A movie log formerly known as Bookishness / By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Poem of the Day: William Butler Yeats

When you are old and gray and full of sleep, 
And nodding by the fire, take down this book, 
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look 
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep; 

How many loved your moments of glad grace, 
And loved your beauty with love false or true; 
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, 
And loved the sorrows of your changing face. 

And bending down beside the glowing bars 
Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled 
And paced upon the mountains overhead 
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars. 
--William Butler Yeats

The last time I did a Yeats poem, I maybe overstressed the virtues of the late poetry, so here's one from when he was not yet 30. The diction is simpler, and there's no politics, Irish mythology, or cosmological gyres at work, but the mastery of language is as breathtaking as it would ever get. And even here the preoccupation with aging that runs through the late poems is anticipated. 

No comments: