18 February 99

Quite a few years ago now, Bru's Mom gave me a nice boxed copy of The Oxford Book of English Verse. As an overview of English verse, I find the collection limited, but, the book is kept in the case by my bed, and, from time to time, I open it at random to see if anyone will speak to me.

Today: a dull, cold-- though not bitterly so-- damp, February day. A day conducive to introspection, resluting in a little light depression. Opening the book, I found these on adjacent pages:

Late Wisdom

We've trod the maze of error round,
     Long wandering in the winding glade;
And now the torch of truth is found,
     It only shows us where we strayed:
By long experience taught, we know--
     Can rightly judge of friends and foes;
Can all the worth of these allow,
     And all the faults discern in those.

Now, 'tis our boast that we can quell
     The wildest passions in their rage,
Can their destructive force repel,
     And their impetuous wrath assuage.--
Ah, Virtue! dost thou arm when now
     This bold rebellious race are fled?
When all these tyrants rest, and thou
     Art warring with the mighty dead?

--George Crabbe (1754-1832)

It's the not getting too excited about anything that makes me feel horribly aged. I hope I haven't spent all my passion yet. That frightens me. I remember reading All Passion Spent by Sackville-West because I found the title so morbidly fascinating. I've known great passions in my life, passions of all kinds. I've had passions that have truly burned in me. But those passions burned out. They burned hot and completely until nothing was left. The emptiness is what frightens me. I keep thinking that eventually I'll burn all of my insides out. Then what will I be?

To the Muses

Whether on Ida's shady brow
     Or in the chambers of the East,
The chambers of the Sun, that now
     From ancient melody have ceased;

Whether in heaven ye wander fair,
     Or the green corners of the earth,
Or the blue regions of the air
     Where the melodious winds have birth;

Whether on crystal rocks ye rove,
     Beneath the bosom of the sea,
Wandering in many a coral grove;
     Fair Nine, forsaking Poetry;

How have you left the ancient love
     That bards of old enjoy'd in you!
The languid strings do scarcely move,
     The sound is forced, the notes are few.

-- William Blake (1757-1827)

My writing has been going badly-- who am I kidding? It hasn't been "going" at all! I hope the Muses come back from wherever it is they've gone-- Aruba? St. Bart's?-- because I'm stuck here in this February weather and not likely to be traveling soon. Rats. But, if you can get away, Rolling Stone's last issue (the one with Jennifer Aniston on the cover) had a list of sites:


Be sure to send me a postcard!


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