Hospital, doggerel antidote - what is truly great

Bradley: His Book, 1896, by William Henry Bradley, NYC Metropolitan Museum of ArtHad a spare hour yesterday, spent it writing in a hospital cafeteria. My first productive period in a month and a half. Felt good to be in a hospital out of volition. No cause to visit anyone, or to get treatment. No vigil. Taking agency against amoral Nature. Did you feel the burn, there, physical entropy? Did ya? Sure, the eventual victory will be yours, but to rage, RAGE against the dying of the light, yesterday gave off a lovely light.

A couple lines of musty doggerel yesterday stuck in my head yesterday. In the gym today, I tried to find something to chase that away. Scanning my iPod, found "Seascape" by Stephen Spender. The catch? The track is named "Seascape" on the iPod, but it was "I Think Continually of Those Who Were Truly Great" that I listened to over and over. Let that be a warning about the integrity of bootleg poetry tracks downloaded during the Napster heyday of 2000-01.

I Think Continually Of Those Who Were Truly Great
Stephen Spender

I think continually of those who were truly great.
Who, from the womb, remembered the soul's history
Through corridors of light where the hours are suns
Endless and singing. Whose lovely ambition
Was that their lips, still touched with fire,
Should tell of the Spirit clothed from head to foot in song.
And who hoarded from the Spring branches
The desires falling across their bodies like blossoms.

What is precious is never to forget
The essential delight of the blood drawn from ageless springs
Breaking through rocks in worlds before our earth.
Never to deny its pleasure in the morning simple light
Nor its grave evening demand for love.
Never to allow gradually the traffic to smother
With noise and fog the flowering of the spirit.

Near the snow, near the sun, in the highest fields
See how these names are fêted by the waving grass
And by the streamers of white cloud
And whispers of wind in the listening sky.
The names of those who in their lives fought for life
Who wore at their hearts the fire's center.
Born of the sun they traveled a short while towards the sun,
And left the vivid air signed with their honor.