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The Listening Chamber

Besides the usual lovely and short poems, this year we received a couple of longer, prose entries.  For the poems, we've listed the title, author, and text. For the prose, the title, author, and just the mp3.


Wondrous Moment, read by Daria Smith
By Alexander Sergeyvich Pushkin (1799-1837)

The wondrous moment of our meeting
I well remember you appear
Before me like a vision fleeting,
A beauty’s angel pure and clear.

In hopeless ennui surrounding
The worldly bustle, to my ear
For long your tender voice kept sounding
For long in dreams came features dear.

Time passed.  Unruly storms confounded
Old dreams, and I from year to year
Forgot how tender you had sounded,
Your heavenly features once so dear.

My backwoods days dragged slow and quiet
Dull fend around, dark vault above
Devoid of God and uninspired,
Devoid of tears, of fire, of love.

Sleep from my soul began retreating,
And here you once again appear
Beffore me like a vision fleeting,
A beauty’s angel pure and clear.

In ecstasy the heart is beating,
Old joys for it anew revive;
Inspired and God-filled, it is greeting
The fire, and tears, and love alive.

The Newly-Wedded, read by Daria Smith
By Winthrop Mackworth Praed (1802-1939)

Now the rite is duly done,
Now the word is spoken,
And the spell has made us one
Which may ne’er be broken;
Rest we, dearest, in our home,
Roam we o’er the heather;
We shall rest, and we shall roam,
Shall we not together?

From this hour the summer rose
Sweeter breathes to charm us;
From this hour the winter snows
Lighter fall to harm us:
Fair or foul – on land or sea –
Come the wind or weather,
Best and worst, whate’er they be,
We shall share together.

Death, who friend from friend can part,
Brother rend from brother,
Shall but link us, heart and heart,
Closer to each other:
We will call his anger play,
Deem his dart a feather,
When we meet him on our way
Hand in hand together.

Love One Another, read by Daria Smith
Khalil Gibran (1885-1931)

Love one another, but make not a bond of love
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.

Fill each other’s cup, but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread, but eat not from the same loaf.

Sing and dance together and be joyous,
But let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone
Though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

And stand together yet not too near together;
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

The First Day, read by Daria Smith
By Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830-1894)

I wish I could remember the first day,
First hour, first moment of your meeting me,
If bright or dim the season, it might be summer or Winter for aught I can say.
So unrecorded did it slip away,
So blind was I to see and forsee,
So dull to mark the budding of my tree
That would not blossom yet for many a May.
If only I could recollect it, such
A day of days!   I let it come and go
As traceless as a thaw of bygone snow;
It seemed to mean so little, meant so much;
If only now I could recall that touch,
First touch of hand in hand – Did one but know!

Love, read by Daria Smith
By Victor James Daley (1858-1905)

Love is the sunlight of the soul,
That, shining on the silken-tressèd head
Of her we love, around it seems to shed
A golden angel-aureole.

And all her ways seem sweeter ways
Than those of other women in that light;
She has no portion with the pallid nights,
But is a part of all fair days.

Joy goes where she goes, and good dreams –
Her smile is tender as an old romance
Of Love that dies not, and her soft eye’s glance
Like sunshine set to music seems.

Queen of our fate is she, but crowned
With purple hearts – ease for her womanhood.
There is no place so poor where she has stood
But evermore is holy ground.

An angel from the heaven above
Would not be fair to us as she is fair;
She holds us in a mesh of silken hair,
This one sweet woman whom we love.

We pray thee, Love, our souls to steep
In dreams wherein they myrtle flowereth,
So when the rose leaves shiver, feeling Death
Pass by, we may remain asleep:

Asleep, with poppies in our hands,
From all the world and all is cares apart –
Cheek close to cheek, heart beating against heart,
While through Life’s sandglass run the sands.

Time and Again, read by Daria Smith
By Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926)

Time and again, however well we know the landscape of love,
And the little church-yard with lamenting names,
And the frightfully silent ravine wherein all the other end:
Time and again we go out two together,
Under the old trees, lie down again and again
Between the flowers, face to face with the sky.

L'amoureuse, read by Claire "Cosi"
By Paul Eluard

Elle est debout sur mes paupières
Et ses cheveux sont dans les miens,
Elle a la forme de mes mains,
Elle a la couleur de mes yeux,
Elle s'engloutit dans mon ombre
Comme une pierre sur le ciel.

Elle a toujours les yeux ouverts
Et ne me laisse pas dormir.
Ses rêves en pleine lumière
Font s'évaporer les soleils,
Me font rire, pleurer et rire,
Parler sans avoir rien à dire

Translatation by Samuel Beckett:

Lady Love (the Beloved), read by Claire "Cosi"
She is standing on my lids
And her hair is in my hair
She has the colour of my eye
She has the body of my hand 
In my shade she is engulfed
As a stone against the sky.

She will never close her eyes
And she does not let me sleep
And her dreams in the bright day
Make the suns evaporate
And me laugh, cry and laugh,
Speak when I have nothing to say.

Pan's Pipe, read by Claire "Cosi"
By Stephen Moylan Bird 1897-1919

HE wandered through the wilding world, sun-splashed
With spattered gold and broidered with bright bloom,
Striving to give expression to a song
Of nature's own wild harmony; he smiled
An elfish smile, half mischief, half love-dreamed;
He plucked the dream-tuned lute strings from the heart
Of Poetry, he willed the wild dumb voice
Of dew-splashed fragrant forest to his work;
Stole from the merriment of frisking lambs,
The verdant grace of breeze-bent reeds; and last
Fashioned the whole with curve of maidens limbs,
Elf-smiled on the fulfilment of his dream,
With far-off mind breathed into it his soul
Keen as a dagger's thrust, yet numbing sweet
The sound wild fluted from the heart of Spring.

Letter from John Keats to Fanny Brawne, read by Amy Hazzard

Sweetest Fanny,

You fear, sometimes, I do not love you so much as you wish? My dear Girl I love you ever and ever and without reserve. The more I have known you the more have I lov'd. In every way - even my jealousies have been agonies of Love, in the hottest fit I ever had I would have died for you. I have vex'd you too much. But for Love! Can I help it? You are always new. The last of your kisses was ever the sweetest; the last smile the brightest; the last movement the gracefullest. When you pass'd my window .home yesterday, I was fill'd with as much admiration as if I had then seen you for the first time. You uttered a half complaint once that I only lov'd your Beauty. Have I nothing else then to love in you but that? Do not I see a heart naturally furnish'd with wings imprison itself with me? No ill prospect has been able .to turn your thoughts a moment from me. This perhaps should be as much a subject of sorrow as joy - but I will not talk of that. Even if you did not love me I could not help an entire devotion to you: how much more deeply then must I feel for you knowing you love me. My Mind has been the most discontented and restless one that ever was put into a body too small for it. I never felt my Mind repose upon anything with complete and undistracted enjoyment - upon no person but you. When you are in the room my thoughts never fly out of window: you always concentrate my whole senses. The anxiety shown about our Loves in your last note is an immense pleasure to me: however you must not suffer such speculations to molest you any more: nor will I any more believe you can have the least pique against me. Brown is gone out - but here is Mrs. Wylie - when she is gone I shall be awake for you. - Remembrances to your Mother.

Your affectionate
J. Keats.

At Last, read by Daria Smith
By Elizabeth Allen Akers (1832-1911)

At last, when all the summer shine
That warmed life’s early hours is past,
Your loving fingers seek for mine
And hold them close – at last – at last!
Not oft the robin come to build
Its nest upon the leafless bough
By autumn robbed, by winter chilled, -
But you, dear heart, you love me now.

Though there are shadows on my brow
And furrows on my cheek, in truth, -
The marks where Time’s remorseless plough
Broke up the blooming sward of Youth, -
Though fled is every girlish grace
Might win or hold a lover’s vow,
Despite my sad and faded face,
And darkened heart, you love me now!

I count no more my wasted tears;
They left no echo of their fall;
I mourn no more my lonesome years;
This blessed hour atones for all.
I fear not all that Time or Fate
May bring to burden heart or brow, -
Strong in the love that came so late,
Our souls shall keep it always now!

A Birthday, read by Daria Smith
By Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830-1894)

My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a water’d shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thick-set fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these,
Because my love is come to me.

Raise me a dais of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.

Touch, read by Daria Smith
By JoAnn Baca

Vincenten Topaketa, read by Arantza
By Arantza
(If you can't understand it, it's because it's in Euskera.)