Beatrice

June 20, 2020

Send out the singers – let the room be still;
They have not eased my pain nor brought me sleep.
Close out the sun, for I would have it dark
That I may feel how black the grave will be.
The sun is setting, for the light is red,
And you are outlined in a golden fire,
Like Ursula upon an altar-screen.
Come, leave the light and sit beside my bed,
For I have had enough of saints and prayers.
Strange broken thoughts are beating in my brain,
They come and vanish and again they come.
It is the fever driving out my soul,
And Death stands waiting by the arras there.

Ornella, I will speak, for soon my lips
Shall keep a silence till the end of time.
You have a mouth for loving – listen then:
Keep tryst with Love before Death comes to tryst;
For I, who die, could wish that I had lived
A little closer to the world of men,
Not watching always thro’ the blazoned panes
That show the world in chilly greens and blues
And grudge the sunshine that would enter in.
I was no part of all the troubled crowd
That moved beneath the palace windows here,
And yet sometimes a knight in shining steel
Would pass and catch the gleaming of my hair,
And wave a mailed hand and smile at me,
Whereat I made no sign and turned away,
Affrighted and yet glad and full of dreams.
Ah, dreams and dreams that asked no answering!
I should have wrought to make my dreams come true,
But all my life was like an autumn day,
Full of gray quiet and a hazy peace.

What was I saying? All is gone again.
It seemed but now I was the little child
Who played within a garden long ago.
Beyond the walls the festal trumpets blared.
Perhaps they carried some Madonna by
With tossing ensigns in a sea of flowers,
A painted Virgin with a painted Child,
Who saw for once the sweetness of the sun
Before they shut her in an altar-niche
Where tapers smoke against the windy gloom.
I gathered roses redder than my gown
And played that I was Saint Elizabeth,
Whose wine had turned to roses in her hands.
And as I played, a child came thro’ the gate,
A boy who looked at me without a word,
As tho’ he saw stretch far behind my head
Long lines of radiant angels, row on row.
That day we spoke a little, timidly,
And after that I never heard the voice
That sang so many songs for love of me.
He was content to stand and watch me pass,
To seek for me at matins every day,
Where I could feel his eyes the while I prayed.
I think if he had stretched his hands to me,
Or moved his lips to say a single word,
I might have loved him – he had wondrous eyes.

Ornella, are you there? I cannot see –
Is every one so lonely when he dies?,
The room is filled with lights – with waving lights –
Who are the men and women ’round the bed?
What have I said, Ornella? Have they heard?
There was no evil hidden in my life,
And yet, and yet, I would not have them know –

Am I not floating in a mist of light?
O lift me up and I shall reach the sun!

Sara Teasdale

The Encounter

May 31, 2020

You came to the side of the bed
and sat staring at me.
Then you kissed me – I felt
hot wax on my forehead.
I wanted it to leave a mark:
that’s how I knew I loved you.
Because I wanted to be burned, stamped,
to have something in the end –
I drew the gown over my head;
a red flush covered my face and shoulders.
It will run its course, the course of fire,
setting a cold coin on the forehead, between the eyes.
You lay beside me; your hand moved over my face
as though you had felt it also –
you must have known, then, how I wanted you.
We will always know that, you and I.
The proof will be my body.

Louise Gluck

Witch-Love

March 12, 2020

When the witch married the sea,
she slept on beds of kelp
and barked in otter-tongue.
She wove capes of tender weeds
and danced widdershins
in the foamy wakes of whales.
Pearls were as common as pennies;
if she wanted to feel rich
she counted all the ocean’s greens,
her tongue a clapper in the bell
of the world, chiming their names.

When the witch married the stone
she learned it is no sin to be hard.
If she craved softness,
she gloved herself in velvet lichens,
coaxed a sparrow to brush its wing
against her bulk.
She studied the fine art of time and tarry.
She tasted weather, suffering nothing
from sleet and snow
except the subtle shiftings of the earth
beneath her form.
Erosion barely pained her till
one winter’s contraction
cracked her.

When the witch married the wind,
she broke free of the field and fled
to woods and wilds, revisited the sea.
She toured the cities,
every tower and alley.
For kicks she became a thief of hats,
a gambler betting on the races
between tumbling newspaper rivals.
She was an artist then:
all through the winter nights
she practiced her singing;
in the summers she danced
dust-storms and tornadoes.

When the witch married the night,
she rose above day’s fret and fever,
tuned herself to hear the planets’
subtle harmonies beyond the silence.
She sculpted faces in the moon.
She began to forget the world below,
which she had loved in many forms.
When star-fire called to her,
she came,
became pure flame,
a passion that never knew
surcease of burning.

Sandi Leibowitz

this fleeting pleasure

January 23, 2020

In love play she clasped him to her with extreme fervour, fiercely and tearfully, as if she wanted once more to extract the last sweet drop from this fleeting pleasure. Never had it been so strangely clear to Siddhartha how closely related passion was to death.

Hermann Hesse

Siddhartha

For Woman, in her weakness, is yet the strongest force upon the earth. She is the helm of all things human; she comes in many shapes and knocks at many doors; she is quick and patient, and her passion is not ungovernable like that of man, but as a gentle steed that she can guide e’en where she will, and as occasion offers can now bit up and now give rein. She has a captain’s eye, and stout must be that fortress of the heart in which she finds no place of vantage. Does thy blood beat fast in youth? She will outrun it, nor will her kisses tire. Art thou set toward ambition? She will unlock thy inner heart, and show thee roads that lead to glory. Art thou worn and weary? She has comfort in her breast. Art thou fallen? She can lift thee up, and to the illusion of thy sense gild defeat with triumph. Ay, Harmachis, she can do these things, for Nature ever fights upon her side; and while she does them she can deceive and shape a secret end in which thou hast no part. And thus Woman rules the world. For her are wars; for her men spend their strength in gathering gains; for her they do well and ill, and seek for greatness, to find oblivion. But still she sits like yonder Sphinx, and smiles; and no man has ever read all the riddle of her smile, or known all the mystery of her heart. Mock not! mock not! Harmachis; for he must be great indeed who can defy the power of Woman, which, pressing round him like the invisible air, is often strongest when the senses least discover it.

H. Rider Haggard
Cleopatra

Recreation

December 27, 2019

Coming together
it is easier to work
after our bodies
meet
paper and pen
neither care nor profit
whether we write or not
but as your body moves
under my hands
charged and waiting
we cut the leash
you create me against your thighs
hilly with images
moving through our word countries
my body
writes into your flesh
the poem
you make of me.

Touching you I catch midnight
as moon fires set in my throat
I love you flesh into blossom
I made you
and take you made
into me.

Audre Lorde

Fever

November 23, 2019

I am the fever that lights your passion
the fire in your night
the storm capsizing your body…

fire storm

October 8, 2019

I’m the fever lighting your passion, a blazing fire in our night – and the fire storm that finally capsizes your body…

You want to know what it was like?
It was like my whole life had a fever.
Whole acres of me were on fire.
The sun talked dirty in my ear all night.
I couldn’t drive past a wheatfield without doing it violence.
I couldn’t even look at a bridge.
I used to go out in the brush sometimes,
So far out there no one could hear me,
And just burn.
I felt all right then.
I couldn’t hurt anyone else.
I was just a pillar of fire.
It wasn’t the burning so much as the loneliness.
It wasn’t the loneliness so much as the fear of being alone.
Christ look at you pouring from the rocks.
You’re so cold you’re boiling over.
You’ve got stars in your hair.
I don’t want to be around you.
I don’t want to drink you in.
I want to walk into the heart of you
And never walk back out.

Nico Alvarado

flexibility exercises help keep us mobile and active –


playing the piano – Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No 2 is one of the most popular and recognisable concertos in the classical repertoire


or practice your violin


Or make love


or drown him in passion


or simply sweep him off his feet


or failing that just go to the beach and sunbathe