Oh the neon lights were flashing
And the icy wind did blow
The water seeped into his shoes
And the drizzle turned to snow
His eyes were red, his hopes were dead
And the wine was running low
And the old man came home from the forest
His tears fell on the sidewalk as he stumbled in the street
A dozen faces stopped to stare but no one stopped to speak
For his castle was a hallway and the bottle was his friend
And the old man stumbled in from the forest
Up a dark and dingy staircase the old man made his way
His ragged coat around him as upon his cot he lay
And he wondered how it happened that he ended up this way
Getting lost like a fool in the forest
And as he lay there sleeping a vision did appear
Upon his mantle shining a face of one so dear
Who had loved him in the springtime of a long forgotten year
When the wildflowers did bloom in the forest
She touched his grizzled fingers and she called him by his name
And then he heard the joyful sound of children at their games
In an old house on a hillside in some forgotten town
Where the river runs down from the forest
With a mighty roar the big jets soar above the canyon streets
And the con men con but life goes on for the city never sleeps
And to an old forgotten soldier the dawn will come no more
For the old man has come home from the forest.
Filed under Audio, History, Poem
“It would only be necessary for a writer to secure universal popularity if imagination and intelligence were equally distributed among all men.”
BY MARIA POPOVA
“Before writers are writers they are readers, living in books, through books, in the lives of others that are also the heads of others, in that act that is so intimate and yet so alone,” Rebecca Solnit observed in her beautiful meditation on why we read and write. “At the hour when our imagination and our ability to associate are at their height,” Hermann Hesse asserted in contemplating the three styles of reading, “we really no longer read what is printed on the paper but swim in a stream of impulses and inspirations that reach us from what we are reading.” Both reader and writer hold this transcendent communion on the page as the highest hope for their respective reward, but it is a reward each can attain only with the utmost skill and dedication.
The separate but symbiotic rewards of reading and writing, and the skills required for each, are what W.H. Auden (February 21, 1907–September 29, 1973) examines in The Dyer’s Hand and Other Essays . Although he remains one of the most celebrated, beloved, and influential poets of the past century, it is in this posthumously collected aphoristic prose that Auden speaks most directly to his values, his ideas about literature and art, and his creative process.
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Filed under News, Reviews, Study
The Eagle soars in the summit of Heaven,
The Hunter with his dogs pursues his circuit.
О perpetual revolution of configured stars,
О perpetual recurrence of determined seasons,
О world of spring and autumn, birth and dying!
The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.
All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance,
All our ignorance brings us nearer to death,
But nearness to death no nearer to GOD.
Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries
Bring us farther from GOD and nearer to the Dust.
I journeyed to London, to the timekept City,
Where the River flows, with foreign flotations.
There I was told: we have too many churches,
And too few chop-houses. There I was told:
Let the vicars retire. Men do not need the Church
In the place where they work, but where they spend their
An early reminder that we’ll be reading and discussing T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets in our February and March sessions.
Filed under Philosophy, Poem