Arcadia


I met a man below a hill, where the road unwinding paused

‘Round a poplar grove and spring, removed from worldly laws

There he sat with tranquil brow, and offered of his bread and wine

And he told me of the place he left, which he hoped again to find

In his eye there lay a land, so splendorous I would not conceal

How bright and gleaming was the port, where ships of starry cargo wheeled

Where a thousand silver suns set sail, and one might buy ten thousand more

Where sailors’ songs gilded the waves, taming siren hearts and storms

He told me how numerous cities rose, commanding ‘mongst the diamond peaks

And by lofty bridges intertwined, o’er crags and crystals in the deeps

Where the blooms of Shangri’La did wax, as moons to pluck on breathless nights

Their glow to rival pristine snow, their perfume of one hundred sighs

He told me how gold rose of the earth, a sea of flaxen stems so vast

Sleipnir’s kin did rise and roam, never to reach its final tracts

Where in ivory towers mounted treasures, bold and lonely upon the plains

Where one might trade in divers riches, to have one priceless marvel tame

And over all this wondrous land, whose sanctuary he sought once more

Came dawns in every season equal, by the wing of phoenix borne

With sapphire rains and pearled mists, and amber drops of evening sun

With snows of lace and lapis skies, and still before these jewels would run

Velvet streaks of briefest twilight, and shadows to catch on nets of twine

Where midnight’s silky threads would cling, to complete the vast array so fine

That any might lift and don its beauty, that any might in the land revel

In its enchantment and in its mystery, and in its otherworldly knell.

Elizabeth Cook

2014

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31 comments

  1. Oh my dear God!!! This is amazing :’)

    “And over all this wondrous land, whose sanctuary he sought once more
    Came dawns in every season equal, by the wing of phoenix borne
    With sapphire rains and pearled mists, and amber drops of evening sun
    With snows of lace and lapis skies, and still before these jewels would run
    Velvet streaks of briefest twilight, and shadows to catch on nets of twine
    Where midnightโ€™s silky threads would cling, to complete the vast array so fine
    That any might lift and don its beauty, that any might in the land revel”

    I wish I had your words and talent:) Use it well.

    1. Thank you so very much for your comment, I love to learn which lines stand out to people! Hopefully if I just keep writing I’ll be able to do as you say ๐Ÿ™‚

      I was reading your post on people and places and it occurred to me, as I looked back at this, my first post in months and months, that I forgot how there are things I can learn from people on WordPress. So I’ll see if I can blog happily now and then, without getting obsessed with statistics as I did before!

      Thanks,
      Lily

      1. Hmm that really does mean a lot to those who write.
        Do you know, I have subscribed by email to a select 5 blogs, and yours is one of them? I love what you write and I wish to see more of it in the future ๐Ÿ™‚

        1. Wow, that means a lot ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll do my best to keep posting while getting to the end of my MA!! Do you like reading poetry or stories more?

          Lily

          1. I like both, very much. As long as I can take something from them… What about you?
            MA in Economics and such writing skills? Should’ve taken literature :p I’ve just started studying it.

            1. I like to read both poetry and prose, and reviews of books/shows/comics as well! I asked since I post stories and poems on this blog, but mostly poems.

              Literature would have been nice in many ways, but the job market here… Oh well! Are you studying a particular sort of literature?

              Lily

            2. I see. Well, no… Just literature in general. It’s just the first course right now, so it’s mostly short stories and poetry.

    1. Hi John ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s a funny thing, last night was my first night out in ages during this very long semester, and I was goaded into talking about my blog. That somehow lead to me making this post, but I didn’t realize how I’d missed WordPress until I saw the comments here.

      I can’t blog as often as I did before, but I am glad to be back! Sorry again for disappearing like that, and thanks for remembering me when I reappeared

      Elizabeth

  2. Welcome back darlin’ girl ! …and such an opening !! You have such a wonderful talent with imagery and storytelling. Great to see your work again as I always enjoyed it so much.

    1. Hullo again, Paul!

      I’m looking at your blog and it seems you’ve been busy as ever ๐Ÿ™‚ Reading your words of encouragement again after so long has made me really happy, and now I’m thinking about everything I must have missed during the impromptu hiatus. Things feel so pleasant right now it could be summer (despite all the snow here!)

      Lily

  3. Welcome back!

    I love this – it reminds me a little of Yeats’ Byzantium poems. Beautiful imagery and internal rhythm. I’m glad you’re back ๐Ÿ™‚

    -silvanhistorian

    1. Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚ It means a lot that you remembered me despite the long hiatus!

      I was just reading your heroism post – this is a bit off-topic, but I was wondering what you think about the recent “comic-book” heros we’ve seen in movies like the Batman and Ironman series. These guys are a pet peeve of mine, but how do they fit on your traditional to non-traditional scale?

      Lily

      1. Well, both Batman and Iron man subscribe to several aspects of the hero archetype. They were born into wealthy, influential families both struck by tragedy. The murder of these mens’ parents plays a pivotal role in shaping the heroes they eventually become. Bruce Wayne vows revenge by way of becoming the bane of the criminal underworld. Tony Stark, upon inheriting his family’s fortune, descends into a playboy lifestyle that can only end in disaster.

        The traumatic event that turns Stark onto the path of the hero is obviously the shrapnel in the heart thing that forces him to use his brains to create the first Iron Man suit. Both men possess that which others do not – genius level intellects and both have weapons that only they can use, example Batman’s car and gadgets, Stark’s Iron Man suit. Even though that suit gets copied, Stark’s own suit – though frequently near-destroyed – always ends up superior because of the man inside it.

        They both have older guides and they have to undertake numerous quests in order to prove themselves heroes.

        As I said in my article, it is actually impossible to escape the hero archetype. These traits tie the most disparate characters together no matter their

          1. Do you think they have a bit of the anti-hero in them too? Young men with inner demons is what comes to my mind, especially for Batman, and I get the feeling that these traditional archetypes that they are drawn from have effectively been portrayed to appeal to young men today

            Lily

            1. I don’t think they are as much the antihero as say Winston Smith from 1984, but they certainly exhibit some less morally desirable qualities. The title Dark Knight comes aptly to mind. And I think they probably are tailored to appeal to young men in particular. Heroes have generally been getting darker since Tolkien’s time, and that prevails across books as well as films.

    1. Thank you for remembering me! I’ve got to ration my time because of a silly thing called school, but luckily I have a few pieces that I wrote during my absence ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Lily

  4. I need to study this one a bit more. Arcadia and Shangriโ€™La share idealistic visions, but with opposite feature.

    Fave lines:

    With sapphire rains and pearled mists, and amber drops of evening sun

    With snows of lace and lapis skies, and still before these jewels would run

    1. To be honest I wasn’t keeping closely to the stories behind Arcadia and Shangri’La; rather, it was the ideal of a paradise overall that I was obsessed with ๐Ÿ™‚

      I hope I didn’t ruin any interesting insights by saying that. Please still share!

      And thank you, at first the end was my least favourite part, so I’m very glad that you like those lines ๐Ÿ™‚

      Lily

      1. You may lust for hot springs in a snowy Himalayan paradise. In a desert oasis, you worship the cool water. The forever green Arcadia, may make you long to see Autumn leaves. The contrast of Arcadia and Shangriโ€™La got me thinking. If you come back to work on this one; I suggest you imagine the contrasts.

  5. You have invented a world and populated it with splendidly dreamy lyrics and imagination. Paradisiacal poetry with classical style – well done.

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