Latest quotes | Random quotes | Vote! | Latest comments | Add quote

William Shakespeare

Polonius: What do you read, my lord?
Hamlet: Words, words, words.

classic lines from Hamlet, Act II, Scene 2 by (1599)Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Dan Costinaş
Comment! | Vote! | Copy! | In Spanish | In Italian | In Romanian

Share

Related quotes

Yesterday you read book

Yesterday you read a book
and at times while you watch television
you are so caught up
that reality
flies past you.

Still you know exactly what I think
and where my thoughts are going,
before I speak about things.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

And What Shall You Say?

Brother, come!
And let us go unto our God.
And when we stand before Him
I shall say--
"Lord, I do not hate,
I am hated.
I scourge no one,
I am scourged.
I covet no lands,
My lands are coveted.
I mock no peoples,
My people are mocked."
And, brother, what will you say?

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

What Do You Want Me To Do?

I tried to do the things in my own way
I tried to do what people say
but I was going nowhere fast
And now I'm turning to you at last
(1) What do you want me to do
What so you want me to do
What do you want me to do, Lord
I can see the lights of home
But I can't get there on my own
I can see the landing strip
But I need you to guide my ship
[Repeat (1)]
I've been a fool and I've been a clown
I've let the enemy turn me around
I've wasted love and I've wasted time
I've been proud and I've been blind
There's such a lot of things to change
A whole world to arrange
And if you show me how
I'll begin right now
[Repeat (1)]
What do you want me to do, Lord
What do you want me to do, Lord
"Cause I'm listenin'
I'm listenin'
Lord, I'm listenin'
I'm listenin'

song performed by Rod StewartReport problemRelated quotes
Added by Lucian Velea
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

What Do You Want Me To Do

Ive tried to do things my own way
Ive tried to do what people say
And Im going nowhere fast
And Im turning to you at last
What do you want me to do?
What do you want me to do?
What do you want me to do lord?
I can see the lights of home
But I cant get there on my own
I can see the landing strip
But I need you to steer my ship
What do you want me to do?
What do you want me to do?
What do you want me to do lord?
Ive been a foll and Ive been a clown
I let the enemy turn me around
Ive wasted love and Ive wasted time
Ive been rpoud and Ive been blind
What do you want me to do?
What do you want me to do?
What do you want me to do lord?
Ive got a lot of things to change
A whole man to rearrange
And if you show me how
Ill begin right now
What do you want me to do?
What do you want me to do?
What do you want me to do lord?
Im listening...

song performed by WaterboysReport problemRelated quotes
Added by Lucian Velea
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

What Do You Want Me To Do

Ive tried to do things my own way
Ive tried to do what people say
And Im going nowhere fast
And Im turning to you at last
What do you want me to do?
What do you want me to do?
What do you want me to do lord?
I can see the lights of home
But I cant get there on my own
I can see the landing strip
But I need you to steer my ship
What do you want me to do?
What do you want me to do?
What do you want me to do lord?
Ive been a foll and Ive been a clown
I let the enemy turn me around
Ive wasted love and Ive wasted time
Ive been rpoud and Ive been blind
What do you want me to do?
What do you want me to do?
What do you want me to do lord?
Ive got a lot of things to change
A whole man to rearrange
And if you show me how
Ill begin right now
What do you want me to do?
What do you want me to do?
What do you want me to do lord?
Im listening...

song performed by WaterboysReport problemRelated quotes
Added by Lucian Velea
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

When You Read This Poem

when you read this poem
silently like a prayer written
on the wall
of an ancient structure
and then when you pause
upon a word and begin
to ponder
like ' what is this poem really
trying to say? '
or ' does this poem have in some
way something to inform me
or touch me
or simply waste my time? '

rest assured this poem has
made you phrase some questions
not about you
or about me alone but
whether you believe it or not
this poem has become
a bridge between us
taking the shape
of a rainbow between two islands
and in a moment before you
begin to figure it out
or even know it
it is gone like a sigh passing you by
without any significance
and not worth remembering
but once
after you have read till the end

once there was this poem
and it seems to have no meaning at all
except a task
a journey that you have taken
arriving at nowhere
and giving you the essence of nothing.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

As If You Read My Mind

Close your eyes til the morning
Close your eyes til the early dew
Get inside what youve been missing
Are the very first words that I heard coming from you
Take a chance on the secret
That you hide for beneath your dreams
Use your wildest imagination
You just tell me what it is and I will make it be
As if you read my mind
As if you touched my soul
As if you knew exactly where I wanted to go
Lets get high on the happy
With a toast to you and me
Love is here just for the giving
And between us weve got all the love well ever need
As if you read my mind
As if you touched my soul
As if you knew exactly where I wanted to go
As if you read my mind
As if you touched my soul
As if you knew exactly where I wanted to go
As if you read my mind
As if you touched my soul
As if you knew exactly where I wanted to go
As if you read my mind
As if you touched my soul
As if you knew exactly where I wanted to go

song performed by Stevie WonderReport problemRelated quotes
Added by Lucian Velea
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

What Are You Thinking

(8/29/12)

What are you thinking of when you feel GODS might
When you feel his presence and your hearts in flight.
Do you feel a chill going thru your veins
As you look up to the sky and call out his name.

Don't you feel a comfort that you've never known before
As he enters your heart and opens his door.
You have a reserved spot in your heart for him
When he took away your mortal sin.

What thoughts go thru your mind when
Everything that went wrong- turns out fine.
When your life has turned around and all
You hear are beautiful sounds.

When you want to stand up and sing
And you feel every emotion it brings.
What are you thinking when your family and friends
Say they'll follow the lord till their end.

What are you thinking when you see
A newborn baby cry and turns and opens its eyes
And looks directly at you and you don't know what to do.

What are you thinking when you look at
Humanity destroying all of GODS creations
And starvation and hunger in every nation.

I do not know what will be on your mind
But if we believe in GOD we're one of a kind.

© L.RAMS

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

What makes you to think

What makes you to think you can?
Why you feel it easy to catch speeding van?
Is it reserved domain that can be only man?
Can that not be performed by even a woman?

It is madness and pride that speaks,
All useless thoughts and idea sneaks,
Sense trouble when information leaks,
Damage control tactics and attempt makes,

It is always good to have moral high,
Not a flicker of doubt and question why?
Retracing steps never and not feels shy,
Aim at higher even no wings to fly,

Life is full of uncertainty and future bleak,
No one can authoritatively assert and speak,
Time may force and spirit will break,
Solid intact matter may develop crack

Legs may crumble and take you down,
Not enough spirit to express even frown,
Advices may be unheard and simply blown,
You may become scapegoat and talk of town

Still I rise and try to surge ahead,
Build opinion and sincerely plead,
Not look backward and always lead,
Inject enthusiasm and minds read,

Castles and Palaces are not built in air,
Energy and efforts needed more fare,
Still it is try and hope against hope,
Leave it to Him for success or flop

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

What Do You Call it?

What do you call it, when you have a disability,

And once your were at a church, and now you're not;

But no one from the church comes but say excuse me,

I cannot be there, I no longer can cope, did I put them in a spot?


What do you call it, is it an excuse, or am I contagious at all?

If your in a wheelchair, Being in a church my problem is small;

Why can't look past the chair, and see my need, today,

Even a phone call would help, but their heart says no way.


What do they call it, If some one is not so very well,

And can't get to church, pain is bad, they won't hear when I tell;

That I need fellowship from folks, so I don't shrink,

But they don't listen, their brains just don't think.


What does God call it, to leave a Christian alone,

That isn't very well, and yet, no one will ring on the phone;

I thought the Lord taught us, think of others first,

And when one is unwell, they shouldn't allow their bubble to burst.


Please Lord! Help me to have fellowship in some way,

When I can't get to church, they'd come some day;

It hurts to be left, with no calls, cards, or visitors as well,

Please Lord, make them think, to make my phone to bell.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Did You Read The Morning Papers?

(nickolas ashford/valerie simpson/r. monica)
Did you read the morning paper
Did you see the front headline
Did you read the morning paper
Baby let me lend you mine
There on the front page was a picture
Of a crowd as they watched a parade passing by
And through the haze of last nights sleep
Something familiar caught my eye
There was a couple looking so much in love, yes
They had a front line view
And as I pulled the paper closer
I realized standing next to her it was you
Did you read the morning paper
Did you see the front headline
Did you read the morning paper
Baby let me lend you mine
Now I know why youve been working late each night
And no longer have desire to ever hold me tight
And your busy, busy schedule was all a lie
Oh, even the dream with a bonus, oh just another alibi
Did you read the morning paper
Did you see the front headline
Did you read the morning paper
Baby let me lend you mine
Did you get the news today
Did you read the morning paper
Isnt the picture very clear
Where do we go from here
Did you read the morning paper
Did you see the front headlines
Did you read the morning paper
Baby let me lend you mine
Oh, what now
Did you read the morning paper
Did you get the news today

song performed by Diana RossReport problemRelated quotes
Added by Lucian Velea
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Did You Read The Morning Paper

(Nickolas Ashford/Valerie Simpson/R. Monica)
Did you read the morning paper
Did you see the front headline
Did you read the morning paper
Baby let me lend you mine
There on the front page was a picture
Of a crowd as they watched a parade passing by
And through the haze of last nights sleep
Something familiar caught my eye
There was a couple looking so much in love, yes
They had a front line view
And as I pulled the paper closer
I realized standing next to her it was you
Did you read the morning paper
Did you see the front headline
Did you read the morning paper
Baby let me lend you mine
Now I know why you've been working late each night
And no longer have desire to ever hold me tight
And your busy, busy schedule was all a lie
Oh, even the dream with a bonus, oh just another alibi
Did you read the morning paper
Did you see the front headline
Did you read the morning paper
Baby let me lend you mine
Did you get the news today
Did you read the morning paper
Isn't the picture very clear
Where do we go from here
Did you read the morning paper
Did you see the front headlines
Did you read the morning paper
Baby let me lend you mine
Oh, what now
Did you read the morning paper
Did you get the news today

song performed by Diana RossReport problemRelated quotes
Added by Lucian Velea
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

When You Read This

when you read this
poem, i am letting you know
that i still care,
when you continue reading on
the next line
you are letting me know
what i still know
that you still care for me too
and then you are angry
about how presumptuous can i be
and so i make another line
and another line and if you continue reading
more of these lines
in this poem
you are letting me know
that you are still angry about
my untimely departure
that moment when love was
still strong
when desire was at its peak
and then you think things over
how you have been
unwittingly betrayed by my words
and you keep on
reflecting if these lines still
say the same
meanings and i keep on writing
more lines
hoping that you will understand
what i have not said
because i cannot say them
because my self
cannot lie by saying them to
you because i do not wish to
hurt you because i still
love you and then i write lines
that ask
if you still love me but then
i must put an end to all
these useless writing
time has spoken
as the lines of fate and
destiny still have it
we were never meant for
each other
the love is there
the bodies still alive
our hands never reach
till then
perhaps in the next life
at the right moment
perhaps when
our parallel lives meet
at some point
of convergence
and as you read let me put
the last line: goodbye
May God make us
meet and love again.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

What Are You Laboring For?

What do you labor for my friend; what is your purpose in the end?
Do you labor for a present need, or do you just work to succeed?
Do you punch in a clock for men, to then work eight hours or ten?
Do you put forth effort each day, in a place that you’ll never stay?

These can be asked by all of us, until these bodies return to dust.
But what about time men spend, towards an eternity with no end?
Maybe many aren’t mindful of, the priorities from The Lord above,
Priorities God has for you and me, which extend well into eternity.

When men stand before The Lord, what about all the labor before,
Done while on this earthly sphere, all labored for what down here?
When this life upon earth is past, what in eternity for you will last?
Will all of the effort made by us, simply be blown away like dust?

All of this life is futile, my friend, when your life comes to an end,
Except all of the labor done, for Jesus Christ, God’s Eternal Son.
Wages we don’t get from The Lord, but, from Him, eternal reward,
It’s not only lasting, but its worth, far exceeds the wages on earth.

So why continue to labor in vain, when you can have eternal gain?
Acknowledge God in all you do, and watch what God does in you,
As He stores you treasure above, He fills you with desire and love,
To serve His Son unceasingly, as He prepares us for life eternally.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

What Do You Really Deserve?

Some people say that you deserve more so grab all that comes to you,
But eternally speaking, what do you deserve from God's point of view?

Man came from the dust of the ground and to the dust he will return,
Some will rise to Eternal Life, while many choose to eternally burn.

Man just portrays powers of good and evil, but does good always win?
If they're only powers, where does evil come from along with the sin?

And what are the wages of sin my friend, The Bible says it's death,
For all are destined once to die with judgment at their last breath.

You didn't will yourself here but by your mother you were conceived,
And those who raised you, in God they may or may not have believed.

As you grew on your own perhaps you were puffed up by what you heard,
But of life's real concerns, what from God do you think you deserve?

Since all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God my friend,
Shouldn't you stop the foolish thinking to consider your Eternal End?

All men that forget God will be turned into the Eternal Lake of Fire,
This is the cost of sin my friend, but not The Loving Lord's desire.

God wants none to perish but all to come to repentance in The Lord,
Friend, you will get what you deserve if God continues to be ignored.

For God sent His Son to die for the sin of all men from every nation,
So what will be your end when you continue to ignore His Salvation?

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share
Patrick White

You Read My Poetry

You read my poetry
and you need a locus,
something to hang on to,
a familiar milieu, a focus,
right ascension and declination,
a starmap and astrolabe,
and the usual pictures painted
on the lens of the usual telescope.
If I had wanted you to follow me
I would have dropped breadcrumbs,
I would have spray-bombed the trees
an adolescent cadmium red
to show you where the road goes.
I may have been pulled like a weed
from the garden of Eden
and tossed to the wilder side of things,
a meteor among boundary stones,
but that doesn't mean my darkness is tar,
or all these stars are a kind of quicksand
you're sinking through like a sculptor
swimming through stone
with a chisel in your hand.
Maybe you're just the wrong tool for the job.
Maybe you're trying to follow the music with a map.
Maybe you haven't come to terms
with eleven dimensions yet
and you're still standing at the gates
of your own singularity, hat in hand,
waiting for a passport
incommensurably as pi
hoping for refugee status.
Maybe you don't know
the whole universe
begins with a kiss
between the lips
of two membranes
in an ocean of dimensions
beyond the reach of your sensible wave
and the big bang
is not the beginning
but the afterbirth of the matter.
It's hard to believe that your mind is free
when you're standing there
with chains in your hand
counting rosaries like vertebrae.
It's hard to know what to say
that might amuse you
outside of convention,
but that doesn't mean
I've spent my life
trying to find
a new way to confuse you.
If I revel in the simulacra
like a kid in the fall playing in leaves,
if I kick a stone down the road like the earth as far as it can go
or use the moon to plumb the well
of my raindropp depths,
or try to walk on fire, stars, water,
hoping my feet are better lifeboats
than my migratory reasons are
birds for all seasons,
or I'm kind to the illusions
I had to leave along the way
like roadside flowers
closing in eclipse,
it may well be
the playful compassion of fools
that exempts the wise man
like a hard rock on the mountain
from the avalanche
of cornerstones and schools
you keep bringing down upon yourself like an echo.
You might hear a pair of morning doves in the trees
and the bee in the burgundy ear of the hollyhock
and all the key frequencies of string theory
and know how to finger them masterfully
leaping from fret to fret
like balance beams
and well-worn thresholds
up and down your neck
like serpent-fire through your open chakras,
but to judge from the way you look at me
you've never once
cupped your hands
like a lifeboat in the mindstream
and washed your face off in the music
so you could see what you've been listening to
like the rain on the inside of a broken windowpane.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

If You Read

If you read me
In my lines you begin
To understand what
I write about &
Perhaps what I am
That would be
So ordinary
A matter only of clarification.

If you read me, however
Carefully
in between
My lines,
and go deeper
To hidden symbols
And find some meanings
You will find
something
Else, something not
Me but sounding like
Me and you will begin to have doubts
If it is really me
Or I am just
Bluffing
Misleading you
For something else
So that you
Do not grasp me
At all,

and if you begin
to
Doubt it,
well, it could be that it was
Done on purpose
i
Wanting to achieve
A little
dramatization
Of what I am,
For some little
Thrills
Some gigs
Or gimmicks
We all love these
Tragic plays
Most of the
The time.

But sometimes,
For you to know me
I write about you,
You are
in some lines
talking about me,
and it is quite
challenging,
me finding you
to elaborate me,
and this one
would be a little bit
complicated,

You become
so confused
And even be paranoid
About this twist of
Things
Some turning points
Which may
Even be mistaken
As an identity
Crisis or a mental
Disorder,
Why do I have
To be spoken of
By another
Personality
As you or any other
Organism,
Sometimes a bird,
Or a fish,
Or even things in nature,
Like a cloud,
Or the wind, or the
Sea, or the
Sun or even the coldness
Of the night,
Where I can always
Be there in such
A hazy form
Or in opaque shapes,
And yet so essentially me
And so very like us,
And such questions as
Why
May even be answered
In that kind
Of reading,
About me
And you
And this world where we are always
In a situation.
Well I do not wish
To complicate matters more
Like this is some kind
Of a treasure hunt
With lots of signs
And symbols
And some missing links,
In a sense
I want clarity,
I need simplicity,
To drive my points clear
So that when you read
Me in short crisp lines
You grasp me directly
Like
A traffic sign
Red for stop
Green for go
And yellow for a while,

But in truth,
Things and matters and me and you
Are not that really simple
And as such
We cannot be so simplistic
And at the same time
Do justice to this and that
This you and me, this world,

But perhaps reading
Is not just that,
Not just knowing me
Or reducing me to a
Simple conclusion,
Reading me
Could simply be an enjoyment
Or a plain reading
For curiosity or
Even for just a perusal,
As I am not even
Worth reading at all,
A waste of your
Precious time,
You are busy,
But some lines may strike
You or shake you
Or develop a certain
Familiarity, of such things
Like this once happened to me
Or that I once said these lines
Or that I once thought
The same thoughts,
A sense of home
A sense of déjà vu
A sense of I am just like you
In the same situation,
That we are on the same boat
On a stormy sea, tossed
By this fate,
This commonality of failures,
And so you are
Interested for common reasons,
In a way that I search for myself,
You are also searching for
Yourself,
And once I talk of this
Loneliness, this sickness
Unto death, you ring a bell,
You are also
Feeling the same,
And we come together
Searching for the cure,
Or you at the end,
Would simply be
Wishing that we will have the same
Kind of fate,
A survival,
A victory,
A success,
A shout for joy, a shout for discovery.

But on the other hand,
that would be so
Selfish and we do not
Glorify selfishness,
as it
Is not a commendable
trait,

We humans are
humanitarian
We always care,
we always love
We always have
affection
For another, so

If you read me,
really, as a
Good natured
human being
With a soul,

You read me,
With sympathy,
You empathize
You cry in sad poem,
You laugh
In humorous ones,
You get
Glorified in glorious ones,
you
Become a part of me,
and I become a
part of you,

well,

being
One with each other,
but, I still
Doubt it,

you read,
because
You simply check whether
This poem is good,
or making some
Sense,
or this poet
makes a
Mark for good poetry,
which
To me, is nothing but
Hypocrisy,
utilitarian,
and
Too
academic.


In truth,
I write,
not wanting
To be read,
not so inviting to
Any reader,
You read me
With a risk

But if you read me,
I am telling you,
Frankly,
I do not invite you,
You came
You gate crashed
Me, and you are
Never my guest

You are simply
misinformed,
coming here,
I do not know
You and
you do not
know me, and
I will fault you
For this intrusion,
And that would be
Too arrogant
& cruel of me
telling you
to stop reading
and leave me
at once.

Well

Actually, this is it
If you read me
As you read this poem
Just read,
For no purpose,
No vested
Interest,
You read,
Because you have nothing to do
With me
And I have
Nothing to do with you
We have nothing
To do with
All these
This life
This poetry

It is
Not because
You are hunting for
Some animals,
Put them on a cage
Or kill them
For meat
Or consider the stuffed heads
The tigers and
lions and
Gazelles
as your trophies of your adventures
on a safari of life
Or marks of your
Civilized cruelty

You are here because
you just pass by
And want to read
this poem
for a while
You read
me
in passing,
I see you passing by…..

It is a matter of feeling not knowing me at all.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Damascus, What Are You Doing to Me?

1
My voice rings out, this time, from Damascus
It rings out from the house of my mother and father
In Sham. The geography of my body changes.
The cells of my blood become green.
My alphabet is green.
In Sham. A new mouth emerges for my mouth
A new voice emerges for my voice
And my fingers
Become a tribe

2
I return to Damascus
Riding on the backs of clouds
Riding the two most beautiful horses in the world
The horse of passion.
The horse of poetry.
I return after sixty years
To search for my umbilical cord,
For the Damascene barber who circumcised me,
For the midwife who tossed me in the basin under the bed
And received a gold lira from my father,
She left our house
On that day in March of 1923
Her hands stained with the blood of the poem…

3
I return to the womb in which I was formed . . .
To the first book I read in it . . .
To the first woman who taught me
The geography of love . . .
And the geography of women . . .

4
I return
After my limbs have been strewn across all the continents
And my cough has been scattered in all the hotels
After my mother’s sheets scented with laurel soap
I have found no other bed to sleep on . . .
And after the “bride” of oil and thyme
That she would roll up for me
No longer does any other 'bride' in the world please me
And after the quince jam she would make with her own hands
I am no longer enthusiastic about breakfast in the morning
And after the blackberry drink that she would make
No other wine intoxicates me . . .

5
I enter the courtyard of the Umayyad Mosque
And greet everyone in it
Corner to . . . corner
Tile to . . . tile
Dove to . . . dove
I wander in the gardens of Kufi script
And pluck beautiful flowers of God’s words
And hear with my eye the voice of the mosaics
And the music of agate prayer beads
A state of revelation and rapture overtakes me,
So I climb the steps of the first minaret that encounters me
Calling:
“Come to the jasmine”
“Come to the jasmine”

6
Returning to you
Stained by the rains of my longing
Returning to fill my pockets
With nuts, green plums, and green almonds
Returning to my oyster shell
Returning to my birth bed
For the fountains of Versailles
Are no compensation for the Fountain Café
And Les Halles in Paris
Is no compensation for the Friday market
And Buckingham Palace in London
Is no compensation for Azem Palace
And the pigeons of San Marco in Venice
Are no more blessed than the doves in the Umayyad Mosque
And Napoleon’s tomb in Les Invalides
Is no more glorious than the tomb of Salah al-Din Al-Ayyubi…

7
I wander in the narrow alleys of Damascus.
Behind the windows, honeyed eyes awake
And greet me . . .
The stars wear their gold bracelets
And greet me
And the pigeons alight from their towers
And greet me
And the clean Shami cats come out
Who were born with us . . .
Grew up with us . . .
And married with us . . .
To greet me . . .

8
I immerse myself in the Buzurriya Souq
Set a sail in a cloud of spices
Clouds of cloves
And cinnamon . . .
And camomile . . .
I perform ablutions in rose water once.
And in the water of passion many times . . .
And I forget—while in the Souq al-‘Attarine—
All the concoctions of Nina Ricci . . .
And Coco Chanel . . .
What are you doing to me Damascus?
How have you changed my culture? My aesthetic taste?
For I have been made to forget the ringing of cups of licorice
The piano concerto of Rachmaninoff . . .
How do the gardens of Sham transform me?
For I have become the first conductor in the world
That leads an orchestra from a willow tree!!

9
I have come to you . . .
From the history of the Damascene rose
That condenses the history of perfume . . .
From the memory of al-Mutanabbi
That condenses the history of poetry . . .
I have come to you . . .
From the blossoms of bitter orange . . .
And the dahlia . . .
And the narcissus . . .
And the 'nice boy' . . .
That first taught me drawing . . .
I have come to you . . .
From the laughter of Shami women
That first taught me music . . .
And the beginning of adolesence
From the spouts of our alley
That first taught me crying
And from my mother’s prayer rug
That first taught me
The path to God . . .

10
I open the drawers of memory
One . . . then another
I remember my father . . .
Coming out of his workshop on Mu’awiya Alley
I remember the horse-drawn carts . . .
And the sellers of prickly pears . . .
And the cafés of al-Rubwa
That nearly—after five flasks of ‘araq—
Fall into the river
I remember the colored towels
As they dance on the door of Hammam al-Khayyatin
As if they were celebrating their national holiday.
I remember the Damascene houses
With their copper doorknobs
And their ceilings decorated with glazed tiles
And their interior courtyards
That remind you of descriptions of heaven . . .

11
The Damascene House
Is beyond the architectural text
The design of our homes . . .
Is based on an emotional foundation
For every house leans . . . on the hip of another
And every balcony . . .
Extends its hand to another facing it
Damascene houses are loving houses . . .
They greet one another in the morning . . .
And exchange visits . . .
Secretly—at night . . .

12
When I was a diplomat in Britain
Thirty years ago
My mother would send letters at the beginning of Spring
Inside each letter . . .
A bundle of tarragon . . .
And when the English suspected my letters
They took them to the laboratory
And turned them over to Scotland Yard
And explosives experts.
And when they grew weary of me . . . and my tarragon
They would ask: Tell us, by god . . .
What is the name of this magical herb that has made us dizzy?
Is it a talisman?
Medicine?
A secret code?
What is it called in English?
I said to them: It’s difficult for me to explain…
For tarragon is a language that only the gardens of Sham speak
It is our sacred herb . . .
Our perfumed eloquence
And if your great poet Shakespeare had known of tarragon
His plays would have been better . . .
In brief . . .
My mother is a wonderful woman . . . she loves me greatly . . .
And whenever she missed me
She would send me a bunch of tarragon . . .
Because for her, tarragon is the emotional equivalent
To the words: my darling . . .
And when the English didn’t understand one word of my poetic argument . . .
They gave me back my tarragon and closed the investigation . . .

13
From Khan Asad Basha
Abu Khalil al-Qabbani emerges . . .
In his damask robe . . .
And his brocaded turban . . .
And his eyes haunted with questions . . .
Like Hamlet’s
He attempts to present an avant-garde play
But they demand Karagoz’s tent . . .
He tries to present a text from Shakespeare
They ask him about the news of al-Zir . . .
He tries to find a single female voice
To sing with him . . .
“Oh That of Sham”
They load up their Ottoman rifles,
And fire into every rose tree
That sings professionally . . .
He tries to find a single woman
To repeat after him:
“Oh bird of birds, oh dove”
They unsheathe their knives
And slaughter all the descendents of doves . . .
And all the descendents of women . . .
After a hundred years . . .
Damascus apologized to Abu Khalil al-Qabbani
And they erected a magnificent theater in his name.

14
I put on the jubbah of Muhyi al-Din Ibn al-Arabi
I descend from the peak of Mt. Qassiun
Carrying for the children of the city . . .
Peaches
Pomegranates
And sesame halawa . . .
And for its women . . .
Necklaces of turquoise . . .
And poems of love . . .
I enter . . .
A long tunnel of sparrows
Gillyflowers . . .
Hibiscus . . .
Clustered jasmine . . .
And I enter the questions of perfume . . .
And my schoolbag is lost from me
And the copper lunch case . . .
In which I used to carry my food . . .
And the blue beads
That my mother used to hang on my chest
So People of Sham
He among you who finds me . . .
let him return me to Umm Mu’ataz
And God’s reward will be his
I am your green sparrow . . . People of Sham
So he among you who finds me . . .
let him feed me a grain of wheat . . .
I am your Damascene rose . . . People of Sham
So he among you who finds me . . .
let him place me in the first vase . . .
I am your mad poet . . . People of Sham
So he among you who sees me . . .
let him take a souvenir photograph of me
Before I recover from my enchanting insanity . . .
I am your fugitive moon . . . People of Sham
So he among you who sees me . . .
Let him donate to me a bed . . . and a wool blanket . . .
Because I haven’t slept for centuries

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share
Patrick White

What Did You See Just Before You Committed Suicide?

in memory of Heidi Clow

What did you see just before you committed suicide?
Did the snake mesmerize the bird that used to sing inside
your rib cage, turn it to stone, dis the lyrics of its song
with a cosmic hiss that underwhelmed all other sound?
Did you die from the inside out or the outside in?
Was there a light that summoned you to the end of the tunnel
like candles on the hillsides of Blue Skies, or did you
step out on stage in the glare of a bare lightbulb
in an interrogation room where you finally answered
what you were keeping secret from yourself? I won't ask you
to forgive the candour of this if it's cruel. I've been
the kind of demonic fool the earth opens up
and swallows from time to time, so I know
death has its jewels as well as life and when the dark energy
expands your eyes like space, you can see them shine
like wolf's eyes in the black mirror of a midnight lake.

And I've always found the brightest diamonds of clarity
that could cut through everything like the clear light of the void
in the darkest, deepest diamond mines of my igneous soul.
And I remember the cotton candy clouds of the pink angels
before I jumped from paradise, but that was so many shrouds ago
I've learned to keep my fire at a distance from inflammable hair-dos
that have been backcombed and hairsprayed too much.
I don't graft a crutch to the tree of knowledge
and expect it to bloom. And even when the moon blossoms
on the dead branch, what fruit ever comes of it?

I don't think you ever liked me much, but if push
had ever come to shove I would have thrown my weight
like the mass of a black hole on your side of the argument.
My heart was too much of a stump to efoliate
in the fires of spring and I was autumns away
from the gates of the garden you brought to the door
with flaming angels and untempered swords
that weren't hard enough to fall upon yet,
but you were in love with my room mate for awhile
and I gave up my studio to the two of you
so you could both work the guile and wile and style
of your respective arts like alchemical spells upon each other
while I retired to the living room like a benign sunset
with a smile on its face over the darkening hills
to re-read Spengler's Decline of the West
intrigued like a ghost at a seminar-seance
by the morphology of knowledge forms based on metaphors.

And I remember you coming over once,
bombed on Fireball Whiskey, grabbing the neck
of the half-finished bottle like an unexploded artillery shell
and falling backwards over a table into a large rubber plant
as you collapsed like a laughing inferno that bounced back
in adolescent tears as we picked you up like a circus tent
or an emergency parachute that didn't open in time,
covered in potting soil, as you apologized over-crucially
about the slashes and striations that scored a painting of mine
I finally repaired years later with scars of pthalo blue after you died.

And I thought of you as a high wire act on your spinal cord that night
as I mixed the luminosity and values of the hues
on a palette that seemed like a small, sacrificial altar to you
of my grief and affection in the crazy wisdom of a human insight
into the nature of the tragic follies of love and life and how
we endear loss to ourselves like wounds, like graves, like flowers
we inflict upon the heart in such a way they'll never close
because the sorrow is what binds you to us
like a rose to the thorns in our bloodstream.

And then all your friends came over in a squall of concern
as Spengler and I went and stood by the large bay windows
and looked out into a vast night we knew we'd never understand
as you poured your beauty and passion, darkness and doubts
out on the couch in a flashflood of tears and alcohol, realization and laughter.

Only ever saw you in passing after that and sometimes
you'd say hello back and sometimes you wouldn't
as you seemed embedded in some kind of tempestuous trance
oblivious to the world as you danced around your own fire
deep inside, though I never thought it was any of my business
to guess what it was you were praying for or whether
you were firewalking a warpath into the military as I later
heard you did and thought how strange that such a dancer
should want to learn to march and even Spengler didn't have an answer.

Or I'd watch you from the Perth Restaurant, strutting your stuff
up Gore Street like a model on a runway, range-finding
the effects of your cosmetics and high heels and auburn hair
on an encampment of your boyfriends absent without leave.
But I never saw you, rare for the young women of this town,
being led around by a donkey like an eagle on a leash
and by that I knew the intensity of your vulnerable independence
and the savage innocence of a passionate heart in the wilderness.
Then, I forget who told me, but in a single sentence, you were dead.
An ice storm had shattered the rose like a crashing chandelier
and blunted all its thorns like those stilettoes you used to wear
The dance, the strut, the march was over. Late frost
on an early metaphor for the springtime coming into its prime.


But I need to know, when you fell into the black hole
did it turn into the fountainmouth of a white one on the other side
of a whole new universe that hadn't grown as old and blind as this one?
Teach me the signs so I can rearrange the stars in time
like new astrolabes and starmaps to keep the Milky Way
from turning into the Great Barrier Reef that rips the hull
out of the lifeboat of the moon as it passes over
the brain coral and starmud of other shipwrecked minds
that put to sea looking for salvation in the oceans of the rose
only to return like salvage from the storm washed up
on these isolated shores of haunted islands in the mindstream.

Unborn, unperishing, I believe we're all here indelibly
because you can't pour the universe out of the universe
or where's it going to go, and since the whole is in every part,
that includes you and I and everyone in one way or another
eternally. Is it so, Heidi? Do we move like waterclocks
from world to world, our eyes evaporate into the light
because whatever form we take, fireflies or lightning,
we are, perennially, the shining of our own unique insight
by which the light is known by the light we cast upon it?

That we're the light by which the stars are known
and those immensities in which we hold them deep inside,
as now we do you who have added yourself to the whole
so expansively we must grow like space to keep up with you
and the way we humanize the unknown, as the stars do
like lanterns entering a dark room, is to embrace it as intimately
as you have like the available dimension of a future
we've all been moving into like supernovas and galaxies
from the beginningless beginning of all things, tomorrow
like yesterday, here, now, as you are, and have always been
as if the history of seeing were the biography of the light
that blossoms in each of us like wildflowers in the starfields,
or in every wild rose, as you were, the incarnation of a passionate insight,
even in its passage in the autumn when the rosaries
of the Canada geese call as they're crossing the moon
high overhead, transmigrating the souls of the dead
to the thresholds of new constellations hidden under our eyelids
like Venus in the Pleiades near Aldebaran just before dawn?
No death or birth in the moment, like time in a dream,
how can here and now where we all abide with the stars
and the planets and their shepherd moons ever be gone?

It's night now, Heidi, back in Perth here on earth and it's raining.
I'm watching the ripples in the puddles playing water like music
all up and down Foster Street from my upstairs apartment window.
And how the streetlights are dancing in their garish gypsy scarves
barefoot to the rhythm. As I imagine you're doing right now
among similar wavelengths just out of reach of my eyes
Though I can see you so clearly when I see you with my heart
as I do the stars and the willows and the waterbirds
down by the Tay River when I stand on one bank of life
and look up at the other like the far shore of the Milky Way
wheeling like the girandole of the spiral arm of a starfish.

And though I thought of putting poppies and wheat upon your grave,
remembering you were a sailor back in my hometown,
and hope is a lifeboat that keeps us all from drowning in our tears,
it reminds me of you somehow, and I make a wish upon it
like the star of Isis the ancient sailors used to tattoo
on the left palm of their hands to make it through the storm
and had, somehow, come through the squalls of time like you
there in the heights, a water-sylph of the radiance
shining on like that star just to the right of midnight,
breaking through these clouds of unknowing, like Heidi Clow
looking down upon us all on the nightwatch,
whispering like the carillon of the rain, three bells and all's well.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Write as you Read

Write as you read
Sh*t as you feed

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share
 

Search


Recent searches | Top searches