Friday, June 4, 2010


Virginia Woolf

For the next two weeks I'll be with myself. If I'm lucky new poems will come. In the intervals there will be walks to the various nearby ponds and time to read: dip in, float, dive; time to hear the rhapsodists sing. (Please scroll down for more on "rhapsody.") The ocean, which we think of, live near, live from, is in all of these selections.

From Woolf's To the Lighthouse:

So off they strolled down the garden in the usual direction, past the tennis lawn, past the pampas grass, to that break in the thick hedge, guarded by red hot pokers like brasiers of clear burning coal, between which the blue waters of the bay looked bluer than ever.

They came there regularly every evening drawn by some need. It was as if the water floated off and set sailing thoughts which had grown stagnant on dry land, and gave to their bodies even some sort of physical relief. First, the pulse of colour flooded the bay with blue, and the heart expanded with it and the body swam, only the next instant to be checked and chilled by the prickly blackness on the ruffled waves. Then, up behind the great black rock, almost every evening spurted irregularly, so that one had to watch for it and it was a delight when it came, a fountain of white water; and then while one waited for that, one watched, on the pale semicircular beach, wave after wave shedding again and again smoothly, a film of mother of pearl.

Hart Crane

From Crane's "Voyages II":

And onward, as bells off San Salvador
Salute the crocus lustres of the stars,
In these poinsettia meadows of her tides,--
Adagios of islands, O my Prodigal,
Complete the dark confessions her veins spell.

Mark Doty

From Doty's "Almost Blue" (Apologies: line breaks are not accurate because of formatting problems.)--

If Hart Crane played trumpet he'd sound like you, your horn's dark city

miraculous and broken over and over, scale-shimmered, every harbor-
flung hour

and salt-span of cabled longing, every waterfront, the night-lovers'


1. Exalted or excessively enthusiastic expression of feeling in speech or writing.
2. A literary work written in an impassioned or exalted style.
3. A state of elated bliss; ecstasy.
4. Music A usually instrumental composition of irregular form that often incorporates improvisation.
5. An ancient Greek epic poem or a portion of one suitable for uninterrupted recitation.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


  1. I wish you a peaceful and enjoyable time with you, your self and yourself. I've had Woolf's masterpiece in my to-read list for a long time. Many thanks for the reminder.

    Greetings from London.

  2. Thank you, Cuban. I've had time to walk and write. Across the street, the catalpa tree is in bloom.