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ConnectHook Feb 2016
by John Greenleaf Whittier  (1807 – 1892)

“As the Spirits of Darkness be stronger in the dark, so Good Spirits which be Angels of Light are augmented not only by the Divine Light of the Sun, but also by our common Wood fire: and as the celestial Fire drives away dark spirits, so also this our Fire of Wood doth the same.”

        COR. AGRIPPA,
           Occult Philosophy, Book I. chap. v.


Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow; and, driving o’er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight; the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river and the heaven,
And veils the farm-house at the garden’s end.
The sled and traveller stopped, the courier’s feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of storm.


                                       EMERSON

The sun that brief December day
Rose cheerless over hills of gray,
And, darkly circled, gave at noon
A sadder light than waning moon.
Slow tracing down the thickening sky
Its mute and ominous prophecy,
A portent seeming less than threat,
It sank from sight before it set.
A chill no coat, however stout,
Of homespun stuff could quite shut out,
A hard, dull bitterness of cold,
That checked, mid-vein, the circling race
Of life-blood in the sharpened face,
The coming of the snow-storm told.
The wind blew east; we heard the roar
Of Ocean on his wintry shore,
And felt the strong pulse throbbing there
Beat with low rhythm our inland air.

Meanwhile we did our nightly chores, —
Brought in the wood from out of doors,
Littered the stalls, and from the mows
Raked down the herd’s-grass for the cows;
Heard the horse whinnying for his corn;
And, sharply clashing horn on horn,
Impatient down the stanchion rows
The cattle shake their walnut bows;
While, peering from his early perch
Upon the scaffold’s pole of birch,
The **** his crested helmet bent
And down his querulous challenge sent.

Unwarmed by any sunset light
The gray day darkened into night,
A night made hoary with the swarm
And whirl-dance of the blinding storm,
As zigzag, wavering to and fro,
Crossed and recrossed the wingàd snow:
And ere the early bedtime came
The white drift piled the window-frame,
And through the glass the clothes-line posts
Looked in like tall and sheeted ghosts.

So all night long the storm roared on:
The morning broke without a sun;
In tiny spherule traced with lines
Of Nature’s geometric signs,
And, when the second morning shone,
We looked upon a world unknown,
On nothing we could call our own.
Around the glistening wonder bent
The blue walls of the firmament,
No cloud above, no earth below, —
A universe of sky and snow!
The old familiar sights of ours
Took marvellous shapes; strange domes and towers
Rose up where sty or corn-crib stood,
Or garden-wall, or belt of wood;
A smooth white mound the brush-pile showed,
A fenceless drift what once was road;
The bridle-post an old man sat
With loose-flung coat and high cocked hat;
The well-curb had a Chinese roof;
And even the long sweep, high aloof,
In its slant spendor, seemed to tell
Of Pisa’s leaning miracle.

A prompt, decisive man, no breath
Our father wasted: “Boys, a path!”
Well pleased, (for when did farmer boy
Count such a summons less than joy?)
Our buskins on our feet we drew;
With mittened hands, and caps drawn low,
To guard our necks and ears from snow,
We cut the solid whiteness through.
And, where the drift was deepest, made
A tunnel walled and overlaid
With dazzling crystal: we had read
Of rare Aladdin’s wondrous cave,
And to our own his name we gave,
With many a wish the luck were ours
To test his lamp’s supernal powers.
We reached the barn with merry din,
And roused the prisoned brutes within.
The old horse ****** his long head out,
And grave with wonder gazed about;
The **** his ***** greeting said,
And forth his speckled harem led;
The oxen lashed their tails, and hooked,
And mild reproach of hunger looked;
The hornëd patriarch of the sheep,
Like Egypt’s Amun roused from sleep,
Shook his sage head with gesture mute,
And emphasized with stamp of foot.

All day the gusty north-wind bore
The loosening drift its breath before;
Low circling round its southern zone,
The sun through dazzling snow-mist shone.
No church-bell lent its Christian tone
To the savage air, no social smoke
Curled over woods of snow-hung oak.
A solitude made more intense
By dreary-voicëd elements,
The shrieking of the mindless wind,
The moaning tree-boughs swaying blind,
And on the glass the unmeaning beat
Of ghostly finger-tips of sleet.
Beyond the circle of our hearth
No welcome sound of toil or mirth
Unbound the spell, and testified
Of human life and thought outside.
We minded that the sharpest ear
The buried brooklet could not hear,
The music of whose liquid lip
Had been to us companionship,
And, in our lonely life, had grown
To have an almost human tone.

As night drew on, and, from the crest
Of wooded knolls that ridged the west,
The sun, a snow-blown traveller, sank
From sight beneath the smothering bank,
We piled, with care, our nightly stack
Of wood against the chimney-back, —
The oaken log, green, huge, and thick,
And on its top the stout back-stick;
The knotty forestick laid apart,
And filled between with curious art

The ragged brush; then, hovering near,
We watched the first red blaze appear,
Heard the sharp crackle, caught the gleam
On whitewashed wall and sagging beam,
Until the old, rude-furnished room
Burst, flower-like, into rosy bloom;
While radiant with a mimic flame
Outside the sparkling drift became,
And through the bare-boughed lilac-tree
Our own warm hearth seemed blazing free.
The crane and pendent trammels showed,
The Turks’ heads on the andirons glowed;
While childish fancy, prompt to tell
The meaning of the miracle,
Whispered the old rhyme: “Under the tree,
When fire outdoors burns merrily,
There the witches are making tea.”

The moon above the eastern wood
Shone at its full; the hill-range stood
Transfigured in the silver flood,
Its blown snows flashing cold and keen,
Dead white, save where some sharp ravine
Took shadow, or the sombre green
Of hemlocks turned to pitchy black
Against the whiteness at their back.
For such a world and such a night
Most fitting that unwarming light,
Which only seemed where’er it fell
To make the coldness visible.

Shut in from all the world without,
We sat the clean-winged hearth about,
Content to let the north-wind roar
In baffled rage at pane and door,
While the red logs before us beat
The frost-line back with tropic heat;
And ever, when a louder blast
Shook beam and rafter as it passed,
The merrier up its roaring draught
The great throat of the chimney laughed;
The house-dog on his paws outspread
Laid to the fire his drowsy head,
The cat’s dark silhouette on the wall
A couchant tiger’s seemed to fall;
And, for the winter fireside meet,
Between the andirons’ straddling feet,
The mug of cider simmered slow,
The apples sputtered in a row,
And, close at hand, the basket stood
With nuts from brown October’s wood.

What matter how the night behaved?
What matter how the north-wind raved?
Blow high, blow low, not all its snow
Could quench our hearth-fire’s ruddy glow.
O Time and Change! — with hair as gray
As was my sire’s that winter day,
How strange it seems, with so much gone
Of life and love, to still live on!
Ah, brother! only I and thou
Are left of all that circle now, —
The dear home faces whereupon
That fitful firelight paled and shone.
Henceforward, listen as we will,
The voices of that hearth are still;
Look where we may, the wide earth o’er,
Those lighted faces smile no more.

We tread the paths their feet have worn,
We sit beneath their orchard trees,
We hear, like them, the hum of bees
And rustle of the bladed corn;
We turn the pages that they read,
Their written words we linger o’er,
But in the sun they cast no shade,
No voice is heard, no sign is made,
No step is on the conscious floor!
Yet Love will dream, and Faith will trust,
(Since He who knows our need is just,)
That somehow, somewhere, meet we must.
Alas for him who never sees
The stars shine through his cypress-trees!
Who, hopeless, lays his dead away,
Nor looks to see the breaking day
Across the mournful marbles play!
Who hath not learned, in hours of faith,
The truth to flesh and sense unknown,
That Life is ever lord of Death,
And Love can never lose its own!

We sped the time with stories old,
Wrought puzzles out, and riddles told,
Or stammered from our school-book lore
“The Chief of Gambia’s golden shore.”
How often since, when all the land
Was clay in Slavery’s shaping hand,
As if a far-blown trumpet stirred
Dame Mercy Warren’s rousing word:
“Does not the voice of reason cry,
Claim the first right which Nature gave,
From the red scourge of ******* to fly,
Nor deign to live a burdened slave!”
Our father rode again his ride
On Memphremagog’s wooded side;
Sat down again to moose and samp
In trapper’s hut and Indian camp;
Lived o’er the old idyllic ease
Beneath St. François’ hemlock-trees;
Again for him the moonlight shone
On Norman cap and bodiced zone;
Again he heard the violin play
Which led the village dance away.
And mingled in its merry whirl
The grandam and the laughing girl.
Or, nearer home, our steps he led
Where Salisbury’s level marshes spread
Mile-wide as flies the laden bee;
Where merry mowers, hale and strong,
Swept, scythe on scythe, their swaths along
The low green prairies of the sea.
We shared the fishing off Boar’s Head,
And round the rocky Isles of Shoals
The hake-broil on the drift-wood coals;
The chowder on the sand-beach made,
Dipped by the hungry, steaming hot,
With spoons of clam-shell from the ***.
We heard the tales of witchcraft old,
And dream and sign and marvel told
To sleepy listeners as they lay
Stretched idly on the salted hay,
Adrift along the winding shores,
When favoring breezes deigned to blow
The square sail of the gundelow
And idle lay the useless oars.

Our mother, while she turned her wheel
Or run the new-knit stocking-heel,
Told how the Indian hordes came down
At midnight on Concheco town,
And how her own great-uncle bore
His cruel scalp-mark to fourscore.
Recalling, in her fitting phrase,
So rich and picturesque and free
(The common unrhymed poetry
Of simple life and country ways,)
The story of her early days, —
She made us welcome to her home;
Old hearths grew wide to give us room;
We stole with her a frightened look
At the gray wizard’s conjuring-book,
The fame whereof went far and wide
Through all the simple country side;
We heard the hawks at twilight play,
The boat-horn on Piscataqua,
The loon’s weird laughter far away;
We fished her little trout-brook, knew
What flowers in wood and meadow grew,
What sunny hillsides autumn-brown
She climbed to shake the ripe nuts down,
Saw where in sheltered cove and bay,
The ducks’ black squadron anchored lay,
And heard the wild-geese calling loud
Beneath the gray November cloud.
Then, haply, with a look more grave,
And soberer tone, some tale she gave
From painful Sewel’s ancient tome,
Beloved in every Quaker home,
Of faith fire-winged by martyrdom,
Or Chalkley’s Journal, old and quaint, —
Gentlest of skippers, rare sea-saint! —
Who, when the dreary calms prevailed,
And water-**** and bread-cask failed,
And cruel, hungry eyes pursued
His portly presence mad for food,
With dark hints muttered under breath
Of casting lots for life or death,

Offered, if Heaven withheld supplies,
To be himself the sacrifice.
Then, suddenly, as if to save
The good man from his living grave,
A ripple on the water grew,
A school of porpoise flashed in view.
“Take, eat,” he said, “and be content;
These fishes in my stead are sent
By Him who gave the tangled ram
To spare the child of Abraham.”
Our uncle, innocent of books,
Was rich in lore of fields and brooks,
The ancient teachers never dumb
Of Nature’s unhoused lyceum.
In moons and tides and weather wise,
He read the clouds as prophecies,
And foul or fair could well divine,
By many an occult hint and sign,
Holding the cunning-warded keys
To all the woodcraft mysteries;
Himself to Nature’s heart so near
v That all her voices in his ear
Of beast or bird had meanings clear,
Like Apollonius of old,
Who knew the tales the sparrows told,
Or Hermes, who interpreted
What the sage cranes of Nilus said;
A simple, guileless, childlike man,
Content to live where life began;
Strong only on his native grounds,
The little world of sights and sounds
Whose girdle was the parish bounds,
Whereof his fondly partial pride
The common features magnified,
As Surrey hills to mountains grew
In White of Selborne’s loving view, —
He told how teal and loon he shot,
And how the eagle’s eggs he got,
The feats on pond and river done,
The prodigies of rod and gun;
Till, warming with the tales he told,
Forgotten was the outside cold,
The bitter wind unheeded blew,
From ripening corn the pigeons flew,
The partridge drummed i’ the wood, the mink
Went fishing down the river-brink.
In fields with bean or clover gay,
The woodchuck, like a hermit gray,
Peered from the doorway of his cell;
The muskrat plied the mason’s trade,
And tier by tier his mud-walls laid;
And from the shagbark overhead
The grizzled squirrel dropped his shell.

Next, the dear aunt, whose smile of cheer
And voice in dreams I see and hear, —
The sweetest woman ever Fate
Perverse denied a household mate,
Who, lonely, homeless, not the less
Found peace in love’s unselfishness,
And welcome wheresoe’er she went,
A calm and gracious element,
Whose presence seemed the sweet income
And womanly atmosphere of home, —
Called up her girlhood memories,
The huskings and the apple-bees,
The sleigh-rides and the summer sails,
Weaving through all the poor details
And homespun warp of circumstance
A golden woof-thread of romance.
For well she kept her genial mood
And simple faith of maidenhood;
Before her still a cloud-land lay,
The mirage loomed across her way;
The morning dew, that dries so soon
With others, glistened at her noon;
Through years of toil and soil and care,
From glossy tress to thin gray hair,
All unprofaned she held apart
The ****** fancies of the heart.
Be shame to him of woman born
Who hath for such but thought of scorn.
There, too, our elder sister plied
Her evening task the stand beside;
A full, rich nature, free to trust,
Truthful and almost sternly just,
Impulsive, earnest, prompt to act,
And make her generous thought a fact,
Keeping with many a light disguise
The secret of self-sacrifice.

O heart sore-tried! thou hast the best
That Heaven itself could give thee, — rest,
Rest from all bitter thoughts and things!
How many a poor one’s blessing went
With thee beneath the low green tent
Whose curtain never outward swings!

As one who held herself a part
Of all she saw, and let her heart
Against the household ***** lean,
Upon the motley-braided mat
Our youngest and our dearest sat,
Lifting her large, sweet, asking eyes,
Now bathed in the unfading green
And holy peace of Paradise.
Oh, looking from some heavenly hill,
Or from the shade of saintly palms,
Or silver reach of river calms,
Do those large eyes behold me still?
With me one little year ago: —
The chill weight of the winter snow
For months upon her grave has lain;
And now, when summer south-winds blow
And brier and harebell bloom again,
I tread the pleasant paths we trod,
I see the violet-sprinkled sod
Whereon she leaned, too frail and weak
The hillside flowers she loved to seek,
Yet following me where’er I went
With dark eyes full of love’s content.
The birds are glad; the brier-rose fills
The air with sweetness; all the hills
Stretch green to June’s unclouded sky;
But still I wait with ear and eye
For something gone which should be nigh,
A loss in all familiar things,
In flower that blooms, and bird that sings.
And yet, dear heart! remembering thee,
Am I not richer than of old?
Safe in thy immortality,
What change can reach the wealth I hold?
What chance can mar the pearl and gold
Thy love hath left in trust with me?
And while in life’s late afternoon,
Where cool and long the shadows grow,
I walk to meet the night that soon
Shall shape and shadow overflow,
I cannot feel that thou art far,
Since near at need the angels are;
And when the sunset gates unbar,
Shall I not see thee waiting stand,
And, white against the evening star,
The welcome of thy beckoning hand?

Brisk wielder of the birch and rule,
The master of the district school
Held at the fire his favored place,
Its warm glow lit a laughing face
Fresh-hued and fair, where scarce appeared
The uncertain prophecy of beard.
He teased the mitten-blinded cat,
Played cross-pins on my uncle’s hat,
Sang songs, and told us what befalls
In classic Dartmouth’s college halls.
Born the wild Northern hills among,
From whence his yeoman father wrung
By patient toil subsistence scant,
Not competence and yet not want,
He early gained the power to pay
His cheerful, self-reliant way;
Could doff at ease his scholar’s gown
To peddle wares from town to town;
Or through the long vacation’s reach
In lonely lowland districts teach,
Where all the droll experience found
At stranger hearths in boarding round,
The moonlit skater’s keen delight,
The sleigh-drive through the frosty night,
The rustic party, with its rough
Accompaniment of blind-man’s-buff,
And whirling-plate, and forfeits paid,
His winter task a pastime made.
Happy the snow-locked homes wherein
He tuned his merry violin,

Or played the athlete in the barn,
Or held the good dame’s winding-yarn,
Or mirth-provoking versions told
Of classic legends rare and old,
Wherein the scenes of Greece and Rome
Had all the commonplace of home,
And little seemed at best the odds
‘Twixt Yankee pedlers and old gods;
Where Pindus-born Arachthus took
The guise of any grist-mill brook,
And dread Olympus at his will
Became a huckleberry hill.

A careless boy that night he seemed;
But at his desk he had the look
And air of one who wisely schemed,
And hostage from the future took
In trainëd thought and lore of book.
Large-brained, clear-eyed, of such as he
Shall Freedom’s young apostles be,
Who, following in War’s ****** trail,
Shall every lingering wrong assail;
All chains from limb and spirit strike,
Uplift the black and white alike;
Scatter before their swift advance
The darkness and the ignorance,
The pride, the lust, the squalid sloth,
Which nurtured Treason’s monstrous growth,
Made ****** pastime, and the hell
Of prison-torture possible;
The cruel lie of caste refute,
Old forms remould, and substitute
For Slavery’s lash the freeman’s will,
For blind routine, wise-handed skill;
A school-house plant on every hill,
Stretching in radiate nerve-lines thence
The quick wires of intelligence;
Till North and South together brought
Shall own the same electric thought,
In peace a common flag salute,
And, side by side in labor’s free
And unresentful rivalry,
Harvest the fields wherein they fought.

Another guest that winter night
Flashed back from lustrous eyes the light.
Unmarked by time, and yet not young,
The honeyed music of her tongue
And words of meekness scarcely told
A nature passionate and bold,

Strong, self-concentred, spurning guide,
Its milder features dwarfed beside
Her unbent will’s majestic pride.
She sat among us, at the best,
A not unfeared, half-welcome guest,
Rebuking with her cultured phrase
Our homeliness of words and ways.
A certain pard-like, treacherous grace
Swayed the lithe limbs and drooped the lash,
Lent the white teeth their dazzling flash;
And under low brows, black with night,
Rayed out at times a dangerous light;
The sharp heat-lightnings of her face
Presaging ill to him whom Fate
Condemned to share her love or hate.
A woman tropical, intense
In thought and act, in soul and sense,
She blended in a like degree
The ***** and the devotee,
Revealing with each freak or feint
The temper of Petruchio’s Kate,
The raptures of Siena’s saint.
Her tapering hand and rounded wrist
Had facile power to form a fist;
The warm, dark languish of her eyes
Was never safe from wrath’s surprise.
Brows saintly calm and lips devout
Knew every change of scowl and pout;
And the sweet voice had notes more high
And shrill for social battle-cry.

Since then what old cathedral town
Has missed her pilgrim staff and gown,
What convent-gate has held its lock
Against the challenge of her knock!
Through Smyrna’s plague-hushed thoroughfares,
Up sea-set Malta’s rocky stairs,
Gray olive slopes of hills that hem
Thy tombs and shrines, Jerusalem,
Or startling on her desert throne
The crazy Queen of Lebanon
With claims fantastic as her own,
Her tireless feet have held their way;
And still, unrestful, bowed, and gray,
She watches under Eastern skies,
With hope each day renewed and fresh,
The Lord’s quick coming in the flesh,
Whereof she dreams and prophesies!
Where’er her troubled path may be,
The Lord’s sweet pity with her go!
The outward wayward life we see,
The hidden springs we may not know.
Nor is it given us to discern
What threads the fatal sisters spun,
Through what ancestral years has run
The sorrow with the woman born,
What forged her cruel chain of moods,
What set her feet in solitudes,
And held the love within her mute,
What mingled madness in the blood,
A life-long discord and annoy,
Water of tears with oil of joy,
And hid within the folded bud
Perversities of flower and fruit.
It is not ours to separate
The tangled skein of will and fate,
To show what metes and bounds should stand
Upon the soul’s debatable land,
And between choice and Providence
Divide the circle of events;
But He who knows our frame is just,
Merciful and compassionate,
And full of sweet assurances
And hope for all the language is,
That He remembereth we are dust!

At last the great logs, crumbling low,
Sent out a dull and duller glow,
The bull’s-eye watch that hung in view,
Ticking its weary circuit through,
Pointed with mutely warning sign
Its black hand to the hour of nine.
That sign the pleasant circle broke:
My uncle ceased his pipe to smoke,
Knocked from its bowl the refuse gray,
And laid it tenderly away;
Then roused himself to safely cover
The dull red brands with ashes over.
And while, with care, our mother laid
The work aside, her steps she stayed
One moment, seeking to express
Her grateful sense of happiness
For food and shelter, warmth and health,
And love’s contentment more than wealth,
With simple wishes (not the weak,
Vain prayers which no fulfilment seek,
But such as warm the generous heart,
O’er-prompt to do with Heaven its part)
That none might lack, that bitter night,
For bread and clothing, warmth and light.

Within our beds awhile we heard
The wind that round the gables roared,
With now and then a ruder shock,
Which made our very bedsteads rock.
We heard the loosened clapboards tost,
The board-nails snapping in the frost;
And on us, through the unplastered wall,
Felt the light sifted snow-flakes fall.
But sleep stole on, as sleep will do
When hearts are light and life is new;
Faint and more faint the murmurs grew,
Till in the summer-land of dreams
They softened to the sound of streams,
Low stir of leaves, and dip of oars,
And lapsing waves on quiet shores.
Of merry voices high and clear;
And saw the teamsters drawing near
To break the drifted highways out.
Down the long hillside treading slow
We saw the half-buried oxen go,
Shaking the snow from heads uptost,
Their straining nostrils white with frost.
Before our door the straggling train
Drew up, an added team to gain.
The elders threshed their hands a-cold,
Passed, with the cider-mug, their jokes
From lip to lip; the younger folks
Down the loose snow-banks, wrestling, rolled,
Then toiled again the cavalcade
O’er windy hill, through clogged ravine,
And woodland paths that wound between
Low drooping pine-boughs winter-weighed.
From every barn a team afoot,
At every house a new recruit,
Where, drawn by Nature’s subtlest law,
Haply the watchful young men saw
Sweet doorway pictures of the curls
And curious eyes of merry girls,
Lifting their hands in mock defence
Against the snow-ball’s compliments,
And reading in each missive tost
The charm with Eden never lost.
We heard once more the sleigh-bells’ sound;
And, following where the teamsters led,
The wise old Doctor went his round,
Just pausing at our door to say,
In the brief autocratic way
Of one who, prompt at Duty’s call,
Was free to urge her claim on all,
That some poor neighbor sick abed
At night our mother’s aid would need.
For, one in generous thought and deed,
What mattered in the sufferer’s sight
The Quaker matron’s inward light,
The Doctor’s mail of Calvin’s creed?
All hearts confess the saints elect
Who, twain in faith, in love agree,
And melt not in an acid sect
The Christian pearl of charity!

So days went on: a week had passed
Since the great world was heard from last.
The Almanac we studied o’er,
Read and reread our little store
Of books and pamphlets, scarce a score;
One harmless novel, mostly hid
From younger eyes, a book forbid,
And poetry, (or good or bad,
A single book was all we had,)
Where Ellwood’s meek, drab-skirted Muse,
A stranger to the heathen Nine,
Sang, with a somewhat nasal whine,
The wars of David and the Jews.
At last the floundering carrier bore
The village paper to our door.
Lo! broadening outward as we read,
To warmer zones the horizon spread
In panoramic length unrolled
We saw the marvels that it told.
Before us passed the painted Creeks,
A   nd daft McGregor on his raids
In Costa Rica’s everglades.
And up Taygetos winding slow
Rode Ypsilanti’s Mainote Greeks,
A Turk’s head at each saddle-bow!
Welcome to us its week-old news,
Its corner for the rustic Muse,
Its monthly gauge of snow and rain,
Its record, mingling in a breath
The wedding bell and dirge of death:
Jest, anecdote, and love-lorn tale,
The latest culprit sent to jail;
Its hue and cry of stolen and lost,
Its vendue sales and goods at cost,
And traffic calling loud for gain.
We felt the stir of hall and street,
The pulse of life that round us beat;
The chill embargo of the snow
Was melted in the genial glow;
Wide swung again our ice-locked door,
And all the world was ours once more!

Clasp, Angel of the backword look
And folded wings of ashen gray
And voice of echoes far away,
The brazen covers of thy book;
The weird palimpsest old and vast,
Wherein thou hid’st the spectral past;
Where, closely mingling, pale and glow
The characters of joy and woe;
The monographs of outlived years,
Or smile-illumed or dim with tears,
Green hills of life that ***** to death,
And haunts of home, whose vistaed trees
Shade off to mournful cypresses
With the white amaranths underneath.
Even while I look, I can but heed
The restless sands’ incessant fall,
Importunate hours that hours succeed,
Each clamorous with its own sharp need,
And duty keeping pace with all.
Shut down and clasp with heavy lids;
I hear again the voice that bids
The dreamer leave his dream midway
For larger hopes and graver fears:
Life greatens in these later years,
The century’s aloe flowers to-day!

Yet, haply, in some lull of life,
Some Truce of God which breaks its strife,
The worldling’s eyes shall gather dew,
Dreaming in throngful city ways
Of winter joys his boyhood knew;
And dear and early friends — the few
Who yet remain — shall pause to view
These Flemish pictures of old days;
Sit with me by the homestead hearth,
And stretch the hands of memory forth
To warm them at the wood-fire’s blaze!
And thanks untraced to lips unknown
Shall greet me like the odors blown
From unseen meadows newly mown,
Wood-fringed, the wayside gaze beyond;
The traveller owns the grateful sense
Of sweetness near, he knows not whence,
And, pausing, takes with forehead bare
The benediction of the air.

Written in  1865
In its day, 'twas a best-seller and earned significant income for Whittier

https://youtu.be/vVOQ54YQ73A

BLM activists are so stupid that they defaced a statue of Whittier  unaware that he was an ardent abolitionist 🤣
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Mateuš Conrad Dec 2016
by simply watching 'don't call me crazy'
with regards to mental health... a bbc3 documentary.

i find a few pointers, apart from the fact that i've learned
English to a standard that i could
be misjudged as a native, what with african psychiatrists
   and the history of England as  a postcolonial nation...
     the problems of premature depression
and other divergences from the "norm"
  (or is that a tu-dum tss... "the norm"?
i never know how to tell the joke a proper
way, so many jokes are mothered
by punctuation, i don't know
how many there are that aren't) -
so aside from that... the fact that i'm
faking being British... if you have any grievances
against me: you'd better me Ukranian
or Lithuanian... otherwise? *******.
yes, i know the Poles did terrible things,
Vlad wasn't the only person ready to
do sadistic **** on people by impaling them
on sharpened-wooden poles...
   and you thought the crucifix was bad...
but oh look... the artists inserted a peddle-stool
so he could stand while on the cross...
rather than actually: hang from it.
talk about a woman faking an ******.
then again: he was all kissy-kissy with
a centurion having cured the ravaging libido
of his "demon possessed" daughter who
had a hot bagel flirt under her skirt for him...
or as i say: **** a prostitutes
           **** for an extra ten quid: the sigma
of how many ***** that thing has seen
turns your tongue into a dagger...
that's where i have seen my salvation:
   not in the eucharist or degrading symbols
of a godly stature.
       no, the point is:
this misapprehension of where the origin of
thinking resides...
  the true materialists posit the origin of thought
in the brain... but, honey-bee, the brain
is preoccupied with its materialistic responsibilities...
to shoot adrenaline when bungee jumping...
why think it isn't already preoccupied with anything
but thought? the brain doesn't think
no more than the heart might... or your *******
wetted or your phallus becoming *****...
there's no point in ascribing thought to the brain,
even if you abstract the source of thinking
toward the brain as a *mind
,
     the suggestion parallels what the brain does,
and what the brain isn't...
   as with the notion of god...
          ridiculous for most people:
or also ridiculous when man is taught to stress
his "individuality"...
                               both seem on equal footing
to be considered phantoms, but the individual is
more of a phantom than god...
                             and as Diogenes of Sinope found out:
you'll find god and the Archimedean eureka
quicker than finding an honest man -
who takes a candle at noon into a market square?
     ah: that famous lunacy...
but in the beginning the word was with god,
       yes, because when we started we only said ooh ooh!
and made those frightening monkey faces to
war off evil spirits and the Arabic third eye, evil.
   Darwinism created historical fiction...
           a bit like science fiction, but instead of looking
forward, historical fiction is looking back,
toward a time when people struggled against
the elements, and had no sense of having to think
given their actual pentagram equilibrium was tuned
into what was around them...
                   the senses could never deviate from
the world of shouting down a cave and hearing echo,
it's only when thought emerged and conceived words
   that the dubiousness of simple musing:
chicken or egg first? created auxiliary sense perceptions...
   we have left the sensual world...
           for we have "enriched" our lives with
thinking, the byproduct of which is what scared me
about this bbc3 documentary... that all mental
illness stems from allow thought to automate itself...
      in other words having no moral compass...
in other words: not having read a single book
   and learned a process of equating thinking with
narrating... as a sensible option to what others tend
to do (the innovators), and allow narration to be a void...
into which they pour all their thinking to
fill that void... with, say, Thomas Edison and the lightbulb...
Isaac Newton and gravity...
it's just scary that people can allow automated thinking,
     made even more evident that counters
the punitive transgender pronoun scenario
   that only focuses on the pronouns: he, it, she.
these youngsters in the documentary are dealing with
submitting to a pronoun focus of: i, it, you.
                      in some vague sense of a religiosity,
that they cannot allow cogito ergo sum into their minds,
a possessiveness of body, that later translates
into an identification with the mind: which is -
well, if you're going to posit the origin of thinking
in your brain, which isn't even there - you mind
as well posit the mind, seeing how the soul
is argued against primarily through our mortal condition.
   is the eye the window to the soul?
  and the brain merely a paraphrasing of that statement?
perhaps...
              but i wouldn't be too worried
             as Walter Benjamin was about art in the age
of mechanical reproduction... i'd be worried
that art is bound to the morgue of psychiatric institutions...
that art is not a term that suggest the origins of
   such ailments:
due the original lack of it in such places:
  but that that it was never there... and that finding
art can be therapeutic is why art can be scolded
               and establishment art is nothing more
than the pinnacle of us, having abused words,
waging fewer and fewer words, can't produce
    a work of beauty... merely a work that occupies
a space.
                art = space...
          that's the statement these days...
being oversaturated with scientific assurances has created
this insurgence of over-competence or making
art not art in a sense timelessness, as in Dante's
comedy isn't equal to space,
            but that it's equal to timelessness...
    or a statue by Donatello...
                          these days art = space...
because it's not going to be timeless... it was once
the iconoclasm in metaphor of: the lion of Judea...
          Lucifer as the morning star...
                         it will not be timeless because it
has been reduced to the establishment's aesthetic
of tracey emins' unmade bed... or
       damien hirst's the physical impossibility
of death in the mind of someone living -
i never said these things aren't art... some people
said cubism would never be art compared to
surrealism... but shove a triangle into Pythagoras'
head and you get some sort of mathematics...
              it's based on that principle...
what wouldn't work in the case of hirst would be
to put a cancerous tumour into a plastic cage...
people would associate it as some sort of atomist
representation of a nanometre worth's of some
larger thing... i do appreciate the fact that big
art works... it needs so much face to embody
the fact that you are to think about it...
                         and not to have a **** over it:
it's art that's anti-arousal and more and more
and more about how to juxtapose it in your mind,
always to abstract the brain as the mind
   and to never appreciate the idea of having
to source thinking as solely endemic to the brain...
the brain is busy, the heart is busy...
            we have perpetuated an outer-body
experience throughout our time since the time when
we first acquired the phonos of thought...
                 and it is a peculiar "sound", thought...
a dance memorable to actually having a hope in
possessing a soul... even after all sturdy things
shrink into the obsolete, and even vegetable.
but the piece i'm referring to?
     kinda paradoxical... given that a shark would
probably eat you... but then again counter-paradoxical
given the fact that most shark-attacks
     make the shark refrain from eating you,
but merely nibbling on you and leaving you alive
albeit nibbled on... maned... with scars...
so i get the part where the shark is in fact:
an impossible death to conceive... only for the lucky few.
  apart from the fact that the shark is caged
like a prehistoric mosquito lodged in amber...
              woodland gold, amber...
  that's the literal interpretation...
                                 but it's still a moving piece,
modern art isn't crap at all... it's just something you
don't get an ******* over...
            take any still life and apply a cognitively
based chemical reaction: stimulate a narrative...
in that famous phrasing, connect the: dot dot dot(s).
    become, in that almost ridiculous sense:
     a Sherlock Holmes... but all that died was about
a minute's worth of your attention...
this is what's fuelling revising a need for television,
big static things... my personal favourite?
that Tate Modern installation by richard holt -
hand on heart: about 3 times...
              i felt like a mosquito drawn into that:
ah the bright shiny light... 180º and a glass ceiling...
that's all it was...
                   art in the age of mechanical reproduction
has to almost ridicule man, or at least ridicule
the idea that he can become an individual,
    as was the ridicule of man that he could become
a god...
               sooner or later any attempt at individualism
becomes trendy, vogue, and magnetises and
monetises a need to mimic, replicate... one punk today:
20,000 punks tomorrow...
       /
           but that sort of mincing is mostly associated
by the bewilderment of our own success...
                           it's almost like a we're engaging with
a sabotage process: deliberately trying to undermine
ourselves by staging a variety of "anti-social" endeavours
we promised ourselves upon a belief in the "individual"...
      modern pieces of art debunk that myth,
it's that modern art pieces require so much space that
gave them the most adaptation prowess over, say,
a puritan's concept of art, as in a Turner painting...
           classical art can be put into a Florentine market
square and be passed by quiet casually,
because it provides an assurance - it forbids engaging
in an iconoclastic vigil, it's an assurance of the past
and how golden it was... but a modern sculpture
in a busy place where many people congregate
without first allowing it the asylum of an art gallery
and people will treat it as a chance to hone on it,
vandalise it, or steal it and sell it from scrap metal...
       modern art requires an asylum to be accepted,
an art gallery is an asylum where people with
good intentions enter and leave appreciating something
that, to the pleb, would get a rotten egg thrown at it.
    and as with regards to how i phrased something
earlier? how philosophy talks of the logos
     that doesn't see the phonos: or the dichotomy
between actual sound, and sound ascribed a
optically-phonetic disparity encryption:
deepened by a self-styled aesthetic of the "ruling elites"...
          and in the beginning the word was with god...
we're merely licking the toes of such a possibility...
         and just you try to bypass the orthodoxy of
encoding sounds with queer spelling...
                     you, in a sense, learn two-languages
with every single one you learn...
   how to say it and how to write it...
                              and then there the how you hear it
and how sometimes you hear different lyrics to
the ones sang...
                         a bit like the Chinese,
who, upon reading the English translation were
bothersome to get rich quickly after seeing
too many matchsticks in ideogram translated as merely
Li Po; i'd too go bananas and become frustrated
and retaliated by getting to Einsteinian grips with
the mathematical alphabet that bore Li Po... i.e. 1, 0
through to 9.
      ah yes... philosophy that doesn't appreciate
grammatical words, or in that sense credible for a biologist
not necessitating a genus to ease any argument,
to actually further it... or to play ping-pong...
   grammatical words are equivalent to the subconscious
given we tend to write some a sense of fluidity...
the unconscious? schematics akin to triangles...
  "images" or rather shapes...
                             beginning with Δ: isosceles...
later varied to the Γ triangle of Pythagoras...
          and as far as we got, a respectability to
not conjure up a square as worthy of encoding a sound...
nearest being the H... and that turned out to
be much ha ha ha.
                   still... i can't come to grips with these teenagers
in the bbc3 documentary talking about
automated thinking! i'm not denying it, i'm not
doubting it... it's just a question:
          how could such a pronoun muddle come about
that you discourage ownership of all your mental
activity? and instead leave a rampant kindred of an
abandoned snail's shell body to wreck havoc?
   it's almost like a a want to refuse to use words...
or encode words... rarely are people told
that the eyes are used as encoding organs...
                   but that the tongue knows no filters...
what the eye ingests... the tongue sometimes can't
digest... and vice-versus... that what the eyes digest
the tongue can't ingest: hence the rebellion
against contrary political ambitions -
   the ears? well: the ears are allocated the heart as
a partner... the tongue and eyes are entwined...
but the ears are allocated the heart...
                     you tend to feel words more than
hear them... because by the time the tongue
represses combining itself with the eyes to
that elevation of thought... your body becomes
autocratically synchronised to a sort of music
of heightened of unanimous response...
             well, it's not exactly a fetish watching such
documentaries.. iconoclasm in metaphor...
  i swear i wrote this before... how philosophy avoids
grammatical genuses... and how all too
ambivalent poetically equivalent nouns and verbs
are to hide our imperfections that precipitate from
art... iconoclasm / anamorphosis in metaphors...
                         camaïeu in allegory...
                   divisionism in pun...
                                       chiaroscuro in imagery...
gestural abstraction in onomatopoeia...
                     just some examples, and none necessarily
     convincing - as ever... this is my excuse
for i am always bound to say language is Alcatraz
   and my escape from Alcatraz is bound to metaphors,
fo
Akemi  Apr 2017
Exit Bag Out
Akemi Apr 2017
Awhile ago, I had been at a party. I’d listened to someone talk about Kate Moss for ten minutes straight. I left the room, found my flatmate and asked why anyone was interested in anything at all. We’d come up with no answers.

All this started a month ago, and all that started long before. I will not bore you with trite aphorisms about how I survived, or how wondrous life has become since. At some point my mind broke. This is a collection of memories about my attempted suicide and the absurdity of the entire experience.

Wednesday, 26th of April, 2017, midnight.

Couldn’t sleep. Surfed the internet. Fell into ASMR sub-culture.[1] Meta-satire, transitioning to post-irony, before pseudo-spiritual out-of-body transcendence. I thought, *this is the most ****** experience I’ve had in half a decade
, while a woman spun spheres of blobby jelly around my head and whispered elephant mourning rituals into my ears.

Tuesday, 27th of April, 2017, afternoon.

Woke up mid-day. Looked at all the objects in my room, unable to understand why any of them mattered. Milled around the flat. Went online to order helium so I could make an exit bag.[2] Cheapest source was The Warehouse, though the helium came with thirty bright multi-coloured party balloons. I kept imagining one of my flatmates walking in later that day, seeing my crumpled body surrounded by these floppy bits of rubber and a note saying this life is absurd and I want out of it. There was no online purchasing option, however, and I couldn’t be bothered walking into town. I began reading suicide notes. One was from a kid who’d slowly taken pills as he watched TV, culminating in a coma. That sounds pleasant, I thought, whilst at the same time knowing that it takes up to three days to die from painkillers and that the process is anything but painless or final. I opened my drawer, found a bunch of paracetamol and began washing them down with water, whilst listening to the soundtrack of End of Evangelion.[3]

I’m not sure why, but I began crying violently. I knew I’d have to leave the flat before my flatmates came home. I hastily scrawled a note that said, donate my body, give my money to senpai, give my possessions to someone I don’t know, it smells like burning, it was good knowing you all, before walking out the door with Komm Süsser Tod playing in the background.[4, 5] I’d already written my personal and political reasons for suicide in the pieces méconnaissance[6] and **** Yourself,[7] so felt there was no reason for anything more substantial.

I wandered the back roads of my neighbourhood. My body shook. I felt somnolent, half-dazed. I wanted a quiet place to sit, sleep and writhe in agony while my organs slowly failed. My legs kept stumbling, however, and my head was beginning to feel funny. I found a dead-end street and sat on one of those artificially maintained rectangles of grass. There was a black cat lying in the middle of the road, just bobbing its head at me. I zoned out for a bit and when I came to a giant orange cat was to my left, gazing intently into my teary face. I tried to refocus on my crotch. I couldn’t help but notice a white cat across the road, pretending not to be seen. It had a dubious look on its face, a countenance of guilt. What the hell was going on? A delivery person looped round the street. People returned home from work. Garage doors opened, cars drove down driveways. Here I was, slowly dying, surrounded by spooky ******* cats and the bustle of ordinary existence.

“Uh, hey. You look, uh, like something isn’t . . . do you need, uh, help?” a woman asked, crossing the street with a pram to reach me. I groaned.

“It’s just that, you know, ordinarily, um, I mean normally, people don’t sit on the sidewalk,” she continued, glancing down with the half-confused look of a concerned citizen who is trying to enter a situation outside of their usual experience. I mumbled something indistinct and went back to staring at my crotch.

“You know, I can, er . . . I can . . . I can’t really help,” she ended, awkwardly. “I have a daughter to look after, but . . . if you’re still here when she’s asleep . . . I’m the red fence.” She darted off without another word.

Had she wanted me off the sidewalk because it was abnormal to sit there, or had she seen the abnormality as a sign of something deeper? Either way, she’d used abnormality as a signifier of negative change. Deviancy as something to be corrected, realigned with some norm that co-exists with happiness and citizenship. I was being a bad citizen.

I thought, I miss those cats. At least they had judged me in silence. Wait, what the hell am I thinking? This is clearly a case of deviancy associated with negative feelings. Well, negative feelings, but not necessarily negative change. Suicide is only negative if one views life as intrinsically worthwhile

I could hear pram lady in the distance. She was talking to someone who’d just come back from work. They thanked pram lady and began moving towards me. Arghggh, just let me die, I thought.

She introduced herself as a nurse. From her tone and approach, it was clear she’d handled many cases like me. I’ve never hated counselling techniques. They seemed to at least trouble neoliberal rhetoric. There is little mention of overcoming, or striving, or perfecting oneself into a being of pure success. Rather, counselling seemed to be about listening and piercing together the other’s perspective. Counsellors tended not to interject words of comfort. They’d tell you mental illness was lifelong and couldn’t be fixed. They’re the closest society has to positive pessimists. Of course, they’d still want you to get better. Better, as in, not attempting suicide.

I talked with nurse lady for an hour about how life is simply passing. Passing through oneself, passing through others, passing through spaces, thoughts and emotions. About how the majority of life seems to be lived in a beyond we’ll never reach. Potential futures, moments of relief, phantasies we create to escape the dull present. About how I’d been finding my media and politics degree really rewarding, but some part of my head broke and I lost all ability to focus and care. About how the more I learnt about the world, the less capable I felt of changing it, and that change was a narcissistic day dream, anyway.

She replied “We’re all cogs. But what’s wrong with being a cog? Even a cog can make changes,” and I thought, but never one’s own.

She gave me a ride to the emergency clinic because I was too apathetic and guilt-ridden to decline. Why are people so nice over things that don’t matter? Chicks are ground into chicken nuggets alive.[8] The meat-industry produces 50% of the world’s carbon emissions.[9] But someone sits on the side of the road in a bourgeois neighbourhood and suddenly you have cats and nurses worried sick over your ****** up head. I should have worn a hobo coat and sat in town.

Tuesday, 27th of April, 2017, evening.

I had forgotten how painful waiting rooms were. It was stupidly ironic. I’d entered this apathetic suicidal stupor because I’d wanted to escape the monotony of existence, yet here I was, sitting in a waiting room, counting the stains on the ceiling, while the reception TV streamed a hospital drama.

“Get his *** in there!”

“Time is the real killer.”

“It wasn’t the cancer that was terminal, it was you.”

Zoom in on doctor face man.

Everybody hugging.

Emergency waiting rooms are a lot like life. You don’t choose to be there. An accident simply occurs and then you’re stuck, watching a show about *** cancer and family bonding. Sometimes someone coughs and you become aware of your own body again. You remember that you exist outside of media, waiting in this sterile space on a painfully too small plastic chair. You deliberately avoid the glances of everyone else in the room because you don’t want to reduce their existence to an injury, a pulsing wound, a lack, nor let them reduce you the same. The accident that got you here left you with a blank spot in your head, but the nurses reassure you that you’ll be up soon, to whatever it is you’re here for. And so, with nothing else to do, you turn back to the TV and forget you exist.

I thought, I should have taken more pills and gone into the woods.

The ER was a Kafkaeque realm of piercing lights, sleepy interns and too narrow privacy curtains.[10] Every time a nurse would try to close one, they’d pull it too far to one side, opening the other side up. Like the self, no bed was fully enclosed. There were always gaps, spaces of viewing, windows into trauma, and like the objet petit a, there was always the potential of meeting another’s gaze, one just like yours, only, out of your control.

I lay amidst a drone of machinery, footsteps and chatter. I stared at ceiling stains. Every hour or so a different nurse would approach me, repeat the same ten questions as the one before, then end commenting awkwardly on my tattoos. I kept thinking, what is going on? Have I finally died and become integrated into some eternally recurring limbo hell where, in a state of complete apathy and deterioration, some devil approaches me every hour to ask, why did you take those pills?

Do I have to repeat my answer for the rest of my life?

I gazed at the stain to my right. That was back in ‘92 when the piping above burst on a particularly wintry day. I shifted my gaze. And that happened in ‘99 when an intern tripped holding a giant cup of coffee. Afterwards, everyone began calling her Trippy. She eventually became a surgeon and had four adorable bourgeois kids. Tippy Tip Tap Toop.

The nurses began covering my body with little pieces of paper and plastic, to which only one third were connected to an ECG monitor.[11] Every ten minutes or so the monitor would begin honking violently, to which (initially) no one would respond to. After an hour or so a nurse wandered over with a worried expression, poked the machine a little, then asked if I was experiencing any chest pains. Before I could answer, he was intercepted by another nurse and told not to worry. His expression never cleared up, but he went back to staring blankly into a computer terminal on the other end of the room.

There were two security guards awkwardly trying not to meet anyone’s gazes. They were out of place and they knew it. No matter what space they occupied, a nurse would have to move past them to reach some medical doodle or document. One nurse jokingly said, “It’s ER. If you’re not moving you’re in the way,” to which the guards chortled, shuffled a metre or so sideways, before returning to standing still.

I checked my phone.

“Got veges.”

“If you successfully **** yourself, you’ll officially be the biggest right-wing neoliberal piece of ****.”[12]

“Your Text Unlimited Combo renewed on 28 Apr at 10:41. Nice!”

I went back to staring at the ceiling.

Six hours later, one of the nurses came over and said “Huh, turns out there’s nothing in your blood. Nothing . . . at all.” Another pulled out my drip and disconnected me from the ECG monitor. “Well, you’re free to leave.”

Tuesday, 27th of April, 2017, midnight.

I wandered over to the Emergency Psychiatric Services. The doctor there was interested in setting up future supports for my ****** up mind. He mentioned anti-depressants and I told him that in the past they hadn’t really worked, that it seemed more related to my general political outlook, that this purposeless restlessness has been with me most of my life, and that no drug or counselling could cure the lack innate to existence which is exacerbated by our current political and cultural institutions.

He replied “Are you one of those anti-druggers? You know there’s been a lot of backlash against psychiatry, it’s really the cultural Zeitgeist of our times, but it’s all led by misinformation, scaremongering.”

I hesitated, before replying “I’m not anti-drugs, I just don’t think you can change my general hatred of existence.”

“Okay, okay, I’m not trying to argue with your outlook, but you’re simply stuck in this doom and gloom phase—”

Whoa, wait a ******* minute. You’re not trying to argue with my outlook, while completely discounting my outlook as simply a passing emotional state? This guy is a ******* *******, I thought, ragging on about anti-druggers while pretending not to undermine a political and social position I’d spent years researching and building up. I stopped paying attention to him. Yes, a lot of my problems are internal, but I’m more than a disembodied brain, biologically computing chemical data.

At the end of his rant, he said something like “You’re a good kid,” and I thought, ******* too.

Friday, 28th of April, 2017, morning.

The next day I met a different doctor. I gave him a brief summary of my privileged life culminating in a ****** metaphor about three metaphysical pillars which lift me into the tempestuous winds of existential dread and nihilistic apathy. One, my social anxiety. Two, my absurd existence. Three, my political outlook. One, anxiety: I cannot relate to small talk. The gaze of the other is a gaze of expectations. Because I cannot know these expectations, I will never live up to them. Communication is by nature, lacking. Two, absurdity: Existence is a meaningless repetition of arbitrary structures we ourselves construct, then forget. Reflexivity is about uncovering this so that we may escape structures we do not like. We inevitably fall into new structures, prejudices and artifices. Nothing is authentic, nothing is innocent and nothing is your self. Three, politics: I am trapped in a neoliberal capitalist monstrosity that creates enough produce to feed the entire world, but does not do so due to the market’s instrumental need for profit. The system, in other words, rewards capitalists who are ruthless. Any capitalist trying to bring about change, will necessarily have to become ruthless to reach a position of power, and therefore will fail to bring about change.

The doctor nodded. He thought deeply, tried to piece it all together, then finally said “Yes, society is quite terrifying. This is something we cannot control. There are things out there that will harm you and the political situation of our time is troubling.”

I was astounded. This was one of the first doctors who’d actually taken what I’d said and given it consideration. Sure we hadn’t gotten into a length discussion of socialism, feminism or veganism, but they also hadn’t simply collapsed my political thoughts into my depressive state.

“But you know, there are still niches of meaning in this world. Though the greater structures are overbearing, people can still find purpose enacting smaller changes, connecting in ephemeral ways.”

What was I hearing? Was this a postmodern doctor?[13] Was science reconnecting with the humanities?

“We may even connect your third pillar, that of the political, with your second pillar and see that the political situation of our time is absurd. This is unfortunate, but as for your first pillar, this is definitely something we can help you with. In fact, it’s quite a simple process, helping one deal with social anxiety, and to me, it sounds like this anxiety has greatly affected your life for the past few years.”

The doctor then asked for my gender and sexuality, to which after I hesitated a little, he said, it didn’t really matter seeing as it was all constructed, anyway. For being unable to feel much at all, I was ecstatic. I thought, how could this doctor be working in the same building as the previous one I’d met? We went into anti-depressant plans. He told me that their effects were unpredictable. They may lift my mood, they may do nothing at all, they may even make me feel worse. Nobody really knew what molecular pathways serotonin activated, but it sometimes pulled people out of circular ways of thinking. And dopamine, well, taken in too high a dose, could make you psychotic.

Sign me the **** up, I thought, gazing at my new medical hero. These are the kinds of non-assurances that match my experience of life. Trust and expectations lead only to disappointment. Give me pure insurmountable doubt.

Friday, 28th of April, 2017, afternoon.

“The drugs won’t be too long,” the pharmacist said before disappearing into the back room. I milled around th
1. Autonomous sensory meridian response is a tingling sensation triggered by auditory cues, such as whispering, rustling, tapping, or crunching.
2. An exit bag is a DIY apparatus used to asphyxiate oneself with an inert gas. This circumvents the feeling of suffocation one experiences through hanging or drowning.
3. Neon Genesis Evangelion is a psychoanalytic deconstruction of the mecha genre, that ends with the entire human race undergoing ego death and returning to the womb.
4. Komm Süsser Tod is an (in)famous song from End of Evangelion that plays after the main character, who has become God, decides that the only way to end all the loneliness and suffering in the world is for everyone to die.
5. Senpai is a Japanese term for someone senior to you, whom you respect. It is also an anime trope.
6. https://hellopoetry.com/poem/1936097/meconnaissance/
7. https://thesleepofreason.com/2017/04/04/****-yourself/
8. See Earthlings.
9. See Cowspiracy.
10. Franz Kafka was an existentialist writer from the 20th century who wrote about alienation, anxiety and absurdity.
11. Electrocardiography monitors measure one’s heart rate through electrodes attached to the skin.
12. Neoliberalism is both an economic and cultural regime. Economically, it is about deregulating markets so that government services can be privatised, placed into the hands of transnational corporations, who, because of their global positioning, can more easily circumvent nation-state policies, and thereby place pressure on states that require their services through the threat of departure. Culturally, it is about reframing social issues into individual issues, so that individuals are held responsible for their failures, rather than the social circumstances surrounding them. As a victim-blaming discourse, it depicts all people equal and equally capable, regardless of socio-economic status. All responsibility lies on the individual, rather than the state, society or culture that cultivated their subjectivity.
13. Postmodernism is a movement that critiques modernism’s epistemological totalitarianism, colonial humanism and utopian visions of progress. It emphasises instead the fragmented, ephemeral and embodied human experience, incapable of capture in monolithic discourses that treat all humans as equal and capable of abstract authenticity. Because all objective knowledge is constructed out of subjective experience, the subject can never be effaced. Instead knowledge and power must be investigated as always coming from somewhere, someone and sometime.
If from the public way you turn your steps
Up the tumultuous brook of Green-head Ghyll,
You will suppose that with an upright path
Your feet must struggle; in such bold ascent
The pastoral mountains front you, face to face.
But, courage! for around that boisterous brook
The mountains have all opened out themselves,
And made a hidden valley of their own.
No habitation can be seen; but they
Who journey thither find themselves alone
With a few sheep, with rocks and stones, and kites
That overhead are sailing in the sky.
It is in truth an utter solitude;
Nor should I have made mention of this Dell
But for one object which you might pass by,
Might see and notice not. Beside the brook
Appears a straggling heap of unhewn stones!
And to that simple object appertains
A story—unenriched with strange events,
Yet not unfit, I deem, for the fireside,
Or for the summer shade. It was the first
Of those domestic tales that spake to me
Of Shepherds, dwellers in the valleys, men
Whom I already loved;—not verily
For their own sakes, but for the fields and hills
Where was their occupation and abode.
And hence this Tale, while I was yet a Boy
Careless of books, yet having felt the power
Of Nature, by the gentle agency
Of natural objects, led me on to feel
For passions that were not my own, and think
(At random and imperfectly indeed)
On man, the heart of man, and human life.
Therefore, although it be a history
Homely and rude, I will relate the same
For the delight of a few natural hearts;
And, with yet fonder feeling, for the sake
Of youthful Poets, who among these hills
Will be my second self when I am gone.

     Upon the forest-side in Grasmere Vale
There dwelt a Shepherd, Michael was his name;
An old man, stout of heart, and strong of limb.
His ****** frame had been from youth to age
Of an unusual strength: his mind was keen,
Intense, and frugal, apt for all affairs,
And in his shepherd’s calling he was prompt
And watchful more than ordinary men.
Hence had he learned the meaning of all winds,
Of blasts of every tone; and oftentimes,
When others heeded not, he heard the South
Make subterraneous music, like the noise
Of bagpipers on distant Highland hills.
The Shepherd, at such warning, of his flock
Bethought him, and he to himself would say,
“The winds are now devising work for me!”
And, truly, at all times, the storm, that drives
The traveller to a shelter, summoned him
Up to the mountains: he had been alone
Amid the heart of many thousand mists,
That came to him, and left him, on the heights.
So lived he till his eightieth year was past.
And grossly that man errs, who should suppose
That the green valleys, and the streams and rocks,
Were things indifferent to the Shepherd’s thoughts.
Fields, where with cheerful spirits he had breathed
The common air; hills, which with vigorous step
He had so often climbed; which had impressed
So many incidents upon his mind
Of hardship, skill or courage, joy or fear;
Which, like a book, preserved the memory
Of the dumb animals, whom he had saved,
Had fed or sheltered, linking to such acts
The certainty of honourable gain;
Those fields, those hills—what could they less? had laid
Strong hold on his affections, were to him
A pleasurable feeling of blind love,
The pleasure which there is in life itself .

     His days had not been passed in singleness.
His Helpmate was a comely matron, old—
Though younger than himself full twenty years.
She was a woman of a stirring life,
Whose heart was in her house: two wheels she had
Of antique form; this large, for spinning wool;
That small, for flax; and, if one wheel had rest,
It was because the other was at work.
The Pair had but one inmate in their house,
An only Child, who had been born to them
When Michael, telling o’er his years, began
To deem that he was old,—in shepherd’s phrase,
With one foot in the grave. This only Son,
With two brave sheep-dogs tried in many a storm,
The one of an inestimable worth,
Made all their household. I may truly say,
That they were as a proverb in the vale
For endless industry. When day was gone,
And from their occupations out of doors
The Son and Father were come home, even then,
Their labour did not cease; unless when all
Turned to the cleanly supper-board, and there,
Each with a mess of pottage and skimmed milk,
Sat round the basket piled with oaten cakes,
And their plain home-made cheese. Yet when the meal
Was ended, Luke (for so the Son was named)
And his old Father both betook themselves
To such convenient work as might employ
Their hands by the fireside; perhaps to card
Wool for the Housewife’s spindle, or repair
Some injury done to sickle, flail, or scythe,
Or other implement of house or field.

     Down from the ceiling, by the chimney’s edge,
That in our ancient uncouth country style
With huge and black projection overbrowed
Large space beneath, as duly as the light
Of day grew dim the Housewife hung a lamp,
An aged utensil, which had performed
Service beyond all others of its kind.
Early at evening did it burn—and late,
Surviving comrade of uncounted hours,
Which, going by from year to year, had found,
And left the couple neither gay perhaps
Nor cheerful, yet with objects and with hopes,
Living a life of eager industry.
And now, when Luke had reached his eighteenth year,
There by the light of this old lamp they sate,
Father and Son, while far into the night
The Housewife plied her own peculiar work,
Making the cottage through the silent hours
Murmur as with the sound of summer flies.
This light was famous in its neighbourhood,
And was a public symbol of the life
That thrifty Pair had lived. For, as it chanced,
Their cottage on a plot of rising ground
Stood single, with large prospect, north and south,
High into Easedale, up to Dunmail-Raise,
And westward to the village near the lake;
And from this constant light, so regular
And so far seen, the House itself, by all
Who dwelt within the limits of the vale,
Both old and young, was named The Evening Star.

     Thus living on through such a length of years,
The Shepherd, if he loved himself, must needs
Have loved his Helpmate; but to Michael’s heart
This son of his old age was yet more dear—
Less from instinctive tenderness, the same
Fond spirit that blindly works in the blood of all—
Than that a child, more than all other gifts
That earth can offer to declining man,
Brings hope with it, and forward-looking thoughts,
And stirrings of inquietude, when they
By tendency of nature needs must fail.
Exceeding was the love he bare to him,
His heart and his heart’s joy! For oftentimes
Old Michael, while he was a babe in arms,
Had done him female service, not alone
For pastime and delight, as is the use
Of fathers, but with patient mind enforced
To acts of tenderness; and he had rocked
His cradle, as with a woman’s gentle hand.

     And, in a later time, ere yet the Boy
Had put on boy’s attire, did Michael love,
Albeit of a stern unbending mind,
To have the Young-one in his sight, when he
Wrought in the field, or on his shepherd’s stool
Sate with a fettered sheep before him stretched
Under the large old oak, that near his door
Stood single, and, from matchless depth of shade,
Chosen for the Shearer’s covert from the sun,
Thence in our rustic dialect was called
The Clipping Tree, a name which yet it bears.
There, while they two were sitting in the shade,
With others round them, earnest all and blithe,
Would Michael exercise his heart with looks
Of fond correction and reproof bestowed
Upon the Child, if he disturbed the sheep
By catching at their legs, or with his shouts
Scared them, while they lay still beneath the shears.

     And when by Heaven’s good grace the boy grew up
A healthy Lad, and carried in his cheek
Two steady roses that were five years old;
Then Michael from a winter coppice cut
With his own hand a sapling, which he hooped
With iron, making it throughout in all
Due requisites a perfect shepherd’s staff,
And gave it to the Boy; wherewith equipt
He as a watchman oftentimes was placed
At gate or gap, to stem or turn the flock;
And, to his office prematurely called,
There stood the urchin, as you will divine,
Something between a hindrance and a help,
And for this cause not always, I believe,
Receiving from his Father hire of praise;
Though nought was left undone which staff, or voice,
Or looks, or threatening gestures, could perform.

     But soon as Luke, full ten years old, could stand
Against the mountain blasts; and to the heights,
Not fearing toil, nor length of weary ways,
He with his Father daily went, and they
Were as companions, why should I relate
That objects which the Shepherd loved before
Were dearer now? that from the Boy there came
Feelings and emanations—things which were
Light to the sun and music to the wind;
And that the old Man’s heart seemed born again?

     Thus in his Father’s sight the Boy grew up:
And now, when he had reached his eighteenth year,
He was his comfort and his daily hope.

     While in this sort the simple household lived
From day to day, to Michael’s ear there came
Distressful tidings. Long before the time
Of which I speak, the Shepherd had been bound
In surety for his brother’s son, a man
Of an industrious life, and ample means;
But unforeseen misfortunes suddenly
Had prest upon him; and old Michael now
Was summoned to discharge the forfeiture,
A grievous penalty, but little less
Than half his substance. This unlooked-for claim
At the first hearing, for a moment took
More hope out of his life than he supposed
That any old man ever could have lost.
As soon as he had armed himself with strength
To look his trouble in the face, it seemed
The Shepherd’s sole resource to sell at once
A portion of his patrimonial fields.
Such was his first resolve; he thought again,
And his heart failed him. “Isabel,” said he,
Two evenings after he had heard the news,
“I have been toiling more than seventy years,
And in the open sunshine of God’s love
Have we all lived; yet, if these fields of ours
Should pass into a stranger’s hand, I think
That I could not lie quiet in my grave.
Our lot is a hard lot; the sun himself
Has scarcely been more diligent than I;
And I have lived to be a fool at last
To my own family. An evil man
That was, and made an evil choice, if he
Were false to us; and, if he were not false,
There are ten thousand to whom loss like this
Had been no sorrow. I forgive him;—but
’Twere better to be dumb than to talk thus.

     “When I began, my purpose was to speak
Of remedies and of a cheerful hope.
Our Luke shall leave us, Isabel; the land
Shall not go from us, and it shall be free;
He shall possess it, free as is the wind
That passes over it. We have, thou know’st,
Another kinsman—he will be our friend
In this distress. He is a prosperous man,
Thriving in trade and Luke to him shall go,
And with his kinsman’s help and his own thrift
He quickly will repair this loss, and then
He may return to us. If here he stay,
What can be done? Where every one is poor,
What can be gained?”

                                          At this the old Man paused,
And Isabel sat silent, for her mind
Was busy, looking back into past times.
There’s Richard Bateman, thought she to herself,
He was a parish-boy—at the church-door
They made a gathering for him, shillings, pence,
And halfpennies, wherewith the neighbours bought
A basket, which they filled with pedlar’s wares;
And, with this basket on his arm, the lad
Went up to London, found a master there,
Who, out of many, chose the trusty boy
To go and overlook his merchandise
Beyond the seas; where he grew wondrous rich,
And left estates and monies to the poor,
And, at his birth-place, built a chapel floored
With marble, which he sent from foreign lands.
These thoughts, and many others of like sort,
Passed quickly through the mind of Isabel,
And her face brightened. The old Man was glad,
And thus resumed:—”Well, Isabel! this scheme
These two days has been meat and drink to me.
Far more than we have lost is left us yet.
—We have enough—I wish indeed that I
Were younger;—but this hope is a good hope.
Make ready Luke’s best garments, of the best
Buy for him more, and let us send him forth
To-morrow, or the next day, or to-night:
—If he could go, the boy should go to-night.”

     Here Michael ceased, and to the fields went forth
With a light heart. The Housewife for five days
Was restless morn and night, and all day long
Wrought on with her best fingers to prepare.
Things needful for the journey of her Son.
But Isabel was glad when Sunday came
To stop her in her work: for, when she lay
By Michael’s side, she through the last two nights
Heard him, how he was troubled in his sleep:
And when they rose at morning she could see
That all his hopes were gone. That day at noon
She said to Luke, while they two by themselves
Were sitting at the door, “Thou must not go:
We have no other Child but thee to lose,
None to remember—do not go away,
For if thou leave thy Father he will die.”
The Youth made answer with a jocund voice;
And Isabel, when she had told her fears,
Recovered heart. That evening her best fare
Did she bring forth, and all together sat
Like happy people round a Christmas fire.

     With daylight Isabel resumed her work;
And all the ensuing week the house appeared
As cheerful as a grove in Spring: at length
The expected letter from their kinsman came,
With kind assurances that he would do
His utmost for the welfare of the Boy;
To which requests were added, that forthwith
He might be sent to him. Ten times or more
The letter was read over, Isabel
Went forth to show it to the neighbours round;
Nor was there at that time on English land
A prouder heart than Luke’s. When Isabel
Had to her house returned, the old man said,
“He shall depart to-morrow.” To this word
The Housewife answered, talking much of things
Which, if at such short notice he should go,
Would surely be forgotten. But at length
She gave consent, and Michael was at ease.

     Near the tumultuous brook of Green-head Ghyll,
In that deep valley, Michael had designed
To build a Sheep-fold; and, before he heard
The tidings of his melancholy loss,
For this same purpose he had gathered up
A heap of stones, which by the streamlet’s edge
Lay thrown together, ready for the work.
With Luke that evening thitherward he walked:
And soon as they had reached the place he stopped,
And thus the old Man spake to him:—”My Son,
To-morrow thou wilt leave me: with full heart
I look upon thee, for thou art the same
That wert a promise to me ere thy birth,
And all thy life hast been my daily joy.
I will relate to thee some little part
Of our two histories; ’twill do thee good
When thou art from me, even if I should touch
On things thou canst not know of.—After thou
First cam’st into the world—as oft befalls
To new-born infants—thou didst sleep away
Two days, and blessings from thy Father’s tongue
Then fell upon thee. Day by day passed on,
And still I loved thee with increasing love.
Never to living ear came sweeter sounds
Than when I heard thee by our own fireside
First uttering, without words, a natural tune;
While thou, a feeding babe, didst in thy joy
Sing at thy Mother’s breast. Month followed month,
And in the open fields my life was passed,
And on the mountains; else I think that thou
Hadst been brought up upon thy Father’s knees.
But we were playmates, Luke: among these hills,
As well thou knowest, in us the old and young
Have played together, nor with me didst thou
Lack any pleasure which a boy can know.”
Luke had a manly heart; but at these words
He sobbed aloud. The old Man grasped his hand,
And said, “Nay, do not take it so—I see
That these are things of which I need not speak.
—Even to the utmost I have been to thee
A kind and a good Father: and herein
I but repay a gift which I myself
Received at others’ hands; for, though now old
Beyond the common life of man, I still
Remember them who loved me in my youth.
Both of them sleep together: h
Xallan  Dec 2017
assurances
Xallan Dec 2017
It is time for you to fly on
Standing upright on the back of passions
You never needed me to validate
You're looking at the sunset alone
And there's no emptiness by your side
My words were a crutch that bent your back
And my love was just a metaphor

So now it's time for you to go
I didn't understand before what concerned me about you
It's that you're searching
For something you don't need
You have your bittersweet memories
Of laughs we shared
And because you had such a big heart
I never noticed it was hollow
Not wanting to be filled,
Not full of doubt,
Not waiting for a literary device to break it
But it encapsulated my lonesome one

So whether I got what I needed from you
Or you just needed a reason to smile
I gave you consent to break my heart
And I'm still waiting
Perhaps people are indeed predictable
But the most painful question is when

I know you have good intentions
This will be my choice, I fear
Your face is made of sun-stained pearls
And you nourished me with your warmth
Forgive me for showing you this power
Because you'll be glad to never have seen it before
I'll direct lightning
Down upon your synapses
I'll command rainfall
Down upon your cheeks
I'll order sea-smoke
Down upon your mind
Forgive me for my false assurances
You never gave me permission

We were never a perfect fit
But I deceived you with tender illusions
I grew like vines upon your dreams
I held your soul
I remember how it was soft and smooth
But then I touched the element of your awareness
And again I'm reminded how fondness
Is just a phase

There will always be love
In the salt of tears you'll shed
You'll remember when they made assumptions
That were only mostly wrong
I'll stand in the rain that some call romantic
Wondering if you're beating upon the glass
These words are my last gift to you
A lonely metaphor.
11-26-17
Sanja Trifunovic Jan 2010
If from the public way you turn your steps
Up the tumultuous brook of Green-head Gill,
You will suppose that with an upright path
Your feet must struggle; in such bold ascent
The pastoral Mountains front you, face to face.
But, courage! for beside that boisterous Brook
The mountains have all open'd out themselves,
And made a hidden valley of their own.

No habitation there is seen; but such
As journey thither find themselves alone
With a few sheep, with rocks and stones, and kites
That overhead are sailing in the sky.
It is in truth an utter solitude,
Nor should I have made mention of this Dell
But for one object which you might pass by,
Might see and notice not. Beside the brook
There is a straggling heap of unhewn stones!
And to that place a story appertains,
Which, though it be ungarnish'd with events,
Is not unfit, I deem, for the fire-side,
Or for the summer shade. It was the first,
The earliest of those tales that spake to me
Of Shepherds, dwellers in the vallies, men
Whom I already lov'd, not verily
For their own sakes, but for the fields and hills
Where was their occupation and abode.

And hence this Tale, while I was yet a boy
Careless of books, yet having felt the power
Of Nature, by the gentle agency
Of natural objects led me on to feel
For passions that were not my own, and think
At random and imperfectly indeed
On man; the heart of man and human life.
Therefore, although it be a history
Homely and rude, I will relate the same
For the delight of a few natural hearts,
And with yet fonder feeling, for the sake
Of youthful Poets, who among these Hills
Will be my second self when I am gone.


Upon the Forest-side in Grasmere Vale
There dwelt a Shepherd, Michael was his name.
An old man, stout of heart, and strong of limb.
His ****** frame had been from youth to age
Of an unusual strength: his mind was keen
Intense and frugal, apt for all affairs,
And in his Shepherd's calling he was prompt
And watchful more than ordinary men.

Hence he had learn'd the meaning of all winds,
Of blasts of every tone, and often-times
When others heeded not, He heard the South
Make subterraneous music, like the noise
Of Bagpipers on distant Highland hills;
The Shepherd, at such warning, of his flock
Bethought him, and he to himself would say
The winds are now devising work for me!

And truly at all times the storm, that drives
The Traveller to a shelter, summon'd him
Up to the mountains: he had been alone
Amid the heart of many thousand mists
That came to him and left him on the heights.
So liv'd he till his eightieth year was pass'd.

And grossly that man errs, who should suppose
That the green Valleys, and the Streams and Rocks
Were things indifferent to the Shepherd's thoughts.
Fields, where with chearful spirits he had breath'd
The common air; the hills, which he so oft
Had climb'd with vigorous steps; which had impress'd
So many incidents upon his mind
Of hardship, skill or courage, joy or fear;
Which like a book preserv'd the memory
Of the dumb animals, whom he had sav'd,
Had fed or shelter'd, linking to such acts,
So grateful in themselves, the certainty
Of honorable gains; these fields, these hills
Which were his living Being, even more
Than his own Blood--what could they less? had laid
Strong hold on his affections, were to him
A pleasurable feeling of blind love,
The pleasure which there is in life itself.

He had not passed his days in singleness.
He had a Wife, a comely Matron, old
Though younger than himself full twenty years.
She was a woman of a stirring life
Whose heart was in her house: two wheels she had
Of antique form, this large for spinning wool,
That small for flax, and if one wheel had rest,
It was because the other was at work.
The Pair had but one Inmate in their house,
An only Child, who had been born to them
When Michael telling o'er his years began
To deem that he was old, in Shepherd's phrase,
With one foot in the grave. This only son,
With two brave sheep dogs tried in many a storm.

The one of an inestimable worth,
Made all their Household. I may truly say,
That they were as a proverb in the vale
For endless industry. When day was gone,
And from their occupations out of doors
The Son and Father were come home, even then,
Their labour did not cease, unless when all
Turn'd to their cleanly supper-board, and there
Each with a mess of pottage and skimm'd milk,
Sate round their basket pil'd with oaten cakes,
And their plain home-made cheese. Yet when their meal
Was ended, LUKE (for so the Son was nam'd)
And his old Father, both betook themselves
To such convenient work, as might employ
Their hands by the fire-side; perhaps to card
Wool for the House-wife's spindle, or repair
Some injury done to sickle, flail, or scythe,
Or other implement of house or field.

Down from the cicling by the chimney's edge,
Which in our ancient uncouth country style
Did with a huge projection overbrow
Large space beneath, as duly as the light
Of day grew dim, the House-wife hung a lamp;
An aged utensil, which had perform'd
Service beyond all others of its kind.

Early at evening did it burn and late,
Surviving Comrade of uncounted Hours
Which going by from year to year had found
And left the Couple neither gay perhaps
Nor chearful, yet with objects and with hopes
Living a life of eager industry.

And now, when LUKE was in his eighteenth year,
There by the light of this old lamp they sate,
Father and Son, while late into the night
The House-wife plied her own peculiar work,
Making the cottage thro' the silent hours
Murmur as with the sound of summer flies.

Not with a waste of words, but for the sake
Of pleasure, which I know that I shall give
To many living now, I of this Lamp
Speak thus minutely: for there are no few
Whose memories will bear witness to my tale,
The Light was famous in its neighbourhood,
And was a public Symbol of the life,
The thrifty Pair had liv'd. For, as it chanc'd,
Their Cottage on a plot of rising ground
Stood single, with large prospect North and South,
High into Easedale, up to Dunmal-Raise,
And Westward to the village near the Lake.
And from this constant light so regular
And so far seen, the House itself by all
Who dwelt within the limits of the vale,
Both old and young, was nam'd The Evening Star.

Thus living on through such a length of years,
The Shepherd, if he lov'd himself, must needs
Have lov'd his Help-mate; but to Michael's heart
This Son of his old age was yet more dear--
Effect which might perhaps have been produc'd
By that instinctive tenderness, the same
Blind Spirit, which is in the blood of all,
Or that a child, more than all other gifts,
Brings hope with it, and forward-looking thoughts,
And stirrings of inquietude, when they
By tendency of nature needs must fail.

From such, and other causes, to the thoughts
Of the old Man his only Son was now
The dearest object that he knew on earth.
Exceeding was the love he bare to him,
His Heart and his Heart's joy! For oftentimes
Old Michael, while he was a babe in arms,
Had done him female service, not alone
For dalliance and delight, as is the use
Of Fathers, but with patient mind enforc'd
To acts of tenderness; and he had rock'd
His cradle with a woman's gentle hand.

And in a later time, ere yet the Boy
Had put on Boy's attire, did Michael love,
Albeit of a stern unbending mind,
To have the young one in his sight, when he
Had work by his own door, or when he sate
With sheep before him on his Shepherd's stool,
Beneath that large old Oak, which near their door
Stood, and from it's enormous breadth of shade
Chosen for the Shearer's covert from the sun,
Thence in our rustic dialect was call'd
The CLIPPING TREE, *[1] a name which yet it bears.

There, while they two were sitting in the shade,
With others round them, earnest all and blithe,
Would Michael exercise his heart with looks
Of fond correction and reproof bestow'd
Upon the child, if he dislurb'd the sheep
By catching at their legs, or with his shouts
Scar'd them, while they lay still beneath the shears.

And when by Heaven's good grace the Boy grew up
A healthy Lad, and carried in his cheek
Two steady roses that were five years old,
Then Michael from a winter coppice cut
With his own hand a sapling, which he hoop'd
With iron, making it throughout in all
Due requisites a perfect Shepherd's Staff,
And gave it to the Boy; wherewith equipp'd
He as a Watchman oftentimes was plac'd
At gate or gap, to stem or turn the flock,
And to his office prematurely call'd
There stood the urchin, as you will divine,
Something between a hindrance and a help,
And for this cause not always, I believe,
Receiving from his Father hire of praise.

While this good household thus were living on
From day to day, to Michael's ear there came
Distressful tidings. Long before, the time
Of which I speak, the Shepherd had been bound
In surety for his Brother's Son, a man
Of an industrious life, and ample means,
But unforeseen misfortunes suddenly
Had press'd upon him, and old Michael now
Was summon'd to discharge the forfeiture,
A grievous penalty, but little less
Than half his substance. This un-look'd-for claim
At the first hearing, for a moment took
More hope out of his life than he supposed
That any old man ever could have lost.

As soon as he had gather'd so much strength
That he could look his trouble in the face,
It seem'd that his sole refuge was to sell
A portion of his patrimonial fields.
Such was his first resolve; he thought again,
And his heart fail'd him. "Isabel," said he,
Two evenings after he had heard the news,
"I have been toiling more than seventy years,
And in the open sun-shine of God's love
Have we all liv'd, yet if these fields of ours
Should pass into a Stranger's hand, I think
That I could not lie quiet in my grave."

"Our lot is a hard lot; the Sun itself
Has scarcely been more diligent than I,
And I have liv'd to be a fool at last
To my own family. An evil Man
That was, and made an evil choice, if he
Were false to us; and if he were not false,
There are ten thousand to whom loss like this
Had been no sorrow. I forgive him--but
'Twere better to be dumb than to talk thus.
When I began, my purpose was to speak
Of remedies and of a chearful hope."

"Our Luke shall leave us, Isabel; the land
Shall not go from us, and it shall be free,
He shall possess it, free as is the wind
That passes over it. We have, thou knowest,
Another Kinsman, he will be our friend
In this distress. He is a prosperous man,
Thriving in trade, and Luke to him shall go,
And with his Kinsman's help and his own thrift,
He quickly will repair this loss, and then
May come again to us. If here he stay,
What can be done? Where every one is poor
What can be gain'd?" At this, the old man paus'd,
And Isabel sate silent, for her mind
Was busy, looking back into past times.

There's Richard Bateman, thought she to herself,
He was a parish-boy--at the church-door
They made a gathering for him, shillings, pence,
And halfpennies, wherewith the Neighbours bought
A Basket, which they fill'd with Pedlar's wares,
And with this Basket on his arm, the Lad
Went up to London, found a Master there,
Who out of many chose the trusty Boy
To go and overlook his merchandise
Beyond the seas, where he grew wond'rous rich,
And left estates and monies to the poor,
And at his birth-place built a Chapel, floor'd
With Marble, which he sent from foreign lands.
These thoughts, and many others of like sort,
Pass'd quickly thro' the mind of Isabel,
And her face brighten'd. The Old Man was glad.

And thus resum'd. "Well I Isabel, this scheme
These two days has been meat and drink to me.
Far more than we have lost is left us yet.
--We have enough--I wish indeed that I
Were younger, but this hope is a good hope.
--Make ready Luke's best garments, of the best
Buy for him more, and let us send him forth
To-morrow, or the next day, or to-night:
--If he could go, the Boy should go to-night."
Here Michael ceas'd, and to the fields went forth
With a light heart. The House-wife for five days
Was restless morn and night, and all day long
Wrought on with her best fingers to prepare
Things needful for the journey of her Son.

But Isabel was glad when Sunday came
To stop her in her work; for, when she lay
By Michael's side, she for the two last nights
Heard him, how he was troubled in his sleep:
And when they rose at morning she could see
That all his hopes were gone. That day at noon
She said to Luke, while they two by themselves
Were sitting at the door, "Thou must not go,
We have no other Child but thee to lose,
None to remember--do not go away,
For if thou leave thy Father he will die."
The Lad made answer with a jocund voice,
And Isabel, when she had told her fears,
Recover'd heart. That evening her best fare
Did she bring forth, and all together sate
Like happy people round a Christmas fire.

Next morning Isabel resum'd her work,
And all the ensuing week the house appear'd
As cheerful as a grove in Spring: at length
The expected letter from their Kinsman came,
With kind assurances that he would do
His utmost for the welfare of the Boy,
To which requests were added that forthwith
He might be sent to him. Ten times or more
The letter was read over; Isabel
Went forth to shew it to the neighbours round:
Nor was there at that time on English Land
A prouder heart than Luke's. When Isabel
Had to her house return'd, the Old Man said,
"He shall depart to-morrow." To this word
The House--wife answered, talking much of things
Which, if at such, short notice he should go,
Would surely be forgotten. But at length
She gave consent, and Michael was at ease.

Near the tumultuous brook of Green-head Gill,
In that deep Valley, Michael had design'd
To build a Sheep-fold, and, before he heard
The tidings of his melancholy loss,
For this same purpose he had gathered up
A heap of stones, which close to the brook side
Lay thrown together, ready for the work.
With Luke that evening thitherward he walk'd;
And soon as they had reach'd the place he stopp'd,
And thus the Old Man spake to him. "My Son,
To-morrow thou wilt leave me; with full heart
I look upon thee, for thou art the same
That wert a promise to me ere thy birth,
And all thy life hast been my daily joy.
I will relate to thee some little part
Of our two histories; 'twill do thee good
When thou art from me, even if I should speak
Of things thou caust not know of.--After thou
First cam'st into the world, as it befalls
To new-born infants, thou didst sleep away
Two days, and blessings from thy Father's tongue
Then fell upon thee. Day by day pass'd on,
And still I lov'd thee with encreasing love."

Never to living ear came sweeter sounds
Than when I heard thee by our own fire-side
First uttering without words a natural tune,
When thou, a feeding babe, didst in thy joy
Sing at thy Mother's breast. Month follow'd month,
And in the open fields my life was pass'd
And in the mountains, else I think that thou
Hadst been brought up upon thy father's knees.
--But we were playmates, Luke; among these hills,
As well thou know'st, in us the old and young
Have play'd together, nor with me didst thou
Lack any pleasure which a boy can know.

Luke had a manly heart; but at these words
He sobb'd aloud; the Old Man grasp'd his hand,
And said, "Nay do not take it so--I see
That these are things of which I need not speak.
--Even to the utmost I have been to thee
A kind and a good Father: and herein
I but repay a gift which I myself
Receiv'd at others' hands, for, though now old
Beyond the common life of man, I still
Remember them who lov'd me in my youth."

Both of them sleep together: here they liv'd
As all their Forefathers had done, and when
At length their time was come, they were not loth
To give their bodies to the family mold.
I wish'd that thou should'st live the life they liv'd.
But 'tis a long time to look back, my Son,
And see so little gain from sixty years.
These fields were burthen'd when they came to me;
'Till I was forty years of age, not more
Than half of my inheritance was mine.

"I toil'd and toil'd; God bless'd me in my work,
And 'till these three weeks past the land was free.
--It looks as if it never could endure
Another Master. Heaven forgive me, Luke,
If I judge ill for thee, but it seems good
That thou should'st go." At this the Old Man paus'd,
Then, pointing to the Stones near which they stood,
Thus, after a short silence, he resum'd:
"This was a work for us, and now, my Son,
It is a wo
Mateuš Conrad Sep 2016
they (yeah, the paranoid pronoun, esp. in how it's used for abstract coordinates, concretely? conformists) decided it was easier to fill a psychiatrist's gob with my presence, and for psychiatrists to pay the mortgage with someone who they termed schizophrenic, forgetting the fact that the person in question was bilingual - odd how humanists confuse bilingualism with schizophrenia, maybe a coin flip later and we'd get biphrenic? that's pushing it, but it just might work to describe an atom evolved into a human form... basically in two places at the same time: confederacy of archaeological theology - and by being in two places, behaving differently in each stated sphere of observation... that's it though! theology translates as archaeology in science, excavating the designation of the argument of the spider and the spiderweb, the perfect yoga instructor, one position fits all... because scientific positivism is dead... it's dead... we're experiencing a transition into scientific negativism, mainly because there's a plumber's conundrum of a blocked fact-machine... which turned out to be a fat-machine... we're just hearing the same ****, over and over again.

i never knew it, but when humanism was born
it came across the challenges of
Darwinism (Aristotle's footnote),
with all due respect for humanism
though,
             humanism gave us
the most apathetic formulation of
any faith at all...
and do you see a rebellion happening
anywhere concerning this?
i see a bunch of ****-naked Amazonian
nomads singing the huh? huh?! song...
esp. when they see safety-hats and
tractors... me? i live in the
outer suburbs of a Greek city-state...
when you're walking down the
street and see a bare chested driver
of a tractor, and a loser (me) drinking beer
while the police pass by in their cruiser
and don't give a ****... well...
welcome to the Fe (iron) Fe Fe feral land...
(almost a sneeze, but not quiet)
metro-****** pinkies anywhere?
no... root that **** into your brains
you urban wankers... stay there,
rot... keep up the debauchery of
Beckton's recycling centre...
oh sure, keep the theatres open,
with Simon & Garfunkel applause of song...
like ballerinas and fat operas needed
an exercise regime...
Darwinism is brutal enough,
it's brutal, it's not pretty,
looking at it from a creationist perspective
you'll only get brutality from it,
only an Zimbabwe born englishman would
care to champion it... oh look!
a monkey ******* a ferret!
i cried today... my female cat was inspired
when a squirrel started doing gymnastics
on my garden fence, one paw tucked against
its chest... i haven't seen a squirrel in my
garden for a while, i've shown her a hedgehog
once, but a squirrel? try catching a squirrel!
it's like catching the ******* of a mosquito
wearing boxing gloves... or Zeno...
i cried my eyes out, by a squirrel...
acrobatic rats that hate throngs...
the simplest of things bring the greatest of joys,
and a consistency in thinking about
death make the simple assurances of mortality
so much more appreciated...
of course i think about death... why wouldn't
i? so this homeless man has a tent...
they're dragging them in, he says:
i haven't done anything wrong...
the military-industrial complex isn't secular at all...
psychiatrists are the complex's priests...
they're looking for subjects to ensure they earn
while giving oral *** to pharmaceutical companies...
and that's the *cul de sac
truth -
no, wait... humanism's religious doctrine is
Darwinism, can't deviate from that,
keep a kettle and a sun on the same timescale,
i'm Caribbean lazy though...
you with beer and joint, me with beer and another
and another beer and an Apache echo impression
of echoing-yawn,
we have evolved past mating calls of animals...
all we have are warring calls... la la la for simplicity...
or in verse of new Zealander Haka:
                           ****, have no funny lyrics...
where was Darwinism when mating calls became
subtle and we exchanged mating calls for warring chants?
where was Darwinism then?
you telling me i have to own a watch, a mansion,
a nice car and enough money for a child's private
education to make one at all? pretty subtle
and all the more less colourful... you can ask me:
where was god when the Holocaust happened...
i'd reply: where was a decent joke?
apparently Moses died from laughter...
now i'm stuck with having to proof read
the first print of my book... that's going to be
agonising... i hate rereading my work...
and aren't we in a standing still position,
on an escalator, or the journalists are gullible,
i mean they're worse than pigs, they're eating
regurgitated facts... they're the ones that always
end up saying: if it ain't broken, break it...
that's their magnum opus fixation, and
the recycling bin... that's what they're there for,
i bet you a hundred quid that Putin's tears
would have turned into diamonds if they fell
on St. Basil's onion domes...
all these ****-incubating-real-emotion
calculators of the English parliament are worth
a psychiatric sketch show... punchline?
you ain't ever ever getting out, ha ha!
Darwinism is cruel, and people sort of like
the whips of a static history, sometimes they come back
to the 17th century and make a television program,
sometimes they have a chance encounter
to cite something from the only century that can
be experienced with anatomical dissection skill:
namely the 20th, or to be accurate, the 2nd half
of the 20th century... most of the time they haven't
the foggiest about history these days,
they're either electron-clouds of electron-orbits,
ping-pong between these two conceptions...
they're always pro-neutral (proton-neutron
centre) - and indeed the tetragrammaton invested
in Ke$ha... ka-ching! sz sh sharpener of wit...
got to love tactical pop, or the caveman ontological
obituary of buying alkaline batteries...
i bought alkaline batteries last year,
which technically makes me a caveman...
compact disks make me a caveman...
books make me a caveman... i'm a ******* caveman!
drag my woman by her hair...
what a great Darwinism provides,
we're all comparatively stone-age...
i love how we just made all history between that
into cf. snippets, and how the caveman attitude
is supposedly a ****** pill to supercharge our
attitudes into beastly thumps and gurgles and
elbows up the **** thrills...
Darwinism is cruel, Darwinism is currently the
theology of humanism... but once upon a time
the religious aspect (or in humanism's behaviour prescription)
was ascribed to one hour on Sunday...
now we're sorta stuck in a church, 24 / 7...
now we're all our own ritual makers...
we have the holy communions of buying a certain
type of coffee in a shop, or it's called curry Friday
and Saturday takeaway randomisation,
gathering the ready-meals Sunday to Thursday...
everyone having the busiest of lives...
if religion is dead, then i must be a nun.
i don't think Darwinism actually attacked theology...
some people are proper pranksters with
the notion that Darwinism attacked theology,
some get to play Jesus in some biblical theme park...
what i think Darwinism damaged, primarily,
is history... if journalists keep spanning
historical references from here & now and
that greatest ontological excuse: caveman once,
Chanel model no. 2, we'll surely sell many
more shaving equipment tools and sanity pills as we go
along into 24h / insomnia society...
me? i'm out... i'll be keeping my imagination
honed toward the Faroe Islands, along with my sanity.
PJ Poesy May 2016
}I{
“Sinuhe”

King Khety is blinking madly
Haruspex has left him ominous oracle
Sinuhe is on his return, fugitive no more
Sinuhe brings with him enemy’s daughter
Not prize, Nefru his wife and Libyan lore
Sinuhe from slavery came, poet she did adore

Egyptian tombs do tell in detail
Hieroglyphic tales, this juncture of peril
Khety not King, but Sinuhe’s noble brother
Knows true King come to claim throne
Sinuhe the nobler, knows a life of none other
Than slave sold by Odious, the step-mother

Yes Queen Odious, deep in den of asps
Collected poison venom to undue her marriage
To Sinuhe’s father Merikare, Pharaoh of Moon
Odious’ ghastly act nearly tore Egypt in two
Her derangement sent Sinuhe far across sand dune
Odious took crown, added gilded teeth of baboon

Made her son King, though he did implore
Khety saw insanity and for what, he was in store
Khety remembers his Great Father’s words
“The heart of someone who listens to his temper
Is doomed to follow the stink of camel herds
Better to let heart fly upon sky, as do birds”

Yet by years tormented, Khety became undone
More like his mother and even more sniveling
Than the Odious one, so he did as he was told
Incessant dribbling marked a life for him
He minded his words lest he knew he’d be sold
Mother’s high priest Abhorus was bitter and cold

Sinuhe’s struggles were unknown to King Khety
Years of near starvation and wearisome labor
Made Sinuhe the better man, as he did never forget
Assurances of his noblest Father, Pharaoh Merikare
Virtue ascribed, Sinuhe kept valor in each trial met
Furthermore, his noblest task still to come as of yet



}II{
“Numidian Queen”

Nefru, Numidian Queen to Land of Libya
Recalls young slave Sinuhe’s hostility to captivity
His intelligence overcoming, who once would be King
Of Egypt had not violent arm but ferocious mind
Using wit to overcome adversity and words he did sing
To free his self of internment and all oddity it did bring

Nefru looks upon loyal husband Sinuhe
It is an arduous journey this man has taken
Her commitment be bound now by ivory ring
Loyalty to this man before all forsaken
It is spring, and amongst abundant life come dead things
Fledgling birds first flight failed or so siblings did fling

Now swept into his pilgrimage, Nefru perceives
All adversity Sinuhe did overcome so nobly
To her, he is chukar, partridge of rare plumage
It is to the ground, which this bird be bound
Never reaching sky, low brush be its’ *******
Though its’ song give to her heart an anlage

Freedom from slavery, is Sinuhe’s triumph
Vindication of crown be the mark of new flight
He prays to Horus Behudety, Winged Sun God
Nefru knows of her husband’s will and might
She gifts to him her father’s pinioned golden rod
Scepter of enslaver Mehru, and his feathered shod

It was not of great agreement by Mehru
Should his daughter Nefru marry a slave?
Much less to son of Merikare, an arch enemy
Yet he be so brave, impressions of Sinuhe’s strength
Be made so to change, very nature Sinuhe’s destiny
So much so, Mehru did lament in Merikare’s elegy

So it came to be, a slave marries Queen
Sinuhe and Nefru’s love broke all patterns
Such a love to win hearts of, Gods and Goddess’ unseen
Who rule other worlds and all rings of Saturn
History had never known affection so purely clean
Gatherings from far off fields came to witness such glean



}III{
“Haruspex And Detritus”

Haruspex, soothsayer speaks in half-truths
King Khety believes only small contingent
Be on way to Byblos, presently approaching Qedem
Little does he know, armies of Elephant in tow
Masses of feathered and golden archer’s stem
Blessed by breath of Bat, Goddess and her phlegm

Detritus, Animal Man, hired scout to King Khety
Possesses claws and hair of lion, his home Serengeti
Animal Man’s mane is thrashed in thorns and rubble
Smells of cat ***** but has nose that knows much
Such why Detritus be tolerated, though be much trouble
Haruspex twists tale of tailed man, speaks of him double

Calls him lazy, shiftless, yet Haruspex be cryptic mess
Detritus be banal yes, but true to Khety none the less
Knew his father well, Merikare be his master
It was always Queen Odious, Detritus distrusted
Knowing her demonic betrayal and Egypt’s disaster
She kept him in gypsum cave, scratching alabaster

Kindness had left this Kingdom sometime ago
When Odious and Abhorus overthrew rule
Merikare Moon Pharaoh mummy cry from tomb
Sinuhe ripped from his side by Abhorus
His funeral a very mockery and Detritus’ doom
Haruspex made way from Libya, eyes mucous rheum

Planted by Mehru, Haruspex be sent through desert
King of Libya be wise, sent this oracle as disguise
Not soothsayer at all but spy of opposition
King Mehru knew upon Moon Pharaoh’s death
Peace upon land would not soon come to position
Quickly he sent Haruspex, strangest magician

Detritus knew by the first smell of him
Haruspex came from earth west, not with best
Intentions to natural order of land and sky
And this test of two egos be quite perplexed
With each other and another reason why
This brawny epic riled through years gone by



}IV{
“Ode ‘O’ Odious”

Motioning her battalions, priests and beasts
Evil Queen who overthrow, joins Abhorus’ feast
Beldams be this clergy, **** all about Odious
Snapping of rabbits heads in cacophony of blood
Plunking chalices of malice’s, sacrifices melodious
All in dark chamber halls in depth’s commodious

Stretching of intestine to fine tune harp
Butchers waylay innards with daggers sharp
Mawkish music be Odious’ fame
Concavity’s entrance a perilous scarp
Passers-by enticed by bergamot oil’s flame
Fall to their death to be eaten by dame

Ode ‘O’ Odious, Ode ‘O’ Odious
Drunken mayhap through day and nightcap
She rumpus muck, she ruckus all luck
Ode ‘O’ Odious, Ode ‘O’ Odious
Chambers fill with all matter of bile guck
Bites cobra tails, hooded heads protrude to ****

Death be her power to innocence’s pain
Queen Odious oblivious to her own danger
Seems unstoppable to submissive subjugates
Spinning her terror, cackle calls to maidens
Fem ferocious, how ‘O’ Odious undulates
Casualties collected in long hundredweights

Probity of her high priest be none
Abhorus puppets Odious and will be done
With her second rare blue water lilies run out
The Nile produces this flower of intoxication
Extinction of it is of all certainty, no doubt
Named after her, O Odious flora beguiles lout

Ode ‘O’ Odious, Ode ‘O’ Odious
It is Evil Sorceress and midnight blue flower
Power of it be all in her high flighty head
She misuses its’ tincture to her own final hour
Harvesting it foolishly, nearly till it is dead
And when it is, it will be to all worlds’ dread



}V{
“Oasis In Iaa”

Sinuhe receives word elephants parched
Water need be found, arduous trek campaigned
Nefru never witness such worry, Sinuhe’s face
Ox tail be split to drain nourishment from beasts
No water for miles, no sea birds upon sky to trace
Sinuhe prays, “Montu, God of War find oasis to race!”

Sekhmet, Archer Goddess visits Nefru
Great Lady is besieged by dessert’s spell
Hallucinations bring mirage to Nefru’s sight
Transfixed on dessert’s horizon her eyes
Contingents warriors, bands of archer’s fright
Paths set forth, only to journey by starlit night

At dawn Sinuhe strands his band
Takes his most devoted men of arms
Bhaktu, Parsi, Rhaktu, follow their Lord
Each having faith in man and his wisdom
Eastward they find Syrian tribe in horde
They are welcomed, none need draw sword

Master of Syrian tribe Abu Sefa
Understands who Sinuhe is and was
Orders falconers to find Nefru and throng
Apprises Sinuhe of oasis beyond hummocks
All are soon joined together in wine and song
Oasis found, Iaa, fruited land and lagoon long

Khety is warned of revelry in Iaa
Sends legions Egyptian arms, by order Odious
Anubis, jackal head God given zebra sacrifice
Detritus employed for battle with spears
Copper shields, mediocrity will not suffice
All swords be sharpened by order thrice

Lifeblood battle of Egypt ensues
Sinuhe taken off guard in Iaa,
Elephant screams to be heard for miles
Bhaktu cut down, Rhaktu not found
Parsi’s archers never saw such trials
From lagoons come seething crocodiles



}VI{
Twist Of Fate

Rensi was chosen by Abhorus to speak for Khety
As High Priest, Abhorus did most doling of employs
This proxy Rensi though, be mockery of King
His speech more stammered than Khety’s noise
Grossly disfigured as well, soundings as mice sing
Rensi aware of this, musters all dignity he may bring

Perigee moon at present, o howling now
Hyena laughing at dissertation of Khety’s proxy
Ill ease overcomes this Rensi, an impediment
Speech undone on terrestrial stairs to Memphis
Escalades flora, fauna; monsoons washing sediment
Tefnut, great rain goddess turns world to excrement

This not so illustrious disquisition muted
By torrent winds and torrential liquid compounds
Tefnut’s tears plunk upon all, turning mud blood
Looking out from his great house Khety embroiled
Bares soul to Sobek-Re, Crocodile God; Sun and Crud
Sobek-Re answers prayer, suspending flash flood

In Iaa, as gore of battle ensues, fate lose
As twist of tale find new bemuse and worlds infuse
Detritus sees his lost master Sinuhe encroaching peril
This recognition swells an emotion deep and confuse
Detritus bent in memories flash reacts nobly not feral
With a roar to be heard over all, clamor become sterile

Sounds of battle cease and gaze of majesty
Sinuhe seeing Detritus is overcome by sensibility
Two old beloved friends stare upon each other
Dragging swords behind each move to indemnity
Embrace of each other; secures allegiance another
Sinuhe kisses feet of Detritus; calls him “brother”

As witness to such, all weary legions unite
Moon turn blue, assured sign of Pharaoh Merikare
Mehru’s star battalions federate Moon Pharaoh’s armies
Together as one to Memphis they shall siege Khety
Overthrow Queen Odious and her sinister parties
This mainly being High Priest Abhorus’ autocracies



}VII{
Epitaph Of Detritus

Odious in lair drinks tinctures blue water lilies
Abhorus her advisor suggests only more intoxicants
Khety is shrilling at sight of this deceptive lure
Haruspex makes prophesy of Detritus’ betrayal
Khety sends hunters to trace Animal Man’s spoor
Abhorus finds more legions of archers to procure

Leaving Iaa and moving toward Memphis
Detritus is fitted by Nefru’s maidens new armor
Embroidered with gold, a striped khat is made to adorn
Detritus is humbled by Sinuhe and Nefru’s gifts
His body is perfumed and oiled; his mane then shorn
Beholden to the true King of Egypt, Detritus is sworn

Two men of different lands, both once slaves
Overcome their adversities and rise upon sun
Sinuhe and Detritus’ bond is legitimately noble
Wearing of these worlds bare them new providence
Seemingly this union appears fortuitous global
Keeping steadfast of Abhorus’s archers now mobile

In Sakkara, south of Memphis come tempest
Raining arrows as if raindrops, Sinuhe’s challenge
Detritus’ valor finds reckoning to his last will
Defending Sinuhe, Detritus falls to cumulating
By strength this virtue witnessed, Sinuhe rise still
Throwing down legions of archers, making his ****

Abhorus, Odious, and Khety with no troops left
Surrender to Sinuhe upon his return to Memphis
Odious drinks last vials blue lily tincture, expires
Abhorus struck dead by hand of Khety in resolve
Khety bows to Sinuhe and his Queen as requires
King Sinuhe , Queen Nefru read parchments and fliers

In honor of great Detritus and his noble deeds
Commissioned is greatest sculpture Animal Man
During its’ long construction, most joyful jinks
Song and dance to honor a great warrior true
Each artisan so proud to have heritage to links
Of Animal Man, Detritus, now known as Sphinx
This is my adaptation of The Tale Of Sinuhe. It is the oldest known work of Egyptian literature. This epic poem was written by me with the intent of creating a puppet opera. I hope to collaborate with other poets, musicians, artists and puppeteers to see this come to life. Between each chorus should be arias which embellish the plot and theme. If you may be interested in working on this piece, please let me know via private message. I hope to make it a collaborative work.
Mateuš Conrad Jun 2020
pop culture... yeah... that yawn...
borrowed from the t.v....

   belle delphine... makes a comeback:
                                                       ­    i'm back...

       i must be a real riddle...
                                              though...­

      there i was thinking:
sorry... i was on auto-pilot...
i started to think of...

                harley quinn -
ava max - sweet but a ******...

trouble: i know what a tease
of regret looks like...
i also know what...
a make-shift...
nazgul harem of bulgarian
looks like... too...

        a tease of regret:
a former girlfriend...
striptease of a follow-up
narrative...
very nice... oh oh so nice!

but this one is clearly not beyond:
being a push-over...
belle delphine is no harley quinn:
i.e. ******* seriously sober...
**** your entranced: drunk...
******* sober overtly sober twice...

but... for the bathwater...
and... no...
i am the omega man...
on the list... of... allowed...
men... to *****...
into a genocide tissue
of... banking on genes:
without a ****-up
mother and father sort of
narrative...

         for the drunk:
the sobering whirlwind of reality...
because when rich people
like... should... i... inject...
myself... with some... broown show-gar?!

like i once asked an aesthetician:
i guess in reverse...
i was put under the scalpel and:
the selfless dictum of medicine...
he asked me: what books?
i asked him: quo vadis?

                i thereby managed
to burn the bookmark...
who was sane enough to salvage
the book i was reading?

    clued in on the: beside the brothel
antics...
   this clearly aesthetic girl...
this money making
crazy wheel this buttocks of
supra-roulette...
   when man and death...
the trough... the rhine valley
of trenches and brick-making
tactics for the ***** pederasts
on top...
those cherries those readily...
and thereby... easily...
cusps of iced cream...

                prostitutes speaking...
their gimp and limp-sidekick...
hard-on...       "procrastinations"...
to rhyme to rap...
by the way it looks like:
to rhyme is to rap:
to rap is to rhyme:
  
cookie dough oh oh *******...
and crisp-et... cookie ok: dunking...
slippery and swoon... and sweat...
   boy george fickle...
somehow browning... and none of that...
best dead before:
there was ever a best before date...

and then....
                      MA-GI-C!

playing a game of caesar's thumb:
      versed... in pollice verso?
          how do you play a game of
caesar's thumb?

oh... well... you will require a female maine ****
cat... and some... adamant moth...
the game works... like:
you proving to the beast:
you are not... toying with the moth...
the moth is a lesser creature
to both of you...

how does one play a game of caesar's thumb?
when one only has...
an agitated moth to catch once in a while...
and a maine **** cat:
to give attention to...
with a clenched fist:
with the entombed moth trying
to wriggle its way with
a fluttering of the wings...

   there's also that female
mosquito...
clenched onto by a pinch involving
one of her leg-work limbs...
and being a female...
she pulled and tugged and made
a "dialectic" of the verbs associated
with that limb extension...
a male maine **** cat would
have made a feast of her...
like he would of the cobwebs...

she escaped with 5 legs... to her original 6...
but a month...
i can't disfigure...
too quick for the lassy...
i held the moth in my clenched
fist like a rattle of fluttering
wings teasing...
not enough...
top bored from having
the impossible catch of the night...

the moth always remains: intact...
alive...
either cat catches the moth...
or leaves ones bedroom:
with a blooming gloom
of boredome....

but that's how to keep intact
a "sanity"...
a visit to the brothel...
becomes... a typo-
       for a shop only butchers are only
allowed to... inhabit...
    the sentencing of meat...
the clarity of heaving a life
of a moth in one's clenched fist:
and there's a thirst...
of the fist: to draw that lost samble
of: the begrudged familiarity
of language: and given that...
it's all in 21st century crude / rudimentary...
and rhyme...
            
       no caged beacon of the heavens...
of a lost circumvent...
caged lottery of the rhyme
of being perpetually caged...
       for the loot of **** and cockrel loitering...
like: morn is the cry to whine!

a game of caesar's thumb...
there was once a clenched fist: and a thirst for
blood...
now... a maine **** she, cat...
and a moth... fluttering...
like... an agitated petal-wing-and-rose...
too many "bored"
marihuana junkies stalking these
english streets come twilight...
one almost bumped into...

agitated by my poker facing
the already agitating grey-ish...
by the number...
by the number:
                   what-what of...
if he be not the king george:
having to give up h'america...
then he's no helen mirren...

          a game of caesar's thumb:
any and if all be owned:
that antithesis of a game of chess...
a game of both
kings and paupers...
3D dynamic: and madmen!

"revision": belle delphine...
cold... hearted... capitalist at... brain-sizzle...
but... gravitating toward
two outlets of fiction....
   belle delphine ≠ harley quinn...
a little ******... oh so hot...
hot tender me oh my ***:
posion the daisy...
poison rose should... a rose be all
the more... already... poisoned...

a visit to the brothel:
a visit to the butcher shop:
for the cho- chop and chopping assurances...
the crooked crown on an already
crooked head...
the statue of charles II
in soho sq....
        
              i most certainly paid for much
less than this ****-tenure-of-a-tease....
but then... to have an argument...
you'd need to mingle with a bunch
of thieves... murdering slob-gatherers
of phlegm...

            poisoned red-bunch of
a wholly rosed-up affairs of loiter...
and time: such a prized dead-end of
eventuality...

            the father the god:
the sacrificial lamb...
because... god forbid she was
ever to somehow burden
a deity with a: one first...
once and a daughter...

                  ****** fun-fair for
the riddled ghosts...
       blank shot shrapnel...
                     better suited...
midnight blue of the alias black...
then at least:
best... towing two gaylords
with everyone's bet on
typo and a bullseye!

   but never... the sensibly...
      hetrosexual normative...
goody twice-tied...
shoe-and-shine:
pwetty: that girl and:
you best forget to whine!
that girl and you'd wish...
            her father was a shtalin....
because...
crude and rude...
and all that's ****...
before Lucifer peeks with
a... siamese cranium...
              
      death to all...
who have made it concise...
in making life:
hardly... a... pardon....

  yes... best equipped it making it:
magic! and all the more difficult...
but never difficult enough...
difficult enough...
when... somehow... never... citing...
an... albert fish...
needle in my pelvis...
to... exfoliate... with any...
and more... addition of...
pain as an... ******...

      i guess the plead of the shawshank
sisters drops...
it always drops...
when there's a "conflation"
of evidence...
surrounding... the lower-base...
extremity: the crab genus...
       crustaceans....
    child- this-and-that...
       ****-fiddler...
             but a cannibal to boot?!
you... talk...
or simply... electrocute said:
individual...
since... your... ******* 'ed...
is already fried by the magic
of norm-frequence...
and the already: herd... estasblished...
Norman?
you with me...
sptunik jimmy...
               you with me... cream-soda joe?
you with me...
finding aliens already bigger
than flies... the widow mantis...
blessed joseph josephine?!
*******-numb-wit?!

oh yes! all conession: avowed
to you!
               because...
who isn't...
      in russia... they vowed
to keep these cain canine brood phlegm
of an *******: freely to roam...
siberia... that was the promise...

when they would **** a birth-firvolity
of a: devil and the "by chance"...
when converting man to
the stature of elevating wolf or bear...
and all the better...
rather than... caging the odd-ball
parody of... lacklustre joke and...
moth-ball-rolling...
****-wits the: future!
supposed! narrative!
******'-h'america...
              celebrated feature of culture
most involving... a horror...
      and... bull-wrapping!
               a ******* for a skinning!
Craig Daugherty Nov 2011
A path seldom walked, it seems, overgrown by the broken
Things of this world, scattered here and there ,
Threatening to remove clear light found so deep,
So bright, at its destination end.

Where I am called, I think, by the divine, heavenly
Counsel above, to wait for feet which soon will
Tread upon this trail laid from foundation of
World, created for this moment, this meeting Divine.

So I wait, upon a bench of prayer, placed along side
By spiritual hand, knowing by chance encounter,
Laid out from beginning of time; I sit, I pray
Encounter living God, nourished by His Word,
His plan—His hope, makes mine!

I notice now, that here by bench upon which respite
Comes, paths diverge, goes every way which
Feet may trod, while still I sit, and pray, and
Wait, as those go by, no connection still, He
Enters in, through Spirit, Holy, divine!

One path is huge, and easy staggered down, no resistance
Found. The way that many want, of comfort,
Ease it seems, yet leads only to the stagnant
Waters of this world, of brokenness profound,
A bellyful of emptiness offered all around.

Others not so wide, not so easy a stroll, yet still leads
To pitfalls, shattered lives, cracked, ruined,
Destroyed. Leads to defeat, but to the feet
Walking along, not so easy to see. But lives
Crushed are offered on its way.

So, still I sit and watch, wonder why I’m here when
All surrounding me, people go, not realizing
He has put me here, as a guide, knowing path
To blissful life, a heavenly price, a toll, already
Paid by One that came, is yet to come.

I see the path, some take, bright light upon their lift-up
Face. Cool breezes of rest, refreshment, come
Tumbling down. I want to scream for all to
Take, but heavenly hand tells me to wait;

Something inside, it stirs my soul, speaks so clear,
So encouraged to my heart; a spark of His
Reflection consumes my desires, my dreams,
And makes me only His. Time is soon, I
Know—I watch with His given eyes.

I see a soul, so lost, so broken, alone, come staggering
Down this path of life upon which I’m called
To sit; to pray; to wait. I gaze upon this life—
A life of knowing defeat, without hope it
Seems—my  heart breaks as does His.

A connection made, as eyes meet, mine full of life,
Comes from Him, with eyes that know no
Peace, no calm, no serenity; eyes that are
Searching for meaning and purpose, and
Above all else, unconditional love!

The One speaks to me, my soul responds, as slowly I
Rise from this bench of mine—I seek this
Lost soul, to find a connection only He can
Provide—to walk with, to guide, to hopefully
Choose this path of life.

This lost soul, a boy so young, so broken still,
Misses the path I so long for him to take,
Choosing death, destruction, empty promises
Of Prince of this world, whispers seductively
Into his ear; he listens—Treachery!

But still, the One speaks to me, prods me to go down
The path with him for just a while. I’m scared!
Assurances come from up above, that His
Guide, His Spirit, will accompany us as we
Seek, we see, what brokenness this world offers.

I realize now, this path divine, as I look around, take
In, learn; this path can be found all along this
Path of life. And so I’m called to walk alongside
Those who do not know, who will not find, unless
Drawn by Spirit divine.

So I walk for now with this lost soul, on a journey of life,
In hopes that He will use me to introduce to path
Of heavenly hope, of lives made clean. He chooses
Wrong path now, but, oh, the hope of broken one
Discovering that path divine.
Mateuš Conrad Oct 2015
of course the age of scientific positivism
was glorious,
the hopes for curing the lamentable ivory cavity
the hopes for anaesthesia in surgery,
it was all there, with all the great minds...
but then our age came along with humanism’s negativism,
and i mean that sincerely...
if you take a concept, like god, and give it to science,
the best it can do in its parameters is take 1...
divide it by the nth term and say something like
0.000000000000000000000000000000000000000001
in relation to something else, which its a part of...
i wish i was deeply religious on this point,
but a catholic school education reminding me
to start early with ethics minding only one ethical decision,
i.e. abortion brought feminism with it...
but as one orthodox christian girl said: even without
legal rights between us... you must accept!
eh... why?
god does not belong to science, science deals with numbers
and a few words...
imagine the book of genesis: and in the beginning was a number...
any random number... let’s say six... and six correlated
with aries, taurus, gemini, cancer, leo, libra...
well that’s half missing...
this argument is starting to make me look silly...
this whole word word word... let’s quantify vocabulary for quality assurance...
it’s the q. and q. relativity, the q-q in terms of saying
(that's the coordinate parallelism between science
and human-ism, where the former states
two essentials - space & time - the latter states
its two essentials - quantity & quality;
now imagine einstein working in the humanistic medium,
it would sound something like... 'hmm
of a french novelist's output i can say as much
as: eat your j. keats and have him too):
the closest i came in comparing the greeks with the jews
is to claim that the students of the kabbalah are like the greek philosophers
in the vein of democritus... who took to a, b, c... x, y, z equivalent to atoms...
albeit phonetic atoms that gave us BIG physics of the planets
and meteros and newtonian linear(s)... and little physics... quantum stuff...
like why the romans wrote el... the greeks lambda and the hebrews lamed...
ah you know trivial stuff.
all i’m saying is that scientific atheism, in terms of using words
is, too coherent... if you want real atheism, you have to turn to the humanities,
james joyce is perfect... we don’t live in an age of scientific positivism,
we live in an age of humanistic negativism...
all this talk of extinction and nuclear weaponry,
it’s almost like a scare tactic to allow certain professions mechanisation
by robotics... i know it’s real... would the newsstand sell insensible newspapers?
again... if you deny something you’ll only end up doubting it later,
so with sartre trying to escape the cartesian dialectic if a complete and utter failure,
by denying something it’s hardly possible to erase it, make it extinct,
the faculty of memory does not allow this to happen,
so doubt re-enters and the doubting thought process revs up,
the negating thought process is only momentary, a nano-second if you will,
doubting takes aeons to consider itself un-doubted;
so i ask... coming from a scientific background, why would we
care to push scientific positivism further, given all the discoveries and
ease-of-life assurances when there’s this bulging and growing
humanistic negativism, entitled: we are the 99%! hmm?
science will not make economic strategies go away,
nor will humanism... but with humanism, at least there’s a human face
saying something... rather than science itemising everything
to fit 0 next to 1 with a dot between and call it: a tenth of a metre.

p.s. there's only one doubt of denial and it's unconscious,
because denial is a safety mechanism that automates
to provide a blockage against the world events:
*******, ******... war...
denial is automation... doubt is nurturing...
regret... well... that's natural concerning choice
in events not engaged with; honestly, there are people
who have regrets not engaging within the napoleonic wars,
thus they idolise napoleon... a bit like the neo-nazis
and the third ***** scenario... they can deny certain
aspects of the third ***** mechanisation didn't happen,
but they can't doubt it, because doubt-in-itself
is a sort of thrill
(that's covered by a blatant truism in argumentation,
which is denial, which technically robs it
of the doubt cherished for the thrill)...
'****! it happened! it really really happened!'
and then regret comes in and says: 'but you weren't there.'
then nostalgia kicks in... and that line from w. burroughs
about how you got to be an ss-man in a concentration camp:
gauge the cat's eyes out... yes, the one you petted for a month,
fed and gave affection to: gauge... the... cat's... eyes... out!
dass ist ein anführer befehl!
Steven Fortune Apr 2014
(Inspired by article below)

I.

Continuity
your filibuster egg of sand
dazzled curiosity
with creaky shell of hints
heaped upon the tedium
of knowledge's unfurl undeterred
by encyclopedic impatience

Assurances of rip(Van Winkl)ed
economics shooed paper strings of
revelation like anarchy-powered
taxes summoning a foreword
to anachronistic campaigns
of environmental friendliness

II.

Meanwhile years
have been filed down to flashes of
chronology for continuity's organic rebus

However long it took
the economic karma to fall into the
abodes of hedonistic pharaohs
it was instant

Skin that ruled behind the constitution
of allergic breath
bailed on the bones against their most
sublime intentions

Limbo-treading landlords
huddled in their mummified freeze
after breadline bashers scolded them
with the spoils of a new brand
of pyramid scheming

Robbers of the coffin palaces
stole the intimations of identity
theft from today

Immortality and freedom
were compelled to share a meaning
like estranged siblings
or bound dynasties

I(a).

Abydos
how you coyly toyed with us
with a diversion bordering on monolithic

04 23 14
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/archaeology/news/valley-of-the-other-kings-lost-dynasty-found-in-egypt-9065551.html

— The End —