Thursday, May 7, 2009

shadows from the past light the present

Chiarascuro: Rose
by Conrad Aiken


Fill your bowl with roses: the bowl, too, have of crystal.
Sit at the western window. Take the sun
Between your hands like a ball of flaming crystal,
Poise it to let it fall, but hold it still,
And meditate on the beauty of your existence;
The beauty of this, that you exist at all.


The sun goes down,—but without lamentation.
I close my eyes, and the stream of my sensation
In this, at least, grows clear to me:
Beauty is a word that has no meaning.
Beauty is naught to me.


The last blurred raindrops fall from the half-clear sky,
Eddying lightly, rose-tinged, in the windless wake of the sun.
The swallow ascending against cold waves of cloud
Seems winging upward over huge bleak stairs of stone.
The raindrop finds its way to the heart of the leaf-bud.
But no word finds its way to the heart of you.


This also is clear in the stream of my sensation:
That I am content, for the moment, Let me be.
How light the new grass looks with the rain-dust on it!
But heart is a word that has no meaning,
Heart means nothing to me.


To the end of the world I pass and back again
In flights of the mind; yet always find you here,
Remote, pale, unattached . . . O Circe-too-clear-eyed,
Watching amused your fawning tiger-thoughts,
Your wolves, your grotesque apes—relent, relent!
Be less wary for once: it is the evening.


But if I close my eyes what howlings greet me!
Do not persuade. Be tranquil. Here is flesh
With all its demons. Take it, sate yourself.
But leave my thoughts to me.

Ethel Clayton by Samuel Lumiere
Lionel Barrymore by James Abbe



Sarah Sofia Ganborg said...

Thanks for your very nice and meaningful comments!

I loved the old cookbook below and the postcard is also very pretty. Such old things do really have their charme and many old recipees can often be quite healthy and tasty!

The two pictures above are quite artistic abnd expressive!
But i think, i like the lady's photo best. there are just so many details.
Interesting poem, too!

the watercats said...

This is such a strange feeling poem.. It is slightly uncomfortable to read, but at the same time, fascinating! It is almost voyeuristic or something..?
I like the line; "watching amused your fawning tiger-thoughts"..Brings such a great image! cheers!

Beth Niquette said...

WOW! How lovely are your words. My goodness! You have a very special gifting.

Marie Reed said...

This is absolutely gripping! I am caught in the clutches of this powerful poem!

PS. I WANT her hat!

RB said...

So beautiful. That's one of those poems that also makes me feel a little more sane.

francessa said...

Beautiful poem and photos! Was Samuel Lumiere one of the Lumiere brothers?

Looking to the Stars said...

Lydia, this is soooo beautiful. I love the pics!

Lydia said...

@Sarah Sofia- I'm glad you enjoyed these. I had some fun looking at old Broadway photography to find faces/poses that seemed to fit the poem.

@the watercats- "It is almost voyeuristic or something..?" You hit the nail on the head with that statement. Thanks for your comments!

@Beth- Oh, no! These aren't my words. The poem is by Conrad Aiken. I admire his work, and so do you!

@Marie- That hat would be a prize to own! I remember reading in a magazine some years ago about a young woman designer in New York who did nothing but hats, some copies of vintage ones and some all new design.

@RB- I totally get what you mean about the poem making you feel a little more sane.

@Francessa- Glad you liked them. Now you ask a question that I cannot answer because I don't know who the Lumiere Brothers were! If they were photographers then that's probably one of them. I must look into this!

@Looking to the Stars- I thought it was too. There are some truly amazing old photographs out there on the web. I could get lost in them!

Marie Reed said...

Happy Friday my dear!

Mandala Michelle said...

Oh, his eyes! I'll be seeing those all day, he is so handsome, striking. And her beauty is timeless. What a wonderful post, thank you for putting so much time into that. It was a great read.

Debby said...

Love the pics and the poem! Awesome!

Robin said...

Lovely card....more lovely are your words....

Have a beautiful weekend.

Terry said...

what an enchanting arrangement of words.
I could not stop from the moment I began reading.
All the colors of life being lived .
I had to hurry over and sign in . So now I am an official follower and will not miss out on any other brilliant words you post .
This was my first real visit
as I have had computer problems ,
I am so glad I returned !
What an excellent post you have today.
Thank you for sharing .
Happy PFF.
Have a wonderful weekend.

Daryl said...

Wonderful .. I dont know who Ethel Clayton was .. but this is fabulous none the less

Darlene said...

It's nice to see Lionel Barrymore as a young man. I remember him in so many movies after he aged.

Ethel Clayton looks like Clara Bow of the cupid's bow mouth.

I loved wearing hats and was sorry to see them fall out of fashion. They keep trying to return, but it never catches on.

Lydia said...

@Marie- And to you!

@Mandala Michelle- Your blog name and profile photo are great! I'm glad you enjoyed this. I can really see Drew Barrymore in his face, but I'm not sure exactly which feature(s) she inherited. Maybe it's just the mixture!

@Debby- So glad you enjoyed them. :)

@Robin- What a nice thing for you to say! I love your beautiful Robin portrait avatar.

@Terry- Your enthusiasm made my day! Thanks for everything! I think it might confuse people that my postcards are posted on Wednesdays, which I began doing last year. Marie has encouraged me to still sign into PFF and I love being a part of it all.

@Daryl- I had never heard of Ethel Clayton, either. So when it happened that her portrait seemed to fit the poem I did some reading on her. It's sad that some who made it big in their day are complete unknown to following generations, but nice that they had their day in the sun!

@Darlene- I said "Wow" out loud when I saw the photo of Barrymore. What a handsome guy! See my comments to Daryl regarding Clayton. I do know who Clara Bow was because my mother told me about her.
You'd look great in hats. I wear them in the summer as sun protection but secretly I just love wearing them!

Rhiannon said...

I absolutely love the second very beautiful those sepia brown tones with photos "back in the day". I just love vintage photos too..women with their hair piled on top of their head with tendrils on the sides of their face, so lovely and so very feminine..

I especially love photos taken late 1800's to early 1900's...I have always felt very strongly that I belonged in that time, not in "this time" at all..I still feel that way. I always say to others "I'm somewhere in time" just like that movie with Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeves "Richard"!!! I loved that movie and have watched it over and over..the lovely tea dresses and upswept hair and so very feminine.

Ah, you take me back another time where women were allowed to feel and be feminine without regrets..

Thank you.



Lydia said...

@Rhi- Wow, you were as taken with that photo as I was. The more I look at it the deeper it goes. Had never heard of Ethel Clayton and really needed to read about her after seeing this shot. She really had a presence with the camera.....and with her own time. I love the old photos too, and adore the movie you mentioned. My sister, her husband and their two teen sons went to Mackinaw Island for vacation last year and she sent me a t-shirt with a Somewhere in Time theme! BTW, I really envied her going there as that is a vacation spot I know I would love.



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