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Dark tempest
slip on a rock in
a moss carpet.
The daring edelweiss
among the grass swords.

tanka by from Caligrafiile clipei (1999), translated by Magdalena DaleReport problemRelated quotes
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Mostly Slavonic

I.—
Peter Michaelov

It was Peter the Barbarian put an apron in his bag
And rolled up the honoured bundle that Australians call a swag;
And he tramped from Darkest Russia, that it might be dark no more,
Dreaming of a port, and shipping, as no monarch dreamed before.
Of a home, and education, and of children staunch and true,
Like my father in the fifties—and his name was Peter, too.
(He could build a ship—or fiddle, out of wood, or bark, or hide—.
Sail one round the world and play the other one at eventide.)

Russia’s Peter (not my father) went to Holland in disguise,
Where he laboured as a shipwright underneath those gloomy skies;
Later on he went to England (which the Kaiser now—condemns)
Where he studied as a ship-smith by old Deptford on the Thames—
And no doubt he knew the rope-walk—(and the rope’s end too, he knew)—
Learned to build a ship and sail it—learned the business through and through.
And I’d like to say my father mastered navigation too.
(He was born across in Norway, educated fairly well,
And he grafted in a ship-yard by the Port of Arundel.)

“Peter Michaelov” (not Larsen) his work was by no means done;
For he learned to make a ploughshare, and he learned to make a gun.
Russian soldiers must have clothing, so he laboured at the looms,
And he studied, after hours, building forts and building booms.
He would talk with all and sundry, merchants and adventurers—
Whaling men from Nova Scotia, and with ancient mariners.
Studied military systems (of which Austria’s was the best).
Hospitals and even bedlams—class distinctions and the rest.

There was nothing he neglected that was useful to be known—
And he even studied Wowsers, who had no creed of his own.
And, lest all that he accomplished should as miracles appear,
It must always be remembered he’d a secret Fund for Beer.
When he tramped to toil and exile he was only twenty-five,
With a greater, grander object than had any man alive.
And perhaps the lad was bullied, and was sad for all we know—
Though it isn’t very likely that he’d take a second blow.
He had brains amongst the brainless, and, what that thing means I knew,
For before I found my kingdom, I had slaved in workshops too.

But they never dreamed, the brainless, boors that used to sneer and scoff,
That the dreamy lad beside them—known as “Dutchy Mickyloff”—
Was a genius and a poet, and a Man—no matter which—
Was the Czar of all the Russias!—Peter Michaelovich.


Sweden struck ere he was ready—filled the land with blood and tears—
But he broke the power of Sweden though it took him nine long years.
For he had to train his army—He was great in training men—
And no foreign foe in Russia have had easy times since then.

Then the Port, as we must have one—His a work of mighty drains—
(Ours of irrigation channels—or it should be, on the plains).
So he brought from many countries strong adventures with brains.
It was marshes to horizons, it was pestilential bogs;
It was stoneless, it was treeless, so he brought Norwegian logs.
’Twas a land without a people, ’twas a land without a law;
But the lonely Gulf of Finland heard the axe and heard the saw;
He compelled the population to that desert land and lone—
Shifted them by tens of thousands as we’ll have to shift our own.
He imported stone and mortar (he supplied the labouring gang),
Brought his masons from all Russia—let the other towns go hang;
Brought his carpenters from Venice—they knew how to make a port!
Till he heard the church bells ringing in the town of Petersfort!
Brought his shipbuilders from Holland, built his navy feverishly—
Till the Swedish fleet was shattered and the Baltic routes were free,
And his Port was on the Neva and his Ships were on the sea!


Petrograd upon the Neva! and the Man who saw it through!—
Stately Canberra on the Cotter!—and the men who build it too!

Russian Peter was “inhuman,” so the wise historians say—
What’s the use of being human in a land like ours to-day,
Till a race of stronger people wipe the Sickly Whites away?
Let them have it, who will have it—those who do not understand—
“Peter lived and died a savage”—but he civilized the land.
And, as it is at present, so ’twas always in the past—
’Twas his nearest and his dearest that broke Peter’s heart at last.


He was more than half a heathen, if historians are true;
But he used to whack his missus as a Christian ought to do—
And he should have done it sooner—but that trouble isn’t new.
We’d have saved a lot of bother had we whacked our women, too.
Peter more than whacked his subjects, ere the change was brought about.
And, in some form or another, we shall have to use the knout,
If we wish to build a nation—else we’ll have to do without.
And be wretched slaves and exiles, homeless in the Southern Sea,
When an Asiatic Nation hath “rough hewn” our destiny.

II.—
The Brandenburgers

Things have been mixed up in Europe till there’s nothing in a name,
So it doesn’t really matter whence the Brandenburgers came;
But they did no pioneering as our fathers did of old—
Only bullied, robbed and murdered till they bought the land with gold.
And they settled down in Prussia to the bane of Germany,
With a spike upon the helmet where three brazen balls should be.
And they swaggered, swigged and swindled, and by bullying held sway,
And they blindly inter-married till they’re madmen to this day.
And the lovely nights in Munich are as memories of the dead;
Night is filled with nameless terrors, day is filled with constant dread.
But Bavaria the peaceful, ere the lurid star is set,
She shall lead her neighbours on to pluck the Prussian Eagles yet.

We’ll pass over little Denmark, as the brave historians can,
Austria suffered at Sadowa, France was sorry at Sedan.
And for England’s acquiescence in the crime she suffers too.
Meanwhile Denmark drained her marshes, planted grain and battled through.
(We, who never knew what war is—who had gold without the pain—
Never locked a western river that might save a western plain.)
You may say the Danes were pirates, and so leave them on the shelf?
Given youth and men and money, I would pirate some myself!
Why should I be so excited for another nation’s pains?
I am prejudiced and angry, for my forefathers were Danes.
What have I to do with nations? Or the battle’s lurid stars?—
I am Henry, son of Peter, who was Peter, son of Lars;
Lars the son of Nils—But never mind from whence our lineage springs—
Yes, my forefathers wore helmets, but their helmets wore the wings—
(There’s a feather for your bonnet, there is unction for your souls!)
And the wings bore us to England, and Australia and the Poles.
What did we for little Denmark? Well, we sent our thousands through;
But, without the guns or money, what could Scandinavia do?
(It is true of some Australians, by the sea or sandwaste lone,
That they hold their father’s country rather dearer than their own.
But the track is plain before them, and they know who blazed the track,
To the work our Foreign Fathers did in Early Days, Out Back.
As a mate can do no mean thing in the bushman’s creed and song,
So a fellow’s father’s country [seems to me] can do no wrong.)

Where was I? The Wrong of Denmark—or the chastening of her soul?
And perhaps her rulers “got it” where ’twas needed, on the whole.
’Twas the gentlemen of Poland crushed the spirit of the Pole,
Till he didn’t care which nation he was knouted by, and served;
So the gentlemen of Poland got wiped out, as they deserved.
Freedom shrieked (where was no freedom), and perhaps she shrieked for shame.
But let Kosciusko slumber—we’ve immortalised his name.
By the poets and the tenors have our tender souls been wrenched;
And, on many a suffering Christian, Polish Jews have been avenged.


III.—
The Blue Danube

Where the skies are blue in winter by the Adriatic Sea,
And the summer skies are bluer even than our own can be;
In the shadow of a murder, weak from war and sore afraid;
By the ocean-tinted Danube stood the city of Belgrade.
Danube of the love-lit starlight, Danube of the dreamy waltz—
And Belgrade bowed down in ashes for her crimes and for her faults.
And the Prussian-driven Austrians who’d been driven oft before,
From Vienna’s cultured city marched reluctantly to war.

Just to clear a path for Prussia, and her bloodhounds to the sea;
To the danger of the white world and the shame of Germany.
And a blacker fate than Belgium’s stared the Servians in the face.
But Belgrade had many soldiers of the old Slavonic race,
And her gun-crews manned the Danube, small and weak, but undismayed—
And Belgrade remembered Russia, and she called on her for aid.


And there came a secret message and a sign from Petrograd,
And the Servian arm was strengthened and the Servian heart was glad.
For the message in plain English, from the City of Snow,
Simply said: “I’m sending Ivan by the shortest route I know.”
So then Servia bid defiance, for she knew her friend was true;
And her guns along the Danube added blue smoke to the blue.

IV.—
The Peasantry

Who are these in rags and sheepskin, mangy fur-caps, matted hair?
Who are these with fearsome whiskers, black and wiry everywhere?
Who are these in blanket putties—canvas, rag, or green-hide shoes?
These with greasy bags and bundles grimy as the Russian flues?
Never song nor cheer amongst them, never cry of “What’s the News?”
Packed on cattle-trains and ox-carts, from the north and south and east;
Trudging from the marsh and forest, where the man is like the beast?
On the lonely railway platforms, bending round the village priest;
Here and there the village scholar, everywhere the country clowns?
They’re reservists of old Russia pouring in to Russian towns!


Women’s faces, gaunt and haggard, start and startle here and there,
White and whiter by the contrast to the shawls that hide their hair.
Black-shawled heads—the shrouds of sorrow! Eyes of Fear without a name!
Through the length and breadth of Europe, God! their eyes are all the same!
Famous Artist of the Present, wasting Art and wasting Life,
With your daughters for your models, or your everlasting wife—
With your kids for nymphs and fairies, or your Studies inthe Nood”—
Exercise imagination, and forget your paltry brood!
Take an old Bulgarian widow who has lost her little store,
Who has lost her sons in battle, paint her face, and call it “War.”

V.—
The Russian March

Russian mist, and cold, and darkness, on the weary Russian roads;
And the sound of Russian swear-words, and the whack of Russian goads;
There’s the jerk of tightened traces and of taughtened bullock-chains—
’Tis the siege guns and the field guns, and the ammunition trains.
There’s the grind of tires unceasing, where the metal caps the clay;
And the “clock,” “clock,” “clock” of axles going on all night and day.
And the groaning undercarriage and the king pin and the wheel,
And the rear wheels, which are fore wheels, with their murd’rous loads of steel.

Here and there the sound of cattle in the mist and in the sleet,
And the scrambling start of horses, and the ceaseless splosh of feet.
There’s the short, sharp, sudden order such as drivers give to slaves,
And a ceaseless, soughing, sighing, like the sound of sea-worn caves
When a gale is slowly dying and the darkness hides the waves,
And the ghostly phosphorescence flashes past the rocky arch
Like the wraiths of vanished armies. . . . It is Ivan on the march!
’Tis an army that is marching over other armies’ graves.


“Halt!”
Clamp of bits and gathering silence—here and there a horse’s stamp;
Sounds of chains relaxed, and harness, like the teamsters come to camp.
Sounds of boxes moved in waggons, and of axes on a log—
And the wild and joyous barking of the regimental dog!
Sounds of pots and pans and buckets, and the clink of chain and hook—
And the blasphemous complaining of the Universal Cook.
Mist and mist and mellowed moonlight—night in more than ghostly robes;
And the lanterns and the camp fires like dim lights in frosted globes.
Silence deep of satisfaction. Sounds of laughter murmuring—
And the fragrance of tobacco! Are you Ivan? Ivan! Sing!

“I am Ivan! Yes, I’m Ivan, from the mist and from the mirk;
From the night of “Darkest Russia” where Oppression used to lurk—
And it’s many weary winters since I started Christian work;
But you feared the power of Ivan, and you nursed the rotten Turk.
Nurse him now! Or nurse him later, when his green-black blood hath laved
Wounds upon your hands and “honour” that his gratitude engraved;
Poison teeth on hands that shielded, poison fangs on hands that saved.

“No one doubted Ivan’s honour, no one doubted Ivan’s vow,
And the simple word of Ivan, none would dream of doubting now;
Yet you cherished, for your purpose, lies you heard and lies you spread,
And you triumphed for a Spectre over Ivan’s murdered dead!
You were fearful of my power in the rolling of my drums—
Now you tremble lest it fail me when To-morrow’s Morrow comes!

I had sought to conquer no land save what was by right my own—
I took Finland, I took Poland, but I left their creeds alone.
I, the greater, kindlier Tyrant, bade them live and showed them how—
They are free, and they are happy, and they’re marching with me now—
Marching to the War of Ages—marching to the War of Wars—
Hear the rebel songs of Warsaw! Hear the hymn of Helsingfors!
From the Danube to Siberia and the northern lights aflame.
Many freed and peaceful millions bless the day when Ivan came.
Travel through the mighty Russland—study, learn and understand
That my people are contented, for my people have their land.

“It was spring-time in Crimea, coming cold and dark and late,
When I signed the terms you offered, for I knew that I could wait;
When I bowed to stronger nations or to Universal Fate.
And the roofs of guiltless kinsmen blazed across my frontiers still,
Where the bloody hordes of Islam came to ravish, rob and kill;
And the lands were laid in ashes over many a field and hill;
And the groans of tortured peasants (dreaming yet and sullen-mad)—
And the shrieks of outraged daughters echoed still in Petrograd;
So we taught and trained and struggled, and we cursed the Western Powers,
While we suffered in the awful silence of your God, and ours.

“For the safety of the White Race and the memory of Christ,
Once again I marched on Turkey, only to be sacrificed,
To the Sea-Greed of the Nations, by the pandering of the weak,
And the treachery in Athens of the lying, cheating Greek.
Once again I forced the Balkans over snow and rock and moss,
Once again I saw the passes stormed with unavailing loss;
Once again I saw the Crescent reeling back before the Cross,
And the ships of many nations on the billows dip and toss.

Once again my grey battalions, that had come with Christian aid,
Stood before Constantinople! Ah, you wish that we had stayed!
But the Powers raised their fingers, fearful even once again,
With the jealous fear that lingers even now (and shall remain);
Frigid as the polar regions were your hearts to others’ pain—
So I dragged my weary legions back to Russia—once again.

“Thrice again they raised their fingers when I came with purpose true,
And I bowed and smirked and grovelled as I had been used to do.
Till my kin in bloody visions saw their homes in ruins laid
From the Danube to the ocean, from the ocean to Belgrade;
I was ready, for the last time, when they called on me for aid.

From the Dardanelles, denied me, shall my outward march be set;
And you’ll see my fleets of commerce sail the Adriatic yet.”

Grey Day
.
Daybreak on the world of Europe! Daybreak from the Eastern arch;
Hear the startling sound of bugles! Load and limber up and march!
On! for Ivan and his children, Peace and Rest and Morning Star!
On for Truth and Right and Justice. On for Russia and the Czar!

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Emily Dickinson

The wind begun to rock the grass

The wind begun to rock the grass
With threatening tunes and low,--
He flung a menace at the earth,
A menace at the sky.

The leaves unhooked themselves from trees
And started all abroad;
The dust did scoop itself like hands
And throw away the road.

The wagons quickened on the streets,
The thunder hurried slow;
The lightning showed a yellow beak,
And then a livid claw.

The birds put up the bars to nests,
The cattle fled to barns;
There came one drop of giant rain,
And then, as if the hands

That held the dams had parted hold,
The waters wrecked the sky
But overlooked my father's house,
lust quartering a tree.

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Autumn Day

The raging colour of this cold Friday
Eats up our patience like a fire,
Consumes our willingness to endure,
Here the crumpled maple, a gold fabric,
The beech by beams empurpled, the holy sycamore,
Berries red-hot, the rose's core--
The sun emboldens to burn in porphyry and amber.

Pick up the remnants of our resignation
Where we left them, and bring our loving passion,
Before the mist from the dark sea at our feet
Where mushrooms cling like limpets in the grass,
Quenching our fierceness, leaves us in a worse case.

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Emerald's & Diamond's [Reprise]

Lie down 'side me lass, in dark green meadows
Your blouse flouncing free in th' teasing breeze
The grass blades feel so cotton.....when we love
Lay beside me now......and feel my passion rise

Open field, honeysuckle sweet, annoints my yen
We search for clovered stems....in leaves of four
No cloud veils th' scape of choice to pleasure on
Again, I ask you lass, come lay you down, by me

Come close love...read my tell-tale emerald eyes
Smiling back into yo'r warm black diamond eyes
Take my hand lass, I vow to you on bended knee
That Emeralds and Diamonds....never fade away

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Georg Trakl

Colorful Autumn

The fountain sings, the clouds stand

In clear blueness, white, delicate;

Silent people wander thoughtfully

Down there in the evening-blue garden.

The ancestors' marble has turned grey.

A line of birds streaks into the distance

A faun with dead eyes gazes

On shadows that glide into darkness.

Leaves fall red from the old tree,

Rotate inside through the open window.

The room glows in dark fires,

In it shadows, like ghosts.

Opal smoke weaves over the grass,

A cloud of wilted, bleached scents,

In the fountain the sickle moon shines

Like a green glass in freezing air.

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Elephant's Graveyard II

But then, almost imperceptibly, the boulders shift,
slowly at first, then increasing speed:
here a bit, there a hit
the eye perceives. Uncannily, they march through trees,

Till what you thought a wall of mere marl
proves an elephant's crinkled back-to be;
what you thought an un-tenanted grotte,
pretty enough, if bare,
is really the dark between an elephant's thighs-
between it's belly and the grass,

and you realize you have discovered a plot
piped by motherly trunks into pachyderm ears
assuring them there's a place they will go
if steadfast, in spite of crocodiles and bogs-
though one must be mindful to avoid both.

And suddenly, in the quiet of a grove
generations on generations of elephantine shapes
move, undismayed through a quiet, silencing event:
Silence flung out in billows like the sails of a ship
Quiet where a twig-snap sounds like a mine exploding

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The Oldest Living Thing In L.A.

At Wilshire & Santa Monica I saw an opossum
Trying to cross the street. It was late, the street
Was brightly lit, the opossum would take
A few steps forward, then back away from the breath
Of moving traffic. People coming out of the bars
Would approach, as if to help it somehow.
It would lift its black lips & show them
The reddened gums, the long rows of incisors,
Teeth that went all the way back beyond
The flames of Troy & Carthage, beyond sheep
Grazing rock-strewn hills, fragments of ruins
In the grass at San Vitale. It would back away
Delicately & smoothly, stepping carefully
As it always had. It could mangle someone’s hand
In twenty seconds. Mangle it for good. It could
Sever it completely from the wrist in forty.
There was nothing to be done for it. Someone
Or other probably called the LAPD, who then
Called Animal Control, who woke a driver, who
Then dressed in mailed gloves, the kind of thing
Small knights once wore into battle, who gathered
Together his pole with a noose on the end,
A light steel net to snare it with, someone who hoped
The thing would have vanished by the time he got there.

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A Song Of Changgan

My hair had hardly covered my forehead.
I was picking flowers, paying by my door,
When you, my lover, on a bamboo horse,
Came trotting in circles and throwing green plums.
We lived near together on a lane in Ch'ang-kan,
Both of us young and happy-hearted.

...At fourteen I became your wife,
So bashful that I dared not smile,
And I lowered my head toward a dark corner
And would not turn to your thousand calls;
But at fifteen I straightened my brows and laughed,
Learning that no dust could ever seal our love,
That even unto death I would await you by my post
And would never lose heart in the tower of silent watching.

...Then when I was sixteen, you left on a long journey
Through the Gorges of Ch'u-t'ang, of rock and whirling water.
And then came the Fifth-month, more than I could bear,
And I tried to hear the monkeys in your lofty far-off sky.
Your footprints by our door, where I had watched you go,
Were hidden, every one of them, under green moss,
Hidden under moss too deep to sweep away.
And the first autumn wind added fallen leaves.
And now, in the Eighth-month, yellowing butterflies
Hover, two by two, in our west-garden grasses
And, because of all this, my heart is breaking
And I fear for my bright cheeks, lest they fade.

...Oh, at last, when you return through the three Pa districts,
Send me a message home ahead!
And I will come and meet you and will never mind the distance,
All the way to Chang-feng Sha.

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Earthen Odes Never Grow Old (another Ode to Earth)

I'm just a kid lookin up to sky
with hopeful dreams.
Wishes, I have but one;
with will and patience
it will someday come.

For now I am just sittin
waitin for contact,
whether it be human
other or beyond.

Oh to only be intimate
with the fullbodied moon;
transcendent phosphorous-flesh,
naked and dancing,
amongst the many turned on stars.

Staring out
open-infinite-night-sky
never feeling more down to Earth
never feeling more a downer than
when feeling down about the Earth

such self indulgent pollutant:
being so sad, feeling so hopeless,
when alive on this planet,
that has survived so much.

Oh Earth, do you know the dark secrets
of this seemingly late hour?
Earth, you are my life's longest lasting survivor!
Earth, you are my my rock!
tell me, oh Earth,
on the prophets' ticking clock
what are your thoughts?

Stardust life liquified into steady foundation
great gaseous mother birthing solid body form

oh earth,
you of all will be hardest to let go,
you are the full embodiment of all
I've come to love and know.

Thank you for the soft cool mud,
the sands of your shores,
the breeze off the sea, the mountain air,
all the trees, every bee
every moment of
atmospheric unpredictability
every season's
holiday nostalgia familiarity

for the flowers, the warblers
the vegetables, the penguin's smile, and the grain
moss, mushrooms, sea cucumbers and the coral
thank you for rosemary, sandalwood,
thank you for salt
thank you for pepper
the rice and the pot
thank you for the water and the steam
Oh yeah and Earth, thank you for your thyme.

Earth, you taught me starry intimacy
'neath the isolation of your skies.
Earth, I wave your torch proudly
in the burning blue of my eyes.

Upon what silent dawn shall crow the knells
of revelation carrion dinner bells?

- I once bore witness to a
UFO flash its rutilant green gloriole
over the nitid-neon city smog-nebula -skyline-
mystic pacific multidemensional worm holes
opening trinity's lost portal in the ocean?
I look up,
hope diamonds gleam over
the globe of gleeds and glaur.

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Macleay Street and Red Rock Lane

Macleay Street looks to Mosman,
Across the other side,
With brave asphalted pavements
And roadway clean and wide.
Macleay Street hath its mansions,
Its grounds and greenery;
Macleay Street hath its terraces
As terraces should be.

Red Rock Lane looks to nowhere,
With pockets into hell;
Red Rock Lane is a horror
Of heat and dirt and smell.
Red Rock Lane hath its brothels,
Of houses one in three;
Red Rock Lane hath its corner pubs
As fourth-rate pubs should be.

Macleay Street, cool and quiet,
Is marked off from the town,
And standing in the centre
The tall arc lamps look down.
The jealous closed cabs vanish
That stole from out the row,
Fair women stroll bareheaded,
And theatre parties go.

Red Rock Lane, hot with riot,
Hides things that none should know;
The furtive couples vanish
Through doorways dark and low.
Lust, thievery, drink and madness
In one infernal stew—
And Mrs Johnson, raving,
Walks out—bareheaded too.

Macleay Street hath its swindles,
But on a public scale;
Macleay Street hath its razzles
Until the night grows pale.
Macleay Street hath its scandals,
But—only this is plain,
That nothing is a scandal
Down there in Red Rock Lane.

Macleay Street looks to Mosman
In morning’s rosy glow,
And freshly to the city
The summer-suited go
While wild-eyed, foul and shaking,
Red Rock Lane wakes again.
This morning at the Central
They’re fining Red Rock Lane.

The Central says “the risin’”,
“Seven days”, or what you will;
Macleay Street says, “Drive slowly”
When any one is ill.
The law sends Black Maria
When Red Rock Lane is dead.
But doctors come in motor cars
When Macleay Street’s got a head.

The grey-faced, weedy parents
Sunk in Red Rock Lane holes—
They worry, pinch, and perish
To save their children’s souls.
The fairy of Macleay Street
Shall never soil her hands—
Her Pa is independent,
Or high up inthe Lands”.

And—well, there seems no moral,
And nothing more to tell,
But because of that fierce sympathy
Of souls to souls in hell;
And because of that wild kindness
To souls in sordid pain,
My soul I’d rather venture
With some in Red Rock Lane.

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The Study

YET in the darksome crypt I left so late,
Whose only altar is its rusted grate,—­
Sepulchral, rayless, joyless as it seems,
Shamed by the glare of May’s refulgent beams,—­
While the dim seasons dragged their shrouded train,
Its paler splendors were not quite in vain.
From these dull bars the cheerful firelight’s glow
Streamed through the casement o’er the spectral snow;
Here, while the night-wind wreaked its frantic will
On the loose ocean and the rock-bound hill,
Rent the cracked topsail from its quivering yard,
And rived the oak a thousand storms had scarred,
Fenced by these walls the peaceful taper shone,
Nor felt a breath to slant its trembling cone.

Not all unblest the mild interior scene
When the red curtain spread its falling screen;
O’er some light task the lonely hours were past,
And the long evening only flew too fast;
Or the wide chair its leathern arms would lend
In genial welcome to some easy friend,
Stretched on its bosom with relaxing nerves,
Slow moulding, plastic, to its hollow curves;
Perchance indulging, if of generous creed,
In brave Sir Walter’s dream-compelling weed.
Or, happier still, the evening hour would bring
To the round table its expected ring,
And while the punch-bowl’s sounding depths were stirred,—­
Its silver cherubs smiling as they heard,—­
Our hearts would open, as at evening’s hour
The close-sealed primrose frees its hidden flower.

Such the warm life this dim retreat has known,
Not quite deserted when its guests were flown;
Nay, filled with friends, an unobtrusive set,
Guiltless of calls and cards and etiquette,
Ready to answer, never known to ask,
Claiming no service, prompt for every task.
On those dark shelves no housewife hand profanes,
O’er his mute files the monarch folio reigns;
A mingled race, the wreck of chance and time,
That talk all tongues and breathe of every clime,
Each knows his place, and each may claim his part
In some quaint corner of his master’s heart.
This old Decretal, won from Moss’s hoards,
Thick-leaved, brass-cornered, ribbed with oaken boards,
Stands the gray patriarch of the graver rows,
Its fourth ripe century narrowing to its close;
Not daily conned, but glorious still to view,
With glistening letters wrought in red and blue.
There towers Stagira’s all-embracing sage,
The Aldine anchor on his opening page;
There sleep the births of Plato’s heavenly mind,
In yon dark tomb by jealous clasps confused,
“Olim e libris” (dare I call it mine?)
Of Yale’s grave Head and Killingworth’s divine!
In those square sheets the songs of Maro fill
The silvery types of smooth-leaved Baskerville;
High over all, in close, compact array,
Their classic wealth the Elzevirs display.
In lower regions of the sacred space
Range the dense volumes of a humbler race;
There grim chirurgeons all their mysteries teach,
In spectral pictures, or in crabbed speech;
Harvey and Haller, fresh from Nature’s page,
Shoulder the dreamers of an earlier age,
Lully and Geber, and the learned crew
That loved to talk of all they could not do.

Why count the rest,—­those names of later days
That many love, and all agree to praise,—­
Or point the titles, where a glance may read
The dangerous lines of party or of creed?
Too well, perchance, the chosen list would show
What few may care and none can claim to know.
Each has his features, whose exterior seal
A brush may copy, or a sunbeam steal;
Go to his study,—­on the nearest shelf
Stands the mosaic portrait of himself.

What though for months the tranquil dust descends,
Whitening the heads of these mine ancient friends,
While the damp offspring of the modern press
Flaunts on my table with its pictured dress;
Not less I love each dull familiar face,
Nor less should miss it from the appointed place;
I snatch the book, along whose burning leaves
His scarlet web our wild romancer weaves,
Yet, while proud Hester’s fiery pangs I share,
My old MAGNALIA must be standing there!

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American Pie

A long, long time ago...
I can still remember
How that music used to make me smile.
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And, maybe, theyd be happy for a while.
But february made me shiver
With every paper Id deliver.
Bad news on the doorstep;
I couldnt take one more step.
I cant remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride,
But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died.
So bye-bye, miss american pie.
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
And them good old boys were drinkin whiskey and rye
Singin, thisll be the day that I die.
Thisll be the day that I die.
Did you write the book of love,
And do you have faith in God above,
If the Bible tells you so?
Do you believe in rock n roll,
Can music save your mortal soul,
And can you teach me how to dance real slow?
Well, I know that youre in love with him
'cause I saw you dancin in the gym.
You both kicked off your shoes.
Man, I dig those rhythm and blues.
I was a lonely teenage broncin buck
With a pink carnation and a pickup truck,
But I knew I was out of luck
The day the music died.
I started singin,
Bye-bye, miss american pie.
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
Them good old boys were drinkin whiskey and rye
And singin, thisll be the day that I die.
Thisll be the day that I die.
Now for ten years weve been on our own
And moss grows fat on a rollin stone,
But thats not how it used to be.
When the jester sang for the king and queen,
In a coat he borrowed from james dean
And a voice that came from you and me,
Oh, and while the king was looking down,
The jester stole his thorny crown.
The courtroom was adjourned;
No verdict was returned.
And while lennon read a book of marx,
The quartet practiced in the park,
And we sang dirges in the dark
The day the music died.
We were singing,
Bye-bye, miss american pie.
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
Them good old boys were drinkin whiskey and rye
And singin, thisll be the day that I die.
Thisll be the day that I die.
Helter skelter in a summer swelter.
The birds flew off with a fallout shelter,
Eight miles high and falling fast.
It landed foul on the grass.
The players tried for a forward pass,
With the jester on the sidelines in a cast.
Now the half-time air was sweet perfume
While the sergeants played a marching tune.
We all got up to dance,
Oh, but we never got the chance!
'cause the players tried to take the field;
The marching band refused to yield.
Do you recall what was revealed
The day the music died?
We started singing,
Bye-bye, miss american pie.
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
Them good old boys were drinkin whiskey and rye
And singin, thisll be the day that I die.
Thisll be the day that I die.
Oh, and there we were all in one place,
A generation lost in space
With no time left to start again.
So come on: jack be nimble, jack be quick!
Jack flash sat on a candlestick
Cause fire is the devils only friend.
Oh, and as I watched him on the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage.
No angel born in hell
Could break that satans spell.
And as the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite,
I saw satan laughing with delight
The day the music died
He was singing,
Bye-bye, miss american pie.
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
Them good old boys were drinkin whiskey and rye
And singin, thisll be the day that I die.
Thisll be the day that I die.
I met a girl who sang the blues
And I asked her for some happy news,
But she just smiled and turned away.
I went down to the sacred store
Where Id heard the music years before,
But the man there said the music wouldnt play.
And in the streets: the children screamed,
The lovers cried, and the poets dreamed.
But not a word was spoken;
The church bells all were broken.
And the three men I admire most:
The father, son, and the holy ghost,
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died.
And they were singing,
Bye-bye, miss american pie.
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
And them good old boys were drinkin whiskey and rye
Singin, thisll be the day that I die.
Thisll be the day that I die.
They were singing,
Bye-bye, miss american pie.
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
Them good old boys were drinkin whiskey and rye
Singin, thisll be the day that I die.

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Patrick White

And I Love It Out Here

And I love it out here this far into my solitude
where the stars are as high and holy and out of reach
as they always were
and everything that is finished irrelevant or gone to waste
discovers a secret peace in its exile and desolation
that doesn’t distinguish one light in the night from another
and there isn’t a road you can take that was meant for someone else.
Even when the wind blows the leaves around
like things I should have said to myself years ago
like things I should have known
that don’t come with a Buddha or a book
heavy with bells and the blissful fruit of wiser autumns
everything takes its place
in the spaciousness of an infinite center
the dislocated cannot exit
and even those who have found themselves
to be nothing real
cannot enter.
It’s as if all things were wounded so deeply and expansively
by the wary act of their existence
the dagger of circumstance and chance
can’t find a place to strike
and so there’s nothing to heal
nothing to fear
nothing to watch out for
that could hurt you any worse
than everything already is.
The wind on the water that trembles like skin
and the scales and feathers of the tangerine moonrise
shedding its wings on the serpentine mindstream
that flows off into the distance like a dragon
someone forgot to believe in
because they thought they grew up.
And time doesn’t ask itself what night it is
or the fish the depth of the water
and the flightplan of the hunting hawk
if it has one
is merely what catches its eye.
Parsifal the mottled fool
leaves home with the grail in his saddlebag
and it makes no difference to the kingdom
whether he finds it or not.
The first shall be last and the last shall be first
and then the grass eats the grazer who ate the grass.
There’s nothing to change
that hasn’t already been brought to pass
by the leftover leaves in the birch trees
that abandon their bones like old shamans
down by the banks of the river in spring
for the fish and the birds to pick clean.
The silence is moss on the skull of a rock
sprouting elegant chandeliers of columbine
that hang their heads like streetlights
over a long road with no one in sight.
So what could it possibly mean to be a stranger
among your own feelings and thoughts
when there are no gates you can stand outside of
and the enlightened beginning of the waterlily
as five petals open
and one flower blooms advaitistically
is rooted like a deep insight into a mirror that rots?
Is the coming any less endless than the going?
Or an ignorant life any less life than knowing
you can’t know what you’re seeking
until it finds you like someone it overlooked?
The empty herons’ nests high
in the dead trees of the swamp
are full of moonlight
and everywhere I walk
frogs punctuate the sloppy grammar of the water
that unspools like one long periodic sentence that’s never complete
as if the world hasn’t finished saying me yet
like something it means.
My delusions rise like waterbirds from a moonlit lake
to go witching for water among the stars
and I let them knowing they’re
the indirections by which we find directions out.
First you go down a lot of rivers
and then you take the road.
There’s a scaffolding of dark matter
we wore on the outside like an exoskeleton
and dark energies
that exhausted themselves like slaves
so we could walk erect in our watchtowers of flesh
like the ego of a candle with a spine for a wick.
Black bones buried somewhere
that once were us.
Churches that wandered off the beaten path like gravestones.
Dark sanctities of a dead lawgiver
that entrusted the truth to a liar
as if the night had a sense of humour.
And everything is as it is without discrimination
in the eyes of the light that falls upon us
as if we didn’t exist
though as far back as I can remember
my spirit has always cast its shadow upon the earth
like Venus on a moonless night
and my body laboured
like a prophet with a whale in his belly
to spread the word.
And subtlety of subtleties
wonder of wonders
my mind got a good look at what it isn’t
and spontaneously learned
to be playfully creative
with the absurdity of being here
whispering into my own ear
like a wind that talks to flowers
descended from the stars
about how far we all are from home.

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The Glug Quest

Follow the river and cross the ford,
Follow again to the wobbly bridge,
Turn to the left at the notice board,
Climbing the cow-track over the ridge;
Tip-toe soft by the little red house,
Hold your breath if they touch the latch,
Creep to the slip-rails, still as a mouse,
Then . . . run like mad for the bracken patch.

Worm your way where the fern fronds tall
Fashion a lace-work over your head,
Hemming you in with a high, green wall;
Then, when the thrush calls once, stop dead.
Ask of the old grey wallaby there
Him prick-eared by the woollybutt tree
How to encounter a Glug, and where
The country of Gosh, famed Gosh may be.

But, if he is scornful, if he is dumb,
Hush! There's another way left. Then come.

On a white, still night, where the dead tree bends
Over the track, like a waiting ghost,
Travel the winding road that wends
Down to the shore on an Eastern coast.
Follow it down where the wake of the moon
Kisses the ripples of silver sand;
Follow it on where the night seas croon
A traveller's tale to the listening land.

Step not jauntily, not too grave,
Till the lip of the languorous sea you greet;
Wait till the wash of the thirteenth wave
Tumbles a jellyfish out at your feet.
Not too hopefully, not forlorn,
Whisper a word of your earnest quest;
Shed not a tear if he turns in scorn
And sneers in your face like a fish possessed.

Hist! Hope on! There is yet a way.
Brooding jellyfish won't be gay.

Wait till the clock in the tower booms three,
And the big bank opposite gnashes its doors,
Then glide with a gait that is carefully free
By the great brick building of seventeen floors;
Haste by the draper who smirks at his door,
Straining to lure you with sinister force,
Turn up the lane by the second-hand store,
And halt by the light bay carrier's horse.

By the carrier's horse with the long, sad face
And the wisdom of years in his mournful eye;
Bow to him thrice with a courtier's grace,
Proffer your query, and pause for reply.
Eagerly ask for a hint of the Glug,
Pause for reply with your hat in your hand;
If he responds with a snort and a shrug
Strive to interpret and understand.

Rare will a carrier's horse condescend.
Yet there's another way. On to the end!

Catch the four-thirty; your ticket in hand,
Punched by the porter who broods in his box;
Journey afar to the sad, soggy land,
Wearing your shot-silk lavender socks.
Wait at the creek by the moss-grown log
Till the blood of a slain day reddens the West.
Hark for the croak of a gentleman frog,
Of a corpulent frog with a white satin vest.

Go as he guides you, over the marsh,
Treading with care on the slithery stones,
Heedless of night winds moaning and harsh
That seize you and freeze you and search for your bones.
On to the edge of a still, dark pool,
Banishing thoughts of your warm wool rug;
Gaze in the depths of it, placid and cool,
And long in your heart for one glimpse of a Glug.

'Krock!' Was he mocking you? 'Krock! Kor-r-rock!'
Well, you bought a return, and it's past ten o'clock.

Choose you a night when the intimate stars
Carelessly prattle of cosmic affairs.
Flat on your back, with your nose pointing Mars,
Search for the star who fled South from the Bears.
Gaze for an hour at that little blue star,
Giving him, cheerfully, wink for his wink;
Shrink to the size of the being you are;
Sneeze if you have to, but softly; then think.

Throw wide the portals and let your thoughts run
Over the earth like a galloping herd.
Bounds to profundity let there be none,
Let there be nothing too madly absurd.
Ponder on pebbles or stock exchange shares,
On the mission of man or the life of a bug,
On planets or billiards, policemen or bears,
Alert all the time for the sight of a Glug.

Meditate deeply on softgoods or sex,
On carraway seeds or the causes of bills,
Biology, art, or mysterious wrecks,
Or the tattered white fleeces of clouds on blue hills.
Muse upon ologies, freckles and fog,
Why hermits live lonely and grapes in a bunch,
On the ways of a child or the mind of a dog,
Or the oyster you bolted last Friday at lunch.

Heard you no sound like a shuddering sigh!
Or the great shout of laughter that swept down the sky?
Saw you no sign on the wide Milky Way?
Then there's naught left to you now but to pray.

Sit you at eve when the Shepherd in Blue
Calls from the West to his clustering sheep.
Then pray for the moods that old mariners woo,
For the thoughts of young mothers who watch their babes sleep.
Pray for the heart of an innocent child,
For the tolerant scorn of a weary old man,
For the petulant grief of a prophet reviled,
For the wisdom you lost when your whiskers began.

Pray for the pleasures that he who was you
Found in the mud of a shower-fed pool,
For the fears that he felt and the joys that he knew
When a little green lizard crept into the school.
Pray as they pray who are maddened by wine:
For distraction from self and a spirit at rest.
Now, deep in the heart of you search for a sign
If there be naught of it, vain is your quest.

Lay down the book, for to follow the tale
Were to trade in false blame, as all mortals who fail.
And may the gods salve you on life's dreary round;
For 'tis whispered: 'Who finds not, 'tis he shall be found !'

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Imelda

……………….Sometimes
The young forgot the lessons they had learnt,
And lov'd when they should hate, like thee, Imelda! ~
Italy, a Poem


Passa la bella Donna, e par che dorma. ~
Tasso

We have the myrtle's breath around us here,
Amidst the fallen pillars; this hath been
Some Naiad's fane of old. How brightly clear,
Flinging a vein of silver o'er the scene,
Up thro' the shadowy grass, the fountain wells,
And music with it, gushing from beneath
The ivy'd altar! that sweet murmur tells
The rich wild-flowers no tale of wo or death;

Yet once the wave was darken'd, and a stain
Lay deep, and heavy drops but not of rain?
On the dim violets by its marble bed,
And the pale shining water-lily's head.

Sad is that legend's truth. A fair girl met
One whom she lov'd, by this lone temple's spring,
Just as the sun behind the pine-grove set,
And eve's low voice in whispers woke, to bring
All wanderers home. They stood, that gentle pair
With the blue heaven of Italy above,
And citron-odours dying on the air,
And light leaves trembling round, and early love
Deep in each breast. What reck'd their souls of strife
Between their fathers? Unto them young life
Spread out the treasures of its vernal years;
And if they wept, they wept far other tears

Than the cold world wrings forth. They stood, that hour,
Speaking of hope, while tree, and fount, and flower,
And star, just gleaming thro' the cypress boughs,
Seem'd holy things, as records of their vows.

But change came o'er the scene. A hurrying tread
Broke on the whispery shades. Imelda knew
The footstep of her brother's wrath, and fled
Up where the cedars make yon avenue
Dim with green twilight: pausing there, she caught-
Was it the clash of swords? a swift dark thought
Struck down her lip's rich crimson as it pass'd,
And from her eye the sunny sparkle took
One moment with its fearfulness, and shook
Her slight frame fiercely, as a stormy blast
Might rock the rose. Once more, and yet once more,
She still'd her heart to listen all was o'er;
Sweet summer winds alone were heard to sigh,
Bearing the nightingale's deep spirit by.

That night Imelda's voice was in the song,
Lovely it floated thro' the festive throng
Peopling her father's halls. That fatal night
Her eye look'd starry in its dazzling light,
And her cheek glow'd with beauty's flushing dyes,
Like a rich cloud of eve in southern skies,
A burning, ruby cloud. There were, whose gaze
Follow'd her form beneath the clear lamp's blaze,
And marvell'd at its radiance. But a few
Beheld the brightness of that feverish hue,
With something of dim fear; and in that glance
Found strange and sudden tokens of unrest,
Startling to meet amidst the mazy dance,
Where thought, if present, an unbidden guest,
Comes not unmask'd. Howe'er this were, the time
Sped as it speeds with joy, and grief, and crime
Alike: and when the banquet's hall was left
Unto its garlands of their bloom bereft,
When trembling stars look'd silvery in their wane,
And heavy flowers yet slumber'd, once again

There stole a footstep, fleet, and light, and lone,
Thro' the dim cedar shade; the step of one
That started at a leaf, of one that fled,
Of one that panted with some secret dread:
What did Imelda there? She sought the scene
Where love so late with youth and hope had been;
Bodings were on her soul?a shuddering thrill
Ran thro' each vein, when first the Naiad's rill
Met her with melody?sweet sounds and low;
We hear them - yet they live along its flow -
Her voice is music lost! The fountain-side
She gain'd?the wave flash'd forth?'twas darkly dyed
Ev'n as from warrior-hearts; and on its edge,
Amidst the fern, and flowers, and moss-tufts deep,
There lay, as lull'd by stream and rustling sedge,
A youth, a graceful youth. 'Oh! dost thou sleep,
Azzo?' she cried, 'my Azzo! is this rest?'
?But then her low tones falter'd: 'On thy breast

Is the stain - yes, 'tis blood! and that cold cheek -
That moveless lip! thou dost not slumber? speak,
Speak, Azzo, my belov'd - no sound - no breath -
What hath come thus between our spirits? Death!
Death? I but dream - I dream!' and there she stood,
A faint, frail trembler, gazing first on blood,
With her fair arm around yon cypress thrown,
Her form sustain'd by that dark stem alone,
And fading fast, like spell-struck maid of old,
Into white waves dissolving, clear and cold;
When from the grass her dimm'd eye caught a gleam?
'Twas where a sword lay shiver'd by the stream,?
Her brother's sword! - she knew it; and she knew
'Twas with a venom'd point that weapon slew!
Wo for young love! But love is strong. There came
Strength upon woman's fragile heart and frame,

There came swift courage! On the dewy ground
She knelt, with all her dark hair floating round,
Like a long silken stole; she knelt, and press'd
Her lips of glowing life to Azzo's breast,
Drawing the poison forth. A strange, sad sight!
Pale death, and fearless love, and solemn night!
So the moon saw them last.
The Morn came singing
Thro' the green forests of the Appenines,
With all her joyous birds their free flight winging,
And steps and voices out amongst the vines.
What found that day-spring here? Two fair forms laid
Like sculptured sleepers; from the myrtle shade
Casting a gleam of beauty o'er the wave,
Still, mournful, sweet. Were such things for the grave?
Could it be so indeed? That radiant girl,
Deck'd as for bridal hours!?long braids of pearl

Amidst her shadowy locks were faintly shining,
As tears might shine, with melancholy light;
And there was gold her slender waist entwining;
And her pale graceful arms how sadly bright!
And fiery gems upon her breast were lying,
And round her marble brow red roses dying.
But she died first! the violet's hue had spread
O'er her sweet eyelids with repose oppress'd,
She had bow'd heavily her gentle head,
And on the youth's hush'd bosom sunk to rest.
So slept they well! the poison's work was done;
Love with true heart had striven?but Death had won.

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Monument Mountain

Thou who wouldst see the lovely and the wild
Mingled in harmony on Nature's face,
Ascend our rocky mountains. Let thy foot
Fail not with weariness, for on their tops
The beauty and the majesty of earth,
Spread wide beneath, shall make thee to forget
The steep and toilsome way. There, as thou stand'st,
The haunts of men below thee, and around
The mountain summits, thy expanding heart
Shall feel a kindred with that loftier world
To which thou art translated, and partake
The enlargement of thy vision. Thou shalt look
Upon the green and rolling forest tops,
And down into the secrets of the glens,
And streams, that with their bordering thickets strive
To hide their windings. Thou shalt gaze, at once,
Here on white villages, and tilth, and herds,
And swarming roads, and there on solitudes
That only hear the torrent, and the wind,
And eagle's shriek. There is a precipice
That seems a fragment of some mighty wall,
Built by the hand that fashioned the old world,
To separate its nations, and thrown down
When the flood drowned them. To the north, a path
Conducts you up the narrow battlement.
Steep is the western side, shaggy and wild
With mossy trees, and pinnacles of flint,
And many a hanging crag. But, to the east,
Sheer to the vale go down the bare old cliffs,--
Huge pillars, that in middle heaven upbear
Their weather-beaten capitals, here dark
With the thick moss of centuries, and there
Of chalky whiteness where the thunderbolt
Has splintered them. It is a fearful thing
To stand upon the beetling verge, and see
Where storm and lightning, from that huge gray wall,
Have tumbled down vast blocks, and at the base
Dashed them in fragments, and to lay thine ear
Over the dizzy depth, and hear the sound
Of winds, that struggle with the woods below,
Come up like ocean murmurs. But the scene
Is lovely round; a beautiful river there
Wanders amid the fresh and fertile meads,
The paradise he made unto himself,
Mining the soil for ages. On each side
The fields swell upward to the hills; beyond,
Above the hills, in the blue distance, rise
The mighty columns with which earth props heaven.

There is a tale about these reverend rocks,
A sad tradition of unhappy love,
And sorrows borne and ended, long ago,
When over these fair vales the savage sought
His game in the thick woods. There was a maid,
The fairest of the Indian maids, bright-eyed,
With wealth of raven tresses, a light form,
And a gay heart. About her cabin-door
The wide old woods resounded with her song
And fairy laughter all the summer day.
She loved her cousin; such a love was deemed,
By the morality of those stern tribes,
Incestuous, and she struggled hard and long
Against her love, and reasoned with her heart,
As simple Indian maiden might. In vain.
Then her eye lost its lustre, and her step
Its lightness, and the gray-haired men that passed
Her dwelling, wondered that they heard no more
The accustomed song and laugh of her, whose looks
Were like the cheerful smile of Spring, they said,
Upon the Winter of their age. She went
To weep where no eye saw, and was not found
When all the merry girls were met to dance,
And all the hunters of the tribe were out;
Nor when they gathered from the rustling husk
The shining ear; nor when, by the river's side,
Thay pulled the grape and startled the wild shades
With sounds of mirth. The keen-eyed Indian dames
Would whisper to each other, as they saw
Her wasting form, and say _the girl will die_.

One day into the bosom of a friend,
A playmate of her young and innocent years,
She poured her griefs. 'Thou know'st, and thou alone,'
She said, 'for I have told thee, all my love,
And guilt, and sorrow. I am sick of life.
All night I weep in darkness, and the morn
Glares on me, as upon a thing accursed,
That has no business on the earth. I hate
The pastimes and the pleasant toils that once
I loved; the cheerful voices of my friends
Have an unnatural horror in mine ear.
In dreams my mother, from the land of souls,
Calls me and chides me. All that look on me
Do seem to know my shame; I cannot bear
Their eyes; I cannot from my heart root out
The love that wrings it so, and I must die.'

It was a summer morning, and they went
To this old precipice. About the cliffs
Lay garlands, ears of maize, and shaggy skins
Of wolf and bear, the offerings of the tribe
Here made to the Great Spirit, for they deemed,
Like worshippers of the elder time, that God
Doth walk on the high places and affect
The earth-o'erlooking mountains. She had on
The ornaments with which her father loved
To deck the beauty of his bright-eyed girl,
And bade her wear when stranger warriors came
To be his guests. Here the friends sat them down,
And sang, all day, old songs of love and death,
And decked the poor wan victim's hair with flowers,
And prayed that safe and swift might be her way
To the calm world of sunshine, where no grief
Makes the heart heavy and the eyelids red.
Beautiful lay the region of her tribe
Below her--waters resting in the embrace
Of the wide forest, and maize-planted glades
Opening amid the leafy wilderness.
She gazed upon it long, and at the sight
Of her own village peeping through the trees,
And her own dwelling, and the cabin roof
Of him she loved with an unlawful love,
And came to die for, a warm gush of tears
Ran from her eyes. But when the sun grew low
And the hill shadows long, she threw herself
From the steep rock and perished. There was scooped
Upon the mountain's southern slope, a grave;
And there they laid her, in the very garb
With which the maiden decked herself for death,
With the same withering wild flowers in her hair.
And o'er the mould that covered her, the tribe
Built up a simple monument, a cone
Of small loose stones. Thenceforward all who passed,
Hunter, and dame, and virgin, laid a stone
In silence on the pile. It stands there yet.
And Indians from the distant West, who come
To visit where their fathers' bones are laid,
Yet tell the sorrowful tale, and to this day
The mountain where the hapless maiden died
Is called the Mountain of the Monument.

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Patrick White

Every Insight, The Big Bang, And The Thought That Follows, A Universe

Every insight, the Big Bang, and the thought that follows, a universe.
Every image that flashes across the moonscape like a silhouette
in reverse of the dark matter and starmud that surrounds it,
a black swan among the white when there's snow on the river.
Worlds bubbling out of the mouth of a fish through a hole in the ice
that looks like the third eye of a glacier taking a long, hard look
at whether it was worth opening all those lakes
and then filling them like eyes with the runoff of its own tears
as it disappears into a more fertile approach to letting go of itself.

I could always see a human shape hidden in the landscape
and I wanted to free it so I scraped and gouged
and dug my way into it like a dog unearthing the fossil
of a distant ancestor that ran with the wolves.
Even now when their ghosts howl it's a sad ballad
of the lyrical hills going mad by themselves
and sometimes it breaks my heart like water
in the cleft of a pseudomorphic rock to write picture-music
in striated cuneiform on the cliff faces to sing to themselves
like a lost people with more legend than life in its veins.

I can take a single thread and weave it into a flying carpet.
I can take a string theory and make it resonate with membranes
that occasionally break their eardrums like water from a womb.
There are protocols of the imagination that have been imposed
by iconic means like straitjackets fitted to the inside of your psyche.
Cuckoos in your nest, memes in your mind,
nudging your cosmic eggs out to smash on the rocks below
like the stillborn of the sun. Embryos and fractals,
astronomical forensics sweeping the night sky for fetal stars,
hidden paradigms ferreted out like secrets
that will bloom each in their own good time
like the mysteries of life unravelling
the sequel of a waterclock that keeps on outliving itself
by transcending its own emptiness by pouring itself out
like a serpent that's always shedding its own skin
or a zodiac confabulating a false dawn
of mythically deflated metaphors, red giants
burnt out into black dwarfs and sink holes
where the stars plunge like butterflies into
the gaping maw of the dragon that consumes them like krill,
knowing its destiny, too, is just a provisional scaffolding of quicksand.

Yes, but how many make it all the way through
like wild salmon responding to the death call
of the spawning ground on the far side of the white hole
when the hourglass gets turned around like a fountain
instead of leaking out of a mortal wound in the side of the universe?
The morphology of knowledge is the history of shapeshifters.
Cosmology is an aesthetic expression of enculturated preferences.
Zero among the Hindus the form of the abundance of their emptiness.
Among the Greeks, a political exile. And for a Westerner
far sighted enough to see in aerial perspective,
the bluing of a way of life that's always over the next hill.
Sight is a kind of love I once read on a poster the sixties.
So astronomy for poets. And poets for astronomy.
Observatories on forbidden mountain tops
opening their eyes like blind prophets to the visions
engendered by a seven year eclipse of their visuals.
Who hasn't stepped out of their own well lit doorway
and walked up to the high field on a cold winter night
and watched their breath mingle with the Milky Way
like a tributary of a river on intimate terms with the mindstream
we're all flowing into like red-tailed hawks
riding our own thermals for the sheer joy of it
down the helical stairwells of our own polished bannisters of dna.

Twenty years a Druid in a vatic college learning
to speak to trees in the demotic of their own alphabet,
poetry isn't the calling of a clown or a gleeman
amusing the whimsical caprice of the king's court,
it's a summons to risk your life exploring the mystery
of every facet of what you're doing here turning jewels
like stars in the translucency of your own light
reflected in a brainstorm of parabolic mirrors that bloom at night.
Haul yourself up out of your tidal pool of awareness
into the rarefied bliss of a whole new medium that exceeds
the planetary boundary stones of the space time continuum
you've been so far, by devoting your disobedience
by bringing back enlightened serpent fire
from the hearths and the middens in the starfields
of the gods who first domesticated it like a selective ordeal of birth
in the imagination of a hungry human thief enough
to root a new kind of lightning in the earth that bears
all the birthmarks of the compassionate fruits of insight
into the nature of a mind that embodies all this
as if one moment the crescents of the moon were scars on its eyes
and the next, the talons of an owl flying out of the abyss in the grip
of a nocturnal imagination that's as wise as it is dangerous.

All my thoughts have fingertips. Blood your abstractions.
Lavish your mindstream on the available dimensions of the future
as if what you wanted to achieve were already behind you
like a star in pursuit of an earthly excellence.
Humanize the uninhabitable as if it were just
another room in a spatially enchanted palace
you haven't finished yet like Thomas Jefferson.
If you look for the cure in the heart of the disease,
by corollary, look for the disease in the heart of the cure
like the lesser vehicle in a pathology of grails.
Safer to drink from your own skull to an eclipse
that patched the eye of the moon with the crossbones
of its colours, than sip rainbows from the goblets
of lilaceous irises blooming like an effulgent halo
around the pupil of a black hole on a starless night
anticipating a cadaverous moonrise
like the dark beginning of death breaking into
the unimaginable radiance of another side to all this
that makes the light seem a mere carbon copy
of the shining that can be emanated by an enlightened mind
that never hesitates to contaminate the purity
of its numinous ignorance for the sake
of opening the gate like an exile to a secret garden
everybody must enter at the crossroads of a threshold
without the screening myth of a backdoor to duck out of.

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The Rock Of The Betrayed

I.

IT was a Highland chieftain's son
Gazed sadly from the hill:
And they saw him shrink from the autumn wind,
As its blast came keen and chill.
II.

His stately mother saw,--and spoke
With the heartless voice of pride;
''T is well I have a stouter son
The border wars to ride.'
III.

His jealous brother saw, and stood,
Red-hair'd, and fierce, and tall,
Muttering low words of fiendish hope
To be the lord of all.
IV.

But sickly Allan heard them not,
As he look'd o'er land and lea;
He was thinking of the sunny climes
That lie beyond the sea.
V.

He was thinking of the native land
Whose breeze he could not bear;
Whose wild free beauty he must leave,
To breathe a warmer air.
VI.

He was dreaming of his childhood's haunts,
And his grey-hair'd father's praise;
And the chance of death which hung so near
And darken'd his young days.
VII.

So he turn'd, and bade them both farewell,
With a calm and mournful smile;
And he spoke of dwelling far away,
But only for a while.
VIII.

And if a pang of bitter grief
Shot wildly through his heart,
No man heard Allan Douglas sigh,
Nor saw the tear-drop start:
IX.

For he left in Scotland none who cared
If e'er he should return,
In castle hall, or cottage low,
By river or by burn.
X.

Only upon the heather brae
His quivering lip he press'd;
And clasp'd the senseless birchen tree,
And strain'd it to his breast;
XI.

Because the human heart is full
Of love that must be given,
However check'd, estranged, and chill'd,
To something under Heaven.
XII.

And these things had been friends to him
Thro' a life of lonely hours--
The blue lake, and the waving birch,
And the low broom's scented flowers.
XIII.

Twice had the snow been on the hills,
And twice the soft spring rain,
When Allan Douglas bent his way
To his native land again.
XIV.

More healthful glow'd his hollow cheek,
His step was firm and free,
And he brought a fair Italian girl
His bonny bride to be.
XV.

But darkly sneer'd his brother cold,
When he saw that maiden fair,
'Is a foreign minion come to wed
The Highland chieftain's heir?'
XVI.

And darkly gloom'd the mother's brow
As she said, 'Am I so old,
That a stranger must so soon come here
The castle keys to hold?'
XVII.

Then spoke the young Italian girl
With a sweet and modest grace,
As she lifted upi her soft black eyes
And look'd them in the face:
XVIII.

'A stranger and an orphan comes
To Allan's native land,
And she needs the mother's welcome smile,
And the brother's friendly hand.
XIX.

'Be thine! oh, stately lady--thine--
The rule that thou dost crave,
For Allan's love is all I earn'd,
And all I seek to have.
XX.

'And trust me, brother, tho' my words
In foreign accents fall,
The heart is of no country born,
And my heart will love you all.'
XXI.

But vain the music of her tongue
Against the hate they bore;
And when a babe her love had bless'd
They hated her the more.
XXII.

They hated her the more because
That babe must be the heir,
And his dark and lovely eyes at times
His mother's look would wear.
XXIII.

But lo! the keen cold winter came
With many a bitter blast:
It pierced thro' sickly Allan's frame,--
He droop'd and died at last!
XXIV.

Oh! mournfully at early morn
That young wife sat and wept,--
And mournfully, when day was done,
To her widow'd couch she crept,--
XXV.

And mournfully at noon she rock'd
The baby on her knee;
'There is no pity in their hearts,
My child, for thee and me.
XXVI.

'There was no pity in their hearts
For him who is at rest:
How should they feel for his young son
Who slumbers at my breast?'
XXVII.

The red-hair'd brother saw her tears,
And said, 'Nay, cease thy moan--
Come forth into the morning air,
And weep. no more alone!'
XXVIII.

The proud stepmother chid her woe;--
'Even for thy infant's sake
Go forth into the morning air,
And sail upon the lake!'
XXIX.

There seem'd some feeling for her state;
Their words were fair and mild;
Yet she shudder'd as she whisper'd low,
'God shield me and my child!'
XXX.

'Come!' said dead Allan's brother stern,
'Why dost thou tremble so?
'Come!'--and with doubt and fear perplex'd,
The lady rose to go.
XXXI.

They glided over the glassy lake,
'Till its lulling murmur smote,
With a death-like omen, to and fro',
Against the heaving boat.
XXXII.

And no one spoke;--that brother still
His face averted kept,
And the lady's tears fell fast and free
O'er her infant as it slept.
XXXIII.

The cold faint evening breeze sprang up
And found them floating on;
They glided o'er the glassy lake
Till the day's last streak was gone--
XXXIV.

Till the day's last streak had died away
From the chill and purple strand,
And a mist was on the water's face
And a damp dew on the land;
XXXV.

Till you could not trace the living hue
Of lip, or cheek, or eye,
But the outline of each countenance
Drawn dark against the sky.
XXXVI.

And all things had a ghastly look,
An aspect strange and drear;--
The lady look'd to the distant shore
And her heart beat wild with fear.
XXXVII.

There is a rock whose jutting height
Stands frowning o'er that lake,
Where the faintest call of the bugle horn
The echo's voice will wake:--
XXXVIII.

And there the water lifts no wave
To the breeze, so fresh and cool,
But lies within the dark rock's curve,
Like a black and gloomy pool.
XXXIX.

Its depth is great,--a stone thrown in
Hath a dull descending sound,
The plummet hath not there been cast
Which resting-place hath found.
XL.

And scatter'd firs and birch-trees grow
On the summit, here and there--
Lonely and joylessly they wave,
Like an old man's thin grey hair.
XLI.

But not to nature's hand it owes
Its mournfulness alone,
For vague tradition gives the spot
A horror of its own.
XLII.

The boatman doffs his cap beneath
Its dark o'er-hanging shade,
And whispers low its Gaelic name,--
'THE ROCK OF THF BETRAY'D.'
XLIII.

And when the wind, which never curls
That pool, goes sweeping by,
Bending the firs and birchen trees
With a low and moaning sigh,--
XLIV.

He'll tell you that the sound which comes
So strange, and faint, and dim,
Is only heard at one set hour,
And call'd 'THE LADY'S HYMN.'

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Patrick White

Wired To Looking For Gardens of Eden

Wired to looking for Gardens of Eden at the wrong end of my dopamines.
Want to move back to the country
and live in a secluded place
you couldn't find unless I led you there.
Want to take pride again
in knowing all the names of the trees and stars and flowers
as if they all lived in the same small community
of intimate immensities that I do
like pebbles on the edge of an avalanche.
Tired of playing Russian roulette with the asteroids.
Want to live somewhere even the animals know
the plants know more about healing than they do.
And it would be great
to have a woman who knows how
to think and feel and make love there with me
to laugh at what a brilliant idiot I am
to know how to make soap out of the sap of flowers
that smell like their names.
Bouncing Bet.
Pride of London.
Lady at the Gate.
I'm not looking for purple noons and honeybees.
I'm not trying to make a big splash like Basho's frog in Walden Pond.
Just want to lie down in the tall yellow grass of a September hillside
and feel like a freshly baked loaf of bread
cooling on a windowsill
like a philosopher's stone
as the sun goes down over the hill
and the dust of many roads
gets in the eyes of my starmaps
like gusts of stars
that makes them water with the wonder
of being here at all to know how lost and homeless I am
even in the depths of the dark womb that first imagined me like water.
I cling like a tree to my lucidities
and I'm rooted in the light
as much as I am the dirt
and I sprout poems and paintings like flowers and leaves
and even when I've been struck by lightning
the dead branch blooms like the moon
and you can hear the drums of silver apples
marshalling at my feet
like a troupe of white-winged horses.
Like the pulse of the windfall
when death first entered the garden
to let me know how alive I am
in this present moment
that has no death or birth in it
no beginnings
no ends
and goes on forever
as the only feature of time
that doesn't need a calendar.
But I'm not waxing Biblical about the brevity of days
and I've always been grateful
that I was born too stupid to be a cynic
and looking up at the stars from anywhere
one of the greatest wonders of life to me
is that so few people are amazed.
They've never listened with their eyes to the night
so that when their eyes speak
they don't understand
the mother language of the light
and the fireflies forget how to talk to the stars
and everybody's looking for an interpreter
to tell them the meaning of things.
They don't know how to enjoy
being alone
with everything they don't understand.
That's why I like New England asters and purple loosestrife.
That's why I like being kept at home by snowbound roads
and unanswerable fires.
I want to sit at a carved picnic table
under a locust tree in the morning
when it's in full bloom
and humming with thousands of bees
and wonder aloud in a poem that's writing me why
whenever you find nectar
there's always thorns
as if my life depended upon it.
I want to approach my material confinement
with the suppleness of water
given that's what I mostly am
and have no fear of spiritual evaporation
after I'm dead
and gone beyond into
the transformative darkness of my original watershed
because I've seen the same thing happening to the shapeshifting stars
that everyone says are fixed.
I am not deceived by appearances
into believing there's any kind of reality behind them
as if a mirage were lying to a desert.
Water's no less of a window
when it reflects the moon on its surface
than it is in the depths of the sea
that grows it like a pearl.
If you can only see with the eye
and not through it
as Blake suggested
then you're inundated with visuals
as impersonal as the camera lens
that follows you through the city
like an upgraded form of state shadow.
But out in the country where no one's watching
but the occasional squirrel
once you let the light in
your seeing isn't just
a phenomenological reaction
to photonic randomness
but a creative response to chaos
that makes images out of visuals
and symbols out of visions
and facts out of purposeless experience
like tiny mouse skulls
and abandoned herons' nests
that don't make a liar
out of your imagination.
I want to live somewhere in peace
without thinking I'm selfish or a coward
to observe the world around me
as if it were the expression
of the beautiful absurdity
of this reclusive artistic discipline
that keeps making me up as it goes along
to fill in the lyrics
of a half-forgotten song
it's singing to itself like water.
I'm tired of the gibbering of the sacred monkeys
who don't know what's holy about life
unless it's washed in blood.
I'm tired of the intrusion of the good and bad
into my solitude
as if the mob
and the government
civilization
culture and education
had a right to homogenize
the taste of life in my mouth.
Not the same.
Not different.
Not exclusive.
Not effacing.
I'm sick of gaming the rackets of life
for my daily bread.
Sick of the maggots
laying claim to the pedigree of butterflies.
Sick of the tapeworms
trying to convince me they're spinal cords
and shoelaces
or downed powerlines that are the envy of cobras.
Sick of never underestimating
the violence and ignorance of humans
without always being right.
Are there ants that go to sleep hungry tonight?
Are there bees in the hive without honey?
Just want to walk out late at night up to a high field
with a broken gate
by myself
or with someone else
that hasn't been closed in years
and delight in going creatively mad under the stars
exalting in the radiance of human eyes
in an exchange of lucidities
that proves we are not strangers to the light
here on earth
or in any other place
where we greet each other like guests without a host
wondering why we are gathered here to ask.
My heart is torn under its own weight
and all my dreamcatchers
have turned into unsustainable spiderwebs
by accumulation.
My soul is the swan of the full moon
unfeathered on dark waters
by a snapping turtle
that keeps rising from its depths like the world.
I've walked so long down this long road on crutches and stilts
it's forgotten the feel of my feet
and all the mystic auroras of my spirit
robe me in meat
and chameleonic anxiety.
Sick of technological progress
that is the equal and opposite reaction
to the devolution
of what's beyond comprehension
into the truth
into wisdom
into knowledge
into facts
into data
into lies
that upstage the myths of the stars
with mutative alibis.
Want to go somewhere I can scream
and the hills will understand the echo.
Want to go somewhere I can look at the spring columbine
growing out of the green moss toupee
on the lichen-covered rock
and not see it covered in the blood of children.
Want to walk out into the darkness
even on a starless night
and feel like a vulnerable mortal
made wary by the innocence of natural dangers
and not the deranged perversities
of ghouls off their meds in the cities.
Want to get away from the maggots and tapeworms
that govern the body politic within and without
like the corrupt flesh of a dead horse
that died of exhaustion
pulling the milkwagon uphill.
Don't want to walk any more roads that turn into quicksand.
Just want to kick my cornerstones like pebbles
down a dusty lane
as if I had all the time in the world
not to explain to anyone
why it seems so crucial
to get the colours of the New England asters right.
And I know it's a dream.
I know it's an illusion.
A mirage of the way I feel.
But sometimes even water
is wounded by this desert
where the only roads are snakes
that make paths in the sand and the stars
and it takes a mirage to heal.
Sometimes it's better
to let yourself be deceived by appearances
to be relieved by the compassion
inherent in the way things seem to the mind
like a cool herb on a severe burn
than go blind.

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The Thorn

I

'There is a Thorn--it looks so old,
In truth, you'd find it hard to say
How it could ever have been young,
It looks so old and grey.
Not higher than a two years' child
It stands erect, this aged Thorn;
No leaves it has, no prickly points;
It is a mass of knotted joints,
A wretched thing forlorn.
It stands erect, and like a stone
With lichens is it overgrown.

II

'Like rock or stone, it is o'ergrown,
With lichens to the very top,
And hung with heavy tufts of moss,
A melancholy crop:
Up from the earth these mosses creep,
And this poor Thorn they clasp it round
So close, you'd say that they are bent
With plain and manifest intent
To drag it to the ground;
And all have joined in one endeavour
To bury this poor Thorn for ever.

III

'High on a mountain's highest ridge,
Where oft the stormy winter gale
Cuts like a scythe, while through the clouds
It sweeps from vale to vale;
Not five yards from the mountain path,
This Thorn you on your left espy;
And to the left, three yards beyond,
You see a little muddy pond
Of water--never dry
Though but of compass small, and bare
To thirsty suns and parching air.

IV

'And, close beside this aged Thorn,
There is a fresh and lovely sight,
A beauteous heap, a hill of moss,
Just half a foot in height.
All lovely colours there you see,
All colours that were ever seen;
And mossy network too is there,
As if by hand of lady fair
The work had woven been;
And cups, the darlings of the eye,
So deep is their vermilion dye.

V

'Ah me! what lovely tints are there
Of olive green and scarlet bright,
In spikes, in branches, and in stars,
Green, red, and pearly white!
This heap of earth o'ergrown with moss,
Which close beside the Thorn you see,
So fresh in all its beauteous dyes,
Is like an infant's grave in size,
As like as like can be:
But never, never any where,
An infant's grave was half so fair.

VI

'Now would you see this aged Thorn,
This pond, and beauteous hill of moss,
You must take care and choose your time
The mountain when to cross.
For oft there sits between the heap
So like an infant's grave in size,
And that same pond of which I spoke,
A Woman in a scarlet cloak,
And to herself she cries,
'Oh misery! oh misery!
Oh woe is me! oh misery!'

VII

'At all times of the day and night
This wretched Woman thither goes;
And she is known to every star,
And every wind that blows;
And there, beside the Thorn, she sits
When the blue daylight's in the skies,
And when the whirlwind's on the hill,
Or frosty air is keen and still,
And to herself she cries,
'Oh misery! oh misery!
Oh woe is me! oh misery!''

VIII

'Now wherefore, thus, by day and night,
In rain, in tempest, and in snow,
Thus to the dreary mountain-top
Does this poor Woman go?
And why sits she beside the Thorn
When the blue daylight's in the sky
Or when the whirlwind's on the hill,
Or frosty air is keen and still,
And wherefore does she cry?--
O wherefore? wherefore? tell me why
Does she repeat that doleful cry?'

IX

'I cannot tell; I wish I could;
For the true reason no one knows:
But would you gladly view the spot,
The spot to which she goes;
The hillock like an infant's grave,
The pond--and Thorn, so old and grey;
Pass by her door--'tis seldom shut--
And, if you see her in her hut--
Then to the spot away!
I never heard of such as dare
Approach the spot when she is there.'

X

'But wherefore to the mountain-top
Can this unhappy Woman go?
Whatever star is in the skies,
Whatever wind may blow?'
'Full twenty years are past and gone
Since she (her name is Martha Ray)
Gave with a maiden's true good-will
Her company to Stephen Hill;
And she was blithe and gay,
While friends and kindred all approved
Of him whom tenderly she loved.

XI

'And they had fixed the wedding day,
The morning that must wed them both;
But Stephen to another Maid
Had sworn another oath;
And, with this other Maid, to church
Unthinking Stephen went--
Poor Martha! on that woeful day
A pang of pitiless dismay
Into her soul was sent;
A fire was kindled in her breast,
Which might not burn itself to rest.

XII

'They say, full six months after this,
While yet the summer leaves were green,
She to the mountain-top would go,
And there was often seen.
What could she seek?--or wish to hide?
Her state to any eye was plain;
She was with child, and she was mad;
Yet often was she sober sad
From her exceeding pain.
O guilty Father--would that death
Had saved him from that breach of faith!

XIII

Sad case for such a brain to hold
Communion with a stirring child!
Sad case, as you may think, for one
Who had a brain so wild!
Last Christmas-eve we talked of this,
And grey-haired Wilfred of the glen
Held that the unborn infant wrought
About its mother's heart, and brought
Her senses back again:
And, when at last her time drew near,
Her looks were calm, her senses clear.

XIV

'More know I not, I wish I did,
And it should all be told to you;
For what became of this poor child
No mortal ever knew;
Nay--if a child to her was born
No earthly tongue could ever tell;
And if 'twas born alive or dead,
Far less could this with proof be said;
But some remember well,
That Martha Ray about this time
Would up the mountain often climb.

XV

'And all that winter, when at night
The wind blew from the mountain-peak,
'Twas worth your while, though in the dark,
The churchyard path to seek:
For many a time and oft were heard
Cries coming from the mountain head:
Some plainly living voices were;
And others, I've heard many swear,
Were voices of the dead:
I cannot think, whate'er they say,
They had to do with Martha Ray.

XVI

'But that she goes to this old Thorn,
The Thorn which I described to you,
And there sits in a scarlet cloak
I will be sworn is true.
For one day with my telescope,
To view the ocean wide and bright,
When to this country first I came,
Ere I had heard of Martha's name,
I climbed the mountain's height:--
A storm came on, and I could see
No object higher than my knee.

XVII

''Twas mist and rain, and storm and rain:
No screen, no fence could I discover;
And then the wind! in sooth, it was
A wind full ten times over.
I looked around, I thought I saw
A jutting crag,--and off I ran,
Head-foremost, through the driving rain,
The shelter of the crag to gain;
And, as I am a man,
Instead of jutting crag, I found
A Woman seated on the ground.

XVIII

'I did not speak--I saw her face;
Her face!--it was enough for me;
I turned about and heard her cry,
'Oh misery! oh misery!'
And there she sits, until the moon
Through half the clear blue sky will go;
And, when the little breezes make
The waters of the pond to shake,
As all the country know,
She shudders, and you hear her cry,
'Oh misery! oh misery!''

XIX

'But what's the Thorn? and what the pond?
And what the hill of moss to her?
And what the creeping breeze that comes
The little pond to stir?'
'I cannot tell; but some will say
She hanged her baby on the tree;
Some say she drowned it in the pond,
Which is a little step beyond:
But all and each agree,
The little Babe was buried there,
Beneath that hill of moss so fair.

XX

'I've heard, the moss is spotted red
With drops of that poor infant's blood;
But kill a new-born infant thus,
I do not think she could!
Some say, if to the pond you go,
And fix on it a steady view,
The shadow of a babe you trace,
A baby and a baby's face,
And that it looks at you;
Whene'er you look on it, 'tis plain
The baby looks at you again.

XXI

'And some had sworn an oath that she
Should be to public justice brought;
And for the little infant's bones
With spades they would have sought.
But instantly the hill of moss
Before their eyes began to stir!
And, for full fifty yards around,
The grass--it shook upon the ground!
Yet all do still aver
The little Babe lies buried there,
Beneath that hill of moss so fair.

XXII

'I cannot tell how this may be,
But plain it is the Thorn is bound
With heavy tufts of moss that strive
To drag it to the ground;
And this I know, full many a time,
When she was on the mountain high,
By day, and in the silent night,
When all the stars shone clear and bright,
That I have heard her cry,
'Oh misery! oh misery!
Oh woe is me! oh misery!''

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