Sunday, December 02, 2018

Poemquotes 4

"The night spawned thousandfold monsters, / Yet fresh and cheerful was my mood: / In my veins such fire! / In my heart such ardor!"
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, "Willkommen und Abschied" [Welcome and Parting], 1775/1789, my translation

"To earn your nightly bread, you must, / Like an altar-boy, swing the censer, / Sing Te Deums in which you barely believe"
-Charles Baudelaire, "La muse vénale" [The Venal Muse], from Les fleurs du mal [The Flowers of Evil], "Spleen et Idéal" [Spleen and Ideal], 1857, my translation

"I shall whisper / Heavenly labials in a world of gutturals. / It will undo him."
-Wallace Stevens, "The Plot Against the Giant", from Harmonium, 1923/1931

"A little way within the gloom a roebuck raised his eyes / Brimful of starlight, and he said: The Stamper of the Skies / He is a gentle roebuck; for how else, I pray, could He / Conceive a thing so sad and soft, a gentle thing like me?"
-W. B. Yeats, "The Indian Upon God", from Crossways, 1889

"Maybe I'll have lost the key, and everyone around me laughs, and each one shows me an enormous key hanging from his neck. // I'm the only one to have nothing to get in somewhere."
-Pierre Reverdy, "Belle étoile" [Beautiful Star], from Poèmes en prose [Poems in Prose], 1915, my translation

"Chanter of Personality, outlining what is yet to be, / I project the history of the future."
-Walt Whitman, "To a Historian", from Leaves of Grass, "Inscriptions", 1855-1892

"I should have been a pair of ragged claws / Scuttling across the floors of silent seas."
-T. S. Eliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", from Prufrock and Other Observations, 1917


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