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A positive attitude is not going to save you. What it's going to do is, everyday, between now and the day you die, whether that's a short time from now or a long time from now, that every day, you're going to actually live.

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Peter Bell The Third

BY MICHING MALLECHO, Esq.

Is it a party in a parlour,
Crammed just as they on earth were crammed,
Some sipping punch-some sipping tea;
But, as you by their faces see,
All silent, and all-damned!

Peter Bell, by W. Wordsworth.


Ophelia.-What means this, my lord?
Hamlet.-Marry, this is Miching Mallecho; it means mischief.
~Shakespeare.

PROLOGUE
Pet er Bells, one, two and three,
O'er the wide world wandering be.-
First, the antenatal Peter,
Wrapped in weeds of the same metre,
The so-long-predestined raiment
Clothed in which to walk his way meant
The second Peter; whose ambition
Is to link the proposition,
As the mean of two extremes-
(This was learned from Aldric's themes)
Shielding from the guilt of schism
The orthodoxal syllogism;
The First Peter-he who was
Like the shadow in the glass
Of the second, yet unripe,
His substantial antitype.-
Then came Peter Bell the Second,
Who henceforward must be reckoned
The body of a double soul,
And that portion of the whole
Without which the rest would seem
Ends of a disjointed dream.-
And the Third is he who has
O'er the grave been forced to pass
To the other side, which is,-
Go and try else,-just like this.
Peter Bell the First was Peter
Smugger, milder, softer, neater,
Like the soul before it is
Born from that world into this.
The next Peter Bell was he,
Predevote, like you and me,
To good or evil as may come;
His was the severer doom,-
For he was an evil Cotter,
And a polygamic Potter.
And the last is Peter Bell,
Damned since our first parents fell,
Damned eternally to Hell-
Surely he deserves it well!


PART THE FIRST
DEATH
And Peter Bell, when he had been
With fresh-imported Hell-fire warmed,
Grew serious-from his dress and mien
'Twas very plainly to be seen
Peter was quite reformed.


His eyes turned up, his mouth turned down;
His accent caught a nasal twang;
He oiled his hair; there might be heard
The grace of God in every word
Which Peter said or sang.


But Peter now grew old, and had
An ill no doctor could unravel;
His torments almost drove him mad;-
Some said it was a fever bad-
Some swore it was the gravel.


His holy friends then came about,
And with long preaching and persuasion
Convinced the patient that, without
The smallest shadow of a doubt,
He was predestined to damnation.


They said-'Thy name is Peter Bell;
Thy skin is of a brimstone hue;
Alive or dead-ay, sick or well-
The one God made to rhyme with hell;
The other, I think, rhymes with you.'


Then Peter set up such a yell!-
The nurse, who with some water gruel
Was climbing up the stairs, as well
As her old legs could climb them-fell,
And broke them both-the fall was cruel.


The Parson from the casement lept
Into the lake of Windermere-
And many an eel-though no adept
In God's right reason for it-kept
Gnawing his kidneys half a year.


And all the rest rushed through the door,
And tumbled over one another,
And broke their skulls.-Upon the floor
Meanwhile sat Peter Bell, and swore,
And cursed his father and his mother;


And raved of God, and sin, and death,
Blaspheming like an infidel;
And said, that with his clenchèd teeth
He'd seize the earth from underneath,
And drag it with him down to hell.


As he was speaking came a spasm,
And wrenched his gnashing teeth asunder;
Like one who sees a strange phantasm
He lay,-there was a silent chasm
Between his upper jaw and under.


And yellow death lay on his face;
And a fixed smile that was not human
Told, as I understand the case,
That he was gone to the wrong place:-
I heard all this from the old woman.


Then there came down from Langdale Pike
A cloud, with lightning, wind and hail;
It swept over the mountains like
An ocean,-and I heard it strike
The woods and crags of Grasmere vale.


And I saw the black storm come
Nearer, minute after minute;
Its thunder made the cataracts dumb;
With hiss, and clash, and hollow hum,
It neared as if the Devil was in it.


The Devil was in it:-he had bought
Peter for half-a-crown; and when
The storm which bore him vanished, nought
That in the house that storm had caught
Was ever seen again.


The gaping neighbours came next day-
They found all vanished from the shore:
The Bible, whence he used to pray,
Half scorched under a hen-coop lay;
Smashed glass-and nothing more!


PART THE SECOND
THE DEVIL
The Devil, I safely can aver,
Has neither hoof, nor tail, nor sting;
Nor is he, as some sages swear,
A spirit, neither here nor there,
In nothing-yet in everything.


He is-what we are; for sometimes
The Devil is a gentleman;
At others a bard bartering rhymes
For sack; a statesman spinning crimes;
A swindler, living as he can;


A thief, who cometh in the night,
With whole boots and net pantaloons,
Like some one whom it were not right
To mention;-or the luckless wight
From whom he steals nine silver spoons.


But in this case he did appear
Like a slop-merchant from Wapping,
And with smug face, and eye severe,
On every side did perk and peer
Till he saw Peter dead or napping.


He had on an upper Benjamin
(For he was of the driving schism)
In the which he wrapped his skin
From the storm he travelled in,
For fear of rheumatism.


He called the ghost out of the corse;-
It was exceedingly like Peter,-
Only its voice was hollow and hoarse-
It had a queerish look of course-
Its dress too was a little neater.


The Devil knew not his name and lot;
Peter knew not that he was Bell:
Each had an upper stream of thought,
Which made all seem as it was not;
Fitting itself to all things well.


Peter thought he had parents dear,
Brothers, sisters, cousins, cronies,
In the fens of Lincolnshire;
He perhaps had found them there
Had he gone and boldly shown his


Solemn phiz in his own village;
Where he thought oft when a boy
He'd clomb the orchard walls to pillage
The produce of his neighbour's tillage,
With marvellous pride and joy.


And the Devil thought he had,
'Mid the misery and confusion
Of an unjust war, just made
A fortune by the gainful trade
Of giving soldiers rations bad-
The world is full of strange delusion-


That he had a mansion planned
In a square like Grosvenor Square,
That he was aping fashion, and
That he now came to Westmoreland
To see what was romantic there.


And all this, though quite ideal,-
Ready at a breath to vanish,-
Was a state not more unreal
Than the peace he could not feel,
Or the care he could not banish.


After a little conversation,
The Devil told Peter, if he chose,
He'd bring him to the world of fashion
By giving him a situation
In his own service-and new clothes.


And Peter bowed, quite pleased and proud,
And after waiting some few days
For a new livery-dirty yellow
Turned up with black-the wretched fellow
Was bowled to Hell in the Devil's chaise.


PART THE THIRD
HELL
Hell is a city much like London-
A populous and a smoky city;
There are all sorts of people undone,
And there is little or no fun done;
Small justice shown, and still less pity.


There is a Castles, and a Canning,
A Cobbett, and a Castlereagh;
All sorts of caitiff corpses planning
All sorts of cozening for trepanning
Corpses less corrupt than they.


There is a --, who has lost
His wits, or sold them, none knows which;
He walks about a double ghost,
And though as thin as Fraud almost-
Ever grows more grim and rich.


There is a Chancery Court; a King;
A manufacturing mob; a set
Of thieves who by themselves are sent
Similar thieves to represent;
An army; and a public debt.


Which last is a scheme of paper money,
And means-being interpreted-
'Bees, keep your wax-give us the honey,
And we will plant, while skies are sunny,
Flowers, which in winter serve instead.'


There is a great talk of revolution-
And a great chance of despotism-
German soldiers-camps-confusion-
Tumults-lotteries-ra ge-delusion-
Gin-suicide-and methodism;


Taxes too, on wine and bread,
And meat, and beer, and tea, and cheese,
From which those patriots pure are fed,
Who gorge before they reel to bed
The tenfold essence of all these.


There are mincing women, mewing,
(Like cats, who amant miserè,)
Of their own virtue, and pursuing
Their gentler sisters to that ruin,
Without which-what were chastity?


Lawyers-judges-old hobnobbers
Are there-bailiffs-chancellors-
Bishops-great and little robbers-
Rhymesters-pamphleteers-stock-jobbers -
Men of glory in the wars,-


Things whose trade is, over ladies
To lean, and flirt, and stare, and simper,
Till all that is divine in woman
Grows cruel, courteous, smooth, inhuman,
Crucified 'twixt a smile and whimper.


Thrusting, toiling, wailing, moiling,
Frowning, preaching-such a riot!
Each with never-ceasing labour,
Whilst he thinks he cheats his neighbour,
Cheating his own heart of quiet.


And all these meet at levees;-
Dinners convivial and political;-
Suppers of epic poets;-teas,
Where small talk dies in agonies;-
Breakfasts professional and critical;


Lunches and snacks so aldermanic
That one would furnish forth ten dinners,
Where reigns a Cretan-tonguèd panic,
Lest news Russ, Dutch, or Alemannic
Should make some losers, and some winners;-


At conversazioni-balls-
Conventicles-and drawing-rooms-
Courts of law-committees-calls
Of a morning-clubs-book-stalls-
Churches-masquerade s-and tombs.


And this is Hell-and in this smother
All are damnable and damned;
Each one damning, damns the other
They are damned by one another,
By none other are they damned.


'Tis a lie to say, 'God damns!'
Where was Heaven's Attorney General
When they first gave out such flams?
Let there be an end of shams,
They are mines of poisonous mineral.


Statesmen damn themselves to be
Cursed; and lawyers damn their souls
To the auction of a fee;
Churchmen damn themselves to see
God's sweet love in burning coals.


The rich are damned, beyond all cure,
To taunt, and starve, and trample on
The weak and wretched; and the poor
Damn their broken hearts to endure
Stripe on stripe, with groan on groan.


Sometimes the poor are damned indeed
To take,-not means for being blessed,-
But Cobbett's snuff, revenge; that weed
From which the worms that it doth feed
Squeeze less than they before possessed.


And some few, like we know who,
Damned-but God alone knows why-
To believe their minds are given
To make this ugly Hell a Heaven;
In which faith they live and die.


Thus, as in a town, plague-stricken,
Each man be he sound or no
Must indifferently sicken;
As when day begins to thicken,
None knows a pigeon from a crow,-


So good and bad, sane and mad,
The oppressor and the oppressed;
Those who weep to see what others
Smile to inflict upon their brothers;
Lovers, haters, worst and best;


All are damned-they breathe an air,
Thick, infected, joy-dispelling:
Each pursues what seems most fair,
Mining like moles, through mind, and there
Scoop palace-caverns vast, where Care
In thronèd state is ever dwelling.


PART THE FOURTH
SIN
Lo, Peter in Hell's Grosvenor Square,
A footman in the Devil's service!
And the misjudging world would swear
That every man in service there
To virtue would prefer vice.


But Peter, though now damned, was not
What Peter was before damnation.
Men oftentimes prepare a lot
Which ere it finds them, is not what
Suits with their genuine station.


All things that Peter saw and felt
Had a peculiar aspect to him;
And when they came within the belt
Of his own nature, seemed to melt,
Like cloud to cloud, into him.


And so the outward world uniting
To that within him, he became
Considerably uninviting
To those who, meditation slighting,
Were moulded in a different frame.


And he scorned them, and they scorned him;
And he scorned all they did; and they
Did all that men of their own trim
Are wont to do to please their whim,
Drinking, lying, swearing, play.


Such were his fellow-servants; thus
His virtue, like our own, was built
Too much on that indignant fuss
Hypocrite Pride stirs up in us
To bully one another's guilt.


He had a mind which was somehow
At once circumference and centre
Of all he might or feel or know;
Nothing went ever out, although
Something did ever enter.


He had as much imagination
As a pint-pot;-he never could
Fancy another situation,
From which to dart his contemplation,
Than that wherein he stood.


Yet his was individual mind,
And new created all he saw
In a new manner, and refined
Those new creations, and combined
Them, by a master-spirit's law.


Thus-though unimaginative-
An apprehension clear, intense,
Of his mind's work, had made alive
The things it wrought on; I believe
Wakening a sort of thought in sense.


But from the first 'twas Peter's drift
To be a kind of moral eunuch,
He touched the hem of Nature's shift,
Felt faint-and never dared uplift
The closest, all-concealing tunic.


She laughed the while, with an arch smile,
And kissed him with a sister's kiss,
And said-'My best Diogenes,
I love you well-but, if you please,
Tempt not again my deepest bliss.


''Tis you are cold-for I, not coy,
Yield love for love, frank, warm, and true;
And Burns, a Scottish peasant boy-
His errors prove it-knew my joy
More, learnèd friend, than you.


'Bocca bacciata non perde ventura,
Anzi rinnuova come fa la luna:-
So thought Boccaccio, whose sweet words might cure a
Male prude, like you, from what you now endure, a
Low-tide in soul, like a stagnant laguna.'


Then Peter rubbed his eyes severe,
And smoothed his spacious forehead down
With his broad palm;-'twixt love and fear,
He looked, as he no doubt felt, queer,
And in his dream sate down.


The Devil was no uncommon creature;
A leaden-witted thief-just huddled
Out of the dross and scum of nature;
A toad-like lump of limb and feature,
With mind, and heart, and fancy muddled.


He was that heavy, dull, cold thing,
The spirit of evil well may be:
A drone too base to have a sting;
Who gluts, and grimes his lazy wing,
And calls lust, luxury.


Now he was quite the kind of wight
Round whom collect, at a fixed aera,
Venison, turtle, hock, and claret,-
Good cheer-and those who come to share it-
And best East Indian madeira!


It was his fancy to invite
Men of science, wit, and learning,
Who came to lend each other light;
He proudly thought that his gold's might
Had set those spirits burning.


And men of learning, science, wit,
Considered him as you and I
Think of some rotten tree, and sit
Lounging and dining under it,
Exposed to the wide sky.


And all the while, with loose fat smile,
The willing wretch sat winking there,
Believing 'twas his power that made
That jovial scene-and that all paid
Homage to his unnoticed chair.


Though to be sure this place was Hell;
He was the Devil-and all they-
What though the claret circled well,
And wit, like ocean, rose and fell?-
Were damned eternally.


PART THE FIFTH
GRACE
Among the guests who often stayed
Till the Devil's petits-soupers,
A man there came, fair as a maid,
And Peter noted what he said,
Standing behind his master's chair.


He was a mighty poet-and
A subtle-souled psychologist;
All things he seemed to understand,
Of old or new-of sea or land-
But his own mind-which was a mist.


This was a man who might have turned
Hell into Heaven-and so in gladness
A Heaven unto himself have earned;
But he in shadows undiscerned
Trusted,-and damned himself to madness.


He spoke of poetry, and how
'Divine it was-a light-a love-
A spirit which like wind doth blow
As it listeth, to and fro;
A dew rained down from God above;


'A power which comes and goes like dream,
And which none can ever trace-
Heaven's light on earth-Truth's brightest beam.'
And when he ceased there lay the gleam
Of those words upon his face.


Now Peter, when he heard such talk,
Would, heedless of a broken pate,
Stand like a man asleep, or balk
Some wishing guest of knife or fork,
Or drop and break his master's plate.


At night he oft would start and wake
Like a lover, and began
In a wild measure songs to make
On moor, and glen, and rocky lake,
And on the heart of man-


And on the universal sky-
And the wide earth's bosom green,-
And the sweet, strange mystery
Of what beyond these things may lie,
And yet remain unseen.


For in his thought he visited
The spots in which, ere dead and damned,
He his wayward life had led;
Yet knew not whence the thoughts were fed
Which thus his fancy crammed.


And these obscure remembrances
Stirred such harmony in Peter,
That, whensoever he should please,
He could speak of rocks and trees
In poetic metre.


For though it was without a sense
Of memory, yet he remembered well
Many a ditch and quick-set fence;
Of lakes he had intelligence,
He knew something of heath and fell.


He had also dim recollections
Of pedlars tramping on their rounds;
Milk-pans and pails; and odd collections
Of saws, and proverbs; and reflections
Old parsons make in burying-grounds.


But Peter's verse was clear, and came
Announcing from the frozen hearth
Of a cold age, that none might tame
The soul of that diviner flame
It augured to the Earth:


Like gentle rains, on the dry plains,
Making that green which late was gray,
Or like the sudden moon, that stains
Some gloomy chamber's window-panes
With a broad light like day.


For language was in Peter's hand
Like clay while he was yet a potter;
And he made songs for all the land,
Sweet both to feel and understand,
As pipkins late to mountain Cotter.


And Mr. --, the bookseller,
Gave twenty pounds for some;-then scorning
A footman's yellow coat to wear,
Peter, too proud of heart, I fear,
Instantly gave the Devil warning.


Whereat the Devil took offence,
And swore in his soul a great oath then,
'That for his damned impertinence
He'd bring him to a proper sense
Of what was due to gentlemen!'


PART THE SIXTH
DAMNATION
'O that mine enemy had written
A book!'-cried Job:-a fearful curse,
If to the Arab, as the Briton,
'Twas galling to be critic-bitten:-
The Devil to Peter wished no worse.


When Peter's next new book found vent,
The Devil to all the first Reviews
A copy of it slyly sent,
With five-pound note as compliment,
And this short notice-'Pray abuse.'


Then seriatim, month and quarter,
Appeared such mad tirades.-One said-
'Peter seduced Mrs. Foy's daughter,
Then drowned the mother in Ullswater,
The last thing as he went to bed.'


Another-'Let him shave his head!
Where's Dr. Willis?-Or is he joking?
What does the rascal mean or hope,
No longer imitating Pope,
In that barbarian Shakespeare poking?'


One more, 'Is incest not enough?
And must there be adultery too?
Grace after meat? Miscreant and Liar!
Thief! Blackguard! Scoundrel! Fool! Hell-fire
Is twenty times too good for you.


'By that last book of yours we think
You've double damned yourself to scorn;
We warned you whilst yet on the brink
You stood. From your black name will shrink
The babe that is unborn.'


All these Reviews the Devil made
Up in a parcel, which he had
Safely to Peter's house conveyed.
For carriage, tenpence Peter paid-
Untied them-read them-went half mad.


'What!' cried he, 'this is my reward
For nights of thought, and days of toil?
Do poets, but to be abhorred
By men of whom they never heard,
Consume their spirits' oil?


'What have I done to them?-and who
Is Mrs. Foy? 'Tis very cruel
To speak of me and Betty so!
Adultery! God defend me! Oh!
I've half a mind to fight a duel.


'Or,' cried he, a grave look collecting,
'Is it my genius, like the moon,
Sets those who stand her face inspecting,
That face within their brain reflecting,
Like a crazed bell-chime, out of tune?'


For Peter did not know the town,
But thought, as country readers do,
For half a guinea or a crown,
He bought oblivion or renown
From God's own voice in a review.


All Peter did on this occasion
Was, writing some sad stuff in prose.
It is a dangerous invasion
When poets criticize; their station
Is to delight, not pose.


The Devil then sent to Leipsic fair
For Born's translation of Kant's book;
A world of words, tail foremost, where
Right-wrong-false-true-and foul-and fair
As in a lottery-wheel are shook.


Five thousand crammed octavo pages
Of German psychologics,-he
Who his furor verborum assuages
Thereon, deserves just seven months' wages
More than will e'er be due to me.


I looked on them nine several days,
And then I saw that they were bad;
A friend, too, spoke in their dispraise,-
He never read them;-with amaze
I found Sir William Drummond had.


When the book came, the Devil sent
It to P. Verbovale, Esquire,
With a brief note of compliment,
By that night's Carlisle mail. It went,
And set his soul on fire.


Fire, which ex luce praebens fumum,
Made him beyond the bottom see
Of truth's clear well-when I and you, Ma'am,
Go, as we shall do, subter humum,
We may know more than he.


Now Peter ran to seed in soul
Into a walking paradox;
For he was neither part nor whole,
Nor good, nor bad-nor knave nor fool;
-Among the woods and rocks


Furious he rode, where late he ran,
Lashing and spurring his tame hobby;
Turned to a formal puritan,
A solemn and unsexual man,-
He half believed White Obi.


This steed in vision he would ride,
High trotting over nine-inch bridges,
With Flibbertigibbet, imp of pride,
Mocking and mowing by his side-
A mad-brained goblin for a guide-
Over corn-fields, gates, and hedges.


After these ghastly rides, he came
Home to his heart, and found from thence
Much stolen of its accustomed flame;
His thoughts grew weak, drowsy, and lame
Of their intelligence.


To Peter's view, all seemed one hue;
He was no Whig, he was no Tory;
No Deist and no Christian he;-
He got so subtle, that to be
Nothing, was all his glory.


One single point in his belief
From his organization sprung,
The heart-enrooted faith, the chief
Ear in his doctrines' blighted sheaf,
That 'Happiness is wrong';


So thought Calvin and Dominic;
So think their fierce successors, who
Even now would neither stint nor stick
Our flesh from off our bones to pick,
If they might 'do their do.'


His morals thus were undermined:-
The old Peter-the hard, old Potter-
Was born anew within his mind;
He grew dull, harsh, sly, unrefined,
As when he tramped beside the Otter.


In the death hues of agony
Lambently flashing from a fish,
Now Peter felt amused to see
Shades like a rainbow's rise and flee,
Mixed with a certain hungry wish.


So in his Country's dying face
He looked-and, lovely as she lay,
Seeking in vain his last embrace,
Wailing her own abandoned case,
With hardened sneer he turned away:


And coolly to his own soul said;-
'Do you not think that we might make
A poem on her when she's dead:-
Or, no-a thought is in my head-
Her shroud for a new sheet I'll take:


'My wife wants one.-Let who will bury
This mangled corpse! And I and you,
My dearest Soul, will then make merry,
As the Prince Regent did with Sherry,-'
'Ay-and at last desert me too.'


And so his Soul would not be gay,
But moaned within him; like a fawn
Moaning within a cave, it lay
Wounded and wasting, day by day,
Till all its life of life was gone.


As troubled skies stain waters clear,
The storm in Peter's heart and mind
Now made his verses dark and queer:
They were the ghosts of what they were,
Shaking dim grave-clothes in the wind.


For he now raved enormous folly,
Of Baptisms, Sunday-schools, and Graves,
'Twould make George Colman melancholy
To have heard him, like a male Molly,
Chanting those stupid staves.


Yet the Reviews, who heaped abuse
On Peter while he wrote for freedom,
So soon as in his song they spy
The folly which soothes tyranny,
Praise him, for those who feed 'em.


'He was a man, too great to scan;-
A planet lost in truth's keen rays:-
His virtue, awful and prodigious;-
He was the most sublime, religious,
Pure-minded Poet of these days.'


As soon as he read that, cried Peter,
'Eureka! I have found the way
To make a better thing of metre
Than e'er was made by living creature
Up to this blessèd day.'


Then Peter wrote odes to the Devil;-
In one of which he meekly said:
'May Carnage and Slaughter,
Thy niece and thy daughter,
May Rapine and Famine,
Thy gorge ever cramming,
Glut thee with living and dead!


'May Death and Damnation,
And Consternation,
Flit up from Hell with pure intent!
Slash them at Manchester,
Glasgow, Leeds, and Chester;
Drench all with blood from Avon to Trent.


'Let thy body-guard yeomen
Hew down babes and women,
And laugh with bold triumph till Heaven be rent!
When Moloch in Jewry
Munched children with fury,
It was thou, Devil, dining with pure intent.'


PART THE SEVENTH
DOUBLE DAMNATION
The Devil now knew his proper cue.-
Soon as he read the ode, he drove
To his friend Lord MacMurderchouse's,
A man of interest in both houses,
And said:-'For money or for love,


'Pray find some cure or sinecure;
To feed from the superfluous taxes
A friend of ours-a poet-fewer
Have fluttered tamer to the lure
Than he.' His lordship stands and racks his


Stupid brains, while one might count
As many beads as he had boroughs,-
At length replies; from his mean front,
Like one who rubs out an account,
Smoothing away the unmeaning furrows:


'It happens fortunately, dear Sir,
I can. I hope I need require
No pledge from you, that he will stir
In our affairs;-like Oliver,
That he'll be worthy of his hire.'


These words exchanged, the news sent off
To Peter, home the Devil hied,-
Took to his bed; he had no cough,
No doctor,-meat and drink enough,-
Yet that same night he died.


The Devil's corpse was leaded down;
His decent heirs enjoyed his pelf,
Mourning-coaches, many a one,
Followed his hearse along the town:-
Where was the Devil himself?


When Peter heard of his promotion,
His eyes grew like two stars for bliss:
There was a bow of sleek devotion
Engendering in his back; each motion
Seemed a Lord's shoe to kiss.


He hired a house, bought plate, and made
A genteel drive up to his door,
With sifted gravel neatly laid,-
As if defying all who said,
Peter was ever poor.


But a disease soon struck into
The very life and soul of Peter-
He walked about-slept-had the hue
Of health upon his cheeks-and few
Dug better-none a heartier eater.


And yet a strange and horrid curse
Clung upon Peter, night and day;
Month after month the thing grew worse,
And deadlier than in this my verse
I can find strength to say.


Peter was dull-he was at first
Dull-oh, so dull-so very dull!
Whether he talked, wrote, or rehearsed-
Still with this dulness was he cursed-
Dull-beyond all conception-dull.


No one could read his books-no mortal,
But a few natural friends, would hear him;
The parson came not near his portal;
His state was like that of the immortal
Described by Swift-no man could bear him.


His sister, wife, and children yawned,
With a long, slow, and drear ennui,
All human patience far beyond;
Their hopes of Heaven each would have pawned,
Anywhere else to be.


But in his verse, and in his prose,
The essence of his dulness was
Concentred and compressed so close,
'Twould have made Guatimozin doze
On his red gridiron of brass.


A printer's boy, folding those pages,
Fell slumbrously upon one side;
Like those famed Seven who slept three ages.
To wakeful frenzy's vigil-rages,
As opiates, were the same applied.


Even the Reviewers who were hired
To do the work of his reviewing,
With adamantine nerves, grew tired;-
Gaping and torpid they retired,
To dream of what they should be doing.


And worse and worse, the drowsy curse
Yawned in him, till it grew a pest-
A wide contagious atmosphere,
Creeping like cold through all things near;
A power to infect and to infest.


His servant-maids and dogs grew dull;
His kitten, late a sportive elf;
The woods and lakes, so beautiful,
Of dim stupidity were full,
All grew dull as Peter's self.


The earth under his feet-the springs,
Which lived within it a quick life,
The air, the winds of many wings,
That fan it with new murmurings,
Were dead to their harmonious strife.


The birds and beasts within the wood,
The insects, and each creeping thing,
Were now a silent multitude;
Love's work was left unwrought-no brood
Near Peter's house took wing.


And every neighbouring cottager
Stupidly yawned upon the other:
No jackass brayed; no little cur
Cocked up his ears;-no man would stir
To save a dying mother.


Yet all from that charmed district went
But some half-idiot and half-knave,
Who rather than pay any rent,
Would live with marvellous content,
Over his father's grave.


No bailiff dared within that space,
For fear of the dull charm, to enter;
A man would bear upon his face,
For fifteen months in any case,
The yawn of such a venture.


Seven miles above-below-around-
This pest of dulness holds its sway;
A ghastly life without a sound;
To Peter's soul the spell is bound-
How should it ever pass away?

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Making Time And Finding Comfort

I awakened today,
With yesterday on my mind.
And the day before.,
Along with those days before that...
Gone but obviously not forgotten.

And I asked myself...
Why are times I can not change,
Making time and finding comfort in my mind?
And giving me a reason to trip,
With 'what 'ifs'?

I awakened today,
With yesterday on my mind.
And the day before.,
Along with those days before that...
Gone but obviously not forgotten.

And I asked myself...
'If it is time you want to waste,
Why can't you take some of it...
And clean up your house? '

Needless to say...
I thought that comment was extremely rude.
So I left.
Determined to return when I felt like it.

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The Mystery Of Mister Smith

For supper we had curried tripe.
I washed the dishes, wound the clock;
Then for awhile I smoked my pipe -
Puff! Puff! We had no word of talk.
The Misses sewed - a sober pair;
Says I at last: "I need some air."

A don't know why I acted so;
I had no thought, no plot, no plan.
I did not really mean to go -
I'm such a docile little man;
But suddenly I felt that I
Must change my life or I would die.

A sign I saw: A ROOM TO LET.
It had a musty, dusty smell;
It gloated gloom, it growled and yet
Somehow I felt I liked it well.
I paid the rent a month ahead:
That night I smoked my pipe in bed.

From out my world I disappeared;
My walk and talk changed over-night.
I bought black glasses, grew a beard -
Abysmally I dropped from sight;
Old Tax Collector, Mister Smith
Became a memory, a myth.

I see my wife in widow's weeds;
She's gained in weight since I have gone.
My pension serves her modest needs,
She keeps the old apartment on;
And living just a block away
I meet her nearly every day.

I hope she doesn't mourn too much;
She has a sad and worried look.
One day we passed and chanced to touch,
But as with sudden fear I shook,
So blankly in my face she peered,
I had to chuckle in my beard.

Oh, comfort is a blessed thing,
But forty years of it I had.
I never drank the wine of Spring,
No moon has ever made me mad.
I never clutched the skirts of Chance
Nor daftly dallied with Romance.

And that is why I seek to save
My soul before it is too late,
To put between me and the grave
A few years of fantastic fate:
I've won to happiness because
I've killed the man that once I was.

I've murdered Income Taxer Smith,
And now I'm Johnny Jones to you.
I have no home, no kin, no kith,
I do the things I want to do.
No matter though I've not a friend,
I've won to freedom in the end.

Bohemian born, I guess, was I;
And should my wife her widowhood
By wedlock end I will not sigh,
But pack my grip and go for good,
To live in lands where laws are lax,
And innocent of Income Tax.

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George Washington

It may be laid down as a primary position, and the basis of our system, that every Citizen who enjoys the protection of a Free Government, owes not only a proportion of his property, but even of his personal services to the defense of it.

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Deeds Done They Do

I am not angered at all,
About what has happened.
I am embittered about how it happened.
And why it happened...
To involve someone who had no idea,
They had been selected to be victimized.
And those initiating these activities with lies...
Are still pretending their innocence.
They are still trying to convince those unknowing...
They had nothing to do with the incidents.
And they had been the culprits who plotted the events!
I am not angered at all,
About what has happened.
I am embittered about how it happened.
And the evilness of those who know,
They are involved!
I am not Sherlock Holmes...
So I could care less how that is solved!
And the bitterness I carry,
Will itself be resolved!
I am familiar with the environment
Of such wickedness and those of evil doings.
Choosing I have,
To ignore and resist it.
Truth is truth!
And does not remain concealed...
To protect those who chose to live,
Behind deeds done they do that are unreal!
They reveal themselves in time.
Their minds unwind in observation!

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The Grave Of A Poetess

I stood beside thy lowly grave;
Spring-odours breath'd around,
And music, in the river-wave,
Pass'd with a lulling sound.

All happy things that love the sun,
In the bright air glanc'd by,
And a glad murmur seem'd to run
Thro' the soft azure sky.

Fresh leaves were on the ivy-bough
That fring'd the ruins near;
Young voices were abroad–but thou
Their sweetness couldst not hear.

And mournful grew my heart for thee,
Thou in whose woman's mind
The ray that brightens earth and sea,
The light of song was shrined.

Mournful, that thou wert slumbering low,
With a dread curtain drawn
Between thee and the golden glow
Of this world's vernal dawn.

Parted from all the song and bloom
Thou wouldst have lov'd so well,
To thee the sunshine round thy tomb
Was but a broken spell.

The bird, the insect on the wing,
In their bright reckless play,
Might feel the flush and life of spring,–
And thou wert pass'd away!

But then, ev'n then, a nobler thought
O'er my vain sadness came;
Th' immortal spirit woke, and wrought
Within my thrilling frame.

Surely on lovelier things, I said,
Thou must have look'd ere now,
Than all that round our pathway shed
Odours and hues below.

The shadows of the tomb are here,
Yet beautiful is earth!
What see'st thou then where no dim fear,
No haunting dream hath birth?

Here a vain love to passing flowers
Thou gav'st–but where thou art,
The sway is not with changeful hours,
There love and death must part.

Thou hast left sorrow in thy song,
A voice not loud, but deep!
The glorious bowers of earth among,
How often didst thou weep!

Where couldst thou fix on mortal ground
Thy tender thoughts and high?–
Now peace the woman's heart hath found,
And joy the poet's eye.

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William Cowper

On The Platonic 'Ideal' As It Was Understood By Aristotle. (Translated From Milton)

Ye sister Pow'rs who o'er the sacred groves
Preside, and, Thou, fair mother of them all
Mnemosyne, and thou, who in thy grot
Immense reclined at leisure, hast in charge
The Archives and the ord'nances of Jove,
And dost record the festivals of heav'n,
Eternity!--Inform us who is He,
That great Original by Nature chos'n
To be the Archetype of Human-kind,
Unchangeable, Immortal, with the poles
Themselves coaeval, One, yet ev'rywhere,
An image of the god, who gave him Being?
Twin-brother of the Goddess born from Jove,
He dwells not in his Father's mind, but, though
Of common nature with ourselves, exists
Apart, and occupies a local home.
Whether, companion of the stars, he spend
Eternal ages, roaming at his will
From sphere to sphere the tenfold heav'ns, or dwell
On the moon's side that nearest neighbours Earth,
Or torpid on the banks of Lethe sit
Among the multitude of souls ordair'd
To flesh and blood, or whether (as may chance)
That vast and giant model of our kind
In some far-distant region of this globe
Sequester'd stalk, with lifted head on high
O'ertow'ring Atlas, on whose shoulders rest
The stars, terrific even to the Gods.
Never the Theban Seer, whose blindness proved
His best illumination, Him beheld
In secret vision; never him the son
Of Pleione, amid the noiseless night
Descending, to the prophet-choir reveal'd;
Him never knew th' Assyrian priest, who yet
The ancestry of Ninus chronicles,
And Belus, and Osiris far-renown'd;
Nor even Thrice-great Hermes, although skill'd
So deep in myst'ry, to the worshippers
Of Isis show'd a prodigy like Him.
And thou, who hast immortalized the shades
Of Academus, if the school received
This monster of the Fancy first from Thee,
Either recall at once the banish'd bards
To thy Republic, or, thyself evinc'd
A wilder Fabulist, go also forth.

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The Game of Fate

What if I told you love was a game I don’t want to play,
Because its hurt me one too many times,
And I’m afraid,
Afraid of finding everything I want,
And it not wanting me back,
Or what if love is just some trick of our imagination,
And one day we wake to find nothing at all,
And all thats left is our own devastation.
Sometimes I dream too much,
And when I finally find my dreams in life,
They only cause me strife,
And pain,
And hurt,
But love and pain walk hand in hand with fate,
Life is an adventure filled with pain,
But somewhere deep within that pain is something stronger,
Something that can over come it all,
And that is love,
But first you have to ride the waves of fate.
Through the many trials you must face,
In the end it is all worth it no matter how much you had to give up along the way,
Love is worth the fight,
And that is what fate is trying to teach you,
That love is so special,
It shouldn’t be so easy to obtain,
So fate throws you pain,
But you have to push through,
In order to find the love thats true.

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When That Body And The Soul Meets

If it's felt with-in-side,
And you've got it
That good rhythm!
That rhythm would be in your feet.
If you've got it!
You'd feel it with each patting,
Tapping out a movement
That begins your feet,
Patting beats.
Rhythmically.

If it's felt with-in-side,
And you've got it.
That good rhythm!
That rhythm would be in your feet.
If you've got it!
You'd feel it with each,
Patting of.
Both your feet.

If it's there you've got to rock it.
When that body and the soul meets.
It's a feeling you must reveal.
When that body and the soul meets.
It's that feeling done on dance floors,
When that body and the soul meets.
And benefits the one who's real.
When that body and the soul meets.

If it's there you've got to rock it.
When that body and the soul meets.
It's a feeling you must reveal.
When that body and the soul meets.
It's that feeling done on dance floors,
When that body and the soul meets.
And benefits the one who's real.
When that body and the soul meets.

It's a feeling you must reveal.
When that body and the soul meets.
If it's there you've got to rock it.
When that body and the soul meets.
It's a feeling you must reveal.
When that body and the soul meets.
If it's there you've got to rock it.
When that body and the soul meets.
It's a feeling you must reveal.
When that body and the soul meets.
If it's there you've got to rock it.
When that body and the soul meets.
When that body and the soul meets.
It's a feeling you must reveal.

When the body and soul meet,
It's revealing.
When the soul and body meet.
It's revealing.
And healing.

Few people believe.
When the body and soul meet,
It's revealing.
When the soul and body meet.
It's revealing.
And healing.

Few people believe.
When the body and soul meet,
It's revealing.
When the soul and body meet.
It's revealing.
And healing.

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Pictures

I.
Light, warmth, and sprouting greenness, and o'er all
Blue, stainless, steel-bright ether, raining down
Tranquillity upon the deep-hushed town,
The freshening meadows, and the hillsides brown;
Voice of the west-wind from the hills of pine,
And the brimmed river from its distant fall,
Low hum of bees, and joyous interlude
Of bird-songs in the streamlet-skirting wood,--
Heralds and prophecies of sound and sight,
Blessed forerunners of the warmth and light,
Attendant angels to the house of prayer,
With reverent footsteps keeping pace with mine,--
Once more, through God's great love, with you I share
A morn of resurrection sweet and fair
As that which saw, of old, in Palestine,
Immortal Love uprising in fresh bloom
From the dark night and winter of the tomb!


II.
White with its sun-bleached dust, the pathway winds
Before me; dust is on the shrunken grass,
And on the trees beneath whose boughs I pass;
Frail screen against the Hunter of the sky,
Who, glaring on me with his lidless eye,
While mounting with his dog-star high and higher
Ambushed in light intolerable, unbinds
The burnished quiver of his shafts of fire.
Between me and the hot fields of his South
A tremulous glow, as from a furnace-mouth,
Glimmers and swims before my dazzled sight,
As if the burning arrows of his ire
Broke as they fell, and shattered into light;
Yet on my cheek I feel the western wind,
And hear it telling to the orchard trees,
And to the faint and flower-forsaken bees,
Tales of fair meadows, green with constant streams,
And mountains rising blue and cool behind,
Where in moist dells the purple orchis gleams,
And starred with white the virgin's bower is twined.
So the o'erwearied pilgrim, as he fares
Along life's summer waste, at times is fanned,
Even at noontide, by the cool, sweet airs
Of a serener and a holier land,
Fresh as the morn, and as the dewfall bland.
Breath of the blessed Heaven for which we pray,
Blow from the eternal hills! make glad our earthly way!

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My father's Plato

And thats not a claim to paternity –
its the possessive case; though to what degree
my father possessed Plato, or Plato, him,
remains one of those unsolved mysteries
stored in that little room of sadness in the hearts
of children of that more formal, distanced age…

Like so many self-made men, he’d never read
a novel before he retired; and then
set out to educate himself
as would befit the father of a son
he planned – God unwilling, at first – to have,
whom he would provide with all the advantages
he’d never had… alas; alas for both of us…

He’d read of course, Smiles’ ‘Self-Help’ – they all had;
moved on to Carlyle, Ruskin (briefly) , Emerson; wrote
in warm approval to George Bernard Shaw,
who responded with one of his printed pre-texted postcards…
then worked through those nicely-bound
sets of Hardy, Galsworthy, Dickens, Scott, and H.G.Wells,
offered cheaply by the Daily Mail or by Wills’ Cigarettes…

then – Plato; or at least, his Republic;
a yellow bound, standard Everyman; but this one
- I discovered far too late in life -
fiercely underlined in summary pencil lines…

and that was really, all he needed; busy
with his hens and chicks, his toddler son (at last…) :
later, novels of another sort crept up on him; he lived
a – no, don’t call it fantasy – a parallel life
in volume after volume of those yellow-covered
Wild West Club. (Thats where he would have flourished,
aggressive boss of bosses, if he had not been stone-deaf…)

So what was he to Plato, or Plato said to him?
Are the underlinings an extension of that angry, abrupt man
meaning, thats my experience; so he’s right…;
or was there stunned admiration; or
was there a humility I never saw
until efficiency turned to eccentricity,
eccentricity to dementia…
a humility, perhaps, that took him to another world
of ancient Greece, and glories, virtues, and ideals,
where Spartans from the wild wild East
rode roughshod over democracy, and
where a good man must be sought,
to run them out of town…?

One day, I’ll have to face the mist of tears,
read those fierce underlinings made
as if by the muzzle of a Colt
guarding civilisation by the gully and the scrub,
the horses tethered, (Indians, always the third estate) :
seek in the underlinings to immortal thought,
the man I loved but never knew.

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What's happened has happened, so what can we do to make it better for tomorrow and the day after? That's why we're here.

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Free Your Minds

Free your minds and the rest will follow,
For Satan had been able to deceive the minds of MANY!
And things in this world are NOT as you do see them.

Many of them are the HIDDEN CODES of Satan which are nicely polished!
And they are here to deceive us;
But the wise among us will always analyse them befre they act,
Because ONLY FEW do know what things really mean on this earth.

Free your minds and the rest will follow,
For it is better to learn from the truth always!
But many are already perishing in the name of falsehood,
And the world looks on with the traditions of men.

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From the time that every day had begun (Strambotto Toscano)

From the time that every day had begun
life has got a struggle, an ageless kind of plea,
and from the awakening of the white hot sun,
even creatures in the unbounded sea
was threatened as they were having some fun
yet from all of these things our true love stands free
as it sparkles like a star during the darkest night,
forever shines bright with its own kind of light.

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If Every Time of the Day Has a Poem of Its Own

If every time of the day
Has a poem of its own
This afternoon too should long
To say something about itself-
But as it stretches its slow length too long
As it makes heat and light one long unending discomfort,
This afternoon says only
That even the time of day
Cannot mean much
If one does not have something
Outside oneself
To say in it.

All heat and light are emptiness now
And the overwhelming shape of brightness
Is nothing more than the stunned silence
One fears when one wakes from a bad dream
In the middle of the day and night.

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Patrick White

I Should Be Light Years Away From Here By Now

I should be light years away from here by now.
Too full of shadows. Encyclopedic sorrows
that keep updating themselves. Artistic ordeals
that return me to the world stranger than I was.
More alone. With my indeterminate talent
for living through things like arrows pushed
all the way through to the other side. I should be
out of this raving asylum any day now.
I should be released like a beast from a zoo
by a lightning storm that gnawed its way through the bars.
My last attachment in this zendo of mirageless monks
a rope in the basement, so as not to discourage the kids.

When is enough, enough? Go ask Plato,
or better yet, Plath, Essenin, Mayakovsky, Lao-tzu,
or that ingenuous adolescent down the street
who shot himself in his parents' laundry room
when his girlfriend said he wasn't fun enough?
Proved her right. Gouged his parents' hearts out.
Me? I thought I could shine for the eyeless.
I thought I could make something out of the starmud
of my middle-aged childhood, that honoured my mother.

One time I knew all the names of the stars
in four languages and all their symbolic meanings.
I taught myself algebra on my grade six summer vacation.
One time I could be grinding pyrex parabolic mirrors
with carborundum and a razor blade and a lightbulb
and a catalogue of diffraction patterns to smooth out
the angstroms for ten inch reflecting telescopes
on equatorial mounts, and the next, lighting
a gang leader from Hong Kong up with a jar of gasoline
to get him and his buddies to stop burning cats
or bashing their eyes out with baseball bats
in my Pacific Rim neighbourhood. A Kafkaesque disadvantage
in a cat fight. But I always had this little black pearl
of hope in my heart to go back to like a new moon
that said the spring is bitter, but things are going to get
better sooner than you think. Green apples
still give me gripe. And they're fallacious when they're ripe.

Translated Euripides, the Gallic Wars, the Greek Anthology,
seeded thousands of paintings on the wind
like surrealistic milk weed pods from the l0lst Airborne,
and written more poems than even I can remember
that sit stacked in boxes by the thousands in the studio closet
like the segments of a column I haven't assembled yet
to commemorate my campaign against mediocrity
that no one's ever heard of yet. Pyrrhic victory
that would have cost as much to lose
as it took to win these spray-painted laurels of tin.

Was a time I worried about myself as an individual
in relation to the tradition of a university literary curriculum
but now there are no individuals and to judge
from what doesn't get read of the great dead
it's at least honourable to be acquainted with,
put a poppy and a stalk of wheat on their graves,
no tradition either. Just these club meds of verbiage
when the butterflies land on the lips of their drinks
like cocktail umbrellas. Rimbaud's eternal cry
of protest against against the calcined fossils
of poetry booking a reading in the Burgess Shale
realities ahead of time. Merd! Merd! Merd!
Like a serial killer stabbing someone to death.

Nothing vatic about the random action of molecules.
No hidden harmonies of earth buried in the astro-turf.
No roots on the plastic flowers, no urgent necessities,
no emergency transcendence, no panicked search
for exits and entrances when the house is on fire,
No mottled fools hoping to bump into a holy grail,
No myths like the Mafia to back every word up
with an offer you can't refuse. Nothing portentous
as a comet in the flaring of a matchbook
of phosphorus red orchids with daring red eyes.

Dearth. Vacuity. The cynical gratuity
of the gnostic gospels of comic books
no one's going to read on their way to the grave.
The dependent tolerance of institutional paternalism
bringing the mountain down on everyone's heads
in an avalanche of awards and grants
that block the road between Terrace and Prince Rupert
as dawn breaks up like ice on the Skeena,
to make sure its forms are quisling enough
to pass a jury if not the way to the sea
of a more dangerous aspiration than a crossword puzzle.

Here lie all those whose names were written in jello.
Whose shrines were Campbell soup can tins.
Whose heart bridged the existential gaps
between hollow and shallow like a reality show
that never went broke underestimating human intelligence
as P.T. Barnum was fond of reminding his circus clowns.
Poetry so fireproof now you could use it
for the insulation of a crack house without worrying
anything is going to break into flames. Or Rimbaud.
Or a Chinese gang leader torching cats.
They've pulled the fangs of the moon.
No incisors in their mouths. No thorns on the roses.
And work you could recognize anywhere by its logo,
its celebrity brand name, outdated as soon as sought,
cotton candy befuddled in Lindsay Lohan's hair.
No birds in their cosmic eggs. No Big Bangs
to get anything started among the membranes
of their birth sacs. Just this endless steady state theory
of still borns deriding anything apocalyptically
coming out of a self-induced coma without a headache.

Want to hang the medal of the moon around
the throat of a night bird, or a choir of wolves,
to see how it estranges their singing from their longing,
their immaculate solitude from a mob of voyeurs
with the hasty tastes of a locust plague of troubadours
that long for nothing so much as a literary career
in a colony of towering termites, with or without a queen.
The democratic revenge upon sidereal exceptionalism.
The whole barnyard full of muddy eagles at ground level.
Or being lead around by donkeys, in chains.

And the muse? The muse never visits you
if you don't sacrifice your first best goat,
put nothing less than everything on the line all the time,
and never having had a taste of that kind
of apostate creative freedom sweeter than sin,
you're just another fly buzzing at the windowpane
as if it were a vision of life based on punctuation.

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Patrick White

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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When The Grain Is Golden and The Wind Is Chilly Then it is Time To Harvest

Leron-leron sinta, umakyat sa papaya
Dala-dala’y buslo’, sisidlan ng bunga

In a dusty village in Cagayan Valley,
Ramon and his father were planting rice when soldiers

appeared on their farm. They questioned his father,
if he’d seen any communist rebels recently

in the area, and when he did not give them
a good enough answer, they beat him with the blunt ends

of their rifles, shot him as he was lying
on the ground. Ramon snuck away but remained hidden

in nearby bushes, to witness the soldiers
laugh out loud as they chopped his father’s shaking body--

'they first removed his penis, then cut below
the knees, then the ankles, then the elbows, then the neck.'

Leron-leron sinta, umakyat sa papaya
Dala-dala’y buslo’, sisidlan ng bunga

After dusk Ramon ran home to his mother
and younger brother. She feared the soldiers would soon knock

on their door, so she took her sons deep inside
the muddy jungle of the Sierra Madre mountains.

After about four weeks, she sent Ramon to buy
rice, some fish, and a few canned goods. The sun was heavy,

the road to the village kept stretching further
and his legs felt weak, so Ramon boarded a jeepney

to take him to the market on Luna street.
A soldier recognized him at a military

checkpoint and he pointed his gun at Ramon,
yelled at him to step out with his hands up in the air.

Leron-leron sinta, umakyat sa papaya
Dala-dala’y buslo’, sisidlan ng bunga

No questions were asked. Ramon told us the most
painful torture he endured was when the soldiers joined

two blocks of wood and used the weapon to hit
him directly on the ears, over and over

until he bled. He doesn’t remember how
he escaped but he found himself wandering around

the countryside for days, eating grass,
guava leaves, bamboo shoots, and bananas to survive.

Leron-leron sinta, umakyat sa papaya
Dala-dala’y buslo’, sisidlan ng bunga

Here, at the Children’s Rehabilitation
Center, Ramon made friends, played with the other children,

started to learn how to write. He asked questions
about his mother and younger brother, he wanted

to know when he could return to his village
to harvest their rice fields. He said it was important

to go home because 'when the grain is golden
and the wind is chilly, then it is the time to harvest.'

After four months, we learned that Ramon’s mother
was probably dead. 'Where’s the body? I want to see

the body, I want to bury my mother.'
I told him we didn’t know where the body was, but we

would try to find it. After a long silence,
he finally went to his room. Then I followed him

upstairs, found him hunched over the bathroom sink
washing his red face again and again and again.

Leron-leron sinta, umakyat sa papaya
Dala-dala’y buslo’, sisidlan ng bunga

Ramon is still with us, his friends have brought him
out of his shell, he has learned how to speak Tagalog,

and he is beginning to read. Ramon dreams
about going home. He writes letters to his younger

brother even though we tell him he is still
missing. We collect those letters he writes every day.

He tells his younger brother, 'If you come here,
you will have many good friends to play with, eat plenty

of food, and these nice people will let us stay
here in Manila, but maybe I will go home first

and see whats happened to our family farm.'
He then writes, 'Do you know that your mother is now dead?'

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In Memoriam 131: O Living Will That Shalt Endure

O living will that shalt endure
When all that seems shall suffer shock,
Rise in the spiritual rock,
Flow thro' our deeds and make them pure,

That we may lift from out of dust
A voice as unto him that hears,
A cry above the conquer'd years
To one that with us works, and trust,

With faith that comes of self-control,
The truths that never can be proved
Until we close with all we loved,
And all we flow from, soul in soul.

O true and tried, so well and long,
Demand not thou a marriage lay;
In that it is thy marriage day
Is music more than any song.

Nor have I felt so much of bliss
Since first he told me that he loved
A daughter of our house; nor proved
Since that dark day a day like this;

Tho' I since then have number'd o'er
Some thrice three years: they went and came,
Remade the blood and changed the frame,
And yet is love not less, but more;

No longer caring to embalm
In dying songs a dead regret,
But like a statue solid-set,
And moulded in colossal calm.

Regret is dead, but love is more
Than in the summers that are flown,
For I myself with these have grown
To something greater than before;

Which makes appear the songs I made
As echoes out of weaker times,
As half but idle brawling rhymes,
The sport of random sun and shade.

But where is she, the bridal flower,
That must be made a wife ere noon?
She enters, glowing like the moon
Of Eden on its bridal bower:

On me she bends her blissful eyes
And then on thee; they meet thy look
And brighten like the star that shook
Betwixt the palms of paradise.

O when her life was yet in bud,
He too foretold the perfect rose.
For thee she grew, for thee she grows
For ever, and as fair as good.

And thou art worthy; full of power;
As gentle; liberal-minded, great,
Consistent; wearing all that weight
Of learning lightly like a flower.

But now set out: the noon is near,
And I must give away the bride;
She fears not, or with thee beside
And me behind her, will not fear.

For I that danced her on my knee,
That watch'd her on her nurse's arm,
That shielded all her life from harm
At last must part with her to thee;

Now waiting to be made a wife,
Her feet, my darling, on the dead;
Their pensive tablets round her head,
And the most living words of life

Breathed in her ear. The ring is on,
The "wilt thou" answer'd, and again
The "wilt thou" ask'd, till out of twain
Her sweet "I will" has made you one.

Now sign your names, which shall be read,
Mute symbols of a joyful morn,
By village eyes as yet unborn;
The names are sign'd, and overhead

Begins the clash and clang that tells
The joy to every wandering breeze;
The blind wall rocks, and on the trees
The dead leaf trembles to the bells.

O happy hour, and happier hours
Await them. Many a merry face
Salutes them--maidens of the place,
That pelt us in the porch with flowers.

O happy hour, behold the bride
With him to whom her hand I gave.
They leave the porch, they pass the grave
That has to-day its sunny side.

To-day the grave is bright for me,
For them the light of life increased,
Who stay to share the morning feast,
Who rest to-night beside the sea.

Let all my genial spirits advance
To meet and greet a whiter sun;
My drooping memory will not shun
The foaming grape of eastern France.

It circles round, and fancy plays,
And hearts are warm'd and faces bloom,
As drinking health to bride and groom
We wish them store of happy days.

Nor count me all to blame if I
Conjecture of a stiller guest,
Perchance, perchance, among the rest,
And, tho' in silence, wishing joy.

But they must go, the time draws on,
And those white-favour'd horses wait;
They rise, but linger; it is late;
Farewell, we kiss, and they are gone.

A shade falls on us like the dark
From little cloudlets on the grass,
But sweeps away as out we pass
To range the woods, to roam the park,

Discussing how their courtship grew,
And talk of others that are wed,
And how she look'd, and what he said,
And back we come at fall of dew.

Again the feast, the speech, the glee,
The shade of passing thought, the wealth
Of words and wit, the double health,
The crowning cup, the three-times-three,

And last the dance,--till I retire:
Dumb is that tower which spake so loud,
And high in heaven the streaming cloud,
And on the downs a rising fire:

And rise, O moon, from yonder down,
Till over down and over dale
All night the shining vapour sail
And pass the silent-lighted town,

The white-faced halls, the glancing rills,
And catch at every mountain head,
And o'er the friths that branch and spread
Their sleeping silver thro' the hills;

And touch with shade the bridal doors,
With tender gloom the roof, the wall;
And breaking let the splendour fall
To spangle all the happy shores

By which they rest, and ocean sounds,
And, star and system rolling past,
A soul shall draw from out the vast
And strike his being into bounds,

And, moved thro' life of lower phase,
Result in man, be born and think,
And act and love, a closer link
Betwixt us and the crowning race

Of those that, eye to eye, shall look
On knowledge; under whose command
Is Earth and Earth's, and in their hand
Is Nature like an open book;

No longer half-akin to brute,
For all we thought and loved and did,
And hoped, and suffer'd, is but seed
Of what in them is flower and fruit;

Whereof the man, that with me trod
This planet, was a noble type
Appearing ere the times were ripe,
That friend of mine who lives in God,

That God, which ever lives and loves,
One God, one law, one element,
And one far-off divine event,
To which the whole creation moves.

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In Memoriam A. H. H.: 131. O living will that shalt endure

O living will that shalt endure
When all that seems shall suffer shock,
Rise in the spiritual rock,
Flow thro' our deeds and make them pure,
That we may lift from out of dust
A voice as unto him that hears,
A cry above the conquer'd years
To one that with us works, and trust,
With faith that comes of self-control,
The truths that never can be proved
Until we close with all we loved,
And all we flow from, soul in soul.------

O true and tried, so well and long,
Demand not thou a marriage lay;
In that it is thy marriage day
Is music more than any song.

Nor have I felt so much of bliss
Since first he told me that he loved
A daughter of our house; nor proved
Since that dark day a day like this;

Tho' I since then have number'd o'er
Some thrice three years: they went and came,
Remade the blood and changed the frame,
And yet is love not less, but more;

No longer caring to embalm
In dying songs a dead regret,
But like a statue solid-set,
And moulded in colossal calm.

Regret is dead, but love is more
Than in the summers that are flown,
For I myself with these have grown
To something greater than before;

Which makes appear the songs I made
As echoes out of weaker times,
As half but idle brawling rhymes,
The sport of random sun and shade.

But where is she, the bridal flower,
That must be made a wife ere noon?
She enters, glowing like the moon
Of Eden on its bridal bower:

On me she bends her blissful eyes
And then on thee; they meet thy look
And brighten like the star that shook
Betwixt the palms of paradise.

O when her life was yet in bud,
He too foretold the perfect rose.
For thee she grew, for thee she grows
For ever, and as fair as good.

And thou art worthy; full of power;
As gentle; liberal-minded, great,
Consistent; wearing all that weight
Of learning lightly like a flower.

But now set out: the noon is near,
And I must give away the bride;
She fears not, or with thee beside
And me behind her, will not fear.

For I that danced her on my knee,
That watch'd her on her nurse's arm,
That shielded all her life from harm
At last must part with her to thee;

Now waiting to be made a wife,
Her feet, my darling, on the dead;
Their pensive tablets round her head,
And the most living words of life

Breathed in her ear. The ring is on,
The "wilt thou" answer'd, and again
The "wilt thou" ask'd, till out of twain
Her sweet "I will" has made you one.

Now sign your names, which shall be read,
Mute symbols of a joyful morn,
By village eyes as yet unborn;
The names are sign'd, and overhead

Begins the clash and clang that tells
The joy to every wandering breeze;
The blind wall rocks, and on the trees
The dead leaf trembles to the bells.

O happy hour, and happier hours
Await them. Many a merry face
Salutes them--maidens of the place,
That pelt us in the porch with flowers.

O happy hour, behold the bride
With him to whom her hand I gave.
They leave the porch, they pass the grave
That has to-day its sunny side.

To-day the grave is bright for me,
For them the light of life increased,
Who stay to share the morning feast,
Who rest to-night beside the sea.

Let all my genial spirits advance
To meet and greet a whiter sun;
My drooping memory will not shun
The foaming grape of eastern France.

It circles round, and fancy plays,
And hearts are warm'd and faces bloom,
As drinking health to bride and groom
We wish them store of happy days.

Nor count me all to blame if I
Conjecture of a stiller guest,
Perchance, perchance, among the rest,
And, tho' in silence, wishing joy.


But they must go, the time draws on,
And those white-favour'd horses wait;
They rise, but linger; it is late;
Farewell, we kiss, and they are gone.


A shade falls on us like the dark
From little cloudlets on the grass,
But sweeps away as out we pass
To range the woods, to roam the park,


Discussing how their courtship grew,
And talk of others that are wed,
And how she look'd, and what he said,
And back we come at fall of dew.


Again the feast, the speech, the glee,
The shade of passing thought, the wealth
Of words and wit, the double health,
The crowning cup, the three-times-three,


And last the dance,--till I retire:
Dumb is that tower which spake so loud,
And high in heaven the streaming cloud,
And on the downs a rising fire:


And rise, O moon, from yonder down,
Till over down and over dale
All night the shining vapour sail
And pass the silent-lighted town,


The white-faced halls, the glancing rills,
And catch at every mountain head,
And o'er the friths that branch and spread
Their sleeping silver thro' the hills;


And touch with shade the bridal doors,
With tender gloom the roof, the wall;
And breaking let the splendour fall
To spangle all the happy shores


By which they rest, and ocean sounds,
And, star and system rolling past,
A soul shall draw from out the vast
And strike his being into bounds,


And, moved thro' life of lower phase,
Result in man, be born and think,
And act and love, a closer link
Betwixt us and the crowning race


Of those that, eye to eye, shall look
On knowledge; under whose command
Is Earth and Earth's, and in their hand
Is Nature like an open book;


No longer half-akin to brute,
For all we thought and loved and did,
And hoped, and suffer'd, is but seed
Of what in them is flower and fruit;


Whereof the man, that with me trod
This planet, was a noble type
Appearing ere the times were ripe,
That friend of mine who lives in God,


That God, which ever lives and loves,
One God, one law, one element,
And one far-off divine event,
To which the whole creation moves.

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