A Movie Log

A blog formerly known as Bookishness

By Charles Matthews

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Poem of the Day: Dante Gabriel Rossetti

From The House of Life

19. "Silent Noon"

Your hands lie open in the long fresh grass --
     The finger-points look through like rosy blooms:
     Your eyes smile peace. The pasture gleams and glooms
'Neath billowing skies that scatter and amass.
All round our nest, far as the eye can pass,
     Are golden kingcup-fields with silver edge
     Where the cow-parsley skirts the hawthorn-hedge.
'Tis visible silence, still as the hour-glass.

Deep in the sun-searched growths the dragonfly
Hangs like a blue thread loosened from the sky:
     So this winged hour is dropt to us from above.
Oh! clasp we to our hearts, for deathless dower,
This close-companioned inarticulate hour
     When twofold silence was the song of love.
--Dante Gabriel Rossetti

This selection from Rossetti's sonnet cycle is maybe best-known for the setting by Ralph Vaughan Williams, which gives me an excuse to include this version by John McCormack, recorded in 1941. A miraculous recording, considering that McCormack was in his 60s and ill with emphysema. 

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