Tom Simard

Poetry, Music, and Prose

Archive for the tag “light”

The Chinese Restaurant

Szechuan Garden Chinese Restaurant

Red lanterns hung
giving light
to a dim atmosphere
bordering on the
clandestine
as if boats
were sneaking out to sea
with contraband.

The music
echoing out
did not soothe
as much as
make one
question
what might
come next.

The menu
with its characters
of sheer beauty
from which
you ordered
as the
candle flickered away
like fireflies gone lost,
exchanging
the happenings of a day
that would remain with you
as long as
the Great Wall
traversed space
from which its citadels
had stood as a reminder
of the threats that come
to everyone
in unfamiliar territory.

The ink wash paintings
with the calligraphy
you could not
decipher
but imagined
to be
a reflection
of the placid
waters.

Poem by Tom Simard
Sketch by John Spiers

To find out more about John’s other creative work, please visit 1 Graphic 50 Words.

Our Mid-Month’s Poet: Robert Lowell

Children of the Light by Robert Lowell
Our fathers wrung their bread from stocks and stones
And fenced their gardens with the Redmen’s bones;
Embarking from the Nether Land of Holland,
Pilgrims unhouseled by Geneva’s night,
They planted here the Serpent’s seeds of light;
And here the pivoting searchlights probe to shock
The riotous glass houses built on rock,
And candles gutter by an empty altar,
And light is where the landless blood of Cain
Is burning, burning the unburied grain.

Our Mid-Month’s Poet: Matthew Arnold

Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold
The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand;
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the A gaean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.
Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

On Mitchell’s Introduction to The Iliad

“The ancient epic poems by Homer and Virgil, the medieval French epic The Song of Roland, Shakespeare’s Henry V, Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Joseph Heller’s Catch-22— each of these works takes war as a mirror of human nature, in all its fear and hope. But of all great literature about war, none concentrates more fiercely than Homer’s ancient Greek epic The Iliad on the dark, pointless brutalities that are part of human combat.”

Catch-22 is an interesting inclusion.

However much The Iliad concentrates on “pointless brutalities” I don’t think Mitchell is claiming it is anti-war in the sense we might think Aristophanes’ Lysistrata was.

“Legend has it that he was blind, but there is no actual evidence to support this.”

The idea of being blind, of course, meant he could really see.

“…blindness in Ancient Greek culture. Deprivation of light is almost as undesirable as death, yet blindness bestows a status of distinction in a culture where choice between light and honor is difficult.Blindness is punishment for breaking the limits of human knowledge, yet it is also the means to insight (truth-vision of metaphysical light). The (polluted) blind seers and poets enjoy the highest religious, social and political powers.”    http://www.bernidaki.eu/resources/263_reviews_book_gr_en.pdf

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