Splendors of June

One of the many pleasures of summer in my city is the antiquarian book fair.  I picked up a lovely volume this go-round with gorgeous illuminated poems, The Old Garden by Margaret Deland, “decorated” by Walter Crane.  First American edition, 1894.  Here’s a little snippet of “Summer” in honor of the season!

Plus some lovely flowers from the garden and my little “special corner” setup:

Love,
arrow

Wine and Spirits

“The soul takes flight to the world that is invisible, but there arriving, she is sure of bliss, and forever dwells in paradise.”

-Plato

 

 

The image above is a scan of one page from a favorite copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam that I came across by chance a few years back.  It is a simple facsimile of the priceless manuscript copy with jeweled binding that was lost with the sinking of the Titanic 99 years ago this April.  One of its creators, Francis Sangorski, also drowned in 1912.

The book of Persian quatrains looks unabashedly at Death, for having enjoyed a full life, one cannot shy from its restful counterpart.

 

But still the Vine her ancient Ruby yields,
And still a garden by the water blows…

~arrow

The Stolen Child

On the subject of changelings, I read a lovely novel about changelings not so long ago, that I really ought to recommend. It’s called “The Stolen Child” by Keith Donohue.  If you are remotely drawn to the fairy tale genre geared towards adults, this is a thought-provoking and colorful read.

But now for your instant reading gratification, here is a rather somber poem, from the compassionate changeling himself:

WHERE dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we’ve hid our faery vats,
Full of berrys
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim gray sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Away with us he’s going,
The solemn-eyed:
He’ll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest.
For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than he can understand.

– W. B. Yeats

With a faery, hand in hand,
arrow

P.S.  A painting entitled “Changeling 2” – an unsettling image of a young girl’s glowing face – won the London National Gallery’s BP Portrait Award in 2009.  I’m sensing a comeback.

Setting Out in September

Well, here we are!  Welcome to my very first post! September has barely taken its first breath, and already the chill of frost is seeping through my window screens. I try not to be hasty with the passing of one season to the next (a sure path to disappointment), but I will admit that I am looking forward to the joys brought on by fall. The bright-colored leaves, pecks of hand-picked apples, baked acorn squash with butter and brown sugar, a bounty of black walnuts… all of these together serve to soften, to some extent, the grief of a summer too fleeting. It’s a beautiful sadness, though, in my mind.

In honor of the turning, a poem by Ono no Komachi of the Japanese Court, translated by Jane Hirshfield and Mariko Aratani:

Seeing the moonlight
spilling down
through these trees,
my heart fills to the brim
with autumn.

Love,
arrow