Welcome to The Coffee Shop, just for you early risers
on Monday mornings. This is an Open Thread forum,
so if you have an off-topic opinion burning a hole in
your brainpan, feel free to add a comment.
“Can you remember who you were, before
the world told you who you should be?”
― Charles Bukowski
“As wave is driven by wave
And each, pursued, pursues the wave ahead,
So time flies on and follows, flies, and follows,
Always, forever and new. What was before
Is left behind; what never was is now;
And every passing moment is renewed.”
― Ovid, Metamorphoses
1721 – William Collins born, important mid-18th century English poet who helped change the poetry of his day. Alexander Pope and his contemporaries were writing “Augustan” poems full of Classical allusions and celebrations of the greatness of United Kingdom and the Crown. William Collins, in spite of mental breakdowns, confinement in a madhouse, then living in the care of an elder sister, wrote lyrical odes which were precursors of the Romantic poetry of Keats and Shelley. Though he died at age 37 in 1759, he managed to write a substantial body of work.
from Ode to Fear
by William Collins
Thou, to whom the world unknown
With all its shadowy shapes is shown;
Who see’st appalled th’ unreal scene,
While Fancy lifts the veil between:
Ah Fear! Ah frantic Fear!
I see, I see thee near.
I know thy hurried step, thy haggard eye!
Like thee I start, like thee disordered fly,
For lo what Monsters in thy train appear!
Danger, whose limbs of giant mold
What mortal eye can fixed behold?
Who stalks his ground, an hideous form,
Howling amidst the midnight storm,
Or throws him on the ridgy steep
Of some loose hanging rock to sleep:
And with him thousand phantoms joined,
Who prompt to deeds accursed the mind:
And those, the fiends, who near allied,
O’er Nature’s wounds, and wrecks preside;
Whilst Vengeance, in the lurid air,
Lifts her red arm, exposed and bare:
On whom the ravening brood of fate,
Who lap the blood of sorrow, wait;
Who, Fear, this ghastly train can see,
And look not madly wild, like thee?
1771 – Dorothy Wordsworth born, English author, poet, and diarist; sister of William Wordsworth; noted for her diaries and Recollections of a Tour Made in Scotland, published in 1874, and Grasmere Journal, published posthumously, which was taken from diaries of her life in the Lake District, where she lived with her brother and his family.
Address to A Child During A Boisterous Winter Evening
by Dorothy Wordsworth
What way does the wind come? What way does he go?
He rides over the water, and over the snow,
Through wood, and through vale; and o’er rocky height,
Which the goat cannot climb, takes his sounding flight;
He tosses about in every bare tree,
As, if you look up, you plainly may see;
But how he will come, and whither he goes,
There’s never a scholar in England knows.
He will suddenly stop in a cunning nook,
And ring a sharp ’larum; but, if you should look,
There’s nothing to see but a cushion of snow,
Round as a pillow, and whiter than milk,
And softer than if it were covered with silk.
Sometimes he’ll hide in the cave of a rock,
Then whistle as shrill as the buzzard cock;
— Yet seek him, and what shall you find in the place?
Nothing but silence and empty space;
Save, in a corner, a heap of dry leaves,
That he’s left, for a bed, to beggars or thieves!
As soon as ’tis daylight tomorrow, with me
You shall go to the orchard, and then you will see
That he has been there, and made a great rout,
And cracked the branches, and strewn them about;
Heaven grant that he spare but that one upright twig
That looked up at the sky so proud and big
All last summer, as well you know,
Studded with apples, a beautiful show!
Hark! over the roof he makes a pause,
And growls as if he would fix his claws
Right in the slates, and with a huge rattle
Drive them down, like men in a battle:
– But let him range round; he does us no harm,
We build up the fire, we’re snug and warm;
Untouched by his breath see the candle shines bright,
And burns with a clear and steady light.
Books have we to read, but that half-stifled knell,
Alas! ’tis the sound of the eight o’clock bell.
— Come, now we’ll to bed! and when we are there
He may work his own will, and what shall we care?
He may knock at the door — we’ll not let him in;
May drive at the windows — we’ll laugh at his din;
Let him seek his own home wherever it be;
Here’s a cozie warm house for Edward and me.
1781 – Sydney, Lady Morgan born, Irish novelist and poet; best known for her novels, The Wild Irish Girl and O’Donnell. Her father was an actor, whose fortunes waxed and waned, and her mother was her primary teacher until she died when Sydney was ten. She later received some additional education at private schools, before another downturn in her father’s income forced her to work as a governess. She was an Irish nationalist who accurately depicted the struggles of the poor in Ireland, and was a controversial figure who faced censorship. Her strong women characters came under criticism as well. Sydney was in her early 30s when she married Sir Thomas Charles Moran, an English physician and writer, in 1812. She died at age 78 in London.
by Sydney, Lady Morgan
Fairer than Alpine sunless snows
Wert thou, in thy primaeval hour,
Eternal odour-breathing rose!
Queen of every lovely flow’r;
Till, upon a festive day,
When the Loves with Hymen sported,
Revel’d wild in antic play,
And the brimming goblet courted,
An urchin wilder than the rest
Tript in many a mazy ringlet,
The luscious grape insatiate prest,
And shook fresh odours from his winglet.
While the bowl of nectar’d dews
Trembles in his nerveless clasp,
Thy modest form (sweet rose!) he views,
And reels, thy fragrant charms to grasp.
But reeling, spills the crimson tide
Which o’er thy tintless bosom flows;
And now that bosom’s snowy pride
With love’s own colouring warmly glows.
1716 – Thomas Gray born, English poet, classical scholar, and professor at Pembroke College, Cambridge; best known for his Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard
I confess – I find Thomas Gray far too long-winded, so I’m going to give you what I consider the “best parts” version of his most famous poem:
selections from Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard
by Thomas Gray
The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd wind slowly o’er the lea,
The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow’r,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,
Awaits alike th’ inevitable hour.
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway’d,
Or wak’d to ecstasy the living lyre.
Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
The dark unfathom’d caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flow’r is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learn’d to stray;
Along the cool sequester’d vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
For thee, who mindful of th’ unhonour’d Dead
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate;
If chance, by lonely contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate …
Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth
A youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown.
Fair Science frown’d not on his humble birth,
And Melancholy mark’d him for her own.
1797 – Mizra Ghalib born, considered the last great poet of the Mughal Empire. He wrote in Urdu and Persian, and used Ghalib as his pen name
The Drop Dies in the River
The drop dies in the river
of its joy
pain goes so far it cures itself
in the spring after the heavy rain the cloud
that was nothing but tears
in the spring the mirror turns green
holding a miracle
Change the shining wind
the rose led us to our eyes
let whatever is be open
– translation by W. S. Mervin and Aijaz Ahmad
1821 – Lady Jane Wilde born, Irish poet, essayist, and women’s rights advocate, supporter of the Irish nationalist movement writing under the pseudonym Speranza, known for collecting Celtic folktales. She was Oscar Wilde’s mother
A Lament for the Potato
by Speranza (Lady Jane Wilde)
There is woe, there is clamour, in our desolated land,
And wailing lamentation from a famine‐stricken band;
And weeping are the multitudes in sorrow and despair,
For the green fields of Munster lying desolate and bare.
Woe for Lorc’s ancient kingdom, sunk in slavery and grief;
Plundered, ruined, are our gentry, our people, and their Chief;
For the harvest lieth scattered, more worth to us than gold,
All the kindly food that nourished both the young and the old.
Well I mind me of the cosherings, where princes might dine,
And we drank until nightfall the best seven sorts of wine;
Yet was ever the Potato our old, familiar dish,
And the best of all sauces with the beeves and the fish.
But the harp now is silent, no one careth for the sound;
No flowers, no sweet honey, and no beauty can be found;
Not a bird its music thrilling through the leaves of the wood,
Nought but weeping and hands wringing in despair for our food.
And the Heavens, all in darkness, seem lamenting our doom,
No brightness in the sunlight, not a ray to pierce the gloom;
The cataract comes rushing with a fearful deepened roar,
And ocean bursts its boundaries, dashing wildly on the shore.
Yet, in misery and want, we have one protecting man,
Kindly Barry, of Fitzstephen’s old hospitable clan;
By mount and river working deeds of charity and grace:
Blessings ever on our champion, best hero of his race!
Save us, God! In Thy mercy bend to hear the people’s cry,
From the famine‐stricken fields, rising bitterly on high;
Let the mourning and the clamour cease in Lorc’s ancient land,
And shield us in the death‐hour by Thy strong, protecting hand!
Lorc, or Lorcan, an ancient King of Munster, the grandfather
of the great King Brian Boru.
1987 – Juliana Huxtable born, American artist, performer, author and poet; co-founder of the new York-based nightlife project Shock Value; author of Mucus in My Pineal Gland, and co-author with Hannah Black of Life
THERE ARE CERTAIN FACTS THAT
CANNOT BE DISPUTED
by Juliana Huxtable
THERE I AM!
LOST SOMEWHERE IN 1/4 MM. SKIN BOILING. I LOOK DOWN. PORES, FOLLICLES,
AND THEIR NEGATIVE SPACES TURN INTO STROKES. ARE BREAKING
APART-LUMINOUS, LOFTY, POSSESIVE
STROKES THAT BREAK THE BOUNDARIES REGULATED BY OPTOMETRY
THE THIRD PARTY IN THE IDENTITY PARADE PRESENTED AS
A DEPECTION OF-
A FACSIMILIE OF-
THE ANTHROPOLOGIST BROKE IN TO SAY: LOOK! OVER THERE! A NEGRO IN ITS NATURAL HABITAT!
THERE I AM!
I LOOK AT MY SKIN AND IT’S NOW A PALE TAUPE/PEACH-COVERED IN THE DENSEST TUFTS-
SMALL BUNDLES OF THE DARKEST PRIMATE HAIR FOLLICES
(THE SAME THAT LINE THE TOP OF MY LOWER BACK)
MELTING A BIT NOW / I LOSE MY ARMS-AM WET, STICKY AMOEBAS- A GROSS COMBINATION OF GELLY-CRUSTATEOUS SHELLS AS MY SPINE TURNS TO PUTTY
AND I ROLL
“THERE ARE CERTAIN FACTS THAT CANNOT BE DISPUTED” from Mucus in My Pineal Gland, © 2019 by Juliana Huxtable – Capricious Publishing
1865 – Rudyard Kipling born in British India; prolific English novelist, short-story writer, children’s author, poet, and journalist. Known for The Jungle Book, Kim, Just So Stories, The Light That Failed, and Captains Courageous, as well as his poems “Recessional”, “If”, and “Gunga Din.” Though he enthusiastically supported the “War to End All Wars,” privately he was deeply critical of how the British Army was fighting the war. He paid a very high price for his support of the war. His only son John immediately tried to join up, but was turned down by the Royal Navy because of his very poor eyesight, and was also turned down twice by the army. Kipling asked his friend Lord Roberts, a Colonel of the Irish Guards, to use his influence, and John was accepted into the Irish Guards in August 1915, just before his 18th birthday. A month later, John Kipling was listed as “wounded and missing” in France. In the confusion of the ongoing battle, he was not found. In vain, Kipling and his wife searched field hospitals and spoke to his fellow soldiers. Eventually, it was determined that John was killed on September 27, 1915, and had been buried in France. Kipling wrote, “If any question why we died, / Tell them, because our fathers lied.” Because of his support for Britain’s expansive colonialism, Rudyard Kipling’s reputation has suffered, but he remains a consummate storyteller, and a memorable poet.
During the American Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, trade embargos, blockades in the English Channel, and heavy tariffs led to massive smuggling in both Britain and Europe to circumvent them. In towns and villages on the eastern English coast, whole populations were involved, either directly or complicitly, with “the Gentlemen” (as English smugglers were sometimes called), to avoid paying the duties, which were raised to ever higher levels as the costly wars dragged on. Many upright citizens became receivers of untaxed goods, helped to move barrels into hiding, or passed contraband along, but often the full-time smugglers were not so respectable. Small-time smuggling would be taken over by greedy and ruthless “organized crime.” Informers and customs officers could be murdered, and the government would crack down. Kipling’s “A Smuggler’s Song” first appeared in his 1906 children’s book, Puck of Pook’s Hill.
A Smuggler’s Song
by Rudyard Kipling
If you wake at midnight, and hear a horse’s feet,
Don’t go drawing back the blind, or looking in the street.
Them that ask no questions isn’t told a lie.
Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!
Five and twenty ponies,
Trotting through the dark —
Brandy for the Parson,
‘Baccy for the Clerk;
Laces for a lady, letters for a spy,
And watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!
Running round the woodlump if you chance to find
Little barrels, roped and tarred, all full of brandy-wine,
Don’t you shout to come and look, nor use ’em for your play.
Put the brushwood back again — and they’ll be gone next day!
If you see the stable-door setting open wide;
If you see a tired horse lying down inside;
If your mother mends a coat cut about and tore;
If the lining’s wet and warm — don’t you ask no more!
If you meet King George’s men, dressed in blue and red,
You be careful what you say, and mindful what is said.
If they call you “pretty maid,” and chuck you ‘neath the chin,
Don’t you tell where no one is, nor yet where no one’s been!
Knocks and footsteps round the house — whistles after dark —
You’ve no call for running out till the house-dogs bark.
Trusty’s here, and Pincher’s here, and see how dumb they lie —
They don’t fret to follow when the Gentlemen go by!
If you do as you’ve been told, ‘likely there’s a chance,
You’ll be given a dainty doll, all the way from France,
With a cap of Valenciennes, and a velvet hood —
A present from the Gentlemen, along o’ being good!
Five and twenty ponies,
Trotting through the dark —
Brandy for the Parson,
‘Baccy for the Clerk;
Them that asks no questions isn’t told a lie —
Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!
1946 – Patti Smith born, American Punk Rock singer-songwriter-poet, dubbed the “punk poet laureate.” Best known for “Because the Night,” co-written with Bruce Springsteen. She won the 2010 National Book Award for her memoir Just Kids.
by Patti Smith
Oh Raphael. Guardian angel. In love and crime
all things move in sevens. seven compartments
in the heart. the seven elaborate temptations.
seven devils cast from Mary Magdalene whore
of Christ. the seven marvelous voyages of Sinbad.
sin/bad. And the number seven branded forever
on the forehead of Cain. The first inspired man.
The father of desire and murder. But his was not
the first ecstasy. Consider his mother.
Eve’s was the crime of curiosity. As the saying
goes: it killed the pussy. One bad apple spoiled
the whole shot. But be sure it was no apple.
An apple looks like an ass. It’s fags’ fruit.
It must have been a tomato.
Or better yet. A mango.
She bit. Must we blame her. abuse her.
poor sweet bitch. perhaps there’s more to the story.
think of Satan as some stud.
maybe her knees were open.
satan snakes between them.
they open wider
snakes up her thighs
rubs against her for a while
more than the tree of knowledge was about
to be eaten…she shudders her first shudder
pleasure pleasure garden
was she sorry
are we ever girls
was she a good lay
god only knows
“seventh heaven” from Early Work 1970-1979, © 1994 by Patti Smith – W. W. Norton & Company