Monday, June 27, 2022

Saint Sebastian, Antonello da Messina, 1476-77

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Nonno's poem

How calmly does the olive branch
Observe the sky begin to blanch
Without a cry, without a prayer
With no betrayal of despair
Some time while light obscures the tree
The zenith of its life will be
Gone past forever
And from thence
A second history will commence
A chronicle no longer gold
A bargaining with mist and mold
And finally the broken stem
The plummeting to earth, and then
An intercourse not well designed
For beings of a golden kind
Whose native green must arch above
The earth's obscene corrupting love
And still the ripe fruit and the branch
Observe the sky begin to blanch
Without a cry, without a prayer
With no betrayal of despair
Oh courage! Could you not as well
Select a second place to dwell
Not only in that golden tree
But in the frightened heart of me?
- Tennessee Williams, from "The Night of the Iguana".

 

Saturday, October 30, 2021

When grief for fictions idle words 
More real than human life appears,
Reflect that life itself's a dream
And do not mock the readers tears.

- the last lines of "The Story of the Stone, Volume V: The Dreamer Wakes" by Cao Xueqin and Gao E, tr. John Minford.

Monday, October 11, 2021

 

Charms and Holy Water are Used to Exorcize Prospect Garden. Source: Sun Wen, Illustrations for the Complete Dream of the Red Chamber.


"The menfolk of both Rong-guo and Ning-guo House had taken courage from the presence of the priests, and were gathered in the Garden to watch the demon-hunt."

Since at first there was no space,
Things can have no proper place.
From Void all comes;
To void must all return.

- from "The Story of the Stone, Volume IV: The Debt of Tears" by Cao Xueqin and Gao E, tr. John Minford.

Monday, August 16, 2021

The gates of hell are open night and day;
Smooth the descent, and easy is the way:
But to return, and view the cheerful skies,
In this the task and mighty labor lies.

- Virgil, Aeneid, Book VI, tr. John Dryden

Thursday, July 15, 2021

 

Portrait of a Young Man, Bronzino, 1550- 1555