Midtown Manhattan

Midtown Manhattan

Dawn in New York

The Dawn! The Dawn! The crimson-tinted comes

Out of the low still skies, over the hills,
Manhattan's roofs and spires and cheerless domes!
The Dawn! My spirit to its spirit thrills.
Almost the mighty city is asleep,
No pushing crowd, no tramping, tramping feet.
But here and there a few cars groaning creep
Along, above, and underneath the street,
Bearing their strangely-ghostly burdens by,
The women and the men of garish nights,
Their eyes wine-weakened and their clothes awry,
Grotesques beneath the strong electric lights.
The shadows wane. The Dawn comes to New York.
And I go darkly-rebel to my work.

-Claude McKay (1889 - 1948)

Roman Forum

Roman Forum

Aeneid (Book VII, lines 358 - 369)

Talking among themselves they came to the house of the impoverished Evander, and saw cattle here and there, lowing where the Roman Forum and the fashionable Carinae would be. When they reached the house, Evander said: "Victorious Hercules stooped to entering this doorway, this palace charmed him. My guest, dare to scorn wealth, and make yourself worthy too to be a god: don’t be scathing about the lack of possessions." He spoke, and led mighty Aeneas beneath the confines of his sloping roof, and allotted him a mattress stuffed with leaves, and the pelt of a Libyan bear: Night fell, and embraced the earth with her darkening wings.

-Publius Vergilius Maro [i.e. Vergil] (70 - 19 BCE)

Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station


What happens to a dream deferred?


      Does it dry up

      like a raisin in the sun?

      Or fester like a sore—

      And then run?

      Does it stink like rotten meat?

      Or crust and sugar over—

      like a syrupy sweet?


      Maybe it just sags

      like a heavy load.


      Or does it explode?

-Langston Hughes (1902 - 1967)

Roman Road of Santa Agueda

Roman Road of Santa Agueda

Epigrams V.X

“What should I say that there is for the living, as fame is denied

and the uncommon reader loves his times?”

Without doubt envy has these customs, Regulus:

that one always prefers the old to the new.

Thus, we seek the old shade of undeserving Pompey;

thus, old men praise the cheap temples of Catullus.

Ennius has been read for you, Rome, when Maro was alive,

even his own contemporaries laughed at Maeonides,

few theaters clapped for crowned Menander,

only Corinna knew her own Naso.

Still, you, oh my little books, don’t hurry:

if glory comes after life’s courses, I am in no hurry.   

-Marcus Valerius Martialis [i.e. Martial] (41 - 104)

The Hudson

The Hudson

What These Children Are Like

Education is all a matter of building bridges, it seems to me. Environment is bouncing everything off everybody in this country. It is wide open; television is around. You see antennas on shacks, electric iceboxes on back porches, with the electricity brought in from a neighbor’s pole, cars are flying around, jazz musicians are invading the backwoods with modifications of language, verbal as well as musical, new styles of dress are being introduced.

-Ralph Ellison (1914 - 1994)


Pont du Gard

Pont du Gard

Metamorphoses (Book IX, lines 96 - 97)

Young men depart for they do not wait until streams have peace and quiet pools and all waters subside. 

-Publius Ovidius Naso [i.e. Ovid] (43 BCE - 18 CE)

Yankee Stadium

Yankee Stadium

The Crowd at the Ball Game

The crowd at the ball game

is moved uniformly

by a spirit of uselessness
which delights them —

all the exciting detail
of the chase

and the escape, the error
the flash of genius —

all to no end save beauty
the eternal -

So in detail they, the crowd,
are beautiful

for this
to be warned against

saluted and defied —
It is alive, venomous

it smiles grimly
its words cut —

The flashy female with her
mother, gets it —

The Jew gets it straight - it
is deadly, terrifying —

It is the Inquisition, the

It is beauty itself
that lives

day by day in them
idly —

This is
the power of their faces

It is summer, it is the solstice
the crowd is

cheering, the crowd is laughing
in detail

permanently, seriously
without thought

-William Carlos Williams (1883 - 1963)



Dialogue about the Orators, XXIX

Now truly the particular and peculiar vices of this City seem to me to be conceived in the mother’s womb, a liking for actors and a zeal for gladiators and horses. How little of a place does the mind preoccupied and obsessed with such things leave for noble arts? How many and whom do you find who discusses anything else at home? What other conversations of kids do we intercept, if ever we entered their classrooms? Not even teachers have any more crowded stories with their own listeners.

-Publius Cornelius Tacitus [i.e. Tacitus] (56 - 117)

Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

Touched by an Angel

We, unaccustomed to courage

exiles from delight

live coiled in shells of loneliness

until love leaves its high holy temple

and comes into our sight

to liberate us into life.


Love arrives

and in its train come ecstasies

old memories of pleasure

ancient histories of pain.

Yet if we are bold,

love strikes away the chains of fear

from our souls.


We are weaned from our timidity

In the flush of love's light

we dare be brave

And suddenly we see

that love costs all we are

and will ever be.

Yet it is only love

which sets us free. 

-Maya Angelou (1928 - 2014)

Marble Bust of the Roman Emperor Hadrian from Olympia, Greece

Marble Bust of the Roman Emperor Hadrian from Olympia, Greece

Farewell to the Soul 

Little soul little stray

little drifter

now where will you stay

all pale and all alone

after the way

you used to make fun of things.

—Publius Aelius Hadrianus (76 - 138) 

*Excerpt from The Augustan History and translation by W.S. Merwin

The Apollo

The Apollo


I exist in between now,

between being killed

and being undead,

between life on earth

and life beyond it,

between all time,

which has no beginning

and no end

and all space,

which is both a seedling,

as well as the sun.

It yearns for

all that is available to me.

-Toni Morrison (1931 - present)



The Self-Tormentor

“I am human, and nothing of humanity I consider foreign to me."

-Publius Terentius Afer [i.e. Terrence] (195 - 159 BCE)