The Old Man and the Sea

Rochelle Wisoff-Fields invites us weekly to join the Friday Fictioneers in their creative quests of a hundred words or less, prompted by a photo. Click on the frog to join in!
 
 
PHOTO PROMPT © CEAyr

The Old Man and the Sea

“Bleu, bleu, l’amour est bleu,” crooned the old man beneath his cap
Remembering the promise he had failed to keep as a lad of nineteen
He stood before the sea, and his heart surged piteously
Remembering the promise he had failed to keep as a man of thirty-two
“Comme l’eau, comme l’eau qui court,” sang he, wading into surf
Remembering the promise he had failed to keep as a cavalier of fifty-four
His blood ran cold as a sea-voice joined in
“Fou comme toi et fou comme moi,”
then down he went
in a sea-embrace
till he sang
no
more.

Continue reading “The Old Man and the Sea”

You Have Been Good to Me, LORD

I’m loving the Psalms this morning, especially those whose words have sunk deep into my heart. Of them, Psalm 121 always comes to mind. And how it causes me to say, in the words of Psalm 13: 6, “I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me.”

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?

My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.

Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand.

The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.

The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

Psalm 121 (ESV)
Audrey Assad, “Good To Me” (lyrics below)

Good To Me (Audrey Assad)

I put all my hope on the truth of Your promise
And I steady my heart on the ground of Your goodness
When I’m bowed down with sorrow I will lift up Your name
And the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy

Because You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me

And I lift my eyes to the hills where my help is found
Your voice fills the night – raise my head up to hear the sound
Though fires burn all around me I will praise You, my God
And the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy

Because You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me, yeah

Your goodness and mercy shall follow me
All my life
I will trust in Your promise

Yeah, Your goodness and mercy shall follow me
All my life
I trust in Your promise

Your goodness and mercy shall follow me
All my life
I will trust in Your promise

Because You’ re good (You are good to me, good to me)
So good (You are good to me, good to me)
You are good to me

A Common-Place Jotting: “A low dishonest decade”

Auden in 1939

Common-Place or “Locus Communis” — a place to remember

Anglo-American poet W. H. Auden wrote “September 1, 1939” at the outbreak of World War II in Europe. It’s a poem that’s often quoted during times of crises such as ours, and only seems to highlight the recurring cycles of political dissimulation and media exacerbated fury that escalates into tragedy. While battling a virus, we’ve “cancelled” each other and branded each other racists and bigots. We’ve listened to politicians and oligopolies wildly denounce opponents of their agendas as terrorists. We’ve been witness to unchecked brutality this past year as our cities burned with mob violence during which thirty people were murdered, and neighborhoods and livelihoods went up in smoke while governors and mayors watched.

Auden began the poem with these words:

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.

In the penultimate stanza he cautions: “We must love one another or die.” The same holds true today.

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

excerpt from W. H. Auden’s September 1, 1939

Read the complete poem at poets.org. And hear the poet Dylan Thomas read it below.

Spatial Encounter

Hubble Telescope Image

I am not averse to reimaginations
Given you walked out of my conversation
As a noetic effect of its distillation

I am not chained to inharmonious juxtapositions
When salubrious angels gather in celebration
Of a desire prayed and given manifestation

I am simply thankful for your gravitation
Towards me, bindingly, irradiate sub-atomic fusion
Where once I envisioned only solitary annihilation

Yet this I wonder, and this in never-ending fascination
How in moments your eyes gray meet my brown it’s recreation
Of a space-time-matter continuum of conflagration

For dVerse's "Poetics:Look into my Eyes"
Click on Mr. Linky and join in!


A Common-Place Jotting: “Nothing Gold Can Stay”

Common-Place or “Locus Communis” — a place to remember

Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina domestica)

Nature’s first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf’s a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.

Robert Frost, “Nothing Gold Can Stay” (1874-1963)
For Cee's FOTD Challenge 

A Common-Place Jotting: Rossetti’s “The Rose”

Common-Place or “Locus Communis” — a place to remember

I don’t know about you, but I’m hanging on to summer as long as I can! For fellow simpaticos, here’s a late summer bloom and a Christina Rossetti poem to help.

A late summer garden rose
The Rose

The lily has a smooth stalk,
Will never hurt your hand;
But the rose upon her brier
Is lady of the land.

There's sweetness in an apple tree,
And profit in the corn;
But lady of all beauty
Is a rose upon a thorn.

When with moss and honey
She tips her bending brier,
And half unfolds her glowing heart,
She sets the world on fire.

-- Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

Portrait of Christina Rosetti by Dante Gabriel Rosetti

For more on Rosetti, see my Common-Place Jottings post on Rossetti Rhymes”

A Common-Place Jotting: Tintern Abbey

Common-Place or “Locus Communis” — a place to remember

Turner_Tintern1
Tintern Abbey in 1794, a watercolour by J. M. W. Turner

From William Wordsworth’s  Lines Written (or Composeda Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour, July 13, 1798: this benediction of nature’s guardian light on his sister, with whom he went on a walking tour, inspiring this homage to nature:

.  .  . and this prayer I make,
Knowing that Nature never did betray
The heart that loved her; ’tis her privilege,
Through all the years of this our life, to lead
From joy to joy: for she can so inform
The mind that is within us, so impress
With quietness and beauty, and so feed
With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,
Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,
Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all
The dreary intercourse of daily life,
Shall e’er prevail against us, or disturb
Our cheerful faith, that all which we behold
Is full of blessings. Therefore let the moon
Shine on thee in thy solitary walk;
And let the misty mountain-winds be free
To blow against thee: and, in after years,
When these wild ecstasies shall be matured
Into a sober pleasure; when thy mind
Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms,
Thy memory be as a dwelling-place
For all sweet sounds and harmonies; oh! then,
If solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief,
Should be thy portion, with what healing thoughts
Of tender joy wilt thou remember me,
And these my exhortations!

 

A Common-Place Jotting: Macbeth Act V, Scene 3

Common-Place or “Locus Communis” a place to remember

Orson Welles directed and starred as the titular Macbeth in the 1948 film, with Jeanette Nolan as Lady Macbeth.

Two moving speeches from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, both in the same scene:

one a soliloquy on his own fate . . .

I have lived long enough: My way of life
Is fall’n into the sear, the yellow leaf;
And that which should accompany old age,
As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends,
I must not look to have; but, in their stead,
Curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honour, breath,
Which the poor heart would fain deny, and dare not.

. . . the other lamenting a physician’s lack of cure for his wife’s guilt-worn sanity —

Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased,
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow,
Raze out the written troubles of the brain
And with some sweet oblivious antidote
Cleanse the stuff’d bosom of that perilous stuff
Which weighs upon the heart?

proxy-image

The Pilgrim Shadow of Poe

Rather unexpectedly, the first thing that popped into my head at the DPPrompt for today – shadow – was Edgar Allan Poe’s Eldorado.

You may be one of many that had to memorize it at school or maybe you dimly recall it through shrouds of the distant past.

For the latter, I have no doubt at all that it will take just the first haunting lines will jog your memory:

Continue reading “The Pilgrim Shadow of Poe”