In Memory of W. B. Yeats (Part III)

Earth, receive an honoured guest:
William Yeats is laid to rest.
Let the Irish vessel lie
Emptied of its poetry.

In the nightmare of the dark
All the dogs of Europe bark,
And the living nations wait,
Each sequestered in its hate;

Intellectual disgrace
Stares from every human face,
And the seas of pity lie
Locked and frozen in each eye.

Follow, poet, follow right
To the bottom of the night,
With your unconstraining voice
Still persuade us to rejoice;

With the farming of a verse
Make a vineyard of the curse,
Sing of human unsuccess
In a rapture of distress;

In the deserts of the heart
Let the healing fountain start,
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise.

 

— W. H. Auden
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Primer Book of the Alphabet

A is for Azimuth,
B is for Boreas,
C is for Cosign,
D is for Diamat,
E is for Ellips,
F is for Flogiston,
G is for Gamut.
H is for Homeboy,
I is for Iikon,
J is for Jura,
K is for Kollaps,
L is for Laudanum,
M is for Myriad,
N is for Nadir,
O is for Oreole,
P is for Perihelion.
Q is for Quasar,
R is for Rhododendron,
S is for Sinus,
T is for Tricoleur,
U is for Ultra,
V is for Vector,
W is for Warheit,
X is for Xylophone,
Y is for Ystävä,
Z is for Zenith.

{x}

At eight of a hot morning,

the cicada speaks his first piece. He says of the world: heat. At eleven of the same day, still singing, he has not changed his note but has enlarged his theme. He says of the morning: love. In the sultry middle of the afternoon, when the sadness of love and of heat has shaken him, his symphonic soul goes into the great movement and he says: death. But the thing isn’t over. After supper he weaves heat, love, death into a final stanza, subtler and less brassy than the others. He has one last heroic monosyllable at his command. Life, he says, reminiscing. Life.

— E.B. White, “Life,” in E.B. White: Writings from the New Yorker, 1925-1976, ed. Rebecca M. Dale (New York: HarperCollins, 1990), 3.

{x}

Song of Solomon, 4:12-16

A garden locked is my sister, my bride,
a spring locked, a fountain sealed.
Your shoots are an orchard of pomegranates
with all choicest fruits,
henna with nard,
nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon,
with all trees of frankincense,
myrrh and aloes,
with all choice spices—
a garden fountain, a well of living water,
and flowing streams from Lebanon.

Awake, O north wind,
and come, O south wind!
Blow upon my garden,
let its spices flow.