But for a little while now, I have begun to hear again very clearly, if I take care to listen, the sobs that I was strong enough to contain in front of my father and that broke out only when I found myself alone again with Mama. They have never really stopped; and it is only because life is now becoming quieter around me that I can hear them again, like those convent bells covered so well by the clamor of the town during the day that one would think they had ceased altogether but which begin sounding again in the silence of the evening.
Noun. anthropomorphization (countable and uncountable, plural anthropomorphizations) endowing with human qualities. attributing human characteristics to something that is nonhuman.
I thought of the countless hours I had spent in math classes determining how long it took those three musketeers of math pedagogy, A, B and C, rowing at different speeds, to reach a certain bend in the river. No suspense about the outcome relieved the monotony of those races, for the three rowers were as foreordained as figures in a morality play to finish in the same order. It was a matter of character. A was strong and handsome, honest and decent, patriotic and God-fearing; B was plucky but flawed, fated to catch his oar on a rock just when victory seemed possible; and C was the amiable bumbler who is every one of us, capsizing in the stream. I always hoped for an upset—for C to redeem the best dreams of life’s losers, or at least for B to redeem the best dreams of life’s runners-up. It was not to be; in algebra textbooks, life’s races were rigged.
Zinsser, William. Writing to Learn
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But don’t hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you’re old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn’t have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.
People get ready, there’s a train comin’
You don’t need no baggage, you just get on board
All you need is faith to hear the diesels hummin’
You don’t need no ticket you just thank the lord
People get ready, there’s a train to Jordan
Picking up passengers coast to coast
Faith is the key, open the doors and board them
There’s hope for all among those loved the most
There ain’t no room for the hopeless sinner whom would hurt all mankind
Just to save his own
Have pity on those whose chances grow thinner
For there is no hiding place against the kingdoms throne
People get ready there’s a train comin’
You don’t need no baggage, just get on board
All you need is faith to hear the diesels hummin’
You don’t need no ticket, just thank the lord.
Hay una línea de Verlaine que no volveré a recordar,
Hay una calle próxima que está vedada a mis pasos,
Hay un espejo que me ha visto por última vez,
Hay una puerta que he cerrado hasta el fin del mundo
Entre los libros de mi biblioteca (estoy viéndolos)
Hay alguno que ya nunca abriré,
Este verano cumpliré cincuenta años;
La muerte me desgasta, incesante.
—de Inscripciones (Montevideo, 1923), de Julio Platero Haedo
There is a line by Verlaine that I will not remember again.
There is a street nearby that is off limits to my feet.
There is a mirror that has seen me for the last time.
There is a door I have closed until the end of the world.
Among the books in my library (I’m looking at them now)
Are some I will never open.
This summer I will be fifty years old.
Death is using me up, relentlessly.
—from Inscriptions (Montevideo, 1923) by Julio Platero Haedo
Poems of the Night: A Dual-Language Edition with Parallel Text (Penguin Classics)
Jorge Luis Borges
Thanks in old age – thanks ere I go,
For health, the midday sun, the impalpable air – for life, mere
For precious ever-lingering memories, (of you my mother dear
– you, father – you, brothers, sisters, friends,)
For all my days – not those of peace alone – the days of war the
For gentle words, caresses, gifts from foreign lands,
For shelter, wine and meat – for sweet appreciation,
(You distant, dim unknown – or young or old – countless, un-
specified, readers belov’d,
We never met, and ne’er shall meet – and yet our souls embrace,
long, close and long;)
For beings, groups, love, deeds, words, books – for colors, forms,
For all the brave strong men – devoted, hardy men – who’ve for-
ward sprung in freedom’s help, all years, all lands,
For braver, stronger, more devoted men – (a special laurel ere I
go, to life’s war’s chosen ones,
The cannoneers of song and thought – the great artillerists—the
foremost leaders, captains of the soul:)
As soldier from an ended war return’d – As traveler out of
myriads, to the long procession retrospective,
Thanks – joyful thanks! – a soldier’s, traveler’s thanks.
Sung at the Completion of the Battle Monument, July 4, 1837
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world.
The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.
On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set today a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.
Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
ENGLAND IN 1819
An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying King;
Princes, the dregs of their dull race, who flow
Through public scorn,—mud from a muddy spring;
Rulers who neither see nor feel nor know,
But leechlike to their fainting country cling
Till they drop, blind in blood, without a blow.
A people starved and stabbed in th’ untilled field;
An army, whom liberticide and prey
Makes as a two-edged sword to all who wield;
Golden and sanguine laws which tempt and slay;
Religion Christless, Godless—a book sealed;
A senate, Time’s worst statute, unrepealed—
Are graves from which a glorious Phantom may
Burst, to illumine our tempestuous day.
The sonnet describes a very forlorn reality. The poem passionately attacks, as the poet sees it, England’s decadent, oppressive ruling class. King George III is described as “old, mad, blind, despised, and dying”. The “leech-like” nobility (“princes”) metaphorically suck the blood from the people, who are, in the sonnet, oppressed, hungry, and hopeless, their fields untilled. Meanwhile, the army is corrupt and dangerous to liberty, the laws are harsh and useless, religion has lost its morality, and Parliament (the “Senate”) is a relic. In addition, the civil rights of the Catholic minority are non-existent “Time’s worst statute unrepealed”. In a startling burst of optimism, the last two lines express the hope that a “glorious Phantom” may spring forth from this decay and “illumine our tempestuous day”.
This poem was written as a response to the brutal Peterloo Massacre in August 1819.
A day so happy.
Fog lifted early, I worked in the garden.
Hummingbirds were stopping over honeysuckle
There was no thing on earth I wanted to possess.
I knew no one worth my envying him.
Whatever evil I had suffered, I forgot.
To think that once I was the same man did not
In my body I felt no pain.
When straightening up, I saw the blue sea and sails.
Poems of Gratitude, edited by Emily Fragos
Faster than fairies, faster than witches,
Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches;
And charging along like troops in a battle,
All through the meadows the horses and cattle:
All of the sights of the hill and the plain
Fly as thick as driving rain;
And ever again, in the wink of an eye,
Painted stations whistle by.
Here is a child who clambers and scrambles,
All by himself and gathering brambles;
Here is a tramp who stands and gazes;
And there is the green for stringing the daisies!
Here is a cart run away in the road
Lumping along with man and load;
And here is a mill and there is a river:
Each a glimpse and gone for ever!