his parents died young might have triggered this fear. Either that or his suffering soul knew what was coming, even when it comes to love. 
📚 In 1814 Keats saw a beautiful woman in Vauxhall Gardens and could not forget her. That same year he wrote “Fill for Me a Brimming Bowl” and in 1818 he wrote “To a Lady Seen for a Few Moments at Vauxhall” and also wrote the above poem, all referring to this lady… More about Keats on my IG account during July.

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Whitman, sunset and a song.

“Splendor of ended day, floating and filling me!

Hour prophetic—hour resuming the past! 

Inflating my throat—you, divine average! 

You, Earth and Life, till the last ray gleams, I sing. 

Open mouth of my Soul, uttering gladness, 

Eyes of my Soul, seeing perfection, 

Natural life of me, faithfully praising things; 

Corroborating forever the triumph of things…”

Beautiful lines from Whitman’s Song at Sunset (1860). Hope you are all having a blessed Sunday.

Wadsworth Longfellow, the seaside and the secret.

“Ah! what pleasant visions haunt me
As I gaze upon the sea!
All the old romantic legends,
All my dreams, come back to me.
Sails of silk and ropes of sandal,
Such as gleam in ancient lore;
And the singing of the sailors,
And the answer from the shore!
Most of all, the Spanish ballad
Haunts me oft, and tarries long,
Of the noble Count Arnaldos
And the sailor’s mystic song.
Like the long waves on a sea-beach,
Where the sand as silver shines,
With a soft, monotonous cadence,
Flow its unrhymed lyric lines;– Telling how the Count Arnaldos,
With his hawk upon his hand,
Saw a fair and stately galley,
Steering onward to the land;– How he heard the ancient helmsman
Chant a song so wild and clear,
That the sailing sea-bird slowly
Poised upon the mast to hear,
Till his soul was full of longing,
And he cried, with impulse strong,–
“Helmsman! for the love of heaven,
Teach me, too, that wondrous song!” “Wouldst thou,” so the helmsman answered,
“Learn the secret of the sea?
Only those who brave its dangers
Comprehend its mystery!” In each sail that skims the horizon,
In each landward-blowing breeze,
I behold that stately galley,
Hear those mournful melodies;
Till my soul is full of longing
For the secret of the sea,
And the heart of the great ocean
Sends a thrilling pulse through me.”

Word for word he wrote my feelings. The most favourite poem by one of the Masters of lyrical poetry. By the Seaside: The Secret of the Sea by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
(1807-1882). He stole my heart with this one. Apart from teaching and writing poetry, he spent years translating Dante’s Divine Comedy and the poetry of Michaelangelo.

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Oliver, the ocean and the love.

I am in love with Ocean
lifting her thousands of white hats
in the chop of the storm,
or lying smooth and blue, the
loveliest bed in the world.
In the personal life, there is
always grief more than enough,
a heart load for each of us
on the dusty road. I suppose
there is a reason for this, so I will be
patient, acquiescent. But I will live
nowhere except here, by Ocean, trusting
equally in all blast and welcome
of her sorrowless, salt self.

– Ocean by Mary Oliver

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Neruda, The Wide Ocean and The Poem.

12910556_10154052059089659_1197099060_nOcean, if you were to give, a measure, a ferment, a fruit
of your gifts and destructions, into my hand,
I would choose your far-off repose, your contour of steel,
your vigilant spaces of air and darkness,
and the power of your white tongue,
that shatters and overthrows columns,
breaking them down to your proper purity.

Not the final breaker, heavy with brine,
that thunders onshore, and creates
the silence of sand, that encircles the world,
but the inner spaces of force,
the naked power of the waters,
the immoveable solitude, brimming with lives.
It is Time perhaps, or the vessel filled
with all motion, pure Oneness,
that death cannot touch, the visceral green
of consuming totality.

Only a salt kiss remains of the drowned arm,
that lifts a spray: a humid scent,
of the damp flower, is left,
from the bodies of men. Your energies
form, in a trickle that is not spent,
form, in retreat into silence.

The falling wave,
arch of identity, shattering feathers,
is only spume when it clears,
and returns to its source, unconsumed.

Your whole force heads for its origin.
The husks that your load threshes,
are only the crushed, plundered, deliveries,
that your act of abundance expelled,
all those that take life from your branches.

Your form extends beyond breakers,
vibrant, and rhythmic, like the chest, cloaking
a single being, and its breathings,
that lift into the content of light,
plains raised above waves,
forming the naked surface of earth.
You fill your true self with your substance.
You overflow curve with silence.

The vessel trembles with your salt and sweetness,
the universal cavern of waters,
and nothing is lost from you, as it is
from the desolate crater, or the bay of a hill,
those empty heights, signs, scars,
guarding the wounded air.

Your petals throbbing against the Earth,
trembling your submarine harvests,
your menace thickening the smooth swell,
with pulsations and swarming of schools,
and only the thread of the net raises
the dead lightning of fish-scale,
one wounded millimetre, in the space
of your crystal completeness.

Pablo Neruda (1904-1973)

Hoffman, the depths and the lines.

1507981_10152790960354659_2237149647528204071_nSublime and wonderful art thou, O deep,
Illustrious ocean, vast unmeasured waste!
Lost in thy contemplation, I do seem
Even as a grain of sand upon thy beach,
That shouldst thou reach thy giant arms to grasp
Would melt away in thy dissolving foam,
Nor yet be missed among the myriads left;
Yet in thy calms and tempests, I can read
The moods and passions of the human soul;
Nor are they changing winds and tides more real
That those that sweep and sway the depths of thought.

Calm is thy breast today, thou fitful main,
And yet perchance before the eastern star
Sheds o’er thy surface her supernal beams,
High on yon crags thy maddened spray shall dash
And the wild roar of elemental war
Shall cause the dwellers on thy cliffs to quake
And the brave mariner to grow sick at heart.

Why is this murmuring, this wild unrest?
This never-ending conflict with thyself,
As if thou wouldst burst through thy massive gates
And fling thy treasures through celestial space,
Strew the pale Occident with coral sprays
And the blue zenith with ten-thousand gems;
Or scatter pearls throughout the Orient flames;
Or yet go seething through yon crested heights
And with a voice like Gabriel’s trumpet, tell
The pent-up secrets of thy hidden depths
Unto the flaming beacon of the day?

‘Tis vain- with all thy vast gigantic power,
Thou canst but cast a few frail treasures forth,
Perchance a seaweed spray or tinted shell,
Dripping and glistening from thy briny surf,
Cast out upon the sands, that wheresoe’er
Fate or caprice may bear its fragile form,
A whispered song from its pink lips is heard
That seems to speak of caverns deep and lone
Sunk in thy heaving bosom, restless sea,
That eye hath never seen, nor yet a ray
From the bright flickering lamps of Heaven has pierced.

Thus do the surges of the spirit rise
And dash against their narrow prison walls,
Clap their rapt wings and long for liberty;
Or in a vague unrest beat to and fro,
Forever striving to yield up the things
That pent in their own beings will not rest
Ah! like the sea, they only render up
Perchance a thought from out their hidden caves,
That, like the sea-shell, murmurs of the depths
That slept before undreamed of far below;
Within the human soul lie depths as deep
As ever slept within the ocean’s breast,
And heights that rise beyond the breaker’s crest
In the vain wish to pass their narrow bound.

Lo, o’er the depths of ocean and of soul
Breathes forth a voice that calms their wild unrest:
‘Peace, be thou still,’ ‘to me thou shalt yield up,
The garnered fullness of thy hidden things;
To me the deep shall pour her treasures out;
To me the ocean shall her secrets tell;
At my command the sea shall burst her gates
And the chained treasures of the depths come forth;’
So shall the soul break forth at last in song;
So shall her pent-up longings be unloosed
To sweep adown the aisles of endless time;
So shall the depths therein in endless praise
Pour out their garnered fullness unto God.

By Martha Lavinia (1865-1900)

This wonderful poet passed away at the young age of 35. She knew she wouldn’t live for long but she wanted to do some good in this world and so she did through her writings.