memoirs, art and fragments by Thomas Milner

Posts tagged ‘Byzantium’

Why is Vladivostoc

Why is Vladivostoc? When is Rome?

Where is Gdansk, when it’s at home?

How many flies do I have in my ear?

Where are the snows of yesteryear?

Timor mortis conturbat me.

When does the Tagus flow so sweet?

Whence comes the heart at my feet?

How many fell at Sarajevo?

Whither the Euro?

Timor mortis conturbat me.

Which one’s a coward and which brave?

Sean or Howard, Chris or Dave?

And the lords and ladies of Byzantium,

Where have they all gone?

Timor mortis conturbat me.

EDEN - PAINTING by THOMAS MILNER

Sailing to Byzantium

Early on in my painting therapy it was suggested that I do a painting that incorporated words. I didn’t know quite how to go about this and the result is only indifferent as you can see.

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN

However it does give me the excuse of releasing onto the blogosphere W. B. Yeats’ wonderful poem:

Sailing to Byzantium

That is no country for old men. The young
In one another’s arms, birds in the trees
—Those dying generations—at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unaging intellect.II

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.

III
O sages standing in God’s holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

IV
Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.

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