Frases de Stephen Spender

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Stephen Spender

Data de nascimento: 28. Fevereiro 1909
Data de falecimento: 16. Julho 1995

Sir Stephen Harold Spender, CBE foi um poeta, romancista e ensaista inglês que se debruçou sobre os temas da injustiça social e da luta de classes.

Citações Stephen Spender

„What the eye delights in, no longer dictates
My greed to enjoy“

—  Stephen Spender

"Experience"
The Still Centre (1939)
Contexto: What the eye delights in, no longer dictates
My greed to enjoy: boys, grass, the fenced-off
deer.
It leaves those figures that distantly play
On the horizon's rim: they sign their peace, in games.

„To break out of the chaos of my darkness
Into a lucid day is all my will.“

—  Stephen Spender

"Darkness And Light"
The Still Centre (1939)
Contexto: To break out of the chaos of my darkness
Into a lucid day is all my will.
My words like eyes in night, stare to reach
A centre for their light: and my acts thrown
To distant places by impatient violence
Yet lock together to mould a path of stone
Out of my darkness into a lucid day.

„Both Hopkins and Lawrence were religious not just in the ritualistic sense but in the sense of being obsessed with the word — the word made life and truth — with the need to invent a language as direct as religious utterance.“

—  Stephen Spender

Pt. 2, Ch. 3
The Struggle of the Modern (1963)
Contexto: Both Hopkins and Lawrence were religious not just in the ritualistic sense but in the sense of being obsessed with the word — the word made life and truth — with the need to invent a language as direct as religious utterance. Both were poets, but outside the literary fashions of their time. Both felt that among the poets of their time was an absorption in literary manners, fashions and techniques which separated the line of the writing from that of religious truth. Both felt that the modern situation imposed on them the necessity to express truth by means of a different kind of poetic writing from that used in past or present. Both found themselves driven into writing in a way which their contemporaries did not understand or respond to yet was inevitable to each in his pursuit of truth. Here of course there is a difference between Hopkins and Lawrence, because Hopkins in his art was perhaps over-worried, over-conscientious, whereas Lawrence was an instinctive poet who, in his concern for truth, understood little of the problems of poetic form, although he held strong views about them.

„The laurelled exiles, kneeling to kiss these sands.
Number there freedom's friends.“

—  Stephen Spender

"Exiles From Their Land, History Their Domicile"
The Still Centre (1939)
Contexto: The laurelled exiles, kneeling to kiss these sands.
Number there freedom's friends. One who
Within the element of endless summer,
Like leaf in amber, petrified by light,
Studied the root of action. One in a garret
Read books as though he broke up flints.

„Of course, the entire effort is to put myself
Outside the ordinary range
Of what are called statistics.“

—  Stephen Spender

"Thoughts During An Air Raid"
The Still Centre (1939)
Contexto: Of course, the entire effort is to put myself
Outside the ordinary range
Of what are called statistics. A hundred are killed
In the outer suburbs. Well, well, I carry on.

„I think continually of those who were truly great.
Who, from the womb, remembered the soul's history
Through corridors of light where the hours are suns,
Endless and singing.“

—  Stephen Spender

"I Think of Those Who Were Truly Great"; also in Collected Poems 1928-1953 (1955)· Full text online and audio file of recitation by Spender, at the Poetry Archive http://www.poetryarchive.org/poetryarchive/singlePoem.do?poemId=7523
Poems (1933)
Contexto: I think continually of those who were truly great.
Who, from the womb, remembered the soul's history
Through corridors of light where the hours are suns,
Endless and singing. Whose lovely ambition
Was that their lips, still touched with fire,
Should tell of the spirit clothed from head to foot in song.

„Extensive whiteness drowned
All sense of space.“

—  Stephen Spender

"Polar Exploration"
The Still Centre (1939)
Contexto: Extensive whiteness drowned
All sense of space. We tramped through
Static, glaring days, Time's suspended blank.

„I am for neither West nor East, but for myself considered as a self — one of the millions who inhabit the earth…“

—  Stephen Spender

World Within World (1951)
Contexto: I am for neither West nor East, but for myself considered as a self — one of the millions who inhabit the earth... If it seems absurd that an individual should set up as a judge between these vast powers, armed with their superhuman instruments of destruction I can reply that the very immensity of the means to destroy proves that judging and being judged does not lie in these forces. For supposing that they achieved their utmost and destroyed our civilization, whoever survived would judge them by a few statements. a few poems, a few témoignages [testimonies] surviving from all the ruins, a few words of those men who saw outside and beyond the means which were used and all the arguments which were marshaled in the service of those means.
Thus I could not escape from myself into some social situation of which my existence was a mere product, and my witnessing a willfully distorting instrument. I had to be myself, choose and not be chosen... But to believe that my individual freedom could gain strength from my seeking to identify myself with the "progressive" forces was different from believing that my life must be an instrument of means decided on by political leaders. I came to see that within the struggle for a juster world, there is a further struggle between the individual who cares for long-term values and those who are willing to use any and every means to gain immediate political ends — even good ends. Within even a good social cause, there is a duty to fight for the pre-eminence of individual conscience. The public is necessary, but the private must not be abolished by it; and the individual must not be swallowed up by the concept of the social man.

„The spirit drinking timelessness;
Touch, love, all senses“

—  Stephen Spender

"Not Palaces"(l. 12–16). . .
Contexto: Eye, gazelle, delicate wanderer,
Drinker of horizon’s fluid line;
Ear that suspends on a chord
The spirit drinking timelessness;
Touch, love, all senses...

„A poet can only write about what is true to his own experience, not about what he would like to be true to his experience.“

—  Stephen Spender

Foreword
The Still Centre (1939)
Contexto: A poet can only write about what is true to his own experience, not about what he would like to be true to his experience.
Poetry does not state truth, it states the conditions within which something felt is true. Even while he is writing about the little portion of reality which is part of his experience, the poet may be conscious of a different reality outside. His problem is to relate the small truth to the sense of a wider, perhaps theoretically known, truth outside his experience.

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„Under the olive trees, from the ground
Grows this flower, which is a wound.“

—  Stephen Spender

"The Coward"
The Still Centre (1939)
Contexto: Under the olive trees, from the ground
Grows this flower, which is a wound.
It is easier to ignore
Than the heroes' sunset fire
Of death plunged in their willed desire
Raging with flags on the world's shore.

„Since we are what we are, what shall we be
But what we are?“

—  Stephen Spender

"Spiritual Explorations" from Poems of Dedication (1947)
Contexto: Since we are what we are, what shall we be
But what we are? We are, we have
Six feet and seventy years, to see
The light, and then resign it for the grave.

„I came to see that within the struggle for a juster world, there is a further struggle between the individual who cares for long-term values and those who are willing to use any and every means to gain immediate political ends — even good ends. Within even a good social cause, there is a duty to fight for the pre-eminence of individual conscience. The public is necessary, but the private must not be abolished by it; and the individual must not be swallowed up by the concept of the social man.“

—  Stephen Spender

World Within World (1951)
Contexto: I am for neither West nor East, but for myself considered as a self — one of the millions who inhabit the earth... If it seems absurd that an individual should set up as a judge between these vast powers, armed with their superhuman instruments of destruction I can reply that the very immensity of the means to destroy proves that judging and being judged does not lie in these forces. For supposing that they achieved their utmost and destroyed our civilization, whoever survived would judge them by a few statements. a few poems, a few témoignages [testimonies] surviving from all the ruins, a few words of those men who saw outside and beyond the means which were used and all the arguments which were marshaled in the service of those means.
Thus I could not escape from myself into some social situation of which my existence was a mere product, and my witnessing a willfully distorting instrument. I had to be myself, choose and not be chosen... But to believe that my individual freedom could gain strength from my seeking to identify myself with the "progressive" forces was different from believing that my life must be an instrument of means decided on by political leaders. I came to see that within the struggle for a juster world, there is a further struggle between the individual who cares for long-term values and those who are willing to use any and every means to gain immediate political ends — even good ends. Within even a good social cause, there is a duty to fight for the pre-eminence of individual conscience. The public is necessary, but the private must not be abolished by it; and the individual must not be swallowed up by the concept of the social man.

„I regard my life as rather a failure in the only thing in which I wanted it to succeed. I have not written the books I ought to have written and I have written a lot of books I should not have written.“

—  Stephen Spender

Response to a would be biographer in 1980, as quoted in "When Stephen met Sylvia" in The Guardian (24 April 2004) http://books.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,12084,1201328,00.html
Contexto: I am very honoured by your wanting to write a life of me. But the fact is I regard my life as rather a failure in the only thing in which I wanted it to succeed. I have not written the books I ought to have written and I have written a lot of books I should not have written. My life as lived by me has been interesting to me but to write truthfully about it would probably cause much pain to people close to me — and I always feel that the feelings of the living are more important than the monuments of the dead.

„I'm pressed into the inside of a mask
At the back of love, the back of air, the back of light.“

—  Stephen Spender

"The Mask"
The Still Centre (1939)
Contexto: The seen and seeing softly mutually strike
Their glass barrier that arrests the sight.
But the world's being hides in the volcanoes
And the foul history pressed into its core;
And to myself my being is my childhood
And passion and entrails and the roots of senses;
I'm pressed into the inside of a mask
At the back of love, the back of air, the back of light.

„The essential is
That all the 'I's should remain separate
Propped up under flowers, and no one suffer
For his neighbour. Then horror is postponed
For everyone until it settles on him
And drags him to that incommunicable grief
Which is all mystery or nothing.“

—  Stephen Spender

"Thoughts During An Air Raid"
The Still Centre (1939)
Contexto: Yet supposing that a bomb should dive
Its nose right through this bed, with me upon it?
The thought is obscene. Still, there are many
To whom my death would only be a name,
One figure in a column. The essential is
That all the 'I's should remain separate
Propped up under flowers, and no one suffer
For his neighbour. Then horror is postponed
For everyone until it settles on him
And drags him to that incommunicable grief
Which is all mystery or nothing.

„History has tongues
Has angels has guns — has saved has praised —
Today proclaims
Achievements of her exiles long returned“

—  Stephen Spender

"Exiles From Their Land, History Their Domicile"
The Still Centre (1939)
Contexto: History has tongues
Has angels has guns — has saved has praised —
Today proclaims
Achievements of her exiles long returned
Now no more rootless, for whom her printed page
Glazes their bruised waste years in one
Balancing present sky.

„Consider. One bullet in ten thousand kills a man.
Ask. Was so much expenditure justified
On the death of one so young and so silly
Lying under the olive tree, O world, O death?“

—  Stephen Spender

"Ultima Ratio Regum"
The Still Centre (1939)
Contexto: Consider his life which was valueless
In terms of employment, hotel ledgers, news files.
Consider. One bullet in ten thousand kills a man.
Ask. Was so much expenditure justified
On the death of one so young and so silly
Lying under the olive tree, O world, O death?

„Some old man memory jumps to a child
— Spark from the days of energy.
And the child hoards it like a bitter toy.“

—  Stephen Spender

"Fall of a City"
Selected Poems (1941)
Contexto: All the lessons learned, unlearned;
The young, who learned to read, now blind
Their eyes with an archaic film;
The peasant relapses to a stumbling tune
Following the donkey`s bray;
These only remember to forget. But somewhere some word presses
On the high door of a skull and in some corner
Of an irrefrangible eye
Some old man memory jumps to a child
— Spark from the days of energy.
And the child hoards it like a bitter toy.

„Our dreams
Poured into each other's arms, like streams.“

—  Stephen Spender

"Daybreak"
Contexto: Then, in a flush of rose, she woke and her eyes that opened
Swam in blue through her rose flesh that dawned.
From her dew of lips, the drop of one word
Fell like the first of fountains: murmured
'Darling', upon my ears the song of the first bird.
'My dream becomes my dream,' she said, 'come true.
I waken from you to my dream of you.'
Oh, my own wakened dream then dared assume
The audacity of her sleep. Our dreams
Poured into each other's arms, like streams.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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