March 2009

Fairest Isle

Fairest isle, all isles excelling,
Seat of pleasure and of love
Venus here will choose her dwelling,
And forsake her Cyprian grove.
Cupid from his fav’rite nation
Care and envy will remove;
Jealousy, that poisons passion,
And despair, that dies for love.

Gentle murmurs, sweet complaining,
Sighs that blow the fire of love
Soft repulses, kind disdaining,
Shall be all the pains you prove.
Ev’ry swain shall pay his duty,
Grateful ev’ry nymph shall prove;
And as these excel in beauty,
Those shall be renown’d for love.

Authorship: John Dryden (1631-1700)
Musical setting: Henry Purcell (1658/9-1695)

Purcell is magic. A marvellous of this song version here, her lovely voice accompanied only by Lute.


“In some cases it is really more to one’s credit to be carried away by an emotion, however unreasonable, which springs from a great love, than to be unmoved. And this is even truer in youth, because a young man who is always sensible is to be suspected and is of little worth — that’s my opinion!”

–Fyodor Dostoyevski

When butterflies leave their silk palaces
And the scent of the garden blows
Towards Heaven’s way,
Like the toils of man,
Those who worked for tomorrow
Will not miss the dreams of

–Yususf Islam

She turned away, but with the autumn weather
Compelled my imagination many days,
Many days and many hours:
Her hair over her arms and her arms full of flowers.
And I wonder how they should have been together!
I should have lost a gesture and a pose.
Sometimes these cogitations still amaze
The troubled midnight, and the noon’s repose.

– TS Eliot
from La Figlia Che Piange (The Weeping Girl)

I went to Kameari Kristokyokai this morning, for a change — I’ve been meaning to visit for a while, since I enjoyed their very nice Christmas Concert.

Look what they gave me! This is their newsletter — that’s my home town, Christchurch! Not only that: Kristokyokai literally means “Christ church”.

Amazing coincidence, isn’t it?

By the way, the service was very nice. The music was great, the Pastor charismatic — I could only understand parts of what he said, but those parts were very good!

The band sang (in Japanese) ‘the Lord’s Prayer’: you know, the famous version that swells at the end: “for thine….. is the ki-ingdowm… and the po-ower… and the glo-o-ry….” (the famous version). Very nicely done.

“On the contrary, there is no place in the world where the amenities of courtesy should be so carefully maintained as in the home. There are no hearts that hunger so for expressions of affection as the hearts of which we are most sure. There is no love that so need its daily bread as the love that is strongest and holiest. There is no place where rudeness or incivility is as unpardonable as inside our own doors and toward our best beloved. The tenderer the love and the truer, the more it craves the thousand little attentions and kindnesses which so satisfy the heart.

It is not costly presents at Christmas and on birthdays and anniversaries that are wanted; these are only mockeries if the days between are empty of affectionate expressions. Jewelry and silks and richly bound volumes will never atone for the want of warmth and tenderness. Between husband and wife there should be maintained, without break or pause, the most perfect courtesy, the gentlest attention, the most unselfish amiability, the most affectionateness.

Coleridge says: “The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions, the little soon forgotten charities of a kiss or a smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compliment, and the countless infinitesimals of pleasurable thought and genial feeing.” These may seem trifles, and the omission of them may be deemed unworthy of thought; but they are the daily bread of love, and hearts go hungry when they are omitted. It may be only carelessness at first in a busy husband or a weary wife that fails in these small, sweet courtesies, and it may seem a little matter, but in the end the result may be a growing far apart of two lives which might have been forever very happy in each other had their early love but been cherished and nourished.

“For love will starve if it is not fed,
And true hearts pray for their daily bread.”

Home-Making by J. R. Miller, 1882

we can abandon

your time flows in summer’s fullness
your words flow, sweet, sun-filled
penetrating the inner core.
Beyond the curve
hard white clouds rise
a train approaches
dreams kiss.

unknown love-declarations.

who knows what words
secretly dwell
in the river
in the rocks.
What music is it
from the constellations
that holds the moon
in her heavenly bond,
far from the noise
of clamouring men.

rethinking the skies

open arches of love
in the blue sky over the river,
that laugh at the hats of straw.
The day gives birth again
in the corners of the street.

—Romeo Giuli

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