E.E. Cummings — The Vale of Soul-Making

into the strenuous briefness
Life:
handorgans and April
darkness,friends
 
i charge laughing.
Into the hair-thin tints
of yellow dawn,
into the women-coloured twilight
 
i smilingly
glide.  I
into the big vermilion departure
swim,sayingly;
 
(Do you think?)the
i do,world
is probably made
of roses & hello:
 
(of solongs and,ashes)

— E.E. Cummings, ” [into the strenuous briefness],” 100 Selected Poems (Grove Press January 10, 1994) Originally published 1954.

E.E. Cummings — The Vale of Soul-Making

William Ernest Henley

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance,
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley (1875) Published 1888.

William Ernest Henley — The Vale of Soul-Making

The Monumental and Human Poetry of Paul Valéry

by Mark Scroggins August 8, 2020

Paul Valéry (1871-1945) had the dubious fate of becoming a monument in his own lifetime, the personification of the quintessential “homme des lettres.” A member of the Académie française, he was France’s cultural representative to the League of Nations and an indefatigable lecturer and commentator. He held enough academic positions to overwhelm a half-dozen ordinary professors. He published over 20 books in various genres; his poetry, on which much of his reputation rests, is a very small share of the whole….