Monday, August 28, 2006

Sara Teasdale

Someone searched in here for a Charles Williams book. It turns out that five of his novels are in the public domain in Australia.

For very little reason at all, this reminded me that a poetry collection I read in high school is also in the public domain: Rivers to the Sea, by Sara Teasdale. I had forgotten how many little gems there are. Maybe they're a little hokey now, but I thought I'd share a few.

THE ANSWER

WHEN I go back to earth
And all my joyous body
Puts off the red and white
That once had been so proud,
If men should pass above
With false and feeble pity,
My dust will find a voice
To answer them aloud:

"Be still, I am content,
Take back your poor compassion,
Joy was a flame in me
Too steady to destroy;
Lithe as a bending reed
Loving the storm that sways her--
I found more joy in sorrow
Than you could find in joy."


SPRING

IN Central Park the lovers sit,
   On every hilly path they stroll,
Each thinks his love is infinite,
   And crowns his soul.

But we are cynical and wise,
   We walk a careful foot apart,
You make a little joke that tries
   To hide your heart.

Give over, we have laughed enough;
   Oh dearest and most foolish friend,
Why do you wage a war with love
   To lose your battle in the end?


This last one takes a little explaining. I read this poem:

SWANS

NIGHT is over the park, and a few brave stars
   Look on the lights that link it with chains of gold,
The lake bears up their reflection in broken bars
   That seem too heavy for tremulous water to hold.

We watch the swans that sleep in a shadowy place,
   And now and again one wakes and uplifts its head;
How still you are--your gaze is on my face--
   We watch the swans and never a word is said.


then wrote this one and sent it to the Alter Ego (Mt. Rainier's literary magazine), who picked it up for the last 1998 issue:

The Quiet

Whispering gowns
The gentleman drowns
Her pendant is limned in the dimmed evening light
Of a Saturday park and a long-ago dream
Swallowed up by the night at the seam

Shimmering stars
The city light mars
But cannot deny the untying of bonds
To the whole human race, the galactic undone
In the ponds of the night they are one

Similar answers
From long-ago dancers
Who walked by the by in the sky and the dark
Who stretched at the quiet and serene
Of a Saturday park all the world passed unseen


The relationship between the two poems is now obvious, but interesting, I think. Anyway, in the last month or so, I finally wrote a chorus that makes the whole thing even more like the original poem, and set the whole thing to music.

Come to the dark
Lay back your head
I will embrace you where no words are said
The shadow surrounds
But we will be free
When you come to the quiet with me


I'm probably a fool to do this, but here's a first draft of the song I made during my son's nap (next door to my office) with Audacity and my desktop microphone. All mistakes and funny microphone sounds are my own. I also set up a Myspace page for "Dan Lewis is a Band". Today is obviously an epic day in the history of the burgeoning cross-promotional media empire that is Dan Lewis. The road to riches and fame through blogging re-begins here!

3 comments:

jen said...

Dan has a blog, who knew?! You've got some good stuff here...an interesting read. I'm curious to know what your friend Boyd found out about digital watermarking in his research...I've looked into this a bit for the purpose of copyright protection for my photography.

Dan Lewis said...

Hi Jen.

I'm not sure about Boyd's results. Last fall, I did a project investigating invisible watermarks that are robust to many distortions. It was called cocktail watermarking, because you can embed two watermarks simultaneously that are more or less opposites. In general, as an attacker tries to distort the picture to eliminate one watermark, the other watermark is strengthened.

Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, there is no program to do this kind of watermarking out on the web. I suppose watermarking is integrated as a feature in more general photo-editing programs.

jen said...

hmmm, crazy...that's a good idea-cocktail watermarks. All of the "real" (as in, actual deterrents as opposed to something that provides a false sense of security) digital watermarking programs work in conjunction with photo-editing software (like PS) but is really pricey, and often you pay a very large sum for only a limited number of uses. The more you pay, the more images you can watermark. I'm guessing it will probably gain popularity and thus availability though....I hope?