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Scott Foley

I never took my SAT's. I never applied to college. I moved right out here and jumped into the thick of things. Whether that was the smart move or not, I'm sitting here talking to you now, so it paid off.

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Talking About You

Let me tell you about a girl I know
I met her walking down lowtown street
Well shes so fine
Well I wish she was mine
I get shook up everytime we meet
Im talking about you
Nobody but you
I do mean you now
Im just trying to get a message to you now
Let me tell you about a girl I know
I tell you now she looked so good
Well guys stood still
At such a beautiful build
She ought to be somewhere in hollywood
Im talking about you
Nobody but you
I do mean you now
Im just trying to get a message to you now
Let me tell you about a girl I know
I tell you now she looked so good
Well guys stood still
At such a beautiful build
She ought to be somewhere in hollywood
Im talking about you
Nobody but you
I do mean you now
Im just trying to get a message to you now

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How I Feel About You Now

I just realized
How I feel about you now
I love you and want to be with you forever
Please baby give me a second chance
I wish I can take back that day
I was dumb for letting you down
I'm so sorry
I can't go another day without you
I can't take it anymore with us not being together

I just realized
How I feel about you now
I love you and need you here by myside
Please don't walk away and move on
I was wrong about you
Great things could happen
Nobody gets me like you do
I feel so stupid
There is not going be another great guy like you
There is a mountain between us, we can over come our fear and be together

I just realized
How I feel about you now
I love you, want you and noone else
I bet is take another chance to make it happen
So don't let all good times that won't happen come true
We be happy and
All our wishes and dream will come true
There is no need to move on because
You're the one
You're everything that I ever want

I just realized
How I feel about you now
I love you and want you here with me
When I'm sad
You're the one
Who can make me laugh and smile again
At end I feel much better all because of you
Baby you are only one who understand me
There is nothing you can do to make me not love you anymore
I'm always going be right by your side to the end

I just realized
How I feel about you now
I love you and want to be with you forever
Please baby give me a second chance
I wish I can take back that day
I was dumb for letting you down
I'm so sorry
I can't go another day without you
I can't take it anymore with us not being together
How I feel about you now

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Volenti Non Fit Injuria

did you not let me enter
your door when i simply pass by
looking for my
destiny, did you not call my name
when i was thinking of someone else
that one so beautiful and yet
did so much harm
to my heart
and then you kiss me when i was drunk
with pain
promising to heal my wounds
and then after so many years
when i was awakened from such stupor
i took the courage of telling you
there was never a pint
of love
never, never, never and then you ran away
and jumped into the raging river

shall i be then be made responsible for such
a true loveless locomotion?

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Patrick White

I Gently Took The Strawberry Heart

I gently took the strawberry heart
of the bird with the broken neck
and buried it in a shrine of leaves and grass.
And in a low voice, whispered a blessing.

Under the window of an illusion
like a song you can only hear once
and it's good for a lifetime of listening,
I buried you with your wings together in prayer.

And I prayed to know what to pray for.
I prayed to know what to ask that could ease
the burden of the earth on a nightbird's journey
flying solo deeper into the dark

than even the stars or these eyeless words can go.
And I know death returns even the worst of us
to our innocence again, though our bones
come crashing down like childhood kites around us.

And the flight feathers of the aerial acrobatics
of our love lyrics run out of ink
when there's no one in the dark
to sing for anymore, no stars

to chart where you've gone,
no sign from the heavens you're not alone,
no ghost of smoke from a distant fire
I can summon to a seance of lingering desire

that would console you in the flesh again
like a candle in your solitude reaching out
to the pain of a stranger in the shadows
to make your wound cry out in bliss

as you once did from a greener bough
than this dead branch I sing from now
when we thought blossoms were the answer
to everything we didn't understand at the time

that could befall us like fledglings in the spring
who didn't know what autumn would bring
like an ice-storm in its wake
to things that break against the sky

like the cold-hearted lie of a window
that wasn't open and didn't go on forever.
And though I ask the weather for news of you,
if the wind might have heard

a word or two in passing, all
the silence does is deepen your absence
and teach me not to cling to things
like birds and flowers on the wing.

But if grief is all I can know of you now
I'll console myself with sorrow.
I'll hold onto it like the string of a kite
soaring among the constellations.

I won't let go. I'll play the line out
like a flying fish I caught in Pisces
and hauling it into a lifeboat with a net
I'll take the hook of the moon out of your mouth

and throw you back into the depths like a muse
swimming among the stars like a siren
that keeps calling me to the rocks
like an astronaut to these mountains on the moon

I keep hurling through this earthly view
of a window from the inside out
that breaks just like the shell of a cosmic egg
unfolding a loveletter with a wingspan of light

that penetrates this dark forever
like the third eye of a needle in a haystack
of begging bowls I won't abandon like the nests
of nightbirds with flightplans

that feather our falling into the abyss
of the unbelievable with starmaps
and the beacons of homing metaphors
that make our disappearance inconceivable.

I'll live like the return address on an envelope
with a mouthful of silence for a voice
and wait for you to answer me again
like a songbird at the spring equinox

through a broken window in a house of pain.
And though it hurts worse when the candles go out
I'll refuse to turn my heart away
from your reflection in everything I see.

Everything I hear and do and say.
Everything that was as true as a night sky about you.

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Do You Feel the Same Way Too?

I’ve just written to a friend and said

I’ve just written a poem
which I would have given my life
to have written.’…

and then sat and looked at
what I’d written –
wondering whether
that was what I really meant..

(and, faintly, contemplating
whether a thunderbolt
straight from Justice central
might strike me there and then…)

or whether I’d retreated into
some private world of self-delusion..

or whether I had reached the height
of mortal bliss.. as perhaps some ‘real’ poet might…
when on the scales of life-for-life
or perhaps, eternity,
I was offering humbly, in exchange
for all I have received, all
that my soul could offer…

discarding all the burdens of the past,
disregarding any thoughts of future life,
living in the present, like a child does,
as, glorious, the present presently moves on
from freedom into freedom… tell me,

do you feel the same way too?

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An Epitaph Of The Once Renaissance Man...

so much
and so many
have depended
on me

but that was
a long
time ago

i gave it

so much
me now
on You for
i have
my life

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Child Of Febuary

Sweet beautiful intelligent divine being
Created by two hearts with lost souls
Combined in one body
Care was taken to take and place your heart into it
A soul born by society
Raised in hellish half-ways or half of a home
Not knowing where your history began
The future pathways you would take were set clear
By others of lighter color
But you chose different
You walked right with your two left feet
On shards of glass you tiptoed
In muddy waters you swam
Like your ancestors in the 1800's before slavery was slammed
You sped through stop signs
And race riots and sit-ins
Speeding pass 100
And jumped into the public pool
That was once a colored pool
Screamed at the top of your lungs in the school library on Malcolm's birthday
While ripping up history books
Cause what the white man took
Cannot be sealed in a history book
Of chapters 13 and 14
Or in an annual parade
Cause what's in your heart wasn't made to be celebrated in just February

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The Illusion of Gravity

Gravity is an illusion, says the Scientific American
in its issue of November 2005.

Well, then how come that I cannot fly like a bird?

Oh no, smiles Professor Juan Maldacena.
Gravity, he explains, is one of the dimensions of space,
and it might be a holographic phenomenon
caused by the interactions of quantum particles
and fields in a lower-dimensional domain.

It sounds good, professor, but are we closer now to
the understanding of reality than we were last October?
As you know, Newton thought that gravitation
was the attractive force between masses of matter
but Einstein concluded that it resulted from
the warping of space and time by objects that follow
the geometrical curvature of the cosmos.

Now let us change a bit the topic and talk about
evidence. We still do not have the evidence that the sun
will rise tomorrow. Yes, the probability for it is high.
But science is an evidence-based enterprise and we just
don’t have the evidence for tomorrow’s sunrise, have we?
Mind you, chaos, chance or quantum entanglement show
that nature does not care much about laws of causality.

Hi, a bunch of atoms just defied gravity in my room
and jumped to the moon.

Well, class starts at 8: 00 in New York but now
it is already 8: 13, so I am late. Did time cause me being
late? Or maybe it was the traffic. Or perhaps I was late
because I misplaced my briefcase. No problem,
gravity is just an illusion, let us hop to San Francisco,
and I am early.

And now, if you don’t mind,
I have a question: Does your mind create
holographic phenomena? And can we comprehend
the concrete universe through the abstract metaphors
of matter, energy, space, time and gravity?

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Long Live Palestine! ! !

They have stolen our land
They’re trying to destroy it as much as they can
Killing every person alive
From woman to child to man
They’re bombing our homes
They’re weapons release such heat
And after the bomb has been dropped
Dead bodies lie there on the street
I can hear a father’s voice scream
I can hear a mother‘s deep cry
I can hardly sleep at night
Since I know that they’re all going to die
Israel has no mercy towards children
They don’t want to admit they’re wrong
Because they know that the Palestinian nation
Shall stand forever strong
It is time for us to stand up
It is time for us to be
The people that will destroy the enemy
And set Palestine free
Don’t you realize that if we all could just unite?
We can stop the whole method of this dreadful fight
It is time for us to stand
It is time for us to demand
A stop to this war
Then Israel shall no longer stay more
STOP! STOP! this pain
Children and many innocents are dying
Right there in Palestine
SO PLEASE! Stop pretending that everything is fine
Death rates are drastically increasing every day
What is there more for the nations to say?
STOP talking and let’s for once stand and fight
Against Israel, that thinks everything it's doing is right
Israel’s illegal weapons are used against innocent children
When the chemicals from their bombs land on a child’s skin, there is no cure
Destroying and ending the life of this child
That once was safe and pure.
Israel, the real terrorist shall not stay for long
We shall put you back, Israel, where you definitely belong
And when we do
We will set up the bell
That SHALL FINALLY ring Briskly
THE DAY you land in HELL! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

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Old & Wise

(lead vocal - colin bluntstone)
As far as my eyes can see
There are shadows approaching me
And to those I left behind
I wanted you to know
Youve always shared my deepest thoughts
You follow where I go
And oh when Im old and wise
Bitter words mean little to me
Autumn winds will blow right through me
And someday in the mist of time
When they asked me if I knew you
Id smile and say you were a friend of mine
And the sadness would be lifted from my eyes
Oh when Im old and wise
As far as my eyes can see
There are shadows surrounding me
And to those I leave behind
I want you all to know
Youve always shared my darkest hours
Ill miss you when I go
And oh, when Im old and wise
Heavy words that tossed and blew me
Like autumn winds that will blow right through me
And someday in the mist of time
When they ask you if you knew me
Remember that you were a frined of mine
As the final curtain falls before my eyes
Oh when Im old and wise
As far as my eyes can see

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Sin City

(gram parsons/chris hillman)
This old town is filled with sin
It will swallow you in
If youve got some money to burn
Take it home right away
Youve got three years to pay
But satan is waiting his turn
The scientists say
It will all wash away
But we dont believe any more
Cause weve got our recruits
And our green mohair suits
So please show your i.d. at the door
This old earthquakes gonna leave me in the poor house
It seems like this whole towns insane
On the thirty-first floor a gold plated door
Wont keep out the lords burning rain
A friend came around
Tried to clean up this town
His ideas made some people mad
But he trusted his crowd
So he spoke right out loud
And they lost the best friend they had
This old earthquakes gonna leave me in the poor house
It seems like this whole towns insane
On the thirty-first floor a gold plated door
Wont keep out the lords burning rain
On the thirty-first floor a gold plated door
Wont keep out the lords burning rain

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Thousand Eyes

The night has a thousand eyes
And theyre all on you
The night has a thousand ears
Listening to your cries
Let it work its magic
Let it work its magic
The night has a thousand eyes
Verse 1
You, you had to slip away
After all that spark
You, said all that you could say
And slipped into the dark
I could not let you go
Alone into the night
I had to let you know
The magic there, in the night air
The night has a thousand eyes
And theyre all on you
The night has a thousand ears
Listening to your cries
Let it work its magic
Let it work its magic
The night has a thousand eyes
Verse 2
You, somewhere out in the dark
Runs a wounded heart
You, stumbling in the night
In the air of after light
You take along the fears
Did you waste these years,
And did they warn you
Of the night zone all alone
Sometimes it takes a fight
To keep everything on track,
And sometimes it takes a starry night
To bring the magic back
This was the time
And this was the place
With starlight on your face
And the moon on the rise,
The night has a thousand eyes

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It Is Never Too Late

The aftermath of your silence,
You are like the sea of traquil water tonight;
But when the right time comes,
The box will be opened for all to see its content!

The sea of storm and the love of storm,
The aftermath of your silence is like the love of tranquil waters;
From me to you and from yout ot me,
But what can i now make out of you?

You are really the woman of my heart,
And it is never too late in life to reives!
Because today is always here with us,
But tomorrow never comes.

Yesterday is dead and gone into the land of memories,
And the only thing left behind is your character;
But when all is said and done,
I will understand the silence of your love like tranquil waters.

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Where Are You Now?

Love, my love
I regret the day you went away
I was too young to understand my love
But now I understand my mistakes
Where, where are you now?
Now that Im ready to
Ready to love you the way you loved me then
Where are you now?
Do you still think of me?
Or does your heart belong to someone elses
Love, oh my love
Wonder sometimes were you just a dream
I sit in the dark
Wondering if our paths
Will ever cross again
Oh lord I need to know
I sit and wonder
Repeat chorus
If I close my eyes
And make a wish
When they open will you be right here with me
Repeat chorus
Could it be that two people were meant to be
In my dreams thats what I feel
Or could it be that Ill never see you again
My love that was so true
Still I sit here waiting all alone
By the phone for you

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Someday Never Comes

First thing I remember was askin papa, why? ,
For there were many things I didnt know.
And daddy always smiled; took me by the hand,
Sayin, someday youll understand.
Well, Im here to tell you now each and evry mothers son
You better learn it fast; you better learn it young,
cause, someday never comes.
Well, time and tears went by and I collected dust,
For there were many things I didnt know.
When daddy went away, he said, try to be a man,
And, someday youll understand.
And then, one day in april, I wasnt even there,
For there were many things I didnt know.
A son was born to me; mama held his hand,
Sayin someday youll understand.
Think it was september, the year I went away,
For there were many things I didnt know.
And I still see him standing, tryn to be a man;
I said, someday youll understand.

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Are You Happy Now?

Now, don't just walk away
Pretending everything's okay
And you don't care about me
I know it's just no use
When all your lies become your truths
And I don't care yeah yeah yeah
Could you look me in the eye
And tell me that you're happy now?
Would you tell it to my face?
Or have I been erased
Are you happy now?
You took all there was to take
And left me with an empty plate
And you don't care about it, yeah
And I am giving up this game
And leaving you with all the blame
'Cause I don't care yeah yeah yeah
Could you look me in the eye
And tell me that you're happy now? yeah
Would you tell it to my face
Or have I been erased
Are you happy now?
Are you happy now?
Are you happy now?
Do you really have everything you want?
You can never give something you ain't got
You can't run away from yourself
Could you look me in the eye?
And tell me that your happy now?
come on tell to my face
or have i been erased
Are you happy now?
would you look me in the eye?
could you look me in the eye?
I've had all that I can take
I'm not about to break
'Cause I'm happy now
Are you happy now?

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The Boy From The Chemist Is Here To See You

Every day of every year you live your life in hope and fear,
That each small sin and imperfection is buried deep beyond detection.
But one by one the ghosts return, and each selects its place to burn,
Into your soft and breaking heart, and this is how the aching starts.
The jokes about the ugly kid.
The things you said but never did.
The people torn and crushed and battered.
The ones you broke but shouldve flattered.
Oh, you should have run whilst you had time.
Oh, you should have left the past behind.
The boy from the chemist is here to see you.
The laughing stops cause hes too near you.
The girl you left that always loved you.
Returns to earth from miles above you now.
So wash away the dirty skin, theres always worse remains within.
The tangled web and bitter mesh, but each shall have their pound of flesh.
No sympathy, no charity, no false pleas of humility.
No money back, no guarantee, no great escape for you and me.
Oh, you should have run whilst you had time.
Oh, you should have left the past behind.
The boy from the chemist is here to see you.
The laughing stops cause hes too near you.
The girl you left that always loved you.
Returns to earth from miles above you now.
And everyone thats ever suffered, friend or foe or wives or lovers.
Theyll come back to have their day.
In time you find your mind has no escape.
Dont believe that you can hide, dont believe theyll be denied.
Theyll come knocking at your door, this is what theyve waited for.
The chance to even up the score.
The boy from the chemist is here to see you.
The laughing stops cause hes too near you.
The girl you left that always loved you.
Returns to earth from miles above you now.
And everyone thats ever suffered, friend or foe or wives or lovers.
Theyll come back to have their day.
In time you find your mind has no escape.

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Patrick White

Childhood Never Ends

Childhood's never over.
It goes on evolving along with us
as if maturing had nothing to do
with growing up.
It's what's still creative about yesterday
that lives on inside us
like an ongoing work of art
whose finishing stroke of genius
was never to abandon it.
My childhood has the eyes of a homeless boy.
The eldest son of a single welfare mother
how could I not become a hero
to be worthy of her
who gave her life up for me?
Even the worthless can make noble mistakes
and if I started out tilting at windmills
the ironic absurdity
of my many-headed imagination
has long since turned me into
some kind of dragon voodoo doll
that keeps taking hits from the past
like a junkie trying to curse someone
by sticking pins in himself
as if his blood had eyes.
Who knows the fate
of the fatherless son
who's been martyred
on the heartless altars
of maternal compassion?
I was middle-aged by the time I was seven years old.
I'm sure my mother never meant to raise this.
But there you go.
Things get out of control sometimes
like morning glory vines in a cedar hedge
after a forest fire.
Some people are the point of the sword.
Some are the edge.
Some grab the blade by the hilt
and then there are all those who bleed.
I played Russian roulette with the moon
to clarify my intensities
with Zen bullets
I held to my head like koans
that kept bouncing off my platinum skull
or went clean through
without touching any of my vital organs.
There's a subtle ambiguity
about enlightenment
that makes it hard to distinguish
a great bodhisattva from a contract killer.
I've been watching myself for years now
like a C.I.A. drone
learning all my routines
and personal habits
waiting for the right moment
to make the perfect hit.
I can remember when I thought I was Zorro.
A Spitfire pilot over London in the autumn of 1940.
Born a recipient white-washed by gratitude
like a white picket fence
with a couple of palings missing
for everything from the shoes on my feet
to my next breath
I wanted to make a contribution
that was a liberating payback with interest
for all that we'd received
as a welfare family
living like economic gypsies
on the fringes of better things to come.
The slave wanted to buy his freedom
from the infernal kindness
of his economic masters
indulging themselves in charity
to live forgivably
with God's obscene abundance.
If great oak trees from little acorns grow
and you can get Neils Bohr
out of a single atom
and there was even hope for me
way back then
when I was a switchblade
winning book awards
that alienated me strangely enough
not only from those who gave them out
like well-cut jewels
to a diamond in the rough
but baffled my more bituminous friends
into keeping their distance
as if intelligence
were an untouchable
in a criminal caste system.
I didn't want to be someone
my mother had wasted her life for.
So much of what I am.
So much of what I've done.
So much of what I've not done.
Not much of a son
when I look at it through her eyes
and even less of an outcome
when I look at it through mine.
Things were supposed to come to fruition.
But they've proven to be all vine.
In my grailquest for redemption
I've followed the dark star of my intuition
like black wine
that delighted in leading me astray.
The rational disassociation of the sensibility
as Rimbaud used to say.
Method in your madness.
But that was yesterday
before the center did not hold
and things fell apart
as Yeats said they would.
Not that it does a lot of cosmic good
to know these things.
It's hard to console a pteradactyl
by telling it why
the dinosaurs disappeared.
Everybody goes
with the evolutionary flow of their lifestreams
running downhill
to the big landfill
of their schemes and dreams
coming to a standstill
like the genes and memes
of a homesick Neanderthal.
They knew how to flint knap the moon
but they never learned
how to spin their delusions
like I did
in blood red ochre
on the wombwalls of a limestone cave
deep underground in southwest France.
It's not so hard to be a hero
when there's nothing to lose
and you don't stand a chance.
Think about it.
We're all given minds to express ourselves
and most of humanity
only says what it really means
when no one is listening
like Iago behind Othello's back.
What kind of a play is that?
The actors keep their mouths shut.
The theme's a re-run.
And the heroes
are all vicious petty
snakeoil salesmen
milking both fangs at once
like the crescents of the moon
to heal the last first
of all they have wounded
like a drug addict
in the realm of the Fisher King.
I may be as dark
as an oxymoronic anti-hero
blinded on the road to Damascus
by an improvised explosive device
that was wired like two snakes coupling
in the name of an unknown goat god
but at least I mean what I mean.
I don't say the kingdom's green
when it's black.
I'm not a latter day Teresias.
The fix isn't in on the prophecy.
I don't look at two copulating snakes
and see a double helix.
I live in eclipse
like one of the real heretics.
I am the estranged genius
of my own genome
wholly at home
in my homelessness.
I have learned how to mutate.
To shape-shift my form
like an old Etruscan god
of zodiacal kings
where the river turns towards Rome
like the bloodline of a mad emperor into the arts.
I'm not trying to sell my story to the stars.
I don't believe in lullabies that leave scars.
I don't think there's anything in the way of wealth
that's worth asking for
that's worth more
than the strength to stop asking
and the wisdom to ignore your own power
like an annoying habit
you're trying to transcend
to be a bigger man
than the one you thought you were.
I wanted to be the kind of son
that turned all those floors
all those windows and tables
my mother had to scrub
for rich women in Lansdowne
into glass slippers
that fit her
like a shoe-shine Cinderella
with a prince of a reflection
for an eldest son.
I started out well enough that way.
But look what happened.
Someone once told me
the earth was a sphere
and so it is
if you're rich enough,
but if you keep falling off the edge of it
you take as a sign you're poor.
You look at it
like an old starmap
that never goes out of date
like the full moon
of an empty dinner plate.
You know it's flat.
And hope's not much of a parachute
when it flowers
as if wishes were horses
and beggars could ride
because that's the way
it insists with coercive intensity
things ought to be
and all in one voice
we all agree
to the same inane absurdity.
All the intellectuals
are trying to divine
the direction
of our mutual devolution
like an apocalyptic watershed
right under their feet
by reading the biography
of a best-selling mutant
they're dying to meet
in a debate about creation
and misinformation
as the basis of reality.
And I may have been stubbed out
like a cigarette
or a big toe in a bad dream
on the stone of the earth
whenever I laid my head down
to forget who I was
more than a lifetime or two
because I was a slow learner
with a Mongolian tolerance for pain
but I've never blown a personal crisis
up into an astronomical catastrophe
that makes everything I think
the cosmic life
of a self-conscious dinosaur
that went extinct upon impact.
I've never done that
though that doesn't make me
much of a hero
in the eyes of my undoing.
A hero needs to act spontaneously
on the facts of the situation
through four consecutive acts
of tragic superstition
playing to the crowd.
I've got the scars
to say I've done my time
standing up in the arena
armed with nothing
but long odds against the Christians
but I've never learned how to scream
like a sestina, or the ballade royal
of an approximate Horation ode,
not even in the terza rima
of a divine comedy in hell
the way it says you're supposed to
in all the rhyming dictionaries
that teach you to write
like a social form of etiquette
about things that made you fight for your life
like a lion-god with claws
the size of lunar crescents
that knows how to part your heart
as if the waters of the Red Sea
were nothing but a minor flesh wound
compared to how
you can be opened up like Egypt
the moment you dropp your guard.
Thieves in the pyramid!
Thieves in the pyramid!
Stealing my body of thought
like the tools to build
a better afterlife
than I was dreaming of
like the only way out of here.
Let's hope there's someone waiting
on the other side of the wall
between that freedom
and this prison
with a car
and new clothes
and a snakey mistress
that looks up
and smiles like a gun moll
then hisses and moves
like an anaconda
in black pantyhose
listening to rhythm and blues
on a police radio.
It may not be a cure for cancer.
But it's my last answer
to those who ask me what
I'm doing here
checking my spiritual rear-view mirror
every few minutes of my getaway
like a return journey
I'm not going to make
back to Heartbreak Hill
like Sisyphus
on tour with the Rolling Stones
in the town where I grew up
watching my mother
try to make it through every month
as if she were trying to swim
the Straits of Juan de Fuca
like Marilyn Bell.
Hell is a seven year old boy
sitting at a kitchen table
like a broken toy
late into the night
listening to his exhausted mother
get the sorrow rage and despair
out of her system
like the venom of another day
by making two little Xs with a razorblade
and bleeding it out loud
as if you crossed your heart
and hoped to die
because even death was better
than living the way we did.
I've thrown a lot of snakes
without heads
in the fire ever since.
I've bruised them with my heel.
I was inspired by the views
of a Promethean thief
to introduce fire to the snakepit
that reached out to bite my mother
every day of her life
she couldn't feel anything
but harm at the door of her heart
and dangerous shadows
under the windows into her soul.
Though sometimes
when the world had shut down for the night
I could see through the tears she tried to hold back
beautiful rainbow serpents
still swirling
like the Northern Lights
on the oilslick that overwhelmed her.
Even on her hands and knees
scrubbing the filth
off other people's floors
she found a way to dance
the way she did before
the swan died on the lake
and she was hobbled by four kids
and a seven to five chance against
getting the next month's rent.
She could have let go.
But she didn't.
She hung on to her children
like a fatal mistake
she was deep enough to make
for love's sake
in the middle of welfare hell
where night after night
staring at greasy walls
and torn linoleum
childhood never ends.
You just sit at the table forever
trying to pick the brighter bits
of broken chandeliers
out of the ice-storms
of your frozen tears.
And there's so much you want to do
but you can't
because you're not God
and you're not the genie in the lamp
you're just a child
terrified of hope
thinking to yourself
some people cling to life
like a strong rope up to heaven
and others are barely hanging on by the thread
of the sword
dangling over their heads
like the brutal truth
of a debt to society
that's always in arrears.
Looking back over the years
it gets easier to see
that if nature abhors a vacuum
then it doesn't miss me
or the futile childhood clarity
of a social pariah
sitting at the table
like one of the four elements
my mother gave birth to
listening to the sound of humans
snapping like wishbones
that never came true.

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St. Dorothy

IT HATH been seen and yet it shall be seen
That out of tender mouths God’s praise hath been
Made perfect, and with wood and simple string
He hath played music sweet as shawm-playing
To please himself with softness of all sound;
And no small thing but hath been sometime found
Full sweet of use, and no such humbleness
But God hath bruised withal the sentences
And evidence of wise men witnessing;
No leaf that is so soft a hidden thing
It never shall get sight of the great sun;
The strength of ten has been the strength of one,
And lowliness has waxed imperious.

There was in Rome a man Theophilus
Of right great blood and gracious ways, that had
All noble fashions to make people glad
And a soft life of pleasurable days;
He was a goodly man for one to praise,
Flawless and whole upward from foot to head;
His arms were a red hawk that alway fed
On a small bird with feathers gnawed upon,
Beaten and plucked about the bosom-bone
Whereby a small round fleck like fire there was:
They called it in their tongue lampadias;
This was the banner of the lordly man.
In many straits of sea and reaches wan
Full of quick wind, and many a shaken firth,
It had seen fighting days of either earth,
Westward or east of waters Gaditane
(This was the place of sea-rocks under Spain
Called after the great praise of Hercules)
And north beyond the washing Pontic seas,
Far windy Russian places fabulous,
And salt fierce tides of storm-swoln Bosphorus.

Now as this lord came straying in Rome town
He saw a little lattice open down
And after it a press of maidens’ heads
That sat upon their cold small quiet beds
Talking, and played upon short-stringèd lutes;
And other some ground perfume out of roots
Gathered by marvellous moons in Asia;
Saffron and aloes and wild cassia,
Coloured all through and smelling of the sun;
And over all these was a certain one
Clothed softly, with sweet herbs about her hair
And bosom flowerful; her face more fair
Than sudden-singing April in soft lands:
Eyed like a gracious bird, and in both hands
She held a psalter painted green and red.

This Theophile laughed at the heart, and said;
Now God so help me hither and St. Paul,
As by the new time of their festival
I have good will to take this maid to wife.
And herewith fell to fancies of her life
And soft half-thoughts that ended suddenly.
This is man’s guise to please himself, when he
Shall not see one thing of his pleasant things,
Nor with outwatch of many travailings
Come to be eased of the least pain he hath
For all his love and all his foolish wrath
And all the heavy manner of his mind.
Thus is he like a fisher fallen blind
That casts his nets across the boat awry
To strike the sea, but lo, he striketh dry
And plucks them back all broken for his pain
And bites his beard and casts across again
And reaching wrong slips over in the sea.
So hath this man a strangled neck for fee,
For all his cost he chuckles in his throat.

This Theophile that little hereof wote
Laid wait to hear of her what she might be:
Men told him she had name of Dorothy,
And was a lady of a worthy house.
Thereat this knight grew inly glorious
That he should have a love so fair of place.
She was a maiden of most quiet face,
Tender of speech, and had no hardihood
But was nigh feeble of her fearful blood;
Her mercy in her was so marvellous
From her least years, that seeing her school-fellows
That read beside her stricken with a rod,
She would cry sore and say some word to God
That he would ease her fellow of his pain.
There is no touch of sun or fallen rain
That ever fell on a more gracious thing.

In middle Rome there was in stone-working
The church of Venus painted royally.
The chapels of it were some two or three,
In each of them her tabernacle was
And a wide window of six feet in glass
Coloured with all her works in red and gold.
The altars had bright cloths and cups to hold
The wine of Venus for the services,
Made out of honey and crushed wood-berries
That shed sweet yellow through the thick wet red,
That on high days was borne upon the head
Of Venus’ priest for any man to drink;
So that in drinking he should fall to think
On some fair face, and in the thought thereof
Worship, and such should triumph in his love.
For this soft wine that did such grace and good
Was new trans-shaped and mixed with Love’s own blood,
That in the fighting Trojan time was bled;
For which came such a woe to Diomed
That he was stifled after in hard sea.
And some said that this wine-shedding should be
Made of the falling of Adonis’ blood,
That curled upon the thorns and broken wood
And round the gold silk shoes on Venus’ feet;
The taste thereof was as hot honey sweet
And in the mouth ran soft and riotous.
This was the holiness of Venus’ house.

It was their worship, that in August days
Twelve maidens should go through those Roman ways
Naked, and having gold across their brows
And their hair twisted in short golden rows,
To minister to Venus in this wise:
And twelve men chosen in their companies
To match these maidens by the altar-stair,
All in one habit, crowned upon the hair.
Among these men was chosen Theophile.

This knight went out and prayed a little while,
Holding queen Venus by her hands and knees;
I will give thee twelve royal images
Cut in glad gold, with marvels of wrought stone
For thy sweet priests to lean and pray upon,
Jasper and hyacinth and chrysopras,
And the strange Asian thalamite that was
Hidden twelve ages under heavy sea
Among the little sleepy pearls, to be
A shrine lit over with soft candle-flame
Burning all night red as hot brows of shame,
So thou wilt be my lady without sin.
Goddess that art all gold outside and in,
Help me to serve thee in thy holy way.
Thou knowest, Love, that in my bearing day
There shone a laughter in the singing stars
Round the gold-ceilèd bride-bed wherein Mars
Touched thee and had thee in your kissing wise.
Now therefore, sweet, kiss thou my maiden’s eyes
That they may open graciously towards me;
And this new fashion of thy shrine shall be
As soft with gold as thine own happy head.

The goddess, that was painted with face red
Between two long green tumbled sides of sea,
Stooped her neck sideways, and spake pleasantly:
Thou shalt have grace as thou art thrall of mine.
And with this came a savour of shed wine
And plucked-out petals from a rose’s head:
And softly with slow laughs of lip she said,
Thou shalt have favour all thy days of me.

Then came Theophilus to Dorothy,
Saying: O sweet, if one should strive or speak
Against God’s ways, he gets a beaten cheek
For all his wage and shame above all men.
Therefore I have no will to turn again
When God saith “go,” lest a worse thing fall out.
Then she, misdoubting lest he went about
To catch her wits, made answer somewhat thus:
I have no will, my lord Theophilus,
To speak against this worthy word of yours;
Knowing how God’s will in all speech endures,
That save by grace there may no thing be said.
Then Theophile waxed light from foot to head,
And softly fell upon this answering.
It is well seen you are a chosen thing
To do God service in his gracious way.
I will that you make haste and holiday
To go next year upon the Venus stair,
Covered none else, but crowned upon your hair,
And do the service that a maiden doth.
She said: but I that am Christ’s maid were loth
To do this thing that hath such bitter name.
Thereat his brows were beaten with sore shame
And he came off and said no other word.
Then his eyes chanced upon his banner-bird,
And he fell fingering at the staff of it
And laughed for wrath and stared between his feet,
And out of a chafed heart he spake as thus:
Lo how she japes at me Theophilus,
Feigning herself a fool and hard to love;
Yet in good time for all she boasteth of
She shall be like a little beaten bird.
And while his mouth was open in that word
He came upon the house Janiculum,
Where some went busily, and other some
Talked in the gate called the gate glorious.
The emperor, which was one Gabalus,
Sat over all and drank chill wine alone.
To whom is come Theophilus anon,
And said as thus: Beau sire, Dieu vous aide.
And afterward sat under him, and said
All this thing through as ye have wholly heard.

This Gabalus laughed thickly in his beard.
Yea, this is righteousness and maiden rule.
Truly, he said, a maid is but a fool.
And japed at them as one full villainous,
In a lewd wise, this heathen Gabalus,
And sent his men to bind her as he bade.
Thus have they taken Dorothy the maid,
And haled her forth as men hale pick-purses:
A little need God knows they had of this,
To hale her by her maiden gentle hair.
Thus went she lowly, making a soft prayer,
As one who stays the sweet wine in his mouth,
Murmuring with eased lips, and is most loth
To have done wholly with the sweet of it.

Christ king, fair Christ, that knowest all men’s wit
And all the feeble fashion of my ways,
O perfect God, that from all yesterdays
Abidest whole with morrows perfected,
I pray thee by thy mother’s holy head
Thou help me to do right, that I not slip:
I have no speech nor strength upon my lip,
Except thou help me who art wise and sweet.
Do this too for those nails that clove thy feet,
Let me die maiden after many pains.
Though I be least among thy handmaidens,
Doubtless I shall take death more sweetly thus.

Now have they brought her to King Gabalus,
Who laughed in all his throat some breathing-whiles:
By God, he said, if one should leap two miles,
He were not pained about the sides so much.
This were a soft thing for a man to touch.
Shall one so chafe that hath such little bones?
And shook his throat with thick and chuckled moans
For laughter that she had such holiness.
What aileth thee, wilt thou do services?
It were good fare to fare as Venus doth.

Then said this lady with her maiden mouth,
Shamefaced, and something paler in the cheek:
Now, sir, albeit my wit and will to speak
Give me no grace in sight of worthy men,
For all my shame yet know I this again,
I may not speak, nor after downlying
Rise up to take delight in lute-playing,
Nor sing nor sleep, nor sit and fold my hands,
But my soul in some measure understands
God’s grace laid like a garment over me.
For this fair God that out of strong sharp sea
Lifted the shapely and green-coloured land,
And hath the weight of heaven in his hand
As one might hold a bird, and under him
The heavy golden planets beam by beam
Building the feasting-chambers of his house,
And the large world he holdeth with his brows
And with the light of them astonisheth
All place and time and face of life and death
And motion of the north wind and the south,
And is the sound within his angel’s mouth
Of singing words and words of thanksgiving,
And is the colour of the latter spring
And heat upon the summer and the sun,
And is beginning of all things begun
And gathers in him all things to their end,
And with the fingers of his hand doth bend
The stretched-out sides of heaven like a sail,
And with his breath he maketh the red pale
And fills with blood faint faces of men dead,
And with the sound between his lips are fed
Iron and fire and the white body of snow,
And blossom of all trees in places low,
And small bright herbs about the little hills,
And fruit pricked softly with birds’ tender bills,
And flight of foam about green fields of sea,
And fourfold strength of the great winds that be
Moved always outward from beneath his feet,
And growth of grass and growth of sheavèd wheat
And all green flower of goodly-growing lands;
And all these things he gathers with his hands
And covers all their beauty with his wings;
The same, even God that governs all these things,
Hath set my feet to be upon his ways.
Now therefore for no painfulness of days
I shall put off this service bound on me.
Also, fair sir, ye know this certainly,
How God was in his flesh full chaste and meek
And gave his face to shame, and either cheek
Gave up to smiting of men tyrannous.

And here with a great voice this Gabalus
Cried out and said: By God’s blood and his bones,
This were good game betwixen night and nones
For one to sit and hearken to such saws:
I were as lief fall in some big beast’s jaws
As hear these women’s jaw-teeth chattering;
By God a woman is the harder thing,
One may not put a hook into her mouth.
Now by St. Luke I am so sore adrouth
For all these saws I must needs drink again.
But I pray God deliver all us men
From all such noise of women and their heat.
That is a noble scripture, well I weet,
That likens women to an empty can;
When God said that he was a full wise man.
I trow no man may blame him as for that.

And herewithal he drank a draught, and spat,
And said: Now shall I make an end hereof.
Come near all men and hearken for God’s love,
And ye shall hear a jest or twain, God wot.
And spake as thus with mouth full thick and hot;
But thou do this thou shalt be shortly slain.
Lo, sir, she said, this death and all his pain
I take in penance of my bitter sins.
Yea now, quoth Gabalus, this game begins.
Lo, without sin one shall not live a span.
Lo, this is she that would not look on man
Between her fingers folded in thwart wise.
See how her shame hath smitten in her eyes
That was so clean she had not heard of shame.
Certes, he said, by Gabalus my name,
This two years back I was not so well pleased.
This were good mirth for sick men to be eased
And rise up whole and laugh at hearing of.
I pray thee show us something of thy love,
Since thou wast maid thy gown is waxen wide.
Yea, maid I am, she said, and somewhat sighed,
As one who thought upon the low fair house
Where she sat working, with soft bended brows
Watching her threads, among the school-maidens.
And she thought well now God had brought her thence
She should not come to sew her gold again.

Then cried King Gabalus upon his men
To have her forth and draw her with steel gins.
And as a man hag-ridden beats and grins
And bends his body sidelong in his bed,
So wagged he with his body and knave’s head,
Gaping at her, and blowing with his breath.
And in good time he gat an evil death
Out of his lewdness with his cursèd wives:
His bones were hewn asunder as with knives
For his misliving, certes it is said.
But all the evil wrought upon this maid,
It were full hard for one to handle it.
For her soft blood was shed upon her feet,
And all her body’s colour bruised and faint.
But she, as one abiding God’s great saint,
Spake not nor wept for all this travail hard.
Wherefore the king commanded afterward
To slay her presently in all men’s sight.
And it was now an hour upon the night
And winter-time, and a few stars began.
The weather was yet feeble and all wan
For beating of a weighty wind and snow.
And she came walking in soft wise and slow,
And many men with faces piteous.
Then came this heavy cursing Gabalus,
That swore full hard into his drunken beard;
And faintly after without any word
Came Theophile some paces off the king.
And in the middle of this wayfaring
Full tenderly beholding her he said:

There is no word of comfort with men dead
Nor any face and colour of things sweet;
But always with lean cheeks and lifted feet
These dead men lie all aching to the blood
With bitter cold, their brows withouten hood
Beating for chill, their bodies swathed full thin:
Alas, what hire shall any have herein
To give his life and get such bitterness?
Also the soul going forth bodiless
Is hurt with naked cold, and no man saith
If there be house or covering for death
To hide the soul that is discomforted.

Then she beholding him a little said:
Alas, fair lord, ye have no wit of this;
For on one side death is full poor of bliss
And as ye say full sharp of bone and lean:
But on the other side is good and green
And hath soft flower of tender-coloured hair
Grown on his head, and a red mouth as fair
As may be kissed with lips; thereto his face
Is as God’s face, and in a perfect place
Full of all sun and colour of straight boughs
And waterheads about a painted house
That hath a mile of flowers either way
Outward from it, and blossom-grass of May
Thickening on many a side for length of heat,
Hath God set death upon a noble seat
Covered with green and flowered in the fold,
In likeness of a great king grown full old
And gentle with new temperance of blood;
And on his brows a purfled purple hood,
They may not carry any golden thing;
And plays some tune with subtle fingering
On a small cithern, full of tears and sleep
And heavy pleasure that is quick to weep
And sorrow with the honey in her mouth;
And for this might of music that he doth
Are all souls drawn toward him with great love
And weep for sweetness of the noise thereof
And bow to him with worship of their knees;
And all the field is thick with companies
Of fair-clothed men that play on shawms and lutes
And gather honey of the yellow fruits
Between the branches waxen soft and wide:
And all this peace endures in either side
Of the green land, and God beholdeth all.
And this is girdled with a round fair wall
Made of red stone and cool with heavy leaves
Grown out against it, and green blossom cleaves
To the green chinks, and lesser wall-weed sweet,
Kissing the crannies that are split with heat,
And branches where the summer draws to head.

And Theophile burnt in the cheek, and said:
Yea, could one see it, this were marvellous.
I pray you, at your coming to this house,
Give me some leaf of all those tree-branches;
Seeing how so sharp and white our weather is,
There is no green nor gracious red to see.

Yea, sir, she said, that shall I certainly.
And from her long sweet throat without a fleck
Undid the gold, and through her stretched-out neck
The cold axe clove, and smote away her head:
Out of her throat the tender blood full red
Fell suddenly through all her long soft hair.
And with good speed for hardness of the air
Each man departed to his house again.

Lo, as fair colour in the face of men
At seed-time of their blood, or in such wise
As a thing seen increaseth in men’s eyes,
Caught first far off by sickly fits of sight—
So a word said, if one shall hear aright,
Abides against the season of its growth.
This Theophile went slowly as one doth
That is not sure for sickness of his feet;
And counting the white stonework of the street,
Tears fell out of his eyes for wrath and love,
Making him weep more for the shame thereof
Than for true pain: so went he half a mile.
And women mocked him, saying: Theophile,
Lo, she is dead; what shall a woman have
That loveth such an one? so Christ me save,
I were as lief to love a man new-hung.
Surely this man has bitten on his tongue,
This makes him sad and writhled in his face.

And when they came upon the paven place
That was called sometime the place amorous
There came a child before Theophilus
Bearing a basket, and said suddenly:
Fair sir, this is my mistress Dorothy
That sends you gifts; and with this he was gone.
In all this earth there is not such an one
For colour and straight stature made so fair.
The tender growing gold of his pure hair
Was as wheat growing, and his mouth as flame.
God called him Holy after his own name;
With gold cloth like fire burning he was clad.
But for the fair green basket that he had,
It was filled up with heavy white and red;
Great roses stained still where the first rose bled,
Burning at heart for shame their heart withholds:
And the sad colour of strong marigolds
That have the sun to kiss their lips for love;
The flower that Venus’ hair is woven of,
The colour of fair apples in the sun,
Late peaches gathered when the heat was done
And the slain air got breath; and after these
The fair faint-headed poppies drunk with ease,
And heaviness of hollow lilies red.

Then cried they all that saw these things, and said
It was God’s doing, and was marvellous.
And in brief while this knight Theophilus
Is waxen full of faith, and witnesseth
Before the king of God and love and death,
For which the king bade hang him presently.
A gallows of a goodly piece of tree
This Gabalus hath made to hang him on.
Forth of this world lo Theophile is gone
With a wried neck, God give us better fare
Than his that hath a twisted throat to wear;
But truly for his love God hath him brought
There where his heavy body grieves him nought
Nor all the people plucking at his feet;
But in his face his lady’s face is sweet,
And through his lips her kissing lips are gone:
God send him peace, and joy of such an one.

This is the story of St. Dorothy.
I will you of your mercy pray for me
Because I wrote these sayings for your grace,
That I may one day see her in the face.

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The Iliad: Book 19

Now when Dawn in robe of saffron was hasting from the streams of
Oceanus, to bring light to mortals and immortals, Thetis reached the
ships with the armour that the god had given her. She found her son
fallen about the body of Patroclus and weeping bitterly. Many also
of his followers were weeping round him, but when the goddess came
among them she clasped his hand in her own, saying, "My son, grieve as
we may we must let this man lie, for it is by heaven's will that he
has fallen; now, therefore, accept from Vulcan this rich and goodly
armour, which no man has ever yet borne upon his shoulders."
As she spoke she set the armour before Achilles, and it rang out
bravely as she did so. The Myrmidons were struck with awe, and none
dared look full at it, for they were afraid; but Achilles was roused
to still greater fury, and his eyes gleamed with a fierce light, for
he was glad when he handled the splendid present which the god had
made him. Then, as soon as he had satisfied himself with looking at
it, he said to his mother, "Mother, the god has given me armour,
meet handiwork for an immortal and such as no living could have
fashioned; I will now arm, but I much fear that flies will settle upon
the son of Menoetius and breed worms about his wounds, so that his
body, now he is dead, will be disfigured and the flesh will rot."
Silver-footed Thetis answered, "My son, be not disquieted about this
matter. I will find means to protect him from the swarms of noisome
flies that prey on the bodies of men who have been killed in battle.
He may lie for a whole year, and his flesh shall still be as sound
as ever, or even sounder. Call, therefore, the Achaean heroes in
assembly; unsay your anger against Agamemnon; arm at once, and fight
with might and main."
As she spoke she put strength and courage into his heart, and she
then dropped ambrosia and red nectar into the wounds of Patroclus,
that his body might suffer no change.
Then Achilles went out upon the seashore, and with a loud cry called
on the Achaean heroes. On this even those who as yet had stayed always
at the ships, the pilots and helmsmen, and even the stewards who
were about the ships and served out rations, all came to the place
of assembly because Achilles had shown himself after having held aloof
so long from fighting. Two sons of Mars, Ulysses and the son of
Tydeus, came limping, for their wounds still pained them; nevertheless
they came, and took their seats in the front row of the assembly. Last
of all came Agamemnon, king of men, he too wounded, for Coon son of
Antenor had struck him with a spear in battle.
When the Achaeans were got together Achilles rose and said, "Son
of Atreus, surely it would have been better alike for both you and me,
when we two were in such high anger about Briseis, surely it would
have been better, had Diana's arrow slain her at the ships on the
day when I took her after having sacked Lyrnessus. For so, many an
Achaean the less would have bitten dust before the foe in the days
of my anger. It has been well for Hector and the Trojans, but the
Achaeans will long indeed remember our quarrel. Now, however, let it
be, for it is over. If we have been angry, necessity has schooled
our anger. I put it from me: I dare not nurse it for ever;
therefore, bid the Achaeans arm forthwith that I may go out against
the Trojans, and learn whether they will be in a mind to sleep by
the ships or no. Glad, I ween, will he be to rest his knees who may
fly my spear when I wield it."
Thus did he speak, and the Achaeans rejoiced in that he had put away
his anger.
Then Agamemnon spoke, rising in his place, and not going into the
middle of the assembly. "Danaan heroes," said he, "servants of Mars,
it is well to listen when a man stands up to speak, and it is not
seemly to interrupt him, or it will go hard even with a practised
speaker. Who can either hear or speak in an uproar? Even the finest
orator will be disconcerted by it. I will expound to the son of
Peleus, and do you other Achaeans heed me and mark me well. Often have
the Achaeans spoken to me of this matter and upbraided me, but it
was not I that did it: Jove, and Fate, and Erinys that walks in
darkness struck me mad when we were assembled on the day that I took
from Achilles the meed that had been awarded to him. What could I
do? All things are in the hand of heaven, and Folly, eldest of
Jove's daughters, shuts men's eyes to their destruction. She walks
delicately, not on the solid earth, but hovers over the heads of men
to make them stumble or to ensnare them.
"Time was when she fooled Jove himself, who they say is greatest
whether of gods or men; for Juno, woman though she was, beguiled him
on the day when Alcmena was to bring forth mighty Hercules in the fair
city of Thebes. He told it out among the gods saying, 'Hear me all
gods and goddesses, that I may speak even as I am minded; this day
shall an Ilithuia, helper of women who are in labour, bring a man
child into the world who shall be lord over all that dwell about him
who are of my blood and lineage.' Then said Juno all crafty and full
of guile, 'You will play false, and will not hold to your word.
Swear me, O Olympian, swear me a great oath, that he who shall this
day fall between the feet of a woman, shall be lord over all that
dwell about him who are of your blood and lineage.'
"Thus she spoke, and Jove suspected her not, but swore the great
oath, to his much ruing thereafter. For Juno darted down from the high
summit of Olympus, and went in haste to Achaean Argos where she knew
that the noble wife of Sthenelus son of Perseus then was. She being
with child and in her seventh month, Juno brought the child to birth
though there was a month still wanting, but she stayed the offspring
of Alcmena, and kept back the Ilithuiae. Then she went to tell Jove
the son of Saturn, and said, 'Father Jove, lord of the lightning- I
have a word for your ear. There is a fine child born this day,
Eurystheus, son to Sthenelus the son of Perseus; he is of your
lineage; it is well, therefore, that he should reign over the
"On this Jove was stung to the very quick, and in his rage he caught
Folly by the hair, and swore a great oath that never should she
again invade starry heaven and Olympus, for she was the bane of all.
Then he whirled her round with a twist of his hand, and flung her down
from heaven so that she fell on to the fields of mortal men; and he
was ever angry with her when he saw his son groaning under the cruel
labours that Eurystheus laid upon him. Even so did I grieve when
mighty Hector was killing the Argives at their ships, and all the time
I kept thinking of Folly who had so baned me. I was blind, and Jove
robbed me of my reason; I will now make atonement, and will add much
treasure by way of amends. Go, therefore, into battle, you and your
people with you. I will give you all that Ulysses offered you
yesterday in your tents: or if it so please you, wait, though you
would fain fight at once, and my squires shall bring the gifts from my
ship, that you may see whether what I give you is enough."
And Achilles answered, "Son of Atreus, king of men Agamemnon, you
can give such gifts as you think proper, or you can withhold them:
it is in your own hands. Let us now set battle in array; it is not
well to tarry talking about trifles, for there is a deed which is as
yet to do. Achilles shall again be seen fighting among the foremost,
and laying low the ranks of the Trojans: bear this in mind each one of
you when he is fighting."
Then Ulysses said, "Achilles, godlike and brave, send not the
Achaeans thus against Ilius to fight the Trojans fasting, for the
battle will be no brief one, when it is once begun, and heaven has
filled both sides with fury; bid them first take food both bread and
wine by the ships, for in this there is strength and stay. No man
can do battle the livelong day to the going down of the sun if he is
without food; however much he may want to fight his strength will fail
him before he knows it; hunger and thirst will find him out, and his
limbs will grow weary under him. But a man can fight all day if he
is full fed with meat and wine; his heart beats high, and his strength
will stay till he has routed all his foes; therefore, send the
people away and bid them prepare their meal; King Agamemnon will bring
out the gifts in presence of the assembly, that all may see them and
you may be satisfied. Moreover let him swear an oath before the
Argives that he has never gone up into the couch of Briseis, nor
been with her after the manner of men and women; and do you, too, show
yourself of a gracious mind; let Agamemnon entertain you in his
tents with a feast of reconciliation, that so you may have had your
dues in full. As for you, son of Atreus, treat people more righteously
in future; it is no disgrace even to a king that he should make amends
if he was wrong in the first instance."
And King Agamemnon answered, "Son of Laertes, your words please me
well, for throughout you have spoken wisely. I will swear as you would
have me do; I do so of my own free will, neither shall I take the name
of heaven in vain. Let, then, Achilles wait, though he would fain
fight at once, and do you others wait also, till the gifts come from
my tent and we ratify the oath with sacrifice. Thus, then, do I charge
you: take some noble young Achaeans with you, and bring from my
tents the gifts that I promised yesterday to Achilles, and bring the
women also; furthermore let Talthybius find me a boar from those
that are with the host, and make it ready for sacrifice to Jove and to
the sun."
Then said Achilles, "Son of Atreus, king of men Agamemnon, see to
these matters at some other season, when there is breathing time and
when I am calmer. Would you have men eat while the bodies of those
whom Hector son of Priam slew are still lying mangled upon the
plain? Let the sons of the Achaeans, say I, fight fasting and
without food, till we have avenged them; afterwards at the going
down of the sun let them eat their fill. As for me, Patroclus is lying
dead in my tent, all hacked and hewn, with his feet to the door, and
his comrades are mourning round him. Therefore I can take thought of
nothing save only slaughter and blood and the rattle in the throat
of the dying."
Ulysses answered, "Achilles, son of Peleus, mightiest of all the
Achaeans, in battle you are better than I, and that more than a
little, but in counsel I am much before you, for I am older and of
greater knowledge. Therefore be patient under my words. Fighting is
a thing of which men soon surfeit, and when Jove, who is wars steward,
weighs the upshot, it may well prove that the straw which our
sickles have reaped is far heavier than the grain. It may not be
that the Achaeans should mourn the dead with their bellies; day by day
men fall thick and threefold continually; when should we have
respite from our sorrow? Let us mourn our dead for a day and bury them
out of sight and mind, but let those of us who are left eat and
drink that we may arm and fight our foes more fiercely. In that hour
let no man hold back, waiting for a second summons; such summons shall
bode ill for him who is found lagging behind at our ships; let us
rather sally as one man and loose the fury of war upon the Trojans."
When he had thus spoken he took with him the sons of Nestor, with
Meges son of Phyleus, Thoas, Meriones, Lycomedes son of Creontes,
and Melanippus, and went to the tent of Agamemnon son of Atreus. The
word was not sooner said than the deed was done: they brought out
the seven tripods which Agamemnon had promised, with the twenty
metal cauldrons and the twelve horses; they also brought the women
skilled in useful arts, seven in number, with Briseis, which made
eight. Ulysses weighed out the ten talents of gold and then led the
way back, while the young Achaeans brought the rest of the gifts,
and laid them in the middle of the assembly.
Agamemnon then rose, and Talthybius whose voice was like that of a
god came to him with the boar. The son of Atreus drew the knife
which he wore by the scabbard of his mighty sword, and began by
cutting off some bristles from the boar, lifting up his hands in
prayer as he did so. The other Achaeans sat where they were all silent
and orderly to hear the king, and Agamemnon looked into the vault of
heaven and prayed saying, "I call Jove the first and mightiest of
all gods to witness, I call also Earth and Sun and the Erinyes who
dwell below and take vengeance on him who shall swear falsely, that
I have laid no hand upon the girl Briseis, neither to take her to my
bed nor otherwise, but that she has remained in my tents inviolate. If
I swear falsely may heaven visit me with all the penalties which it
metes out to those who perjure themselves."
He cut the boar's throat as he spoke, whereon Talthybius whirled
it round his head, and flung it into the wide sea to feed the
fishes. Then Achilles also rose and said to the Argives, "Father Jove,
of a truth you blind men's eyes and bane them. The son of Atreus had
not else stirred me to so fierce an anger, nor so stubbornly taken
Briseis from me against my will. Surely Jove must have counselled
the destruction of many an Argive. Go, now, and take your food that we
may begin fighting."
On this he broke up the assembly, and every man went back to his own
ship. The Myrmidons attended to the presents and took them away to the
ship of Achilles. They placed them in his tents, while the
stable-men drove the horses in among the others.
Briseis, fair as Venus, when she saw the mangled body of
Patroclus, flung herself upon it and cried aloud, tearing her
breast, her neck, and her lovely face with both her hands. Beautiful
as a goddess she wept and said, "Patroclus, dearest friend, when I
went hence I left you living; I return, O prince, to find you dead;
thus do fresh sorrows multiply upon me one after the other. I saw
him to whom my father and mother married me, cut down before our city,
and my three own dear brothers perished with him on the self-same day;
but you, Patroclus, even when Achilles slew my husband and sacked
the city of noble Mynes, told me that I was not to weep, for you
said you would make Achilles marry me, and take me back with him to
Phthia, we should have a wedding feast among the Myrmidons. You were
always kind to me and I shall never cease to grieve for you."
She wept as she spoke, and the women joined in her lament-making
as though their tears were for Patroclus, but in truth each was
weeping for her own sorrows. The elders of the Achaeans gathered round
Achilles and prayed him to take food, but he groaned and would not
do so. "I pray you," said he, "if any comrade will hear me, bid me
neither eat nor drink, for I am in great heaviness, and will stay
fasting even to the going down of the sun."
On this he sent the other princes away, save only the two sons of
Atreus and Ulysses, Nestor, Idomeneus, and the knight Phoenix, who
stayed behind and tried to comfort him in the bitterness of his
sorrow: but he would not be comforted till he should have flung
himself into the jaws of battle, and he fetched sigh on sigh, thinking
ever of Patroclus. Then he said-
"Hapless and dearest comrade, you it was who would get a good dinner
ready for me at once and without delay when the Achaeans were
hasting to fight the Trojans; now, therefore, though I have meat and
drink in my tents, yet will I fast for sorrow. Grief greater than this
I could not know, not even though I were to hear of the death of my
father, who is now in Phthia weeping for the loss of me his son, who
am here fighting the Trojans in a strange land for the accursed sake
of Helen, nor yet though I should hear that my son is no more- he
who is being brought up in Scyros- if indeed Neoptolemus is still
living. Till now I made sure that I alone was to fall here at Troy
away from Argos, while you were to return to Phthia, bring back my son
with you in your own ship, and show him all my property, my
bondsmen, and the greatness of my house- for Peleus must surely be
either dead, or what little life remains to him is oppressed alike
with the infirmities of age and ever present fear lest he should
hear the sad tidings of my death."
He wept as he spoke, and the elders sighed in concert as each
thought on what he had left at home behind him. The son of Saturn
looked down with pity upon them, and said presently to Minerva, "My
child, you have quite deserted your hero; is he then gone so clean out
of your recollection? There he sits by the ships all desolate for
the loss of his dear comrade, and though the others are gone to
their dinner he will neither eat nor drink. Go then and drop nectar
and ambrosia into his breast, that he may know no hunger."
With these words he urged Minerva, who was already of the same mind.
She darted down from heaven into the air like some falcon sailing on
his broad wings and screaming. Meanwhile the Achaeans were arming
throughout the host, and when Minerva had dropped nectar and
ambrosia into Achilles so that no cruel hunger should cause his
limbs to fail him, she went back to the house of her mighty father.
Thick as the chill snow-flakes shed from the hand of Jove and borne on
the keen blasts of the north wind, even so thick did the gleaming
helmets, the bossed shields, the strongly plated breastplates, and the
ashen spears stream from the ships. The sheen pierced the sky, the
whole land was radiant with their flashing armour, and the sound of
the tramp of their treading rose from under their feet. In the midst
of them all Achilles put on his armour; he gnashed his teeth, his eyes
gleamed like fire, for his grief was greater than he could bear. Thus,
then, full of fury against the Trojans, did he don the gift of the
god, the armour that Vulcan had made him.
First he put on the goodly greaves fitted with ancle-clasps, and
next he did on the breastplate about his chest. He slung the
silver-studded sword of bronze about his shoulders, and then took up
the shield so great and strong that shone afar with a splendour as
of the moon. As the light seen by sailors from out at sea, when men
have lit a fire in their homestead high up among the mountains, but
the sailors are carried out to sea by wind and storm far from the
haven where they would be- even so did the gleam of Achilles' wondrous
shield strike up into the heavens. He lifted the redoubtable helmet,
and set it upon his head, from whence it shone like a star, and the
golden plumes which Vulcan had set thick about the ridge of the
helmet, waved all around it. Then Achilles made trial of himself in
his armour to see whether it fitted him, so that his limbs could
play freely under it, and it seemed to buoy him up as though it had
been wings.
He also drew his father's spear out of the spear-stand, a spear so
great and heavy and strong that none of the Achaeans save only
Achilles had strength to wield it; this was the spear of Pelian ash
from the topmost ridges of Mt. Pelion, which Chiron had once given
to Peleus, fraught with the death of heroes. Automedon and Alcimus
busied themselves with the harnessing of his horses; they made the
bands fast about them, and put the bit in their mouths, drawing the
reins back towards the chariot. Automedon, whip in hand, sprang up
behind the horses, and after him Achilles mounted in full armour,
resplendent as the sun-god Hyperion. Then with a loud voice he
chided with his father's horses saying, "Xanthus and Balius, famed
offspring of Podarge- this time when we have done fighting be sure and
bring your driver safely back to the host of the Achaeans, and do
not leave him dead on the plain as you did Patroclus."
Then fleet Xanthus answered under the yoke- for white-armed Juno had
endowed him with human speech- and he bowed his head till his mane
touched the ground as it hung down from under the yoke-band. "Dread
Achilles," said he, "we will indeed save you now, but the day of
your death is near, and the blame will not be ours, for it will be
heaven and stern fate that will destroy you. Neither was it through
any sloth or slackness on our part that the Trojans stripped Patroclus
of his armour; it was the mighty god whom lovely Leto bore that slew
him as he fought among the foremost, and vouchsafed a triumph to
Hector. We two can fly as swiftly as Zephyrus who they say is fleetest
of all winds; nevertheless it is your doom to fall by the hand of a
man and of a god."
When he had thus said the Erinyes stayed his speech, and Achilles
answered him in great sadness, saying, "Why, O Xanthus, do you thus
foretell my death? You need not do so, for I well know that I am to
fall here, far from my dear father and mother; none the more, however,
shall I stay my hand till I have given the Trojans their fill of
So saying, with a loud cry he drove his horses to the front.

poem by , translated by Samuel ButlerReport problemRelated quotes
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