Notes to Poem: O WONDERFUL!

O wonderful, wonderful

O wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful wonderful!
and yet again wonderful, and after that, out of all whooping!

William Shakespeare (1564-1616), As You Like It, III.2.68

Tinker Bell

a pixie from James Barrie's Peter Pan (1911)
and Walt Disney's animated movie (1953).
Tinker Bell glows brightest for Peter Pan.
Her voice sings like a tinkling bell and
a sprinkle of her pixie dust can make you fly.

and I'm flying, Dante showed me how

By the grace of the beloved (Beatrice) Dante soars to heaven.
"I set my eyes on her. In watching her, within me I was changed...
it was Your light that raised me" (Paradiso I.66-67, 75).
Dante's ascent was made possible by "both prayer & holy love"
(Paradiso XXXI.96).

Like wind we sail across the deep seas

Dante's nautical metaphor for his heavenly ascent (Paradiso II.3)

promenade, pivot, corté, tango close

steps in the tango


The island inhabited by the Phaecians. The people who inhabit Phaeacia
(or Schería). As descendants of Poseidon (Neptune), they are loved
by the gods and have remarkable seafaring abilities. According to legend,
they have ships that move without the aid of rudder or sail. (Odyssey V.37, VI.8)

also schería, from the verb "to hold, to steer"—hence, "secure" (Dimock 74)

Odysseus meets Nausicaa

I implore you, Lady: Are you a goddess
Or mortal? If you are one of heaven's divinities
I think you are most like great Zeus' daughter
Artemis. You have her looks, her stature, her form.

Homer, The Odyssey, VI.149-152
translated by Stanley Lombardo (2000), p. 89

the most beautiful girl in the world—
natural, spontaneous, simply delightful!

Here he [Odysseus] is rescued and befriended at last by a truly human woman,
the princess Nausicaa, who is assuredly one of the most enchanting young women
in the stories of the world. Intelligent, courageous, wholly natural and spontaneous,
but not at all naive, she has already the dignity of the woman who can love without
demand to possess. She has a human simplicity which is total delight after the spells
and magical attractions of Circe and Calypso.

Helen Luke, "The Odyssey" in Old Age (1987), p. 5

Her hair gleaming golden wheat in the sun,
her eyes shining stars on a clear night

God's joy moves from unmarked box to unmarked box,
from cell to cell. As rainwater, down into flower bed.
As roses, up from ground.
Now it looks like a plate of rice and fish,
now a cliff covered with vines,
now a horse being saddled.
It hides within these,
till one day it cracks them open...

There's the light gold of wheat in the sun
and the gold of bread made from that wheat.
I have neither. I'm only talking about them,

as a town in the desert looks up
at stars on a clear night.

from Rumi (1207-1273), "Unmarked Boxes"
Coleman Barks, The Essential Rumi (1995), p. 272

“But you have hair that is the colour of gold. Think how wonderful that will be
when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back
the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince, Ch. 21

When she smiles, all the flowers bloom

“her smile seemed to me to be a smile of all the universe”

Dante, Paradiso XXVII.4-5

the whole universe turns to song

“at night I love to listen to the stars.
It is like five hundred million little bells”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince, Ch. 27

happiest of all am I to be dancing with her!

Thrice blest is your father, your queenly mother,
Thrice blest your brothers! Their hearts must always
Be warm with happiness when they look at you,
Just blossoming as you enter the dance.
And happiest of all will be the lucky man
Who takes you home with a cartload of gifts.
I've never seen anyone like you,
Man or woman. I look upon you with awe.

Homer, The Odyssey, VI.154-161
translated by Stanley Lombardo (2000), p. 89

Nausicaa & Odysseus Vase (circa 450 B.C.), Antikensammlungen, Munich

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© Peter Y. Chou,
P.O. Box 390707, Mountain View, CA 94039
email: (7-21-2001)