Rondeau, by Ernest Dowson

Saturno Buttò - Mixed technique on paper
Saturno Buttò – Mixed technique on paper cm. 58×39 – from

In Greek mythology, Maenads were the female followers of Dionysus, the god of winemaking and ecstasy. Dowson cultivated the ecstasy of alcohol, while his love life was split between a platonic devotion for little girls and purely sensual affairs with adult women, often prostitutes met in bars. In this poem, he contrasts the pleasures of wine and women with the virginal beauty of young girls. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Love Lives Beyond the Tomb, by John Clare

Jana Brike
Jana Brike

Today, I present another beautiful little piece from the collection Asylum Poems that John Clare wrote while he was interned in a lunatic asylum. It is a message of hope, he tells us that love is everlasting, it “lives beyond the tomb, the earth, the flowers, and dew,” and it can be found with “the fond, the faithful, young and true.” The genuine heart-love of a young maiden brings the poet eternal happiness. The secret of a fruitful life is a young heart full of love. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

They plaited garlands in their time, by Michael Field

Lawrence Alma-Tadema - Spring
Lawrence Alma-Tadema – Spring (1894) – from Wikimedia Commons (reduced)

Throughout their adult life, Katharine Bradley and her niece Edith Cooper lived together as lovers and, under the pen name Michael Field, wrote jointly poetry and drama. One generally assumes that their love started in a Platonic mode when Edith was a teenager, and became sexual when she reached adulthood. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

L’éternel printemps, by Aleister Crowley

Todd Webb - LaSalle Street and Amsterdam Avenue, Harlem
Todd Webb – LaSalle Street and Amsterdam Avenue, Harlem (1946) – Museum of the City of New York / Todd Webb Archive

I present today a second poem from the section “Various Measures” in the collection of verses Rodin in Rime. Youth directly feel the truth of love and life by dancing and holding each other, while old people try to reach it by pondering. The poet says: roll back the wheel of time and rejoin youth. Yielding to the ecstasy of love and dance, all ages can be one with eternity. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Drinking song, by Eric Stenbock

The Idiot Club of Kolk
Photograph by Frederick Hollyer – The Idiot Club of Kolk; left to right: Karin Stenbock, Eric Stenbock with his dachshund Trixie, Richard von Wistinghausen, Theophile von Wistinghausen – from Of Kings and Things, D. Tibet editor

My second choice from Myrtle, Rue and Cypress (1883), Stenbock’s second collection of verses, is a poem in the spirit of carpe diem, honouring love, youth and wine. Here he joins Baudelaire, who also extolled wine and drunkenness, and indeed both authors experienced the pleasures of alcohol and drugs. As in many of Stenbock’s poems, the gender of the beloved young person is left unknown, but it was most probably a boy. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time, by Robert Herrick

Robert Herrick
Robert Herrick – from Halleck’s New English Literature (1913), via Wikimedia Commons

Robert Herrick (1591–1674) was an English poet and cleric who lived through the Stuart dynasty, then the civil war and finally the Restoration. In 1648 he published Hesperides: Or, The Works Both Humane & Divine, a huge collection of poetry, to which he appended a shorter collection of religious poems, His Noble Numbers: Or, His Pious Pieces, apparently dated 1647; together, they make over 1400 poems. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Youth, by Samuel Ullman

Dick Whittington - Churchill and Meglin Kiddie's
Dick Whittington – Churchill and Meglin Kiddie’s, Southern California (1927) – from

The American businessman, poet and humanitarian Samuel Ullman was born in 1840 in Germany, in a Jewish family which emigrated to the USA in 1851. After a brief service in the Confederate Army, he married, started a business, served as a city alderman, and was a member of the local board of education. He also became president and then lay rabbi in a Jewish congregation. After retirement, he found more time for writing letters, essays and poetry. He died in 1924.

He is famous for his prose poem “Youth,” which he wrote at the age of 78. This poem is better known in Japan than in the USA, because General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Allied Commander in Japan, hung a framed copy of it on the wall of his office in Tokyo and often quoted from it in his speeches. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…