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Frankie Gestone Mar 2013
He woke up in a rapid sweat, darkness surrounding him, his soaked pillow was pressing up on his neck as he could feel the uncomfortable stabbing cold run right threw his whole body. His mouth was dry and his body was in great pain. He lay there practically naked, but not just physically, also emotionally. It was like a catatonic state where the person’s body is paused in reality, but the actual person is far away and isolated even from himself. He wondered why he was so comfortable being uncomfortable and remaining frozen in time.  He saw nothing but the subtle moonlight that peaked through the blinds of his window. A point of existence, he feels nothing because all he has ever felt has drowned him. His numbness was being accepted and he embraced that if he remained this way, he would never have to feel hurt or heartbreak again. It’s better this way, he confirmed.

Eventually he got up out of his bed, walked outside to a nearby empty field. He looked up at the infinite night sky and contemplated the moon, the stars, and the endless space that sustained all of its existence. A tear fell down his cheek as he remembered the beautiful wonder of life and the universe; his realization that he is just a small spec of dust compared to all that is and all that is wonderful. Whatever happened to that universal happiness he used to feel? The feelings of the unseen, the cosmos, the mysteries that remain unsolved were all love. He then felt ancient and brand new at the same time-always being around all that is, but recently born into the unknown. The silence of the night swarmed him, and he suddenly embraced all the things he could not accept. The lullaby of the wind put him to sleep.

When he awoke, it was twilight. The sky was a lighter, deep blue and the sun in the far distance was rising in a fiery halo of mixed red, orange, and yellow colors, and the early morning clouds were clear and transparent. He heard the sound of a train horn in the far distance. He followed the sound with his ears as the sound became slightly louder and louder. Then, suddenly he could see the light of the early morning train.

The train had stopped as he approached it, and he hopped on with no hesitation or looking back. This runaway train was going to take him to where he needs to be, and he blindly and faithfully accepted that his fate was out of his hands now. No more heartbreak, no more reminders of the past, and most importantly no more drowning in his tears. As the train proceeded to move forward, he could feel fresh air gently touch his face, and all that he saw and ever knew were now flashing lights disappearing into eternity.

It was hours into the late morning when the train made its first stop. He listened to the train conductor speak out over the intercom, almost incoherently, say, “This is Brightstone Park. Next stop will be Riverhead.” A nostalgic feeling suddenly came over him as he could remember that his very first kiss was in Brightstone Park with Jessica Garzi. That was not his first true love, but his very first heartbreak. Riverhead was a forbidden memory, as he knew a classmate who had committed suicide off the Riverhead Bridge. He had not returned there in five years because of his haunting memories that would always come back to remind him just how cold and frightening the world really is.

While lost in thought, he felt a rough, sand paper-like wet feeling on his forearm. He looked down and it was a black cat, but not all black. The paws were all white like socks, and the chest and stomach were snow white. The loud prominent purr was a very peculiar reminder of a cat he once owned. Her name was Midnight. She was not the friendliest cat to strangers, but she loved him, especially when he massaged her paws. This cat was practically identical to Midnight. Midnight was put down three years ago though. As he began petting the cat’s back, it ran away and jumped off the moving train. He looked out in a hurry, but it was gone. It was just like everything else he loved. There for one moment, then gone the next. The strange thought that has one wondering if anything had actually existed that is now no more. A person, or a thing, could mean everything to you, but once they slip away, they become like the wind: occasionally brushing up against you, but never revealing its form.

On the train he began to wonder how he got where he was, and in general how the smallest decisions he made lead to bigger events and all in all, everything was all connected. There are no isolated events, or isolated people- it is all proven fact and science. Everything depends on each other to survive. The trees depend on the sun to keep themselves alive; we give off carbon dioxide to the trees and in return, we receive the oxygen we need from the leaves of the trees. He thought about the potential of a seed-for example, a tomato seed. Within that tiny seed is unlimited potential of life: The seed may produce one plant of several tomatoes, and within all those tomatoes are countless other seeds. This is all from one seed. Then, one may take a couple of seeds from a picked tomato and plant them throughout the yard creating a garden. That original seed came from another tomato seed inside a tomato on a plant, and that seed came from another seed. When did this cycle of reproduction begin and when does it end? Is it just another form of the infinite? When a person eats a tomato from that original seed, he receives certain essential vitamins his body needs for surviving and sustaining good health. This good health will effect his offspring and so on and so on. When he defecates, that will all return to the earth for potential fertilizer used for other tomato seeds. This is the same when he returns to the earth again. His dust will fertilize the same world that he came from, for all things come from it just to inevitably return to it.

He continued to think about how matter is never created nor destroyed and the same for energy. Nothing ever truly dies; the form changes into something new, like how water becomes a cloud and the cloud becomes water. Though this comforted him, he noticed that a few feet away from him was a former coworker and friend, Natasha Karev. She always infatuated him and they became close friends, but he always wished it had continued and gone even further than it did. One night, only a couple of years ago, they were at a friend’s party. Both were drinking, but not so heavily. That night they bonded and got so close, that she admitted she loved him. He was never quite sure how real that “I love you” was, but it was burned inside his heart ever since. That night there were moments she would tell him how much she wanted to make love to another guy at the party, Kevin, but was afraid to approach him. She told him she desperately wanted to lose her virginity that night to somebody because she was eighteen and only getting older. This was like a sharp knife slowly penetrating into his heart. He remained speechless for quite a few minutes. Finally he decided to go up in a bedroom alone. To his surprise, she followed him up and kissed him. He felt her clothed body up and down, and she touched areas not many have touched before. She told him she wanted to have *** and that she wanted him to rob her of her virginity. He was speechless, but extremely excited. Then, abruptly, she told him she could not because everything was happening way too soon. Why couldn’t she just make up her mind? He sat frustrated in the darkness, again, all alone. After that night, they spoke and remained close, yet that night was never mentioned again. It was as if it had never happened. After about two years of an on and off friendship, they just went their own ways. There were no fights or disagreements. Life just separated them.

“You’re just a figment inside somebody’s dream. So far from reality, you are a dream within a dream within a dream.” Startled by this soft voice, he quickly turned around to see Natasha smiling at him. “Ha-ha! I knew I could scare you. Were you abused as a kid, or something?” No words could come out at that moment, but he hugged her tightly. She explained to him that she is getting off at the next stop to meet a friend. He was sure he wanted to follow her and see where life would take him. She reminisced and told him how she had been away inside her own cave for several months, but is now very happy to meet up with everyone she had lost contact with.

The next stop arrived, but he did not catch the name of the stop he was getting off. As he got off with several others, both he and Natasha met up with her friend, Valeria, who he found quite cute. She resembled Natasha a bit in that they both had ***** blonde hair and blue eyes. They walked right into a giant street fair with a crowd of people looking at the foods and desserts, the trendy clothes, cheap jewelry, and children play rides.

As he looked around, he began seeing many familiar faces. He saw Kevin, a childhood and grammar school mate there with another co-worker of his, Jenny. Jenny was a Colombian beauty in his eyes and who was a flirt and tease to him, but never actually gave him any time alone. Incidentally, he knew both of them at different times in his life and had no idea they knew of each other. Kevin stopped contacting him during high school without any arguments or disloyalties that would tear a friendship apart. Keeping his head down, he walked a few feet to discover another childhood best friend, Jack, who was with a mutual childhood friend, Melanie. Melanie was a best friend of his and also a first childhood crush who also had a crush on him. He thought it was odd because even though Melanie and Jack were also best friends, Melanie never liked Jack in a special boy/girl way. He felt a moment of heartbreak, but quickly turned away and kept walking. A little further up the road, he saw two more childhood friends, Chris and Jimmy, who as children did not get along that well and only hung out with each other in the company of him. How peculiar it was suddenly seeing them together after ten years, and as seemingly best of friends.

That was not all. Things were getting stranger and stranger. It was like all the people who had made an imprint on his life were now coming together around him. He saw his two therapists, one he had gone to as a teenager and the other as a young adult, stand next to each other selling prescription drug samples. Both stared at him with a blank face, but with a prominent smile. He could barely nod at them. Natasha directed them to a local bar. Inside the bar was huge and also had a second floor. He noticed the music playing in the background was, Nocturne In E Flat Major, Op.9 No.2, by Polish born Romantic composer, Frederic Chopin. He became fixated on the elegant eighth note, left hand arpeggios, and the sweet and peaceful fast moving seven, eleven, twenty, and twenty-two notes from the right hand. If he thought about the most beautiful song ever written and all that is wonderful in one, this was the song.

They all took a seat and began looking at people and laughing at their behavior. Everyone was wearing masks. Social masks. They observed how different people act when they are in social gatherings, and how if you carefully study their body language, it will become clear that what they are saying and trying to put out is not what is actually being expressed through the body. One young man was frantically shaking his right leg as he tried to flirt confidently with a young woman he had just recently met. His face began to turn noticeably red, in an embarrassed flush, and he was making sudden hand gestures and quick eye blinking. She, on the other hand, pretended to be interested in what he was saying; yet her eyes would often look around the room and her body was a good distance from him with her arms folded.

Then as they were all laughing, he abruptly stopped and looked ahead to see two drunken women making out two tables away from them. As his eyes focused in on them, he realized they were two of his former crushes, Claire and Veronica, who he had no idea knew of each other because in fact, they were from different time periods of his life. He began seeing former teachers and professors from each stage of his school career, laughing hysterically with one another. Some of his most inspiring teachers and professors were gathered with other teachers and professors he despised. A young, tattooed hipster woman entered the scenery with a little Cairn Terrier that had an uncanny resemblance to his recently passed dog, Petey, who was put to sleep when he was away on a vacation, unexpectedly. His sorrow began to overwhelm him for not being able to say good-bye and see him for a proper last time. Everything about the dog’s high energy, playfulness, and watchdog attitude was exactly like Petey. A tear ran and fell off his cheek from his left eye right into the hand of Natasha. He looked up at her and she said, “Your tears are my tears. For what pain you withhold, I take and share with you.” She then wiped her right eye with the hand that held his tear. Natasha’s friend began to speak slowly into his left ear in Russian. Though he could not understand a word she was saying, it sounded just like a poem based on the pattern and rhythm’s consistency. It made him feel free of melancholy, but then thought of Angela Antonaci entered his mind.

He thought that the last painful experience ended with the break up of his closest best friend ever to play a part in his life. She was his girlfriend for the last three and a half years. They had known each other for ten years before they broke up their entire relationship. She was thirteen and he was fifteen when they first met in a park. She was always all over him like a little schoolgirl and he would often get frustrated with her obsession over him, for he believed he was no big deal. She was the first person to ever make him feel special and important, and even though he would resent her likeness towards him, he could never keep his eyes off of her or stop himself from always coming to her when he felt lonely. After about seven years, he realized he was in love with her. He had always been in love with her from the first time they met eyes. His long road had always lead back to her home in life. Every time he tried forgetting her and moving on, they would meet again. That person people search their entire lives for, he had found.

He rose out of his seat and briefly said goodbye to Natasha and her friend and went upstairs. He wanted time to be alone and walk around until he suddenly saw Jessica walking towards him. He stopped and waited for her to say hello, but she walked right by him, as if he had never existed. He felt a little insulted, yet relieved as any awkwardness that would arise was avoided. Looking ahead, he saw Angela’s two best friends, Kate and Julie, with her high school crush, John. John was playing an acoustic guitar on a lounge chair, singing to the two friends, almost enticing them with his eyes and voice. His jealousy overcame him, as Angela had been infatuated with him on and off even though he had played with her feelings throughout high school and college. John would tell her he loved her and make her believe he was a romantic, then when she fell into his words, he would leave her and keep a distance for long periods of time, leaving her in despair.

The conclusion occurred to him that maybe she was nearby. He searched throughout the entire bar not finding any other clues that she was around. When he went downstairs, he saw Natasha and her friend asleep, as well as most of the bar, except for the bartender. It was like everyone just passed out from the alcohol or possibly inhaled some type of knockout drug. The bartender was watching the news forecast of a tornado watch and dangerous thunderstorms. The bartender looked at him and said, “It’s better if you stay in here. It’s dangerous out there. I recommend you don’t go out!” He just listened, but decided to leave to the outside anyway.

He walked three blocks through the heavy rain and strong winds. He took a moment to stop and look at the black and gray clouds above him. As he looked across the street, he saw her. She was with her mother, sister, and mutual friends of theirs, Chrystal and Mike. He also saw behind them, his own mother and sister. He ran across the street to her and she shockingly with excitement screamed, “Hey!!! Oh my God!! Please stay with us. I missed you so much. You have no idea. We have to get to a shelter away from this storm. Hold my hand…” Smiling, he kept walking with them. They walked for twenty minutes and entered a giant field. After ten minutes of walking restlessly through the field, they all stopped to catch their breath. Angela’s mom ordered everyone to hold one another’s hand. An enormous gust of wind pushed them all to the grassy ground. He began to shake violently as he felt the touch of death nearby. He wondered if this would be the end, as he felt unaccomplished and left with so much left unsaid to her. Thoughts raced through his mind like a speeding highway about how to get to safety. Unable to control and remain focused on one rational thought at a time, he blacked out for a minute.

Then there he was right in the middle of a storm. In so many ways, he realized where he was ending was where he originally began. All the imprints from all he ever knew came back all at once to watch him finally leave all he ever knew from this life. And in the last moments, he found himself with her. He held her hand, while she held his, and the hands of their family and friends. The world was so dark and cold. The wind became much more rapid and an enormous bright light from it came within just miles of them. He kept looking up at the dark black and gray clouds over them, never as frightened as he was now. His focus was on the great strength of the wind. Whatever melancholic thoughts he had of his life, he would not give up hope. Maybe he was just hopelessly hopeful, but holding each other tightly might, in some miraculous way, save them. Then suddenly a deep peace began to sustain his very being. He remembered whose hand he was holding- the only woman to ever understand every level of his being. He looked down at her big, precious eyes pouring out tears. Their eyes locked, as she had been watching him the entire time. No words needed to be said from one another. They knew exactly what they felt and meant. For the first time in his life, everything was all okay. All was beautiful. The whole situation was beautiful, not tragic. In that moment, he understood this was where he was meant to be. This was where he wanted to be, for only in such a life altering moment does one comprehend the very nature of love and life. To just glance into her eyes and see the same person staring back in suspense, while all he ever knew was being born, growing, and dying simultaneously in complete acceptance. They began to fade and disappeared into the light.
Cameron Godfrey May 2013
Censor it.
Withhold it.
Nobody wants to know.
Don't ask. don't tell.
Don't spill. Don't show.

Censor it.
Withhold it.
Keep in under locks.
Think it, okay
But say it, do not.

Censor it.
Withhold it.
They don't want your opinion.
Society's your leader.
And you are its minion.

*Don't be its minion
I wrote a poem about cheating on tests and why people do it. But I guess it's wrong to expose that.
I just wanted to show that maybe if people cared more about learning and less about grades we could stop it. Kids cheat because they care more about their grades than they do about learning. That's disgusting, isn't it?
What is this perfection that you require
For your unconditional love
This you say you have for me
And put nothing above

The last time that I inquired
And established the meaning of it true
Perfection should not be a requirement
To receive this love from you

If you love me as you say
In this unconditional way
Why do you withhold yourself from me
Every single day

I ask this of you now
Please help me to understand
If unconditional love has no conditions
Why do you withhold your hand?
Copyright *Neva Flores @2010
LJ May 2016
I withhold this trophy tonight
for the worry you lag on and on
a sack you drag as it parties
owning your back, breaking the light

I withhold my hand and stop the words
for your voice seeps the air I  breath
a strangle of the life that smiles
tugging me in the abyss of your devoid

I withhold my trust as I can't censor
the irk that traps and can't be tamed
a mafia that drives you crazy 24 hours
drugging me in a cage of no care

I withhold my question about our intentions
the drive that makes me explode
as I can't blame or save your paranoia
telling a fiction in the reality of stolen memories
Stop the worry baby, remove that heavy sack lagging from your back. Love you loads! Let the monster go! Be a free spirit, the world will just trap you love!
BML May 2014
A boy once said
You're hot.
But to be honest...
My **** is also hot.
You call it a compliment
I call it shittery.

When words attain your beauty,
It will be my duty,
To call your face so hot,
Because my words withhold.
jeffrey conyers Dec 2012
Withhold not love from those it is due.
When it's in our hands to deliver it.
Locate your significant one and give it.
But do so unselfishly.

And watch the way they return it.

When wisdom enters into your heart.
The knowledge of it is pleasant to the soul.
That you make pleasing your spouse your only go.

No type of distraction will stop you from doing it.
So withhold not love to those that has accepted it.
Just turn to them and give it.
Michael P Todd Sep 2010
A deep breath—I fill my lungs and close the airway. Submerge my face in a pillow and resolve myself to wait until my lungs burn—I await the pain. My senses screaming, my lungs driving me to let them have the oxygen they so desire—I decline. Funny how I chose that which offers peace to the weary, an item that invites comfort to rob myself of that most archaic means of surviving. I find it interesting how calm I feel while denying myself that which I know I cannot live without. Isn’t it odd how we only become aware of the subtle currents of air that tickle our skin, raising chill bumps where it finds us bare when we deny ourselves its luxury? Luxury. That’s an interesting way to phrase it really—Breathing as a luxury. A gift of power, smug in our abuse and neglect we fail to see what we loose when we breathe. Lying here refusing to give myself life—for that’s what air is really, and breathing is living. I laugh. Oh yes, I find it funny. I catch myself readying to breathe again and I still that notion. Shove it down; subdue it until it is nothing but a stinging memory in my chest. It takes a lot of strength to deny yourself to breathe. But somehow that only drives me to test that strength.
I wonder if I will forget how? Could the muscle memory that pilots such a necessary involuntary act be forgotten? No, of course not. But perhaps the feeling of fresh air full of life could be. Could it? Perhaps not. For even as these words find themselves onto this page I find myself remembering what it feels like to expand my lungs, for the blood to cool as it gathers its fill with oxygen as it travels on its wending cyclical way. I laugh again. The burn begins to spread and I feel my muscles atrophy. Yet they tighten and tense as if under assault, screaming at the atrocity wrought upon them. Though still I refuse to breathe.
I roll away from the pillow, open my face to the still air and feel it tickle as it tries to find a weakness. Denying my lungs for so long I begin to feel my skin breathing. Absorbing oxygen as cellular mitosis continues in spite of my flirtatious dance. Maybe I am just dreaming. I feel the fire subside. As if my body accepts its doom. “No breath for you,” I say. “No easy outs.” And resolve continues.
Amazing how long a person can go without breathing, pushing ever closer to that most primal fear—that of not being able to breathe. But I can. I feel my chest involuntarily expand, demanding the very thing I strenuously withhold. I know by that alone that I can breathe, I can live. But still not once do I begin to inhale the sweetness that I need. I want it now, but the primal is so enticing. After all, it is when we fear that we truly know what it is to live. That’s when we feel life. As if it were a tangible being that we’ve strapped to ourselves so that it won’t escape. I’ve set mine free. I’ve let go. Maybe it will return to me. Maybe it will leave me in my vain attempts to deny myself to continue fickly on to another. But which do it want--Perhaps neither, perhaps something more. Beyond breathing, beyond mere muscle memory, beyond what I cling to. The Pain returns.
I want to breathe. I want to live. I want to feel the rush as all my body awakens and revels in new existence--Rebirth. Its odd how something so ordinary can redefine a person, how something so obviously taken for granted and ignored can make us anew—a Renaissance of living, giving new life to life, helping life live. That’s just funny to say. My chest chuckles--I can’t laugh. I can’t breathe so how could I anyway? I smile. Vanity is alluring. I am vain. I deny that which defines life just to feel alive. Vanity, Luxury, Rebirth, Pain—such is the nature of my breathing, the archaic nature of involuntarily driven muscle memory.
Would I even know how to breathe if it wasn’t burned into the most ancient quadrants of my brain? I don’t even know the part that drives the muscle memory. Perhaps when people die there are a few lingering moments where their lungs contract like the twitching mouth of a decapitated fish, gulping at air to fill dead lungs. Maybe breathing is so primal that it doesn’t end with the rest of the body.
The burn has come. I can feel the fire inside my chest. I welcome its warmth, rubbing my hands over the radiating inferno as if I just came from the dead winter cold without the weathering to block out the chill. The warmth permeates through me. Would breathing feel better than this? Could it? I doubt. Only at the razor edge of life while teetering upon the precipice stealing insecure glances to the other side on the off chance that we may glimpse a greener field do we know what living really is.  So aren’t I living now more so than ever before? Whilst denying myself a breath, aren’t I more aware of what it means to be alive? I laugh. Denying yourself air only leads to an end. No, the end--Death. Yet I appreciate life more so dying than living. I deserve to die. Taking for granted that which is stolen from innocents daily. Innocent? Now that’s a peculiar ideal. They are the same. I wonder if they are aware that they breathe. That’s absurd, of course they are. How could they not be? ******* life, ******* air, but do they know what it means?
I feel my lungs contract again—Pain. That’s all it is now, but why? I know I can breathe, yet I choose not to. Is it the act of forcing myself not to take a fresh breath, or the fact that I have yet to do so that hurts? Maybe it’s because I now know what I’ve been doing all these years. At the brink I realize what it means to live. Was I living before? Yes, but I wasn’t alive. Interesting that, to live without being alive—sounds as if I’m hooked to a load of machines keeping me from decay. That’s all they do really. Awareness, that’s living. Breathing is merely the means. The end is being aware, awakened to the fact that an action which you can’t control is the only thing keeping your head above ground. After all, even when drowning the body wants to breathe.
I open my mouth. I lie to my body. I still fill my lungs with nothing but stubborn desire, desire to delay my breathing. I imagine what it will feel like to take that first breath—a Renaissance of living. I can feel the blood in my veins bubble in anticipation. My body wants to be alive. My heart can’t beat fast enough. Striking a furious pace it pumps my blood through my body spreading life and oxygen to every limb making me light headed and delirious with its purity.
I’ve decided. I’m going to breathe again. I’m going to live. And what’s more, I’m going to be alive.
My mouth still open, my lungs still closed, still screaming, still burning, still tightening in their involuntary way—breathing air that isn’t there, air that they know is there, available to them at their whim. I open my lungs.
I exhale. Now that is interesting. I’ve denied myself the life of breath until my lungs begin to pump out of sheer memory and longing for that which gives them purpose. Denied that which defines life, that which I want—that I need. And I exhale?!? Further delaying what my instinct has told me to take? How is that logical?
Air rushes into my lungs. Funny, I scarce expanded them at all. I feel the life rushing to my fingertips, to my toes, to my ears and eyes—to my kidneys even. I am alive. It’s funny though. Part of me feels like I’ve just died, like I’ve ceased to live. I laugh long and hard, throaty and merry and so brim full of life. I began to live again, became alive at the very instant I ceased to exist. And it is so funny.
The weight of the world
     is love.
Under the burden
     of solitude,
under the burden
     of dissatisfaction

     the weight,
the weight we carry
     is love.

Who can deny?
     In dreams
it touches
     the body,
in thought
     constructs
a miracle,
     in imagination
anguishes
     till born
in human--
looks out of the heart
     burning with purity--
for the burden of life
     is love,

but we carry the weight
     wearily,
and so must rest
in the arms of love
     at last,
must rest in the arms
     of love.

No rest
     without love,
no sleep
     without dreams
of love--
     be mad or chill
obsessed with angels
     or machines,
the final wish
     is love
--cannot be bitter,
     cannot deny,
cannot withhold
     if denied:

the weight is too heavy

     --must give
for no return
     as thought
is given
     in solitude
in all the excellence
     of its excess.

The warm bodies
     shine together
in the darkness,
     the hand moves
to the center
     of the flesh,
the skin trembles
     in happiness
and the soul comes
     joyful to the eye--

yes, yes,
     that's what
I wanted,
     I always wanted,
I always wanted,
     to return
to the body
     where I was born.

                         San Jose, 1954
Et cetera May 2014
There's this eagerness in her blood
A quickness in her breath
A pressure behind her eyes
A sea she cannot hold.

There's this agony in her pulse
A lost feeling in her chest
A blur in her sight
A flood she cannot control.

There's this promise in her thoughts
A past reminder in her will
A calmness in her wet eyes
An emotion she shall withhold.

~Moniba.
Now Morn, her rosy steps in the eastern clime
Advancing, sowed the earth with orient pearl,
When Adam waked, so customed; for his sleep
Was aery-light, from pure digestion bred,
And temperate vapours bland, which the only sound
Of leaves and fuming rills, Aurora’s fan,
Lightly dispersed, and the shrill matin song
Of birds on every bough; so much the more
His wonder was to find unwakened Eve
With tresses discomposed, and glowing cheek,
As through unquiet rest:  He, on his side
Leaning half raised, with looks of cordial love
Hung over her enamoured, and beheld
Beauty, which, whether waking or asleep,
Shot forth peculiar graces; then with voice
Mild, as when Zephyrus on Flora breathes,
Her hand soft touching, whispered thus.  Awake,
My fairest, my espoused, my latest found,
Heaven’s last best gift, my ever new delight!
Awake:  The morning shines, and the fresh field
Calls us; we lose the prime, to mark how spring
Our tender plants, how blows the citron grove,
What drops the myrrh, and what the balmy reed,
How nature paints her colours, how the bee
Sits on the bloom extracting liquid sweet.
Such whispering waked her, but with startled eye
On Adam, whom embracing, thus she spake.
O sole in whom my thoughts find all repose,
My glory, my perfection! glad I see
Thy face, and morn returned; for I this night
(Such night till this I never passed) have dreamed,
If dreamed, not, as I oft am wont, of thee,
Works of day past, or morrow’s next design,
But of offence and trouble, which my mind
Knew never till this irksome night:  Methought,
Close at mine ear one called me forth to walk
With gentle voice;  I thought it thine: It said,
‘Why sleepest thou, Eve? now is the pleasant time,
‘The cool, the silent, save where silence yields
‘To the night-warbling bird, that now awake
‘Tunes sweetest his love-laboured song; now reigns
‘Full-orbed the moon, and with more pleasing light
‘Shadowy sets off the face of things; in vain,
‘If none regard; Heaven wakes with all his eyes,
‘Whom to behold but thee, Nature’s desire?
‘In whose sight all things joy, with ravishment
‘Attracted by thy beauty still to gaze.’
I rose as at thy call, but found thee not;
To find thee I directed then my walk;
And on, methought, alone I passed through ways
That brought me on a sudden to the tree
Of interdicted knowledge: fair it seemed,
Much fairer to my fancy than by day:
And, as I wondering looked, beside it stood
One shaped and winged like one of those from Heaven
By us oft seen; his dewy locks distilled
Ambrosia; on that tree he also gazed;
And ‘O fair plant,’ said he, ‘with fruit surcharged,
‘Deigns none to ease thy load, and taste thy sweet,
‘Nor God, nor Man?  Is knowledge so despised?
‘Or envy, or what reserve forbids to taste?
‘Forbid who will, none shall from me withhold
‘Longer thy offered good; why else set here?
This said, he paused not, but with venturous arm
He plucked, he tasted; me damp horrour chilled
At such bold words vouched with a deed so bold:
But he thus, overjoyed; ‘O fruit divine,
‘Sweet of thyself, but much more sweet thus cropt,
‘Forbidden here, it seems, as only fit
‘For Gods, yet able to make Gods of Men:
‘And why not Gods of Men; since good, the more
‘Communicated, more abundant grows,
‘The author not impaired, but honoured more?
‘Here, happy creature, fair angelick Eve!
‘Partake thou also; happy though thou art,
‘Happier thou mayest be, worthier canst not be:
‘Taste this, and be henceforth among the Gods
‘Thyself a Goddess, not to earth confined,
‘But sometimes in the air, as we, sometimes
‘Ascend to Heaven, by merit thine, and see
‘What life the Gods live there, and such live thou!’
So saying, he drew nigh, and to me held,
Even to my mouth of that same fruit held part
Which he had plucked; the pleasant savoury smell
So quickened appetite, that I, methought,
Could not but taste.  Forthwith up to the clouds
With him I flew, and underneath beheld
The earth outstretched immense, a prospect wide
And various:  Wondering at my flight and change
To this high exaltation; suddenly
My guide was gone, and I, methought, sunk down,
And fell asleep; but O, how glad I waked
To find this but a dream!  Thus Eve her night
Related, and thus Adam answered sad.
Best image of myself, and dearer half,
The trouble of thy thoughts this night in sleep
Affects me equally; nor can I like
This uncouth dream, of evil sprung, I fear;
Yet evil whence? in thee can harbour none,
Created pure.  But know that in the soul
Are many lesser faculties, that serve
Reason as chief; among these Fancy next
Her office holds; of all external things
Which the five watchful senses represent,
She forms imaginations, aery shapes,
Which Reason, joining or disjoining, frames
All what we affirm or what deny, and call
Our knowledge or opinion; then retires
Into her private cell, when nature rests.
Oft in her absence mimick Fancy wakes
To imitate her; but, misjoining shapes,
Wild work produces oft, and most in dreams;
Ill matching words and deeds long past or late.
Some such resemblances, methinks, I find
Of our last evening’s talk, in this thy dream,
But with addition strange; yet be not sad.
Evil into the mind of God or Man
May come and go, so unreproved, and leave
No spot or blame behind:  Which gives me hope
That what in sleep thou didst abhor to dream,
Waking thou never will consent to do.
Be not disheartened then, nor cloud those looks,
That wont to be more cheerful and serene,
Than when fair morning first smiles on the world;
And let us to our fresh employments rise
Among the groves, the fountains, and the flowers
That open now their choisest bosomed smells,
Reserved from night, and kept for thee in store.
So cheered he his fair spouse, and she was cheered;
But silently a gentle tear let fall
From either eye, and wiped them with her hair;
Two other precious drops that ready stood,
Each in their crystal sluice, he ere they fell
Kissed, as the gracious signs of sweet remorse
And pious awe, that feared to have offended.
So all was cleared, and to the field they haste.
But first, from under shady arborous roof
Soon as they forth were come to open sight
Of day-spring, and the sun, who, scarce up-risen,
With wheels yet hovering o’er the ocean-brim,
Shot parallel to the earth his dewy ray,
Discovering in wide landskip all the east
Of Paradise and Eden’s happy plains,
Lowly they bowed adoring, and began
Their orisons, each morning duly paid
In various style; for neither various style
Nor holy rapture wanted they to praise
Their Maker, in fit strains pronounced, or sung
Unmeditated; such prompt eloquence
Flowed from their lips, in prose or numerous verse,
More tuneable than needed lute or harp
To add more sweetness; and they thus began.
These are thy glorious works, Parent of good,
Almighty!  Thine this universal frame,
Thus wonderous fair;  Thyself how wonderous then!
Unspeakable, who sitst above these heavens
To us invisible, or dimly seen
In these thy lowest works; yet these declare
Thy goodness beyond thought, and power divine.
Speak, ye who best can tell, ye sons of light,
Angels; for ye behold him, and with songs
And choral symphonies, day without night,
Circle his throne rejoicing; ye in Heaven
On Earth join all ye Creatures to extol
Him first, him last, him midst, and without end.
Fairest of stars, last in the train of night,
If better thou belong not to the dawn,
Sure pledge of day, that crownest the smiling morn
With thy bright circlet, praise him in thy sphere,
While day arises, that sweet hour of prime.
Thou Sun, of this great world both eye and soul,
Acknowledge him thy greater; sound his praise
In thy eternal course, both when thou climbest,
And when high noon hast gained, and when thou fallest.
Moon, that now meetest the orient sun, now flyest,
With the fixed Stars, fixed in their orb that flies;
And ye five other wandering Fires, that move
In mystick dance not without song, resound
His praise, who out of darkness called up light.
Air, and ye Elements, the eldest birth
Of Nature’s womb, that in quaternion run
Perpetual circle, multiform; and mix
And nourish all things; let your ceaseless change
Vary to our great Maker still new praise.
Ye Mists and Exhalations, that now rise
From hill or steaming lake, dusky or gray,
Till the sun paint your fleecy skirts with gold,
In honour to the world’s great Author rise;
Whether to deck with clouds the uncoloured sky,
Or wet the thirsty earth with falling showers,
Rising or falling still advance his praise.
His praise, ye Winds, that from four quarters blow,
Breathe soft or loud; and, wave your tops, ye Pines,
With every plant, in sign of worship wave.
Fountains, and ye that warble, as ye flow,
Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise.
Join voices, all ye living Souls:  Ye Birds,
That singing up to Heaven-gate ascend,
Bear on your wings and in your notes his praise.
Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walk
The earth, and stately tread, or lowly creep;
Witness if I be silent, morn or even,
To hill, or valley, fountain, or fresh shade,
Made vocal by my song, and taught his praise.
Hail, universal Lord, be bounteous still
To give us only good; and if the night
Have gathered aught of evil, or concealed,
Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark!
So prayed they innocent, and to their thoughts
Firm peace recovered soon, and wonted calm.
On to their morning’s rural work they haste,
Among sweet dews and flowers; where any row
Of fruit-trees over-woody reached too far
Their pampered boughs, and needed hands to check
Fruitless embraces: or they led the vine
To wed her elm; she, spoused, about him twines
Her marriageable arms, and with him brings
Her dower, the adopted clusters, to adorn
His barren leaves.  Them thus employed beheld
With pity Heaven’s high King, and to him called
Raphael, the sociable Spirit, that deigned
To travel with Tobias, and secured
His marriage with the seventimes-wedded maid.
Raphael, said he, thou hearest what stir on Earth
Satan, from Hell ’scaped through the darksome gulf,
Hath raised in Paradise; and how disturbed
This night the human pair; how he designs
In them at once to ruin all mankind.
Go therefore, half this day as friend with friend
Converse with Adam, in what bower or shade
Thou findest him from the heat of noon retired,
To respite his day-labour with repast,
Or with repose; and such discourse bring on,
As may advise him of his happy state,
Happiness in his power left free to will,
Left to his own free will, his will though free,
Yet mutable; whence warn him to beware
He swerve not, too secure:  Tell him withal
His danger, and from whom; what enemy,
Late fallen himself from Heaven, is plotting now
The fall of others from like state of bliss;
By violence? no, for that shall be withstood;
But by deceit and lies:  This let him know,
Lest, wilfully transgressing, he pretend
Surprisal, unadmonished, unforewarned.
So spake the Eternal Father, and fulfilled
All justice:  Nor delayed the winged Saint
After his charge received; but from among
Thousand celestial Ardours, where he stood
Veiled with his gorgeous wings, up springing light,
Flew through the midst of Heaven; the angelick quires,
On each hand parting, to his speed gave way
Through all the empyreal road; till, at the gate
Of Heaven arrived, the gate self-opened wide
On golden hinges turning, as by work
Divine the sovran Architect had framed.
From hence no cloud, or, to obstruct his sight,
Star interposed, however small he sees,
Not unconformed to other shining globes,
Earth, and the garden of God, with cedars crowned
Above all hills.  As when by night the glass
Of Galileo, less assured, observes
Imagined lands and regions in the moon:
Or pilot, from amidst the Cyclades
Delos or Samos first appearing, kens
A cloudy spot.  Down thither prone in flight
He speeds, and through the vast ethereal sky
Sails between worlds and worlds, with steady wing
Now on the polar winds, then with quick fan
Winnows the buxom air; till, within soar
Of towering eagles, to all the fowls he seems
A phoenix, gazed by all as that sole bird,
When, to enshrine his reliques in the Sun’s
Bright temple, to Egyptian Thebes he flies.
At once on the eastern cliff of Paradise
He lights, and to his proper shape returns
A Seraph winged:  Six wings he wore, to shade
His lineaments divine; the pair that clad
Each shoulder broad, came mantling o’er his breast
With regal ornament; the middle pair
Girt like a starry zone his waist, and round
Skirted his ***** and thighs with downy gold
And colours dipt in Heaven; the third his feet
Shadowed from either heel with feathered mail,
Sky-tinctured grain.  Like Maia’s son he stood,
And shook his plumes, that heavenly fragrance filled
The circuit wide.  Straight knew him all the bands
Of Angels under watch; and to his state,
And to his message high, in honour rise;
For on some message high they guessed him bound.
Their glittering tents he passed, and now is come
Into the blissful field, through groves of myrrh,
And flowering odours, cassia, nard, and balm;
A wilderness of sweets; for Nature here
Wantoned as in her prime, and played at will
Her ****** fancies pouring forth more sweet,
Wild above rule or art, enormous bliss.
Him through the spicy forest onward come
Adam discerned, as in the door he sat
Of his cool bower, while now the mounted sun
Shot down direct his fervid rays to warm
Earth’s inmost womb, more warmth than Adam needs:
And Eve within, due at her hour prepared
For dinner savoury fruits, of taste to please
True appetite, and not disrelish thirst
Of nectarous draughts between, from milky stream,
Berry or grape:  To whom thus Adam called.
Haste hither, Eve, and worth thy sight behold
Eastward among those trees, what glorious shape
Comes this way moving; seems another morn
Risen on mid-noon; some great behest from Heaven
To us perhaps he brings, and will vouchsafe
This day to be our guest.  But go with speed,
And, what thy stores contain, bring forth, and pour
Abundance, fit to honour and receive
Our heavenly stranger:  Well we may afford
Our givers their own gifts, and large bestow
From large bestowed, where Nature multiplies
Her fertile growth, and by disburthening grows
More fruitful, which instructs us not to spare.
To whom thus Eve.  Adam, earth’s hallowed mould,
Of God inspired! small store will serve, where store,
All seasons, ripe for use hangs on the stalk;
Save what by frugal storing firmness gains
To nourish, and superfluous moist consumes:
But I will haste, and from each bough and brake,
Each plant and juciest gourd, will pluck such choice
To entertain our Angel-guest, as he
Beholding shall confess, that here on Earth
God hath dispensed his bounties as in Heaven.
So saying, with dispatchful looks in haste
She turns, on hospitable thoughts intent
What choice to choose for delicacy best,
What order, so contrived as not to mix
Tastes, not well joined, inelegant, but bring
Taste after taste upheld with kindliest change;
Bestirs her then, and from each tender stalk
Whatever Earth, all-bearing mother, yields
In India East or West, or middle shore
In Pontus or the Punick coast, or where
Alcinous reigned, fruit of all kinds, in coat
Rough, or smooth rind, or bearded husk, or shell,
She gathers, tribute large, and on the board
Heaps with unsparing hand; for drink the grape
She crushes, inoffensive must, and meaths
From many a berry, and from sweet kernels pressed
She tempers dulcet creams; nor these to hold
Wants her fit vessels pure; then strows the ground
With rose and odours from the shrub unfumed.
Mean while our primitive great sire, to meet
His God-like guest, walks forth, without more train
Accompanied than with his own complete
Perfections; in himself was all his state,
More solemn than the tedious pomp that waits
On princes, when their rich retinue long
Of horses led, and gro
Because I am mad about women
I am mad about the hills,'
Said that wild old wicked man
Who travels where God wills.
"Not to die on the straw at home.
Those hands to close these eyes,
That is all I ask, my dear,
From the old man in the skies.
Daybreak and a candle-end.

"Kind are all your words, my dear,
Do not the rest withhold.
Who can know the year, my dear,
when an old man's blood grows cold? '
I have what no young man can have
Because he loves too much.
Words I have that can pierce the heart,
But what can he do but touch?'
Daybreak and a candle-end.

Then Said she to that wild old man,
His stout stick under his hand,
"Love to give or to withhold
Is not at my command.
I gave it all to an older man:
That old man in the skies.
Hands that are busy with His beads
Can never close those eyes.'
Daybreak and a candle-end.

"Go your ways, O go your ways,
I choose another mark,
Girls down on the seashore
Who understand the dark;
***** talk for the fishermen;
A dance for the fisher-lads;
When dark hangs upon the water
They turn down their beds.
Daybreak and a candle-end.

"A young man in the dark am I,
But a wild old man in the light,
That can make a cat laugh, or
Can touch by mother wit
Things hid in their marrow-bones
From time long passed away,
Hid from all those warty lads
That by their bodies lay.
Dayhreak and a candle-end.

"All men live in suffering,
I know as few can know,
Whether they take the upper road
Or stay content on the low,
Rower bent in his row-boat
Or weaver bent at his loom,
Horseman ***** upon horseback
Or child hid in the womb.
Daybreak and a candlc-cnd.

"That some stream of lightning
From the old man in the skies
Can burn out that suffering
No right-taught man denies.
But a coarse old man am I,
I choose the second-best,
I forget it all awhile
Upon a woman's breast.'
Daybreak and a candlc-end.
Well, as you say, we live for small horizons:
We move in crowds, we flow and talk together,
Seeing so many eyes and hands and faces,
So many mouths, and all with secret meanings,--
Yet know so little of them; only seeing
The small bright circle of our consciousness,
Beyond which lies the dark.  Some few we know--
Or think we know. . .  Once, on a sun-bright morning,
I walked in a certain hallway, trying to find
A certain door: I found one, tried it, opened,
And there in a spacious chamber, brightly lighted,
A hundred men played music, loudly, swiftly,
While one tall woman sent her voice above them
In powerful sweetness. . . Closing then the door
I heard it die behind me, fade to whisper,--
And walked in a quiet hallway as before.
Just such a glimpse, as through that opened door,
Is all we know of those we call our friends. . . .
We hear a sudden music, see a playing
Of ordered thoughts--and all again is silence.
The music, we suppose, (as in ourselves)
Goes on forever there, behind shut doors,--
As it continues after our departure,
So, we divine, it played before we came . . .
What do you know of me, or I of you? . . .
Little enough. . . We set these doors ajar
Only for chosen movements of the music:
This passage, (so I think--yet this is guesswork)
Will please him,--it is in a strain he fancies,--
More brilliant, though, than his; and while he likes it
He will be piqued . . . He looks at me bewildered
And thinks (to judge from self--this too is guesswork)

The music strangely subtle, deep in meaning,
Perplexed with implications; he suspects me
Of hidden riches, unexpected wisdom. . . .
Or else I let him hear a lyric passage,--
Simple and clear; and all the while he listens
I make pretence to think my doors are closed.
This too bewilders him.  He eyes me sidelong
Wondering 'Is he such a fool as this?
Or only mocking?'--There I let it end. . . .
Sometimes, of course, and when we least suspect it--
When we pursue our thoughts with too much passion,
Talking with too great zeal--our doors fly open
Without intention; and the hungry watcher
Stares at the feast, carries away our secrets,
And laughs. . . but this, for many counts, is seldom.
And for the most part we vouchsafe our friends,
Our lovers too, only such few clear notes
As we shall deem them likely to admire:
'Praise me for this' we say, or 'laugh at this,'
Or 'marvel at my candor'. . . all the while
Withholding what's most precious to ourselves,--
Some sinister depth of lust or fear or hatred,
The sombre note that gives the chord its power;
Or a white loveliness--if such we know--
Too much like fire to speak of without shame.

Well, this being so, and we who know it being
So curious about those well-locked houses,
The minds of those we know,--to enter softly,
And steal from floor to floor up shadowy stairways,
From room to quiet room, from wall to wall,
Breathing deliberately the very air,
Pressing our hands and nerves against warm darkness
To learn what ghosts are there,--
Suppose for once I set my doors wide open
And bid you in. . . Suppose I try to tell you
The secrets of this house, and how I live here;
Suppose I tell you who I am, in fact. . . .
Deceiving you--as far as I may know it--
Only so much as I deceive myself.

If you are clever you already see me
As one who moves forever in a cloud
Of warm bright vanity: a luminous cloud
Which falls on all things with a quivering magic,
Changing such outlines as a light may change,
Brightening what lies dark to me, concealing
Those things that will not change . . . I walk sustained
In a world of things that flatter me: a sky
Just as I would have had it; trees and grass
Just as I would have shaped and colored them;
Pigeons and clouds and sun and whirling shadows,
And stars that brightening climb through mist at nightfall,--
In some deep way I am aware these praise me:
Where they are beautiful, or hint of beauty,
They point, somehow, to me. . . This water says,--
Shimmering at the sky, or undulating
In broken gleaming parodies of clouds,
Rippled in blue, or sending from cool depths
To meet the falling leaf the leaf's clear image,--
This water says, there is some secret in you
Akin to my clear beauty, silently responsive
To all that circles you.  This bare tree says,--
Austere and stark and leafless, split with frost,
Resonant in the wind, with rigid branches
Flung out against the sky,--this tall tree says,
There is some cold austerity in you,
A frozen strength, with long roots gnarled on rocks,
Fertile and deep; you bide your time, are patient,
Serene in silence, bare to outward seeming,
Concealing what reserves of power and beauty!
What teeming Aprils!--chorus of leaves on leaves!
These houses say, such walls in walls as ours,
Such streets of walls, solid and smooth of surface,
Such hills and cities of walls, walls upon walls;
Motionless in the sun, or dark with rain;
Walls pierced with windows, where the light may enter;
Walls windowless where darkness is desired;
Towers and labyrinths and domes and chambers,--
Amazing deep recesses, dark on dark,--
All these are like the walls which shape your spirit:
You move, are warm, within them, laugh within them,
Proud of their depth and strength; or sally from them,
When you are bold, to blow great horns at the world
This deep cool room, with shadowed walls and ceiling,
Tranquil and cloistral, fragrant of my mind,
This cool room says,--just such a room have you,
It waits you always at the tops of stairways,
Withdrawn, remote, familiar to your uses,
Where you may cease pretence and be yourself. . . .
And this embroidery, hanging on this wall,
Hung there forever,--these so soundless glidings
Of dragons golden-scaled, sheer birds of azure,
Coilings of leaves in pale vermilion, griffins
Drawing their rainbow wings through involutions
Of mauve chrysanthemums and lotus flowers,--
This goblin wood where someone cries enchantment,--
This says, just such an involuted beauty
Of thought and coiling thought, dream linked with dream,
Image to image gliding, wreathing fires,
Soundlessly cries enchantment in your mind:
You need but sit and close your eyes a moment
To see these deep designs unfold themselves.

And so, all things discern me, name me, praise me--
I walk in a world of silent voices, praising;
And in this world you see me like a wraith
Blown softly here and there, on silent winds.
'Praise me'--I say; and look, not in a glass,
But in your eyes, to see my image there--
Or in your mind; you smile, I am contented;
You look at me, with interest unfeigned,
And listen--I am pleased; or else, alone,
I watch thin bubbles veering brightly upward
From unknown depths,--my silver thoughts ascending;
Saying now this, now that, hinting of all things,--
Dreams, and desires, velleities, regrets,
Faint ghosts of memory, strange recognitions,--
But all with one deep meaning: this is I,
This is the glistening secret holy I,
This silver-winged wonder, insubstantial,
This singing ghost. . . And hearing, I am warmed.

     *     *     *     *     *

You see me moving, then, as one who moves
Forever at the centre of his circle:
A circle filled with light.  And into it
Come bulging shapes from darkness, loom gigantic,
Or huddle in dark again. . . A clock ticks clearly,
A gas-jet steadily whirs, light streams across me;
Two church bells, with alternate beat, strike nine;
And through these things my pencil pushes softly
To weave grey webs of lines on this clear page.
Snow falls and melts; the eaves make liquid music;
Black wheel-tracks line the snow-touched street; I turn
And look one instant at the half-dark gardens,
Where skeleton elm-trees reach with frozen gesture
Above unsteady lamps,--with black boughs flung
Against a luminous snow-filled grey-gold sky.
'Beauty!' I cry. . . My feet move on, and take me
Between dark walls, with orange squares for windows.
Beauty; beheld like someone half-forgotten,
Remembered, with slow pang, as one neglected . . .
Well, I am frustrate; life has beaten me,
The thing I strongly seized has turned to darkness,
And darkness rides my heart. . . These skeleton elm-trees--
Leaning against that grey-gold snow filled sky--
Beauty! they say, and at the edge of darkness
Extend vain arms in a frozen gesture of protest . . .
A clock ticks softly; a gas-jet steadily whirs:
The pencil meets its shadow upon clear paper,
Voices are raised, a door is slammed.  The lovers,
Murmuring in an adjacent room, grow silent,
The eaves make liquid music. . . Hours have passed,
And nothing changes, and everything is changed.
Exultation is dead, Beauty is harlot,--
And walks the streets.  The thing I strongly seized
Has turned to darkness, and darkness rides my heart.

If you could solve this darkness you would have me.
This causeless melancholy that comes with rain,
Or on such days as this when large wet snowflakes
Drop heavily, with rain . . . whence rises this?
Well, so-and-so, this morning when I saw him,
Seemed much preoccupied, and would not smile;
And you, I saw too much; and you, too little;
And the word I chose for you, the golden word,
The word that should have struck so deep in purpose,
And set so many doors of wish wide open,
You let it fall, and would not stoop for it,
And smiled at me, and would not let me guess
Whether you saw it fall. . . These things, together,
With other things, still slighter, wove to music,
And this in time drew up dark memories;
And there I stand.  This music breaks and bleeds me,
Turning all frustrate dreams to chords and discords,
Faces and griefs, and words, and sunlit evenings,
And chains self-forged that will not break nor lengthen,
And cries that none can answer, few will hear.
Have these things meaning?  Or would you see more clearly
If I should say 'My second wife grows tedious,
Or, like gay tulip, keeps no perfumed secret'?

Or 'one day dies eventless as another,
Leaving the seeker still unsatisfied,
And more convinced life yields no satisfaction'?
Or 'seek too hard, the sight at length grows callous,
And beauty shines in vain'?--

                                These things you ask for,
These you shall have. . . So, talking with my first wife,
At the dark end of evening, when she leaned
And smiled at me, with blue eyes weaving webs
Of finest fire, revolving me in scarlet,--
Calling to mind remote and small successions
Of countless other evenings ending so,--
I smiled, and met her kiss, and wished her dead;
Dead of a sudden sickness, or by my hands
Savagely killed; I saw her in her coffin,
I saw her coffin borne downstairs with trouble,
I saw myself alone there, palely watching,
Wearing a masque of grief so deeply acted
That grief itself possessed me.  Time would pass,
And I should meet this girl,--my second wife--
And drop the masque of grief for one of passion.
Forward we move to meet, half hesitating,
We drown in each others' eyes, we laugh, we talk,
Looking now here, now there, faintly pretending
We do not hear the powerful pulsing prelude
Roaring beneath our words . . . The time approaches.
We lean unbalanced.  The mute last glance between us,
Profoundly searching, opening, asking, yielding,
Is steadily met: our two lives draw together . . .
. . . .'What are you thinking of?'. . . My first wife's voice
Scattered these ghosts.  'Oh nothing--nothing much--
Just wondering where we'd be two years from now,
And what we might be doing . . . ' And then remorse
Turned sharply in my mind to sudden pity,
And pity to echoed love.  And one more evening
Drew to the usual end of sleep and silence.

And, as it is with this, so too with all things.
The pages of our lives are blurred palimpsest:
New lines are wreathed on old lines half-erased,
And those on older still; and so forever.
The old shines through the new, and colors it.
What's new?  What's old?  All things have double meanings,--
All things return.  I write a line with passion
(Or touch a woman's hand, or plumb a doctrine)
Only to find the same thing, done before,--
Only to know the same thing comes to-morrow. . . .
This curious riddled dream I dreamed last night,--
Six years ago I dreamed it just as now;
The same man stooped to me; we rose from darkness,
And broke the accustomed order of our days,
And struck for the morning world, and warmth, and freedom. . . .
What does it mean?  Why is this hint repeated?
What darkness does it spring from, seek to end?

You see me, then, pass up and down these stairways,
Now through a beam of light, and now through shadow,--
Pursuing silent ends.  No rest there is,--
No more for me than you.  I move here always,
From quiet room to room, from wall to wall,
Searching and plotting, weaving a web of days.
This is my house, and now, perhaps, you know me. . .
Yet I confess, for all my best intentions,
Once more I have deceived you. . . I withhold
The one thing precious, the one dark thing that guides me;
And I have spread two snares for you, of lies.
JAFAR SADIK Oct 2014
Her mind is the lake
where the rainbow rests.
I stolen the lake
that she withhold to me.
now, I colour to my life
with the shades adopting from the same.
1
Flood-Tide below me! I see you face to face!
Clouds of the west—sun there half an hour high—I see you also face
   to face.

Crowds of men and women attired in the usual costumes, how curious
   you are to me!
On the ferry-boats the hundreds and hundreds that cross, returning
   home, are more curious to me than you suppose,
And you that shall cross from shore to shore years hence are more
   to me, and more in my meditations, than you might suppose.

2
The impalpable sustenance of me from all things at all hours of the
   day,
The simple, compact, well-join’d scheme, myself disintegrated, every
   one disintegrated yet part of the scheme,
The similitudes of the past and those of the future,
The glories strung like beads on my smallest sights and hearings, on
   the walk in the street and the passage over the river,
The current rushing so swiftly and swimming with me far away,
The others that are to follow me, the ties between me and them,
The certainty of others, the life, love, sight, hearing of others.

Others will enter the gates of the ferry and cross from shore to
   shore,
Others will watch the run of the flood-tide,
Others will see the shipping of Manhattan north and west, and the
   heights of Brooklyn to the south and east,
Others will see the islands large and small;
Fifty years hence, others will see them as they cross, the sun half
   an hour high,
A hundred years hence, or ever so many hundred years hence, others
   will see them,
Will enjoy the sunset, the pouring-in of the flood-tide, the
   falling-back to the sea of the ebb-tide.

3
It avails not, time nor place—distance avails not,
I am with you, you men and women of a generation, or ever so many
   generations hence,
Just as you feel when you look on the river and sky, so I felt,
Just as any of you is one of a living crowd, I was one of a crowd,
Just as you are refresh’d by the gladness of the river and the
   bright flow, I was refresh’d,
Just as you stand and lean on the rail, yet hurry with the swift
   current, I stood yet was hurried,
Just as you look on the numberless masts of ships and the
   thick-stemm’d pipes of steamboats, I look’d.

I too many and many a time cross’d the river of old,
Watched the Twelfth-month sea-gulls, saw them high in the air
   floating with motionless wings, oscillating their bodies,
Saw how the glistening yellow lit up parts of their bodies and left
   the rest in strong shadow,
Saw the slow-wheeling circles and the gradual edging toward the
   south,
Saw the reflection of the summer sky in the water,
Had my eyes dazzled by the shimmering track of beams,
Look’d at the fine centrifugal spokes of light round the shape of my
   head in the sunlit water,
Look’d on the haze on the hills southward and south-westward,
Look’d on the vapor as it flew in fleeces tinged with violet,
Look’d toward the lower bay to notice the vessels arriving,
Saw their approach, saw aboard those that were near me,
Saw the white sails of schooners and sloops, saw the ships at
   anchor,
The sailors at work in the rigging or out astride the spars,
The round masts, the swinging motion of the hulls, the slender
   serpentine pennants,
The large and small steamers in motion, the pilots in their
   pilothouses,

The white wake left by the passage, the quick tremulous whirl of the
   wheels,
The flags of all nations, the falling of them at sunset,
The scallop-edged waves in the twilight, the ladled cups, the
   frolic-some crests and glistening,
The stretch afar growing dimmer and dimmer, the gray walls of the
   granite storehouses by the docks,
On the river the shadowy group, the big steam-tug closely flank’d on
   each side by the barges, the hay-boat, the belated lighter,
On the neighboring shore the fires from the foundry chimneys burning
   high and glaringly into the night,
Casting their flicker of black contrasted with wild red and yellow
   light over the tops of houses, and down into the clefts of
   streets.

4
These and all else were to me the same as they are to you,
I loved well those cities, loved well the stately and rapid river,
The men and women I saw were all near to me,
Others the same-others who look back on me because I look’d forward
   to them,
(The time will come, though I stop here to-day and to-night.)

5
What is it then between us?
What is the count of the scores or hundreds of years between us?

Whatever it is, it avails not—distance avails not, and place avails
   not,
I too lived, Brooklyn of ample hills was mine,
I too walk’d the streets of Manhattan island, and bathed in the
   waters around it,
I too felt the curious abrupt questionings stir within me,
In the day among crowds of people sometimes they came upon me,
In my walks home late at night or as I lay in my bed they came upon
   me,
I too had been struck from the float forever held in solution,
I too had receiv’d identity by my body,
That I was I knew was of my body, and what I should be I knew I
   should be of my body.

6
It is not upon you alone the dark patches fall,
The dark threw its patches down upon me also,

The best I had done seem’d to me blank and suspicious,
My great thoughts as I supposed them, were they not in reality
   meagre?
Nor is it you alone who know what it is to be evil,
I am he who knew what it was to be evil,
I too knitted the old knot of contrariety,
Blabb’d, blush’d, resented, lied, stole, grudg’d,
Had guile, anger, lust, hot wishes I dared not speak,
Was wayward, vain, greedy, shallow, sly, cowardly, malignant,
The wolf, the snake, the hog, not wanting in me.
The cheating look, the frivolous word, the adulterous wish, not
   wanting,

Refusals, hates, postponements, meanness, laziness, none of these
   wanting,
Was one with the rest, the days and haps of the rest,
Was call’d by my nighest name by clear loud voices of young men as
   they saw me approaching or passing,
Felt their arms on my neck as I stood, or the negligent leaning of
   their flesh against me as I sat,
Saw many I loved in the street or ferry-boat or public assembly, yet
   never told them a word,
Lived the same life with the rest, the same old laughing, gnawing,
   sleeping,
Play’d the part that still looks back on the actor or actress,
The same old role, the role that is what we make it, as great as we
   like,
Or as small as we like, or both great and small.

7
Closer yet I approach you,
What thought you have of me now, I had as much of you—I laid in my
   stores in advance,
I consider’d long and seriously of you before you were born.

Who was to know what should come home to me?
Who knows but I am enjoying this?
Who knows, for all the distance, but I am as good as looking at you
   now, for all you cannot see me?

8
Ah, what can ever be more stately and admirable to me than
   mast-hemm’d Manhattan?
River and sunset and scallop-edg’d waves of flood-tide?
The sea-gulls oscillating their bodies, the hay-boat in the
   twilight, and the belated lighter?

What gods can exceed these that clasp me by the hand, and with
   voices I love call me promptly and loudly by my nighest name as
   approach?
What is more subtle than this which ties me to the woman or man that
   looks in my face?
Which fuses me into you now, and pours my meaning into you?

We understand then do we not?
What I promis’d without mentioning it, have you not accepted?
What the study could not teach—what the preaching could not
   accomplish is accomplish’d, is it not?

9
Flow on, river! flow with the flood-tide, and ebb with the ebb-tide!
Frolic on, crested and scallop-edg’d waves!
Gorgeous clouds of the sunset! drench with your splendor me, or the
   men and women generations after me!
Cross from shore to shore, countless crowds of passengers!
Stand up, tall masts of Mannahatta! stand up, beautiful hills of
   Brooklyn!
Throb, baffled and curious brain! throw out questions and answers!
Suspend here and everywhere, eternal float of solution!
Gaze, loving and thirsting eyes, in the house or street or public
   assembly!
Sound out, voices of young men! loudly and musically call me by my
   nighest name!
Live, old life! play the part that looks back on the actor or
   actress!
Play the old role, the role that is great or small according as one
   makes it!
Consider, you who peruse me, whether I may not in unknown ways be
   looking upon you;
Be firm, rail over the river, to support those who lean idly, yet
   haste with the hasting current;
Fly on, sea-birds! fly sideways, or wheel in large circles high in
   the air;
Receive the summer sky, you water, and faithfully hold it till all
   downcast eyes have time to take it from you!
Diverge, fine spokes of light, from the shape of my head, or any
   one’s head, in the sunlit water!
Come on, ships from the lower bay! pass up or down, white-sail’d
   schooners, sloops, lighters!
Flaunt away, flags of all nations! be duly lower’d at sunset!
Burn high your fires, foundry chimneys! cast black shadows at
   nightfall! cast red and yellow light over the tops of the houses!

Appearances, now or henceforth, indicate what you are,
You necessary film, continue to envelop the soul,
About my body for me, and your body for you, be hung our divinest
   aromas,
Thrive, cities—bring your freight, bring your shows, ample and
   sufficient rivers,
Expand, being than which none else is perhaps more spiritual,
Keep your places, objects than which none else is more lasting.

You have waited, you always wait, you dumb, beautiful ministers,
We receive you with free sense at last, and are insatiate
   henceforward,
Not you any more shall be able to foil us, or withhold yourselves
   from us,
We use you, and do not cast you aside—we plant you permanently
   within us,
We fathom you not—we love you—there is perfection in you also,
You furnish your parts toward eternity,
Great or small, you furnish your parts toward the soul.
I

However the image enters
its force remains within
my eyes
rockstrewn caves where dragonfish evolve
wild for life, relentless and acquisitive
learning to survive
where there is no food
my eyes are always hungry
and remembering
however the image enters
its force remains.
A white woman stands bereft and empty
a black boy hacked into a murderous lesson
recalled in me forever
like a lurch of earth on the edge of sleep
etched into my visions
food for dragonfish that learn
to live upon whatever they must eat
fused images beneath my pain.

II

The Pearl River floods through the streets of Jackson
A Mississippi summer televised.
Trapped houses kneel like sinners in the rain
a white woman climbs from her roof to a passing boat
her fingers tarry for a moment on the chimney
tearless and no longer young, she holds
a tattered baby's blanket in her arms.
In a flickering afterimage of the nightmare rain
a microphone
****** up against her flat bewildered words
"we jest come from the bank yestiddy
borrowing money to pay the income tax
now everything's gone. I never knew
it could be so hard."
Despair weighs down her voice like Pearl River mud
caked around the edges
her pale eyes scanning the camera for help or explanation
unanswered
she shifts her search across the watered street, dry-eyed
"hard, but not this hard."
Two tow-headed children hurl themselves against her
hanging upon her coat like mirrors
until a man with ham-like hands pulls her aside
snarling "She ain't got nothing more to say!"
and that lie hangs in his mouth
like a shred of rotting meat.

III

I inherited Jackson, Mississippi.
For my majority it gave me Emmett Till
his 15 years puffed out like bruises
on plump boy-cheeks
his only Mississippi summer
whistling a 21 gun salute to Dixie
as a white girl passed him in the street
and he was baptized my son forever
in the midnight waters of the Pearl.

His broken body is the afterimage of my 21st year
when I walked through a northern summer
my eyes averted
from each corner's photographies
newspapers protest posters magazines
Police Story, Confidential, True
the avid insistence of detail
pretending insight or information
the length of **** across the dead boy's *****
his grieving mother's lamentation
the severed lips, how many burns
his gouged out eyes
sewed shut upon the screaming covers
louder than life
all over
the veiled warning, the secret relish
of a black child's mutilated body
fingered by street-corner eyes
bruise upon livid bruise
and wherever I looked that summer
I learned to be at home with children's blood
with savored violence
with pictures of black broken flesh
used, crumpled, and discarded
lying amid the sidewalk refuse
like a ***** woman's face.

A black boy from Chicago
whistled on the streets of Jackson, Mississippi
testing what he'd been taught was a manly thing to do
his teachers
ripped his eyes out his *** his tongue
and flung him to the Pearl weighted with stone
in th e name of white womanhood
they took their aroused honor
back to Jackson
and celebrated in a *******
the double ritual of white manhood
confirmed.

IV

"If earth and air and water do not judge them who are
we to refuse a crust of bread?"

Emmett Till rides the crest of the Pearl, whistling
24 years his ghost lay like the shade of a ***** woman
and a white girl has grown older in costly honor
(what did she pay to never know its price?)
now the Pearl River speaks its muddy judgment
and I can withhold my pity and my bread.

"Hard, but not this hard."
Her face is flat with resignation and despair
with ancient and familiar sorrows
a woman surveying her crumpled future
as the white girl besmirched by Emmett's whistle
never allowed her own tongue
without power or conclusion
unvoiced
she stands adrift in the ruins of her honor
and a man with an executioner's face
pulls her away.

Within my eyes
the flickering afterimages of a nightmare rain
a woman wrings her hands
beneath the weight of agonies remembered
I wade through summer ghosts
betrayed by vision
hers and my own
becoming dragonfish to survive
the horrors we are living
with tortured lungs
adapting to breathe blood.

A woman measures her life's damage
my eyes are caves, chunks of etched rock
tied to the ghost of a black boy
whistling
crying and frightened
her tow-headed children cluster
like little mirrors of despair
their father's hands upon them
and soundlessly
a woman begins to weep.
Alexander Klein Dec 2015
once, there were two fish, because i needed them to be happy. but because of their happiness i had to make a change, for happiness cannot last forever. perhaps her little child is lost. it is a boy child maybe. she loves him, whomever he is. i love him too and i dont even know who he is or why i have just now accidentally made him. the mother fish swims through the underworld of the sea searching for the fish baby. maybe she will find him or maybe she never will, she has no way of knowing just like no one will ever read these words. it is ok though, because i have written them. maybe. the mother keeps the story going because she misses her lost little fish. there is an anenome, maybe. no, my mistake, it seems there was not. in a forest of kelp waved some fins that reminded the mother fish of her lonely boy: these treasures are important in the cold depths of the sea. maybe a memory is more important than the flesh, she thinks. she is lonely. once there was happiness. the memory of happiness floats aimless in the sea like her. she has made poor choices in her lonely life but it is important to endure these mistakes, for they showed the poor fish mother (not me) who she really was. i only wrote some words distract myself but now it has become an ocean and fish and the fish are sad though i wanted them to be happy. it is difficult being a fish. and then the fish think 'why am i sad,' and that ‘why’ causes even greater grief and that goes on forever, like the ocean. it is good that i am writing about something big enough to be written about. there i go again making poor choices: this story is supposed to be about the poor little mother fish but i have made a big mess of things by talking about my own problems, so let's not get more distracted here. that is the kind of mistake i will have to live with. 'find my fish,' she says now to someone or to me, so let us all return to that. i would not want to be a mother without her fish. she is mad at me because she thinks i have hidden her fish. i am sorry, i did not mean to hide your fish, but you looked so unhappy being happy and i love you. distractions are the nature of the ocean, any thing can shift at a moment’s notice which makes it difficult to find things that may or may not be lost. there was always a small son at the mother's breast, because love is in the heart. but the mother fish swims on right past her own heart for now, because that should remain the last place she looks. the son must be somewhere. the ocean is vast but every sorrow must somehow come to an end. where can her poor fish be, for he is lost (as i would be) and lonely (as i am). the sea hides her dangers with her beauties so that any might meet a beautiful end if they wish. the mother’s madness might drive her to a beautiful end. she thinks i am not helping her fish, and she thinks i have forgotten her. i’ve discovered that it’s not easy making fish who love each other. there is a so much ocean to traverse. you know what the ocean is like. maybe you are even there now. are you now breathing air or water, or had you forgotten? see how easy it is to become lost? did the mother fish have a son? is there meaning in the search for him, or only when he is found? will i just pick and choose my letters until i am dead? here in the ocean i accidently made i have tried to stay honest, and maintain an honest ocean. the mother is the ocean, and she is searching for herself. is something like that considered an important detail? you might ask me ‘will she find herself?’ and i might reply ‘will you?’ it seems i couldn’t control the flood and now we’re surrounded by these waves that are every question, every answer. when will i be you? when will the fish be found? the mother needs some hope if she is to continue her journey. another memory, maybe, compells her behind a blooming reef. but the memory of her son was not her son. she has so many memories, is one of them her son? has she even lost something, or is she wandering these lonely depths insane? are these words i wrote a shipwreck under which she looms? she knows she had a son, for she knows she has something missing, just as i do. maybe the mother will find her thing, and maybe i will too. the thing is temporary but the maybe is forever and gradually permeates so fully that it is no longer possible to perceive. you are the child of my dreams, if ever you live to read this shallow tidepool. if it has helped you i will be happy, or try. the mother should find her fish, i think. that would make me happy. i have not forgotten that once, long before memory, the mother and her son were one. you and i are one, if you even exist. the ocean is wide to search so at least the mother is keeping busy, but when she has explored it all where else can she look? what else can she try that she has not tried? perhaps she found the answer once and had not recognized it. maybe she will try everything again. or maybe i have lost my way and she has not. she understands her task; what do i know? i only made them. you saw how easy it was. should i never have made them? would they be happier unmade? ‘maybe some fish are happier somewhere, than this lost mother.’ my sister said that and i like to think she is right: far away there are happy fish. i like to think that where they are the notion of hardship is laughable. some of these things that i am making happen to you are not even happening, that is why this is so hard to read, but such are the tribulations of being at the mercy of the tide. it helps me to be a mother fish searching for her fish because i am searching for something to search for. have i found it? curse you neptune for being so perilous! jk though because we are friends. i feel bad when i procrastinate, as if i am keeping the mother from her son. i hope she finds him. am i even able to help her? if i were to say '****, here is your son,' would she be happy? if i prolong her misery, perhaps i can prolong her joy. it's the fricton she craves, i think, for that is what i crave. would it be terrible if i got carried away by my own universe? would the fish find happiness if existence did not exist? i could be evil and take it all away if they would enjoy that nonexistence. i nearly typed their destruction just now, but deleted because the mother fish might have liked it less. would she be happy if i finish this story, or is she happier now with something to search for? when i began i did not know the depths to which my fish might suffer. i am sorry i am not working to find your fish. maybe she thinks i have found him already and i am hiding him from her. maybe she thinks i am unable, even, to complete the simple task of returning her beloved son. just because she went and lost him it is as if i have stolen him from her. her confusion is as wide as the ocean. i’ll trade ‘should the mother find her son’ for a better riddle: should i care if she does? because i do, if only because by making those fish i doomed them to unhappiness. but does the mother care how to spell unhappiness? will extra letters help her understand my meaning? i think i’ll allow her son to be discovered somewhere foolish where she should sooner have thought to look, because if i were to withhold my mother’s son from her she might hate me, i imagine, as i too might hate my author from the reverse position.
Now when Dawn in robe of saffron was hasting from the streams of
Oceanus, to bring light to mortals and immortals, Thetis reached the
ships with the armour that the god had given her. She found her son
fallen about the body of Patroclus and weeping bitterly. Many also
of his followers were weeping round him, but when the goddess came
among them she clasped his hand in her own, saying, “My son, grieve as
we may we must let this man lie, for it is by heaven’s will that he
has fallen; now, therefore, accept from Vulcan this rich and goodly
armour, which no man has ever yet borne upon his shoulders.”
  As she spoke she set the armour before Achilles, and it rang out
bravely as she did so. The Myrmidons were struck with awe, and none
dared look full at it, for they were afraid; but Achilles was roused
to still greater fury, and his eyes gleamed with a fierce light, for
he was glad when he handled the splendid present which the god had
made him. Then, as soon as he had satisfied himself with looking at
it, he said to his mother, “Mother, the god has given me armour,
meet handiwork for an immortal and such as no living could have
fashioned; I will now arm, but I much fear that flies will settle upon
the son of Menoetius and breed worms about his wounds, so that his
body, now he is dead, will be disfigured and the flesh will rot.”
  Silver-footed Thetis answered, “My son, be not disquieted about this
matter. I will find means to protect him from the swarms of noisome
flies that prey on the bodies of men who have been killed in battle.
He may lie for a whole year, and his flesh shall still be as sound
as ever, or even sounder. Call, therefore, the Achaean heroes in
assembly; unsay your anger against Agamemnon; arm at once, and fight
with might and main.”
  As she spoke she put strength and courage into his heart, and she
then dropped ambrosia and red nectar into the wounds of Patroclus,
that his body might suffer no change.
  Then Achilles went out upon the seashore, and with a loud cry called
on the Achaean heroes. On this even those who as yet had stayed always
at the ships, the pilots and helmsmen, and even the stewards who
were about the ships and served out rations, all came to the place
of assembly because Achilles had shown himself after having held aloof
so long from fighting. Two sons of Mars, Ulysses and the son of
Tydeus, came limping, for their wounds still pained them; nevertheless
they came, and took their seats in the front row of the assembly. Last
of all came Agamemnon, king of men, he too wounded, for **** son of
Antenor had struck him with a spear in battle.
  When the Achaeans were got together Achilles rose and said, “Son
of Atreus, surely it would have been better alike for both you and me,
when we two were in such high anger about Briseis, surely it would
have been better, had Diana’s arrow slain her at the ships on the
day when I took her after having sacked Lyrnessus. For so, many an
Achaean the less would have bitten dust before the foe in the days
of my anger. It has been well for Hector and the Trojans, but the
Achaeans will long indeed remember our quarrel. Now, however, let it
be, for it is over. If we have been angry, necessity has schooled
our anger. I put it from me: I dare not nurse it for ever;
therefore, bid the Achaeans arm forthwith that I may go out against
the Trojans, and learn whether they will be in a mind to sleep by
the ships or no. Glad, I ween, will he be to rest his knees who may
fly my spear when I wield it.”
  Thus did he speak, and the Achaeans rejoiced in that he had put away
his anger.
  Then Agamemnon spoke, rising in his place, and not going into the
middle of the assembly. “Danaan heroes,” said he, “servants of Mars,
it is well to listen when a man stands up to speak, and it is not
seemly to interrupt him, or it will go hard even with a practised
speaker. Who can either hear or speak in an uproar? Even the finest
orator will be disconcerted by it. I will expound to the son of
Peleus, and do you other Achaeans heed me and mark me well. Often have
the Achaeans spoken to me of this matter and upbraided me, but it
was not I that did it: Jove, and Fate, and Erinys that walks in
darkness struck me mad when we were assembled on the day that I took
from Achilles the meed that had been awarded to him. What could I
do? All things are in the hand of heaven, and Folly, eldest of
Jove’s daughters, shuts men’s eyes to their destruction. She walks
delicately, not on the solid earth, but hovers over the heads of men
to make them stumble or to ensnare them.
  “Time was when she fooled Jove himself, who they say is greatest
whether of gods or men; for Juno, woman though she was, beguiled him
on the day when Alcmena was to bring forth mighty Hercules in the fair
city of Thebes. He told it out among the gods saying, ‘Hear me all
gods and goddesses, that I may speak even as I am minded; this day
shall an Ilithuia, helper of women who are in labour, bring a man
child into the world who shall be lord over all that dwell about him
who are of my blood and lineage.’ Then said Juno all crafty and full
of guile, ‘You will play false, and will not hold to your word.
Swear me, O Olympian, swear me a great oath, that he who shall this
day fall between the feet of a woman, shall be lord over all that
dwell about him who are of your blood and lineage.’
  “Thus she spoke, and Jove suspected her not, but swore the great
oath, to his much ruing thereafter. For Juno darted down from the high
summit of Olympus, and went in haste to Achaean Argos where she knew
that the noble wife of Sthenelus son of Perseus then was. She being
with child and in her seventh month, Juno brought the child to birth
though there was a month still wanting, but she stayed the offspring
of Alcmena, and kept back the Ilithuiae. Then she went to tell Jove
the son of Saturn, and said, ‘Father Jove, lord of the lightning—I
have a word for your ear. There is a fine child born this day,
Eurystheus, son to Sthenelus the son of Perseus; he is of your
lineage; it is well, therefore, that he should reign over the
Argives.’
  “On this Jove was stung to the very quick, and in his rage he caught
Folly by the hair, and swore a great oath that never should she
again invade starry heaven and Olympus, for she was the bane of all.
Then he whirled her round with a twist of his hand, and flung her down
from heaven so that she fell on to the fields of mortal men; and he
was ever angry with her when he saw his son groaning under the cruel
labours that Eurystheus laid upon him. Even so did I grieve when
mighty Hector was killing the Argives at their ships, and all the time
I kept thinking of Folly who had so baned me. I was blind, and Jove
robbed me of my reason; I will now make atonement, and will add much
treasure by way of amends. Go, therefore, into battle, you and your
people with you. I will give you all that Ulysses offered you
yesterday in your tents: or if it so please you, wait, though you
would fain fight at once, and my squires shall bring the gifts from my
ship, that you may see whether what I give you is enough.”
  And Achilles answered, “Son of Atreus, king of men Agamemnon, you
can give such gifts as you think proper, or you can withhold them:
it is in your own hands. Let us now set battle in array; it is not
well to tarry talking about trifles, for there is a deed which is as
yet to do. Achilles shall again be seen fighting among the foremost,
and laying low the ranks of the Trojans: bear this in mind each one of
you when he is fighting.”
  Then Ulysses said, “Achilles, godlike and brave, send not the
Achaeans thus against Ilius to fight the Trojans fasting, for the
battle will be no brief one, when it is once begun, and heaven has
filled both sides with fury; bid them first take food both bread and
wine by the ships, for in this there is strength and stay. No man
can do battle the livelong day to the going down of the sun if he is
without food; however much he may want to fight his strength will fail
him before he knows it; hunger and thirst will find him out, and his
limbs will grow weary under him. But a man can fight all day if he
is full fed with meat and wine; his heart beats high, and his strength
will stay till he has routed all his foes; therefore, send the
people away and bid them prepare their meal; King Agamemnon will bring
out the gifts in presence of the assembly, that all may see them and
you may be satisfied. Moreover let him swear an oath before the
Argives that he has never gone up into the couch of Briseis, nor
been with her after the manner of men and women; and do you, too, show
yourself of a gracious mind; let Agamemnon entertain you in his
tents with a feast of reconciliation, that so you may have had your
dues in full. As for you, son of Atreus, treat people more righteously
in future; it is no disgrace even to a king that he should make amends
if he was wrong in the first instance.”
  And King Agamemnon answered, “Son of Laertes, your words please me
well, for throughout you have spoken wisely. I will swear as you would
have me do; I do so of my own free will, neither shall I take the name
of heaven in vain. Let, then, Achilles wait, though he would fain
fight at once, and do you others wait also, till the gifts come from
my tent and we ratify the oath with sacrifice. Thus, then, do I charge
you: take some noble young Achaeans with you, and bring from my
tents the gifts that I promised yesterday to Achilles, and bring the
women also; furthermore let Talthybius find me a boar from those
that are with the host, and make it ready for sacrifice to Jove and to
the sun.”
  Then said Achilles, “Son of Atreus, king of men Agamemnon, see to
these matters at some other season, when there is breathing time and
when I am calmer. Would you have men eat while the bodies of those
whom Hector son of Priam slew are still lying mangled upon the
plain? Let the sons of the Achaeans, say I, fight fasting and
without food, till we have avenged them; afterwards at the going
down of the sun let them eat their fill. As for me, Patroclus is lying
dead in my tent, all hacked and hewn, with his feet to the door, and
his comrades are mourning round him. Therefore I can take thought of
nothing save only slaughter and blood and the rattle in the throat
of the dying.”
  Ulysses answered, “Achilles, son of Peleus, mightiest of all the
Achaeans, in battle you are better than I, and that more than a
little, but in counsel I am much before you, for I am older and of
greater knowledge. Therefore be patient under my words. Fighting is
a thing of which men soon surfeit, and when Jove, who is wars steward,
weighs the upshot, it may well prove that the straw which our
sickles have reaped is far heavier than the grain. It may not be
that the Achaeans should mourn the dead with their bellies; day by day
men fall thick and threefold continually; when should we have
respite from our sorrow? Let us mourn our dead for a day and bury them
out of sight and mind, but let those of us who are left eat and
drink that we may arm and fight our foes more fiercely. In that hour
let no man hold back, waiting for a second summons; such summons shall
bode ill for him who is found lagging behind at our ships; let us
rather sally as one man and loose the fury of war upon the Trojans.”
  When he had thus spoken he took with him the sons of Nestor, with
Meges son of Phyleus, Thoas, Meriones, Lycomedes son of Creontes,
and Melanippus, and went to the tent of Agamemnon son of Atreus. The
word was not sooner said than the deed was done: they brought out
the seven tripods which Agamemnon had promised, with the twenty
metal cauldrons and the twelve horses; they also brought the women
skilled in useful arts, seven in number, with Briseis, which made
eight. Ulysses weighed out the ten talents of gold and then led the
way back, while the young Achaeans brought the rest of the gifts,
and laid them in the middle of the assembly.
  Agamemnon then rose, and Talthybius whose voice was like that of a
god came to him with the boar. The son of Atreus drew the knife
which he wore by the scabbard of his mighty sword, and began by
cutting off some bristles from the boar, lifting up his hands in
prayer as he did so. The other Achaeans sat where they were all silent
and orderly to hear the king, and Agamemnon looked into the vault of
heaven and prayed saying, “I call Jove the first and mightiest of
all gods to witness, I call also Earth and Sun and the Erinyes who
dwell below and take vengeance on him who shall swear falsely, that
I have laid no hand upon the girl Briseis, neither to take her to my
bed nor otherwise, but that she has remained in my tents inviolate. If
I swear falsely may heaven visit me with all the penalties which it
metes out to those who perjure themselves.”
  He cut the boar’s throat as he spoke, whereon Talthybius whirled
it round his head, and flung it into the wide sea to feed the
fishes. Then Achilles also rose and said to the Argives, “Father Jove,
of a truth you blind men’s eyes and bane them. The son of Atreus had
not else stirred me to so fierce an anger, nor so stubbornly taken
Briseis from me against my will. Surely Jove must have counselled
the destruction of many an Argive. Go, now, and take your food that we
may begin fighting.”
  On this he broke up the assembly, and every man went back to his own
ship. The Myrmidons attended to the presents and took them away to the
ship of Achilles. They placed them in his tents, while the
stable-men drove the horses in among the others.
  Briseis, fair as Venus, when she saw the mangled body of
Patroclus, flung herself upon it and cried aloud, tearing her
breast, her neck, and her lovely face with both her hands. Beautiful
as a goddess she wept and said, “Patroclus, dearest friend, when I
went hence I left you living; I return, O prince, to find you dead;
thus do fresh sorrows multiply upon me one after the other. I saw
him to whom my father and mother married me, cut down before our city,
and my three own dear brothers perished with him on the self-same day;
but you, Patroclus, even when Achilles slew my husband and sacked
the city of noble Mynes, told me that I was not to weep, for you
said you would make Achilles marry me, and take me back with him to
Phthia, we should have a wedding feast among the Myrmidons. You were
always kind to me and I shall never cease to grieve for you.”
  She wept as she spoke, and the women joined in her lament-making
as though their tears were for Patroclus, but in truth each was
weeping for her own sorrows. The elders of the Achaeans gathered round
Achilles and prayed him to take food, but he groaned and would not
do so. “I pray you,” said he, “if any comrade will hear me, bid me
neither eat nor drink, for I am in great heaviness, and will stay
fasting even to the going down of the sun.”
  On this he sent the other princes away, save only the two sons of
Atreus and Ulysses, Nestor, Idomeneus, and the knight Phoenix, who
stayed behind and tried to comfort him in the bitterness of his
sorrow: but he would not be comforted till he should have flung
himself into the jaws of battle, and he fetched sigh on sigh, thinking
ever of Patroclus. Then he said-
  “Hapless and dearest comrade, you it was who would get a good dinner
ready for me at once and without delay when the Achaeans were
hasting to fight the Trojans; now, therefore, though I have meat and
drink in my tents, yet will I fast for sorrow. Grief greater than this
I could not know, not even though I were to hear of the death of my
father, who is now in Phthia weeping for the loss of me his son, who
am here fighting the Trojans in a strange land for the accursed sake
of Helen, nor yet though I should hear that my son is no more—he
who is being brought up in Scyros—if indeed Neoptolemus is still
living. Till now I made sure that I alone was to fall here at Troy
away from Argos, while you were to return to Phthia, bring back my son
with you in your own ship, and show him all my property, my
bondsmen, and the greatness of my house—for Peleus must surely be
either dead, or
Elena Ramos Apr 2015
Slavery is the opposite of freedom. Is doing what you want and how
you want it. When you decide to be free, you are on the top of anything you
ever wonder being someday. Freedom is a concept many people or parents or
adults believe is debauchery; at some point, we all need to be free to succeed
in our own life. I never listened that someone survived because he lived
someone else lifestyle. Freedom is the internal force we have to choose by
ourself without persuasive thoughts of external people. What is the scientific
or definition of freedom? The state of being free or at liberty rather than in
confinement or under physical restraint. Freedom is an absolute right. We are
born to become free not to withhold ourself.  The term freedom varies from
one culture to another. Not everywhere, you can decide your religion
(Saudi Arabia, for example. Islam is their official religion and no one can
go against it) the right to do what one wants, eat what
we want, learns what we want, live where he want… So, freedom is a
synonym  of “wanting” and “dreaming”.
How many historical people had made a change in universal history, like
Matin Luther King said in one of his speech, “I had a dreams”. He fighted
even if there were many people against him, but he made it, what matters, now
he’s country lives forever free. Freedom is taking risk, no matter the impact
that will have on your life later. Nelson Mandela stood on jail for long time,
almost all his life, because of expressing how liberty or freedom meant to him.
If he wasn’t brave enough slavery could still exist! In conclusion , freedom is
the courage we have to do something we desire. If we are free enough we can
fly high, and no people will stand in front of us, never; because we will be so
on top of them, they will feel small next to us. Be smart, and choose your
fights, be careful on your moves, but remember to keep your self original from
begginnig to the end. There is people who change or get lost in the mid
process  of their lifes, but only those who want and have this freedom spirit
will  spotlight anywhere. Don’t let people limit your freedom!
Dr Sam Burton Sep 2014
Whales have no wings to fly
But they have eyes to cry

Whales are so big but kind
They're not easy to find

Whales are definitely so nice
**** them not to eat with rice.


Today is Saturday, Sept. 28, the 269th day of 2014 with 94 to follow.

The moon is waxing. Morning stars are Jupiter, Uranus and Venus. Evening stars are Mars, Mercury, Neptune and Saturn.


In 1825, in England, George Stephenson operated the first locomotive to pull a passenger train.



A thought for the day:



No place epitomizes the American experience and the American spirit more than New York City. -- Michael Bloomberg.



QUOTES FOR THE DAY:




He who is void of virtuous attachments in private life is, or very soon will be, void of all regard for his country. There is seldom an instance of a man guilty of betraying his country, who had not before lost the feeling of moral obligations in his private connections.

------------------------

How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!



Samuel Adams



In university they don't tell you that the greater part of the law is learning to tolerate fools.




Doris Lessing




“The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way.”



Henry David Thoreau



"Everything you can imagine is real."



Pablo Picasso



“Ugly. Is irrelevant. It is an immeasurable insult to a woman, and then supposedly the worst crime you can commit as a woman. But ugly, as beautiful, is an illusion.”



Margaret Cho




POETRY




TO THE THAWING WIND



Robert Frost





Come with rain, O loud Southwester!
Bring the singer, bring the nester;
Give the buried flower a dream;
Make the settled snowbank steam;
Find the brown beneath the white;
But whate'er you do tonight,
Bathe my window, make it flow,
Melt it as the ice will go;
Melt the glass and leave the sticks
Like a hermit's crucifix;
Burst into my narrow stall;
Swing the picture on the wall;
Run the rattling pages o'er;
Scatter poems on the floor;
Turn the poet out of door.


About this poem
"To the Thawing Wind" was first published in Frost's collection "A Boy's Will" (Holt, 1915).

About Robert Frost
Robert Frost was born on March 26, 1874, in San Francisco. He was the recipient of four Pulitzer Prizes during his lifetime and read at President John F. Kennedy's inauguration. Frost died in Boston on Jan. 29, 1963.

*
The Academy of American Poets is a nonprofit, mission-driven organization, whose aim is to make poetry available to a wider audience. Email The Academy at poem-a-day[at]poets.org.



This poem is in the public domain.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate





A TIP FOR WOMEN




Choosing Eyeliner



Make sure the color of your eyeliner complements your eyes. Dark brown eyes benefit from plum shades. If you have lighter eyes, try navy and charcoal. Brown eyeliner works well no matter what color your eyes are!




JOKES



WHALES



A little girl was talking to her teacher about whales.

The teacher said it was physically impossible for a whale to swallow a human because even though it was a very large mammal its throat was very small.

The little girl stated that Jonah was swallowed by a whale.

Irritated, the teacher reiterated that a whale could not swallow a human; it was physically impossible.

The little girl: said, "When I get to heaven I will ask Jonah".

The teacher: asked, " What if Jonah went to hell?"

The little girl: replied, "Then you ask him".





JURY SELECTION

The tiresome jury selection process continued, each side hotly contesting and dismissing potential jurors. Don O'Brian was called for his question session.

"Property holder?"

"Yes, I am, Your Honor."

"Married or single?"

"Married for twenty years, Your Honor."

"Formed or expressed an opinion?"

"Not in twenty years, Your Honor."





Questionable Predictions



Nostradamus recently turned 500. Here are some other predictions from lesser lights:

- Law will be simplified (over the next century). Lawyers will have diminished, and their fees will have been vastly curtailed. --Junius Henri Browne 1893

- By 1960, work will be limited to three hours a day. --John Langdon-Davies

- Hurrah, Boys, we've caught them napping. We'll finish them up and go home to our station. --George A. Custer, 1876, prior to the Battle of Little Big Horn

- Get rid of the pointed-ears guy. --NBC executive, regarding Mr. Spock of STAR TREK, 1966

- Telephones (will) bring peace on earth, eliminate Southern accents, and save the farm by making farmers less lonely. --printed in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, Century-old Pronouncements, 1995





Stupid True Headlines



- Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says

- Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers

- Safety Experts Say School Bus Passengers Should Be Belted

- Drunk Gets Nine Months in Violin Case

- Survivor of Siamese Twins Joins Parents

- Farmer Bill Dies in House

- Iraqi Head Seeks Arms

- Is There a Ring of Debris around Uranus?

- Stud Tires Out

- Prostitutes Appeal to Pope

- Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over

- Soviet ****** Lands Short of Goal Again

- British Left Waffles on Falkland Islands

- Lung Cancer in Women Mushrooms

- Eye Drops off Shelf

- Teacher Strikes Idle Kids

- Include your Children When Baking Cookies

- Squad Helps Dog Bite Victim

- Shot Off Woman's Leg Helps Nicklaus to 66

- Enraged Cow Injures Farmer with Axe

- Plane Too Close to Ground, Crash Probe Told

- Miners Refuse to Work after Death

- Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant

- Stolen Painting Found by Tree

- Two Soviet Ships Collide, One Dies

- Two Sisters Reunited after 18 Years in Checkout Counter

- Killer Sentenced to Die for Second Time in 10 Years



- Never Withhold ****** Infection from Loved One

- Drunken Drivers Paid $1000 in '84

- War Dims Hope for Peace

- If Strike isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last a While

- Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures

- Enfields Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide

- Red Tape Holds Up New Bridge

- Deer **** 17,000

- Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead

- Man Struck by Lightning Faces Battery Charge

- New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group

- Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft

- Kids Make Nutritious Snacks

- Chef Throws His Heart into Helping Feed Needy

- Arson Suspect is Held in Massachusetts Fire

- British Union Finds Dwarfs in Short Supply

- Ban On Soliciting Dead in Trotwood

- Lansing Residents Can Drop Off Trees

- Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half

- New Vaccine May Contain Rabies

- Man Minus Ear Waives Hearing

- Deaf College Opens Doors to Hearing

- Air Head Fired

- Steals Clock, Faces Time

- Prosecutor Releases Probe into Undersheriff

- Old School Pillars are Replaced by Alumni

- Bank Drive-in Window Blocked by Board

- Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors

- Some Pieces of Rock Hudson Sold at Auction

- *** Education Delayed, Teachers Request Training





HAVE A FABULOUS SUNDAY!
1010

Up Life’s Hill with my my little Bundle
If I prove it steep—
If a Discouragement withhold me—
If my newest step

Older feel than the Hope that prompted—
Spotless be from blame
Heart that proposed as Heart that accepted
Homelessness, for Home—
uzzi obinna Oct 2015
I want to be a king,
Not the king who wants to boast with the title attached to his name;
Not the king to whom only exercise of power and authority is his aim;
Not the king whose work is only meant to bring him fame;
Not the king who will blame others but himself will he not blame.

I want to be a king,
The kind of king whose heart is broken when his people are in pain;
The kind of king who considers the comfort of his people as great gain;
The kind of king who will ensure that his people are never slain;
The king who will encourage love among his people but hate he will restrain.

I want to be a king,
Whose interest is to search diligently to find something vital to do in a man’s life;
A kind of king who will fight immorality and would not desire another man’s wife;
A kind of king who will encourage peace among his people by authorizing that they put away strife;
A king who could deprive himself of comfort if it means providing his people with a standard life.

I want to be a king,
The kind of king whose desire is not to be served but to serve;
The king who will not withhold the wage of the poor but pay every man exactly what he deserves;
The king who would rather die than see others starve;
The king who will not divert or misuse the funds in his nation’s reserve.

I want to be that king,
Who will win the trust of his people only by being trustworthy;
Who will place the interest and livelihood of his people firstly
That king who will always represent his people by acting and speaking justly;
The king who for the sake of the innocent, bring to judgement the guilty.
Michael R Burch Mar 2020
Heretical Poems by Michael R. Burch

Bible Libel
by Michael R. Burch

If God
is good,
half the Bible
is libel.

NOTE: I came up with this epigram to express my conclusions after reading the Bible from cover to cover, ten chapters per day, at age eleven.



Saving Graces
for the Religious Right
by Michael R. Burch

Life’s saving graces are love, pleasure, laughter
(wisdom, it seems, is for the Hereafter).



Multiplication, Tabled
for the Religious Right
by Michael R. Burch

“Be fruitful and multiply”—
great advice, for a fruitfly!
But for women and men,
simple Simons, say, “WHEN!”



***** Nilly
for the Demiurge, aka Yahweh/Jehovah
by Michael R. Burch

Isn’t it silly, ***** Nilly?
You made the stallion,
you made the filly,
and now they sleep
in the dark earth, stilly.
Isn’t it silly, ***** Nilly?

Isn’t it silly, ***** Nilly?
You forced them to run
all their days uphilly.
They ran till they dropped—
life’s a pickle, dilly.
Isn’t it silly, ***** Nilly?

Isn’t it silly, ***** Nilly?
They say I should worship you!
Oh, really!
They say I should pray
so you’ll not act illy.
Isn’t it silly, ***** Nilly?



What Would Santa Claus Say
by Michael R. Burch

What would Santa Claus say,
I wonder,
about Jesus returning
to **** and Plunder?

For he’ll likely return
on Christmas Day
to blow the bad
little boys away!

When He flashes like lightning
across the skies
and many a homosexual
dies,

when the harlots and heretics
are ripped asunder,
what will the Easter Bunny think,
I wonder?



A Child’s Christmas Prayer of Despair for a Hindu Saint
by Michael R. Burch

Santa Claus,
for Christmas, please,
don’t bring me toys, or games, or candy . . .
just . . . Santa, please . . .
I’m on my knees! . . .
please don’t let Jesus torture Gandhi!



gimME that ol’ time religion!
by michael r. burch

fiddle-dee-dum, fiddle-dee-dee,
jesus loves and understands ME!
safe in his grace, I’LL **** them to hell—
the strumpet, the harlot, the wild jezebel,
the alky, the druggie, all queers short and tall!
let them drink ashes and wormwood and gall,
’cause fiddle-dee-DUMB, fiddle-dee-WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEee . . .
jesus loves and understands
ME!



Practice Makes Perfect
by Michael R. Burch

I have a talent for sleep;
it’s one of my favorite things.
Thus when I sleep, I sleep deep ...
at least till the stupid clock rings.

I frown as I squelch its **** beep,
then fling it aside to resume
my practice for when I’ll sleep deep
in a silent and undisturbed tomb.



Enough!
by Michael R. Burch

It’s not that I don’t want to die;
I shall be glad to go.
Enough of diabetes pie,
and eating sickly crow!
Enough of win and place and show.
Enough of endless woe!

Enough of suffering and vice!
I’ve said it once;
I’ll say it twice:
I shall be glad to go.

But why the hell should I be nice
when no one asked for my advice?
So grumpily I’ll go ...
although
(most probably) below.



Redefinitions
by Michael R. Burch

Faith: falling into the same old claptrap.
Religion: the ties that blind.



pretty pickle
by michael r. burch

u’d blaspheme if u could
because ur God’s no good,
but of course u cant:
ur just a lowly ant
(or so u were told by a Hierophant).



Defenses
by Michael R. Burch

Beyond the silhouettes of trees
stark, naked and defenseless
there stand long rows of sentinels:
these pert white picket fences.

Now whom they guard and how they guard,
the good Lord only knows;
but savages would have to laugh
observing the tidy rows.



Listen
by Michael R. Burch

Listen to me now and heed my voice;
I am a madman, alone, screaming in the wilderness,
but listen now.

Listen to me now, and if I say
that black is black, and white is white, and in between lies gray,
I have no choice.

Does a madman choose his words? They come to him,
the moon’s illuminations, intimations of the wind,
and he must speak.

But listen to me now, and if you hear
the tolling of the judgment bell, and if its tone is clear,
then do not tarry,

but listen, or cut off your ears, for I Am weary.



fog
by michael r. burch

ur just a bit of fluff
drifting out over the ocean,
unleashing an atom of rain,
causing a minor commotion,
for which u expect awesome GODS
to pay u SUPREME DEVOTION!
... but ur just a smidgen of mist
unlikely to be missed ...
where did u get the notion?



thanksgiving prayer of the parasites
by michael r. burch

GODD is great;
GODD is good;
let us thank HIM
for our food.

by HIS hand
we all are fed;
give us now
our daily dead:

ah-men!

(p.s.,
most gracious
& salacious
HEAVENLY LORD,
we thank YOU in advance for
meals galore
of loverly gore:
of precious
delicious
sumptuous
scrumptious
human flesh!)



no foothold
by michael r. burch

there is no hope;
therefore i became invulnerable to love.
now even god cannot move me:
nothing to push or shove,
no foothold.

so let me live out my remaining days in clarity,
mine being the only nativity,
my death the final crucifixion
and apocalypse,

as far as the i can see ...



u-turn: another way to look at religion
by michael r. burch

... u were borne orphaned from Ecstasy
into this lower realm: just one of the inching worms
dreaming of Beatification;
u'd love to make a u-turn back to Divinity, but
having misplaced ur chrysalis,
can only chant magical phrases,
like Circe luring ulysses back into the pigsty ...



You
by Michael R. Burch

For thirty years You have not spoken to me;
I heard the dull hollow echo of silence
as though a communion between us.

For thirty years You would not open to me;
You remained closed, hard and tense,
like a clenched fist.

For thirty years You have not broken me
with Your alien ways and Your distance.
Like a child dismissed,

I have watched You prey upon the hope in me,
knowing “mercy” is chance
and “heaven”—a list.



I’ve got Jesus’s face on a wallet insert
by Michael R. Burch

for the Religious Right

I’ve got Jesus’s face on a wallet insert
and "Hell is for Queers" on the back of my shirt.
     And I uphold the Law,
     for Grace has a Flaw:
the Church must have someone to drag through the dirt.

I’ve got ten thousand reasons why Hell must exist,
and you’re at the top of my fast-swelling list!
     You’re nothing like me,
     so God must agree
and slam down the Hammer with His Loving Fist!

For what are the chances that God has a plan
to save everyone: even Boy George and Wham!?
     Eternal fell torture
     in Hell’s pressure scorcher
will separate **** from Man.

I’m glad I’m redeemed, ecstatic you’re not.
Did Christ die for sinners? Perish the thought!
     The "good news" is this:
     soon My vengeance is his!,
for you’re not the lost sheep We sought.



Pagans Protest the Intolerance of Christianity
by Michael R. Burch

“We have a common sky.” — Quintus Aurelius Symmachus (c. 345-402)

We had a common sky
before the Christians came.

We thought there might be gods
but did not know their names.

The common stars above us?
They winked, and would not tell.

Yet now our fellow mortals claim
our questions merit hell!

The cause of our damnation?
They claim they’ve seen the LIGHT ...

but still the stars wink down at us,
as wiser beings might.



jesus hates me, this i know
by michael r. burch

jesus hates me, this I know,
for Church libel tells me so:
"little ones to him belong"
but if they use their dongs, so long!
    yes, jesus hates me!
    yes, jesus baits me!
    yes, he berates me!
    Church libel tells me so!

jesus fleeces us, i know,
for Religion scams us so:
little ones are brainwashed to
believe god saves the Chosen Few!
    yes, jesus fleeces!
    yes, he deceases
    the bunny and the rhesus
    because he's mad at you!

jesus hates me—christ who died
so i might be crucified:
for if i use my active brain,
that will drive the "lord" insane!
    yes, jesus hates me!
    yes, jesus baits me!
    yes, he berates me!
    Church libel tells me so!

jesus hates me, this I know,
for Church libel tells me so:
first priests tell me "look above,"
that christ's the lamb and god's the dove,
but then they sentence me to Hell
for using my big brain too well!
    yes, jesus hates me!
    yes, jesus baits me!
    yes, he berates me!
    Church libel tells me so!



and then i was made whole
by michael r. burch

... and then i was made whole,
but not a thing entire,
glued to a perch
in a gilded church,
strung through with a silver wire ...

singing a little of this and of that,
warbling higher and higher:
a thing wholly dead
till I lifted my head
and spat at the Lord and his choir.



Starting from Scratch with Ol’ Scratch
by Michael R. Burch

for the Religious Right

Love, with a small, fatalistic sigh
went to the ovens. Please don’t bother to cry.
You could have saved her, but you were all *******
complaining about the Jews to Reichmeister Grupp.

Scratch that. You were born after World War II.
You had something more important to do:
while the children of the Nakba were perishing in Gaza
with the complicity of your government, you had a noble cause (a
religious tract against homosexual marriage
and various things gods and evangelists disparage.)

Jesus will grok you? Ah, yes, I’m quite sure
that your intentions were good and ineluctably pure.
After all, what the hell does he care about Palestinians?
Certainly, Christians were right about serfs, slaves and Indians.
Scratch that. You’re one of the Devil’s minions.



In His Kingdom of Corpses
by Michael R. Burch

In His kingdom of corpses,
God has been heard to speak
in many enraged discourses,
high, high from some mountain peak
where He’s lectured man on compassion
while the sparrows around Him fell,
and babes, for His meager ration
of rain, died and went to hell,
unbaptized, for that’s His fashion.

In His kingdom of corpses,
God has been heard to vent
in many obscure discourses
on the need for man to repent,
to admit that he’s a sinner;
give up ***, and riches, and fame;
be disciplined at his dinner
though always he dies the same,
whether fatter or thinner.

In his kingdom of corpses,
God has been heard to speak
in many absurd discourses
of man’s Ego, precipitous Peak!,
while demanding praise and worship,
and the bending of every knee.
And though He sounds like the Devil,
all religious men now agree
He loves them indubitably.



Beast 666
by Michael R. Burch

“what rough beast...slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?”―W. B. Yeats

Brutality is a cross
wooden, blood-stained,
gas hissing, sibilant,
lungs gilled, deveined,
red flecks on a streaked glass pane,
jeers jubilant,
mocking.

Brutality is shocking―
tiny orifices torn
by cruel adult lust,
the fetus unborn
tossed in a dust-
bin. The scarred skull shorn,
nails bloodied, tortured,
an old wound sutured
over, never healed.

Brutality, all its faces revealed,
is legion:
Death March, Trail of Tears, Inquisition . . .
always the same.
The Beast of the godless and of man’s “religion”
slouching toward Jerusalem:
horned, crowned, gibbering, drooling, insane.



I AM
by Michael R. Burch

I am not one of ten billion―I―
sunblackened Icarus, chary fly,
staring at God with a quizzical eye.
I am not one of ten billion, I.

I am not one life has left unsquashed―
scarred as Ulysses, goddess-debauched,
pale glowworm agleam with a tale of panache.
I am not one life has left unsquashed.

I am not one without spots of disease,
laugh lines and tan lines and thick-callused knees
from begging and praying and girls sighing "Please! "
I am not one without spots of disease.

I am not one of ten billion―I―
scion of Daedalus, blackwinged fly
staring at God with a sedulous eye.
I am not one of ten billion, I
AM!



Snap Shots
by Michael R. Burch

Our daughters must be celibate,
die virgins. We triangulate
their early paths to heaven (for
the martyrs they'll soon conjugate).

We like to hook a little tail.
We hope there's decent ** in jail.
Don't fool with us; our bombs are smart!
(We'll send the plans, ASAP, e-mail.)

The soul is all that matters; why
hoard gold if it offends the eye?
A pension plan? Don't make us laugh!
We have your plan for sainthood. (Die.)



Unwhole
by Michael R. Burch

What is it that we strive to remember, to regain,
as memory deserts us,
leaving us destitute of even ourselves,
of all but pain?

How can something so essential be forgotten,
if we are more than our bodies?
How can a soul
become so unwhole?



Nonbeliever
by Michael R. Burch writing as Kim Cherub

She smiled a thin-lipped smile
(What do men know of love?)
then rolled her eyes toward heaven
(Or that Chauvinist above?).



evol-u-shun
by Michael R. Burch

does GOD love the Tyger
while it's ripping ur lamb apart?

does GOD applaud the Bubonic Plague
while it's eating u à la carte?

does GOD admire ur intelligence
while u pray that IT has a heart?

does GOD endorse the Bible
you blue-lighted at k-mart?



Breakings
by Michael R. Burch

I did it out of pity.
I did it out of love.
I did it not to break the heart of a tender, wounded dove.
But gods without compassion
ordained: Frail things must break!
Now what can I do for her shattered psyche's sake?

I did it not to push.
I did it not to shove.
I did it to assist the flight of indiscriminate Love.

But gods, all mad as hatters,
who legislate in all such matters,
ordained that everything irreplaceable shatters.



Alien
by Michael R. Burch

for  a "Christian" poet

On a lonely outpost on Mars
the astronaut practices "speech"
as alien to primates below
as mute stars winking high, out of reach.

And his words fall as bright and as chill
as ice crystals on Kilimanjaro―
far colder than Jesus's words
over the "fortunate" sparrow.

And I understand how gentle Emily
felt, when all comfort had flown,
gazing into those inhuman eyes,
feeling zero at the bone.

Oh, how can I grok his arctic thought?
For if he is human, I am not.



Crescendo Against Heaven
by Michael R. Burch

As curiously formal as the rose,
the imperious Word grows
until its sheds red-gilded leaves:
then heaven grieves
love's tiny pool of crimson recrimination
against God, its contention
of the price of salvation.

These industrious trees,
endlessly losing and re-losing their leaves,
finally unleashing themselves from earth, lashing
themselves to bits, washing
themselves free
of all but the final ignominy
of death, become
at last: fast planks of our coffins, dumb.

Together now, rude coffins, crosses,
death-cursed but bright vermilion roses,
bodies, stumps, tears, words: conspire
together with a nearby spire
to raise their Accusation Dire...
to scream, complain, to point out these
and other Dark Anomalies.

God always silent, ever afar,
distant as Bethlehem's retrograde star,
we point out now, in resignation:
You asked too much of man's beleaguered nation,
gave too much strength to his Enemy,
as though to prove Your Self greater than He,
at our expense, and so men die
(whose accusations vex the sky)
yet hope, somehow, that You are good...
just, O greatest of Poets!, misunderstood.



Advice for Evangelicals
by Michael R. Burch

"... so let your light shine before men..."

Consider the example of the woodland anemone:
she preaches no sermons but―immaculate―shines,
and rivals the angels in bright innocence and purity,
the sweetest of divines.

And no one has heard her engage in hypocrisy
since the beginning of time―an oracle so mute,
so profound in her silence and exemplary poise
she makes lessons moot.

So consider the example of the saintly anemone
and if you'd convince us Christ really exists,
then let him be just as sweet, just as guileless
and equally as gracious to bless.



Heaven Bent
by Michael R. Burch

This life is hell; it can get no worse.
Summon the coroner, the casket, the hearse!
I'm upwardly mobile; this one thing I know:
I can only go up; I'm already below!



Shock and Awe
by Michael R. Burch

With megatons of "wonder, "
we make our godhead clear:
Death. Destruction. Fear.

The world's heart ripped asunder,
its dying pulse we hear:
Death. Destruction. Fear.

Strange Trinity! We ponder
this God we hold so dear:
Death. Destruction. Fear.

The vulture and the condor
proclaim: The feast is near!―
Death. Destruction. Fear.

Soon He will plow us under;
the Anti-Christ is here:
Death. Destruction. Fear.

We love to hear Him thunder!
With Shock and Awe, appear!―
Death. Destruction. Fear.

For God can never blunder;
we know He holds US dear:
Death. Destruction. Fear.



Lay Down Your Arms
by Michael R. Burch

Lay down your arms; come, sleep in the sand.
The battle is over and night is at hand.
Our voyage has ended; there's nowhere to go...
the earth is a cinder still faintly aglow.

Lay down your pamphlets; let's bicker no more.
Instead, let us sleep here on this ravaged shore.
The sea is still boiling; the air is wan, thin...
lay down your pamphlets; now no one will "win."

Lay down your hymnals; abandon all song.
If God was to save us, He waited too long.
A new world emerges, but this world is through...
so lay down your hymnals, or write something new.



What Immense Silence
by Michael R. Burch

What immense silence
comforts those who kneel here
beneath these vaulted ceilings
cavernous and vast?

What luminescence stained
by patchwork panels of bright glass
illuminates drained faces
as the crouching gargoyles leer?

What brings them here―
pale, tearful congregations,
knowing all Hope is past,
faithfully, year upon year?

Or could they be right? Perhaps
Love is, implausibly, near
and I alone have not seen It...
But, if so, still, I must ask:

why is it God that they fear?



Intimations
by Michael R. Burch

Let mercy surround us
with a sweet persistence.

Let love propound to us
that life is infinitely more than existence.



Altared Spots
by Michael R. Burch

The mother leopard buries her cub,
then cries three nights for his bones to rise
clad in new flesh, to celebrate the sunrise.

Good mother leopard, pensive thought
and fiercest love's wild insurrection
yield no certainty of a resurrection.

Man's tried them both, has added tears,
chants, dances, drugs, séances, tombs'
white alabaster prayer-rooms, wombs

where dead men's frozen genes convene...
there is no answer―death is death.
So bury your son, and save your breath.

Or emulate earth's "highest species"―
write a few strange poems and odd treatises.



Flight
by Michael R. Burch

Poetry captures
less than reality
the spirit of things

being the language
not of the lordly falcon
but of the dove with broken wings

whose heavenward flight
though brutally interrupted
is ever towards the light.



Winter Night
by Michael R. Burch

Who will be ******,
who embalmed
for all eternity?

The night weighs heavy on me―
leaden, sullen, cold.
O, but my thoughts are light,

like the weightless windblown snow.



Tonight, Let's Remember
by Michael R. Burch

July 7,2007 (7-7-7)

Tonight, let's remember the fond ways
our fingers engendered new methods to praise
the gray at my temples, your thinning hair.
Tonight, let's remember, and let us draw near...

Tonight, let's remember, as mortals do,
how cutely we chortled when work was through,
society sated, all gods put to rest,
and you in my arms, and I at your breast...

Tonight, let's remember how daring, how free
the Madeira made us, recumbently.
Our inhibitions?―we laid them to rest.
Earth, heaven or hell―we knew we were blessed.

Tonight, let's remember the dwindling days
we've spent here together―the sun's rays
spending their power beyond somber hills.
Soon we'll rest together; there'll be no more bills.

Tonight, let's remember: we've paid all our dues,
we've suffered our sorrows, we've learned how to lose.
What's left now to take, only God can tell.
Be with me in heaven, or "bliss" will be hell!

I do not want God; I want to see you
free from all sorrow, your labor through,
a song on your tongue, a smile on your lips,
sweet, sultry and vagrant, a child at your hips,

laughing and beaming and ready to frolic
in a world free from cancer and gout and colic.
For you were courageous, and kind, and true.
There must be a heaven for someone like you.



I, Lazarus
by Michael R. Burch

I, Lazarus, without a heart,
devoid of blood and spiritless,
lay in the darkness, meritless:
my corpse―a thing cold, dead, apart.

But then I thought I heard―a Voice,
a Voice that called me from afar.
And so I stood and laughed, bizarre:
a thing embalmed, made to rejoice!

I ran ungainly-legged to see
who spoke my name, and then I knew
him by the light. His name is True,
and now he is the life in me!

I never died again! Believe!
(Oops! Seems it was a brief reprieve.)



To Know You as Mary
by Michael R. Burch

To know You as Mary,
when You spoke her name
and her world was never the same...
beside the still tomb
where the spring roses bloom.

O, then I would laugh
and be glad that I came,
never minding the chill, the disconsolate rain...
beside the still tomb
where the spring roses bloom.

I might not think this earth
the sharp focus of pain
if I heard You exclaim―
beside the still tomb
where the spring roses bloom

my most unexpected, unwarranted name!
But you never spoke. Explain?



Peers
by Michael R. Burch

These thoughts are alien, as through green slime
smeared on some lab tech's brilliant slide, I *****,
positioning my bright oscilloscope
for better vantage, though I cannot see,
but only peer, as small things disappear―
these quanta strange as men, as passing queer.

And you, Great Scientist, are you the One,
or just an intern, necktie half undone,
white sleeves rolled up, thick documents in hand
(dense manuals you don't quite understand) ,
exposing me, perhaps, to too much Light?
Or do I escape your notice, quick and bright?

Perhaps we wield the same dull Instrument
(and yet the Thesis will be Eloquent!).



Gethsemane in Every Breath
by Michael R. Burch

LORD, we have lost our way, and now
we have mislaid love―earth's fairest rose.
We forgot hope's song―the way it goes.
Help us reclaim their gifts, somehow.

LORD, we have wondered long and far
in search of Bethlehem's retrograde star.
Now in night's dead cold grasp, we gasp:
our lives one long-drawn rattling rasp

of misspent breath... before we drown.
LORD, help us through this spiral down
because we faint, and do not see
above or beyond despair's trajectory.

Remember that You, too, once held
imperiled life within your hands
as hope withdrew... that where You knelt
―a stranger in a stranger land―

the chalice glinted cold afar
and red with blood as hellfire.
Did heaven ever seem so far?
Remember―we are as You were,

but all our lives, from birth to death―
Gethsemane in every breath.



A Possible Argument for Mercy
by Michael R. Burch

Did heaven ever seem so far?
Remember-we are as You were,
but all our lives, from birth to death―
Gethsemane in every breath.



Birthday Poem to Myself
by Michael R. Burch

LORD, be no longer this Distant Presence,
Star-Afar, Righteous-Anonymous,
but come! Come live among us;
come dwell again,
happy child among men―
men rejoicing to have known you
in the familiar manger's cool
sweet light scent of unburdened hay.
Teach us again to be light that way,
with a chorus of angelic songs lessoned above.
Be to us again that sweet birth of Love
in the only way men can truly understand.
Do not frown darkening down upon an unrighteous land
planning fierce Retributions we require, and deserve,
but remember the child you were; believe
in the child I was, alike to you in innocence
a little while, all sweetness, and helpless without pretense.
Let us be little children again, magical in your sight.
Grant me this boon! Is it not my birthright―
just to know you, as you truly were, and are?
Come, be my friend. Help me understand and regain Hope's long-departed star!



Learning to Fly
by Michael R. Burch

We are learning to fly
every day...

learning to fly―
away, away...

O, love is not in the ephemeral flight,
but love, Love! is our destination―

graced land of eternal sunrise, radiant beyond night!
Let us bear one another up in our vast migration.



The Gardener's Roses
by Michael R. Burch

Mary Magdalene, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, "Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away."

I too have come to the cave;
within: strange, half-glimpsed forms
and ghostly paradigms of things.
Here, nothing warms

this lightening moment of the dawn,
pale tendrils spreading east.
And I, of all who followed Him,
by far the least...

The women take no note of me;
I do not recognize
the men in white, the gardener,
these unfamiliar skies...

Faint scent of roses, then―a touch!
I turn, and I see: You.
"My Lord, why do You tarry here:
Another waits, Whose love is true? "

"Although My Father waits, and bliss;
though angels call―ecstatic crew!―
I gathered roses for a Friend.
I waited here, for You."



Kingdom Freedom
by Michael R. Burch

LORD, grant me a rare sweet spirit of forgiveness.
Let me have none of the lividness
of religious outrage.

LORD, let me not be over-worried
about the lack of "morality" around me.
Surround me,

not with law's restrictive cage,
but with Your spirit, freer than the wind,
so that to breathe is to have freest life,

and not to fly to You, my only sin.



Cædmon's Face
by Michael R. Burch

At the monastery of Whitby,
on a day when the sun sank through the sea,
and the gulls shrieked wildly, jubilant, free,

while the wind and Time blew all around,
I paced that dusk-enamored ground
and thought I heard the steps resound

of Carroll, Stoker and good Bede
who walked here too, their spirits freed
―perhaps by God, perhaps by need―

to write, and with each line, remember
the glorious light of Cædmon's ember:
scorched tongues of flame words still engender.



He wrote here in an English tongue,
a language so unlike our own,
unlike―as father unto son.

But when at last a child is grown.
his heritage is made well-known:
his father's face becomes his own.



He wrote here of the Middle-Earth,
the Maker's might, man's lowly birth,
of every thing that God gave worth

suspended under heaven's roof.
He forged with simple words His truth
and nine lines left remain the proof:

his face was Poetry's, from youth.



Prayer for a Merciful, Compassionate, etc., God to ****** His Creations Quickly & Painlessly, Rather than Slowly & Painfully
by Michael R. Burch

Lord, **** me fast and please do it quickly!
Please don’t leave me gassed, archaic and sickly!
Why render me mean, rude, wrinkly and prickly?
Lord, why procrastinate?

Lord, we all know you’re an expert killer!
Please, don’t leave me aging like Phyllis Diller!
Why torture me like some poor sap in a thriller?
God, grant me a gentler fate!

Lord, we all know you’re an expert at ******
like Abram—the wild-eyed demonic goat-herder
who’d slit his son’s throat without thought at your order.
Lord, why procrastinate?

Lord, we all know you’re a terrible sinner!
What did dull Japheth eat for his 300th dinner
after a year on the ark, growing thinner and thinner?
God, grant me a gentler fate!

Dear Lord, did the lion and tiger compete
for the last of the lambkin’s sweet, tender meat?
How did Noah preserve his fast-rotting wheat?
God, grant me a gentler fate!

Lord, why not be a merciful Prelate?
Do you really want me to detest, loathe and hate
the Father, the Son and their Ghostly Mate?
Lord, why procrastinate?



Is there any Light left?
by Michael R. Burch

Is there any light left?
Must we die bereft
of love and a reason for being?
Blind and unseeing,
rejecting and fleeing
our humanity, goat-hooved and cleft?

Is there any light left?
Must we die bereft
of love and a reason for living?
Blind, unforgiving,
unworthy of heaven
or this planet red, reeking and reft?

NOTE: While “hoofed” is the more common spelling, I preferred “hooved” for this poem. Perhaps because of the contrast created by “love” and “hooved.”



Modern Dreams
by Michael R. Burch

after David B. Gosselin

I dreamed that God was good, but then I woke
and all his goodness vanished—****!—
like smoke.

I dreamed his Word was good, but then I heard
commandments evil, awful, weird,
absurd.

I dreamed of Heaven where cruel Angels flew
above my head and screamed, the Chosen Few,
“We’re not like you!”

I dreamed of Hell below, where prostitutes
adored by Jesus, played on lovely lutes
“True Love Commutes.”

I dreamed of Earth then woke to hear a Gong’s
repellent echoes in Religion’s song
of right gone wrong.



Star Crossed
by Michael R. Burch

Remember—
night is not like day;
the stars are closer than they seem ...
now, bending near, they seem to say
the morning sun was merely a dream
ember.



Pagans Protest the Intolerance of Christianity
by Michael R. Burch

“We have a common sky.” — Quintus Aurelius Symmachus (c. 345-402)

We had a common sky
before the Christians came.

We thought there might be gods
but did not know their names.

The common stars above us?
They winked, and would not tell.

Yet now our fellow mortals claim
our questions merit hell!

The cause of our damnation?
They claim they’ve seen the LIGHT ...

but still the stars wink down at us,
as wiser beings might.



Well, Almost
by Michael R. Burch

All Christians say “Never again!”
to the inhumanity of men
(except when the object of phlegm
is a Palestinian).



O, My Redeeming Angel
by Michael R. Burch

O my Redeeming Angel, after we
have fought till death (and soon the night is done) ...
then let us rest awhile, await the sun,
and let us put aside all enmity.

I might have been the “victor”—who can tell?—
so many wounds abound. All out of joint,
my groin, my thigh ... and nothing to anoint
but sunsplit, shattered stone, as pillars hell.

Light, easy flight to heaven, Your return!
How hard, how dark, this path I, limping, walk.
I only ask Your blessing; no more talk!

Withhold Your name, and yet my ears still burn
and so my heart. You asked me, to my shame:
for Jacob—trickster, shyster, sham—’s my name.



To Know You as Mary
by Michael R. Burch

To know you as Mary,
when you spoke her name
and her world was never the same ...
beside the still tomb
where the spring roses bloom.

O, then I would laugh
and be glad that I came,
never minding the chill, the disconsolate rain ...
beside the still tomb
where the spring roses bloom.

I might not think this earth
the sharp focus of pain
if I heard you exclaim—
beside the still tomb
where the spring roses bloom

my most unexpected, unwarranted name!
But you never spoke. Explain?



ur-gent
by Michael R. Burch

if u would be a good father to us all,
revoke the Curse,
extract the Gall;

but if the abuse continues,
look within
into ur Mindless Soulless Emptiness Grim,

& admit ur sin,
heartless jehovah,
slayer of widows and orphans ...

quick, begin!



Bible libel (ii)
by Michael R. Burch

ur savior’s a cad
—he’s as bad as his dad—
according to your strange Bible.

demanding belief
or he’ll bring u to grief?
he’s worse than his horn-sprouting rival!

was the man ever good
before made a “god”?
if so, half your Bible is libel!



stock-home sin-drone
by Michael R. Burch

ur GAUD created this hellish earth;
thus u FANTAsize heaven
(an escape from rebirth).

ur GUAD is a monster,
**** ur RELIGION lied
and called u his frankensteinian bride!

now, like so many others cruelly abused,
u look for salve-a-shun
to the AUTHOR of ur pain’s selfish creation.

cons preach the “TRUE GOSPEL”
and proudly shout it,
but if ur GAUD were good
he would have to doubt it.



un-i-verse-all love
by Michael R. Burch

there is a Gaud, it’s true!
and furthermore, tHeSh(e)It loves u!
unfortunately
the
He
Sh(e)
It
,even more adorably,
loves cancer, aids and leprosy.



One of the Flown
by Michael R. Burch

Forgive me for not having known
you were one of the flown—
flown from the distant haunts
of someone else’s enlightenment,
alighting here to a darkness all your own . . .

I imagine you perched,
pretty warbler, in your starched
dress, before you grew bellicose . . .
singing quaint love’s highest falsetto notes,
brightening the pew of some dilapidated church . . .

But that was before autumn’s
messianic dark hymns . . .
Deepening on the landscape—winter’s inevitable shadows.
Love came too late; hope flocked to bare meadows,
preparing to leave. Then even the thought of life became grim,

thinking of Him . . .
To flee, finally,—that was no whim,
no adventure, but purpose.
I see you now a-wing: pale-eyed, intent, serious:
always, always at the horizon’s broadening rim . . .

How long have you flown now, pretty voyager?
I keep watch from afar: pale lover and ******.



what the “Chosen Few” really pray for
by Michael R. Burch

We are ready to be robed in light,
angel-bright

despite
Our intolerance;

ready to enter Heaven and never return
(dark, this sojourn);

ready to worse-ship any gaud
able to deliver Us from this flawed

existence;
We pray with the persistence

of actual saints
to be delivered from all earthly constraints:

just kiss each uplifted Face
with lips of gentlest grace,

cooing the sweetest harmonies
while brutally crushing Our enemies!

ah-Men!



wild wild west-east-north-south-up-down
by Michael R. Burch

each day it resumes—the great struggle for survival.

the fiercer and more perilous the wrath,
the wilder and wickeder the weaponry,
the better the daily odds
(just don’t bet on the long term, or revival).

so ur luvable Gaud decreed, Theo-retically,
if indeed He exists
as ur Bible insists—
the Wildest and the Wickedest of all
with the brightest of creatures in thrall
(unless u
somehow got that bleary
Theo-ry
wrong too).



The Strangest Rain
by Michael R. Burch

"I ... am small, like the Wren, and my Hair is bold, like the Chestnut Bur?and my eyes, like the Sherry in the Glass, that the Guest leaves ..."?Emily Dickinson

"If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry."--Emily Dickinson

The strangest rain, a few bright sluggish drops,
unsure if they should fall, run through with sun,
came tumbling down and touched me, one by one,
too few to animate the shriveled crops
of nearby farmers (though their daughters might
feel each cool splash, a-shiver with delight).

I thought again of Emily Dickinson,
who felt the tingle down her spine, inspired
to lifting hairs, to nerves’ electric song
of passion for a thing so deep-desired
the heart and gut agree, and so must tremble
as all the neurons of the brain assemble
to whisper: This is love, but what is love?
Wrens darting rainbows, laughter high above.



Note to a Chick on a Religious Kick
by Michael R. Burch

Daisy,
when you smile, my life gets sunny;
you make me want to spend all my ****** money;
but honey,
you can be a bit ... um ... hazy,
perhaps mentally lazy?,
okay, downright crazy,
praying to the Easter Bunny!



A coming day
by Michael R. Burch

for my mother, due to her hellish religion

There will be a day,
a day when the lightning strikes from a rainbowed mist
when it will be too late, too late for me to say
that I found your faith unblessed.

There will be a day,
a day when the storm clouds gather, ominous,
when it will be too late, too late to put away
this darkness that came between us.



Hellbound
by Michael R. Burch

Mother, it’s dark
and you never did love me
because you put Yahweh and Yeshu
above me.

Did they ever love you
or cling to you? No.
Now Mother, it’s cold
and I fear for my soul.

Mother, they say
you will leave me and go
to some distant “heaven”
I never shall know.

If that’s your choice,
you made it. Not me.
You brought me to life;
will you nail me to the tree?

Christ! Mother, they say
God condemned me to hell.
If the Devil’s your God
then farewell, farewell!

Or if there is Love
in some other dimension,
let’s reconcile there
and forget such cruel detention.

Keywords/Tags: god, Jesus, Christ, Christian, prayer, Bible, angel, atheist, faith, blasphemy, heresy, heresies, heretic, heretic, heretical, pagan, pagans, god, gods, mrbhere



Listen
by Immanuel A. Michael (an alias of Michael R. Burch)

1.
Listen to me now
and heed my voice;
I am a madman, alone,
screaming in the wilderness,
but listen now.

Listen to me now, and if I say
that black is black
and white is white
and in between lies gray,
I have no choice.

Does a madman choose his words?
They come to him:
the moon's illuminations,
intimations of the wind,
and he must speak.

But listen to me now,
and if you hear
the tolling of the judgment bell,
and if its tone is clear,
then do not tarry,
but listen,
or cut off your ears,
for I Am weary.

I desire mercy, not sacrifice.

2.
Listen to me now: I had a Vision.
An elevated train derailed, and Fell.
It was the Church brought low, almost to Hell.
And I alone survived, who dream of Mercy:
the Heretic, who speaks behind the Veil.

3.
Listen to me now: I saw an airplane
fall from the sky. And why should I explain?
The Visions are the same. It is my Heresy
that I survive, because I sing of Mercy,
while elevated "saints" go down in flames.

4.
Listen to me now: I saw in Nashville
how those who "soar" will plummet―Fame in flames!―
and fall on those below, as if to **** them.
The lowly, saved, will understand their names.

5.
Listen to me now: I heard another
say, "That which died shall Resurrect and Live."
An angel with a Rose bestowing Mercy!
What can it mean, but that my Visions give
fair warning to the world that God wants Mercy.
My Heresy is that we must forgive!

6.
Listen to me now: she heard god calling―
O, who will love me, who will be my friend?
Does he want Perfect Saints, the whitewashed Purists,
who frown down on their "brothers," without end?

7.
Listen to me now: you are not perfect,
and your "wise counsel" helps no one at all:
unless it's sweetened with the sweetest Mercy,
it's pure astringent antiseptic gall.

8.
Listen to me now, and learn this lesson:
If God wants mercy, why dig at the speck
in your brother's eye, when even now the Beam,
your lack of mercy, spares, no, neither neck,
becomes the Hangman's Millstone. We're all children,
all little ones! Be patient with the fleck!

9.
Listen to me now: for the Announcer
explained that wars have given Presidents
the precedents to soon assume all Power.
Vote, citizens, or be mere residents!

10.
O, listen to me now: I saw the Warheads
stored safely underground, except for One.
A red-haired woman with a bright complexion
seduced the guard. Translucent blouse, red thong,
white bra―these were her fearsome antique weapons.

I saw the Skull and Crossbones! Heed my Song!

11.
O, listen to me now, and hear my Gospel:
three verses of such sweet simplicity!
God is Light: in Him there is no darkness.
In Christ, no condemnation: Liberty!
God want no Sacrifice, but only Mercy.
O, who could ask for sweeter Heresy?

12.
Theology? I swear that I disdain it!
If Love can be explained, why then explain it!
If Love can't be explained why, then, should God,
if God is Love? Nor hell nor cattle ****
is needed, if God's good, and God's supreme.
Ask, children, what "re-ligion" truly means:
"return to *******! " Heed the bondsman's screams!

13.
Heed, children, which Theologies you dream
when Hellish Nightmares wake you, when you Scream
for comfort, but no comforter is there.
Which Voices do you heed, which Crosses bear?
If god is light, whence do Dark Visions come
which leave the Taste of Venom on your Tongue,
with which you **** your brother for one Sin
you do not share, ten thousand underskin
like Itching Worms that Squirm and Vilely Hiss:
"Your brother's sin will keep him from god's bliss,
but You are safe because god favors You! "
If God is Love, how can this voice be true?

14.
For God is not a favorer of men.
Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen.
Deadmute May 2015
insomniac to the weight of regret          
           I'm inclined to withhold.
deanena tierney May 2010
Don't be alarmed!
I have something to say.
Was wanting to inquire,
What you're doing Saturday?

Doesn't have to be this one,
Could be a week or two or so,
But I want to take you with me,
To a place I love to go.

It is a little bit out of the way,
And we may be out a bit late,
But I will drive while you relax,
I'm asking you out on a date.

I know "dork" is what you're thinking,
And I have to say I agree,
I promise you will make it to church,
We will have fun you will see.

It's one of my favorite places,
And I know you will like it too,
If you have sandals... wear em',
Let me know if it's good for you.
Clay Face Feb 2019
My leg hurts

The jaws of this inhumane trap engulf my lower shin

I have the tool to disarm it and free myself

But I muttle in my adolescent egocentric pain

Caught within monotonous routine and self interest I rot like my peers

I've sunk to a level of self loathing, that I enjoy pulling myself down

I

Am

Disgusting.

I

Need

Help.

I cry for things I can give myself but alas I withhold it to feel sorry for myself

Me and my fellow youth

Equally as useful, equally as useless

Although I am free of the crowd I am still blinded by my adolescence

Purpose

Interest

Intellect

Great-fullness

Peacefulness

Gen­erosity

Love

PURPOSE

all I've know is I am here to be a vessel for knowledge and indoctrination

I am here to have an opinion I voice, but does not matter.

I do not matter.

This function is welded to me

However...

The voice of destiny reasons with me again and I hear:

Seek what's within

Garrot it.

Place yourself into the walls of meaning and the murals upon't

Serve others in selflessness. Share with others in selflessness. Learn from others in selflessness. Teach others in selflessness.

Your a pawn in the samsara. Do your duty within its game.

Gain higher consciousness so you can share the path to it. Become a giver, not a taker.

Interest

Intellect

Great-fullness

Peacefulness

Genero­sity

Love

Six lessons left, define yourself within them. Or perish within your self indulgent pitiful hole.
Got a Tool lyric in there for those who like Tool

Anyway...

This is the firt lesson of my ascension

After more than some self reflection I thought I was ready to post a kind of collection of what I've found so far. Obviously I haven't reached ascension yet. So it's kind of unfit to call this collection ascension. It's more of some lessons I've learned in self reflection and my path to ascension I want to pursue throughout my life. Hope you take something away from this or be influence to write poetry yourself. Maybe do some of your own self reflection I don't know. Thanks for reading if you got this far. Sorry I am a quite person IRL so everything I vent here is pretty long.
jim fry Nov 2010
the shadow works, 2005-2006

might as well keep them all together ...
a journey through the shadowz ...
through the possessions ...
through the hell ...
through me ...
through!
whew!

during this time, i sought support from an indian medicine man, a shaman, past life regression therapist, and a variety of other spiritual healers ... some of those, narrated in depth, elsewhere ...

the enclosed is probably not of interest to many,
understood, yet offered up,
as a journey,
narrated through times,
via rhymes


Heavy

May 6, 2005

I feel knee deep in a bog
Tackling responsibility for emotions
Are these weights a lesson
Projections reflected

I want things smooth
Light and carefree
I don’t seek control
But expect absence of impact

I can’t buy, reason or work
My way out of this challenge
Each time faced head on
I give up ground and accommodate
To point of compromise
No side is right here
What is, just is

I have my perceptions
And filters
And the weight intensifies
I want to dissolve it
Haven’t figured out how
Depression, heavy
Rooted inside

How do I break free
I feel alone
Even within myself
I don’t know
The reflection
In the mirror

There is a longing to be free
Unchained
Unbound
To live
To sleep
To find balance
Chasm

I want to be
What I feel I’m not
I don’t celebrate
What I perceive
Myself to be

I seek void
Death
Rebirth
Ha
Do this again
Easier
To take flight
Black
Grey
White

Tears
Rip across my chest
Seeking
To release my heart
Bound and chained
I want them to flow
Pent emotions
Seek exorcism

I haven’t surrendered
I don’t accept
Open I bleed
Closed I store pain

I want to feel flow

Nothing aligned
Empty I know
Torn
Shredded
Fragments and shards
Differentially
Scattered

Ungrounded
Not whole
I want to go home
Here come the tears
Smiles


Dark Envelop

July 9, 2005

Feeling my way through the illusion
Finding no solace in delusion
Have my angels found another to watch over
Are my whispers no longer heard and contemplated

As I believe I do my best
I don’t convince even myself
So much struggle and challenge
Why do I even travel
Away from my bed

Prodded along
Voices and dialogs
In my head

I could start again tomorrow
Wait, I have done that before
Somewhere within, my shadow sneers
Chaotic and off balance, I’m fodder
Material for my shadow’s jeers
******, ***** and stripped bare
Seeking a single reason to care
Am I victim to want it all fair

Now

I recognize this place
Hell etched in my face
I could so easily quit
Leave the game’s race
Always another will replace
Scripts each written on ****** mace

Not yet ready

Lessons to learn
Though I yearn
Tis not my time to rest
Not until this unconscious
With which I wrest
Is balanced and addressed
Then, only, will it be my turn
I’ll find some sun
Seek beauty and joy
Transcend this marathon run

I’m not the universe’s toy


Reflections from the Void

August 21, 2005

So, this is death!
all distractions departed
leaving emptiness, not loneliness
gnawing absence of purpose, manifests in tears

Purgatory,
between somethings that felt to have mattered
without logical linkage
between then, now and the next then

Transitions require momentum
energy is here, but failing direction
what pursuit of new experience calls
none … these moments

Sleep comes easy, frequently
no dreams revealed in the aftermode
void … passionless … lethargic … empty … void
emotionless?

Looking for some elixir
to heal, to know, to feel …
the game continues / with tears of the void
the potential unknown
I guess I do feel alone …

why … what the **** is the point … anyways …
does this rub … offend … ????

this, my creation, my expression of infinite potential, capacity, too bad that
I have no TV to distract …
guess I need to process through …

ps …
if you receive this – love you …
for what it is worth ...

I guess I am ‘OK’, just feeling my way through ………..


Heart of Sadness

November 6, 2005

Incredible, my heart screams of sadness
as I accept and surrender
Surrender to what I have wrought,
what I did from my state of pain

Our pain breeds more pain, often,
and feeds back upon itself
Amplifying toward a crescendo
of intensity felt viscerally

As our hearts ache
In deepening depression,
I feel spoiled that I want more
than I have
I feel I should harden up
and move forward,
towards, what …

If I harden up, I harden my heart
and it feels now is the moment
to dive into this pain,
to learn from this pain,
to grow from this pain,
to understand from this pain,
to rebuild my heart in an open way

Experience the pain in full color
experience the loneliness,
experience the emptiness,
experience my void,
experience my sorrow,
experience my defeat,
experience yet another death,
experience my drama,
experience my immaturity,
experience my dysfunctional self,
experience the consequences,
experience the responsibility,
experience the resentment of myself,
experience the anger at myself,
experience the pain,
experience the bleeding,
experience the desolation,
experience the emotions raw,
experience the tears,
experience the shredding in my heart

grow in compassion,
grow in empathy,
grow in unconditional love,
grow in reverence,
grow in acceptance,
grow in maturity,
grow in awareness

I don’t need to sacrifice,
I need to celebrate

I don’t need to enable,
I need to empower

I don’t need to think,
I need to feel

I don’t need to protect,
I need to love

I don’t need to speak,
I need to listen

I don’t need to hurt or project,
I need to heal


Returning Home, Changed

November 8, 2005

a lover scampered off
then returned past time
after everything shifted
in another’s heart
and mind

old windows shuttered
no quarter taken or given
thus tears held reign
from processed pain

now at an advanced arc
on the circle of love
lessons in alchemy
seem sent from above

this journey now vectored
with independent trajectories
finding different connection
within renewed reflection

the cat broke the home
the archer wandered on
now on new paths
each does roam

the cat is changing
experiencing nature anew
with life rearranging
deeply ranging

in love with you


Shadow Teachings

November 14, 2005

We have known all along
yet didn’t trust those feelings
As our subconscious takes charge
when we fall asleep at the wheel

Just as we continue to breathe
within each moment of slumber
Some segment within us
will always surface
to chart our courses

With each emotion left
unexpressed in the moment
another is drawn forth and purged

Cycling
Withhold, Withdraw, Project
The truth will set us free
If we have courage to reveal
And the truth clears out
emotions, two by two
one new, one buried
Creating space
allowing

Love,

Courage,

Creativity,

Understanding,

Joy­,

Celebration,

Illumination,

Growth,

LIFE

Express or Suppress

a Choice

of Voice

Opportunity found
in stormy weather
repairing the roof
in the rain

We may heal together
With whomever
NOW, then or never

It commences
via
loving thy self

Reinforced in experience
beyond words from
books on the shelf

WE WRITE OUR SCRIPTS

WE CREATE OUR EXPERIENCE

WE ARE RESPONSIBLE

WE ARE CREATORS CREATING

HOLD REVERENCE IN OUR POWER

FOR TRANSMUTING ENERGY

WITH LOVE


Be Impeccable of Word
(seasons of silence and truth to be expressed),

Don’t Take It Personal
(while observing the internal CHARGE!),

Don’t Make Assumptions
(they are mostly our projections!),

Do Your Best
(while ready for universal fireworks!)


Reflections Forward

November 30, 2005

Where am I going
with what I feel today
finding pure simplicity
laughter, being, love and play

Wisdom’s foundation built
on wisps of reflections past
absorbed experience
never allowed to wilt

My soul
has been heard
that incessant screaming
now
finally ceased
still raw
yet healing
moment
by moment
with each regression
new levels encountered
it was always
my lessons
cycling
for conclusion
the tool is divine
yet a challenge
to master
wanting
to be there
faster
just where
right here
presence
in now

Tao

honor in flow
faith in it all
no withdraw
from my call


Crumbles

Whelp, that was intense
Wrong words
Wrong tone
Wrong subject

How fast creation
changes
dissolves
and begins
Anew

Suddenly
all the discussion
all the plans
all the harmony
evaporated
reminding me
to look back within

I didn’t know
we were that fragile
without enough
foundation
relation

What does this circumstance
reflect about me
never independent
at least I remained calm
and found compassion
without projection

I honored the four agreements
as I watched you cry
as I absorbed the barbs flung
and chose not to deflect
mostly
silent
as I elected
to simply reflect
on your pain
your sorrow
that I couldn’t
prevent
heal
or soften

The dream has faded
the future now foggy
I know depression
I know sadness
I know empathy
and love

I choose life
I choose growth
I choose to heal
I choose to love

Paths feel divergent
with new adventure
just around the corner

I gave my love
my attention
affection
and soul

Angels!!!!!
support me now
as I shed these tears
listen as I call

I won’t stagger
much
I won’t fall
but face
unknown years
unknown fears

Nobody Knew Me

2006.01.31

No other soul
Experienced me
Fully authentic
As I lay hiding
From myself
Doubting
I could survive
Naked

When my Mother
Declared
My friend
And Lover
Was EVIL
My delusion
Fractured

Within moments
Over days
Illusions crumbled
Imploded
In fragments
Then shards
Of recognition
Crept
Then flooded in

I found myself
In darkness
Exposed and bare
I had strove
With my unique intensity

To be
Validated
Nurtured
Wanted
Touched
And Loved

To obtain these desires
I Compromised
I Manipulated
I Projected
I Overwhelmed

I would then Withdraw
I closed my eyes
Then my ears
Then my touch
Then my mind
And finally my heart

I wove stories
And swam, immersed
In my lies

My truth and core
Thus illuminated
In both peace
And tears of sorrow
I have been alone
I belong alone
I shall be alone
While I meet
Myself, now
Innocent
Again

I release Mom’s rejection
Transmuting her reflection
And transfiguring
Her projection

Thank you, Mother
You missed just one aspect

The EVIL was MINE
I created my experience
To break my own chains
Script complete
Curtain falls
No applause
No audience
Now
Silence

Nobody knew me
Not
Even
Me

Tears
Joy to follow


Unwelcome Back
2006.03.17

The dark visitors have arrived
and tears stream down my checks
are these demons
another component of ‘me’?

I call, sincerely
on angels and help
yet remain feeling
disconnected

Tonight was supposed to be
about sharing, growth
and healing
yet why, again
am I left reeling

Am I paying
for karmic bonds
both instant and past
is it time,
yet again,
to merely fast
to turn off these emotions
suppress yet another round

I have again
found the deep pain
why is it so hard
to love
and transcend my pain

There are keys
I haven’t yet found
there are messages
silent in sound

I don’t know myself
though I look with intensity
I apologize
here and now
for exposing myself
projecting myself
dragging anyone down
to my despair
felt beyond repair

Harr!

this IS the trap
feeling alone
feeling the sorrow
missing the balance
reveling in another tomorrow

This game is ****** up
get over it now
bring forth the light
shine in true essence
become
in presence
it is easy to quit
resign and give up

Hail beyond!!!!!!!!!
Creators transcend
right up
from the muck
Raven Mar 2017
When the sky has molded over in pollution and our shoes get
stuck in the swamps
the Earth will still bless us with forgiveness
fully knowing we did this
We let the tides consume our dissatisfaction
but they still let us swim naked in them
Our rain forests losing family one by one
they have eyes you know
they see you, you know
we're killing our air supply
we use them disgracefully yet they still lay low
covering your head when the rain decides to give the soil a drop of purity
An unrequited love this world is
and the evil it implodes us with, is the anger
it has been waiting to emerge
Can you blame her...
giving us a piece of what years of us not caring tastes like
She, the woman in blue, emerald hair as long as the rivers may flow
tried to show the world magnificent sunsets and
mountain tops peeking out of the clouds and
the ocean as vast as the desert land
and the animals
we must let them be
the intelligence they withhold, the beauty they bellow
yet we do not give gratitude
we do not clean up our messes
we live in our pristine houses
drawing the curtains
She, this Earth, this Woman has brought us life and we have kicked it aside
We have forgotten to love
and it's bigger than you think.
His fingertips are doused in gasoline,
setting fire to everything he sees.
Each object he touches,
all the memories collected,
ash away and fall to crimes.
He's got eternal flames inside him,
and yet his eyes remain dimmed and submissive.
He's fragile and fractured,
and as his last heart string crackled,
you could see the hope unlit.
Fires and unsettling demons
are all he even seems to remember.
He might try and set his body ablaze,
to calmly dry off that crying pain,
sadly sticks and stones withhold his embers.
He won't die, but he can't learn,
the anguish manipulated to feed a burn.
His life was hanging in a balance of dry anger,
rather the deployment of washing hurt again,
he thought would dehydrate its annual return-
All feedback is welcome and appreciated!
Akina Sep 2012
I feel my heart in pieces
       Although I see its whole

I feel aged beyond my years
       Though the mirror says it’s not so

I’m lonely all the time now
       Though the crowds would disagree

And from memories inside my head
       There’s no hope of breaking free


I hate that a relationship
        To start, always takes two

And when it’s time to end it
        All it took was you

Now everywhere I look
        And in everyone I see

A little bit of you
        Is staring back at me


I’m trying to move on
        I’m trying to forget

But all the little things build up
         And so I stay upset

Tears will come, and tears will go
         I’ve never cried so much you know?

And even when I should be hating you
          All I care is you’re not hurting too


I feel like I was cut short this time
           I still have things to say

You handled this all wrong, my friend
          There were a hundred better ways

I may not know you all that well
           In return, you don’t know me

I’m sorry I couldn’t be that girl
          The one you wish I’d be


I was nervous, I was new
         And I was horribly afraid

I knew we wouldn’t last forever
         But I said ‘yes’ anyway

I wanted, so bad, to be there for you
        To fulfill your every need

But mistakes were made, I’m sad to say
        And from me you did recede


I didn’t know what I was doing
        This was foreign, you were strange

And to this day, when I look back
          I can’t see what made you change

There was a time you wanted me
         And indeed you were my first

‘He got what he wanted, after all’
         If that’s true, then this is all far worse


If you used me
         Good for you

I hope you’re proud
         Of what you do

If you settled
       Or were expecting more

I’m sorry,
         I’d never done this before


Was I just filling another’s place?
          Did you plan this from the start?

I’m not sure where I stood sometimes
           But what had I, if not your heart?

I’m not one for protocol
           Nor wrapped up in tradition

While you were pining for a prior love
           With you I did fall smitten


Then things got quite out of hand
           And I couldn’t reach you anymore

All the romance seemed to die
          And you left me feeling like a *****

As much as I want to see you smile
          And though I tried to keep you

It felt like you wanted no part of this
          I only want it, if you want it too


I cannot fathom what went wrong
           I asked and got nothing back

We grew apart, you and I
          Until in silence I was trapped

I wish I could undo what happened
         There are things I wish I’d said

Instead my words remain unspoken
         And inside my heart feels dead


I know I will love others
          That’s something I can’t withhold

Just know that you don’t surprise me
         You acted exactly as I foretold

I know you really meant well
         At least that’s what I hope

Although many here have warned me
          “It was nothing but mirrors and smoke”


Before, we were together
          And now we are apart

It’s sad how I can clearly see
          The finish from the start

I guessed that you would end us
          The same way we came to be

You waited far too long to say it
         So the asking came down to me


Back then you said so lightly
         That I was all you needed

And then you turned so easily
          And said it better if we end it

You hurt me more than ever
          For days I could not cease crying

And the first question in my mind was
          So which time were you lying?
In your extended absence, you permit me
use of earth, anticipating
some return on investment. I must report
failure in my assignment, principally
regarding the tomato plants.
I think I should not be encouraged to grow
tomatoes. Or, if I am, you should withhold
the heavy rains, the cold nights that come
so often here, while other regions get
twelve weeks of summer. All this
belongs to you: on the other hand,
I planted the seeds, I watched the first shoots
like wings tearing the soil, and it was my heart
broken by the blight, the black spot so quickly
multiplying in the rows. I doubt
you have a heart, in our understanding of
that term. You who do not discriminate
between the dead and the living, who are, in consequence,
immune to foreshadowing, you may not know
how much terror we bear, the spotted leaf,
the red leaves of the maple falling
even in August, in early darkness: I am responsible
for these vines.
First born of Chaos, who so fair didst come
        From the old *****’s darksome womb!
        Which when it saw the lovely Child,
The melancholly Mass put on kind looks and smil’d.

Thou Tide of Glory which no Rest dost know,
        But ever Ebb, and ever Flow!
        Thou ******* of a true Jove!
Who does in thee descend, and Heav’n to Earth make Love!

Hail active Natures watchful Life and Health!
        Her Joy, her Ornament, and Wealth!
        Hail to thy Husband Heat, and Thee!
Thou the worlds beauteous Bride, the ***** Bridegroom He!

Say from what Golden Quivers of the Sky,
        Do all thy winged Arrows fly?
        Swiftness and Power by Birth are thine:
From thy Great Sire they came, thy Sire the word Divine.

’Tis, I believe, this Archery to show,
        That so much cost in Colours thou,
        And skill in Painting dost bestow,
Upon thy ancient Arms, the Gawdy Heav’nly Bow.

Swift as light Thoughts their empty Carriere run,
        Thy Race is finisht, when begun,
        Let a Post-Angel start with Thee,
And Thou the Goal of Earth shalt reach as soon as He:

Thou in the Moons bright Chariot proud and gay,
        Dost thy bright wood of Stars survay;
        And all the year dost with thee bring
Of thousand flowry Lights thine own Nocturnal Spring.

Thou Scythian-like dost round thy Lands above
        The Suns gilt Tent for ever move,
        And still as thou in pomp dost go
The shining Pageants of the World attend thy show.

Nor amidst all these Triumphs dost thou scorn
        The humble Glow-worms to adorn,
        And with those living spangles gild,
(O Greatness without Pride!) the Bushes of the Field.

Night, and her ugly Subjects thou dost fright,
        And sleep, the lazy Owl of Night;
        Asham’d and fearful to appear
They skreen their horrid shapes with the black Hemisphere.

With ’em there hasts, and wildly takes the Alarm,
        Of painted Dreams, a busie swarm,
        At the first opening of thine eye,
The various Clusters break, the antick Atomes fly.

The guilty Serpents, and obscener Beasts
        Creep conscious to their secret rests:
        Nature to thee does reverence pay,
Ill Omens, and ill Sights removes out of thy way.

At thy appearance, Grief it self is said,
        To shake his Wings, and rowse his Head.
        And cloudy care has often took
A gentle beamy Smile reflected from thy Look.

At thy appearance, Fear it self grows bold;
        Thy Sun-shine melts away his Cold.
        Encourag’d at the sight of Thee,
To the cheek Colour comes, and firmness to the knee.

Even Lust the Master of a hardned Face,
        Blushes if thou beest in the place,
        To darkness’ Curtains he retires,
In Sympathizing Night he rowls his smoaky Fires.

When, Goddess, thou liftst up thy wakened Head,
        Out of the Mornings purple bed,
        Thy Quire of Birds about thee play,
And all the joyful world salutes the rising day.

The Ghosts, and Monster Spirits, that did presume
        A Bodies Priv’lege to assume,
        Vanish again invisibly,
And Bodies gain agen their visibility.

All the Worlds bravery that delights our Eyes
        Is but thy sev’ral Liveries,
        Thou the Rich Dy on them bestowest,
Thy nimble Pencil Paints this Landskape as thou go’st.

A Crimson Garment in the Rose thou wear’st;
        A Crown of studded Gold thou bear’st,
        The ****** Lillies in their White,
Are clad but with the Lawn of almost Naked Light.

The Violet, springs little Infant, stands,
        Girt in thy purple Swadling-bands:
        On the fair Tulip thou dost dote;
Thou cloath’st it in a gay and party-colour’d Coat.

With Flame condenst thou dost the Jewels fix,
        And solid Colours in it mix:
        Flora her self envyes to see
Flowers fairer then her own, and durable as she.

Ah, Goddess! would thou could’st thy hand withhold,
        And be less Liberall to Gold;
        Didst thou less value to it give,
Of how much care (alas) might’st thou poor Man relieve!

To me the Sun is more delighful farr,
        And all fair Dayes much fairer are.
        But few, ah wondrous few there be,
Who do not Gold preferr, O Goddess, ev’n to Thee.

Through the soft wayes of Heaven, and Air, and Sea,
        Which open all their Pores to Thee;
        Like a cleer River thou dost glide,
And with thy Living Stream through the close Channels slide.

But where firm Bodies thy free course oppose,
        Gently thy source the Land oreflowes;
        Takes there possession, and does make,
Of Colours mingled, Light, a thick and standing Lake.

But the vast Ocean of unbounded Day
        In th’ EmpyrÆan Heaven does stay.
        Thy Rivers, Lakes, and Springs below
From thence took first their Rise, thither at last must Flow.
Addy Jean May 2014
Oh Muse! endow my verses like the
grease
which in a pliable state, straightens
the choppy motion.
Dear Apollo! enlighten my words like
the hell fire
that light gives, yet a sharp gaze
broils the eggs.
Oh wretched Hydes! weep but one
more time for me
for the constellation bears rain no
more.
Oh Jove! rain the one pacific upon me
for I will to drown myself today.
Ah flora! the color of spring has
blanched away
for the pompoms bloom ashen
Lovely Aurora! why you withhold
yourself from me?
She's glum with me, why trying you
too be?
Eye some Aphrodite! take care of and
preserve the winsomeness.
for the lass
* knows no value, it has to
me...
*eggs: eye *****
**lass? my beloved
Aisha Khan Apr 2014
As humans, we like to think we are humane,

What is humanity?
We like to think we’d be there for our friends; we’d be gentle on our foes,
We’d forgive and also maybe forget; we’d sacrifice and be moral.
When our morality is under question, we’d be loyal and we will live honest lives,
We won’t backstab or ***** about others; we’ll be upright in our opinions,
We’d be righteous and true and withhold composure within the most strenuous times.
We would work for the betterment of society and cosy with strangers,
In Hope that they will be friends.
We’d look for beauty in the world and we’d be happy though strive for more,
We’d live happy human lives and leave behind a legacy for others to aspire from.
We’d be all that we wish we could be, and more.

But how many of us are like that?

Not one. Not one human being.
We lie, we torture, we hate.
We’re not benevolent on our foes, we wish evil upon our friends,
Our morality is outward and forgiveness a rarity.
We plot, we ******, we hate.
We think these things are to be proud of,
We live of speaking evil; it is a need, a drug.
We break. We hurt. We hate.
We blame others for our mistakes; we never take the fall,
We take advantage of those who love us, we run after those who do it us.
We burn nature and wonder why it balances out with human sacrifice,
We live human lives, but wish to outlive our counterparts, looking constantly,
For immortality.
Our legacy is of lies and façade. We are the supreme race and we proudly
Hate, hurt, ****.
    Doesn’t matter, its human nature, we think, we feel it, we just don’t say it.

Felinely-   Aisha.
The inspiration for this came from a rather peculiar place but at the tail- end of it, I think as humans we just hold ourselves in too high a regard.
kirk Mar 2018
There is an age old story in a place called middle earth
About Hobbits, Orcs and Wizards all fighting for there turf
It all involved a ******* ring too much for what its worth
Sending all men crazy when its wrapped around their girth
With their finger in the ring who knows where they may surf
Wars began when worlds where new the creation of times birth

So what exactly does it mean by lord of the rings
Is it the golden type or does it mean other things?
Being a lord of a ring who knows what that brings?
Is it a Drawf ,an ugly Orc or an Elf that swings?
Or a Hobbit with hairy feet bouncing on bed springs
Maybe its a Wizard or some ***** Queens and Kings
Something with open ***** spread wide like Dragons Wings
Could it be a merriment of drunken Men or a Bard that sings
A mystical sword detecting Orcs while the blue blade 'Stings'
Or caught inside an arachnids lair when her webbing clings

If the one true ring is reaching out can you hear it call
Is this the case for Hobbitses spread up against a wall
I'm not sure if its all powerful or enough to make you crawl
But its certainly a finger trap when your about to fall
Dont get caught up in a song or a bar room brawl
You'll end up exposing your ring laid out in a sprawl
First there was a fellowship so that explains it all
An Elf, a King, a Warrior and a Wizard that was tall
One Dwarf and Four Hobbits oh so ******* small
A band of miss-matched fellows so too much **** and ball

There wasn't any ladies present none in their vicinity
No big boobed buxom vixens so no sweet femininity
Just a load of sweaty men so too much masculinity
One true ring to rule them all and the loss of their senility
Nine guys on a long quest with the need of strong agility
Half way up a mountain heading for their own affinity
Inside a cave "You shall not pass" Gandalfs grey divinity
With staff in hand the Balrog's Bain both falling to infinity
Frodo's lose and upset the fellowships diminishing ability
With the hope of something more for the lose of their virginity

Just take a look at Bilbo Baggins with his transfixed eyes
With his finger in the ring is what he would visualise
His persona will be changing to what you wont recognize
But he wont want to give up the ring or even compromise
Could it be the feeling he has of the rings sweet tantalize
Or leaving this reality behind under his minds hypnotize
If he does not surrender the ring he will be so unwise
Coz Gandalf will get so ******* with Bilbo's demoralize
An obsessed Bilbo Bagginses he's under a different guise
If the ring then turns him gay it will come as no surprise

So if your in the tavern and you spot old Boromir
And he's got a pewter tankard quaffing froth and beer
If he handles the one true ring who knows which way he'll steer
He'll end up in the cocktail bar the ring will turn him queer
Mr Underhill is waiting with the ring will he ever get gear
Waiting for a stranger while the patrons look and leer
Some people in the tavern they may even laugh and cheer
But I doubt they'd be too happy if they where taken at the rear
Frodo's mistake ******* the ring his invisibility may be severe
Black riders are not far behind so there is something to fear

And if you looking for a man who's name is Strider
But you're not really sure who he is a friend or an insider
For all you know he could be a foe or a even a Black Rider
He is just a lying **** his false name is his divider
At the Prancing Pony Inn he may well be your hider
But it will be a team effort and not a soul provided
Be careful of that ******* ring your tail will get much wider
You don't want any hindrance or a ridicule derider
Don't lose your ring deep in the woods within a ***** slider
That's nothing to what lies ahead when you face a giant spider

Just beware of those Ring Wraiths the nine riders of the black
Cos you don't want to use your ring if your going to be slack
Resist the use of the ring or they'll stab you in the back
The eye of Saurons watching you blades of evil in your crack
If evil gets into your heart you'll become one of their pack
At Elrons river their taunting you cos they are right on track
They will beckon you to Mordor but it's courtesy they lack
So warn them off defeat those Wraiths a sea of horses to attack
Time and pain could have been saved and a hell of a lot of flak
If you went with the Wraiths and it was them that you could hack

And you really don't want to come across the army of the dead
There are far too many of them and you'll run out of lead
You should get out while you can just don't loose your head
Make a bargain with the Dunharrow Dead to avoid bloodshed
The protection of those ****** rings protect your own instead
Is it worth all of the blood spilled when you could have fled
Sam should keep his guard up as he may fear to tread
Cos Gollum's out there stalking you as you lay on your bed
He'll **** to gain "My Precious" filling your heart with dread
Attacking you while your asleep and any of your stead

Smoke rises from the Mountain of Doom and the hour is late
Gandalf The Grey rides to Isengard of this he cannot wait
Seeking council with Saruman but he doesn't know his fate
The lord of Mordor he sees all I'm afraid that is his trait
Sauron's great eye's looming my old friend's fallen for the bait
Reason abandoned for madness the insanity of Saruman's hate
We must join with Sauron but then what would that create
The hour is later than you think are their staffs twisted or straight
A fight within Orthanc tower this was Gandalf's one true date
Escaping the clutches of Saruman's trap his former friend and mate

Have you ever wondered how Gandalf turned from grey to white
The quest began but too their dismay the Balrog came to sight
Deep within the cavern walls the desperation of their plight
No way back on a stone bridge during that hopeless fight
The danger of the crumbling rocks falling a great height
Gandalf will not let it pass the whip of the Balrog's blight
Was it that confrontation when Gandalf turned dark into light
Or when he got tossed of that bridge was his grey cloak getting tight
Is it the strain of whiplash pulling him or the fiery Balrogs bite
Gandalf will return on Shadowfax and the Eagles will take flight

Gandalf and a group of men the Great Eagles they had mastered
So why didn't he take the ring himself the selfish ******* *******  
Those Wars could have been prevented instead of death forecasted
But it seems they'd  rather people die populations maimed and blasted
The burden Sam and Frodo faced too long their quest had lasted
It could have been completed sooner if certain spells where casted
They where to suffer seemingly with rings they should have fasted
Instead of which they shared the pain with others that contrasted
Gandalf could have flown that ring without being flabergastered
But he'd rather smoke his ******* pipe and surprisingly get plastered

Battles ensued that needn't have been so was that really fair?
Gimli will have to get his axe out so you better all beware
He'll team up with Legolas and they'll **** without a care
Keeping score of all their kills cos they are a strange old pair
Aragorn would join them and he'd take on his fare share
But Legolas was a nice boy with his lovely long blonde hair
He liked to score with Gimli perhaps he had that certain flair
I'm not sure which way his arrow went I'd ask but I don't dare
Was it fair on Frodo the heavy burden was his own nightmare
Especially when Gollum leads you into a trap inside of Shelobs lair

The anger of Samwise Gamgee at Gollums treachery and betrayal
Fat Hobbitses don't like Smeagol a defence that was quite frail
With Frodo succumbing to the ring it's to late for him to bail
He wished the ring had not come to him afraid that he may fail
So do all that see such times when you could fall off the rail
Isn't that how its always been with the kings you have to hail
It's bad enough taking the ring when your led right off the trail
And maybe facing certain death not knowing if you'll avail
Don't let the ring take control or you'll end up going pail
Bilbo has already been there and back again in a Hobbits Tale

The great horn sounds attacking Orc's and 100's of their creed
A valiant fight but to no avail when protection takes the lead
The wooded Hill of Amon Hen Boromir died of his last deed
On the grassy ***** near Parth Galen the death of lust and greed
If he didn't want the ring so much there may have been no need
For hordes of Orc's to strike him down with arrows of great speed
Aragorn's comfort of a dying man a confession to take heed
He tried to take Frodo's ring so now his heart will bleed
Men will die and get obsessed the one true ring will breed
Rings will come and rings will go so don't you spread their seed

To gain the power of the ring many battles have been fought
If the ring wasn't so desirable then we wouldn't all get caught
Killing was Smeagol's desire his stressed mind in distraught
Deagol's demise to obtain the ring is what Smeagol sought
A birthday demand a savage rage a strangled death resort
Gladen River's legacy Smeagol's friend killed in a fraught
Downward spirals of sheer desire is what the ring has brought
Gollums years of torment but still nothing has been taught
If you don't resist the ring you'll lose your male support
The power of the ring's too great and far to hard to thwart

A sneaky ******* in our midst the slime was almost dripping
The foulness of this slimy guy Theoden chilled heart ripping
Chief adviser to his feeble king the oldness of poison sipping
Exposed as Saruman's agent and spy allegiances kept flipping
A name like Grima Wormtongue you'd expect a double tipping
Unless he used his wormy tongue for a tonguing and a slipping
A henchmen of the slimiest order his tongue is always dripping
Stabbing Saruman in the back his treachery deserves a clipping
Escaping from their Orc captives good old merry and pippin
Treebeards wooden victories he'll give those Orcs a whipping

The towering strength of fourteen feet and a unique repartee
He Ent stumped and he Ent felled and he's not potpourri
Do not be hasty in times of need take notice of our plea
With Meriadoc and Peregrin they where the power of three
Going to war that mighty oak for cutting down the tree
Branching out coz he's hacked off at Saruman's killing spree
He'll ******* stick one on you so those Orcs they better flee
Cos his wood, timber and leaf are his trunks aristocracy
So don't you ******* Treebeard because you will not foresee
His bark is worse than his bite and his log's his legacy

Death is just another path give me a ******* brake
But being a lord of a ring that is a big mistake
Forging of these ****** rings why are they on the make
The one true ring that ruled them all off this I can forsake
How many wars have been lost how many lost their stake
With people killed and deaths occurred within a battles wake
At helmsdeep Gandalf the White returned from grey opaque
Sword aloft taking a stand making those Orc ******* quake
On the back of Shadowfax the rumbling ground will shake
It would not have happened if the rings where ******* fake

Sharp black mountains up winding stairs was Smeagols secret way
He'll Lead Frodo into a trap he'll make those nasty hobbits pay
The heaviness of stagnant air the darkness consumes the day
Unaware of what awaits when SHE comes out to play
Weaving webs of shadows the dankness of black and grey
Deep inside of that dark lair is where Mr Frodo lay
The Phial of Galadriel's silver light keeping darkness at bay
Sam's glimmer of hope the Elvin blade Shelob he tried to slay
Feeling the 'Sting' of Sam's despair he made that spider sway
Dark defeated by the light but Gollums pleasures gone astray

Arriving at the fires of mount doom the volcano's of Mordor
Destroy the ring throw it in the fire but Frodo wanted more
Just let it go and don't hesitate what are you waiting for
As Sam looks on the ring is mine Frodo's last withdraw
******* the ring is hard enough especially if your not sure
Don't be too obsessed like Gollum was by being the rings *****
The following of footsteps Gollum's foul bite of blood and gore
Frodo's severed finger ring lost from a blooded scarlet claw
The joy of regaining 'My Precious' was Gollums goal and law
Falling in the fires of mount doom his death ended Frodo's chore

With Gollums Demise the ring destroyed our stories nearly told
Mount Doom has fell all things must end including rings of gold
Mordor has crumbled the defeat of Sauron and enemy's of old
Great Eagles came Frodo and Sam saved from Mordors fiery fold
Frodo's fellowship reunion at the bedside of the brave and bald
They'll never be the same again but no longer Orced or Trolled
Cheering crowds the Return of the King Arwen's beauty to behold
The Hobbits bow before the king but they really should withhold
My friends you bow to no one kings honour for the hobbits mould
A kneeling of the whole kingdom bestowed the Hobbits over bowled

Thirteen months to the day our returning to bag end
A familiar sight our home the Shire we left to defend
The beginning of the fourth age Sam's marriage to attend
Sam's choice of bride Rosie Cotton his wife to wed intend
Home at the Shire was too hard to fully comprehend
For Frodo's old threads of life the bonds of a true friend
There is no going back some things time cannot mend
Some hurts they go to deep the book that he now penned
The completion of Lord of the Rings a few pages to extend
Giving the manuscript for Sam to continue the written trend

The galleon is waiting and its time to break the chain
Bilbo's journeys are over the last ship to leave the main
The time of men has come and the end of the rings reign
Gandalf's work was over the brave Hobbits teary strain
True endings of the fellowship seas call us home again
Don't be sad and do not weep but Frodo felt the pain
Not all tears are evil Gandalf knew of Frodo's wane
A departure of emotion the tears they could not retain
The saving of the shire but it isn't quite that plain
Frodo's sad farewell the Gray Heavens don't refrain

The fellowships disbanded but as if that wasn't known
Quests for gold are no more the dead are dust and bone
Elvish has left the building the trolls have turned to stone
The one true ring has been lost so its no longer shown
Hobbits are back in their holes so all of them will groan
Hords of Orcs have now ****** off after lowering the tone
Towers have been toppled, Mount Doom's collapsed and blown
Gollum has lost his precious so he'll have good cause to moan
The Dwarfs are not around no more cos their not all fully grown
Ring bearers have been and gone so they'll be on their own
The king has now returned and he's got his ******* Throne
The story has now ended but you know how far we've flown
So thank you J.R.R Tolkien thanks for your story loan
But it isn't exactly Lord of the rings so its not a ****** clone
O Lord, my best desire fulfil,
And help me to resign
Life, health, and comfort to Thy will,
And make Thy pleasure mine.

Why whould I shrink at Thy command,
Whose love forbids my fears?
Or tremble at the gracious hand
That wipes away my tears?

No, rather let me freely yield
What most I prize to Thee;
Who never hast a good withheld,
Or wilt withhold, from me.

Thy favor, all my journey through,
Thou art engaged to grant;
What else I want, or think I do,
'Tis better still to want.

Wisdom and mercy guide my way,
Shall I resist them both?
A poor blind creature of day,
And crush'd before the moth!

But ah! my inward spirit cries,
Still binds me to Thy sway;
Else the next cloud that veils the skies
Drives all these thoughts away.
Mikaila Jun 2013
Forgive me for my passion. I feel so stupid to feel so much, so deeply. Abashed, embarrassed, shamed by a feeling that so many seek and never find: love. And I've got too much of it to give, and no one wants all of it.

Forgive me for my sweetness, my purity of thought. No one wants idealism mixed with such bitter truth. No one wants to see the ugly realities of life through such tender eyes.

Forgive me my simple admiration, adoration, intensity. No one wants to be worshiped with such devotion and selflessness. No one wants to be so loved without reason.

Forgive me for my undivided attention and careful agreement. No one wants to be listened to.

Forgive me empathy and sympathy and care. For no one wants to see that others share their feelings, and want to help. Not really. Everybody wants to be alone in their troubles, and somehow special for it.

Forgive me honesty and honor and truth. Nobody wants the truth, not really, the ugly truth. We like to live in our lies, and hurt our friends, and deceive ourselves.

Forgive me for my absolution. Cruelly I withhold my vengeance and bitterness. No one wants to be forgiven, not really.

Forgive me for seeing beauty unbidden, unrealized, unappreciated. No one wants to see the good in such a world that has hurt them.


*Forgive me for myself.
Samuel Lombardo Sep 2014
I was left on the wayside;
it was only temporarily.
In fact, for a while-
I was hermit;
and when I met you
my heart opened up again.
There was a breakthrough.
Someone in my life-
of the past-
very confused, lost in love;
and yet, still blames me-
In reality,
I am the book unfinished-
"Unfinished Business!!"
How is it then
You think you know so
much about me?
A suspicion?
No, that is what brought
You to this lesson.
Never believe what you see-
Question your heart-
And know where your mind is!
Please, I ask of you-
A legacy was warned
because of suspicion-
a talk from confirmation-
yet, nothing but your story
was told.
This story is getting
boring- nothing but meaningless
nonsense that only
incriminates who you are.
This is not a story
about who you are-
this is the story
representing where you are.
The truth is
It was not that I liked you-
but I made you learn
a lesson-
never to trade what you love
for the loss of another.
I am still making
my legacy-
where are you?
I am not saying anything-
there are ears
who hear, but only
see what they want to see.
I am not worried about
feelings- the feelings
the love of a person
Only I can still forgive
the moments in life
who thought of me
broken me of my life.
Do you think it is worth
the worth of finished business?
Unfinished Business only happens
when you are able to
guide yourself to success.
How do you define?
Is everything lust?
Why was I judged so harshly?
Where do you stand?
You stand on a road to
broken and bare tree limbs.
To lead- one must
Be-Able themselves to personalities
And Characters.
You want a lesson on love-
Deal with the source-
Love's  not from suspicions,
lies, and confirmations
Those of a past who
should have been gone-
I no longer view them,
trust them- nor
will I allow them.
They did enough to my book-
This book was not
suppose to have
love and suspense-
Your life was business-
A friendship wonderfully
made- other most
important with value.
Unfortunately, you
have a new reality-
a reality that has been
brought to you-
the answer of broken heart.
Am I a friend, you ask?
I will say, a friend does not need
to harass or stalk-
no, but when they are
around- and you are hiding-
the darkness is what
keeps me away.
Understand, you are
the problem
which must be solved-
and you are the light
in which we will all learn.
Get your life down the
path of righteousness-
there you will see your
dreams over a rainbow-
and fountains of life
springing before you-
and trees filled
with so many leaves
You will surpass all
this promise, if only
you can stop
abusing power with freedom.
There is free will and choice;
but how many of us
use our choices wisely.
The lesson here-
stay away from suspicions-
the darkness of confirmations
to void your legacies and dream-
and become dependent-
in yourself;
understand that there is more to me
than what you have already lost.
I am leaving this story;
in-ended, because
this story has a sequel-
A sequel of righteousness,
faith, love, peace-
and understanding-
a new beginning-
a promise of legacy-
and forget the book
that passes-
there was so many empty pages.
I can almost re-write
the phrases, but that will
bring me back-
and I am not going back.
Time to move forward.
This is not obsession
nor lust- this is
a new found promise-
a promise of legacy
and friendship.
Understand that love
is friendship; and without love
there is darkness;
you want to shine-
learn to love.
This poem is for those who were either not understanding me, did not understand my situation, or may have known me in the past and have totally judged me the wrong way.

— The End —