What are we dealing with here for example when Keats studies the Grecian Urn —one sensibility seen through another across the ages the melodic silence of expectation and the timeless anticipation of desire’s fulfilment
but also how the world is held in the mind how it is turned over and examined by a forensic poetry looking for evidence and recording an affirmation of beauty the collateral of which is truth all in the warm teasing sensual pant of poetry
It is the intensity of objects that Keats captured in the Grecian Urn an energy derived not merely from the bridal narrative nor the implied music piped down the centuries but from time manifest shaped by the potter’s temporal hand the craftsman who one day rose from his bed and set about his daily work
Art first and foremost a matter of shaping matter whether it be air or stone or words or clay or an arrangement of complex or simple movements A labour of love it is a necessary confection of heart and soul
Form is creation the means by which we raise our humanity above senseless nature and form is relationship a structure shaped by content an elemental marriage
Creation is that which adds and alters despises the replica and scorns the dour dullness of endless duplication Beauty is the animation of truth — truth the animation of beauty there is no silence there is no stasis expression in all things : the status quo is a lie
the energy that binds one thing with another the energy that moves in me and through me and all around me the energy that I carry forward into new enterprises new manifestations of myself and my interaction with all the other energies that surround me
The pulse in all things in Attic shapes in the rose in her lips and in my song
When was it Wallace asks that the particles became the whole man ?
Whose hand shaped the clay into what became the Grecian urn ? Clay working upon clay Whose hand hardened it in the fire so that it would be there for all time ?
A breathing human passion The energy to create and so direct those energies to a precise purpose earth to earthenware clay to Keats poet to poetry truth to beauty
Two poems for this season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, written by the renowned Galician poet, Rosalía de Castro (1837-1885). Rosalía was born in Santiago de Compostela, in the Spanish province of Galicia and wrote both in Spanish and Galician. At the time the Galician language was considered to be inferior, a language to be used by the peasantry and not in polite, sophisticated society. However, the highly educated Rosalía de Castro, an advocate of women’s rights, was also a key figure in the Galician romantic movement, known today as the Rexurdimento, or renaissance.
The poetry is inevitably marked by the romantic mood of the day in which expressions of saudade (nostalgia) and melancholy were dominant. Nevertheless, it is for her great poetic gift in the Galician language that she is most remembered today and for that reason I have included the Galician text of the second poem translated below. Galician is a language in its own right, though closer to Portuguese than to Spanish, and the Galician people are as proud of their cultural and linguistic heritage as the Catalans of Catalonia are of theirs. Such is the enduring fame of Rosalía de Castro that a monument to her was erected in the Paseo de los poetas in a park in Buenos Aires in 1981.
I don’t know what I’m forever seeking
I don’t know what I’m forever seeking On earth, in the air, or the heavens above; I don’t know what I’m seeking; But it’s something I’ve lost, I don’t know when, and cannot find, Although in dreams invisibly It dwells within all I touch and see. Happiness, I can never recapture you On earth, in the air, or the heavens above Although I know you are real And no mere futile dream!
Cold Winter Months
Cold winter months That I love with all my heart; Months of brim-full rivers And the sweet love of the hearth Months of storms, Image of the pain That afflicts young hearts Cuts short the lives in bloom. Comes after the autumn That makes the leaves fall Among them let me sleep The sleep of not being. And when the beautiful April sun smiles once again Let it shine upon my rest No more upon my pain.
Meses do inverno fríos
Meses do inverno fríos, Que eu amo a todo amar; Meses dos fartos ríos I o dóce amor do lar. Meses das tempestades, Imaxen da delor Que afrixe as mocedades I as vidas corta en frol. Chegade e, tras do outono Que as follas fai caer, Nelas deixá que o sono Eu durma do non ser. E cando o sol fermoso De abril torne a sorrir, Que alume o meu reposo, Xa non o meu sofrir.