Saturday, February 27, 2016

Water Music

Do you see my fair jewels, the bare maple said,
and how again and again, they begin where they end?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Plutarch and Plato

Click to Enlarge

The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romanes, compared together
by that grave learned philosopher & historiographer, Plutarke of Chæronea:
Translated out of Greeke into French by James Amyot,
Abbot of Bellozane, Bishop of Auxerre, one of the Kings Privy Counsel,
and Great Amner of Fraunce, and out of French into Englishe,
by Thomas North. Decorated by Thomas Lowinsky.
Eight Volumes. 1928.

So far in my reading this year, it has truly been “all Greek to me,” beginning with an eight-volume set (roughly 3,200 pages) of Plutarch’s Lives in the sixteenth century Thomas North translation, preserved in the gloriously irregular spelling of those days and consulted by Shakespeare, followed by noted Greek scholar Benjamin Jowett’s nineteenth century translations of Plato’s dialogues, the latter in two volumes (about 1,800 pages). Both works are marked by vigor and enthusiasm attributable to their authors and translators alike. They are amazing accomplishments, marvelous reading, inspiring, challenging, thought-provoking, and full of perspective. One thing I have taken away from the process is that the idea that man has not changed is as ludicrous as the idea that he has. (Do I contradict myself? Very well, then.) Another is that Plato and I are in a strange competition to prove which of us is the craziest, he by speaking while dead, and I by answering through the turning of his pages. Oh, yes, we make a fine pair. But seriously (ha), I was, after putting off our engagement all these years, pleased and surprised to learn he has such a delightful sense of humor. That he waited for me, though, is perhaps the funniest thing of all. Nevertheless, it is something for which I will be forever grateful.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Miscellaneous Works of Sir Walter Scott

Click to Enlarge

The Miscellaneous Works of Sir Walter Scott
Including the Lives of Swift and Dryden

Edinburgh : Adam and Charles Black


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Creative Thresholds

Warm thanks to Melissa D. Johnston for sharing a poem, remembrance, and drawing of mine in her blog of arts and literature, Creative Thresholds. It’s an honor to contribute, and we will both be grateful if you come see what she has to share. New work is published the second and fourth Thursdays of each month. A permanent link to Creative Thresholds may also be found in the Reading Room.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Kiss upon kiss

Embracing one another, we forgot to hate,
and forgot to vote, and were so grateful for the moment,
that seeing us that way, our children gathered
around, and somehow this set us all
to weeping, so happy we were,
and so wisely innocent
were they.

I remember too how the dusk and the moon
and the dogs and the birds and the sweet evening air
called out the stars, a grand conspiracy of love,
thousands and thousands of us there were,
millions, rainbows and rivers
and fragrant

Tell me, I said, where have we been,
and how did we ever believe what we did?
but almost before the words had passed my lips,
they were silenced with kiss upon kiss upon kiss,
and then I knew I was among angels, that I
was an angel myself, and that we, all,
were meant, for this.