Sunday, December 29, 2019

Philip Larkin’s Life Behind the Camera

Monica Jones in Larkin's bedrom in Hull
England, 1957


Philip Larkin’s Life Behind the Camera



By Lev Mendes

January 29, 2016

In the late summer of 1947, Philip Larkin, a few years removed from university and eking out a living as an assistant librarian, bought himself a camera—a British-made Purma Special. In a letter to a friend, he characterized the purchase as an “act of madness”—it had cost him more than a week’s salary—but the camera seemed to open up fresh possibilities. “There are dozens of worthy compositions knocking around,” he wrote. “It’s a question of realizing what is good even in black and white.” Larkin, at this point, had been taking pictures for nearly a decade, starting out with a box camera given to him by his father and honing his skills as an undergraduate at Oxford, during the Second World War, where he would amble around the deserted campus photographing his contemporaries.

It was a hobby that Larkin would maintain for the next three decades. Eventually, he replaced the Purma with an even costlier Rolleiflex Automat, which he used to shoot a series of self-portraits. Several document his morning routine (shaving, breakfasting, dressing), while others show him looking pensive and quietly dignified. To capture a desired expression, Larkin would position a mirror behind the mounted Rolleiflex, taking advantage of its self-timer. After printing the portraits, he would often crop them for compositional effect, as he did with the other images he created over the years: studies of family members, friends, and romantic partners; elegiac depictions of the English countryside; and an urban pastoral of churches, interiors, railway stations, and cemeteries.

Some two hundred of these photographs, selected from five thousand prints and negatives, have now been assembled for the first time, in a beautifully produced book, “The Importance of Elsewhere,” which was released in the fall by the British imprint Frances Lincoln. Accompanied by commentary from one of Larkin’s biographers, Richard Bradford, the photographs display the full range of his poetic sensibility, from the melancholic to the comical. There is a death-haunted image of his aging mother, silhouetted against the light from a nearby window, and a bitingly funny one of the miserably married Kingsley and Hilly Amis, standing in front of a newspaper headline that reads, in bold lettering, “BIG FIGHT.” There is also a black-and-white shot of the young Monica Jones, Larkin’s lifelong paramour, leaning sensually against his bed (one of many portraits he made of her over the years), and a color image of a country graveyard, the obelisks like giant chessmen casting long shadows.
In their sociability, tenderness, and sweep, the photographs complicate the caricature of Larkin as England’s laureate of despair, squeezing out lines between shifts as a university librarian: “Life is first boredom, then fear”; “Nothing contravenes the coming dark.” Rather than a poet committed to monkish isolation and routine, Larkin the photographer appears as an eager traveller through Britain and Ireland, with Jones often in tow. Bradford makes a point of noting that Larkin kept these travels, and the photographs they inspired, a secret from pen pals like Kingsley Amis, for whom he reserved obscenity-filled reports of his own bitterness and alienation—his wide-eyed curiosity replaced by an ironic sneer.

In underscoring Larkin’s hidden side—kinder, softer, more receptive and intimate—Bradford’s notes in “The Importance of Elsewhere” seem to follow in the footsteps of James Booth, whose 2014 biography, “Philip Larkin: Life, Art and Love,” attempted to counter the poet’s posthumous reputation as a bigot and boor. True, Booth argued, Larkin’s correspondence disclosed instances of racism, misogyny, and reactionary shallowness, but this was only one face of the self-contradictory, many-minded poet. Bradford, in his turn, quotes one of Larkin’s unpublished poems, addressed to Amis, in which he distinguishes, in photographic terms, between his own love interests and those of his philandering friend: “Only cameras memorise her face, her clothes would never hang among your interests.”

What drew Larkin to take pictures? Given his investment in the medium, there is curiously little mention of the subject in his published verse, essays, or letters. We’re left, for the most part, to speculate. Perhaps photography offered the poet an escape from the pressures of verbal composition, providing him with a way of taking in reality more directly, via image instead of language. Or perhaps it availed him of a private universe of references, one he didn’t necessarily wish to share with others. Bradford describes how Larkin tried to “build a world of his own, one he kept largely to himself.” Just as he held friends like Amis at a certain remove—presenting a view of himself tailored to their sensibilities—Larkin fashioned his own separate reality, observing and framing it from behind a lens.

Larkin’s 1953 poem “Lines on a Young Lady’s Photograph Album” supplies another shred of insight. The poem describes a man looking at photographs of his lover, and alternates between tones of artful seduction and distressed accusations against photography itself: “But o, photography! as no art is, / faithful and disappointing!” Photographs, Larkin suggests, by faithfully recording the past, convince us that it was real, like the present. But this feeling in turn provokes heartbreak, as we are forced to confront a reality “no one now can share,” from which we have been tragically cut off. The images in the young woman’s album, Larkin writes, are
In every sense empirically true!
Or is it just the past? Those flowers, that gate,
These misty parks and motors, lacerate
Simply by being over; you
Contract my heart by looking out of date.
This awareness of loss and separation, of the irrecoverable pastness of the past, is what compelled Larkin to write poetry. As he put it, in a 1958 radio interview with the BBC, poems preserve “a particular kind of experience, a feeling that you are the only one to have noticed something, something especially beautiful or sad or significant.” Photography, like poetry, may have simply provided him a way of noticing and preserving. It seems fitting, then, that in the late nineteen-seventies, when the muse of poetry abandoned Larkin, several years before his death, he ceased taking pictures as well.

THE NEW YORKER




Saturday, December 21, 2019

Leyla Josephine / I Think She Was a She


Leyla Josephine
Photo by Jassy Earl




I THINK SHE WAS A SHE

Standard

Leyla Josephine, a performing artist, shared her poem at Merchant City festival on Brunswick Stage. Her unapologetic account of a teenage abortion she had is making waves across the country. She came out and said something phenomenally brave about why she made the very personal decision to have an abortion. Watch the video and check out the lyrics bellow.

I think she was a she.
No.
I know she was a she and I think that she would have looked just like me.
full cheeks, hazel eyes and thick brown hair that I could have plated into dreams at night.
I would have stuck glow up stars on her ceiling and told her they were fireflies to protect her from the dark.
I would have told her stories about her grandfather
we could have fed the swans at the park.
She would have been like you too, long limbs
with a sarcastic smile and the newest pair of kicks.
She would have been tough, tougher than I ever was
and I would have taught her all that my mother taught me
and I would have taken her to all the museums and there she could see the bone dinosaurs
and look to them and wonder about all the things that came before she was born.
She could have been born.
I would have made sure that we had a space on the wall to measure her height as she grew.
I would have made sure I was a good mother to look up to.
But I would have supported her right to choose.
To choose a life for herself, a path for herself.
I would have died for that right, just like she died for mine.
I’m sorry but you came at the wrong time.
I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed.
I am so sick of keeping these words contained.
I am not ashamed.
I was a teenage girl with a boy she loved between her thighs that felt very far away.
Duvet days and dole don’t do family planning well.
I am one in three. I am one in three. I am one in three.
I had to carve down that little cherry tree
that had rooted itself in my blood and blossomed in my brain.
A responsibility I didn’t have the energy or age to maintain.
The branches casting shadows over the rest of the garden.
The bark causing my thoughts, my heart to harden.
I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed.
It’s a hollowness, that feels full, a numbness that feels heavy.
stop trying to fit how this feels on an NHS bereavement brochure already.
I am allowed to feel it all, I am allowed to feel.
I am woman now, I am made of steel,
and she wasn’t a girl and she wasn’t a boy.
That’s just the bullshit you receive to keep you out of parliament and stuck on maternity leave.
Don’t you mutter murder on me.
70,000 per year. 70,000 per year. 70,000 per year.
Dead.
Thats’s 192 per day.
from coat hangers, painkillers, the back alley way way.
Don’t you mutter murder on me.
Worldwide performing abortion like homework,
looking for the answer in the groves in our palms, the bulges on our bellies, the whispers in our ears,
only to be confronted with question marks.
Women have been hidden away in the history books.
After all it’s history.
His story.
Well this is herstory, ourstory, god damn it,
this is my story
and it wont be written in pencil and erased with guilt.
It will be written in pen and spoken with courage.
You will hear it on the radio on your way to work, you will study it in English,
you will read it on the coffee shops bulletin boards next to the flyer about yoga for babies.
Because I am not ashamed, I am not ashamed, I am not ashamed.
I am woman now.
I will not be tamed.
I have determination that this termination will still have a form of creation.
It will not be wasted.
this is my body. this is my body. this is my body.
I don’t care about your ignorant views
when I become a mother, it will be when i choose.




Sunday, December 15, 2019

Philip Larkin / This Be the Verse

Philip Larkin


This Be The Verse

by Philip Larkin

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.   
    They may not mean to, but they do.   
They fill you with the faults they had
    And add some extra, just for you.


But they were fucked up in their turn
    By fools in old-style hats and coats,   
Who half the time were soppy-stern
    And half at one another’s throats.


Man hands on misery to man.
    It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
    And don’t have any kids yourself.

Philip Larkin
 “This Be the Verse”
Collected Poems
Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2001



Thursday, December 12, 2019

Djelem Djelem / Barcelona Gipsy Klezmer Orchestra

Sandra Sangiao

Djelem Djelem

Sandra Sangiao (Voice)
Barcelona Gipsy Klezmer Orchestra



After three years of incredible concerts, inspiring musical encounters and numerous tours in 21 countries, BGKO continues to evolve, delight and flourish. We are happy to announce our newest iteration: Barcelona Gipsy balKan Orchestra.
After so much intense work and growth, we are responding to the urge to expand our artistic horizons. While we remain very interested in Klezmer music, we also want to gather inspiration from a wider spectrum of genres. Balkan music is, for us, a set of musical traditions and multiethnic cultures that surpass geographical confines, drawing on the historical traditions that have forever inhabited these lands: Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews, Gypsies, Ottomans, Arabs...
And as always, the Gipsy music of Eastern Europe will always be present in the essence of our artistic energy.

En route to this horizon we welcome a new clarinetist to the band: Joaquín Sánchez Gil, from Málaga, also creative artisan of wind instruments. He is a lover and expert of Balkan and Middle Eastern traditions as well as flamenco.
No longer with us is the clarinetist, Robindro Nikolic , co-founder of the old Barcelona Gipsy Klezmer Orchestra. He continues his own unique artistic path with new projects. We want to take this occasion to express our deep admiration and gratitude for the wonderful years of learning and performing with Robindro. You can follow him here: www.robindronikolic.com.
We are also enjoying the increasingly active collaboration of Oleksandr Sora, Ukrainian classical violinist and virtuoso of Eastern European music. Regarding the Barcelona Gipsy balKan Orchestra... we are happy to be presenting a new video and two unreleased tracks very soon!
We will continue to work with renewed strength, inspiration and energy! So please stay tuned! Always, Barcelona Gipsy balKan Orchestra BGKO are: Sandra Sangiao (Voice - Catalunya)
* (In this video, the group counted on Vroni Schnattinger's violin collaboration)
Robindro Nikolic (Clarinet - Serbia/India) Mattia Schirosa (Accordion - Italy) Julien Chanal (Guitar - France) Ivan Kovacevic (Double Bass - Serbia)
Stelios Togias (Percussion - Greece)




Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Giovanni Quessep / The artist of silence





The artist of silence

by Giovanni Quessep
Translated by Felipe Botero

Should it be denied?
If I am the last man walking on the earth
I would have to deny it
if there are no birds to sing an autumn song
if there is no autumn if the time of the seasons has already passed
I would have to deny it
if there is no blue for me to tell my bewilderment
if I am where the colours have no name
in the gardens’ incessant final judgement
I am the last man shouting on the earth
who shouts to the sky that has hidden itself forever
and I would have to deny it to whom, to God?
God is perchance the artist of silence
for there are so many leaves that are not or keep falling into the abyss
and explode in the squalid air but what air.



Friday, December 6, 2019

Giovanni Quessep / As autumn falls





As autumn falls

by Giovanni Quessep
Translated by Felipe Botero
Giovanni Quessep / Mientras cae el otoño

Shrouded in golden leaves,
we wait.
The world doesn’t end at sunset
and only dreams
limit themselves to things.
Through a labyrinth of blank hours
time leads us on
as autumn falls
over our house, our patio.
Shrouded in a relentless fog
we wait, we wait:
nostalgia means to live without remembering
the word we are made of.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Giovanni Quessep / To become one with music





To become one with music

by Giovanni Quessep
Translated by Felipe Botero
Giovanni Quessep / Para hacerte a la música

You are in need of everything:
grey roads,
deep glooms,
birds that sing even in silence;
the sky,
an autumn leaf,
hands empty,
love unreturning,
snow’s whiteness;
dawn lights,
you are in need of everything the dream requires,
to become one with the music
of the most faraway blues
so that eventually your soul
will have confidence in death.


Sunday, December 1, 2019

Giovanni Quessep / In between trees


In between trees

by Giovanni Quessep
Translated by Felipe Botero

If you are who I look for, come
in the night of lost reflections,
if you are the beloved body,
come in between trees, in between songs.

Here awaits you a time
dispossessed of fables,
a body punished by life
and the roads’ brambles.

If you are she who comes,
leave me a sign in between trees:
a white veil, a trace in the dust
will suffice in my wretchedness.

Come now that death awaits
as marvellous forest awaits death;
if you are who I look for,
come under the sky’s protection.




Thursday, November 28, 2019

Giovanni Quessep / A Greek Verse for Ophelia







A Greek Verse for Ophelia

by Giovanni Quessep
Translated by Felipe Botero

The afternoon I knew your death–
the summer’s purest, the almonds
had grown up to the sky,
and the loom halted in the rainbow’s
ninth colour. How, by the white rim, did
her movement go?
How was your flight by that thread woven
which gave almost the name of destiny?

Only the clouds uplifted in the light
told everybody’s writing, the ballad
of who has seen a kingdom and
another kingdom and remains
within the fable. They carried
your body, snow between dust branches
that have already heard the song and keep
peace of the nightingale among the tombs.

I shut the garden gates, the
castle’s high windows. Indeed I grudged
the troubadour, transmuting wood
to water, flower and lute, entry.
He sang his song; time has unravelled what
the Lord has ravelled, silver tapestry
already happening, moonlit wandering,
yet returning to the skein. Alone
you may find the shape that awaits you.

I don’t know what blue was, there and then, lonely,
I don’t know what forest imparted to
the bitter moon its enchantment, the sunflower found
under the ship on voyages that recall
the Mediterranean clear waters.
The afternoon I knew you
were leaving was death’s purest: you
were in my memory talking to me
among the lilies, in some lines by
Saint John of the Cross. What sky was there,
what hand knit slowly, what songs
brought the pain, the marvel
that is awed of being at that hour
in which the moon burst on the almonds
and burned down the jasmines. You came
by the side of the sea from where a song
is heard, perhaps from a drowning
virgin, as your steps on the land.

Then you departed through my soul, you queen
of ancient fables, dust kindred to those ships
that once seeded from sandal-
-wood and cedar the wine sea.
Alone you travelled, beautiful, in silence,
stone-beautiful; in your shoulder
a violin stopped in its tracks. The almonds in
the courtyard and the jasmines announced
a summer storm. The sky
shattered my house’s mirror, death
resounded deep in the cistern. I was
thus lost in that fiery bramble, in which
our memory conceals our loved ones.
I wore blue mourning and remained alone

“on the eve of the longest day”.



Sunday, November 24, 2019

The Poetic Principle / Poe on Truth, Love, Reason, and the Human Impulse for Beauty



The Poetic Principle: Poe on Truth, Love, Reason, and the Human Impulse for Beauty

“A poem deserves its title only inasmuch as it excites, by elevating the soul. The value of the poem is in the ratio of this elevating excitement.”

“True poetic form,” Edward Hirsch wrote in his wonderful meditation on how to read a poem, “implies a mind so miraculously attuned and illuminated that it can form words, by a chain of more-than coincidences, into a living entity.” James Dickey, in his guide on how to enjoy poetry, argued that “poetry makes possible the deepest kind of personal possession of the world.” In his sublime Nobel Prize acceptance speech, the late and great Seamus Heaney asserted that poetry works to “persuade that vulnerable part of our consciousness” and remind us that we are “hunters and gatherers of values.” But, surely, all these exaltations apply to good poetry — great poetry, even. The question, then, is what makes great poetry, and why does it make the human soul sing so?
Arguably the most compelling answer ever given comes from Edgar Allan Poe in his essay “The Poetic Principle,” which he penned at the end of his life. It was published posthumously in 1850 and can be found in the fantastic Library of America volume Edgar Allan Poe: Essays and Reviews (public library), which also gave us Poe’s priceless praise of marginalia.
Poe begins with an unambiguous definition of the purpose of poetry:
A poem deserves its title only inasmuch as it excites, by elevating the soul. The value of the poem is in the ratio of this elevating excitement. But all excitements are, through a psychal necessity, transient. That degree of excitement which would entitle a poem to be so called at all, cannot be sustained throughout a composition of any great length. After the lapse of half an hour, at the very utmost, it flags — fails — a revulsion ensues — and then the poem is, in effect, and in fact, no longer such.
And yet, he argues, this isn’t necessarily how we judge poetic merit — he takes a prescient jab against our present “A for effort” cultural mindset to remind us that the measure of genius isn’t dogged time investment but actual creative quality:
It is to be hoped that common sense, in the time to come, will prefer deciding upon a work of Art, rather by the impression it makes — by the effect it produces — than by the time it took to impress the effect, or by the amount of “sustained effort” which had been found necessary in effecting the impression. The fact is, that perseverance is one thing and genius quite another
(It’s interesting that he uses the term “sustained effort” more than a century and a half before the findings of modern psychology, which has upgraded the term to “deliberate practice” to illustrate the qualitative difference in the effort necessary for achieving genius-level skill.)
After discussing a couple of examples of poems that elevate the soul, Poe takes a stab at what he considers to be the most perilous cultural misconception about poetry and its aim, a fallacy that profoundly betrays the poetic spirit:
It has been assumed, tacitly and avowedly, directly and indirectly, that the ultimate object of all Poetry is Truth. Every poem, it is said, should inculcate a moral; and by this moral is the poetical merit of the work to be adjudged. We Americans especially have patronized this happy idea; and we Bostonians, very especially, have developed it in full. We have taken it into our heads that to write a poem simply for the poem’s sake, and to acknowledge such to have been our design, would be to confess ourselves radically wanting in the true poetic dignity and force: — but the simple fact is, that, would we but permit ourselves to look into our own souls we should immediately there discover that under the sun there neither exists nor can exist any work more thoroughly dignified — more supremely noble than this very poem — this poem per se — this poem which is a poem and nothing more — this poem written solely for the poem’s sake.
He goes on to outline a dispositional diagram of the human mind, a kind of conceptual phrenology that segments out the trifecta of mental faculties:
Dividing the world of mind into its three most immediately obvious distinctions, we have the Pure Intellect, Taste, and the Moral Sense. I place Taste in the middle, because it is just this position which, in the mind, it occupies. It holds intimate relations with either extreme; but from the Moral Sense is separated by so faint a difference that Aristotle has not hesitated to place some of its operations among the virtues themselves. Nevertheless, we find the offices of the trio marked with a sufficient distinction. Just as the Intellect concerns itself with Truth, so Taste informs us of the Beautiful while the Moral Sense is regardful of Duty. Of this latter, while Conscience teaches the obligation, and Reason the expediency, Taste contents herself with displaying the charms: — waging war upon Vice solely on the ground of her deformity — her disproportion — her animosity to the fitting, to the appropriate, to the harmonious — in a word, to Beauty.
(I wonder whether Susan Sontag was thinking about Poe when she wrote in her diary that “intelligence … is really a kind of taste: taste in ideas.”)
Beauty, Poe argues, is the highest of those human drives, and the domain where poetry dwells:
An immortal instinct, deep within the spirit of man, is thus, plainly, a sense of the Beautiful. This it is which administers to his delight in the manifold forms, and sounds, and odors, and sentiments amid which he exists. And just as the lily is repeated in the lake, or the eyes of Amaryllis in the mirror, so is the mere oral or written repetition of these forms, and sounds, and colors, and odors, and sentiments, a duplicate source of delight.
[…]
The struggle to apprehend the supernal Loveliness — this struggle, on the part of souls fittingly constituted — has given to the world all that which it (the world) has ever been enabled at once to understand and to feel as poetic.
Acknowledging that the poetic sentiment may manifest itself in forms other than poetry — art, sculpture, dance, architecture — he points to music (“Music”) as an especially sublime embodiment of the Poetic Principle:
It is in Music, perhaps, that the soul most nearly attains the great end for which, when inspired by the Poetic Sentiment, it struggles — the creation of supernal Beauty. It may be, indeed, that here this sublime end is, now and then, attained in fact. We are often made to feel, with a shivering delight, that from an earthly harp are stricken notes which cannot have been unfamiliar to the angels. And thus there can be little doubt that in the union of Poetry with Music in its popular sense, we shall find the widest field for the Poetic development.
(Again, I wonder whether Poe was on Susan Sontag’s mind when she wrote that “music is at once the most wonderful, the most alive of all the arts,” or on Edna St. Vincent Millay’s when she exclaimed, “Without music I should wish to die. Even poetry, Sweet Patron Muse forgive me the words, is not what music is.”)
Poe returns to the subject of beauty as the ultimate source of this “Poetic Sentiment” in all its varied expressions with an argument that rings all the more poignant and stirring today, in an age when we question whether pleasure alone can make literature worthwhile. Poe writes:
That pleasure which is at once the most pure, the most elevating, and the most intense, is derived, I maintain, from the contemplation of the Beautiful. In the contemplation of Beauty we alone find it possible to attain that pleasurable elevation, or excitement, of the soul, which we recognize as the Poetic Sentiment, and which is so easily distinguished from Truth, which is the satisfaction of the Reason, or from Passion, which is the excitement of the heart. I make Beauty, therefore — using the word as inclusive of the sublime — I make Beauty the province of the poem, simply because it is an obvious rule of Art that effects should be made to spring as directly as possible from their causes: — no one as yet having been weak enough to deny that the peculiar elevation in question is at least most readily attainable in the poem. It by no means follows, however, that the incitements of Passion, or the precepts of Duty, or even the lessons of Truth, may not be introduced into a poem, and with advantage; for they may subserve, incidentally, in various ways, the general purposes of the work: — but the true artist will always contrive to tone them down in proper subjection to that Beauty which is the atmosphere and the real essence of the poem.
He then offers a precise, unapologetic definition of poetry:
I would define, in brief, the Poetry of words as The Rhythmical Creation of Beauty. Its sole arbiter is Taste. With the Intellect or with the Conscience, it has only collateral relations. Unless incidentally, it has no concern whatever either with Duty or with Truth.
[…]
While [the Poetic Principle] itself is, strictly and simply, the Human Aspiration for Supernal Beauty, the manifestation of the Principle is always found in an elevating excitement of the Soul — quite independent of that passion which is the intoxication of the Heart — or of that Truth which is the satisfaction of the Reason. For, in regard to Passion, alas! its tendency is to degrade, rather than to elevate the Soul. Love, on the contrary — Love … is unquestionably the purest and truest of all poetical themes. And in regard to Truth — if, to be sure, through the attainment of a truth, we are led to perceive a harmony where none was apparent before, we experience, at once, the true poetical effect — but this effect is preferable to the harmony alone, and not in the least degree to the truth which merely served to render the harmony manifest.


Portrait of Poe by Benjamin Lacombe. Click image for details.

Poe ends with an exquisite living manifestation of his Poetic Principle — a sort of prose poem about poetry itself:
We shall reach, however, more immediately a distinct conception of what the true Poetry is, by mere reference to a few of the simple elements which induce in the Poet himself the true poetical effect He recognizes the ambrosia which nourishes his soul, in the bright orbs that shine in Heaven — in the volutes of the flower — in the clustering of low shrubberies — in the waving of the grain-fields — in the slanting of tall, Eastern trees — in the blue distance of mountains — in the grouping of clouds — in the twinkling of half-hidden brooks — in the gleaming of silver rivers — in the repose of sequestered lakes — in the star-mirroring depths of lonely wells. He perceives it in the songs of birds — in the harp of Æolus — in the sighing of the night-wind — in the repining voice of the forest — in the surf that complains to the shore — in the fresh breath of the woods — in the scent of the violet — in the voluptuous perfume of the hyacinth — in the suggestive odor that comes to him, at eventide, from far-distant, undiscovered islands, over dim oceans, illimitable and unexplored. He owns it in all noble thoughts — in all unworldly motives — in all holy impulses — in all chivalrous, generous, and self-sacrificing deeds. He feels it in the beauty of woman — in the grace of her step — in the lustre of her eye — in the melody of her voice — in her soft laughter — in her sigh — in the harmony of the rustling of her robes. He deeply feels it in her winning endearments — in her burning enthusiasms — in her gentle charities — in her meek and devotional endurances — but above all — ah, far above all — he kneels to it — he worships it in the faith, in the purity, in the strength, in the altogether divine majesty — of her love.
Find more of Poe’s timeless wisdom in Edgar Allan Poe: Essays and Reviews and complement it with his meditation on marginalia and Lou Reed on the challenge of setting Poe to music.