So I haven’t posted in a while, and that’s because life has been so crazy that even my Internet procrastination is at a minimum. Except, of course, my compulsive email checking. But that has only persisted because I am going insane waiting for the email proclaiming that my wedding photos have been posted online. I am so impatient that I might just go ape and scratch someone’s eyes out.
Yesterday my life was crazy because I had to read about 34793847 poems by nineteenth-century aesthetes and decadents for my Around 1900 class. I like reading poetry, but nineteenth-century poetry, in my opinion, often sucks. And that is a technical term used often in literary study.* But I did run across two that I wanted to post on the blog… not to comment on, as that would take too much effort, but to post. Because amid the crappity crap crap crap, I thought these were interesting.
Impression de Nuit, London (1894)
by Lord Alfred Douglas
See what a mass of gems the city wears
Upon her broad live bosom! row on row
Rubies and emeralds and amethysts glow.
See! that huge circle like a necklace, stares
With thousands of bold eyes to heaven, and dares
The golden stars to dim the lamps below,
And in the mirror of the mire I know
The moon has left her image unawares.
That’s the great town at night: I see her breasts,
Pricked out with lamps they stand like huge black towers.
I think they move! I hear her panting breath.
And that’s her head where her tiara rests.
And in her brain, through lanes as dark as death,
Men creep like thoughts… The lamps are like pale flowers.
The last two lines of that one, I think, make the whole poem worthwhile. And then there’s good old Oscar, who is always good for the strange and yet oddly alluring. I won’t transcribe the whole poem here because it’s long (although well worth a look). I’m only including two stanzas. Maybe I find this poem interesting because I’m researching dolls and puppets. But wow. (NB: The speaker has been watching shadows that are moving against the blinds of a whore house.)
Excerpt from The Harlot’s House
By Oscar Wilde
…Like wire-pulled Automatons,
Slim silhouetted skeletons
Went sidling through the slow quadrille,
Then took each other by the hand,
And danced a stately saraband;
Their laughter echoed thin and shrill.
Sometimes a clock-work puppet pressed
A phantom lover to her breast,
Sometimes they seemed to try and sing.
Sometimes a horrible Marionette
Came out and smoked its cigarette
Upon the steps like a live thing…
* Not actually a technical term often used in literary study.