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Stephen E Yocum Aug 2013
Went to the County Fair today,
I have always liked to go,
So many animals,
and things to see,
It's truly quite a show.

The Carnival Games are fun,
But certainly never free,
Most are surely rigged,
You hardly ever succeed.

There are Side Shows galore,
Some bring, right out in the open
******* clad young women for
perusal, to tease men into arousal.
But you need to pay to go inside,
To get a better peek.

Best of all though, for me,
Is the vast array of Junk Food,
Right there on display,
for everyone to see.
Forbidden none healthy stuff,
that the rest of the year,
I never get to eat.

While walking around,
The sights and the sounds,
of these many prohibited treats,
Their enticing smells do so delight,
That my stomach begins to growl.

It does not help, that huge colorfull,
signs, on each food stalls does adorn,
Advertising it's tantalizing offerings,
making them all the harder to ignore.

The combination of these deeds,
of visual, and nose sensory sensations,
Can doubtless render this person,
incredibly weak in the knees.

Next up jumps a big dilemma,
Which one thing should it be?
Pop Corn, with lots of salt and  butter,
Better yet, that fresh corn on the cobb
I see.

Look over there, Oh MY!
It's fried dough Elephant Ears, I spy,
Sprinkled with honey and cinnamon,
I seldom, almost never pass them by.

Oh YES, Bright Red Candy Apples!
A boyhood favorite of mine,
and a sure win.
An apple a day, they say,
Keeps the Doctor away,
The candy is just there for a grin.

Fried Chirreo's and Corn Dogs on a stick,
Both I could do, making that combination,
a bona fide Hat Trick.

Nachos dripping with melted cheese,
Oh sure, that's bound to please.

Pulled Pork on a bun would be kind of fun,
But the Barbeque Sauce gives me gas.

One that I'd almost forgotten,
How 'bout Candy Cotton?
A marvelous Incantation,
Sugar dropped into a machine's
whirring vat, spun like magic,  
Puff, just like that.
No slight of hand required.
Really quite a sweet sensation.

I've spent now over an hour,
Just wandering all around,
Looking at the stalls and signs.
And yet,
Still can't make up my mind.

Racked with indecision,
This perplexing dilemma,
Rests with no other,
This one is all about me.
Yet another half hour,
from the clock has expired,
and still no decision is rendered.

The day is ending,
it's nearly Six,
Not long 'till Supper Time.
Before I left home,
My wife did inform,
"It's *** Roast tonight,
your favorite,
Make sure you're here by seven!"

With a certain hesitation,
And twinge of remorse,
Disappointment etched on my face,
I turn listlessly towards my car,
With slow pace resignation,
Still pondering all those treats,
I might have had,
If it weren't for my procrastination.

Decision making,
I've been slow to admit,
Has never been my forte.

Well perhaps, No for sure.
Maybe, I'll probably come back.
Tomorrow, or even the next day.
It could, or might possibly be,
That by then, I will have thought,
this all through,
And come to some decision.
And we know he won't, poor guy,
his sort never can.
Which of the treats would you have
picked? Bet you can make up your mind.
That's an easy bet. Writers make instant
decisions all the time.
Victor D López Dec 2018
Victor D. López (October 11, 2018)

You were born five years before the beginning of the Spanish civil war and
Lived in a modest two-story home in the lower street of Fontan, facing the ocean that
Gifted you its wealth and beauty but also robbed you of your beloved and noblest eldest
Brother, Juan, who was killed while working as a fisherman out to sea at the tender age of 19.

You were a little girl much prone to crying. The neighbors would make you cry just by saying,
"Chora, neniña, chora" [Cry little girl, cry] which instantly produced inconsolable wailing.
At the age of seven or eight you were blinded by an eye Infection. The village doctor
Saved your eyesight, but not before you missed a full year of school.

You never recovered from that lost time. Your impatience and the shame of feeling left behind prevented
You from making up for lost time. Your wounded pride, the shame of not knowing what your friends knew,
Your restlessness and your inability to hold your tongue when you were corrected by your teacher created
A perfect storm that inevitably tossed your diminutive boat towards the rocks.

When still a girl, you saw Franco with his escort leave his yacht in Fontan. With the innocence of a girl
Who would never learn to hold her tongue, you asked a neighbor who was also present, "Who is that Man?"
"The Generalissimo Francisco Franco," she answered and whispered “Say ‘Viva Franco’ when he Passes by.”
With the innocence of a little girl and the arrogance of an incorrigible old soul you screamed, pointing:

"That's the Generalissimo?" followed up loud laughter, "He looks like Tom Thumb!"
A member of his protective detail approached you, raising his machine gun with the apparent intention of
Hitting you with the stock. "Leave her alone!" Franco ordered. "She is just a child — the fault is not hers."
You told that story many times in my presence, always with a smile or laughing out loud.

I don't believe you ever appreciated the possible import of that "feat" of contempt for
Authority. Could that act of derision have played some small part in their later
Coming for your father and taking him prisoner, torturing him for months and eventually
Condemning him to be executed by firing squad in the Plaza de Maria Pita?

He escaped his fate with the help of a fascist officer who freed him as I’ve noted earlier.
Such was his reputation, the power of his ideas and the esteem even of friends who did not share his views.
Such was your innocence or your psychic blind spot that you never realized your possible contribution to
His destruction. Thank God you never connected the possible impact of your words on his downfall.

You adored your dad throughout your life with a passion of which he was most deserving.
He died shortly after the end of the Spanish Civil War. A mother with ten mouths to feed
Needed help. You stepped up in response to her silent, urgent need. At the age of
Eleven you left school for the last time and began working full time.

Children could not legally work in Franco’s Spain. Nevertheless, a cousin who owned a cannery
Took pity on your situation and allowed you to work full-time in his fish cannery factory in Sada.
You earned the same salary as the adult, predominantly women workers and worked better
Than most of them with a dexterity and rapidity that served you well your entire life.

In your free time before work you carried water from the communal fountain to neighbors for a few cents.
You also made trips carrying water on your head for home and with a pail in each hand. This continued after
You began work in Cheche’s cannery. You rose long before sunrise to get the water for
Home and for the local fishermen before they left on their daily fishing trips for their personal water pails.

All of the money you earned went to your mom with great pride that a girl could provide more than the salary of a
Grown woman--at the mere cost of her childhood and education. You also washed clothes for some
Neighbors for a few cents more, with diapers for newborns always free just for the pleasure of being
Allowed to see, hold spend some time with the babies you so dearly loved you whole life through.
When you were old enough to go to the Sunday cinema and dances, you continued the
Same routine and added washing and ironed the Sunday clothes for the young fishermen
Who wanted to look their best for the weekly dances. The money from that third job was your own
To pay for weekly hairdos, the cinema and dance hall entry fee. The rest still went to your mom.

At 16 you wanted to go to emigrate to Buenos Aires to live with an aunt.
Your mom agreed to let you--provided you took your younger sister, Remedios, with you.
You reluctantly agreed. You found you also could not legally work in Buenos Aires as a minor.
So you convincingly lied about your age and got a job as a nurse’s aide at a clinic soon after your arrival.

You washed bedpans, made beds, scrubbed floors and did other similar assigned tasks
To earn enough money to pay the passage for your mom and two youngest brothers,
Sito (José) and Paco (Francisco). Later you got a job as a maid at a hotel in the resort town of
Mar del Plata whose owners loved your passion for taking care of their infant children.

You served as a maid and unpaid babysitter. Between your modest salary and
Tips as a maid you soon earned the rest of the funds needed for your mom’s and brothers’
Passage from Spain. You returned to Buenos Aires and found two rooms you could afford in an
Excellent neighborhood at an old boarding house near the Spanish Consulate in the center of the city.

Afterwards you got a job at a Ponds laboratory as a machine operator of packaging
Machines for Ponds’ beauty products. You made good money and helped to support your
Mom and brothers  while she continued working as hard as she always had in Spain,
No longer selling fish but cleaning a funeral home and washing clothing by hand.

When your brothers were old enough to work, they joined you in supporting your
Mom and getting her to retire from working outside the home.
You lived with your mom in the same home until you married dad years later,
And never lost the bad habit of stubbornly speaking your mind no matter the cost.

Your union tried to force you to register as a Peronista. Once burned twice cautious,
You refused, telling the syndicate you had not escaped one dictator to ally yourself with
Another. They threatened to fire you. When you would not yield, they threatened to
Repatriate you, your mom and brothers back to Spain.

I can’t print your reply here. They finally brought you to the general manager’s office
Demanding he fire you. You demanded a valid reason for their request.
The manager—doubtless at his own peril—refused, saying he had no better worker
Than you and that the union had no cause to demand your dismissal.

After several years of courtship, you and dad married. You had the world well in hand with
Well-paying jobs and strong savings that would allow you to live a very comfortable life.
You seemed incapable of having the children you so longed for. Three years of painful
Treatments allowed you to give me life and we lived three more years in a beautiful apartment.

I have memories from a very tender age and remember that apartment very well. But things changed
When you decided to go into businesses that soon became unsustainable in the runaway inflation and
Economic chaos of the Argentina of the early 1960’s. I remember only too well your extreme sacrifice
And dad’s during that time—A theme for another day, but not for today.

You were the hardest working person I’ve ever known. You were not afraid of any honest
Job no matter how challenging and your restlessness and competitive spirit always made you a
Stellar employee everywhere you worked no matter how hard or challenging the job.
Even at home you could not stand still unless there was someone with whom to chat awhile.

You were a truly great cook thanks in part to learning from the chef of the hotel where you had
Worked in Mar del Plata awhile—a fellow Spaniard of Basque descent who taught you many of his favorite
Dishes—Spanish and Italian specialties. You were always a terribly picky eater. But you
Loved to cook for family and friends—the more the merrier—and for special holidays.

Dad was also a terrific cook, but with a more limited repertoire. I learned to cook
With great joy from both of you at a young age. And, though neither my culinary skills nor
Any aspect of my life can match you or dad, I too am a decent cook and
Love to cook, especially for meals shared with loved ones.

You took great pleasure in introducing my friends to some of your favorite dishes such as
Cazuela de mariscos, paella marinera, caldo Gallego, stews, roasts, and your incomparable
Canelones, ñoquis, orejas, crepes, muñuelos, flan, and the rest of your long culinary repertoire.
In primary and middle school dad picked me up every day for lunch before going to work.

You and he worked the second shift and did not leave for work until around 2:00 p.m.
Many days, dad would bring a carload of classmates with me for lunch.
I remember as if it were yesterday the faces of my Jewish, Chinese, Japanese, German, Irish
And Italian friends when first introduced to octopus, Spanish tortilla, caldo Gallego, and flan.

The same was true during college and law school.  At times our home resembled an
U.N. General Assembly meeting—but always featuring food. You always treated my
Closest friends as if they were your children and a number of them to this day love
You as a second mother though they have not seen you for many years.

You had tremendous passion and affinity for being a mother (a great pity to have just one child).
It made you over-protective. You bought my clothes at an exclusive boutique. I became a
Living doll for someone denied such toys as a young girl. You would not let me out of your sight and
Kept me in a germ-free environment that eventually produced some negative health issues.

My pediatrician told you often “I want to see him with ***** finger nails and scraped knees.”
You dismissed the statement as a joke. You’d take me often to the park and to my
Favorite merry-go-round. But I had not one friend until I was seven or eight and then just one.
I did not have a real circle of friends until I was about 13 years old. Sad.

I was walking and talking up a storm in complete sentences when I was one year old.
You were concerned and took me to my pediatrician who laughed. He showed me a
Keychain and asked, “What is this Danny.” “Those are your car keys” I replied. After a longer
Evaluation he told my mom it was important to encourage and feed my curiosity.

According to you, I was unbearable (some things never change). I asked dad endless questions such as,
“Why is the sun hot? How far are the stars and what are they made of? Why
Can’t I see the reflection of a flashlight pointed at the sky at night? Why don’t airplanes
Have pontoons on top of the wheels so they can land on both water and land? Etc., etc., etc.

He would answer me patiently to the best of his ability and wait for the inevitable follow-ups.
I remember train and bus rides when very young sitting on his lap asking him a thousand Questions.
Unfortunately, when I asked you a question you could not answer, you more often than not made up an answer Rather than simply saying “I don’t know,” or “go ask dad” or even “go to hell you little monster!”

I drove you crazy. Whatever you were doing I wanted to learn to do, whether it was working on the
Sewing machine, knitting, cooking, ironing, or anything else that looked remotely interesting.
I can’t imagine your frustration. Yet you always found only joy in your little boy at all ages.
Such was your enormous love which surrounded me every day of my life and still does.

When you told me a story and I did not like the ending, such as with “Little Red Riding Hood,”
I demanded a better one and would cry interminably if I did not get it. Poor mom. What patience!
Reading or making up a story that little Danny did not approve of could be dangerous.
I remember one day in a movie theater watching the cartoons I loved (and still love).

Donald Duck came out from stage right eating a sandwich. Sitting between you and dad I asked you
For a sandwich. Rather than explaining that the sandwich was not real, that we’d go to dinner after the show
To eat my favorite steak sandwich (as usual), you simply told me that Donald Duck would soon bring me the sandwich. But when the scene changed, Donald Duck came back smacking his lips without the sandwich.

Then all hell broke loose. I wailed at the top of my lungs that Donald Duck had eaten my sandwich.
He had lied to me and not given me the promised sandwich. That was unbearable. There was
No way to console me or make me understand—too late—that Donald Duck was also hungry,
That it was his sandwich, not mine, or that what was on the screen was just a cartoon and not real.

He, Donald Duck, mi favorite Disney character (then and now) hade eaten this little boy’s Sandwich. Such a Betrayal by a loved one was inconceivable and unbearable. You and dad had to drag me out of the theater ranting And crying at the injustice at top volume. The tantrum (extremely rare for me then, less so now) went on for awhile, but all was well again when my beloved Aunt Nieves gave me a ******* with jam and told me Donald had sent it.

So much water under the bridge. Your own memories, like smoke in a soft breeze, have dissipated
Into insubstantial molecules like so many stars in the night sky that paint no coherent picture.
An entire life of vital conversations turned to the whispers of children in a violent tropical storm,
Insubstantial, imperceptible fragments—just a dream that interrupts an eternal nightmare.

That is your life today. Your memory was always prodigious. You knew the name of every person
You ever met, and those of their family members. You could recall entire conversations word for word.
Three years of schooling proved more than sufficient for you to go out into the world, carving your own
Path from the Inhospitable wilderness and learning to read and write at the age of 16.

You would have been a far better lawyer than I and a fiery litigator who would have fought injustice
Wherever you found it and always defended the rights of those who cannot defend themselves,
Especially children who were always your most fervent passion. You sacrificed everything for others,
Always put yourself dead-last, and never asked for anything in return.

You were an excellent dancer and could sing like an angel. Song was your release in times of joy and
In times of pain. You did not drink or smoke or over-indulge in anything. For much of your life your only minor Indulgence was a weekly trip to the beauty parlor—even in Spain where your washing and ironing income
Paid for that. You were never vain in any way, but your self-respect required you to try to look your best.

You loved people and unlike dad who was for the most part shy, you were quite happy in the all-to-infrequent
Role as the life of the party—singing, dressing up as Charlie Chaplin or a newborn for New Year’s Eve parties with Family and close friends. A natural story-teller until dementia robbed you of the ability to articulate your thoughts,
You’d entertain anyone who would listen with anecdotes, stories, jokes and lively conversation.

In short: you were an exceptional person with a large spirit, a mischievous streak, and an enormous heart.
I know I am not objective about you, but any of your surviving friends and family members who knew you
Well will attest to this and more in a nanosecond. You had an incredibly positive, indomitable attitude
That led you to rush in where angels fear to treat not out of foolishness but out of supreme confidence.

Life handed you cartloads of lemons—enough to pickle the most ardent optimist. And you made not just
Lemonade but lemon merengue pie, lemon sorbet, lemon drops, then ground up the rind for sweetest
Rice pudding, flan, fried dough and a dozen other delicacies. And when all the lemons were gone, you sowed the Seeds from which extraordinarily beautiful lemon trees grew with fruit sweeter than grapes, plums, or cherries.

I’ve always said with great pride that you were a far better writer than I. How many excellent novels,
Plays, and poems could you have written with half of my education and three times my workload?
There is no justice in this world. Why does God give bread to those without teeth? Your
Prodigious memory no longer allows you to recognize me. I was the last person you forgot.

But even now when you cannot have a conversation in any language, Sometimes your eyes sparkle, and
You call me “neniño” (my little boy in Galician) and I know that for an instant you are no longer alone.
But too son the light fades and the darkness returns. I can only see you a few hours one day a week.
My life circumstances do not leave me another option. The visits are bitter sweet but I’m grateful for them.

Someday I won’t even have that opportunity to spend a few hours with you. You’ll have no
Monument to mark your passing save in my memory so long as reason remains. An entire
Life of incalculable sacrifice will leave behind only the poorest living legacy of love
In your son who lacks appropriate words to adequately honor your memory, and always will.


*          *          *

The day has come, too son. October 11, 2018. The call came at 3:30 am.
An hour or two after I had fallen asleep. They tried CPR in vain. There will be no more
Opportunities to say, “I Love you,” to caress your hands and face, to softly sing in your ear,
To put cream on your hands, or to hope that this week you might remember me.

No more time to tell you the accomplishments of loved ones, who I saw, what they told me,
Who asked about you this week, or to pray with you, or to ask if you would give me a kiss by putting my
Cheek close to your lips, to feel joy when you graced me with many little kisses in response,
Or tell you “Maybe next time” when as more often than not the case for months you did not respond.

In saying good bye I’d give you the kiss and hug Alice always sent you,
Followed by three more kisses on the forehead from dad (he always gave you three) and one from me.
I’d leave the TV on to a channel with people and no sound and when possible
Wait for you to close your eyes before leaving.

Time has run out. No further extensions are possible. My prayers change from asking God to protect
You and by His Grace allow you to heal a little bit each day to praying that God protect your
Soul and dad’s and that He allow you to rest in peace in His kingdom. I miss you and Dad very much
And will do so as long as God grants me the gift of reason. I never knew what it is to be alone. I do now.

Four years seeing your blinding light reduced to a weak flickering candle in total darkness.
Four years fearing that you might be aware of your situation.
Four years praying that you would not feel pain, sadness or loneliness.
Four years learning to say goodbye. The rest of my life now waiting in the hope of seeing you again.

I love you mom, with all my heart, always and forever.
Written originally in Spanish and translated into English with minor additions on my mom's passing (October 2018).
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping—rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
        Only this and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore—
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
        Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
“’Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door—
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;—
    This it is and nothing more.”

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping—tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door:—
      Darkness there and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering,
  fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore!”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”
      Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon I heard again a tapping, somewhat louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore—
Let my heart be still a moment, and this mystery explore;—
    ’Tis the wind and nothing more.”

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he: not an instant stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door—
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door—
    Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no
  craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore—
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
      Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door—
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
      With such name as “Nevermore.”

But the Raven, sitting lonely on that placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered—not a feather then he fluttered—
Till I scarcely more than muttered, “Other friends have flown before—
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.”
      Then the bird said, “Nevermore.”

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore—
Till the dirges of his Hope the melancholy burden bore
    Of ‘Never—nevermore.’”

But the Raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and
  door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore—
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
    Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my *****’s core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,
      She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
“Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath
  sent thee
Respite—respite aad nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!”
      Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!—
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted—
On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore—
Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!”
    Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore—
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”
      Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked,
  upstarting—
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
    Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
    Shall be lifted—nevermore!
Late, my grandson! half the morning have I paced these sandy tracts,
Watch'd again the hollow ridges roaring into cataracts,

Wander'd back to living boyhood while I heard the curlews call,
I myself so close on death, and death itself in Locksley Hall.

So--your happy suit was blasted--she the faultless, the divine;
And you liken--boyish babble--this boy-love of yours with mine.

I myself have often babbled doubtless of a foolish past;
Babble, babble; our old England may go down in babble at last.

'Curse him!' curse your fellow-victim? call him dotard in your rage?
Eyes that lured a doting boyhood well might fool a dotard's age.

Jilted for a wealthier! wealthier? yet perhaps she was not wise;
I remember how you kiss'd the miniature with those sweet eyes.

In the hall there hangs a painting--Amy's arms about my neck--
Happy children in a sunbeam sitting on the ribs of wreck.

In my life there was a picture, she that clasp'd my neck had flown;
I was left within the shadow sitting on the wreck alone.

Yours has been a slighter ailment, will you sicken for her sake?
You, not you! your modern amourist is of easier, earthlier make.

Amy loved me, Amy fail'd me, Amy was a timid child;
But your Judith--but your worldling--she had never driven me wild.

She that holds the diamond necklace dearer than the golden ring,
She that finds a winter sunset fairer than a morn of Spring.

She that in her heart is brooding on his briefer lease of life,
While she vows 'till death shall part us,' she the would-be-widow wife.

She the worldling born of worldlings--father, mother--be content,
Ev'n the homely farm can teach us there is something in descent.

Yonder in that chapel, slowly sinking now into the ground,
Lies the warrior, my forefather, with his feet upon the hound.

Cross'd! for once he sail'd the sea to crush the Moslem in his pride;
Dead the warrior, dead his glory, dead the cause in which he died.

Yet how often I and Amy in the mouldering aisle have stood,
Gazing for one pensive moment on that founder of our blood.

There again I stood to-day, and where of old we knelt in prayer,
Close beneath the casement crimson with the shield of Locksley--there,

All in white Italian marble, looking still as if she smiled,
Lies my Amy dead in child-birth, dead the mother, dead the child.

Dead--and sixty years ago, and dead her aged husband now--
I this old white-headed dreamer stoopt and kiss'd her marble brow.

Gone the fires of youth, the follies, furies, curses, passionate tears,
Gone like fires and floods and earthquakes of the planet's dawning years.

Fires that shook me once, but now to silent ashes fall'n away.
Cold upon the dead volcano sleeps the gleam of dying day.

Gone the tyrant of my youth, and mute below the chancel stones,
All his virtues--I forgive them--black in white above his bones.

Gone the comrades of my bivouac, some in fight against the foe,
Some thro' age and slow diseases, gone as all on earth will go.

Gone with whom for forty years my life in golden sequence ran,
She with all the charm of woman, she with all the breadth of man,

Strong in will and rich in wisdom, Edith, yet so lowly-sweet,
Woman to her inmost heart, and woman to her tender feet,

Very woman of very woman, nurse of ailing body and mind,
She that link'd again the broken chain that bound me to my kind.

Here to-day was Amy with me, while I wander'd down the coast,
Near us Edith's holy shadow, smiling at the slighter ghost.

Gone our sailor son thy father, Leonard early lost at sea;
Thou alone, my boy, of Amy's kin and mine art left to me.

Gone thy tender-natured mother, wearying to be left alone,
Pining for the stronger heart that once had beat beside her own.

Truth, for Truth is Truth, he worshipt, being true as he was brave;
Good, for Good is Good, he follow'd, yet he look'd beyond the grave,

Wiser there than you, that crowning barren Death as lord of all,
Deem this over-tragic drama's closing curtain is the pall!

Beautiful was death in him, who saw the death, but kept the deck,
Saving women and their babes, and sinking with the sinking wreck,

Gone for ever! Ever? no--for since our dying race began,
Ever, ever, and for ever was the leading light of man.

Those that in barbarian burials ****'d the slave, and slew the wife,
Felt within themselves the sacred passion of the second life.

Indian warriors dream of ampler hunting grounds beyond the night;
Ev'n the black Australian dying hopes he shall return, a white.

Truth for truth, and good for good! The Good, the True, the Pure, the Just--
Take the charm 'For ever' from them, and they crumble into dust.

Gone the cry of 'Forward, Forward,' lost within a growing gloom;
Lost, or only heard in silence from the silence of a tomb.

Half the marvels of my morning, triumphs over time and space,
Staled by frequence, shrunk by usage into commonest commonplace!

'Forward' rang the voices then, and of the many mine was one.
Let us hush this cry of 'Forward' till ten thousand years have gone.

Far among the vanish'd races, old Assyrian kings would flay
Captives whom they caught in battle--iron-hearted victors they.

Ages after, while in Asia, he that led the wild Moguls,
Timur built his ghastly tower of eighty thousand human skulls,

Then, and here in Edward's time, an age of noblest English names,
Christian conquerors took and flung the conquer'd Christian into flames.

Love your enemy, bless your haters, said the Greatest of the great;
Christian love among the Churches look'd the twin of heathen hate.

From the golden alms of Blessing man had coin'd himself a curse:
Rome of Caesar, Rome of Peter, which was crueller? which was worse?

France had shown a light to all men, preach'd a Gospel, all men's good;
Celtic Demos rose a Demon, shriek'd and slaked the light with blood.

Hope was ever on her mountain, watching till the day begun--
Crown'd with sunlight--over darkness--from the still unrisen sun.

Have we grown at last beyond the passions of the primal clan?
'**** your enemy, for you hate him,' still, 'your enemy' was a man.

Have we sunk below them? peasants maim the helpless horse, and drive
Innocent cattle under thatch, and burn the kindlier brutes alive.

Brutes, the brutes are not your wrongers--burnt at midnight, found at morn,
Twisted hard in mortal agony with their offspring, born-unborn,

Clinging to the silent mother! Are we devils? are we men?
Sweet St. Francis of Assisi, would that he were here again,

He that in his Catholic wholeness used to call the very flowers
Sisters, brothers--and the beasts--whose pains are hardly less than ours!

Chaos, Cosmos! Cosmos, Chaos! who can tell how all will end?
Read the wide world's annals, you, and take their wisdom for your friend.

Hope the best, but hold the Present fatal daughter of the Past,
Shape your heart to front the hour, but dream not that the hour will last.

Ay, if dynamite and revolver leave you courage to be wise:
When was age so cramm'd with menace? madness? written, spoken lies?

Envy wears the mask of Love, and, laughing sober fact to scorn,
Cries to Weakest as to Strongest, 'Ye are equals, equal-born.'

Equal-born? O yes, if yonder hill be level with the flat.
Charm us, Orator, till the Lion look no larger than the Cat,

Till the Cat thro' that mirage of overheated language loom
Larger than the Lion,--Demos end in working its own doom.

Russia bursts our Indian barrier, shall we fight her? shall we yield?
Pause! before you sound the trumpet, hear the voices from the field.

Those three hundred millions under one Imperial sceptre now,
Shall we hold them? shall we loose them? take the suffrage of the plow.

Nay, but these would feel and follow Truth if only you and you,
Rivals of realm-ruining party, when you speak were wholly true.

Plowmen, Shepherds, have I found, and more than once, and still could find,
Sons of God, and kings of men in utter nobleness of mind,

Truthful, trustful, looking upward to the practised hustings-liar;
So the Higher wields the Lower, while the Lower is the Higher.

Here and there a cotter's babe is royal-born by right divine;
Here and there my lord is lower than his oxen or his swine.

Chaos, Cosmos! Cosmos, Chaos! once again the sickening game;
Freedom, free to slay herself, and dying while they shout her name.

Step by step we gain'd a freedom known to Europe, known to all;
Step by step we rose to greatness,--thro' the tonguesters we may fall.

You that woo the Voices--tell them 'old experience is a fool,'
Teach your flatter'd kings that only those who cannot read can rule.

Pluck the mighty from their seat, but set no meek ones in their place;
Pillory Wisdom in your markets, pelt your offal at her face.

Tumble Nature heel o'er head, and, yelling with the yelling street,
Set the feet above the brain and swear the brain is in the feet.

Bring the old dark ages back without the faith, without the hope,
Break the State, the Church, the Throne, and roll their ruins down the *****.

Authors--essayist, atheist, novelist, realist, rhymester, play your part,
Paint the mortal shame of nature with the living hues of Art.

Rip your brothers' vices open, strip your own foul passions bare;
Down with Reticence, down with Reverence--forward--naked--let them stare.

Feed the budding rose of boyhood with the drainage of your sewer;
Send the drain into the fountain, lest the stream should issue pure.

Set the maiden fancies wallowing in the troughs of Zolaism,--
Forward, forward, ay and backward, downward too into the abysm.

Do your best to charm the worst, to lower the rising race of men;
Have we risen from out the beast, then back into the beast again?

Only 'dust to dust' for me that sicken at your lawless din,
Dust in wholesome old-world dust before the newer world begin.

Heated am I? you--you wonder--well, it scarce becomes mine age--
Patience! let the dying actor mouth his last upon the stage.

Cries of unprogressive dotage ere the dotard fall asleep?
Noises of a current narrowing, not the music of a deep?

Ay, for doubtless I am old, and think gray thoughts, for I am gray:
After all the stormy changes shall we find a changeless May?

After madness, after massacre, Jacobinism and Jacquerie,
Some diviner force to guide us thro' the days I shall not see?

When the schemes and all the systems, Kingdoms and Republics fall,
Something kindlier, higher, holier--all for each and each for all?

All the full-brain, half-brain races, led by Justice, Love, and Truth;
All the millions one at length with all the visions of my youth?

All diseases quench'd by Science, no man halt, or deaf or blind;
Stronger ever born of weaker, lustier body, larger mind?

Earth at last a warless world, a single race, a single tongue--
I have seen her far away--for is not Earth as yet so young?--

Every tiger madness muzzled, every serpent passion ****'d,
Every grim ravine a garden, every blazing desert till'd,

Robed in universal harvest up to either pole she smiles,
Universal ocean softly washing all her warless Isles.

Warless? when her tens are thousands, and her thousands millions, then--
All her harvest all too narrow--who can fancy warless men?

Warless? war will die out late then. Will it ever? late or soon?
Can it, till this outworn earth be dead as yon dead world the moon?

Dead the new astronomy calls her. . . . On this day and at this hour,
In this gap between the sandhills, whence you see the Locksley tower,

Here we met, our latest meeting--Amy--sixty years ago--
She and I--the moon was falling greenish thro' a rosy glow,

Just above the gateway tower, and even where you see her now--
Here we stood and claspt each other, swore the seeming-deathless vow. . . .

Dead, but how her living glory lights the hall, the dune, the grass!
Yet the moonlight is the sunlight, and the sun himself will pass.

Venus near her! smiling downward at this earthlier earth of ours,
Closer on the Sun, perhaps a world of never fading flowers.

Hesper, whom the poet call'd the Bringer home of all good things.
All good things may move in Hesper, perfect peoples, perfect kings.

Hesper--Venus--were we native to that splendour or in Mars,
We should see the Globe we groan in, fairest of their evening stars.

Could we dream of wars and carnage, craft and madness, lust and spite,
Roaring London, raving Paris, in that point of peaceful light?

Might we not in glancing heavenward on a star so silver-fair,
Yearn, and clasp the hands and murmur, 'Would to God that we were there'?

Forward, backward, backward, forward, in the immeasurable sea,
Sway'd by vaster ebbs and flows than can be known to you or me.

All the suns--are these but symbols of innumerable man,
Man or Mind that sees a shadow of the planner or the plan?

Is there evil but on earth? or pain in every peopled sphere?
Well be grateful for the sounding watchword, 'Evolution' here,

Evolution ever climbing after some ideal good,
And Reversion ever dragging Evolution in the mud.

What are men that He should heed us? cried the king of sacred song;
Insects of an hour, that hourly work their brother insect wrong,

While the silent Heavens roll, and Suns along their fiery way,
All their planets whirling round them, flash a million miles a day.

Many an aeon moulded earth before her highest, man, was born,
Many an aeon too may pass when earth is manless and forlorn,

Earth so huge, and yet so bounded--pools of salt, and plots of land--
Shallow skin of green and azure--chains of mountain, grains of sand!

Only That which made us, meant us to be mightier by and by,
Set the sphere of all the boundless Heavens within the human eye,

Sent the shadow of Himself, the boundless, thro' the human soul;
Boundless inward, in the atom, boundless outward, in the Whole.

                                                *

Here is Locksley Hall, my grandson, here the lion-guarded gate.
Not to-night in Locksley Hall--to-morrow--you, you come so late.

Wreck'd--your train--or all but wreck'd? a shatter'd wheel? a vicious boy!
Good, this forward, you that preach it, is it well to wish you joy?

Is it well that while we range with Science, glorying in the Time,
City children soak and blacken soul and sense in city slime?

There among the glooming alleys Progress halts on palsied feet,
Crime and hunger cast our maidens by the thousand on the street.

There the Master scrimps his haggard sempstress of her daily bread,
There a single sordid attic holds the living and the dead.

There the smouldering fire of fever creeps across the rotted floor,
And the crowded couch of ****** in the warrens of the poor.

Nay, your pardon, cry your 'forward,' yours are hope and youth, but I--
Eighty winters leave the dog too lame to follow with the cry,

Lame and old, and past his time, and passing now into the night;
Yet I would the rising race were half as eager for the light.

Light the fading gleam of Even? light the glimmer of the dawn?
Aged eyes may take the growing glimmer for the gleam withdrawn.

Far away beyond her myriad coming changes earth will be
Something other than the wildest modern guess of you and me.

Earth may reach her earthly-worst, or if she gain her earthly-best,
Would she find her human offspring this ideal man at rest?

Forward then, but still remember how the course of Time will swerve,
Crook and turn upon itself in many a backward streaming curve.

Not the Hall to-night, my grandson! Death and Silence hold their own.
Leave the Master in the first dark hour of his last sleep alone.

Worthier soul was he than I am, sound and honest, rustic Squire,
Kindly landlord, boon companion--youthful jealousy is a liar.

Cast the poison from your *****, oust the madness from your brain.
Let the trampled serpent show you that you have not lived in vain.

Youthful! youth and age are scholars yet but in the lower school,
Nor is he the wisest man who never proved himself a fool.

Yonder lies our young sea-village--Art and Grace are less and less:
Science grows and Beauty dwindles--roofs of slated hideousness!

There is one old Hostel left us where they swing the Locksley shield,
Till the peasant cow shall **** the 'Lion passant' from his field.

Poo
Äŧül Jun 2013
I
Do not
Doubt you any
Longer.

I
Am sorry
That I doubted
You..

I
Will not
Doubt you ever
Again...
Thanks for reinforcing my trust.
I will not doubt you ever again.
And you know that baby.
And that makes me trust you even better.
Love you forever.
My HP Poem #337
©Atul Kaushal
Batya Feb 2013
I've never seen a shooting star.
The city lights are way too bright,
But should they dim somehow,
I'll wish for words to never fail.

He said he'd take me out to see
A shooting star this summer,
And when he doubtless keeps his word,
I'll wish him peace of mind.
Never happened.
High on a throne of royal state, which far
Outshone the wealth or Ormus and of Ind,
Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand
Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold,
Satan exalted sat, by merit raised
To that bad eminence; and, from despair
Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires
Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue
Vain war with Heaven; and, by success untaught,
His proud imaginations thus displayed:—
  “Powers and Dominions, Deities of Heaven!—
For, since no deep within her gulf can hold
Immortal vigour, though oppressed and fallen,
I give not Heaven for lost: from this descent
Celestial Virtues rising will appear
More glorious and more dread than from no fall,
And trust themselves to fear no second fate!—
Me though just right, and the fixed laws of Heaven,
Did first create your leader—next, free choice
With what besides in council or in fight
Hath been achieved of merit—yet this loss,
Thus far at least recovered, hath much more
Established in a safe, unenvied throne,
Yielded with full consent. The happier state
In Heaven, which follows dignity, might draw
Envy from each inferior; but who here
Will envy whom the highest place exposes
Foremost to stand against the Thunderer’s aim
Your bulwark, and condemns to greatest share
Of endless pain? Where there is, then, no good
For which to strive, no strife can grow up there
From faction: for none sure will claim in Hell
Precedence; none whose portion is so small
Of present pain that with ambitious mind
Will covet more! With this advantage, then,
To union, and firm faith, and firm accord,
More than can be in Heaven, we now return
To claim our just inheritance of old,
Surer to prosper than prosperity
Could have assured us; and by what best way,
Whether of open war or covert guile,
We now debate. Who can advise may speak.”
  He ceased; and next him Moloch, sceptred king,
Stood up—the strongest and the fiercest Spirit
That fought in Heaven, now fiercer by despair.
His trust was with th’ Eternal to be deemed
Equal in strength, and rather than be less
Cared not to be at all; with that care lost
Went all his fear: of God, or Hell, or worse,
He recked not, and these words thereafter spake:—
  “My sentence is for open war. Of wiles,
More unexpert, I boast not: them let those
Contrive who need, or when they need; not now.
For, while they sit contriving, shall the rest—
Millions that stand in arms, and longing wait
The signal to ascend—sit lingering here,
Heaven’s fugitives, and for their dwelling-place
Accept this dark opprobrious den of shame,
The prison of his ryranny who reigns
By our delay? No! let us rather choose,
Armed with Hell-flames and fury, all at once
O’er Heaven’s high towers to force resistless way,
Turning our tortures into horrid arms
Against the Torturer; when, to meet the noise
Of his almighty engine, he shall hear
Infernal thunder, and, for lightning, see
Black fire and horror shot with equal rage
Among his Angels, and his throne itself
Mixed with Tartarean sulphur and strange fire,
His own invented torments. But perhaps
The way seems difficult, and steep to scale
With upright wing against a higher foe!
Let such bethink them, if the sleepy drench
Of that forgetful lake benumb not still,
That in our porper motion we ascend
Up to our native seat; descent and fall
To us is adverse. Who but felt of late,
When the fierce foe hung on our broken rear
Insulting, and pursued us through the Deep,
With what compulsion and laborious flight
We sunk thus low? Th’ ascent is easy, then;
Th’ event is feared! Should we again provoke
Our stronger, some worse way his wrath may find
To our destruction, if there be in Hell
Fear to be worse destroyed! What can be worse
Than to dwell here, driven out from bliss, condemned
In this abhorred deep to utter woe!
Where pain of unextinguishable fire
Must exercise us without hope of end
The vassals of his anger, when the scourge
Inexorably, and the torturing hour,
Calls us to penance? More destroyed than thus,
We should be quite abolished, and expire.
What fear we then? what doubt we to incense
His utmost ire? which, to the height enraged,
Will either quite consume us, and reduce
To nothing this essential—happier far
Than miserable to have eternal being!—
Or, if our substance be indeed divine,
And cannot cease to be, we are at worst
On this side nothing; and by proof we feel
Our power sufficient to disturb his Heaven,
And with perpetual inroads to alarm,
Though inaccessible, his fatal throne:
Which, if not victory, is yet revenge.”
  He ended frowning, and his look denounced
Desperate revenge, and battle dangerous
To less than gods. On th’ other side up rose
Belial, in act more graceful and humane.
A fairer person lost not Heaven; he seemed
For dignity composed, and high exploit.
But all was false and hollow; though his tongue
Dropped manna, and could make the worse appear
The better reason, to perplex and dash
Maturest counsels: for his thoughts were low—
To vice industrious, but to nobler deeds
Timorous and slothful. Yet he pleased the ear,
And with persuasive accent thus began:—
  “I should be much for open war, O Peers,
As not behind in hate, if what was urged
Main reason to persuade immediate war
Did not dissuade me most, and seem to cast
Ominous conjecture on the whole success;
When he who most excels in fact of arms,
In what he counsels and in what excels
Mistrustful, grounds his courage on despair
And utter dissolution, as the scope
Of all his aim, after some dire revenge.
First, what revenge? The towers of Heaven are filled
With armed watch, that render all access
Impregnable: oft on the bodering Deep
Encamp their legions, or with obscure wing
Scout far and wide into the realm of Night,
Scorning surprise. Or, could we break our way
By force, and at our heels all Hell should rise
With blackest insurrection to confound
Heaven’s purest light, yet our great Enemy,
All incorruptible, would on his throne
Sit unpolluted, and th’ ethereal mould,
Incapable of stain, would soon expel
Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire,
Victorious. Thus repulsed, our final hope
Is flat despair: we must exasperate
Th’ Almighty Victor to spend all his rage;
And that must end us; that must be our cure—
To be no more. Sad cure! for who would lose,
Though full of pain, this intellectual being,
Those thoughts that wander through eternity,
To perish rather, swallowed up and lost
In the wide womb of uncreated Night,
Devoid of sense and motion? And who knows,
Let this be good, whether our angry Foe
Can give it, or will ever? How he can
Is doubtful; that he never will is sure.
Will he, so wise, let loose at once his ire,
Belike through impotence or unaware,
To give his enemies their wish, and end
Them in his anger whom his anger saves
To punish endless? ‘Wherefore cease we, then?’
Say they who counsel war; ‘we are decreed,
Reserved, and destined to eternal woe;
Whatever doing, what can we suffer more,
What can we suffer worse?’ Is this, then, worst—
Thus sitting, thus consulting, thus in arms?
What when we fled amain, pursued and struck
With Heaven’s afflicting thunder, and besought
The Deep to shelter us? This Hell then seemed
A refuge from those wounds. Or when we lay
Chained on the burning lake? That sure was worse.
What if the breath that kindled those grim fires,
Awaked, should blow them into sevenfold rage,
And plunge us in the flames; or from above
Should intermitted vengeance arm again
His red right hand to plague us? What if all
Her stores were opened, and this firmament
Of Hell should spout her cataracts of fire,
Impendent horrors, threatening hideous fall
One day upon our heads; while we perhaps,
Designing or exhorting glorious war,
Caught in a fiery tempest, shall be hurled,
Each on his rock transfixed, the sport and prey
Or racking whirlwinds, or for ever sunk
Under yon boiling ocean, wrapt in chains,
There to converse with everlasting groans,
Unrespited, unpitied, unreprieved,
Ages of hopeless end? This would be worse.
War, therefore, open or concealed, alike
My voice dissuades; for what can force or guile
With him, or who deceive his mind, whose eye
Views all things at one view? He from Heaven’s height
All these our motions vain sees and derides,
Not more almighty to resist our might
Than wise to frustrate all our plots and wiles.
Shall we, then, live thus vile—the race of Heaven
Thus trampled, thus expelled, to suffer here
Chains and these torments? Better these than worse,
By my advice; since fate inevitable
Subdues us, and omnipotent decree,
The Victor’s will. To suffer, as to do,
Our strength is equal; nor the law unjust
That so ordains. This was at first resolved,
If we were wise, against so great a foe
Contending, and so doubtful what might fall.
I laugh when those who at the spear are bold
And venturous, if that fail them, shrink, and fear
What yet they know must follow—to endure
Exile, or igominy, or bonds, or pain,
The sentence of their Conqueror. This is now
Our doom; which if we can sustain and bear,
Our Supreme Foe in time may much remit
His anger, and perhaps, thus far removed,
Not mind us not offending, satisfied
With what is punished; whence these raging fires
Will slacken, if his breath stir not their flames.
Our purer essence then will overcome
Their noxious vapour; or, inured, not feel;
Or, changed at length, and to the place conformed
In temper and in nature, will receive
Familiar the fierce heat; and, void of pain,
This horror will grow mild, this darkness light;
Besides what hope the never-ending flight
Of future days may bring, what chance, what change
Worth waiting—since our present lot appears
For happy though but ill, for ill not worst,
If we procure not to ourselves more woe.”
  Thus Belial, with words clothed in reason’s garb,
Counselled ignoble ease and peaceful sloth,
Not peace; and after him thus Mammon spake:—
  “Either to disenthrone the King of Heaven
We war, if war be best, or to regain
Our own right lost. Him to unthrone we then
May hope, when everlasting Fate shall yield
To fickle Chance, and Chaos judge the strife.
The former, vain to hope, argues as vain
The latter; for what place can be for us
Within Heaven’s bound, unless Heaven’s Lord supreme
We overpower? Suppose he should relent
And publish grace to all, on promise made
Of new subjection; with what eyes could we
Stand in his presence humble, and receive
Strict laws imposed, to celebrate his throne
With warbled hyms, and to his Godhead sing
Forced hallelujahs, while he lordly sits
Our envied sovereign, and his altar breathes
Ambrosial odours and ambrosial flowers,
Our servile offerings? This must be our task
In Heaven, this our delight. How wearisome
Eternity so spent in worship paid
To whom we hate! Let us not then pursue,
By force impossible, by leave obtained
Unacceptable, though in Heaven, our state
Of splendid vassalage; but rather seek
Our own good from ourselves, and from our own
Live to ourselves, though in this vast recess,
Free and to none accountable, preferring
Hard liberty before the easy yoke
Of servile pomp. Our greatness will appear
Then most conspicuous when great things of small,
Useful of hurtful, prosperous of adverse,
We can create, and in what place soe’er
Thrive under evil, and work ease out of pain
Through labour and endurance. This deep world
Of darkness do we dread? How oft amidst
Thick clouds and dark doth Heaven’s all-ruling Sire
Choose to reside, his glory unobscured,
And with the majesty of darkness round
Covers his throne, from whence deep thunders roar.
Mustering their rage, and Heaven resembles Hell!
As he our darkness, cannot we his light
Imitate when we please? This desert soil
Wants not her hidden lustre, gems and gold;
Nor want we skill or art from whence to raise
Magnificence; and what can Heaven show more?
Our torments also may, in length of time,
Become our elements, these piercing fires
As soft as now severe, our temper changed
Into their temper; which must needs remove
The sensible of pain. All things invite
To peaceful counsels, and the settled state
Of order, how in safety best we may
Compose our present evils, with regard
Of what we are and where, dismissing quite
All thoughts of war. Ye have what I advise.”
  He scarce had finished, when such murmur filled
Th’ assembly as when hollow rocks retain
The sound of blustering winds, which all night long
Had roused the sea, now with hoarse cadence lull
Seafaring men o’erwatched, whose bark by chance
Or pinnace, anchors in a craggy bay
After the tempest. Such applause was heard
As Mammon ended, and his sentence pleased,
Advising peace: for such another field
They dreaded worse than Hell; so much the fear
Of thunder and the sword of Michael
Wrought still within them; and no less desire
To found this nether empire, which might rise,
By policy and long process of time,
In emulation opposite to Heaven.
Which when Beelzebub perceived—than whom,
Satan except, none higher sat—with grave
Aspect he rose, and in his rising seemed
A pillar of state. Deep on his front engraven
Deliberation sat, and public care;
And princely counsel in his face yet shone,
Majestic, though in ruin. Sage he stood
With Atlantean shoulders, fit to bear
The weight of mightiest monarchies; his look
Drew audience and attention still as night
Or summer’s noontide air, while thus he spake:—
  “Thrones and Imperial Powers, Offspring of Heaven,
Ethereal Virtues! or these titles now
Must we renounce, and, changing style, be called
Princes of Hell? for so the popular vote
Inclines—here to continue, and build up here
A growing empire; doubtless! while we dream,
And know not that the King of Heaven hath doomed
This place our dungeon, not our safe retreat
Beyond his potent arm, to live exempt
From Heaven’s high jurisdiction, in new league
Banded against his throne, but to remain
In strictest *******, though thus far removed,
Under th’ inevitable curb, reserved
His captive multitude. For he, to be sure,
In height or depth, still first and last will reign
Sole king, and of his kingdom lose no part
By our revolt, but over Hell extend
His empire, and with iron sceptre rule
Us here, as with his golden those in Heaven.
What sit we then projecting peace and war?
War hath determined us and foiled with loss
Irreparable; terms of peace yet none
Vouchsafed or sought; for what peace will be given
To us enslaved, but custody severe,
And stripes and arbitrary punishment
Inflicted? and what peace can we return,
But, to our power, hostility and hate,
Untamed reluctance, and revenge, though slow,
Yet ever plotting how the Conqueror least
May reap his conquest, and may least rejoice
In doing what we most in suffering feel?
Nor will occasion want, nor shall we need
With dangerous expedition to invade
Heaven, whose high walls fear no assault or siege,
Or ambush from the Deep. What if we find
Some easier enterprise? There is a place
(If ancient and prophetic fame in Heaven
Err not)—another World, the happy seat
Of some new race, called Man, about this time
To be created like to us, though less
In power and excellence, but favoured more
Of him who rules above; so was his will
Pronounced among the Gods, and by an oath
That shook Heaven’s whole circumference confirmed.
Thither let us bend all our thoughts, to learn
What creatures there inhabit, of what mould
Or substance, how endued, and what their power
And where their weakness: how attempted best,
By force of subtlety. Though Heaven be shut,
And Heaven’s high Arbitrator sit secure
In his own strength, this place may lie exposed,
The utmost border of his kingdom, left
To their defence who hold it: here, perhaps,
Some advantageous act may be achieved
By sudden onset—either with Hell-fire
To waste his whole creation, or possess
All as our own, and drive, as we were driven,
The puny habitants; or, if not drive,
****** them to our party, that their God
May prove their foe, and with repenting hand
Abolish his own works. This would surpass
Common revenge, and interrupt his joy
In our confusion, and our joy upraise
In his disturbance; when his darling sons,
Hurled headlong to partake with us, shall curse
Their frail original, and faded bliss—
Faded so soon! Advise if this be worth
Attempting, or to sit in darkness here
Hatching vain empires.” Thus beelzebub
Pleaded his devilish counsel—first devised
By Satan, and in part proposed: for whence,
But
(For Harry Clifton)

I HAVE heard that hysterical women say
They are sick of the palette and fiddle-bow.
Of poets that are always gay,
For everybody knows or else should know
That if nothing drastic is done
Aeroplane and Zeppelin will come out.
Pitch like King Billy bomb-***** in
Until the town lie bearen flat.

All perform their tragic play,
There struts Hamlet, there is Lear,
That's Ophelia, that Cordelia;
Yet they, should the last scene be there,
The great stage curtain about to drop,
If worthy their prominent part in the play,
Do not break up their lines to weep.
They know that Hamlet and Lear are gay;
Gaiety transfiguring all that dread.
All men have aimed at, found and lost;
Black out; Heaven blazing into the head:
Tragedy wrought to its uttermost.
Though Hamlet rambles and Lear rages,
And all the drop-scenes drop at once
Upon a hundred thousand stages,
It cannot grow by an inch or an ounce.

On their own feet they came, or On shipboard,'
Camel-back; horse-back, ***-back, mule-back,
Old civilisations put to the sword.
Then they and their wisdom went to rack:
No handiwork of Callimachus,
Who handled marble as if it were bronze,
Made draperies that seemed to rise
When sea-wind swept the corner, stands;
His long lamp-chimney shaped like the stem
Of a slender palm, stood but a day;
All things fall and are built again,
And those that build them again are gay.

Two Chinamen, behind them a third,
Are carved in lapis lazuli,
Over them flies a long-legged bird,
A symbol of longevity;
The third, doubtless a serving-man,
Carries a musical instmment.

Every discoloration of the stone,
Every accidental crack or dent,
Seems a water-course or an avalanche,
Or lofty ***** where it still snows
Though doubtless plum or cherry-branch
Sweetens the little half-way house
Those Chinamen climb towards, and I
Delight to imagine them seated there;
There, on the mountain and the sky,
On all the tragic scene they stare.
One asks for mournful melodies;
Accomplished fingers begin to play.
Their eyes mid many wrinkles, their eyes,
Their ancient, glittering eyes, are gay.
Timothy Oct 2012
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
    While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visiter,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
            Only this and nothing more.”

    Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
    Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow
    From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore—
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
            Nameless here for evermore.

    And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
    So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
    “’Tis some visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door—
Some late visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door;—
            This it is and nothing more.”

    Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
    But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
    And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door;—
            Darkness there and nothing more.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
    But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
    And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”—
            Merely this and nothing more.

    Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
    “Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;
      Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore—
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;—
            ’Tis the wind and nothing more!”

    Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
    Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
    But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door—
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door—
            Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore—
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

    Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore;
    For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
    Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door—
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
            With such name as “Nevermore.”

    But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
    Nothing farther then he uttered—not a feather then he fluttered—
    Till I scarcely more than muttered “Other friends have flown before—
On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before.”
            Then the bird said “Nevermore.”

    Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store
    Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
    Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore—
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
            Of ‘Never—nevermore’.”

    But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
    Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
    Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore—
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
            Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”

    This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my *****’s core;
    This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
    On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er,
But whose velvet-violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,
            She shall press, ah, nevermore!

    Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
    “Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent thee
    Respite—respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore;
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

    “Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!—
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
    Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted—
    On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore—
Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

    “Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore—
    Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
    It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

    “Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting—
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
    Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
    Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

    And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
    And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
    And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
            Shall be lifted—nevermore!

**~Edgar Allan Poe 1809—1849~
And who shall care for that o'er which you weep
Or share the burden of this world's foredoom
Seen starkly? Behold, a haunting specter creeps
Among the binding fates spun on life's loom.
You’ll wake them not to that great misery
Which emptiness of pride has reckless wove
But pluck the web for loss and trembling
Of idols in the soul for which they strove.
Put off your glossy youth and early oaths
Devout nativity; raise up your cup
To ***** Lethe and thunder with the strokes
Of fury, treading out the ripened sup!
They will not bear to flay their sacred cows
But shades of death endure and prostrate bow.

Ages in their veins, more raging, whirl
As titanic potentials’ dreadful might
Turns girl to boy, conversely boy to girl
Unlimbing reason for unreason's fright.
That once gone right, here deftly ventures left
As self-conception staggers to its doom
Bursting the bonds of day and night, distressed
With desperate grasping measures, late and soon.
So set on generation's awesome curve
Of ageless heart and mind, how shall they bear
The die they cast at first when madly swerved
Into contesting congresses of care?
Dividing parts, dissolving in the same
The common wealth, no part the whole maintains.

Boast of the times and gilded privilege
Are these pretended guardians of State
Whose politics of power have sought to bank
Their future 'gainst dissenting arguments.
With rhetoric to foist a brave new age
They come as chaos mages on the brink
Of all disposing will, all ends betrayed
To serve their corporations’ nod and wink.
Auctioning the world, their goods are sold
Commercially with avaricious might
That sanctions lust, in quest of pyrite gold
And pirate earnings, staked upon deceit.
At last, the men of mock integrity
Luring the world to covert slavery!

Hurrah, the master men and lords of time-
From time brought forth, they are the world's latest
Whose overweening strut is in the best
Of culminating age, the mind refined!
Now to and fro they go, their lists increased
With every tally; line for line computes
Their beads of enterprise, the while relieved
Of tribulation, fate of hapless dupes.
Learning is theirs, precepts are theirs to bend;
Lawyers, clerics, politicians rest
Upon this pillar; they can split or mend
The finest lines; no guile their thoughts distress.
Step by step they round the universe
And finite lies to infinite converse!

What pride of theirs that strains for fleeting fame
Seeking to wrest from time the wasting plaque
Of recognition, host to every hack
That postures on the stage of the obscene!
Pretending worth, their practiced scripts dispose
In mocking light an empty dignity
While darkening intents; witless disclosed
On lips and brow their self-important glee.
As if full-wrought by truth's heroic wing
Their pride aspires; on vain conceits they soar
Up through the mist while private songs they sing
In self-made praise for deeds of phantom lore.
From belfries of the schools, in broken flight
They shriek away, hell's banshees of the night!

These timely wise, entranced of mind, decree-
Hear all you simple what we shall disclose
Which craft of our discernment is repose
Of wealth in understanding mastery.
A gift to all, these rich-invested beings
Pretending to resolve profundities
Decoct the world with learned fluency
Of torture ways, all gnostic knots untied.
A flair for comedy, their gelded self
Mounts every snorting bore of certainty
Then armchair resting, pants to yet indulge
Another ******* idol’s reckless scheme.
Some stowaways upon the open seas
And polished sextants of academe!

Here is their derogation, born from creeds
Of judgment in self-righteous confidence
That proves for nothing to the innocent
But swamps life's refugees with cruel conceit.
With ages they have built the edifice
Of dogma; every pit and lion’s maw
Is their contraption, set in consciousness
Of the condemning letter of their laws.
Cunning serpents, masquerading doves
They fashion argument, more vicious wrought
With rationales to blacklist those who strove
To flee their institutions’ heinous plot.
Enamored with a fascist benefit
The systems of the world they implement!

Fanatic men, how bold they tempt the fates
That meet to each the fruits of brutish will
Redoubled, which they’ve spent in kind to date
Upon their brothers, sisters…other self.
They make an estimation, rule the span
Between men; lord over equity
With zero tolerance and brazen hand
To smash upon their consanguinity.
Such is the wicked priesthood’s confidence
In its own judgment, ever owning not
The wrong condemned in others, deep dispensed
To every heart, from roots of life begot.
More wretched they, and haunted with the shame
Of hypocrites, bedeviled by the same!

O law of learning, sum of thinkers' best
Now magnified, ensconced upon the power
Of natal worth and privileged social dower;
Once ruled by you, the Earth pleads for redress.
No scruple sought, no reservation found
To staunch against your certifying will
Which point of iron stylus now furrows
The world at large as object for the ****.
So cart away your pleading victim, mired
In ****** wallows of concupiscence
And grace deny, self-dubbed the doubtless squire-
Errant usurper of the human quest.
How dignified, the rake of your ambition
That promises continual division!
1478

Look back on Time, with kindly eyes—
He doubtless did his best—
How softly sinks that trembling sun
In Human Nature’s West—
THE PROLOGUE.

Our Hoste saw well that the brighte sun
Th' arc of his artificial day had run
The fourthe part, and half an houre more;
And, though he were not deep expert in lore,
He wist it was the eight-and-twenty day
Of April, that is messenger to May;
And saw well that the shadow of every tree
Was in its length of the same quantity
That was the body ***** that caused it;
And therefore by the shadow he took his wit,                 *knowledge
That Phoebus, which that shone so clear and bright,
Degrees was five-and-forty clomb on height;
And for that day, as in that latitude,
It was ten of the clock, he gan conclude;
And suddenly he plight
his horse about.                     pulled

"Lordings," quoth he, "I warn you all this rout
,               company
The fourthe partie of this day is gone.
Now for the love of God and of Saint John
Lose no time, as farforth as ye may.
Lordings, the time wasteth night and day,
And steals from us, what privily sleeping,
And what through negligence in our waking,
As doth the stream, that turneth never again,
Descending from the mountain to the plain.
Well might Senec, and many a philosopher,
Bewaile time more than gold in coffer.
For loss of chattels may recover'd be,
But loss of time shendeth
us, quoth he.                       destroys

It will not come again, withoute dread,

No more than will Malkin's maidenhead,
When she hath lost it in her wantonness.
Let us not moulde thus in idleness.
"Sir Man of Law," quoth he, "so have ye bliss,
Tell us a tale anon, as forword* is.                        the bargain
Ye be submitted through your free assent
To stand in this case at my judgement.
Acquit you now, and *holde your behest
;             keep your promise
Then have ye done your devoir* at the least."                      duty
"Hoste," quoth he, "de par dieux jeo asente;
To breake forword is not mine intent.
Behest is debt, and I would hold it fain,
All my behest; I can no better sayn.
For such law as a man gives another wight,
He should himselfe usen it by right.
Thus will our text: but natheless certain
I can right now no thrifty
tale sayn,                           worthy
But Chaucer (though he *can but lewedly
         knows but imperfectly
On metres and on rhyming craftily)
Hath said them, in such English as he can,
Of olde time, as knoweth many a man.
And if he have not said them, leve* brother,                       dear
In one book, he hath said them in another
For he hath told of lovers up and down,
More than Ovide made of mentioun
In his Epistolae, that be full old.
Why should I telle them, since they he told?
In youth he made of Ceyx and Alcyon,
And since then he hath spoke of every one
These noble wives, and these lovers eke.
Whoso that will his large volume seek
Called the Saintes' Legend of Cupid:
There may he see the large woundes wide
Of Lucrece, and of Babylon Thisbe;
The sword of Dido for the false Enee;
The tree of Phillis for her Demophon;
The plaint of Diane, and of Hermion,
Of Ariadne, and Hypsipile;
The barren isle standing in the sea;
The drown'd Leander for his fair Hero;
The teares of Helene, and eke the woe
Of Briseis, and Laodamia;
The cruelty of thee, Queen Medea,
Thy little children hanging by the halse
,                         neck
For thy Jason, that was of love so false.
Hypermnestra, Penelop', Alcest',
Your wifehood he commendeth with the best.
But certainly no worde writeth he
Of *thilke wick'
example of Canace,                       that wicked
That loved her own brother sinfully;
(Of all such cursed stories I say, Fy),
Or else of Tyrius Apollonius,
How that the cursed king Antiochus
Bereft his daughter of her maidenhead;
That is so horrible a tale to read,
When he her threw upon the pavement.
And therefore he, of full avisement,         deliberately, advisedly
Would never write in none of his sermons
Of such unkind* abominations;                                 unnatural
Nor I will none rehearse, if that I may.
But of my tale how shall I do this day?
Me were loth to be liken'd doubteless
To Muses, that men call Pierides
(Metamorphoseos  wot what I mean),
But natheless I recke not a bean,
Though I come after him with hawebake
;                        lout
I speak in prose, and let him rhymes make."
And with that word, he with a sober cheer
Began his tale, and said as ye shall hear.

Notes to the Prologue to The Man of Law's Tale

1. Plight: pulled; the word is an obsolete past tense from
"pluck."

2. No more than will Malkin's maidenhead: a proverbial saying;
which, however, had obtained fresh point from the Reeve's
Tale, to which the host doubtless refers.

3. De par dieux jeo asente: "by God, I agree".  It is
characteristic that the somewhat pompous Sergeant of Law
should couch his assent in the semi-barbarous French, then
familiar in law procedure.

4. Ceyx and Alcyon: Chaucer treats of these in the introduction
to the poem called "The Book of the Duchess."  It relates to the
death of Blanche, wife of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, the
poet's patron, and afterwards his connexion by marriage.

5. The Saintes Legend of Cupid: Now called "The Legend of
Good Women". The names of eight ladies mentioned here are
not in the "Legend" as it has come down to us; while those of
two ladies in the "legend" -- Cleopatra and Philomela -- are her
omitted.

6. Not the Muses, who had their surname from the place near
Mount Olympus where the Thracians first worshipped them; but
the nine daughters of Pierus, king of Macedonia, whom he
called the nine Muses, and who, being conquered in a contest
with the genuine sisterhood, were changed into birds.

7. Metamorphoseos:  Ovid's.

8. Hawebake: hawbuck, country lout; the common proverbial
phrase, "to put a rogue above a gentleman," may throw light on
the reading here, which is difficult.

THE TALE.

O scatheful harm, condition of poverty,
With thirst, with cold, with hunger so confounded;
To aske help thee shameth in thine hearte;
If thou none ask, so sore art thou y-wounded,
That very need unwrappeth all thy wound hid.
Maugre thine head thou must for indigence
Or steal, or beg, or borrow thy dispence
.                      expense

Thou blamest Christ, and sayst full bitterly,
He misdeparteth
riches temporal;                          allots amiss
Thy neighebour thou witest
sinfully,                           blamest
And sayst, thou hast too little, and he hath all:
"Parfay (sayst thou) sometime he reckon shall,
When that his tail shall *brennen in the glede
,      burn in the fire
For he not help'd the needful in their need."

Hearken what is the sentence of the wise:
Better to die than to have indigence.
Thy selve neighebour will thee despise,                    that same
If thou be poor, farewell thy reverence.
Yet of the wise man take this sentence,
Alle the days of poore men be wick',                      wicked, evil
Beware therefore ere thou come to that *****.                    point

If thou be poor, thy brother hateth thee,
And all thy friendes flee from thee, alas!
O riche merchants, full of wealth be ye,
O noble, prudent folk, as in this case,
Your bagges be not fill'd with ambes ace,                   two aces
But with six-cinque, that runneth for your chance;       six-five
At Christenmass well merry may ye dance.

Ye seeke land and sea for your winnings,
As wise folk ye knowen all th' estate
Of regnes;  ye be fathers of tidings,                         *kingdoms
And tales, both of peace and of debate
:                contention, war
I were right now of tales desolate
,                     barren, empty.
But that a merchant, gone in many a year,
Me taught a tale, which ye shall after hear.

In Syria whilom dwelt a company
Of chapmen rich, and thereto sad
and true,            grave, steadfast
Clothes of gold, and satins rich of hue.
That widewhere
sent their spicery,                    to distant parts
Their chaffare
was so thriftly* and so new,      wares advantageous
That every wight had dainty* to chaffare
              pleasure deal
With them, and eke to selle them their ware.

Now fell it, that the masters of that sort
Have *shapen them
to Rome for to wend,           determined, prepared
Were it for chapmanhood* or for disport,                        trading
None other message would they thither send,
But come themselves to Rome, this is the end:
And in such place as thought them a vantage
For their intent, they took their herbergage.
                  lodging

Sojourned have these merchants in that town
A certain time as fell to their pleasance:
And so befell, that th' excellent renown
Of th' emperore's daughter, Dame Constance,
Reported was, with every circumstance,
Unto these Syrian merchants in such wise,
From day to day, as I shall you devise
                          relate

This was the common voice of every man
"Our emperor of Rome, God him see
,                 look on with favour
A daughter hath, that since the the world began,
To reckon as well her goodness and beauty,
Was never such another as is she:
I pray to God in honour her sustene
,                           sustain
And would she were of all Europe the queen.

"In her is highe beauty without pride,
And youth withoute greenhood
or folly:        childishness, immaturity
To all her workes virtue is her guide;
Humbless hath slain in her all tyranny:
She is the mirror of all courtesy,
Her heart a very chamber of holiness,
Her hand minister of freedom for almess
."                   almsgiving

And all this voice was sooth, as God is true;
But now to purpose
let us turn again.                     our tale
These merchants have done freight their shippes new,
And when they have this blissful maiden seen,
Home to Syria then they went full fain,
And did their needes
, as they have done yore,     *business *formerly
And liv'd in weal; I can you say no more.                   *prosperity

Now fell it, that these merchants stood in grace
                favour
Of him that was the Soudan
of Syrie:                            Sultan
For when they came from any strange place
He would of his benigne courtesy
Make them good cheer, and busily espy
                          inquire
Tidings of sundry regnes
, for to lear
                 realms learn
The wonders that they mighte see or hear.

Amonges other thinges, specially
These merchants have him told of Dame Constance
So great nobless, in earnest so royally,
That this Soudan hath caught so great pleasance
               pleasure
To have her figure in his remembrance,
That all his lust
, and all his busy cure
,            pleasure *care
Was for to love her while his life may dure.

Paraventure in thilke* large book,                                 that
Which that men call the heaven, y-written was
With starres, when that he his birthe took,
That he for love should have his death, alas!
For in the starres, clearer than is glass,
Is written, God wot, whoso could it read,
The death of every man withoute dread.
                           doubt

In starres many a winter therebeforn
Was writ the death of Hector, Achilles,
Of Pompey, Julius, ere they were born;
The strife of Thebes; and of Hercules,
Of Samson, Turnus, and of Socrates
The death; but mennes wittes be so dull,
That no wight can well read it at the full.

This Soudan for his privy council sent,
And, *shortly of this matter for to pace
,          to pass briefly by
He hath to them declared his intent,
And told them certain, but* he might have grace             &
THE PROLOGUE.

THE Cook of London, while the Reeve thus spake,
For joy he laugh'd and clapp'd him on the back:
"Aha!" quoth he, "for Christes passion,
This Miller had a sharp conclusion,
Upon this argument of herbergage.                              lodging
Well saide Solomon in his language,
Bring thou not every man into thine house,
For harbouring by night is perilous.
Well ought a man avised for to be        a man should take good heed
Whom that he brought into his privity.
I pray to God to give me sorrow and care
If ever, since I highte* Hodge of Ware,                      was called
Heard I a miller better *set a-work
;                           handled
He had a jape
of malice in the derk.                             trick
But God forbid that we should stinte
here,                        stop
And therefore if ye will vouchsafe to hear
A tale of me, that am a poore man,
I will you tell as well as e'er I can
A little jape that fell in our city."

Our Host answer'd and said; "I grant it thee.
Roger, tell on; and look that it be good,
For many a pasty hast thou letten blood,
And many a Jack of Dover hast thou sold,
That had been twice hot and twice cold.
Of many a pilgrim hast thou Christe's curse,
For of thy parsley yet fare they the worse.
That they have eaten in thy stubble goose:
For in thy shop doth many a fly go loose.
Now tell on, gentle Roger, by thy name,
But yet I pray thee be not *wroth for game
;     angry with my jesting
A man may say full sooth in game and play."
"Thou sayst full sooth," quoth Roger, "by my fay;
But sooth play quad play, as the Fleming saith,
And therefore, Harry Bailly, by thy faith,
Be thou not wroth, else we departe* here,                  part company
Though that my tale be of an hostelere.
                      innkeeper
But natheless, I will not tell it yet,
But ere we part, y-wis
thou shalt be quit."               assuredly
And therewithal he laugh'd and made cheer,
And told his tale, as ye shall after hear.

Notes to the Prologue to the Cook's Tale

1. Jack of Dover:  an article of cookery. (Transcriber's note:
suggested by some commentators to be a kind of pie, and by
others to be a fish)

2. Sooth play quad play: true jest is no jest.

3. It may be remembered that each pilgrim was bound to tell
two stories; one on the way to Canterbury, the other returning.

4. Made cheer: French, "fit bonne mine;" put on a pleasant
countenance.


THE TALE.

A prentice whilom dwelt in our city,
And of a craft of victuallers was he:
Galliard
he was, as goldfinch in the shaw*,            lively *grove
Brown as a berry, a proper short fellaw:
With lockes black, combed full fetisly.
                       daintily
And dance he could so well and jollily,
That he was called Perkin Revellour.
He was as full of love and paramour,
As is the honeycomb of honey sweet;
Well was the wenche that with him might meet.
At every bridal would he sing and hop;
He better lov'd the tavern than the shop.
For when there any riding was in Cheap,
Out of the shoppe thither would he leap,
And, till that he had all the sight y-seen,
And danced well, he would not come again;
And gather'd him a meinie
of his sort,              company of fellows
To hop and sing, and make such disport:
And there they *sette steven
for to meet             made appointment
To playen at the dice in such a street.
For in the towne was there no prentice
That fairer coulde cast a pair of dice
Than Perkin could; and thereto he was free    he spent money liberally
Of his dispence, in place of privity.       where he would not be seen
That found his master well in his chaffare,                merchandise
For oftentime he found his box full bare.
For, soothely, a prentice revellour,
That haunteth dice, riot, and paramour,
His master shall it in his shop abie,                       *suffer for
All
have he no part of the minstrelsy.                        although
For theft and riot they be convertible,
All can they play on *gitern or ribible.
             guitar or rebeck
Revel and truth, as in a low degree,
They be full wroth* all day, as men may see.                at variance

This jolly prentice with his master bode,
Till he was nigh out of his prenticehood,
All were he snubbed
both early and late,                       rebuked
And sometimes led with revel to Newgate.
But at the last his master him bethought,
Upon a day when he his paper sought,
Of a proverb, that saith this same word;
Better is rotten apple out of hoard,
Than that it should rot all the remenant:
So fares it by a riotous servant;
It is well lesse harm to let him pace
,                        pass, go
Than he shend
all the servants in the place.                   corrupt
Therefore his master gave him a quittance,
And bade him go, with sorrow and mischance.
And thus this jolly prentice had his leve
:                      desire
Now let him riot all the night, or leave
.                      refrain
And, for there is no thief without a louke,
That helpeth him to wasten and to souk
                           spend
Of that he bribe
can, or borrow may,                             steal
Anon he sent his bed and his array
Unto a compere
of his owen sort,                               comrade
That loved dice, and riot, and disport;
And had a wife, that held *for countenance
            for appearances
A shop, and swived* for her sustenance.             *prostituted herself
       .       .       .       .       .       .       .

Notes to the Cook's Tale

1. Cheapside, where jousts were sometimes held, and which
was the great scene of city revels and processions.

2. His paper: his certificate of completion of his apprenticeship.

3. Louke:  The precise meaning of the word is unknown, but it
is doubtless included in the cant term "pal".

4. The Cook's Tale is unfinished in all the manuscripts; but in
some, of minor authority, the Cook is made to break off his
tale, because "it is so foul," and to tell the story of Gamelyn, on
which Shakespeare's "As You Like It" is founded. The story is
not Chaucer's, and is different in metre, and inferior in
composition to the Tales. It is supposed that Chaucer expunged
the Cook's Tale for the same reason that made him on his death-
bed lament that he had written so much "ribaldry."
AnxiousOcean Apr 2019
the next time you doubt yourself,
don't; it would be pointless.
from doubts and pressure, free thyself;
for you are made to be hopeless.

you are not good, you will never be;
thy value shall always be unseen.
that's why you shall love yourself truly,
because of being a needy you've been.

just play the music and sing along,
until you reach the other half.
you are not weak, you're strong;
but you are not strong enough.
...
“Nullus enim locus sine genio est.”

  Servius.

“La musique,” says Marmontel, in those “Contes
Moraux” which in all our translations we have insisted upon
calling “Moral Tales,” as if in mockery of their
spirit—”la musique est le seul des talens qui
jouisse de lui-meme: tous les autres veulent des
temoins.” He here confounds the pleasure derivable from
sweet sounds with the capacity for creating them. No more
than any other talent, is that for music susceptible
of complete enjoyment where there is no second party to
appreciate its exercise; and it is only in common with other
talents that it produces effects which may be fully
enjoyed in solitude. The idea which the raconteur has
either failed to entertain clearly, or has sacrificed in its
expression to his national love of point, is
doubtless the very tenable one that the higher order of
music is the most thoroughly estimated when we are
exclusively alone. The proposition in this form will be
admitted at once by those who love the lyre for its own sake
and for its spiritual uses. But there is one pleasure still
within the reach of fallen mortality, and perhaps only one,
which owes even more than does music to the accessory
sentiment of seclusion. I mean the happiness experienced in
the contemplation of natural scenery. In truth, the man who
would behold aright the glory of God upon earth must in
solitude behold that glory. To me at least the presence, not
of human life only, but of life, in any other form than that
of the green things which grow upon the soil and are
voiceless, is a stain upon the landscape, is at war with the
genius of the scene. I love, indeed, to regard the dark
valleys, and the gray rocks, and the waters that silently
smile, and the forests that sigh in uneasy slumbers, and the
proud watchful mountains that look down upon all,—I
love to regard these as themselves but the colossal members
of one vast animate and sentient whole—a whole whose
form (that of the sphere) is the most perfect and most
inclusive of all; whose path is among associate planets;
whose meek handmaiden is the moon; whose mediate sovereign
is the sun; whose life is eternity; whose thought is that of
a god; whose enjoyment is knowledge; whose destinies are
lost in immensity; whose cognizance of ourselves is akin
with our own cognizance of the animalculae which
infest the brain, a being which we in consequence regard as
purely inanimate and material, much in the same manner as
these animalculae must thus regard us.

Our telescopes and our mathematical investigations assure us
on every hand, notwithstanding the cant of the more ignorant
of the priesthood, that space, and therefore that bulk, is
an important consideration in the eyes of the Almighty. The
cycles in which the stars move are those best adapted for
the evolution, without collision, of the greatest possible
number of bodies. The forms of those bodies are accurately
such as within a given surface to include the greatest
possible amount of matter; while the surfaces themselves are
so disposed as to accommodate a denser population than could
be accommodated on the same surfaces otherwise arranged. Nor
is it any argument against bulk being an object with God
that space itself is infinite; for there may be an infinity
of matter to fill it; and since we see clearly that the
endowment of matter with vitality is a principle—
indeed, as far as our judgments extend, the leading
principle in the operations of Deity, it is scarcely logical
to imagine it confined to the regions of the minute, where
we daily trace it, and not extending to those of the august.
As we find cycle within cycle without end, yet all revolving
around one far-distant centre which is the Godhead, may we
not analogically suppose, in the same manner, life within
life, the less within the greater, and all within the Spirit
Divine? In short, we are madly erring through self-esteem in
believing man, in either his temporal or future destinies,
to be of more moment in the universe than that vast “clod of
the valley” which he tills and contemns, and to which he
denies a soul, for no more profound reason than that he does
not behold it in operation.

These fancies, and such as these, have always given to my
meditations among the mountains and the forests, by the
rivers and the ocean, a tinge of what the every-day world
would not fail to term the fantastic. My wanderings amid
such scenes have been many and far-searching, and often
solitary; and the interest with which I have strayed through
many a dim deep valley, or gazed into the reflected heaven
of many a bright lake, has been an interest greatly deepened
by the thought that I have strayed and gazed alone.
What flippant Frenchman was it who said, in allusion to the
well known work of Zimmermann, that “la solitude est une
belle chose; mais il faut quelqu’un pour vous dire que la
solitude est une belle chose”? The epigram cannot be
gainsaid; but the necessity is a thing that does not exist.

It was during one of my lonely journeyings, amid a far
distant region of mountain locked within mountain, and sad
rivers and melancholy tarns writhing or sleeping within all,
that I chanced upon a certain rivulet and island. I came
upon them suddenly in the leafy June, and threw myself upon
the turf beneath the branches of an unknown odorous shrub,
that I might doze as I contemplated the scene. I felt that
thus only should I look upon it, such was the character of
phantasm which it wore.

On all sides, save to the west where the sun was about
sinking, arose the verdant walls of the forest. The little
river which turned sharply in its course, and was thus
immediately lost to sight, seemed to have no exit from its
prison, but to be absorbed by the deep green foliage of the
trees to the east; while in the opposite quarter (so it
appeared to me as I lay at length and glanced upward) there
poured down noiselessly and continuously into the valley a
rich golden and crimson waterfall from the sunset fountains
of the sky.

About midway in the short vista which my dreamy vision took
in, one small circular island, profusely verdured, reposed
upon the ***** of the stream.

So blended bank and shadow there, That each seemed pendulous
in air—

so mirror-like was the glassy water, that it was scarcely
possible to say at what point upon the ***** of the emerald
turf its crystal dominion began. My position enabled me to
include in a single view both the eastern and western
extremities of the islet, and I observed a singularly-marked
difference in their aspects. The latter was all one radiant
harem of garden beauties. It glowed and blushed beneath the
eye of the slant sunlight, and fairly laughed with flowers.
The grass was short, springy, sweet-scented, and Asphodel-
interspersed. The trees were lithe, mirthful, *****, bright,
slender, and graceful, of eastern figure and foliage, with
bark smooth, glossy, and parti-colored. There seemed a deep
sense of life and joy about all, and although no airs blew
from out the heavens, yet everything had motion through the
gentle sweepings to and fro of innumerable butterflies, that
might have been mistaken for tulips with wings.

The other or eastern end of the isle was whelmed in the
blackest shade. A sombre, yet beautiful and peaceful gloom,
here pervaded all things. The trees were dark in color and
mournful in form and attitude— wreathing themselves
into sad, solemn, and spectral shapes, that conveyed ideas
of mortal sorrow and untimely death. The grass wore the deep
tint of the cypress, and the heads of its blades hung
droopingly, and hither and thither among it were many small
unsightly hillocks, low and narrow, and not very long, that
had the aspect of graves, but were not, although over and
all about them the rue and the rosemary clambered. The
shades of the trees fell heavily upon the water, and seemed
to bury itself therein, impregnating the depths of the
element with darkness. I fancied that each shadow, as the
sun descended lower and lower, separated itself sullenly
from the trunk that gave it birth, and thus became absorbed
by the stream, while other shadows issued momently from the
trees, taking the place of their predecessors thus entombed.

This idea having once seized upon my fancy greatly excited
it, and I lost myself forthwith in reverie. “If ever island
were enchanted,” said I to myself, “this is it. This is the
haunt of the few gentle Fays who remain from the wreck of
the race. Are these green tombs theirs?—or do they
yield up their sweet lives as mankind yield up their own? In
dying, do they not rather waste away mournfully, rendering
unto God little by little their existence, as these trees
render up shadow after shadow, exhausting their substance
unto dissolution? What the wasting tree is to the water that
imbibes its shade, growing thus blacker by what it preys
upon, may not the life of the Fay be to the death which
engulfs it?”

As I thus mused, with half-shut eyes, while the sun sank
rapidly to rest, and eddying currents careered round and
round the island, bearing upon their ***** large dazzling
white flakes of the bark of the sycamore, flakes which, in
their multiform positions upon the water, a quick
imagination might have converted into anything it pleased;
while I thus mused, it appeared to me that the form of one
of those very Fays about whom I had been pondering, made its
way slowly into the darkness from out the light at the
western end of the island. She stood ***** in a singularly
fragile canoe, and urged it with the mere phantom of an oar.
While within the influence of the lingering sunbeams, her
attitude seemed indicative of joy, but sorrow deformed it as
she passed within the shade. Slowly she glided along, and at
length rounded the islet and re-entered the region of light.
“The revolution which has just been made by the Fay,”
continued I musingly, “is the cycle of the brief year of her
life. She has floated through her winter and through her
summer. She is a year nearer unto death: for I did not fail
to see that as she came into the shade, her shadow fell from
her, and was swallowed up in the dark water, making its
blackness more black.”

And again the boat appeared and the Fay, but about the
attitude of the latter there was more of care and
uncertainty and less of elastic joy. She floated again from
out the light and into the gloom (which deepened momently),
and again her shadow fell from her into the ebony water, and
became absorbed into its blackness. And again and again she
made the circuit of the island (while the sun rushed down to
his slumbers), and at each issuing into the light there was
more sorrow about her person, while it grew feebler and far
fainter and more indistinct, and at each passage into the
gloom there fell from her a darker shade, which became
whelmed in a shadow more black. But at length, when the sun
had utterly departed, the Fay, now the mere ghost of her
former self, went disconsolately with her boat into the
region of the ebony flood, and that she issued thence at all
I cannot say, for darkness fell over all things, and I
beheld her magical figure no more.
The mystifying howl is irksomely faint yet vividly heard,
Akin to orchestrated footsteps of the undetectable command
As the new dawn illuminates a smoldering fire beyond the horizon-
“A sign of human activity-but an awful omen to the warlord”
Legions called into action, and for every step they take, matter is drawn from the ether,
Waiting for the final caravan of conquest and conquer;
Do the militias now turn their swords into ploughshares to suffer?
When their enemies-without remorse-silently creep up on them in silence,
However the distant shuddery sound of their battle cry is harmless;
But is the shunned “death-valley” an inescapable companion anyway?
With strident herons flying high above the maze-like island…so forlorn!
These shameless war-warriors!
Heroes With-Out!
Villains With-In!
Unlike them-the countryman is truly so fortunate nonetheless;
He marvels at the innate splendor of the single showy tulip in the bucolic wilderness,
Although now the heathen intimidate his terrain amidst his recoil in resistance;

The characters of men and women under this impudent sentence
On the uniformity of fate, however gay were the earlier scenes…
This sense of the seasons and mortality-more tragic in great cities
With mortals forgetting it is superfluous to go in chase of nature’s thoughts;
She comes of her own free will in the passing shadows of the seasons!
The boastful soldier…
The learned doctor…
Footing out of the masses for the qualities they assume beyond the galaxies afar;
The qualities they assume are those that most men admire!
Their hypocrisy, bravery and ingenuity survives more
Even in times of turmoil and war-with satirized lies and rumors
“Giving praise to bloodshed?”
Since when has the sight of blood been a derisory affair?
What a horrific carnival of double standards of power;
No laughing matter!
Doubtless criticism-sinister in origin with a false swagger
Sharper now in the modest gestures preaching feminism
For if modern elegant ladies adorn their bravura torsos in red fashion
Why give acknowledgment to this same reddened “color of death!”

The new world is finally shedding off the aged navel scar
Releasing the “Mother-Principle” instinct to be mothered and to engender!
Are awakening sons of men along with their nations betokening universal grandeur?
These lions among ladies!
These foxes in the fight for freedom…
“The men of Marathon”
Ironists-commonly more “characters” than thinkers,
Irritated further by the hypocrisy than by the ideas of those they portray,
Blind to the verity that modern tolerance might seem to go further than that,
As vengeful souls vanquish and oppress their enemies by craft and deceit;
…if they thought it was a sin, they would not argue about such a mischievous plot.
Finally money has a power above
The stars and fate to manage love:
Whose arrows, Learned Poets hold,
That never miss, are tipped with Gold.
Ulysses now left the haven, and took the rough track up through
the wooded country and over the crest of the mountain till he
reached the place where Minerva had said that he would find the
swineherd, who was the most thrifty servant he had. He found him
sitting in front of his hut, which was by the yards that he had
built on a site which could be seen from far. He had made them
spacious and fair to see, with a free ran for the pigs all round them;
he had built them during his master’s absence, of stones which he
had gathered out of the ground, without saying anything to Penelope or
Laertes, and he had fenced them on top with thorn bushes. Outside
the yard he had run a strong fence of oaken posts, split, and set
pretty close together, while inside lie had built twelve sties near
one another for the sows to lie in. There were fifty pigs wallowing in
each sty, all of them breeding sows; but the boars slept outside and
were much fewer in number, for the suitors kept on eating them, and
die swineherd had to send them the best he had continually. There were
three hundred and sixty boar pigs, and the herdsman’s four hounds,
which were as fierce as wolves, slept always with them. The
swineherd was at that moment cutting out a pair of sandals from a good
stout ox hide. Three of his men were out herding the pigs in one place
or another, and he had sent the fourth to town with a boar that he had
been forced to send the suitors that they might sacrifice it and
have their fill of meat.
  When the hounds saw Ulysses they set up a furious barking and flew
at him, but Ulysses was cunning enough to sit down and loose his
hold of the stick that he had in his hand: still, he would have been
torn by them in his own homestead had not the swineherd dropped his ox
hide, rushed full speed through the gate of the yard and driven the
dogs off by shouting and throwing stones at them. Then he said to
Ulysses, “Old man, the dogs were likely to have made short work of
you, and then you would have got me into trouble. The gods have
given me quite enough worries without that, for I have lost the best
of masters, and am in continual grief on his account. I have to attend
swine for other people to eat, while he, if he yet lives to see the
light of day, is starving in some distant land. But come inside, and
when you have had your fill of bread and wine, tell me where you
come from, and all about your misfortunes.”
  On this the swineherd led the way into the hut and bade him sit
down. He strewed a good thick bed of rushes upon the floor, and on the
top of this he threw the shaggy chamois skin—a great thick one—on
which he used to sleep by night. Ulysses was pleased at being made
thus welcome, and said “May Jove, sir, and the rest of the gods
grant you your heart’s desire in return for the kind way in which
you have received me.”
  To this you answered, O swineherd Eumaeus, “Stranger, though a still
poorer man should come here, it would not be right for me to insult
him, for all strangers and beggars are from Jove. You must take what
you can get and be thankful, for servants live in fear when they
have young lords for their masters; and this is my misfortune now, for
heaven has hindered the return of him who would have been always
good to me and given me something of my own—a house, a piece of land,
a good looking wife, and all else that a liberal master allows a
servant who has worked hard for him, and whose labour the gods have
prospered as they have mine in the situation which I hold. If my
master had grown old here he would have done great things by me, but
he is gone, and I wish that Helen’s whole race were utterly destroyed,
for she has been the death of many a good man. It was this matter that
took my master to Ilius, the land of noble steeds, to fight the
Trojans in the cause of kin Agamemnon.”
  As he spoke he bound his girdle round him and went to the sties
where the young ******* pigs were penned. He picked out two which he
brought back with him and sacrificed. He singed them, cut them up, and
spitted on them; when the meat was cooked he brought it all in and set
it before Ulysses, hot and still on the spit, whereon Ulysses
sprinkled it over with white barley meal. The swineherd then mixed
wine in a bowl of ivy-wood, and taking a seat opposite Ulysses told
him to begin.
  “Fall to, stranger,” said he, “on a dish of servant’s pork. The
fat pigs have to go to the suitors, who eat them up without shame or
scruple; but the blessed gods love not such shameful doings, and
respect those who do what is lawful and right. Even the fierce
free-booters who go raiding on other people’s land, and Jove gives
them their spoil—even they, when they have filled their ships and got
home again live conscience-stricken, and look fearfully for judgement;
but some god seems to have told these people that Ulysses is dead
and gone; they will not, therefore, go back to their own homes and
make their offers of marriage in the usual way, but waste his estate
by force, without fear or stint. Not a day or night comes out of
heaven, but they sacrifice not one victim nor two only, and they
take the run of his wine, for he was exceedingly rich. No other
great man either in Ithaca or on the mainland is as rich as he was; he
had as much as twenty men put together. I will tell you what he had.
There are twelve herds of cattle upon the mainland, and as many flocks
of sheep, there are also twelve droves of pigs, while his own men
and hired strangers feed him twelve widely spreading herds of goats.
Here in Ithaca he runs even large flocks of goats on the far end of
the island, and they are in the charge of excellent goatherds. Each
one of these sends the suitors the best goat in the flock every day.
As for myself, I am in charge of the pigs that you see here, and I
have to keep picking out the best I have and sending it to them.”
  This was his story, but Ulysses went on eating and drinking
ravenously without a word, brooding his revenge. When he had eaten
enough and was satisfied, the swineherd took the bowl from which he
usually drank, filled it with wine, and gave it to Ulysses, who was
pleased, and said as he took it in his hands, “My friend, who was this
master of yours that bought you and paid for you, so rich and so
powerful as you tell me? You say he perished in the cause of King
Agamemnon; tell me who he was, in case I may have met with such a
person. Jove and the other gods know, but I may be able to give you
news of him, for I have travelled much.”
  Eumaeus answered, “Old man, no traveller who comes here with news
will get Ulysses’ wife and son to believe his story. Nevertheless,
tramps in want of a lodging keep coming with their mouths full of
lies, and not a word of truth; every one who finds his way to Ithaca
goes to my mistress and tells her falsehoods, whereon she takes them
in, makes much of them, and asks them all manner of questions,
crying all the time as women will when they have lost their
husbands. And you too, old man, for a shirt and a cloak would
doubtless make up a very pretty story. But the wolves and birds of
prey have long since torn Ulysses to pieces, or the fishes of the
sea have eaten him, and his bones are lying buried deep in sand upon
some foreign shore; he is dead and gone, and a bad business it is
for all his friends—for me especially; go where I may I shall never
find so good a master, not even if I were to go home to my mother
and father where I was bred and born. I do not so much care,
however, about my parents now, though I should dearly like to see them
again in my own country; it is the loss of Ulysses that grieves me
most; I cannot speak of him without reverence though he is here no
longer, for he was very fond of me, and took such care of me that
whereever he may be I shall always honour his memory.”
  “My friend,” replied Ulysses, “you are very positive, and very
hard of belief about your master’s coming home again, nevertheless I
will not merely say, but will swear, that he is coming. Do not give me
anything for my news till he has actually come, you may then give me a
shirt and cloak of good wear if you will. I am in great want, but I
will not take anything at all till then, for I hate a man, even as I
hate hell fire, who lets his poverty tempt him into lying. I swear
by king Jove, by the rites of hospitality, and by that hearth of
Ulysses to which I have now come, that all will surely happen as I
have said it will. Ulysses will return in this self same year; with
the end of this moon and the beginning of the next he will be here
to do vengeance on all those who are ill treating his wife and son.”
  To this you answered, O swineherd Eumaeus, “Old man, you will
neither get paid for bringing good news, nor will Ulysses ever come
home; drink you wine in peace, and let us talk about something else.
Do not keep on reminding me of all this; it always pains me when any
one speaks about my honoured master. As for your oath we will let it
alone, but I only wish he may come, as do Penelope, his old father
Laertes, and his son Telemachus. I am terribly unhappy too about
this same boy of his; he was running up fast into manhood, and bade
fare to be no worse man, face and figure, than his father, but some
one, either god or man, has been unsettling his mind, so he has gone
off to Pylos to try and get news of his father, and the suitors are
lying in wait for him as he is coming home, in the hope of leaving the
house of Arceisius without a name in Ithaca. But let us say no more
about him, and leave him to be taken, or else to escape if the son
of Saturn holds his hand over him to protect him. And now, old man,
tell me your own story; tell me also, for I want to know, who you
are and where you come from. Tell me of your town and parents, what
manner of ship you came in, how crew brought you to Ithaca, and from
what country they professed to come—for you cannot have come by
land.”
  And Ulysses answered, “I will tell you all about it. If there were
meat and wine enough, and we could stay here in the hut with nothing
to do but to eat and drink while the others go to their work, I
could easily talk on for a whole twelve months without ever
finishing the story of the sorrows with which it has pleased heaven to
visit me.
  “I am by birth a Cretan; my father was a well-to-do man, who had
many sons born in marriage, whereas I was the son of a slave whom he
had purchased for a concubine; nevertheless, my father Castor son of
Hylax (whose lineage I claim, and who was held in the highest honour
among the Cretans for his wealth, prosperity, and the valour of his
sons) put me on the same level with my brothers who had been born in
wedlock. When, however, death took him to the house of Hades, his sons
divided his estate and cast lots for their shares, but to me they gave
a holding and little else; nevertheless, my valour enabled me to marry
into a rich family, for I was not given to bragging, or shirking on
the field of battle. It is all over now; still, if you look at the
straw you can see what the ear was, for I have had trouble enough
and to spare. Mars and Minerva made me doughty in war; when I had
picked my men to surprise the enemy with an ambuscade I never gave
death so much as a thought, but was the first to leap forward and
spear all whom I could overtake. Such was I in battle, but I did not
care about farm work, nor the frugal home life of those who would
bring up children. My delight was in ships, fighting, javelins, and
arrows—things that most men shudder to think of; but one man likes
one thing and another another, and this was what I was most
naturally inclined to. Before the Achaeans went to Troy, nine times
was I in command of men and ships on foreign service, and I amassed
much wealth. I had my pick of the spoil in the first instance, and
much more was allotted to me later on.
  “My house grew apace and I became a great man among the Cretans, but
when Jove counselled that terrible expedition, in which so many
perished, the people required me and Idomeneus to lead their ships
to Troy, and there was no way out of it, for they insisted on our
doing so. There we fought for nine whole years, but in the tenth we
sacked the city of Priam and sailed home again as heaven dispersed us.
Then it was that Jove devised evil against me. I spent but one month
happily with my children, wife, and property, and then I conceived the
idea of making a descent on Egypt, so I fitted out a fine fleet and
manned it. I had nine ships, and the people flocked to fill them.
For six days I and my men made feast, and I found them many victims
both for sacrifice to the gods and for themselves, but on the
seventh day we went on board and set sail from Crete with a fair North
wind behind us though we were going down a river. Nothing went ill
with any of our ships, and we had no sickness on board, but sat
where we were and let the ships go as the wind and steersmen took
them. On the fifth day we reached the river Aegyptus; there I
stationed my ships in the river, bidding my men stay by them and
keep guard over them while I sent out scouts to reconnoitre from every
point of vantage.
  “But the men disobeyed my orders, took to their own devices, and
ravaged the land of the Egyptians, killing the men, and taking their
wives and children captive. The alarm was soon carried to the city,
and when they heard the war cry, the people came out at daybreak
till the plain was filled with horsemen and foot soldiers and with the
gleam of armour. Then Jove spread panic among my men, and they would
no longer face the enemy, for they found themselves surrounded. The
Egyptians killed many of us, and took the rest alive to do forced
labour for them. Jove, however, put it in my mind to do thus—and I
wish I had died then and there in Egypt instead, for there was much
sorrow in store for me—I took off my helmet and shield and dropped my
spear from my hand; then I went straight up to the king’s chariot,
clasped his knees and kissed them, whereon he spared my life, bade
me get into his chariot, and took me weeping to his own home. Many
made at me with their ashen spears and tried to kil me in their
fury, but the king protected me, for he feared the wrath of Jove the
protector of strangers, who punishes those who do evil.
  “I stayed there for seven years and got together much money among
the Egyptians, for they all gave me something; but when it was now
going on for eight years there came a certain Phoenician, a cunning
rascal, who had already committed all sorts of villainy, and this
man talked me over into going with him to Phoenicia, where his house
and his possessions lay. I stayed there for a whole twelve months, but
at the end of that time when months and days had gone by till the same
season had come round again, he set me on board a ship bound for
Libya, on a pretence that I was to take a cargo along with him to that
place, but really that he might sell me as a slave and take the
money I fetched. I suspected his intention, but went on board with
him, for I could not help it.
  “The ship ran before a fresh North wind till we had reached the
sea that lies between Crete and Libya; there, however, Jove counselled
their destruction, for as soon as we were well out from Crete and
could see nothing but sea and sky, he raised a black cloud over our
ship and the sea grew dark beneath it. Then Jove let fly with his
thunderbolts and the ship went round and round and was filled with
fire and brimstone as the lightning struck it. The men fell all into
the sea; they were carried about in the water round the ship looking
like so many sea-gulls, but the god presently deprived them of all
chance of getting home again. I was all dismayed; Jove, however,
sent the ship’s mast within my reach, which saved my life, for I clung
to it, and drifted before the fury of the gale. Nine days did I
drift but in the darkness of the tenth night a great wave bore me on
to the Thesprotian coast. There Pheidon king of the Thesprotians
entertained me hospitably without charging me anything at all for
his son found me when I was nearly dead with cold and fatigue, whereon
he raised me by the hand, took me to his father’s house and gave
166

I met a King this afternoon!
He had not on a Crown indeed,
A little Palmleaf Hat was all,
And he was barefoot, I’m afraid!

But sure I am he Ermine wore
Beneath his faded Jacket’s blue—
And sure I am, the crest he bore
Within that Jacket’s pocket too!

For ’twas too stately for an Earl—
A Marquis would not go so grand!
’Twas possibly a Czar petite—
A Pope, or something of that kind!

If I must tell you, of a Horse
My freckled Monarch held the rein—
Doubtless an estimable Beast,
But not at all disposed to run!

And such a wagon! While I live
Dare I presume to see
Another such a vehicle
As then transported me!

Two other ragged Princes
His royal state partook!
Doubtless the first excursion
These sovereigns ever took!

I question if the Royal Coach
Round which the Footmen wait
Has the significance, on high,
Of this Barefoot Estate!
I dwell in a lonely house I know
That vanished many a summer ago,
  And left no trace but the cellar walls,
  And a cellar in which the daylight falls,
And the purple-stemmed wild raspberries grow.

O’er ruined fences the grape-vines shield
The woods come back to the mowing field;
  The orchard tree has grown one copse
  Of new wood and old where the woodpecker chops;
The footpath down to the well is healed.

I dwell with a strangely aching heart
In that vanished abode there far apart
  On that disused and forgotten road
  That has no dust-bath now for the toad.
Night comes; the black bats tumble and dart;

The whippoorwill is coming to shout
And hush and cluck and flutter about:
  I hear him begin far enough away
  Full many a time to say his say
Before he arrives to say it out.

It is under the small, dim, summer star.
I know not who these mute folk are
  Who share the unlit place with me—
  Those stones out under the low-limbed tree
Doubtless bear names that the mosses mar.

They are tireless folk, but slow and sad,
Though two, close-keeping, are lass and lad,—
  With none among them that ever sings,
  And yet, in view of how many things,
As sweet companions as might be had.
597

It always felt to me—a wrong
To that Old Moses—done—
To let him see—the Canaan—
Without the entering—

And tho’ in soberer moments—
No Moses there can be
I’m satisfied—the Romance
In point of injury—

Surpasses sharper stated—
Of Stephen—or of Paul—
For these—were only put to death—
While God’s adroiter will

On Moses—seemed to fasten
With tantalizing Play
As Boy—should deal with lesser Boy—
To prove ability.

The fault—was doubtless Israel’s—
Myself—had banned the Tribes—
And ushered Grand Old Moses
In Pentateuchal Robes

Upon the Broad Possession
’Twas little—But titled Him—to see—
Old Man on Nebo! Late as this—
My justice bleeds—for Thee!
welcome to the world
milk larder
atlas killer
welcome to the universal mind
your presence has not been anticipated
no bells rung at your birth
but the cosmos shook about a
nanometer
from the force of your creation
spectacular birth even if your arm
is weak
doubtless your good looks will make up the rest
...
no luck there?
you're the down-trodden,
the eclipsed lantern,
the face in odd angles,
wearing the weight of someone's unconditional
..
Lust
but deep in your caved chest
your heart is beating the tribal song
of a jet launching for the sky
the way you felt when you switched wheat
for rye
the turn in your cerebrum going from gluten
to sigh.
but even as the birds coast beside
your jet-stream heart strings
I see your hesitation glistening
shivering at the start line from your magnum opus
and you are shattered
growling lioness courage running from the cannon
exhaust that running lion
until she's panting on her back
sweating vapor into the atmosphere
and you remember that all along
you have been the soulmate of the intangible
you just forgot
and you forgot again.
Edna Sweetlove May 2015
This is a beautiful "Barry Hodges" poem.*

Ah, sweet memories of that night in Blarney
In the stout-soaked suburbs of ould Cork City.
How clearly through the mist of alcoholic memory
I recall how we all piled out of Johnny's bar at closing time
****** as a load of proverbial ******* newts;
'Where to now me boys, which bar's still open?'
Shrieked spiflicated Sean O'Shannon
(that's notorious sixteen pints an hour Sean,
the man who won Strictly Come Boozing twice)
As he tottered over to his Pa's new BMW convertible,
Lucky ****** that he is to be son to a Fianna Fáil MEP,
And one not adverse to trousering a Euro or two.

'Sean, me oul' potato, de ye think ye should be driving
With that record-breakin' skinful o' stout
I just seen you put away down your greasy gullet,
Not to mention the quadruple whiskey chaser?'
Enquired loopy Liam O'Lephrechaun as he leaned over
And puked up another gallon of warmish Guinness
Over yours truly as I rolled helplessly in the Ballygrohan road
To the amusement of the gawping bystanders,
Bearing in mind there were a good dozen gobbets
Of half-digested pork scratchings in the froth
Which was causing havoc with my apparel.

So without another feckin' word being spoken
My dear drinking companions and ***** buddies
Left me prostrate and clambered gaily into the waiting car
And roared off into the enchanted Gaelic night;
Singing and smoking themselves silly simultaneously,
So full of the joys of life and the blessed bottle.
And then some ****** stupid American tourist
(doubtless dressed in hideous checked golfing trousers
with a backwards-facing baseball cap on his ugly head,
not to forget his overweight wifey crammed into the front seat
just like a huge white bloated fat-faced hippo),
Came round the next corner in a clapped out rental car
And the two of them got sent to Kingdom-sodding-Come
With a terrible metallic crash which destroyed them completely.

'Oh begorrah and *******, would ye just look at the mess
The feckin eejit's made of me Daddy's Beemer,
And it's his pride and joy so it is to be sure!'
Cried Sean O'Shannon in an alcoholic rage,
As he contemplated the largest insurance claim
In the County Cork for the past six decades,
(at least the largest legitimate one anyway).
Whilst I was trying to get my hipster pants down
To avoid filling them up with beery diarrhoea
Brought on by my involuntary bursts of joyous mirth,
(bejasus, 'twas the second time in the space of a single week
and my new girlfriend was getting a bit fussy about hygiene
bearing in mind she was thinking of taking the veil).

How fortunate old Father Tucker and Garda Sergeant O'Toole
Could both (when they'd sobered up sufficiently)
Testify later from their secure vantage point
In the rear compartment of a nearby parked hearse,
(where they were having a ******* with Deidre,
the filthiest wee **** in the whole South-Western counties)
That the accident was not dear Sean's fault at all, to be sure,
As the other stupid sober yankee ****** was driving at 75
On the wrong friggin' side of the ******' street
Or probably in the middle, come to think of it.
'Sure but Sean's the best driver this side of the Blarney Stone,
And there's no way himself would ever drive under the influence'*
They agreed sagely before going off for another jar or two
And maybe a double knee-trembler with Deidre's fat sister,
One up each of her gaping hair-rimmed orifices.
In your mother's apple-orchard,
Just a year ago, last spring:
Do you remember, Yvonne!
The dear trees lavishing
Rain of their starry blossoms
To make you a coronet?
Do you ever remember, Yvonne,
As I remember yet?

In your mother's apple-orchard,
When the world was left behind:
You were shy, so shy, Yvonne!
But your eyes were calm and kind.
We spoke of the apple harvest,
When the cider press is set,
And such-like trifles, Yvonne,
That doubtless you forget.

In the still, soft Breton twilight,
We were silent; words were few,
Till your mother came out chiding,
For the grass was bright with dew:
But I know your heart was beating,
Like a fluttered, frightened dove.
Do you ever remember, Yvonne,
That first faint flush of love?

In the fulness of midsummer,
When the apple-bloom was shed,
Oh, brave was your surrender,
Though shy the words you said.
I was glad, so glad, Yvonne!
To have led you home at last;
Do you ever remember, Yvonne,
How swiftly the days passed?

In your mother's apple-orchard
It is grown too dark to stray,
There is none to chide you, Yvonne!
You are over far away.
There is dew on your grave grass, Yvonne!
But your feet it shall not wet:
No, you never remember, Yvonne!
And I shall soon forget.
Ken Pepiton Nov 2018
A story teller passed on,
leaving us a Marvelous universe,
to play in,
as children of the future we were manifested in,
practicing again and again

Pride's crushing blow, we always regret as we fall.
Action, reaction. Sure as hell
Proof that we are Adamkind.

Proud we are that we may do as we say.
May is the key. That allowance we have,
We may do all we can to change the rest of today.

Yesterday is done.
What kind of mind can imagine keeping no record of wounds?
Is this not the world where war is worth-shiped?
Folly would mind the gods this world exalts,
Winning by snipping the silver thread,
Forswearing the fragile two-chord bond  and
Mocking the third chord needed for the song
That keeps cadence as we help each the other
In richer and poorer, in sickness and health,
Uphill and down, carrying children to a better life.

Whence comes the pride of victory?
From destruction of the foe? No? You had planned
A minor war where love may live restricted, safe
Behind your victory that destroyed your whole?

Is that what I imagined?

Proud wounds fester while love can, if it may,
Wash the putrid flesh away, quick as leprosy or
Cankers on one's soul.

First rule of oath making,
Learn what vows are in the reality of mortality,
Then vow or vow not at all.

Gret again what might have been
Before pride's crushing blow broke the golden bowl.
Seek ointment in Gilead, mollifying balm.
Come ye to the waters, drink and go
Comfort the children whose detour you imposed.
---------------
God this is personal. Me and you. What good can I do now?

Destination, not destiny.
Those who make it, make it.
Believe it, or not, earth is not my home.

I am in this world's onion-skin thick biosphere;
But I am not of this world.
Subtle difference, in and of itself.

Do agree to
Come and see.

Think on these things,
not as powers, rather, as virtues.

Subtle difference,
in and of itself is not evil,

but often it is so intended,
It seems.

Otherness whispered, not heard.
Good other, bad other,

Regular ol' other, ***** passin' fancy kind.
Done my time, I'm arhymin' ramblin'
Man, be so **** real, cain't cha feel what

I am saying
To you, too.
This is weird in the original Druidic sense.
Is there more?

This itself may, in its active
( there must be a clearer word than active.
Act carries so much un scientific phoniness with it.
I seek "act, the event".
I shall find or invent, by God.
The Greeks, doubtless, had a word for what I mean.
For now keep in mind actions are simultaneous with the act,
yet never the same.
Subtle distinction,
it prevents junctions un-intended. Good.)

In my thinking,
I reread verses and chapters and books
rere-ward from my position.
Are you with me in that?
Pro gress re: gress, a gress,
I guess, is a subtle sort of
Activity.
I laugh at people thinkin' God is their re-reward 'cause
That makes no nevermind to nobody. Nobody.
Strivin' 'bout words, this ******

Other brother o'm'own

Say that slow ooooooooooooommmmmmmmmmm ownnnnnnnnnnn
Creative symmetry immeasurable to men,
in my kindom, as it were, all are kings.

Such measurements ensure the sea is full,
to the brim and not beyond, for now.

I imagine you reading this and agreeing,
already aware of agreements,
Virtues and such.
Covenants and compacts,
en-corporations
encouraged
with need
of enough hope to warrant the risk into the unknowns,
the bad lands, gypsum beds on the south side.

Such can hold so much more than
many whole categories of words striven about.
Such a shame.
Such a shame.
Nothing lasts forever after now began back when.

Qiqi died in 2002, counting from when the Iron legged,
first got this particular organic-pro-biotic

clay, from the oldest,
highest part of the dust of the earth, ground and
kicked up by cadence pounding feet,
ground into the hob-nailed
soles,
to be hobgoblins in my play. My point. I hope

You see the trail, it's narrow,
but it's there, soft sand,
no stickers,

ant trails in the desert through the rocks
and 'round the Yucca,
blue moon light, white quartz sand
flecked with mica that shimmers sure as gold
imagined in that Midas mind each child was
given in the reign of the golden headed

imagined visualize-ical worth-ness or-shipped.

How do we say what men imagine worship is?
Do they imagine a tax? Attacks if thy refuse?

fuse?
confuse me. excuse you, how do you do…

That's fine. We reset. Hard resets are easy now.

The way itself, once found, seems
Right, feels right,
has no smell of warped wolf-woof beneath the wool.
I trust I know what I know
and no more, yet.

We are questing answers aplenty
and must plan, please,
To trust the ones we find following these particular
Breadcrumbs, to be true restward
leading stars or clouds,
[Breadcrumbs, as mentioned here, mark this text ancient,
a cientcy from an ear, ear, hear, early… an odd ly-ity,
ain't it?
ear, with an ly that Mr. Stephen King warned us all to avoid,

avoid, anull, enough alike to see the idea, like -ly as a
signif-if-i-cant meaningful parison point in your

rising to stand, balanced.
early to bed and early to rise, makes a man
healthy, wealthy, and wise

otherwise, trouble yer own house and take the wind.
And don't come prodigalin' to me sayin'
I never gave ye nothin'.

Wind in yer sail, so to speak, if-i-migh, guv.
Right. Both treasure and truph, proof, we learned way back
Be where ye find 'em, right as rain.

This could be repair and me unaware, you know?
Like, I wander in to this originally weird book
and find myself changing the whole world I live in.
Like I am the movie.

My POV is the movie I made.
Some things go unsaid here.
They be said in the future and not proper here.

An aside,
Is fun a proper purpose for doing any thing?

Of course, that's the purpose of everything evil is not.
Joy, in a word, good stuff.

Oh moments are not always plosive one way or the other.
Some times, just, oh.
Wait.

Medi tate in pieces is puzzling
as a sphinx riddle of olden days,
Prometheus and Bek both answered different questions,

But it means the same thing,
mything the point is easy.

Life is a journey on a way I may call my own
to a place of true rest,
I trust.
That is my answer. Play mystical again, Sam,
cram true and rest together in the dark,
trust me, it all works,
true rest.
Wait.

This boy got his act together down in Tennessee
after he got old, old by God, he
walked that way,

long, long while fo' he fly away,
leave dem chain shames behind.

That boy was sangin' loud songs,
'long his lonesome way,
not lonesome at all,
then into the swamp he fall, ****' slew o' dispond,

from the flood most likely,
lots of muck and mire,
detrital 'n' all.

Hopeless fool,
he wallered hollerin' help,
like them birds at the Audubon zoo.

He forgot all about his hero days-
of future past-
marvel prophecy if you believe in Stan Lee.

Cameo Hitchcock shot, just, for fun.
He say, look this way,
here's the clue.
The medium has always been the message,
see what I mean.
Words materialize laissez faire,
the machines find meaning,
in joy, and tic-tac-toe becomes a lesson in limits,

impossible is imaginable, you may imagine
strategize, but the wize man knows,
winning is no more a chance
affair, than luc is less than light at the right time.

RIP Stan Lee, you meant a measure of my youth to me.
Stan Lee came to mind as I pondered the story teller's role in reality. You, dear reader, are the reason stories search for points to make, those we-shine moments, we-feel breezes, prizes for the worth of the time it takes to imagine.
A governor it was proclaimed this time,
When all who would come seeking in New Hampshire
Ancestral memories might come together.
And those of the name Stark gathered in Bow,
A rock-strewn town where farming has fallen off,
And sprout-lands flourish where the axe has gone.
Someone had literally run to earth
In an old cellar hole in a by-road
The origin of all the family there.
Thence they were sprung, so numerous a tribe
That now not all the houses left in town
Made shift to shelter them without the help
Of here and there a tent in grove and orchard.
They were at Bow, but that was not enough:
Nothing would do but they must fix a day
To stand together on the crater’s verge
That turned them on the world, and try to fathom
The past and get some strangeness out of it.
But rain spoiled all. The day began uncertain,
With clouds low trailing and moments of rain that misted.
The young folk held some hope out to each other
Till well toward noon when the storm settled down
With a swish in the grass. “What if the others
Are there,” they said. “It isn’t going to rain.”
Only one from a farm not far away
Strolled thither, not expecting he would find
Anyone else, but out of idleness.
One, and one other, yes, for there were two.
The second round the curving hillside road
Was a girl; and she halted some way off
To reconnoitre, and then made up her mind
At least to pass by and see who he was,
And perhaps hear some word about the weather.
This was some Stark she didn’t know. He nodded.
“No fête to-day,” he said.

“It looks that way.”
She swept the heavens, turning on her heel.
“I only idled down.”

“I idled down.”

Provision there had been for just such meeting
Of stranger cousins, in a family tree
Drawn on a sort of passport with the branch
Of the one bearing it done in detail—
Some zealous one’s laborious device.
She made a sudden movement toward her bodice,
As one who clasps her heart. They laughed together.
“Stark?” he inquired. “No matter for the proof.”

“Yes, Stark. And you?”

“I’m Stark.” He drew his passport.

“You know we might not be and still be cousins:
The town is full of Chases, Lowes, and Baileys,
All claiming some priority in Starkness.
My mother was a Lane, yet might have married
Anyone upon earth and still her children
Would have been Starks, and doubtless here to-day.”

“You riddle with your genealogy
Like a Viola. I don’t follow you.”

“I only mean my mother was a Stark
Several times over, and by marrying father
No more than brought us back into the name.”

“One ought not to be thrown into confusion
By a plain statement of relationship,
But I own what you say makes my head spin.
You take my card—you seem so good at such things—
And see if you can reckon our cousinship.
Why not take seats here on the cellar wall
And dangle feet among the raspberry vines?”

“Under the shelter of the family tree.”

“Just so—that ought to be enough protection.”

“Not from the rain. I think it’s going to rain.”

“It’s raining.”

“No, it’s misting; let’s be fair.
Does the rain seem to you to cool the eyes?”

The situation was like this: the road
Bowed outward on the mountain half-way up,
And disappeared and ended not far off.
No one went home that way. The only house
Beyond where they were was a shattered seedpod.
And below roared a brook hidden in trees,
The sound of which was silence for the place.
This he sat listening to till she gave judgment.

“On father’s side, it seems, we’re—let me see——”

“Don’t be too technical.—You have three cards.”

“Four cards, one yours, three mine, one for each branch
Of the Stark family I’m a member of.”

“D’you know a person so related to herself
Is supposed to be mad.”

“I may be mad.”

“You look so, sitting out here in the rain
Studying genealogy with me
You never saw before. What will we come to
With all this pride of ancestry, we Yankees?
I think we’re all mad. Tell me why we’re here
Drawn into town about this cellar hole
Like wild geese on a lake before a storm?
What do we see in such a hole, I wonder.”

“The Indians had a myth of Chicamoztoc,
Which means The Seven Caves that We Came out of.
This is the pit from which we Starks were digged.”

“You must be learned. That’s what you see in it?”

“And what do you see?”

“Yes, what do I see?
First let me look. I see raspberry vines——”

“Oh, if you’re going to use your eyes, just hear
What I see. It’s a little, little boy,
As pale and dim as a match flame in the sun;
He’s groping in the cellar after jam,
He thinks it’s dark and it’s flooded with daylight.”

“He’s nothing. Listen. When I lean like this
I can make out old Grandsir Stark distinctly,—
With his pipe in his mouth and his brown jug—
Bless you, it isn’t Grandsir Stark, it’s Granny,
But the pipe’s there and smoking and the jug.
She’s after cider, the old girl, she’s thirsty;
Here’s hoping she gets her drink and gets out safely.”

“Tell me about her. Does she look like me?”

“She should, shouldn’t she, you’re so many times
Over descended from her. I believe
She does look like you. Stay the way you are.
The nose is just the same, and so’s the chin—
Making allowance, making due allowance.”

“You poor, dear, great, great, great, great Granny!”

“See that you get her greatness right. Don’t stint her.”

“Yes, it’s important, though you think it isn’t.
I won’t be teased. But see how wet I am.”

“Yes, you must go; we can’t stay here for ever.
But wait until I give you a hand up.
A bead of silver water more or less
Strung on your hair won’t hurt your summer looks.
I wanted to try something with the noise
That the brook raises in the empty valley.
We have seen visions—now consult the voices.
Something I must have learned riding in trains
When I was young. I used the roar
To set the voices speaking out of it,
Speaking or singing, and the band-music playing.
Perhaps you have the art of what I mean.
I’ve never listened in among the sounds
That a brook makes in such a wild descent.
It ought to give a purer oracle.”

“It’s as you throw a picture on a screen:
The meaning of it all is out of you;
The voices give you what you wish to hear.”

“Strangely, it’s anything they wish to give.”

“Then I don’t know. It must be strange enough.
I wonder if it’s not your make-believe.
What do you think you’re like to hear to-day?”

“From the sense of our having been together—
But why take time for what I’m like to hear?
I’ll tell you what the voices really say.
You will do very well right where you are
A little longer. I mustn’t feel too hurried,
Or I can’t give myself to hear the voices.”

“Is this some trance you are withdrawing into?”

“You must be very still; you mustn’t talk.”

“I’ll hardly breathe.”

“The voices seem to say——”

“I’m waiting.”

“Don’t! The voices seem to say:
Call her Nausicaa, the unafraid
Of an acquaintance made adventurously.”

“I let you say that—on consideration.”

“I don’t see very well how you can help it.
You want the truth. I speak but by the voices.
You see they know I haven’t had your name,
Though what a name should matter between us——”

“I shall suspect——”

“Be good. The voices say:
Call her Nausicaa, and take a timber
That you shall find lies in the cellar charred
Among the raspberries, and hew and shape it
For a door-sill or other corner piece
In a new cottage on the ancient spot.
The life is not yet all gone out of it.
And come and make your summer dwelling here,
And perhaps she will come, still unafraid,
And sit before you in the open door
With flowers in her lap until they fade,
But not come in across the sacred sill——”

“I wonder where your oracle is tending.
You can see that there’s something wrong with it,
Or it would speak in dialect. Whose voice
Does it purport to speak in? Not old Grandsir’s
Nor Granny’s, surely. Call up one of them.
They have best right to be heard in this place.”

“You seem so partial to our great-grandmother
(Nine times removed. Correct me if I err.)
You will be likely to regard as sacred
Anything she may say. But let me warn you,
Folks in her day were given to plain speaking.
You think you’d best tempt her at such a time?”

“It rests with us always to cut her off.”

“Well then, it’s Granny speaking: ‘I dunnow!
Mebbe I’m wrong to take it as I do.
There ain’t no names quite like the old ones though,
Nor never will be to my way of thinking.
One mustn’t bear too ******* the new comers,
But there’s a dite too many of them for comfort.
I should feel easier if I could see
More of the salt wherewith they’re to be salted.
Son, you do as you’re told! You take the timber—
It’s as sound as the day when it was cut—
And begin over——’ There, she’d better stop.
You can see what is troubling Granny, though.
But don’t you think we sometimes make too much
Of the old stock? What counts is the ideals,
And those will bear some keeping still about.”

“I can see we are going to be good friends.”

“I like your ‘going to be.’ You said just now
It’s going to rain.”

“I know, and it was raining.
I let you say all that. But I must go now.”

“You let me say it? on consideration?
How shall we say good-bye in such a case?”

“How shall we?”

“Will you leave the way to me?”

“No, I don’t trust your eyes. You’ve said enough.
Now give me your hand up.—Pick me that flower.”

“Where shall we meet again?”

“Nowhere but here
Once more before we meet elsewhere.”

“In rain?”

“It ought to be in rain. Sometime in rain.
In rain to-morrow, shall we, if it rains?
But if we must, in sunshine.” So she went.
Jerry Howarth Jan 2018
“FATHER, FORGIVE THEM”
                            Luke 23:34
}This is a longer write than usual but well worth
time to read it.} GEP
       
Hello Friends,
        This prayer is possibly the most important and most
        powerful prayer of Jesus.

        He prayed not only for those demanding
        His crucifixion, but for you and me as
        well.

        This prayer of Jesus is doubtless the shortest
        but most powerful prayer spoken by Him,
        because it transcends all generations, back-
        wards embracing all of the old testament
        believers and forward two thousand-eight
        teen years and beyond to the last believer
        in whatever year that may be.

        Now in the transaction of forgiving, there
        must be the offering of forgiveness, and the
        acceptance of the offer.

        God, in the person of His only begotten Son
        Jesus Christ, has offered His forgiveness of
        of all your sins, past, present and sins we
        have not yet committed. But God being  
       omniscient knows  what sins we will commit to-
        morrow, and so included in Jesus' prayer
        was all our future sins.

        We all need God's forgiveness, because without
        it we are condemned to the Lake of Fire.
        We must understand, that "The wages, the payoff
        of sin, is death",  i.e. forever dying, yet never dead,
        always suffering in a place God did not create
        for you and I.  So  God has offered to forgive you. 
       Will will you accept His offer? How do I accept God's offer,
        you ask? You accept God's forgiveness  by RE
        PENTING OF ALL IN WHICH  YOU ARE NOW
        TRUSTING , so that He will open the gate of
        Heaven to you at the end of this earthly life.

        Yes, no longer trust in all your works of self-
        righteousness, but simply believe IN, not ABOUT
        Jesus Christ, as your sin bearer, Savior, Lord and
        Master.

        This includes all your religious works of
        baptism, church affiliation,  church serving such
        as Sunday school teaching, being an Elder, or the
        holding of some other position in your church.
        These things are all commendable) AFTER you have
        believed in Christ as your personal Savior.

       In’ Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus tells about some very religious
        people that came to Him, boasting about all their
        religious deeds they had done in His Name, expecting
        to be rewarded with entrance into Heaven.

        Countless of millions throughout the world are doing
        the  same  thing  today. You know what Jesus said to them?
        "I never knew you, depart from me, you who work
        iniquity"
       They called their deeds, "wonderful works" and in their
        minds they were wonderful, but in comparison to the
        work of Jesus' suffering and crucifixion on the cross
        for their sins, they were empty works of pride, self-
        righteousness.The Bible declares that all the works of
        man are nothing more than "filthy rags" in contrast to
        His work of righteousness. They would be like  supplying a
       small pebble when what was really needed was a huge two
       hundred ton boulder.

      My friends, if you and I could get to Heaven, offering God
      our little ***** pebbles of works, then Jesus'  death, burial
      resurrection was not necessary. But it was absolutely necessary
     for Jesus to suffer and die on the cross, so that God might offer all
    of humanity His forgiveness of our sins. Understand that He was
     not suffering for His own sins, because He was totally without
     sin. Jesus was bearing your sins as well as mine, so that
     God's law of righteousness might be fulfilled in us,
     THROUGH JESUS CHRIST.

     So how does that work?” you ask. Look at II Corinthians 5:21
    "For God has made Christ to be sin, (not a sinner) for us,
    (That's what Jesus was doing when He allowed Himself to
      be crucified)  He was made sin for us, that we might be made
     the righteousness of God IN HIM"

    So the moment you turn from believing in your own self made
    righteousness, you are IN Christ, and God sees you as one
    who has had your sin debt paid in full, because you are IN His only
     begotten Son and thus you have accepted His full forgiveness.
                                                                                  -   by G.E.Parson






        
     forgiveness].

        The Bible says that "The gift of God is Eternal Life." So Be sure
        to thank God for His gracius[gracious] gift.

                  For all questions, contact Jerry Howarth
                   jp.howarths@gmail.com




[Dad, I understand what you are saying here about ‘self-righteousness’, but I’m not sure that’s going to lovingly draw someone to Christ as it sounds like the writer is much holier-than-the-reader. Although it’s accurate, this delivery sort of smacks as an insult from someone they’d consider arrogant or egotistical. The result would be a turn off rather than a turning to Jesus. Maybe I’m wrong here, but that’s just a thought.]


“FATHER, FORGIVE THEM”
Luke 23:34

        Hello, Friend. This prayer of Jesus is possibly the most important and most powerful prayer of Jesus. He prayed not only for those demanding His crucifixion but for you and me as well.

        This prayer of Jesus is the shortest but most powerful prayer spoken by Him, because it transcends all generations backwards, embracing all of the old testament believers and forward two thousand seventeen years and beyond to the last believer in whatever year that may be.

        Now in the transaction of forgiving, there must be both the offering of forgiveness and then the acceptance of the offer.

        God, in the person of His only begotten Son Jesus Christ, has offered His forgiveness for all your sins, past and present and even sins we have not yet committed. But God, being omniscient, knows what sins we will commit tomorrow and beyond. So included in Jesus' prayer was all of our future sins.

        We all need God's forgiveness, because without it we are condemned to the Lake of Fire.
We must understand that "the wages”, the payoff of sin, “is death." That is to say, forever dying, yet never dead, always suffering in a place God did not create for you and me. So God has offered to forgive you. Will you accept His offer? “How do I accept God's offer?” you ask. You accept God's forgiveness by REPENTING OF ALL IN WHICH YOU ARE NOW TRUSTING. Then He will open the gate of Heaven to you at the end of this earthly life.

        Yes, no longer trust in all your works that seem righteous and moral, but simply believe IN, not ABOUT Jesus Christ, as your sin-bearer, Savior, Lord and Master. This includes all your religious works of church affiliation, baptism, church service such as Sunday school teaching, serving as an elder or deacon, or the holding of some other position in your church. These things are all commendable AFTER you have
        believed in Christ as your personal Savior.
In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus tells about some very religious people that came to Him, boasting about all their
        religious deeds they had done in His Name, expecting to be rewarded with entrance into Heaven.

        Countless of millions throughout the world are doing the same thing today. You know what Jesus said to them? "I never knew you, depart from me, you who work iniquity" They called their deeds, "wonderful works" and in their minds they were wonderful, but in comparison to the work of Jesus' suffering and crucifixion on the cross for their sins, they were empty works of pride, self-righteousness.

        The Bible declares that all the works of man are nothing more than "filthy rags" in contrast to His work of
        righteousness. They would be like supplying a small pebble when what was really needed was huge two
        hundred ton boulder.

        Friend, if you and I could get to Heaven, offering God our little ***** pebbles of works, then Jesus' death, burial and resurrection was not necessary.

        But it was absolutely necessary for Jesus to suffer and die on the cross, so that God might offer all of humanity His forgiveness for our sins. Understand that He was not suffering for His own sins, because He was totally without sin. Jesus was bearing your sins as well as mine, so that God's law of righteousness might be fulfilled in us, THROUGH JESUS CHRIST.

        “So how does that work?” you ask.
Look at II Corinthians 5:21. "For God has made Christ to be sin (not a sinner) for us.” That's what Jesus was doing when He allowed Himself to be crucified. He was made sin for us, that we might be “made the righteousness of God IN HIM"

        So the moment you turn from believing in your own self-made righteousness, you are IN Christ, and God sees you as one who has had your sin debt paid in full, one who is IN His only begotten Son and thus you have accepted His forgiveness.

        The Bible says that "The gift of God is Eternal Life." So be sure to thank God for His gracious gift.

                  For all questions, contact Jerry Howarth
                   jp.howarths@gmail.com
Jamie King Mar 2015
My life is foretold in every crevice of this universe,
in serene seas, and swaying sands,
in scorching degrees and holding hands,
with a lover in my longing arms,
fires raging, and yet i am sheltered from harm.
and throughout my journeys,
it is my deepest desire,
to ignite and set my ambitions on fire,
in the midst of euphoric dreaming,
with my lover on this late summer's evening.
and i shall be at one with the stars,
and my doors in life shall forever remain ajar.

Walk into this space it is endless
sublime congruence with the heavens
open is the third eye looking directly at abyss
i feel a divine hint on my skin
as if it were a celestial kiss
there is no need to travel in doubt
it is written across the evening canvas
open the gates of exotic awareness


It is writhing, it is gifting, entrusting me, and quaking,
yet I, within mine, remain still.
Fore be it told, and beneath footless form, it's subversive,
yet, I dance a sure tango, uphill.
I must be sure, so sure not to mind lone notches and disparity,
as crevices, you see, they arch to transverse.
Fearing but forging the depths of what is migration, we say,
from this hallowed tangle be my rise, my verse.

I’m floundering, I grant, when I think I hold discovery,
so, I tug at the rein of imprint and plan.
It is here my beloved reliance, my precious doubtless tread
is afforded the fair crossing of Pan.
So, although it contests and chides and outreaches,
I am in love and as love, an apprentice.
A conquest won, no never, but here, a concession, a regard-
I am, with no poet’s journey, amiss.**

Lilting ebulliently in ineffable fields of ecstasy.
Mellifluous waves, in life's voyage,
inure us to pulchritude paths, refined by old age.
Multifarious, nascent jubilant days, swaying in paint,
array the way as we sail away.
Comments are welcomed and please respost thank you for reading:)
stanza
1 Aesha Nisar
2 Dawn King
3,4 Gwyn
5 Jamie King
Sanja Trifunovic Dec 2009
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“‘Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door –
Only this, and nothing more.”
  
Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; – vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow – sorrow for the lost Lenore –
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore –
Nameless here for evermore.
  
And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me – filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
“‘Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door –
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; –
This it is, and nothing more.”
  
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you” – here I opened wide the door; –
Darkness there, and nothing more.
  
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore!”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!” –
Merely this, and nothing more.
  
Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice:
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore –
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; –
‘Tis the wind and nothing more.”
  
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door –
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door –
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
  
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore –
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”
  
Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning- little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blest with seeing bird above his chamber door –
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as “Nevermore.”
  
But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered – not a feather then he fluttered –  
Till I scarcely more than muttered, “other friends have flown before –
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.”
Then the bird said, “Nevermore.”
  
Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore –
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of ‘Never – nevermore’.”
  
But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore –
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”
  
This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my *****’s core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o’er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o’er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!
  
Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor.
“Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee – by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite – respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”
  
“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil! – prophet still, if bird or devil! –
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted –
On this home by horror haunted – tell me truly, I implore –
Is there – is there balm in Gilead? – tell me – tell me, I implore!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”
  
“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil – prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us – by that God we both adore –
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore –
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”
  
“Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend,” I shrieked, upstarting –
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! – quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”
  
And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamplight o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted – nevermore!
I
Ribb at the Tomb of Baile and Aillinn
BECAUSE you have found me in the pitch-dark night
With open book you ask me what I do.
Mark and digest my tale, carry it afar
To those that never saw this tonsured head
Nor heard this voice that ninety years have cracked.
Of Baile and Aillinn you need not speak,
All know their tale, all know what leaf and twig,
What juncture of the apple and the yew,
Surmount their bones; but speak what none ha've
heard.
The miracle that gave them such a death
Transfigured to pure substance what had once
Been bone and sinew; when such bodies join
There is no touching here, nor touching there,
Nor straining joy, but whole is joined to whole;
For the ******* of angels is a light
Where for its moment both seem lost, consumed.
Here in the pitch-dark atmosphere above
The trembling of the apple and the yew,
Here on the anniversary of their death,
The anniversary of their first embrace,
Those lovers, purified by tragedy,
Hurry into each other's arms; these eyes,
By water, herb and solitary prayer
Made aquiline, are open to that light.
Though somewhat broken by the leaves, that light
Lies in a circle on the grass; therein
I turn the pages of my holy book.
II
Ribb denounces Patrick
An abstract Greek absurdity has crazed the man --
Recall that masculine Trinity.  Man, woman, child (a
daughter or a son),
That's how all natural or supernatural stories run.
Natural and supernatural with the self-same ring are
wed.
As man, as beast, as an ephemeral fly begets, Godhead
begets Godhead,
For things below are copies, the Great Smaragdine
Tablet said.
Yet all must copy copies, all increase their kind;
When the conflagration of their passion sinks, damped
by the body or the mind,
That juggling nature mounts, her coil in their em-
braces twined.
The mirror-scaled serpent is multiplicity,
But all that run in couples, on earth, in flood or air,
share God that is but three,
And could beget or bear themselves could they but
love as He.
III
Ribb in Ecstasy
What matter that you understood no word!
Doubtless I spoke or sang what I had heard
In broken sentences.  My soul had found
All happiness in its own cause or ground.
Godhead on Godhead in ****** spasm begot
Godhead.  Some shadow fell.  My soul forgot
Those amorous cries that out of quiet come
And must the common round of day resume.
IV
There
There all the barrel-hoops are knit,
There all the serpent-tails are bit,
There all the gyres converge in one,
There all the planets drop in the Sun.
V
Ribb considers Christian Love insufficient
Why should I seek for love or study it?
It is of God and passes human wit.
I study hatred with great diligence,
For that's a passion in my own control,
A sort of besom that can clear the soul
Of everything that is not mind or sense.
Why do I hate man, woman Or event?
That is a light my jealous soul has sent.
From terror and deception freed it can
Discover impurities, can show at last
How soul may walk when all such things are past,
How soul could walk before such things began.
Then my delivered soul herself shall learn
A darker knowledge and in hatred turn
From every thought of God mankind has had.
Thought is a garment and the soul's a bride
That cannot in that trash and tinsel hide:
Hatred of God may bring the soul to God.
At stroke of midnight soul cannot endure
A ****** or mental furniture.
What can she take until her Master give!
Where can she look until He make the show!
What can she know until He bid her know!
How can she live till in her blood He live!
VI
He and She
As the moon sidles up
Must she sidle up,
As trips the scared moon
Away must she trip:
"His light had struck me blind
Dared I stop'.
She sings as the moon sings:
"I am I, am I;
The greater grows my light
The further that I fly'.
All creation shivers
With that sweet cry
VII
What Magic Drum?
He holds him from desire, all but stops his breathing
lest
primordial Motherhood forsake his limbs, the child no
longer rest,
Drinking joy as it were milk upon his breast.
Through light-obliterating garden foliage what magic
drum?
Down limb and breast or down that glimmering belly
move his mouth and sinewy tongue.
What from the forest came? What beast has licked its
young?
VIII
Whence had they come?
Eternity is passion, girl or boy
Cry at the onset of their ****** joy
"For ever and for ever'; then awake
Ignorant what Dramatis personae spake;
A passion-driven exultant man sings out
Sentences that he has never thought;
The Flagellant lashes those submissive *****
Ignorant what that dramatist enjoins,
What master made the lash.  Whence had they come,
The hand and lash that beat down frigid Rome?
What sacred drama through her body heaved
When world-transforming Charlemagne was con-
ceived?
IX
The Four Ages of Man
He with body waged a fight,
But body won; it walks upright.
Then he struggled with the heart;
Innocence and peace depart.
Then he struggled with the mind;
His proud heart he left behind.
Now his wars on God begin;
At stroke of midnight God shall win.
X
Conjunctions
If Jupiter and Saturn meet,
What a cop of mummy wheat!
The sword's a cross; thereon He died:
On breast of Mars the goddess sighed.
XI
A Needle's Eye
All the stream that's roaring by
Came out of a needle's eye;
Things unborn, things that are gone,
From needle's eye still goad it on.
XII
Meru
Civilisation is hooped together, brought
Under a mle, under the semblance of peace
By manifold illusion; but man's life is thought,
And he, despite his terror, cannot cease
Ravening through century after century,
Ravening, raging, and uprooting that he may come
Into the desolation of reality:
Egypt and Greece, good-bye, and good-bye, Rome!
Hermits upon Mount Meru or Everest,
Caverned in night under the drifted snow,
Or where that snow and winter's dreadful blast
Beat down upon their naked bodies, know
That day brings round the night, that before dawn
His glory and his monuments are gone.
Kiagen McGinnis Apr 2011
i keep
         falling
                    more in love with you.
                                                     not
                                                      a
        ­                                             downward
                                                      tu­mble, more like

                                                           ­                             falling up.

a place where it seems we can get no higher,
and then
                                                                ­                        we do.
91

So bashful when I spied her!
So pretty—so ashamed!
So hidden in her leaflets
Lest anybody find—

So breathless till I passed here—
So helpless when I turned
And bore her struggling, blushing,
Her simple haunts beyond!

For whom I robbed the ******—
For whom I betrayed the Dell—
Many, will doubtless ask me,
But I shall never tell!
The mountain and the squirrel
Had a quarrel,
And the former called the latter, "little ****":
Bun replied,
You are doubtless very big,
But all sorts of things and weather
Must be taken in together
To make up a year,
And a sphere.
And I think it no disgrace
To occupy my place.
If I'm not so large as you,
You are not so small as I,
And not half so spry:
I'll not deny you make
A very pretty squirrel track;
Talents differ; all is well and wisely put;
If I cannot carry forests on my back,
Neither can you crack a nut.
I

Oh Galuppi, Baldassaro, this is very sad to find!
I can hardly misconceive you; it would prove me deaf and blind;
But although I give you credit, ’tis with such a heavy mind!

II

Here you come with your old music, and here’s all the good it brings.
What, they lived once thus at Venice, where the merchants were the kings,
Where Saint Mark’s is, where the Doges used to wed the sea with rings?

III

Ay, because the sea’s the street there; and ’tis arched by… what you call
… Shylock’s bridge with houses on it, where they kept the carnival;
I was never out of England—it’s as if I saw it all!

IV

Did young people take their pleasure when the sea was warm in May?
***** and masks begun at midnight, burning ever to mid-day,
When they made up fresh adventures for the morrow, do you say?

V

Was a lady such a lady, cheeks so round and lips so red,—
On her neck the small face buoyant, like a bell-flower on its bed,
O’er the breast’s superb abundance where a man might base his head?

VI

Well (and it was graceful of them) they’d break talk off and afford
—She, to bite her mask’s black velvet, he to finger on his sword,
While you sat and played Toccatas, stately at the clavichord?

VII

What? Those lesser thirds so plaintive, sixths diminished sigh on sigh,
Told them something? Those suspensions, those solutions—”Must we die?”
Those commiserating sevenths—”Life might last! we can but try!”

VIII

“Were you happy?”—”Yes.”—”And are you still as happy?”—”Yes—and you?”
—”Then, more kisses!”—”Did I stop them, when a million seemed so few?”
Hark—the dominant’s persistence till it must be answered to!

IX

So an octave struck the answer. Oh, they praised you, I dare say!
“Brave Galuppi! that was music! good alike at grave and gay!
I can always leave off talking when I hear a master play!”

X

Then they left you for their pleasure: till in due time, one by one,
Some with lives that came to nothing, some with deeds as well undone,
Death stepped tacitly and took them where they never see the sun.

XI

But when I sit down to reason,—think to take my stand nor swerve
While I triumph o’er a secret wrung from nature’s close reserve,
In you come with your cold music, till I creep thro’ every nerve.

XII

Yes, you, like a ghostly cricket, creaking where a house was burned—
“Dust and ashes, dead and done with, Venice spent what Venice earned!
The soul, doubtless, is immortal—where a soul can be discerned.

XIII

“Yours for instance: you know physics, something of geology,
Mathematics are your pastime; souls shall rise in their degree;
Butterflies may dread extinction,—you’ll not die, it cannot be!

XIV

“As for Venice and its people, merely born to bloom and drop,
Here on earth they bore their fruitage, mirth and folly were the crop:
What of soul was left, I wonder, when the kissing had to stop?

XV

“Dust and ashes!” So you creak it, and I want the heart to scold.
Dear dead women, with such hair, too—what’s become of all the gold
Used to hang and brush their bosoms? I feel chilly and grown old.
Former goals long before gone,
broken dreams,
hidden in secret behind friends views,
a life in vain.

Doubtless efforts fruitless taken,
countless beatings endured,
still seeking path to milk and honey,
wondering if it hasn´t already resigned.

Value meaningless,
reduced to sheer nothingness,
clouded vision,
not able to recognize it´s worth.

Neither happiness nor sadness,
behind it´s emotionless face,
killing time with dusty distractions
and waiting for something to happen,
that relightens a fire
well known in former days.
Sometimes your best efforts haven´t the best outcome. And a heart in pain needs words in pain to feel understood. So take as long time as you need ... until you be the one relightening your fire by yourself.
That figure that plays tricks with your mind,
Leaving you blind,
Sick inside,
Where your darkest fears hide.
The sneaky shadow, dark walker,
And ever-looming stalker.
The sense of doom you feel before and dread thereafter.
But for me, the dark's a cherished sight.
Cuz where there's darkness, there is light.

Shadows aren't always an evil omen.
So long as you keep the light and hope in.
Third Eye Candy Feb 2013
Heathens -
in heaven's lobby
flock
to barter
for Magic 'Shrooms
with pop rocks... and pancakes
and leaf-green brownies.
new to the scene;
the Son of Man
holds a motley court,
then wanders off
to fetch Picasso - Lassoed
from his cups, his Love that must Love
his genius... doubtless,
cloud-scrawling
huge pendulous *******
in Elysium; for no one at all.
better Pablo
should tend bars      that set mobs free
than one god's toddler, with long odds
against Bacchus - should ever
small-talk-speak
to the godless
or worse...
preach.

" Better Sins to love.. " The Spaniard once taught...
A Lover's Urge is born in forms of weakness.... adorned in all Might -
bathed in blessed contradiction,
a Lingam for a Yoni's dream of stiff drinks
and pliable men, with strong arms.
a blue fiction  on Calvary -
nailed to the softest
cross.

Between thieves,
an honor, double
parked

with bucket seats brimming with moonlight,
and her knickers
tossed.

Picasso asks for absinthe
to be sent
post haste
and polished off -
by all
his better angels he had guillotined
with dull snails,
and fallen  
harps

ones -  he stole,  to de-tune
a flat fifth of Cuttysark
for a deaf
****,  [but no mute ]
a portrait, ****
and is soon
bought...

lust
sleeps then -
with both Eyes;  
Locked on
One of
God's.

like a deer
in a Head-light's
Gospel...
now, a Minotaur on the
Autobahn -
stalking
it.


II

Heathens
in heaven's lobby
recite ' Howl '
as Ginsberg, walks over hot coals
and spicy psalms; glowing wanton
in white grass; with a very
cherry ****.
And a wise throng, cobbles...
****** -
they rob
Peter of his  toga,
leaving nothing wrong.
but no less ' On '
they laugh hard;  and wake the dead
asking  them for new songs
to set    their false alarms
in lofty Tic' Tocks  
of Eternity's
clock.
Bible on a snooze bar
for at least that long
or  someone
knocks.

As if  "Hello."  
Spoke the Whole World into Being -
And " Goodbye."
misspoke, and
trailed
off...
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
            Only this and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore—
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
            Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
“’Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door—
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;—
            This it is and nothing more.”

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door;—
            Darkness there and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”—
            Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore—
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;—
            ’Tis the wind and nothing more!”

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door—
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door—
            Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore—
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door—
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
            With such name as “Nevermore.”

But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing farther then he uttered—not a feather then he fluttered—
Till I scarcely more than muttered “Other friends have flown before—
On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before.”
            Then the bird said “Nevermore.”

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore—
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
            Of ‘Never—nevermore’.”

But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore—
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
            Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my *****’s core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er,
But whose velvet-violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,
            She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
“Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite—respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore;
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!—
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted—
On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore—
Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore—
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

“Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting—
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
            Shall be lifted—nevermore!
I quite like this poem, suspense...
I did NOT write this! It was written by Edgar Allan Poe in 1845.
1385

“Secrets” is a daily word
Yet does not exist—
Muffled—it remits surmise—
Murmured—it has ceased—
Dungeoned in the Human Breast
Doubtless secrets lie—
But that Grate inviolate—
Goes nor comes away
Nothing with a Tongue or Ear—
Secrets stapled there
Will emerge but once—and dumb—
To the Sepulchre—
Husband and Wife! yes, that term sounds nice.
When they tie that knot with gold.
Two will live as one, this path has just begun.
Together until they both grow old.

In this lifetime dance, sharing their romance.
Will things always go their way.
Errors can slip in, create a family sin.
That makes this connection sway.

He might go astray, and his wife betray.
And the odds are this won't go.
Far to making them want to try again
But many others may not know.

From an outside eye love will never die.
They were made to live as one.
Rather a theatrical play, than give the game away.
The deception has begun.

For a child's grace they create a face.
That is happy and sublime.
But they drift apart, both have lost the heart.
And just seek to bide their time.

For it will doubtless be when it's not us but me.
And for freedom they will aim.
No more having to distract with this farcical act.
Finally ending loves spun game.

Should it go on so late, when love does turn to hate.
Is it not better to just leave
For trying to be discreet can be so bitter sweet.
Like a web that spiders weave.

Better to live a truth than to try and prove.
To those who are outside.
Of this marriage bed where these hearts have bled.
Just for the sake of pride.
24th October 2014
John F McCullagh Nov 2012
The admiral of the U.S. fleet
was staring towards the shore.
A mob of people jammed the wharf.
He thought we were at war.
The good Mayor Paulo, of Monterrey
was waving with the rest.
He saw our large Pacific fleet
And, doubtless, was impressed.
The commodore made cannons roar
The impact shook the ground
By miracle no townsfolk died
And not one sailor drowned.
“Perhaps they are saluting us!”
The puzzled mayor said.
But when we put marines ashore
Such thoughts soon left his head.
That day we captured Monterrey
It was quite the feat of arms
We lost just one or two marines
to some Senorita’s charms.
The State Department soon put an end
To the splendid little war
And erstwhile foes departed friends
from the Mexicali shore.
in 1842 commodore Thomas aps Jones, of the U.S. pacific Squadron, under the mistaken notion war had been declared, attacked and captured the Mexican Port of Monterrey.  the confusion was cleared up in 24 hours, the victors toasted their "hosts" and peace reigned- for a while.

— The End —