It’s a week of reflection…on love, on life…and of course, rounded out with Tom Jones.
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, by Wallace Stevens
Read by Diane Havens
Incredibly beautiful simplicity in these short verses as the bird is the image upon which the poet ponders life. A thought sketch poem.
Nähe des Geliebten, by J.W. von Goethe
Read by Sonia Vilim
Nähe des Geliebten
von J.W. von Goethe
Ich denke dein, wenn mir der Sonne Schimmer
Vom Meere strahlt;
Ich denke dein, wenn sich des Mondes Flimmer
In Quellen malt.
Ich sehe dich, wenn auf dem fernen Wege
Der Staub sich hebt;
In tiefer Nacht, wenn auf dem schmalen Stege
Der Wandrer bebt.
Ich höre dich, wenn dort mit dumpfem Rauschen
Die Welle steigt.
Im stillen Haine geh ich oft zu lauschen,
Wenn alles schweigt.
Ich bin bei dir, du seist auch noch so ferne.
Du bist mir nah!
Die Sonne sinkt, bald leuchten mir die Sterne.
O wärst du da!
Image by Peter Davey
translated by Henry Van Dyke
I think of thee when golden sunbeams glimmer
Across the sea;
And when the waves reflect the moon’s pale shimmer
I think of thee.
I see thy form when down the distant highway
The dust-clouds rise;
In darkest night, above the mountain by-way
I see thine eyes.
I hear thee when the ocean-tides returning
And on the lonely moor in silence yearning
I hear thy voice.
I dwell with thee; though thou art far removed,
Yet thou art near.
The sun goes down, the stars shine out,—Beloved
If thou wert here!
From the German of Goethe, 1898.
Image: Peter Davey
The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost
Read by Xe Sands
This has long been a favorite poem of mine. And for years, I’ve thought I had this poem all figured out. But in reading it again, it occurs to me that I don’t really know if the narrator is actually satisfied with his choice. I had always assumed that was the point of the poem – you know…’I went the less traveled route and was rewarded with the riches that come from being brave and taking risks, blah blah blah’ – that whole schtick.
Yeah, well maybe that’s not what Frost is saying here. It’s been very interesting to ponder this at midlife – this, a poem I read and fell in love with back in high school, when I thought I knew everything and of course knew pretty much nothing.
So listen with a new ear. Does it hold the same message it’s always held? I wonder…
image credit: David Robinson
Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0
Tom Jones, Book VII, Chapter 7, by Henry Fielding
Read by Mark Turetsky
Book 7 Chapter 7 of Tom Jones.
This is part of an ongoing project in which I will record and post one chapter per week of Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones over the course of four years.
Here we get another scene of Sophia and Honour conversing. Honour informs Sophia that rumor has it that Squire Western is having a marriage contract drawn up for the very next day, so Sophia determines to run away to a family friend in London, whom she thinks will be sympathetic to her plight. Honour agrees to come with her, partly because Sophia announces she will kill herself if she’s forced to marry Blifil, and Honour is worried she’ll come back as a ghost, and partly because Sophia has promised her a reward if she helps.
Honour is most worried, however, about her clothes, as she’s got a large collection that she doesn’t want to lose. She sets out, therefore, to get herself fired by the end of the day.