The Lovers’ Almanac 8 February – Always – art by Franz Marc – verse by Elizabeth Bishop

Dear Zazie, Here is today’s Lovers’ Almanac from Mac Tag dedicated to his muse. Follow us on twitter @cowboycoleridge. Rhett

The Lovers’ Almanac

Dear Muse,

to not hold feelin’s too close
then everything else fades
for awhile
and all that went before
is as if it had never been

the dances in my dreams
the stars in the sky
the radiance in the sunrise
and the written words
that is where

© copyright 2018 mac tag/cowboy coleridge all rights reserved

indeed, shut out
and found
on the threshold

if you forget
know this

when I look at the moon,
at the slow winter
out my window

when I hear the wind,
or a fine
piece of music

whenever I come
across anything
engagin’ or inspirin’

it will always be you

© copyright 2017 mac tag/cowboy Coleridge all rights reserved

Franz Marc

Franz Marc in 1910

Today is the birthday of Franz Marc (Munich; February 8, 1880 – March 4, 1916 Braquis, France); German painter and printmaker, one of the key figures of the German Expressionist movement.  He was a founding member of Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), a journal whose name later became synonymous with the circle of artists collaborating in it.


Blaues Pferd I, Blue Horse I (1911)

Die großen blauen Pferde, The Large Blue Horses (1911)
During his twenties, Marc was involved in a number of stormy relationships, including an affair lasting for many years with Annette Von Eckardt, a married antique dealer nine years his senior.  He married twice, first to Marie Schnür, then to Maria Franck; both were artists.

For more on Franz Marc visit 

Elizabeth Bishop
Elizabeth Bishop, 1934 yearbook portrait.jpg

Elizabeth Bishop in 1934 as a senior at Vassar

Today is the birthday of Elizabeth Bishop (Worcester, Massachusetts; February 8, 1911 – October 6, 1979 Boston); American poet and short-story writer.  She was Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1949 to 1950, the Pulitzer Prize winner for Poetry in 1956, the National Book Award winner in 1970, and the recipient of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature in 1976.


  • Why should I be my aunt,
    or me, or anyone?
    What similarities
    boots, hands, the family voice
    I felt in my throat, or even
    the National Geographic
    and those awful hanging breasts
    held us all together
    or made us all just one?

    • Poem: In the Waiting Room
  • From a magician’s midnight sleeve
    the radio-singers
    distribute all their love-songs
    over the dew-wet lawns.

    • Poem: Late Air

Poems, North and South (1946)

  • The armored cars of dreams contrived to let us do
    so many a dangerous thing.

    • Poem: Sleeping standing up
  • Topography displays no favorites; North’s as near as West.
    More delicate than the historians’ are the map-makers’ colors.

    • Poem: The Map


  • The future
    sinks through water
    fast as a stone,
    alone alone.
  • “Yes …” that peculiar
    affirmative. “Yes …”
    A sharp, indrawn breath,
    half groan, half acceptance,
    that means “Life’s like that.
    We know it (also death).”

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The Lovers’ Almanac 7 February – If I Asked – Birth of Charles Dickens

Dear Zazie,  Here is today’s Lovers’ Almanac from Mac Tag to his muse.  Follow us on twitter @cowboycoleridge.  What would you say if someone asked you to?  Rhett

The Lovers’ Almanac

Dear Muse,

thank you god or jesus
or fate or luck or magic
or buddha or whoever
sent that lovely woman
to my dreams last night
i do not know who it was
i only hope she returns

© copyright 2018 mac tag/cowboy coleridge all rights reserved

A blast from the past dated 7 February 2011:

Again, this is what you do for me.  So needed this, this week.  This was my refuge.  First, I know we have covered this but I want to reiterate; I am perfectly fine and confident and secure with your read-between-the-line-responses.  This is not about tryin’ to coerce you out of that. What we have is what it is and it will be what it will be.  This is about me thinkin’ about you and holdin’ on to my pen as the words flow out.  My words are what they are and I am fine and confident and secure with them.  Thanks again for givin’ ’em back to me.  Or said in verse…

again, what you do for me
so need this refuge…
i know we have covered this
but I want to reiterate
i am confident and secure with your
read-between-the-lines responses
this is not about tryin’
to coerce you out of that
what we have is what it is
and it will be what it will be
this is about me
thinkin’ about you
and holdin’ on to my pen
as the words flow out
my words are what they are
and I am confident
and secure with them
thanks again
for givin’ ’em back to me……

© copyright 2017 mac tag/cowboy Coleridge all rights reserved

If I Asked

If I asked you to be all mine
What would you say
Would you say that would be right fine
Would you say nay

If I asked you to sleep with me
Would you say yes
Would you laugh so hysterically
Or cry no less

If I asked to be your lover
Would you say oui
Would you run so fast for cover
Or git weepy

If I asked you for forever
Would you believe
Would you think I was so clever
Or would you leave

If I asked for your heart and soul
Would you give it
Would you be the rock to my roll
Without a fit

If I asked you to hold me tight
Would you say no
Would it give you such a big fright
And would you go

If I asked to be your only
Would you comply
Would you leave me sad and lonely
Or would you cry

If I asked to be your cowboy
Would you say please

Would you leap and dance with great joy
Or would you tease

If I asked you to be my girl
Would you refuse
Would you just let me twist and twirl
And cut me loose

If I asked to be in your dreams
Would you agree
Would you include me in your schemes
And never flee

If I asked you to complete me
If it happened
Would you be there so completely
Beyond the end

If I asked all of this and more
What would you say
What would you do
Would you be all mine to adore
Would you say yay
Would you be true
Would you say yes for evermore

© copyright 2013 mac tag/Cowboy Coleridge all rights reserved

The Song of the Day is Patti LaBelle‘s version of “If I Asked You To” by Diane Warren.  © 2000 Geffen Records

Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens

Dickens in New York, 1867

Today is the birthday of Charles John Huffam Dickens (Landport, Hampshire; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870 Higham, Kent); English writer and social critic.  He created some of the world’s best-known fictional characters and in my opinion, is the greatest novelist of the Victorian era.  His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the twentieth century critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius.  His novels and short stories enjoy lasting popularity.

Dickens’s literary success began with the 1836 serial publication of The Pickwick Papers.  Within a few years he had become an international literary celebrity, famous for his humour, satire, and keen observation of character and society.  His novels, most published in monthly or weekly instalments, pioneered the serial publication of narrative fiction, which became the dominant Victorian mode for novel publication.  The instalment format allowed Dickens to evaluate his audience’s reaction, and he often modified his plot and character development based on such feedback.  His plots were carefully constructed, and he often wove elements from topical events into his narratives.  Masses of the illiterate poor chipped in ha’pennies to have each new monthly episode read to them, opening up and inspiring a new class of readers.

His 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, remains popular and continues to inspire adaptations in every artistic genre.  Oliver Twist and Great Expectations are also frequently adapted, and, like many of his novels, evoke images of early Victorian London.  His 1859 novel, A Tale of Two Cities, set in London and Paris, is perhaps his best-known work of historical fiction.  Dickens’s creative genius has been praised for its realism, comedy, prose style, unique characterisations, and social criticism.  The term Dickensian is used to describe something that is reminiscent of Dickens and his writings, such as poor social conditions or comically repulsive characters.


Love is not a feeling to pass away,
Like the balmy breath of a summer day;
It is not — it cannot be — laid aside;
It is not a thing to forget or hide.
It clings to the heart, ah, woe is me!
As the ivy clings to the old oak tree.
Love is not a passion of earthly mould,
As a thirst for honour, or fame, or gold:
For when all these wishes have died away,
The deep strong love of a brighter day,
Though nourished in secret, consumes the more,
As the slow rust eats to the iron’s core.

  • Lucy’s Song in The Village Coquettes (1836); later published in The Poems and Verses of Charles Dickens (1903)

A Tale of Two Cities

Book I – Recalled to Life

Chapter I – The Period

  • It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

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The Lovers’ Almanac 6 February – Silent Dream – verse by Ugo Foscolo – art by Othon Friesz

Dear Zazie,  Here is today’s Lovers’ Almanac from Mac Tag.  Follow us on twitter @cowboycoleridge.  Who can still to rest, your pain, your silent dream?  Rhett

The Lovers’ Almanac – Pale Love, Pale Rider

Dear Muse,

never could shed
that closed in feelin’
a fear of bein’ known
i expect
i was just never sure
there was anyone inside there

certainly no one worthy
sure that was it
or maybe it was
that the right one
never came along
to help still to rest
the constant need

© copyright 2018 mac tag/cowboy coleridge all rights reserved

Silent Dream

Silent stars gleam so cold,
Night wind moans, leafless trees rattle
What life beyond this stream,
So sleeps the ice-clad dream below

So silent beats the pulse,
So shines thoughts of unquestioned eyes
Life, why yet so helpless
Loveliness, why seem so surprised

To laugh to leap again
A love to which life’s pulses fly
And hopes now all of light,
Like lustres in the veil of eyes

Bold action has vision,
Courage sounds from the cold-bound depths
Grant the age old wisdom,
Beauty could paint over the frost

Passion’s heat, promise lies
In the final act, hidden pride
Thus might shape forever,
A lost soul, innocence abides

Breath of unanswered prayers
Silent dream, grief, in vain or not
Beyond woe, beyond all,
Pain, only you can still to rest

© copyright 2013 mac tag/Cowboy Coleridge all rights reserved

The Song of the Day is “Silent Dream” by Tron Syversen. We do not own the rights to his song.  No copyright infringement intended.  All rights reseved by the rightful owner.

Niccolò Ugo Foscolo
Ugo Foscolo.jpg

Today is the birthday of Ugo Foscolo (6 February 1778 in Zakynthos, Republic of Venice, now Greece – 10 September 1827 in Turnham Green), born Niccolò Foscolo, was an Italian writer, revolutionary and poet.

He is remembered especially for his 1807 poetry book, Dei Sepolcri.


From Dei Sepolcri, 1807

All’ombra de’ cipressi e dentro l’urne
confortate di pianto è forse il sonno
della morte men duro? Ove piú il Sole
per me alla terra non fecondi questa
bella d’erbe famiglia e d’animali,
e quando vaghe di lusinghe innanzi
a me non danzeran l’ore future,
né da te, dolce amico, udrò piú il verso
e la mesta armonia che lo governa,
né piú nel cor mi parlerà lo spirto
delle vergini Muse e dell’amore,
unico spirto a mia vita raminga,
qual fia ristoro a’ dí perduti un sasso
che distingua le mie dalle infinite
ossa che in terra e in mar semina morte?

Lines 1–15 English translation by Ugo Foscolo himself:
Beneath the cypress shade, or sculptured urn
By fond tears watered, is the sleep of death
Less heavy? — When for me the sun no more
Shall shine on earth, to bless with genial beams
This beauteous race of beings animate —
When bright with flattering hues the coming hours
No longer dance before me — and I hear
No more, regarded friend, thy dulcet verse,
Nor the sad gentle harmony it breathes —
When mute within my breast the inspiring voice
Of youthful poesy, and love, sole light
To this my wandering life — what guerdon then
For vanished years will be the marble reared
To mark my dust amid the countless throng
Wherewith the Spoiler strews the land and sea

Othon Friesz
Othon Friesz, c.1930.jpg

Photograph from c.1930

Today is the birthday of Achille-Émile Othon Friesz (Le Havre 6 February 1879 – 10 January 1949 Paris), who later called himself Othon Friesz; French artist of the Fauvist movement.


Othon Friesz is buried in the Cimetière du Montparnasse in Paris.

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The Lovers’ Almanac 5 February – Thinkin’ About – art by Carl Spitzweg – Premiere of Verdi’s Otello

Dear Zazie,  Here is today’s Lovers’ Almanac from Mac Tag.  Follow us on twitter @cowboycoleridge.  Who are you thinkin’ about?  I know I have been thinkin’ about Zazie Lee!  Rhett

The Lovers’ Almanac

Dear Muse,

that day
rode horseback
through the woods
to the pool of water
fed by a waterfall
no one around
for miles

the afternoon, spent
swimmin’ nekid
and makin’ dreams
come true
in this secluded place
this gift for two
who know what it is
to be halves of a whole

© copyright 2018 mac tag/cowboy coleridge all rights reserved

This one was inspired by an old vignette I wrote for you once ago on a beach in Belize.  Yes, it is true, this cowboy has a little Caribbean in his soul.  Belize holds a special place in our hearts here at TLA.  I spent time there with a beautiful woman.  Regardin’ today’s Song of the Day; her time here at TLA is long overdue.  Hope you like….

Thinkin’ About

Face to the sun
Breeze in my hair
Toes in the sand
Waves rollin’ in

All I can think about
Is you

Thinkin’ about what has been
And what could have been
Thinkin’ about what could be
Thinkin’, so much life to live
Thinkin’ about the loves let go
Or driven away
None of them the one though
Thinkin’ about you

The one that got away
If only you had loved me
As I loved you
Still love you

Could you have loved me
Had we but world enough and time
Sometimes wonder if God
Punished me by sendin’ me you

How ironic to hear the words
I said come back to haunt me
I want you, I need you
But I cannot love you

Facin’ what is left
Wind at my back
Boots in the stirrups
Snow flyin’

All I can think
About is you

© copyright 2013 mac tag/Cowboy Coleridge all rights reserved

The Song of the Day is “Thinking About You” by Nora Jones.  We do not own the rights to this song.  No copyright infringement intended.  All rights reserved by the rightful owner.

Carl Spitzweg
Carl Spitzweg.jpg

Today is the birthday of Carl Spitzweg (Unterpfaffenhofen, Kingdom of Bavaria; February 5, 1808 – September 23, 1885 Munich); German romanticist painter, especially of genre subjects.  He is considered to be one of the most important artists of the Biedermeier era.


Dirndln auf der Alm, c. 1870s

In the Alpine High Valley in Mt. Wendelstein, c. 1871

Jugendfreunde, c.1855

Begegnung im Walde, A Woodland Meeting, c. 1860

English Tourists in Campagna, 1845
  • The Bookworm, original 1850, Museum Georg Schäfer. Two other exemplars exist.

  • Music-making Hermit before his Rocky Abode, c. 1856–1858

  • The Poor Poet, 1839, Neue Pinakothek

  • Newspaper reader in his backyard, c. 1845–1858

  • The butterfly hunter, 1840, a depiction from the era of butterfly collection

  • The Letter Carrier in the Rose Valley, c. 1858–18

  • Gnome Watching Railway Train, c. 1848

  • The Attic, c. 1840s

  • The Hermit Asleep

  • The Painter in a Forest Clearing, Lying under an Umbrella, c. 1850

  • Arrival of the Stagecoach, c. 1859

  • The Serenade, 1854

Opera by Giuseppe Verdi
Otello-Alexandre-Marie Colin 1829.jpg

Otello and Desdemona
by Alexandre-Marie Colin, 1829

On this day – Verdi’s penultimate opera was first performed at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan, on 5 February 1887.  Otello is an opera in four acts to an Italian libretto by Arrigo Boito, based on Shakespeare’s play Othello.

With the composer’s reluctance to write anything new after the success of Aida in 1871 and his retreat into retirement, it took his Milan publisher Giulio Ricordi the next ten years, first to persuade him to write anything, then to encourage the revision of Verdi’s 1857 Simon Boccanegra by introducing Boito as librettist, and finally to begin the arduous process of persuading and cajoling Verdi to see Boito’s completed libretto for Otello in July/August 1881.  However, the process of writing the first drafts of the libretto and the years of their revision, with Verdi all along not promising anything, dragged on, and it wasn’t until 1884, five years after the first drafts of the libretto, that composition began, with most of the work finishing in late 1885.  When it finally premiered it proved to be a resounding success, and further stagings of Otello soon followed at leading theatres throughout Europe and America.

Giuseppe Verdi c. 1870

Boito and Verdi at Sant’Agata

Francesco Tamagno as Otello in a costume designed by Alfred Edel for the original production

Baritone Victor Maurel, the first Iago

Set design model by Marcel Jambon from the Paris production (1894).

Romilda Pantaleoni, the first Desdemona

(1985), Kiri Te Kanawa (1991), Cheryl Studer (1993), Renée Fleming (1996) and Sonya Yoncheva (2015).


Time: The late 15th century.
Place: A coastal city on the island of Cyprus.

Act 1

A town in Cyprus, outside the castle. An inn with a pergola, in the background the quayside and sea. It is evening. Lightning, thunder, gale force winds.

Otello, act 1. Teatro Costanzi Rome-1887; set design by Giovanni Zuccarelli

On a stormy evening, the people of Cyprus anxiously await the arrival of the new governor, Otello, from a naval battle with the Turks (Chorus, Montano, Cassio, Iago, Roderigo: Una vela! / “A sail!”). For a moment it seems as if Otello’s ship will founder, to the delight of Otello’s treacherous ensign, Iago, but Otello arrives safely and announces that the Turkish fleet has been destroyed, and the Cypriots cheer (Otello, chorus: Esultate! L’orgoglio musulmano sepolto è in mar / “Rejoice! The Mussulman’s pride is buried in the sea”).

Iago offers to help the young Venetian gentleman Roderigo in his seduction of Otello’s wife, Desdemona – Iago envies Otello his success and longs to destroy the Moor (Iago, Roderigo: Roderigo, ebben che pensi? / “Well, Roderigo, what are you thinking?”). Among his grievances, Iago is outraged that Otello has appointed Cassio to be the captain of the navy, a position that Iago hoped to have. The people of Cyprus celebrate the safe return of Otello and his men by lighting a bonfire and drinking (Chorus: Fuoco di gioia!/ “Fire of joy”).

Iago proposes a toast to Otello and his wife, while Cassio praises Desdemona (Iago, Cassio, Chorus, Roderigo: Roderigo, beviam! / “Roderigo, let’s drink!”). Iago offers Cassio more wine, but Cassio says he has had enough. Iago pressures him and offers a toast to Otello and Desdemona. Cassio gives in. Iago sings a drinking song and continues to pour Cassio wine (Iago, Cassio, Roderigo, chorus: Inaffia l’ugola! / “Wet your throat”).

Montano enters and calls for Cassio to begin his watch; he is surprised to find Cassio drunk and barely able to stand upright. Iago lies to Montano, telling him that this is how Cassio spends every evening. Roderigo laughs at Cassio’s drunkenness and Cassio attacks him. Montano tells Cassio to calm down, but Cassio draws his sword and threatens to crack open Montano’s head. (Montano, Cassio, Iago, Roderigo, chorus: Capitano, v’attende la fazione ai baluardi / “Captain, the guard awaits you on the ramparts”.) Cassio and Montano begin to duel, and Iago sends Roderigo to call the alarm. Montano is wounded and the fight is stopped only by the appearance of Otello.

Otello orders Montano and Cassio to lower their swords. He then asks “honest Iago” to explain how the duel began, but Iago says he doesn’t know. Otello then turns to Cassio, who is embarrassed and cannot excuse his actions. When Otello discovers that Montano is wounded, he becomes enraged. Desdemona enters, and, upon seeing that his bride’s rest has been disturbed, Otello declares that Cassio is no longer Captain. (Otello, Iago, Cassio, Montano: Abbasso le spade / “Down with your swords”.) He tells Iago to patrol the town to restore quiet, calls for help for Montano and orders everyone to return to their houses.

The Cypriots leave Otello alone with Desdemona. Together Otello and Desdemona recall why they fell in love. Otello, in an ecstasy of joy, invites death, fearing that he will never know such happiness again. Desdemona prays that their love will remain unchanged. They kiss, overcome with love for each other. (Otello, Desdemona: Già nella notte densa s’estingue ogni clamor /”Now in the dark night all noise is silenced”.)

Act 2

A hall on the ground floor of the castle, divided by a glass partition from the garden at the back, with a balcony.

Arnold Azrikan as Otello

Iago suggests to Cassio that he should ask Desdemona to talk to Otello about his demotion; Desdemona can influence her husband to reinstate him (Iago, Cassio: Non ti crucciar / “Do not fret”). Desdemona and Emilia can be seen walking the garden. Cassio approaches Desdemona. Watching from the room, Iago voices his nihilistic beliefs and hatred of humankind (Credo in un Dio crudel / “I believe in a cruel God”).

Otello enters the room; Iago, pretending not to notice him, says that he is deeply troubled. Cassio sees Otello from afar and goes discreetly away. Otello asks what’s wrong, but Iago gives only vague answers. Finally, he hints that Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair. Otello begins to get suspicious, but declares that he needs proof before believing that Desdemona has been unfaithful. (Iago, Otello: Ciò m’accora… Che parli? / “That worries me…” “What did you say?”) Iago warns Otello against jealousy, but also advises him to be vigilant.

A crowd of children, sailors, and Cypriots sing to Desdemona, praising her beauty and purity (Chorus, Iago, children, Desdemona, Otello: Dove guardi splendono raggi / “Wherever you look, brightness shines…”). They present her with gifts and wish her happiness before leaving.

Desdemona carries Cassio’s request for reinstatement to Otello. Otello sourly tells her to ask him another time; as she persists, he grows impatient and says he has a headache. Desdemona offers to wrap his head in a handkerchief Otello once gave her, linen embroidered with strawberries. Otello throws it to the ground and says he doesn’t need it (Desdemona, Otello: D’un uom che geme sotto il tuo disdegno la preghiera ti porto / “I bring a petition from one who suffers under your displeasure”). Emilia picks up the handkerchief. Desdemona asks for Otello’s forgiveness. Aside, Iago demands that Emilia give him the handkerchief. When she refuses, Iago forcibly takes it from her.

Otello dismisses the others, and declares that he now believes that Desdemona may be deceiving him (Otello: Ora e per sempre addio sante memorie / “Now and forever farewell, holy memories”). Iago returns, and the jealous Otello demands proof of Desdemona’s infidelity. Iago says that once, when he and Cassio were sleeping in the same room, he heard Cassio talking to Desdemona in a dream. In the dream, says Iago, Cassio told Desdemona that they must be careful to conceal their love. (Iago: Era la notte, Cassio dormia / “It was night, Cassio was sleeping”.) Iago says that dreams don’t prove anything, but remarks that he saw Cassio carrying Desdemona’s strawberry-embroidered handkerchief just the day before. Otello swears vengeance on Desdemona and Cassio, and Iago joins him in his vow (Otello, Iago: Sì, pel ciel marmoreo giuro / “Yes, by the marble heavens I swear”).

Act 3

The great hall of the castle. To the right, a large colonnade leading to a smaller hall, in the back of which is a balcony. Othello and Iago talking in the hall as a herald enters.

The Act 3 set at the 1887 premiere in Milan. Illustration by Ed. Ximenes after the original stage design by Carlo Ferrario.

A herald brings news of the approach of ambassadors from Venice. Iago explains to Otello that he will lure Cassio here and talk with him while Otello watches, hidden. He leaves to go get Cassio. (Iago: Qui trarrò Cassio / “Here I will bring Cassio”.)

Desdemona enters and reminds Otello of Cassio’s request. Otello says that his headache has returned, and asks Desdemona to wrap her handkerchief around his head. When Desdemona produces a different handkerchief, Otello demands the one with strawberries. When she says she does not have it, Otello says that it was a talisman, and troubles will befall her if she loses it. Desdemona says that he is trying to ignore Cassio’s plea, and as she asks him about Cassio, he demands the handkerchief ever more insistently. (Desdemona, Otello: Dio ti giocondi, o sposo / “God keep you merry, husband”.) Desdemona protests that she is faithful; Otello sends her away (Desdemona, Otello: Esterrefatta fisso lo sguardo tuo tremendo / “Terrified, I face your dreadful look”).

Otello laments his fate (Dio! mi potevi scagliar tutti i mali / “God, you could have thrown every evil at me” ). When Iago calls out “Cassio is here!” Otello hides as Iago and Cassio enter. Cassio says he had hoped to see Desdemona here, for he wanted to know whether she had been successful with Otello (Iago, Cassio, Otello: Vieni; l’aula è deserta / “Come, the hall is deserted”). Iago asks him to tell of his adventures with that woman. Cassio asks which woman, and, softly, so that Otello cannot hear, Iago says “Bianca” (the name of Cassio’s actual lover). As Cassio laughs about his romantic adventures, Otello assumes he is speaking of Desdemona. In a conversation only partially heard, Cassio seems to be telling Iago that another woman, a secret admirer, left him a handkerchief as a token. At Iago’s urging, Cassio produces it, whereupon Iago seizes it—for it is Desdemona’s—and holds it out where he knows Otello can see it. He then returns it to Cassio and teases him, while in his hiding place Otello fumes (Iago, Cassio, Otello: Questa è una ragna dove il tuo cuor casca / “This is a spiderweb in which your heart is caught”).

Bugles sound, announcing the arrival of the Venetian ambassador, Lodovico. Iago warns Cassio that he should leave unless he wants to see Otello. Cassio exits, and Otello asks Iago how he should kill his wife. Iago advises Otello to kill Desdemona by suffocating her in her bed, while he will take care of Cassio. Otello promotes Iago to Captain.

Lodovico, Desdemona, Emilia, Roderigo, and other dignitaries enter. When Lodovico notes Cassio’s absence, Iago tells him that Cassio is out of favor. Desdemona interrupts, telling Lodovico that she hopes he will soon be restored. Otello calls her a demon and almost strikes her violently but is held back by Lodovico. Otello then calls for Cassio. (Lodovico, Otello, Desdemona, Emilia, Iago, chorus: Il Doge ed il Senato salutano l’eroe trionfatore / “The Doge and the Senate greet the triumphant hero”.) Cassio enters and Otello reads (mixing in insults to Desdemona) a letter from the Doge, announcing that he (Otello) has been called back to Venice and Cassio is to succeed him as governor of Cyprus. Enraged, Otello throws Desdemona to the ground. (Otello, Roderigo, Iago, Cassio, Lodovico: Messeri! il Doge mi richiama a Venezia / “Gentlemen! The Doge recalls me to Venice”.)

Desdemona, on the ground, laments (A terra! … sì … nel livido fango / “Fallen! yes, in the foul mud…”). The various characters express their feelings: Emilia and Lodovico express their sympathy for Desdemona, Cassio marvels at his sudden change of fortune, and Roderigo laments that Desdemona will soon depart. In separate asides, Iago urges Otello to take his revenge as soon as possible, while he will take care of Cassio. He advises Roderigo that the only way to prevent Desdemona from leaving is for Cassio, the new Duke, to die, and suggests that Roderigo murder Cassio that night. (Emilia, Cassio, Desdemona, Roderigo, Lodovico, Iago, Otello, chorus: Quell’innocente un fremito d’odio non ha nè un gesto / “That innocent one is without feeling or gesture of hatred”). In a fury, Otello orders everyone to leave. Desdemona goes to comfort him, but Lodovico pulls her away as Otello curses her. As the others leave, Otello raves about the handkerchief, then collapses. Iago presses Otello’s forehead with his heel, then walks away. Outside the crowd of Cypriots calls out victory and glory for Otello. (Otello, Desdemona, Emilia, Cassio, Roderigo, Lodovico, Iago, chorus: Fuggite! / “Begone”.)

Act 4

Desdemona’s bedchamber. A bed, a prie-dieu, a table, a mirror, some chairs. A light burns in front of an image of the Madonna which hangs above the prie-dieu. To the right is a door. On the table a light. It is night.

Otello: set design by Giovanni Zuccarelli for Act IV as staged at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome, 1887.

Desdemona is preparing for bed with the assistance of Emilia. She asks Emilia to put out the bridal gown she used on her wedding day, and says that if she dies, she wants to be buried in it. Emilia tells her not to talk about such things. Desdemona recalls how her mother’s servant Barbara was abandoned by her lover, and how she used to sing the Willow Song (Desdemona: Piangea cantando nell’erma landa / “Singing, she wept on the lonely hearth”). After Emilia leaves, Desdemona prays (Ave Maria) and then falls asleep.

Silently, Otello enters, with a sword. He kisses his wife three times; she awakens. Otello asks her if she has prayed tonight; she must die, and he does not wish to condemn her soul. She asks God for mercy, both for her and for Otello. Otello accuses her of sin, saying that he must kill her because she loves Cassio. Desdemona denies it and asks that he summon Cassio to testify to her innocence. Otello says that Cassio is already dead. Desdemona, horrified, pleads for mercy, but Otello tells her it’s too late and strangles her (Otello, Desdemona: Diceste questa sera le vostre preci / “Have you said your prayers tonight?”).

Emilia knocks at the door, (Emilia: Aprite! Aprite! / “Open up!”) announcing that Cassio has killed Roderigo. Desdemona softly calls out that she has been unjustly accused, but refuses to blame Otello. She dies. Emilia calls Otello a murderer; he retorts that Iago gave him proof of Desdemona’s infidelity. Otello begins to threaten Emilia, who calls for help. Iago, Cassio, and Lodovico enter. Emilia demands that Iago deny Otello’s accusation; he refuses. Otello says that the handkerchief Desdemona gave to Cassio is proof enough. Emilia, horrified, explains that Iago stole the handkerchief from her—Cassio confirms that the handkerchief appeared mysteriously in his lodgings. Montano enters and says that Roderigo, with his dying breath, has revealed Iago’s plot. Iago, brandishing his sword, runs away.

After he realizes what has happened, Otello grieves over Desdemona’s death. Initially he draws his scimitar (Otello: Niun mi tema / “That none fear me”) but then relinquishes it. He then stealthily draws a dagger from his robe (Otello: Ho un’arma ancor! / I still have another weapon!) and stabs himself. Others try to stop him, but it is too late. Before he dies, he drags himself next to his wife and kisses her (Otello: Un bacio…un bacio ancora…ah!…un altro bacio… / A kiss.. another kiss…ah…and yet another kiss). He lies dead next to Desdemona.

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The Lovers’ Almanac 4 February – Try – I Like…… art by Fernand Léger – verse by Jacques Prévert

Dear Zazie,  Here is today’s Lovers’ Almanac from Mac Tag dedicated to his muse.  Follow us on twitter @cowboycoleridge.  What do you like about the one who stirs you?  Rhett

The Lovers’ Almanac

Dear Muse,

there was there
but stayin’ was not
it was so pretty
the stuff
of moons and suns
then faults and mistakes
this is how i write
the tryin’ is all
if only to try again
against the stillness
of the heart

© copyright 2018 mac tag/cowboy coleridge all rights reserved

This was inspired by you.  Hope you like……

Do I Like…

As is the case with her,
She swept into the room
And the light and everything
That mattered was drawn to her
Nothin’ she did consciously
Just the way it was with her
She had a new hairdo and she asked,
‘Do you like my hair? ‘

Do I like your hair?
Do I like to breathe?
Do I like to eat steak?
Do I like dark beer and red wine?
Do I like cornbread and iced tea?
Do I like all kinds of coffee and dark chocolate?
Do I like a good rope and a fine horse?
Do I like Luchese boots and Texas Hatters cowboy hats?
Do I like to dream?
Do I like starry nights?
Do I like dancin’ by moonlight?
Do I like romancin’ by candlelight?
Do I like to read and write and ruminate?
Do I like long walks in the rain?
Do I like to watch the sun rise and set?
Do I like thunderstorms and cool mountain mornins?
Do I like snowy days spent in front of the fireplace?
Do I like Elvis and Hank and Frank?
Do I like Clint and Duke and Duvall?
Do I like Woodrow and Gus and Ethan?
Do I like Mozart and Millay and Monet?
Do I like Audrey and Sophia and Vivien?
Do I like Rhett and Scarlett and Stella?
Do I like Italian opera and French poetry?
Do I like Van Gogh and Van Morrison and Van Halen?
Do I like Shakespeare and Hemingway and Tennessee?

Do I like your hair?
Do I like your fill-in-the-blank?
I like your anything and everything
That is what I like about you

© copyright 2013 mac tag/Cowboy Coleridge all rights reserved

The Song of the day is “What I Like About You” by The Romantics.  We do not own the rights to this song.  No copyright infringement intended.  All rights reserved by the rightful owner.

Fernand Léger
Fernand Léger, c. 1916.jpg

Fernand Léger, c. 1916

Today is the birthday of Joseph Fernand Henri Léger (Argentan, Orne; February 4, 1881 – August 17, 1955 Gif-sur-Yvette); French painter, sculptor, and filmmaker.  In his early works he created a personal form of cubism which he gradually modified into a more figurative, populist style.  His boldly simplified treatment of modern subject matter has caused him to be regarded as a forerunner of pop art.


Fernand Léger, Nudes in the forest (Nus dans la forêt), 1910, oil on canvas, 120 x 170 cm, Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, Netherlands
A painting of smokers
Les Fumeurs (The Smokers), 1911-12, oil on canvas, 129.2 x 96.5 cm, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
A painting of a woman in blue
La Femme en Bleu (Woman in Blue), 1912, oil on canvas, 193 x 129.9 cm, Kunstmuseum Basel. Exhibited at the 1912 Salon d’Automne, Paris
Painting of a nude
Nude Model in the Studio (Le modèle nu dans l’atelier), 1912-13, oil on burlap, 128.6 x 95.9 cm, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York

Fernand Léger, 1916, Soldier with a pipe (Le Soldat à la Pipe), oil on canvas, 130 x 97 cm, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dùsseldorf

In December 1919 he married Jeanne-Augustine Lohy, and in 1920 he met Le Corbusier, who would remain a lifelong friend.

Still Life with a Beer Mug, 1921, oil on canvas, Tate, London

After the death of his wife in 1950, Léger married Nadia Khodossevitch in 1952.  In 1954 he began a project for a mosaic for the São Paulo Opera, which he would not live to finish.  Léger died at his home in 1955 and is buried in Gif-sur-Yvette, Essonne.

Jacques Prévert
Jacques Prévert en 1961 dans le film Mon frère Jacques par Pierre Prévert.jpg

Jacques Prévert in 1961

Today is the birthday of Jacques Prévert (Neuilly-sur-Seine; 4 February 1900 – 11 April 1977 Omonville-la-Petite); French poet and screenwriter.  His poems became and remain popular in the French-speaking world.  His best regarded films formed part of the poetic realist movement, and include Les Enfants du Paradis (1945).


Paroles (1945)

Notre Père qui êtes aux cieux
Et nous nous resterons sur la terre
Qui est quelque fois si jolie

  • Paroles, Jacques Prévert, éd. Pléiade Gallimard, 1992, Pater noster, p. 40

De deux choses lune
l’autre c’est le soleil

  • Paroles, Jacques Prévert, éd. Gallimard, 1949, Le paysage changeur, p. 87

Histoires (1946)

C’est ma faute
C’est ma faute
C’est ma très grande faute d’orthographe
Voilà comment j’écris

  • Histoires, Jacques Prévert, éd. Folio Gallimard, 1963, Mea culpa, p. 83

Spectacle (1951)

Il faudrait essayer d’être heureux, ne serait-ce que pour donner l’exemple.

  • Spectacle, Jacques Prévert, éd. Pléiade Gallimard, 1992, Intermède, p. 378

Une pluie de larmes ne peut rien contre la sécheresse du cœur…
Pas plus que l’eau dans le vin pour en ranimer le bouquet.

  • Spectacle, Jacques Prévert, éd. Pléiade Gallimard, 1992, Intermède, p. 381

Arbres (1976)

         chevaux sauvages et sages
à la crinière verte
au grand galop discret
         dans le vent vous piaffez
debout dans le soleil vous dormez
                              et rêvez

  • Arbres, Jacques Prévert, éd. Gallimard, 1976, p. 7

les arbres
étaient des gens comme nous

Mais plus solides
plus heureux
plus amoureux peut-être
plus sages

C’est tout.

  • Arbres, Jacques Prévert, éd. Gallimard, 1976, p. 39

       qu’ils déboisaient déboisaient
on a trouvé qu’ils abusaient

Bien sûr la fin des arbres
ou la fin de la terre
c’est pas la fin du monde
mais tout de même on s’était habitué
Autrefois les bûcherons
avaient des égards pour les arbres
autrefois les bûcherons
buvaient à leur santé

  • Arbres, Jacques Prévert, éd. Gallimard, 1976, p. 58

deux amoureux humains
deux rescapés
s’approchèrent d’un peuplier
sur son cœur ils gravèrent
leurs cœurs et leurs noms enlacés
et furent épargnés.

  • Arbres, Jacques Prévert, éd. Gallimard, 1976, p. 69

Citations pêle-mêle

L’amour est clair comme le jour, l’amour est simple comme bonjour, l’amour est un comme la main, c’est ton amour et le mien…

  • « Saint-Valentin – Amour, toujours – Citations », Jacques Prévert, Direct Soir, nº 700, Vendredi 12 février 2010, p. 9

Mac Tag

The sweetest sleep, and fairest-boding dreams 

That ever enter’d in a drowsy head, 

Have I since your departure had


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The Lovers’ Almanac 3 February – Hours – verse by Sidney Lanier – Birth of Gertrude Stein & Simone Weil

Dear Zazie, Here is today’s Lovers’ Almanac from Mac Tag dedicated to his muse. Follow us on twitter @cowboycoleridge. Rhett

The Lovers’ Almanac

Dear Muse,

hour by hour keepin’ up a steady trot
sun sinks and the long shadows
lengthen down the prairie
movin’ veils of purple twilight
creep out of the hills,
soon merge and shade into night
guidin’ the pale horse nearer to the trail
to see better, ridin’ on through the hours

feel only vaguely, as outside things,
the ache and burn and throb of muscles
but the dammed-up torrent of emotion holds
and the hour for release, continues to confound
sufferin’, catchin’ glimpses into self,
into unlit darkness of soul
a torturin’ possession of mind
ranges, runs riotin’, tramplin’
resurgin’ hope, draggin’
ever into the hours

© copyright 2017 Mac tag/cowboy Coleridge all rights reserved

Sidney Lanier
Sidney Lanier - Project Gutenberg eText 16622.jpg

Today is the birthday of Sidney Clopton Lanier (Macon, Georgia; February 3, 1842 – September 7, 1881 Lynn, North Carolina); American lawyer, musician, poet and author.  He served in the Confederate army, worked on a blockade running ship for which he was imprisoned (resulting in his catching tuberculosis), taught, worked at a hotel where he gave musical performances, was a church organist, and worked as a lawyer.  As a poet he sometimes used dialects.  Many of his poems are written in heightened, but often, archaic American English.  He became a flautist and sold poems to publications.  He eventually became a professor of literature at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and is known for his adaptation of musical meter to poetry.  He married Mary Day of Macon in 1867.


  • O Trade, O Trade! Would thou wert dead!
    The time needs heart — ’tis tired of head.

    • “The Symphony” (1875).
  • And yet shall Love himself be heard,
    Though long deferred, though long deferred:
    O’er the modern waste a dove hath whirred:
    Music is Love in search of a word.

    • “The Symphony” (1875).
  • Virginal shy lights,
    Wrought of the leaves to allure to the whisper of vows,
    When lovers pace timidly down through the green colonnades
    Of the dim sweet woods, of the dear dark woods,
    Of the heavenly woods and glades,
    That run to the radiant marginal sand-beach within
    The wide sea-marshes of Glynn.

    • “The Marshes of Glynn” (1878).
  • The sun is a-wait at the ponderous gate of the West.
    • “The Marshes of Glynn” (1878).
  • Ye marshes, how candid and simple and nothing-withholding and free
    Ye publish yourselves to the sky and offer yourselves to the sea!
    Tolerant plains, that suffer the sea and the rains and the sun,
    Ye spread and span like the catholic man who hath mightily won
    God out of knowledge and good out of infinite pain
    And sight out of blindness and purity out of a stain.

    • “The Marshes of Glynn” (1878).
  • The incalculable Up-and-Down of Time.
    • “Clover”, reported in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
Gertrude Stein
Gertrude Stein 1935-01-04.jpg

Stein in 1935 photographed by Carl Van Vechten

Today is the birthday of Gertrude Stein (Allegheny, Pennsylvania; February 3, 1874 – July 27, 1946 Neuilly-sur-Seine, France); American novelist, poet, playwright, and art collector.  Born in the Allegheny West neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and raised in Oakland, California, Stein moved to Paris in 1903, and made France her home for the remainder of her life.  She hosted a Paris salon, where the leading figures of modernism in literature and art, such as Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, Ezra Pound, and Henri Matisse would meet.

In 1933, Stein published a kind-of memoir of her Paris years, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, written in the voice of her life partner, Alice B. Toklas, an American-born member of the Parisian avant-garde.  The book became a literary bestseller and vaulted Stein from the relative obscurity of the cult-literature scene into the limelight of mainstream attention.  Two quotes from her works have become widely known: “Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose” and “there is no there there“.

Her books include Q.E.D. (Quod Erat Demonstrandum) (1903), about a lesbian romantic affair involving several of Stein’s female friends; Fernhurst, a fictional story about a romantic affair; Three Lives (1905–06) and The Making of Americans (1902-1911).  In Tender Buttons (1914), Stein commented on lesbian sexuality.

Stein met Toklas on September 8, 1907, on Toklas’s first day in Paris, at Sarah and Michael Stein’s apartment.  On meeting Stein, Toklas wrote:

She was a golden brown presence, burned by the Tuscan sun and with a golden glint in her warm brown hair. She was dressed in a warm brown corduroy suit. She wore a large round coral brooch and when she talked, very little, or laughed, a good deal, I thought her voice came from this brooch. It was unlike anyone else’s voice—deep, full, velvety, like a great contralto’s, like two voices.


 “What is the answer?” [ I was silent ] “In that case, what is the question?”

  • Last words (27 July 1946) as told by Alice B. Toklas in What Is Remembered (1963)
  • Poetry is I say essentially a vocabulary just as prose is essentially not. And what is the vocabulary of which poetry absolutely is. It is a vocabulary based on the noun as prose is essentially and determinately and vigorously not based on the noun. Poetry is concerned with using with abusing, with losing with wanting with denying with avoiding with adoring with replacing the noun. It is doing that always doing that, doing that doing nothing but that. Poetry is doing nothing but using losing refusing and pleasing and betraying and caressing nouns. That is what poetry does, that is what poetry has to do no matter what kind of poetry it is. And there are a great many kinds of poetry. So that is poetry really loving the name of anything and that is not prose.
    • “Poetry and Grammar”
  • When I said. “A rose is a rose is a rose.” And then later made that into a ring I made poetry and what did I do? I caressed completely caressed and addressed a noun.
    • “Poetry and Grammar”

One of the pleasant things those of us who write or paint do is to have the daily miracle. It does come.

Simone Weil
Simone Weil 1921.jpg

Weil in 1921

Today is the birthday of Simone Weil (Paris; 3 February 1909 – 24 August 1943 Ashford, Kent, England); French philosopher, mystic, and political activist.

After her graduation from formal education, Weil became a teacher.  She taught intermittently throughout the 1930s, taking several breaks due to poor health and to devote herself to political activism, work that would see her assisting in the trade union movement, taking the side of the Anarchists known as the Durruti Column in the Spanish Civil War, and spending more than a year working as a labourer, mostly in auto factories, so she could better understand the working class.

Taking a path that was unusual among twentieth-century left-leaning intellectuals, she became more religious and inclined towards mysticism as her life progressed.  Weil wrote throughout her life, though most of her writings did not attract much attention until after her death.  In the 1950s and 1960s, her work became famous on continental Europe and throughout the English-speaking world.  Her thought has continued to be the subject of extensive scholarship across a wide range of fields.  A meta study from the University of Calgary found that between 1995 and 2012 over 2,500 new scholarly works had been published about her.  Albert Camus described her as “the only great spirit of our times“.

On Beauty

For Weil, beauty which is inherent in the form of the world. She saw it proven in geometry, and expressed in all good art. It is the proof that the world points to something beyond itself. It establishes the essentially telic character of all that exists. Beauty also served a soteriological function for Weil. It constitutes a way in which the divine reality behind the world infuses our lives. Where affliction conquers us with force, beauty steals in and topples the self from within.  She wrote…

« l’art de tout premier ordre qui a nécessairement rapport à la sainteté. »

« Le beau est la preuve expérimentale que l’Incarnation est possible »

« Nous devons avoir la foi que l’univers est beau à tous les niveaux … et qu’il a une plénitude de la beauté par rapport au corps et à l’esprit des êtres pensants qui existent et de tous ceux qui pourraient exister. C’est un accord de l’infini d’une beauté parfaite qui donne un caractère transcendant à la beauté du monde … Il (le Christ) est réellement présent dans la beauté universelle. L’amour de cette beauté vient de Dieu, demeure dans nos âmes et retourne vers Dieu présent dans l’univers ».

« c’est le sourire de tendresse du Christ pour nous à travers la matière ».

« La beauté séduit la chair pour obtenir la permission de passer jusqu’à l’âme. »

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The Lovers’ Almanac 2 February – Like – Colder – art by Enrique Simonet – birth of James Joyce & James Dickey

Dear Zazie, Here is today’s Lovers’ Almanac from Mac Tag dedicated to his muse. Follow us on twitter @cowboycoleridge. Rhett

The Lovers’ Almanac

Dear Muse,

it is not “like” anything so stop writin’ that it is a kiss on a boat at a private lake on a ranch in the high plains dancin’ naked in the high hill country rain makin’ love ‘neath a waterfall in belize on a beach a touch a look a feelin’ thinkin’ of you

it is not “like” anything so stop writin’ that it is a kiss on a boat at night dancin’ naked in the high hill country rain skinny dippin’ ‘neath a waterfall sittin’ arm in arm at the opera makin’ love on a beach bein’ half of a whole a touch a look a feelin’ thinkin’ of you

© copyright 2018 mac tag/cowboy coleridge all rights reserved

then, facin’ down the trail ridin’ toward the hills perceptions flash cold touch of the breeze cold rush of flowin’ water from the nearby river sun shinin’ out of a cold sky song of a hawk coldly distant everything cold and intangible colder and tighter stretches the skin over my face colder and harder grows the heart colder and steadier becomes the will as the past recedes behind me

© copyright 2017 Mac tag/cowboy Coleridge all rights reserved

Enrique Simonet
Enrique Simonet - foto 1a.jpg

Today is the birthday of Enrique Simonet Lombardo (Valencia; February 2, 1866 – April 20, 1927 Madrid); Spanish painter.

Anatomy of the heart. 177 x 291 cm 1890

Judgment of Paris. 215 x 331 cm 1904

The Beheading of Saint Paul. 1887

Flevit super illam (He wept over it). 305 x 555 cm 1892

Portrait of James Joyce

 Joyce in Zurich, c. 1918

Today is the birthday of James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (Dublin 2 February 1882 – 13 January 1941 Zurich); Irish novelist, short story writer, and poet.  He contributed to the modernist avant-garde and, in my opinion, is one of the most influential and important authors of the 20th century.

Perhaps best known for Ulysses (1922), see below.  Other well-known works are the short-story collection Dubliners (1914), and the novels A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Finnegans Wake (1939).  His other writings include three books of poetry, a play, occasional journalism and his published letters.

In 1904, in his early twenties, Joyce emigrated permanently to continental Europe with his partner (and later wife) Nora Barnacle.  They lived in Trieste, Paris and Zurich.  Though most of his adult life was spent abroad, Joyce’s fictional universe centres on Dublin, and is populated largely by characters who closely resemble family members, enemies and friends from his time there.  Ulysses in particular is set with precision in the streets and alleyways of the city.  Shortly after the publication of Ulysses, he elucidated this preoccupation somewhat, saying, “For myself, I always write about Dublin, because if I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world. In the particular is contained the universal.”


Pomes Penyeach (1927)

  • Boor, bond of thy herd,
    Tonight stretch full by the fire!

    • Tilly, p. 9
  • Loveward above the glancing oar
    • Watching The Needleboats At San Sabba, p. 10
  • Frail the white rose and frail are
    Her hands that gave

    • A Flower Given To My Daughter, p. 11
  • How soft, how sad his voice is ever calling,
    Ever unanswered, and the dark rain falling

    • She Weeps Over Rahoon, p. 12
  • The fragrant hair,
    Falling as through the silence falleth now
    Dusk of the air.

    • Tutto E Sciolto, p. 13
  • Around us fear, descending
    Darkness of fear above

    • On The Beach At Fontana, p. 14
  • And mine a shielded heart for her
    Who gathers simples of the moon.

    • Simples, p. 15
  • Vast wings above the lambent waters brood
    Of sullen day.

    • Flood, p. 16
  • Seraphim,
    The lost hosts awaken

    • Nightpiece, p. 17
  • The sly reeds whisper to the night
    A name — her name —

    • Alone, p. 18
  • Your lean jaws grin with. Lash
    Your itch and quailing, nude greed of the flesh.

    • A Memory Of The Players In A Mirror At Midnight, p. 19
  • Again!
    • A Prayer, p. 21

On this day in 1922Ulysses by James Joyce is published.


First edition

Ulysses is a modernist novel, first serialised in parts in the American journal The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920, and then published in its entirety by Sylvia Beach in Paris.  In my opinion, one of the most important works of modernist literature.

Ulysses chronicles the peripatetic appointments and encounters of Leopold Bloom in Dublin in the course of an ordinary day, 16 June 1904.  Ulysses is the Latinized name of Odysseus, the hero of Homer’s epic poem Odyssey, and the novel establishes a series of parallels between the poem and the novel, with structural correspondences between the characters and experiences of Leopold Bloom and Odysseus, Molly Bloom and Penelope, and Stephen Dedalus and Telemachus

Ulysses is approximately 265,000 words in length and is divided into eighteen episodes.  Since publication, the book has attracted controversy and scrutiny, ranging from early obscenity trials to protracted textual “Joyce Wars”.  Ulysses‘ stream-of-consciousness technique, careful structuring, and experimental prose, full of puns, parodies, and allusions, as well as its rich characterisation and broad humour, made the book a highly regarded novel in the modernist pantheon.  Joyce fans worldwide now celebrate 16 June as Bloomsday.

  • I love flowers Id love to have the whole place swimming in roses God of heaven theres nothing like nature the wild mountains then the sea and the waves rushing then the beautiful country with the fields of oats and wheat and all kinds of things
    • Ch. 18: Penelope; This is a portion of the famous passage often known as “Molly Bloom’s Soliloquy” which ends the book.
  • the sun shines for you he said the day we were lying among the rhododendrons on Howth head in the grey tweed suit and his straw hat the day I got him to propose to me yes first I gave him the bit of seedcake out of my mouth and it was leapyear like now yes 16 years ago my God after that long kiss I near lost my breath yes he said I was a flower of the mountain yes so we are flowers all a womans body yes that was one true thing he said in his life and the sun shines for you today yes that was why I liked him because I saw he understood or felt what a woman is and I knew I could always get round him and I gave him all the pleasure I could leading him on till he asked me to say yes and I wouldnt answer first only looked out over the sea and the sky I was thinking of so many things he didnt know
    • Ch. 18: Penelope
  • I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.
    • Ch. 18: Penelope. Last lines
James Dickey
James Dickey.jpg

Today is the birthday of James Lafayette Dickey (Atlanta; February 2, 1923 – January 19, 1997 Columbia, South Carolina); American poet and novelist.  He was appointed the eighteenth United States Poet Laureate in 1966.  Dickey was also a novelist, known for Deliverance (1970) which was adapted into an acclaimed film of the same name.


The Whole Motion; Collected Poems, 1945-1992 (1992)

  • Drunk on the wind in my mouth,
    Wringing the handlebar for speed,
    Wild to be wreckage forever.

    • Cherrylog Road (l. 106–108).
  • Dust fanned in scraped puffs from the earth
    Between his arms, and blood turned his face inside out,
    To demonstrate its suppleness
    Of veins, as he perfected his role.

    • The Performance (l. 13–16).
  • It was something like love
    From another world that seized her
    From behind, and she gave, not lifting her head
    Out of dew, without ever looking, her best
    Self to that great need.

    • The Sheep Child (l. 31–35).
  • I saw for a blazing moment
    The great grassy world from both sides,
    Man and beast in the round of their need.

    • The Sheep Child (l. 41–43).
  • I have just come down from my father.
    Higher and higher he lies
    Above me in a blue light
    Shed by a tinted window.

    • The Hospital Window (l. 1–4).
  • With the plane nowhere and her body taking by the throat
    The undying cry of the void falling living beginning to be something
    That no one has ever been and lived through screaming without enough air.

    • Falling (l. 9–11).
  • She is watching her country lose its evoked master shape watching it lose
    And gain get back its houses and peoples watching it bring up
    Its local lights single homes lamps on barn roofs.

    • Falling (l. 66–68).
  • Here they are. The soft eyes open.
    If they have lived in a wood
    It is a wood.
    If they have lived on plains
    It is grass rolling
    Under their feet forever.

    • The Heaven of Animals (l. 1–6).
  • These hunt, as they have done
    But with claws and teeth grown perfect,
    More deadly than they can believe.

    • The Heaven of Animals (l. 20–22).
  • Those that are hunted
    Know this as their life,
    Their reward: to walk
    Under such trees in full knowledge
    Of what is in glory above them,
    And to feel no fear.

    • The Heaven of Animals (l. 29–34).

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The Lovers’ Almanac 1 February – Cold Outside – Premiere of La bohème – verse by Langston Hughes

Dear Zazie,  Here is today’s Lovers’ Almanac from Mac Tag dedicated to his muse.  Follow us on twitter @cowboycoleridge.  Is it cold outside?  Is someone keepin’ you warm inside?  Rhett

The Lovers’ Almanac

Dear Muse,

gazin’ out the window
cold outside
(Che gelida manina
O soave fanciulla)

nothin’ to offer
but this verse
(Dolce svegliare
alla mattina,
Tu più non torni)

the candle lit nights
the parties, the opera

rushin’ to your side
can you hear me
callin’ your name

© copyright 2018 mac tag/cowboy coleridge all rights reserved

This one was inspired by the cold weather outside and what I wish was goin’ on inside.  I know the Song of the Day is traditionally played at Christmas, but the song actually never refers to anything Christmas related and it certainly is cold outside.  Our windchills have been consistently below zero.

Outside, Inside


Wind blows
Darkness comes
Snow on the ground
Cattle hunker down
Stars fill the great big sky


Hearth glows
Music plays
Candles flicker
Man, woman touchin’
Dreams fill two empty hearts

© copyright 2013 mac tag/Cowboy Coleridge all rights reserved

The Song of the Day is Dean Martin‘s version of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”.  We do not own the rights to this song.  No copyright infringement intended.  All rights reserved by the rightful owner.

On this day in 1896 one of my favorite operas, Puccini’s La bohème, premiered in Turin, Italy at the Teatro Regio.  The unforgettably romantic and sad story of Rodolfo and Mimi.  Jett says he took a dark-haired beauty to see it and it is one of his best memories.

La bohème
La Boheme poster by Hohenstein.PNG

Original 1896 poster by Adolfo Hohenstein

La bohème (French pronunciation: [la bɔ.ɛm], Italian: [la boˈɛm]) is an opera in four acts, composed by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based on Scènes de la vie de bohème by Henri Murger.  The world premiere performance of La bohème was conducted by the young Arturo Toscanini.  The U.S. premiere took place the following year, 1897, in Los Angeles.  Since then, La bohème has become part of the standard Italian opera repertory and is one of the most frequently performed operas worldwide.


Place: Paris
Time: Around 1830.

Act 1

In the four bohemians’ garret

Marcello is painting while Rodolfo gazes out of the window. They complain of the cold. In order to keep warm, they burn the manuscript of Rodolfo’s drama. Colline, the philosopher, enters shivering and disgruntled at not having been able to pawn some books. Schaunard, the musician of the group, arrives with food, wine and cigars. He explains the source of his riches: a job with an eccentric English gentleman, who ordered him to play his violin to a parrot until it died. The others hardly listen to his tale as they set up the table to eat and drink. Schaunard interrupts, telling them that they must save the food for the days ahead: tonight they will all celebrate his good fortune by dining at Cafe Momus, and he will pay.

The friends are interrupted by Benoît, the landlord, who arrives to collect the rent. They flatter him and ply him with wine. In his drunkenness, he begins to boast of his amorous adventures, but when he also reveals that he is married, they thrust him from the room—without the rent payment—in comic moral indignation. The rent money is divided for their evening out in the Quartier Latin.

Marcello, Schaunard and Colline go out, but Rodolfo remains alone for a moment in order to finish an article he is writing, promising to join his friends soon. There is a knock at the door. It is a girl who lives in another room in the building. Her candle has blown out, and she has no matches; she asks Rodolfo to light it. She is briefly overcome with faintness, and Rodolfo helps her to a chair and offers her a glass of wine. She thanks him. After a few minutes, she says that she is better and must go. But as she turns to leave, she realizes that she has lost her key.

Her candle goes out in the draught and Rodolfo’s candle goes out too; the pair stumble in the dark. Rodolfo, eager to spend time with the girl, to whom he is already attracted, finds the key and pockets it, feigning innocence. He takes her cold hand (Che gelida manina – “What a cold little hand”) and tells her of his life as a poet, then asks her to tell him more about her life. The girl says her name is Mimì (Sì, mi chiamano Mimì – “Yes, they call me Mimì”), and describes her simple life as an embroiderer. Impatiently, the waiting friends call Rodolfo. He answers and turns to see Mimì bathed in moonlight (duet, Rodolfo and Mimì: O soave fanciulla – “Oh lovely girl”). They realize that they have fallen in love. Rodolfo suggests remaining at home with Mimì, but she decides to accompany him to the Cafe Momus. As they leave, they sing of their newfound love.

Act 2

Quartier Latin

 A great crowd, including children, has gathered with street sellers announcing their wares (chorus: Aranci, datteri! Caldi i marroni! – “Oranges, dates! Hot chestnuts!”). The friends arrive; Rodolfo buys Mimì a bonnet from a vendor, while Colline buys a coat and Schaunard a horn. Parisians gossip with friends and bargain with the vendors; the children of the streets clamor to see the wares of Parpignol, the toy seller. The friends enter the Cafe Momus.

As the men and Mimì dine at the cafe, Musetta, formerly Marcello’s sweetheart, arrives with her rich (and elderly) government minister admirer, Alcindoro, whom she is tormenting. It is clear she has tired of him. To the delight of the Parisians and the embarrassment of her patron, she sings a risqué song (Musetta’s waltz: Quando me’n vo’ – “When I go along”), hoping to reclaim Marcello’s attention. The ploy works; at the same time, Mimì recognizes that Musetta truly loves Marcello. To be rid of Alcindoro for a bit, Musetta pretends to be suffering from a tight shoe and sends him to the shoemaker to get her shoe mended. Alcindoro leaves, and Musetta and Marcello fall rapturously into each other’s arms.

The friends are presented with their bill. Schaunard’s purse has gone missing and no one else has enough money to pay. The sly Musetta has the entire bill charged to Alcindoro. The sound of a military band is heard, and the friends leave. Alcindoro returns with the repaired shoe seeking Musetta. The waiter hands him the bill and, dumbfounded, Alcindoro sinks into a chair.

Act 3

At the toll gate at the Barrière d’Enfer (late February)

Peddlers pass through the barriers and enter the city. Mimì appears, coughing violently. She tries to find Marcello, who is currently living in a little tavern where he paints signs for the innkeeper. She tells him of her hard life with Rodolfo, who abandoned her the night before, and of Rodolfo’s terrible jealousy (O buon Marcello, aiuto! – “Oh, good Marcello, help me!”). Marcello tells her that Rodolfo is asleep inside, and expresses concern about Mimì’s cough. Rodolfo wakes up and comes out looking for Marcello. Mimì hides and overhears Rodolfo first telling Marcello that he left Mimì because of her coquettishness, but finally confessing that his jealousy is a sham: he fears she is slowly being consumed by a deadly illness (most likely tuberculosis, known by the catchall name “consumption” in the nineteenth century). Rodolfo, in his poverty, can do little to help Mimì and hopes that his pretended unkindness will inspire her to seek another, wealthier suitor (Marcello, finalmente – “Marcello, finally”).

Out of kindness towards Mimì, Marcello tries to silence him, but she has already heard all. Her weeping and coughing reveal her presence, and Rodolfo hurries to her. Musetta’s laughter is heard and Marcello goes to find out what has happened. Mimì tells Rodolfo that she is leaving him, and asks that they separate amicably (Mimì: Donde lieta uscì – “From here she happily left”); but their love for one another is too strong for the pair to part. As a compromise, they agree to remain together until the spring, when the world is coming to life again and no one feels truly alone. Meanwhile, Marcello has found Musetta, and the couple quarrel fiercely about Musetta’s flirtatiousness: an antithetical counterpoint to the other pair’s reconciliation (quartet: Mimì, Rodolfo, Musetta, Marcello: Addio dolce svegliare alla mattina! – “Goodbye, sweet awakening in the morning!”).

Act 4

Back in the garret (some months later)

Marcello and Rodolfo are trying to work, though they are primarily talking about their girlfriends, who have left them and found wealthy lovers. Rodolfo has seen Musetta in a fine carriage and Marcello has seen Mimì dressed like a queen. The men both express their nostalgia (duet: O Mimì, tu più non torni – “O Mimì, will you not return?”). Schaunard and Colline arrive with a very frugal dinner and all parody eating a plentiful banquet, dance together and sing, before Schaunard and Colline engage in a mock duel.

Musetta suddenly appears; Mimì, who took up with a wealthy viscount after leaving Rodolfo in the spring, has left her patron. Musetta found her that day in the street, severely weakened by her illness, and Mimì begged Musetta to bring her to Rodolfo. Mimì, haggard and pale, is assisted onto a bed. Briefly, she feels as though she is recovering. Musetta and Marcello leave to sell Musetta’s earrings in order to buy medicine, and Colline leaves to pawn his overcoat (Vecchia zimarra – “Old coat”). Schaunard leaves with Colline to give Mimì and Rodolfo some time together. Mimì tells Rodolfo that her love for him is her whole life (aria/duet, Mimì and Rodolfo: Sono andati? – “Have they gone?”).

To Mimì’s delight, Rodolfo presents her with the pink bonnet he bought her, which he has kept as a souvenir of their love. They remember past happiness and their first meeting—the candles, the lost key. Suddenly, Mimì is overwhelmed by a coughing fit. The others return, with a gift of a muff to warm Mimì’s hands and some medicine. Mimì gently thanks Rodolfo for the muff, which she believes is a present from him, reassures him that she is better and falls asleep. Musetta prays. Schaunard discovers that Mimì has died. Rodolfo rushes to the bed, calling Mimì’s name in anguish.  He weeps as the curtain falls.

Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes by Carl Van Vechten 1936.jpg

1936 photo by Carl Van Vechten

Today is the birthday of James Mercer Langston Hughes (Joplin, Missouri; February 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967 New York City); American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist.  He was one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form called jazz poetry.  Perhap best known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance in New York City.  He famously wrote about the period that “the negro was in vogue”, which was later paraphrased as “when Harlem was in vogue”.

Hughes never married.

Hughes died at the age of 65 from complications after abdominal surgery related to prostate cancer.  His ashes are interred beneath a floor medallion in the middle of the foyer in the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem.  It is the entrance to an auditorium named for him.  The design on the floor is an African cosmogram entitled Rivers.  The title is taken from his poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”.  Within the center of the cosmogram is the line: “My soul has grown deep like the rivers”.


 The stars went out and so did the moon.
The singer stopped playing and went to bed
While the Weary Blues echoed through his head.
He slept like a rock or a man that’s dead.

  • “The Weary Blues,” from The Weary Blues (1926).

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

  • “Dreams,” from the anthology Golden Slippers: An Anthology of Negro Poetry for Young Readers, ed. Arna Bontemps (1941).

The Big Sea (1940)

  • For poems are like rainbows; they escape you quickly.

Montage of a Dream Deferred (1951)

      • My motto,
        As I live and learn,
        Dig And Be Dug
        In Return.

        • “Motto”.
        • When you turn the corner
          And you run into yourself
          Then you know that you have turned
          All the corners that are left.

          • “Final Curve”.
          • Good evening, daddy
            I know you’ve heard
            The boogie-woogie rumble
            Of a dream deferred

            • “Boogie: 1 a.m.”
            • Why should it be my loneliness,
              Why should it be my song,
              Why should it be my dream

              • “Tell Me”.
              • What happens
                to a dream deferred?
                Daddy, ain’t you heard?

                • “Good Morning”.
                • What happens to a dream deferred?Does it dry up
                  like a raisin in the sun?

                  Or fester like a sore —
                  And then run?
                  Does it stink like rotten meat?
                  Or crust and sugar over —
                  like a syrupy sweet?Maybe it just sags
                  like a heavy load.Or does it explode?

                  • “Harlem”.
                  • There’s a certain
                    amount of traveling
                    in a dream deferred.

                    • “Same in Blues”.
                    • A certain amount
                      of nothing
                      in a dream deferred.

                      • “Same in Blues”.
                      • Daddy, daddy, daddy,
                        All I want is you.
                        You can have me, baby —
                        but my lovin’ days is through.
                        A certain amount
                        of impotence
                        in a dream deferred.

                        • “Same in Blues”.
                        • You talk like they
                          don’t kick dreams
                          around downtown.

                          • “Comment on Curb”.
                        • Dream within a dream,
                          Our dream deferred.
                          Good morning, daddy!
                          Ain’t you heard?

                          • “Island”.
    • The instructor said,Go home and write
      a page tonight.
      And let that page come out of you —
      Then, it will be true.

      • “Theme from English B”.
  • It’s not easy to know what is true for you or me
    at twenty-two, my age. But I guess I’m what
    I feel and see and hear, Harlem, I hear you.

    • “Theme from English B”.
  • Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love.
    I like to work, read, learn, and understand life.
    I like a pipe for a Christmas present,
    or records — Bessie, bop, or Bach.
    I guess being colored doesn’t make me not like
    the same things other folks like who are other races.

    • “Theme from English B”.

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The Lovers’ Almanac 31 January – Alone – Birth of Zane Grey

Dear Zazie,  Here is today’s Lovers’ Almanac from Mac Tag dedicated to his muse.  Follow us on twitter @cowboycoleridge.  Are you alone?  Rhett

The Lovers’ Almanac

Dear Muse,

that seems like
a long time ago
how many years
were wasted
or were they
perhaps they were
an investment,
a down payment
a what had to be
to finally git
where i need to be

and what of alone
’tis a far better fate
than livin’ without
bein’ a pretender
livin’ without knowin’
what it is to live life
as if it matters
and who knows
alone will not be

© copyright  mac tag/cowboy coleridge all rights reserved

The followin’ was inspired by a draft of a vignette I wrote for you and thought I had given you, but I do not think I did.  Good thing because I think it made a good poem.  The original inspiration came from a scene in the Sydney Pollack film, Random Hearts starring Harrison Ford and Kristin Scott Thomas, one of my favorite actresses.  Hope you enjoy;


Alone with a dark-haired beauty
First time alone with a girl since…
Yearned so to touch her; to caress
Wanted her to touch, to hold me
Missin’ the feel of a first kiss
Overwhelmin’; perfume makin’
My head spin; intoxicatin’
Brought back thoughts of……

Found the courage to go back there
Back to the time, back to the place
The room where i had not been since…
Walked in, forcin’ down the regret

Her scent, her perfume, still lingered
She liked to sleep naked; she said
“Sleeping’s always best done wearing
Nothing but Chanel No.5”

Walked to the bed
Into the past
Picked up and held
Her down pillow
Pressed to my face
Breathed in deeply
Awash with her
Her scent, her essence, her presence

Felt so dizzy, had to sit down
But there were no tears, not any
Life had wrenched away every tear

So i know not what to do but
Hold on to what is left, alone

© copyright 2013 mac tag/Cowboy Coleridge all rights reserved

The Song of the Day is Heart‘s version of the Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly song, “Alone”.  We do not own the rights to this song.  No copyright infringement intended.  All rights reserved by the artist/producer.

Zane Grey
Zane Grey.jpg

Today is the birthday of Pearl Zane Grey (Zanesville, Ohio, January 31, 1872 – October 23, 1939 Altadena, California); author and dentist perhaps best known for his popular adventure novels and stories associated with the Western genre in literature.  He idealized the American frontier. Riders of the Purple Sage (1912) was his best-selling book. In addition to the commercial success of his printed works, they had second lives and continuing influence when adapted as films and television productions.


Zane Grey at the University of Pennsylvania, 1895
After a passionate and intense courtship marked by frequent quarrels, Grey married Lina “Dolly” Roth in 1905. Grey suffered bouts of depression, anger, and mood swings, which affected him most of his life. As he described it, “A hyena lying in ambush—that is my black spell! I conquered one mood only to fall prey to the next… I wandered about like a lost soul or a man who was conscious of imminent death.”

During his courtship of Dolly, Grey still saw previous girlfriends and warned her frankly,

But I love to be free. I cannot change my spots. The ordinary man is satisfied with a moderate income, a home, wife, children, and all that…. But I am a million miles from being that kind of man and no amount of trying will ever do any good… I shall never lose the spirit of my interest in women.

After they married in 1905, Dolly gave up her teaching career. They moved to a farmhouse at the confluence of the Lackawaxen and Delaware rivers, in Lackawaxen, Pennsylvania, where Grey’s mother and sister joined them. (This house, now preserved and operated as the Zane Grey Museum, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.) Grey finally ceased his dental practice to devote full-time to his nascent literary pursuits. Dolly’s inheritance provided an initial financial cushion.

Black and white image of two men on horse back

Picture taken by Zane Grey of Tse-ne-gat, one of the fighters during the Bluff War

While Dolly managed Grey’s career and raised their three children over the next two decades Grey often spent months away from the family. He fished, wrote, and spent time with his many mistresses. While Dolly knew of his behavior, she seemed to view it as his handicap rather than a choice. Throughout their life together, he highly valued her management of his career and their family, and her solid emotional support. In addition to her considerable editorial skills, she had good business sense and handled all his contract negotiations with publishers, agents, and movie studios. Their considerable correspondence apparently shows evidence of his lasting love for her despite his infidelities and personal emotional turmoil.

The Greys moved to California in 1918. In 1920 they settled in Altadena, California, where Grey bought a prominent Mediterranean-style mansion on East Mariposa Street, known locally as “Millionaire’s Row”. Grey summed up his feelings for the city: “In Altadena, I have found those qualities that make life worth living.”

In Altadena Grey also spent time with his mistress Brenda Montenegro. The two met while hiking Eaton Canyon. Of her he wrote,

I saw her flowing raven mane against the rocks of the canyon. I have seen the red skin of the Navajo, and the olive of the Spaniards, but her…her skin looked as if her Creator had in that instant molded her just for me. I thought it was an apparition. She seemed to be the embodiment of the West I portray in my books, open and wild.

Zane Grey at Koala Park holding a koala during a visit to Australia in December 1935



Zane Grey died of heart failure on October 23, 1939, at his home in Altadena, California. He was interred at the Lackawaxen and Union Cemetery, Lackawaxen, Pennsylvania.

Realism is death to me. I cannot stand life as it is.

Surely, of all the gifts that have come to me from contact with the West, this one of sheer love of wildness, beauty, color, grandeur, has been the greatest, the most significant for my work.

I don’t know which way to turn. I cannot decide what to write next. That which I desire to write does not seem to be what the editors want… I am full of stories and zeal and fire… yet I am inhibited by doubt, by fear that my feeling for life is false.

The sea, from which all life springs, has been equally with the desert my teacher and religion.

The lure of the sea is some strange magic that makes men love what they fear. The solitude of the desert is more intimate than that of the sea. Death on the shifting barren sands seems less insupportable to the imagination than death out on the boundless ocean, in the awful, windy emptiness. Man’s bones yearn for dust.

The so-called civilization of man and his works shall perish from the earth, while the shifting sands, the red looming walls, the purple sage, and the towering monuments, the vast brooding range show no perceptible change.

It was the elision of the weaker element — the survival of the fittest; and some, indeed very many, mothers must lose their sons that way.

  • The Desert of Wheat (1919).

To bear up under loss — to fight the bitterness of defeat and the weakness of grief — to be victor over anger — to smile when tears are close — to resist evil men and base instincts — to hate hate and to love love — to go on when it would seem good to die — to seek ever after the glory and the dream — to look up with unquenchable faith in something evermore about to be — that is what any man can do, and so be great.

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The Lovers’ Almanac 30 January – Missin’ – The Day of Saudade

Dear Zazie, Here is today’s Lovers’ Almanac from Mac Tag dedicated to his muse. Follow us on twitter @cowboycoleridge. Rhett

The Lovers’ Almanac

Dear Muse,

imagine, a deep emotional state
no, deeper than you have gone
a profound melancholic longin’
a repressed knowledge
a missingness

it is that which remains
a recollection of feelin’s,
experiences, places, or events
that once brought happiness
and the memories of which
now, are all of life you have

© copyright 2018 mac tag/cowboy coleridge all rights reserved

she taught me Italian,
Spanish, how to cook,
to make love for sure
how to not be in a hurry
she taught me how to need
how to miss someone
and all about saudade

© copyright 2017 Mac tag/cowboy Coleridge All rights reserved

After a short pause…
I see you are surprised
“Surprised, yes I’m surprised
I almost doubt
whether you are here”
Indeed, cara mia, pardon me
for callin’ you so,
after so many disappointments,
fortune hath kindly
conducted me to you
If you only knew the torment
suffered in this long journey
You, the only one, you cannot hate
or despise me more for what happened
than I do myself. But know this,
I knew i could not lead that life,
and I despaired of ever seein’ you again
The idea of you was ever with me
My heart was never engaged, no matter
whose company I fell in with,
accidental or not
“You need not apologize to me,
nor mount a defense for my sake
You must answer to yourself
It is just that you have suffered so
for your sins are grave, you have wasted
your precious time, with these selfish crimes”

On this day in Brazil, the day of Saudade is officially celebrated.

Saudade (1899), by Almeida Júnior

Saudade (European Portuguese: [sɐwˈdadɨ], Brazilian Portuguese: [sawˈdadi] or [sawˈdadʒi], Galician: [sawˈðaðe]; plural saudades) is a deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves. It means missingness. Moreover, it often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might never return. A stronger form of saudade might be felt towards people and things whose whereabouts are unknown, such as a lost lover, or a family member who has gone missing, moved away, separated, or died.

Saudade was once described as “the love that remains” after someone is gone. Saudade is the recollection of feelings, experiences, places, or events that once brought excitement, pleasure, well-being, which now triggers the senses and makes one live again. It can be described as an emptiness, like someone (e.g., one’s children, parents, sibling, grandparents, friends, pets) or something (e.g., places, things one used to do in childhood, or other activities performed in the past) that should be there in a particular moment is missing, and the individual feels this absence. It brings sad and happy feelings altogether, sadness for missing and happiness for having experienced the feeling.

Saudade is a word in Portuguese and Galician (from which it entered Spanish) that claims no direct translation in English. In Portuguese, “Tenho saudades tuas” (European Portuguese) or “Tenho saudades de você” (Brazilian Portuguese), translates as “I have (feel) saudade of you” meaning “I miss you”, but carries a much stronger tone. In fact, one can have saudade of someone whom one is with, but have some feeling of loss towards the past or the future. For example, one can have “saudade” towards part of the relationship or emotions once experienced for/with someone, though the person in question still is part of one’s life, as in “Tenho saudade do que fomos” (I feel “saudade” of the way we were). Another example can illustrate this use of the word saudade: “Que saudade!” indicating a general feeling of longing, whereby the object of longing can be a general and undefined entity/occasion/person/group/period etc. This feeling of longing can be accompanied or better described by an abstract will to be where the object of longing is.

Despite being hard to translate, saudade has equivalent words in other cultures, and is often related to music styles expressing this feeling such as the blues for African-Americans, dor in Romania, Tizita in Ethiopia, or Assouf for the Tuareg people. In Slovak, the word is clivota or cnenie, in Czech, the word is stesk and Sehnsucht in German.

Nascimento and Meandro (2005) cite Duarte Nunes Leão’s definition of saudade: “Memory of something with a desire for it.”

Saudades de Nápoles (Missing Naples), 1895 by Bertha Worms.

As with all emotions, saudade has been an inspiration for many songs and compositions. “Sodade” (saudade in Cape Verdean Creole) is the title of the Cape Verde singer Cesária Évora’s most famous song. Étienne Daho, a French singer, also produced a song of the same name. The Good Son, a 1990 album by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, was heavily informed by Cave’s mental state at the time, which he has described as saudade. He told journalist Chris Bohn: “When I explained to someone that what I wanted to write about was the memory of things that I thought were lost for me, I was told that the Portuguese word for this feeling was saudade. It’s not nostalgia but something sadder.”

The usage of saudade as a theme in Portuguese music goes back to the 16th century, the golden age of Portugal. Saudade, as well as love suffering, is a common theme in many villancicos and cantigas composed by Portuguese authors; for example: “Lágrimas de Saudade” (tears of saudade), which is an anonymous work from the Cancioneiro de Paris. Fado is a Portuguese music style, generally sung by a single person (the fadista) along with a Portuguese guitar. The most popular themes of fado are saudade, nostalgia, jealousy, and short stories of the typical city quarters. Fado and saudade are intertwined key ideas in Portuguese culture. The word fado comes from Latin fatum meaning “fate” or “destiny”. Fado is a musical cultural expression and recognition of this unassailable determinism which compels the resigned yearning of saudade, a bitter-sweet, existential yearning and hopefulness towards something over which one has no control.

Spanish singer Julio Iglesias, whose father is a Galician, speaks of saudade in his song “Un Canto a Galicia” (which roughly translates as “a song/chant for Galicia”). In the song, he passionately uses the phrase to describe a deep and sad longing for his motherland, Galicia. He also performs a song called “Morriñas”, which describes the Galicians as having a deeply strong saudade.

The Paraguayan guitarist Agustin Barrios wrote several pieces invoking the feeling of saudade, including Choro de Saudade and Preludio Saudade. The term is prominent in Brazilian popular music, including the first bossa nova song, “Chega de Saudade” (“No more saudade“, usually translated as “No More Blues”), written by Tom Jobim. Jazz pianist Bill Evans recorded the tune “Saudade de Brasil” numerous times. In 1919, on returning from two years in Brazil, the French composer Darius Milhaud composed a suite, Saudades do Brasil, which exemplified the concept of saudade. “Saudade (Part II)” is also the title of a flute solo by the band Shpongle. The singer Amália Rodrigues typified themes of saudade in some of her songs. J-Rock band Porno Graffitti has a song entitled “サウダージ”, “Saudaaji” transliterated (“Saudade”). The alternative rock band Love And Rockets has a song named “Saudade” on their album Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven. June 2012 brought Bearcat’s release of their self-titled indie album that included a song called “Saudade”.

The Dutch jazz/Rock guitarist Jan Akkerman recorded a composition called “Saudade”, the centerpiece of his 1996 album Focus in Time. The jazz fusion group Trio Beyond, consisting of John Scofield, Jack DeJohnette, and Larry Goldings released in 2006 an album dedicated to drummer Tony Williams (1945–1997), called Saudades. Dance music artist Peter Corvaia released a progressive house track entitled “Saudade” on HeadRush Music, a sub-label of Toes in the Sand Recordings. New York City post-rock band Mice Parade released an album entitled Obrigado Saudade in 2004. Chris Rea also recorded a song entitled “Saudade Part 1 & 2 (Tribute To Ayrton Senna)” as a tribute to Ayrton Senna, the Brazilian three-times Formula One world champion killed on the track in May 1994. There is an ambient/noise/shoegazing band from Portland, Oregon, named Saudade. The rock band Extreme has a Portuguese guitarist Nuno Bettencourt; the influence of his heritage can be seen in the band’s album Saudades de Rock. During recording, the mission statement was to bring back musicality to the medium. “Nancy Spain”, a song by Barney Rush, made famous by an adaptation by Christy Moore, is another example of the use of saudade in contemporary Irish music, the chorus of which is:

“No matter where I wander I’m still haunted by your name
The portrait of your beauty stays the same
Standing by the ocean wondering where you’ve gone
If you’ll return again
Where is the ring I gave to Nancy Spain?”

The Portuguese author Fernando Pessoa’s posthumous collection of writings The Book of Disquiet (Livro do Desassossego: Composto por Bernardo Soares, ajudante de guarda-livros na cidade de Lisboa) is written almost entirely in a tone of saudade.

  • Walking on these streets, until the night falls, my life feels to me like the life they have. By day they’re full of meaningless activity; by night, they’re full of meaningless lack of it. By day I am nothing, and by night I am I. There is no difference between me and these streets, save they being streets and I a soul, which perhaps is irrelevant when we consider the essence of things.
    • “A Factless Autobiography”, number 3, tr. by Richard Zenith
  • Whether or not they exist, we’re slaves to the gods.
    • A Factless Autobiography, number 21, tr. by Richard Zenith (Penguin Classics edition)
  • … And I, who timidly hate life, fear death with fascination. I fear this nothingness that could be something else, and I fear it as nothing and as something else simultaneously, as if gross horror and non-existence could coincide there, as if my coffin could entrap the eternal breathing of a bodily soul, as if immortality could be tormented by confinement. The idea of hell, which only a satanic soul could have invented seems to me to have derived from this sort of confusion – a mixture of two different fears that contradict and contaminate each other.
    • Ibid., number 168
  • I think of life as an inn where I have to stay until the abyss coach arrives. I don’t know where it will take me, for I know nothing.
    • Original: Considero a vida uma estalagem onde tenho que me demorar até que chegue a diligência do abismo. Não sei onde ela me levará, porque não sei nada.
    • A Factless Autobiography, Richard Zenith Edition, Lisbon, 2006, p. 40
  • Every day things happen in the world that cannot be explained by any law of things we know. Every day they’re mentioned and forgotten, and the same mystery that brought them takes them away, transforming their secret into oblivion. Such is the law by which things that can’t be explained must be forgotten. The visible world goes on as usual in the broad daylight. Otherness watches us from the shadows.
    • A Factless Autobiography, number 424, trans. Richard Zenith, Penguin Classics edition
  • Having touched Christ’s feet is not an excuse for punctuation mistakes.
    • Original: O ter tocado os pés de Cristo não é desculpa para defeitos de pontuação.
    • A Factless Autobiography, Richard Zenith Edition, Lisbon, 2006, p 229
  • Strength without agility is a mere mass.
    • Original: A força sem a destreza é uma simples massa.
    • Ibid.
  • There are those that even God exploits, and they are prophets and saints in the vacuousness of the world.
    • Original: Há os que Deus mesmo explora, e são profetas e santos na vacuidade do mundo.
    • Ibid., p. 45
  • I come closer to my desk as to a bulwark against life.
    • Original: Achego-me à minha secretária como a um baluarte contra a vida.
    • Ibid.
  • We are two abysses — a well staring at the sky.
    • Original: Somos dois abismos — um poço fitando o céu.
    • Ibid., p. 48
  • A tedium that includes only the anticipation of more tedium; the regret, now, of tomorrow regretting having regretted today.
    • Original: Um tédio que inclui a antecipação só de mais tédio; a pena, já, de amanhã ter pena de ter tido pena hoje.
    • Ibid., p. 50
  • The train slows down, it’s the Cais do Sodré. I arrived to Lisbon, but not to a conclusion.
    • Original: O comboio abranda, é o Cais do Sodré. Cheguei a Lisboa, mas não a uma conclusão.
    • Ibid.
  • We become sphynxes, though fake, up to the point we no longer know who we are.
    • Original: Tornamo-nos esfinges, ainda que falsas, até chegarmos ao ponto de não sabermos quem somos.
    • Ibid., p. 52
  • Fraternity has subtleties.
    • Original: A fraternidade tem subtilezas.
    • Ibid., p. 53
  • I believe that saying a thing is to keep its virtues and take away its terror.
    • Original: Creio que dizer uma coisa é conservar-lhe a virtude e tirar-lhe o terror.
    • Ibid., p. 55
  • I have now so many fundamental thoughts, so many really metaphysical things to say, that I suddenly get tired and decide not to write more, not to think more, but allow the fever of saying to make me sleepy, and fondle, with closed eyes, as if to a cat, all that I could have said.
    • Original: Tenho neste momento tantos pensamentos fundamentais, tantas coisas verdadeiramente metafísicas para dizer, que me canso de repente, e decido não escrever mais, não pensar mais, mas deixar que a febre de dizer me dê sono, e eu faça festas, como a um gato, a tudo quanto poderia ter dito.
    • Ibid., p. 56
  • I’m all those things, even though I don’t want to, in the confuse depth of my fatal sensibility.
    • Original: Sou todas essa coisas, embora o não queira, no fundo confuso da minha sensibilidade fatal.
    • Ibid., p. 58
  • I sleep and I unsleep. On the other side of me, beyond where I lie down, the silence of the house touches infinity. I hear time falling, drop by drop, and no falling drop is heard falling.
    • Original: Durmo e desdurmo.
      Do outro lado de mim, lá para trás de onde jazo, o silêncio da casa toca no infinito. Oiço cair o tempo, gota a gota, e nenhuma gota que cai se ouve cair.
    • Ibid., p. 59
  • The house clock, place certain there at the bottom of things, strikes the half hour dry and null. All is so much, all is so deep, all is so dark and cold!
    • Original: O relógio da casa, lugar certo lá ao fundo das coisas, soa a meia hora seca e nula. Tudo é tanto, tudo é tão fundo, tudo é tão negro e frio!
    • Ibid., p. 60
  • I pass times, I pass silences, formless worlds pass me by.
    • Original: Paso tempos, passo silêncios, mudos sem forma passam por mim.
    • Ibid., p. 60
  • Everything was asleep as if the universe was a mistake.
    • Original: Dormia tudo como se o universo fosse um erro.
    • Ibid., p. 60
  • Not pleasure, not glory, not power: freedom, only freedom.
    • Original: Não o prazer, não a glória, não o poder: a liberdade, unicamente a liberdade.
    • Ibid., p. 62
  • Changing from the ghosts of faith to the spectres of reason is just changing cells.
    • Original: Passar dos fantasmas da fé para os espectros da razão é somente ser mudado de cela.
    • Ibid.
  • Thing thrown to a corner, rag fallen on the road, my ignoble being feigns itself in front of life.
    • Original: Coisa arrojada a um canto, trapo caído na estrada, meu ser ignóbil ante a vida finge-se.
    • Ibid., p. 64
  • It was just a moment, and I saw myself. Then I no longer could say what I was.
    • Original: Foi só um momento, e vi-me. Depois já não sei sequer dizer o que fui.
    • Ibid., p. 66
  • As we wash our body so we should wash destiny, change life as we change clothes.
    • Original: Assim como lavamos o corpo devíamos lavar o destino, mudar de vida como mudamos de roupa.
    • Ibid., p. 68
  • There’s a tiredness of abstract intelligence, and it’s the most horrible of tirednesses. It doesn’t weight on you like the tiredness of the body, nor does it worry you like the tiredness of knowledge and emotion. It’s a weightiness of the conscience of the world, an inability of the soul to breathe.
    • Original: Há um cansaço da inteligência abstracta, e é o mais horroroso dos cansaços. Não pesa como o cansaço do corpo, nem inquieta como o cansaço do conhecimento e da emoção. É um peso da consciência do mundo, um não poder respirar da alma.
    • Ibid., p. 69
  • Then a overflowing desire comes to me, absurd, of a sort of satanism before Satan, in that one day […] an escape out of God can be found and the deepest of us stops, I don’t know how, to be a part of being or not being.
    • Original: E então vem-me o desejo transbordante, absurdo, de uma espécie de satanismo que precedeu Satã, de que um dia […] se encontre uma fuga para fora de Deus e o mais profundo de nós deixe, não sei como, de fazer parte do ser ou do não ser.
    • Os Grandes Trechos, s/n. Translated from the Portuguese Richard Zenith Edition, Lisbon, 2006
  • To stagnate in the sun, goldenly, like an obscure lake surrounded by flowers.
    • On a strictly intellectual life.
    • Original: Estagnar ao sol, douradamente, como um lago obscuro rodeado de flores.
    • A Factless Autobiography, Richard Zenith Edition, Lisbon, 2006, p. 70
  • For I am the size of what I see
    not my height’s size.

    • Original: Porque eu sou do tamanho do que vejo
      e não do tamanho da minha altura.
    • Attributed to the Caeiro alter ego, in A Factless Autobiography, Richard Zenith Edition, Lisbon, 2006, p. 71
  • In order to understand, I destroyed myself.
    • Original: Para compreender, destruí-me.
    • A Factless Autobiography, Richard Zenith Edition, Lisbon, 2006, p. 73
  • Solitude desolates me; company oppresses me.
    • Original: A solidão desola-me; a companhia oprime-me.
    • Ibid.
  • Yes, talking to people makes me sleepy.
    • Original: Sim, falar com gente dá-me vontade de dormir.
    • Ibid.
  • The idea of any social obligation […] just the idea of it embarasses my thoughts for a day, and sometimes it’s since the day before that I worry, and don’t sleep well, and the real affair, when it happens, is absolutely insignificant and justifies nothing; and the case repeats itself and I never learn to learn.
    • Original: A ideia de uma obrigação social qualquer […] só essa ideia me estorva os pensamentos de um dia, e às vezes é desde a mesma véspera que me preocupo, e durmo mal, e o caso real, quando se dá, é absolutamente insignificante, não justifica nada; e o caso repete-se e eu não aprendo a aprender.
    • Ibid.
  • The beauty of a naked body is felt only by the dressed races.
    • Original: A beleza de um corpo nu só o sentem as raças vestidas.
    • Ibid., p. 75
  • What is a disease is wishing with an equal intensity what is needed and what is desirable, and suffer for not being perfect as you would suffer for not having bread. The romantic error is this wanting the moon as if there was a way to get it.
    • Original: O que é doença é desejar com igual intensidade o que é preciso e o que ´desejável, e sofrer por não ser perfeito como se se sofresse por não ter pão. O mal romântico é este: é querer a lua como se houvesse maneira de a obter.
    • Ibid., p. 77
  • I take with me the conscience of defeat as a victory banner.
    • Original: Levo comigo a consciência da derrota como um pendão de vitória.
    • Ibid., p. 79
  • It is noble to be shy, illustrious not to know how to act, great not to have a gift for living.
    • Original: É nobre ser tímido, ilustre não saber agir, grande não ter jeito para viver.
    • Ibid., p. 86
  • Blessed are those who never entrust their life to no one.
    • Original: Benditos os que não confiam a vida a ninguém.
    • Ibid.
  • Everyone has his vanity, and each one’s vanity is his forgetting that there are others with an equal soul.
    • Original: Cada um tem a sua vaidade, e a vaidade de cada um é o seu esquecimento de que há outros com alma igual.
    • Ibid., p. 88
  • I reread? I lied! I don’t dare to reread. I cannot reread. What’s the point, for me, in rereading?
    • Original: Releio? Menti! Não ouso reler. Não posso reler. De que me serve reler?
    • Ibid.
  • Civilization consists in giving something an unfitting name, then dream about the result. And indeed the false name and the real dream create a new reality. The object really becomes another, because we turned it into another one. We manufacture realities.
    • Original: A civilização consiste em dar a qualquer coisa um nome que lhe não compete, e depois sonhar sobre o resultado. E realmente o nome falso e o sonho verdadeiro criam uma nova realidade. O objecto torna-se realmente outro, porque o tornámos outro. Manufacturamos realidades.
    • Ibid., p. 89
  • The consciousness of life’s unconsciousness is intelligence’s oldest tax.
    • Original: A consciência da insonsciência da vida é o mais antigo imposto à inteligência.
    • Ibid., p. 91
  • A sort of anteneurosis of what I will be when I will not longer be freezes my body and soul. A kind of remembrance of my future death makes me shudder from the inside.
    • Original: Uma espécie de anteneurose do que serei quando já não for gela-me o corpo e alma. Uma como que lembrança da minha morte futura arrepia-me dentro.
    • Ibid., p. 91
  • What, I believe, produces in me the deep feeling, in which I live, of incongruity with others, is that most think with sensitivity, while I feel with thought.
    • Original: Aquilo que, creio, produz em mim o sentimento profundo, em que vivo, de inconguência com os outros, é que a maioria pensa com a sensibilidade, e eu sinto com o pensamento.
    • Ibid., p. 93
  • You breathe better when you’re rich.
    • Original: Respira-se melhor quando se é rico.
    • Ibid., p. 95
  • I never go to where’s a risk. I’m frightened of dangers down to boredom.
    • Original: Nunca vou para onde há risco. tenho medo a tédio dos perigos.
    • Ibid., p. 96
  • Some sensations are sleeps that take up all the extent of the mind like a fog, don’t let us think, don’t let us act, don’t let us be clearly.
    • Original: Há sensações que são sonos, que ocupam como uma névoa toda a extensão do espírito, que não deixam pensar, que não deixam agir, que não deixam claramente ser.
    • Ibid., p. 98
  • My joy is as painful as my pain.
    • Original: A minha alegria é tão dolorosa como a minha dor.
    • Ibid., p. 100
  • Between me and life is a faint glass. No matter how sharply I see and understand life, I cannot touch it.
    • Original: Entre mim e a vida há um vidro ténue. por mais nitidamente que eu veja e compreenda a vida, eu não lhe posso tocar.
    • Ibid., p. 100
  • My dreams are a stupid refuge, like an umbrella against a thunderbolt.
    • Original: Os meus sonhos são um refúgio estúpido, como um guarda-chuva contra um raio.
    • Ibid., p. 101
  • My life is as if you’ve hit me with it.
    • Original: A minha vida é como se me batessem com ela.
    • Ibid., p. 101
  • If we knew the truth, we’d see it; all else is system and outskirts.
    • Original: Se conhecêssemos a verdade, vê-la-íamos; tudo o mais é sistema e arrabaldes.
    • Ibid., p. 106
  • They bring me faith like a closed package in someone else’s plate. They want me to accept it so that I don’t open it.
    • Original: Trazem-me a fé como um embrulho fechado numa salva alheia. Querem que o aceite para que não o abra.
    • Ibid.
  • The superiority of the dreamer is that dreaming is much more practical than living, and that the dreamer extracts from life a much vaster and varied pleasure than the action man. In better and more direct words, the dreamer is the real action man.
    • Original: A superioridade do sonhador consiste em que sonhar é muito mais prático que viver, e em que o sonhador extrai da vida um prazer muito mais vasto e muito mais variado do que o homem de acção. Em melhores e mais directas palavras, o sonhador é que é o homem de acção.
    • Ibid., p. 110
  • I never meant to be but a dreamer.
    • Original: Nunca pretendi ser senão um sonhador.
    • Ibid.
  • There’s no regret more painful than the regret of things that never were.
    • Original: Ah, não há saudades mais dolorosas do que as das coisas que nunca foram!
    • Ibid., p. 111
  • I always live in the present. The future I can’t know. The past I no longer have.
    • Original: Vivo sempre no presente. O futuro, não o conheço. O passado, já o não tenho.
    • Ibid., p. 118
  • The supreme empire is that of the Emperor who renounces all normal life, that of other men, and in who the care of supremacy doesn’t weigh like a load of jewels.
    • Original: O império supremo é o do Imperador que abdica de toda a vida normal, dos outros homens, em quem o cuidado da supremacia não pesa como um fardo de jóias.
    • Ibid., p. 121
  • I will be what I want. But I will have to want what I’ll be. Success is in having success, not conditions for success.
    • Original: Serei o que quiser. Mas tenho que querer o que for. O êxito está em ter êxito, e não em ter condições de êxito.
    • Ibid., p. 122
  • To act is to rest.
    • Original: Agir é repousar.
    • Ibid., p. 122
  • All problems are unsolvable. The essence of the existence of a problem is that there is no solution. Looking for a fact means there is no fact. To think is not to know how to be.
    • Original: Todos os problemas são insolúveis. A essência de haver um problema é não haver solução. Procurar um facto significa não haver um facto. Pensar é não saber existir.
    • Ibid., p. 123
  • His livid face is a bewildered false green. I notice it, between the chest’s hard air, with the fraternity of knowing I will also be so.
    • Original: A sua cara lívida está de um verde falso e desnorteado. Noto-o, entre o ar difícil do peito, com a fraternidade de saber que também estarei assim.
    • Ibid., p. 124
  • We never love someone. We just love the idea we have of someone. It’s a concept of ours – summing up, ourselves – that we love.
    • Original: Nunca amamos niguém. Amamos, tão-somente, a ideia que fazemos de alguém. É a um conceito nosso — em suma, é a nós mesmos — que amamos.
    • Ibid., p. 125
  • To write is to forget. Literature is the pleasantest way of ignoring life.
    • Original: Escrever é esquecer. A literatura é a maneira mais agradável de ignorar a vida.
    • Ibid., p. 128
  • Being pleased with what they give you is proper of slaves. Asking for more is proper of children. Conquering more is proper of fools.
    • Original: Contentar-se com o que lhe dão é próprio dos escravos. Pedir masi é próprio das crianças. Conquistar mais é próprio dos loucos [porque toda a conquista é [X]]
    • Ibid., p. 133
    • Note: [X]: text missing in the manuscript.
  • To be understood is to prostitute yourself.
    • Original: Ser compreendido é prostituir-se.
    • Ibid., p. 136
  • I search and can’t find myself. I belong in chrysanthemum time, sharp in calla lily elongations. God made my soul into an ornamental thing.
    • Original: Busco-me e não me encontro. Pertenço a horas crisântemos, nítidas em alongamentos de jarros. Deus fez da minha alma uma coisa decorativa.
    • Ibid., p. 140
  • ‘Any road’, said Carlyle, ‘even this road to Entepfuhl, will take you to the end of the world’. But the Entepfuhl road, if taken in its entirety, and to the end, goes back to Entepfuhl; so Entepfuhl, where we already were, is that very end of the world we were seeking.
    • Original: “Qualquer estrada”, disse Carlyle, “até esta estrada de Entepfuhl, te leva até ao fim do mundo”. Mas a estrada de Entepfuhl, se for seguida toda, e até ao fim, volta a Entepfuhl; de modo que o Entepfuhl, onde já estávamo, é aquele mesmo fim do mundo que íamos buscar.
    • Ibid., p. 142
  • It’s been a long time since I’ve been me.
    • Original: Há muito tempo que não sou eu.
    • Ibid., p. 143
  • Inside the henhouse from where he will be taken to be killed, the cock sings hymns to liberty because he was given two perches.
    • Original: Dentro da capoeira de onde irá a matar, o galo canta hinos à liberdade porque lhe deram dois poleiros.
    • Ibid., p. 144
  • What’s most worthless about dreams is that everybody has them.
    • Original: O que há de mais reles nos sonhos é que todos os têm.
    • Ibid., p. 145
  • The end is low, like all quantitative ends, personal or not, and it can be attained and verified.
    • Original: O fim é baixo, comotodos os fins quantitativos, pessoais ou não, e é atingível e verificável.
    • Ibid., p. 149
  • The perfect man of pagans was the perfection of the man there is; the perfect man of christians, the perfection of the man there isn’t; the buddhists’ perfect man, the perfection of not existing a man.
    • Original: O homem perfeito do pagão era a perfeição do homem que há; o homem perfeito do cristão a perfeição do homem que não há; o homem perfeito do budista a perfeição de não haver homem.
    • Ibid., p. 150
  • Nature is the difference between the soul and God.
    • Original: A natureza é a diferença entre a alma e Deus.
    • Ibid., p. 150
  • There is no safe standard to tell man from animals.
    • Original: Não há critério seguro para distinguir o homem dos animais.
    • Ibid., p. 150
  • Irony is the first hint that consciousness became conscious.
    • Original: A ironia é o primeiro indício de que a consciência se tornou consciente.
    • Ibid., p. 151
  • Who am I to myself? Just a feeling of mine.
    • Original: Quem sou eu para mim? Só uma sensação minha.
    • Ibid., p. 156
  • I will necessarily say what it seems to me, given that I’m me.
    • Original: Hei-de por força dizer o que me parece, visto que sou eu.
    • Ibid., p. 162
  • Direct experience is the evasion, or hiding place of those devoid of imagination.
    • Original: A experiência directa é o subterfúgio, ou o esconderijo, daqueles que são desprovidos de imaginação.
    • Ibid., p. 163
  • Action men are the unvoluntary slaves of wise men.
    • Ibid.
  • To narrate is to create, for living is just being lived.
    • Original: Narrar é criar, pois viver é apenas ser vivido.
    • Ibid.
  • I never cared about whatever tragic event happened in China. It’s faraway decoration, even if in blood and plague.
    • Original: Nunca me pesou o que de trágico se passasse na China. É decoração longínqua, ainda que a sangue e peste.
    • Ibid., p. 164
  • The slope takes you to the windmill, but effort takes you nowhere.
    • Original: A ladeira leva ao moinho, mas o esforço não leva a nada.
    • Ibid., p. 171
  • Destiny gave me only two things: a few accounting books and the gift of dreaming.
    • Original: Duas coisas só me deu o Destino: uns livros de contabilidade e o dom de sonhar.
    • Ibid.
  • In today’s life, the world belongs only to the stupid, the insensitive and the agitated. The right to live and triumph is now conquered almost by the same means by which you conquer internment in an asylum: the inability to think, amorality and hiperexcitation.
    • Original: Na vida de hoje, o mundo só pertence aos estúpidos, aos insensíveis e aos agitados. O direito a viver e a triunfar conquista-se hoje quase pelos mesmos processos por que se conquista o internamento num manicómio: a incapacidade de pensar, a amoralidade e a hiperexcitação.
    • Ibid., p. 173
  • What is art but the denial of life?
    • Original: Que é a arte senão a negação da vida?
    • Ibid., p. 174
  • Common man, no matter how hard life is to him, at least has the fortune of not thinking it.
    • Original: O homem vulgar, por mais dura que lhe seja a vida, tem ao menos a felicidade de a não pensar.
    • Ibid., p. 181
  • To think is to destroy. The very process of thought indicates it for the same thought, as thinking is decomposing.
    • Original: Pensar é destruir. O próprio processo do pensamento o indica para o mesmo pensamento, porque pensar é decompor.
    • Ibid.
  • I sometimes think, with a sad delight, that if one day, in a future I no longer belong to, these sentences, that I write, last with praise, I will at last have the people who understand me, those mine, the true family to be born in and be loved. […] I will only be understood in effigy, when affection no longer repays the dead the unaffection that was, when living.
    • Original: Penso as vezes, com um deleite triste, que se um dia, num futuro a que eu já não pertença, estas frases, que escrevo, durarem com louvor, eu terei enfim a gente que me “compreenda”, os meus, a família verdadeiro para nela nascer e ser amado. […] Serei compreendido só em efígie, quando a afeição já não compense a quem morreu a só desafeição que houve, quando vivo.
    • Ibid., p. 182
  • Enthusiasm is rude.
    • Original: O entusiasmo é uma grosseria.
    • Ibid., p. 200
  • My God, my God, who am I attending to? How many am I? Who is me? What is this interval between me and me?
    • Original: Meu Deus, meu Deus, a quem assisto? Quantos sou? Quem é eu? O que é este intervalo que há entre mim e mim?
    • Ibid., p. 201
  • Being a retired major looks like an ideal thing to me. What a pity you couldn’t eternally have been just a retired major.
    • Original: Ser major reformado parece-me uma coisa ideal. É pena não se poder ter sido eternamente apenas major reformado.
    • Ibid., p. 218
  • My curiosity sister of larks.
    • Original: A minha curiosidade irmã das cotovias
    • Ibid., p. 219
  • If a man can only write well when drunk, I’ll tell him: get drunk. And if he tells me that his liver suffers with it, I’ll answer: what’s your liver? It’s a dead thing that lives as long as you live, and the poems you’ll write will live without a as long as.
    • Original: Se um homem escreve bem só quando está bêbado dir-lhe-ei: embebede-se- E se ele me disser que o seu fígado sofre com isso, respondo: o que é o seu fígado? É uma coisa morta que vive enquanto você vive, e os poemas que escrever vivem sem enquanto.
    • English note by the hand of the poet in the same paper sheet: Your poems are of interest to mankind; your liver isn’t. Drink till you write well and feel sick. Bless your poems and be damned to you.
    • Ibid., p. 229

My homeland is the portuguese language.
  • My homeland is the portuguese language.
    • Original: Minha Pátria é a língua portuguesa.
    • Ibid., p. 230
      • Translation variants:
      • My fatherland is the Portuguese language.
      • My nation is the Portuguese language.
      • My country is the Portuguese language.
      • My home is the Portuguese language.
  • Art consists in making others feel what we feel.
    • Original: A arte consiste em fazer os outros sentir o que nós sentimos.
    • Ibid., p. 231
  • Art lies because it’s social.
    • Original: A arte mente porque é social
    • Ibid., p. 232
  • Tedium is the lack of a mithology. To whom has no beliefs, even doubt is impossible, even skepticism has no strength to suspect.
    • Original: O tédio é a falta de uma mitologia. A quem não tem crenças, até a dúvida é impossível, até o cepticismo não tem força para desconfiar.
    • Ibid.
  • Smell is a strange sight. It evokes sentimental landscapes through a sudden sketching of the subconscious.
    • Original: O olfacto é uma vista estranha. Evoca paisagens sentimentais por um desenhar súbito do subconsciente.
    • Ibid., p. 238
  • Deceiving himself well is the first quality of the statesman.
    • Original: Saber iludir-se bem é a primeira qualidade do estadista.
    • Ibid., p. 241
  • It’s certain that, when hearing from any of those people the story of their sexual marathons, a vague suspicion pervades us, at about the seventh deflowering.
    • Original: É certo que, ao ouvir contar a qualquer destes indivíduos as suas maratonas sexuais, uma vaga suspeita nos invade, pela altura do sétimo desfloramento.
    • Ibid., p. 243
  • Liberty is the possibility of isolation.
    • Original: A liberdade é a possibilidade do isolamento.
    • Ibid., p. 246
  • If you cannot live alone, you were born a slave.
    • Original: Se te é impossível viver só, nasceste escravo.
    • Ibid.
  • And let our despite go to those who work and fight and our hate to those who hope and trust.
    • Original: E seja o nosso desprezo para os que trabalham e lutam e o nosso ódio para os que esperam e confiam.
    • Ibid., p. 248
  • We adore perfection because we can’t have it; it would disgust us if we had it. Perfect is inhuman, because human is imperfect.
    • Original: Adoramos a perfeição, porque não a podemos ter; repugná-la-íamos, se a tivéssemos. O perfeito é o desumano, porque o humano é imperfeito.
    • Ibid., p. 249
  • If I had written King Lear, I would regret it all my life afterwards. Because that work is so big, that its defects show as huge, its monstrous defects, things even minimal in between some scenes and their possible perfection. It’s not the sun with spots; it’s a broken greek statue.
    • Original: Se eu tivesse escrito o Rei Lear, levaria com remorsos toda a minha vida de depois. Porque essa obra é tão grande, que enormes avultam os seus defeitos, os seus monstruosos defeitos, as coisas até mínimas que estão entre certas cenas e a perfeição possível delas. Não é o sol com manchas; é uma estátua grega partida.
    • Ibid., p. 250
  • For valuing your own suffering sets on it the gold of a sun of pride. Suffering a lot can originate the illusion of being the Chosen of Pain.
    • Original: Porque dar valor ao próprio sofrimento põe-lhe o ouro de um sol do orgulho. Sofrer muito pode dar a ilusão de ser o Eleito da Dor.
    • Ibid., p. 253
  • Everything is absurd.
    • Original: Tudo é absurdo.
    • Ibid., p. 255
  • The world belongs to who doesn’t feel. The primary condition to be a practical man is the absence of sensitivity.
    • Original: O mundo é de quem não sente. A condição essencial para se ser um homem prático é a ausência de sensibilidade.
    • Ibid., p. 258
  • What would happen to the world if we were human?
    • Original: Que seria do mundo se fôssemos humanos?
    • Ibid., p. 259
  • Who doesn’t feel commands. He who only thinks what is required in order to win, wins.
    • Original: Manda quem não sente. Vence quem pensa só o que precisa para vencer.
    • Ibid., p. 260
  • Sailing is necessary, living is not necessary.
    • Original: Navegar é preciso, viver não é preciso.
    • Ibid., pp. 133, 262
    • Note: This has been attributed to Pessoa. Indeed, it is from Plutarch’s “Parallel Lives”, about Pompeus, when demanding that soldiers board the ships, when they were afraid of dying at sea.
  • All pleasure is a vice, for seeking pleasure is what everybody does in life, and the only dark vice is doing what everybody does.
    • Original: Todo o prazer é um vício, porque buscar o prazer é o que todos fazem na vida, e o único vício negro é fazer o que toda a gente faz.
    • Ibid., p. 265
  • I’m upset by the happiness of all these men who don’t know they’re unhappy. […] Because of that, though, I love them all. Dear vegetables!
    • Original: Irrita-me a felicidade de todos estes homens que não sabem que são infelizes.[…] Por isto, contudo, amo-os a todos. Meus queridos vegetais!
    • Ibid., p. 266
  • For the moment being, given that we live in society, the only duty of superior men is to reduce to a minimum their participation in the tribe’s life. Not to read newspapers, or read them only to know about whatever unimportant and curious is going on.
    […] The supreme honorable state for a superior man is in not knowing who is the Head of State of his country, or if he lives under a monarchy or a republic.
    All his attitude must be setting his soul so that the passing of things, of events doesn’t bother him. If he doesn’t do it he will have to take an interest in others in order to take care of himself.

    • Original: Por enquanto, visto que vivemos em sociedade, o único dver dos superiores é reduzirem ao mínimo a sua participação na vida da tribo. Não ler jornais, ou lê-los só para saber o que de pouco importante ou curioso se passa.
      […] O supremo estado honroso para um homem superior é não saber quem é o chefe de Estado do seu país, ou se vive sob monarquia ou sob república.
      Toda a sua atitude deve ser colocar-se a alma de modo que a passagem das coisas, dos acontecimentos não o incomode. Se o não fizer terá que se interessar pelos outros, para cuidar de si próprio.
    • Ibid., p. 267
  • Wasting time has an esthetics to it.
    • Original: Perder tempo comporta uma estética
    • Ibid.
  • I never was but an isolated bon vivant, which is absurd; or a mystic bon vivant, which is an impossible thing.
    • Original: Nunca fui mais que um boémio isolado, o que é um absurdo; ou um boémio místico, o que é uma coisa impossível.
    • Ibid., p. 271
    • Note: a possible play on Tertullian’s: “credo quia absurdum” (I believe because it’s absurd), “credo quia impossibilis est” (I believe because it’s impossible).
    • Note: Richard Zenith translates boémio as bohemian, not bon vivant.
  • It’s in an inland sea that the river of my life ended.
    • Original: Foi num mar interior que o rio da minha vida findou.
    • Ibid.
  • Every gesture is a revolutionary act.
    • Original: Todo o gesto é um acto revolucionário.
    • Ibid., p. 274
  • Knowing not to have illusions is absolutely necessary in order to have dreams.
    • Original: Saber não ter ilusões é absolutamente necessário para se poder ter sonhos.
    • Ibid., p. 276
  • Why is art beautiful? Because it’s useless. Why is life ugly? Because it’s all ends and purposes and intentions.
    • Original: Porque é bela a arte? Porque é inútil. Porque é feia a vida? Porque é toda fins e propósitos e intenções.
    • Ibid., p. 279
  • And the supreme glory of all this, my love, is to think that maybe this isn’t true, neither may I believe it true.And when lying starts giving us pleasure, let’s speak the truth so that we lie to it.
    • Original: E a suprema glória disto tudo, meu amor, é pensar que talvez isto não seja verdade, nem eu o creia verdadeiro.E quando a mentira comece a dar-nos prazer, falemos a verdade para lhe mentirmos.
    • Ibid., p. 280
  • My head and the universe ache me.
    • Original: Doem-me a cabeça e o universo.
    • Ibid.
  • Yet I have no stylistic nobility. My head aches because my head aches. The universe aches me because my head aches.
    • Original: Eu, porém, não tenho nobreza estilística. Dói-me a cabeça porque me dói a cabeça. Dói-me o universo porque me dói a cabeça.
    • Ibid.
  • Given that we cannot know all the elements in a problem, we never can solve it.
    • Original: Como nunca podemos conhecer todos os elementos de uma questão, nunca a podemos resolver.
    • Ibid., p. 282
  • I don’t believe in the landscape.
    • Original: Não acredito na paisagem.
    • Ibid., p. 286
  • I say it because I don’t believe.
    • Original: Digo-o porque não acredito.
    • Ibid.
  • When I write, I solemnly visit myself.
    • Original: Quando escrevo, visito-me solenemente.
    • Ibid., p. 287
  • Life is a thread that someone entangled.
    • Original: A vida é um novelo que alguém emaranhou.
    • Ibid.
  • They were two and beautiful and wanted to be something else; love delayed itself to them in the tedium of the future, and regret of what would happen to be was already being the daughter of the love they hadn’t had.
    • Original: Eram dois e belos e desejavam ser outra coisa; o amor tardava-lhes no tédio do futuro, e a saudade do que haveria de ser vinha já sendo filha do amor que não tinham tido.
    • Ibid., p. 288
  • Only sterility is noble and dignified. Only killing what never was is elevated and perverse and absurd.
    • Original: Só a esterilidade é nobre e digna. Só o matar o que nunca foi é alto e perverso e absurdo.
    • Ibid., p. 289
  • I exempt you of being present in my idea of you.
    • Original: Dispenso-a de comparecer na minha ideia de si.
    • Ibid., p. 290
  • That’s not my love; that’s just your life.
    • Original: Isso não é o meu amor; é apenas a sua vida.
    • Ibid.
  • And as well as I dream, I reason if I want, for that’s just another kind of dream.
    • Original: E assim como sonho, raciocino se quiser, porque isso é apenas uma outra espécia de sonho.
    • Ibid., p. 320
  • There is no happiness without knowledge. But knowledge of happiness is unhappy; for knowing ourselves happy is knowing ourselves passing through happiness, and having to, immediatly at once, leave it behind. To know is to kill, in happiness as in everything. Not to know, though, is not to exist.
    • Original: Não há felicidade senão com conhecimento. Mas o conhecimento da felicidade é infeliz; porque conhecer-se feliz é conhecer-se passando pela felicidade, e tendo, logo já, que deixá-la atrás. Saber é matar, na felicidade como em tudo. Não saber, porém, é não existir.
    • Ibid., p. 328
  • I don’t write in Portuguese. I write myself.
    • Original: Eu não escrevo em português. Escrevo eu mesmo.
    • Ibid., p. 353

Life is whatever we make it. The traveller is the journey. What we see is not what we see but who we are.
  • To travel? In order to travel it’s enough to be. […] Why travel? In Madrid, in Berlin, in Persia, in China, at the Poles both, where would I be but in myself, and in the sort and kind of my sensations?Life is what we make of it. Travels are travellers. What we see is not what we see but what we are.
    • Original: Viajar? Para viajar basta existir. […] Para quê viajar? Em Madrid, em Berlim, na Pérsia, na China, nos Pólos ambos, onde estaria eu senão em mim mesmo, e no tipo e género das minhas sensações?A vida é o que fazemos dela. As viagens são os viajantes. O que vemos não é o que vemos, senão o que somos.
    • Ibid., p. 360
  • I’d like to be in the country so that I’d could like being in the city.
    • Original: Gostava de estar no campo para poder gostar de estar na cidade.
    • Ibid., p. 367
  • Man shouldn’t be able to see his own face. That’s what’s most terrible. Nature gave him the possibility of not seeing it, as well as the incapacity of not seeing his own eyes.
    • Original: O homem não deve poder ver a sua própria cara. Isso é o que há de mais terrível. A Natureza deu-lhe o dom de não a poder ver, assim como a de não poder fitar os seus próprios olhos.
    • Ibid., p. 371
  • In any spirit that isn’t deformed there is the belief in God. In any spirit that is not deformed there isn’t the belief in a particular God.
    • Original: Em qualquer espírito, que não seja disforme, existe a crença em Deus. Em qualquer espírito, que não seja disforme, não existe crença em um Deus definido.
    • Ibid., p. 375
  • I’m a man for whom the outside world is an inner reality.
    • Original: Sou um homem para quem o mundo exterior é uma realidade interior.
    • Ibid., p. 376
  • Humanitarianism is rude.
    • Original: O humanitarismo é uma grosseria.
    • Ibid.
  • Property isn’t theft: it’s nothing.
    • Original: A propriedade não é roubo: não é nada.
    • Ibid.
  • To have defined and sure opinions, fixed and known instincts, passions and character — all that is the horror of turning our soul into a fact, materialize it and make it external.
    • Original: Ter opiniões definidas e certas, instintos, paixões e carácter fixo e conhecido — tudo isto monta ao horror de tornar a nossa alma num facto, de a materializar e tornar exterior.
    • Ibid., p. 413<ǃ–Assírio & Alvim, 2008–>
    • As quoted in Os Grandes Trechos, Richard Zenith Edition, Lisbon, 2006, p. 413

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