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November 28, 2008

The Dimming of the Day

Night has a quiet beauty all its own.


TOO solemn for day, too sweet for night,
Come not in darkness, come not in light;
But come in some twilight interim,
When the gloom is soft, and the light is dim.

- William Sidney Walker


SHE walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that 's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

- George Gordon Byron, Lord Byron



i opened my door
and the night air rushed in
crisp, and cool

and the scent of woodsmoke
and fallen leaves
and possibilities was everywhere

and for a moment
i saw myself walking
down the hill and into the moonlight
like i used to do

when i was younger


EDITH, the silent stars are coldly gleaming,
The night wind moans, the leafless trees are still.
Edith, there is a life beyond this seeming,
So sleeps the ice-clad lake beneath thy hill.

So silent beats the pulse of thy pure heart,
So shines the thought of thy unquestioned eyes.
O life! why wert thou helpless in thy art?
O loveliness! why seem’st thou but surprise?

Edith, the streamlets laugh to leap again;
There is a spring to which life’s pulses fly;
And hopes that are not all the sport of pain,
Like lustres in the veil of that gray eye.

They say the thankless stars have answering vision,
That courage sings from out the frost-bound ways;
Edith, I grant that olden time’s decision,—
Thy beauty paints with gold the icy rays.

As in the summer’s heat her promise lies,
As in the autumn’s seed his vintage hides,
Thus might I shape my moral from those eyes,
Glass of thy soul, where innocence abides.

Edith, thy nature breathes of answered praying;
If thou dost live, then not my grief is vain;
Beyond the nerves of woe, beyond delaying,
Thy sweetness stills to rest the winter’s pain.

- William Ellery Channing

Posted by Cassandra at November 28, 2008 06:03 AM

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Sigh. Art and poetry. Two of the three most expressive forms of beauty, with music being the third.


Posted by: Cricket at November 28, 2008 08:12 AM

La Rama Robabda
The Stolen Branch

En la noche entraremos
a robar
una rama florida.

In the night we shall go in
to steal
a flowering branch.

Pasaremos el muro,
en las tinieblas del jardin ajeno,
dos sombras en la sombra.

We shall climb over the wall
in the darkness of the alien garden,
two shadows in the shadow.

Adn no se fue el invierno,
y el manzano aparece
convertido de pronto
en cascada de estrellas olorosas.

Winter is not yet gone,
and the apple tree appears
suddenly changed
into a cascade of fragrent stars.

En la noche entraremos
hasta su trembloroso firmamento
y tus pequenas manos y las mias
robaran las estrellas.

In the night we shall go in
up to its trembling firmament,
and your little hands and mine
will steal the stars.

Y sigilosamente
a nuestra casa,
en la noche y la sombra,
entara con tus pasos
el silencioso paso del perfume
y con pies estrellados
el cuerpo claro de las primavera.

And silently,
to our house,
in the night and the shadow,
with your steps shall enter
perfume's silent step
and with starry feet
the clear boody of spring.

Posted by: Drive-by Pablo Neruda at November 28, 2008 09:21 AM

I don't like winter at all, but I do look forward to winter nights.

There is something austerely beautiful about the sky in midwinter, and the way the air smells and feels. I can't describe it, but every year when I go outside underneath the stars at night, there is this feeling you don't get at any other time of year.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 28, 2008 09:23 AM

Night comes quickly in the desert. There's a fifteen-minute window to see the sunset, and then it's full dark.

The little, cat-sized desert foxes sometimes come out of the cemetery after I lock up -- they'll walk with me for a few hundred meters, then dance off to catch their supper in the ruins and the scrapyard...

Posted by: BillT at November 28, 2008 09:27 AM

That is perfect. I had never seen it before.

I don't know if it is more beautiful in Spanish or English.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 28, 2008 09:28 AM

I liked night in the desert too, Bill (in California, though).

We had a pool, and two huge weeping willow trees in the back yard.

Most of the yard was xeriscaped, but we had a small grassy area by the house where the trees were with a path through it. At sunset the wind would come down out of the hills and rustle though the leaves - it was really magical.

I used to sit on my patio watch these tiny bats (they flew so fast they looked like swallows - for the longest time we thought they were birds) do 'touch and goes' on the surface of the pool. And then after dark there were shooting stars.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 28, 2008 09:33 AM

The bats come through just before sunset, and they'll dip down so close you can feel the breeze from their wings.

Now, if they'd start in on the bugs around *noontime*...

Posted by: BillT at November 28, 2008 09:55 AM

Out in the evening, when the day goes dark
She leaves the bright house lights
Stands and watches with her coat pulled around
As torches light the western skies

Sometimes she thinks she knows him just too well
Other times, not much at all
They live their lives in some familiar spell
And catch each other when they fall

Nothing lasts, well she knows
Try to hang on when it’s gone, you’ll be burned
Fashions and friends come and go
Everyone travels that road in their turn

She wants to run out where the day meets the night
Far beyond these Midwest farms
But she’ll be with him to the day she finds
A stranger lying in her arms

--Al Stewart, End of the Day

Posted by: drlivipr at November 28, 2008 11:26 AM

In Spanish - Definitely in Spanish. There is nothing better than Neruda in its original lexicon.

Posted by: Boquisucio at November 28, 2008 11:32 AM

The Car Chaser's Sysiphean Chore

Be like the car chaser, not.
Always chasing and barking,
yet inches away from its prize.

Alas, he leads a life 'ever in fear.
Though having his life's goal so near,
he'll nip nary a tire.
For in his existential fear,
he dreads what his life will then require.

Posted by: Barky-Boquisucio at November 28, 2008 11:41 AM

I love twilight; for the reflection of the day just past, the gathering together for reading. On winter nights, the fireplace has a roaring fire in it..I think I want to have a family room named 'The Hall of Fire,' just because I loved the way it was used in the LOTR. A place for story, study and song.

On summer nights, we watch the cats stalking, and then, in the wee hours, we are treated to the raccoons trying to steal the cat food. Sometimes, if one of the CLUs doesn't put the lid tightly on the bucket, the raccoons get lucky.

The Engineer tied the bucket up one night; and we saw the bandits try to sneak up on it and get it down. Much hilarity ensued, but they learned their lesson and haven't been back.

Posted by: Cricket at November 28, 2008 02:10 PM

There are very few things I miss about Southern California but the winter nights are one of them. Nights here just aren't the same.

Posted by: HomefrontSix at November 28, 2008 03:32 PM

"Southern California" and "winter" are mutually exclusive terms.

*Nobody* ever had to trudge five miles through three feet of sunshine to get to school, even if it *was* uphill both ways...

Posted by: BillT at November 29, 2008 04:27 AM

It depends on if you are from Arizona. We moved to Canoga Park (near LA) in November...and we froze, even though the residents were walking around in long sleeved shirts, and wore a coat for one day in January.

Summer was delightful; we didn't need air conditioning.

Then we moved to Monterey. Froze again and needed the furnace year round. A/C is unheard of up thataway.

Posted by: Cricket at November 29, 2008 09:27 AM

...the residents were walking around in long sleeved shirts, and wore a coat for one day in January.

Just the reverse of upstate NY, which also has only two seasons -- winter and the Fourth of July.

Posted by: BillT at November 29, 2008 09:57 AM

The Dimming of the Day

When Cassandra goes to sleep, the day dims a little bit more.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 30, 2008 09:04 PM

You are very sweet, Ymar. Far kinder than I deserve.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 1, 2008 11:55 AM