Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sunset . . . Leads to Dover Beach . . . Fade to Cortez

I took this photo from my office window last Friday evening, catching just the very tail end of the sunset. And for some reason, although there is no seascape, no chalk cliffs visible, no sound of pebbles being washed by waves on the shore, looking at this image again this evening, before deciding to throw artistic caution to the winds and post it, reminded me of the below poem which I first discovered in a college English class, and never forgot . . .

Dover Beach . . . . . by Matthew Arnold
The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand;
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.
Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Agaean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.
The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hearIts melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.
Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.
And in case anyone might have been wondering what I was listening to while doing these posts, I'd like to thank Heather Ainsworth at Freewheelin' for posting a few photos from a concert by Grace Potter, who I admit I was not familiar with, but I'm now making up for lost time by watching video's like this one on YouTube :



Once Upon A Blue Crow said...


La Belette Rouge said...

That sky is astonishing. What a beautiful multi-media post.

Janie said...

Great poem and an amazing photo.

The Panorama said...

Lovely poem. You are so luky you have this view from your office:)

Steve said...

I wish I could see such skies from my office window. Wasn't Matthew Arnold a good friend of Tennyson? Or am I mixing my poets and time periods?

Steve said...

I wish I could see such skies from my office window. Wasn't Matthew Arnold a good friend of Tennyson? Or am I mixing my poets and time periods?

Buskitten said...

Gosh, Owen! it's been a long time since I read that poem - thank you, how lovely to rediscovver it after all these years....(yet another reson why blogging is so great!) Grace Potter is cool!

joo said...

Lucky you to have such a view! Faboulous sky. I like the poem as well.
Enjoy your day:)

Lydia said...

The photo is breathtaking, and the marvelous poem describes what you say we don't see. That last stanza is....o, wow.
I don't know of Grace Potter either, so am listening to the video as I read comments and write mine. She's definitely one with the music.

Batteson.Ind said...

Ohhhhhhhhh God how we'd love a band!.... This video sums up how it should be, haven't seen a band so instinctively tight and having fun for AGES..... and her voice!!!!...... yumyumyumyumyumyumyum... Arrggghh!!! I'm so jealous!...... *goes away sulking...... lol!

Jess said...

That sky is incredible, like a warm heavy blanket! I enjoyed reading the poem too, I could hear the sound of the sea in my mind.~~~

Lynne with an e said...

Timeless, rich, authentic poetry. A jewel.

At least your late labours at the office were rewarded by a moment of heightened (no pun intended...or maybe a bit, depending which floor you were on) awareness, illuminated by the deepening sunset.

And since when should "artistic" and "caution" be used in the same sentence?

jeff said...

Tes poésies, tu pourrais pas les traduire pour les frenchies !?!...<8:))))))
J'en suis réduit, vu le temps qui me reste, à ne regarder que les images ! ! ! ... et ta photo est une bien belle photo de poésie nocturne !...

clo said...

oui Owen on a beau boire du café ça ne nous rend pas meilleur en anglais...:)
merci pour ta visite ...je commençais a croire que tu étais fâché...ta photo d ombres de nuit est très belle ..et la vidéo je vais la regarder avant de partir...j'aime bien mr Satriani...
Pour le poème j'ai fait comme Jeff..
i'm so sorry... :)
bonne soirée...

clo said...

la demoiselle est super...!! :)

namaki said...

quelles couleurs ce coucher de soliel ! flamboyant !
un lien vers les falaises de Dover ;-) de jour !

namaki said...

merci pour la video de Grace Potter ... je ne connaissais pas et j'aime bien !

robert said...

Good morning Owen, it's now a quarter past three and again I couldn't sleep (no, not the fault of the kid, as he's asleep for now).
Allow me first of all to express my sincere thankfulnes, reading your comment and this entry of yours tonight.
Returning home at night was always connected with such joy as I saw always a light within the night - that's what your photography 'tells me'.
Being far from my own beach, the poetry was of much interest too, proofing one more time, that the magic latern provides much light throughout the night, making it more than joy to return.

Anonymous said...

Oh gosh I'm so in love with this photo Owen!!!! It's breathtaking!!!

Roxana said...

another kind of red, here as well :-) playing against the dark - exactly as in the last stanza of the Arnold poem, i loved it...

The Sagittarian said...

You clearly work far too late, good grief man, get home and have a wine before it's too late....

Unknown said...


WOW! Very interesting fit between the photo, the poem and the song! Lots of melancholy beauty. I had to go look up the original of the song...and found a very cool video of a live Neil Young and Crazy Horse performance of it. There were three or four robed Jawa(Star Wars junk traders) looking things dancing around behind the back of his set...whatever they were there for, they seemed to be enjoying the music. Grace Potter and company definitely did justice to Neil's song...although I have to wonder what Joe Satriani was seeing/channeling/high on in the one bit that got close up on him. I loved the trumpet! What a player!

The Sagittarian said...

Oh, and I reckon she's (Grace) a deadringer for Van Orly!

Adrian Popa said...

yes, very nice fusion. I`ll dig the net for Grace Potter.

Owen said...

And again here, please accept my warm and friendly thanks for your shining thoughts here, and my humble apologies for not answering individually, and not acknowledging until now... some weeks I guess are going to be tough... but vacation is coming, and I hope to do better then... BUT rest assured, I'm reading your comments as they come flowing in from the blue blogosphere, and they warm my heart, and bring no end of smiles if not bursts of laughter... so, don't go away, stay tuned, the show will go on ! LOL !

Hey Walter, it's been a while, great to read you hear, that is a good tune, for sure...

Jeff, c'est jamais trop tard pour apprendre l'anglais !

Dear Watercats, hope you're over the sulking ! Ain't she hot !?!

All, again, a multitude of thanks to you... your feedback and insights are what make this trip worthwhile...