Sam's Poetic Picks


SAM CARR'S POETIC PICKS

JUNE 2008
PHILIP LARKIN

AUBADE

I work all day, and get half drunk at night.
Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare.
In time the curtain edges will grow light.
Till then I see what's really always there:
Unresting death, a whole day nearer now,
Making all thought impossible but how
And where and when I shall myself die.
Arid interrogation: yet the dread
Of dying, and being dead,
Flashes afresh to hold and horrify
.

The mind blanks at the glare. Not in remorse

- The good not used, the love not given, time
Torn off unused - nor wretchedly because
An only life can take so long to climb

Clear of its wrong beginnings, and may never:But at the total emptiness forever,

The sure extinction that we travel to

And shall be lost in always. Not to be here,

Not to be anywhere,

And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true.


This is a special way of being afraid

No trick dispels. Religion used to try,

That vast moth-eaten musical brocade

Created to pretend we never die,

And specious stuff that says no rational being

Can fear a thing it cannot feel, not seeing

that this is what we fear - no sight, no sound,

No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with,

Nothing to love or link with,

The anaesthetic from which none come round.


And so it stays just on the edge of vision,

A small unfocused blur, a standing chill

That slows each impulse down to indecision

Most things may never happen: this one will,

And realisation of it rages out

In furnace fear when we are caught without

People or drink. Courage is no good:

It means not scaring others. Being brave

Lets no-one off the grave.

Death is no different whined at than withstood.


Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape.

It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know,

Have always known, know that we can't escape

Yet can't accept. One side will have to go.

Meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ring

In locked-up offices, and all the uncaring

Intricate rented world begins to rouse.

The sky is white as clay, with no sun.

Work has to be done.

Postmen like doctors go from house to house.



NOVEMBER 2007
WYSTAN HUGH AUDEN

AS I WALKED OUT ONE EVENING

As I walked out one evening,

Walking down Bristol Street,

The crowds upon the pavement

Were fields of harvest wheat.


And down by the brimming river

I heard a lover sing

Under an arch of the railway:

"Love has no ending.


"I'll love you, dear, I'll love you

Till China and Africa meet,

And the river jumps over the mountain

And the salmon sing in the street,


"I'll love you till the ocean

Is folded and hung up to dry

And the seven stars go squawking

Like geese about the sky.


"The years shall run like rabbits,

For in my arms I hold

The Flower of the Ages,

And the first love of the world."


But all the clocks in the city

Began to whirr and chime:

"O let not Time deceive you,

You cannot conquer Time.


"In the burrows of the Nightmare

Where Justice naked is,

Time watches from the shadow

And coughs when you would kiss.


"In headaches and in worry

Vaguely life leaks away,

And Time will have his fancy

To-morrow or to-day.


"Into many a green valley

Drifts the appalling snow;

Time breaks the threaded dances

And the diver's brilliant bow.


"O plunge your hands in water,

Plunge them in up to the wrist;

Stare, stare in the basin

And wonder what you've missed.


"The glacier knocks in the cupboard,

The desert sighs in the bed,

And the crack in the tea-cup opens

A lane to the land of the dead.


"Where the beggars raffle the banknotes

And the Giant is enchanting to Jack,

And the Lily-white Boy is a Roarer,

And Jill goes down on her back.


"O look, look in the mirror?

O look in your distress:

Life remains a blessing

Although you cannot bless.


"O stand, stand at the window

As the tears scald and start;

You shall love your crooked neighbour

With your crooked heart."


It was late, late in the evening,

The lovers they were gone;

The clocks had ceased their chiming,

And the deep river ran on.




ARE YOU THERE?

Each lover has some theory of his own

About the difference between the ache

Of being with his love, and being alone:


Why what, when dreaming, is dear flesh and bone

That really stirs the senses, when awake,

Appears a simulacrum of his own.


Narcissus disbelieves in the unknown;

He cannot join his image in the lake

So long as he assumes he is alone.


The child, the waterfall, the fire, the stone,

Are always up to mischief, though, and take

The universe for granted as their own.


The elderly, like Proust, are always prone

To think of love as a subjective fake;

The more they love, the more they feel alone.


Whatever view we hold, it must be shown

Why every lover has a wish to make

Some kind of otherness his own:

Perhaps, in fact, we never are alone.



OCTOBER 2007
EZRA POUND

BALLAD FOR GLOOM

For God, our God is a gallant foe

That playeth behind the veil.


I have loved my God as a child at heart

That seeketh deep bosoms for rest,

I have loved my God as a maid to man—

But lo, this thing is best:


To love your God as a gallant foe that plays behind the veil;

To meet your God as the night winds meet beyond Arcturus' pale.


I have played with God for a woman,

I have staked with my God for truth,

I have lost to my God as a man, clear-eyed—

His dice be not of ruth.


For I am made as a naked blade,

But hear ye this thing in sooth:


Who loseth to God as man to man

Shall win at the turn of the game.

I have drawn my blade where the lightnings meet

But the ending is the same:

Who loseth to God as the sword blades lose

Shall win at the end of the game.


For God, our God is a gallant foe that playeth behind the veil.

Whom God deigns not to overthrow hath need of triple mail.



SEPTEMBER 2007
Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy
(1883-1929)

Woodbine Willie


They gave me this name like their nature,

Compacted of laughter and tears,

A sweet that was born of the bitter,

A joke that was torn from the years


Of their travail and torture, Christ's fools,

Atoning my sins with their blood,

Who grinned in their agony sharing

The glorious madness of God.


Their name! Let me hear it -- the symbol

Of unpaid -- unpayable debt,

For the men to whom I owed God's Peace,

I put off with a cigarette.



WASTE

WASTE of Muscle, waste of Brain,

Waste of Patience, waste of Pain,

Waste of Manhood, waste of Health,

Waste of Beauty, waste of Wealth,


Waste of Blood, and waste of Tears,

Waste of Youth's most precious years,

Waste of ways the Saints have trod,

Waste of Glory, waste of God,--

War!


A MOTHER UNDERSTANDS


DEAR Lord, I hold my hand to take

Thy Body, broken here for me,

Accept the Sacrifice I make,

My body, broken, there, for Thee.


His was my body, born of me,

Born of my bitter travail pain,

And it lies broken on the field,

Swept by the wind and the rain.


Surely a Mother understands Thy thorn-crowned head,

The mystery of Thy pierced hands--the Broken Bread.


IF YE FORGET

LET me forget--Let me forget,

I am weary of remembrance,

And my brow is ever wet,

With tears of my remembrance,

With the tears and bloody sweat,--

Let me forget.


If ye forget--If ye forget,

Then your children must remember,

And their brow be ever wet,

With the tears of their remembrance,

With the tears and bloody sweat,--

If ye forget.



THE SORROW OF GOD


"Yes I used to believe in Jesus Christ

And I used to go to church.

But since I left home and came to France,

I've been clean knocked off my perch.

For it seemed alright at home it did,

To believe in a God above

And in Jesus Christ his only Son

What died on the cross through Love.


When I went for a walk of a Sunday morn

On a nice fine day in the spring

I could see the proof of the living God

In every living thing.

For how could the grass and the trees grow up,

All alone of their bloomin' selves?

Ye might as well believe in fairy tales,

And think they were made by elves.


So I thought that that long haired atheist

Was nothing but a silly sod

For how did he account for my Brussel sprouts,

If he didn't believe in God?


But it ain't the same out here, you know

It's as different as chalk and cheese,

For half of its blood and the other half mud,

And I'm darned if I really see

How the God who has made such a cruel cruel world

Can have love in his heart for men,

And be deaf to the cries of the men as dies

And never comes home again.


Just look at that little boy corporal there,

Such a fine upstanding lad,

With a will of his own, and a way of his own

And a smile of his own, he had.

An hour ago he was bustin' with life

With his actin' and foolin' and fun;

He was simply the life of us all, he was

Now look what the blighters have done.

Look at him lying there all of a heap

With the blood soaking over his head

Like a beautiful picture spoiled by a fool,

A bundle of nothing-- dead...


And the lovin' God he looks down on it all,

On the blood, and the mud, and the smell,

Oh God if its true how I pity you

For you must be livin' in hell.

You must be livin' in hell all day,

And livin' in hell all night.

I'd rather be dead with a hole in my dead

I would by a darn long sight,

Than be livin' with you on your heavenly throne,

Looking down on yon bloody heap,

That was once a boy full of life and joy,

And hearin' his mother weep.


The sorrows of God must be hard to bear,

If he really has love in his heart.

And the hardest part in the world to play

Must surely be God's part.

And I wonder if that's what it really means,

That figure who hangs on the cross.

I remember I saw one the other day

As I stood with the captain's hoss.


I remembers, I thinks, thinks I to myself

Its a long time since he died,

Yet the world don't seem much better to-day

Then when he was crucified.


It's always the same, as it seems to me,

The weakest must go to the wall,

And whether it's right, or whether it's wrong

Doesn't seem to matter at all.

The better you are and the harder it is,

The harder you have to fight,

It's a cruel hard world for any bloke

Who does the thing which is right.

And that's how he came to be crucified,

For that's what he tried to do.

He was always a-tryin' to do his best

For the likes of me and you.


Well what if he came to the earth today

Came walking about in this trench

How his heart would bleed for the sights he'd see

In the mud and the blood and the stench.

And I guess it would finish him up for good

When he came to this old sap end,

And he saw that bundle of nothing there,

For he wept at the grave of a friend.


And they say He was just the Image of God

I wonder if God sheds tears.

I wonder if God can be sorrowing still,

And has been all these years.

I wonder if that's what it really means,

Not only that he once died,

Not only that he came once to earth

And wept and was crucified?

Not just that he suffered once for all

To save us from our sins

And then went up to his throne on high

To wait until his heaven begins.


But what if he came to earth to show

By the paths of the pain he trod,

The blistering flame of eternal shame

That burns in the heart of God?...


But why don't you bust this show to bits

And force us to do your will?

Why ever should God be suffering so,

And man be sinning still?

Why don't you make your voice ring out,

And drown these cursed guns?

Why don't you stand with an outstretched hand

Out there betwixt us and the Huns?

Why don't you force us to end this war

And fix up a lasting peace?

Why don't you will that the world be still

And wars for ever cease?

That's what I'd do, if I were you,

And I had a lot of sons

Who squabbled and fought and spoiled their home,

Same as us boys and the Huns.


And yet I remember a lad of mine,

He's fighting now on the sea.

And he was a thorn in his mother's side

And the plague of my life to me.

Lord how I used to switch that lad

Until he fairly yelped with pain

But fast as I thrashed one devil out

Another popped in again.


And at last when he grew up a strapping lad

He ups and says to me

'My will is my own, and my life is my own,

And I'm goin' Dad to sea.'

And he went, for I hadn't broken his will,

Though God knows how I tried,

And he never set eyes on my face again

Until the day his mother dies.


Well maybe that's how it is with God,

His sons have got to be free.

Their wills are their own, their lives are their own,

And that is how it has to be.

So the Father God goes sorrowing still

For his world which has gone to sea

But he runs up a light on Calvary's height

That beckons to you and to me.

The beacon light of the sorrow of God

Has been shinin' down the years,

Flashin' its light through the darkest night

Of our human blood and tears.


There's a sight of things which I thought were strange,

As I am just beginnin' to see.

'Inasmuch as you did it unto one of these,

You did it unto Me'


So it isn't just only the crown of thorns

What has pierced and torn God's head

He knows the feel of the bullet too,

And he's had his touch of the lead.

And he's standin' with me in this here sap,

And the corporal stands with Him,

And the eyes of the laddie is shinin' bright

But the eyes of the Christ burn dim.


Oh laddie I thought as ye'd done for me

And broken my heart with your pain.

I thought ye'd taught me God was dead,

But ye've brought Him to life again.

And ye've taught me more of what God is

Than ever I thought to know,

For I never thought he could come so close,

Or that I could love Him so.


For the voice of the Lord, as I hear it now

Is the voice of my pals that bled,

And the call of my country's God to me

Is the call of my country's dead.



JULY 2007

STACY BARTON

At Dusk

And so the silence sings

between the swells of madness, chirps

like chair legs on linoleum.


Friendly,


like the hope of cheerful vinyl

with bright formica near. The Kitchen,

like Silence,

a comfort.


The window open now,

the mower adds a song;

dying grass, like

Daniel, prays for life

while silhouettes and shadows

swallow dogs.


JUNE 2007

ANAND GEORGE a.k.a Babiya

PRIMORDIAL SOUP

From the primordial stew

Nature made a wonderful coup


From tiny amoeba to man

She created numerous clans


Every creature for her is dear

It’s unfair for man to interfere


Let’s celebrate all of nature

To finely secure our own future.



APRIL 2007

Michael Drayton

How many paltry foolish painted things,

That now in coaches trouble every street,

Shall be forgotten, whom no poet sings,

Ere they be well wrapped in their winding-sheet!

Where I to thee eternity shall give,

When nothing else remaineth of these days,

And queens hereafter shall be glad to live

Upon the alms of thy superfluous praise.

Virgins and matrons, reading these my rhymes,

Shall be so much delighted with thy story

That they shall grieve they lived not in these times,

To have seen thee, their sex's only glory:

So shalt thou fly above the vulgar throng,

Still to survive in my immortal song.



3 BY
Samuel Daniel
Sonnet XLV

Care-charmer Sleep, son of the sable Night,

Brother to Death, in silent darkness born:

Relieve my languish, and restore the light,

With dark forgetting of my cares, return;

And let the day be time enough to mourn

The shipwreck of my ill-adventur'd youth:

Let waking eyes suffice to wail their scorn,

Without the torment of the night's untruth.

Cease dreams, th' imagery of our day-desires,

To model forth the passions of the morrow;

Never let rising sun approve you liars,

To add more grief to aggravate my sorrow.

Still let me sleep, embracing clouds in vain;

And never wake to feel the day's disdain.



Sonnet XLVI

Let others sing of knights and paladines

In aged accents and untimely words;

Paint shadows in imaginary lines

Which well the reach of their high wits records:

But I must sing of thee, and those fair eyes

Authentic shall my verse in time to come,

When yet th' unborn shall say, "Lo where she lies

Whose beauty made him speak that else was dumb."

These are the arks, the trophies I erect,

That fortify thy name against old age;

And these thy sacred virtues must protect

Against the dark, and time's consuming rage.

Though th' error of my youth they shall discover,

Suffice they show I liv'd and was thy lover.



Love is a Sickness

LOVE is a sickness full of woes,

All remedies refusing;

A plant that with most cutting grows,

Most barren with best using.

Why so?


More we enjoy it, more it dies;

If not enjoy'd, it sighing cries--

Heigh ho!


Love is a torment of the mind,

A tempest everlasting;

And Jove hath made it of a kind

Not well, nor full nor fasting.

Why so?


More we enjoy it, more it dies;

If not enjoy'd, it sighing cries--

Heigh ho!



JANUARY 2007

3 BY
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

PRELUDE.

Pleasant it was, when woods were green,

And winds were soft and low,

To lie amid some sylvan scene.

Where, the long drooping boughs between,

Shadows dark and sunlight sheen

Alternate come and go;


Or where the denser grove receives

No sunlight from above,

But the dark foliage interweaves

In one unbroken roof of leaves,

Underneath whose sloping eaves

The shadows hardly move.


Beneath some patriarchal tree

I lay upon the ground;

His hoary arms uplifted he,

And all the broad leaves over me

Clapped their little hands in glee,

With one continuous sound;--


A slumberous sound, a sound that brings

The feelings of a dream,

As of innumerable wings,

As, when a bell no longer swings,

Faint the hollow murmur rings

O'er meadow, lake, and stream.


And dreams of that which cannot die,

Bright visions, came to me,

As lapped in thought I used to lie,

And gaze into the summer sky,

Where the sailing clouds went by,

Like ships upon the sea;


Dreams that the soul of youth engage

Ere Fancy has been quelled;

Old legends of the monkish page,

Traditions of the saint and sage,

Tales that have the rime of age,

And chronicles of Eld.


And, loving still these quaint old themes,

Even in the city's throng

I feel the freshness of the streams,

That, crossed by shades and sunny gleams,

Water the green land of dreams,

The holy land of song.


Therefore, at Pentecost, which brings

The Spring, clothed like a bride,

When nestling buds unfold their wings,

And bishop's-caps have golden rings,

Musing upon many things,

I sought the woodlands wide.


The green trees whispered low and mild;

It was a sound of joy!

They were my playmates when a chi

ld,And rocked me in their arms so wild!

Still they looked at me and smiled,

As if I were a boy;


And ever whispered, mild and low,

"Come, be a child once more!"

And waved their long arms to and fro,

And beckoned solemnly and slow;

O, I could not choose but go

Into the woodlands hoar,--


Into the blithe and breathing air,

Into the solemn wood,

Solemn and silent everywhere

Nature with folded hands seemed there

Kneeling at her evening prayer!

Like one in prayer I stood.


Before me rose an avenue

Of tall and sombrous pines;

Abroad their fan-like branches grew,

And, where the sunshine darted through,

Spread a vapor soft and blue,

In long and sloping lines.


And, falling on my weary brain,

Like a fast-falling shower,

The dreams of youth came back again,

Low lispings of the summer rain,

Dropping on the ripened grain,

As once upon the flower.


Visions of childhood! Stay, O stay!

Ye were so sweet and wild!

And distant voices seemed to say,

"It cannot be! They pass away!

Other themes demand thy lay;

Thou art no more a child!


"The land of Song within thee lies,

Watered by living springs;

The lids of Fancy's sleepless eyes

Are gates unto that Paradise,

Holy thoughts, like stars, arise,

Its clouds are angels' wings.


"Learn, that henceforth thy song shall be

, Not mountains capped with snow,

Nor forests sounding like the sea,

Nor rivers flowing ceaselessly,

Where the woodlands bend to see

The bending heavens below.


"There is a forest where the din

Of iron branches sounds!

A mighty river roars between,

And whosoever looks therein

Sees the heavens all black with sin,

Sees not its depths, nor bounds.


"Athwart the swinging branches cast,

Soft rays of sunshine pour;

Then comes the fearful wintry blast

Our hopes, like withered leaves, fail fast;

Pallid lips say, 'It is past!

We can return no more!,


"Look, then, into thine heart, and write!

Yes, into Life's deep stream!

All forms of sorrow and delight,

All solemn Voices of the Night,

That can soothe thee, or affright,--

Be these henceforth thy theme."



THE CHALLENGE


I have a vague remembrance

Of a story, that is told

In some ancient Spanish legend

Or chronicle of old.


It was when brave King Sanchez

Was before Zamora slain,

And his great besieging army

Lay encamped upon the plain.


Don Diego de Ordonez

Sallied forth in front of all,

And shouted loud his challenge

To the warders on the wall.


All the people of Zamora,

Both the born and the unborn,

As traitors did he challenge

With taunting words of scorn.


The living, in their houses,

And in their graves, the dead!

And the waters of their rivers,

And their wine, and oil, and bread!


There is a greater army,

That besets us round with strife,

A starving, numberless army,

At all the gates of life.


The poverty-stricken millions

Who challenge our wine and bread,

And impeach us all as traitors,

Both the living and the dead.


And whenever I sit at the banquet,

Where the feast and song are high,

Amid the mirth and the music

I can hear that fearful cry.


And hollow and haggard faces

Look into the lighted hall,

And wasted hands are extended

To catch the crumbs that fall.


For within there is light and plenty,

And odors fill the air;

But without there is cold and darkness,

And hunger and despair.


And there in the camp of famine,

In wind and cold and rain,

Christ, the great Lord of the army,

Lies dead upon the plain!


FRAGMENTS

October 22, 1838.


Neglected record of a mind neglected,

Unto what "lets and stops" art thou subjected!

The day with all its toils and occupations,

The night with its reflections and sensations,

The future, and the present, and the past,--

All I remember, feel, and hope at last,

All shapes of joy and sorrow, as they pass,--

Find but a dusty image in this glass.


NOVEMBER 2006

Walt Whitman
A NOISELESS PATIENT SPIDER

A NOISELESS, patient spider,

I mark'd, where, on a little promontory, it stood, isolated;

Mark'd how, to explore the vacant, vast surrounding,

It launch'd forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself;

Ever unreeling them--ever tirelessly speeding them.


And you, O my Soul, where you stand,

Surrounded, surrounded, in measureless oceans of space,

Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing,--seeking the spheres, to connect them;

Till the bridge you will need, be form'd--till the ductile anchor hold;

Till the gossamer thread you fling, catch somewhere, O my Soul.



Henry David Thoreau
THE MOON

Time wears her not; she doth his chariot guide;

Mortality below her orb is placed.

--Raleigh


The full-orbed moon with unchanged ray

Mounts up the eastern sky,

Not doomed to these short nights for aye,

But shining steadily.


She does not wane, but my fortune,

Which her rays do not bless,

My wayward path declineth soon,

But she shines not the less.


And if she faintly glimmers here,

And paled is her light,

Yet alway in her proper sphere

She's mistress of the night.


Emily Dickinson
DEATH LEAVES US HOMESICK, WHO BEHIND

Death leaves Us homesick, who behind,

Except that it is gone

Are ignorant of its

As if it were not born.


Through all their former Places, we

Like Individuals go

Who something lost, the seeking for

Is all that's left them, now—


Helen Hunt Jackson
A Calendar of Sonnets:

JANUARY

O Winter! frozen pulse and heart of fire,

What loss is theirs who from thy kingdom turn

Dismayed, and think thy snow a sculptured urn

Of death! Far sooner in midsummer tire

The streams than under ice. June could nothire

Her roses to forego the strength they learn

In sleeping on thy breast. No fires can burn

The bridges thou dost lay where men desire

In vain to build.

O Heart, when Love's sun goes

To northward, and the sounds of singing cease,

Keep warm by inner fires, and rest in peace.

Sleep on content, as sleeps the patient rose.

Walk boldly on the white untrodden snows,

The winter is the winter's own release.


John Newton
AMAZING GRACE

Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound!)

That sav'd a wretch like me!

I once was lost, but now am found;

Was blind, but now I see.


'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,

And grace my fears reliev'd;

How precious did that grace appear,

The hour I first believ'd!


Thro' many dangers, toils, and snares,

I have already come;

'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,

And grace will lead me home.


The Lord has promis'd good to me,

His word my hope secures;

He will my shield and portion be,

As long as life endures.


Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,

And mortal life shall cease;

I shall possess, within the veil,

A life of joy and peace.


This earth shall soon dissolve like snow,

The sun forbear to shine;

But God, who call'd me here below,

Will be for ever mine.


OCTOBER 2006

Sir John Suckling
SONNET I

Dost see how unregarded now

That piece of beauty passes?

There was a time when I did vow

To that alone;

But mark the fate of faces;

The red and white works now no more on me

Than if it could not charm, or I not see.


And yet the face continues good,

And I have still desires,

Am still the selfsame flesh and blood,

As apt to melt

And suffer from those fires;

Oh some kind pow'r unriddle where it lies,

Whether my heart be faulty, or her eyes?


She ev'ry day her man does kill,

And I as often die;

Neither her power then, nor my will

Can question'd be.

What is the mystery?

Sure beauty's empires, like to greater states,

Have certain periods set, and hidden fates.



SEPTEMBER 2006

Wendell Berry
MANIFESTO: THE MAD FARMER LIBERATION FRONT

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,

vacation with pay. Want more

of everything ready-made. Be afraid

to know your neighbors and to die.

And you will have a window in your head.

Not even your future will be a mystery

any more. Your mind will be punched in a card

and shut away in a little drawer.

When they want you to buy something

they will call you. When they want you

to die for profit they will let you know.


So, friends every day do something

that won't compute. Love the Lord.

Love the world. Work for nothing.

Take all that you have and be poor.

Love someone who does not deserve it.

Denounce the government and embrace

the flag. Hope to live in that free

republic for which it stands.

Give your approval to all you cannot

understand. Praise ignorance, for what man

has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.


Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.

Say that your main crop is the forest

that you did not plant,

that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested

when they have rotted into the mold.

Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus

that will build under the trees

every thousand years.


Listen to carrion—put your ear

close, and hear the faint chattering

of the songs that are to come.

Expect the end of the world. Laugh.

Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful.

Though you have considered all the facts.

So long as women do not go cheap

for power, please women more than men.

Ask yourself: Will this satisfy

a woman satisfied to bear a child?

Will this disturb the sleep

of a woman near to giving birth?


Go with your love to the fields.

Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head

in her lap. Swear allegiance

to what is nighest your thoughts.

As soon as the generals and the politicos

can predict the motions of your mind,

lose it. Leave it as a sign

to mark a false trail, the way

you didn't go. Be like the fox

who makes more tracks than necessary,

some in the wrong direction.

Practice resurrection.



AUGUST 2006
Shakespeare

CARPE DIEM

O mistress mine, where are you roaming?

O stay and hear! your true-love's coming

That can sing both high and low;

Trip no further, pretty sweeting,

Journey's end in lovers' meeting--

Every wise man's son doth know.


What is love? 'tis not hereafter;

Present mirth hath present laughter;

What's to come is still unsure:

In delay there lies no plenty,--

Then come kiss me, Sweet and twenty,

Youth's a stuff will not endure.



JULY 2006 (I)
Dorothy Parker

RESUME


Razors pain you;

Rivers are damp;

Acids stain you;

And drugs cause cramp.

Guns aren't lawful;

Nooses give;

Gas smells awful;

You might as well live.


PRAYER FOR A PRAYER


Dearest one, when I am dead

Never seek to follow me.

Never mount the quiet hill

Where the copper leaves are still,

As my heart is, on the tree

Standing at my narrow bed.


Only of your tenderness,

Pray a little prayer at night.

Say: "I have forgiven now-

I, so weak and sad; O Thou,

Wreathed in thunder, robed in light,

Surely Thou wilt do no less."



JUNE 2006 (II)
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A GLEAM OF SUNSHINE

This is the place. Stand still, my steed,

Let me review the scene,

And summon from the shadowy Past

The forms that once have been.


The Past and Present here unite

Beneath Time's flowing tide,

Like footprints hidden by a brook,

But seen on either side.


Here runs the highway to the town;

There the green lane descends,

Through which I walked to church with thee,

O gentlest of my friends!


The shadow of the linden-trees

Lay moving on the grass;

Between them and the moving boughs,

A shadow, thou didst pass.


Thy dress was like the lilies,

And thy heart as pure as they:

One of God's holy messengers

Did walk with me that day.


I saw the branches of the trees

Bend down thy touch to meet,

The clover-blossoms in the grass

Rise up to kiss thy feet,


"Sleep, sleep to-day, tormenting cares,

Of earth and folly born!"

Solemnly sang the village choir

On that sweet Sabbath morn.


Through the closed blinds the golden sun

Poured in a dusty beam,

Like the celestial ladder seen

By Jacob in his dream.


And ever and anon, the wind,

Sweet-scented with the hay,

Turned o'er the hymn-book's fluttering leaves

That on the window lay.


Long was the good man's sermon,

Yet it seemed not so to me;

For he spake of Ruth the beautiful,

And still I thought of thee.


Long was the prayer he uttered,

Yet it seemed not so to me;

For in my heart I prayed with him,

And still I thought of thee.


But now, alas! the place seems changed;

Thou art no longer here:

Part of the sunshine of the scene

With thee did disappear.


Though thoughts, deep-rooted in my heart,

Like pine-trees dark and high,

Subdue the light of noon, and breathe

A low and ceaseless sigh;


This memory brightens o'er the past,

As when the sun, concealed

Behind some cloud that near us hangs

Shines on a distant field.



JUNE 2006 (I)


John Donne

THE FLEA.


MARK but this flea, and mark in this,

How little that which thou deniest me is ;

It suck'd me first, and now sucks thee,

And in this flea our two bloods mingled be.

Thou know'st that this cannot be said

A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead ;

Yet this enjoys before it woo,

And pamper'd swells with one blood made of two ;

And this, alas ! is more than we would do.


O stay, three lives in one flea spare,

Where we almost, yea, more than married are.

This flea is you and I, and this

Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is.

Though parents grudge, and you, we're met,

And cloister'd in these living walls of jet.

Though use make you apt to kill me,

Let not to that self-murder added be,

And sacrilege, three sins in killing three.


Cruel and sudden, hast thou since

Purpled thy nail in blood of innocence?

Wherein could this flea guilty be,

Except in that drop which it suck'd from thee?

Yet thou triumph'st, and say'st that thou

Find'st not thyself nor me the weaker now.

'Tis true ; then learn how false fears be ;

Just so much honour, when thou yield'st to me,

Will waste, as this flea's death took life from thee.


Christopher Marlowe
THE PASSIONATE SHEPHERD TO HIS LOVE

Come live with me and be my love,

And we will all the pleasures prove

That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,

Woods or steepy mountain yields.

And we will sit upon the rocks,

Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks,

By shallow rivers to whose falls

Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses

And a thousand fragrant posies,

A cap of flowers, and a kirtle

Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool

Which from our pretty lambs we pull;

Fair lined slippers for the cold,

With buckles of th purest gold;

A belt of straw and ivy buds,

With coral clasps and amber studs:

And if these pleasures may thee move,

Come live with me and be my love.

The shepherds' swains shall dance and sing

For thy delight each May morning:

If these delights thy mind may move,

Then live with me and be my love,

[posthumous 1599]




Sir Walter Ralegh
THE NYMPH'S REPLY TO THE SHEPHERD
If all the world and love were young,

And truth in every shepherd's tongue,

These pretty pleasures might me move

To live with thee and be thy love.


Time drives the flocks from field to fold

When rivers rage and rocks grow cold,

And Philomel becometh dumb;

The rest complains of cares to come.


The flowers do fade, and wanton fields

To wayward winter reckoning yields;

A honey tongue, a heart of gall,

Is fancy's spring, but sorrow's fall.


The gowns, thy shoes, thy beds of roses,

Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies

Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten,

In folly ripe, in reason rotten.


Thy belt of straw and ivy buds,

Thy coral clasps and amber studs,

All these in me no means can move

To come to thee and be thy love.


But could youth last and love still breed,

Had joys no date nor age no need,

Then these delights my mind might move

To live with thee and be thy love.


Elisabeth Barrett Browning
"A CURSE FOR A NATION"

I heard an angel speak last night, And he said 'Write!

Write a Nation's curse for me, And send it over the Western Sea.'

I faltered, taking up the word: 'Not so, my lord!

If curses must be, choose another

To send thy curse against my brother.


'For I am bound by gratitude,

By love and blood,

To brothers of mine across the sea,

Who stretch out kindly hands to me.'


'Therefore,' the voice said, 'shalt thou write

My curse to-night.

From the summits of love a curse is driven,

As lightning is from the tops of heaven.'


'Not so,' I answered. 'Evermore

My heart is sore

For my own land's sins: for little feet

Of children bleeding along the street:


'For parked-up honors that gainsay

The right of way:

For almsgiving through a door that is

Not open enough for two friends to kiss:


'For love of freedom which abates

Beyond the Straits:

For patriot virtue starved to vice on

Self-praise, self-interest, and suspicion:


'For an oligarchic parliament,

And bribes well-meant.

What curse to another land assign,

When heavy-souled for the sins of mine?'


'Therefore,' the voice said, 'shalt thou write

My curse to-night.

Because thou hast strength to see and hate

A foul thing done within thy gate.'


'Not so,' I answered once again.

'To curse, choose men.

For I, a woman, have only known

How the heart melts and the tears run down.'


'Therefore,' the voice said, 'shalt thou write

My curse to-night.

Some women weep and curse, I say

(And no one marvels), night and day.


'And thou shalt take their part to-night,

Weep and write.

A curse from the depths of womanhood

Is very salt, and bitter, and good.'


So thus I wrote, and mourned indeed,

What all may read.

And thus, as was enjoined on me,

I send it over the Western Sea.


The Curse


Because ye have broken your own chain

With the strain

Of brave men climbing a Nation's height,

Yet thence bear down with brand and thong

On souls of others, -- for this wrong

This is the curse. Write.


Because yourselves are standing straight

In the state

Of Freedom's foremost acolyte,

Yet keep calm footing all the time

On writhing bond-slaves, -- for this crime

This is the curse. Write.


Because ye prosper in God's name,

With a claim

To honor in the old world's sight,

Yet do the fiend's work perfectly

In strangling martyrs, -- for this lie

This is the curse. Write.


Ye shall watch while kings conspire

Round the people's smouldering fire,

And, warm for your part,

Shall never dare -- O shame!

To utter the thought into flame

Which burns at your heart.

This is the curse. Write.


Ye shall watch while nations strive

With the bloodhounds, die or survive,

Drop faint from their jaws,

Or throttle them backward to death;

And only under your breath

Shall favor the cause.

This is the curse. Write.


Ye shall watch while strong men draw

The nets of feudal law

To strangle the weak;

And, counting the sin for a sin,

Your soul shall be sadder within

Than the word ye shall speak.

This is the curse. Write.


When good men are praying erect

That Christ may avenge His elect

And deliver the earth,

The prayer in your ears, said low,

Shall sound like the tramp of a foe

That's driving you forth.

This is the curse. Write.


When wise men give you their praise,

They shall praise in the heat of the phrase,

As if carried too far.

When ye boast your own charters kept true,

Ye shall blush; for the thing which ye do

Derides what ye are.

This is the curse. Write.


When fools cast taunts at your gate,

Your scorn ye shall somewhat abate

As ye look o'er the wall;

For your conscience, tradition, and name

Explode with a deadlier blame

Than the worst of them all.

This is the curse. Write.


Go, wherever ill deeds shall be done,

Go, plant your flag in the sun

Beside the ill-doers!

And recoil from clenching the curse

Of God's witnessing Universe

With a curse of yours.

This is the curse. Write.


JANUARY 2006 (I)

Emily Dickinson

"THEY HAVE NOT CHOSEN ME,"


"They have not chosen me," he said,

"But I have chosen them!"

Brave Broken hearted statement

Uttered in Bethlehem!


I could not have told it,

But since Jesus dared

Sovereign! Know a Daisy

They dishonor shared!


"WHY DO I LOVE YOU, SIR?"

Why do I love You, Sir?

BecauseĆ¢€”

The Wind does not require the Grass

To answer Wherefore when He pass

She cannot keep Her place.


Because He knows and

Do not You

And We know not

Enough for Us

The Wisdom it be so


The Lightning never asked an Eye

Wherefore it shut when He was by

Because He knows it cannot speak

And reasons not contained

Of Talk

There be preferred by Daintier Folk


The Sunrise Sire compelleth Me

Because He's SunriseĆ¢€”and I see

Therefore Then

I love Thee


Geoffrey Chaucer

MERCILESS BEAUTE: CAPTIVITY


Your eyen two wol slee me sodenly,

I may the beaute¨ of hem not sustene,

So woundeth hit through-out my herte kene.


And but your word wol helen hastily

My hertes wounde, whyl that hit is grene,

Your eyen two wol slee me sodenly,

I may the beaute¨ of hem not sustene.


Upon my trouthe I sey yow feithfully,

That ye ben of my lyf and deeth the quene;

For with my deeth the trouthe shal be sene.

Your eyen two wol slee me sodenly,

I may the beaute¨ of hem not sustene,

So woundeth hit through-out my herte kene.


December 2005 (III)

Aleksandr Pushkin (1799-1837)

IT'S TIME

It's Time My Friend: it's time! The heart wants rest

the days slip by, the hours take away

fragments of our life: and you and I

plan how to live and, just like that we die.

No happiness on earth, yet there's freedom, peace.

I've long dreamt of an enviable fate

I've long thought, a weary slave, to fly

to some far place of labour and true joy.



December 2005 (II)

Herrick

ANTHEA'S RETRACTATION

Anthea laugh'd, and, fearing lest excess

Might stretch the cords of civil comeliness

She with a dainty blush rebuked her face,

And call'd each line back to his rule and space.


AN EPITAPH UPON A CHILD

Virgins promised when I died,

That they would each primrose-tide

Duly, morn and evening, come,

And with flowers dress my tomb.

--Having promised, pay your debts

Maids, and here strew violets.


ANOTHER GRACE FOR A CHILD

Here a little child I stand

Heaving up my either hand;

Cold as paddocks though they be,

Here I lift them up to Thee,

For a benison to fall

On our meat, and on us all. Amen.


December 2005 (I)
John Keats
LA BELLE DAME SANS MERCI

Ah, what can ail thee, wretched wight,

Alone and palely loitering?

The sedge is withered from the lake,

And no birds sing.


Ah, what can ail thee, wretched wight,

So haggard and so woe-begone

The squirrel's granary is full,

And the harvest's done.


I see a lily on thy brow

With anguish moist and fever dew,

And on thy cheek a fading rose

Fast withereth too.


I met a lady in the meads,

Full beautiful, a faery's child:

Her hair was long, her foot was light,

And her eyes were wild.


I set her on my pacing steed,

And nothing else saw all day long;

For sideways would she lean, and sing

A faery's song.


I made a garland for her head,

And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;

She looked at me as she did love,

And made sweet moan.


She found me roots of relish sweet,

And honey wild, and manna dew,

And sure in language strange she said,

"I love thee true!"


She took me to her elfin grot,

And there she gazed and sighed deep,

And there I shut her wild, sad eyes--

So kissed to sleep.


And there we slumbered on the moss,

And there I dreamed, ah! woe betide,

The latest dream I ever dreamed

On the cold hill side.


I saw pale kings, and princes too,

Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;

Who cried--"La belle Dame sans merci

Hath thee in thrall!"


I saw their starved lips in the gloam,

With horrid warning gaped wide,

And I awoke and found me here,

On the cold hill side.


And that is why I sojourn here,

Alone and palely loitering,

Though the sedge is withered from the lake,

And no birds sing.


NOVEMBER

Sir Philip Sidney
from Astrophel and Stella,

XXXI

With how sad steps, O Moone, thou climbst the skies!

How silently, and with how wan a face!

What, may it be that even in heav'nly place

That busy archer his sharp arrows tries?

Sure, if that long-with-love-acquainted eyes

Can judge of love, thou feel'st a lovers case,

I read it in thy looks: thy languist grace,

To me that feele the like, thy state discries.

Then, ev'n of fellowship, O Moone, tell me,

Is constant love deem'd there but want of wit?

Are beauties there as proud as here they be?

Do they above love to be lov'd, and yet

Those lovers scorn whom that love doth possesse?

Do they call vertue there ungratefulnesse?


Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

The King James Version (1611)



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