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Saffron Burrows

He makes me laugh, Mick! He tended to turn up when we were having lunch and entertain us all. He bought an Enigma machine! I've never worked with a producer who was more famous than everyone put together.

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More Visual Than Not

Remember this...
When you decided,
To silence your lips.
Believing problems others had...
Were not yours to exist.

And you pointed your fingers,
With judgements passed?
While your assets dwindled.
As those 'others' you trashed!

Your opinion now expressed...
Has less influence than your crab grass.
Or the effective use of a lawn mower,
When it was needed.
To do a job now long ignored!

It is better left to collect cobwebs and dust.
Instead of making meaningless threats...
No one within hearing distance takes seriously.
Since the evidence becomes more visual than not!
And apparently someone has spent too much time sleeping.

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The Sock

It was early one morning
When I heard something horrible close by snoring
There, on the floor by my bed I could see
A long dark strange shape, mouth open staring at me
I had to hold my nose the smell was so foul
And as I wondered what it was, it gave a growl
So quickly I grabbed a pillow and threw it hard
Only to miss it by more than a yard
This thing was fast that's for sure
Like lightning it moved to hide behind the door
To my surprise I soon discovered
That this thing was an animal like no other
I was indeed put in a state of shock
When I identified this terrifying animal as my sock
A sock that I had worn for many weeks
And had lost but not washed and badly reeked
How I was going to catch this rodent sock I had no idea
So sat in bed thinking until it disappeared
When there was no sign of the sock to be seen
I decided quickly to prepare the washing machine
Set to ‘intensive' and with lots of soap
I waited patiently and in hope
For sooner or later the sock must appear
Drawn by curiosity and the smell of cheese and cheap beer
Sure enough I hadn't needed to wait long
For the trap was set using a cheese and beer smelling thong
It rushed around the corner and into the machine
And I quickly slammed the door and set it on clean
After two hours of being tumbled washed and dried
I took the poor fellow out who was more dead than alive
Now weeks later I'm pleased to show
Everything is back to normal as I wear my thong outside my pants wherever I go

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Oscar Wilde

The Sphinx

In a dim corner of my room for longer than
my fancy thinks
A beautiful and silent Sphinx has watched me
through the shifting gloom.

Inviolate and immobile she does not rise she
does not stir
For silver moons are naught to her and naught
to her the suns that reel.

Red follows grey across the air, the waves of
moonlight ebb and flow
But with the Dawn she does not go and in the
night-time she is there.

Dawn follows Dawn and Nights grow old and
all the while this curious cat
Lies couching on the Chinese mat with eyes of
satin rimmed with gold.

Upon the mat she lies and leers and on the
tawny throat of her
Flutters the soft and silky fur or ripples to her
pointed ears.

Come forth, my lovely seneschal! so somnolent,
so statuesque!
Come forth you exquisite grotesque! half woman
and half animal!

Come forth my lovely languorous Sphinx! and
put your head upon my knee!
And let me stroke your throat and see your
body spotted like the Lynx!

And let me touch those curving claws of yellow
ivory and grasp
The tail that like a monstrous Asp coils round
your heavy velvet paws!


A thousand weary centuries are thine
while I have hardly seen
Some twenty summers cast their green for
Autumn's gaudy liveries.

But you can read the Hieroglyphs on the
great sandstone obelisks,
And you have talked with Basilisks, and you
have looked on Hippogriffs.

O tell me, were you standing by when Isis to
Osiris knelt?
And did you watch the Egyptian melt her union
for Antony

And drink the jewel-drunken wine and bend
her head in mimic awe
To see the huge proconsul draw the salted tunny
from the brine?

And did you mark the Cyprian kiss white Adon
on his catafalque?
And did you follow Amenalk, the God of
Heliopolis?

And did you talk with Thoth, and did you hear
the moon-horned Io weep?
And know the painted kings who sleep beneath
the wedge-shaped Pyramid?


Lift up your large black satin eyes which are
like cushions where one sinks!
Fawn at my feet, fantastic Sphinx! and sing me
all your memories!

Sing to me of the Jewish maid who wandered
with the Holy Child,
And how you led them through the wild, and
how they slept beneath your shade.

Sing to me of that odorous green eve when
crouching by the marge
You heard from Adrian's gilded barge the
laughter of Antinous

And lapped the stream and fed your drouth and
watched with hot and hungry stare
The ivory body of that rare young slave with
his pomegranate mouth!

Sing to me of the Labyrinth in which the twi-
formed bull was stalled!
Sing to me of the night you crawled across the
temple's granite plinth

When through the purple corridors the screaming
scarlet Ibis flew
In terror, and a horrid dew dripped from the
moaning Mandragores,

And the great torpid crocodile within the tank
shed slimy tears,
And tare the jewels from his ears and staggered
back into the Nile,

And the priests cursed you with shrill psalms as
in your claws you seized their snake
And crept away with it to slake your passion by
the shuddering palms.


Who were your lovers? who were they
who wrestled for you in the dust?
Which was the vessel of your Lust? What
Leman had you, every day?

Did giant Lizards come and crouch before you
on the reedy banks?
Did Gryphons with great metal flanks leap on
you in your trampled couch?

Did monstrous hippopotami come sidling toward
you in the mist?
Did gilt-scaled dragons writhe and twist with
passion as you passed them by?

And from the brick-built Lycian tomb what
horrible Chimera came
With fearful heads and fearful flame to breed
new wonders from your womb?


Or had you shameful secret quests and did
you harry to your home
Some Nereid coiled in amber foam with curious
rock crystal breasts?

Or did you treading through the froth call to
the brown Sidonian
For tidings of Leviathan, Leviathan or
Behemoth?

Or did you when the sun was set climb up the
cactus-covered slope
To meet your swarthy Ethiop whose body was
of polished jet?

Or did you while the earthen skiffs dropped
down the grey Nilotic flats
At twilight and the flickering bats flew round
the temple's triple glyphs

Steal to the border of the bar and swim across
the silent lake
And slink into the vault and make the Pyramid
your lupanar

Till from each black sarcophagus rose up the
painted swathed dead?
Or did you lure unto your bed the ivory-horned
Tragelaphos?

Or did you love the god of flies who plagued
the Hebrews and was splashed
With wine unto the waist? or Pasht, who had
green beryls for her eyes?

Or that young god, the Tyrian, who was more
amorous than the dove
Of Ashtaroth? or did you love the god of the
Assyrian

Whose wings, like strange transparent talc, rose
high above his hawk-faced head,
Painted with silver and with red and ribbed with
rods of Oreichalch?

Or did huge Apis from his car leap down and
lay before your feet
Big blossoms of the honey-sweet and honey-
coloured nenuphar?


How subtle-secret is your smile! Did you
love none then? Nay, I know
Great Ammon was your bedfellow! He lay with
you beside the Nile!

The river-horses in the slime trumpeted when
they saw him come
Odorous with Syrian galbanum and smeared with
spikenard and with thyme.

He came along the river bank like some tall
galley argent-sailed,
He strode across the waters, mailed in beauty,
and the waters sank.

He strode across the desert sand: he reached
the valley where you lay:
He waited till the dawn of day: then touched
your black breasts with his hand.

You kissed his mouth with mouths of flame:
you made the horned god your own:
You stood behind him on his throne: you called
him by his secret name.

You whispered monstrous oracles into the
caverns of his ears:
With blood of goats and blood of steers you
taught him monstrous miracles.

White Ammon was your bedfellow! Your
chamber was the steaming Nile!
And with your curved archaic smile you watched
his passion come and go.


With Syrian oils his brows were bright:
and wide-spread as a tent at noon
His marble limbs made pale the moon and lent
the day a larger light.

His long hair was nine cubits' span and coloured
like that yellow gem
Which hidden in their garment's hem the
merchants bring from Kurdistan.

His face was as the must that lies upon a vat of
new-made wine:
The seas could not insapphirine the perfect azure
of his eyes.

His thick soft throat was white as milk and
threaded with thin veins of blue:
And curious pearls like frozen dew were
broidered on his flowing silk.


On pearl and porphyry pedestalled he was
too bright to look upon:
For on his ivory breast there shone the wondrous
ocean-emerald,

That mystic moonlit jewel which some diver of
the Colchian caves
Had found beneath the blackening waves and
carried to the Colchian witch.

Before his gilded galiot ran naked vine-wreathed
corybants,
And lines of swaying elephants knelt down to
draw his chariot,

And lines of swarthy Nubians bare up his litter
as he rode
Down the great granite-paven road between the
nodding peacock-fans.

The merchants brought him steatite from Sidon
in their painted ships:
The meanest cup that touched his lips was
fashioned from a chrysolite.

The merchants brought him cedar chests of rich
apparel bound with cords:
His train was borne by Memphian lords: young
kings were glad to be his guests.

Ten hundred shaven priests did bow to Ammon's
altar day and night,
Ten hundred lamps did wave their light through
Ammon's carven house - and now

Foul snake and speckled adder with their young
ones crawl from stone to stone
For ruined is the house and prone the great
rose-marble monolith!

Wild ass or trotting jackal comes and couches
in the mouldering gates:
Wild satyrs call unto their mates across the
fallen fluted drums.

And on the summit of the pile the blue-faced
ape of Horus sits
And gibbers while the fig-tree splits the pillars
of the peristyle


The god is scattered here and there: deep
hidden in the windy sand
I saw his giant granite hand still clenched in
impotent despair.

And many a wandering caravan of stately
negroes silken-shawled,
Crossing the desert, halts appalled before the
neck that none can span.

And many a bearded Bedouin draws back his
yellow-striped burnous
To gaze upon the Titan thews of him who was
thy paladin.


Go, seek his fragments on the moor and
wash them in the evening dew,
And from their pieces make anew thy mutilated
paramour!

Go, seek them where they lie alone and from
their broken pieces make
Thy bruised bedfellow! And wake mad passions
in the senseless stone!

Charm his dull ear with Syrian hymns! he loved
your body! oh, be kind,
Pour spikenard on his hair, and wind soft rolls
of linen round his limbs!

Wind round his head the figured coins! stain
with red fruits those pallid lips!
Weave purple for his shrunken hips! and purple
for his barren loins!


Away to Egypt! Have no fear. Only one
God has ever died.
Only one God has let His side be wounded by a
soldier's spear.

But these, thy lovers, are not dead. Still by the
hundred-cubit gate
Dog-faced Anubis sits in state with lotus-lilies
for thy head.

Still from his chair of porphyry gaunt Memnon
strains his lidless eyes
Across the empty land, and cries each yellow
morning unto thee.

And Nilus with his broken horn lies in his black
and oozy bed
And till thy coming will not spread his waters on
the withering corn.

Your lovers are not dead, I know. They will
rise up and hear your voice
And clash their cymbals and rejoice and run to
kiss your mouth! And so,

Set wings upon your argosies! Set horses to
your ebon car!
Back to your Nile! Or if you are grown sick of
dead divinities

Follow some roving lion's spoor across the copper-
coloured plain,
Reach out and hale him by the mane and bid
him be your paramour!

Couch by his side upon the grass and set your
white teeth in his throat
And when you hear his dying note lash your
long flanks of polished brass

And take a tiger for your mate, whose amber
sides are flecked with black,
And ride upon his gilded back in triumph
through the Theban gate,

And toy with him in amorous jests, and when
he turns, and snarls, and gnaws,
O smite him with your jasper claws! and bruise
him with your agate breasts!


Why are you tarrying? Get hence! I
weary of your sullen ways,
I weary of your steadfast gaze, your somnolent
magnificence.

Your horrible and heavy breath makes the light
flicker in the lamp,
And on my brow I feel the damp and dreadful
dews of night and death.

Your eyes are like fantastic moons that shiver
in some stagnant lake,
Your tongue is like a scarlet snake that dances
to fantastic tunes,

Your pulse makes poisonous melodies, and your
black throat is like the hole
Left by some torch or burning coal on Saracenic
tapestries.

Away! The sulphur-coloured stars are hurrying
through the Western gate!
Away! Or it may be too late to climb their silent
silver cars!

See, the dawn shivers round the grey gilt-dialled
towers, and the rain
Streams down each diamonded pane and blurs
with tears the wannish day.

What snake-tressed fury fresh from Hell, with
uncouth gestures and unclean,
Stole from the poppy-drowsy queen and led you
to a student's cell?


What songless tongueless ghost of sin crept
through the curtains of the night,
And saw my taper burning bright, and knocked,
and bade you enter in?

Are there not others more accursed, whiter with
leprosies than I?
Are Abana and Pharphar dry that you come here
to slake your thirst?

Get hence, you loathsome mystery! Hideous
animal, get hence!
You wake in me each bestial sense, you make me
what I would not be.

You make my creed a barren sham, you wake
foul dreams of sensual life,
And Atys with his blood-stained knife were
better than the thing I am.

False Sphinx! False Sphinx! By reedy Styx
old Charon, leaning on his oar,
Waits for my coin. Go thou before, and leave
me to my crucifix,

Whose pallid burden, sick with pain, watches
the world with wearied eyes,
And weeps for every soul that dies, and weeps
for every soul in vain.

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Orlando Furioso Canto 2

ARGUMENT
A hermit parts, by means of hollow sprite,
The two redoubted rivals' dangerous play;
Rinaldo goes where Love and Hope invite,
But is dispatched by Charles another way;
Bradamont, seeking her devoted knight,
The good Rogero, nigh becomes the prey
Of Pinabel, who drops the damsel brave
Into the dungeon of a living grave.


I
Injurious love, why still to mar accord
Between desires has been thy favourite feat?
Why does it please thee so, perfidious lord,
Two hearts should with a different measure beat?
Thou wilt not let me take the certain ford,
Dragging me where the stream is deep and fleet.
Her I abandon who my love desires,
While she who hates, respect and love inspires.

II
Thou to Rinaldo show'st the damsel fair,
While he seems hideous to that gentle dame;
And he, who when the lady's pride and care,
Paid back with deepest hate her amorous flame,
Now pines, himself, the victim of despair,
Scorned in his turn, and his reward the same.
By the changed damsel in such sort abhorred,
She would choose death before that hated lord.

III
He to the Pagan cries: "Forego thy theft,
And down, false felon, from that pilfer'd steed;
I am not wont to let my own be reft.
And he who seeks it dearly pays the deed.
More -- I shall take from thee yon lovely weft;
To leave thee such a prize were foul misdeed;
And horse and maid, whose worth outstrips belief,
Were ill, methinks, relinquished to a thief."

IV
"Thou liest," the haughty Saracen retorts,
As proud, and burning with as fierce a flame,
"A thief thyself, if Fame the truth reports:
But let good deeds decide our dubious claim,
With whom the steed or damsel fair assorts:
Best proved by valiant deeds: though, for the dame,
That nothing is so precious, I with thee
(Search the wide world throughout) may well agree."

V
As two fierce dogs will somtimes stand at gaze,
Whom hate or other springs of strife inspire,
And grind their teeth, while each his foe surveys
With sidelong glance and eyes more red than fire,
Then either falls to bites, and hoarsely bays,
While their stiff bristles stand on end with ire:
So from reproach and menace to the sword
Pass Sacripant and Clermont's angry lord.

VI
Thus kindling into wrath the knights engage:
One is on foot, the other on his horse:
Small gain to this; for inexperienced page
Would better rein his charger in the course.
For such Baiardo's sense, he will not wage
War with his master, or put out his force.
For voice, nor hand, nor manage, will he stir,
Rebellious to the rein or goading spur.

VII
He, when the king would urge him, takes the rest,
Or, when he curbs him, runs in giddy rings;
And drops his head beneath his spreading chest,
And plays his spine, and runs an-end and flings.
And now the furious Saracen distressed,
Sees 'tis no time to tame the beast, and springs,
With one hand on the pummel, to the ground;
Clear of the restless courser at a bound.

VIII
As soon as Sacripant, with well-timed leap,
Is from the fury of Bayardo freed,
You may believe the battle does not sleep
Between those champions, matched in heart and deed.
Their sounding blades such changeful measure keep,
The hammer-strokes of Vulcan with less speed
Descend in that dim cavern, where he heats,
And Jove's red thunders on his anvil beats.

IX
Sometimes they lunge, then feign the thrust and parry:
Deep masters of the desperate game they play;
Or rise upon the furious stroke, and carry
Their swords aloft, or stoop and stand at bay.
Again they close, again exhausted tarry;
Now hide, now show themselves, and now give way,
And where one knight an inch of ground has granted,
His foeman's foot upon that inch is planted.

X
When, lo! Rinaldo, now impatient grown,
Strikes full at Sacripant with lifted blade;
And he puts forth his buckler made of bone,
And well with strong and stubborn steel inlaid:
Though passing thick, Fusberta cleaves it: groan
Greenwood, and covert close, and sunny glade.
The paynim's arm rings senseless with the blow,
And steel and bone, like ice, in shivers go.

XI
When the fair damsel saw, with timid eye,
Such ruin follow from the faulchion's sway,
She, like the criminal, whose doom is nigh,
Changed her fair countenance through sore dismay,
And deemed that little time was left to fly
If she would not be that Rinaldo's prey,
Rinaldo loathed by her as much, as he
Doats on the scornful damsel miserably.

XII
So turned her horse into the gloomy chase,
And drove him through rough path and tangled ally
And oftentimes bent back her bloodless face,
And saw Rinaldo from each thicket sally.
Nor flying long had urged the frantic race,
Before she met a hermit in a valley.
Devotion in his aspect was expressed,
And his long beard descended on his breast.

XIII
Wasted he was as much by fasts as age,
And on an ass was mounted, slow and sure;
His visage warranted that never sage
Had conscience more precise or passing pure.
Though in his arteries time had stilled the rage
Of blood, and spake him feeble and demure,
At sight of the delighted damsel, he
Was inly stirred for very charity.

XIV
The lady prayed that kindly friar, that he
Would straight conduct her to some haven near,
For that she from the land of France might flee,
And never more of loathed Rinaldo hear.
The hermit, who was skilled in sorcery,
Ceased not to soothe the gentle damsel's fear.
And with the promise of deliverance, shook
His pocket, and drew forth a secret book.

XV
This opened, quick and mighty marvel wrought;
For not a leaf is finished by the sage,
Before a spirit, by his bidding brought,
Waits his command in likeness of a page:
He, by the magic writ constrained and taught,
Hastes where the warriors face to face engage,
In the cool shade -- but not in cool disport --
And steps between, and stops their battle short.

XVI
"In courtesy," he cried, "let either show
What his foe's death to either can avail,
And what the guerdon conquest will bestow
On him who in the battle shall prevail,
If Roland, though he has not struck a blow,
Or snapt in fight a single link of mail,
To Paris-town conveys the damsel gay,
Who has engaged you in this bitter fray.

XVII
"Within an easy mile I saw the peer
Pricking to Paris with that lady bright;
Riding, in merry mood, with laugh and jeer,
And mocking at your fierce and fruitless fight.
Sure it were better, while they yet are near,
To follow peer and damsel in their flight:
For should he once in Paris place his prize
The lady never more shall meet your eyes."

XVIII
You might have seen those angry cavaliers
Change at the demon's tale for rage and shame;
And curse themselves as wanting eyes and ears,
To let their rival cheat them of the dame.
Towards his horse the good Rinaldo steers,
Breathing forth piteous sighs which seem of flame;
And, if he joins Orlando -- ere they part --
Swears in his fury he will have his heart.

XIX
So, passing where the prompt Bayardo stood,
Leaps on his back, and leaves, as swift as wind,
Without farewell, his rival in the wood;
Much less invites him to a seat behind.
The goaded charger, in his heat of blood,
Forces whate'er his eager course confined,
Ditch, river, tangled thorn, or marble block;
He swims the river, and he clears the rock.

XX
Let it not, sir, sound strangely in your ear
Rinaldo took the steed thus readily,
So long and vainly followed far and near;
For he, endued with reasoning faculty,
Had not in vice lured on the following peer,
But fled before his cherished lord, that he
Might guide him whither went the gentle dame,
For whom, as he had heard, he nursed a flame.

XXI
For when Angelica, in random dread,
From the pavilion winged her rapid flight,
Bayardo marked the damsel as she fled,
His saddle lightened of Mount Alban's knight;
Who then on foot an equal combat sped,
Matched with a baron of no meaner might;
And chased the maid by woods, and floods, and strands,
In hopes to place her in the warrior's hands.

XXII
And, with desire to bring him to the maid,
Gallopped before him still with rampant play;
But would not let his master mount, afraid
That he might make him take another way.
So luring on Rinaldo through the shade,
Twice brought him to his unexpected prey;
Twice foiled in his endeavour: once by bold
Ferrau; then Sacripant, as lately told.

XXIII
Now good Bayardo had believed the tiding
Of that fair damsel, which produced the accord;
And in the devil's cunning tale confiding,
Renewed his wonted service to his lord.
Behold Rinaldo then in fury riding,
And pushing still his courser Paris-ward!
Though he fly fast, the champion's wishes go
Faster; and wind itself had seemed too slow.

XXIV
At night Rinaldo rests his steed, with pain
To meet Anglante's lord he burned so sore;
And lent such credit to the tidings vain
Of the false courier of that wizard hoar:
And that day and the next, with flowing rein,
Rode, till the royal city rose before
His eyes; where Charlemagne had taken post,
With the sad remnant of his broken host.

XXV
He, for he fears the Afric king's pursuit,
And sap and siege, upon his vassals calls
To gather in fresh victual, and recruit
And cleanse their ditches, and repair their walls.
And what may best annoy the foes, and suit
For safety, without more delay forestalls;
And plans an embassy to England, thence
To gather fresher forces for defence.

XXVI
For he is bent again to try the fate
Of arms in tented field, though lately shamed;
And send Rinaldo to the neighbouring state
Of Britain, which was after England named.
Ill liked the Paladin to cross the strait;
Not that the people or the land he blamed,
But that King Charles was sudden; nor a day
Would grant the valiant envoy for delay.

XXVII
Rinaldo never executed thing
Less willingly, prevented in his quest
Of that fair visage he was following,
Whose charms his heart had ravished from his breast.
Yet, in obediance to the christian king,
Prepared himself to do the royal hest.
To Calais the good envoy wends with speed,
And the same day embarks himself and steed.

XXVIII
And there, in scorn of cautious pilot's skill
(Such his impatience to regain his home),
Launched on the doubtful sea, which boded ill,
And rolled its heavy billows, white with foam.
The wind, enraged that he opposed his will,
Stirred up the waves; and, 'mid the gathering gloom,
So the loud storm and tempest's fury grew,
That topmast-high the flashing waters flew.

XXIX
The watchful mariners, in wary sort,
Haul down the mainsail, and attempt to wear;
And would put back in panic to the port,
Whence, in ill hour, they loosed with little care.
-- "Not so," exclaims the wind, and stops them short,
"So poor a penance will not pay the dare."
And when they fain would veer, with fiercer roar
Pelts back their reeling prow and blusters more.

XXX
Starboard and larboard bears the fitful gale,
And never for a thought its ire assuages;
While the strained vessel drives with humble sail
Before the billows, as the tempest rages.
But I, who still pursue a varying tale,
Must leave awhile the Paladin, who wages
A weary warfare with the wind and flood;
To follow a fair virgin of his blood.

XXXI
I speak of that famed damsel, by whose spear
O'erthrown, King Sacripant on earth was flung;
The worthy sister of the valiant peer,
From Beatrix and good Duke Aymon sprung.
By daring deeds and puissance no less dear
To Charlemagne and France: Since proved among
The first, her prowess, tried by many a test,
Equal to good Rinaldo's shone confessed.

XXXII
A cavalier was suitor to the dame,
Who out of Afric passed with Agramant;
Rogero was his valiant father's name,
His mother was the child of Agolant.
And she, who not of bear or lion came,
Disdained not on the Child her love to plant,
Though cruel Fortune, ill their wishes meeting,
Had granted to the pair a single greeting.

XXXIII
Alone thenceforth she sought her lover (he
Was named of him to whom he owed his birth),
And roved as safe as if in company
Of thousands, trusting in her single worth.
She having made the king of Circassy
Salute the visage of old mother earth,
Traversed a wood, and that wood past, a mountain;
And stopt at length beside a lovely fountain.

XXXIV
Through a delicious mead the fountain-rill,
By ancient trees o'ershaded, glides away;
And him whose ear its pleasing murmurs fill,
Invites to drink, and on its banks to stay;
On the left side a cultivated hill
Excludes the fervors of the middle day.
As first the damsel thither turns her eyes,
A youthful cavalier she seated spies;

XXXV
A cavalier, who underneath the shade,
Seems lost, as in a melancholy dream;
And on the bank, which gaudy flowers displayed,
Reposing, overhangs the crystal stream.
His horse beneath a spreading beech is laid,
And from a bough the shield and helmet gleam.
While his moist eyes, and sad and downcast air,
Speak him the broken victim of despair.

XXXVI
Urged by the passion lodged in every breast,
A restless curiosity to know
Of others' cares, the gentle maid addressed
The knight, and sought the occasion of his woe.
And he to her his secret grief confessed,
Won by her gentle speech and courteous show,
And by that gallant bearing, which at sight,
Prepared who saw her for nimble knight.

XXXVII
"Fair sir, a band of horse and foot," he said,
"I brought to Charlemagne; and thither pressed,
Where he an ambush for Marsilius spread,
Descending from the Pyrenean crest;
And in my company a damsel led,
Whose charms with fervid love had fired my breast.
When, as we journey by Rhone's current, I
A rider on a winged courser spy.

XXXVIII
"The robber, whether he were man or shade,
Or goblin damned to everlasting woe,
As soon as he beheld my dear-loved maid,
Like falcon, who, descending, aims its blow,
Sank in a thought and rose; and soaring, laid
Hands on his prize, and snatched her from below.
So quick the rape, that all appeared a dream,
Until I heard in air the damsel's scream.

XXXIX
"The ravening kite so swoops and plunders, when
Hovering above the shelterd yard, she spies
A helpless chicken near unwatchful hen,
Who vainly dins the thief with after cries.
I cannot reach the mountain-robber's den,
Compassed with cliffs, or follow one who flies.
Besides, way-foundered is my weary steed,
Who 'mid these rocks has wasted wind and speed.

XL
"But I, like one who from his bleeding side
Would liefer far have seen his heart out-torn,
Left my good squadrons masterless, to ride
Along the cliffs, and passes least forlorn;
And took the way (love served me for a guide)
Where it appeared the ruthless thief had born,
Ascending to his den, the lovely prey,
What time he snatched my hope and peace away.

XLI
"Six days I rode, from morn to setting sun,
By horrid cliff, by bottom dark and drear;
And giddy precipice, where path was none,
Nor sign, nor vestiges of man were near.
At last a dark and barren vale I won,
Where caverned mountains and rude cliffs appear;
Where in the middle rose a rugged block,
With a fair castle planted on the rock.

XLII
"From far it shone like flame, and seemed not dight
Of marble or of brick; and in my eye
More wonderful the work, more fair to sight
The walls appeared, as I approached more nigh.
I, after, learned that it was built by sprite
Whom potent fumes had raised and sorcery:
Who on this rock its towers of steel did fix,
Case-hardened in the stream and fire of Styx.

XLIII
"Each polished turret shines with such a ray
That it defies the mouldering rust and rain:
The robber scours the country night and day,
And after harbours in this sure domain.
Nothing is safe which he would bear away;
Pursued with curses and with threats in vain.
There (fruitless every hope to foil his art)
The felon keeps my love, oh! say my heart.

XLIV
"Alas! what more is left me but to eye
Her prison on that cliff's aerial crest?
Like the she-fox, who hears her offspring cry,
Standing beneath the ravening eagle's nest;
And since she has not wings to rise and fly,
Runs round the rugged rock with hopeless quest.
So inaccessible the wild dominion
To whatsoever has not plume and pinion.

XLV
"While I so lingered where those rocks aspire,
I saw a dwarf guide two of goodly strain;
Whose coming added hope to my desire
(Alas! desire and hope alike were vain)
Both barons bold, and fearful in their ire:
The one Gradasso, King of Sericane,
The next, of youthful vigour, was a knight,
Prized in the Moorish court, Rogero hight.

XLVI
"The dwarf exclaimed, `These champions will assay
Their force with him who dwells on yonder steep,
And by such strange and unattempted way
Spurs the winged courser from his mountain-keep.'
And I to the approaching warriors say,
`Pity, fair sirs, the cruel loss I weep,
And, as I trust, yon daring spoiler slain,
Give my lost lady to my arms again.'

XLVII
"Then how my love was ravished I make known,
Vouching with bitter tears my deep distress.
They proffer aid, and down the path of stone
Which winds about the craggy mountain, press.
While I, upon the summit left alone,
Look on, and pray to God for their success.
Beneath the wily wizard's castle strong
Extends a little plain, two bow-shots long.

XLVIII
"Arrived beneath the craggy keep, the two
Contend which warrior shall begin the fight.
When, whether the first lot Gradasso drew,
Or young Rogero held the honor light,
The King of Sericane his bugle blew,
And the rock rang and fortress on the height;
And, lo! apparelled for the fearful course,
The cavalier upon his winged horse!

XLIX
"Upwards, by little and by little, springs
The winged courser, as the pilgrim crane
Finds not at first his balance and his wings,
Running and scarcely rising from the plain;
But when the flock is launched and scattered, flings
His pinions to the wind, and soars amain.
So straight the necromancer's upward flight,
The eagle scarce attempts so bold a height.

L
"When it seems fit, he wheels his courser round,
Who shuts his wings, and falling from the sky,
Shoots like a well trained falcon to the ground,
Who sees the quarry, duck or pigeon, fly:
So, through the parting air, with whizzing sound,
With rested lance, he darted from on high;
And while Gradasso scarcely marks the foe
He hears him swooping near, and feels the blow.

LI
"The wizard on Gradasso breaks his spear,
He wounds the empty air, with fury vain.
This in the feathered monster breeds no fear;
Who to a distance shifts, and swoops again.
While that encounter made the Alfana rear,
Thrown back upon her haunches, on the plain.
The Alfana that the Indian monarch rode,
The fairest was that ever man bestrode.

LII
"Up to the starry sphere with swift ascent
The wizard soars, then pounces from the sky,
And strikes the young Rogero, who, intent
Upon Gradasso, deems no danger nigh.
Beneath the wizard's blow the warrior bent,
Which made some deal his generous courser ply;
And when to smite the shifting foe he turned,
Him in the sky, and out of reach discerned.

LIII
"His blows Rogero, now Gradasso, bruise
On forehead, bosom, back, or flanks, between;
While he the warrior's empty blows eschews,
Shifting so quickly that he scarce is seen.
Now this, now that, the wizard seems to choose,
The monster makes such spacious rings and clean,
While the enchanter so deceives the knights,
They view him not, and know not whence he smites.

LIV
"Between the two on earth and him o' the sky,
Until that hour the warfare lasted there,
Which, spreading wide its veil of dusky dye,
Throughout the world, discolours all things fair.
What I beheld, I say; I add not, I,
A tittle to the tale; yet scarcely dare
To tell to other what I stood and saw;
So strange it seems, so passing Nature's law.

LV
"Well covered in a goodly silken case,
He, the celestial warrior, bore his shield;
But why delayed the mantle to displace
I know not, and its lucid orb concealed.
Since this no sooner blazes in his face,
Than his foe tumbles dazzled on the field;
And while he, like a lifeless body, lies,
Becomes the necromancer's helpless prize.

LVI
"LIke carbuncle, the magic buckler blazed,
No glare was ever seen which shone so bright:
Nor could the warriors choose but fall, amazed
And blinded by the clear and dazzling light.
I, too, that from a distant mountain gazed,
Fell senseless; and when I regained my sight,
After long time, saw neither knights nor page,
Nor aught beside a dark and empty stage.

LVII
"This while the fell enchanter, I supposed,
Dragged both the warriors to his prison-cell;
And by strange virtue of the shield disclosed,
I from my hope and they from freedom fell:
And thus I to the turrets, which enclosed
My heart, departing, bade a last farewell.
Now sum my griefs, and say if love combine
Other distress or grief to match with mine."

LVIII
The knight relapsed into his first disease,
After his melancholy tale was done.
This was Count Pinabel, the Maganzese,
Anselmo d'Altaripa's faithless son.
He, where the blood ran foul through all degrees,
Disdained to be the only virtuous one;
Nor played a simple part among the base,
Passing in vice the villains of his race.

LIX
With aspect changing still, the beauteous dame
Hears what the mournful Maganzese narrates;
And, at first mention of Rogero's name,
Her radiant face with eager joy dilates.
But, full of pity, kindles into flame
As Pinabel his cruel durance states.
Nor finds she, though twice told, the story stale;
But makes him oft repeat and piece his tale.

LX
And, after, when she deemed that all was clear,
Cried to the knight, "Repose upon my say.
To thee may my arrival well be dear,
And thou as fortunate account this day.
Straight wend me to the keep, sir cavalier,
Which holds a jewel of so rich a ray:
Nor shalt thou grudge thy labour and thy care,
If envious Fortune do but play me fair."

LXI
The knight replied, "Then nought to me remains
But that I yonder mountain-passes show;
And sure 'tis little loss to lose my pains,
Where every thing is lost I prize below.
But you would climb yon cliffs, and for your gains
Will find a prison-house, and be it so!
Whate'er betide you, blame yourself alone;
You go forewarned to meet a fate foreshown."

LXII
So said, the cavalier remounts his horse,
And serves the gallant damsel as a guide;
Who is prepared Rogero's gaol to force,
Or to be slain, or in his prison stied.
When lo! a messenger, in furious course,
Called to the dame to stay, and rode and cried.
This was the post who told Circassa's lord
What valiant hand had stretched him on the sward.

LXIII
The courier, who so plied his restless heel,
News of Narbonne and of Montpelier bore:
How both had raised the standard of Castile,
All Acquamorta siding with the Moor;
And how Marseilles' disheartened men appeal
To her, who should protect her straightened shore;
And how, through him, her citizens demand
Counsel and comfort at their captain's hand.

LXIV
This goodly town, with many miles of plain,
Which lie 'twixt Var and Rhone, upon the sea,
To her was given by royal Charlemagne:
Such trust he placed in her fidelity.
Still wont with wonder on the tented plain
The prowess of that valiant maid to see.
And now the panting courier, as I said,
Rode from Marseilles to ask the lady's aid.

LXV
Whether or not she should the call obey,
The youthful damsel doubts some little space;
Strong in one balance Fame and Duty weigh,
But softer thoughts both Fame and Duty chase:
And she, at length, resolved the emprize to assay,
And free Rogero from the enchanted place:
Or, should her valour in the adventure fail,
Would with the cherished lover share his jail.

LXVI
And did with such excuse that post appay,
He was contented on her will to wait:
Then turned the bridle to resume her way
With Pinabel, who seemed no whit elate.
Since of that line he knows the damsel gay,
Held in such open and such secret hate;
And future trouble to himself foresees,
Were he detected as a Maganzese.

LXVII
For 'twixt Maganza's and old Clermont's line
There was an ancient and a deadly feud:
And oft to blows the rival houses came,
And oft in civil blood their hands embrued.
And hence some treason to this gentle dame
In his foul heart, the wicked County brewed;
Or, as the first occasion served, would stray
Out of the road, and leave her by the way.

LXVIII
And so the traitor's troubled fancy rack
Fear, doubt, and his own native, rancorous mood,
That unawares he issued from the track,
And found himself within a gloomy wood:
Where a rough mountain reared its shaggy back,
Whose stony peak above the forest stood;
The daughter of Dodona's duke behind,
Dogging his footsteps through the thicket blind.

LXIX
He, when he saw himself within the brake,
Thought to abandon his unweeting foe;
And to the dame -- " 'Twere better that we make
For shelter ere the gathering darkness grow;
And, yonder mountain past, (save I mistake)
A tower is seated in the vale below.
Do you expect me then, while from the peak
I measure the remembered place I seek."

LXX
So said, he pushed his courser up the height
Of that lone mountain; in his evil mind
Revolving, as he went, some scheme or sleight
To rid him of the gentle dame behind.
When lo! a rocky cavern met his sight,
Amid those precipices dark and blind:
Its sides descended thirty yards and more,
Worked smooth, and at the bottom was a door.

LXXI
A void was at the bottom, where a wide
Portal conducted to an inner room:
From thence a light shone out on every side,
As of a torch illumining the gloom.
Fair Bradamant pursued her faithless guide,
Suspended there, and pondering on her doom:
And came upon the felon where he stood,
Fearing lest she might lose him in the wood.

LXXII
When her approach the County's first intent
Made vain, the wily traitor sought to mend
His toils, and some new stratagem invent
To rid her thence, or bring her to her end.
And so to meet the approaching lady went,
And showed the cave, and prayed her to ascend;
And said that in its bottom he had seen
A gentle damsel of bewitching mien.

LXXIII
Who, by her lovely semblance and rich vest,
Appeared a lady of no mean degree;
But melancholy, weeping, and distressed,
As one who pined there in captivity:
And that when he towards the entrance pressed,
To learn who that unhappy maid might be,
One on the melancholy damsel flew,
And her within that inner cavern drew.

LXXIV
The beauteous Bradamant, who was more bold
Than wary, gave a ready ear; and, bent
To help the maid, imprisoned in that hold,
Sought but the means to try the deep descent.
Then, looking round, descried an elm-tree old,
Which furnished present means for her intent:
And from the tree, with boughs and foliage stored,
Lopt a long branch, and shaped it with her sword.

LXXV
The severed end she to the count commended,
Then, grasping it, hung down that entrance steep.
With her feet foremost, by her arms suspended:
When asking if she had the skill to leap,
The traitor, with a laugh, his hands extended.
And plunged his helpless prey into the deep.
"And thus," exclaimed the ruffian, "might I speed
With thee each sucker of thy cursed seed!"

LXXVI
But not, as was the will of Pinabel,
Such cruel lot fair Bradamant assayed;
For striking on the bottom of the cell,
The stout elm-bough so long her weight upstayed,
That, though it split and splintered where it fell,
It broked her fall, and saved the gentle maid.
Some while astounded there the lady lay,
As the ensuing canto will display.

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I didn't go to the lectures. My valet, who was more distinguished than I, went instead.

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Barry Gibb

I've worked with a lot of people who are more famous than myself who are terribly insecure.

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Baby Bird

I helped a baby bird live,
I found him on the ground,
Almost dead,
Most profound.

He grew to be a fledgling,
The most dangerous time of all,
He drowned in a pool of water,
I never heard him call.

The death was more cathartic
Than any play I've read,
More religious than any sermon I've heard,
Because he was real, he tried so hard,
And he was just a baby bird.

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The Man Who Was Standing Behind

I was in a conference centre full of people,
and a man called out my name.
His voice was louder than the chattering,
and he shouted it out again.

His voice wasn’t at all familiar,
and no one knew I was here.
This was a lonely hearts club meeting
for singles who also enjoyed a beer.

For a third time he called out my name,
and my I.D. tag gave me away.
The woman with whom I was talking
waved her arms and shouted “Hey.”

I left her presence quite quickly
and became lost in the crowd.
I didn’t look to see who was calling,
but he was persistent and shouting loud.

People all around me were fainting,
for no reason they dropped like flies,
but then I heard leather to wood footsteps
above the peoples’ sighs and cries.

I slowly looked all around me
and somehow I knew it was my time,
I was leaving one way or another,
with the man who was standing behind.

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A Fair Sized Elevation

The Stadium was ready for a thrilling floodlit game,
All the Fans were there, eager to give acclaim.
Out ran the teams, rearing to play their part,
Along with the Referee, who was anxious to start.

When all were prepared, the exciting scene was set,
Each side were hoping for goals inside their net.
At half-time though, not one single man had scored,
Something that to both sides couldn’t be ignored.

Then a silence fell, and eyebrows began to twitch,
What was that mound there, in the centre of the pitch.
A heap of earth was growing at a very rapid rate,
And a fair sized elevation was seen to accumulate.

A black nose peeped out from the heart of the soil,
Sniffing the air after a lot of sweat and toil.
For Mr Mole had chosen a very prestigious patch,
‘Right bang’ in the middle of a football match,

Everyone thought this was really quite absurd,
And were utterly amazed at what had occurred.
But in the end, the whole vast arena had to laugh,
For wrapped around his neck was a football scarf.

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The Open Secret

The Heavens repeat no other Song,
And, plainly or in parable,
The Angels trust, in each man's to gue,
The Treasure's safety to its size.
In shameful Hell
The Lily in last corruption lies,
Where known 'tis, rotten-lily-wise,
By the strange foulness of the smell.
Earth, that, in this arcanum, spies
Proof of high kinship unconceiv'd,
By all desired and disbeliev'd,
Shews fancies, in each thing that is,
Which nothing mean, not meaning this,
Yea, does from her own law, to hint it, err,
As 'twere a trust too huge for her.
Maiden and Youth pipe wondrous clear
The tune they are the last to hear.
'Tis the strange gem in Pleasure's cup.
Physician and Philosopher,
In search of acorns, plough it up,
But count it nothing 'mong their gains,
Nay, call it pearl, they'd answer, ‘Lo,
Blest Land where pearls as large as pumpkins grow!’
And would not even rend you for your pains.
To tell men truth, yet keep them dark
And shooting still beside the mark,
God, as in jest, gave to their wish,
The Sign of Jonah and the Fish.
'Tis the name new, on the white stone,
To none but them that have it known;
And even these can scarce believe, but cry,
When turn'd was Sion's captivity,
Then were we, yea, and yet we seem
Like them that dream!’
In Spirit 'tis a punctual ray
Of peace that sheds more light than day;
In Will and Mind
'Tis the easy path so hard to find;
In Heart, a pain not to be told,
Were words mere honey, milk, and gold;
I' the Body 'tis the bag of the bee;
In all, the present, thousandfold amends
Made to the sad, astonish'd life
Of him that leaves house, child, and wife,
And on God's 'hest, almost despairing, wends,
As little guessing as the herd
What a strange Phœnix of a bird
Builds in this tree,
But only intending all that He intends.

To this, the Life of them that live,
If God would not, thus far, give tongue,
Ah, why did He his secret give
To one that has the gift of song?
But all He does He doubtless means,
And, if the Mystery that smites Prophets dumb
Here, to the grace-couch'd eyes of some,
Shapes to its living face the clinging shroud,
Perchance the Skies grow tired of screens,
And 'tis His Advent in the Cloud.

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A Letter From A Friend

kombanwa!

Tommorow is my day off.
It's not a busy time now at the office.
So I take one day off a week.
Our busy times are in May, August, and year end.

You know, we used to be superbusy a couple of years ago.
My boss is a workaholic.
He has no other life but his company.
My officemates frequently worked overtime.
I could get away from it because of my children.
Then, maybe, because of overwork, he almost dropped dead!
Since then, medyo nagaan ang among load.


I hope she is feeling better now.
Medicine/Science has progressed a lot these days,
and age is really no longer a big obstacle now to childbearing.
I have a cousin in Australia.
Late pod sila nakaanak.
The problem was with the husband.
Blocked ang tube for sperm cells.
He had laser surgery, after which, nagkababy sila.

So, don't give up hope (nozomi) .


I've been reading your poems.
Whether you call them your lies, empathies, whatever, they all boil down to life's truths.
Life is poetry for you, that's why,
you'll never run out of ideas to write about as long as you live.
I don't understand all of them though - maybe due to lack of empathy on my part or my brain is simply dulled!

You also write beautiful visayan poems!
They made me miss my father - he can be very poetic.
He used to criticize me and my mother that we couldn't speak good Cebuano.
My mother was Chavacana, and
I actually spoke that language first before Cebuano.

You lately write about war,
young men dying in conflicts these days.
Is peace and order getting worse there?
Are there more of summary killings these days?

You wrote about Silliman/ Dumaguete.
A beautiful place. I studied there one year and I loved it there.
You know, I had a bit of colonial mentality,
and to me at that time it felt like
I had a taste of a bit of American life -
rodeos,
square dancing..
.I enjoyed watching stage plays and
cultural shows there.
So I had a school culture shock when
I transferred to UP Los Banos.
There were lots of school demos
and there wasn't much art in their stage plays.
They were more concerned about getting the message across:

'Down with Marcos! ',
'Down with imperialism! '

Goodness, I didn't even truly understand 'imperialism' then.
After some time, I learned to appreciate
the liberal atmosphere there.

I liked 'The songs of the geisha'.
Made me think of the Japayukis here,
rather than the Japanese geisha.

After seeing the cherry blossoms here,
I don't think I can ever associate it
with autumn anymore,
even in the poetic sense

('Cherry blossoms fading and falling') .

It blooms in spring and
the peak of its beauty is only
a couple of days or so.
The petals don't fade
and fall.
They fall while still at the peak of their beauty.
They look beautiful even when they've fallen on the ground,
looking like snow from a distance.
They symbolize glorious death at the peak
of their beauty
youth.
That's why the sakura also
symbolizes the kamikaze pilots -
most of them were so young!


I backed track to some of your old poems
and I found that of Kazu!
Thank you, that was nice!
I'll show it to him.

Can't say much about my love being stronger than his. I
'm very far from being an ideal wife.
And no, his origins are not samurai.
He traced it some lowly Korean blacksmiths.
Centuries ago, Korea was more advanced
than Japan, and
Japan invited Korean craftsmen
to learn from them.
Funny thing is that his father is a fierce nationalist
(he was trained to be a kamikaze pilot) ,
and he looks down on Koreans!
He won't even try and eat any Korean food!


So long for now. Please give my regards to her.
Again, I'm not expecting your response.
I'll just be reading your poems.

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Booger McNulty and Me

In 1948 Booger McNulty's coal yard stirred
constant gossip among the citizens who lived
in little bungalows on narrow blocks
in my far corner of Chicago.
That was more than 60 years ago,
a time when families took Sunday walks
and went back home in time to hear
Jack Benny on the radio.
A Sunday walk didn't cost a cent,
a price my parents could afford.


When my parents took a Sunday walk,
my sister and I always had to go along,
and every time we'd pass Booger's place,
I'd hear my mother ask my father
what could possibly be on the other side
of Booger's 10-foot fence.
Hoping to avoid a conversation,
my father always said he didn't know
but he believed it couldn't just be coal.


Back then, every kid in the neighborhood
wanted to climb that fence and look around.
But Booger didn't feature visitors.
According to the boy whose keister caught
a chunk of coal from Booger's slingshot,
there was nothing on the other side
except for pigeons and a lot of coal.


In the bungalows surrounding Booger's place,
immigrants from everywhere slept off beer and garlic
when they weren't working, which was pretty often,
according to my mother. My father always worked,
digging graves with the other men,
most of them, like him, from Ireland.
He dug graves because some Bulgarian
broke his nose, after which my mother ruled
no more boxing. He'd been undefeated until then.


I was ten in 1948 and I'd climb Booger's fence
when I was certain he was gone for the night.
Inside the yard I'd climb the piles of coal
until I got tired and then I'd go home
and take a bath before my father saw me.
My mother never let my father see me
cloaked in the soot of Booger's coal
and she always made me promise
never to go back to Booger's again.

But on Easter Sunday in 1948,
I went over Booger's fence a final time.
My mother had taken pains that morning
to get me dressed for the Children's Mass
and sent me off with a caution to be good.
I always went to Mass, every Sunday,
and I would pray and sing the hymns
and usually I was good but this time
the weather was so nice I decided
to go to Booger's instead.
He wouldn't be there on Easter.
It would be just me and the pigeons.
But I was gone for hours that day,
and since no one knew where I was,
a furor in the family flared up,
as I'll explain later.


At school on Monday, Timmy Duffy,
unlike me a favorite of the nuns who taught us,
told me every other boy in class had made it
to the Children's Mass on Easter.
'And where were you? ' he asked.
I told him I'd been sick and thought
with all the polio going around,
I didn't want to cripple anyone on Easter.
Timmy accepted my excuse because
we were all praying for Mickey Kane,
who'd spent a year in an Iron Lung.
'And so, ' said Timmy, 'even though
you weren't there to help, we sang
as loud as we could on Easter, '
something our class always did to keep
the nuns in the aisle from paying us a visit.

I may have sung no hymns that Easter
but I probably looked pretty spiffy
scrambling over Booger's fence
in my new blue suit, white shirt and tie.
I had a wonderful time in the sun
with pigeons careening in the air.
I was free to climb my favorite pile of coal,
toboggan down on my duff,
and then climb a different pile
and toboggan down again,
far more fun than any sled in winter.
Hours later when I got hungry,
back over the fence I went
and headed home for dinner.


Every Easter Sunday, we'd have
ham and yams, Brussels sprouts
and rutabaga, favorites of my father
from his youth in Ireland.
But when I got home that day,
we didn't eat right away
after my father saw me.
As I recall, his reaction was
more Neanderthal than usual.


'Molly, ' he roared to my mother,
with his hand on the back of my neck,
'the little bastid says he went to Booger's!
He never went to Mass! '
And then, despite my mother's protests,
he grabbed from behind the attic door
a belt that had been hanging there for years,
waiting for a felony like mine to happen.
I knew right away what I had to do
and so I dropped my pants and bent
over at the waist as far as possible.
Without a word, he stropped my arse.


I didn't cry, gosh no, since tears
would have brought additional licks.
We were Irish, don'tcha know,
so we didn't cry and we didn't watch
English movies on TV, either.
The accents of the actors would remind
my father of the Black and Tans,
the English soldiers who imprisoned him
on Spike Island, off the coast of Ireland
when he was just 16.
They grabbed him barefoot in a stream
sneaking guns to the IRA.
In 1920, Irish boys ran guns for the IRA
barefoot through the bogs and streams,
provided they were big enough.


Decades later in Chicago, a stranger,
dressed like a Mormon on an urban mission,
rang our bell and told my father
he was from the IRA and had a medal for him
in honor of his service 40 years earlier.
He said 'It took a while for us to find you.'
My father hung the medal in his closet
next to the tan fedora he wore to Irish wakes.
He always went to wakes, hoping to meet
someone 'from home.'


So there I was that Easter Sunday,
standing in our tiny parlor with my pants
napping at my ankles, the result
of a wonderful morning at Booger's
and a terrible afternoon at home.
Now,60 years later,
when that Easter Sunday comes to mind,
no matter where I am, I whisper,
just in case he still can hear me,
'Pops, I haven't missed a Mass on Sunday
since I got that Easter stropping.
I guess I learned my lesson.'


And then I tell him, as politely as I can,
that if he can get a pass from wherever
the Lord has stored him, he can verify
my Mass attendance with my wife and kids,
the last of whom, a son, moved out on us
Christmas Eve,2010, even though
the boy promised his mother and me
a ride to Midnight Mass in his new Hummer.
Two feet of snow we got that evening.


My father would have loved that snow.
Back in '67, when we got 30 inches of it,
some of it in drifts as high as Booger's coal,
he was just delighted by the winter scene,
so much so that he had the two of us
shovel frantically for hours,
albeit in our usual Trappist silence.
When we got back to the house,
he told my mother,
with more than a dollop of flair,
the hairs in his nose were frozen.
tThank God my mother had his tea ready,
steaming hot, as it should be, in its cozy
next to his favorite chair.
And she gave me lots of cocoa,
swirling hot with marshmallows
floating on the top.


Now every New Year's Eve at midnight
(and this has been going on for years)
I see those same marshmallows
when it's time for me to hoist a glass
and make my toast to Holy Week 1948,
the week that I absorbed without a tear
Booger's slingshot and my father's belt.
'Praise the Lord, ' I shout,
'and pass the ammunition.'


As the years go by,
fewer guests know what I mean.
But most of them
never had a chance to hear
Jack Benny on the radio.
The young ones always ask
where I got my old fedora.
A couple of them have even said
they'd have it blocked and cleaned.
But most of them, I'm certain,
even though they went to college,
never saw a relic.
They think the old fedora's
just a hat.

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I was in relationship with a guy who was much older than me - either he was past his prime and I was coming into mine. There was nothing I could do to keep his attention.

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Never blame any body

I wished
I shall win the competition
I lost it
I prayed to god
I don’t want to suffer in pain
The prayer went in vain
I had a fall
Had to bear lot of pain
I wanted to pass in exams
I failed
I started grumbling
Blaming everybody
And my destiny
For all that I wanted
And I didn’t get
I stopped working
I stopped praying
Lost all hopes
If ever, I would be happy
I met an old man
Who was a famous painter?
He couldn’t walk
And suffered
From a serious disease
He was laughing and smiling
Talking to everybody
With grace and poise
I asked the old man
How is he so happy?
I haven’t lost hope
I pray to god
Never blame any body
For my destiny
Take life as it comes
Work as much as I can
Came the reply
I got the message
Embossed it in my mind
I pray to god daily
Keep the old man
Happy and alive

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Evening: The Sun Set: Twilight Time

When the sun goes down,
And the clouds all frown,
Night has begun for the sunset.
See it with your eyes;
Earth re-energized
By the suns rays every day.
Take a look out there,
Planets everywhere.
When the sun goes down,
And the clouds all frown,
Night has begun for the sunset.
Shadows on the ground;
Never make a sound,
Fading away in the sunset.
Night has now become
Day for everyone.
I can see it all
From this great height.
I can feel the sun
Slipping out of sight;
And the world still goes on
Through the night.

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The Sunset

When the sun goes down,
And the clouds all frown,
Night has begun for the sunset.
See it with your eyes,
Earth re-energized
By the sun's rays every day.
Take a look out there,
Planets everywhere.
When the sun goes down
And the clouds all frown,
Night has begun for the sunset.
Shadows on the ground
Never make a sound,
Fading away in the sunset.
Night has now become
Day for everyone.
I can see it all
From this great height.
I can feel the sun
Slipping out of sight
And the world still goes on
Through the night.

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I Couldn’t Be More Happy Than If I Was Dead!

You kiss my hair
& my hair is happy.

You kiss my skin
& my skin is happy.

You kiss
even the littlest bit

of me
& I

am
happy.

You kiss
my fingertips

and my little toe
is at once
envious

says: “Quick...quick
kiss me too! ! ! ”

You kiss my little toe
and my fingertips are instantly jealous.

“Quickly! Quickly! ”
they say
“Kiss us again! ”

You kiss
my lips

and my heart
is happiness.

My soul
swoons.

I couldn’t be
more happy

than if i was dead

and in Heaven
itself!

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He Was More than a Dog to Me

My dog Bosky
When small
Looked very chubby
Had a big
Burly body
Black coat shining
Long tail wagging
Ready to pounce
On anybody
Intruding
Old and young
Would fear
Very sight of his
Would know
From a distance
If I was coming
Started barking
Moved in the garden
With tremendous
Anxiety
Followed my commands
With full sincerity
At times behaved
Naughty
Won’t listen to me
Ran here and there
Asking me
To play with him
Slept near my bed
Throughout his life
In thick and thin
Always with me
More than a friend
Was a part of the family
Guarded the house
With full responsibility
Sickness brought
Silence to him
Made me look
Helpless and weak
The day he died
It was raining
As if even god was
Crying
Always remains
In my memory
Eyes become watery
When I think of him
He was more than a
Dog to me


(In memory of my pet dog Bosky)

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The Soul Store

On the door was a sign
which read 'Soul Store.'

Trepidatious, I entered to sit
on the Life Bench
with hundreds of others who
sought to return, purchase,
buy or exchange
Souls they had been issued.

One said 'Mine is defective
I cannot love.'

Another said 'there was mistake
in the delivery address;
a mix up at birth
my sister got the best Soul
and I was left with this.'

She raised her hand
to reveal a dark shriveled thing.

'That is why I do evil' she said.
a mistake at delivery.'

Another pointed out, 'I am 16
but the Soul I got is 62
and dying.'

'Mine, ' another said
'has a hole.'

'I' a little girl said
'I have none
I didn't get any Soul at all.'

The counter woman
leaned over and asked for quiet
saying
'I will get to each and everyone
but if you cannot wait
talk among yourselves and do
your own exchange.

If your own soul is damaged
fall in love with someone
whose Soul still sings and large enough
to heal yours.'

'If your Soul is afraid of love
spy one which is not;
one which is brave.'

There was this general buzz
a voice said 'but we are all rejects
how can we become Whole Souls
while each of has a defect? '

'If not two' the counter lady said
'then three, get together
apply a soul patch..

Among you all
one and one make three
that is how Souls work.

You always get more out
than you put in
if you just believe.'

There began the Souling
and nary a one after it all
needed anything new,
or needed a soul exchange
because no one
came into this world
with a perfect soul;
that is why we all
get born
and most of us have
Family and friends
to provide the rest

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It Only Makes Me Laugh

I dont know why I feel this way
I dont know if its right or wrong to laugh at misfortune
Darkness can never last too long
Every time I think Im falling
And theres nobody around to hold me up
And it seems like the world has come to an end
I look for miles but not a face is friendly
Then suddenly a hole opens up in the ground
The bottom of the hole is a raging fire
I try to jump over but theres no way
The next thing I know, Im going down
(chorus)
Does it hurt?
Oh, it really doesnt matter
Does it burn?
Oh, I dont feel a thing
Does it sting?
Oh, yeah, it really doesnt matter
Does it hurt?
Oh, I dont give a damn
When I find myself falling and I hit the bottom
It only makes me laugh
It only makes me laugh
When I go down the hole and I hit the bottom
The last time that I fell in love
The love was milk and honey but the milk turned sour
The woman became a monster
And everyone I knew had become a stranger
And the room went black and my luck was spent
The floor opened up, down I went
(repeat chorus)
It only makes me laugh
It only makes me laugh
It only makes me laugh
Coming right back
Coming right back
cause you cant keep me down
Cant keep me down
Oh, in the ground
Does it hurt?
Oh, it really doesnt matter
Does it burn?
Oh, I dont feel a thing
I dont mind just a little pain
Ooh, oh yeah
Whoa...
Remembering when I was a young man
How everything seemed to turn against me
I didnt know a soul, it was an alien place
The sun was covered by a dark cloud
And though I tried, I couldnt find a way to escape
The only way to go was straight down
(repeat chorus)
It only makes me laugh
It only makes me laugh
It only makes me laugh
It only makes me laugh
I dont know why I feel this way
I dont know if its right or wrong to laugh at misfortune
Darkness can never last too long...
When you laugh in its face
When you laugh in its face
I dont know why I feel this way...

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