Ode to Cole’s “The Titan’s Goblet”

O Grand Enigma! Tower of Life! Thy lofty scene
___Is but the glimpse of that eternal mystery,
For in thy cup amidst the twilight’s gloaming sheen,
___There whisper softly chords of immortality,
Resounding tones of universal harmony
___Which herald all the endless peace it brings to those
Who can decipher with thy signs eternity,
___And solve the ancient riddle of the blossomy rose.

Between thy verdurous, mossy banks, the Muse yet blows
___Its secrets ‘cross the placid lake; that tranquil face
Reflects the images of buildings, gently throws
___Their marble visage o’er the waters with light grace 
These structures are the remnants of a bolder race,
___A race of gods who walked among the earth in times
When brilliant souls recalled that pillowed resting place
___From where the soul originates in distant climes.

O come, old noble thoughts! Now let me with soft rhymes
___Remember that high space where pure, transcendent thought
But forms the architecture of the universe, and primes
___The mind, so sorely yearning, for what is but sought
Within the dreamer’s sleep: — Truth. Yes  the Truth is brought
___Into the Light, and now the wisdom of all things
Is known through revelation  loose, mind! loose the knot
___Of all the hidden wisdom! End our sufferings!

Alas  the path is clouded still; our wanderings
___Are but a dreary march amidst the ceaseless toil
Of vain existence; O, Life! O’er the sea there sings
___The murmurs of another world. Roll, ye waves, roll!
Roll on unto that distant, boundless space! The soul
___But longs to sail beyond the ascending, holy mount: —
Be still, my soul, and cherish these hushed words of ole:
___“To find the Truth, drink from Imagination’s fount.”

 

I Think of You, My Bright-Eyed Girl

When the rosy light glints o’er white sand
__Of meadowlands by a shore,
When balmy zephyrs kiss the land
__Which birds and roe adore,
When a dreamy child takes rope in hand
__And quickly grabs hold the oar,
____I think of you, my bright-eyed girl,
____Illustrious one – my orient pearl.

When the gilded light o’er myrtles glows
__In myriad shining rays,
When gentle breeze of summer blows
__Across the gloaming bays,
When a babbling brook through meads e’er flows
__In splendidly warmèd days,
____I think of you, my bright-eyed girl,
____Illustrious one – my orient pearl.

When the amber leaf drops from the tree
__Midst crystalline auburn lights,
When rumbling winds from distant sea
__Now herald swallows’ flights,
When the pilot thinks to face or flee
__Tempestuous stormy nights,
____I think of you, my bright-eyed girl,
____Illustrious one – my orient pearl.

When the groves are bare and gray the brake
__And heavily falls the hail,
When roaring gales have come to take
__The ship from off its trail,
When the sun has set beneath the lake
__Where souls of the valiant sail,
____I think of you, my bright-eyed girl,
____Illustrious one – my orient pearl.

When across the earth I’ve travelled far
__In search of the True, the One,
When found that I’ve sailed o’er the bar,
__And find the journey done,
When in calm repose I watch each star,
__Each heavenly glowing sun,
____I see you now, my bright-eyed girl,
____Illustrious one – eternal gold pearl.

 

William Krusch is a first-year English major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; he hails from Greensboro, North Carolina.

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16 Responses

  1. Caroline Bardwell

    Hi William. I enjoyed these poems very much. A great use of vocabulary, but not difficult to grasp. Musical, but not heavy. Thoughtful, but not pretentious. A fitting selection for “Classical Poets”.

    Reply
  2. David Watt

    I particularly enjoyed the classical form and well-constructed hexameter of Ode to Cole’s “The Titan’s Goblet. Both poems maintained interest through rich description. Well done.

    Reply
  3. Beau Ecs Wilder

    He has aroused me from my summer slumbers—Mr. Krusch—
    for I’ve been seeking truth in modern life and modern rush;
    and he reminds us all to stop and smell the blooming rose
    between the mossy banks, the placid lake, and gentle flows,
    Hell, no! but rather Heaven, yes! in all its ecstasy,
    at least, that is, abstract, and packed with 19th century.

    The Titan’s Goblet by Thomas Cole
    by Beau Ecs Wilder
    for William Krusch

    Cole placed a giant goblet, not in Tennessee,
    but in a mountain landscape in a little pic,
    with water filled, some sailing boats, and tiny trees,
    Greek temple, and Italian palace, round its lip,
    from which the water falls down to the setting underneath,
    where life emerges, buildings stand, and boats sail on sun-lit.
    What mighty Titan’s grasp could cup that stony wreath
    and drink that lake up? There it stands, aloft in oil.
    Will ‘t please you rise? Shall we discuss Romantic themes,
    the beauty of imagination’s bounds aboil,
    a plethora of figures in a fairyland of ease,
    or not—small canvas of a lot far from the soil?

    Reply
    • William Krusch

      Ah, Monseigneur! The sun is hardly up,
      And so it is but premature to speak
      In honeyed rhymes (’tis but the language of
      The mystic night); perhaps my kindly friends
      Will chance bespeak in tones more sweet, endeared –
      But ‘swounds! The mighty king who doth rule o’er
      This land hath placed a quota ‘pon the mind’s
      Most sacred faculty: th’ ability
      To cry afar from out a veiling masque –
      Thus I must set them down like axioms.

      Ludwig II of Bavaria:
      Most Holy God of all delights – ’tis not
      The mind’s right purpose to seek out, explore
      The unknown regions of the soul? The rot
      Of this quotidian life is but a bore,
      And so I find it wise to wander through
      The fields, the hills, the caverns of the heart,
      For from this mighty quest there shall ensue
      A nobler race of man sprung from high art.

      Don Quixote:
      Wise words, good king! But, aye, ’tis also strange
      For us to stray from our own sanity,
      To travel o’er those alien lands, to range
      About in search of what we know doth flee
      From earthly plain. The source of all my pain
      Has been that I cannot well organize
      My personal rhymes, to live, and thus sustain
      The reason which doth guide as sun doth rise.

      Pierrot:
      Ah, ah! Woe, woe indeed!
      I spoke of decent, noble things
      Within the depths of the past night,
      But so it seems our voice and sight
      Are stripped away, what sufferings!
      Ah, ah! Woe, woe indeed!

      Pulcinella:
      Insatiable fools! Now lock thy blabbering holes:
      The world doth tire of all these cries and moans –
      Get hence! And find thyself a useful trade!
      Such are the sorrows of the deaf, insane –
      To carve a castled swan upon crag,
      To meander through the wild beside an ass,
      And you, my Pierrot, sigh for Columbine –
      I speak no rhymes, for I have reason seen!

      It seems our good friend Pulcinella, perhaps the most practical of this motley lot, is not immune to rhyme himself – such is the double nature of his curse.

      *The ‘u’ in ‘Krusch’ is sounded as ‘ew’ and not ‘uh,’ but you are not the first to make the mistake by any means.

      Reply
      • Beau Ecs Wilder

        It is not a mistake; I would not change the rhyme; although it is merely conversational and proemial. As you can see in the bilding [sic], I rhyme “pic/lip/lit”.

  4. David B. Gosselin

    Dear William,
    I think you have an interesting Ode. I can see that you’ve been influenced by Keats in the way you went about crafting it. Keats is definitely the best model for the Ode and I think few people really take the time to look at what he was trying to do in developing the and advancing the English language with those Odes.

    I think the idea of the Ode is quite good. Although at places it seems you may be “trying” to do something such that I feel like I might not be getting your voice, but your voice trying to sound like something. However, there is definitely some talent here!

    Feel free to submit some poems to http://www.thechainedmuse.com. I’d also be interested to see what kind of shorter poems you might have written.

    You can see some of my stuff on the website, such as Cordoba:
    https://www.google.ca/amp/s/www.thechainedmuse.com/single-post/2017/12/04/The-Gardens-of-Córdoba%3f_amp_

    Best,

    David

    Reply
    • William Krusch

      David,

      Thank you for the kind words. Yes, Keats has undoubtedly been the most influential poet I have studied – his late odes are truly amazing, and there is certainly much to gain by studying them. I am not sure what you mean by “trying,” except perhaps the too-sudden accelerando in the third stanza – Beethoven’s works (epseically the piano sonatas) have been a major influence on me, too, and so I have attempted to capture the dramatic impulse of his compositions, though I confess his executions are crafted exceedingly better than mine. I appreciate your invitation to The Chained Muse, and I will be sure to explore your work.

      Reply
  5. C.B. Anderson

    William,

    It ain’t Yeats, but you did dredge up some deep sentiments. This kind of work, stamped with archaicism, is very risky, and I’m glad you took the risk.

    Lines like “Midst crystalline auburn lights” are probably a bit over the top, though. You don’t have to make it new, you don’t have to make it perfect, but you should certainly try to make it credible.

    Reply
    • William Krusch

      Mr. Anderson,

      Thank you for your feedback – I certainly appreciate it. The second piece was composed back in January, so the style is admittedly not as developed as the ode. I do not recall having tried to artificially fabricate the line you referenced while I was writing the piece; I think as long as the language is not intentionally contrived to be overly-archaic for the sake of antiquarianism, no harm has been done. As for the archaism, it was not intentional, but occurred as a result of reading much early nineteenth century poetry – if I may use a common aphorism, “we are what we eat,” and so too do we write in the language of what we read.

      Reply
      • C.B. Anderson

        Yes, that is perfectly understandable. I sometimes enjoy writing “old-style” myself.

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