This Date in Literary History: Born 31 March 1809 – Edward Fitzgerald, an English poet and writer best known for his translation of “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.”
Some verses from Fitzgerald’s translation of “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam”:
A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread — and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness —
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!
Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring
Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To flutter — and the Bird is on the Wing.
Some for the Glories of This World; and some
Sigh for the Prophet’s Paradise to come;
Ah, take the Cash, and let the Credit go,
Nor heed the rumble of a distant Drum!
Waste not your Hour, nor in the vain pursuit
Of This and That endeavour and dispute;
Better be jocund with the fruitful Grape
Than sadden after none, or bitter, Fruit.
Below – “Abandoned Post”; “Winter Window”; “Aspen Light”
Below – “Muted Symphony”; “Three Muses”; “Collision with Light”
This Date in Literary History: Born 31 March 1926 – John Fowles, an English novelist and the author of “The Magus.”
Some quotes from the work of John Fowles:
“The profoundest distances are never geographical.”
“The most important questions in life can never be answered by anyone except oneself.”
“There are only two races on this planet – the intelligent and the stupid.”
“That was the tragedy. Not that one man had the courage to be evil. But that millions had not the courage to be good.”
“Duty largely consists of pretending that the trivial is critical.”
“In some mysterious way woods have never seemed to me to be static things. In physical terms, I move through them; yet in metaphysical ones, they seem to move through me.”
Below – “Rising Sun”; “Beauty and the Beast”; “Reclining Nude”
“Of History and Hope”
by Miller Williams
We have memorized America,
how it was born and who we have been and where.
In ceremonies and silence we say the words,
telling the stories, singing the old songs.
We like the places they take us. Mostly we do.
The great and all the anonymous dead are there.
We know the sound of all the sounds we brought.
The rich taste of it is on our tongues.
But where are we going to be, and why, and who?
The disenfranchised dead want to know.
We mean to be the people we meant to be,
to keep on going where we meant to go.
But how do we fashion the future? Who can say how
except in the minds of those who will call it Now?
The children. The children. And how does our garden grow?
With waving hands—oh, rarely in a row—
and flowering faces. And brambles, that we can no longer allow.
Who were many people coming together
cannot become one people falling apart.
Who dreamed for every child an even chance
cannot let luck alone turn doorknobs or not.
Whose law was never so much of the hand as the head
cannot let chaos make its way to the heart.
Who have seen learning struggle from teacher to child
cannot let ignorance spread itself like rot.
We know what we have done and what we have said,
and how we have grown, degree by slow degree,
believing ourselves toward all we have tried to become—
just and compassionate, equal, able, and free.
All this in the hands of children, eyes already set
on a land we never can visit—it isn’t there yet—
but looking through their eyes, we can see
what our long gift to them may come to be.
If we can truly remember, they will not forget.
This Date in Art History: Died 31 March 2012 – Alberto Sughi, an Italian painter.
Below – “Al Caffe”; “Amore”; “Interno de Caffe”; “Figura”; “Al Bar.”
Worth a Thousand Words: Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.
Below – “Head of a Woman”; “Two Women in an Interior”; “The Parade”; “Un Universalite”; “After the Parade.”
Remembering a Nobel Laureate on the Date of His Birth: Born 31 March 1914 – Octavio Paz, a Mexican poet and the recipient of the 1960 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Some quotes from the work of Octavio Paz:
“It is always difficult to give oneself up; few persons anywhere ever succeed in doing so, and even fewer transcend the possessive stage to know love for what it actually is: a perpetual discovery, and immersion in the waters of reality, an unending re-creation.”
“Beyond myself, somewhere,
I wait for my arrival.”
“Solitude is the profoundest fact of the human condition. Man is the only being who knows he is alone, and the only one who seeks out another. His nature – if that word can be used in reference to man, who has ‘invented’ himself by saying ‘no’ to nature – consists in his longing to realize himself in another. Man is nostalgia and a search for communion. Therefore, when he is aware of himself he is aware of his lack of another, that is, of his solitude.”
“To love is to undress our names.”
“This is perhaps the most noble aim of poetry, to attach ourselves to the world around us, to turn desire into love, to embrace, finally what always evades us, what is beyond, but what is always there – the unspoken, the spirit, the soul.”
“Deserve your dream.”
Below – “Shriek”; “Somewhere to Light”; “Flower Garden”; “1-2-3 Outside”; “The Hole in the Center of the Clock”; “Roll Down.”