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It's better to be black than gay because when you're black you don't have to tell your mother.

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William Shakespeare

Sonnet 121:Tis better to be vile than vile esteemed

'Tis better to be vile than vile esteemed,
When not to be receives reproach of being;
And the just pleasure lost, which is so deemed
Not by our feeling, but by others' seeing:
For why should others' false adulterate eyes
Give salutation to my sportive blood?
Or on my frailties why are frailer spies,
Which in their wills count bad what I think good?
No, I am that I am, and they that level
At my abuses reckon up their own:
I may be straight though they themselves be bevel;
By their rank thoughts, my deeds must not be shown;
Unless this general evil they maintain,
All men are bad and in their badness reign.

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Always Unsuitable

She wore little teeth of pearls around her neck.
They were grinning politely and evenly at me.
Unsuitable they smirked. It is true

I look a stuffed turkey in a suit. Breasts
too big for the silhouette. She knew
at once that we had sex, lots of it

as if I had strolled into her diningroom
in a dirty negligee smelling gamy
smelling fishy and sporting a strawberry

on my neck. I could never charm
the mothers, although the fathers ogled
me. I was exactly what mothers had warned

their sons against. I was quicksand
I was trouble in the afternoon. I was
the alley cat you don't bring home.

I was the dirty book you don't leave out
for your mother to see. I was the center-
fold you masturbate with then discard.

Where I came from, the nights I had wandered
and survived, scared them, and where
I would go they never imagined.

Ah, what you wanted for your sons
were little ladies hatched from the eggs
of pearls like pink and silver lizards

cool, well behaved and impervious
to desire and weather alike. Mostly
that's who they married and left.

Oh, mamas, I would have been your friend.
I would have cooked for you and held you.
I might have rattled the windows

of your sorry marriages, but I would
have loved you better than you know
how to love yourselves, bitter sisters.

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Shaking The Tree

Souma yergon, sou nou yergon, we are shakin the tree
Souma yergon, sou nou yergon, we are shakin the tree
Waiting your time, dreaming of a better life
Waiting your time, youre more than just a wife
You dont want to do what your mother has done
She has done
This is your life, this new life has begun
Its your day - a womans day
Its your day - a womans day
Turning the tide, you are on the incoming wave
Turning the tide, you know you are nobodys slave
[ 1989 version - find your brothers and sisters ]
[ 1990 version - find your sisters and brothers ]
Who can hear all the truth in what you say
They can support you when youre on your way
Its your day - a womans day
Its your day - a womans day
Souma yergon, sou nou yergon, we are shakin the tree
Souma yergon, sou nou yergon, we are shakin the tree
Souma yergon, sou nou yergon, we are shakin the tree
[ extra lyrics from 1989 12 remix ]
Theres nothing to gain when theres nothing to be lost
Theres nothing to gain if you stay behind and count the cost
Make the decision that you can be who you can be
You can be
Tasting the fruit come to the liberty tree
Its your day - a womans day
Its your day - a womans day
[ end of extra lyrics from 12 remix ]
Changing your ways, changing those surrounding you
Changing your ways, more than any man can do
Open your heart, show him the anger and pain, so you heal
Maybe hes looking for his womanly side, let him feel
You had to be so strong
And you do nothing wrong
Nothing wrong at all
Were gonna to break it down
We have to shake it down
Shake it all around
Souma yergon, sou nou yergon, we are shakin the tree
Souma yergon, sou nou yergon, we are shakin the tree
Souma yergon, sou nou yergon, we are shakin the tree
...

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Patrick White

These Days, This Late At Night

These days, this late at night, I'm usually a lone wolf sage
high above the timberline in a sanctuary of solitude
that occasionally breaks the silence
with the elegaic echo of the anquished shriek of a hawk
wheeling in the abyss like the stars overhead
feeling as if its flightfeathers just caught fire
and for a few brief moments no longer
than the wingspan of a wavelength
it was shining like them and there were jewels
like a woman's eyes cracking the rock
of a heart that's been more of an asteroid
than habitable planet with a few ancestral skulls of its own
for moons and a creative atmosphere where the clouds
can move mountains to tears with the beauty
of what can bloom spontaneously out of nothing
like wildflowers strewn all over the starfields
as if they were expecting someone to come
of the things we really feel are worth crying for.

These days, this time of night, I delight
in looking for the most beautiful nocturnal metaphors
I can compare to you inside and out and beyond both
like a spirit of female serpent fire that haunts me
into paying tribute to her like a muse
who's beginning to possess me like the sea does
when the moon swims out to practise witchcraft
on a lonely island retreat that sings to itself at night.
Even from here, I can hear the song being carried
across the light years like the dove of a deep lament
she keeps like the wind in a locket the size
of the noose around her neck, and the flying carpet
under her feet all that's between her
and firewalking on stars like a burning kite
someone let go of like the umbilical cord
of a lifeboat that had come unmoored in a lunar storm.

Maybe I'm just fossil hunting on the moon
I've been howling at all these years
over the bone pits of dark wisdom I've dug up
on the far side of a black mirror
that doesn't insult your seeing with a night light.
But I swear sometimes when I think of you,
what lies like an archives in the riverbeds
of the sedimentary starmud you put back down
like a book you've read eras of time before,
and look out the window like a door
where you don't have to leave your body
on the threshold like shoes at the edge of the sea
when you walk into your own depths up over your head
to see if your eyes can still swim
with the dolphins and the stars and the flying fish
you left in your wake like a locust plague of urgent telegrams.

I know we're still more strangers to each other
than intimates, that there maybe watersheds
we have in common, and maybe it's still too early
for the fountains to come into blossom yet
as the last stars of the season become
the chandeliers of the morning stars of the next
like dusky candles going out in the blue light of the dawn.
And maybe there are ladders of fire to paradise
trembling like crutches on the edge of a shaky precipice
trying to climb higher than its cloud cover
to break into light like the Pleiades
just above the moon and Jupiter on a good seeing night,
but these days, this late at night, I've been inhaling
a lyrical lantern of oxygen and breathing out stars
like the circumpolar constellation of a healing dragon
pole-dancing with the caduceus of the celestial axis of the earth.

I'm laired with the unmarrowed riddles of bones of my own
I'm trying to read like the yarrow sticks
of a bird skeleton with rose-arbour wings
to see if the light I sense approaching out of the dark
is a mirage of fireflies disguised as a lightning bolt
or the soul mate of a rogue planet
that wants to ghost dance around the third eye
of a first magnitude star that doesn't have any idea
of what I'm doing up here, nor how far
a whisper of light away can seem
to a man fully awake these days, this late at night,
writing in the shadows cast by the candelabra
of a homeless zodiac off the beaten path
like the first draft a waking dream
sleepwalking beside me like the dakini
of a star struck maniac lifting the veils
of the inconceivable like the paint rags
of the night vision shining in the eyes behind them
that even in the dark make everything seem
so incredibly counter-intuitive and lucidly beautiful
I'd be truly out of my mind, like a crystal cranium
that's lost touch with its own translucency
if I didn't find it wholly believable
down to the last mystic detail my enlightened lunacy
howling like a wolf seer at the rising of a new moon
out of a valley where I can hear the distant barking
of the seeing-eye dog that follows Orion around
like a traffic light for the blind compared
to the way you light me up like the Pleiades
whenever I'm trying to get a parallactic fix
on your radiance dancing like a cult of fireflies
on the event horizons of my prophetic skull.

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Patrick White

I Drag On My Cigarette

I drag on my cigarette
and pull the coffee up to my mouth
as if I were officiating at a sacrament
and it were some holy bell
extolling the black wine of the bean.

I am always more in the morning
than I will be again all day
and the light is creative until precisely noon
and I am at peace in the impersonal intimacy
of flowing along like a star or a man or a leaf
in this great dynamic that never goes anywhere outside itself
like a bloodstream, a mindstream, the nightstream
that flashes in the woods like the eyes of a beautiful woman,
and yet all these worlds within worlds move with it
as fluently as thought and feeling
in a mind that is not divided by decisions
or trying to locate itself like a constellation
on a starmap in the rain,
insanely fitting every dropp
with the axis of a pin
to divine the source of the shining.

And it's always been a mystery to me
how I can be so ignorant and all-seeing simultaneously
but what keeps me alive, breathing, beating, baffled and alert,
a gust of awareness, of wheeling air and images
in a moment of joy and dispersal
where the light touches the dirt like a lover
and the dirt rises,
is this infinite instance
of an inconceivable intelligence so intimately close
the flame leaps from the fire,
and the moon falls from its flower
like the petal of an hour that overslept
and the birds are swimming in the shadow-waters of the trees
like elegant, inexhaustible pens in ink
that leave no trace on the sky of anything
beyond what the mind can think
until it stops turning the days like the pages
of a journal only the wind keeps
like autumn leaves and mindless sages
and learns from the seed-mouth how to sing
of the abundance that flows from its undoing.

Stop trying to prune the rose with its own thorns.
You can't put serpent fire out with water
or grasp a question by the neck
to milk the crescents of the moon for an antidote.
Would you put a bit in the mouth of the wave?
Would you uncoil your cravings like flypaper
to catch a star
then green it through the glass of a canning-jar?
Is the you of what you do
the you of who you are
or deep inside is there a blind jewel
that's waiting for you to turn the light around
and give it eyes
so you can see through yourself
and stop trying to net fish with the moon's reflection?

But if you think the answers will put the matter to rest,
get the world off your chest
like the shadow of the stone twin
that mimicked you into self-consciousness
and stalks you even now unseen
like a dog or the moon or eclipse of the blood
closing the mouths of the lilies that speak for the starmud,
you have not followed the questions
far enough into your life
where you have never been
to understand how little the answers really mean
when the ant moves the mountain
and the grass is green.

I stand in the furnace of the worlds like wax
and know the fury of the fire is everywhere at peace with itself,
and the only holy wars are lonely and creative.
As I am, as I am, as I am,
my singular appeal and pulse,
my homely simulacrum for the event I call me
when I knock like waves on my own door
to ask whose footprints line the shore
and only the moon's face on a threshold of water
rises like the gentile coast of a skull
to say I don't live here anymore.

You can't wash the night off
by taking a bath in an eclipse
and there are darknesses so intensely clear
that colours would only pollute the brutal purity
of the eye that dispossessed them,
poured them out like a delirium of words and wine
that could no longer dumbfound the emptiness
with the enlightened delusion of being forsakenly me.

And to say whatever this is before me now is nothing
is wrong
and to say this darkness myriads into form
and lucidly fills the world with things
is wrong,
and it is not mind or death or dark matter
nor me nor you nor God nor the devil
and yet its utter stillness mountains into mushrooms and fountains
and the whole issue is apparent in every event
like the taste of salt and stars
in the mouth of an open wound.

Is your skull honoured by what it must contain,
is the stone you lay your head upon
appalled by what it props up
when its metals reveal
the swords and crowns
you've poppied with blood,
or is your head still cooling
like mystic bread on a windowsill
like the universe
straight from the ovens of hell
in a purgatorial breeze
your goodness defanged like a whip?

Or maybe you're writing love poems
on the sails of a boney ghost ship
to a lifeboat on the moon
bobbing in a sea of shadows?
Or the leaves at your door
who show up with maps to save you
don't know what autumn is anymore
or how to follow the wind to the far shore
where the straw keeps faith with the grain
and the scarecrow is feathered with fire
and there is no distinction between joy and pain
and the stone dances as fleetly as moonlight
silvers the vein of the garden snail
that smears the slow stream of its going
across my radiant path
like the enlightened thought of a tiny brain?

Have we not already come again and again
to a place we have never existed,
is this not the effusive locus of every moment,
the inceptive finish of every breath we give back
to the sustaining intimacy of the unconceived
who nourish conception with their emptiness
and confide themselves like seeing to the seen
and shape space like water into eyes
deeper than a full eclipse of the moon?

You cannot fathom the strangeness of this moment you are,
you cannot assess the span of your being with wings
or appeal to a god like a bloodstream
you can pour yourself back into like wine
seeking tomorrow's delirium with yesterday's vine,
when the whole of creation is the merest suggestion of you
out to the furthest star
that puts itself out like a torch
in its own reflection of who you are.

You don't have to study your eyes to see
or cultivate your features like a holy book to be.
Because there is no intention in the emptiness
there is no karma to redress
and nothing to bind or separate
and no witness to affirm or deny
and nothing to diminish or enlarge
and no wisdom in the waterlily
nor ignorance in the swamp,
and the clouds let go
and the chains lay hold
and the lead doesn't taste of gold
but the union doesn't differentiate
among its exquisite distinctions
and the old woman is not old
and the cripples run
and the road outpaces the racers
like a long finish line
and there are no fractures when everything is whole
and no god when everything is.

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A Preacher

"Lest that by any means
When I have preached to others I myself
Should be a castaway." If some one now
Would take that text and preach to us that preach, --
Some one who could forget his truths were old
And what were in a thousand bawling mouths
While they filled his -- some one who could so throw
His life into the old dull skeletons
Of points and morals, inferences, proofs,
Hopes, doubts, persuasions, all for time untold
Worn out of the flesh, that one could lose from mind
How well one knew his lesson, how oneself
Could with another, may be choicer, style
Enforce it, treat it from another view
And with another logic -- some one warm
With the rare heart that trusts itself and knows
Because it loves -- yes such a one perchance,
With such a theme, might waken me as I
Have wakened others, I who am no more
Than steward of an eloquence God gives
For others' use not mine. But no one bears
Apostleship for us. We teach and teach
Until, like drumming pedagogues, we lose
The thought that what we teach has higher ends
Than being taught and learned. And if a man
Out of ourselves should cry aloud, "I sin,
And ye are sinning, all of us who talk
Our Sunday half-hour on the love of God,
Trying to move our peoples, then go home
To sleep upon it and, when fresh again,
To plan another sermon, nothing moved,
Serving our God like clock-work sentinels,
We who have souls ourselves," why I like the rest
Should turn in anger: "Hush this charlatan
Who, in his blatant arrogance, assumes
Over us who know our duties."
Yet that text
Which galls me, what a sermon might be made
Upon its theme! How even I myself
Could stir some of our priesthood! Ah! but then
Who would stir me?
I know not how it is;
I take the faith in earnest, I believe,
Even at happy times I think I love,
I try to pattern me upon the type
My Master left us, am no hypocrite
Playing my soul against good men's applause,
Nor monger of the Gospel for a cure,
But serve a Master whom I chose because
It seemed to me I loved him, whom till now
My longing is to love; and yet I feel
A falseness somewhere clogging me. I seem
Divided from myself; I can speak words
Of burning faith and fire myself with them;
I can, while upturned faces gaze on me
As if I were their Gospel manifest,
Break into unplanned turns as natural
As the blind man's cry for healing, pass beyond
My bounded manhood in the earnestness
Of a messenger from God. And then I come
And in my study's quiet find again
The callous actor who, because long since
He had some feelings in him like the talk
The book puts in his mouth, still warms his pit
And even, in his lucky moods, himself
With the passion of his part, but lays aside
His heroism with his satin suit
And thinks "the part is good and well conceived
And very natural -- no flaw to find" --
And then forgets it.
Yes I preach to others
And am -- I know not what -- a castaway?
No, but a man who feels his heart asleep,
As he might feel his hand or foot. The limb
Will not awake without a little shock,
A little pain perhaps, a nip or blow,
And that one gives and feels the waking pricks.
But for one's heart I know not. I can give
No shock to make mine prick. I seem to be
Just such a man as those who claim the power
Or have it, (say, to serve the thought), of willing
That such a one should break an iron bar,
And such a one resist the strength of ten,
And the thing is done, yet cannot will themselves
One least small breath of power beyond the wont.
To-night now I might triumph. Not a breath
But shivered when I pictured the dead soul
Awaking when the body dies to know
Itself has lived too late, and drew in long
With yearning when I shewed how perfect love
Might make Earth's self be but an earlier Heaven.
And I may say and not be over-bold,
Judging from former fruits, "Some one to-night
Has come more near to God, some one has felt
What it may mean to love Him, some one learned
A new great horror against death and sin,
Some one at least -- it may be many." Yet --
And yet -- Why I the preacher look for God,
Saying "I know thee Lord, what I should see
If I could see thee as some can on earth,
But I do not see thee," and "I know thee Lord,
What loving thee is like, as if I loved,
But I cannot love thee." And even with the thought
The answer grows "Thine is the greater sin,"
And I stand self-convicted yet not shamed,
But quiet, reasoning why it should be thus,
And almost wishing I could suddenly
Fall in some awful sin, that so might come
A living sense of God, if but by fear,
And a repentance sharp as is the need.
But now, the sin being indifference,
Repentance too is tepid.
There are some,
Good men and honest though not overwise
Nor studious of the subtler depths of minds
Below the surface strata, who would teach,
In such a case, to scare oneself awake
(As girls do, telling ghost-tales in the dark),
With scriptural terrors, all the judgments spoken
Against the tyrant empires, all the wrath
On them who slew the prophets and forsook
Their God for Baal, and the awful threat
For him whose dark dread sin is pardonless,
So that in terror one might cling to God --
As the poor wretch, who, angry with his life,
Has dashed into a dank and hungry pool,
Learns in the death-gasp to love life again
And clings unreasoning to the saving hand.
Well I know some -- for the most part with thin minds
Of the effervescent kind, easy to froth,
Though easier to let stagnate -- who thus wrought
Convulsive pious moods upon themselves
And, thinking all tears sorrow and all texts
Repentance, are in peace upon the trust
That a grand necessary stage is past,
And do love God as I desire to love.
And now they'll look on their hysteric time
And wonder at it, seeing it not real
And yet not feigned. They'll say "A special time
Of God's direct own working -- you may see
It was not natural."
And there I stand
In face with it, and know it. Not for me;
Because I know it, cannot trust in it;
It is not natural. It does not root
Silently in the dark as God's seeds root,
Then day by day move upward in the light.
It does not wake a tremulous glimmering dawn,
Then swell to perfect day as God's light does.
It does not give to life a lowly child
To grow by days and morrows to man's strength,
As do God's natural birthdays. God who sets
Some little seed of good in everything
May bring his good from this, but not for one
Who calmly says "I know -- this is a dream,
A mere mirage sprung up of heat and mist;
It cannot slake my thirst: but I will try
To fool my fancy to it, and will rush
To cool my burning throat, as if there welled
Clear waters in the visionary lake,
That so perchance Heaven pitying me may send
Its own fresh showers upon me." I perchance
Might, with occasion, spite of steady will
And steady nerve, bring on the ecstasy:
But what avails without the simple faith?
I should not cheat myself, and who cheats God?
And wherefore should I count love more than truth,
And buy the loving him with such a price,
Even if 'twere possible to school myself
To an unbased belief and love him more
Only through a delusion?
Not so, Lord.
Let me not buy my peace, nay not my soul,
At price of one least word of thy strong truth
Which is Thyself. The perfect love must be
When one shall know thee. Better one should lose
The present peace of loving, nay of trusting,
Better to doubt and be perplexed in soul
Because thy truth seems many and not one,
Than cease to seek thee, even through reverence,
In the fulness and minuteness of thy truth.
If it be sin, forgive me: I am bold,
My God, but I would rather touch the ark
To find if thou be there than -- thinking hushed
"'Tis better to believe, I will believe,
Though, were't not for belief, 'Tis far from proved" --
Shout with the people "Lo our God is there,"
And stun my doubts by iterating faith.
And yet, I know not why it is, this knack
Of sermon-making seems to carry me
Athwart the truth at times before I know --
In little things at least; thank God the greater
Have not yet grown by the familiar use
Such puppets of a phrase as to slip by
Without clear recognition. Take to-night --
I preached a careful sermon, gravely planned,
All of it written. Not a line was meant
To fit the mood of any differing
From my own judgment: not the less I find --
(I thought of it coming home while my good Jane
Talked of the Shetland pony I must get
For the boys to learn to ride:) yes here it is,
And here again on this page -- blame by rote,
Where by my private judgment I blame not.
"We think our own thoughts on this day," I said,
"Harmless it may be, kindly even, still
Not Heaven's thoughts -- not Sunday thoughts I'll say."
Well now do I, now that I think of it,
Advise a separation of our thoughts
By Sundays and by week-days, Heaven's and ours?
By no means, for I think the bar is bad.
I'll teach my children "Keep all thinkings pure,
And think them when you like, if but the time
Is free to any thinking. Think of God
So often that in anything you do
It cannot seem you have forgotten Him,
Just as you would not have forgotten us,
Your mother and myself, although your thoughts
Were not distinctly on us, while you played;
And, if you do this, in the Sunday's rest
You will most naturally think of Him;
Just as your thoughts, though in a different way,
(God being the great mystery He is
And so far from us and so strangely near),
Would on your mother's birthday-holiday
Come often back to her." But I'd not urge
A treadmill Sunday labour for their mind,
Constant on one forced round: nor should I blame
Their constant chatter upon daily themes.
I did not blame Jane for her project told,
Though she had heard my sermon, and no doubt
Ought, as I told my flock, to dwell on that.
Then here again "the pleasures of the world
That tempt the younger members of my flock."
Now I think really that they've not enough
Of these same pleasures. Grey and joyless lives
A many of them have, whom I would see
Sharing the natural gaieties of youth.
I wish they'd more temptations of the kind.
Now Donne and Allan preach such things as these
Meaning them and believing. As for me,
What did I mean? Neither to feign nor teach
A Pharisaic service. 'Twas just this,
That there are lessons and rebukes long made
So much a thing of course that, unobserving,
One sets them down as one puts dots to i's,
Crosses to t's.
A simple carelessness;
No more than that. There's the excuse -- and I,
Who know that every carelessness is falsehood
Against my trust, what guide or check have I
Being, what I have called myself, an actor
Able to be awhile the man he plays
But in himself a heartless common hack?
I felt no falseness as I spoke the trash,
I was thrilled to see it moved the listeners,
Grew warmer to my task! 'Twas written well,
Habit had made the thoughts come fluently
As if they had been real --
Yes, Jane, yes,
I hear you -- Prayers and supper waiting me --
I'll come --
Dear Jane, who thinks me half a saint.

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Garth Brooks

I'd much rather have the honesty than not. Because if you will say what's on your mind and get it off your chest, then the sooner I can prove you wrong!

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When you don't have power, which I still don't in the grand Hollywood scheme of things, you get offered things that you wouldn't ordinarily be offered. Frequently, other people know what I can do more than I do.

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Love 4 Fan

So you think you got it all worked out
And what you're searching for
Isn't what you found
Up in this world that's on the run
A lot of hits but only a few
Number ones
I'm making love for fun
Are you looking for a holiday?
I'm making love for fun
Why would you do it any other way?
I'm making good
On everything I said
So baby just relax
And let me do my thing
Up in my world you better run
There's only room
For the few who can come
When you don't have a place to go
When everything feels the same
I can change what you think you know
Making love my way

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Pablo Picasso

Tired sick.

When you don't have something that is what is everyone craves,
Then the trouble begins in waves. '
The clock loudly and soundly does tick
While you get tired sick.

You go do something that depends on others
Better do quick lest disagree your mothers.
Rhyme does you no then good,
Seems like that something is the only food.

The world beats around in their newly acquired fun
While you sit alone there, one and only one.
The clock loudly does tick
making you sick; really really sick

Tired of the fun, you go sit one,
While the music subsides and leaves you then,
With what you want.
The clock does tick,
Making you tired sick.

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I am quite valuable

I am quite valuable

In a time when your wealth is your measure.

The house you live in, worth more than you are.

The Ferrari you buy has a space for the bag of heads needed to afford it.

Your credit rating more important than your education.

Your position more important than your country of origin.

When assertiveness is lightly veiled threats of murder.

When nothing you do pays the rent.

Where you are judged as to suitability on securing an unobtainable income.

A time when even the most foul can make the rules with wealth.

A time when you don't have the credit for your own experiences.

I protest that without any of the above, my Master's level education remains more than a case of opposing thumbs.

After all, it's top 4%, when millions can't read or add up.

MB 07/06/12

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The Kiwi

And why oh why Kiwi, you a bird we must call
When you don't have a wing that you can say you own

There's nothing I can do but it was nature's joke
That I be without wings, just run or only walk

My scientific name's Apteryx Australis
A name I owe to Carl von Linne and to the Greeks
'A-' is to mean devoid, having none or without
And 'pteryx' is the wing oddly I do not have

But regret I have none about my anatomy
For being without wings is not an infamy
And unto wonderment, yes, I do give my share,
My nostrills at the tip of elongated bill
So I can very well worms and crawlers smell
Whiskers I also have just like any feline
So I can feel my way in the dark anywhere

My egg's one-fourth my weight, three months to incubate
To form a sisngle one, one month for me it takes
Twice more than the usual I have always to eat

Two-thirds of it is yolk and so heavy a load
And it is very big, leaving no space for food
Before one I can lay for three days fast I should
Once laid, my partner sits on it, three months he would
Loses one-third his weight, quit nor complain he won't

A belly with an egg, sore and swollen becomes
Relief is to wallow in a stream or a pond
My overstretched belly always touches the ground
I have to part my legs, so I can move around

Although I am only a waddling, flightless bird
In the hearts of many, I have a special place
Products, money, people and fruit my name they take
In the animal world, I am sans duplicate

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The Desert Is In Your Heart

producer for bonnie: ?
Recorded in 1992 for sophie arbaniti 's album 'parafora', lyrics taken from
Careful listening.
First half of this song is in greek...so your guess is as good as mine - here's
The english part...
You move the veil from your face
And escape from the world that is hurting
You feel oppressed when you know
That the words are killing the meaning
There is no reason to hide in the dark
When you're far from the fighting
How can you dream in a world that is getting greyer than grey?
You don't have to hide your face, there's no disgrace
There's no harm in knowing that we're all a part of the human race
You have got to lift your head, think of what he said
You were born to know the truth, nothing but the truth, and what the truth is
Worth
Oh, the desert is in your heart
In your heart
The desert is in your heart
In your heart
It's so hard to try to forget
So many thinks you regret
You try to look back, but there's little to see
Just nothing can't take this pain from me
Oh, the desert is in your heart
In your heart
You don't have to hide your face
There's no disgrace
There's no harm in knowing we're all a part of the human race
You have got to lift your head, think of what he said
You were born to know the truth, nothing but the truth, and what the truth is
Worth
Oh, the desert is in your heart
In your heart
The desert is in your heart
In your heart
(greek)
In your heart
(greek)
The desert is in your heart
(greek)
The desert is in your heart
(greek)

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Keep Passing The Open Windows (extended 12")

This is the only life for me
Surround myself around my own fantasy
You just gotta be strong and believe in yourself
Forget all the sadness cause love is all you need.
Do you know what it's like to be alone in this world
When you're down and out on your luck and you're a failure
Wake up screaming in the middle of the night
You think it's all been a waste of time
It's been a bad year
You start believing everything's gonna be alright
Next minute you're down and you're flat on your back
A brand new day is beginning
Get that sunny feeling and you're on your way.
Just believe - just keep passing the open windows
Just believe - just keep passing the open windows
Do you know how it feels when you don't have a friend
Without a job and no money to spend
You're a stranger
All you think about is suicide
One of these days you're gonna lose the fight
You better keep out of danger - yeah
That same old feeling just keeps burning deep inside
You keep telling yourself it's gonna be the end
Oh get yourself together
Things are looking better everyday
Just believe - just keep passing the open windows
Just believe - just keep passing the open windows.
This is the only life for me
Surround myself around my own fantasy
You just gotta be strong and believe in yourself
Forget all the sadness cause love is all you need.
You just gotta be strong and believe in yourself
Forget all the sadness cause love is all you need.
Love is all you need - baby - love is all you need.
Just believe - just keep passing the open windows.

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Patrick White

I Wish Everyone In The World Were As Mad As You Are

I wish everyone in the world were as mad as you are.
I wish everyone in the world talked the same nonsense you do
and meant as much.
Stop crying.
I wish everyone in the world were as good as you are
and didn't lie to anyone else
other than themselves
about what the truth is.
You shape chaos to your mind
like light to space
to make a habitable planet you can live on
and if it isn't round sometimes
and O doesn't always cast the same shadow
that the others mimic with theirs
I wish everyone could put on your kind of airs
and be as good to life as the kind of atmosphere you are.
Come on now.
Here.
Dry your tears with this.
All those constellations you made up
out of the stars in your eyes
are your own private myths and mandalas
and you're free to change them as you will
and I wish everyone made as much
of the light they were given to go by
as you have.
I'm too much of a thorn
to paint the delicate iridescent watercolours
I see smeared on your tender bubbles
like original pictures of the universe
from a thousand spaced-out Hubbles
but I wish everyone in the world
had your kind of genius for vulnerability.
You hold up a single feather of light
like a candle among stars
like a green leaf in the middle of winter
and the world that is inured to three dimensions
for infinitely tedious reasons
would rather put its eyes out
and gape like blackholes
than see as you do
that there are countless seasons to the soul
that burn like a phoenix
and there's nowhere you can point to in the darkness
that isn't an equinox of love and understanding
when the sun shines at midnight
and spring harvests what the autumn sows.
Having a deep cosmic insight
like a stranger beyond lucidity
into the windows of the houses of your own zodiac
might make you look like a maniac to the neighbours
who keep watch in their asylum
against any kind of freedom
that might release them from their lighthouse
like a geni from a lamp
that doesn't conform to anyone's wishs but her own
but I wish everyone had the courage
you have not to be them.
Life isn't fair or unfair.
Life isn't kind or cruel.
It isn't half-Buddha and half-fool.
Neither impersonal
nor sentimental
life isn't a kind of obedience
to its own rules
as if it were bound like God to keep its word.
Or what?
Who else is there to answer to?
All the taboos want to be thresholds
and all the thresholds
want to run away from home.
Could be a curse.
Could be a blessing.
Could be just more idle words.
But you're not like that.
You're not a fountain mouth
that mistakes alphabets for birds
and holds them to the letter of the law
in a world full of music.
It's enlightenment to sing to a window.
It's ignorance to sing to a mirror.
But you don't sing to either
and your song is clear as running water
all the way down the mountain.
The picture-music
of your eyes and your ears
can already hear the ocean from here
that gathers to receive the flowing
like the heart receives blood
like the mind receives your thoughts.
Look out at the world.
You're the host.
Look inward.
You're the guest.
You can break bread with the dead
without being a ghost.
You can drink wine with the living
and it's the wine that gets high on you
flowing into a seabed of shadows on the moon
that hasn't touched a dropp for years.
Don't believe what the cynics say about innocence.
They have the sensibilities of blackflies
trying to draw blood from the Mona Lisa.
Don't grieve if you're a butterfly
that can't follow the flightplans of the maggots.
There's only a slight difference in wingspan
between a waterbird and a phoenix
but it would take lightyears
to measure a single feather of yours.
There's no cult of the rose
that insists it fall upon its own thorns first
or the moon draw first blood
on the blades of its own crescents.
You don't have to scar
your own deathmask with experience
just to prove you knew
how to eat the pain and bleed.
You don't have to wear your face in public
as if it were something you kept up your sleeve.
Dice might be the foundation-stones of the lost
but that doesn't mean
you have to go pearl-diving
for the moon in quicksand
or change your song like a jukebox
playing the slots
when you're a mermaid on the rocks.
I wish everyone had the same chance
to risk it all as you do
and win back their lives
like eleven come of seven
insteading of seeing everything
as if they were jinxed by inasuspicious birds
turning the wrong way on a prayer-wheel
that keeps coming up snake-eyes
with every roll of their skulls.
You can't heal the luck
of a wounded Nazi
by turning his swastika the other way.
You can't teach snakes to bite other people.
And you don't know enough
if there's anything left to say or understand
and even then there's a silence
that still longs to be heard
like a humming bird sipping honey from your ears
or deep in a telescopic wishing well of stars
burning in a dream of mirrors
they walk across
like fire on the water
or the distant blue notes
of the hidden nightbird
that echoes your tears
as if it were crying out in the darkness
from the safety of a secret place
for the same reasons you are.
As if it were trying to befriend its own sorrow
and weep for tomorrow as you do
for all the things of the past
it won't even know it's missing.
I wish everyone in the world
could live the future as you do
as something that is already happening now.
Even when you're crying
because you don't think you're brave enough
not to.
You're not a lame princess
that anyone needs to rescue.
You're a dragon bringing rain.
And if the snakepit hisses at you
like a social structure
and calls you insane sometimes
because you have wings
and they still hug the earth
all tied up in knots
taking their poisons out on each other
to keep from feeling anything
it's just their way of defining sanity
by the standards of the numbest.
It's not you that's crazy.
It's not you that's the dumbest.
I wish everyone in the world
were as warm-blooded and wise as you are.
When the serpent fire at the base of your spine
has passed through the doors
of all your chakras like vertebrae
and you're already a circumpolar constellation j
just a little off true north
shining like Draco
why worry if you're no good
at the game of snakes and ladders
they play like politics and religion back here on earth
to see who gets to be the pillar
and who the quicksand.
You understand way more than that.
I can tell by the fire in your eyes
that you're a phoenix among stars
and you've transcended the eagles and the houseflies
that can't even begin to imagine
the kind of heights you can reach to
or the depth of the view below you
when you're riding your own thermals
like beautiful helices in the mindstream
for the sheer joy of being only you.
Even now.
These tears
that run all the way down to your lips
as if water had fingertips
what are they
but the way you cry for things
that everyone else didn't?
I wish everyone in the world could be like you.
I wish you could teach us all
to stop living a spiritual lie
on the deathbed of an earthly truth
as if that were the only way
to foolproof ourselves
against reality
like a stranger looking through our windows at night
who doesn't recognize herself in us
because most of us aren't as brave and free as you are
to leave the door ajar
and let whatever wants to come in
come in.
Some track in mud.
Some.
Stars.
And the mud flowers in light.
And the stars bloom in fire.
And one looks up
and the other looks down
on each other's likeness
reflected in the other
as if they were engendered by the same being.
Sight is a kind of love
and I wish everyone in the world
were inspired by the mystic dimensions
and intimate clarity of your kind of seeing
that even through these tears
that I'm not having much luck in wiping away
can comprehend a world
that's more wonderful than it thinks it is.

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Better Your Heart Than Mine

(written by lisa angelle, andrew gold)
Dont come crying to me
It wasnt long ago that you couldnt see
The pain you put me in when you walked out
Dont bring me your rainy day
Theres just so much a girl can take
And all the tears in the world wont help you now
I cant tell you its alright
I wont be holding you tonight
You want the love you threw away
All youre gonna get is a whole lot of pain
Better your heart than mine
Better luck to you the next time
You broke my heart in two
Now its coming back on you
Its your turn to cry
Better your heart than mine
You come waltzing through my door
Like I aint been here with you before
Dont tell me that new love done put you down
Dont you tell me its alright
You wont be holding me tonight
You want the love you threw away
All youre gonna get is a whole lot of pain
Better your heart than mine
Better luck to you the next time
You broke my heart in two
Now its coming back on you
Its your turn to cry
Better your heart than mine

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There's Nothing Better Than Love

ft. Gregory Hines

I fell asleep last night
And I dreamed the night
and almost half the day away
I just got up so that
I can hear her say
She's still in love
and no one can take her love away
Ooo love wakes me up everyday
And I thought no one
would ever make me feel this way
It feels me up everytime
I hear her say
She's still in love
and no one will take her love away
I wanna be love
[Chorus:]
There's nothing better than love
What in the world
could you ever be thinking of
It's better by far
So let yourself reach for that star
And go no matter how far
To the one you love
To love
And I mean all these words I said
And you don't have to guess
what's going on inside me head
Just try to know
All the things that our heart says
Listen to love and always
get love to lead the way
Whenever you love
[Chorus:]
[Bridge:]
You know for love
I'd go anywhere
I would go there
For love to the end of nowhere
And for your love
(And for your love)
I would

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Patrick White

My Eyes Are Getting Better

My eyes are getting better
as I get older
despite the sunspots
and leggy eclipses
and when I look back
I can see further than I ever did
except it isn't the light
that illuminates things any more
it's time
and that's a whole other palette
with colours of its own
wavelengths faster than light.
When you see things with your eyes
the past may be red deepening into black
and the future a furious white-blue
that pushes the darkness back
a T Tauri star or two
but when you see things
with the whole of your being
it isn't time that's passing
it's you
and it turns out linear perspective isn't true
and things in the distance aren't blue
because there are as many farewells
in the foreground
as there are the prophetic yellows
of intimate tomorrows
that haven't happened yet
way at the back.
Memory isn't the distilled essence of existence
you can swill in your hand
like a glass of brandy in front of the fireplace
to keep warm when it's cold outside.
Memory doesn't drink out of a glass
like sacrificial blood out of a thermometer.
It scoops the moon out of the nightstream
and drinks with both hands.
It revels in its madness
like Li Po's poetry
not the prose of a vain Narcissus.
It isn't the pale reflection
of what was once vital.
It walks with those
who haven't been born yet
as easily as it talks to ghosts
without changing the subject.
I've got future memories
I've carried around inside myself for years
like the embryos of what's become of yesterday.
There are sorrows up ahead
I haven't endured yet
that I've already cried for
well in advance of my tears.
Is a river the past
or the future of the sea
and which one's the prophet
and which one's the prophecy
that didn't come to pass?
Does the man head back to the boy he used to be?
A couple of earthquakes
it was hard to stand up to
and the cornerstone of my youth
sank through the quicksand of my maturity
like a California sabre-tooth
that won't be discovered
until thousands of years from now
when archaeologists start looking
for missing links in the fossils of the truth.
Tomorrow's late
and yesterday can't catch up
but the thing that I like best about now
is that it never hesitates
to be where it will when it wants
without worrying about where everyone else is.
At least that's what I tell myself
when I can't stop thinking about you
like someone who will never happen again
the way love first said your name
as if a word
were destined
to become more famous
than the voice that said it
like an afterlife
reclaimed from the lost and found.
Where are you now
who came like a deathwish
to the geni in the lamp
of an unknown constellation
who wouldn't give you what you wanted?
Did you ever forgive me?
Sometimes it's more dangerous to be deceived
than it is to be haunted by a truth
you never believed in.
You wanted to live in the moment
as if time were the homogeneity of space
and I tried to tell you that it wasn't midnight everywhere
and somewhere the sun was still shining
but there are some clouds
that prefer shrouds to happy linings
and I don't remember which one of us died first
but to this day
when anyone rubs me the wrong way
I grant them three curses.
And of the three.
Loving someone unconditionally is the worst.
And neither of the other two
are much better than the first
when you're asked to decide
between truth and compassion
as if you were tasked
to divide the baby like Solomon
between two mothers
and you suddenly realize
how hard it is to choose
which one of your eyes to put out
in the name of the other
like a candleflame with a forked tongue
that sees everything
as if it had two shadows
and one of them was longer than the other
like the short and the long straw
of a subjective risk
that couldn't bridge the gap
between the cool lucidities
of the fireflies of insight
that tried to make constellations out of everything
and the way
you kept splitting the tree of knowledge
like a wishbone
down the middle
between my uncertain intensities
and the unlikely absolutes
of your pre-emptive lightning strikes.
Caesar may have accidentally burned down
the library at Alexandria
where seventy-two imminently isolated scholars
wrote the exact same Septuagint
to prove the divinity of its revelation
but a greater loss
than the amassed wisdom of the past
is the way your intellect
wouldn't take the lid off
a masonjar full of fireflies
you jammed like stars
into a moment you wanted to preserve forever.
I meet the past everywhere on the road I'm on now
coming back from the future
as if I had all the time in the world
to recall tomorrow
without a sense of urgency.
Or as I once said to a beautiful young artist
when she was poor and nameless.
Until you've bought
your own work back
at a garage sale
for next to nothing
you can't be sure
you're going to be famous.
And there's no way
you can trick yesterday
out of the arms of the past
like the new moon
out of the arms of the old.
I was one of the tantric children
of literature once
an enfant terrible like Rimbaud.
I got a taste of fame.
I spit it out
like bottled water
from the wellsprings of the muses
who found their inspiration in clean living
but never got fired up
by the lack of truth in their diet.
I shut my mouth.
I was as precocious as a highchair.
I would go to a poetry reading
and turn it into a riot.
Fire on the water.
Autumn trees on the Fall River.
I was an arsonist
in a volunteer fire brigade
witching for water in hell.
Now I'm the emergency exit
at the end of a long line
of alarm bells
I'm swinging on like Quasimodo
in self-defence.
I don't need a mirror
to know
what the lucky don't see
in what's ugly.
Beauty falls in love with the Beast.
But I haven't been to church in awhile
since my soul
took out a restraining order
to keep the priest away from the child.
Early autumn along the backroads into heaven.
The sumac's burning.
The sumac's burning.
The phoenix is on its pyre.
Is this a birth?
Is this a death?
Or just where highway seven
meets the five eleven
and time intersects the timeless
like the red yellow and green
of stop pause and go
that hangs its streetlight
like the stages of a ripening pepper
above the kids in the crosswalk
of another Halloween
that walks with the dead
all the way to the other side of the living
like a ghost in a bedsheet
with a bagful of jelly beans?
Let the living and the dead alike
grasp what little they can
of happiness
but if your hands are full of nothing
there isn't much room
for anything else.
Let go of it.
Throw it down.
Nothing's free
if it's still void-bound.
Then sit down on the ground
and have a good laugh
at your own expense
when you see the dark abundance
in the bright vacancy
like black matter
through a gravitational lens
that expends ninety-six percent of itself
on a universe
to keep the lights on
the other four parts we can see.
But isn't it good to know
there's so much in life
we'll never get our hands on?
That so much that's out there
wants nothing to do with anyone
either of us will ever be?
That you and I
and what we remember
of the way we created each other in agony
in love and lust and jealousy
and all those little endearing ways
we couldn't be each other when we had to
and these hills I keep retiring
more and more to at night alone
just to be closer to the stars
and the stars themselves
exhausting the last of their farewells
on a summer that's already turned its back
and gone down over the hills
and the way memory over the years
stops opening itself up like a family album
and begins to take on the image
of anyone who's standing
near enough to the mirror
for it to appear
in the guise of what it's become?
Isn't it good to know
that memory is the mother of the muses
and that the past
isn't a museum of dead artifacts
and teeth missing from elusive jawbones
grinning at the absurdity
of what does and doesn't last
and how luxuriously the present cherishs
the garbage of the past?
Isn't it good to know
memory is the watershed of inspiration
that flows down the world mountain
to keep the sea's glass full
of the mystic wine
that can drown a drunk in a dropful
and rescue the moon from the eyes of the blind
who refuse to get into the lifeboat
when they're asked to leave
everything else behind?
Isn't it good to know
however many fools go to school
and fall in love with knowledge
like ladders with windows
they can look at the world through
like enlightened towers
with an elevated view
of what surrounds them out there
that even when we die to one another
we're still exceptions to eternity
and not the rule?
That we remember each other creatively
and not as we were
once and for all forever for good
as the people way back when
who misunderstood
when you leave someone
you don't add them
to the great resevoir of the past
like a future you left behind you
that couldn't last
because time had done with it
the same thing it does
to the emotional life
of any other pyramid
lost the sands of an hourglass.
The future's just a ruse of time
that sucks us into
accepting the present
as a provisional compromise
with the moment at hand
as if history without a past
were the only alternative left
to living forever.
But however we refine clarity
it's still not enlightenment
if you're still telling the story
and the story isn't telling you
at the same time
in another universe
stranger than this one
that makes us up as it goes along
out of whatever it comes upon
like someone far away we'll never meet
but we keep looking for in the eyes
of every human we greet
like a myth of origins
taking its seat around the fire
like a house of the zodiac
that bears credible witness
to the truth of the fact
that time is more of a maniac
than a liar.

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James Lee's Wife

I.—James Lee's Wife Speaks at the Window


I.
Ah, Love, but a day
And the world has changed!
The sun's away,
And the bird estranged;
The wind has dropped,
And the sky's deranged:
Summer has stopped.

II.
Look in my eyes!
Wilt thou change too?
Should I fear surprise?
Shall I find aught new
In the old and dear,
In the good and true,
With the changing year?

III.
Thou art a man,
But I am thy love.
For the lake, its swan;
For the dell, its dove;
And for thee—(oh, haste!)
Me, to bend above,
Me, to hold embraced.

II.—By the Fireside


I.
Is all our fire of shipwreck wood,
Oak and pine?
Oh, for the ills half-understood,
The dim dead woe
Long ago
Befallen this bitter coast of France!
Well, poor sailors took their chance;
I take mine.

II.
A ruddy shaft our fire must shoot
O'er the sea:
Do sailors eye the casement—mute,
Drenched and stark,
From their bark—
And envy, gnash their teeth for hate
O' the warm safe house and happy freight
—Thee and me?

III.
God help you, sailors, at your need!
Spare the curse!
For some ships, safe in port indeed,
Rot and rust,
Run to dust,
All through worms i' the wood, which crept,
Gnawed our hearts out while we slept:
That is worse.

IV.
Who lived here before us two?
Old-world pairs.
Did a woman ever—would I knew!—
Watch the man
With whom began
Love's voyage full-sail,—(now, gnash your teeth!)
When planks start, open hell beneath
Unawares?

III.—In the Doorway


I.
The swallow has set her six young on the rail,
And looks sea-ward:
The water's in stripes like a snake, olive-pale
To the leeward,—
On the weather-side, black, spotted white with the wind.
"Good fortune departs, and disaster's behind,"—
Hark, the wind with its wants and its infinite wail!

II.
Our fig-tree, that leaned for the saltness, has furled
Her five fingers,
Each leaf like a hand opened wide to the world
Where there lingers
No glint of the gold, Summer sent for her sake:
How the vines writhe in rows, each impaled on its stake!
My heart shrivels up and my spirit shrinks curled.

III.
Yet here are we two; we have love, house enough,
With the field there,
This house of four rooms, that field red and rough,
Though it yield there,
For the rabbit that robs, scarce a blade or a bent;
If a magpie alight now, it seems an event;
And they both will be gone at November's rebuff.

IV.
But why must cold spread? but wherefore bring change
To the spirit,
God meant should mate his with an infinite range,
And inherit
His power to put life in the darkness and cold?
Oh, live and love worthily, bear and be bold!
Whom Summer made friends of, let Winter estrange!

IV.—Along the Beach


I.
I will be quiet and talk with you,
And reason why you are wrong.
You wanted my love—is that much true?
And so I did love, so I do:
What has come of it all along?

II.
I took you—how could I otherwise?
For a world to me, and more;
For all, love greatens and glorifies
Till God's a-glow, to the loving eyes,
In what was mere earth before.

III.
Yes, earth—yes, mere ignoble earth!
Now do I mis-state, mistake?
Do I wrong your weakness and call it worth?
Expect all harvest, dread no dearth,
Seal my sense up for your sake?

IV.
Oh, Love, Love, no, Love! not so, indeed!
You were just weak earth, I knew:
With much in you waste, with many a weed,
And plenty of passions run to seed,
But a little good grain too.

V.
And such as you were, I took you for mine:
Did not you find me yours,
To watch the olive and wait the vine,
And wonder when rivers of oil and wine
Would flow, as the Book assures?

VI.
Well, and if none of these good things came,
What did the failure prove?
The man was my whole world, all the same,
With his flowers to praise or his weeds to blame,
And, either or both, to love.

VII.
Yet this turns now to a fault—there! there!
That I do love, watch too long,
And wait too well, and weary and wear;
And 't is all an old story, and my despair
Fit subject for some new song:

VIII.
"How the light, light love, he has wings to fly
"At suspicion of a bond:
"My wisdom has bidden your pleasure good-bye,
"Which will turn up next in a laughing eye,
"And why should you look beyond?"

V.—On the Cliff


I.
I leaned on the turf,
I looked at a rock
Left dry by the surf;
For the turf, to call it grass were to mock:
Dead to the roots, so deep was done
The work of the summer sun.

II.
And the rock lay flat
As an anvil's face:
No iron like that!
Baked dry; of a weed, of a shell, no trace:
Sunshine outside, but ice at the core,
Death's altar by the lone shore.

III.
On the turf, sprang gay
With his films of blue,
No cricket, I'll say,
But a warhorse, barded and chanfroned too,
The gift of a quixote-mage to his knight,
Real fairy, with wings all right.

IV.
On the rock, they scorch
Like a drop of fire
From a brandished torch,
Fall two red fans of a butterfly:
No turf, no rock: in their ugly stead,
See, wonderful blue and red!

V.
Is it not so
With the minds of men?
The level and low,
The burnt and bare, in themselves; but then
With such a blue and red grace, not theirs,—
Love settling unawares!

VI.—Reading a Book, Under the Cliff


I.
"Still ailing, Wind? Wilt be appeased or no?
"Which needs the other's office, thou or I?
"Dost want to be disburthened of a woe,
"And can, in truth, my voice untie
"Its links, and let it go?

II.
"Art thou a dumb wronged thing that would be righted,
"Entrusting thus thy cause to me? Forbear!
"No tongue can mend such pleadings; faith, requited
"With falsehood,—love, at last aware
"Of scorn,—hopes, early blighted,—

III.
"We have them; but I know not any tone
"So fit as thine to falter forth a sorrow:
"Dost think men would go mad without a moan,
"If they knew any way to borrow
"A pathos like thy own?

IV.
"Which sigh wouldst mock, of all the sighs? The one
"So long escaping from lips starved and blue,
"That lasts while on her pallet-bed the nun
"Stretches her length; her foot comes through
"The straw she shivers on;

V.
"You had not thought she was so tall: and spent,
"Her shrunk lids open, her lean fingers shut
"Close, close, their sharp and livid nails indent
"The clammy palm; then all is mute:
"That way, the spirit went.

VI.
"Or wouldst thou rather that I understand
"Thy will to help me?—like the dog I found
"Once, pacing sad this solitary strand,
"Who would not take my food, poor hound,
"But whined and licked my hand."

—————

VII.
All this, and more, comes from some young man's pride
Of power to see,—in failure and mistake,
Relinquishment, disgrace, on every side,—
Merely examples for his sake,
Helps to his path untried:

VIII.
Instances he must—simply recognize?
Oh, more than so!—must, with a learner's zeal,
Make doubly prominent, twice emphasize,
By added touches that reveal
The god in babe's disguise.

IX.
Oh, he knows what defeat means, and the rest!
Himself the undefeated that shall be:
Failure, disgrace, he flings them you to test,—
His triumph, in eternity
Too plainly manifest!

X.
Whence, judge if he learn forthwith what the wind
Means in its moaning—by the happy prompt
Instinctive way of youth, I mean; for kind
Calm years, exacting their accompt
Of pain, mature the mind:

XI.
And some midsummer morning, at the lull
Just about daybreak, as he looks across
A sparkling foreign country, wonderful
To the sea's edge for gloom and gloss,
Next minute must annul,—

XII.
Then, when the wind begins among the vines,
So low, so low, what shall it say but this?
"Here is the change beginning, here the lines
"Circumscribe beauty, set to bliss
"The limit time assigns."

XIII.
Nothing can be as it has been before;
Better, so call it, only not the same.
To draw one beauty into our hearts' core,
And keep it changeless! such our claim;
So answered,—Never more!

XIV.
Simple? Why this is the old woe o' the world;
Tune, to whose rise and fall we live and die.
Rise with it, then! Rejoice that man is hurled
From change to change unceasingly,
His soul's wings never furled!

XV.
That's a new question; still replies the fact,
Nothing endures: the wind moans, saying so;
We moan in acquiescence: there's life's pact.
Perhaps probation—do I know?
God does: endure his act!

XVI.
Only, for man, how bitter not to grave
On his soul's hands' palms one fair good wise thing
Just as he grasped it! For himself, death's wave;
While time first washes—ah, the sting!—
O'er all he'd sink to save.

VII.—Among the Rocks


I.
Oh, good gigantic smile o' the brown old earth,
This autumn morning! How he sets his bones
To bask i' the sun, and thrusts out knees and feet
For the ripple to run over in its mirth;
Listening the while, where on the heap of stones
The white breast of the sea-lark twitters sweet.

II.
That is the doctrine, simple, ancient, true;
Such is life's trial, as old earth smiles and knows.
If you loved only what were worth your love,
Love were clear gain, and wholly well for you:
Make the low nature better by your throes!
Give earth yourself, go up for gain above!

VIII.—Beside the Drawing Board


I.
"As like as a Hand to another Hand!"
Whoever said that foolish thing,
Could not have studied to understand
The counsels of God in fashioning,
Out of the infinite love of his heart,
This Hand, whose beauty I praise, apart
From the world of wonder left to praise,
If I tried to learn the other ways
Of love in its skill, or love in its power.
"As like as a Hand to another Hand":
Who said that, never took his stand,
Found and followed, like me, an hour,
The beauty in this,—how free, how fine
To fear, almost,—of the limit-line!
As I looked at this, and learned and drew,
Drew and learned, and looked again,
While fast the happy minutes flew,
Its beauty mounted into my brain,
And a fancy seized me; I was fain
To efface my work, begin anew,
Kiss what before I only drew;
Ay, laying the red chalk 'twixt my lips,
With soul to help if the mere lips failed,
I kissed all right where the drawing ailed,
Kissed fast the grace that somehow slips
Still from one's soulless finger-tips.

II.
'T is a clay cast, the perfect thing,
From Hand live once, dead long ago
Princess-like it wears the ring
To fancy's eye, by which we know
That here at length a master found
His match, a proud lone soul its mate,
As soaring genius sank to ground,
And pencil could not emulate
The beauty in this,—how free, how fine
To fear almost!—of the limit-line.
Long ago the god, like me
The worm, learned, each in our degree:
Looked and loved, learned and drew,
Drew and learned and loved again,
While fast the happy minutes flew,
Till beauty mounted into his brain
And on the finger which outvied
His art he placed the ring that's there,
Still by fancy's eye descried,
In token of a marriage rare:
For him on earth, his art's despair,
For him in heaven, his soul's fit bride.

III.
Little girl with the poor coarse hand
I turned from to a cold clay cast—
I have my lesson, understand
The worth of flesh and blood at last.
Nothing but beauty in a Hand?
Because he could not change the hue,
Mend the lines and make them true
To this which met his soul's demand,—
Would Da Vinci turn from you?
I hear him laugh my woes to scorn—
"The fool forsooth is all forlorn
"Because the beauty, she thinks best,
"Lived long ago or was never born,—
"Because no beauty bears the test
"In this rough peasant Hand! Confessed!
"'Art is null and study void!'
"So sayest thou? So said not I,
"Who threw the faulty pencil by,
"And years instead of hours employed,
"Learning the veritable use
"Of flesh and bone and nerve beneath
"Lines and hue of the outer sheath,
"If haply I might reproduce
"One motive of the powers profuse,
"Flesh and bone and nerve that make
"The poorest coarsest human hand
"An object worthy to be scanned
"A whole life long for their sole sake.
"Shall earth and the cramped moment-space
"Yield the heavenly crowning grace?
"Now the parts and then the whole!
"Who art thou, with stinted soul
"And stunted body, thus to cry
"'I love,—shall that be life's strait dole?
"'I must live beloved or die!'
"This peasant hand that spins the wool
"And bakes the bread, why lives it on,
"Poor and coarse with beauty gone,—
"What use survives the beauty?" Fool!

Go, little girl with the poor coarse hand!
I have my lesson, shall understand.


IX.—On Deck


I.
There is nothing to remember in me,
Nothing I ever said with a grace,
Nothing I did that you care to see,
Nothing I was that deserves a place
In your mind, now I leave you, set you free.

II.
Conceded! In turn, concede to me,
Such things have been as a mutual flame.
Your soul's locked fast; but, love for a key,
You might let it loose, till I grew the same
In your eyes, as in mine you stand: strange plea!

III.
For then, then, what would it matter to me
That I was the harsh ill-favoured one?
We both should be like as pea and pea;
It was ever so since the world begun:
So, let me proceed with my reverie.

IV.
How strange it were if you had all me,
As I have all you in my heart and brain,
You, whose least word brought gloom or glee,
Who never lifted the hand in vain—
Will hold mine yet, from over the sea!

V.
Strange, if a face, when you thought of me,
Rose like your own face present now,
With eyes as dear in their due degree,
Much such a mouth, and as bright a brow,
Till you saw yourself, while you cried "'T is She!"

VI.
Well, you may, you must, set down to me
Love that was life, life that was love;
A tenure of breath at your lips' decree,
A passion to stand as your thoughts approve,
A rapture to fall where your foot might be.

VII.
But did one touch of such love for me
Come in a word or a look of yours,
Whose words and looks will, circling, flee
Round me and round while life endures,—
Could I fancy "As I feel, thus feels he";

VIII.
Why, fade you might to a thing like me,
And your hair grow these coarse hanks of hair,
Your skin, this bark of a gnarled tree,—
You might turn myself!—should I know or care
When I should be dead of joy, James Lee?

poem by from Dramatis Personae (1864)Report problemRelated quotes
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Amy Lowell

The Great Adventure Of Max Breuck

1

A yellow band of light upon the street
Pours from an open door, and makes a wide
Pathway of bright gold across a sheet
Of calm and liquid moonshine. From inside
Come shouts and streams of laughter, and a snatch
Of song, soon drowned and lost again in mirth,
The clip of tankards on a table top,
And stir of booted heels. Against the patch
Of candle-light a shadow falls, its girth
Proclaims the host himself, and master of his shop.


2

This is the tavern of one Hilverdink,
Jan Hilverdink, whose wines are much esteemed.
Within his cellar men can have to drink
The rarest cordials old monks ever schemed
To coax from pulpy grapes, and with nice art
Improve and spice their virgin juiciness.
Here froths the amber beer of many a brew,
Crowning each pewter tankard with as smart
A cap as ever in his wantonness
Winter set glittering on top of an old yew.


3

Tall candles stand upon the table, where
Are twisted glasses, ruby-sparked with wine,
Clarets and ports. Those topaz bumpers were
Drained from slim, long-necked bottles of the Rhine.
The centre of the board is piled with pipes,
Slender and clean, the still unbaptized clay
Awaits its burning fate. Behind, the vault
Stretches from dim to dark, a groping way
Bordered by casks and puncheons, whose brass stripes
And bands gleam dully still, beyond the gay tumult.


4

'For good old Master Hilverdink, a toast!'
Clamoured a youth with tassels on his boots.
'Bring out your oldest brandy for a boast,
From that small barrel in the very roots
Of your deep cellar, man. Why here is Max!
Ho! Welcome, Max, you're scarcely here in time.
We want to drink to old Jan's luck, and smoke
His best tobacco for a grand climax.
Here, Jan, a paper, fragrant as crushed thyme,
We'll have the best to wish you luck, or may we choke!'


5

Max Breuck unclasped his broadcloth cloak, and sat.
'Well thought of, Franz; here's luck to Mynheer Jan.'
The host set down a jar; then to a vat
Lost in the distance of his cellar, ran.
Max took a pipe as graceful as the stem
Of some long tulip, crammed it full, and drew
The pungent smoke deep to his grateful lung.
It curled all blue throughout the cave and flew
Into the silver night. At once there flung
Into the crowded shop a boy, who cried to them:


6

'Oh, sirs, is there some learned lawyer here,
Some advocate, or all-wise counsellor?
My master sent me to inquire where
Such men do mostly be, but every door
Was shut and barred, for late has grown the hour.
I pray you tell me where I may now find
One versed in law, the matter will not wait.'
'I am a lawyer, boy,' said Max, 'my mind
Is not locked to my business, though 'tis late.
I shall be glad to serve what way is in my power.


7

Then once more, cloaked and ready, he set out,
Tripping the footsteps of the eager boy
Along the dappled cobbles, while the rout
Within the tavern jeered at his employ.
Through new-burst elm leaves filtered the white moon,
Who peered and splashed between the twinkling boughs,
Flooded the open spaces, and took flight
Before tall, serried houses in platoon,
Guarded by shadows. Past the Custom House
They took their hurried way in the Spring-scented night.


8

Before a door which fronted a canal
The boy halted. A dim tree-shaded spot.
The water lapped the stones in musical
And rhythmic tappings, and a galliot
Slumbered at anchor with no light aboard.
The boy knocked twice, and steps approached. A flame
Winked through the keyhole, then a key was turned,
And through the open door Max went toward
Another door, whence sound of voices came.
He entered a large room where candelabra burned.


9

An aged man in quilted dressing gown
Rose up to greet him. 'Sir,' said Max, 'you sent
Your messenger to seek throughout the town
A lawyer. I have small accomplishment,
But I am at your service, and my name
Is Max Breuck, Counsellor, at your command.'
'Mynheer,' replied the aged man, 'obliged
Am I, and count myself much privileged.
I am Cornelius Kurler, and my fame
Is better known on distant oceans than on land.


10

My ship has tasted water in strange seas,
And bartered goods at still uncharted isles.
She's oft coquetted with a tropic breeze,
And sheered off hurricanes with jaunty smiles.'
'Tush, Kurler,' here broke in the other man,
'Enough of poetry, draw the deed and sign.'
The old man seemed to wizen at the voice,
'My good friend, Grootver, --' he at once began.
'No introductions, let us have some wine,
And business, now that you at last have made your choice.'


11

A harsh and disagreeable man he proved to be,
This Grootver, with no single kindly thought.
Kurler explained, his old hands nervously
Twisting his beard. His vessel he had bought
From Grootver. He had thought to soon repay
The ducats borrowed, but an adverse wind
Had so delayed him that his cargo brought
But half its proper price, the very day
He came to port he stepped ashore to find
The market glutted and his counted profits naught.


12

Little by little Max made out the way
That Grootver pressed that poor harassed old man.
His money he must have, too long delay
Had turned the usurer to a ruffian.
'But let me take my ship, with many bales
Of cotton stuffs dyed crimson, green, and blue,
Cunningly patterned, made to suit the taste
Of mandarin's ladies; when my battered sails
Open for home, such stores will I bring you
That all your former ventures will be counted waste.


13

Such light and foamy silks, like crinkled cream,
And indigo more blue than sun-whipped seas,
Spices and fragrant trees, a massive beam
Of sandalwood, and pungent China teas,
Tobacco, coffee!' Grootver only laughed.
Max heard it all, and worse than all he heard
The deed to which the sailor gave his word.
He shivered, 'twas as if the villain gaffed
The old man with a boat-hook; bleeding, spent,
He begged for life nor knew at all the road he went.


14

For Kurler had a daughter, young and gay,
Carefully reared and shielded, rarely seen.
But on one black and most unfriendly day
Grootver had caught her as she passed between
The kitchen and the garden. She had run
In fear of him, his evil leering eye,
And when he came she, bolted in her room,
Refused to show, though gave no reason why.
The spinning of her future had begun,
On quiet nights she heard the whirring of her doom.


15

Max mended an old goosequill by the fire,
Loathing his work, but seeing no thing to do.
He felt his hands were building up the pyre
To burn two souls, and seized with vertigo
He staggered to his chair. Before him lay
White paper still unspotted by a crime.
'Now, young man, write,' said Grootver in his ear.
'`If in two years my vessel should yet stay
From Amsterdam, I give Grootver, sometime
A friend, my daughter for his lawful wife.' Now swear.'


16

And Kurler swore, a palsied, tottering sound,
And traced his name, a shaking, wandering line.
Then dazed he sat there, speechless from his wound.
Grootver got up: 'Fair voyage, the brigantine!'
He shuffled from the room, and left the house.
His footsteps wore to silence down the street.
At last the aged man began to rouse.
With help he once more gained his trembling feet.
'My daughter, Mynheer Breuck, is friendless now.
Will you watch over her? I ask a solemn vow.'


17

Max laid his hand upon the old man's arm,
'Before God, sir, I vow, when you are gone,
So to protect your daughter from all harm
As one man may.' Thus sorrowful, forlorn,
The situation to Max Breuck appeared,
He gave his promise almost without thought,
Nor looked to see a difficulty. 'Bred
Gently to watch a mother left alone;
Bound by a dying father's wish, who feared
The world's accustomed harshness when he should be dead;


18

Such was my case from youth, Mynheer Kurler.
Last Winter she died also, and my days
Are passed in work, lest I should grieve for her,
And undo habits used to earn her praise.
My leisure I will gladly give to see
Your household and your daughter prosperous.'
The sailor said his thanks, but turned away.
He could not brook that his humility,
So little wonted, and so tremulous,
Should first before a stranger make such great display.


19

'Come here to-morrow as the bells ring noon,
I sail at the full sea, my daughter then
I will make known to you. 'Twill be a boon
If after I have bid good-by, and when
Her eyeballs scorch with watching me depart,
You bring her home again. She lives with one
Old serving-woman, who has brought her up.
But that is no friend for so free a heart.
No head to match her questions. It is done.
And I must sail away to come and brim her cup.


20

My ship's the fastest that owns Amsterdam
As home, so not a letter can you send.
I shall be back, before to where I am
Another ship could reach. Now your stipend --'
Quickly Breuck interposed. 'When you once more
Tread on the stones which pave our streets. -- Good night!
To-morrow I will be, at stroke of noon,
At the great wharf.' Then hurrying, in spite
Of cake and wine the old man pressed upon
Him ere he went, he took his leave and shut the door.


21

'Twas noon in Amsterdam, the day was clear,
And sunshine tipped the pointed roofs with gold.
The brown canals ran liquid bronze, for here
The sun sank deep into the waters cold.
And every clock and belfry in the town
Hammered, and struck, and rang. Such peals of bells,
To shake the sunny morning into life,
And to proclaim the middle, and the crown,
Of this most sparkling daytime! The crowd swells,
Laughing and pushing toward the quays in friendly strife.


22

The 'Horn of Fortune' sails away to-day.
At highest tide she lets her anchor go,
And starts for China. Saucy popinjay!
Giddy in freshest paint she curtseys low,
And beckons to her boats to let her start.
Blue is the ocean, with a flashing breeze.
The shining waves are quick to take her part.
They push and spatter her. Her sails are loose,
Her tackles hanging, waiting men to seize
And haul them taut, with chanty-singing, as they choose.


23

At the great wharf's edge Mynheer Kurler stands,
And by his side, his daughter, young Christine.
Max Breuck is there, his hat held in his hands,
Bowing before them both. The brigantine
Bounces impatient at the long delay,
Curvets and jumps, a cable's length from shore.
A heavy galliot unloads on the walls
Round, yellow cheeses, like gold cannon balls
Stacked on the stones in pyramids. Once more
Kurler has kissed Christine, and now he is away.


24

Christine stood rigid like a frozen stone,
Her hands wrung pale in effort at control.
Max moved aside and let her be alone,
For grief exacts each penny of its toll.
The dancing boat tossed on the glinting sea.
A sun-path swallowed it in flaming light,
Then, shrunk a cockleshell, it came again
Upon the other side. Now on the lee
It took the 'Horn of Fortune'. Straining sight
Could see it hauled aboard, men pulling on the crane.


25

Then up above the eager brigantine,
Along her slender masts, the sails took flight,
Were sheeted home, and ropes were coiled. The shine
Of the wet anchor, when its heavy weight
Rose splashing to the deck. These things they saw,
Christine and Max, upon the crowded quay.
They saw the sails grow white, then blue in shade,
The ship had turned, caught in a windy flaw
She glided imperceptibly away,
Drew farther off and in the bright sky seemed to fade.


26

Home, through the emptying streets, Max took Christine,
Who would have hid her sorrow from his gaze.
Before the iron gateway, clasped between
Each garden wall, he stopped. She, in amaze,
Asked, 'Do you enter not then, Mynheer Breuck?
My father told me of your courtesy.
Since I am now your charge, 'tis meet for me
To show such hospitality as maiden may,
Without disdaining rules must not be broke.
Katrina will have coffee, and she bakes today.'


27

She straight unhasped the tall, beflowered gate.
Curled into tendrils, twisted into cones
Of leaves and roses, iron infoliate,
It guards the pleasance, and its stiffened bones
Are budded with much peering at the rows,
And beds, and arbours, which it keeps inside.
Max started at the beauty, at the glare
Of tints. At either end was set a wide
Path strewn with fine, red gravel, and such shows
Of tulips in their splendour flaunted everywhere!


28

From side to side, midway each path, there ran
A longer one which cut the space in two.
And, like a tunnel some magician
Has wrought in twinkling green, an alley grew,
Pleached thick and walled with apple trees; their flowers
Incensed the garden, and when Autumn came
The plump and heavy apples crowding stood
And tapped against the arbour. Then the dame
Katrina shook them down, in pelting showers
They plunged to earth, and died transformed to sugared food.


29

Against the high, encircling walls were grapes,
Nailed close to feel the baking of the sun
From glowing bricks. Their microscopic shapes
Half hidden by serrated leaves. And one
Old cherry tossed its branches near the door.
Bordered along the wall, in beds between,
Flickering, streaming, nodding in the air,
The pride of all the garden, there were more
Tulips than Max had ever dreamed or seen.
They jostled, mobbed, and danced. Max stood at helpless stare.


30

'Within the arbour, Mynheer Breuck, I'll bring
Coffee and cakes, a pipe, and Father's best
Tobacco, brought from countries harbouring
Dawn's earliest footstep. Wait.' With girlish zest
To please her guest she flew. A moment more
She came again, with her old nurse behind.
Then, sitting on the bench and knitting fast,
She talked as someone with a noble store
Of hidden fancies, blown upon the wind,
Eager to flutter forth and leave their silent past.


31

The little apple leaves above their heads
Let fall a quivering sunshine. Quiet, cool,
In blossomed boughs they sat. Beyond, the beds
Of tulips blazed, a proper vestibule
And antechamber to the rainbow. Dyes
Of prismed richness: Carmine. Madder. Blues
Tinging dark browns to purple. Silvers flushed
To amethyst and tinct with gold. Round eyes
Of scarlet, spotting tender saffron hues.
Violets sunk to blacks, and reds in orange crushed.


32

Of every pattern and in every shade.
Nacreous, iridescent, mottled, checked.
Some purest sulphur-yellow, others made
An ivory-white with disks of copper flecked.
Sprinkled and striped, tasselled, or keenest edged.
Striated, powdered, freckled, long or short.
They bloomed, and seemed strange wonder-moths new-fledged,
Born of the spectrum wedded to a flame.
The shade within the arbour made a port
To o'ertaxed eyes, its still, green twilight rest became.


33

Her knitting-needles clicked and Christine talked,
This child matured to woman unaware,
The first time left alone. Now dreams once balked
Found utterance. Max thought her very fair.
Beneath her cap her ornaments shone gold,
And purest gold they were. Kurler was rich
And heedful. Her old maiden aunt had died
Whose darling care she was. Now, growing bold,
She asked, had Max a sister? Dropped a stitch
At her own candour. Then she paused and softly sighed.


34

Two years was long! She loved her father well,
But fears she had not. He had always been
Just sailed or sailing. And she must not dwell
On sad thoughts, he had told her so, and seen
Her smile at parting. But she sighed once more.
Two years was long; 'twas not one hour yet!
Mynheer Grootver she would not see at all.
Yes, yes, she knew, but ere the date so set,
The 'Horn of Fortune' would be at the wall.
When Max had bid farewell, she watched him from the door.


35

The next day, and the next, Max went to ask
The health of Jufvrouw Kurler, and the news:
Another tulip blown, or the great task
Of gathering petals which the high wind strews;
The polishing of floors, the pictured tiles
Well scrubbed, and oaken chairs most deftly oiled.
Such things were Christine's world, and his was she
Winter drew near, his sun was in her smiles.
Another Spring, and at his law he toiled,
Unspoken hope counselled a wise efficiency.


36

Max Breuck was honour's soul, he knew himself
The guardian of this girl; no more, no less.
As one in charge of guineas on a shelf
Loose in a china teapot, may confess
His need, but may not borrow till his friend
Comes back to give. So Max, in honour, said
No word of love or marriage; but the days
He clipped off on his almanac. The end
Must come! The second year, with feet of lead,
Lagged slowly by till Spring had plumped the willow sprays.


37

Two years had made Christine a woman grown,
With dignity and gently certain pride.
But all her childhood fancies had not flown,
Her thoughts in lovely dreamings seemed to glide.
Max was her trusted friend, did she confess
A closer happiness? Max could not tell.
Two years were over and his life he found
Sphered and complete. In restless eagerness
He waited for the 'Horn of Fortune'. Well
Had he his promise kept, abating not one pound.


38

Spring slipped away to Summer. Still no glass
Sighted the brigantine. Then Grootver came
Demanding Jufvrouw Kurler. His trespass
Was justified, for he had won the game.
Christine begged time, more time! Midsummer went,
And Grootver waxed impatient. Still the ship
Tarried. Christine, betrayed and weary, sank
To dreadful terrors. One day, crazed, she sent
For Max. 'Come quickly,' said her note, 'I skip
The worst distress until we meet. The world is blank.'


39

Through the long sunshine of late afternoon
Max went to her. In the pleached alley, lost
In bitter reverie, he found her soon.
And sitting down beside her, at the cost
Of all his secret, 'Dear,' said he, 'what thing
So suddenly has happened?' Then, in tears,
She told that Grootver, on the following morn,
Would come to marry her, and shuddering:
'I will die rather, death has lesser fears.'
Max felt the shackles drop from the oath which he had sworn.


40

'My Dearest One, the hid joy of my heart!
I love you, oh! you must indeed have known.
In strictest honour I have played my part;
But all this misery has overthrown
My scruples. If you love me, marry me
Before the sun has dipped behind those trees.
You cannot be wed twice, and Grootver, foiled,
Can eat his anger. My care it shall be
To pay your father's debt, by such degrees
As I can compass, and for years I've greatly toiled.


41

This is not haste, Christine, for long I've known
My love, and silence forced upon my lips.
I worship you with all the strength I've shown
In keeping faith.' With pleading finger tips
He touched her arm. 'Christine! Beloved! Think.
Let us not tempt the future. Dearest, speak,
I love you. Do my words fall too swift now?
They've been in leash so long upon the brink.'
She sat quite still, her body loose and weak.
Then into him she melted, all her soul at flow.


42

And they were married ere the westering sun
Had disappeared behind the garden trees.
The evening poured on them its benison,
And flower-scents, that only night-time frees,
Rose up around them from the beamy ground,
Silvered and shadowed by a tranquil moon.
Within the arbour, long they lay embraced,
In such enraptured sweetness as they found
Close-partnered each to each, and thinking soon
To be enwoven, long ere night to morning faced.


43

At last Max spoke, 'Dear Heart, this night is ours,
To watch it pale, together, into dawn,
Pressing our souls apart like opening flowers
Until our lives, through quivering bodies drawn,
Are mingled and confounded. Then, far spent,
Our eyes will close to undisturbed rest.
For that desired thing I leave you now.
To pinnacle this day's accomplishment,
By telling Grootver that a bootless quest
Is his, and that his schemes have met a knock-down blow.'


44

But Christine clung to him with sobbing cries,
Pleading for love's sake that he leave her not.
And wound her arms about his knees and thighs
As he stood over her. With dread, begot
Of Grootver's name, and silence, and the night,
She shook and trembled. Words in moaning plaint
Wooed him to stay. She feared, she knew not why,
Yet greatly feared. She seemed some anguished saint
Martyred by visions. Max Breuck soothed her fright
With wisdom, then stepped out under the cooling sky.


45

But at the gate once more she held him close
And quenched her heart again upon his lips.
'My Sweetheart, why this terror? I propose
But to be gone one hour! Evening slips
Away, this errand must be done.' 'Max! Max!
First goes my father, if I lose you now!'
She grasped him as in panic lest she drown.
Softly he laughed, 'One hour through the town
By moonlight! That's no place for foul attacks.
Dearest, be comforted, and clear that troubled brow.


46

One hour, Dear, and then, no more alone.
We front another day as man and wife.
I shall be back almost before I'm gone,
And midnight shall anoint and crown our life.'
Then through the gate he passed. Along the street
She watched his buttons gleaming in the moon.
He stopped to wave and turned the garden wall.
Straight she sank down upon a mossy seat.
Her senses, mist-encircled by a swoon,
Swayed to unconsciousness beneath its wreathing pall.


47

Briskly Max walked beside the still canal.
His step was firm with purpose. Not a jot
He feared this meeting, nor the rancorous gall
Grootver would spit on him who marred his plot.
He dreaded no man, since he could protect
Christine. His wife! He stopped and laughed aloud.
His starved life had not fitted him for joy.
It strained him to the utmost to reject
Even this hour with her. His heart beat loud.
'Damn Grootver, who can force my time to this employ!'


48

He laughed again. What boyish uncontrol
To be so racked. Then felt his ticking watch.
In half an hour Grootver would know the whole.
And he would be returned, lifting the latch
Of his own gate, eager to take Christine
And crush her to his lips. How bear delay?
He broke into a run. In front, a line
Of candle-light banded the cobbled street.
Hilverdink's tavern! Not for many a day
Had he been there to take his old, accustomed seat.


49

'Why, Max! Stop, Max!' And out they came pell-mell,
His old companions. 'Max, where have you been?
Not drink with us? Indeed you serve us well!
How many months is it since we have seen
You here? Jan, Jan, you slow, old doddering goat!
Here's Mynheer Breuck come back again at last,
Stir your old bones to welcome him. Fie, Max.
Business! And after hours! Fill your throat;
Here's beer or brandy. Now, boys, hold him fast.
Put down your cane, dear man. What really vicious whacks!'


50

They forced him to a seat, and held him there,
Despite his anger, while the hideous joke
Was tossed from hand to hand. Franz poured with care
A brimming glass of whiskey. 'Here, we've broke
Into a virgin barrel for you, drink!
Tut! Tut! Just hear him! Married! Who, and when?
Married, and out on business. Clever Spark!
Which lie's the likeliest? Come, Max, do think.'
Swollen with fury, struggling with these men,
Max cursed hilarity which must needs have a mark.


51

Forcing himself to steadiness, he tried
To quell the uproar, told them what he dared
Of his own life and circumstance. Implied
Most urgent matters, time could ill be spared.
In jesting mood his comrades heard his tale,
And scoffed at it. He felt his anger more
Goaded and bursting; -- 'Cowards! Is no one loth
To mock at duty --' Here they called for ale,
And forced a pipe upon him. With an oath
He shivered it to fragments on the earthen floor.


52

Sobered a little by his violence,
And by the host who begged them to be still,
Nor injure his good name, 'Max, no offence,'
They blurted, 'you may leave now if you will.'
'One moment, Max,' said Franz. 'We've gone too far.
I ask your pardon for our foolish joke.
It started in a wager ere you came.
The talk somehow had fall'n on drugs, a jar
I brought from China, herbs the natives smoke,
Was with me, and I thought merely to play a game.


53

Its properties are to induce a sleep
Fraught with adventure, and the flight of time
Is inconceivable in swiftness. Deep
Sunken in slumber, imageries sublime
Flatter the senses, or some fearful dream
Holds them enmeshed. Years pass which on the clock
Are but so many seconds. We agreed
That the next man who came should prove the scheme;
And you were he. Jan handed you the crock.
Two whiffs! And then the pipe was broke, and you were freed.'


54

'It is a lie, a damned, infernal lie!'
Max Breuck was maddened now. 'Another jest
Of your befuddled wits. I know not why
I am to be your butt. At my request
You'll choose among you one who'll answer for
Your most unseasonable mirth. Good-night
And good-by, -- gentlemen. You'll hear from me.'
But Franz had caught him at the very door,
'It is no lie, Max Breuck, and for your plight
I am to blame. Come back, and we'll talk quietly.


55

You have no business, that is why we laughed,
Since you had none a few minutes ago.
As to your wedding, naturally we chaffed,
Knowing the length of time it takes to do
A simple thing like that in this slow world.
Indeed, Max, 'twas a dream. Forgive me then.
I'll burn the drug if you prefer.' But Breuck
Muttered and stared, -- 'A lie.' And then he hurled,
Distraught, this word at Franz: 'Prove it. And when
It's proven, I'll believe. That thing shall be your work.


56

I'll give you just one week to make your case.
On August thirty-first, eighteen-fourteen,
I shall require your proof.' With wondering face
Franz cried, 'A week to August, and fourteen
The year! You're mad, 'tis April now.
April, and eighteen-twelve.' Max staggered, caught
A chair, -- 'April two years ago! Indeed,
Or you, or I, are mad. I know not how
Either could blunder so.' Hilverdink brought
'The Amsterdam Gazette', and Max was forced to read.


57

'Eighteen hundred and twelve,' in largest print;
And next to it, 'April the twenty-first.'
The letters smeared and jumbled, but by dint
Of straining every nerve to meet the worst,
He read it, and into his pounding brain
Tumbled a horror. Like a roaring sea
Foreboding shipwreck, came the message plain:
'This is two years ago! What of Christine?'
He fled the cellar, in his agony
Running to outstrip Fate, and save his holy shrine.


58

The darkened buildings echoed to his feet
Clap-clapping on the pavement as he ran.
Across moon-misted squares clamoured his fleet
And terror-winged steps. His heart began
To labour at the speed. And still no sign,
No flutter of a leaf against the sky.
And this should be the garden wall, and round
The corner, the old gate. No even line
Was this! No wall! And then a fearful cry
Shattered the stillness. Two stiff houses filled the ground.


59

Shoulder to shoulder, like dragoons in line,
They stood, and Max knew them to be the ones
To right and left of Kurler's garden. Spine
Rigid next frozen spine. No mellow tones
Of ancient gilded iron, undulate,
Expanding in wide circles and broad curves,
The twisted iron of the garden gate,
Was there. The houses touched and left no space
Between. With glassy eyes and shaking nerves
Max gazed. Then mad with fear, fled still, and left that place.


60

Stumbling and panting, on he ran, and on.
His slobbering lips could only cry, 'Christine!
My Dearest Love! My Wife! Where are you gone?
What future is our past? What saturnine,
Sardonic devil's jest has bid us live
Two years together in a puff of smoke?
It was no dream, I swear it! In some star,
Or still imprisoned in Time's egg, you give
Me love. I feel it. Dearest Dear, this stroke
Shall never part us, I will reach to where you are.'


61

His burning eyeballs stared into the dark.
The moon had long been set. And still he cried:
'Christine! My Love! Christine!' A sudden spark
Pricked through the gloom, and shortly Max espied
With his uncertain vision, so within
Distracted he could scarcely trust its truth,
A latticed window where a crimson gleam
Spangled the blackness, and hung from a pin,
An iron crane, were three gilt balls. His youth
Had taught their meaning, now they closed upon his dream.


62

Softly he knocked against the casement, wide
It flew, and a cracked voice his business there
Demanded. The door opened, and inside
Max stepped. He saw a candle held in air
Above the head of a gray-bearded Jew.
'Simeon Isaacs, Mynheer, can I serve
You?' 'Yes, I think you can. Do you keep arms?
I want a pistol.' Quick the old man grew
Livid. 'Mynheer, a pistol! Let me swerve
You from your purpose. Life brings often false alarms --'


63

'Peace, good old Isaacs, why should you suppose
My purpose deadly. In good truth I've been
Blest above others. You have many rows
Of pistols it would seem. Here, this shagreen
Case holds one that I fancy. Silvered mounts
Are to my taste. These letters `C. D. L.'
Its former owner? Dead, you say. Poor Ghost!
'Twill serve my turn though --' Hastily he counts
The florins down upon the table. 'Well,
Good-night, and wish me luck for your to-morrow's toast.'


64

Into the night again he hurried, now
Pale and in haste; and far beyond the town
He set his goal. And then he wondered how
Poor C. D. L. had come to die. 'It's grown
Handy in killing, maybe, this I've bought,
And will work punctually.' His sorrow fell
Upon his senses, shutting out all else.
Again he wept, and called, and blindly fought
The heavy miles away. 'Christine. I'm well.
I'm coming. My Own Wife!' He lurched with failing pulse.


65

Along the dyke the keen air blew in gusts,
And grasses bent and wailed before the wind.
The Zuider Zee, which croons all night and thrusts
Long stealthy fingers up some way to find
And crumble down the stones, moaned baffled. Here
The wide-armed windmills looked like gallows-trees.
No lights were burning in the distant thorps.
Max laid aside his coat. His mind, half-clear,
Babbled 'Christine!' A shot split through the breeze.
The cold stars winked and glittered at his chilling corpse.

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