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J.M.W. Turner

If I could find anything blacker than black, I'd use it.

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Lingering Tastes

He tasted the wine that was on her lips
when they last had kissed.
It was sweeter than if he drunk of it himself,
a taste he could not resist.
He remembered the taste and never could find
anything better than this.
Was it the wine he couldn't forget
or was it just the kiss?

He tasted the bitterness on her lips
when they last had fought.
It was sharper than the words she said to him,
words that did persist
in finding a way to keep him cold,
nothing worse than this.
Was it the words he would never forget
or was it just the kiss?

The wine, the words and even the kiss
became a source of pain.
He prayed that he'd remember her lips of wine
and that the bitterness would not remain.

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The Odyssey: Book 11

Then, when we had got down to the sea shore we drew our ship into
the water and got her mast and sails into her; we also put the sheep
on board and took our places, weeping and in great distress of mind.
Circe, that great and cunning goddess, sent us a fair wind that blew
dead aft and stayed steadily with us keeping our sails all the time
well filled; so we did whatever wanted doing to the ship's gear and
let her go as the wind and helmsman headed her. All day long her sails
were full as she held her course over the sea, but when the sun went
down and darkness was over all the earth, we got into the deep
waters of the river Oceanus, where lie the land and city of the
Cimmerians who live enshrouded in mist and darkness which the rays
of the sun never pierce neither at his rising nor as he goes down
again out of the heavens, but the poor wretches live in one long
melancholy night. When we got there we beached the ship, took the
sheep out of her, and went along by the waters of Oceanus till we came
to the place of which Circe had told us.
"Here Perimedes and Eurylochus held the victims, while I drew my
sword and dug the trench a cubit each way. I made a drink-offering
to all the dead, first with honey and milk, then with wine, and
thirdly with water, and I sprinkled white barley meal over the
whole, praying earnestly to the poor feckless ghosts, and promising
them that when I got back to Ithaca I would sacrifice a barren
heifer for them, the best I had, and would load the pyre with good
things. I also particularly promised that Teiresias should have a
black sheep to himself, the best in all my flocks. When I had prayed
sufficiently to the dead, I cut the throats of the two sheep and let
the blood run into the trench, whereon the ghosts came trooping up
from Erebus- brides, young bachelors, old men worn out with toil,
maids who had been crossed in love, and brave men who had been
killed in battle, with their armour still smirched with blood; they
came from every quarter and flitted round the trench with a strange
kind of screaming sound that made me turn pale with fear. When I saw
them coming I told the men to be quick and flay the carcasses of the
two dead sheep and make burnt offerings of them, and at the same
time to repeat prayers to Hades and to Proserpine; but I sat where I
was with my sword drawn and would not let the poor feckless ghosts
come near the blood till Teiresias should have answered my questions.
"The first ghost 'that came was that of my comrade Elpenor, for he
had not yet been laid beneath the earth. We had left his body
unwaked and unburied in Circe's house, for we had had too much else to
do. I was very sorry for him, and cried when I saw him: 'Elpenor,'
said I, 'how did you come down here into this gloom and darkness?
You have here on foot quicker than I have with my ship.'
"'Sir,' he answered with a groan, 'it was all bad luck, and my own
unspeakable drunkenness. I was lying asleep on the top of Circe's
house, and never thought of coming down again by the great staircase
but fell right off the roof and broke my neck, so my soul down to
the house of Hades. And now I beseech you by all those whom you have
left behind you, though they are not here, by your wife, by the father
who brought you up when you were a child, and by Telemachus who is the
one hope of your house, do what I shall now ask you. I know that
when you leave this limbo you will again hold your ship for the Aeaean
island. Do not go thence leaving me unwaked and unburied behind you,
or I may bring heaven's anger upon you; but burn me with whatever
armour I have, build a barrow for me on the sea shore, that may tell
people in days to come what a poor unlucky fellow I was, and plant
over my grave the oar I used to row with when I was yet alive and with
my messmates.' And I said, 'My poor fellow, I will do all that you
have asked of me.'
"Thus, then, did we sit and hold sad talk with one another, I on the
one side of the trench with my sword held over the blood, and the
ghost of my comrade saying all this to me from the other side. Then
came the ghost of my dead mother Anticlea, daughter to Autolycus. I
had left her alive when I set out for Troy and was moved to tears when
I saw her, but even so, for all my sorrow I would not let her come
near the blood till I had asked my questions of Teiresias.
"Then came also the ghost of Theban Teiresias, with his golden
sceptre in his hand. He knew me and said, 'Ulysses, noble son of
Laertes, why, poor man, have you left the light of day and come down
to visit the dead in this sad place? Stand back from the trench and
withdraw your sword that I may drink of the blood and answer your
questions truly.'
"So I drew back, and sheathed my sword, whereon when he had drank of
the blood he began with his prophecy.
"You want to know,' said he, 'about your return home, but heaven
will make this hard for you. I do not think that you will escape the
eye of Neptune, who still nurses his bitter grudge against you for
having blinded his son. Still, after much suffering you may get home
if you can restrain yourself and your companions when your ship
reaches the Thrinacian island, where you will find the sheep and
cattle belonging to the sun, who sees and gives ear to everything.
If you leave these flocks unharmed and think of nothing but of getting
home, you may yet after much hardship reach Ithaca; but if you harm
them, then I forewarn you of the destruction both of your ship and
of your men. Even though you may yourself escape, you will return in
bad plight after losing all your men, [in another man's ship, and
you will find trouble in your house, which will be overrun by
high-handed people, who are devouring your substance under the pretext
of paying court and making presents to your wife.
"'When you get home you will take your revenge on these suitors; and
after you have killed them by force or fraud in your own house, you
must take a well-made oar and carry it on and on, till you come to a
country where the people have never heard of the sea and do not even
mix salt with their food, nor do they know anything about ships, and
oars that are as the wings of a ship. I will give you this certain
token which cannot escape your notice. A wayfarer will meet you and
will say it must be a winnowing shovel that you have got upon your
shoulder; on this you must fix the oar in the ground and sacrifice a
ram, a bull, and a boar to Neptune. Then go home and offer hecatombs
to an the gods in heaven one after the other. As for yourself, death
shall come to you from the sea, and your life shall ebb away very
gently when you are full of years and peace of mind, and your people
shall bless you. All that I have said will come true].'
"'This,' I answered, 'must be as it may please heaven, but tell me
and tell me and tell me true, I see my poor mother's ghost close by
us; she is sitting by the blood without saying a word, and though I am
her own son she does not remember me and speak to me; tell me, Sir,
how I can make her know me.'
"'That,' said he, 'I can soon do Any ghost that you let taste of the
blood will talk with you like a reasonable being, but if you do not
let them have any blood they will go away again.'
"On this the ghost of Teiresias went back to the house of Hades, for
his prophecyings had now been spoken, but I sat still where I was
until my mother came up and tasted the blood. Then she knew me at once
and spoke fondly to me, saying, 'My son, how did you come down to this
abode of darkness while you are still alive? It is a hard thing for
the living to see these places, for between us and them there are
great and terrible waters, and there is Oceanus, which no man can
cross on foot, but he must have a good ship to take him. Are you all
this time trying to find your way home from Troy, and have you never
yet got back to Ithaca nor seen your wife in your own house?'
"'Mother,' said I, 'I was forced to come here to consult the ghost
of the Theban prophet Teiresias. I have never yet been near the
Achaean land nor set foot on my native country, and I have had nothing
but one long series of misfortunes from the very first day that I
set out with Agamemnon for Ilius, the land of noble steeds, to fight
the Trojans. But tell me, and tell me true, in what way did you die?
Did you have a long illness, or did heaven vouchsafe you a gentle easy
passage to eternity? Tell me also about my father, and the son whom
I left behind me; is my property still in their hands, or has some one
else got hold of it, who thinks that I shall not return to claim it?
Tell me again what my wife intends doing, and in what mind she is;
does she live with my son and guard my estate securely, or has she
made the best match she could and married again?'
"My mother answered, 'Your wife still remains in your house, but she
is in great distress of mind and spends her whole time in tears both
night and day. No one as yet has got possession of your fine property,
and Telemachus still holds your lands undisturbed. He has to entertain
largely, as of course he must, considering his position as a
magistrate, and how every one invites him; your father remains at
his old place in the country and never goes near the town. He has no
comfortable bed nor bedding; in the winter he sleeps on the floor in
front of the fire with the men and goes about all in rags, but in
summer, when the warm weather comes on again, he lies out in the
vineyard on a bed of vine leaves thrown anyhow upon the ground. He
grieves continually about your never having come home, and suffers
more and more as he grows older. As for my own end it was in this
wise: heaven did not take me swiftly and painlessly in my own house,
nor was I attacked by any illness such as those that generally wear
people out and kill them, but my longing to know what you were doing
and the force of my affection for you- this it was that was the
death of me.'
"Then I tried to find some way of embracing my mother's ghost.
Thrice I sprang towards her and tried to clasp her in my arms, but
each time she flitted from my embrace as it were a dream or phantom,
and being touched to the quick I said to her, 'Mother, why do you
not stay still when I would embrace you? If we could throw our arms
around one another we might find sad comfort in the sharing of our
sorrows even in the house of Hades; does Proserpine want to lay a
still further load of grief upon me by mocking me with a phantom
"'My son,' she answered, 'most ill-fated of all mankind, it is not
Proserpine that is beguiling you, but all people are like this when
they are dead. The sinews no longer hold the flesh and bones together;
these perish in the fierceness of consuming fire as soon as life has
left the body, and the soul flits away as though it were a dream. Now,
however, go back to the light of day as soon as you can, and note
all these things that you may tell them to your wife hereafter.'
"Thus did we converse, and anon Proserpine sent up the ghosts of the
wives and daughters of all the most famous men. They gathered in
crowds about the blood, and I considered how I might question them
severally. In the end I deemed that it would be best to draw the
keen blade that hung by my sturdy thigh, and keep them from all
drinking the blood at once. So they came up one after the other, and
each one as I questioned her told me her race and lineage.
"The first I saw was Tyro. She was daughter of Salmoneus and wife of
Cretheus the son of Aeolus. She fell in love with the river Enipeus
who is much the most beautiful river in the whole world. Once when she
was taking a walk by his side as usual, Neptune, disguised as her
lover, lay with her at the mouth of the river, and a huge blue wave
arched itself like a mountain over them to hide both woman and god,
whereon he loosed her virgin girdle and laid her in a deep slumber.
When the god had accomplished the deed of love, he took her hand in
his own and said, 'Tyro, rejoice in all good will; the embraces of the
gods are not fruitless, and you will have fine twins about this time
twelve months. Take great care of them. I am Neptune, so now go
home, but hold your tongue and do not tell any one.'
"Then he dived under the sea, and she in due course bore Pelias
and Neleus, who both of them served Jove with all their might.
Pelias was a great breeder of sheep and lived in Iolcus, but the other
lived in Pylos. The rest of her children were by Cretheus, namely,
Aeson, Pheres, and Amythaon, who was a mighty warrior and charioteer.
"Next to her I saw Antiope, daughter to Asopus, who could boast of
having slept in the arms of even Jove himself, and who bore him two
sons Amphion and Zethus. These founded Thebes with its seven gates,
and built a wall all round it; for strong though they were they
could not hold Thebes till they had walled it.
"Then I saw Alcmena, the wife of Amphitryon, who also bore to Jove
indomitable Hercules; and Megara who was daughter to great King Creon,
and married the redoubtable son of Amphitryon.
"I also saw fair Epicaste mother of king OEdipodes whose awful lot
it was to marry her own son without suspecting it. He married her
after having killed his father, but the gods proclaimed the whole
story to the world; whereon he remained king of Thebes, in great grief
for the spite the gods had borne him; but Epicaste went to the house
of the mighty jailor Hades, having hanged herself for grief, and the
avenging spirits haunted him as for an outraged mother- to his ruing
bitterly thereafter.
"Then I saw Chloris, whom Neleus married for her beauty, having
given priceless presents for her. She was youngest daughter to Amphion
son of Iasus and king of Minyan Orchomenus, and was Queen in Pylos.
She bore Nestor, Chromius, and Periclymenus, and she also bore that
marvellously lovely woman Pero, who was wooed by all the country
round; but Neleus would only give her to him who should raid the
cattle of Iphicles from the grazing grounds of Phylace, and this was a
hard task. The only man who would undertake to raid them was a certain
excellent seer, but the will of heaven was against him, for the
rangers of the cattle caught him and put him in prison; nevertheless
when a full year had passed and the same season came round again,
Iphicles set him at liberty, after he had expounded all the oracles of
heaven. Thus, then, was the will of Jove accomplished.
"And I saw Leda the wife of Tyndarus, who bore him two famous
sons, Castor breaker of horses, and Pollux the mighty boxer. Both
these heroes are lying under the earth, though they are still alive,
for by a special dispensation of Jove, they die and come to life
again, each one of them every other day throughout all time, and
they have the rank of gods.
"After her I saw Iphimedeia wife of Aloeus who boasted the embrace
of Neptune. She bore two sons Otus and Ephialtes, but both were
short lived. They were the finest children that were ever born in this
world, and the best looking, Orion only excepted; for at nine years
old they were nine fathoms high, and measured nine cubits round the
chest. They threatened to make war with the gods in Olympus, and tried
to set Mount Ossa on the top of Mount Olympus, and Mount Pelion on the
top of Ossa, that they might scale heaven itself, and they would
have done it too if they had been grown up, but Apollo, son of Leto,
killed both of them, before they had got so much as a sign of hair
upon their cheeks or chin.
"Then I saw Phaedra, and Procris, and fair Ariadne daughter of the
magician Minos, whom Theseus was carrying off from Crete to Athens,
but he did not enjoy her, for before he could do so Diana killed her
in the island of Dia on account of what Bacchus had said against her.
"I also saw Maera and Clymene and hateful Eriphyle, who sold her own
husband for gold. But it would take me all night if I were to name
every single one of the wives and daughters of heroes whom I saw,
and it is time for me to go to bed, either on board ship with my crew,
or here. As for my escort, heaven and yourselves will see to it."
Here he ended, and the guests sat all of them enthralled and
speechless throughout the covered cloister. Then Arete said to them:
"What do you think of this man, O Phaecians? Is he not tall and good
looking, and is he not Clever? True, he is my own guest, but all of
you share in the distinction. Do not he a hurry to send him away,
nor niggardly in the presents you make to one who is in such great
need, for heaven has blessed all of you with great abundance."
Then spoke the aged hero Echeneus who was one of the oldest men
among them, "My friends," said he, "what our august queen has just
said to us is both reasonable and to the purpose, therefore be
persuaded by it; but the decision whether in word or deed rests
ultimately with King Alcinous."
"The thing shall be done," exclaimed Alcinous, "as surely as I still
live and reign over the Phaeacians. Our guest is indeed very anxious
to get home, still we must persuade him to remain with us until
to-morrow, by which time I shall be able to get together the whole sum
that I mean to give him. As regards- his escort it will be a matter
for you all, and mine above all others as the chief person among you."
And Ulysses answered, "King Alcinous, if you were to bid me to
stay here for a whole twelve months, and then speed me on my way,
loaded with your noble gifts, I should obey you gladly and it would
redound greatly to my advantage, for I should return fuller-handed
to my own people, and should thus be more respected and beloved by all
who see me when I get back to Ithaca."
"Ulysses," replied Alcinous, "not one of us who sees you has any
idea that you are a charlatan or a swindler. I know there are many
people going about who tell such plausible stories that it is very
hard to see through them, but there is a style about your language
which assures me of your good disposition. Moreover you have told
the story of your own misfortunes, and those of the Argives, as though
you were a practised bard; but tell me, and tell me true, whether
you saw any of the mighty heroes who went to Troy at the same time
with yourself, and perished there. The evenings are still at their
longest, and it is not yet bed time- go on, therefore, with your
divine story, for I could stay here listening till to-morrow
morning, so long as you will continue to tell us of your adventures."
"Alcinous," answered Ulysses, "there is a time for making
speeches, and a time for going to bed; nevertheless, since you so
desire, I will not refrain from telling you the still sadder tale of
those of my comrades who did not fall fighting with the Trojans, but
perished on their return, through the treachery of a wicked woman.
"When Proserpine had dismissed the female ghosts in all
directions, the ghost of Agamemnon son of Atreus came sadly up tome,
surrounded by those who had perished with him in the house of
Aegisthus. As soon as he had tasted the blood he knew me, and
weeping bitterly stretched out his arms towards me to embrace me;
but he had no strength nor substance any more, and I too wept and
pitied him as I beheld him. 'How did you come by your death,' said
I, 'King Agamemnon? Did Neptune raise his winds and waves against
you when you were at sea, or did your enemies make an end of you on
the mainland when you were cattle-lifting or sheep-stealing, or
while they were fighting in defence of their wives and city?'
"'Ulysses,' he answered, 'noble son of Laertes, was not lost at
sea in any storm of Neptune's raising, nor did my foes despatch me
upon the mainland, but Aegisthus and my wicked wife were the death
of me between them. He asked me to his house, feasted me, and then
butchered me most miserably as though I were a fat beast in a
slaughter house, while all around me my comrades were slain like sheep
or pigs for the wedding breakfast, or picnic, or gorgeous banquet of
some great nobleman. You must have seen numbers of men killed either
in a general engagement, or in single combat, but you never saw
anything so truly pitiable as the way in which we fell in that
cloister, with the mixing-bowl and the loaded tables lying all
about, and the ground reeking with our-blood. I heard Priam's daughter
Cassandra scream as Clytemnestra killed her close beside me. I lay
dying upon the earth with the sword in my body, and raised my hands to
kill the slut of a murderess, but she slipped away from me; she
would not even close my lips nor my eyes when I was dying, for there
is nothing in this world so cruel and so shameless as a woman when she
has fallen into such guilt as hers was. Fancy murdering her own
husband! I thought I was going to be welcomed home by my children
and my servants, but her abominable crime has brought disgrace on
herself and all women who shall come after- even on the good ones.'
"And I said, 'In truth Jove has hated the house of Atreus from first
to last in the matter of their women's counsels. See how many of us
fell for Helen's sake, and now it seems that Clytemnestra hatched
mischief against too during your absence.'
"'Be sure, therefore,' continued Agamemnon, 'and not be too friendly
even with your own wife. Do not tell her all that you know perfectly
well yourself. Tell her a part only, and keep your own counsel about
the rest. Not that your wife, Ulysses, is likely to murder you, for
Penelope is a very admirable woman, and has an excellent nature. We
left her a young bride with an infant at her breast when we set out
for Troy. This child no doubt is now grown up happily to man's estate,
and he and his father will have a joyful meeting and embrace one
another as it is right they should do, whereas my wicked wife did
not even allow me the happiness of looking upon my son, but killed
me ere I could do so. Furthermore I say- and lay my saying to your
heart- do not tell people when you are bringing your ship to Ithaca,
but steal a march upon them, for after all this there is no trusting
women. But now tell me, and tell me true, can you give me any news
of my son Orestes? Is he in Orchomenus, or at Pylos, or is he at
Sparta with Menelaus- for I presume that he is still living.'
"And I said, 'Agamemnon, why do you ask me? I do not know whether
your son is alive or dead, and it is not right to talk when one does
not know.'
"As we two sat weeping and talking thus sadly with one another the
ghost of Achilles came up to us with Patroclus, Antilochus, and Ajax
who was the finest and goodliest man of all the Danaans after the
son of Peleus. The fleet descendant of Aeacus knew me and spoke
piteously, saying, 'Ulysses, noble son of Laertes, what deed of daring
will you undertake next, that you venture down to the house of Hades
among us silly dead, who are but the ghosts of them that can labour no
"And I said, 'Achilles, son of Peleus, foremost champion of the
Achaeans, I came to consult Teiresias, and see if he could advise me
about my return home to Ithaca, for I have never yet been able to
get near the Achaean land, nor to set foot in my own country, but have
been in trouble all the time. As for you, Achilles, no one was ever
yet so fortunate as you have been, nor ever will be, for you were
adored by all us Argives as long as you were alive, and now that you
are here you are a great prince among the dead. Do not, therefore,
take it so much to heart even if you are dead.'
"'Say not a word,' he answered, 'in death's favour; I would rather
be a paid servant in a poor man's house and be above ground than
king of kings among the dead. But give me news about son; is he gone
to the wars and will he be a great soldier, or is this not so? Tell me
also if you have heard anything about my father Peleus- does he
still rule among the Myrmidons, or do they show him no respect
throughout Hellas and Phthia now that he is old and his limbs fail
him? Could I but stand by his side, in the light of day, with the same
strength that I had when I killed the bravest of our foes upon the
plain of Troy- could I but be as I then was and go even for a short
time to my father's house, any one who tried to do him violence or
supersede him would soon me it.'
"'I have heard nothing,' I answered, 'of Peleus, but I can tell
you all about your son Neoptolemus, for I took him in my own ship from
Scyros with the Achaeans. In our councils of war before Troy he was
always first to speak, and his judgement was unerring. Nestor and I
were the only two who could surpass him; and when it came to
fighting on the plain of Troy, he would never remain with the body
of his men, but would dash on far in front, foremost of them all in
valour. Many a man did he kill in battle- I cannot name every single
one of those whom he slew while fighting on the side of the Argives,
but will only say how he killed that valiant hero Eurypylus son of
Telephus, who was the handsomest man I ever saw except Memnon; many
others also of the Ceteians fell around him by reason of a woman's
bribes. Moreover, when all the bravest of the Argives went inside
the horse that Epeus had made, and it was left to me to settle when we
should either open the door of our ambuscade, or close it, though
all the other leaders and chief men among the Danaans were drying
their eyes and quaking in every limb, I never once saw him turn pale
nor wipe a tear from his cheek; he was all the time urging me to break
out from the horse- grasping the handle of his sword and his
bronze-shod spear, and breathing fury against the foe. Yet when we had
sacked the city of Priam he got his handsome share of the prize
money and went on board (such is the fortune of war) without a wound
upon him, neither from a thrown spear nor in close combat, for the
rage of Mars is a matter of great chance.'
"When I had told him this, the ghost of Achilles strode off across a
meadow full of asphodel, exulting over what I had said concerning
the prowess of his son.
"The ghosts of other dead men stood near me and told me each his own
melancholy tale; but that of Ajax son of Telamon alone held aloof-
still angry with me for having won the cause in our dispute about
the armour of Achilles. Thetis had offered it as a prize, but the
Trojan prisoners and Minerva were the judges. Would that I had never
gained the day in such a contest, for it cost the life of Ajax, who
was foremost of all the Danaans after the son of Peleus, alike in
stature and prowess.
"When I saw him I tried to pacify him and said, 'Ajax, will you
not forget and forgive even in death, but must the judgement about
that hateful armour still rankle with you? It cost us Argives dear
enough to lose such a tower of strength as you were to us. We
mourned you as much as we mourned Achilles son of Peleus himself,
nor can the blame be laid on anything but on the spite which Jove bore
against the Danaans, for it was this that made him counsel your
destruction- come hither, therefore, bring your proud spirit into
subjection, and hear what I can tell you.'
"He would not answer, but turned away to Erebus and to the other
ghosts; nevertheless, I should have made him talk to me in spite of
his being so angry, or I should have gone talking to him, only that
there were still others among the dead whom I desired to see.
"Then I saw Minos son of Jove with his golden sceptre in his hand
sitting in judgement on the dead, and the ghosts were gathered sitting
and standing round him in the spacious house of Hades, to learn his
sentences upon them.
"After him I saw huge Orion in a meadow full of asphodel driving the
ghosts of the wild beasts that he had killed upon the mountains, and
he had a great bronze club in his hand, unbreakable for ever and ever.
"And I saw Tityus son of Gaia stretched upon the plain and
covering some nine acres of ground. Two vultures on either side of him
were digging their beaks into his liver, and he kept on trying to beat
them off with his hands, but could not; for he had violated Jove's
mistress Leto as she was going through Panopeus on her way to Pytho.
"I saw also the dreadful fate of Tantalus, who stood in a lake
that reached his chin; he was dying to quench his thirst, but could
never reach the water, for whenever the poor creature stooped to
drink, it dried up and vanished, so that there was nothing but dry
ground- parched by the spite of heaven. There were tall trees,
moreover, that shed their fruit over his head- pears, pomegranates,
apples, sweet figs and juicy olives, but whenever the poor creature
stretched out his hand to take some, the wind tossed the branches back
again to the clouds.
"And I saw Sisyphus at his endless task raising his prodigious stone
with both his hands. With hands and feet he' tried to roll it up to
the top of the hill, but always, just before he could roll it over
on to the other side, its weight would be too much for him, and the
pitiless stone would come thundering down again on to the plain.
Then he would begin trying to push it up hill again, and the sweat ran
off him and the steam rose after him.
"After him I saw mighty Hercules, but it was his phantom only, for
he is feasting ever with the immortal gods, and has lovely Hebe to
wife, who is daughter of Jove and Juno. The ghosts were screaming
round him like scared birds flying all whithers. He looked black as
night with his bare bow in his hands and his arrow on the string,
glaring around as though ever on the point of taking aim. About his
breast there was a wondrous golden belt adorned in the most marvellous
fashion with bears, wild boars, and lions with gleaming eyes; there
was also war, battle, and death. The man who made that belt, do what
he might, would never be able to make another like it. Hercules knew
me at once when he saw me, and spoke piteously, saying, my poor
Ulysses, noble son of Laertes, are you too leading the same sorry kind
of life that I did when I was above ground? I was son of Jove, but I
went through an infinity of suffering, for I became bondsman to one
who was far beneath me- a low fellow who set me all manner of labours.
He once sent me here to fetch the hell-hound- for he did not think
he could find anything harder for me than this, but I got the hound
out of Hades and brought him to him, for Mercury and Minerva helped
"On this Hercules went down again into the house of Hades, but I
stayed where I was in case some other of the mighty dead should come
to me. And I should have seen still other of them that are gone
before, whom I would fain have seen- Theseus and Pirithous glorious
children of the gods, but so many thousands of ghosts came round me
and uttered such appalling cries, that I was panic stricken lest
Proserpine should send up from the house of Hades the head of that
awful monster Gorgon. On this I hastened back to my ship and ordered
my men to go on board at once and loose the hawsers; so they
embarked and took their places, whereon the ship went down the
stream of the river Oceanus. We had to row at first, but presently a
fair wind sprang up.

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Sometimes I Wish That I Could Find

Sometimes I wish
That I could find
Something else to do
That doesn't involve

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Just Don't Find 'Anything' to Pick

If you want to critique,
At least make some sense of it.
Just don't find 'anything' to pick.
With beliefs you'll get a piece,
Of public attention.
That's if you want to critique!
If not...
Make your comments less dissective.
With a negativity,
That leaves your critique...
And your intentions suspected.

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Beneath stars we could find silences

Beneath stars we could find silences
with your hand at times straying into mine,
the smell of gardenia was on the wind
with the moon shining with every golden ray,
your lips were mine with an own language,
somewhere a bush shrike called
and it was icy cold on the red porch
with a star suddenly shooting past
and every previous wish I then recalled
before it faded into the naught.

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A Black Rose

I gave you this Rose
so you can see
how deep is my love
in my heart for thee

It resonates black
but it's deep colored wine
this beautiful Rose, I gave you
entwined on a vine

I love you so much
but make no mistake
this pretty black Rose
can quickly break

For it is fragile, soft and sweet
it is caring and heartfelt deep

It's what lovers
wish they could find
a deep colored black Rose
entwined on a vine

Because this black Rose
has a fine line
It's how I feel for you
my love of all time.

Charlie Vergara

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They Could Find No Match

There they were sitting,
Like hens in a den.
Stacked together cackling tight...
Like bowling pins grouped,
For someone to roll a strike!

Discussing with one another,
Who was with who...
And why was he with him?
Whipering and passing judgement...
Although they weren't 'butch'
They could have been mistaken as lesbians!

Since all of the women were divorced,
And none of them came escorted...
With anyone of the opposite sex,
Supporting a hint of a grin!
And there they were amongst themselves...
Proclaiming they could find no match,
For the men who chose from them to be detached!

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Blending With The Sky Again

clouds colored black

Rising from the earth

Floating on red skies

The sun Is gray

Rectangular to the

Earth shaped like

An ovum

A splash in the sea

Like an inverted comma

He is Icarus

He just drowned

They do not think

It is me

The sea is not green

It is blacker than black

I am trying to be

Off-white for you

To see.

But you can’t

You did not try

Thinking hard enough.

You have no time

For this

For me

Or anything else.

Sometimes I think

I should have

Grown myself

As the suicide bomber

And then explode

Inside you.

Perhaps you

Will notice me



Color must not

Be red.

I may

Blend with the

Red sky again.

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I Can't Find Anything Left To Kill

It is always a startling surprise
When the first fragile rays
Of another sunrise
Peak through the window blinds
And I’m still alive.

I’ve spun so many meditations of suicide
Through my tormented mind
That I feel like a weaver
Of mortuary fantasies.

From my early teens,
I’ve been plagued
With death and poetry dreams.

I thought it would be over
When I reached thirty-three,
I thought it would be achieved,
My self-destruction at the age
Of Christ crucified.

But thirty-three came and went
And I failed to find my desired demise;
Now, at forty-one I’ve become
A hollow man, a foggy ghost
Gradually burning off in the sunlight
That shines for another
And not for me…

Anymore, I walk around half-dazed
And I can’t find anything left to kill.

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Patrick White

It Isn't That I'm Looking

It isn't that I'm looking for eagles in a barnyard
or a phoenix in a match-head
when I observe
by the number of wrecks on the rocks
how few lighthouses there are these days
among so many flashlights.

What can the hair say about the horn
or the feather teach the wind
or quicksand preach
for the edification of the cornerstone?

And must I put a healthy leg
at the service of a broken crutch
to limp along with the mob
at the end of a dying culture
that insists that all roads end
in a cult of cripples?

If I'm walking alone to the stars
on a pilgrimage of one
finding my way in the going,
my heart aligned like the needle of a compass
to a darkness brighter than the light,
and the only map the clarity of my eyes,
why should those
who weep in their ashes like rain,
trying to put glasses on a fly,
who have never dipped
the thorn of the moon
in the night of their blood
and written a love poem
to a skull in a desert,
care if I want to roam
in the hills and valleys of myself
like some homeless shepherd of the wind
taking the stone of the earth for a pillow to dream on
in the high grasslands
where the stars walk
whispering eternal intimacies like black swans
barging the ores of a vacant throne
through my bloodstream,
as all along the shores of my flowing
ancient flowers wake mysteriously
like candles in an eclipse?

If I take the sky for the walls of my house
and leave the rest
like an autumn of junkmail
looking for a door and a last known address,
if I choose not to contrive a world
to accommodate my absence
in the available dimension of the future,
wiping my shadows and ghosts
like mirrors off at the threshold,
even letting go of the door
to enter empty-handed
as the applause
for an understudy of the dawn
that never got over its stage-fright
in the abyss of an abandoned theater,
happy to let the river pan itself for gold,
not laying a claim to anything,
making sure the gate-latch
clamps down like a dog on a bone
when I close it up
like a straitjacket in its own thoughts,
not stringing my spinal court to a wishbone
or the warped neck
of an obvious guitar,
but taking my voice with me
like a wounded bird in my hands,
a star struck from a stone,
moonlight in an empty boat,
the taste of silence
in the mouth of a mask,
my name a rainmark
on the eyelid of a dusty bell
I've left to the dream it keeps returning to;
why should it matter to anyone
who lies to the bleeding door
that is wounded by their entrance
everytime they say it's just me
as if a pillar answered?

I can't find anything
less than everything to call a self
and there are no mirrors
in an abyss more naked than the sky
to consult like the oracular flights of words
that litter the windowsill of this seeing
like flies that spent themselves,
flints on an empty lighter,
wicks on a glass candle,
consuming the ferocity
of their lives against the illusion of the world outside
they brain themselves against again and again
like small meteors
doused like torches in the eye
of the upper atmosphere
just above the open window.

When everything is absurd as this,
and even the tuning forks of the rain
are an era off in their pitch,
and music is merely
the coming and going of ants
in an abandoned syrinx,
and the drum of the heart alone
isn't enough to start a band,
and the only melody
is a road the wind blew away
like a hair off the shoulder of the night,
and everyone's trying
to unmarrow the moon like a fortune-cookie,
and every snowflake in the furnace
of this dark fire
thinks it dies like a galaxy
when it's only an inflection of tears,
am I not free to walk in harmony
with the savage senselessness of it all,
without hanging a bell of advice over my head
like the only corpse
on an island full of gravediggers
who can't get out of the holes they've dug
to bury me in?

I don't want to live waiting for yesterday
like the light of a star
that's already gone,
or dream like a seed of constellations to come
like a roll of the dice,
or watch the surplus of your smile
rotting on the docks of a famine.

And don't think these harvests I leave you
like a trail of breadcrumbs and dead flies
out of this wilderness of thought
are any more than stars
caught in the throat of the labyrinth
that follows itself like a snake with its tail in its mouth,
trying to find a way out of itself
by eating its own head.

And by some chance
if you ever make it out this far,
I've mailed back
the same map of fireflies
with its legend of smoke,
three lifetimes a lightyear,
you once handed me to find you
and marked every place I'm not
with a black hole.

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The Human Enigma

How many billions have left this earth
and left their fate to we?
How many more will follow us?
How many more will there be?
Do we leave an essence that can be felt?
We'd like to think it so.
But the vast unknown escapes us
and we will probably never know.

Thus we live our lives the best we can
with these questions on our mind.
And those billions more that follow us
will search but will not find
anything more than we.

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Married To Me

What is blacker than black -
To what black attacks -
Inside the black painted to my back -
Arrow the quiver to the bow -
Bend the target around my head -
Through my heart -
Breaks my hate -
Not to defeat -
The stake axed to my veins -
Vined by venom -
Nails hammered into my coffin -
Do you hear the whispers -
Six feet to 6 -
Dark by deep inside my grave -
The place by the length -
To my grace of disgrace -
Sing the angels demon songs -
Of my rights to play with wrong -
That is not my song -
The one which bleeds only greed -
The one who will be sixed -
The one who will be free -
Just not me -
So you see -
I am -
Me -
Married to be -

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Three dark
Shadows lurking
In the dark park
On a dark night
One leads
The two others
Follow wearing
Black raincoats
On a dark road
I lead
I tell them
My name
My work
My place

The two
Did not follow
Since then
They realized
Perhaps that
With what
I tell them
I am blacker
Than black
On a dark
On a dark
On a dark
In my dark
It would
Be so hard
For them
To follow
Through &

They quit
They split
So I
Walk alone
In the dark
As one lonely
Darker than
It is you
Following me?
In fact
We change
And it is
In effect
Who is
Leading me
These lines
Gettin g
Darker than

You have
Indulged &
You are
Long enough

You win
& lose…

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Three Dark Shadows

Three dark
Shadows lurking
In the dark park
On a dark night
One leads
The two others
Follow wearing
Black raincoats
On a dark road
I lead
I tell them
My name
My work
My place

The two
Did not follow
Since then
They realized
Perhaps that
With what
I tell them
I am blacker
Than black
On a dark
On a dark
On a dark
In my dark
It would
Be so hard
For them
To follow
Through &

They quit
They split
So I
Walk alone
In the dark
As one lonely
Darker than
It is you
Following me?
In fact
We change
And it is
In effect
Who is
Leading me
These lines
Darker than

You have
Indulged &
You are
Long enough

You win
& lose…

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Victor Hugo

Nox 1

At the bottom of your thoughts, this is the night you've chosen,
Prince, you must now make an end of things - the night is frozen
Come, get up! for sensing in shadow the smell of a thief
That old dog, Liberty, is growling and baring its teeth.
Though Carlier has chained it, it still continues to bay
You can't wait any longer. It's time now for the prey.
Look, December spreads a fog that's blacker than black
Just as a robber baron from his manor slips out the back.
Surprise now cold assassin the enemy in your sights.
Up! The regiments in the barracks wait tonight.
Knapsacks ready and now crazed with wine and with a furor,
Settling for a bandit to become an Emperor.
Take your lantern and come with careful steps - and quick -
Take your knife, the time is ripe, for just now the Republic
Confident and not seeing how your dark eyes do glow
Sleep with your oath, prince, tucked beneath the pillow.

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An Intoxicating Woman

The rapture imparted
By your tender smile
And blue inviting eyes
Is astonishing and consuming!
What man could kiss your mouth
And not be lost for eternity
With love for you?
What man who ever felt
Your warm breath upon his chest
Could do anything less
Than breathe heavy sighs thereafter
Whenever you escaped his sight?

I haven’t desired you for an afternoon,
I want more than a rendezvous
In an hotel room,
More than slowly removing your skirt
One time as excitedly and nervously
As a child on his first day at school:
I want to kiss the nape of your neck
For a never-ending mystical epoch,
I want to hold your breasts
Like a saint cleansing his soul
Touching holy water!

You think I speak insanely
Like a drunkard inflamed with wine!
You laugh like I’ll forget these words
Tomorrow when I’m sober!
As long as you walk in this world
As an intoxicating woman
With movements so elegantly graceful
As to enslave the attention
Of both men and women,
I’ll never be sober!
I’ll always be a raving madman
Falling at your feet
In fits of desperate infatuation!

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Side Effects

Doesn't it seem as if another cure has been discovered,
For an ailment you didn't know existed...
But now you are convinced,
You had it since birth?
And the cure advertised and available,
Is just what you need?

And some of these when taken,
Produce side effects!
Like serious infections, viruses and death!
Who lives to be that foolish?
Stupid question!

'No it isn't.
Haven't you heard?
No question asked is stupid! '

Can anyone today honestly believe,
Someone in a laboratory is going to find anything,
Other than another disease to create.
Infect some animal that's going to be eaten.
Spreading an illness that has to be cured.
And this is done on an annual basis.
Creating a public disturbance.
Increased pharmaceutical sales.
And hospitals building yet another wing,
To provide inadequate services...
For experimental purposes!

'Sound like you're talking about the flu?
Which reminds me...
Did you get your flu shot yet? '

What are we talking about?

'Give me a hint.
I haven't been paying attention.
Something about being a guinea pig maybe? '


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Change Of Heart

(eric carmen)
I can still recall
When we said that our love was forever
All those plans we made
For tomorrow that looked so bright
And I understand
All the reasons you gave me for leavin
But that doesnt help
When Im sleepin alone each night
So if you ever have a change of heart
Just remember its not too late to start
If you still believe in what love can do
I could find someone
More than willing to be your replacement
But theres no one else
Who can move me the way you do
So for now, goodbye
But if ever you find you still want me
You just call my name
cause Ill always be here for you
So if you ever have a change of heart
Just remember its not too late to start
If you still believe in what love can do
Nothing you could ever do
Would change the things I know
Deep in my heart
So I got to make you understand before I go
Sooner or later
I dont know when
Im gonna get you back
In my arms again
And if you ever have a change of heart
Just remember its not too late to start
If you still believe in what love can do
And if you ever have a change of heart
Just remember its not too late to start
If you still believe in what love can do
And if you ever have a change of heart
Just remember its not too late to start
If you still believe in what love can do

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Bless my heart and soul
I've discovered gold
Spread the news around
Get the ship afloat
A rock and roll the boat
Let's get into town
I am living down by the creek
Getting mired in the mud
No liquor for a week
I feel the cold in my blood
Here's a very busy lady
On her knees in the sludge
Well I do believe she's crazy
You know she's working like a drudge
Bless my heart and soul
She's discovered gold
Spread the news around
Get the ship afloat
A rock and roll the boat
And let's get into town
Even though she smelt like a drain
She's an angel to me
Her intentions are plain
And the whiskey is free
Breaking out another bottle
Keep it cool in the dirt
Well it's a water baby heaven
I got the papers in my shirt
Bless my heart and soul
We've discovered gold
Spread the news around
Get the ship afloat
A rock and roll the boat
And let's get into town
Bless my heart and soul
We've discovered gold
Spread the news around
Get the ship afloat
A rock and roll the boat
And let's get into town
You work hard all your life little honey
But you can't afford to save any money
You lay it down you leave the town
To see what you could find
For more than 20 years you're a diggin'
Then you can't believe what you are a pickin'
It's a piece of change just like a mountain range
Whoopee we're gonna lay it down

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Jason: D.C. 930. How many people from Virginia in here tonight?
Very cool, very cool. I grew up in Virginia.
This is the closest Ive ever played to home, so
this is very very groovy. Lets see what happens.
Strange because I believe it is my future
Staring back at me
With eyes so light
I never dreamed it could be
Anything else than what they could see
Oh, they are colors
That collide and scope
My heart belongs into
Magnificent ever-changing patterns do
Im wide awake at the wheel
Its oh so crazy because I can see
It could be my presence
So pleasantly deprived
Ive never seen the explained prophecies
Or anything else it should be
Oh they are troubled
And disguised behind wise eyes and wise crackin smiles
Hypnotized behind a panel
On a thirty hour drive
Im not at all what I seem
But my intentions are practical inventions
Forgot to mention Im insane by definition
Were taking pictures on the paper
No escape, the morning after I outride the wave
But all in all, its unlikely Ill succeed
Said, all in all, its unlikely
But all in all, its unlikely well succeed
All in all, I said, its unlikely
But all in all, its unlikely Ill succeed
Ive developed a lovely distaste for your heart on my sleeve, yeah
We keep it simple
Keep it clean
Keep repeating the words as often as you need
Oh, think, think
Blinks like a turning signal me to
Turn, turn away oh
From anything good, people say
Oh now, I will be selective, calm, cool and collective
And listening to the voice and its perspective
Hoping that the choices, appropriately respected
Are protecting me, are protecting me
Hey, hey, protecting me, protecting me
And I would like a little sugar in my coffee
I would like a little dream
And Id prefer another smoke before the morning
Or anything else in between
But all in all, its unlikely Ill succeed
Said, all in all, its unlikely
All in all, its unlikely well succeed
All in all, I said, its unlikely
But all in all, its unlikely Ill succeed
Ive developed a lovely distaste for your wide open spaces
I sense a delay
Oh, brushing my mind and scrubbing behind all the places I feel theres decay
Of information
Away, I say run, boy
Oh, oh we keep it
So wicked and its wild
Your past, your former style
Oh they can make believe in
Knowing why youre leaving
Youre just wanting to be on your own
I said, Youre wanting to be on your own
Yeah, you wanted to be on your own
I said, youre wanting to be on your own

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