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The deeper is the abyss, more brilliant is the pearl.

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Song Of Hiawatha IX: Hiawatha And The Pearl-Feather

On the shores of Gitche Gumee,
Of the shining Big-Sea-Water,
Stood Nokomis, the old woman,
Pointing with her finger westward,
O'er the water pointing westward,
To the purple clouds of sunset.
Fiercely the red sun descending
Burned his way along the heavens,
Set the sky on fire behind him,
As war-parties, when retreating,
Burn the prairies on their war-trail;
And the moon, the Night-sun, eastward,
Suddenly starting from his ambush,
Followed fast those bloody footprints,
Followed in that fiery war-trail,
With its glare upon his features.
And Nokomis, the old woman,
Pointing with her finger westward,
Spake these words to Hiawatha:
'Yonder dwells the great Pearl-Feather,
Megissogwon, the Magician,
Manito of Wealth and Wampum,
Guarded by his fiery serpents,
Guarded by the black pitch-water.
You can see his fiery serpents,
The Kenabeek, the great serpents,
Coiling, playing in the water;
You can see the black pitch-water
Stretching far away beyond them,
To the purple clouds of sunset!
'He it was who slew my father,
By his wicked wiles and cunning,
When he from the moon descended,
When he came on earth to seek me.
He, the mightiest of Magicians,
Sends the fever from the marshes,
Sends the pestilential vapors,
Sends the poisonous exhalations,
Sends the white fog from the fen-lands,
Sends disease and death among us!
'Take your bow, O Hiawatha,
Take your arrows, jasper-headed,
Take your war-club, Puggawaugun,
And your mittens, Minjekahwun,
And your birch-canoe for sailing,
And the oil of Mishe-Nahma,
So to smear its sides, that swiftly
You may pass the black pitch-water;
Slay this merciless magician,
Save the people from the fever
That he breathes across the fen-lands,
And avenge my father's murder!'
Straightway then my Hiawatha
Armed himself with all his war-gear,
Launched his birch-canoe for sailing;
With his palm its sides he patted,
Said with glee, 'Cheemaun, my darling,
O my Birch-canoe! leap forward,
Where you see the fiery serpents,
Where you see the black pitch-water!'
Forward leaped Cheemaun exulting,
And the noble Hiawatha
Sang his war-song wild and woful,
And above him the war-eagle,
The Keneu, the great war-eagle,
Master of all fowls with feathers,
Screamed and hurtled through the heavens.
Soon he reached the fiery serpents,
The Kenabeek, the great serpents,
Lying huge upon the water,
Sparkling, rippling in the water,
Lying coiled across the passage,
With their blazing crests uplifted,
Breathing fiery fogs and vapors,
So that none could pass beyond them.
But the fearless Hiawatha
Cried aloud, and spake in this wise,
'Let me pass my way, Kenabeek,
Let me go upon my journey!'
And they answered, hissing fiercely,
With their fiery breath made answer:
'Back, go back! O Shaugodaya!
Back to old Nokomis, Faint-heart!'
Then the angry Hiawatha
Raised his mighty bow of ash-tree,
Seized his arrows, jasper-headed,
Shot them fast among the serpents;
Every twanging of the bow-string
Was a war-cry and a death-cry,
Every whizzing of an arrow
Was a death-song of Kenabeek.
Weltering in the bloody water,
Dead lay all the fiery serpents,
And among them Hiawatha
Harmless sailed, and cried exulting:
'Onward, O Cheemaun, my darling!
Onward to the black pitch-water!'
Then he took the oil of Nahma,
And the bows and sides anointed,
Smeared them well with oil, that swiftly
He might pass the black pitch-water.
All night long he sailed upon it,
Sailed upon that sluggish water,
Covered with its mould of ages,
Black with rotting water-rushes,
Rank with flags and leaves of lilies,
Stagnant, lifeless, dreary, dismal,
Lighted by the shimmering moonlight,
And by will-o'-the-wisps illumined,
Fires by ghosts of dead men kindled,
In their weary night-encampments.
All the air was white with moonlight,
All the water black with shadow,
And around him the Suggema,
The mosquito, sang his war-song,
And the fire-flies, Wah-wah-taysee,
Waved their torches to mislead him;
And the bull-frog, the Dahinda,
Thrust his head into the moonlight,
Fixed his yellow eyes upon him,
Sobbed and sank beneath the surface;
And anon a thousand whistles,
Answered over all the fen-lands,
And the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah,
Far off on the reedy margin,
Heralded the hero's coming.
Westward thus fared Hiawatha,
Toward the realm of Megissogwon,
Toward the land of the Pearl-Feather,
Till the level moon stared at him
In his face stared pale and haggard,
Till the sun was hot behind him,
Till it burned upon his shoulders,
And before him on the upland
He could see the Shining Wigwam
Of the Manito of Wampum,
Of the mightiest of Magicians.
Then once more Cheemaun he patted,
To his birch-canoe said, 'Onward!'
And it stirred in all its fibres,
And with one great bound of triumph
Leaped across the water-lilies,
Leaped through tangled flags and rushes,
And upon the beach beyond them
Dry-shod landed Hiawatha.
Straight he took his bow of ash-tree,
On the sand one end he rested,
With his knee he pressed the middle,
Stretched the faithful bow-string tighter,
Took an arrow, jasperheaded,
Shot it at the Shining Wigwam,
Sent it singing as a herald,
As a bearer of his message,
Of his challenge loud and lofty:
'Come forth from your lodge, Pearl-Feather!
Hiawatha waits your coming!'
Straightway from the Shining Wigwam
Came the mighty Megissogwon,
Tall of stature, broad of shoulder,
Dark and terrible in aspect,
Clad from head to foot in wampum,
Armed with all his warlike weapons,
Painted like the sky of morning,
Streaked with crimson, blue, and yellow,
Crested with great eagle-feathers,
Streaming upward, streaming outward.
'Well I know you, Hiawatha!'
Cried he in a voice of thunder,
In a tone of loud derision.
'Hasten back, O Shaugodaya!
Hasten back among the women,
Back to old Nokomis, Faint-heart!
I will slay you as you stand there,
As of old I slew her father!'
But my Hiawatha answered,
Nothing daunted, fearing nothing:
'Big words do not smite like war-clubs,
Boastful breath is not a bow-string,
Taunts are not so sharp as arrows,
Deeds are better things than words are,
Actions mightier than boastings!'
Then began the greatest battle
That the sun had ever looked on,
That the war-birds ever witnessed.
All a Summer's day it lasted,
From the sunrise to the sunset;
For the shafts of Hiawatha
Harmless hit the shirt of wampum,
Harmless fell the blows he dealt it
With his mittens, Minjekahwun,
Harmless fell the heavy war-club;
It could dash the rocks asunder,
But it could not break the meshes
Of that magic shirt of wampum.
Till at sunset Hiawatha,
Leaning on his bow of ash-tree,
Wounded, weary, and desponding,
With his mighty war-club broken,
With his mittens torn and tattered,
And three useless arrows only,
Paused to rest beneath a pine-tree,
From whose branches trailed the mosses,
And whose trunk was coated over
With the Dead-man's Moccasin-leather,
With the fungus white and yellow.
Suddenly from the boughs above him
Sang the Mama, the woodpecker:
'Aim your arrows, Hiawatha,
At the head of Megissogwon,
Strike the tuft of hair upon it,
At their roots the long black tresses;
There alone can he be wounded!'
Winged with feathers, tipped with jasper,
Swift flew Hiawatha's arrow,
Just as Megissogwon, stooping,
Raised a heavy stone to throw it.
Full upon the crown it struck him,
At the roots of his long tresses,
And he reeled and staggered forward,
Plunging like a wounded bison,
Yes, like Pezhekee, the bison,
When the snow is on the prairie.
Swifter flew the second arrow,
In the pathway of the other,
Piercing deeper than the other,
Wounding sorer than the other;
And the knees of Megissogwon
Shook like windy reeds beneath him,
Bent and trembled like the rushes.
But the third and latest arrow
Swiftest flew, and wounded sorest,
And the mighty Megissogwon
Saw the fiery eyes of Pauguk,
Saw the eyes of Death glare at him,
Heard his voice call in the darkness;
At the feet of Hiawatha
Lifeless lay the great Pearl-Feather,
Lay the mightiest of Magicians.
Then the grateful Hiawatha
Called the Mama, the woodpecker,
From his perch among the branches
Of the melancholy pine-tree,
And, in honor of his service,
Stained with blood the tuft of feathers
On the little head of Mama;
Even to this day he wears it,
Wears the tuft of crimson feathers,
As a symbol of his service.
Then he stripped the shirt of wampum
From the back of Megissogwon,
As a trophy of the battle,
As a signal of his conquest.
On the shore he left the body,
Half on land and half in water,
In the sand his feet were buried,
And his face was in the water.
And above him, wheeled and clamored
The Keneu, the great war-eagle,
Sailing round in narrower circles,
Hovering nearer, nearer, nearer.
From the wigwam Hiawatha
Bore the wealth of Megissogwon,
All his wealth of skins and wampum,
Furs of bison and of beaver,
Furs of sable and of ermine,
Wampum belts and strings and pouches,
Quivers wrought with beads of wampum,
Filled with arrows, silver-headed.
Homeward then he sailed exulting,
Homeward through the black pitch-water,
Homeward through the weltering serpents,
With the trophies of the battle,
With a shout and song of triumph.
On the shore stood old Nokomis,
On the shore stood Chibiabos,
And the very strong man, Kwasind,
Waiting for the hero's coming,
Listening to his songs of triumph.
And the people of the village
Welcomed him with songs and dances,
Made a joyous feast, and shouted:
'Honor be to Hiawatha!
He has slain the great Pearl-Feather,
Slain the mightiest of Magicians,
Him, who sent the fiery fever,
Sent the white fog from the fen-lands,
Sent disease and death among us!'
Ever dear to Hiawatha
Was the memory of Mama!
And in token of his friendship,
As a mark of his remembrance,
He adorned and decked his pipe-stem
With the crimson tuft of feathers,
With the blood-red crest of Mama.
But the wealth of Megissogwon,
All the trophies of the battle,
He divided with his people,
Shared it equally among them.

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Hiawatha And The Pearl-Feather

On the shores of Gitche Gumee,
Of the shining Big-Sea-Water,
Stood Nokomis, the old woman,
Pointing with her finger westward,
O'er the water pointing westward,
To the purple clouds of sunset.
Fiercely the red sun descending
Burned his way along the heavens,
Set the sky on fire behind him,
As war-parties, when retreating,
Burn the prairies on their war-trail;
And the moon, the Night-sun, eastward,
Suddenly starting from his ambush,
Followed fast those bloody footprints,
Followed in that fiery war-trail,
With its glare upon his features.
And Nokomis, the old woman,
Pointing with her finger westward,
Spake these words to Hiawatha:
"Yonder dwells the great Pearl-Feather,
Megissogwon, the Magician,
Manito of Wealth and Wampum,
Guarded by his fiery serpents,
Guarded by the black pitch-water.
You can see his fiery serpents,
The Kenabeek, the great serpents,
Coiling, playing in the water;
You can see the black pitch-water
Stretching far away beyond them,
To the purple clouds of sunset!
"He it was who slew my father,
By his wicked wiles and cunning,
When he from the moon descended,
When he came on earth to seek me.
He, the mightiest of Magicians,
Sends the fever from the marshes,
Sends the pestilential vapors,
Sends the poisonous exhalations,
Sends the white fog from the fen-lands,
Sends disease and death among us!
"Take your bow, O Hiawatha,
Take your arrows, jasper-headed,
Take your war-club, Puggawaugun,
And your mittens, Minjekahwun,
And your birch-canoe for sailing,
And the oil of Mishe-Nahma,
So to smear its sides, that swiftly
You may pass the black pitch-water;
Slay this merciless magician,
Save the people from the fever
That he breathes across the fen-lands,
And avenge my father's murder!"
Straightway then my Hiawatha
Armed himself with all his war-gear,
Launched his birch-canoe for sailing;
With his palm its sides he patted,
Said with glee, "Cheemaun, my darling,
O my Birch-canoe! leap forward,
Where you see the fiery serpents,
Where you see the black pitch-water!"
Forward leaped Cheemaun exulting,
And the noble Hiawatha
Sang his war-song wild and woful,
And above him the war-eagle,
The Keneu, the great war-eagle,
Master of all fowls with feathers,
Screamed and hurtled through the heavens.
Soon he reached the fiery serpents,
The Kenabeek, the great serpents,
Lying huge upon the water,
Sparkling, rippling in the water,
Lying coiled across the passage,
With their blazing crests uplifted,
Breathing fiery fogs and vapors,
So that none could pass beyond them.
But the fearless Hiawatha
Cried aloud, and spake in this wise,
"Let me pass my way, Kenabeek,
Let me go upon my journey!"
And they answered, hissing fiercely,
With their fiery breath made answer:
"Back, go back! O Shaugodaya!
Back to old Nokomis, Faint-heart!"
Then the angry Hiawatha
Raised his mighty bow of ash-tree,
Seized his arrows, jasper-headed,
Shot them fast among the serpents;
Every twanging of the bow-string
Was a war-cry and a death-cry,
Every whizzing of an arrow
Was a death-song of Kenabeek.
Weltering in the bloody water,
Dead lay all the fiery serpents,
And among them Hiawatha
Harmless sailed, and cried exulting:
"Onward, O Cheemaun, my darling!
Onward to the black pitch-water!"
Then he took the oil of Nahma,
And the bows and sides anointed,
Smeared them well with oil, that swiftly
He might pass the black pitch-water.
All night long he sailed upon it,
Sailed upon that sluggish water,
Covered with its mould of ages,
Black with rotting water-rushes,
Rank with flags and leaves of lilies,
Stagnant, lifeless, dreary, dismal,
Lighted by the shimmering moonlight,
And by will-o'-the-wisps illumined,
Fires by ghosts of dead men kindled,
In their weary night-encampments.
All the air was white with moonlight,
All the water black with shadow,
And around him the Suggema,
The mosquito, sang his war-song,
And the fire-flies, Wah-wah-taysee,
Waved their torches to mislead him;
And the bull-frog, the Dahinda,
Thrust his head into the moonlight,
Fixed his yellow eyes upon him,
Sobbed and sank beneath the surface;
And anon a thousand whistles,
Answered over all the fen-lands,
And the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah,
Far off on the reedy margin,
Heralded the hero's coming.
Westward thus fared Hiawatha,
Toward the realm of Megissogwon,
Toward the land of the Pearl-Feather,
Till the level moon stared at him
In his face stared pale and haggard,
Till the sun was hot behind him,
Till it burned upon his shoulders,
And before him on the upland
He could see the Shining Wigwam
Of the Manito of Wampum,
Of the mightiest of Magicians.
Then once more Cheemaun he patted,
To his birch-canoe said, "Onward!"
And it stirred in all its fibres,
And with one great bound of triumph
Leaped across the water-lilies,
Leaped through tangled flags and rushes,
And upon the beach beyond them
Dry-shod landed Hiawatha.
Straight he took his bow of ash-tree,
On the sand one end he rested,
With his knee he pressed the middle,
Stretched the faithful bow-string tighter,
Took an arrow, jasperheaded,
Shot it at the Shining Wigwam,
Sent it singing as a herald,
As a bearer of his message,
Of his challenge loud and lofty:
"Come forth from your lodge, Pearl-Feather!
Hiawatha waits your coming!"
Straightway from the Shining Wigwam
Came the mighty Megissogwon,
Tall of stature, broad of shoulder,
Dark and terrible in aspect,
Clad from head to foot in wampum,
Armed with all his warlike weapons,
Painted like the sky of morning,
Streaked with crimson, blue, and yellow,
Crested with great eagle-feathers,
Streaming upward, streaming outward.
"Well I know you, Hiawatha!"
Cried he in a voice of thunder,
In a tone of loud derision.
"Hasten back, O Shaugodaya!
Hasten back among the women,
Back to old Nokomis, Faint-heart!
I will slay you as you stand there,
As of old I slew her father!"
But my Hiawatha answered,
Nothing daunted, fearing nothing:
"Big words do not smite like war-clubs,
Boastful breath is not a bow-string,
Taunts are not so sharp as arrows,
Deeds are better things than words are,
Actions mightier than boastings!"
Then began the greatest battle
That the sun had ever looked on,
That the war-birds ever witnessed.
All a Summer's day it lasted,
From the sunrise to the sunset;
For the shafts of Hiawatha
Harmless hit the shirt of wampum,
Harmless fell the blows he dealt it
With his mittens, Minjekahwun,
Harmless fell the heavy war-club;
It could dash the rocks asunder,
But it could not break the meshes
Of that magic shirt of wampum.
Till at sunset Hiawatha,
Leaning on his bow of ash-tree,
Wounded, weary, and desponding,
With his mighty war-club broken,
With his mittens torn and tattered,
And three useless arrows only,
Paused to rest beneath a pine-tree,
From whose branches trailed the mosses,
And whose trunk was coated over
With the Dead-man's Moccasin-leather,
With the fungus white and yellow.
Suddenly from the boughs above him
Sang the Mama, the woodpecker:
"Aim your arrows, Hiawatha,
At the head of Megissogwon,
Strike the tuft of hair upon it,
At their roots the long black tresses;
There alone can he be wounded!"
Winged with feathers, tipped with jasper,
Swift flew Hiawatha's arrow,
Just as Megissogwon, stooping,
Raised a heavy stone to throw it.
Full upon the crown it struck him,
At the roots of his long tresses,
And he reeled and staggered forward,
Plunging like a wounded bison,
Yes, like Pezhekee, the bison,
When the snow is on the prairie.
Swifter flew the second arrow,
In the pathway of the other,
Piercing deeper than the other,
Wounding sorer than the other;
And the knees of Megissogwon
Shook like windy reeds beneath him,
Bent and trembled like the rushes.
But the third and latest arrow
Swiftest flew, and wounded sorest,
And the mighty Megissogwon
Saw the fiery eyes of Pauguk,
Saw the eyes of Death glare at him,
Heard his voice call in the darkness;
At the feet of Hiawatha
Lifeless lay the great Pearl-Feather,
Lay the mightiest of Magicians.
Then the grateful Hiawatha
Called the Mama, the woodpecker,
From his perch among the branches
Of the melancholy pine-tree,
And, in honor of his service,
Stained with blood the tuft of feathers
On the little head of Mama;
Even to this day he wears it,
Wears the tuft of crimson feathers,
As a symbol of his service.
Then he stripped the shirt of wampum
From the back of Megissogwon,
As a trophy of the battle,
As a signal of his conquest.
On the shore he left the body,
Half on land and half in water,
In the sand his feet were buried,
And his face was in the water.
And above him, wheeled and clamored
The Keneu, the great war-eagle,
Sailing round in narrower circles,
Hovering nearer, nearer, nearer.
From the wigwam Hiawatha
Bore the wealth of Megissogwon,
All his wealth of skins and wampum,
Furs of bison and of beaver,
Furs of sable and of ermine,
Wampum belts and strings and pouches,
Quivers wrought with beads of wampum,
Filled with arrows, silver-headed.
Homeward then he sailed exulting,
Homeward through the black pitch-water,
Homeward through the weltering serpents,
With the trophies of the battle,
With a shout and song of triumph.
On the shore stood old Nokomis,
On the shore stood Chibiabos,
And the very strong man, Kwasind,
Waiting for the hero's coming,
Listening to his songs of triumph.
And the people of the village
Welcomed him with songs and dances,
Made a joyous feast, and shouted:
'Honor be to Hiawatha!
He has slain the great Pearl-Feather,
Slain the mightiest of Magicians,
Him, who sent the fiery fever,
Sent the white fog from the fen-lands,
Sent disease and death among us!"
Ever dear to Hiawatha
Was the memory of Mama!
And in token of his friendship,
As a mark of his remembrance,
He adorned and decked his pipe-stem
With the crimson tuft of feathers,
With the blood-red crest of Mama.
But the wealth of Megissogwon,
All the trophies of the battle,
He divided with his people,
Shared it equally among them.

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The Pearl

(Emmylou Harris)
O the dragons are gonna fly tonight
They're circling low and inside tonight
It's another round in the losing fight
Out along the great divide tonight
We are aging soldiers in an ancient war
Seeking out some half remembered shore
We drink our fill and still we thirst for more
Asking if there's no heaven what is this hunger for?
Our path is worn our feet are poorly shod
We lift up our prayer against the odds
And fear the silence is the voice of God
And we cry Allelujah Allelujah
We cry Allelujah
Sorrow is constant and the joys are brief
The seasons come and bring no sweet relief
Time is a brutal but a careless theif
Who takes our lot but leaves behind the grief
It is the heart that kills us in the end
Just one more old broken bone that cannot mend
As it was now and ever shall be amen
And we cry Allelujah Allelujah
We cry Allelujah
So there'll be no guiding light for you and me
We are not sailors lost out on the sea
We were always headed toward eternity
Hoping for a glimpse of Gaililee
Like falling stars from the universe we are hurled
Down through the long loneliness of the world
Until we behold the pain become the pearl
Cryin Allelujah Allelujah
We cry Allelujah
And we cry Allelujah Allelujah
We cry Allelujah

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The Pearl Of Great Price

The pearl of great price was waiting...
In matchless majesty...
And he had no hesitating,
When he that pearl did see!
The merchant vowed that he would buy
The best that he could find
And so there was no asking why,
No doubt within his mind!

As with a perfect precious girl,
Like Esther in her day,
He fell in love with that pure pearl
And chose not to delay!
He ran to sell his treasures fast,
This best of all to own,
This blessing that was unsurpassed
That in the sea had grown...

When Jesus told the multitudes,
They smiled at what He said,
Because it changed their sullen moods
And thrilled their hearts instead!
To think, God's Kingdom costs much more
That Jesus bled and died,
To save lost souls, both rich and poor,
With love, arms open wide!

Through Calvary we learn so much!
We know that God forgives!
We know God grants His healing touch!
We know Lord Jesus lives!
We know the Holy Spirit shares
Himself with saints on Earth...
That's why the Father hears our prayers...
God knows how much we're worth...

To think, He would not spare His Son!
To think, He let Him die...
To think, through Christ lost souls are won,
Before the end draws nigh...
Thus Heaven waits each child of grace,
Who seeks to serve the King...
And blessed are those that see His face,
For He means everything...


Denis Martindale, copyright, June 2011.

The poem is about Rosalind Peters of
Revelation TV on Sky 581, here in the UK,
who wrote about The Pearl Of Great Price
in her blog on the Revelation TV website.

R Teenz is shown on Revelation TV...
It's presented by Rosalind Peters
here in the UK, as well as featured on
youtube, facebook and myspace...

youtube-dot-com/user/jesusrocks 789
and on facebook-dot-com/rteenz
and on myspace-dot-com/rteenz

R Teenz poem: tinyurl-dot-com/r-teenz

YOU can watch Revelation TV on Sky UK and
the website's Watch Now Internet connection.

Website: revelationtv-dot-com

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The Pearl Diver

Kanzo Makame, the diver, sturdy and small Japanee,
Seeker of pearls and of pearl-shell down in the depths of the sea,
Trudged o'er the bed of the ocean, searching industriously.

Over the pearl-grounds the lugger drifted -- a little white speck:
Joe Nagasaki, the "tender", holding the life-line on deck,
Talked through the rope to the diver, knew when to drift or to check.

Kanzo was king of his lugger, master and diver in one,
Diving wherever it pleased him, taking instructions from none;
Hither and thither he wandered, steering by stars and by sun.

Fearless he was beyond credence, looking at death eye to eye:
This was his formula always, "All man go dead by and by --
S'posing time come no can help it -- s'pose time no come, then no die."

Dived in the depths of the Darnleys, down twenty fathom and five;
Down where by law, and by reason, men are forbidden to dive;
Down in a pressure so awful that only the strongest survive:

Sweated four men at the air pumps, fast as the handles could go,
Forcing the air down that reached him heated and tainted, and slow --
Kanzo Makame the diver stayed seven minutes below;

Came up on deck like a dead man, paralysed body and brain;
Suffered, while blood was returning, infinite tortures of pain:
Sailed once again to the Darnleys -- laughed and descended again!

Scarce grew the shell in the shallows, rarely a patch could they touch;
Always the take was so little, always the labour so much;
Always they thought of the Islands held by the lumbering Dutch --

Islands where shell was in plenty lying in passage and bay,
Islands where divers could gather hundreds of shell in a day.
But the lumbering Dutch in their gunboats they hunted the divers away.

Joe Nagasaki, the "tender", finding the profits grow small,
Said, "Let us go to the Islands, try for a number one haul!
If we get caught, go to prison -- let them take lugger and all!"

Kanzo Makame, the diver -- knowing full well what it meant --
Fatalist, gambler, and stoic, smiled a broad smile of content,
Flattened in mainsail and foresail, and off to the Islands they went.

Close to the headlands they drifted, picking up shell by the ton,
Piled up on deck were the oysters, opening wide in the sun,
When, from the lee of the headland, boomed the report of a gun.

Then if the diver was sighted, pearl-shell and lugger must go --
Joe Nagasaki decided (quick was the word and the blow),
Cut both the pipe and the life-line, leaving the diver below!

Kanzo Makame, the diver, failing to quite understand,
Pulled the "haul up" on the life-line, found it was slack in his hand;
Then, like a little brown stoic, lay down and died on the sand.

Joe Nagasaki, the "tender", smiling a sanctified smile,
Headed her straight for the gunboat--throwing out shells all the while --
Then went aboard and reported, "No makee dive in three mile!

"Dress no have got and no helmet -- diver go shore on the spree;
Plenty wind come and break rudder -- lugger get blown out to sea:
Take me to Japanee Consul, he help a poor Japanee!"

So the Dutch let him go; but they watched him, as off from the Islands he ran,
Doubting him much -- but what would you? You have to be sure of your man
Ere you wake up that nest-ful of hornets -- the little brown men of Japan.

Down in the ooze and the coral, down where earth's wonders are spread,
Helmeted, ghastly, and swollen, Kanzo Makame lies dead.
Joe Nagasaki, his "tender", is owner and diver instead.

Wearer of pearls in your necklace, comfort yourself if you can.
These are the risks of the pearling -- these are the ways of Japan;
"Plenty more Japanee diver plenty more little brown man!"

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The pearl and waves

Easy to trace are errors,
Like waves above the sea.
Hard to find is the core,
Like pearls deep in the sea.
The one who sees the waves
Misses the very pearls.
That is why, I see in you,
Underneath, the pearl, dear.
11.11.99

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Emily Dickinson

The Malay—took the Pearl

452

The Malay—took the Pearl
Not—I—the Earl—
I—feared the Sea—too much
Unsanctified—to touch—

Praying that I might be
Worthy—the Destiny—
The Swarthy fellow swam—
And bore my Jewel—Home—

Home to the Hut! What lot
Had I—the Jewel—got—
Borne on a Dusky Breasty—
I had not deemed a Vest
Of Amber—fit—

The Negro never knew
I—wooed it—too—
To gain, or be undone—
Alike to Him—One—

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An Angel In The Pearl

My president is an ‘angel’
Without wings but he flies anyway
In jets from might to might
With no heaven but he dwells anyway

There’s an angel in the pearl
Who always flies and never cries,
Who always lives and never dies,
Outliving the seed of greatness.

He cruises through the country
In an entourage of uneducated elites
In the comfort of limousines
The ones which keep away dust.’

Then, it feels like heaven
Not anywhere else but in Uganda
Where it’s ‘FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY’
The power of rhetoric

The angel in the pearl;
You reside in heaven, but live in hell.
You sleep in luxury, but earn poverty
An angel, who lives ‘in the red’

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The Ruby And The Pearl

Can love be as warm as the ruby,
Can love be as pure as the pearl?
Just look in the heart of my love for you.
You'll find the ruby and the pearl.
My love will endure as the diamond;
And shine with the shimmer of gold.
It glows like a bright star above for you,
A thing of beauty to behold.
(Bridge:)
Come close and cling to my kiss;
Come close and share the passion of this.
Yes, love is as warm as the ruby
And love is as pure as the pearl.
Just look in the heart of my love for you.
You'll find the ruby and the pearl.
(Return to bridge:)
Come close and cling to my kiss;
Come close and share the passion of this.
Yes, love is as warm as the ruby
And love is as pure as the pearl.
Just look in the heart of my love for you.
You'll find the ruby and the pearl.
Tag:
You'll find the ruby and the pearl.

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The Pearl Is In Nature's Anger

THE PEARL IS IN NATURE'S ANGER
melvin banggollay


The pearl of the orient seas
Is a den of great catastrophies
as a wel known thyphoons belt
of 25 thyphoons upon its cheast
bringing flooding to the fullest
making live's problem out of rest.

Just recently 2 typhoons came
with hundred lives they claimed
drawning many with ocean of pains
burrying soul with mud of desdain
turning many's fate out of mercy
so blessed with endless agony.

Is this nature's great furious way
of showing its madness and fury
to let us realize our own stupidity
of raping nature's wealth everyday
even destroying its balance ecology
for our endless desire for money?

Phenomena of Global warming
over and accross every land and sea
to show upon us the ozone's warning
that it can't hold on mankind's fury
of raping nature without replacing
every tree we cut and burn everyday,
that it can not bear any longer
the war we waged out of our anger,
the pollution we make with danger
as we desire prosperity even we suffer
the wrath of nature and God's power.

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The Pearl of them All

Gaily in front of the stockwhip
The horses come galloping home,
Leaping and bucking and playing
With sides all a lather of foam;
But painfully, slowly behind them,
With head to the crack of the fall,
And trying so gamely to follow
Comes limping the pearl of them all.

He is stumbling and stiff in the shoulder,
And splints from the hoof to the knee,
But never a horse on the station
Has half such a spirit as he;
Give these all the boast of their breeding
These pets of the paddock and stall,
But ten years ago not their proudest
Could live with the pearl of them all.

No journey has ever yet beat him,
No day was too heavy or hard,
He was king of the camp and the muster
And pride of the wings of the yard;
But Time is relentless to follow;
The best of us bow to his thrall;
And death, with his scythe on his shoulder,
Is dogging the pearl of them all.

I watch him go whinnying past me,
And memories come with a whirl
Of reckless, wild rides with a comrade
And laughing, gay rides with a girl —
How she decked him with lilies and love-knots
And plaited his mane at my side,
And once in the grief of a parting
She threw her arms round him and cried.
And I promised — I gave her my promise
The night that we parted in tears,
To keep and be kind to the old horse
Till Time made a burden of years;
And then for his sake and one woman’s…
So, fetch me my gun from the wall!
I have only this kindness to offer
As gift to the pearl of them all.

Here! hold him out there by the yard wing,
And don’t let him know by a sign:
Turn his head to you — ever so little!
I can’t bear his eyes to meet mine.
Then — stand still, old boy! for a moment …
These tears, how they blind as they fall!
Now, God help my hand to be steady…
Good-bye! — to the pearl of them all!

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I see a day withering in the west

I see a day withering in the west
and although it is past
I am truly blessed
and wonder if a day as this
will ever come along again?

Your eyes are bright in the twilight
and your smile more brilliant
than the stars in the sky
and the beauty and wonder in your eyes
hit deep into my heart.

When our lips meet
it is not to greet and the passion
flows strong, much stronger
than I remember
and suddenly I know
that every day with you
I will be truly blessed
and if destiny was at my behest
I would want to have you with me
long past eternity.

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The Benevolence Of A Thousand Answered Prayers

My beloved Angel, how might I go about, to
Describe what you mean to me?
Mine life is devoid of sustenance without you
And mine eyes are blind; I am bound to be
A new and better man, with you by my side:
You are the one 'secret' my heart could never hide;
Sunsets are sure to be far more brilliant,
As your very grace ensures it has cause to be e'er resilient;
I am inspired and exalted, and at once, in awe-
At the beautificence that is you, in all your glory!
A comparison to same, I may never draw-
A fact that obviated through our brief love story!
May the benevolence of a thousand answered prayers,
Bring to life the reality, that now, my heart only dares!

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John Keats

Lines Written In The Highlands After A Visit To Burns's Country

There is a charm in footing slow across a silent plain,
Where patriot battle has been fought, where glory had the gain;
There is a pleasure on the heath where Druids old have been,
Where mantles grey have rustled by and swept the nettles green;
There is a joy in every spot made known by times of old,
New to the feet, although each tale a hundred times be told;
There is a deeper joy than all, more solemn in the heart,
More parching to the tongue than all, of more divine a smart,
When weary steps forget themselves upon a pleasant turf,
Upon hot sand, or flinty road, or sea-shore iron scurf,
Toward the castle or the cot, where long ago was born
One who was great through mortal days, and died of fame unshorn.
Light heather-bells may tremble then, but they are far away;
Wood-lark may sing from sandy fern, -- the Sun may hear this lay;
Runnels may kiss the grass on shelves and shallows clear,
But their low voices are not heard, though come on travels drear;
Blood-red the Sun may set behind the black mountain peaks;
Blue tides may sluice and drench their time in caves and weedy creeks;
Eagles may seem to sleep wing-side upon the air;
Ring-dove may fly convuls'd across to some high-cedar'd lair;
But the forgotten eye is still fast lidded to the ground,
As Palmer's, that with weariness, mid-desert shrine hath found.
At such a time the soul's a child, in childhood is the brain;
Forgotten is the worldly heart -- alone, it beats in vain.--
Aye, if a madman could have leave to pass a healthful day
To tell his forehead's swoon and faint when first began decay,
He might make tremble many a one whose spirit had gone forth
To find a Bard's low cradle-place about the silent North!
Scanty the hour and few the steps, because a longer stay
Would bar return, and make a man forget his mortal way:
O horrible! to lose the sight of well remember'd face,
Of Brother's eyes, of Sister's brow -- constant to every place;
Filling the air, as on we move, with portraiture intense;
More warm than those heroic tints that pain a painter's sense,
When shapes of old come striding by, and visages of old,
Locks shining black, hair scanty grey, and passions manifold.
No, no, that horror cannot be, for at the cable's length
Man feels the gentle anchor pull and gladdens in its strength:--
One hour, half-idiot, he stands by mossy waterfall,
But in the very next he reads his soul's memorial:--
He reads it on the mountain's height, where chance he may sit down
Upon rough marble diadem -- that hill's eternal crown.
Yet be his anchor e'er so fast, room is there for a prayer
That man may never lose his mind on mountains black and bare;
That he may stray league after league some great birth-place to find
And keep his vision clear from speck, his inward sight unblind.

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Patrick White

Cinder In The Sun's Eye

Cinder in the sun's eye, there's fire in your tears.
You plunge into the light like a moth on a mission
and it's the sun that disappears to shine at midnight
in the black mirrors of your eyes. Dark light, intense,
starling, charred swan, you know as well as I do,
the occult approach to the optimism of an eclipse
is to act radically in the name of things you can
only unattainably conceive of. Love on your wrist
like a hawk whose wing you healed, dwelling
in your homelessness without a fear of eviction.
No truth in the mouth of the snake that's pulled
the fangs of its conviction out of the sky
like crescent moons, pins from the eye
of a voodoo doll you've nursed for light years
on the nightshift of a morgue that's aroused by death.
Milk of your left breast kills. The other practices compassion.
Whole snakepits in the shrines of the wavelengths
mourning the death of Medusa, as if snakes too
had something to mourn that makes them shine within you.

Ten thousand photos from an orbiting satellite
with X ray vision and a spectrographic trajectory
couldn't improve upon the license of your beauty
like a black pearl at the magmatic core of planet
trying to make herself as habitable as she can to visitors.
And for those who aren't used to your kind of light,
you hand out sun-visors and starmaps
and black candles to show them the way home
through the same old doorway they came in by.
You're an ambassadorial firefly from the third eye
of dark matter where the roots of the light are embedded
and you've got a message for the blossom
that looks like a love letter. The moon
budding on a dead branch like a crack in the door
you left ajar like an orchard in waiting on a cold spring night.

And who but you could stand eye to eye with the bravery
you practise like a World War II canary
in an underground armaments factory that isn't bomb proof?
There's nothing yellow about the skin of your ammunition.
You confront cosmic dangers in the intimate details.
You ignite and defuse the supernovas and black holes
that endanger the lives of those who follow you like a cult
and though you like their company, you'd much rather be
maculately alone with someone who can see for themselves
that those who were driven out, exiled
into the emptiness of the unknown extremes of the mind
often return with their hands full of the strangest gifts
that time and distance have ever offered anyone
to prove how off course the shore-huggers are
in assessing the course of a life as far out
and comprehensive as the sea. Deeper than stars.
Emotionally more expansive than the immensity
of any shining that can be palmed off cheaply
in the pawn shops of the retinal tidal pools clutching
to the relics and icons of disembodied crab claws.
You don't live like the collateral damage of the sun
and the sea. You don't ask amputees to show you
a way out of the labyrinth by the light of spent candles.
Cinder in the sun's eye, there's fire in your tears.
A luminosity that flows unceasingly
from the watersheds of broken mirrors.
You just have to cry. And dragons as immutable
as diamond cutters take up flower arranging
in a Zen teahouse enlightened by the rain.

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Patrick White

The Angel In The Way I'm Wrestling With

The angel in the way I'm wrestling with
won't box. I don't get a choice of weapons.
My hip dislocated by a greater intensity than I am,
I'll walk away the stronger man,
a sacred king with a limp, Richard the Second,
or Vulcan, or Byron swimming the Hellespont.
Down on a sunny day, snarly in the sunshine,
too disheartened to get with the picture and bloom.
Nothing against the vases of sappy daffodils
in green vases on open windowsills,
but I feel like tracking starmud into the living room.
Heavy green diamond steel-toed work boots
with their laces undone, their tongues hanging out,
clotted with earth, so the nuns of the narcissi
don't forget they've got dark, dirty roots
and bulbs like prophetic skulls
that have been buried in the garden a long time
who predicted all this would happen in due course.
Everyone clear-eyed as a haiku in a mirror.
Wholly out of season, my heart feels
like the heavy bell of a requiem for all those
who worked themselves to death for so long
like sweating horses hauling this death cart
of a planet around to change its point of view
like the bent axle of a prayer wheel
inclined toward the sun. On this blue-eyed day
and in the morning before dawn, euphoric commotion
of birdsong in celebration of the return of the light,
but I think of how much darkness, the cast off ore,
extinct forests, Jurassic coalbins,
had to clarify themselves
for the sake of a single diamond of equinoctial insight.
The apple trees are wearing their appearances
on their sleeves, and the willows
are adding blonde streaks to their hair
after their long widowhood of veils.
God I wish I didn't have to be a poet sometimes
warped into revealing things from the inside out
like a canary in a coalmine on a sunny day.
I try to imagine how sweet it would feel
just to be in the world like a lackadaisical dandelion
blooming like an average G type sun
in the fresh painterly green of the grass
with a couple of ants for planets.
What a miner I'd make. Always
looking for a motherlode of ore in a gold mine.
Reading between the lines of the spring constellations
to admire the brilliance of the darker messenger,
the deeper clarity of a more pellucid view of the world
as it appears on the nightshift
in the black mirrors of the blind chandeliers
I've been romancing at a dance of celestial spheres
by tracking my footprints all over the ballroom floor
for those who dance iambically with a limp like me to follow.
And my only alibi for looking at things on the dark side.
You can't plumb the depths, or judge the age
of a black hole in light years. And it's totally lost upon me
how you can truly claim to see anything, even spring
if you're not a two-eyed telescope, one eye on day,
one eye on the darkness, and both open simultaneously
like the sun and the moon at opposite ends of the sky,
and the earth in between like the third eye
of a spiritual refugee with an extra lens for backup
in case I should feel as I do today
like a star-nosed mole with tunnel vision
trying to shine above ground with the tulips.
Even as observatories all over the northern hemisphere
are opening their eyes to the light
just to let a little fresh air in
like house plants on open tenement windowsills
sinking their roots deeper into the darkness,
like back lightning into a mystic watershed
to keep from going blind
in the blazing of the blossom overhead.

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On A View Of Pasadena From The Hills

From the high terrace porch I watch the dawn.
No light appears, though dark has mostly gone,
Sunk from the cold and monstrous stone. The hills
Lie naked but not light. The darkness spills
Down the remoter gulleys; pooled, will stay
Too low to melt, not yet alive with day.
Below the windows, the lawn, matted deep
Under its close-cropped tips with dewy sleep,
Gives off a faint hush, all its plushy swarm
Alive with coolness reaching to be warm.
Gray windows at my back, the massy frame
Dull with the blackness that has not a name;
But down below, the garden is still young,
Of five years’ growth, perhaps, and terrace-hung,
Drop by slow drop of seeping concrete walls.
Such are the bastions of our pastorals!


Here are no palms! They once lined country ways,
Where old white houses glared down dusty days,
With small round towers, blunt-headed through small trees.
Those towers are now the hiving place of bees.
The palms were coarse; their leaves hung thick with dust;
The roads were muffled deep. But now deep rust
Has fastened on the wheels that labored then.
Peace to all such, and to all sleeping men!
I lived my childhood there, a passive dream
In the expanse of that recessive scheme.


Slow air, slow fire! O deep delay of Time!
That summer crater smoked like slaking lime,
The hills so dry, so dense the underbrush,
That where I pushed my way the giant hush
Was changed to soft explosion as the sage
Broke down to powdered ash, the sift of age,
And fell along my path, a shadowy rift.


On these rocks now no burning ashes drift;
Mowed lawn has crept along the granite bench;
The yellow blossoms of acacia drench
The dawn with pollen; and, with waxen green,
The long leaves of the eucalypti screen
The closer hills from view—lithe, tall, and fine,
And nobly clad with youth, they bend and shine.
The small dark pool, jutting with living rock,
Trembles at every atmospheric shock,
Blurred to its depth with the cold living ooze.
From cloudy caves, heavy with summer dews,
The shyest and most tremulous beings stir,
The pulsing of their fins a lucent blur,
That, like illusion, glances off the view.
The pulsing mouths, like metronomes, are true,


This is my father’s house, no homestead here
That I shall live in, but a shining sphere
Of glass and glassy moments, frail surprise,
My father’s phantasy of Paradise;
Which melts upon his death, which he attained
With loss of heart for every step he gained.
Too firmly gentle to displace the great,
He crystallized this vision somewhat late;
Forbidden now to climb the garden stair,
He views the terrace from a window chair.
His friends, hard shaken by some twenty years,
Tremble with palsy and with senile fears,
In their late middle age gone cold and gray.
Fine men, now broken. That the vision stay,
They spend astutely their depleted breath,
With tired ironic faces wait for death.


Below the garden the hills fold away.
Deep in the valley, a mist fine as spray,
Ready to shatter into spinning light,
Conceals the city at the edge of night.
The city, on the tremendous valley floor,
Draws its dream deeper for an instant more,
Superb on solid loam, and breathing deep,
Poised for a moment at the edge of sleep.


Cement roads mark the hills, wide, bending free
Of cliff and headland. Dropping toward the sea,
Through suburb after suburb, vast ravines
Swell to the summer drone of fine machines.
The driver, melting down the distance here,
May cast in flight the faint hoof of a deer
Or pass the faint head set perplexedly.
And man-made stone outgrows the living tree,
And at its rising, air is shaken, men
Are shattered, and the tremor swells again,
Extending to the naked salty shore,
Rank with the sea, which crumbles evermore.

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Patrick White

A Moment Away From The World, Please

A moment away from the world, please.
Denude me of this coat of killer bees.
I have endured its agony long enough
to know there's not much honey in a stinging nettle.
This kind of pain doesn't break into flowers.
The stars have been telling me that for years.
The darkness doesn't ask for a sacrifice
and you can tell by the New England asters
the light doesn't treat them like martyrs at a crossroads
between the high and the low. You just have to look
at how wide-eyed the day lilies are
even when they're dreaming to see
the sun doesn't burn their eyes out with its blazing
and their tangerine goblets are always full.

Drain these toxic squint-eyed metals out of my blood
but don't ban me to the slogans of a religion
when what I need is an environmental protection agency
with soul, instead of being buried under
this avalanche of pebbles in a gold rush of cornerstones
like a seven thousand year old skeleton
of an adolescent Archaic Indian by the Straits of Belle Isle,
as if everyone in the world had lain their head on my chest
as a place to rest, or they were looking for a heartbeat,
or they wanted to make sure I never rose from my grave again.

Free my metaphors from these chain gangs of d.n.a.
I've spent most of my afterlives here
and I'm not looking to be paroled or escape,
I just want out. Make a chrysalis out of a fortune-cookie,
not a straitjacket, and free me of all this spiritual punctuation
as if thousands of dragonflies were drying their wings
on the eyelids of the waterlilies without any regard for grammar.
Let me flame out like a meteor in the upper atmosphere
as a sign of what I was dying to say and if
you're going to embrace me because you love me so much
do it like space, so I'm never out of it, but there's
lots of room for the galaxies and I swear you do that
I'll open the lockets of the black holes
in the inner core of their hearts, and show you
whose picture is inside of them. Leave me alone
with the inconceivable awhile to listen to the musings
of the unnamed as she washes her hair like a lyric
in her own tears, and sings to herself like a willow
that has been made beautiful by suffering
that has finally lifted its heavy veil of tribulation
from the unmapped mystery in the eyes that remind the stars
of why they're shining in the first place.

Amor vincit omnia. It said in big gold letters
on a baby blue banner tacked to the wall by doves
above the minister's pulpit in the First Centennial United Church
I was pressed into for ten bucks a month when I was a kid,
one of the myriad ways, my ingenious Catholic mother
kept us fed. Love conquers all. I suppose.
But then I was never on a crusade against it to begin with
and though I'm an infidel, I'm not religious about it.
And I've never lived my life as if
I had to close the gates of the city at night
and if love ever wanted anything from me
all it ever had to do was ask, regardless of the recipient.
But that doesn't mean I'm not infernal enough
to know how to hammer swords out of the bell-towers of my defeat
whenever anyone speaks to me about conquest.

Free. Free. Free. Freedom deeper than sorrows.
Freedom more expansive than bliss. Freedom
the invisible gift we're all born clutching in our pudginess.
Like a butterfly that lands on your finger.
A shooting star with your name on it that took aim
and missed. A poem that lands in your lap like a maple key.
Or comes like words to the tree like birds in the morning.
Or shovels you like coal into the mouth of a dragon
brutally wise in the ways of diamonds, and in its claws,
the mercy of scalpels. The compassion of rain
from an ocean of awareness. Free to change
as life would have it without any notion
of betterment or reform. Each as they are, unmaimed.
Freedom the only holiness. Not a state of mind
at absolute Kelvin, motionless entropy,
but dynamic energy creatively shaping
the world out of itself like a child making up a game
when she's alone, to amuse herself when no one's watching,
whisper secrets she confides to her own ear
like the sea to a shell on a deserted beach
without a lighthouse demoralizing the mermaids.

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Charles Baudelaire

Tristesses de la lune (Sorrows Of The Moon)

Ce soir, la lune rêve avec plus de paresse;
Ainsi qu'une beauté, sur de nombreux coussins,
Qui d'une main distraite et légère caresse
Avant de s'endormir le contour de ses seins,

Sur le dos satiné des molles avalanches,
Mourante, elle se livre aux longues pâmoisons,
Et promène ses yeux sur les visions blanches
Qui montent dans l'azur comme des floraisons.

Quand parfois sur ce globe, en sa langueur oisive,
Elle laisse filer une larme furtive,
Un poète pieux, ennemi du sommeil,

Dans le creux de sa main prend cette larme pâle,
Aux reflets irisés comme un fragment d'opale,
Et la met dans son coeur loin des yeux du soleil.

Sadness of the Moon

Tonight the moon dreams with more indolence,
Like a lovely woman on a bed of cushions
Who fondles with a light and listless hand
The contour of her breasts before falling asleep;

On the satiny back of the billowing clouds,
Languishing, she lets herself fall into long swoons
And casts her eyes over the white phantoms
That rise in the azure like blossoming flowers.

When, in her lazy listlessness,
She sometimes sheds a furtive tear upon this globe,
A pious poet, enemy of sleep,

In the hollow of his hand catches this pale tear,
With the iridescent reflections of opal,
And hides it in his heart afar from the sun's eyes.


— Translated by William Aggeler

Sorrow of the Moon

More drowsy dreams the moon tonight. She rests
Like a proud beauty on heaped cushions pressing,
With light and absent-minded touch caressing,
Before she sleeps, the contour of her breasts.

On satin-shimmering, downy avalanches
She dies from swoon to swoon in languid change,
And lets her eyes on snowy visions range
That in the azure rise like flowering branches.

When sometimes to this earth her languor calm
Lets streak a stealthy tear, a pious poet,
The enemy of sleep, in his cupped palm,

Takes this pale tear, of liquid opal spun
With rainbow lights, deep in his heart to stow it
Far from the staring eyeballs of the Sun.


— Translated by Roy Campbell

The Sadness of the Moon

Tonight the moon, by languorous memories obsessed,
Lies pensive and awake: a sleepless beauty amid
The tossed and multitudinous cushions of her bed,
Caressing with an abstracted hand the curve of her breast.

Surrendered to her deep sadness as to a lover, for hours
She lolls in the bright luxurious disarray of the sky —
Haggard, entranced — and watches the small clouds float by
Uncurling indolently in the blue air like flowers.

When now and then upon this planet she lets fall,
Out of her idleness and sorrow, a secret tear,
Some poet — an enemy of slumber, musing apart —

Catches in his cupped hands the unearthly tribute, all
Fiery and iridescent like an opal's sphere,
And hides it from the sun for ever in his heart.


— Translated by George Dillon

Tristesses de la lune

the moon tonight, more indolently dreaming,
as on a pillowed bed, a woman seems,
caressing with a hand distraught and gleaming,
her soft curved bosom, ere she sinks in dreams.

against a snowy satin avalanche
she lies entranced and drowned in swooning hours,
her gaze upon the visions born to blanch
those far blue depths with ever-blossoming flowers.

and when in some soft languorous interval,
earthward, she lets a stealthy tear-drop fall,
a poet, foe to slumber, toiling on,

with reverent hollow hand receives the pearl,
where shimmering opalescences unfurl,
and shields it in his heart, far from the sun.


— Translated by Lewis Piaget Shanks

Sorrows of the Moon

Tonight the moon dreams in a deeper languidness,
And, like a beauty on her cushions, lies at rest;
While drifting off to sleep, a tentative caress
Seeks, with a gentle hand, the contour of her breast;

As on a crest above her silken avalanche,
Dying, she yields herself to an unending swoon,
And sees a pallid vision everywhere she’d glance,
In the azure sky where blossoms have been strewn.

When sometime, in her weariness, upon her sphere
She might permit herself to sheda furtive tear,
A poet of great piety, a foe of sleep,

Catches in the hollow of his hand that tear,
An opal fragment, iridescent as a star;
Within his heart, far from the sun, it’s buried deep.

Translated by Anonymous

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Voyage around the Square Root of Minus One

I often heard
that while the sciences concern themselves
with objective truths
the arts deal with subjective phenomena.

Many years ago I held the same view,
but later came to the conclusion
that this is just a well-combed popular myth.

It is an untenable credo
because the sharp separation
of the arts and sciences is a rigid
and arbitrary mandate, full of holes.

Although all subjects have their specificities,
at the same time they also share
many common traits with each other.

There is art in science and science in art.

Artists, for example,
apply geometry to represent
a three dimensional scene in a painting,
which is a two dimensional surface.

By using ‘objective' geometrical perspective,
Renaissance artists, among them Alberti,
Brunelleschi, Uccello, Leonardo and Dürer,
developed in Europe the ‘subjective' illusion
of perceptual realism.

Later, in the Dutch Republic of the 17th century,
Johannes Vermeer applied expensive pigments
to the canvas and conducted
pioneering research in optics that enhanced
the supreme quality of his work,
imbuing his paintings with sublime,
otherworldly light.

In the 19th century
the Romantic painter John Constable
prepared detailed studies
of the landscape and weather conditions
of England, before transcribing them
into images of stunning accuracy and grace.

Following the closing of the Weimar Bauhaus
by the Nazis in 1933, the artist Josef Albers
moved to the USA, where he worked at
Black Mountain College and at Yale University.

Albers is credited with the discovery of
the gravitational laws of color interaction,
which he expressed in his minimalist paintings
of "Homage to the Square".

Yet painters are not the only artists
who use science in their work.
Writers and poets often incorporate
scientific themes into their novels and verse,
making more than once
important contributions
to the development of science.

A giant of German literature,
the poet, novelist and artist
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was also
a pioneer of scientific phenomenology.
His myriad accomplishments encompassed
explorations in the metamorphosis of plants
and insects. Besides, his research interests
extended to geology and meteorology.

Moreover, in 1810 Goethe published
his "Theory of Colors", an influential opus
that inspired the painter J.M.W. Turner,
the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein,
as well as many others.
In many ways Goethe's color theory
remains valid even in the 21st century.

Shakespeare's work, too, may serve
to illustrate the links between art and science.
His plays are sprinkled with profound insights
regarding the psychodynamic processes
of the human mind and soul.
In the role of an early neuroscientist,
the bard can teach modern day physicians
a great deal about the mind-body connection,
about physical symptoms originating
in emotional disturbances.

Or take William Wordsworth.
This great Romantic English poet wrote
about nature and nurture,
"The child is father of the Man", he said,
a century before Freud formulated
his psychoanalytic theories.

And then, in a long prose poem,
titled "Eureka" and published in New York
in 1848, Edgar Allan Poe's gave expression
to his intuitive vision of the universe.
His work anticipated
cosmological discoveries
of the twentieth century.

Packed with bold conjectures,
the poet describes in "Eureka"
the concept that astronomers today call
Cosmological Black Hole.
Poe envisions here a pulsating universe,
evolving in an endless series
of Big Bangs and Big Crunches.

Now, let's bear in mind that
while science promises to provide us
thoroughly objective research products,
in the end it fails to deliver them.

Consider, for instance, the Queen of Sciences,
our most exact subject: Mathematics.
This powerful and noble discipline serves
as an indispensible tool for every branch
of science, as well as for common errands
that we carry out in all walks of life.

However, the astonishing success
of mathematics remains a baffling enigma.
For, how we can accomplish so much with it,
despite its inherent inconsistencies
and its uncertain relation to nature,
defies rational explanation.
Mathematical equations are embedded
with mysterious forces
and their uncanny power transcends
the cognitive faculties of the human mind.

A case in point concerns
a highly effective but bizarre
mathematical concept, the imaginary number
of the square root of minus one,
marked with the humble symbol, "i".

This number is a precise mathematical idea,
and at the same time a poetic celebration
of absurdity, because it hails from
a genderless state of an outlandish kingdom.
"i" is neither positive nor negative.
It exists in spite of itself,
percolating through the faulty filters
of remote stars of another galaxy.

And then there is the bizarre case of zero.
A central pillar of arithmetic, the naught
is a stringent figment of the imagination,
a number used as a symbol
of both nothing and infinity,
by which you can multiply,
however, never allowed to divide.

Now, a careful examination
of the pivotal hard core sciences
of physics and chemistry reveals
that their cardinal notions, such as:
space, time and matter, numbers,
molecules, atoms and particles,
with their quantum probabilities,
are actually elusive figures of speech,
sophisticated abstract metaphors.

Consequently, physicists and chemists
don't really understand their subject matter,
although many of them pretend
that they do.

Mind you,
the sciences are not superior
to music, poetry or painting.
Their epistemological status is equal.

For, the creative genius of Archimedes
does not surpass that of Homer;
nor do the swings of Galileo's pendulum
controvert the rhythm of iambic pentameters
on Dante's keyboard.

Similarly, the shining jewels of
Euler's magnificent mathematical equations
are not more brilliant, or more meaningful
than the triumphant melodies
of Vivaldi's masterpiece, "The Four Seasons".

Nor does the aesthetic splendor
of Cantor's transfinite sets
eclipse the majestic beauty
of Mozart's symphonies.

The earth revolves around the sun
surrounded by inexhaustible mysteries.
Still, Newton's infinite abstract space
is no closer to reality
than the adjacent concrete sky of Rembrandt.

And thus, in the final analysis,
Einstein's glorious Theory of Relativity
does not reveal more ultimate truths
about the transcendental cosmos
than the paintings of Picasso's universe.

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