- Poet Sistah Joy - "Poetry allows spirits to take flight and soar."
- More Books by John Ellison Davies
- Find a copy in the library
- Allow Only Joy: Selected Poems
- Give Our Teens A Hand
The shores here are warm and the open and welcoming valleys, Beautifully lit by paths, face me in shimmering green. Gardens are grouped together, bright buds are starting, Birdsong excites in a man love of the open road. Everything looks wellknown, the hurried greeting in passing Seems a friend's and the faces all seem familiar. And a travelled man stands like a son in a din Of waves at the gate, staring and seeking names Fair enough for you, in songs, and calling you blessed Lindau, one of the land's welcoming doors that lead us Out where the distances promise so much, where the Wonders are, where God's wild animal, the Rhine, Breakneck out of the heights comes down to the levels And the valley with a shout shows from among the rocks — To enter there and to stride the bright mountains towards Como Or follow the daylight down the length of the open lake.
But I am led in at that door on a sacred way Home on familiar roads under blossoming trees To visit the land and the lovely vales of the Neckar, The woods, the green sanctum, oaks and the tranquil Birches and beeches together in a company where Among hills a place lovingly captures me. My mother, the town, when they speak Touch and awaken things the heart learned long ago. Still the same things! Oh my loved ones, the sunlight and joy Flower for you still and your eyes almost never were brighter.
All as it was, thriving and ripening, but nothing That lives there and loves loses its loyalty. Meanwhile the best, to be found, is lying under God's bow of peace, put by for young and old. I speak like a fool. Joy makes me. Tomorrow and when we Visit the living fields, outside, in future, Under the trees in blossom in the holidays of the springtime More will come to me then, many things, many hopes, Dearest the things I have heard of the Father whom I Fell silent about, who freshens the wandering times High in the heights, the Almighty who rules above mountains, Soon he will give us heavenly gifts and call forth Brighter song and the many spirits we need.
Oh come soon: Hold us, lift us, come now, angels of the year, and you, Angels of the house, and into the veins, into all of life's veins Enter and Heaven break over all and make nobler, Younger and nothing that is human and good and not any Hour of the day be without cheerful angels and also Joy such as this when loved ones are found again, Such as is fitting for them, hallowed as it ought to be.
Blessing our bread, whom shall I name and when we Rest from the life of the day, how shall I offer thanks? By naming the Highest? A god will not like our mistakes. To grasp him our joy is almost too small. Often we are bound to be silent, we lack holy names, Hearts beat and yet speech lags behind. But music may lend any hour its tones and pleases Gods perhaps, should they be drawing near. Let us have music then, and with that the worry Is almost soothed that had entered among our joys. Worries of this kind, willingly or not, in their souls Poets must bear, and often, but others they need not.
Poet Sistah Joy - "Poetry allows spirits to take flight and soar."
The Journey Suevia, my mother, happy land! You also are like your more shining sister Lombardy over there Flowed through by a hundred streams And trees in plenty, white with blossom or reddish And the darker, deep, full green, the wild trees And the Alps of Switzerland overshadow you too, Neighbourly; for near the hearth of the house Is where you live and you can hear Inside from silvery vessels The spring rushing that issues From pure hands when touched By warm rays Crystal ice and tipped over By the lightly quickening light The snowy summit drenches the earth With purest water.
For that reason You are born loyal. Hard Living near the source to quit the place. And your children, the towns On the long lake in the haze On the willowy Neckar and on the Rhine All think Nowhere would be better to live. But I am set on the Caucasus.
More Books by John Ellison Davies
For I heard it said On the winds even today That poets are as free as swallows. Besides, in younger days This was imparted to me: That ages ago Our ancestors, the German people, Tugged gently hence by the flow of the Danube On a summer day encountered Children of the sun On the Black Sea When these were seeking shade And its name is for good reason Kind to strangers. For having regarded one another They approached first, then ours too Sat down in curiosity under the olive tree. But when their clothes touched And no one could understand The other's own speech a discord Might well have arisen had not from among the branches Come down the cooling That often over the faces of quarrelling men Will usher a smile, and a moment They looked up in silence then one with another Lovingly took hands.
And soon They were swapping weapons and all The lovely goods of the house And speech too, swapped, and at joyful weddings Fathers in friendship Wished the children nothing that did not come true. For from them wedded Out of their sacrament issued forth More beautiful than anything before or since Belonging to humankind, a people. Where But where are you now, dear ones of my own blood That we might enter again into the bond And lovingly remember the ancestors? There on the shores, under Ionia's Trees, on the levels of Cayster Where cranes delighting in the clear blue Have in an arc around them hazy distances of mountains You were there too, surpassing them all in beauty; or tended The islands wreathed in vines And sounding out with song, and others lived Under Taygetus, under famous Hymettus They flowered last, but from The springs of Parnassus to Tmolus' Streams glinting with gold one Everlasting song was lifted up; for over the trees In those days strummed The mild breezes of heaven And over the lyrestrings.
O land of Homer By the purple cherry or when Come here from you in the vineyards my Young peaches leaf And the swallow comes a great distance with many tales And builds her house on my walls in May time, and also under the stars Ionia, I think of you, but people Want presence. So I have come to the islands and the rivermouths, The halls of Thetis Woods and the clouds over Ida. But do not think to stay. Unfriendly and hard to win Is the mother I come from, and shut. One of her sons, the Rhine, Would have taken her heart by storm but vanished When she rebuffed him who knows where into the distance.
I should not like to have gone like that From her and only to invite you Graces of Hellas, I have gone to you Sweet daughters of Heaven That if the journey is not too great You might come to us. When the air breathes more gently And morning sends down loving arrows On us who are all too patient And light clouds flower Over our diffident eyes Then we shall say what brings you, The Charities, here to barbarians? But the handmaidens of heaven Are a wonder Like everything born of the gods.
It turns to a dream should anyone Come at it by stealth and punishes Anyone violently setting himself up as equal; Often the one it surprises Has scarcely been thinking it. The Rhine for Isaak von Sinclair I sat in the dark ivy, at the forest's Gate, just as the golden noon, To visit the spring, Came down the stairs of the Alps Which are to me the stronghold The gods built for themselves After an old opinion, but from where In secret many a resolution Reaches men; from there I learned without expecting it Of a destiny when my soul Conversing on this and that In the warm shade Had wandered towards Italy And far away towards the coasts of Morea.
But now in the mountains Under the silver summits at a depth Under cheerful greenery Where the woods with a shudder And the peering heads of the peaks Look down at him, all day, it was there In the coldest pit I heard him yammering to be released, The youth, he was heard as he raged And railed against Earth his mother And against the Thunderer who fathered him By mother and father with pity but Humanity fled from the place For it was terrible how he Lightless in chains Writhed and raved, that hero.
But it makes no sense To wish one's own wishes in the face of fate But the blindest in this Are the sons of gods. For men know Their homes and to beasts it is given To know where to build, but they Start out With souls that want direction. Pure origins are a riddle. Even The poem may hardly disclose them. For what You began as you will remain However necessity And discipline work, and most Is done by birth And the ray of light That greets us newborn. But where else is there one More made by a happy nativity For lifelong freedom and only To gratify the heart Than the Rhine Who was born of the blessed heights And the holy womb of our earth?
His voice therefore is exultant. He never loved mewling Like other infants in swaddling bands. When the crooked banks First crept alongside And thirstily twining around him To lead him their way before he knew it And guard him perhaps In their own jaws, he laughed And ripped these snakes asunder And ran with the spoils and if swiftly He were not mastered And made to grow, he must like lightning Have split the earth, and the woods flee after him As though enchanted and the hills subsiding.
But a god likes to save his sons Their fugitive lives, and smiles When headlong but baulked By the Alps his rivers bridle As this one does in the depths. For purity comes Out of such a smithy And it is beautiful then Leaving the mountains How he contents himself Dawdling through Germany and quietening his longing With works and he ploughs the land Our father Rhine and nourishes children In towns he founded.
But he never forgets. For house and home And law will perish and the days Of man become monstrous before One like the Rhine forgets his beginnings And the pure voice of his youth. Who were the first To spoil the ties of love And make them fetters? So overweening that they mocked Their own justice and surely The fire of Heaven too and then Despising human paths Elected overboldness And strove to equal the gods. But the gods have enough In their own immortality and need If anything Heroes and men And other mortal creatures.
Better for a man to have found A measured fate On a safe shore where the memory Of wanderings still And suffering sweetly surfaces To look here and there without rancour And see the limits Set him at birth By God to live within. He has peace, he is blessed, he is undemanding For everything he desired, Heaven's good, of itself Comes over him smiling, unforced, Now that he rests from his boldness.
I am thinking of demigods. And should I not know them for whom My heart has often quickened with love and longing? But one whose soul like yours, Rousseau, Endured and became invincible To whom sure sense was given The gift of hearing and speech To speak like the god of wine From such abundance Holy, foolish and according to no law Which is the language of the purest in heart And the good understand it but it smites The heedless, the sacrilegious hirelings Rightly with blindness, what Shall I call such a stranger?
The sons of the earth are, like the mother, All-loving, for which they receive Everything effortlessly and are blessed. Then often what seems to him best Is Biel, the lake, the breezy greenery, In woodland shade Where the light does not burn And poor in tunes and cares To learn like a beginner from the nightingales. And to rise from the sacrament of sleep How good that is, waking From the cool of the woods, at evening then To approach the milder light When he who built the mountains And drew the rivers their paths Has filled the sails of our busy lives So poor in breath And steered us, smiling, with his breezes When he too rests and towards His pupil now the maker Finding more good than bad Towards this present earth The day inclines.
And the fugitives look for shelter And the brave a sweet sleep But the lovers are What they were, they are At home where flowers delight in Harmless fire and the foreboding trees Are breathed about by the spirit, but people at odds Have turned in their tracks and are hurrying To take hands now before The friendly light Goes down and the night comes. And some this hurries by But others Retain it longer. The eternal gods Are full of life for ever; but unto death A man also Can retain the best in mind And crown his life with it.
To everyone his measure. Unhappiness is hard To bear, but happiness harder. One wise man managed From midday to midnight And until the morning shone To keep his wits at the banquet. Sinclair, on a burning path among pines Or in the darkness of an oakwood clad In steel or among the clouds if God Appears you will know him since you know In your strength his and his goodness and he never smiles The smile of power but you discover it In daylight when Feverish and chained it seems The quick of life or else At night when everything mixes Without order and the ancient Chaos returns.
Patmos for the Landgraf of Homburg The god is near and Hard to grasp but Where there is danger some Salvation grows there too. Eagles live In the dark and the sons of the Alps Cross over the abyss without fear On lightly built bridges. Since, then, the summits of time Are piled around us And our loved ones are Close and fainting On peaks far apart Oh give us innocent water Give us wings that we Loyally go over and return.
Those were my words, and quicker Than I had supposed and far To where I had never thought I should come A spirit took me away From home. But around the doors of Asia Here and there Over the uncertain levels of the sea Shadowless roads in any number go, But the boatman knows the islands.
For Patmos is splendid Not as Cyprus is That abounds in streams Nor like any other but In a poorer house Is nevertheless Hospitable and when Shipwrecked or Crying for home or The departed friend Some stranger Nears her she welcomes the sound and her children The hot grove's voices And where the sand falls and the surface of the field Cracks, those noises too Hear him and give a loving echo Of the man's laments.
For everything is good. Thereupon he died. Much might Be said about this. And one last time his friends Saw him in the look of victory, at his most joyful But mourned since now It was evening, and they were astounded And a decision was weighing in their hearts But they loved life in the sun And were loath to leave the sight of the Lord And home.
But it Was driven into them like fire in iron And the shadow of their beloved kept them company. Therefore he sent them The spirit and the house Shook and God's turbulence rolled Thundering into the distance over Their guessing heads when, Thinking heavily, they were assembled Like sentenced heroes And he appeared Once more to them and departed. For the sun put out his light now, The royal day, and snapped The straight beams of his sceptre himself With a god's pain And intended returning When the time is right.
And lively images Are verdant under the mountains too. But the way God scatters life Hither and thither to the uttermost Is terrible. Not only to lose Sight of the dear friends' faces And far over the mountains go Alone when between two The heavenly spirit was recognised In unison and not as a thing to come but Present and tugging at the hair When suddenly Hurrying away the god looked back at them And swearing an oath To hold him as though bound Henceforth by golden cords They said the worst and took one another's hands — But when besides he dies On whom more than on anyone Beauty hung so that his shape Worked a miracle and the gods Pointed him out and when they are left For ever a riddle to one another And cannot comprehend and yet they lived Together in the memory and when it takes away Not only the sand or the willow trees And seizes the temples but down the wind Goes the honour of the demigod and his kin And the Highest himself Thereupon averts his countenance And nowhere in the sky is anything Immortal to be seen nor on The verdant earth — tell me, what is this?
It is the throw of the winnower when he catches Corn in the fan And flings it towards daylight over the floor. The chaff falls at his feet but The wheat gets through Nor is that bad if some Is lost and the living sound Of speech disperses for God's work resembles ours and he does not wish Everything at once. True, there is iron in the shaft And glowing resin in Etna So I would have the riches To shape a shape and see Him how he was, the Christ, And what if one spurred himself and waylaid me Conversing sadly when I was defenceless So that I marvelled and such a servant Wanted to copy the image of the god — In his anger once I saw the Lord Of Heaven visible.
Not to be anything myself. Only To learn. They are kind, but what they loathe above all, So long as they rule, is falseness and nothing Human counts then among mankind. For who has governance? The fated Gods and their work Proceeds of itself and is hurrying to an end. For when the triumph of Heaven rises higher The strong will name him like the daystar They will name God's joyful son As a watchword, and here is the staff Of song beckoning him down. Now nothing is ordinary. The dead Not coarsened yet Will be woken. But many eyes That are shy of looking are waiting to see The light.
They will not flower When the beams are sharp Although a golden bridle holds in their eagerness. His sign is quiet In the thundering sky. And one stands beneath it His whole life long. For Christ still lives. And all the heroes who are the Father's sons Have come and holy scriptures From him and the deeds of the earth Explain his lightning still, A race that cannot be halted.
But he is there. For known Unto God are all his works from the beginning. The honour of the gods has been Too long, too long invisible. For they must almost Guide our fingers and do A shameful violence to wrest the hearts from us. For the gods want, all of them, oblations And neglect has done us Nothing but harm. We have served Mother Earth And lately the light of the sun In ignorance, but the Father Governing all Loves best that we tend The solid letter and make good sense Of what we have.
And German poets try to. Remembrance The nor'easter is blowing The dearest of the winds To me since it fires the sailor's Spirit and promises a prosperous voyage. But go now and greet The lovely Garonne And the gardens of Bordeaux At a place where the banks are abrupt And the path goes along and down Into the river the stream drops but Over it looks out a noble pair Of oaks and white poplars. I am mindful of it still and how The elms in a copse incline Their broad crowns over the mill But a fig-tree grows in the yard.
On holidays There the brown women walk On silken ground At the March time when Day and night are equalized And over the leisurely paths Heavy with golden dreams Drowsing breezes pass. Now let me have Full of the dark light A scented glass So that I rest; for sleep Would be sweet among shades.
It is not good To have our souls Emptied by mortal thinking. But talk Is good, with one another, and to speak The heart's opinion and to hear Abundantly of days of love And deeds that have happened. But where are the friends? Bellarmin With his companion? Some Are shy of going to the source For riches begin In the sea. And they Like painters bring together The beauties of the earth and take to Winged war if they must and live In loneliness, years at a time, beneath The leafless mast, their nights Not lit by the city's holidays Nor music nor the dances of a native place.
But now the men Have gone to the people of India Past the airy point And the vineyard hills Where the Dordogne comes down And together with the superb Garonne as wide as the sea The river leaves. But the sea Takes memory and gives it And love, too, busily engages our gaze But the poets found what lasts. The Ister Come now, fire, For we are ravenous To see the day And when the proof Has flung us to our knees We may hear the forests in uproar. We have sung our way from the Indus A long way and From the Alpheus, we have searched Years for what would serve.
Lacking wings No one can reach across Straight to the next And come to the other side.
But here we shall build. For rivers dig up The land. And when things grow By them and beasts go down To them in summer to drink So people may. They call this river the Ister.
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His course is beautiful. The columns' foliage Burns and moves. They stand upright In the wilds, together; and over them, A second measure, the roof Juts from the rocks. And why Does he cling to the hills so? The other, The Rhine, went off Sideways. Never for nothing Do rivers run in the drylands. Then for what? To be a sign, Nothing else, a forthright sign, and carry the sun And moon inseparably in mind And continue by day and by night and keep The gods warm together.
That is why rivers Delight the Almighty too. How else Could he come down? And the earth's green places They are the children of Heaven. But he, The Ister, seems too patient, Unfree, almost derisive. For when The day should start In his youth, when he begins To grow, when the other there Pushes his pride high and grinds the bit Like a colt and the air For miles hears his tumult This one contents himself; But rock needs gashes And the earth furrows Or how should we plant and dwell? But what that river is up to Nobody knows.
Mnemosyne Ripe and dipped in fire and cooked Are the fruits and proved on earth and the law now is That everything enters, snake-like, Prophetically, dreaming on The hills of Heaven. And things Want keeping like A burden of faggots on the shoulders A lot of things.
But the paths Are wicked. The imprisoned Elements and old Laws of the earth go wrong Like horses. And always There is a longing to dissolve. But a lot Wants keeping. Let us look neither before nor behind, instead Be cradled as though On the lake in a rocking boat.
But the things we love? We see The sunshine on the ground and the dry dust And the shadows of the woods are homely and the smoke Flowers from the roofs about the old crowns Of towers peacefully. The day's marks are good When something of Heaven Has hurt our souls with contradictions. For snow like lilies of the valley Denoting nobleness Wherever it be is shining on The Alps' green meadows Half and half where a traveller Speaking of the cross set for the dead High on the road Rages forward full Of the far future With his companion, but what is this?
With a roaring in the temples once, after The invariable custom of Unmoved Salamis, great Ajax died abroad, Patroclus though in the king's armour. And others died, Many besides. But on Cithaeron lay Eleutherae, Mnemosyne's city.
She too when God Put off his coat at evening She too undid her hair. For he riles the gods Who will not compose himself And spare his soul, although he must; and grief Like him goes wrong. Tears Heaven's love, should I ever forget that love And the kindness of heaven, should I For all too gratefully they served, those blessed With life there in the days of beauty and The heroes in a rage of life, and trees In plenty and the cities stood, were there To be seen like a man in the senses; now The heroes are dead and the islands of love Almost disfigured.
So love must be Everywhere, foolish and at a loss. Oh may the light of my eyes not be put out Wholly with tears and death not shame me and let A memory live after though I Am weak now, robbed and deluded by tears. Ganymede The boy sleeps, the familiar of mountains, why?
Dull, at odds, freezing on the bare bank. Has he forgotten the grace he had At Heaven's tables, when they were thirsty? Down here he seems not to recognise the angels Nor the airs playing more sharply among the rocks And the word a travelled man sends him, The old breathing word, does it never arrive? Oh, now it sounds! It strikes in him like water Deep, coming up, as once before high among The rocks, sleeping, and now in a rage He cleanses himself of the shackles now Now races, who seemed slow, and sloughs off the dross, Takes, breaks and casts them broken aside Happy with rage, so easy, on either Staring bank, and at this stranger's Own voice the flocks leap to their feet, the woods Move and deep in the land, distant, the river's Being is heard and the spirit again Shudders to life in the navel of the earth.
The spring. And everything after its fashion Flowers. But he is not with us now, he went Away, he wandered, for they were all Too kind, again he speaks heavenly language. Chiron Light, thoughtful light, where are you, who always must Go aside at times, where are you? My heart Is awake but the astounding night Thwarts me in anger still. I used to go For herbs into the woods, I was soft and shy, I listened by the hill and never in vain, Never once did your birds deceive me And almost all too eagerly you came Wanting the refreshment of my garden or A foal or my counsel for your heart, oh light Where are you?
My heart has woken but Still I am shut in by the heartless night. I remember what I was. The earth gave me Its first bouquet of saffron, corn and thyme. I learned under the cool stars, at least Such things as we can put a name to. Then He came, the upright man, the demi-god, the hind Of Zeus, and took the magic from the wild fields And saddened them. Now I sit alone From one hour to the next and my thoughts Make figures from clouds of love and the wet earth For poison is between us, and I listen Into the distance whether perhaps A friendly saviour might not come to me.
Then I hear the chariot of the Thunderer Often at noon, approaching, I know him best, His house reverberates and the ground Is cleansed and my pain echoes after him. Then the god comes home and settles in And we are face to face and the earth is changed. Now the willows can breathe again Along my streams, and drink. The eyes have light And there are proper footings, and as A regent, spurred, local and home, you shine Out in your self, my errant star of the day, And the earth also, a peaceful cradle, shines And the house of my fathers who were Not citizens and went in clouds of beasts.
Allow Only Joy: Selected Poems
Now take a horse and clothe yourself in armour And take up the light spear, child. The prophecy Will hold and with it will appear my Returning Heracles, so waited for. To Hope Hope, who are kind to us and busy yourself Even in the houses of mourners and go To and fro between us who die and The forces of heaven gladly, helper Where are you? Over what little life I had The cold evening blows already and I Am quiet as the shades here, songless, Fearful already, cold and dead at heart.
In a valley, in a verdant place of pure Spring waters daily rushing forth, where the autumn Is lovely with open crocuses There in the silence I will look for you And kindness from you then or when at midnight The invisible life among the trees moves And over me those flowers that never Sadden, the bright stars, are in bloom, oh then Dear heaven's daughter from your father's fields Come down and if not as a ghost of the earth if That can't be then come and with something Other startle, startle my heart somehow.
Ages of Life Euphrates' cities and Palmyra's streets and you Forests of columns in the level desert What are you now? Your crowns, because You crossed the boundary Of breath, Were taken off In Heaven's smoke and flame; But I sit under clouds each one Of which has peace among The ordered oaks, upon The deer's heath, and strange And dead the ghosts of the blessed ones Appear to me. Half of Life The land with yellow pears And full of wild roses Hangs into the lake O gracious swans And drunk with kisses You plunge your heads Into the holy, the sober water.
Alas, for where in winter Shall I come by flowers and where The sunlight and The shade of the earth? The walls stand Speechless and cold, the wind Clatters the weathervanes. With strokes of his wings however He calms. Home And nobody knows Let me walk meanwhile And pick wild berries To quench my love of the earth On her paths Here where — and the thorns of roses And lime trees scenting sweetly by The beeches, at noon, when in the dun cornfield Growth rustles through the straight stalks And the corn bows sideways at the neck Like autumn, but now beneath the high Vault of the oaks where I wonder And ask upwards the bell Well-known Strikes from a distance, golden notes, at the hour When the birds wake again.
And I'm to stay single But the calf Easily tangles in the rope It broke. Working But the sower loves to see One fallen asleep In daylight Over her darning. But comes in the first place From the Indus with my mother Among the spice forests. But our first father He was a sharp-eyed king Who crossed the sea Shaking his golden head At the mystery of the waters As the clouds steamed red Above the ship and the beasts Looked dumbly at one another And wanted foddering, but The hills indeed stand still: Where shall we rest?
We have the rocks For pasture, the drylands To drink and for our meat We have the wet. Who wants a dwelling-place Let it be by steps And where a little house hangs down Rest by the water And what you have Is to draw breath And sleep restores What you drew up By day. For where The eyes are covered and The feet are bound There you will find it.
Where will you see? But soon my voice Will go about like a dog in the heat of the day In the alleys of the gardens where people live In France But Frankfurt, to speak of it after man's The print of nature's Shape is this Earth's navel, these times too Are time and coloured German. But above the slope of my gardens There is a wild hill. Cherry trees.
But a sharp breath wafts Around the holes of the rocks. And here I am And everything with me. But a tree bends A miraculous slim nut-tree Over the water-sources and Berries like coral Hang on the branches over wooden pipes From which Of corn once but, to confess it now, the assured song of flowers when New culture from the town where To the point of pain in the nostrils The smell of lemons rises and oil out of Provence and this Gratitude Gascony gave me.
I will say this: there was some good in your eyes When in the distances you looked about you Cheerfully for once who were a man Always closed in his looks and with a dark Aspect. The hours flowed away. How quiet I was at heart thinking of the truth which is How separate I would have been, but Yes I was yours then and I told you so Without a doubt and now you will bring and write All the familiar things back into mind With letters and it happens to me The same and I will say all of the past.
Was it spring or summer? The nightingale's Sweet singing lived with the other birds that were Not far away among the bushes And trees were surrounding us with their scents. On clear pathways, walking among low shrubs On sand, we thought more beautiful than anywhere And more delightful the hyacinths, The tulips, violets and carnations. Ivy on the walls, and a lovely green Darkness under the high walks. In the mornings And the evenings we were there and Talked, and looked at one another, smiling. In my arms the boy revived who had been still Deserted then and came out of the fields And showed me them, with sadness, but the Names of those rare places he never lost And everything beautiful that flowers there On blessed seaboards in the homeland that I Love equally, or hidden away And only to be seen from high above And where the sea itself can be looked upon But nobody will.
Let be. And think of her Who has some happiness still because Once we were standing in the light of days Beginning with loving declarations or Our taking hands, to hold us. Such pity now. That was our beautiful daytime but Sorrowful twilight followed after it. You were so alone in the beautiful world, Beloved, how often you told me! But you Cannot know you were The meadows however that now with pure green Are covered are like that common land Which in the ordinary way is near Where the dark wood is.
There in the meadows too These sheep are sojourning. The tops of the hills Around are naked heights except for Some cover of oaks and single pinetrees. Where the lively ripples of the river are So that a person coming along that path Looks at them gladly, the gentle shapes Of the hills ascend and the vineyards, high. True, steps come down from high up under the vines, A blossoming fruit tree standing over them And scent still lingers on wild hedges Where the violets put forth in hiding; Waters however trickle down and softly A rustling is audible all day long there But the dwellingplaces thereabouts Rest and are silent through the afternoon.
Spring When new joy quickens in the fields and how Things look again becomes beautiful and on The mountains where the trees are greening Lighter breezes show themselves and clouds, What happiness people have then, the lonely Walk the riverbanks cheerfully, peace of mind, Zest and good health open like flowers, Friendly laughter is also not far off. A Happy Life Let me out into the meadow Out into the fields as now Here I'm tame again and pious Seem unhurt by thorns and briars And my cloak flaps in the breeze And the merry spirit enquires What an inner being is Till the day it vanishes.
Seeing this picture, kind on the eye, Seeing these trees stand leafy green Like refreshment, like an inn sign I can scarcely pass them by. Peace, you see, a quiet day, Seems an excellent thing to me. Never ask me why I say so, I'm not here to answer you. However, to the pretty brook I shall find a path I like One that rambles under cover Wildly down the bank deep down Where the footbridge crosses over Climbs then through the lovely trees Where the footbridge feels the breeze There the eyes look up and shine. On the hill up there, up high Many an afternoon I lie, Hear the wind go through the branches Hear the clock tower striking time.
Contemplation gives the heart Peace, for so the picture is, Soothes the ills that I have wrought Cunningly until they rhyme. Blessed landscape, where the road goes Through the middle very level There the moon, the white moon, shows Through the evening comes a wind Nature there is very simple, Nobly there the mountains stand, Home at last I go and try The golden wine that I laid by. The Walk Lovely the woods either side Steeply depicted green And I pass in between With peace now sweetly paid For every stab in the heart And darkness in the head, The harm that thinking did And art from the very start.
Dear images in the valley For example, garden and tree And then the bridge, so narrow And the river, hard to see, How lovely from far away, Where joy is, the image shows Of the land it makes me happy To visit on quiet days. The friendly blue of heaven Starts us on our way Then clouds are added in Like domes in shape and grey And thunder comes and lightning That sears and quickens the earth With beauty welling forth From where the images spring.
Spring How blessed to see again the dawn of days When a man in the fields looks round contentedly, When people ask what their condition is, When people shape themselves to living happily. Just as the curved sky stretches far and wide So joy too then on plains in the open air When hearts hunger for life to be renewed Comes singing then, comes the songbirds' screaming choir. A man who often has asked himself questions Then speaks of life from which our speech issues Unless his soul is eaten at by sorrows A man looks cheerfully on what he owns. When a house is splendid, built high in the skies, Fields for a man are roomier and ways Far out, so one man turns to look And well-built bridges go across the brook.
Autumn The stories that are leaving earth that are About the spirit that was here and will return They turn our way again and we can learn Much from time that wastes faster and faster. The pictures of the past are not forgotten By Nature when in high summer the days Go white, autumn comes down to earth again, Again the ghost of cold is in the skies. In a brief while many things have ended, The ploughman who was visible at the plough He sees the year declining gladly now, With pictures such as these our days are rounded.
The ball of the earth with rock for ornament Is not like evening cloud that fades away, It makes itself seen with a golden day And in perfection there is no complaint.
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Spring The new day comes down from the far mountains, The morning wakening is out of twilight, Adorned and cheerful, and it smiles at humans, It pierces humans, gently, with delight. A new life for the future is unveiling, With blossom, sign of happy days, The wide valley, the earth seems to be filling, And far away when springtime comes grief goes. Obediently yours Scardanclli 3 March View To us with images the open day is bright When from the level distance greenness shows, Before the evening light inclines to twilight And hazes gently damp the sounds of day.
Often the innerness of the world seems clouded, closed, The minds of people full of doubts, morose, Splendidly Nature brightens up their days And doubt's black question stands some way away. The song of Nature, in the weather of the Muses, when over blossom the clouds hang like flakes and over the lustre of golden flowers. Around this time every creature gives out its tone, its self- fidelity, the manner of its own fitting together.
The only separation in Nature then is that of the differences among the species, so that everything is more song and pure voice than accent of need or, as it might be, language. It is the waveless sea where the agile fish feels the pipes of the Tritons, the echo of growth in the soft plants of the water. Oh night, my light, o Erebus shining at me Take me, take Me native here, take me. For Not to the race of gods nor among Everyday men am I Fit to look for a help.
But I am thrashed To death by Zeus' Terrible goddess. Where must one flee to, That being so, where shall I go And stay? When it withers this side, dear ones, And I lie wholly othered And wildly out of my mind. But let all the army from both sides Kill me with their hands. Unhappy woman. That such a man of sense Lets go. He never did before. O streams that enter the sea, o caves by the sea, and you My little wood hanging over the shore A long long time You held me up, at Troy, Now no more, no more Drawing breath.
Let a man Come to his senses here and remember. Famous Salamis, somewhere You dwell among the sea-waves, fortunate, And anyone may find you. I have a new enemy, his name: Ajax, who serves me roughly, oh me, oh my, his House is a godly madness. Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. This Kindle edition brings together two short screenplays by the author of "Flirtation Hill". Get A Copy. Kindle Edition , 59 pages. More Details Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about 2 Short Screenplays , please sign up.
Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. However, to date, we know very little about how poetic language effects the human brain and body. The present series of experiments sheds light on the highly pleasurable emotional effects of poetry. Providing quantitative data from psychophysiology, neuroimaging and behavior, we demonstrate that poetry is capable of inducing peak emotional experiences, including subjectively reported chills and objectively measured goosebumps.
These very intense responses have repeatedly been argued to involve high personal relevance Goldstein, ; Panksepp, ; Maruskin et al. The heightened activity during chills in the mid insula corroborates the idea of a strongly felt bodily component, because this region plays a key role in interoceptive awareness and neural representations of inner body states Craig, As a byproduct of this internal signaling function, chills and goosebumps enhance the memorability of the eliciting stimulus.
This fits well with the fact that participants easily remember the exact passages of chill-eliciting poems as shown in this study , musical pieces Panksepp, ; Blood and Zatorre, ; Salimpoor et al. The latter sample experienced fewer chills than the poetry enthusiasts Furthermore, we found evidence that experiences of chills and goosebumps respond in opposite ways to repeated exposure habituation vs sensitization. This might be the result of evolutionary processes. Notably, chills and piloerection differ mainly regarding their visibility to conspecifics.
Human erection of body hair is a relic of a communication device still used by our furred primate and non-primate ancestors in situations of threat and courtship to make the body appear larger and thereby more impressive French and Snowdon, ; Nishida, A weakening of this important social signal during the course of repetitive displays might have been disadvantageous for our ancestors. In contrast, chills are a private, subjective response, invisible to others. Therefore, evolution would not have disfavored their erosion with repetition in a similar way.
On top of demonstrating the emotional power of poetic language, our skin conductance data also provide insight into the temporal organization of peak emotional experiences. Here we found an independent component, a prechill, rising and descending shortly before the peak the chill occurs. We interpret this phenomenon as an anticipation of the climax that is prepared for or foreshadowed by immediately preceding cues. Importantly, anticipation is built up in poetic language not only by the semantic content, but also by phonological and structural features such as rhyme and meter, so that even when an individual listens to a poem for a first time, the formal composition will provide cues, almost in a countdown-like manner, as to when the line will end, when the stanza will end, and, in the case of strongly formalized poems such as sonnets or haikus, even when the entire poem will end.
Another important finding of the physiological study was the prominence of the corrugator activity, an indicator of negative affect, in moments of chills. In fact, the result pattern for this facial muscle mimicked almost perfectly the pattern of the electrodermal activity Figure 1A and B , which is a classic indicator of emotional arousal and which has provided the most consistent results throughout several physiological studies on chills in response to music and films Blood and Zatorre, ; Rickard, ; Grewe et al.
At the same time, the positive affect-related zygomaticus Figure 1D showed much smaller and less consistent effects Supplementary Table S1B. Strong corrugator activity in moments of art reception that are perceived as highly rewarding is an intriguing finding. In the fMRI study, we confirmed the involvement of the neural basic reward circuitry for poetry-elicited chills, including the caudate nucleus, putamen, mediodorsal thalamus, nucleus accumbens, and anterior insula with the latter two being restricted to the periods of prechills.
Recruitment of these regions by both the biological reinforcers, which directly promote survival of the individual and the species, and by abstract stimuli has classically been suggested to explain the strong human motivation to seek out aesthetic experiences Koelsch, ; Zatorre and Salimpoor, The prominence of corrugator activity, indicating negative affect, appears to be contradictory to these lines of thinking. One of the basic reasons of why we enjoy negative emotions in contexts of art reception is that they are particularly powerful in inducing intense involvement, sustaining focused attention and granting high memorability.
Importantly, all these effects occur against a background of the personal safety of the perceiver. That is, the perceiver is always aware of the distinction between his or her own and the fictional reality as well as of the possibility to withdraw from the aesthetic stimulus at any time by leaving the theater, switching the radio channel, etc. The neural correlates of poetry-elicited chills were found to differ from that of music-elicited chills with regard to the exact locations of heightened activity within the reward-related brain regions: the activation peaks for poetry-evoked chills were shifted to the posterior compared to those for music-evoked chills Blood and Zatorre, ; Salimpoor et al.
This suggests a different quality of chills elicited by poetry compared to music-evoked chills. Given some fundamental differences between these domains, this finding is not surprising. After all, only language-specific semantic content enables listeners to activate precise scenario visualizations, empathic reactions towards protagonists and complex social reasoning. Interestingly, these notions are in line with the activations of two regions that we observed in this study and that were not reported for music-elicited chills: the precuneus and SMG.
Moreover, the prominence of a social dimension in poetry as discussed later is corroborated by the activations in another region not reported for music: the SMG Figure 3E. Being part of the temporo-parietal junction, the SMG is known to be crucially engaged in social cognition and the theory of mind Overwalle, Given the fact that poems can be restructured and modified without altering the semantic content cf.
Obermeier et al. This outcome effectively rules out NAcc involvement in experiencing the peak pleasure itself and exclusively supports a role of NAcc in paving the way for the peak to occur. Importantly, our skin conductance data replicate the well-established fact that maximal emotional arousal and pleasure are experienced during the actual chill, both in comparison to other parts of the stimulus control condition in Figure 1 and locally, in comparison to the preceding prechill Figure 2. The NAcc activity is therefore specifically related to the build-up process of the chill and not to the chill experience itself.
Notably, the specific function of the NAcc or even its subdivisions in the process of reward has not yet been conclusively identified. A large body of literature from human and animal research suggests that the functioning of the NAcc is closely related to making predictions and testing hypotheses about rewarding events. In other words, if the pending stimulus is promising in terms of its hedonic quality, the NAcc activity will reflect this sweet anticipation and increase proportionally to the expected value Abler et al.
On the other hand, if the rewarding quality of a received stimulus is more valuable than expected, the NAcc will also react to these pleasant surprises, which are known in predictive coding theories as positive prediction errors Schultz, ; Berns et al. It is therefore likely that we cannot assign the role of the NAcc either to the anticipation or to the attainment of reward per se. Rather, it appears to serve a broader function of learning statistical regularities of rewarding environmental stimuli and sometimes even aversive ones; Jensen et al. Beyond elucidating the physiology and the neural underpinnings of intense emotional responses to poetry, our studies sought to unveil some of the mechanisms of poetic language that drive these responses.
We did this by making use of the local information about where, in a poem, chills occur. We theorized, based on cadence theories Lausberg, , that in order to exert a maximal emotional effect, chills would be more likely to occur and accumulate at closing positions within the poems. Using visualization techniques and formal statistical approaches, we confirmed these assumptions for both subsets of poems and for the subsequent reading experiment. The places at which the greatest number of predictions can be met or violated are final or closing positions at different levels of a poem——a line, a stanza or the entire poem——making these positions particularly salient for the perceiver.
Moreover, this line of thinking also implies a gradation effect, that is, lines should trigger fewer predictions and thereby have less salience and emotional power as measured by chills than entire stanzas, and entire stanzas should have less of these than an entire poem. Exactly this is reflected by the beta coefficients in our analyses and also in the follow-up reading study Supplementary Table S5.
The increased activity of the NAcc and the concurrent physiological arousal at the positions shortly before a closure as compared to the closure itself can therefore be interpreted as evidence for the pleasant anticipation of whether the predictions will be met or violated at the final positions. Moreover, evocation of social situations and the associated empathic reactions of the perceiver represent another chill-driving factor that is exploited by poetic language.
Poetry has a particularly pronounced focus on highly self-relevant and intimate forms of emotional and social attachment. It therefore typically dwells on personal dilemmas, romantic love and deep friendship. Importantly, the feelings of close personal attachment are usually unfulfilled in poems in one form or another, as in cases of unrequited love, sacrifice of love due to unfortunate circumstances, or a friendship that is put to a hard test.
All of this adds gravity and seriousness to these highly self-relevant and intrinsically pleasant issues, thereby triggering concomitant feelings and expressions of negative affect as evidenced by our data. This blend ultimately leads to states of being emotionally moved. Given that chills have now been reported for three different domains music, poetry and films , our findings open up great opportunities for future studies designed to compare the neural correlates of emotional chills across domains but within the same subjects. Most interestingly, these direct comparisons would allow further investigations into the differences in the neural orchestration of music-elicited and poetry-elicited chills.
Moreover, future studies could make progress in methodological rigor not only by including chills-inducing stimuli from different domains and testing a priori hypotheses derived from previous investigations, but also by testing more subjects, including subjects with different levels of familiarity and expertise. Our studies converge in showing that poetry is a powerful emotional stimulus capable of engaging brain areas of primary reward. The fact that poetry-elicited chills differ from those evoked by music in terms of neural correlates points to the unique qualities of poetic language that could not be replaced by music and singing during the evolution of human forms of emotional expression.
Importantly, whereas music has frequently been acknowledged to be a pancultural phenomenon that has served important social functions from prehistory onwards Koelsch, ; Zatorre and Salimpoor, , it is typically unappreciated that poetry likewise represents an ancient, cross-cultural, and emotionally powerful variety within the human communicative and expressive repertoire.
Moreover, although poetic language plays a crucial role in song lyrics, and while songs and instrumental music are broadly consumed and enjoyed in our everyday lives, poems as such receive far less attention Bradshaw et al. We believe that this discrepancy is due to a lack of experiences of pleasure in response to poetry. This might be caused by insufficient exposure during childhood and adolescence, too analytical an approach to poems in literature classes at school, and overall, widespread ignorance regarding the potential of poetry to provide aesthetic pleasure and foster profound emotional engagement.
The results of the studies presented here should therefore not only put poetry on the agenda of scientific attention but also help to promote knowledge about the powerful effects of poetry in education and public awareness. Supplementary data are available at SCAN online. Muralikrishnan for assistance with data analysis, Vanessa Kegel for help with coding the passages of social address, Felix Bernoulli for assistance with the graphics, and David Poeppel, Ed Vessel, and Mathias Scharinger for valuable comments on the manuscript.
All authors declare that no competing interests exist. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci.
Published online Apr Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Published by Oxford University Press. For commercial re-use, please contact journals. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract It is a common experience—and well established experimentally—that music can engage us emotionally in a compelling manner. Keywords: neuroaesthetics, aesthetic reward, nucleus accumbens, poetic language, chills, piloerection. Introduction Inana's holy heart has been assuaged.
The light was sweet for her, delight extended over her, she was full of fairest beauty. Physiological measurements For acquisition of electrodermal activity, heart rate and facial electromyographic activity Supplementary Figure S1 A, C , a channel bioamplifier, Nexus, including the recording software Biotrace Mind Media B.
Statistical analysis The analysis aimed to test the differences of the physiological correlates of 1 subjective chills, piloerection periods and episodes without chills or piloerection control time , 2 the effects of self- vs experimenter-selected stimuli and 3 the effects of the first vs the second presentation of the stimuli.
Physiological and electromyographic correlates Using mixed-effect analyses of variance, we compared the physiological correlates of chills as indicated by button presses with those of goosebumps as captured by the goosecam and those of the exposure time spans when neither chills nor goosebumps were observed control time Figure 1 , Supplementary Table S1A. Open in a separate window. Dynamics of reward Before turning to the neuroimaging study, however, we will address the much-debated issue of temporal patterning in peak emotional moments. Stimuli For the fMRI study, two experimenter-selected poems were replaced in order to test the effects of stimuli that were presented for the very first time compared to the effects of the other three experimenter-selected poems.
Dynamics of reward The activations we report broadly accord with the literature: poetry-elicited chills do recruit subcortical areas of the basic reward system, despite the heightened corrugator activity that we discovered for the very same periods. Chill-driving features of poetic language Word position analysis. Discussion Poetic language can be found in virtually all cultures around the world and throughout recorded history.
Outlook Given that chills have now been reported for three different domains music, poetry and films , our findings open up great opportunities for future studies designed to compare the neural correlates of emotional chills across domains but within the same subjects. Conclusions Our studies converge in showing that poetry is a powerful emotional stimulus capable of engaging brain areas of primary reward. Author contributions E. Supplementary Material Supplementary Data Click here for additional data file. Conflict of interest. None declared.
Footnotes 1 From 27 individual event-related responses that were computed in a first step and then averaged in a second step to a grand mean Figure 2. References Abler B. Prediction error as a linear function of reward probability is coded in human nucleus accumbens. Neuroimage , 31 2 , —5. A continuous measure of phasic electrodermal activity. Journal of Neuroscience Methods , 1 , 80— Objective and continuous measurement of piloerection.
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Psychophysiology , 47 5 , — Physiological correlates and emotional specificity of human piloerection. Biological Psychology , 86 3 ,—9. Predictability modulates human brain response to reward.
Journal of Neuroscience , 21 8 , —8. Intensely pleasurable responses to music correlate with activity in brain regions implicated in reward and emotion. Emotion and motivation In: Cacioppo J. Handbook of Psychophysiology.