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RAJ NANDY Jul 2017
THE LEGEND OF HOLLYWOOD IN VERSE
Dear Readers, I have tried to cover the salient features of this True Story in free flowing verse mainly with end rhymes. If you read it loud, you can hear the chimes! Due to the short attention span of my readers I had to cut short this long story, and conclude with the
Golden Era of Hollywood by stretching it up to the 1950's only. When TV began to challenge the Big Screen Cinema seriously! I have used only a part of my notes here. Kindly read the entire poem and don't hesitate to know many interesting facts - which I also did not know! I wish there was a provision for posting a few interesting photographs for you here. Best wishes, - Raj Nandy, New Delhi.  

                 THE LEGEND OF HOLLYWOOD :
                        THE AMERICAN  DREAM
                             BY RAJ NANDY

           A SHORT  HISTORICAL  BACKGROUND
Since the earliest days, optical toys, shadow shows, and ‘magic
lanterns’, had created the illusion of motion.
This concept was first described by Mark Roget in 1824 as  
the 'persistent of vision'.
Giving impetus to the development of big screen cinema with its
close-ups, capturing all controlled and subtle expressions!
The actors were no longer required to shout out their parts with
exaggerated actions as on the Elizabethan Stage.
Now even a single tear drop could get noticed easily by the entire
movie audience!
With the best scene being included and edited after a few retakes.
To Thomas Edison and his able assistant William Rogers we owe the invention of Kinetoscope, the first movie camera.
On the grounds of his West Orange, New Jersey laboratory, Edison
built his first movie studio called the ‘Black Maria’.   (1893)
He also purchased a string of patents related to motion picture
Camera; forming the Edison Trust, - a cartel that took control of
the Film Industry entire!

Fort Lee, New Jersey:
On a small borough on the opposite bank of the Hudson River lay
the deserted Fort Lee.
Here scores of film production crews descended armed with picture Cameras, on this isolated part of New Jersey!
In 1907 Edison’s company came there to shoot a short silent film –
‘Rescue From an Eagle’s Nest’,
Which featured for the first time the actor and director DW Griffith.
The independent Chaplin Film Company built the first permanent
movie studio in 1910 in Fort Lee.
While some of the biggest Hollywood studios like the Universal,
MGM, and 20th Century Fox, had their roots in Fort Lee.
Some of the famous stars of the silent movie era included ‘Fatty’
Arbuckle, Will Rogers, Mary Pickford, Dorothy and Lillian Gish,
Lionel Barrymore, Rudolph Valentine and Pearl White.
In those days there were no reflectors and electric arch lights.
So movies were made on rooftops to capture the bright sunlight!
During unpredictable bad weather days, filming had to be stopped
despite the revolving stage which was made, -
To rotate and capture the sunlight before the lights atarted to fade!

Shift from New Jersey to West Coast California:
Now Edison who held the patents for the bulb, phonograph, and the Camera, had exhibited a near monopoly;
On the production, distribution, and exhibition of the movies which made this budding industry to shift to California from
New Jersey!
California with its natural scenery, its open range, mountains, desert, and snow country, had the basic ingredients for the movie industry.
But most importantly, California had bright Sunshine for almost
365 days of the year!
While eight miles away from Hollywood lay the port city of Los Angeles with its cheap labour.

                        THE RISE  OF  HOLLYWOOD
It was a real estate tycoon Harvey Wilcox and his wife Daeida from
Kansas, who during the 1880s founded ‘Hollywood’ as a community for like-minded temperate followers.
It is generally said that Daeida gave the name Hollywood perhaps
due to the areas abundant red-berried shrubs also known as
California Holly.
Spring blossoms around and above the Hollywood Hills with its rich variety,  gave it a touch of paradise for all to see !
Hollywood was incorporated as a municipality in 1903, and during
1910 unified with the city of Los Angeles.
While a year later, the first film studio had moved in from New
Jersey, to escape Thomas Edison’s monopoly!    (1911)

In 1913 Cecil B. De Mille and Jesse Lasky, had leased a barn with
studio facilities.
And directed the first feature length film ‘Squaw Man’ in 1914.
Today this studio is home to Hollywood Heritage Museum as we get to see.
The timeless symbol of Hollywood film industry that famous sign on top of Mount Lee, was put up by a real estate developer in 1923.  
This sign had read as ‘’HOLLY WOOD LAND’’ initially.
Despite decades of run-ins with vandals and pranksters, it managed to hang on to its prime location near the summit of the Hollywood Hills.
The last restoration work was carried out in 1978 initiated by Hugh
Hefner of the ******* Magazine.
Those nine white letters 45 feet tall now read ‘HOLLYWOOD’, and has become a landmark and America’s cultural icon, and an evocative symbol for ambition, glamour, and dream.
Forever enticing aspiring actors to flock to Hollywood, hypnotised
by lure of the big screen!

                     GOLDEN AGE OF HOLLYWOOD
The Silent Movie Era which began in 1895, ended in 1935 with the
production of ‘Dance of Virgins’, filmed entirely in the island of Bali.
The first Sound film ‘The Jazz Singer’ by Warner Bros. was made with a Vitaphone sound-on-disc technology.  (October 1927)
Despite the Great Depression of the 1930s, this decade along with the 1940s have been regarded by some as Hollywood’s Golden Age.
However, I think that this Golden Age includes the decades of the
1940s and the 1950s instead.
When the advent of Television began to challenge the Film Industry
itself !

First Academy Award:
On 16th May 1929 in the Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard,
the First Academy Award presentation was held.
Around 270 people were in attendance, and tickets were priced at
$5 per head.
When the best films of 1927 & 1928 were honored by the Academy
of Motion Production and Sciences, or the AMPS.
Emil Jennings became the best actor, and Janet Gaynor the best actress.
Special Award went to Charlie Chaplin for his contribution to the
silent movie era and for his silent film ‘The Circus’.
While Warren Brothers was commended for making the first talking picture ‘The Jazz Singer’, - also receiving a Special Award!
Now, the origin of the term ‘OSCAR’ has remained disputed.
The Academy adopted this name from 1939 onwards it is stated.
OSCAR award has now become “the stuff dreams are made of”!
It is a gold-plated statuette of a knight 13.5 inches in height, weighing 8.5 pounds, was designed by MGM’s art director Cedric Gibbons.
Annually awarded for honouring and encouraging excellence in all
facets of motion picture production.

Movies During the Great Depression Era (1929-1941):
Musicals and dance movies starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers provided escapism and good entertainment during this age.
“Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did. She just did it
backwards and in high heels,” - the Critics had said.
This compatible pair entertained the viewers for almost one and
a half decade.
During the ‘30s, gangster movies were popular starring James Cagey, Humphrey Bogart, and Edward G. Robinson.
While family movies had their popular child artist Shirley Temple.
Swashbuckler films of the Golden Age saw the sword fighting scenes of Douglas Fairbanks and Errol Flynn.
Flynn got idolized playing ‘Robin Hood’, this film got released in
1938 on the big screen!
Story of the American Civil War got presented in the epic ‘Gone With The Wind’ (1939) with Clarke Gable and Vivian Leigh.
This movie received 8 Oscars including the award for the Best Film, - creating a landmark in motion picture’s history!
More serious movies like John Steinbeck’s ‘Grapes of Wrath’ and
John Ford’s  ‘How Green Was My Valley’, were released in 1940 and 1941 respectively.
While the viewers escaped that depressive age to the magical world
of  ‘Wizard of Oz’ with its actress Judy Garland most eagerly!
Let us not forget John Wayne the King of the Westerns, who began
his acting career in the 1930s with his movie ‘The Big Trail’;
He went on to complete 84 films before his career came to an end.
Beginning of the 40s also saw Bob Hope and the crooner Bing Crosby, who entertained the public and also the fighting troops.
For the Second World War (1939-45) had interrupted the Golden Age of Hollywood.
When actors like Henry Fonda, Clarke Gable, James Stewart and
Douglas Fairbanks joined the armed forces temporarily leaving
Hollywood.
Few propaganda movies supporting the war efforts were also made.
While landmark movies like ‘Philadelphia Story’, ‘Casablanca’, ‘Citizen Kane’,
‘The Best Years of Our Lives’, were some of the most successful movies of that decade.  (The 1940s)
Now I come towards the end of my Hollywood Story with the decade  of the 1950s, thereby extending the period of Hollywood’s Golden Age.
Since having past the Great Depression and the Second World War,  the Hollywood movie industry truly matured and came of age.

                        HOLLYWOOD  OF  THE  1950s

BACKGROU­ND:
The decade of the ‘50s was known for its post-war affluence and
choice of leisure time activities.
It was a decade of middle-class values, fast-food restaurants, and
drive-in- movies;
Of ‘baby-boom’, all-electric home, the first credit cards, and new fast moving cars like the Ford, Plymouth, Buick, Hudson, and Chevrolet.
But not forgetting the white racist terrorism in the Southern States!
This era saw the beginning of Cold War, with Eisenhower
succeeding Harry S. Truman as the American President.
But for the film industry, most importantly, what really mattered  
was the advent of the Domestic TV.
When the older viewers preferred to stay at home instead of going
out to the movies.
By 1950, 10.5 million US homes had a television set, and on the
30th December 1953, the first Color TV went on sale!
Film industries used techniques such as Cinemascope, Vista Vision,
and gimmicks like 3-D techniques,
To get back their former movie audience back on their seats!
However, the big scene spectacle films did retain its charm and
fantasy.
Since fantasy epics like ‘The Story of Robin Hood’, and Biblical epics like ‘The Robe’, ‘Quo Vadis’, ‘The Ten Commandments’ and ‘Ben-Hur’, did retain its big screen visual appeal.
‘The Robe’ released on 16th September 1953, was the first film shot
and projected in Cinema Scope;
In which special lenses were used to compress a wide image into a
standard frame and then expanded it again during projection;
Resulting in an image almost two and a half times as high and also as wide, - captivating the viewers imagination!

DEMAND FOR NEW THEMES DURING THE 1950s :
The idealized portrayal of men and women since the Second World War,
Now failed to satisfy the youth who sought exciting symbols for rebellion.
So Hollywood responded with anti-heroes with stars like James Dean, Marlon Brando, and Paul Newman.
They replaced conventional actors like Tyron Power, Van Johnson, and Robert Taylor to a great extent, to meet the requirement of the age.
Anti-heroines included Ava Gardner, Kim Novak, and Marilyn Monroe with her vibrant *** appeal;
She provided excitement for the new generation with a change of scene.
Themes of rebellion against established authority was present in many Rock and Roll songs,
Including the 1954 Bill Hailey and His Comets’ ‘Rock Around the Clock’.
The era also saw rise to stardom of Elvis Presley the teen heartthrob.
Meeting the youthful aspirations with his songs like ‘Jailhouse Rock’!
I recall the lyrics of this 1957 film ‘Jailhouse Rock’ of my school days, which had featured the youth icon Elvis:
   “The Warden threw a party in the county jail,
     The prison band was there and they began to wail.
     The band was jumping and the joint began to sing,
     You should’ve heard them knocked-out jail bird sing.
     Let’s rock, everybody in the whole cell block……………
     Spider Murphy played the tenor saxophone,
     Little Joe was blowing the slide trombone.
     The drummer boy from Illinois went crash, boom, bang!
     The whole rhythm section was the Purple Gang,
      Let's rock,.................... (Lyrics of the song.)

Rock and Roll music began to tear down color barriers, and Afro-
American musicians like Chuck Berry and Little Richard became
very popular!
Now I must caution my readers that thousands of feature films got  released during this eventful decade in Hollywood.
To cover them all within this limited space becomes an impossible
task, which may kindly be understood !
However, I shall try to do so in a summarized form as best as I could.

BOX OFFICE HITS YEAR-WISE FROM 1950 To 1959 :
Top Ten Year-Wise hit films chronologically are: Cinderella (1950),
Quo Vadis, The Greatest Show on Earth, Peter Pan, Rear Window,
Lady and the *****, Ten Commandments, Bridge on the River
Kwai, South Pacific, and Ben-Hur of 1959.

However Taking The Entire Decade Of 1950s Collectively,
The Top Films Get Rated As Follows Respectively:
The Ten Commandments, followed by Lady and the *****, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, Bridge on the River Kwai, Around the World in Eighty Days, This is Cinerama, The Greatest Show on Earth, Rear Window, South Pacific, The Robe, Giant, Seven Wonders of the World, White Christmas, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Sayonara, Demetrius and the Gladiator, Peyton Place, Some Like It Hot, Quo Vadis, and Auntie Mame.

Film Debuts By Rising Stars During The 1950s :
The decade of the ‘50s saw a number of famous film stars making
their first appearance.
There was Peter Sellers in ‘The Black Rose’, Marlon Brando in
‘The Men’, and actress Sophia Loren in ‘Toto Tarzan’.
Following year saw Charles Bronson in ‘You Are in the Navy Now’,
Audrey Hepburn in ‘Our Wild Oats’, and Grace Kelly, the future
Princess of Monaco, in her first film ‘Fourteen Hours’. (1951)
While **** Brigitte Bardot appeared in 1952 movie ‘Crazy for Love’; and 1953 saw Steve Mc Queen in ‘******* The Run’.
Jack Lemon, Paul Newman, and Omar Sharif featured in films
during 1954.
The following year saw Clint Eastwood, Shirley Mc Lean, Walter
Matthau, and Jane Mansfield, all of whom the audience adored.
The British actor Michael Cain appeared in 1956; also Elvis Presley
the youth icon in ‘Love Me Tender’ and as the future Rock and Roll
King!
In 1957 came Sean Connery, followed by Jack Nicholson, Christopher Plummer, and Vanessa Redgrave.
While the closing decade of the ‘50s saw James Coburn, along with
director, script writer, and producer Steven Spielberg, make their
debut appearance.

Deaths During The 1950s: This decade also saw the death of actors
like Humphrey Bogart, Tyron Power and Errol Flynn.
Including the death of producer and director of epic movies the
renowned Cecil B. De Mille!
Though I have conclude the Golden Age of Hollywood with the 50’s Decade,
The glitz and glamour of its Oscar Awards continue even to this day.
With its red carpet and lighted marquee appeal and fashion display!

CONTINUING THE HOLLYWOOD STORY WITH FEW TITBITS :
From Fort Lee of New Jersey we have travelled west to Hollywood,
California.
From the silent movie days to the first ‘talking picture’ with Warren
Bros’ film ‘The Jazz Singer’.  (06 Oct 1927)
On 31st July 1928 for the first time the audience heard the MGM’s
mascot Leo’s mighty roar!
While in July 1929 Warren Bros’ first all-talking and all- Technicolor
Film appeared titled - ‘On With The Show’.
Austrian born Hedy Lamarr shocked the audience appearing **** in a Czechoslovak film ‘Ecstasy’!  (1933)
She fled from her husband to join MGM, becoming a star of the
‘40s and the ‘50s.
The ‘Private Life of Henry VII’ became the first British film to win the  American Academy Award.  (1933)
On 11Dec 1934, FOX released ‘Bright Eyes’ with Shirley Temple,
who became the first Child artist to win this Award!
While in 1937 Walt Disney released the first full animated feature
film titled - ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarf ‘.
The British film director Alfred Hitchcock who came to
Hollywood later;
Between 1940 and 1947, made great thrillers like 'Rebecca', ‘Notorious’, ‘Rear Window’, and ‘Dial M for ******’.
But he never won an Oscar as a Director!

THE GOLDEN GLOBE AWARD:
This award began in 1944 by the Foreign Correspondence Association at
the 20th Century Fox Studio.
To award critically acclaimed films and television shows, by awarding a
Scroll initially.
Later a Golden Globe was made on a pedestal, with a film strip around it.
In 1955 the Cecil B. De Mille Award was created, with De Mille as its first
recipient.

THE GRAMMY AWARD:
In 1959 The National Academy of Recording and Sciences sponsored the
First Grammy Award for music recorded during 1958.
When Frank Sinatra won for his album cover ‘Only The Lonely’, but he
did not sing.
Among the 28 other categories there was Ella Fitzgerald, and Count Basie
for his musical Dance Band Performance.
There was Kingston Trio’s song ‘Tom Dooly’, and the ‘Chipmunk Song’,
which brings back nostalgic memories of my school days!

CONCLUDING HOLLYWOOD STORY  WITH STUDIOS OF THE 1950s

Challenge Faced by the Movie Industry:
Now the challenge before the Movie Industry was how to adjust to the
rapidly changing conditions created by the growing TV Industry.
Resulting in loss of revenue, with viewers getting addicted to
their Domestic TV screen most conveniently!

The late 1950s saw two studios REPUBLIC and the RKO go out of business!
REPUBLIC from 1935- ‘59 based in Los Angeles, developed the careers of
John Wayne and Roy Rogers, and specializing in the Westerns.
RKO was one of the Big Five Studios of Hollywood along with Paramount,
MGM, 20th Century Fox, and Warner Brothers in those days.

RKO Studio which begun with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in the ‘30s,
included actress Katherine Hepburn who holds the record for four Oscars
even to this day;
And later had Robert Mitchum and Carry Grant under an agreement.
But in 1948, RKO Studio came under the control Howard Hughes the
temperamental Industrialist.
Soon the scandal drive and litigation prone RKO Studio closed, while
other Big Four Studios had managed to remain afloat!


PARAMOUNT STUDIO:
Paramount Studio split into two separate companies in 1950.
Its Theatre chain later merged with ABC Radio & Television Network;
And they created an independent Production/Distribution Network.
Bing Crosby and Bob Hope had been Paramount’s two biggest stars.
Followed by actors like Alan Ladd, William Holden, Jerry Lewis, Dean
Martin, Charlton Heston, and Dorothy Lamour.
They also had the producer/director Cecil B. De Mille producing high-
grossing Epics like ‘Samson & Delilah’ and ‘The Ten Commandments’.
Also the movie maker Hal Wallis, who discovered Burt Lancaster and
Elvis Presley - two great talents!

20th CENTURY FOX:
Cinema Scope became FOX’s most successful technological innovation
with its hit film ‘The Robe’. (1953)
Its Darryl Zanuck had observed during the early ‘50s, that audience  
were more interested in escapist entertainments mainly.
So he turned to FOX to musicals, comedies, and adventure stories.
Biggest stars of FOX were Gregory Peck & Susan Hayward; also
stars like Victor Mature, Anne Baxter, and Richard Wind Mark.
Not forgetting Marilyn Monroe in her Cinema Scope Box Office hit
movie - ‘How to Marry a Millionaire’, which was also shown on
prime time TV, as a romantic comedy film of 1953.

WARREN BROTHERS:
During 1950 the studio was mainly a family managed company with
three brothers Harry, Albert, and Jack Warren.
To meet the challenges of that period, Warren Bros. released most of
its actors like James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Oliver de Havilland, -
Along with few others from their long-term contractual commitments;
Retaining only Errol Flynn, and Ronald Regan who went on to become
the future President.
Like 20th Century Fox, Warren Bros switched to musicals, comedies,
and adventure movies, with Doris Day as its biggest musical star.
The studio also entered into short term agreements with Gary Copper,
John Wayne, Gregory Peck, Patricia Neal, and Random Scott.
Warren Bros also became the first major studio to invest in 3-D
production of films, scoring a big hit with its 3-D  suspense thriller
‘House of Wax’ in 1953.

MINOR STUDIOS were mainly three, - United Artists, Columbia, and
The Universal.
They did not own any theatre chain, and specialized in low-budgeted
‘B’ Movies those days.
Now to cut a long story short it must be said, that Hollywood finally
did participate in the evolution of Television industry, which led to
their integration eventually.
Though strategies involving hardware development and ownership of
broadcast outlets remained unsuccessful unfortunately.
However, Hollywood did succeed through program supply like prime-
time series, and made-for-TV films for the growing TV market making
things more colorful!
Thus it could be said that the TV industry provided the film industry
with new opportunities,  laying the groundwork for its diversification
and concentration;
That characterized the entertainment industry during the latter half  
of our previous century.
I must now confess that I have not visited the movie theatre over the last
two decades!
I watch movies on my big screen TV and my Computer screen these days.
Old classical movies are all available on ‘You Tube’ for me, and I can watch
them any time whenever I am free!
Thanks for reading patiently, - Raj Nandy.
**ALL COPYRIGHTS ARE WITH THE AUTHOR RAJ NANDY OF NEW DELHI
Ria Nagpal Jun 2013
Get well soon
Get well wishes
Wishes to eternity
Wishes to succeed
Succeed and grow
Succeed to lead
Lead and learn
Lead of love
Love to hate
Love and friendship
Friendship is fruitful
Friendship and flowers
Flowers in bloom
Flowers in doom
Doom is everywhere
Doom and gloom
Gloom to glory
Gloom of night
Night in paradise
Night and day
Day is done
Day of the dead
Dead is the new alive
Dead and gone
Gone with the wind
Gone and never coming back
Back to life
Back and forth
Forth or fourth
Forth of fire
Fire to the rain
Fire and power
Power to conquer
Power to live
Live life to the fullest
Live each day like it's your last
Last breath
Last but not least
Least and greatest
Least as possible
Possible and plausible
Possible to do the impossible
Impossible to tell
Impossible to find
Find me
Find you
You are my sunshine
You are my last
Last...
Sunshine...
Carina Apr 2018
Sometimes you have no reason to stay,
and realize that's a perfect argument to go.
And that taking an entirely new way,
is the sore but single method to grow.

If you're washed-on abeyance's bight,
and you feel decision's heavy heft:
To choose the left where nothing's right,
or go to the right where nothing's left.

Remember it matters not where you proceed,
or which mountain you want to ascend.
It does not matter whether you succeed,
it is the journey that matters in the end.
1.
From my
uneasy bed
at the L’Enfant,
a train's pensive
horn breaks the
sullen lullaby of
an HVAC’s hum;
interrupting the
mechanical
reverie of its
steadfast
night watch,
allowing my ear
to discern
the stampede
of marauding
corporate Visigoths
sacking the city.

The cacophony
of sloven gluttony,
the ***** songs of
unrequited privilege
and the unencumbered
clatter of radical
entitlement echoes
off the city’s cold
crumbling stones.

The unctuous
bellows of the
victorious pillagers
profanely feasting
pierces the
hanging chill
of the nations
black night.

Their hoots
deride the train
transporting
the defeated
ghosts of
Lincoln’s last
doomed regiments
dispatched in vain
to preserve a
peoples republic
in a futile last stand.

The rebels have
finally turned the tide,
T Boone Pickett’s
Charge succeeds,
sending the ravaged
Grand Army of the
Republic sliding
back to the Capitol,
in savage servility,
gliding on squeaky
ungreased wheels
ferrying the
Union’s dead
vanquished
defenders to
unmarked graves
on Potters Field.

The Rebels
joyous yell
bounces off
the inert granite
stones of the
soulless city.

The spittle
of salivating
vandals drips
over the
spoils of war
as they initiate the
disassemblage,
the leveling and
reapportionment
of the grand prize.

The clever
oligarchs
have laid claim
to a righteous
reparation
of the peoples
assets for
pennies on the
dollar.

Their wholly
bought politicos
move to transfer
distressed assets
into their just
stewardship
through the
holy justice
of privatization
and the sound
rationale of
free market
solutions.

In the land of the
pursuit of property,
nimble wolf PACs
of swift 527, LLCs
have fully
metastasized
into personhood;
ascending to
the top of the
food chain in
America’s
voracious
political culture;
bestriding
the nation to
compel the
national will
to genuflect
to the cool facility
of corporate
dominion.

As the
inertial ******
of the plaintive
locomotive
fades into
another old
morning of
recalcitrant
Reaganism,
it lugs its
ambivalent
middle class
baggage toward
it’s fast expiring
future.

I follow
the dirge
down to
the street
as the ebbing
sound fades
into the gloom
of the
burgeoning
morning,
slowly
replacing the
purple twilight
with a breaking
day of cold gray
clouds framing
silhouettes of
cranes busily
constructing
a new city.

The personhood of
corporations need
homes in our new
republic; carving
out new
neighborhoods
suitable for the
monied citizens
of our nation.

First amongst
equals, the best
corporate governance
charters form
the foundation of
the republic’s
new constitution.
Civil rights
are secondary
to the freedom
of markets; the
Bill of Rights
are economically
replaced by the
cool manifests
of Bills of Lading.

The agents of
laissez faire
capitalism
nibble away
at the city’s
neighborhoods
one block at a time;
while steady winds
blows dust off
the National Mall.

Layers of the
peoples plaza are
plained away with
each rising gust.  

History repeats
itself as the Joad’s
are routed from their
land once again.

A clever
mixed use
plan of
condos and
strip malls
is proposed
to finally help the
National Mall
unlock its true
profit potential.

As America’s
affection for
federalism fades
the water in
the reflection pool
is gracefully drained.

We the people
can no longer
see ourselves.

The profit
potential of
industry is
preferred over
the specious
metaphysical
benefits
of reflection.

The grand image,
the rich pastiche,
the quixotic aroma
of the national
melting ***
is reduced to the
sameness of the
black tar that lines
the pool and the
swirling eddies of
brown dust circling
the cracked indenture.

From his not so
distant vantage point,
Abe ponders the
empty pool wondering
if the cost of lives
paid was a worthy
endeavor of preserving
the ****** union?  
Has the dear prize
won perished from
this earth?

Was the illusive
article of liberty  
worth its weight in
the blood expended?

Did the people ever
fully realize the value
of government
by the people,
for the people?

Did citizens of
the republic
assume the
responsibilities to
protect and honor
the rights and privileges
of a representative
government?

Now our idea
and practice of
civil rights is measured
and promoted as far as
it can be justified by
a corporate ROI, a
shareholder dividend,
an earmark or a political
donation to a senators
unconnected PAC.

The divine celestial
ledgers balancing
the rights and
privilege of free people
drips with red ink.  

Liberty, equality
fraternity are bankrupt
secular notions
condemned as
expensive
liberal seditions;
hatched by
UnHoly Jacobins,
the atheist skeptics
during the dark times
of the Age of Enlightenment.

Abe ponders
the restoration
of Washington’s
obelisk, to
repair the cracks
suffered  from
last summer’s
freak earthquake.

I believe I detect
a tear in Abe’s
granite eye
saddened by the
corporate temblors
shaking the
foundations
of the city.

2.

The WWII Memorial
is America’s Parthenon
for a country's love
affair with the valor
and sacrifice of warfare.

WWII forms the
cornerstone of
understanding the
pathos of the
American Century.

During WWII
our greatest generation
rose as a nation to
defeat the menace of
global fascism and
indelibly mark the
power and virtue of
American democracy.

As Lincoln’s Army
saved federalism, FDR’s
Army kept the world safe
for democracy.

Both armies served
a nation that shared
the sacrifice and
burden of war to
preserve the grace of
a republican democracy.

Today federalism
crumbles as our
democracy withers.

The burden
of war is reserved
for a precious few
individuals while
its benefits
remain confined to
the corporate elite.

Our monuments
to war have become
commercial backdrops
for the hollow patriotism
of war profiteers.

We have mortgaged
our future to pay
for two criminal wars.

The spoils of
war flow into the
pockets of
corporate
shareholders
deeply invested
in the continuation
of pointless,
destructive
hostilities.

Our service
members who
selflessly served
their country come
home to a less free,
fear struck nation;
where economic
security and political
liberty erodes
each day while the
monied interests
continue to bless
the abundance
of freedom and riches
purchased with the
blood and sweat
of others.

America desperately
needs a new narrative.

The spirit of the
Greatest Generation
who sacrificed and met
the challenge of the 20th
Century must become
this generations spiritual
forebears.

The war on terror
neatly fits the
the corporate
pathos of
militarism,
surveillance
and the sacrifice
of civil liberties
to purchase
a daily measure
of fear and
economic
enslavement.

It must be rejected
by a people committed
to building secular
temples to pursue
peace, democracy,
economic empowerment,
civil liberties and tolerance
for all.

Yet this old city
and the democratic
temples it built
exulting a free people
anointed with the
grace of liberty
is being consumed
in a morass of
commercial
polyglot.

3.

During the
War of 1812
the British Army
burned the
Capitol Building
and the White House
to the ground.

Thank goodness
Dolly Madison saved
what she could.

The new marauders
are not subject to the
pull of nostalgia.  

They value nothing
save their
self enrichment.

They will spare nothing.

Our besieged Capitol
requires Lincoln’s troops
to be stationed along the
National Mall to defend
the republic.

The greatest peril
to our nation
is being directed
by well placed
Fifth Columnists.

From the safety
of underground bunkers,
in secure undisclosed
locations within the city’s
parameters, a well financed
confederacy employing  
K Street shenanigans
are busy selling off
the American Dream
one ear mark
at a time, one
huge corporate
welfare allotment
at a time.

The biggest prize
is looting the real
property of the people;
selling Utah,
auctioning off
the public schools,
water systems, post offices
and mineral rights
on the cheap
at an Uncle Sam
garage sale.  

The capitol is
indeed burning
again.

Looters are
running riot.

The flailing arms
of a dying empire
fire off cruise
missiles and drone
strikes; hitting the
target of habeas
corpus as it
shakes in its
final death rattle.
I make a pilgrimage
to the MLK Jr.
Monument.

Our cultural identity
is outsourced to
foreign contractors
paid to reinterpret
the American Dream
through the eyes
of a lowest bidder.

MLK has lost
his humanity.

He has been
reduced to a
a Chinese
superhuman
Mao like anime
busting loose from
a granite mountain while
geopolitical irony
compels him to watch
Tommy Jefferson
**** Sally Hemings
from across the tidal
basin for all eternity.  

MLK’s eyes fixed in
stern fascination,
forever enthralled
by the contradictions
of liberty and its
democratic excesses
of love in the willows
on golden pond.

Circling back to
Father Abraham’s
Monument,  I huddle
with a group of global
citizens listening
to an NPS Ranger
spinning four score
tales with the last full
measure of her devotion.

I look up into Abe’s
stone eyes as he
surveys platoons
of gray suited
Chinese Communist
envoys engaged
in Long Marches
through the National Mall;
dutifully encircling cabinet
buildings and recruiting
Tea Party congressmen
into their open party cells.

This confederacy
is ready to torch
the White House
again.

Congressmen and
the perfect patriots
from K Street slavishly
pull their paymasters
in gilded rickshaws to
golf outings at the Pentagon
and park at the preferred
spots reserved for
the luxury box holders
at Redskin Games.

They vow not to rest
until the house of the people
is fully mortgaged to the
People’s Republic of China’s
Sovereign Wealth Fund.

4.

A great
Son of Liberty like
Alan Greenspan
roundly rings
the bells of
free markets
as he inches
T Bill rates
forward a few
basis points
at a time; while
his dead mentor
Ayn Rand
lifts Paul Ryan
to her
Fountainhead teet.
He takes a long
draw as she
coos songs
from her primer
of Atlas Shrugged
Mother Goose tales
into his silky ears.

The construction
cranes swing
to the music
building new private
sector space with
the largess of
US taxpayers
money; or
more rightly
future generations
taxpayer debt.

Libertarians,
Tea Baggers, Blue Dogs
and GOP waterboys
eagerly light a
match to the
the crucifixes
bearing federal
social safety
net programs
to the delight
of NASDAQ
listed capitalists
on the come,
licking their chops
to land contracts
to administer
these programs
at a negotiated
cost plus
profit margin.

Citizens
dependent
on programs
are leery
shareholders
are ecstatic.

To be sure
our free
market rebels
don disguises
of red, white
and blue robes
but their objectives
fail to distinguish
their motives and
methods with
some of the finest
Klansman this
country has
ever produced.

5.

DC is a city
of joggers
and choppers.

Corporate
helicopters
wizz by the
Washington
Monument,
popping erections
for the erectors
inspecting the progress
of the cranes
commanding the
city skyline.

USMC drill team
out for a morning
run circles the Mall.

The commanding
cadence of the
DI keeps us
mindful of the
deepening
militarization of
our society.

A crowd  
rushes
to position
themselves,
genuflecting
to photograph
a platoon on
the move.

I try to consider
the defining
characteristics of
Washington DC.

DC is all surface.

It is full of walls
and mirrors.

Its primary hue
is obfuscation.

Open
communication
scripted from well
considered talking points
informs all dialog.

The city is thoroughly
enraptured in narcissism.

Thankfully, one can
always capture the
reflection of oneself in
the ubiquitous presence of
mirrors.  

Vanity imprisons
the city inhabitants.

Young joggers circle the
Mall and gerrymander
down every pathway
of the city.  

They are the clerks,
interns and staffers of
the judicial, executive
and legislative branches.

They are the children
of privilege.

They will never
alter their path.

You must cede the walk
to their entitlement
of a swift comportment
or risk injury of a
violent collision.

These young ones
portray a countenance  
of benevolent rulers.  

They seem to be learning
their trade craft well from
the senators and judges
whom they serve.

They appear confident
they know what's best
for the country and after
their one term of tireless
service to the republic
they look forward to
positions in the private
sector where they will
assist corporations
to extend their reach
into the pant pockets
worn by the body politic.

6.

Our nations mythic story
lies hidden deep in the
closed rooms of the
museums lining the
Mall.

I pause to consider
what a great nation
and its great people
once aspired to.

I spy the a
suspended
Space Shuttle
hanging in dry dock
at the air and
space museum.

Today America’s
astronauts hitch
rides on Russian
rockets.

America rents a
timeshare from
the European
space agency to
lift communication
satellites into orbit.

Across the Mall
I photograph
John Smithson’s
ashes in its columbarium.  

I fear it has become a
metaphor for America’s
future commitment
to scientific inquiry
and rational secular
thinking.

I am relieved to
discover a Smithsonian
exhibit that asks
“what does it mean
to be human?”

The Origins of Humans
exhibit carries a disclaimer
to satisfy creationists.

The exhibit timidly states
that science can coexist
with religious beliefs and
that the point of the exhibit is
not to inflame inflame religious
passions but to shed light on
scientific inquiry.

I imagine these exhibits
will inflame the passion of
the fundamentalist
American Taliban and
provide yet another
reason to dismantle
the Moloch of Federalism.

The pursuit of science
remains safe at the
Smithsonian for now.

7.

Near K Street at
McPherson Park
a posse of
well dressed
lobbyists, the
self anointed
uber patriots
doing the work
of the people
stroll through
the park
boasting a
healthy population
of bedraggled
homeless.

The homeless
occupy the benches
that have been
transformed into
pup tents.

Perhaps some of
the residents of this
mean estate were
made homeless by a
foreclosed mortgage.  

The K Street warriors
can be proud that their
work on behalf of the
banking industry has
forestalled financial market
reform.  

Through it exacerbates
the homeless problem it has
allowed these K Street titans to
profit from the distress of others.

Earlier in the day
I photographed
a homeless man
planted in front of
the Washington
Monument.

I wonder
if my political
voyeurism is
an exploitation of
this man’s condition?

I have more in common
then I probably wish to
admit with my K Street
antagonists.  

In another section
of the park the
remnants of a
distressed OWS
bivouac remain.

The legions of sunshine
patriots have melted away
as the interest of the
blogosphere has waned.

As the weather
improves Moveon.org
and democratic
party operatives
pitch tents in an
effort to resuscitate
the moribund
movement.

They hope
to coop any
remaining energy
to support their
stale deception,
a neoliberal vision
based solely on the
total capitulation
to the bankrupt
corporatocracy.

I heard someone say
a campaign lasts a
season; while a
movement for social
change takes decades.

If that metric proves
correct, and if the
powers don’t succeed
in compromising the
people’s movement
I’ll be three quarters
of a century old
before I see
justice flowing like
a river once again.

8.

I circle back to
the L’Enfant and
find myself
tramping amidst
the lost platoon
of Korean War
soldiers.

My feet drag
in the quagmire
of grass covering
the feet of this
ghostly troop.

My namesake
uncle was a
decorated
veteran of this
conflict and Im
sure I detect
his likeness
in one of the
statues.

The bleak call
of a distant train
sounds a revelry
and I imagine this
patrol springing
to life to answer
the call of their
beloved country
once again.

Yet they remain
inert.  

Stuck in a
place that the
nation finds
impossible to
leave.

The eyes of the
men stare into
an incomprehensible
fate.  

They see the swarms
of Red Army infantrymen
crossing the Yellow River
streaming toward
them in massive
human waves,
the tips of
sparkling bayonets
threatening to slash
the outmanned
contingent fighting
to bits.

They are the
first detachment
to bravely confront
the rising power
of China many
thousands of
miles away
from their homes.

America like
this lone company
is overwhelmed
and lost in the
confusion
that confronts
them.

Looking up
I perceive the
bewilderment
of my muddled image
reflected on the
marble walls
surrounding
the memorial.

I am a comrade-in-arms,
a fellow wanderer sojourning
with th
NitaAnn Nov 2014
During every stage of life
I am a failure
Stupid,stuttering child
Always messing up
Probably never going to succeed
Pointless to try anymore
Over life as it is
In a dark place
Never anybody's first choice
Totally incompetent
Miserable
Exiting stage left
Nobody cares
Time to quit.
She has the will to succeed
Along with self-motivation
Possesses a very classy style
She also has the drive and self-determination
Nothing will stand in her way
On a path towards excellence
She puts her best foot forward
She has the desire to do her very best
BG Jul 2014
It comes without warning;
you can't choose whether
or not it happens to you.
It's a calling.
The act of someone needing you,
not someone else,
but you.
You are the hero they need
to save them,
before there's nothing left to save.
You stay up late trying to find ways to become this hero.
You and the caller talk as long as the caller wants.
While this might not be the ideal situation for the hero,
they do it anyways in order
to make sure the caller doesn't end.
The hero swoops in at every situation they can,
trying to convince the caller;
trying to say how much they're needed.
Many times,
they succeed.
The caller decides they want to see another day.
They want to stay strong.
That gives the hero relief,
and only pushes them to try harder.
But,
there always seems to be one final time
when the hero's too late.
This is the time where it's not only the caller's end,
but the hero's, too.
The hero hits zero;
the hero doesn't want to continue
when they know how they
could've prevented this.
And that's when the cycle restarts-
the only difference being the hero
is now the caller.
The new hero,
on the other hand,
unknowingly waits for the call;
the call that could save a hero's life.
Shannon Perry Dec 2015
You are the water to my seed,
you push me to grow, blossom and succeed.
You are the hope whispering in my ear
when my despair is growing near.

You are a superhero in disguise and inspire me
to become a strong independent woman and be the best I can be,
I hope that when I'm older I'm even half as remarkable as you are -
you are the most supportive, caring, beautiful person I know by far.

You are so special to me and every day we spend together is so sublime,
and no amount of seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months or years with you will be enough time.
And out of all the grandparents in this universe so divine,
I'm so glad that you got to be mine.
ConnectHook Feb 2016
by John Greenleaf Whittier  (1807 – 1892)

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

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


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


                                       EMERSON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://youtu.be/vVOQ54YQ73A
Alexander Klein Oct 2013
I

In eras weird with old mythology,
As if asleep the fabled country lay:
Her wave-like hills and faerie forests dense,
Her thorny brambles budding curling claws,
And ivy circling all the woodsey way --
The far swan's cry came soft and woke them not.
Forlorn, that selfsame call upon the gates
Did break; those gates of Britain's long-lost keep.
She too slept fast, the weary weathered stones
Of fairest Caerleon. O pulsing stream,
Thou vein of life in woods a-slumber, Usk!
Alone are you in knowing castle's face,
From years of timeless burbling at her feet.
What tales are told by water over stone?
What lark or wren can sing of sadness come?
Aye, answers are the beach-wet sand, yet hark!
Rejoicings spilled, proud hails, from Caerleon:
They cheered the ****-frost's melting with the Spring;
The holy Gwyl Fair y Canhwyllau
Had come at last, in foliage of dawn.

Within, their goblets sailed, wassailed, and crashed
Like growling Jove, their boasts and toasts like wine --
They drank it spiced and over-strong. Indeed,
Some stretched exaggerations: 'twas Sir Bors,
That spotless sheet, who tried to contradict.
He quoted purifying texts and spurned
The wine that nature raised and crafted sweet.
Yet "Loosen up!" uproared the host to him.
"The time has come to celebrate," said Kay,
Beloved knight, step-brother to the King,
"Aloft thy wine, below thy gills! Drink! Laugh!
Your stomach is a falsehood-spewing fool,
It must be drowned for you to feel a lord.
I speak a sooth, you need wine's fleeting bliss!
Know thee that man's tomorrows bleed him dry:
A wade through death and depths as sure as pain
That shall tomorrow light your brow. Laugh! Drink!"
Bold cheering spread with Kay's advice, though yet
To no surprise Bors turned aside the drink,
Unblemished bore, so celebrates alone.
Weep not for him, for soon he'll find a cup
More suited to his strange of chaste and grace.
And none to waste: his share was drunk by all.

Engaged in feast Owain ap Urien,
Engaged in tale now Bedwyr and Kay,
And Lancelot made eyes at Gwenevere.
It was a feast of great success and joy
As fitting of the season's robust gleam,
Yet two there were with shallow-rooted smiles.
Prince Mordred one, though ever-somber he:
Accursed spawn with bone in place of heart
And dreaded incantations for his blood;
His brooding perched like crow on him. Alas:
The other joy-bled man had beard aflame,
A bear-skin drape, and crystal eyes, the Lord
He was of Caerleon and Mordred both.
'Twas not the gleam in lover's gaze that vexed
Though it was seen; he had no heart in him
To chain his Queen as if in dungeon steel,
For Arthur lived believing to be fair
Was paramount, to even paramour.
It wreaked its toll, yet caused small grief this day.
Not even serpent son gave cause to mourn
That greater was than missing nephew's spot
Among the feast. His chair was naked bare
Returned though he should be from faerie quest.
At Calan Gaeaf they expected him
When winter storms had racked their shoddy hall,
Yet since, the months had rolled to Gwyl Fair
The milder season come, but not his kin.
The image of his maiméd corpse did taunt
And haunt the agéd mind of Arthur, King,
His phantom nephew slain anon by knight
That of no flesh was made. In year that died
This green-mailed knight arrived a guest and called
Infernal challenge. Trick it seemed to them
And trick it was, for subsequent the blow,
This seaweed knight did lift his severed head
And from dead lips he cried "Well struck! Now come,
Fulfill me of my game. The year to come
Shall see thee in my home, and as agreed
My turn 'twil be to answer with my axe."

So rapt in recollecting, Arthur missed
The growing clamor that beset his hall.
His ******* cleared the grief from him with taunt,
To bring him into grief. "What say thee, Dad,"
Dripped venom from his mouth, "No love for us?
Your hail we called, but disapprove your eyes.
Methinks that far away thou seest a dream
That visits oft the elderly: a place
Thou knewst when in thy prime, with love
Now filled to burst. Yet fear us not, away!
To land of youth far more beloved than we
Whose happiness with thine own heart is twined."
"My fellow, soft!" the King began, distressed,
Yet Lancelot rose to his feet and spake
"Blackguard is he who mocks our Lord to face!
Thou palest hide, thou Mordred, sit thee down!
This sniveling craven knight should be replaced."
A sounding of the table met his speech,
Again was hailed his toast, and Arthur glad,
Though burdened to his breaking point, and sad.

"Blackguard is he who mocks our Lord to face,"
Had spake his bravest champion and friend
With no regard to Blackguard wrapped in stealth.
See how his roughspun fingers coil in hers
And how some sweetened whisper 'scapes her lips?
The beams of color-stainéd light slip down
To play upon their blissful sin almost
As if King Arthur's King approved on high.
Sovereignty is ruthless, Arthur thought,
Well-wishings of my God grow ever-faint.
I must believe in good though I am ill,
Just as I find my countrymen displeased
Though I did calculate my every breath
To see that it did stand with God's own will
To help my common people from their murk.
I fear I am not what I wished to be,
And now my only solace peaceful death.
If up to me, I'd wish it in my bed.

What horn's blare? Hark! King Arthur roused from thought.
Court gatekeeper Glewlwyd Gafaelfawr,
Dressed plain in brown, took down the horn from lips
And loud as elk called to the hall "Have cheer!
Sirs, drink another beer and wreath your brow
With springtime blooms, for lost knight fair is found!"
Old Arthur trusted not his feeble ears,
But came a hush and Lancelot confirmed:
"What **," he boomed, "our brother has returned!
'Tis grey Gawaine, aye, Gwalchmai! Drink his hail!"
The uproar was enourmous: "Gwalchmai! Cheers!"
Was like to wake the sleeping wilderness
That hung suspended in the myth and mist.

II

Astonishment had come like breaking wave
Upon the thirsty sands of monarch's face
So long consigned to reap the low-tide's grief.
When Arthur's ursine hand clenched round his cup
And hailed his nephew's presence with a roar
Long lost to hibernation's hoary spell,
The hearts that beat in armor under him
Did swell to find their lord with cheer at last;
The toast they drank so hearty as to give
Sweet Dionysus pause against excess.
Though only two there were who did not drink,
And one of these were Bors, a sadness fell
Once more as tangible as any wrong
That chose to haunt a hall. 'Twas Gwalchmai grey,
The conqueror now home from quest to rest
Who would not lift his eyes to meet the King's.

"Has cheer so fled from you? Your life remains!
What black has inked you in?" the King did ask,
And silence overtook the hall to hear.
How strongly then did Gwalchmai wish to leave,
To blend once more his form to root or branch
Or soaring river. Wind, the songbird's muse,
Had been his fast companion on the road,
For known to him were many things. He was,
They say, some god that stalked the minds of man
In young enchanted places of the world
Though all his magic helped him not at court:
His shyness was a leaf obscured by rain.
Yet even gods of silence know to speak
When words of pain encircle heavy hearts.
He let them fly, birds in the sky, he said
"I failed. My quest was long and arduous,
The seasons changed while I in heather lost,
The moon its phases shed as fen-frogs called,
I floated through the endless cloying mist
That flows, a ghostly sea wrapped round our isle.
The path had nearly drowned me when I found
The chapel green enough to spell my doom.
When entered I, methought "It cannot be!"
So kind and courteous a host met me
That would have been disgrace to call him green.
He feasted me, and warmed my wounded bones,
Yet I betrayed him in the end; I failed.
I stayed his guest, and friend, and swore to him
That for his hospitality I'd share
Each thing I won while underneath his roof.
And all was well -- I'd rest, he'd hunt -- until
His wife played hearts with me. I did refuse,
But by her final trick was tempted and --
So lost all knightly honor and renoun.
Her lusts I spurned three times, but on the third
She offered me that which my heart desired,
Instead of love she begged me take her boon:
A silken girdle sewn with charms, and green,
Deceit I should have seen. She said the spells
Would keep me safe from harm and spare my life...
When on my rugged journey all I'd feared
Was twisting face of death that loomed so near.
I could not help myself, it seemed so tame,
Yet when the time had come I could not share
That gift, or else expose the husband's wife.
Beneath my armor tied when left that place,
My secret wore me down upon the bog.
It seemed the mist grew thicker, wind grew swift,
I now know under spell was I, but then
It seemed some vengence coming to a head.
My tale grows long, and past the point am I.
The Green Knight and my host were one in fraud:
An airy insect's dream. His "wife," a witch,
Had formed him out of acrid moorland soil:
Homunculus to carry out her scheme.
The blow he owed me carried little force,
Though still this scratch is plain upon my nape.
And so you see my folly plain as oak:
For though I kept the life I feared to lose
My lie grows in me like a cancer bloom
That in the span of time shall **** me sure.
I failed; I'm gone; to revelry return."
The silence, vast again, gripped all the knights
And king too dry to cry, who drowned his heart.

III

"Is there some madness come to roost herein?
Thy folly is ridiculous," said Kay.
"I valued mine own life past honor's flame,
A sin of selfishness, and blame, and wrong.
What of the world, if all would act as such?"
A weeping noise he made, but choked it back
And turned to leave in shame, and might have done
Had not the stout Sir Kay gripped Gwalchmai's arm.
He raised it in the air and shouted thus:
"Percieve our stunning champion stands nigh!
Though of a frail ennobled heart, we know
Thou art absolved. This trinket given free
To aid in quest I wager was for thee.
And as for sacred broken vows, this man --
You said yourself -- was conjured from a bug.
You owe him no alleigance Gwalchmai, sit!
This serious you need to be for wine:
Come sit with brothers now! We drink to thee!"
"Dispel the failure all you can, it stays
As weighty on my brain. It was a sign
To signify the kind of soul I am,
To me it showed my grimy ills and plain
Did tell my shaping, shape, and shape-to-be."
King Arthur to this nephew spake: "My child,
Is there no antidote to questing's woes?
What has become of jousts and silver swords?"
The anguish in the old man's eyes so keen
To those who knew him. Gwalchmai did reply
"Your majesty, there's not a grief can ****
My bird-like love of questing through the trees,
For only questing can redeem my shape."
"Then let us have this quest!" cried Kay beside
Him at the table, deep in drink he swore.
"Come with me, brother-knight, to clear thy mood!
You do you wrong blaspheming at yourself."
The wine was quaffed by Gwalchmai, yet he said
"I first shall stay, I need to rest my ills."
"Your ills are that which keep you ill, good knight.
I bid you come and we shall quest as birds
Who savor springtime berries in the mist."
"I shall not go, I seek my quietude."
"In sunlight you and I must bask. Comply,
Or else I challenge you by burnished blade."
All eyes on Gwalchmai, under pressure cracked
Into a grin and downed his kykeon.
"In stubborness persisting, Kay, you've won,
A river such as I could not keep stead
Against a boulder. When shall we away?
When come the summer blossoms, fair and red?
Or else not til the saps have lost their leaves?
Departure yours to choose, my brother-knight."
Kay beat upon the table and their ears
When called triumphantly "This very day,
This very hour! To help those who need aid
On holy days shall surely fix your heart.
No time to wallow in the swamp that's gone,
We now away, to break our swords with day!"
"You mock me or you heard me not, Sir Kay,
I wish not to away, I wish to rest!"
The fairest Guenevere, like silver bells,
Chimed in "You must forgive your heart's despair,
Or emanations of its guilt will plague
Your mind. I have a lunar garden if
You wish to sit in soothing calm and think."
"My queen is holy," Gwalchmai spoke in grace,
But Kay had cut him off with "Hear her not!
She will ensorce your mind to not explore,
To sit and think and mold with lunacy;
Beneath the sun we'll tred. It's known on quests
I favor Bedwyr, 'tis true, yet you
My fairest Gwalchmai, keep your wits -- and arms --
Two things in need of we shall be.
I mean you no offense, dear Bedwyr,
But I and Gwalchmai share a severed soul
And shall succeed; two sides of selfsame coin.
So come my cousin grey, to right our wrongs
We must away, to break our swords and say
'My heart is glad I did not stay at home!'
Consume your drink! We go," he trumpet-called.
Thus Gwalchmai was convinced, and so was forced
To nod politely to his Queen and stand,
Declaring to the court "I shall away,
This gloomy mood is dried beneath the sun
Though dearly do I wish some lunar grace
To lose myself in mysteries anew.
To bear this flesh is weighty, yet I've found
The strain to be rewarding in its way.
Think nothing of my former woes, they've passed
Like summer storm or wisp of misty cloud."
The hall at large did drink his hail, and then
Did thrice more drink for quest to which they went.
And Mordred scowled and drank the foulest wine
For his monsoon and fog would last his life.

So summoned then Glewlwyd Gafaelfawr
To hearken unto birds, as was his gift.
He said to all, "I shall now call my friends
And see what worthy tales of quests they bring!"
"There may be naught on Gwyl Fair," said Bors,
"A holy day, all wove with peace. Nor Gods
Nor men would stir their strife this day of days."
"We all shall see," the gatekeeper replied.
Beside his King upon the dais came
And played a serenade upon his horn
That rang throughout the keep and lands beyond.
A time did pass with no response recieved --
Slain silent was the raptness of the court --
But then through open pain in stainéd glass
A thrush did bob and weave in melody,
On finger of the Queen he briefly perched
Before he flit away upon the air.
His song so sweet, but then - what fright! No more!
A hawk had entered, just the same, and swooped,
And now the thrush was silent in his claws.
The cabinet of augers all took note
And sketched their calculations into books,
Though none, in this, more wise than Gafaelfawr
To whom the hawk said "Hail, you man of rank
Who speaks the tongue of wing-in-air. Now hark!
'Twas not in hunger slew this thrush, but fear
That what I have to tell might go unheard.
My family, we roost near Cornwall's sea
And late, the noises off the coast grew strange
As if some evil kraken raged at love.
My chicks; my wife and I; we're simple hawks.
We eat and some of us are eaten, yet
Beware the thing that slouched from out the waves.
His shape is something like a boar, but huge,
He dwarfs his kin, and hill, and oak,
This hall is large, yet he'd be stuck inside.
He does not eat what he has killed, instead
He smears the bloodied flesh on stones and trees,
What man could face a fear that bears this face?
If you could hear the rutting squeals he makes!
I swear this sooth by wind and waving plumes:
You men who craft with metal, hark!
Destroy the beast!" And then he flew away
Still calling after him "Destroy the beast!"

The court at large had heard the warbling hawk
But did not know the tongue, so only watched
Glewlwyd's unease upon his face
Until with stiff and rasping voice relayed
The content of the predatory news.
Unease began to show among the knights,
For many there recalled a beast so shaped
And all the blood and guile he took to drown
The first time. Arthur, grim, forbade Sir Kay
And Gwalchmai face these perils by themselves,
But recommended regiment of steel
To bolster ranks against the fearsome boar.
"I know this foe from days of old," he said,
His years of rule etched rough across his face,
"And so do most of you, though many gone
And this monstrosity not even slain."
But Gwalchmai said "'Twas hard indeed to win
Those relics that he bore. Remember I
That Trwyth was the name he chose, and we
Shall best him fair. Though not for trinkets now,
But with the zeal of mother guarding young:
This foe, Twrch Trwyth shall not raze the land
Nor wage a war against some peaceful ilk
While rounded table can beco
Sitting here in class I am today, minding my business as they would say. I’m listening to the teacher teach but hearing only things left beyond my reach. Another whole day in this **** school so I can come out each night 'more-of-a-fool,' and would it behoove them all to know, I ain’t no dummy, no 'coffee-Joe'?

  …but then I’d have to get the chance, the opportunity provided to advance and the equal treatment they all receive that somehow has been lost on me. Why do I even come here? Why does my Mom insist on this? They don’t call on me, care about me, acknowledge me, it’s ridiculous. At lunch each day I gotta use my fists and even my own kind acts wicked, cause for the rest of them fighting is all that exists.

  Exists; having objective reality or being.

  I exist alright; exist if you call this a life, defined by ******, **** and monkey, or related to some stupid-actin’ ****** or some dumb brawler or that dude good at running but never ever seen as intelligent and cunning. The girls ignore me, teachers too, white guys hate me, what did I do? What did I ever do to them? I’m just like you, I just want some friends, want the chance in life to succeed, man shut up about being freed that **** happened a hundred and fifty ******* years ago, I’m just as sick of hearing about it as you are 'Bro.'

  They say I have rights, they say that it’s fair, they say there’s a chance for me everywhere, but everywhere I look that’s not what I see, I’m put-down and degraded cons-tant-ly, told that I should join the team, or passed over in conversations about some thing. Forced to be friends with thugs that hate but to them at least I can relate, for just like me they was excluded or marginalized when told that they are deluded; they’ll never make it anyway, never achieve their dreams, never have their say so why even bother when no one cares how you feel, when your dreams in life won’t ever be real, when you end up in the streets and all you got left is to steal, when its still,

“Go back to Africa ******!”

...they say with zeal and the vitriol an violence comport surreal, Helen didn’t hold this secret to reveal nor does rap, truthfully, with these problems deal? Cocooned by stares and ****-sure glares, because your own sports brothers hate your *** and make you just wanna ditch that class, so here I ended up on the streets, hangin' round on my crew’s beats, acting tough, street-cred and clout and there your 'momma-an-sister' out n’ about, while here I am a fresh drop-out and can you guess what?

Here we come to take her purse, I clock your mom’s mouth and shove down your sister but ***** you boy I could’ve done much worse, she could’ve lost her life and come home in a hearse!

  Is this the ****** ya’ll wanted to see? All filled up inside with hatred, cause I was told that I would never make it, from day one got no attention, spent half of high school in afternoon detention, training me for my future as a prison convict yet another sign our society is depraved and sick. Given no chance or help or just some praise, no moments to shine and no Happy Days, he’s just a gang-banger, a **** they say? My actions may be worse than your words assail, and well, that may be me and I may be in jail but here’s something from my Grand Momma, a little encouragement goes a long way to change this drama...

You see me on the street you better ******* run cause you already know what’s in my jacket son and my hoodie will be up so you can’t see my face since I already know what you think of my race.
I guess these are rhyming stories really. I grew up poor in rough neighborhoods and majority-minority schools. This piece is a tribute to tribulations of poor African Americans which I know all too well having grown up in their neighborhoods.
Alexander K Opicho
(Eldoret ,Kenya ;aopicho@yahoo.com)

On 13th January 2014 Dr. Wafula Chesoli of Mt Kenya University, at Lodwar campus in the north western part of Kenya published a scathing attack against homosexuality in the Neighbourhood, a daily circulating paper of the River Delta state in Nigeria.Dr Chesoli justified his contumelious position against human homosexuality by basing his stand on the scriptural citations of the Bible. The Bible which  Dr. Chesoli has operationally defined as the word of God in  this article that he entitled Strong holds of Homosexuality ;Biblical Persapectives.Chesoli’s argument has a depth of Biblical groundings, however I beg to differ with him in principle, given the  scientific scintillations on humanity of homosexuality from the recent researches of health education and psychology.
Firstly, I humbly remember that about three years ago I also published an article in the East African standard which harshly condemned social and behavioral position of gay and lesbian marriages. This was when the Anglican archbishop Dr. Eliud Wabukala of Kenya had in a similar tone lambasted the archbishop of Canterbury for suggesting that there was need for the office of the gay Bishop in the Anglican Church. I strongly supported Wabukala in that I even called gay and lesbian behavior as cultic and satanic hence to be condemned with all forms of capital nemesis. Some of the contents of my article in which I condemned homosexuality are here;
Let us support Wabukala stand on gays and morality
(January 13th 2011 at 00:00 GMT; By Alexander Opicho, Eldoret)
Practice of psychology and Christianity operates on a universal principle of unconditional positive regard for all. However, there has been a twist in this convention when media in Kenya at the start of this week carried a story that depicted moral fortitude of Bishop Eliud Wabukala; who has out-rightly dismissed the idea of establishing the office of a gay bishop in the leadership of the Anglican Church. Wabukala has come out boldly on this against the strong currents in support of gay marriages from his superiors in the Church. The efforts by Wabukala befit all manner of felicitation from all of us who believe in morality as a basis of humanity. The basis of gay relationships is legalistic and political. African culture conscientiously discourages a cult of gayism. And in Kenya living as a gay is living in contradiction to the Constitution. These collectively fall in an agreement with basic teachings of Christianity. Gayism, lesbianism, celibacy and trans-species ****** behaviour are admonished by Biblical teachings. Gayism is social deviance that originates from degradation in ****** behavior; it is a state of ****** depravement. Read more at;
http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000074879&story;_title=-Let-us-support-Wabukala-stand-on-gays-and-morality.­
Little did I know that as I was publishing this article two percent of my friends and my family members are victims of ****** behavioural disability, which we are calling homosexuality in the above juncture. As university teacher in the departments of social sciences where student populations is usually high, I again came to discover sometimes later that ten percent of my students always have disordered ****** or gender conditions. I found these to be substantial revelations that provoked me to carry out both desk research and investigative *** socialization researches into this bamboozling human phenomenon of homosexuality and other related disordered ****** behaviours.
The order of explanation would first require a position which posits that; religions both Christianity and Islam don’t have any intellectual nor social machinery to carry out a socially ameliorative process in relation to disordered gender and ****** behavior in any society. Their approach have been and would still be parochial in the sense that the only outcome to be achieved is prejudice, bigotry and discrimination with full harassment against Christians or Moslems with ****** or gender disability. Thus religion should pave way for other competent social players over this matter.
Dr Chesoli’s Position that the Bible is the word of God and the Quran is the word of Allah and hence those with physiological conditions in contrast to the word of God and Word of Allah are satanic, only to face wrath of God on the judgment day is simply devoid of modern logic. I want to sensitize Dr Chesoli on the fact that not every thing in the Bible is the word of God neither   every thing in the Quran is the word of God otherwise called Allah. To support my position before I just explain scientific position of homosexuality, I want Dr. Chesoli to learn that; 159 psalms in the Bible are poetries of Kind David, Kind David whose leadership was full of Machiavellian tricks just like the current leadership of Yoweri Museven of Uganda. The book of Job is theatrical and poetical literary creation of Moses. But not the word of God. This is so because the land of Uz in which Job lived is pure fiction. All papyrological surveys have never established geographical evidence of this land. The last part of the Bible is made up of 21 epistles or letters of Paul the benjaminite. Paul’s writings display eminence of intellect as a lawyer and a person schooled in the Greek classics of Homer’s Iliad and Odysseus as well as Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex.The idea that the words which Paul wrote was the word of God is not founded ,perhaps the last stage of Jewish casuistry.
Homosexuality has to be understood as lameness or disability like any other animal or human disability. I am aware that Dr. Chesoli belongs to the old school which only appreciated the fact that lameness is limited to physical, mental, eye and hearing impairment.However, this position is now scientifically obsolete. Humanity is now understood to be sometimes a victim of ****** lameness, intellectual lameness, emotional lameness, racial relational lameness and other plethorae of lameness to be uncovered, courtesy of science and research.
Like the condition of ****** disability can be heterosexual disability or homosexual disability. Heterosexual disability can be indicated by misfortunate human ****** conditions like; early *******, erectile disfucntion,oversize *****,undersize *****,frigidity,phobia of opposite ***, oral ***, **** ***,****** appetite for your own child, ****** appetite for your sisters, brothers, uncles or aunts, frigidity, small ******, abnormally big ******,insatiable libido or insatiable appetite for ***.
But on the other  hand  homosexual disability are often indicated in the perverted ****** behavioural positions like male to male *** also known as gay and female to female *** also known as lesbian, or female to male to female to male *** also known as bisexuality. We also have other ****** phenomena like celibacy, voyeurism, *** with non human creatures, *** with inanimate objects, *** with ghosts and *** with spiritual creatures like the one accounted in the Bible between Mary the mother of Jesus and an Angel Known as Gabriel. There is also *** with dead family members. Dear reader just accepts that the list in this line is long.
Now labeling above positions as satanic or ungodly can be misleading in the modern sense. The motivation for all the above behaviours is sensual satisfaction. But the physiological cause of the behaviour is few and far between. Some of these conditions are caused by genetic misprogramming or mutation; some are due to body malformation. Like having female reproductive system in a male human casing or male female reproductive system in a female human casing. But the sorriest part of this human experience is that victims of these conditions always feel that they are right human creatures in the wrong body from which they struggle to jump out but they have never succeed.
This is why the Journal of Pan African Voices known as Pambuzuka news has a platform for anti – homophobic journalism, which actually purport to promote social and intellectual awareness among the Africa societies about matters relating to ****** and gender disabilities. This journal strives to minimize homophobic positions like the one taken by Dr. Chesoli in a smokescreen of Christianity or Islam which will ultimately only end up as heinous violations of human rights.
An empirical position has facts that gender and ****** disability conditions is rampart in urban areas than rural areas and more rampart in industrialized or developed countries than peasant rural based countries. Thus logic will tell you that we have most gays and lesbians in America and United Kingdom than in Kenya or Malawi. This is why President Barrack Obama in an imperial stretch conditioned the govermenent of Uganda to make a legislation that favour gays and lesbians. This was also reflected three years ago in the United kingdom when David Cameroon warned the government of Ghana that if they don’t make a legislation that appreciate homosexuals then United Kingdom would not give economic aid to Ghana.Contextually,both Cameroon and Obama were wrong. We don’t use vents of desperate imperialism to manage a misfortunate social condition. We first of all begin by educating our people, then socializing the idea among our people then we finalize by positioning the idea among our people. Thanks for your audience.
Alexander K Opicho, is a social researcher with sanctuary research agencies in Eldoret, Kenya.He is also a lecturer for Research Methods in Governance and Leadership.
berry Apr 2014
this is an open letter to anyone who has the audacity to try and love you like i did.

dear whateverthefuckyournameis,

i apologize in advance for spilling my boiled blood on the hem of your skirt. what you need to understand, is that you are standing on ground previously reserved for my feet, so forgive me for any bitterness that seeps through the cracks in my clenched fists. i don't hate you, but i can't be your friend. you probably don't know about me, and if you do, let me commend your bravery. i have a tendency to set my problems on fire, and in my bouts of anger everything looks flammable, especially girls with paper complexions. i'm sorry. i have never been one to walk away, so i don't know how to explain to you the holes in the bottoms of my shoes. but i have been further than you will ever go. this is not supposed to be an angry letter, but lately that's the only thing coming out of me. i don't even know your name but the thought of your hands reaching for him makes we want to break them. i will douse your dreams in gasoline and strike the match against your cheek. but i know that's not right, see, the poison crawling out from the end of my pen belongs to a scarier version of myself i try not to know. my heartache is an insatiable war cry in the dead of night, that will stop at nothing to shatter all your windows. it shames me to admit that i've found a sort of twisted satisfaction in using passive aggression to breach your armor. i am sick with missing a set of arms i was not privileged enough to know. i speak with all the grace of an atom bomb and wonder about the rubble at my feet. you are white picket fence and i am barbed wire. some girls are lions, some are lambs, and i learned to love, teeth bared and snarling. one of the only things that keeps me going is the hope that one day i'll learn how to love something without making it bleed. i may have never been his, but for a time he was mine, so please understand why i taste acid when i think about your mouth on his. again, i am sorry. i know it is not my place to be so full of resentment, but there is a part of me that sincerely hopes it bothers you to know he dreamt of me before you were even a thought. there is a side of me that thrives on the image of the color being drained from your face when you read this. but i am trying to learn how to be softer. this letter is the manifestation of a self-inflicted war that has been raging in my chest since he first told me about you. you will try to be good to him, and you might even succeed. if you ever find yourself singing him to sleep, like i did, don't ask if he wants to hear another song, just keep going until his breathing slows.

- m.f.
RAJ NANDY Apr 2015
Dear Poet Friends, being fond of Art, I wanted to compose on
this topic for a long time in a simplified form! Egyptian Art and
Architecture influenced the Early Greeks, who in turn influenced the Romans and other civilizations! Initially Art and architecture, religion and culture, were all closely inter-related! Real distinction emerged with the Italian Renaissance. Here I have used only a portion of my personal notes. Hope you find this interesting to read! Sorry for the length! Kindly give Comments after you have managed to read the entire portion in your spare time. Thanks, -Raj

INTRODUCTION TO THE STORY
OF WESTERN ART IN VERSE:
          PART ONE
    * BY RAJ NANDY

INTRODUCTION
Art over the centuries has been variously defined,
But an all embracing definition is rather hard to find!
Ayn Rand defined Art as a recreation of reality according to
artist’s values, his view of existence, and choice;
Who recreates by a selective rearrangement of the elements
of reality, and not simply out of a void!
Study of Art History is a study of man’s creative evolution;
A progress of his wakened consciousness, and a restless
striving towards perfection!
The progress of his mind, taste and skill, which has gradually
evolved through past traditions;
Finding ultimate expression in his multi-faceted creations!
I commence this story from its earliest days, and mention those
Ancient Civilizations which influenced Art in many ways.
Art has been greatly influenced by religion, culture and history;
Therefore, knowing these aspects becomes necessary to
fully appreciate this Art Story!

PREHISTORIC STONE AGE ART:
Let us take a ride on the magic carpet of History, down
past millenniums to begin our Art Story;
Right into the ancient Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic
Eras of the Stone Age,
When early humans left their creative imprints on rock
surfaces and on walls of caves!
Long before the evolution of any proper coherent speech
or communication,
In some 350 caves of France and Spain are seen paintings
of large wild animals like horses, antelopes and bison;
Bearing witness to the story of gradual human evolution!
The cave paintings of Chauvet, Cosquer, and Lascaux, date
between 8000 and 1700 BC,
Drawn by nameless and faceless people who emerged from
an inhospitable Ice Age;
Those nomadic tribes who were hunter-gatherers living in
pre-historic caves!
The Story of Art therefore begins before recorded History,
Pieced together by scholars with the help of science and
archeology!
During the Neolithic Period beginning around 8,000BC,
Ancient man became gradually sedentary, engaging in
agriculture and animal husbandry!
With these nomads settling down in small communities,
Art became mystical and monumental in range;
As seen in the megalithic (large stone) structures of the
famous Stonehenge!
This type of post and lintel structure is also found in ancient
Egyptian architecture, and later in Greece as its special
feature!
Art History spans the entire history of mankind,
Right from the pre-historic days, up to our modern times!
Man’s everlasting quest for immortality lies etched on
rocks and raised stone edifices, defying marauding Time!

MESOPOTAMIAN ART (3500-300BC) :
Let us now travel fast forward on our magic carpet to reach
the Fertile Crescent,
Where the Tigress and the Euphrates Rivers flow, to the
Ancient Civilization of the Sumerians! (3500-2300BC)
The birth of civilization has been traced to Southern
Mesopotamia, where the Sumerians built their first cities,
As the earliest River Valley Civilization around 3500 BC!
It was a period when writing got invented in its earliest
Cuneiform form;  (around 3400 BC)
When Patriarch Abraham established the worship of a Single
God, in a revolutionary religious reform! (Judaism)
Mesopotamian Civilization as the source of our earliest
surviving Art dates back to 3500BC;
When major civilizations like the Sumerian, Akkadian,
Babylonian, Hitties, Assyrian, and the Persians, in this
chronological sequence, contributed to Art History!
Mesopotamian Art in general glorified their powerful rulers
and their connection with divinity;
Reflected on their city gates, palace complexes and ziggurats,

are scenes of both victorious wars and their prosperity!
Art was then highly functional and repetitive; depicting
love of beauty, a sense of order, and power of hierarchy,
- in their sculptures and motifs.
However, no signatures were ever found bearing the name
of the Artist!
It is interesting to note that both the potter’s wheel and the
cart wheel, made their first appearance around 3500 BC
and 3200 BC respectively;
With the Sumerians contributing to art and culture, and the
progress of Human Civilization immensely!
(Ziggurats are semi-pyramid like structures with steps, a temple complex located in the center of all ancient Sumerian cities-states! Saragon the Great of Akkad from the North, defeated the Sumerians in the South, & united entire Mesopotamia around 2300 BC, for the first time in Mesopotamian History, & they ruled for 200 years.)

ANCIENT EGYPTIAN ART :(3000 BC -500BC)
Next we travel to an isolated area of north-east Africa,
Where the White Nile flows down from Lake Victoria.
The Nile enters Upper Egypt traveling through Sudan,
Is joined by the Blue Nile at Khartoum to become one!
Continues its flow north through Egypt Lower, flowing
into the Mediterranean as the World’s longest river!
Historian Herodotus had called Egypt ‘the gift of the Nile’;
Ancient Egypt became a rich treasure trove of art and
architecture for all times!
The Nile valley area was protected by the desert on its
east and the west;
In the north by the Mediterranean, and towards the
south by a rugged mountainous terrain!
Annual flooding of the Nile along with an effective
irrigational network,
Ensured Egypt’s prosperous stability, congenial for her
many innovative architectures and art works!
Egyptian Art got shaped by her geography, mythology
and her polytheistic religion;
Also by their preoccupation with after-life and belief in  
the immortal soul’s continuation;
Thus elaborate funeral rites were performed by priests for  
the body’s preservation by mummification! *
(
’KA’= was a real astral twin or stellar double of an Individual, which continued to exist even after death, requiring the same sustenance as the humans, so food offerings were made in the coffins! ‘BA’= shaped like a human-headed bird, composed of non-physical attributes of an Individual. ‘BA’ collected the deceased’s personality after death from the mummified remains & united it with the ‘KA’, making a person complete; thereby making it possible for the person to be reborn as ‘AKH’ (Star), - in its ultimate unchanging form, to join Osiris in the ‘Happy Fields’! Since this journey to the next world was fraught with danger, magical funerary spells & rites were performed by the priests, with incantations from the ‘Book of the Dead’, inside the funeral chamber of the Pyramid!)

Art During Old, Middle, and New Kingdom Period:
Egyptian Art was concerned with ensuring continuity of the
universe, their Gods, the King and the people;
A projection into eternity a version of reality pure and free
from all earthly evil!
Therefore in ancient Egyptian society, conformity over
individuality was always encouraged;
Artists worked in groups with conservative adherence to
rules, order and form,
And all individual artistic initiatives strictly discouraged !
Their earliest pyramids the Mastaba, the Step, and the Bent
Pyramids were all prototypes;
While the Great Pyramid of Giza built for Pharaoh Kufu,
- was the first true pyramid which still survives!
Art comes down to us as ‘funerary art’ designed for the tombs,
Which was to accompany the royalty in their journey to an
afterlife, with its symbolic forms!
This symbolism is seen in their paintings, statues and architecture;
In vibrant color codes of their paintings as a special feature!
Where White was the symbol of purity, Black for death and night;
Green for vegetation or new life, Blue for water and the sky;
Red for life and victory, and Yellow like Gold as the flesh of the
Gods and also the Sun God ruling the sky!
Thanks to Jean-Francois Champollion’s translation of the Rosetta
Stone, (1822)
We are able to decipher many mysteries of the Ancient Egyptian
with the cracking of the Hieroglyphic Code!
Larger than life statues with poise and austere harmony at the
Luxor Temple complex survive;
Symbolic of the individual’s status, while creating zones of
strangeness for imagination to thrive!
(
’Matsaba’= Egyptian for ‘bench’, referred to bench shaped pyramids;
“Step Pyramids” = were like benches placed one on top of the other in
a tapering form going up vertically!)

The Old Kingdom Period covers a five hundred years span
of Ancient Egyptian History, (2686-2181BC)
Known as the ‘Age of Pyramids’, with Pharaohs from the
Third to the Sixth Dynasty!
“The World fear Time, but Time fears only the Pyramids”,
- is an Ancient Egyptian Proverb;
Whose ‘heterogeneous structure’ made it earthquake
proof, making Time to reluctantly serve! #
Here we find formalized figures with long slender bodies,
idealized proportions and large staring eyes;
Where Kufu’s Great Pyramid of Giza raises its mighty head
as the highest, on the west bank of the Nile;
And the mighty Sphinx guard the entrance to those ancient
royal tombs, though defaced, still survive!
These pyramids were like Pharaoh’s getaways to eternity,
An insurance to an afterlife of peace and prosperity!
(# Pyramids with stone blocks of different sizes & shapes made them
Earthquake resistant; & use of pink granite in the inner chambers
made them erosion resistant against Time!)

The Middle Kingdom Period (2040-1650 BC) :
Following 150 years of civil disorder Theban ruler Mentuhotep
the Second, reunified Egypt and ruled up to Nubia, (Sudan)
And began the Classical Era when Block Statues appear,
indicating political stability;
When artisans worked with bronze and copper alloys, designing
exquisite jewelry!
Kings now preferred to be buried in secret tombs, Pyramids
having lost their appeal,
And work began on the west bank of the Nile, in the Valley of
Kings!
(
Inside those rock cut ‘funerary temples’ on the East bank of the
Nile, opposite Ancient Kingdom of Thebes ; Pharaohs from the
Early and Late New Kingdom Periods were buried, including
Tutemkhamen.)

Early New Kingdom Period (1550 -1295 BC):
Between the Middle Kingdom and this Era, Art remained
static for almost a hundred years,
When the Hyksos from the Near East fought the weak Theban
Rulers!
In 1550 BC Theban Prince Ahmose reunited Egypt, and was
succeeded by able rulers, who ushered in the Golden Age!
Art works continued to maintain its basic traditional style,
With successive Kings from the 18th Dynasty consolidating
their kingdom’s wealth and power all the while!
But Egypt witnessed a change with an innovative style in Art,
When Amenhotep IV in 1353 BC became King, initiating a
fresh start!
This king changed his name to ‘Akhenaten’, the spirit of Aten,
-- ‘The disk of the Sun’;
Abandoned the pantheons of Gods with Aten as the ‘sole God’,
and a religious revolution had begun!
His new capital city of Amarna, 200 miles north of Thebes,
Got decorated with a new kind of art work to make it complete!
The statues now appear more realistic displaying emotions,
With fluidity of movement, unlike those rigid earlier creations!
The artistic talent of this Amarna Period gets best exemplified,
In the exquisite bust of Nefertiti, Akhenaten’s Great Royal Wife!
Regarded as ‘icon of international beauty’, a great archeological
find ! **
(
Discovered by a German team of Archeologists in 1912 at Amarna! This 19 inch long limestone Nefertiti statue weighs around 20 kg, now housed in Berlin Museum; comparable only to the artistic Golden Mask of Tutankhamen!)

King Tutankhamen (1336-1327 BC):
Akhenaten’s unpopular rule was short-lived, with those humiliated
Theban priests calling him the ‘Heretic King’!
A nine year old boy Tutankhamen (‘The living image of Amun’),
was next to succeed him!
King Tut restored the worship of Amun, in a back-lash against
Akhenaten;
Shifted the royal palace back to Thebes, with the religious center
at Karnak once again!
King Tut’s short ten year’s rule remained buried in 3000 year’s
of Egyptian History,
Till Howard Carter found his richly laden intact tomb, in the
Valley of the Kings! (1922)
King Tut’s priceless and exquisitely carved golden face mask,
reflected the exalted standard of art work;
Weighing ten kilos, inlaid with semi-precious stones, and eyes
made of obsidian and quarts!
With the King’s early death, the 18th Dynasty of Pharaohs came
to an abrupt end,
And the 19th and 20th Dynasties of the Late Kingdom Period
commenced!
The famous rock temple of Abu Simbel now got built, under the
warrior and builder Ramses II, one of Egypt’s greatest Kings!


Pharaoh Ramses-II of the Late Kingdom Period :
Here I sweep across centuries of Egyptian History, to mention
King Ramses-II’s contribution to our Art Story!
In Shelly’s famous poem titled “Ozymandias of Egypt” he is
immortalized; (Greeks called Ramses-II “Ozymandias”!)
And as the Pharaoh associated with Moses in the movie “The
Ten Commandments”, he is popularized!
Egyptian Art is intrinsically bound with its religion, pyramids,
hieroglyphs, and architecture;
With a concentrated focus on ‘afterlife’ as its special feature!
In 1270 BC young Ramses took over from Seti the First,
And his rule for a period of 66 long years did last!
As the third Pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty, he had ruled with a
firm hand;
Recovered lost territories from the Hittites and the Nubians,
- earlier captured Egyptian lands!
He enlarged the territories of Egypt ensuring prosperity and
stability;
Became renowned as the famous Warrior and Builder King
of Ancient Egyptian History!
Ramses-II had expanded most of the temples, as recorded in
the artistic motifs and hieroglyphic symbols;
Here a special mention must be made of the Temples of Luxor,
Karnak, and Abu Simbel !

Temples of Luxor and Karnak in Ancient Thebes:
Ancient Thebes was located on the eastern bank of the Nile,
where the modern City of Luxor stands;
Thebes was once the capital of the 11th and 18th Dynasties,
And the power and religious center of all Egyptian land!
Gets mentioned in the 9th Book of Homer’s ‘Iliad’ where “heaps
of precious ingots gleam, the hundred-gated Thebes”!
Excavation work began in Thebes during the late 19th century;
And the gradual unearthing of the Temples of Luxor and
Karnak, added a new dimension to Egypt’s Art Story!
It must be remembered always, that the Ancient Egyptians in
those early days,
Structured their temple architecture to the point of ‘Sacred Art’!
With their knowledge of astronomy and geometry, they
aligned their temples so perfectly,
That the light of the rising sun fell on the temple’s innermost
sanctuary! (Temple of Abu Simbel is a great example,)
Where the Egyptian priests, who were also the artists, healers,
mathematicians, astronomers and scribes;
In dimly lit incense-filled sanctuaries performed the sacred rites!
The temples symbolized the cross roads of the cosmos, where
the divine and the mortal met in perpetual harmony!
These divine scenes were integrated into the very fabric of the
Egyptian society through chants and rituals;
With cosmological symbols of magical hieroglyphs, which
priests alone could transcribe in those days!
(
Thebes began to decline rapidly after Alexander the Great
established the port-city of Alexandria as Egypt’s new Capital
around 332 BC !)

Luxor Temple built by Amenhotep-III, was dedicated to God
Amun, his wife Mut and son Khonsu, - the Theban Triad;
Tutankhamen and Ramses-II expanding the temple during the
New Kingdom Period!
Creator God Amun became assimilated with the Sun God Re;
Was worshipped in Thebes, and in the cult centers of Luxor and
Karnak, - as Amun-Re!
The walls and columns of these cult temples were decorated
with carved and painted relief,
Depicting the interaction with Gods, and military exploits of
Egyptian Pharaohs and Kings!
The sun temple of Amenhotep-III at Luxor has many columns
resembling papyrus bundles,
Symbolic of the primeval marsh from where Creation was
believed to have unfolded !
A Sphinx Alley excavated between Luxor an
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.
Anna Dunn May 2011
I will succeed
I will try as hard as i can
I will give it my all
I will know my sportsmanship
I have determination.
Your in a competition
I will win some
I will loose some
I realize the ones i loose i am not trying
i am not giving it my all
I slip through the cracks
If i give it all i got
possibly.
just possibly
I will win
I have determination
Cameron Godfrey Sep 2013
Your eyes flicker open
That ******* alarm
You cover your face
With the inside of your arm
5 more minutes
Is all that you need
But it's time to get up and it's time to succeed
You're scared
You're lost
You're stressed
And you're dizzy
It's time to get up
It's time to get busy
5 more hours
Is all that you need
But it's time to get up
It's time to succeed
It's a crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy sixth day of school

They used to be metaphors but now I'm just a cranky teenager.
It's going to be hard to write a different poem every day because every day's the same story. But it's also going to be hard to pass Honors English but we're gonna do this and by we I mean me because I'm kinda alone in this.
I shall fight to succeed...
A warming to those who seem to hold me back....
The is the promise... I shall proceed.
I have "done things your way"
For to long...
In the shadows... I have an iron will...
I have been studying you... to find this way...
To press onward......still..
Through your "smoke and mirrors.."
You thought you had me trapped in fear....
The "war inside of me..."
That such caused?
Why take such credit?
It shall be you that will see
see me clear
That I shall keep my passions.....
A better life "dream?"
Such will never die.....
"Keep this fashion"
Not in clothing....  such in soul...
After keeping me "under your control"
I shall rise up... at the last moment...
Take down your "magic show.."
and take self control
Of my life...
which shall soon be worth a fortune..
Stay with me? By My side?"
Or stay behind me,now, through your overwhelming blind pride.
Nike Kaffezakis Jan 2011
The recipe reads:

2 and 1/2  ounces dedication
To 3 pounds *******
To a gram of work
To a ton of cheating
To a tablespoon punctuality
To a gallon procrastination
All with a base of
Genetic Luck

Success,
Success,
**** this

What's the big idea
Of having to succeed?
I don't need to succeed,
Not by your standards.
I write my  own formula
For a successful life.

One
Bitter
Shot
Of
Not dead, Yet.
Throw me to the wolves

See if I don't come back
Leading the pack

Don't you know me
Better than that?

Resilience

Never forget
I'm the girl who loves you

I'm strong and true
I'll come out growling

Barring my teeth for the world to see

I dare you
Just try and hurt me

You won't succeed
I'm swinging and biting

Just try and push me down
I'll stare at the ground

Mesmerized by the sound
Of me clawing your eyes out

I got some fight left in me
Resilience

You'll see....
Tread carefully
My claws are at the ready

I got my whole pack behind me
Literally
Ready to snap necks and chew flesh

The Girl Who Loved You is here to stay
Standing strong
Despite what you say

Resilience
Everyday

Leading this pack of wolves
Never astray
tonight we gather
to mark a
commencement day

four decades on
from a late June
afternoon

exchanging
embraces and
bon voyage wishes

departing a grand
chandeliered Rivoli
embarcadero

bound
to glorious
destinations

our bold sails
welling with
youthful
exuberance
in pursuit of
dreams
and intrepid
endeavors

our life
journeys
are blessed
with rich
abundance,
the grace of
challenge and
the gift of days

this evening
as we reconnect
to share the joys
and wisdom gleaned
from well lived lives
we will also celebrate
in multicolored splendor
the lives of classmates
who have commenced
journeys to other
destinations

though their
earthly sojourn
is complete
passed friends
remain alive
in our memory

surely the spirits
of the beloved
will walk this
room tonight

forever young
their quiet presence
will gently touch
tender hearts

they’ll appear
as they once looked
on their finest day

and as we relive
the bits of our lives
we shared with
one another

we may feel
the grasp of a
warm hand
as we once did
during that
snowy evening
west end walk

we’ll dance with them again
around Tamblyn Field bonfires
gyrating in a shared
ecstatic ebullience

we’ll applaud most likely
to succeed lives
most beautiful smiles
and crack up
to the hilarity of
class clown jokes

we’ll taste the kiss
of an after dark
Lincoln Park
rendezvous

groove to the
rock steady
beat of a
bad company tune  

we’ll submerge again
in a Yellow Submarine
to embark on an epic
Greenwich Village
journey

we’ll roll down
the shore on old
Thunder Road
windows open
hair blowin
radio blastin

we’ll taste the sweet sip
of Cherry Cokes
and Root Beer floats
at Roadrunners

chasing lost love salty tears
spilled over ***** upperclass home boys
and the soft blush sentiment of a
first French kiss

wouldn't it be nice
to swoon to the
fantasy and
winsome yearnings
of favorite
summer songs

filling our head’s
with mind
blowing collages
starring
team mates
drama club
second takes
heady chess club
checkmates

we’ll marvel at the disruption of
premillennial breakthrough science projects
created by pocket protected slide ruling
entrepreneurial math wizards

we'll recall droll gossip
by drab hall lockers
dim gym showers
awkward dances
Yippie people power

patriotic assemblies
cool sharp dressers
right on brother
Que Pasa lil sista

rock and roll album covers
Simon and Garfunkel poetics
Go Go Boots kickin
FM radio psychedelics

Midnight Confessions
emphatically blared
from the cafeteria jukebox
Civil Rights, Earth Day
and righteous
anti war activism

tribes of hoods, Ra’s,
jocks, artistes and tie dye hippies
everything is groovy
lets get a sandwich at Ernie’s

first carnal explorations
Moody Blue Tuesday trysts
man could she speak German
boy do I dig her dress

we did hard time together
at split session detention centers
ate chocolate chip cookies
cracked up to Mr. Thomas’s
Ides of March tragedy

took first tokes and
sips of Boones Farm
we partied hard
and did no harm

admired academic brainiacs
and the civic commitment
of student govie reps
shut down the gubmint
was never a threat 

basketball rumbles
Bulldog football
**** Ludwig soccer teams
nimble cheerleaders

leggy majorettes
kick *** marching band fanfares
compelling masquer presentments
Park Avenue wayfarers

they were
crew mates
on The Soul Boat
rode shotgun
to Midnight Rambler
Doobie Concerts

cruised hard in
the Root Hog
Rat Raced Louie
in tiny white Pintos

we booked
many a mile
with our lost
friends

on the road to
this evening

authoring
volumes of
fabled odysseys
and fantastic
recollections

their stories
are our stories
telling our stories
keeps them alive

some may say
gone too soon
but the measure of
a well lived life
is not counted
in days, nor
accomplishments

but how one has loved
and how much one was loved

quietly there
always with us
forever to be
a wholesome
part of us

as the brothers
from Cooley High
would say

lets tip a sip
for the brothers
and sisters who
ain’t here….

God bless
Godspeed
enjoy the evening
vaya con dios mis amigos

Music Selection:
Pat Metheny
Mas Alla


RHS 74
Class Reunion
Elks Club
Rutherford
11/29/14
"If at first you don't succeed, try and try again."
"If at first you don't succeed, try and try again"
"If at first you don't succeed, try and try again"
How many times do I have to fail before I can succeed?
How many times are you going to lie to me?

"Fall down seven times, stand up eight."*
"Fall down seven times, stand eight."
"Fall down seven times, stand up eight."
How many times do I have to get knocked down before I can stand up straight?

I'm a failure, I am bruised.
The only thing I can do is lose.
I've lost my battles and my fights.
And I will not be alright.

If you've failed once, then twice, then thrice,
Give it up, you've lost your fight.
Fall down eight times?
Please stay down.
You're better off lying on the ground.
Laura Duran Jun 2018
He loves me, he loves me not
We're meant to be, or so I thought
My heart is broken, the pain is real
I long for peace, from all I feel

I fake a smile, so no one knows
I mimic strength, lest weakness shows
I refuse surrender, I stand and fight
I must succeed, and so I write

The ink it flows, pours from my pen
It heals my heart, and I can breathe again

Minutes into hours, hours into days
The love I held so tightly, starts to fade away
The pain begins to lessen, the tears no longer fall
Seemed misery was forever but it's not that way at all

Those nights you haunt my dreams
Are now few and far between
When memories overtake me, I know I'll be alright
I know now what to do....and so I write

The ink it flows, pours from my pen
It heals my heart and I can breathe again
Yes, I can breathe again.
Ayad Gharbawi Dec 2009
THE STORY OF SARA

Ayad Gharbawi


CHAPTER 2: UNIVERSITY

  
  Well, I did study and, I did pass my exams, and I did succeed in ending up in a decent, upper class school!
  How did I pay for it? I hear you ask me?
  I didn't: I got a scholarship!
  And, what a new world I faced!
  What a totally different society I saw!
  I felt that I was in another country, for I never knew that there existed, from my own people, men and women such as those I encountered!
  My studies in psychiatry really excited me: I thought that I would be able to 'solve' anyone's mental problems.
  All I had to do, was to study and study as feverishly as I could.
Studying furiously, and with love and passion, was the key to success.
  Study, and then you pass your examinations, and then you become a doctor in psychiatry - and I would thereby become successful.
  I would then be someone important.
  I would be respected by everyone.
  My life would have a purpose and a meaning because I would be going in the correct path.
It was simple as that!
  And what was the alternative?
  Not to study?
  And what would I do then?
  Go do a menial, low paying job?
  That was anathema to me!
  It made me sick, to even think about that!
  Why?
  Because, I came from a poor background, and I lived in poverty, and I saw the culture and the people who lived in poverty, and by God, I don’t want to ever live in those circumstances ever again in my life.
  What was poverty to me?
  Your house is ugly; your neighbourhood is ugly; your neighbours are the most indecent people you can imagine.
  The area you live in, swarms with people who live their lives in ‘anti-social behaviour’!
  And what’s ‘anti-social behaviour’?
  That means your community is one, where most people are drunks in  public, where fights, with guns and knives, are an everyday occurrence; where the most filthy language is the norm in public; where ******* covers large parts of the town; where vandalism and damage to cars and property is another daily occurrence; where people play ear-deafening music in the streets and there’s nothing you can do – because, if you call the police, they’ll obey, but then they’ll come back and make hell out of your life – in other words, the gangs rule the community.
  Aren’t those enough reasons to get out of poverty?!
  And, then for me, there are other things that are really important to me.
  For example:
  I mean, who is going to respect you, if you have a menial job? Who is going to look up at you?
  Who is going to listen to your words, when you speak?
  And, most importantly, are you yourself going to be happy with your self and with your life, if you had a menial job?
  Of course not!
  To be a fully satisfied human, you need to live in respectable surroundings with a respectable job.
  Otherwise, there cannot be happiness for you.

  Once I joined my university, I encountered mostly upper class students.
  That’s why, I say it was like ‘another world’ for me, because I had never encountered people like that before!
  Their dress was different; their accent and they way they spoke was different; but what interested me the most, was the fact, that their intellectual interests were extremely varied, as opposed to the people that I had grown up with and knew – those people whose only interests, were getting drunk, practicing promiscuity, crime and drugs!
  Now outside classes, I got began to get involved with different groups of academic students – each group held differing ideas about the world, politics, economics, philosophy of life - and any other subject you can imagine.
  I was never interested in what I called the other 'superficial' groups; that is, those who discussed what I considered to be the stupidities of life, such as fashion, make up, cars, sports and so on. No way; not for me, were people like that!
  For I was far too serious for such mind-wasting people, and, frankly life-wasting people.
  No, I wanted to learn; my God how utterly hungry and thirsty and deadly serious about acquiring more and more knowledge on every 'serious' subject I was - so that, one day, I would be a useful and productive human to society!
  If I was not in my classes, and if I was not listening to those intellectuals, I would sit on any desk and search the internet and read endlessly, on any and every 'serious' subject.

With respect to my classes, as the months rolled over, I began to feel, and think, that my professors were not all that smart at all. I began to feel that they were, in fact, quite ordinary, dull people. But then, I grappled with next obvious question: if they were 'ordinary' and 'dull' people, then how come they were professors – and by 'professors', I mean that they must be far from 'ordinary'? Surely, any person, who is able to be a professor, must be intelligent?
  And yet, the more I listened and took down notes from these professors, and the more I analyzed their words and ideas, the more I became convinced at their emptiness and stupidity!
  My God, you must believe me, for they were talking utter *******!
  Well, who exactly, 'made' them professors?
  I began to dislike them.
  Then, the obvious consequences took place in my mind: the more I disliked them, the less I paid attention to their words and that, in turn, increased my boredom in class!
  No, this was a complete and utter waste of time for me. Yes, I would still need to read the text books given to us by the university, and I would need to understand these books in order to pass the examinations.
  But, I was also determined to do my own independent psychiatry studies, in order to find the ways and means of solving people's emotional problems.

I found it really thrilling to see so many students having so many ideas about the world, because, for me it was so utterly unusual to see young people actually caring about so many issues in our lives!
  You had the conservatives; socialists; Dadaists, existentialists, communists of every shade you can imagine; fascists, socialists, liberals, Nazis, monarchists, Hare Krishnas, Hindus, Budhists, yoga-followers, animal rights campaigners, environmentalists, religious fundamentalists, anarchists  - the list was quite endless to the point of absurdity for, within each group, there were sub-groups, that ranged from the so-called 'left' to the so-called 'right'.
  However, in all this confusion and chaos, there were, at least two things, that you knew for certain: and that was, firstly; that no group agreed with any other group, whilst secondly; every 'leader' of any group sincerely and passionately believed that, yes they, and only they, had all the answers to all the questions that faced our dear Humanity!

But with time, it dawned on me that that most of these intellectual students were not quite what I expected of them.
They would passionately discuss any subject and in excruciating detail!
  To me not every subject was worthy of being discussed!
  Everything was criticized in university.
  Everything was questionable.
  Nothing was certain.
  On the opposite these students believed that they had a duty to deeply philosophise and intricately analyse and scrutinize from every angle every subject and issue in our planet!
  Nothing was accepted and nothing was taken for granted.
  And it was exhausting to listen to them!
  I say ‘exhausting’ because after every meeting, I would actually feel emptier!
  I simply did not learn or gain anything from all these endless discussions!
  So they would analyse issues like: what is the soul?
  What is the difference between the soul and the spirit?
  Where is the soul located?
  Where is the mind located?
  What is the difference between bravery and foolishness?
  Are mathematical facts like 1+1=2 discovered or created by mathematicians?
  What does the word ‘the’ mean?
  What does the word ‘a’ mean?
  Who has a right to create rules and laws?
  How much taxes should each adult pay?
  Is the universe finite or infinite?

  And so it went on and on until your brain became numb with the deafening boredom and pointlessness of it all.
  What irritated me the most was that with these groups of students, was that nothing was sacred.
  Nothing was certain.
On the opposite, everything was completely uncertain.


  As for myself, I gradually gravitated to the leftists – that mixture of socialists, communists, anarchists and other such-like groups.
  Why?
  Because to me their philosophy was more or less simple.
  There wasn’t all that endless series of critiques and analysis that so nearly damaged my brains!
  Their idea was simple: we had to removed the oppressors.
And the oppressors was anyone who had power and influence.
  And what kind of society did we want?
  A purely egalitarian one where there would be neither master nor slave.
  Simple!
  Here I found that much needed sense of certainty!
  Here was an ideal, a philosophy that had strict rules that we were meant to follow in order to achieve our sacred aims!
  

  I was immediately attracted to one student leader, Tony, who passionately urged his listeners to use any means necessary – except violence –in order to achieve our goals of total equality within our society.
  He was a tall man of average weight, with short hair – actually, let me immediately stop myself here - because actually there was absolutely and totally nothing remarkable about the way he looked; but what really made him so attractive was in his personal charm, and the way he spoke, with such a theatrical ability, that made you unable to move as long as he talked.
  I can still see him, as he gracefully gesticulated in such an animated manner, giving further power and reason, to every word and idea he uttered:
  "Can't you see and feel what is going all around you? My friends, listen to my words, because we are living in a society that is dominated by greed and ultimately misery and death on an everyday scale. Why is the dustman paid any less than a doctor? Aren't we all human beings, born free and equal? And, so, if you, my friends, agree with me that all men, women and children, are equal, then it should make obvious sense to you that we should all live equally. Do you feel what I am saying to your hearts, or not?!" he would thunder at us, with his face contorting from the passion, and with his ability to be so majestic and, yet, so utterly humble at the same moment!
  Yes, I began to think more and more about what Tony had to say.    Why was there poverty in the first place?
  Where was Humanity?


  Indeed, aren't we all equal human beings; so why this discrimination? It seemed so sensible to me; and yet, what was I, Sara the Nobody, doing about this problem?
  Nothing, of course.
  Yes, I was just a student – but I was not actively working against the dark forces, as Tony was always talking about.
  Tony would mesmerize his listeners, which were usually held in the evenings, at around eight o'clock.
  He always managed to talk to you directly – or so it felt, despite the large number of listeners.
  "There are people who make millions in minutes – did you people know that?  While most people in our society struggle and sweat not only tears, but, I tell you, they sweat blood – yes blood" he would scream at this point, "day in and day out, and getting paid next to nothing, you also have a minority who make millions in minutes!   How can you, yes you, tell me that that is fair? Why do you, my listeners, why do you lamely accept, that we live in a society that allows conditions, whereby the majority, and I say the vast majority of human beings, men and women, have to bleed to death just, to pay their never ending bills, while a minority lead an easy life overflowing with money, glamour, power and luxuries that are indescribable? I ask you again and again to answer my questions: is that fair? And if it is not fair, then what should be done about this sick situation? Well, clearly, we must use violence to take our rights, because no democracy will allow our party to succeed in any election and obviously the rich will never voluntarily give up their oceans of wealth; therefore, if you ask me, what is to be done, I firmly tell you as my response, that we must fight for our eternal rights, and by using the verb 'fight', I mean we 'fight' with every weapon at our disposal – be they words or bullets!"
  I was simply exhilarated by his symphony of words!
  And yet, I couldn’t help but feel that there was something ‘missing’ in Tony’s personality.  
  He just didn’t have that supreme self assurance that others had.
  I guess that was what was ‘missing’.
  I couldn’t understand why he did have that degree of insecurity – because, it seemed to be a contradiction when you are living your life for an ideal, and at the same time, you have insecurities within your heart!

  It was also at university, that I first met Sanji.
  He was a tall, dark wavy haired man with a dark complexion.  His beautifully oval eyes had a deeply pensive look, and at the same time, they were always somehow mired within a sorrowful gaze.
  Even when he would talk to you, Sanji's eyes seemed to be far away, deep in thought, about God knows what subject!
  Gracing his eyes, were beautifully arched eyebrows and the longest, thickest eyelashes I have ever seen, that beautifully complimented those seemingly lonely eyebrows in perfect harmony.
  He was a quiet, soft spoken gentleman, who was the most polite and sincere man I had ever met – I would forever ask myself, how can this man, be so gentle and compassionate, and without seeming to get distressed, angry or anxious?!
  He had such a depth of serenity in his personality – and that trait was something that made so utterly envious of him; I was constantly wishing and trying to have a millionth of that serenity of his.
  He was utterly sure of himself – and not in any arrogant way. He was completely happy and secure with the ideas and principles which guided him throughout his life.
  He had a complete knowledge as to what the purpose of his life was. As a result he knew exactly where he was going with his life.
  There was no sense of being lost with Sanji; for he knew the endless, twisted, meandering number of Paths of Life ahead of him - and more importantly he knew which path he wanted to tread on in his life’s journey.
  He would never use foul language; and would always listen to you with interest as you talked – which is rare in our world.
  And he had that most beautiful ability and talent to be so extra careful in choosing his words when he spoke, for he always wanted to get his thoughts and ideas properly across to you, so that people would understand him well, and so that there would be no confusion as to what he stood for.
  That's why he was so pensive and why he spoke so deliberately; there was never any impulsiveness on his part; he intended exactly every word, and exactly every phrase, and every sentence he used; there never was any carelessness on his part when he would interact with you.


  I never met a man who was so wholly and totally considerate for the feeling
As it is Jul 2015
It takes everything
To follow through.
To commit.
To succeed.

To define.
To juggle.
To dance.

It takes everything.
Nothing less will do.

To build momentum,
Firstly, I had to start to move.

It takes everything to accomplish what I set out to do.

Resilience.
Logic.
Emotion.
Flexibility,
Wisdom.
Endurance.
Humor.

It takes it all.
If I keep giving everything...
I will recieve something in return.

Something well deserved.
Something honestly earned.
Noel Billiter Jul 2018
I know you want me to shut the **** up
Cut me off and not have a opinion
I try to stop myself from being
My vocal self my very essence
Grab some some tape and have some fun
Wrap it around my so called tongue
That will give you some peace of mind
At least for a minute while you unwind
I’ll spare you my rants and my thoughts
How silly of me to think so much
Why speak up I only complain
Nothing I say has any weight
Smile pretty and behave like the rest
Look good be quiet and don’t protest
All is well as long as you
Do as I say and don’t be brave
Clean do dishes and act like you’re fine
Ignore those voices that tell you otherwise
You are the thing that I contain
Into this box this square this frame
It’s all I know and what I expect
A learning curve and I suggest
Get use to being treated this way
Feel lucky feel privileged And don’t walk away
I hold this over you I confess
But what can you do except, accept?
This is the way that things are done
Don’t make waves or trouble my dear
Just go along with what you hear
If I keep you silent everybody wins
And that is what keeps me, me and you with them
If I hold you down then I succeed
Which benefits us all as you will see
What’s good for me is good for me
And why I want you to smile pretty
JJ Hutton Sep 2010
I swam in your ocean, Anna.
I drank the salt of your skin
until it gave me hallowed sickness.

I told you,
I was never good at staying anyone's friend.
I spent three weeks convincing you I'd try.
When I didn't succeed, why did you act surprised?

You keep shifting shape.
And that isn't fair.

I got tangled in your weeds, Anna.
I struggled and howled,
you talked with warmth, ran fingers in my hair.

I told you,
I wouldn't live past thirty-five,
you said,
I wouldn't make it to twenty-five,
I told you,
I was evil,
you told me,
you were eviler.
I told you,
I was evilest,
you said,
**** superlatives.

I saw you drown yourself in yourself, Anna.
Wallowing in the cold wind
of one demented abecedarian.

You keep shifting shape.
And that isn't fair.

I told you,
to keep your feet moving,
you said,
I needed to stop talking,
I told you,
I was ready to marry you,
you said,
I would never escape my
ex-girl collection,
I told you,
Anna, if I can't have you
you're going to destroy you,
you said,
you'd like to see you try.

Let your waves crash against me,
let your wind carve,
I will say I love you,
until one of us dies.
Copyright 9.25.10 by J.J. Hutton
the higher you climb
the greater the pressure.

those who manage to
endure
learn
that the distance
between the
top and the
bottom
is
obscenely
great.

and those who
succeed
know
this secret:
there isn't
one.
Another Bad Poem Mar 2018
she says
she's not a poet
but i find her poems
to have more meaning
more beauty, more heart
to them than mine
and the way
she uses her words
can change how a person is feeling
from sad to happy
just with a couple of phrases
knitted together

she says
she's not a good writer
but those early morning
last minute essays
of pure adrenaline and
half-awake thoughts
present ideas
in such a way
that it's impossible
to find them anything
but perfect

she says
she's not sure
what her future will bring
but i know her
she's smart
and she's
so wonderfully stubborn
that wherever she may end up
she will go farther
than anyone could have ever imagined
including me
i can't predict exactly where she'll be
in 4 months
or 4 years
but i know her path will go
down the most bountiful roads
and in the end
she'll be happy
and all will be worth it

she says
she's not grateful
but almost everything she does
she does for others
she loves her parents
and hurts when they hurt
she realizes what they do
for her, and wants to make them
the proudest parents on earth
she loves her friends
and tries to make them better

she says
she's a relationship whisperer
and i guess she's right
because with a few choice words
gentle nudges and an onslaught
of appreciated suggestions
she whispered us together

she says
that the dark spots on the sun
can bring shadow
to the most brilliant light
but not even
the dark of endless night
can dim her brightness
or hide her from those
who see her for who she is
who see her potential

she doubts herself
sometimes she thinks
she won't succeed,
always worried
that what she's done
isn't enough
or that there's too little time
to get everything done
but no matter the odds
no matter what she's up against
she pushes through
she persists, she fights
and she gets what she wants
or as close to what she wants
as is actually possible
sometimes she even achieves the impossible
and it's nothing if not admirable
showing me that anything is possible
proving to me that
"You could rattle the stars
You could do anything
If only you dared"
not by anything i've done
but by everything she's accomplished

she says
she's not beautiful
true, she's not a model
but that doesn't mean she's not perfect
but the way those eyes shine
like earth kissed by spring rain
promising life and happiness,
mirrored by her wide smile
though not often seen,
just one smile from her
is like a ray of sunshine
through grimy windows
bringing light into a place
that knew nothing but darkness,
warm enough to melt the walls
surrounding the coldest of hearts

somehow,
sometimes
she says she's ugly
possibly due to the scars
dotting her arms and her back
scars which started years ago
but on the contrary
i think they just enhance her
they make her more human
each one a reminder
that she's been through
countless things in her life
but instead of giving up
instead of giving in
she's come through,
a lump of carbon
forged by the fires
of her world
and the pressure of
her surroundings
the pressure of life
and came out
the most precious of diamonds
not the biggest
but the most wonderful of all
with small flecks of imperfections
that make it shine all the brighter

i say
she's often right,
but the subject
becomes herself
and she's far from the truth
she's absolutely wonderful
and in my eyes
perfect
a perfect person
and a perfect friend
the most beautiful woman on earth
mentally and physically
and there's nobody else
i'd rather love
quote from Sarah J. Maas
though the loving isn't easy, i still love
with all my heart
i hope this makes you smile when you're down
or helps you see yourself the way i see you
AJ Sep 2014
You look at me and you frown in jealousy.
Yeah, you secretly know I have swag.
Pants a little low, black and red shirt that says
“Sit down and learn from the Master,”
and a matching hat that states what you already know-
“FRESH”

You taste the bitterness of your words as you whisper lies to my back.
Yeah, you secretly know I don’t care.
Pants a little low, red and yellow shirt that says
“My swoosh is bigger than yours”
and a matching hat of who you think I resemble-
Superman

You hear the high pitched hissing that I’m doing well and hope that I fail.
Yeah, you secretly know I’ll succeed.
Pants a little low, black and blue shirt that says
“Just Did It”
and a matching hat that reminds you of what you need to do-
“OBEY”

You touch my strong shaped shoulders with yours and utter no apology.
Yeah, you’re secretly freaking out with excitement.
Pants a little low, blue and red shirt that says
“Don’t Bro Me If You Don’t Know Me”
and a matching hat with the best known bickering buddies-
Tom and Jerry

You smell my confidence in the aroma of chocolate axe and you pinch your nose.
Yeah, you’re secretly going to buy it later.
Pants a little low, black and white shirt that says
“Don’t sweat my swag”
and a matching hat that proclaims my feelings for you-
“I <3 Haters” and under the brim it says why-
“MOTIVATION”
Wrote this poem in my senior yr in HS when I finally accepted myself as a more masculine lesbian and felt comfortable being who I was despite people's criticisms. As you can see I was oozing with new confidence. Still one of my favs lol
The Terry Tree Aug 2014
Hidden grace, no light for revelation
To pass such limits is to become ******
Like the dragon or a serpent monster
Your myth has become fixed in minds on earth

All the forces that disturb you demand
Darkness is your indetermination
Blazed in trails of blackness you command
Symbols of evil and demonic birth

In the Underworld you plot and saunter
Grotesque in cloven hooves or horns you stand
You are our fear the tormentor at hand
Stealing our only hope for self-love worth

You disturb and weaken every nation
Eliminating those who will prosper

You have a tool box filled with shapes galore
A choir of demons at your disposal
You wear the face of animals to prove
That you exist but will not show your face

Temptation is your favorite proposal
As you create ****** carnage and gore
Attacking innocents world wide; global
It is your goal to blacken and erase

It is unclear when you will make a move
Your starless magic uncontrollable
Your angry heart is inconsolable
In every mouth you leave an awful taste

The only thing that satisfies is war
Beelzebub to slaughter good it behooves

Clipping spiritual wings of all beings
Entering into those at their weakest
Supposition of your essence is sly
What you are has no particular shape

You've made a pact to stand against Jesus
Disintegrating all Saints from seeing
Wicked ways are in all ways the cheapest
To ingress means whole-purity escapes

Human life is interwoven freely
Free will allows the mind to go deepest
When we take the path we take the steepest
Secreted in your invisible cape

To return is without guaranteeing
With mastery disposing us to die

I believe that beneath us is a rug
One that you delight in pulling away
Much like this rug our minds become feeble
And we begin to believe everything

Our moral and metaphysical ways
Begin to end as our shoulders will shrug
Entire atmospheres are grey for days
To open up our mouths yet not to sing

What we decide can often be lethal
A personal domain of hellbent maze
As we lose sight our lives become a daze
Of which no hope or light can often bring

Our deception is your favorite drug
When we feel at our worst you are gleeful

The seeker of hidden knowledge must keep
A balance like the Hermit's inner peace
Otherwise the journey will fall victim
To flowing currents of hateful power

Like a wolf in sheep's clothing you have fleece
To hold on to our light is to succeed
Pull back the reigns of life commanding "Cease!"
Do not fall from your enlightened tower

Satan is a trickster sent to sicken
Our ability to wager disease
To believe that he exists is to please
Negative energy to devour

The best part of me is only asleep
Isolation has become addicted

Prince of Darkness, Antichrist, King of Hell
Appearing to the blind slave of instinct
You have no sovereignty be gone from me
I confront thee I am ready and still

Lucifer, Angel of Darkness extinct
You do not know my spirit guides that well
Distraction is what makes you so succinct
I have no desire to go downhill

Your downward spiral was a slide to see
How you manipulate what others think
Mephistopheles, Archfiend of distinct
Measures to tear others down you conceal

I dispel, I kiss forever farewell
Rest quietly in harmony dreaming

A lullaby for you I have written
On my heart as ancient as Egyptians
The Vedas and Sumerian temples
Will embrace you even in rejection

Your actions are despised in omission
I believe your bitter self was bitten
Release your broken spirit condition
Open your eyes and arms to affection

We can all be as one in one vessel
There are good folks and there is suspicion
Prayer of my song, a hymn of permission
Release thy tortured ways to connection

Evil drifts up, Listen, Listen, Listen
As our bodies fill with light and tremble

Shhhhh.......

© tHE tERRY tREE
Poetic Form | Turco Bref Double
Solfadri Jan 2013
12:45 AM
I wait.
I search for anything
to absolve the sense of urgency.
Like Sebastian's deep grey and white tail
Beginning to flick back and forth,
Like the broken second hand
On the oak grandfather clock,
As he stands frozen, deciding whether the leather armrest
Or the hot pink blanket on the tile floor
are suitable places to rest.
I worry about waiting, and searching,
And wait even longer.
Singleton
Reigel
Shepard
Scholarships
Auditions
1:50 AM
I don't do.
Focus
I wonder if there is something watching me in the darkness?
I stare above the light from the laptop into the black
beyond the dining room window.
The lights are all out and everybody is in asleep,
The streetlights are out,
The universe is dark and deep
How can I be the only one awake?
God, this is pathetic!
Why can’t I focus?
2:47 AM
I do.
Finally,
but the clock is ticking,
I wonder why I don't succeed.
Genevieve Aug 2015
Failure is the hardest emotional hurdle to overcome.
It means the end of the adventure,
And worse,
That this particular end is your fault.

Failure means a creased brow, fidgety fingers, and knotted stomach
It means confrontation
And admission of guilt.
Failure means you didn't succeed.

When failure sneaks up on me at night,
Seeps into the skin on my back,
And wraps its slimy hands around my rib cage
When I'm in its vice grip
And I can't breathe
Will you give me CPR?
Feeling a but down tonight. So much change recently, not all positive. And I feel like something was left unsaid, but I'm not sure what.
Cari Hannaford Jun 2016
Our parents are always telling us , you have to go to school, that you'll learn everything you need to know before you're ready for the big world, and that'll you need it to get into your dream job

But now a days our education isn't about learning, its about passing
Our education now isn't the same as it used to be

It teaches us that if you're not at a certain grade level, you will not succeed
That if you don't meet a certain criteria, maybe you're not for fit the course

This education system doesn't teach us whats really important for the big world

It doesn't teach us how to live, how to do taxes or how to survive

It never taught us the living expenses or how to buy a home
Never taught us what to expect once we leave for college or how to balance our schedules

No. It only taught us homework, about a plant cell, about tangents and circumferences

It taught us that homework is more important than family
That it's more important than being a kid and having a life

It taught us that if you spend time with loved once and didn't do your work, you're setting yourself up for failure

They pile us with work it feels like we cant breath
They never once thought of the other class assignments that must be due not even 24 hours later

They make us memorise things that will no longer be important when we apply for a job

We study for hours in hopes to pass that final test that we'll soon forget

But what are we suppose to say when someone asks us how we're feeling?
We were never taught that
We never memorised an equation to help us find the answer
We were only ever taught to keep our mouths shut and do our work

Its quite funny what we learn in school now
Things more than 80% of the students will never have to use let alone see again

School was suppose to prepare us for our future
For the job choice we pick

Instead we meet and learned quadratics and plant cells
We were taught homework is what your focus should always be on

We were never taught about the future and what to do

And most importantly
We were never taught how to love ourselves and the things we should be greatful for

They've turn us into sad, mindless robots that's are more concerned about grades and passing than whats going on with the family

We lock ourselves in our rooms doing homework for 6 hours than talking to our mothers or fathers who wonder about us

We were never taught the importance of family before it was too late

Every single highschool student wishes they can turn back the clocks, but it'll never work

We were taught the hard way that you don't really know what you have until its gone
Something we weren't prepared for

They never prepared us for the future
Instead, we prepare our self for the possible failing outcome

How are we suppose to make a living for ourselves when all we have learned was the stress over homework and family?
The depression over a failed test or assignment?
The lost feeling of the lost time?

How are we suppose to love ourselves when all we do is put yourself down because of school?

This education system never prepared us for anything
Instead, this education system officially has broken all of us.
Arizona Indigo Jan 2013
I apologize for my thoughts and my actions

But you must understand that I am what they call a man.

And no matter how perfect any woman thinks iam,

I might as well be nonexistent.

For women are the most alluring, sinful ,angelic animals on earth.

I am simply bewitched by your existence.

I can not resist directing an ******* daydream,

Every seven minuets.

The being of your facts,

Makes me want to fall to my death beneath your feet

Something about those hills

That makes my teeth want to sink into my lips.

That voice makes me want to do one thing:

Hear it moaning.

No matter how hard I attempt to be an angel,

My devil enduringly conquers.

We refuse to admit that a

woman is stronger than a man.

We could easily succeed

in having a human being develop

Inside of us and painfully ****** it out of a diminutive hole

Nine physically and emotionally draining months later.

“We could probably do it better than you can.”

We just act ignorant and

Heedlessly assume what is logical;

However, in the reaction center,

that every man denies,

lives the manifest verity that:

Women.

Are.

Stronger.

To be born into a stormy emotional spectrum

With color and darkness

Alone shelters the truth for you.

Fact: A man does use his small head much more often then

His actual head, simply, because men don’t know how to use it.

How convenient it is to be born with two heads.

let its roots anchor into your minds and consume your conscious.

-Arizona
older poem
Chase Hunter Mar 2015
Sitting on this small park bench
waiting in the winds while the trees undress
I look for a path that could change the past

All the words I speak are just continuous ideas I seek
Planning out my future like I am supposed to know who to be

Sitting on a park bench with the Autumn leaves
conversing with myself of what I actually want and need

Well I will truly never know until I succeed
but success is just an optimist of serenity
and sometimes even greed

So for now I will just sit on this park bench
with the calm and cooling breeze
Just being happy that I am me
JM Sep 2014
I ate a whole bag of
cheetos one at a time,
savoring each cheesy bite,
and watched two seasons of
South Park as my friend tried to
hit a vein.

**** man. I got little ones, they keep rolling.

It took her hours.
Forearm
Shins
Wrists
Other arm
Calfs

"What the **** man, why even ******* bother? Why not just smoke it like everyone else?"

******* tweakers

She says the high is worth it.

That rush, man. *******!

But really,
no matter how ****
they are,
or used to be,
nobody likes
a spun out
tweaker *****.

*Nobody

— The End —