Monday, September 24, 2012

Off the Shelf Archive~September

I've decided to take a mini-vacation from blogging this week, and while I'm absent thought it would be a good time to change out the Off the Shelf selection,  since it's been several months. I've chosen one that deals with the vagaries of love, from one of my favorite poets, Pablo Neruda, called If You Forget Me.

You'll find it here on the updated  Off the Shelf page.

Below is the previous selection, by Stephen Crane, On the Desert. You can comment on either poem here, as comments are disabled off the main page. See you all soon.

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On the Desert
~by Stephen Crane

On the desert
A silence from the moon's deepest valley.
Fire rays fall athwart the robes
Of hooded men, squat and dumb.
Before them, a woman
Moves to the blowing of shrill whistles
And distant thunder of drums,
While mystic things, sinuous, dull with terrible colour,
Sleepily fondle her body
Or move at her will, swishing stealthily over the sand.
The snakes whisper softly;
The whispering, whispering snakes,
Dreaming and swaying and staring,
But always whispering, softly whispering.
The wind streams from the lone reaches
Of Arabia, solemn with night,
And the wild fire makes shimmer of blood
Over the robes of the hooded men
Squat and dumb.
Bands of moving bronze, emerald, yellow,
Circle the throat and the arms of her,
And over the sands serpents move warily
Slow, menacing and submissive,
Swinging to the whistles and drums,
The whispering, whispering snakes,
Dreaming and swaying and staring,
But always whispering, softly whispering.
The dignity of the accursed;
The glory of slavery, despair, death,
Is in the dance of the whispering snakes.

Image: Sensuality, by Franz Stuck, oil on canvas, 1891
Public domain, via


  1. Have a wonderful mini-vacation, Joy Ann.


  2. smiles...enjoy breathing a bit hedge....i do like some neruda so i will check it out...there is some pretty cool mystical imagery in the one by crane...

  3. Whoa, what a poem. I read long long ago John Brown's Body - but it's so long ago I can't remember, and maybe The Red Badge of Courage. I should revisit - this is a pretty amazing poem; the close especially. Agh.

    Have a nice break. I feel today like a break from all things is in order! So tired. But I'm always a bit fearful that if I stop moving, you know, some cog will fall out. Rest up! k.

  4. Intense. I think of the Jawa creatures from Star Wars. The Neruda poem strikes me as reciprocation. Love and growth. Nurturing. Like your Mandevilla. What a pretty Joni song. Her range. She insinuates then rocks me in a lullaby. I really like the time you take to select these. The photos of her are fabulous.

  5. Neruda writes the most glorious stuff. He is the only poet I know of who always makes me feel as if he is saying, here, Shay, this is how it's done.

  6. If You Forget Me. And yet:
    "everything carries me to you,
    as if everything that exists,
    aromas, light, metals,
    were little boats
    that sail
    toward those isles of yours that wait for me."
    Such a yearning.
    Have a good mini-break.

  7. I find that Crane piece seriously unsettling! Yikes!

    Have a nice mini-vacay!


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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