Monday, August 13, 2018

Bat by D.H. Lawrence

At evening, sitting on this terrace, 
When the sun from the west, beyond Pisa, beyond the mountains of Carrara 
Departs, and the world is taken by surprise ... 

When the tired flower of Florence is in gloom beneath the glowing 
Brown hills surrounding ... 

When under the arches of the Ponte Vecchio 
A green light enters against stream, flush from the west, 
Against the current of obscure Arno ... 

Look up, and you see things flying 
Between the day and the night; 
Swallows with spools of dark thread sewing the shadows together. 

A circle swoop, and a quick parabola under the bridge arches 
Where light pushes through; 
A sudden turning upon itself of a thing in the air. 
A dip to the water. 

And you think: 
"The swallows are flying so late!" 

Swallows? 

Dark air-life looping 
Yet missing the pure loop ... 
A twitch, a twitter, an elastic shudder in flight 
And serrated wings against the sky, 
Like a glove, a black glove thrown up at the light, 
And falling back. 

Never swallows! 
Bats! 
The swallows are gone. 

At a wavering instant the swallows gave way to bats 
By the Ponte Vecchio ... 
Changing guard. 

Bats, and an uneasy creeping in one's scalp 
As the bats swoop overhead! 
Flying madly. 

Pipistrello! 
Black piper on an infinitesimal pipe. 
Little lumps that fly in air and have voices indefinite, wildly vindictive; 

Wings like bits of umbrella. 

Bats! 

Creatures that hang themselves up like an old rag, to sleep; 
And disgustingly upside down. 

Hanging upside down like rows of disgusting old rags 
And grinning in their sleep. 
Bats! 

In China the bat is symbol for happiness.

Not for me!


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Turning Into Paper by David Dvorscak


 My father is all flattened out.
Right under the noses of the family and the neighbors,
somehow he turned into paper and slipped under the door.

He never was a giant man, just a normal, everyday-sized dad.
And he did all the normal everyday-sized things in an everyday-type world.
No one ever saw him in the newspaper until now.

One marriage, four kids, one divorce
fixing cars and playing cards and a career in government work
giving blood, giving a damn, drinking beer and wine and praying
sailing off in World War II for a world worthy of saving
loving his kids and loving his god
finding friendship in odd places -
funny how it all shrinks down to pages.
Who knew life would fit into a box – some files and frames?
Who knew that paper would become a metaphor for pain?
I’d like to leave it all out in the rain.

Forms to fill and signatures and dates to be recorded,
magazines and bills still trickle in a wait there to be sorted.
Somehow you’d think it would be more magical – worth a ticket, worth a glance –when a man turns into paper.
A one-time trick no second chance – laughter pressed into the rustling of pages, anger and sarcasm stacked up for all the ages
This is not a trick I’d pay to see again.

Should there be more than this when we get to the ending of the race?
Home movies flattened onto DVD to prevent the fading of the face?
But it’s all in two dimensions and despite everyone’s intentions,
my father is all flattened out.



David Dvorscak for Synethesia 2016

Friday, September 15, 2017

Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot


Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question ...
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes,
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair —
(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”)
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin —
(They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”)
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
               So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
               And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
(But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!)
Is it perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
               And should I then presume?
               And how should I begin?

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? ...

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep ... tired ... or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet — and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it towards some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—
If one, settling a pillow by her head
               Should say: “That is not what I meant at all;
               That is not it, at all.”

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
               “That is not it at all,
               That is not what I meant, at all.”

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old ... I grow old ...
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind?   Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

The Wasteland (Part I) by T.S. Eliot

FOR EZRA POUND
                               
              I. The Burial of the Dead
  








April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing 
Memory and desire, stirring 
Dull roots with spring rain. 
Winter kept us warm, covering 
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding 
A little life with dried tubers. 
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee 
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade, 
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten, 
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour. 
Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch. 
And when we were children, staying at the arch-duke’s, 
My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled, 
And I was frightened. He said, Marie, 
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went. 
In the mountains, there you feel free
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter. 

  What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow 
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man, 
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only 
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats, 
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief, 
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only 
There is shadow under this red rock, 
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock), 
And I will show you something different from either 
Your shadow at morning striding behind you 
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you; 
I will show you fear in a handful of dust. 
                      Frisch weht der Wind 
                      Der Heimat zu 
                      Mein Irisch Kind, 
                      Wo weilest du? 
“You gave me hyacinths first a year ago; 
“They called me the hyacinth girl.”
—Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden, 
Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not 
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither 
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing, 
Looking into the heart of light, the silence. 
Oed’ und leer das Meer

  Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante, 
Had a bad cold, nevertheless 
Is known to be the wisest woman in Europe, 
With a wicked pack of cards. Here, said she, 
Is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor, 
(Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!) 
Here is Belladonna, the Lady of the Rocks, 
The lady of situations. 
Here is the man with three staves, and here the Wheel, 
And here is the one-eyed merchant, and this card, 
Which is blank, is something he carries on his back, 
Which I am forbidden to see. I do not find 
The Hanged Man. Fear death by water. 
I see crowds of people, walking round in a ring. 
Thank you. If you see dear Mrs. Equitone, 
Tell her I bring the horoscope myself: 
One must be so careful these days. 

  Unreal City, 
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn, 
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many, 
I had not thought death had undone so many. 
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled, 
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet. 
Flowed up the hill and down King William Street, 
To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours 
With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine. 
There I saw one I knew, and stopped him, crying: “Stetson! 
“You who were with me in the ships at Mylae! 
“That corpse you planted last year in your garden, 
“Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year? 
“Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed? 
“Oh keep the Dog far hence, that’s friend to men, 
“Or with his nails he’ll dig it up again! 
“You! hypocrite lecteur!—mon semblable,—mon frère!”

The Wasteland (Part II) by T.S. Eliot

              II. A Game of Chess


The Chair she sat in, like a burnished throne, 
Glowed on the marble, where the glass 
Held up by standards wrought with fruited vines 
From which a golden Cupidon peeped out 
(Another hid his eyes behind his wing) 
Doubled the flames of sevenbranched candelabra 
Reflecting light upon the table as 
The glitter of her jewels rose to meet it, 
From satin cases poured in rich profusion; 
In vials of ivory and coloured glass 
Unstoppered, lurked her strange synthetic perfumes, 
Unguent, powdered, or liquid—troubled, confused 
And drowned the sense in odours; stirred by the air 
That freshened from the window, these ascended 
In fattening the prolonged candle-flames, 
Flung their smoke into the laquearia, 
Stirring the pattern on the coffered ceiling. 
Huge sea-wood fed with copper 
Burned green and orange, framed by the coloured stone, 
In which sad light a carvéd dolphin swam. 
Above the antique mantel was displayed 
As though a window gave upon the sylvan scene 
The change of Philomel, by the barbarous king 
So rudely forced; yet there the nightingale 
Filled all the desert with inviolable voice 
And still she cried, and still the world pursues, 
“Jug Jug” to dirty ears. 
And other withered stumps of time 
Were told upon the walls; staring forms 
Leaned out, leaning, hushing the room enclosed. 
Footsteps shuffled on the stair. 
Under the firelight, under the brush, her hair 
Spread out in fiery points 
Glowed into words, then would be savagely still. 

  “My nerves are bad tonight. Yes, bad. Stay with me. 
“Speak to me. Why do you never speak. Speak. 
  “What are you thinking of? What thinking? What? 
“I never know what you are thinking. Think.”

  I think we are in rats’ alley 
Where the dead men lost their bones. 

  “What is that noise?”
                          The wind under the door. 
“What is that noise now? What is the wind doing?” 
                           Nothing again nothing. 
                                                        “Do 
“You know nothing? Do you see nothing? Do you remember 
“Nothing?”

       I remember 
Those are pearls that were his eyes. 
“Are you alive, or not? Is there nothing in your head?”   
           
                                                                           But 
O O O O that Shakespeherian Rag— 
It’s so elegant 
So intelligent 
“What shall I do now? What shall I do?” 
“I shall rush out as I am, and walk the street 
“With my hair down, so. What shall we do tomorrow? 
“What shall we ever do?” 
                                               The hot water at ten. 
And if it rains, a closed car at four. 
And we shall play a game of chess, 
Pressing lidless eyes and waiting for a knock upon the door. 

  When Lil’s husband got demobbed, I said— 
I didn’t mince my words, I said to her myself, 
HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME 
Now Albert’s coming back, make yourself a bit smart. 
He’ll want to know what you done with that money he gave you 
To get yourself some teeth. He did, I was there. 
You have them all out, Lil, and get a nice set, 
He said, I swear, I can’t bear to look at you. 
And no more can’t I, I said, and think of poor Albert, 
He’s been in the army four years, he wants a good time, 
And if you don’t give it him, there’s others will, I said. 
Oh is there, she said. Something o’ that, I said. 
Then I’ll know who to thank, she said, and give me a straight look. 
HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME 
If you don’t like it you can get on with it, I said.
Others can pick and choose if you can’t. 
But if Albert makes off, it won’t be for lack of telling. 
You ought to be ashamed, I said, to look so antique. 
(And her only thirty-one.) 
I can’t help it, she said, pulling a long face, 
It’s them pills I took, to bring it off, she said. 
(She’s had five already, and nearly died of young George.) 
The chemist said it would be all right, but I’ve never been the same. 
You are a proper fool, I said. 
Well, if Albert won’t leave you alone, there it is, I said, 
What you get married for if you don’t want children? 
HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME 
Well, that Sunday Albert was home, they had a hot gammon, 
And they asked me in to dinner, to get the beauty of it hot— 
HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME 
HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME 
Goonight Bill. Goonight Lou. Goonight May. Goonight. 
Ta ta. Goonight. Goonight. 
Good night, ladies, good night, sweet ladies, good night, good night.