Wednesday, September 11, 2013


This is yesterday's goldenrod that I planned for last night! We will try something besides Centurylink next year in hopes of a more reliable Internet connection, A local provider has put up a tower for wireless transmission and I understand it is working quite well.

And here, slightly out of sequence is the poem I picked last night to go with these late summer flowers.

Summer Solstice

                                             from Osip Mandelstam

Orioles live in the elms, and in classical verse

the length of the vowels alone determines the measure.

Once and once only a year nature knows quantity

stretched to the limit, as in Homer's meter.

O this is a day that yawns like a caesura:

serene from the start, almost painfully slowed.

Oxen browse in the field, and a golden languor

keeps me from drawing a rich, whole note from my reed.

                               ----Stanley Kunitz

From Passing Through by Stanley Kunitz, W.W. Norton, 1995, page 35.

Passing Through contains another translation by Kunitz of a longer poem by the great Russian poet Mandelstam. If you haven't read the two volumes of memoir and history by his widow, Nadezhda Mandelstam, plan to do so, The titles are Hope Against Hope and Hope Abandoned. You get a good sense of Soviet Russia and that whole period of time from them, as well as an introduction to an important and fruitful period in world literature.

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