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Lisa Marie Presley

Being Elvis Presley's daughter is a whole lot of pressure. It's been a constant burden in my life.

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Elvis Presley, The Everly Brothers, and a lot of American artists were my greatest influences.

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Killed The Whole Lot

Today I went mad with anger – a group of
beautiful models posed naked for a magazine
in a bid to stop rape and violence against women
and kids – the idiotic, irrational stupidity of this
left me speechless – so women should be able
to walk about semi-naked or not dressed at all,
and any warm-blooded man who lost his self-
control should be shot on the spot? If I were a
man, I would have killed the whole lot!

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Feel A Whole Lot Better

The reason why,
Oh I cant say
I had to let you go babe,
And right away
After what you did,
I cant stay on
And Ill probably feel a whole lot better
When youre gone
Baby for a long time,
You had me believe
That your love was all mine,
And thats the way it would be
But I didnt know,
That you were puttin me on
And Ill probably feel a whole lot better
When youre gone, oh when youre gone
Now I got to say,
That its not like before
And Im not gonna play,
Youre game any more
After what you did,
I cant stay on
And Ill probably feel a whole lot better
When youre gone
Ill probably feel a whole lot better
When youre gone,
Oh when youre gone
Oh when youre gone

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Worth Forest

Come, Prudence, you have done enough to--day--
The worst is over, and some hours of play
We both have earned, even more than rest, from toil;
Our minds need laughter, as a spent lamp oil,
And after their long fast a recompense.
How sweet the evening is with its fresh scents
Of briar and fern distilled by the warm wind!
How green a robe the rain has left behind!
How the birds laugh!--What say you to a walk
Over the hill, and our long promised talk
About the rights and wrongs of infancy?
Our patients are asleep, dear angels, she
Holding the boy in her ecstatic arms,
As mothers do, and free from past alarms,
The child grown calm. If we, an hour or two,
Venture to leave them, 'tis but our hope's due.
My tongue is all agog to try its speed
To a new listener, like a long--stalled steed
Loosed in a meadow, and the Forest lies
At hand, the theme of its best flatteries.
See, Prudence, here, your hat, where it was thrown
The night you found me in the house alone
With my worst fear and these two helpless things.
Please God, that worst has folded its black wings,
And we may let our thoughts on pleasure run
Some moments in the light of this good sun.
They sleep in Heaven's guard. Our watch to--night
Will be the braver for a transient sight--
The only one perhaps more fair than they--
Of Nature dressed for her June holiday.

This is the watershed between the Thames
And the South coast. On either hand the streams
Run to the great Thames valley and the sea,
The Downs, which should oppose them, servilely
Giving them passage. Who would think these Downs,
Which look like mountains when the sea--mist crowns
Their tops in autumn, were so poor a chain?
Yet they divide no pathways for the rain,
Nor store up waters, in this pluvious age,
More than the pasteboard barriers of a stage.
The crest lies here. From us the Medway flows
To drain the Weald of Kent, and hence the Ouse
Starts for the Channel at Newhaven. Both
These streams run eastward, bearing North and South.
But, to the West, the Adur and the Arun
Rising together, like twin rills of Sharon,
Go forth diversely, this through Shoreham gap,
And that by Arundel to Ocean's lap.
All are our rivers, by our Forest bred,
And one besides which with more reverend heed
We need to speak, for her desert is great
Beyond the actual wealth of her estate.
For Spenser sang of her, the River Mole,
And Milton knew her name, though he, poor soul,
Had never seen her, as I think being blind,
And so miscalled her sullen. Others find
Her special merit to consist in this:
A maiden coyness, and her shy device
Of mole--like burrowing. And in truth her way
Is hollowed out and hidden from the day,
Under deep banks and the dark overgrowth
Of knotted alder roots and stumps uncouth,
From source to mouth; and once at Mickleham,
She fairly digs her grave, in deed and name,
And disappears. There is an early trace
Of this propensity to devious ways
Shown by the little tributary brook
Which bounds our fields, for lately it forsook
Its natural course, to burrow out a road
Under an ash tree in its neighbourhood.
But whether this a special virtue is,
Or like some virtues but a special vice,
We need not argue. This at least is true,
That in the Mole are trout, and many too,
As I have often proved with rod and line
From boyhood up, blest days of pins and twine!
How many an afternoon have our hushed feet
Crept through the alders where the waters meet,
Mary's and mine, and our eyes viewed the pools
Where the trout lay, poor unsuspecting fools,
And our hands framed their doom,--while overhead
His orchestra of birds the backbird led.
In those lost days, no angler of them all
Could boast our cunning with the bait let fall,
Close to their snouts, from some deceiving coigne,
Or mark more notches when we stopped to join
Our fishes head to tail and lay them out
Upon the grass, and count our yards of trout.
'Twas best in June, with the brook growing clear
After a shower, as now. In dark weather
It was less certain angling, for the stream
Was truly ``sullen'' then, so deep and dim.
'Tis thus in mountain lakes, as some relate,
Where the fish need the sun to see the bait.
The fly takes nothing in these tangled brooks,
But grief to fishermen and loss of hooks;
And all our angling was of godless sort,
With living worm,--and yet we loved the sport.

But wait. This path will lead us to the gill,
Where you shall see the Mole in her first rill,
Ere yet she leaves the Forest, and her bed
Is still of iron--stone, which stains her red,
Yet keeps her pure and lends a pleasant taste
To her young waters as they bubble past.
You hear her lapping round the barren flanks
Of these old heaps we call the ``Cinder--banks,''
Where our forefathers forged their iron ore,
When Paul's was building. Now, the rabbits bore
In the still nights, beneath these ancient heaps,
A very honeycomb. See, where she peeps,
The infant river. You could hardly wet
Your ankles in her midmost eddy yet.
She has a pretty cunning in her look
Mixed with alarm, as in her secret nook
We find her out, half fugitive, half brave,
A look that all the Forest creatures have.
Let us away. Perhaps her guilelessness
Is troubled at a guilty human face,
(Mine, Prudence,--not your own). I know a dell
Knee deep in fern, hard by, the very cell
For an elf hermit. Here stag--mosses grow,
Thick as a coverlet, and fox--gloves blow
Purple and white, and the wild columbine,
And here in May there springs that thing divine,
The lily of the valley, only here
Found in the Forest, blossoming year on year;
A place o'ershadowed by a low--crowned oak.
The enchanted princess never had been woke
If she had gone to sleep in such a spot,
In spite of fortune. Why, a corpse forgot
Might lie, with eyes appealing to the sky,
Unburied here for half a century.
And this the woodcocks, as I take it, knew,
Who stayed to breed here all the summer through,
When other birds were gone. I flushed a pair
On the longest day last year; the nest was there;
And found some egg--shells chipped among the moss.
The sight is rarer now than once it was.

There! We have gathered breath and climbed the hill,
And now can view the landscape more at will.
This is the Pilgrim road, a well--known track,
When folk did all their travelling on horseback,
Now long deserted, yet a right of way,
And marked on all our maps with due display.
Beneath this yew--tree, which perhaps has seen
Our fathers riding to St. Thomas' shrine,
(For this was once the way of pilgrimage
From the south--west for all who would engage
Their vows at Canterbury), we will sit,
As doubtless they too sat, and rest a bit.
I love this solitude of birch and fern,
These quags and mosses, and I love the stern
Black yew--trees and the hoary pastures bare,
Or tufted with long growths of withered hair
And rank marsh grass. I love the bell--heath's bloom,
And the wild wealth which passionate Earth's womb
Throws in the Forest's lap to clothe unseen
Its ancient barrenness with youth and green.
I love the Forest; 'tis but this one strip
Along the watershed that still dares keep
Its title to such name. Yet once wide grown
A mighty woodland stretched from Down to Down,
The last stronghold and desperate standing--place
Of that indigenous Britannic race
Which fell before the English. It was called
By Rome ``Anderida,'' in Saxon ``Weald.''
Time and decay, and Man's relentless mood,
Have long made havock of the lower wood
With axe and plough; and now, of all the plain,
These breadths of higher ground alone remain,
In token of its presence. Who shall tell
How long, in these lost wilds of brake and fell,
Or in the tangled groves of oak below,
Gathering his sacred leaf, the mistletoe,
Some Druid priest, forgotten and in need,
May here have kept his rite and owned his creed
After the rest? For hardly yet less rude,
Here later dwelt that patron of our wood,
The Christian Hermit Leonard, he who slew
The last authentic dragon England knew;
A man of prayer and penitential vows,
Whose tale survives in many a forest house.
For, having slain his monster, he was given
To choose whate'er he would in gift from Heaven,
And took for his sole recompense this thing:
``Snakes should not bite, nor nightingales should sing
Within the Forest precincts.'' Thus, thought he,
His orisons should unmolested be
By mundane joys and troubles. Yonder ridge,
Cutting the sky--line at the horizon's edge,
Is the Surrey Hills. Beneath the chalk pit, set
Like a white cloud upon the face of it,
Lies Dorking, famed for fowls, and, further still,
Wotton and Shere. In front you have Leith Hill,
Which looks upon St. Paul's and on the sea,
A point of note in our geography.
All this is Evelyn's land, who long ago
Left us his record of the vale below
And wrote the ``Silva'' now to hands as good
Passed, the descendant's of his name and blood,
That doughty squire's, who lately stood in fight
With the new dragons of the Primrose rite,
And broke a lance for Ireland and the cause
Of freedom, flouted by coercion laws.
Strange change! For long in history these same hills
Were held as ominous of lowland ills,
A source of robber fear, in foul repute,
And natural fortress since the days of Knute,
And earlier still when Saxon Sussex stood
A home--ruled kingdom of primaeval wood.
A camp, an eagle's nest, a foot set down
Into the Weald, and evil of renown
With the free dwellers of the plain, who saw
A menace brooding of imperial law.
Saxon or Dane or Norman, each in turn,
Set there his camp to pillage and to burn;
For history, just as now, was mainly then
A tale of wars 'twixt regiments and men.
We, forest dwellers, show with honest boast
Our Slaughter Bridge, where the Norse horde was lost,
Drowned in the red Mole waters, when the Dane
Fled from his eyrie, nor returned again.

The farthest point of all, and looking west,
Is the line of Hindhead, on whose triple crest,
With a good glass, a three--inch telescope,
You might make out the cross upon the top:
It used to be a gibbet. As a child
What tales I treasured of that headland wild,
With its three murderers, who in chains there hung,
Rocked by the winds and tempest--tossed and swung!
Three Portsmouth sailors were they who their mate
Murdered for gold and grog, which guineas get,
And in the ``Punch Bowl'' made their brute carouse,
Leaving him dead, in a lone public--house,
Where retribution seized them as was due,--
For in that age of simple faiths and true
Murder did always out,--and so apace
Brought them to justice in that self--same place;
And many years they hung. At last its sway
Humanity, that child of yesterday,
Asserted in their case, and craved their bones
For Christian sepulture and these trim stones.
I half regret the leniency thus lent:
Their gallows--tree was their best monument;
But ours is a trim age. There, farther down,
Is a tower, or ``folly,'' built of late by one
We call in these parts ``Chevalier de Malt,''
(The brewers love high places, and no fault).
Behind us the chief ridge. And, as I speak,
Out of its bowels, with an angry shriek,
And rushing down the valley at our feet,
The train has found us out in our retreat.
It came from Balcombe tunnel and is bound
To be in London ere an hour is round.
It scarcely scares our solitude away;
And yonder Royston crows, the black and grey,
Sit on unmoved upon their oak. This ridge
Is only thirty miles from London Bridge,
And, when the wind blows north, the London smoke
Comes down upon us, and the grey crows croak,
For the great city seems to reach about
With its dark arms, and grip them by the throat.
Time yet may prove them right. The wilderness
May be disforested, and Nature's face
Stamped out of beauty by the heel of Man,
Who has no room for beauty in his plan.

Such things may be, for things as strange have been.
This very place, where peace and sylvan green
And immemorial silence and the mood
Of solemn Nature, virgin and unwooed,
Seem as a heritage,--this very place
Was once the workshop of a busy race
Which dug and toiled and sweated. Here once stood,
Amid the blackened limbs of tortured wood,
And belching smoke and fury from its mouth,
A monstrous furnace, to whose jaws uncouth
A race as monstrous offered night and day
The Forest's fairest offspring for a prey.
Here stood a hamlet, black and populous,
With human sins and sorrows in each house,
A mining centre. Which of us could guess
Each yew--tree yonder marks a dwelling--place
Of living men and women?--nay, a tomb?
Of all the secrets hidden in Earth's womb,
None surely is more pitiful and strange
Than this of human death and human change
Amid the eternal greenness of the Spring.
All we may guess of what the years shall bring,
Is this: that about April every year,
White blossoms shall burst forth upon the pear
And pink upon the apple. Nothing else.
Earth has a silent mockery which repels
Our questioning. Her history is not ours,
And overlays it with a growth of flowers.

Ah, Prudence, you who wonder, being town bred,
What troubles grieve us in the lives we lead,
What cause we have for sorrow in these fields
Whose beauty girds us with its thousand shields,--
This is our tragedy. You cannot know,
In your bald cities, where no cowslips blow,
How dear life is to us. The tramp of feet
Brushes all older footsteps from the street,
And you see nothing of the graves you tread.
With us they are still present, the poor dead,
And plead with us each day of life, and cry
``Did I not love my life, I too, even I?''
You wonder!--Wonder rather we are not
All touched with madness and disease of thought,
Being so near the places where they sleep
Who sowed these fields we in their absence reap.
It were more logical. And here in truth
No few of our Weald peasants in their youth
Lose their weak wits, or in their age go mad,
Brooding on sights the world had deemed most glad.
I have seen many such. The Hammer Ponds,
So frequent in the Forest's outer bounds,
Have all their histories of despairing souls
Brought to their depths to find their true life's goals.
You see one in the hollow, where the light
Touches its blackness with a gleam of white,
Deep down, and over--browed with sombre trees
Shutting its surface primly from the breeze,
The landscape's innocent eye, set open wide
To watch the heavens,--yet with homicide
Steeped to the lids. 'Tis scarce a year ago
The latest sufferer from our rural woe
Found there his exit from a life too weak
To shield him from despairs he dared not speak.
A curious lad. I knew young Marden well,
Brought up, a farmer's son, at the plough's tail,
And used for all romance to mind the crows
At plain day--wages in his father's house.
A ``natural'' he, and weak in intellect,
His fellows said, nor lightly to be pricked
To industry at any useful trade;
His wits would go wool--gathering in the shade
At harvest time, when all had work on hand,
Nor, when you spoke, would seem to understand.
At times his choice would be for days together
To leave his work and idle in the heather,
Making his bed where shelter could be found
Under the fern--stacks or on open ground,
Or oftenest in the charcoal burners' hives,
When he could win that pity from their wives.
Poor soul! He needed pity, for his face,
Scarred by a burn, and reft of human grace,
And for his speech, which faltering in his head
Made a weak babble of the words he said.
His eyes too--what a monster's! did you ever
Watch a toad's face at evening by a river
And note the concentrated light which lies
In the twin topazes men call his eyes?
Like these were Marden's. From the square of clay
Which was his face, these windows of his day
Looked out in splendour, but with a fixed stare
Which made men start who missed the meaning there.
Yet he had thoughts. Not seldom he and I
Made in these woods discourse of forestry,
Walking together, I with dog and gun,
He as a beater, or, if game was none,
Marking the timber trees and underwoods.
He knew each teller in these solitudes,
And loved them with a quite unreasoned art,
Learned from no teacher but his own wild heart.
Of trees he quaintly talked in measured saws
Which seemed the decalogue of Nature's laws,
Its burden being as erst, ``Thou shalt not kill''
Things made by God, which shall outlive thee still.
For larch and fir, newcomers from the North,
He pleaded scantly when their doom went forth,
Knowing they needs must die, and the birch stems,
Since Spring renews them, yet with stratagems
Framed to delay the moment of their fate.
For beech he battled with more keen debate
Of hand and eye, in deprecating tone,
Holding their rights coeval with our own.
But when we came to oak, good Sussex oak,
The flame burst forth, and all his being spoke
In words that jostled in his throat with tears,
``An oak which might outlive a thousand years.''
He held this sacrilege. Perhaps some strains
Of Druid blood were mingled in his veins,
Which gave authority to guard the tree
Sacred of yore, and thus he vanquished me.

How came he to his end, poor Marden? Well,
All stories have their reason, as some tell,
In Eves that give the fruit for which men grieve,
Or, what is often worse, refuse to give.
This last was Marden's unprotected case,
Whose virtue failed him, and his ugliness,
To escape the common fate of all mankind.
He fell in love egregious and purblind,
Just like the wisest. She who caused his flame
Was not, I think, in honesty to blame
If she was less than serious at his suit.
Marden, as lover, was grotesquely mute,
And his strange eyes were not the orbs to move
A maiden's fancy to a dream of love.
In truth they were scarce human. Still 'twas hard
His passion should be met, for sole reward,
With sermon phrases and such gospel talk
As preachers license for a Sunday walk,
Mixed with her laughter. This was all she gave,
An endless course of things beyond the grave,
Till he lost reckoning and, poor witless man,
Began to reason on the cosmic plan,
Which meted this scant mercy in his case,
And placed him in such straits for happiness.
Can you not see it? All our rustics live
In their small round of thoughts as in a hive,
Each cell they build resembling each each day,
Till their wits swarm, and then they are away.
Marden went mad, misled by his queen bee,
Through a deep slough of black theology,
Which ended in destruction and this pool,
With Hell beyond him for his poor dumb soul.
He sought her final pity for love lost.
She talked of Heaven, and sent him tracts by post.
He pleaded. She reproved. She prayed. He swore.
She bade him go. He went, and came no more.
Such was the history, no whit uncommon.
I neither blame the boy nor blame the woman,
Only the hardness of a fate which laid
Its iron flail upon too weak a head.
She watched him go, half doubting what would come,
Her last tract crushed betwixt his angry thumb
And his clenched fingers, and his lips grown white,
And his eyes gleaming with their maniac light,
And so towards the hill. That afternoon,
The last of a late autumn, saw the sun
Set in unusual splendour (it is said
A disc of gold in a whole heaven of red),
The herald of a frost, the earliest
Known for a lifetime. There, for summer dressed,
The trees stood stiff and frozen in their green,
Belated revellers in some changing scene
Of sudden winter and June left behind.
In all the forest was no breath of wind
For a full fortnight, nor was a leaf shed
Long after Nature in her shroud lay dead,
A beautiful black frost which held the land
In unseen fetters, but with iron hand.
The pools were frozen over in the night,
Without a flaw or ripple; and their light
Reflected every stem of every tree
In perfect mirrors of transparency.
Boys, who a week before were in the field
With bat and ball, now ventured, iron--heeled,
On the ice skating, yet awhile in fear,
Seeing no footing on the water there.
And thus it fell about the corpse was found
(You will have guessed it) in the ice fast bound.
Two boys, the brothers of the girl he wooed,
Tired of their pastime stopped awhile and stood
Over a shallow place where rushes grow,
And peering down saw a man's face below
Watching their own (his eyes were open laid,
Fixed in that terrible stare poor Marden's had);
And thought they saw a vision. Running back,
Loud in their fear, with spectres on their track,
They spread the news through all the frightened farms,
Filling the cottagers with wild alarms,
Till some made bold with spades, and hewed away
The ice above to where the dead man lay.
There, sure enough, was Marden, his fool's mouth
Stuffed for all solace of his sad soul's drouth
With the girl's tracts. Thus primed, he had plunged in
And ended all, with a last deed of sin,
Grotesque and tragic as his life. No less
Let us persuaded be he rests in peace,
Or where were Heaven's justice? One last tale,
As we walk back,--of worthy Master Gale,
Our house's founder, who in a dark age
Won us the lands we hold in heritage,
Working his forge here in the civil wars,
And welding fortunes out of iron bars.
A story with a moral too, at least,
For money makers, of how wealth increased,
And most of all for us, to whom his toil
Has proved a mine of ease and endless spoil,
Though of a truth we are unlineal heirs,
Not true descendants of his toils and cares.
His history stands recorded in a book
Himself achieved, ere Death his anvil broke,
A volume full of wisdom and God's praise,
Trust in himself, and scorn of human ways.

He was a blacksmith, born at Sevenoke
In Kent, the toilsome son of toilsome folk,
And honourable too, as honour then
Was understood among commercial men.
He paid his way through life. He owed to none
Beyond their will to let the debt run on,
Nor trusted any farther than he need.
He held the race of man a bastard breed,
An evil generation, bred of dust,
And prone to spending, idleness and lust.
God was his friend. Of Him he counsel took,
How he should make new ventures with new luck,
Praying each night continuance of health,
Increase of wisdom and increase of wealth;
Nor ever in his yearly balance sheet
Forgot to inscribe himself in Heaven's debt.
A virtuous man, and holding with good cause
The eternal justice of the social laws
Which give to industry its well--earned meed,
And leave the weak and idle to their need.
From childhood up, he clutched the staff of life,
As if it were a cudgel for the strife,
And wielded it throughout relentlessly.
His parents, brothers, all by God's decree,
Died of the plague when he was scarce sixteen.
The date, as I have reckoned, should have been
The very year the patriots raised their backs
To the new pressure of the shipping tax.
His first fight was a battle for the pence
Left by his father, when, at dire expense
Of lawyers' fees and charges without end,
He found himself with fifty pounds to spend,
And a small stock--in--trade of iron sows,
A fireless smithy and an empty house.
With these and God's compassion, and a man
To strike and blow for him, his trade began,
Till in four years his industry had grown
To a fair substance in his native town.

When he was twenty--one, an accident
Brought him to Sussex; and, as Saul was sent
To find his father's asses and therewith
Met with a kingdom, so this honest smith,
While chasing a bad debtor through the Weald,
Lit on his fortune in this very field.
For, failing of his money, in its stead
He took his debtor's forge and smelting shed;
Sold his goodwill at Sevenoke, and set
His smithy in the Forest next to it.
This brought him trade. The civil wars began
And each man's hand was set against each man,
And sword to sword. But, while his neighbours fought,
Gale, like a Gallio, cared for these things nought,
And sold his iron with indifferent zeal
To kings and Parliaments in need of steel;
Or, if a prejudice his thought divides,
It is for Cromwell and his Ironsides.
But God's be all the glory, His alone
Who to His servant Gale such grace had shown!

Thus, in an iron age, this thrifty man
Got gold and silver, and, while others ran
Out of their fortunes, he with pockets full
Bought up their lands and held the world a fool.
'Tis now two hundred years since Father Gale
Laid down his pick and hammer. He had won,
By forty years of toil beneath the sun,
The right to work no longer, for himself
And for his heirs for ever. This is Wealth!
He was a prudent buyer, and died possessed
Of some four thousand acres of the best
Land in the parish. His first purchases
Were in Worth Forest, to his vulgar eyes
I fear mere wood for burning. Pease--pottage
And Frog's--hole farms came next; and in his age,
Wishing, as he says, to have a good estate
And house to live in, though the day was late
To think of building, and he most abhorred
To waste his substance upon brick and board,
Holding with prudent minds that such intent
Is but at best a ``sweet impoverishment''
And that the wise man doth more soundly hit
Who turns another's folly to his wit,
He purchased Caxtons, manor and domain,
To be the home of a new race of men.

His last words, as recorded by his son,
A man of taste and letters and who won
A seat in Parliament in William's reign,
Were uttered in the ancient Biblic strain
Dear to the age he lived in and to him.
They might be David's in their cadence grim.
``When I am dead and gone,'' he said, ``my son,
Trust in the Lord and in none other, none.
Be wary of thy neighbours. They are vile,
A brood of vipers, to oppose whose guile
I have been at constant charges all my life.
Take thee an honest woman for thy wife,
And get thee sons who shall inherit all
Thy God hath given thee, spite of Adam's fall.
Guard well thy rights, and cease not to pull down
All gates that block thy highway to the town,
Such as that man of Belial, Jacob Sears
Has set in Crawley Lane these thirty years.
Let no man venture to enclose the wastes.
Be on thy guard against such ribald priests
As Lee and Troughton. They are an ill brood,
A bastard generation, bone and blood.
Hold fast to thy religion. Go not thou
After lewd women and the worldly show
Of rich apparel. Keep thy substance close
In thy own chamber for the fear of loss,
And thy own counsel closer, lest men find
Their way to rob thee of thy peace of mind.
But, more than all, be quit of vain pretence,
And see thy income equal thy expense,
So shalt thou have thy God with thee alway.''

Thus runs the story. You have seen to--day
The latest shoot of his posterity,
The boy we left there sleeping. His shall be
One day the guardianship of this domain,
As other Gales have held it. It were vain
In me to speak of all the goodly fruit
Begotten on the stem of this old root,
This sour crab--apple, worthy master Gale.
This child perhaps. . . . But that will be a tale
For new historians. Listen! Did you hear
Just now, down in the valley, someone cheer
Or hail us? Stop. Ay, there there comes a man,
Running and shouting loud as a man can.
He sees us too, and slowly through the fern
Now climbs to meet us. Something we shall learn
Without a doubt. God grant it be not ill!
And yet he seems to falter and stand still.
What is your message, Penfold? Why this haste?
A little closer. Speak man! Here at last
You have found us. Come. What is it that you said!
See, we have courage. ``Sir, the child is dead!''

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Jimi Hendrix

I wish they'd had electric guitars in cotton fields back in the good old days. A whole lot of things would've been straightened out.

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Smokey Mountain Memories

You oughta go north somebody told us
'Cause the air is filled with gold dust
And fortune falls like snow flakes in your hands
Now I don't recall you said it
But we'd lived so long on credit
And so we headed out to find our promised land
Just poor Appalachian farm folk
With nothing more than high hopes
We hitched our station wagon to a star
But our dreams all fell in on us
'Cause there was no land of promise
And it's a stuggle keepin' sight of who you are
Oh and these northern nights are dreary
And my southern heart is weary
I wonder how the old folks are back home
But I'll keep leanin' on sweet Jesus
I know He'll love and guide and lead us
Appalachian memories keep me strong
Ya know I've been thinkin' a whole lot lately
About what's been and what awaits me
It takes all I've got to give what life demands
You go insane if you give in to it
Life's a mill and I've been through it
I'm just thankful I'm creative with my hands
Oh and these northern nights are dreary
And my southern eyes are teary
Don't I wonder how the old folks are back home
But I'll keep leanin' on my Jesus
I know he'll love and guide and lead us
Appalachian memories keep me strong
I'll keep lookin' to the Father
Keep our heads above the water
Appalachian memories keep me strong

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May I Whisper In Your Ear

May I whisper in your ear
From my heart so youll clearly hear...
There are people so dear...
Theyre like children...
Naked in a cold world...
Beautiful children
In an old world...
May I take you away
From the evils of today
To the dreams of tomorrow.
You know that heaven...
Has no sorrow.
You know that heaven...
Has no tomorrow.
Hear the sound of the magic drums...
Hearts are beating for the sun...
Sending evil on the run...
Now watch the wind...
Look over yonder...
Here comes some news...
Coming down like lightning...
Straight for me and you.
People of destruction
Your time is out of date...
People whos living crooked,
Better start getting straight.
Ive been through some changes,
A whole lot of re-arranges...
Been through some ups and downs,
And whole lot of turn arounds.
I been on the shelf and even killed myself...
1,000 times ago and maybe 1,000
Times more.
She said she comes from ice land...
I told her I was from the west.
She took me to the snow capped mountains...
And then she put me through the test...
We walked across the glacier,
The horses stayed behind...
And as we laid between the
Frozen vallies we kissed
For the very first time.
And now were stuck together.
It was too long ago.
But it seems like...years ago...
Since I felt the warm hello of the sun.
Lately things seem a little colder...
The wind, it seems to get a little bolder.
Forget of my name
Remember it only as a hand shake,
Introduction to my belief which is god.
Ride instead the waves of my interpreture,
Music, sound
Hynotic if you choose
But truth and life
Regardless of your questionable timid compromises
Which I intend to erase.
Which I will erase without hint of reward
As I am only a messenger
And you a sheep in process of evolution
Almost at death with yourself
And on the staircase of birth.
Soon you may almost forget the smell of your family...

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In Memory of Elvis

Posted August 2009.

Elvis Presley, the King of Rock 'n' Roll.
Presley the legend, generous, talented soul.
So attractive to the eye; Elvis had the magic
No man or woman clould deny.
On 16 August 77, sadly Elvis died
And now he is at peace in the heaven on high.
His beautiful musical score will be
in our hearts forevermore...
The world will never ever forget.

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Your Cheatin Heart

Elvis presley
Your cheatin heart will make you weep
Youll cry and cry and try to sleep
But sleep wont come the whole night through
Your cheatin heart will tell on you
When tears come down like fallin rain
Youll toss around and call my name
Youre gonna walk that floor the way I do
Your cheatin heart will tell on you
When tears come down like fallin rain
Youll toss around and call my name
Youre gonna walk that floor the way I do
Your cheatin heart will tell on you
Your cheatin heart will tell on you

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The Whole Show

This show is from an extrovert,
Amazed, delighted is the audience.
His speech is amber, for it pleases,
The body to speak, the laughter is pleasing.
Your armpits sweat as well as your forehead,
But anymore showing creates agitation.
The booing is prominent, always exercised,
By the way, we laugh and jeer like cameras.
It is the armoury of the show
So impressive, an arm will stop.
The presenter wants to listen intently
To the whole arrangement of causes;
A request is being made:
Please sit patiently for the whole show.

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Amazing Grace

(words & music by william j. gaither, arr. elvis presley)
Amazing grace, oh how sweet the sound
That saved a wreck like me
I once was lost, though now Im found
I was blind, but now I see
When weve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun
Weve no less days to sing gods praise
Then when, when we first begun
Too many ages false and spent
I have already hung
This face and flock he saved us by
His endless grace will leave me whole
Amazing grace, oh how sweet the sound
To save a wreck like me
I once was lost, but now Im found
I was blind, but now I see

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Could I Have Your Autograph

Hello, I dont know me from adam, you dont know me from eve
I just came here tonight cause I was lonely
Youre no elvis presley, Im no marilyn monroe
But I do think youre sexy, just thought Id tell you so
Hey could I have your autograph
Your name and your number on a small photograph
Id like to know you and what youre all about
Hey could I have your autograph
Ive had my eyes on you and youre worth lookin at
Could I ask you out or should a lady do that
You may not be famous but you look like a star
You should be in movies as cute as you are
Hey could I have your autograph
Your name and your number on a small photograph
Could I interest you in a romance perhaps
Hey could I have your autograph
Got my heart in my hands and my head in the clouds
And youre everything every girl dreams about
And being with you would be heaven no doubt
What I wouldnt do for your autograph
Oh could I have your autograph
Oh could I have your autograph
Hey could I have your autograph
I like your body could I help you work it out
Maybe moving to the music playing on the phonograph
Hey could I have your autograph
Oh could I have your autograph
You know youre just the kind to makes a woman real proud
Would you take a chance on a girl from the south
Could I have your autograph

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I Was Born About Ten Thousand Years Ago

(adapted by elvis presley)
I saw old pharaohs daughter bring moses from the water
Ill lick the guy that says it isnt so
I was born about ten thousand years ago
There aint nothing in this world that I dont know
I saved king davids life and he offered me a wife
I said now youre talking business have a chair
Yeah, I was born about ten thousand years ago
Aint nothing in this world that I dont know
Saw peter, paul and moses playing ring around the roses
Ill lick the guy that says it isnt so
I was born about ten thousand years ago
Aint nothing in this world that I dont know
I saw old pharaohs daughter bring moses from the water
Ill lick the guy that says it isnt so
I was there when old noah built the ark
And I crawled in the window after dark
I saw jonah eat the whale and dance with the lions tale
And I crossed over canaan on a log
I was born about ten thousand years ago
Aint nothing in this world that I dont know
I saw old pharaohs daughter bring moses from the water
Ill lick the guy that says it isnt so
Yeah, I was born about ten thousand years ago
Aint nothing in this world that I dont know
Saw peter, paul and moses playing ring around the roses
Ill lick the guy that says it isnt so
I was there when old noah built the ark
And I crawled in the window after dark
I saw jonah eat the whale and dance with the lions tale
And I crossed over canaan on a log
I was born about ten thousand years ago
There aint nothing in this world that I dont know
I saved king davids life and he offered me a wife
I said now youre talking business have a chair
Yeah, I was born about ten thousand years ago
Aint nothing in this world that I dont know
Saw peter, paul and moses playing ring around the roses
Ill lick the guy that says it isnt so

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Elvis Presley & America

(black flash)
Black flash over my own love
Tell me of my eyes
Black flash come though my own life
Telling these things
And I believe them
And I believe in you
White flash sees the sky
And it turns its side from you
She wont turn my back
And I know you turn so blue
And you know
And your sky is feeling blue
And your heart
So cold when Im with you
And you feel
Like no one told you to
And your time is your side
And your time with me
Ah, dont talk to me
Ah, dont talk to me
Dont talk to me
You know
Like no one told you how
But you know
Though the king that howls has howled
But you feel like sentimental
But you dont care
If I just share it in your heart
(heart...)
Hopelessly
So hopelessly
Im breaking through for you and me
And you dont
Though no one told you to
And you found out
Where you were going, where to
Youre through with me
But I know that you will be back
For more
And you know
And though no one told you so
And you know, blue sky
Like a harder shade of blue
And you walk
When you want
To let go
Me, Im the outside, tell me fade away
Drop me down but dont break me
In your sleep
In your sleep, inside
Its in your heart and mine
Whole sea is dark
Its in your heart and mine
Sweetly, those will come
Loving is on your side walking through
So let me in your heart
Your beat is like something...
They...
Run...
See say youre sad and reach by
So say youre sad above beside
Oh stay sad above beside
So stay sad above we said
You know I dont
No one told you how
(and you dont)
(and you wipe sweat off your white brow)
And you care
And no one told you tried
And your heart
Is left out from the side
And the rain beats down
And the shame goes down
And this rain keeps on coming down
And this sky
Tonight...
You know s o n g, why
Youre going go join to god
You know s o n g, why
Give away some him no lie
Give away some my de day no
You know
And though no one told you sky
And you feel
Like you pretend you can
You say go, you live
Go live outside of me
Dont you leave
Dont leave out part of me
Then I can feel
Like I feel before
Like I hurt now
And I see the floor
If you pick me up
Bits and pieces on this floor

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Elvis Presley And America

(black flash)
Black flash over my own love
Tell me of my eyes
Black flash come though my own life
Telling these things
And I believe them
And I believe in you
White flash sees the sky
And it turns its side from you
She wont turn my back
And I know you turn so blue
And you know
And your sky is feeling blue
And your heart
So cold when Im with you
And you feel
Like no one told you to
And your time is your side
And your time with me
Ah, dont talk to me
Ah, dont talk to me
Dont talk to me
You know
Like no one told you how
But you know
Though the king that howls has howled
But you feel like sentimental
But you dont care
If I just share it in your heart
(heart...)
Hopelessly
So hopelessly
Im breaking through for you and me
And you dont
Though no one told you to
And you found out
Where you were going, where to
Youre through with me
But I know that you will be back
For more
And you know
And though no one told you so
And you know, blue sky
Like a harder shade of blue
And you walk
When you want
To let go
Me, Im the outside, tell me fade away
Drop me down but dont break me
In your sleep
In your sleep, inside
Its in your heart and mine
Whole sea is dark
Its in your heart and mine
Sweetly, those will come
Loving is on your side walking through
So let me in your heart
Your beat is like something...
They...
Run...
See say youre sad and reach by
So say youre sad above beside
Oh stay sad above beside
So stay sad above we said
You know I dont
No one told you how
(and you dont)
(and you wipe sweat off your white brow)
And you care
And no one told you tried
And your heart
Is left out from the side
And the rain beats down
And the shame goes down
And this rain keeps on coming down
And this sky
Tonight...
You know "s" "o" "n" "g", why
Youre going go join to god
You know "s" "o" "n" "g", why
Give away some him no lie
Give away some my de day no
You know
And though no one told you sky
And you feel
Like you pretend you can
You say go, you live
Go live outside of me
Dont you leave
Dont leave out part of me
Then I can feel
Like I feel before
Like I hurt now
And I see the floor
If you pick me up
Bits and pieces on this floor

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“Old Miss” (A Travelers Impression)

Stepping off a late flight to Memphis,
we made our way through the stony-silence
of a nearly empty terminal…a far cry from
other big city airports (“I like it here already! ”)

Met by family at the security gate and after baggage claim
we soon were driving south. Our final destination,
Saltillo, Mississippi, a small town near Tupelo,
birthplace of Elvis Presley.

The darkness of night prevented us from seeing
the landscape, this would have to wait until tomorrow.
We awakend to the cooing of mourning doves and our
adventure in the “Deep South” was about to unfold.

The next few days were a plethora of people and events;

It was late May with daytime temperatures in the mid eighties.
It cooled down nicely after sunset. The humidity
was comfortable, nothing like expected.

The people;
A gumbo of friendly black & white folk that seem to live
harmoniously with each other, unlike the racism of 50 years ago.
I never tired of hearing people speak their wonderful southern drawl.
There was a sense of permanence, especially among the African
Americans, a noble race, made unique over hundreds
of years and generations of mixed blood.

The land;
What struck me most about the landscape was the endless sea of green
of many verieties of leafy and conifer trees, concealing vast fields planted with cotton and soybeans.

A ribbon road known as the “Natchez Trace” a two-lane highway that snakes through a seemingly endless countryside.
A unique place of beauty, meticulously maintained
by the State of Mississippi.

Elvis;
After a workout at an excellent gym built and maintained by a local
hospital, we were off to visit the house where Elvis was born
and the museum and chapel that honor him,
Delivered by a mid-wife in a tiny two room house, Elvis Aaron Presley was born
January 8,1935 to Vernon & Gladys Presley. Sadly, Elviss twin brother was still born.
Vernon was a sharecropper living in a house built with with own hands and a loan from his landlord. The house had no running water or indoor toilet. They heated and cooked with a kitchen woodstove and stored their perishable food in an icebox. All the family slept in the same bed or on floor mats.
After finding fame and fortune, Elvis once said,
“No amount of money will help me forget, growing up poor”

The hardware store still stands where Elvis bought his first guitar.

Alas, “The King has left the room”

“Old Miss” is part of the Bible Belt, as evidenced by the abundance of churches. It seemed like there was a church on every corner…Southern Baptist, Methodist and Church of Christ being the most dominate.

Southern cooking;
Grits, fried okra, fried catfish, gulf prawns, fried pickles and Barbecued pork/beef, chicken fried steak, fried green tomatoes and sweet potato pie are standard fare…with key emphisis on “Fried”.

In the final analysis, Northern Mississippi still lives the innocense of the late 50’s but has all the accouterments of the 21st century…a pleasant and friendly place to live, raise children and worship God.

ROTMS

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Patrick White

O Little Sister

O little sister you're an alley-cat alto-sax
howling on the fire escape
under a blue moon
that's driven you into heat
just outside my window
for that arsonist boyfriend of yours
who used to puke in my potted geraniums
every time the two of you got drunk enough
to crash across my coffee-table laughing
even with each other for a crutch
you haven't got a leg to stand on.
I was charmed by your romantic desolation.
I was intrigued by how much original sincerity
you both saw fit to squander on a cliche.
C'est la vie, c'est l'amor, c'est le guerre.
Elvis Presley is well and living in Tweed.
And Arthur Rimbaud is running guns
with Jim Morrison in Ethiopia for Al-Shabab.
Most people work harder at hope
than they do at achieving their downfall
and you were a fire hydrant
and now you haven't got a hose.
No pun intended
I've known you too long
to see you this upended slurring your words
like the simultaneous translator
of an hourglass speaking
out of both sides of its mouth at once.
I don't know why he left you.
Maybe there was nothing left to put out.
You burned out.
A piece flew off your heat shield upon re-entry.
Maybe any man who couldn't hold his liquor
realizes sooner than later he couldn't hold you.
I don't know.
Go ask my geraniums.
They've got more to say about him than I do.
You make your death bed.
You got to die in it.
Next time build your house on stilts
in Stanthorpe Queensland
to keep the snakes away from your pillow.
What can I say?
He had a shoulder on his chip
that just couldn't hold his end of the world up?
And don't get me wrong.
I'm not laughing at your pain.
I don't laugh at pain.
Pain is pain.
Different planets.
Different moons.
Who hasn't gone swimming with dolphins
in the saturnine seas of Titan
or dropped a comet like a match
on a methane moon of Neptune?
Endomorphs and dopamines
can make you do a lot of funny things
that love is at a loss for words to justify.
Even if just for one wild night
of occult hunting magic
everyone longs to run with the wolves.
And howl, o little sister, you can hear them howling
in their blood agony at the waxing moon
as if something had died within them
that was so deep and crucial
it tore their hearts out
in an ecstasy of unrepentant pain.
And many many years later
when the solid abyss and hollowness of life
has grown even greater
you can still hear their voices
screaming like winter winds
above the timber-line
so high-pitched no echo
has ever been able to reach that high again
without shattering like a night bird
against the mirage of the open sky in the window.
Like you, little sister, now.
I'm not a sump-pump for anybody's tears
not even my own
but I've been known
to throw a little heavy water
on a nuclear meltdown every now and again.
Pain. Separation. Loss. Dream death
you keep reliving like an afterlife in your sleep
you're dying to wake up from
like a coma that's lost everything worth waking up to.
Not two. Not two. Not two.
That's the way it is here.
That's as far as words go.
That's where Statius takes over
from Vergil on the nightshift
and the stars nod off like children
who couldn't finish the story
and the quality of the poetry drops
as dark genius opts out
of the company of bright mediocrities
trying too hard to make it a better world
than it needs to be.
For things it didn't do.
And in a merciful world
that lived up to its teachings
and didn't shrink the heart
with fear of its own extremes
while everything else is expanding
shouldn't be asked to suffer like a placebo
in the glands of spurious cure.
And, yes, I know sometimes
it's hard to keep up with the mysteries
like the elements of life on a geometric scale.
How many jugulars does a woman have
for someone to cut
like the downed powerlines
of the Medusa's head
for having cast the first stone at herself?
You can wake the serpent fire
at the base of your spine
just above your coccyx
the hardest bone in your body
the little throne
the modest gravestone
you'll be resurrected on
when you're summoned from the dead,
but you can't train love
to bite the people you want it too
and run like an antidote to the rescue.
That's why you're getting high
on your own poison right now.
That's why your drunken tears
oscillate between a broken chandelier
that's bleeding out
and acid rain that burns like love
congealing into a new ice age.
However deep you dig the grave
to bury someone you once really loved
even a desert at night
when the stars weren't looking
wouldn't be enough to fill it in.
It's a wound without scar tissue
for the rest of your life.
The ghosts keep being pulled out of the box
like that kleenex you keep using
to dry your eyes at this seance
you've called on the spur of the moment
to be appalled by how lonely it is
to plead with the dead for severance.

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Tunbridge Wells

At five this morn, when Phoebus raised his head
From Thetis' lap, I raised myself from bed,
And mounting steed, I trotted to the waters
The rendesvous of fools, buffoons, and praters,
Cuckolds, whores, citizens, their wives and daughters.

My squeamish stomach I with wine had bribed
To undertake the dose that was prescribed;
But turning head, a sudden curséd view
That innocent provision overthrew,
And without drinking, made me purge and spew.
From coach and six a thing unweildy rolled,
Whose lumber, card more decently would hold.
As wise as calf it looked, as big as bully,
But handled, proves a mere Sir Nicholas Cully;
A bawling fop, a natural Nokes, and yet
He dares to censure as if he had wit.
To make him more ridiculous, in spite
Nature contrived the fool should be a knight.
Though he alone were dismal signt enough,
His train contributed to set him off,
All of his shape, all of the selfsame stuff.
No spleen or malice need on them be thrown:
Nature has done the business of lampoon,
And in their looks their characters has shown.

Endeavoring this irksome sight to balk,
And a more irksome noise, their silly talk,
I silently slunk down t' th' Lower Walk,
But often when one would Charibdis shun,
Down upon Scilla 'tis one's fate to run,
For here it was my curséd luck to find
As great a fop, though of another kind,
A tall stiff fool that walked in Spanish guise:
The buckram puppet never stirred its eyes,
But grave as owl it looked, as woodcock wise.
He scorns the empty talking of this mad age,
And speaks all proverbs, sentences, and adage;
Can with as much solemnity buy eggs
As a cabal can talk of their intrigues;
Master o' th' Ceremonies, yet can dispense
With the formality of talking sense.

From hence unto the upper walk I ran,
Where a new scene of foppery began.
A tribe of curates, priests, canonical elves,
Fit company for none besides themselves,
Were got together. Each his distemper told,
Scurvy, stone, strangury; some were so bold
To charge the spleen to be their misery,
And on that wise disease brought infamy.
But none had modesty enough t' complain
Their want of learning, honesty, and brain,
The general diseases of that train.
These call themselves ambassadors of heaven,
And saucily pretend commissions given;
But should an Indian king, whose small command
Seldom extends beyond ten miles of land,
Send forth such wretched tools in an ambassage,
He'd find but small effects of such a message.
Listening, I found the cob of all this rabble
Pert Bays, with his importance comfortable.
He, being raised to an archdeaconry
By trampling on religion, liberty,
Was grown to great, and looked too fat and jolly,
To be disturbed with care and melancholy,
Though Marvell has enough exposed his folly.
He drank to carry off some old remains
His lazy dull distemper left in 's veins.
Let him drink on, but 'tis not a whole flood
Can give sufficient sweetness to his blood
To make his nature of his manners good.

Next after these, a fulsome Irish crew
Of silly Macs were offered to my view.
The things did talk, but th' hearing what they said
I did myself the kindness to evade.
Nature has placed these wretches beneath scorn:
They can't be called so vile as they are born.
brkAmidst the crowd next I myself conveyed,
For now were come, whitewash and paint being laid,
Mother and daughter, mistress and the maid,
And squire with wig and pantaloon displayed.
But ne'er could conventicle, play, or fair
For a true medley, with this herd compare.
Here lords, knights, squires, ladies and countesses,
Chandlers, mum-bacon women, sempstresses
Were mixed together, nor did they agree
More in their humors than their quality.

Here waiting for gallant, young damsel stood,
Leaning on cane, and muffled up in hood.
The would-be wit, whose business was to woo,
With hat removed and solmn scrape of shoe
Advanceth bowing, then genteelly shrugs,
And ruffled foretop into order tugs,
And thus accosts her: "Madam, methinks the weather
Is grown much more serene since you came hither.
You influence the heavens; but should the sun
Withdraw himself to see his rays outdone
By your bright eyes, they would supply the morn,
And make a day before the day be born."
With mouth screwed up, conceited winking eyes,
And breasts thrust forward, "Lord, sir!" she replies.
"It is your goodness, and not my deserts,
Which makes you show this learning, wit, and parts."
He, puzzled, butes his nail, both to display
The sparkling ring, and think what next to say,
And thus breaks forth afresh: "Madam, egad!
Your luck at cards last night was very bad:
At cribbage fifty-nine, and the next show
To make the game, and yet to want those two.
God damn me, madam, I'm the son of a whore
If in my life I saw the like before!"
To peddler's stall he drags her, and her breast
With hearts and such-like foolish toys he dressed;
And then, more smartly to expound the riddle
Of all his prattle, gives her a Scotch fiddle.

Tired with this dismal stuff, away I ran
Where were two wives, with girl just fit for man -
Short-breathed, with pallid lips and visage wan.
Some curtsies past, and the old compliment
Of being glad to see each other, spent,
With hand in hand they lovingly did walk,
And one began thus to renew the talk:
"I pray, good madam, if it may be thought
No rudeness, what cause was it hither brought
Your ladyship?" She soon replying, smiled,
"We have a good estate, but have no child,
And I'm informed these wells will make a barren
Woman as fruitful as a cony warren."
The first returned, "For this cause I am come,
For I can have no quietness at home.
My husband grumbles though we have got one,
This poor young girl, and mutters for a son.
And this is grieved with headach, pangs, and throes;
Is full sixteen, and never yet had those."
She soon replied, "Get her a husband, madam:
I married at that age, and ne'er had 'em;
Was just like her. Steel waters let alone:
A back of steel will bring 'em better down."
And ten to one but they themselves will try
The same means to increase their family.
Poor foolish fribble, who by subtlety
Of midwife, truest friend to lechery,
Persuaded art to be at pains and charge
To give thy wife occaision to enlarge
Thy silly head! For here walk Cuff and Kick,
With brawny back and legs and potent prick,
Who more substantially will cure thy wife,
And on her half-dead womb bestow new life.
From these the waters got the reputation
Of good assistants unto generation.

Some warlike men were now got into th' throng,
With hair tied back, singing a bawdy song.
Not much afraid, I got a nearer view,
And 'twas my chance to know the dreadful crew.
They were cadets, that seldom can appear:
Damned to the stint of thirty pounds a year.
With hawk on fist, or greyhound led in hand,
The dogs and footboys sometimes they command.
But now, having trimmed a cast-off spavined horse,
With three hard-pinched-for guineas in their purse,
Two rusty pistols, scarf about the arse,
Coat lined with red, they here presume to swell:
This goes for captain, that for colonel.
So the Bear Garden ape, on his steed mounted,
No longer is a jackanapes accounted,
But is, by virtue of his trumpery, then
Called by the name of "the young gentleman."

Bless me! thought I, what thing is man, that thus
In all his shapes, he is ridiculous?
Ourselves with noise of reason we do please
In vain: humanity's our worst disease.
Thrice happy beasts are, who, because they be
Of reason void, and so of foppery.
Faith, I was so ashamed that with remorse
I used the insolence to mount my horse;
For he, doing only things fit for his nature,
Did seem to me by much the wiser creature.

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Patrick White

Impoverished Like A Loser With A High IQ

Impoverished like a loser with a high IQ.
Its a darker discipline than art
to learn to love what you must live.
The aristocratic penury of a poet
who keeps giving it all away
as if generosity were a form of protest
against the sock puppets of common sense
whose mouths move like empty wallets
when they speak of the lives they’re living.
We lived from rented dump to rented dump
and beautified the yards
with gardens we dug
and flowers we stole
from a better neighbourhood six blocks away
until it came time for the landlord to sell them
and we moved on to the next lunar landing
when I was a boy
and maybe that’s why
I’ve always seen things
as temporary ever since.
I give to people as if they knew
what I know
that everything we have
will be taken back soon enough
and you can’t keep what you won’t give away.
Life for example.
Or light. Flowers. Stars. Children. Poems.
More seeds in the autumn
than there are in the spring.
And because I’m so aware of time
I see so much eternity
in their tears and their smiles
everyone always seems to me
myself included
half ghost
and half mystic shadow
of the lucidity they could be for awhile.
I’m always urging brown stars like Jupiter
to shine a little harder
to open the other eye
of its three hundred year old methane hurricane
and greet the sun at midnight
like a peer of shining
that could set carbon and oxygen
on the spiritual path to us
like blind pilgrims on the way
to a shrine of eyes with liberating visions
that are released like doves
to look for land
by people who understand
they’re walking on stars.
But you’ve got to see way beyond that
if you want to get a fix on who you are.
You’ve got to walk that extra mile
in someone else’s moccasins
if you don’t want to underestimate
the size of the universe
and your place in it.
Your brain may be three pounds of starmud
but your mind
is the intangible of intangibles.
Light upon light
you can’t catch up to
or run from.
And whatever that light illuminates
enhances its awareness
of how things can change
just by looking at them
but when it turns back on itself
to enlighten the source of its shining
everything is dark and clear and imageless
without thought
without feeling
without witness or metaphor.
And if you thought you were poor before
think again.
When Lazarus returned to life
did he leave the dead anything?
I’m counting cans of beans in tomato sauce
like acephalic feet in Horation odes.
I’m reading the I Ching
with the fascistic rods
of brittle spaghetti sticks that break
like the false dawns of misfortune
as if they were the fragile wing bones of birds
spread out like the delicate skeletons of Japanese fans
that consulted the wrong stars
to escape the winter that overtook them.
Maybe I could drill holes in them
and unmarrow them like a syrinx
just to lighten the mood of the music in Sparta.
Or make a prayer wheel of birds
and blow them clockwise
to lift this jinx of a galaxy
turning the wrong way
like the German version
of Madame Blavatsky’s Aryan swastika.
The ubermensch too has underwhelmed himself.
Pipe dreams.
Napoleonic schemes in civilian dress.
Arks in an ice age that don’t float.
Fly-fishing in glaciers that move like the Hoover Dam.
Mood rings of climate change
challenging the adaptability of man
to survive his own works like Atlantis.
You can sing about the sweetness of the honey-bee
on twelve grain whole wheat bread
but when there’s nothing in the house
but an emaciated mouse
in a cupboard that echoes like the Grand Canyon
you eat like a praying mantis.
You eat your brain.
You eat your heart
for the food value of your enemy
to give you the courage
to stand up to your genius like a warrior
offering a blood sacrifice
to the prophetic skulls of your ancestors
who said you’d end up here one day
if you kept on going the way you had to
if you were to make any sense
out of why you were lost.
Born too stupid to be a cynic
and tell Alexander to get out of my light
I let my right eye
that could only see
the value of things
like an incorrigible positivist
grow larger than the negative one
that only looked at the cost.
Even when I looked into things
and saw that nothing had an identity
and all was emptiness
and interdependent origination
I didn’t become a balanced nihilist
and think the glass was half empty
but saw how the dark abundance
in the hidden watersheds of the plenum-void
spilled over the rim
like fountainheads of bright vacancy
that bubbled up and were blown off
like wavelengths of sea foam
into nebulae and galaxies
and the white-maned horses of Neptune
by the winds of time and space
blowing on the coastal tides of consciousness
like a lover on the skin of the moon
when he returns to her like an atmosphere.
And I may be a shipwreck in the Sea of Shadows
living penumbrally on the memory
of some spectacular eclipses
and magnificent supernovas
and a handful of first magnitude stars
I’m still trying to arrange
into a new constellation
to explain my myth of origin
but I’ve forgotten more about
the occult science of shining
and how to go divining for water on the moon
than all these blind star-nosed moles
trying to burrow their way through wormholes
into a heaven they don’t even know they’re already in
will ever realize in light years.
I may be the grasshopper who fiddled
too long throughout the summer
to keep things dancing
at a field party I was always the last to leave
and even far into winter
scraped his legs together like firesticks
trying to catch flame and thaw the ice.
And I suppose I wouldn’t be in this mess
as my friend Willie P. Bennet used to say
if I could have learned to take my own advice
but when I saw
how the ant mulched its heap of formic acid
into the hill tomb of an organized society
like Surabachi Mountain on Iwo Jima
and smelled how it reeked of stinging nettles
I thought its better to play a blue violin
on the stern of the Titanic going down
than it is to try and overrun Asia
like my Mongolian ancestry suggested I should.
People too lazy to work get jobs
and retire like watch fobs.
People without a calling
a passion, a summons in life
that demands nothing less
than everything all the time of you
and the total sacrifice of all other options
because there are people who are born
to choose the sea and not the lifeboat
who prefer to disappear into the sky
than stand at a window
that’s only a wingspan wide
and wished they’d learned to fly
thirty years earlier
instead of wearing out the carpets that could have.
Better to fail radiantly
than eclipse everyone with success.
And when you’re lying on your death bed
how are you ever going
to commiserate with your ghost
when you see clearly
you’re going to be reincarnated
as smog over Los Angeles
for not burning white hot enough
when you were given two lungs for bellows?
The brass ring might be a ripple
worth reaching for
like a life preserver in a storm
but the dark ore cries tears of silver
like the new moon in the arms of the old
when she sees how everything
it shines upon like base metal
and September fields of flowing wheat
turns to gold.
The winners do their crying out loud in crowds
and everybody wonders why
and takes their wound on as their own
and listens to every viral syllable
of what they had to sacrifice to heal.
The Mithraic bull bleeds money
like Jesus on the cross.
And twelve days later only half meaning to
undramatically backs into
an overanalyzed suicide
and then rises like the circumpolar star
of a music legend that never leaves the set.
Elvis Presley is alive and well
and reviving in Tweed Ontario.
Anywhere your ghost wants to go
the world is a seance that wants to know
why you left one foot sticking out of your afterlife
as if you were buried
somewhere between shore and a lifeboat
in the undertow of the providential tides
that pulled you under.
But an impoverished loser with a high IQ
who’s given up
trying to unionize himself
like a cult of heretics
that don’t think that any sacrifice
is too great to radicalize
the square roots of Rubik’s cubes
circumambulating the Kaaba
like shepherd moons
is already haunting the kitchen
looking for food left out to attract the dead
back to the living
as he weeps alone in his apartment
for everything he’s missing.
And the stars outside howl in the distance
like the eyes of a lean wolf pack
lit up like the lamps of a search party
they’ve rounded up
to go looking for him
all through the long hungry night
like fellow appetites on the food chain
as his heart bleeds out like a magic bean
in tomato sauce.
An impoverished loser with a high IQ
who upheld the value of things
like a meteoritic cornerstone
grounded in the quicksand of the cost.

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Patrick White

Everybody Knows Why The Children Are Hungry

Everybody knows why the children are hungry.
Everybody knows why the poor give up dreaming
and the rich can't sleep without surveillance.
Everybody knows why this young girl can't read
and the Taliban throw acid in her face.
Everybody knows why this young boy
at twelve years old
feels about as heroic as a statistic
and looks at the future as if
he were already a has-been.
Everybody knows why there's a rifle in his hand.
Everybody knows why
there are people washed up
on the streets of our cities
as if a great ship of state had gone down
like a garbage barge off the coast of New Jersey.
Everybody knows why
women are being sexually colonized
in the Democratic Republic of the mineral-rich Congo.
Everybody knows their atrocities
like serial killers and baseball cards.
You read a lot of existentialism
that prefers existence to essence
but you still find it hard to picture the abyss
that defines being as a special case of nothingness:
look into a dead child's eyes
look into a dead child's mind
look at what she cherished about life
like a cosmology all of her own
a myth of origin
a reason for stars
rejected by the metaphysics of the flies
that gather like punctuation marks all over her eyes.
Everybody knows
why the truth is veiled in spider-webs
that are maintained like political systems
who let the few who know how to spin silk out of their ass
eat everyone.
New eyes for old lamps
here comes this year's candidates
like autumn to the ballot-box
like worms to a windfall of apples
to improve the lives of illegal immigrants
by privatizing concentration camps.
Everybody wants to stick their thumb in plum pudding
and say what a good boy am I
and everybody forgets who they stole it from
and everybody regrets that they didn't get caught
in time to do it all over again
as they address themselves like greed
to a nation of gluttons
about what to do about the hungry
at the back door of the world
living on the leftovers
of liposuction clinics for the rich.
Three quarters of the world's resources on your plate
taken out of other people's mouths
and their children washing your table-cloth
to get the worst of the blood stains out
and you wonder why
you're threatened by the fact
that people are hungry
and all they can see in your indifference
is their destiny.
Hate manipulates
the economics of fate
and the harvest moon is eclipsed
by the shadow of your dinner plate
all over the world tonight
as you go to bed full and happy
you're rich enough to have values
that can be bought and sold
in a free market.
Hell's reserved a table
in the dark corner
of an exotic place for you
that serves just those
who were exalted
by great all-consuming souls
that knew how to keep faith with a menu
that had children with cannibal soup on it.
And if hell doesn't exist anymore
because so many atrocities have put it to shame
and peace is just another black hole
in the eye of an approaching hurricane
then may your soul be subjected
to the same vicious clarity
that cooked the books
like bestsellers in heaven
that always had a happy ending
like a tax return on charity.
The Holy Ghost was first
a Greek lawyer
a paraclete
an advocatus
someone who would speak up for you
who would intercede on your behalf
after you died
and went before
Rhadamanthus Anubis God or provincial court
to see if there was a feather's-weight of good in you.
Now the Holy Ghost is a campaign manager
for a Christo-Fascist rightwing conservative think tank
with the i.q. of a snakepit
running for the office of God
by denoucing charity
as a socio-economic liberal fraud
and a green policy in Eden
as the beginnings of a police state
that will take away your right
to be psychopathically delusional about clarity.
Granny Smith Macintosh or Golden Delicious
Satan invited Eve
to take a big bite out of the apple
just for a little variety
but the neocon Nazis have taken it
a step further than that
and stuffed themselves
like maggots
into the vicious crabapples
they've stewed under the crust
of their North American piety
like a taste of downhome cooking you can trust.
But trust me
they're lick-spittle ass vacuums
that will be spit out
like something nature abhors.
Everybody knows why the children are hungry.
There are people in the world
whose values are the apple cores
of a trickle-down economy
that begrudges the poor even that.
Everybody knows that the game is fixed
and elections are Mexican pinatas
beaten to a pulp at the ballot box
to keep foreigners out of our customs
like the roots of strange lands out of our food.
Everybody knows
why the world is a dangerous place
and the only thing our children can do
is stick needles in their arms
to stay out of harm's way.
Everybody knows why the old
are left to die alone without dignity
in a world where experience
is a kind of psychological abuse
and wisdom the chronic ambiguity of a victim.
I see a war.
Between those
who have nothing to lose
and the darlings of superfluity
who live off the rest of everything
that belongs to everyone else.
Nasty guerrilla gunboat wars
like blood clots in the collective unconscious
ignited by true believers
on both sides of the fence
with the spontaneity
of improvised explosive devices
and the apocalyptic insights of fanatical drones.
More bang for the buck.
More corporate spin
for those who don't give a damn.
Everybody knows why the planet feels
like a sexually assaulted woman
with no shelters or restraining orders
to hear her appeals for help.
We shut our mouths like doors.
We close our eyes like windows.
We stuff our ears with loud music
to keep from hearing
how she screams our names out loud
as if there were still some heroes left
among all her shameless children
that weren't legendary
for their sins of omission.
The planet is one body.
The planet is one mind.
If your little toe gets gangrene like Somalia
and you do nothing about it
given time for the disease to progress
California will go blind
and Tokyo go into cardiac arrest.
If a child loses an eye
that's one less star in the sky
for the lost to find their way back by.
If a student is killed for an idea
by the Neanderthals of creationism
standing up for a time-honoured ice-age
against the proponents of global warming
that's proof that humans
were created in the image of God
like a missing link in the brain drain of evolution
that never flushes the think-tank
after it's done its business
like other species that have gone extinct
abusing their own awareness.
But I've got a way out of the argument.
It isn't evolution or creationism
that governs the direction of events
among all living things on the planet.
It's eliminationism.
Murder in the name of self-defense.
Genocide in the name of purifying the race.
Theft in the name of giving back.
Lying as a way of upholding the truth.
Rape as a way of making love.
Iron pyrite as the standard of the Golden Rule.
Do unto others before they do unto you.
Jesus overthrew the benches
of the money-lenders in the temple.
The Vatican's got a bank.
Wisdom as the think-tank of the fool.
When the meaning of life is insignificant
so is its lack of meaning too.
Compassion as heartfelt as a foreign policy.
Desecration as the true aesthetic of celebrity.
Horror takes a short-cut to fame
and leaves the long way home to the hero.
War as a way of imposing peace.
Starvation poverty disease clean water air and arable land
beaten like old ploughs
into the new weapons
of a corporate arsenal.
Nike owns the rain in Bolivia
and Coca Cola's
the corporate Magna Carta of Belize.
You're the nobody everybody's watching
like the someone they should be afraid of
who's watching you.
Profligate variety the vacillating substitute for choice.
The bride wore black at the wedding
to celebrate her marriage to an oilslick
like moonlight that landed a big eclipse
and the mutant sex life of a polluted fish.
There's honey in the orchards that broke their vows
and money in doing what you hate
for the best of reasons.
One half the world is grass.
The other half is grazers.
There are children who suckle
at their dead mothers' breasts
like Hathor the cosmic cash-cow
when she crashed on Wall Street
like a fall in the price of meat.
The promised land of milk and honey
is a profit margin on the edge of the sea
looking for big returns on its spiritual dividends.
The ends don't justify the means anymore.
The means are the ends.
Like the children
that are dynastically slaughtered
to keep Herod from having bad dreams
about the birth-rate of immaculate Palestinian virgins.
Lord won't you send me an M-16.
My friends all have Mausers
and AK-47s.
The conspiracy theorists
of the justifiably paranoid
look at a tree
and see an underground arboreal organization.
The crazy try to keep the mad from going insane.
Everyone's dining with Claudius on poison mushrooms.
Nero waits in the wings
like the Elvis Presley of emperors
and sings of all the things
he's going to do to the Christians
with a blast from the past
and a little number
he took from the beast
that rose to six six six on the charts
for drowning their children
and drinking the blood of a god
who rose from the dead on the third day
like Marianne Faithful making a comeback.
And everybody knows why the children are hungry.
Everybody knows the big bad wolves
caught up to their toes
and blew their house down
and ate them like little piggies.
Everybody knows where the cradle crashed
and how many millions of children there were on board
when the wind blew the treetops out like candles.
But everybody plays dumb and mute and stupid
and says they're still looking for the black box
to determine what caused the tragedy
and possibly in the future
make sure that it won't probably happen again.
Everybody knows there are maggots in Armani suits
pimped out like butterflies
to misrepresent themselves to the people
in the voice of an experienced apple
who knows how to make the hard choices
when it gets down to taking a bite out of the budget.
Corruption always persecutes virtue
for falling into fiscal arrears
when it should have known
like any good snakeoil salesman
it just couldn't keep up
with the luxurious lifestyle of its tears.
Mirrors within mirrors within mirrors
and not one them bright enough
to reflect the dark truth
of why children just hundreds of miles away
from a supermarket and a health plan
look like the fossils of pterodactyls
in the last stages of late Triassic starvation.
All skin and bones
with big eyes like bat kites
tangled in the powerlines
of the economic spider grid of a world
that separates the flies
the gods kill for sport
from the bureaucrats and politicians
that deny any knowledge of their crimes
in a marsupial court
where everyone else
is in everyone else's pocket.
Wanton boys pull the wings off the fly.
The fly kills them with germs.
Everybody knows why their heart squirms
when they shake out the garbage can
like a cornucopia full of worms
that have grown fat and chubby as commas
on the flesh of illiterate children
that didn't live long enough
to learn to count the dead
without using their fingers and toes.
The tooth fairy's turned into a terrorist
that puts homemade explosives
under the pillows of stone
the children lay their heads down on
shaking in their deathbeds
to scream in their dreams about things
that were better left unsaid.
Everybody knows why the damage to our children
is always a collateral
and never a capital offense.
A prosthetic footnote to a roadside bomb.
A small pale blossom of a face
in the cosmic expanse
of an adult-sized tomb
that casts monstrous shadows
on the walls of the room
she sleeps alone in
without any sign from heaven
that anyone knows she's dead.
All her lucky stars
swept like tragic dust under the bed
where she's hiding
from everyone who knows why
and doesn't come looking.

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