Oct 27
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The Death of Mankind

In the vast of nature, man only walks. 
Man feeds on her branches, he only sees
Her fragrant buds, not her root’s grounding rocks. 

Suburbs claim land, skyscrapers hold market stock, 
Man owns all and churns out smoke, trees he seizes. 
In the vast of nature, man only walks. 

Palace bowers, factory towers, man’s clocks, 
All beat artificially, gone with breezes. 
Ivy grows, she plants her firm grounding rocks. 

Man’s monuments fade, crumbling in the lochs, 
They die in grass, marble weeds, fruitless trees, 
In the vast of nature, man only walks.
 
Human love, die, die soft like midnight talk.  
Human hate, die, die myarters on your knees, 
Your shrines have no heart, only nature plants rocks. 

Rising vengeful tempests rise, cities they stalk. 
Nature steadfast watches, waiting with ease,  
Patient as the trees, trees that grow through clocks.
Oct 27
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A Covid Dream

I’m back where I started at the beginning of summer. 

    On a ledge, over a creek

    Wondering how long the drop. 

    Staring out into a wooded glen. 

Wondering how deep the isolation. 
I want you to absorb me. Take my idealized dreams, 

And turn them pastel orange, 

My imagination too. 
How lovely does your music creep, 
Like kisses on a summer eve, 
Or sun upon a grassy mead, 
  
Into a bloodstream. 
Intoxicate me. 

My heart is filled with need

I’m lonely. 

Make me dizzy with a dream 

As gold and bright as leaves upon an autumn eve. 

‘Till your burs grow tough and stern
And make a fool of me. 
‘Till I can love no more, 
Or your affection has run dry, 

When the cold returns, 
My heart is yours to break. 

    Shatter it. 

Then bring me to the wooded creek  
Sep 13
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Sonnet to concrete

What comes after Winter’s fearful whip? 
Tell, what gives sway to summer scented sage? 
To what gives imagination’s muses blush? 
The forest’s bloom green, the bee’s nectar rush? 

What book can tell? Aye, what poet can say? 
My naked toes, pressed on what Earth has sung. 
Burning from the warmth, on which Sun has hung 
Her shooting fires to make human pyres! 

‘Tis not the thrush, nor the greenery that 
Gives summer sway, ‘tis the flat concrete stair,  
Mirroring Earth’s light, book pages that glare 
Soft white, too harsh for mine own squinting eyes.
Jul 17
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On the Folly of Living, A Romantic Testament of Life: Historical Notes & Creative Breakdown

Besides each writer answering the question “What is it that makes a human life worth living?”  I also wanted each writer’s answer to represent a facet of Romanticism in some way while still being true to their character, which proved to be one of my biggest challenges for me throughout this process. Eventually I decided on radicalism for Mary Shelley, the doomed and tragic love story for Keats, the romanticism and awe-inspiring power of nature with sprinkles of Ancient Greek romanticism for Percy Shelley, and the stressed importance of the independence of the individual for Byron, with some overlaps in between. Each piece, I’d like to think, also holds its own separate theme on the writer’s life’s purpose. 
                                                                                 
                                                                                   Lord Byron (1788-1824) 
Jul 17
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On the Folly of Living, A Romantic Testament to Life: On This Day I Complete my 36th Year

“My days are in the yellow leaf; The flowers and fruits of love are gone; The worm-the canker and the grief Are mine alone! The fire that on my bosom preys Is lone as some Volcanic Isle; No torch is kindled in it’s blaze, a funeral pile.” 

                                                          “On This Day I Complete my Thirty-Sixth Year” by Lord Byron

                                                                                    Missogolonghi, Greece


                                                                                                                                                                                         January 22, 1824
Jul 17
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On the Folly of Living, A Romantic Testament to Life: Ode to a Wicked Storm (Lines on the Death of Percy Bysshe Shelley)

“Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread On blue surface of thine airy surge, Like the bright hair uplifted from the head. Of some fierce Mænad, even from the dim verge Of the horizon to the zenith’s height, the locks of the approaching storm.” 

                                                                              “Ode to the West Wind” by Percy Shelley

                                                                                                   
                                                                                               Pisa, Italy, 1822
 
1. Screaming thunder! Loud as the tortured damned, 
    Terrible Tempest that howls with hell’s fire! 
    To skies as high and black as dæmon pyre!
    
    Heaven’s sky above, painted like the abyss, 
    Come at last to punish me for my sins! 
    Go one! Strike me by lightning, kill with winds. 
Jul 17
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On the Folly of Living, A Romantic Testament to Life: The Three Days Existence of the Butterfly Poet (Or the Love story of John Keats and Fanny Brawne)

“Bright Star! Would I were steadfast as thou art- Not in long splendor, hung aloft the night And watching, with eternal lids apart… Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast, To feel forever it’s soft fall and swell… Still, still to hear her tender taken breath, And so live ever- or else swoon to death.” 

                                                                                       “Bright Star” by John Keats


                                                                                      Hampstead, England, 1819

                                                                                                        I
                                                                              The heart’s affections remain eternal-
                                                                              It’s gaze endures, without conscience knowing. 
Jul 17
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The Folly of Living, A Romantic Testament to Life: A Lady Monster (Or the Tale of One Mary Shelley)

“I collected the instruments of life around me, that I may infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet… his limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful, Beautiful!... I had worked hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate human body.”

                                                                                   Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, pg 50 

                                                                           
                                                                                         (Marlow, England, 1817)
Jul 17
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On the Folly of Living, A Romantic Testament to Life: Selections from the Letters and Journals of George Noel Gordon, Lord Byron

                                                                               "Mad, bad, and dangerous to know." 
                                                      -Lady Caroline Lamb, on Lord Byron after meeting him for the first time



                                                                                            16 To Thomas Moore 
                                                                                                                                                                                 Geneva, June 2nd, 1816
Dearest Moore, 
Jul 17
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On the Folly of Living, A Romantic Testament to Life: Preface

                                                                                          
                                                                Preface: What Was British Romanticism? 


    I was originally introduced to Romanticism back in 2018 after watching  Jane Campion’s 2009 film Bright Star about the romance between Romantic poet John Keats and his muse, Fanny Brawne. A beautiful film that seemed to have it all you could want from a period piece: gorgeous cinematography, emotion, longing stares, a passionate forbidden romance doomed from the beginning, and the cherry on top, the beautiful and intoxicating poetry of John Keats. Immediately, I was intrigued. 

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