When Hades decided he loved this girl—
he built for her a duplicate of earth,
everything the same, down to the meadow,
but with a bed added.
Everything the same, including sunlight,
because it would be hard on a young girl
to go so quickly from bright light to utter darkness.
Gradually, he thought, he’d introduce the night,
first as the shadows of fluttering leaves.
Then moon, then stars. Then no moon, no stars.
Let Persephone get used to it slowly.
In the end, he thought, she’d find it comforting.
A replica of earth
except there was love here.
Doesn’t everyone want love?
He waited many years,
building a world, watching
Persephone in the meadow.
Persephone, a smeller, a taster.
If you have one appetite, he thought,
you have them all.
Doesn’t everyone want to feel in the night
the beloved body, compass, polestar,
to hear the quiet breathing that says
I am alive, that means also
you are alive, because you hear me,
you are here with me. And when one turns,
the other turns—
That’s what he felt, the lord of darkness,
looking at the world he had
constructed for Persephone. It never crossed his mind
that there’d be no more smelling here,
certainly no more eating.
Guilt? Terror? The fear of love?
These things he couldn’t imagine;
no lover ever imagines them.
He dreams, he wonders what to call this place.
First he thinks: The New Hell. Then: The Garden.
In the end, he decides to name it
A soft light rising above the level meadow,
behind the bed. He takes her in his arms.
He wants to say I love you, nothing can hurt you
but he thinks
this is a lie, so he says in the end
you’re dead, nothing can hurt you
which seems to him
a more promising beginning, more true.
A Myth of Devotion, Louise Glück (via misssecretagent)
Nabokov’s poignant farewell to his native language. Very possibly my favorite poem of all time.
Softest of Tongues
To many things I’ve said the word that cheats
the lips and leaves them parted (thus: prash-chai
which means “good-bye”) — to furnished flats, to streets,
to milk-white letters melting in the sky;
to drab designs that habit seldom sees,
to novels interrupted by the din
of tunnels, annotated by quick trees,
abandoned with a squashed banana skin;
to a dim waiter in a dimmer town,
to cuts that healed and to a thumbless glove;
also to things of lyrical renown
perhaps more universal, such as love.
Thus life has been an endless line of land
receding endlessly…. And so that’s that,
you say under your breath, and wave your hand,
and then your handkerchief, and then your hat.
To all these things I’ve said the fatal word,
using a tongue I had so tuned and tamed
that — like some ancient sonneteer — I heard
its echoes by posterity acclaimed.
But now thou too must go; just here we part,
softest of tongues, my true one, all my own….
And I am left to grope for heart and art
and start anew with clumsy tools of stone.
by Vladimir Nabokov
source: The Atlantic
It’s impossible to forget someone who
gave you so much to remember.
In the slightest stir of the breeze takes
you to a place where if there was a chance
you’d never want to leave.
Or in the echo of a familiar song,
your heart starts to sing its harmony
and paint a smile upon your lips.
Even as the night turns up the fear,
you look up to the twinkling eyes above
and find yourself wishing upon them.
Just how do you forget someone who
gave you everything to live for?
Home is where one starts from. As we grow older— T.S. Eliot, from “East Coker” from Four Quartets (via awritersruminations)
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
There is a time for the evening under starlight,
A time for the evening under lamplight
(The evening with the photograph album).
Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.
I want you to;
Frame the soft outline of my face,
To the rugged curve of your palms…
Twirl the tiny whispers of sunlight,
Caught in the last strands of my hair…
Trace the goose bumps on my skin,
With the warmth of your touch…
Hold my hand for a while,
Make it feel like a lifetime.
Don’t Go Far Off
Don’t go far off, not even for a day, because —
because — I don’t know how to say it: a day is long
and I will be waiting for you, as in an empty station
when the trains are parked off somewhere else, asleep.
Don’t leave me, even for an hour, because
then the little drops of anguish will all run together,
the smoke that roams looking for a home will drift
into me, choking my lost heart.
Oh, may your silhouette never dissolve on the beach;
may your eyelids never flutter into the empty distance.
Don’t leave me for a second, my dearest,
because in that moment you’ll have gone so far
I’ll wander mazily over all the earth, asking,
Will you come back? Will you leave me here, dying?
Pablo Neruda, Don’t Go Far Off
snapshots of them.
how easily your
fingers melt into mine,
the silence between us
singing its lullaby to my soul.
when i think of you
it’s not your face I see
but the sudden waves
of deep content I fall into
as if i’ve been there a million times before
The old are kind.— Leonard Cohen, Sorrows of the Elderly
The young are hot.
Love may be blind.
Desire is not.
You go your way— Leonard Cohen, The Sweetest Little Song
I’ll go your way too
Today, from a distance, I saw you,
walking away, and without a sound
the glittering face of a glacier
slid into the sea. An ancient oak
fell in the Cumberlands, holding only
a handful of leaves, and an old woman
scattering corn to her chickens looked up
for an instant. At the other side
of the galaxy, a star thirty-five times
the size of our own sun exploded
and vanished, leaving a small green spot
on the astronomer’s retina
as he stood on the great open dome
of my heart with no one to tell.