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

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.