Your humble host is unsure how this little gem had not yet been mentioned in this Garden – it has one of the most well-known poetic phrases of all time!
In front of the sombre mountains,
a faint, lost ribbon of rainbow
And between us and it, the thunder;
And down below in the green wheat,
the labourers stand like dark stumps,
still in the green wheat.
You are near to me, and naked feet
In their sandals, and through the
scent of the balcony’s naked timber
I distinguish the scent of your hair:
so now the limber
Lightning falls from heaven.
Adown the pale-green glacier river floats
A dark boat through the gloom—
and whither? The thunder roars
But still we have each other!
The naked lightnings in the heavens dither
what have we but each other?
The boat has gone.
(D. H. Lawrence)
So many Shakespeare references in one shortish poem!
Not many Ogden Nash poems to include here, unless your host is in a somewhat silly mood.
If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Except for love’s sake only. Do not say
‘I love her for her smile–her look–her way
Of speaking gently,–for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day’–
For these things in themselves, Beloved, may
Be changed, or change for thee,–and love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity’s wiping my cheeks dry,–
A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby !
But love me for love’s sake, that evermore
Thou mayst love on, through love’s eternity.
(Elizabeth Barrett Browning)
Let’s have some more Cavafy, shall we? His words come across so excellently in English, one must wonder how beautiful they must be in their native Greek! It’s enough to make a gardener want to learn another language.
You’ll often find this as “Body, Remember” or “Remember, Body” depending on the translation, but I’m pretty sure the correct title is this one:
She comes not when Noon is on the roses–
Too bright is Day.
She comes not to the Soul till it reposes
From work and play.
But when Night is on the hills, and the great Voices
Roll in from Sea,
By starlight and candle-light and dreamlight
She comes to me.
Valentine’s Day is in two weeks. Lovers are already thinking of what lovely things they may give each other as tokens of affection.
This is not really a recommendation.
It’s been a while since we had any Cavafy here. His sense of wonder is always marvelous. This feels like an excerpt from a story someone should write.