Dolce far niente, Henry Longfellow, Joseph Boyden, John Kea

Dolce far niente – Bij Halloween


The Haunted House door John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1874


Haunted Houses

All houses wherein men have lived and died
Are haunted houses. Through the open doors
The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,
With feet that make no sound upon the floors.

We meet them at the door-way, on the stair,
Along the passages they come and go,
Impalpable impressions on the air,
A sense of something moving to and fro.

There are more guests at table than the hosts
Invited; the illuminated hall
Is thronged with quiet, inoffensive ghosts,
As silent as the pictures on the wall.

The stranger at my fireside cannot see
The forms I see, nor hear the sounds I hear;
He but perceives what is; while unto me
All that has been is visible and clear.

We have no title-deeds to house or lands;
Owners and occupants of earlier dates
From graves forgotten stretch their dusty hands,
And hold in mortmain still their old estates.

The spirit-world around this world of sense
Floats like an atmosphere, and everywhere
Wafts through these earthly mists and vapours dense
A vital breath of more ethereal air.

Our little lives are kept in equipoise
By opposite attractions and desires;
The struggle of the instinct that enjoys,
And the more noble instinct that aspires.

These perturbations, this perpetual jar
Of earthly wants and aspirations high,
Come from the influence of an unseen star
An undiscovered planet in our sky.

And as the moon from some dark gate of cloud
Throws o’er the sea a floating bridge of light,
Across whose trembling planks our fancies crowd
Into the realm of mystery and night,—

So from the world of spirits there descends
A bridge of light, connecting it with this,
O’er whose unsteady floor, that sways and bends,
Wander our thoughts above the dark abyss.


Henry Longfellow (27 februari 1807 – 24 maart 1882)
West End Halloween Parade in Portland, Maine. Lomfellow werd geboren in Portland.


De Canadese schrijver Joseph Boyden werd geboren op 31 oktober 1966 in Willowdale, Ontario. Zie ook mijn blog van 31 oktober 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Joseph Boyden op dit blog.

Uit: Through Black Spruce

“They keep him on the top floor, the critical one. I can smell the raw scent of him. It lingers just under the soap of the birdbath his nurse Eva gave him earlier. I’m close to his ear, close enough to see a few grey hairs sprouting from it. “Can you hear me?” I’m gone eight months, then home for a day, only to have this happen. “Eva tells me to talk to you. I feel stupid, but I’ll try for a few minutes before Mum comes back. She can’t catch me, though.” She’d take it as a sign of me weakening, of finally becoming a good Catholic girl like she’s always wanted.
I stand up, see white outside the window, a long view of the river and three feet of snow, the spruce like a wrought iron fence in black rows against the white. So cold out today. The sky is blue and high. No clouds to hold any heat.
Dr. Lam wanted to fly him down to Kingston but was concerned he wouldn’t make the journey. He’ll die down there. I watch as snowmobiles cut along the river, following the trail from Moosonee.Their exhaust hangs white in the air. February. The deadest month. The machine that helps him breathe sounds like the even breath of some mechanical sleeping child. A machine hooked up to his arm beeps every second or so. I think it is the machine that tells the staff that his heart still beats.
I hear the pad of footsteps entering the room and I turn, expecting my mother, black hair eight months ago mostly white now so that when I first saw her nothing made sense. But it’s Eva, so large in her blue scrubs, all chubby brown face. I always thought nurses wore white uniforms and silly-looking hats. But in this hospital they dress like mechanics. I guess that’s what they are.
Eva checks his vitals and jots them down on his clipboard. She turns him on his side and places pillows behind to prop him up. She told me it is to prevent bedsores. A month now he’s been here and all they can tell me is he remains in a stable but deeply catatonic state. The chances are slim that he’ll ever wake again. The injuries to his head were massive, and he shouldn’t be alive right now. But is he really alive, lying there? I want to ask Eva as she rubs his legs.
“Come help me, Annie,” she says. “Do the same to his arms. Keep the circulation going. It’s vital.”
“Ever weird,” I say, standing on the other side of the bed, holding his arm in my hands, kneading it.
“What is?”
“Touching him. My whole life I can’t ever remember touching him at all.”
“Get over it.” Eva breathes heavily as she works. She huffs and puffs. I’ve known her all my life and she’s always been fat. Bigger than fat. She is my apple-faced, beluga-sized best friend. “Have you been talking to him?” she asks.”

Joseph Boyden (Willowdale, 31 oktober 1966)


De Engelse dichter John Keats werd geboren op 31 oktober 1795 in Finsbury Pavement in Londen. Zie ook mijn blog van 31 oktober 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor John Keats op dit blog

After dark vapors have oppress’d our plains

After dark vapors have oppress’d our plains
For a long dreary season, comes a day
Born of the gentle South, and clears away
From the sick heavens all unseemly stains.
The anxious month, relieved of its pains,
Takes as a long-lost right the feel of May;
The eyelids with the passing coolness play
Like rose leaves with the drip of Summer rains.
The calmest thoughts came round us; as of leaves
Budding — fruit ripening in stillness — Autumn suns
Smiling at eve upon the quiet sheaves —
Sweet Sappho’s cheek — a smiling infant’s breath —
The gradual sand that through an hour-glass runs —
A woodland rivulet — a Poet’s death.


As from the darkening gloom a silver dove

As from the darkening gloom a silver dove
Upsoars, and darts into the eastern light,
On pinions that nought moves but pure delight,
So fled thy soul into the realms above,
Regions of peace and everlasting love;
Where happy spirits, crown’d with circlets bright
Of starry beam, and gloriously bedight,
Taste the high joy none but the blest can prove.
There thou or joinest the immortal quire
In melodies that even heaven fair
Fill with superior bliss, or, at desire,
Of the omnipotent Father, cleav’st the air
On holy message sent — What pleasure’s higher?
Wherefore does any grief our joy impair?


To A Cat

Cat! who has pass’d thy grand climacteric,
How many mice and rats hast in thy days
Destroy’d? How many tit-bits stolen? Gaze
With those bright languid segments green, and prick
Those velvet ears – but prythee do not stick
Thy latent talons in me – and tell me all thy frays,
Of fish and mice, and rats and tender chick;
Nay, look not down, nor lick thy dainty wrists, –
For all the wheezy asthma – and for all
Thy tail’s tip is nick’d off – and though the fists
Of many a maid have given thee many a maul,
Still is thy fur as when the lists
In youth thou enter’dst on glass-bottled wall

John Keats (31 oktober 1795 – 23 februari 1821)
Portret door William James Neatby (1860-1910).


Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 31e oktober ook mijn blog van 31 oktober 2015 deel 1 en eveneens deel 2