Oscar Wilde


Poetry dedicated to the moon! You know you’ve been waiting for it, and it’s only taken me a few years to finally get to it. The problem is there are so many to choose from, it’s hard to narrow it down to just a few. But, I’m more than willing to try. So, for your reading pleasure, Moon Poetry, beginning with the moonrise:

Moonrise
by Gerard Manley Hopkins

I awoke in the Midsummer not to call night, in the white and the walk of the morning:
The moon, dwindled and thinned to the fringe of a finger-nail held to the candle,
Or paring of paradisaical fruit, lovely in waning but lustreless,
Stepped from the stool, drew back from the barrow, of dark Maenefa the mountain;

A cusp still clasped him, a fluke yet fanged him, entangled him, not quite utterly.
This was the prized, the desirable sight, unsought, presented so easily,
Parted me leaf and leaf, divided me, eyelid and eyelid of slumber.

And once the moon has risen, what is there to do, other than sit under it?

Under The Moon
by William Butler Yeats

I have no happiness in dreaming of Brycelinde,
Nor Avalon the grass-green hollow, nor Joyous Isle,
Where one found Lancelot crazed and hid him for a while;
Nor Uladh, when Naoise had thrown a sail upon the wind;
Nor lands that seem too dim to be burdens on the heart:
Land-under-Wave, where out of the moon’s light and the sun’s
Seven old sisters wind the threads of the long-lived ones,
Land-of-the-Tower, where Aengus has thrown the gates apart,
And Wood-of-Wonders, where one kills an ox at dawn,
To find it when night falls laid on a golden bier.
Therein are many queens like Branwen and Guinevere;
And Niamh and Laban and Fand, who could change to an otter or fawn,
And the wood-woman, whose lover was changed to a blue-eyed hawk;
And whether I go in my dreams by woodland, or dun, or shore,
Or on the unpeopled waves with kings to pull at the oar,
I hear the harp-string praise them, or hear their mournful talk.

Because of something told under the famished horn
Of the hunter’s moon, that hung between the night and the day,
To dream of women whose beauty was folded in dis may,
Even in an old story, is a burden not to be borne.

and then perhaps ask the moon to look down upon us…

Look Down, Fair Moon
by Walt Whitman

LOOK down, fair moon, and bathe this scene;
Pour softly down night’s nimbus floods, on faces ghastly, swollen, purple;
On the dead, on their backs, with their arms toss’d wide,
Pour down your unstinted nimbus, sacred moon.

Add a dash of sentimentality…

What Counsel Has the Hooded Moon
by James Joyce

What counsel has the hooded moon
Put in thy heart, my shyly sweet,
Of Love in ancient plenilune,
Glory and stars beneath his feet — –
A sage that is but kith and kin
With the comedian Capuchin?

Believe me rather that am wise
In disregard of the divine,
A glory kindles in those eyes
Trembles to starlight. Mine, O Mine!
No more be tears in moon or mist
For thee, sweet sentimentalist.

a bit of silliness, in the form of nervous nursery…

The Cruel Moon
by Robert Graves

The cruel Moon hangs out of reach
Up above the shadowy beech.
Her face is stupid, but her eye
Is small and sharp and very sly.
Nurse says the Moon can drive you mad?
No, that’s a silly story, lad!
Though she be angry, though she would
Destroy all England if she could,
Yet think, what damage can she do
Hanging there so far from you?
Don’t heed what frightened nurses say:
Moons hang much too far away.

and into the dawn…

Memoriam A. H. H.: 67. When on my bed the moonlight fall
by Lord Alfred Tennyson

When on my bed the moonlight falls,
I know that in thy place of rest
By that broad water of the west,
There comes a glory on the walls:
Thy marble bright in dark appears,
As slowly steals a silver flame
Along the letters of thy name,
And o’er the number of thy years.
The mystic glory swims away;
From off my bed the moonlight dies;
And closing eaves of wearied eyes
I sleep till dusk is dipt in gray:

And then I know the mist is drawn
A lucid veil from coast to coast,
And in the dark church like a ghost
Thy tablet glimmers to the dawn.

And with that, I end my tribute to the moon. Although……no poetical tribute would be complete without going a bit Wilde. That would just be blasphemous…at least for me 😉

Endymion
by Oscar Wilde

THE apple trees are hung with gold,
And birds are loud in Arcady,
The sheep lie bleating in the fold,
The wild goat runs across the wold,
But yesterday his love he told,
I know he will come back to me.
O rising moon! O Lady moon!
Be you my lover’s sentinel,
You cannot choose but know him well,
For he is shod with purple shoon,
You cannot choose but know my love,
For he a shepherd’s crook doth bear,
And he is soft as any dove,
And brown and curly is his hair.

The turtle now has ceased to call
Upon her crimson-footed groom,
The grey wolf prowls about the stall,
The lily’s singing seneschal
Sleeps in the lily-bell, and all
The violet hills are lost in gloom.
O risen moon! O holy moon!
Stand on the top of Helice,
And if my own true love you see,
Ah! if you see the purple shoon,
The hazel crook, the lad’s brown hair,
The goat-skin wrapped about his arm,
Tell him that I am waiting where
The rushlight glimmers in the Farm.

The falling dew is cold and chill,
And no bird sings in Arcady,
The little fauns have left the hill,
Even the tired daffodil
Has closed its gilded doors, and still
My lover comes not back to me.
False moon! False moon! O waning moon!
Where is my own true lover gone,
Where are the lips vermilion,
The shepherd’s crook, the purple shoon?
Why spread that silver pavilion,
Why wear that veil of drifting mist?
Ah! thou hast young Endymion,
Thou hast the lips that should be kissed!

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Alright, I know…bad play on words. But I am still feeling poetical these days, and since I’ve been reading more Wilde than usual (ahem…), I thought I post a few of his poems, which are always well worth the read. Oscar Wilde was simply brilliant, at least in my not so humble opinion. And since I am so nice, I’ll share my obsession with all of you! Without further ado….the poetry of Oscar Wilde…or at least a very small sampling of it!

MADONNA MIA

LILY-GIRL, not made for this world’s pain,
With brown, soft hair close braided by her ears,
And longing eyes half veiled by slumberous tears
Like bluest water seen through mists of rain:
Pale cheeks whereon no love hath left its stain,
Red underlip drawn in for fear of love,
And white throat, whiter than the silvered dove,
Through whose wan marble creeps one purple vein.
Yet, though my lips shall praise her without cease,
Even to kiss her feet I am not bold,
Being o’ershadowed by the wings of awe,
Like Dante, when he stood with Beatrice
Beneath the flaming Lion’s breast, and saw
The seventh Crystal, and the Stair of Gold.

AVE MARIA PLENA GRATIA

WAS this His coming! I had hoped to see
A scene of wondrous glory, as was told
Of some great God who in a rain of gold
Broke open bars and fell on Danae:
Or a dread vision as when Semele
Sickening for love and unappeased desire
Prayed to see God’s clear body, and the fire
Caught her white limbs and slew her utterly:
With such glad dreams I sought this holy place,
And now with wondering eyes and heart I stand
Before this supreme mystery of Love:
A kneeling girl with passionless pale face,
An angel with a lily in his hand,
And over both with outstretched wings the Dove.

THE GRAVE OF KEATS

Rid of the world’s injustice, and his pain,
He rests at last beneath God’s veil of blue:
Taken from life when life and love were new
The youngest of the martyrs here is lain,
Fair as Sebastian, and as early slain.
No cypress shades his grave, no funeral yew,
But gentle violets weeping with the dew
Weave on his bones an ever-blossoming chain.
O proudest heart that broke for misery!
O sweetest lips since those of Mitylene!
O poet-painter of our English Land!
Thy name was writ in water—it shall stand:
And tears like mine will keep thy memory green,
As Isabella did her Basil-tree.

HER VOICE

THE wild bee reels from bough to bough
With his furry coat and his gauzy wing.
Now in a lily-cup, and now
Setting a jacinth bell a-swing,
In his wandering;
Sit closer love: it was here I trow
I made that vow,

Swore that two lives should be like one
As long as the sea-gull loved the sea,
As long as the sunflower sought the sun,–
It shall be, I said, for eternity
‘Twixt you and me!
Dear friend, those times are over and done,
Love’s web is spun.

Look upward where the poplar trees
Sway and sway in the summer air,
Here in the valley never a breeze
Scatters the thistledown, but there
Great winds blow fair
From the mighty murmuring mystical seas,
And the wave-lashed leas.

Look upward where the white gull screams,
What does it see that we do not see?
Is that a star? or the lamp that gleams
On some outward voyaging argosy,–
Ah! can it be
We have lived our lives in a land of dreams!
How sad it seems.

Sweet, there is nothing left to say
But this, that love is never lost,
Keen winter stabs the breasts of May
Whose crimson roses burst his frost,
Ships tempest-tossed
Will find a harbour in some bay,
And so we may.

And there is nothing left to do
But to kiss once again, and part,
Nay, there is nothing we should rue,
I have my beauty,–you your Art,
Nay, do not start,
One world was not enough for two
Like me and you.

And now it is lunch time which means I must get something worth eating in front of Mr Izz…but doesn’t all of that just make you glad to be alive? Such beautiful lines….SIGH! I know, I really am pathetic, aren’t I? 😉

First off, what does “Literary Grave Sites” mean? No, I’m not talking about grave-sites that you find in literature…I’m talking about grave sites of literary people; poets, authors, and the like. You know, the people who write, not those that are written about, unless it’s biographical. These are the grave sites…from a literary standpoint…that I want someday to visit.

Next, I know that writing about my the top 5 graves that I want to visit seems rather morbid, and many of you more than likely don’t understand why I’d want to visit these grave sites, but rest assured I’m not too terribly mad. “Pilgrimages” of a sort are very common in this way…you go to a person’s gravesite to pay your respects and, in my case, homage. Each of the people I have listed here hold a very special place in my heart…literarily speaking. It is my hope that I am able to visit these gravesites before I am finally living in my own. So here we go…Izzy’s list of 5 literary gravesites that I want to someday see, in descending order.

5) In Arbor Hill Cemetery, in Dublin, there is a gravesite devoted to the revolutionaries of the 1916 Easter Uprising. Now, why, you might ask, would I include this in my top 5? What does it have to do with the literary world? First, if you look at my Poetry links in my blogroll, you will notice the name Joseph Mary Plunkett. His poetry is absolutely beautiful, and some of my favourites. He is buried here, along with 13 other brave men that willingly were executed in their attempt to gain freedom from the Crown.

Gravesite of the 1916 Revolutionaries

And since this is Literary grave sites, I probably should include poetry or something written by each person, right? Here is a poem that Joseph Mary Plunkett wrote for the love of his life, Grace Gifford. He wrote it on the morning of her Baptism, April 7th, 1916. And a bit more background…Joseph Mary Plunkett and Grace Gifford were wed on May 4th, 1916…only 2 hours before Joseph was executed by British forces for his role in the Easter Uprising. It is truly one of the most beautiful love stories ever…and the best part is that it’s true.

The powerful words that from my heart
Alive and throbbing leap and sing
Shall bind the dragon’s jaws apart
Or bring you back a vanished spring;
They shall unseal and seal again
The fount of wisdom’s awful flow,
So this one guerdon they shall gain
That your wild beauty still they show.

The joy of Spring leaps from your eyes,
The strength of dragons in your hair,
In your young soul we still surprise
The secret wisdom flowing there;
But never word shall speak or sing
Inadequate music where above
Your burning heart now spreads its wing
In the wild beauty of your Love.

4) In the same gravesite as Joseph Mary Plunkett, you will find Pádraic Pearse…a poet in his own right, and a wonderful one at that. Here is his poem Christmas 1915…the Christmas before the Easter Uprising. Very short, but very wonderful:

O King that was born
To set bondsmen free,

In the coming battle,
Help thy Gael!

As I stated previously, he was also buried in the gravesite that Joseph Mary Plunkett was buried, but here is his name I am assuming on the site itself (found at www.findagrave.com…and I am assuming it’s on the actual site because I have never been there, hence this post):

Pádraic Pearse’s grave marker

3) One of my literary heroines…Jane Austen. Her writings were what forged my love of English Literature. I know I’ve said it before, but I want to be Jane Austen when I grow up. Jane Austen died on July 18, 1817 at the age of 41. Two days later she was buried in Winchester Cathedral at Winchester in Hampshire, England.

Jane Austen’s gravestone

Most people know of Jane Austen’s literary works, which typically comprise of novels such as Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, but many of these same people were unaware that she was also a poet. Here is an example of her poetry, written because her friend, Martha Lloyd, could not come to visit because Mr. Best would not take her. It shows a side that wasn’t always as prevalent in her writings…her wit:

Oh! Mr. Best, you’re very bad
And all the world shall know it;
Your base behaviour shall be sung
By me, a tunefull Poet.–

You used to go to Harrowgate
Each summer as it came,
And why I pray should you refuse
To go this year the same?–

The way’s as plain, the road’s as smooth,
The Posting not increased;
You’re scarcely stouter than you were,
Not younger Sir at least.–

If e’er the waters were of use
Why now their use forego?
You may not live another year,
All’s mortal here below.–

It is your duty Mr Best
To give your health repair.
Vain else your Richard’s pills will be,
And vain your Consort’s care.

But yet a nobler Duty calls
You now towards the North.
Arise ennobled–as Escort
Of Martha Lloyd stand forth.

She wants your aid–she honours you
With a distinguished call.
Stand forth to be the friend of her
Who is the friend of all.–

Take her, and wonder at your luck,
In having such a Trust.
Her converse sensible and sweet
Will banish heat and dust.–

So short she’ll make the journey seem
You’ll bid the Chaise stand still.
T’will be like driving at full speed
From Newb’ry to Speen hill.–

Convey her safe to Morton’s wife
And I’ll forget the past,
And write some verses in your praise
As finely and as fast.

But if you still refuse to go
I’ll never let your rest,
Buy haunt you with reproachful song
Oh! wicked Mr. Best!–

J.A
Clifton 1806

2) This is one of my absolute favourites…he’s in my top 2 poets and literary authors, second only to William Butler Yeats. Oscar Wilde. One day…and you can quote me on this…I am going to get to Paris, put on my very best bright red lipstick, and add my lip marks along side of other fanatical fans. Here is a poem he wrote for Keats…called “The Grave of Keats”. It seemed rather appropriate:

RID of the world’s injustice, and his pain,
He rests at last beneath God’s veil of blue:
Taken from life when life and love were new
The youngest of the martyrs here is lain,
Fair as Sebastian, and as early slain.
No cypress shades his grave, no funeral yew,
But gentle violets weeping with the dew
Weave on his bones an ever-blossoming chain.
O proudest heart that broke for misery!
O sweetest lips since those of Mitylene!
O poet-painter of our English Land!
Thy name was writ in water——it shall stand:
And tears like mine will keep thy memory green,
As Isabella did her Basil-tree.

This picture is rather nice…I nicked it from a friend’s website of pictures. You see all those kiss marks? Uh huh….mine is going to be there. Just you wait.

Oscar Wilde’s gravesite

and last, but surely never least…

1) William Butler Yeats. His writings, by far, have to be my favourite of all time. His poetry is one of those things that inspire me to no end…whenever I’m feeling down, I just pick up a book of his writings, and lose myself for as long as the children will allow me to (which isn’t usually too long…). He is buried in Drumecliff, Co. Sligo, Ireland. I fully intend, when I do finally get to Ireland, to lay upon his grave in the hopes that some of his poetic talent will somehow magically float up to the surface and infuse itself into the creative portion of my brain.

W.B. Yeats’ gravesite

His epitaph comes from the last 3 lines of his poem, “Under Ben Bulben”…which means it’s only appropriate to quote that poem here:

I

Swear by what the sages spoke
Round the Mareotic Lake
That the Witch of Atlas knew,
Spoke and set the cocks a-crow.

Swear by those horsemen, by those women
Complexion and form prove superhuman,
That pale, long-visaged company
That air in immortality
Completeness of their passions won;
Now they ride the wintry dawn
Where Ben Bulben sets the scene.

Here’s the gist of what they mean.

II

Many times man lives and dies
Between his two eternities,
That of race and that of soul,
And ancient Ireland knew it all.
Whether man die in his bed
Or the rifle knocks him dead,
A brief parting from those dear
Is the worst man has to fear.
Though grave-diggers’ toil is long,
Sharp their spades, their muscles strong.
They but thrust their buried men
Back in the human mind again.

III

You that Mitchel’s prayer have heard,
‘Send war in our time, O Lord!’
Know that when all words are said
And a man is fighting mad,
Something drops from eyes long blind,
He completes his partial mind,
For an instant stands at ease,
Laughs aloud, his heart at peace.
Even the wisest man grows tense
With some sort of violence
Before he can accomplish fate,
Know his work or choose his mate.

IV

Poet and sculptor, do the work,
Nor let the modish painter shirk
What his great forefathers did.
Bring the soul of man to God,
Make him fill the cradles right.

Measurement began our might:
Forms a stark Egyptian thought,
Forms that gentler phidias wrought.
Michael Angelo left a proof
On the Sistine Chapel roof,
Where but half-awakened Adam
Can disturb globe-trotting Madam
Till her bowels are in heat,
proof that there’s a purpose set
Before the secret working mind:
Profane perfection of mankind.

Quattrocento put in paint
On backgrounds for a God or Saint
Gardens where a soul’s at ease;
Where everything that meets the eye,
Flowers and grass and cloudless sky,
Resemble forms that are or seem
When sleepers wake and yet still dream.
And when it’s vanished still declare,
With only bed and bedstead there,
That heavens had opened.
Gyres run on;
When that greater dream had gone
Calvert and Wilson, Blake and Claude,
Prepared a rest for the people of God,
Palmer’s phrase, but after that
Confusion fell upon our thought.

V

Irish poets, earn your trade,
Sing whatever is well made,
Scorn the sort now growing up
All out of shape from toe to top,
Their unremembering hearts and heads
Base-born products of base beds.
Sing the peasantry, and then
Hard-riding country gentlemen,
The holiness of monks, and after
Porter-drinkers’ randy laughter;
Sing the lords and ladies gay
That were beaten into the clay
Through seven heroic centuries;
Cast your mind on other days
That we in coming days may be
Still the indomitable Irishry.

VI

Under bare Ben Bulben’s head
In Drumcliff churchyard Yeats is laid.
An ancestor was rector there
Long years ago, a church stands near,
By the road an ancient cross.

No marble, no conventional phrase;
On limestone quarried near the spot
By his command these words are cut:

Cast a cold eye
On life, on death.
Horseman, pass by!

So there you have it! Izzy’s Top 5: Literary Grave Sites. Perhaps one day, I’ll be able to chronicle when I do finally visit each of these places. But until then, I’ll just have to content myself with wishing…

I’ve had a rather peculiar type of day…well, I suppose peculiar isn’t really the word for it. Irksome…that’s the word I’m looking for. Yes, irksome will do quite nicely. My day has been irksome. Aside from the normal, day to day trivialities, I’ve also just been in a foul mood (I’m thinking that in lieu of this, the day has been rather irksome for the kids too, but they’ll survive). My foulness has brought on a “Green Day”, meaning that I’ve been reduced to rebellion and anarchistic type behavior…ie: listening to Green Day. That’s my usual modus operandi on days such as this…in fact, I have it on as I type. Not sure if it’s helping my writing, but it’s helping my mood the tiniest bit. Yes, it has taken all day for it to get to even “tiniest bit”…thank you for noticing. No, I’m really not thinking that maybe having a Green Day isn’t really conducive to creating a more serene outlook and general attitude. The reason my mood is the tiniest bit better is because I’m liking being somewhat rebellious right now. There…objections answered. Let’s move on.

I’m really not writing this to go on and on (and on and on…) about my mood today. I was quote hunting earlier…looking for a new and exciting signature quote for a message board I frequent; one that of course reflects my wonderfully defiant outlook upon life in general right now. It turned out that I recycled one that I’ve used in the past, but since I really like it, I decided that re-siggying wouldn’t be a bad thing. But during my ventures into quotedom via the internet, I did happen upon a quote that I really did like, but didn’t think would be all that appropriate for a message board. So, it shall now, forevermore, grace the hallowed postings of my meagre, and yet somewhat relevant (at least to me) blog. But that’s only because I’m being defiant, and don’t care if it’s offensive (not that it is offensive…but anyway…). The quote is by Oscar Wilde….by the way, after all this quote diving I’ve been doing, I’m beginning to love Oscar Wilde. He really wrote some pretty awesome stuff. I thought this quote was really good…and right on the button:

Men always want to be a woman’s first love; women have a more subtle instinct: what they like is to be a man’s last romance

This is such a brilliant quote! There is such truth and wisdom contained in it. And I really think that this is one of the keys as to the differences between men and women. I’m sure I could launch into some lovely diatribe (oooo..lovely diatribe! How’s that for an oxymoron?) about how this is because women think of more than just themselves, whereas men really don’t, but maybe it wouldn’t be a good thing to go there. Wouldn’t you agree? Good…so I won’t.

So there’s my quote. I really was taken by it…although I’m not sure why. Maybe my anarchist attitude forced certain parts of my cerebral wiring to get crossed. Who knows. And see? It really wasn’t offensive. Very true, but hardly offensive. Maybe that means that the rebellion is cooling a bit…after all, I also really liked this quote by Ian Fleming, that I also found to be quite true, and highly relevant, but decided not to use:

Men want a woman whom they can turn on and off like a light switch

It’s a good thing that I’m finally coming out of this…using that quote would have been more defiant than even I would have wanted to be.