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AC Benus

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  1. 70. Risest thou thus, dim dawn, again, And howlest, issuing out of night, With blasts that blow the poplar white, And lash with storm the streaming pane? Day, when my crowned estate begun To pine in that reverse of doom, Which sickened every living bloom, And blurred the splendour of the sun; Who usherest in the dolorous hour With thy quick tears that make the rose Pull sideways, and the daisy close Her crimson fringes to the shower; Who mightest have heaved a windless flame Up the deep East, or, whispering, played A chequer-work of beam and shade Along the hills, yet looked the same. As wan, as chill, as wild as now; Day, marked as with some hideous crime, When the dark hand struck down through time, And cancelled nature's best: but thou, Lift as thou mayest thy burthened brows Through clouds that drench the morning star, And whirl the ungarnered sheaf afar, And sow the sky with flying boughs, And up thy vault with roaring sound Climb thy thick noon, disastrous day; Touch thy dull goal of joyless gray, And hide thy shame beneath the ground. Tennyson
  2. @Mikiesboy and @Parker Owens Walking out in the night appears in a few of the earlier poems too (like the one where Tennyson apparently walked to Hallam's house and stood there, in front of it, until the frost formed in the morning). To me, in No. 67, he's again going out at night, away from the glib people who laugh behind his back during the day for his mourning the loss of a mere "friend." Out there in the city's shadows, in the sense of cruising, the poet finds some comfort being with his own kind; "I found an angel of the night / The voice was low, the look was bright /He looked upon my crown and smiled." The crown of thorns being his affliction -- either in the sense of having lost the man of his life, or in the sense of being a person ridiculed for his orientation. Naturally, it could be both of these at the same time. "He reached the glory of a hand," signaling physical contact and the relief of just holding or being held by one who understands. The reason I think this might relate to No. 69 is because he wishes for an opiate not to get high, but simply to calm "the blindfold sense of wrong / That so my pleasure may be whole." In other words, the simultaneous guilt and sense of relief being with another young man physically brings to him, as if he feels he's "cheating" on Hallam. These are the thoughts I had about these lines....
  3. I'm curious what people think of this part of No. 67. wandered from the noisy town, I found a wood with thorny boughs: I took the thorns to bind my brows, I wore them like a civic crown: I met with scoffs, I met with scorns From youth and babe and hoary hairs: They called me in the public squares The fool that wears a crown of thorns: They called me fool, they called me child: I found an angel of the night; The voice was low, the look was bright; He looked upon my crown and smiled: He reached the glory of a hand, That seemed to touch it into leaf: The voice was not the voice of grief, The words were hard to understand. Might it relate to this passage from No. 69? Hadst thou such credit with the soul? Then bring an opiate trebly strong, Drug down the blindfold sense of wrong That so my pleasure may be whole
  4. 68. I cannot see the features right, When on the gloom I strive to paint The face I know; the hues are faint And mix with hollow masks of night; Cloud-towers by ghostly masons wrought, A gulf that ever shuts and gapes, A hand that points, and palled shapes In shadowy thoroughfares of thought; And crowds that stream from yawning doors, And shoals of puckered faces drive; Dark bulks that tumble half alive, And lazy lengths on boundless shores; Till all at once beyond the will I hear a wizard music roll, And through a lattice on the soul Looks thy fair face and makes it still. 69. Sleep, kinsman thou to death and trance And madness, thou hast forged at last A night-long Present of the Past In which we went through summer France. Hadst thou such credit with the soul? Then bring an opiate trebly strong, Drug down the blindfold sense of wrong That so my pleasure may be whole; While now we talk as once we talked Of men and minds, the dust of change, The days that grow to something strange, In walking as of old we walked Beside the river's wooded reach, The fortress, and the mountain ridge, The cataract flashing from the bridge, The breaker breaking on the beach.
  5. 66. When in the down I sink my head, Sleep, Death's twin-brother, times my breath; Sleep, Death's twin-brother, knows not Death, Nor can I dream of thee as dead: I walk as ere I walked forlorn, When all our path was fresh with dew, And all the bugle breezes blew Reveillee to the breaking morn. But what is this? I turn about, I find a trouble in thine eye, Which makes me sad I know not why, Nor can my dream resolve the doubt: But ere the lark hath left the lea I wake, and I discern the truth; It is the trouble of my youth That foolish sleep transfers to thee. 67. I dreamed there would be Spring no more, That Nature's ancient power was lost: The streets were black with smoke and frost, They chattered trifles at the door: I wandered from the noisy town, I found a wood with thorny boughs: I took the thorns to bind my brows, I wore them like a civic crown: I met with scoffs, I met with scorns From youth and babe and hoary hairs: They called me in the public squares The fool that wears a crown of thorns: They called me fool, they called me child: I found an angel of the night; The voice was low, the look was bright; He looked upon my crown and smiled: He reached the glory of a hand, That seemed to touch it into leaf: The voice was not the voice of grief, The words were hard to understand. Tennyson
  6. 65. When on my bed the moonlight falls, I know that in thy place of rest By that broad water of the west, There comes a glory on the walls; Thy marble bright in dark appears, As slowly steals a silver flame Along the letters of thy name, And o'er the number of thy years. The mystic glory swims away; From off my bed the moonlight dies; And closing eaves of wearied eyes I sleep till dusk is dipt in gray; And then I know the mist is drawn A lucid veil from coast to coast, And in the dark church like a ghost Thy tablet glimmers to the dawn. Tennyson
  7. 64. You thought my heart too far dis-eased; You wonder when my fancies play To find me gay among the gay, Like one with any trifle pleased. The shade by which my life was crost, Which makes a desert in the mind, Has made me kindly with my kind, And like to him whose sight is lost; Whose feet are guided through the land, Whose jest among his friends is free, Who takes the children on his knee, And winds their curls about his hand: He plays with threads, he beats his chair For pastime, dreaming of the sky; His inner day can never die, His night of loss is always there. Tennyson
  8. AC Benus


    That's a pollen-covered bee?
  9. Jeff Friedman is a contemporary poet whose work is very poorly represented on the internet. I'd like to share the following poem and hopefully spread a little more interest in his work on the web.


    Finding the Action

    (this Elegy provides a rare emotional snapshot

    of same-sex love from the straight side)


    At Schneithorst’s you

    tried to pick up

    the car hop, a short

    blond-haired girl

    with buck teeth.

    She ignored your comments

    and hooked the tray

    with our fries and shakes

    to the window.

    “Look at that—”

    You rose up and

    pointed at a girl

    in a miniskirt

    climbing out of the back

    seat of a Mustang.

    We could see the red

    polka dots

    on her panties

    and the backs of her

    long golden legs.

    I put my hand

    on your shoulder

    and pulled you back.

    “I want to get

    Laid real bad,”

    you said.


    How could I have prevented you

    from saying what you felt,

    or stopped us from growing apart?


    Winding through

    the narrow lanes

    and curvy roads

    past long rows

    of neatly trimmed

    hedges, stone

    statues, timed

    sprinklers flinging

    hard drops

    of water toward

    the sloping edges

    of lawn, we drove

    to the Holmes’ house,

    but Nan’s windows

    were dark. “No action

    here,” I said.


    How could I have prevented you

    from saying what you felt,

    or stopped us from growing apart?


    At the Jewel Box

    in Forest Park

    we sat in the car

    with the doors open

    and finished the last

    of a bottle of Sloe Gin,

    stolen from your

    father’s liquor cabinet.

    “Have you ever had

    a really good

    blow job?”

    I was almost afraid

    to look at you, afraid

    to stare into the shining

    wedge of your face.

    “I can give you

    a blow job,” you said,

    “that will send you through

    the roof of the car.”



           How could I have prevented you

    from saying what you felt,

    or stopped us from growing apart?


    I thought of the exotic

    flowers behind the glass

    walls, releasing

    their perfumes to the dark,

    of how the fragrant scents

    grow so potent

    they make a new

    kind of air,

    thick with sweetness;

    of how jewels form

    on the palms of the fibrous

    green leaves

    that sparkle

    only a moment

    before they burst.


    How could I have prevented you

    from saying what you felt,

    or stopped us from growing apart?


    Under the thick canopy

    of the sycamores, their

    trunks lit

    by a milky flame,

    I looked at your stained

    lips, your palms

    opening and closing.

    Then I shoved the clutch

    Into gear and patched out

    on the tarry road,

    and sticking my head out

    the window, laughed

    into the warm buggy

    wind rushing into

    my eyes and mouth.


    How could I have prevented you

    from saying what you felt,

    and stopped us from growing apart.

    Jeff Friedman,




    “Finding the Action” Jeff Friedman, is subtitled: “(For G.C., who died of AIDS),” and appears in Taking Down the Angel, Poems, Pittsburgh 2003, ps. 79-82  


    1. Show previous comments  2 more
    2. Daddydavek


      I did.. Thank-you!

      Sloe gin...haven't heard a reference to that in years. By the way Schneidhorst's closed within the past eight months or so.

    3. Parker Owens

      Parker Owens

      Thanks for sharing Friedman’s poem with us all.

    4. Lyssa


      This is so vivid. Thank you for sharing. :-)


  10. 62. Dost thou look back on what hath been, As some divinely gifted man, Whose life in low estate began And on a simple village green; 5Who breaks his birth's invidious bar, And grasps the skirts of happy chance, And breasts the blows of circumstance, And grapples with his evil star; Who makes by force his merit known And lives to clutch the golden keys, To mould a mighty state's decrees, And shape the whisper of the throne; And moving up from high to higher, Becomes on Fortune's crowning slope The pillar of a people's hope, The centre of a world's desire; Yet feels, as in a pensive dream, When all his active powers are still, A distant dearness in the hill, A secret sweetness in the stream, The limit of his narrower fate, While yet beside its vocal springs He played at counsellors and kings, With one that was his earliest mate; Who ploughs with pain his native lea And reaps the labour of his hands, Or in the furrow musing stands; "Does my old friend remember me?" 63. Sweet soul, do with me as thou wilt; I lull a fancy trouble-tost With "Love's too precious to be lost, A little grain shall not be spilt." And in that solace can I sing, Till out of painful phases wrought There flutters up a happy thought, Self-balanced on a lightsome wing: Since we deserved the name of friends, And thine effect so lives in me, A part of mine may live in thee And move thee on to noble ends. Tennyson
  11. 60. Though if an eye that's downward cast Could make thee somewhat blench or fail, Then be my love an idle tale, And fading legend of the past; And thou, as one that once declined, When he was little more than boy, On some unworthy heart with joy, But lives to wed an equal mind; And breathes a novel world, the while His other passion wholly dies, Or in the light of deeper eyes Is matter for a flying smile. 61. Yet pity for a horse o'er-driven,=1> And love in which my hound has part, Can hang no weight upon my heart In its assumptions up to heaven; And I am so much more than these, As thou, perchance, art more than I, And yet I spare them sympathy, And I would set their pains at ease. So mayst thou watch me where I weep, As, unto vaster motions bound, The circuits of thine orbit round A higher height, a deeper deep. Tennyson
    These eyes of mine, desiring beautiful things,
    and their spirits wrapped up in their fitness,
    seek no other able vitality than 
    to ascend to the heaven that looks after them. 
        From heights of the highest stars
        descends one, united splendor
        to enlight what desire draws them to; 
        and what is rightly called by the name of love.
    And so, for another of gentle heart,
    that can fall in love, and burn and tell him 
    his looks are there in the face that looks after him. 
    Michelangelo Buonarroti
    1. MichaelS36


      Simply splendid. Thank you for taking the time to share these, AC. 

    2. AC Benus

      AC Benus

      @MichaelS36 Thank you. This one I found really, really difficult. Michelangelo was a manneristic painter and sculptor, so it only follows his poetry should be too. And this one, it is... 

      N. 107

      Gli occhi miei vaghi delle cose belle,

      E l'alma insieme della sua salute

      Non hanno altra virtute

      Ch'ascenda al ciel che rimirar in elle.


      Dalle più alte stelle

      Discende uno splendore,

      Che'l desir tira a quelle;

      E quel si chiama amore.


      Ne d'altro ha gentil core,

      Che lo innamori, & arda, e che'lconsigli

      Ch'un volto che ne gli occhi lor simigli. 


    3. MichaelS36


      I don't speak Italian but I believe you, AC. And well, it seems Michelangelo was a good a poet as he was sculptor and painter. 

  13. AC Benus

    a feeble spark

    Edie Windsor wearing the wedding 'diamond ring' her wife first gave her in 1964
  14. . Sonnet No. 119 So often I see the handsome young men, Whose fair features put me in mind of you, And I might long to whisper to them then Their beauty reminds me of your divine cue. But if you see my glance, don't be jealous; If you see me waver under their view, Know their loveliness is just a trellis Where I can plant the sweetest thoughts of you. Once known, the marriage of beauty and soul Will not stand the weight of one, it's true, But together, one the other must extol, So I borrow beauty in tribute of you. Though passing features may cause a tremble, Only your face, my heart, can resemble. Sonnet No. 120 Before the Supreme Court stood – Edie Windsor – On her breast, her wife's proud diamond 'ring' still blazed, Forty-six years after Edie was first dazed That the woman she loved was proposing to her. A private woman, the press she would endure To end bigotry, and all were amazed, Telling a great love story, she was not fazed, For it was time for justice to transfer. Love endures, thus diamonds are the symbol – Tough too, like Edie and her spouse, you'll mind Through the nagging dinge of Time, are able To hold partners tight; not to choke, nor bind, But in the way I love you, they stable The hand on heart that can forever find. _
  15. AC Benus


    Thank you, Def. It's always nice to know you have read them. Please be cautious and stay safe in school
  16. AC Benus


    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Mike. I really appreciate them, especially now with the virus going around and death sudden and tragic for many, this idea of a future looking brighter for our offspring seems more imperative than ever. I may be accused of generation bias, but many, many, many (you get the idea...) of the world's problems today are because the Baby Boomers are selfish and immoral, at least the leaders they vote for reflect these deadly sins. They have lived up to their parents' predictions and brought our Western World, guided by ethics and honor, to the brink in the name of grabbing all the money they can for themselves; those parents who told them point-blank: "Change your ways or you will ruin everything." The babies in the cradles now face generations of setbacks, and lives guaranteed to harder than they were for their parents.
  17. AC Benus


    Thank you, Tim. The point your raise about the exuberance of youth is something I notice in my own work (suddenly). I don't mean currently, but contrasting the voice or the POV of things I write now against the recently vetted Willmore Pizza, I see a large difference. The Pizza tale, and most from the Becoming Real set, show a freshness and a new to love openness. This outlook does not need to be stated in these seven short stories, but it is there in the background, like a holy ghost guiding the third-person narrative. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. They are always appreciated
  18. 58. He passed; a soul of nobler tone: My spirit loved and loves him yet, Like some poor girl whose heart is set On one whose rank exceeds her own. He mixing with his proper sphere, She finds the baseness of her lot, Half jealous of she knows not what, And envying all that meet him there. The little village looks forlorn; She sighs amid her narrow days, Moving about the household ways, In that dark house where she was born. The foolish neighbors come and go, And tease her till the day draws by: At night she weeps, "How vain am I! How should he love a thing so low?" 59. If, in thy second state sublime, Thy ransomed reason change replies With all the circle of the wise, The perfect flower of human time; And if thou cast thine eyes below, How dimly charactered and slight, How dwarfed a growth of cold and night, How blanched with darkness must I grow! Yet turn thee to the doubtful shore, Where thy first form was made a man; I loved thee, Spirit, and love, nor can The soul of Shakespeare love thee more. Tennyson
  19. 56. Peace; come away: the song of woe Is after all an earthly song: Peace; come away: we do him wrong To sing so wildly: let us go. Come; let us go: your cheeks are pale; But half my life I leave behind: Methinks my friend is richly shrined; But I shall pass; my work will fail. Yet in these ears, till hearing dies, One set slow bell will seem to toll The passing of the sweetest soul That ever looked with human eyes. I hear it now, and o'er and o'er, Eternal greetings to the dead; And "Ave, Ave, Ave," said, "Adieu, adieu," for evermore. 57. In those sad words I took farewell: Like echoes in sepulchral halls, As drop by drop the water falls In vaults and catacombs, they fell; And, falling, idly broke the peace Of hearts that beat from day to day, Half-conscious of their dying clay, And those cold crypts where they shall cease. The high Muse answered: "Wherefore grieve Thy brethren with a fruitless tear? Abide a little longer here, And thou shalt take a nobler leave." Tennyson
  20. Something to stock up for your (and your friends') summertime reading  B)  :thumbup: B) I think you will enjoy the ride, and find it's 460 pages of a real page-turner tale :yes:







    1. Show previous comments  3 more
    2. mollyhousemouse


      i'm so very happy for you! i know it was a labor of love

    3. Puppilull


      I love the cover! 

    4. Timothy M.

      Timothy M.

      Who's this very handsome guy on the back cover ? :gikkle:  I love the creative use of vegetables. :P 

      Tillykke fra Danmark :hug:

  21. Thank you, Tim. These feelings of crossover, from his times (when death was frequent) to ours, is what motivated me to start posting In Memoriam at this time
  22. 55. "So careful of the type?" but no. From scarped cliff and quarried stone She cries, "A thousand types are gone: I care for nothing, all shall go. "Thou makest thine appeal to me: I bring to life, I bring to death: The spirit does but mean the breath: I know no more." And he, shall he, Man, her last work, who seemed so fair, Such splendid purpose in his eyes, Who rolled the psalm to wintry skies, Who built him fanes of fruitless prayer, Who trusted God was love indeed And love Creation's final law -- Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw With ravine, shrieked against his creed -- Who loved, who suffered countless ills, Who battled for the True, the Just, Be blown about the desert dust, Or sealed within the iron hills? No more? A monster then, a dream, A discord. Dragons of the prime, That tare each other in their slime, Were mellow music matched with him. O life as futile, then, as frail! O for thy voice to soothe and bless! What hope of answer, or redress? Behind the veil, behind the veil. Tennyson

           As for love, perhaps it's not 

    A flame yet extinguished in me,

    Through autumnal times of my not-so verdant life,

    For the arc twists back to where it was forgot:

    To strike like memory's lightning every time I see 

    A gentle heart grip the bolt like a hot knife.

    Love toughens most people through strife,

    Tempered by time: but ‘tis worse still for those like me who wake

    Fresh rippling echoes of his original ache.

    Michelangelo Buonarroti


    1. Parker Owens

      Parker Owens

      A sculptor in words as well as marble.

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