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Hymn to Intellectual Beauty by Percy Bysshe Shelley

I

THE AWFUL shadow of some unseen Power

  Floats though unseen among us,—visiting
  This various world with as inconstant wing
As summer winds that creep from flower to flower,—
Like moonbeams that behind some piny mountain shower,         5
    It visits with inconstant glance
    Each human heart and countenance;
Like hues and harmonies of evening,—
    Like clouds in starlight widely spread,—
    Like memory of music fled,—        10
    Like aught that for its grace may be
Dear, and yet dearer for its mystery.
II

Spirit of BEAUTY, that dost consecrate

  With thine own hues all thou dost shine upon
  Of human thought or form,—where art thou gone?        15
Why dost thou pass away and leave our state,
This dim vast vale of tears, vacant and desolate?
    Ask why the sunlight not for ever
    Weaves rainbows o’er yon mountain-river,
Why aught should fail and fade that once is shown,        20
    Why fear and dream and death and birth
    Cast on the daylight of this earth
    Such gloom,—why man has such a scope
For love and hate, despondency and hope?
III

No voice from some sublimer world hath ever

       25
  To sage or poet these responses given—
  Therefore the names of Demon, Ghost, and Heaven,
Remain the records of their vain endeavour,
Frail spells—whose uttered charm might not avail to sever,
    From all we hear and all we see,        30
    Doubt, chance, and mutability.
Thy light alone—like mist o’er mountains driven,
    Or music by the night-wind sent
    Through strings of some still instrument,
    Or moonlight on a midnight stream,        35
Gives grace and truth to life’s unquiet dream.
IV

Love, Hope, and Self-esteem, like clouds depart

  And come, for some uncertain moments lent.
  Man were immortal, and omnipotent,
Didst thou, unknown and awful as thou art,        40
Keep with thy glorious train firm state within his heart.
    Thou messenger of sympathies,
    That wax and wane in lovers’ eyes—
Thou—that to human thought art nourishment,
    Like darkness to a dying flame!        45
    Depart not as thy shadow came,
    Depart not—lest the grave should be,
Like life and fear, a dark reality.
V

While yet a boy I sought for ghosts, and sped

  Through many a listening chamber, cave and ruin,        50
  And starlight wood, with fearful steps pursuing
Hopes of high talk with the departed dead.
I called on poisonous names with which our youth is fed;
    I was not heard—I saw them not—
    When musing deeply on the lot        55
Of life, at that sweet time when winds are wooing
    All vital things that wake to bring
    News of birds and blossoming,—
    Sudden, thy shadow fell on me;
I shrieked, and clasped my hands in ecstasy!        60
VI

I vowed that I would dedicate my powers

  To thee and thine—have I not kept the vow?
  With beating heart and streaming eyes, even now
I call the phantoms of a thousand hours
Each from his voiceless grave: they have in visioned bowers        65
    Of studious zeal or love’s delight
    Outwatched with me the envious night—
They know that never joy illumed my brow
    Unlinked with hope that thou wouldst free
    This world from its dark slavery,        70
    That thou—O awful LOVELINESS,
Wouldst give whate’er these words cannot express.
VII

The day becomes more solemn and serene

  When noon is past—there is a harmony
  In autumn, and a lustre in its sky,        75
Which through the summer is not heard or seen,
As if it could not be, as if it had not been!
    Thus let thy power, which like the truth
    Of nature on my passive youth
Descended, to my onward life supply        80
    Its calm—to one who worships thee,
    And every form containing thee,
    Whom, SPIRIT fair, thy spells did bind
To fear himself, and love all human kind.
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A Haiku dedicated to my cat:

Nico my dearest

such a magnificent cat

she bites at my toes

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(If I’m being honest I kinda just wanted a reason to post a picture of my beautiful cat.)

Quote of the day: 2/4/13

“A man gains a drop of blood per day from eating.
Each night, he gets up to slash himself
Across the face and wrist.
He must be bitten by ten thousand mosquitoes.
He sucks and he sucks.
Where would all that blood go otherwise?
Once a month, a woman drops a teacup on the floor,
A fine teacup with bones inside it.
Vietnamese and Germans now speak the same language.

-from Linh Dinh’s “Conversation Table” which is published in All Around What Empties Out

all-around-what-empties-out-linh-dinh-paperback-cover-art

quote of the day: 1/21/13

    “Her lips began to scorch,

That juice was wormwood to her tongue,

She loathed the feast:

Writhing as one possessed she leaped and sung,

Rent all her robe, and wrung

Her hands in lamentable haste,

And beat her breast.

Her locks streamed like the torch

Borne by a racer at full speed,

Or like the mane of horses in their flight,

Or like an eagle when she stems the light

Straight toward the sun,

Or like a caged things freed ,

Or like a flying flag when armies run”.

-From Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti

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illustration by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

personal notes:

This is another favorite of mine, that I am always pleased to find anthologized within lit. class textbooks. I love the way Rossetti’s style flows in a way that we commonly see in child-like poetry, but that the content is rather hard-hitting as well. I highly recommend reading this in full, rather than just this quote or excerpt.

quote of the day: 1/18/13

“God save thee, ancient Mariner!

From the fiends, that plague thee thus!—

Why look’st thouu so?”—“With my cross-bow

I shot the Albatross.

-From Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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Illustration by Gustav Dore.

1/17/13 quote of the day

“To see a  World in a grain of sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour”.

-William Blake, Auguries of Innocence

personal notes:

I came across this one, this morning in one of my new textbooks, and I have to say it really made me smile. The fact that Blake is anthologized is no big surprise to me, because now he’s someone that commonly pops up in literature classes. I smile, because this is a favorite poem of mine. Such a favorite in fact, that part of it is a permanent part of my body. I love the sense of duality (lightness and darkness) within all of his poetry. Auguries of Innocence really captures this quality in his poetry. It’s definitely a poem that is high on my recommendation list (should I start one of these? I think yes!).

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How could I not share it? This is still of the literary variety, right?

My tattoo was done by the lovely Amber Vail, at Studio 66 in Porterville, CA.