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Gerard Butler

The chance to be both artistically appreciated and commercially appreciated... That's what you hope for.

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The House Of Dust: Part 04: 02: Death: And A Derisive Chorus

The door is shut. She leaves the curtained office,
And down the grey-walled stairs comes trembling slowly
Towards the dazzling street.
Her withered hand clings tightly to the railing.
The long stairs rise and fall beneath her feet.

Here in the brilliant sun we jostle, waiting
To tear her secret out . . . We laugh, we hurry,
We go our way, revolving, sinister, slow.
She blinks in the sun, and then steps faintly downward.
We whirl her away, we shout, we spin, we flow.

Where have you been, old lady? We know your secret!—
Voices jangle about her, jeers, and laughter. . . .
She trembles, tries to hurry, averts her eyes.
Tell us the truth, old lady! where have you been?
She turns and turns, her brain grows dark with cries.

Look at the old fool tremble! She's been paying,—
Paying good money, too,—to talk to spirits. . . .
She thinks she's heard a message from one dead!
What did he tell you? Is he well and happy?
Don't lie to us—we all know what he said.

He said the one he murdered once still loves him;
He said the wheels in wheels of time are broken;
And dust and storm forgotten; and all forgiven. . . .
But what you asked he wouldn't tell you, though,—
Ha ha! there's one thing you will never know!
That's what you get for meddling so with heaven!

Where have you been, old lady? Where are you going?
We know, we know! She's been to gab with spirits.
Look at the old fool! getting ready to cry!
What have you got in an envelope, old lady?
A lock of hair? An eyelash from his eye?

How do you know the medium didn't fool you?
Perhaps he had no spirit—perhaps he killed it.
Here she comes! the old fool's lost her son.
What did he have—blue eyes and golden hair?
We know your secret! what's done is done.

Look out, you'll fall—and fall, if you're not careful,
Right into an open grave. . . .but what's the hurry?
You don't think you will find him when you're dead?
Cry! Cry! Look at her mouth all twisted,—
Look at her eyes all red!

We know you—know your name and all about you,
All you remember and think, and all you scheme for.
We tear your secret out, we leave you, go
Laughingly down the street. . . .Die, if you want to!
Die, then, if you're in such a hurry to know!—

. . . .She falls. We lift her head. The wasted body
Weighs nothing in our hands. Does no one know her?
Was no one with her when she fell? . . .
We eddy about her, move away in silence.
We hear slow tollings of a bell.

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The Court Of Love

With timerous hert and trembling hand of drede,
Of cunning naked, bare of eloquence,
Unto the flour of port in womanhede
I write, as he that non intelligence
Of metres hath, ne floures of sentence;
Sauf that me list my writing to convey,
In that I can to please her hygh nobley.


The blosmes fresshe of Tullius garden soote
Present thaim not, my mater for to borne:
Poemes of Virgil taken here no rote,
Ne crafte of Galfrid may not here sojorne:
Why nam I cunning? O well may I morne,
For lak of science that I can-not write
Unto the princes of my life a-right


No termes digne unto her excellence,
So is she sprong of noble stirpe and high:
A world of honour and of reverence
There is in her, this wil I testifie.
Calliope, thou sister wise and sly,
And thou, Minerva, guyde me with thy grace,
That langage rude my mater not deface.


Thy suger-dropes swete of Elicon
Distill in me, thou gentle Muse, I pray;
And thee, Melpomene, I calle anon,
Of ignoraunce the mist to chace away;
And give me grace so for to write and sey,
That she, my lady, of her worthinesse,
Accepte in gree this litel short tretesse,


That is entitled thus, 'The Court of Love.'
And ye that ben metriciens me excuse,
I you besech, for Venus sake above;
For what I mene in this ye need not muse:
And if so be my lady it refuse
For lak of ornat speche, I wold be wo,
That I presume to her to writen so.


But myn entent and all my besy cure
Is for to write this tretesse, as I can,
Unto my lady, stable, true, and sure,
Feithfull and kind, sith first that she began
Me to accept in service as her man:
To her be all the plesure of this boke,
That, whan her like, she may it rede and loke.


When I was yong, at eighteen yere of age,
Lusty and light, desirous of pleasaunce,
Approching on full sadde and ripe corage,
Love arted me to do myn observaunce
To his astate, and doon him obeysaunce,
Commaunding me the Court of Love to see,
A lite beside the mount of Citharee,


There Citherea goddesse was and quene
Honoured highly for her majestee;
And eke her sone, the mighty god, I wene,
Cupid the blind, that for his dignitee
A thousand lovers worship on their knee;
There was I bid, on pain of death, t'apere,
By Mercury, the winged messengere.


So than I went by straunge and fer contrees,
Enquiring ay what costes to it drew,
The Court of Love: and thiderward, as bees,
At last I sey the peple gan pursue:
Anon, me thought, som wight was there that knew
Where that the court was holden, ferre or ny,
And after thaim ful fast I gan me hy.


Anone as I theim overtook, I said,
'Hail, frendes! whider purpose ye to wend?'
'Forsooth,' quod oon that answered lich a maid,
'To Loves Court now go we, gentill frend.'
'Where is that place,' quod I, 'my felowe hend?'
'At Citheron, sir,' seid he, 'without dowte,
The King of Love, and all his noble rowte,


Dwelling within a castell ryally.'
So than apace I jorned forth among,
And as he seid, so fond I there truly.
For I beheld the towres high and strong,
And high pinácles, large of hight and long,
With plate of gold bespred on every side,
And presious stones, the stone-werk for to hide.


No saphir ind, no rubè riche of price,
There lakked than, nor emeraud so grene,
Baleis Turkeis, ne thing to my devise,
That may the castell maken for to shene:
All was as bright as sterres in winter been;
And Phebus shoon, to make his pees agayn,
For trespas doon to high estates tweyn,


Venus and Mars, the god and goddesse clere,
Whan he theim found in armes cheined fast:
Venus was then full sad of herte and chere.
But Phebus bemes, streight as is the mast,
Upon the castell ginneth he to cast,
To plese the lady, princesse of that place,
In signe he loketh aftir Loves grace.


For there nis god in heven or helle, y-wis,
But he hath ben right soget unto Love:
Jove, Pluto, or what-so-ever he is,
Ne creature in erth, or yet above;
Of thise the révers may no wight approve.
But furthermore, the castell to descry,
Yet saw I never non so large and high.


For unto heven it streccheth, I suppose,
Within and out depeynted wonderly,
With many a thousand daisy, rede as rose,
And white also, this saw I verily:
But what tho daises might do signify,
Can I not tell, sauf that the quenes flour
Alceste it was that kept there her sojour;


Which under Venus lady was and quene,
And Admete king and soverain of that place,
To whom obeyed the ladies gode ninetene,
With many a thowsand other, bright of face.
And yong men fele came forth with lusty pace,
And aged eke, their homage to dispose;
But what thay were, I could not well disclose.


Yet ner and ner furth in I gan me dresse
Into an halle of noble apparaile,
With arras spred and cloth of gold, I gesse,
And other silk of esier availe:
Under the cloth of their estate, saunz faile,
The king and quene ther sat, as I beheld:
It passed joye of Helisee the feld.


There saintes have their comming and resort,
To seen the king so ryally beseyn,
In purple clad, and eke the quene in sort:
And on their hedes saw I crownes tweyn,
With stones fret, so that it was no payn,
Withouten mete and drink, to stand and see
The kinges honour and the ryaltee.


And for to trete of states with the king,
That been of councell chief, and with the quene,
The king had Daunger ner to him standing,
The Quene of Love, Disdain, and that was seen:
For by the feith I shall to god, I wene,
Was never straunger [non] in her degree
Than was the quene in casting of her ee.


And as I stood perceiving her apart,
And eke the bemes shyning of her yen,
Me thought thay were shapen lich a dart,
Sherp and persing, smale, and streight as lyne.
And all her here, it shoon as gold so fyne,
Dishevel, crisp, down hinging at her bak
A yarde in length: and soothly than I spak:—


'O bright Regina, who made thee so fair?
Who made thy colour vermelet and white?
Where woneth that god? how fer above the eyr?
Greet was his craft, and greet was his delyt.
Now marvel I nothing that ye do hight
The Quene of Love, and occupy the place
Of Citharee: now, sweet lady, thy grace.'


In mewet spak I, so that nought astert,
By no condicion, word that might be herd;
B[ut] in myn inward thought I gan advert,
And oft I seid, 'My wit is dulle and hard:'
For with her bewtee, thus, god wot, I ferd
As doth the man y-ravisshed with sight,
When I beheld her cristall yen so bright,


No respect having what was best to doon;
Till right anon, beholding here and there,
I spied a frend of myne, and that full soon,
A gentilwoman, was the chamberer
Unto the quene, that hote, as ye shall here,
Philobone, that lovëd all her life:
Whan she me sey, she led me furth as blyfe;


And me demaunded how and in what wise
I thider com, and what myne erand was?
'To seen the court,' quod I, 'and all the guyse;
And eke to sue for pardon and for grace,
And mercy ask for all my greet trespace,
That I non erst com to the Court of Love:
Foryeve me this, ye goddes all above!'


'That is well seid,' quod Philobone, 'in-dede:
But were ye not assomoned to apere
By Mercury? For that is all my drede.'
'Yes, gentil fair,' quod I, 'now am I here;
Ye, yit what tho, though that be true, my dere?'
'Of your free will ye shuld have come unsent:
For ye did not, I deme ye will be shent.


For ye that reign in youth and lustinesse,
Pampired with ese, and jolif in your age,
Your dewtee is, as fer as I can gesse,
To Loves Court to dressen your viage,
As sone as Nature maketh you so sage,
That ye may know a woman from a swan,
Or whan your foot is growen half a span.


But sith that ye, by wilful necligence,
This eighteen yere have kept yourself at large,
The gretter is your trespace and offence,
And in your nek ye moot bere all the charge:
For better were ye ben withouten barge,
Amiddë see, in tempest and in rain,
Than byden here, receiving woo and pain,


That ordeined is for such as thaim absent
Fro Loves Court by yeres long and fele.
I ley my lyf ye shall full soon repent;
For Love will reyve your colour, lust, and hele:
Eke ye must bait on many an hevy mele:
No force, y-wis, I stired you long agoon
To draw to court,' quod litell Philobon.


'Ye shall well see how rough and angry face
The King of Love will shew, when ye him see;
By myn advyse kneel down and ask him grace,
Eschewing perell and adversitee;
For well I wot it wol non other be,
Comfort is non, ne counsel to your ese;
Why will ye than the King of Love displese?'


'O mercy, god,' quod ich, 'I me repent,
Caitif and wrecche in hert, in wille, and thought!
And aftir this shall be myne hole entent
To serve and plese, how dere that love be bought:
Yit, sith I have myn own penaunce y-sought,
With humble spirit shall I it receive,
Though that the King of Love my life bereyve.


And though that fervent loves qualitè
In me did never worch truly, yit I
With all obeisaunce and humilitè,
And benign hert, shall serve him til I dye:
And he that Lord of might is, grete and highe,
Right as him list me chastice and correct,
And punish me, with trespace thus enfect.'


Thise wordes seid, she caught me by the lap,
And led me furth intill a temple round,
Large and wyde: and, as my blessed hap
And good avénture was, right sone I found
A tabernacle reised from the ground,
Where Venus sat, and Cupid by her syde;
Yet half for drede I gan my visage hyde.


And eft again I loked and beheld,
Seeing full sundry peple in the place,
And mister folk, and som that might not weld
Their limmes well, me thought a wonder cas;
The temple shoon with windows all of glas,
Bright as the day, with many a fair image;
And there I sey the fresh quene of Cartage,


Dido, that brent her bewtee for the love
Of fals Eneas; and the weymenting
Of hir, Anelida, true as turtill-dove,
To Arcite fals: and there was in peinting
Of many a prince, and many a doughty king,
Whose marterdom was shewed about the walles;
And how that fele for love had suffered falles.


But sore I was abasshed and astonied
Of all tho folk that there were in that tyde;
And than I asked where thay had [y-]woned:
'In dyvers courtes,' quod she, 'here besyde.'
In sondry clothing, mantil-wyse full wyde,
They were arrayed, and did their sacrifice
Unto the god and goddesse in their guyse.


'Lo! yonder folk,' quod she, 'that knele in blew,
They were the colour ay, and ever shall,
In sign they were, and ever will be trew
Withouten chaunge: and sothly, yonder all
That ben in blak, with morning cry and call
Unto the goddes, for their loves been
Som fer, som dede, som all to sherpe and kene.'


'Ye, than,' quod I, 'what doon thise prestes here,
Nonnes and hermits, freres, and all thoo
That sit in white, in russet, and in grene?'
'For-soth,' quod she, 'they wailen of their wo.'
'O mercy, lord! may thay so come and go
Freely to court, and have such libertee?'
'Ye, men of ech condicion and degree,


And women eke: for truly, there is non
Excepcion mad, ne never was ne may:
This court is ope and free for everichon,
The King of Love he will nat say thaim nay:
He taketh all, in poore or riche array,
That meekly sewe unto his excellence
With all their herte and all their reverence.'


And, walking thus about with Philobone,
I sey where cam a messenger in hy
Streight from the king, which let commaund anon,
Through-out the court to make an ho and cry:
'A! new-come folk, abyde! and wot ye why?
The kinges lust is for to seen you soon:
Com ner, let see! his will mot need be doon.'


Than gan I me present to-fore the king,
Trembling for fere, with visage pale of hew,
And many a lover with me was kneling,
Abasshed sore, till unto tyme thay knew
The sentence yeve of his entent full trew:
And at the last the king hath me behold
With stern visage, and seid, 'What doth this old,


Thus fer y-stope in yeres, come so late
Unto the court?' 'For-soth, my liege,' quod I,
'An hundred tyme I have ben at the gate
Afore this tyme, yit coud I never espy
Of myn acqueyntaunce any with mine y;
And shamefastnes away me gan to chace;
But now I me submit unto your grace.'


'Well! all is perdoned, with condicion
That thou be trew from hensforth to thy might,
And serven Love in thyn entencion:
Swere this, and than, as fer as it is right,
Thou shalt have grace here in my quenes sight.'
'Yis, by the feith I ow your crown, I swere,
Though Deth therfore me thirlith with his spere!'


And whan the king had seen us everichoon,
He let commaunde an officer in hy
To take our feith, and shew us, oon by oon,
The statuts of the court full besily.
Anon the book was leid before their y,
To rede and see what thing we must observe
In Loves Court, till that we dye and sterve.


And, for that I was lettred, there I red
The statuts hole of Loves Court and hall:
The first statut that on the boke was spred,
Was, To be true in thought and dedes all
Unto the King of Love, the Lord ryall;
And to the Quene, as feithful and as kind,
As I coud think with herte, and will and mind.


The secund statut, Secretly to kepe
Councell of love, nat blowing every-where
All that I know, and let it sink or flete;
It may not sown in every wightes ere:
Exyling slaunder ay for dred and fere,
And to my lady, which I love and serve,
Be true and kind, her grace for to deserve.


The thrid statut was clerely write also,
Withouten chaunge to live and dye the same,
Non other love to take, for wele ne wo,
For brind delyt, for ernest nor for game:
Without repent, for laughing or for grame,
To byden still in full perseveraunce:
Al this was hole the kinges ordinaunce.


The fourth statut, To purchace ever to here,
And stiren folk to love, and beten fyr
On Venus awter, here about and there,
And preche to thaim of love and hot desyr,
And tell how love will quyten well their hire:
This must be kept; and loth me to displese:
If love be wroth, passe forby is an ese.


The fifth statut, Not to be daungerous,
If that a thought wold reyve me of my slepe:
Nor of a sight to be over squeymous;
And so, verily, this statut was to kepe,
To turne and walowe in my bed and wepe,
When that my lady, of her crueltè,
Wold from her herte exylen all pitè.


The sixt statut, it was for me to use,
Alone to wander, voide of company,
And on my ladys bewtee for to muse,
And to think [it] no force to live or dye;
And eft again to think the remedy,
How to her grace I might anon attain,
And tell my wo unto my souverain.


The seventh statut was, To be pacient,
Whether my lady joyfull were or wroth;
For wordes glad or hevy, diligent,
Wheder that she me helden lefe or loth:
And hereupon I put was to myn oth,
Her for to serve, and lowly to obey,
Shewing my chere, ye, twenty sith a-day.


The eighth statut, to my rememb[e]raunce,
Was, To speke, and pray my lady dere,
With hourly labour and gret attendaunce,
Me for to love with all her herte entere,
And me desyre, and make me joyfull chere,
Right as she is, surmounting every faire,
Of bewtie well, and gentill debonaire.


The ninth statut, with lettres writ of gold,
This was the sentence, How that I and all
Shuld ever dred to be to over-bold
Her to displese; and truly, so I shall;
But ben content for thing[es] that may falle,
And meekly take her chastisement and yerd,
And to offende her ever ben aferd.


The tenth statut was, Egally discern
By-twene thy lady and thyn abilitee,
And think, thy-self art never like to yern,
By right, her mercy, nor of equitee,
But of her grace and womanly pitee:
For though thy-self be noble in thy strene,
A thowsand-fold more nobill is thy quene,


Thy lyves lady, and thy souverayn,
That hath thyn herte all hole in governaunce.
Thou mayst no wyse hit taken to disdayn,
To put thee humbly at her ordinaunce,
And give her free the rein of her plesaunce;
For libertee is thing that women loke,
And truly, els the mater is a-croke.


The eleventh statut, Thy signes for to con
With y and finger, and with smyles soft,
And low to cough, and alway for to shon,
For dred of spyes, for to winken oft:
But secretly to bring a sigh a-loft,
And eke beware of over-moch resort;
For that, paraventure, spilleth al thy sport.


The twelfth statut remember to observe:
For al the pain thow hast for love and wo,
All is to lite her mercy to deserve,
Thow must then think, where-ever thou ryde or go;
And mortall woundes suffer thow also,
All for her sake, and thinke it well beset
Upon thy love, for it may be no bet.


The thirteenth statut, Whylom is to thinke,
What thing may best thy lady lyke and plese,
And in thyn hertes botom let it sinke:
Som thing devise, and take [it] for thyn ese,
And send it her, that may her herte apese:
Some hert, or ring, or lettre, or device,
Or precious stone; but spare not for no price.


The fourteenth statut eke thou shalt assay
Fermly to kepe the most part of thy lyfe:
Wish that thy lady in thyne armes lay,
And nightly dreme, thow hast thy hertes wyfe
Swetely in armes, straining her as blyfe:
And whan thou seest it is but fantasy,
See that thow sing not over merily,


For to moche joye hath oft a wofull end.
It longith eke, this statut for to hold,
To deme thy lady evermore thy frend,
And think thyself in no wyse a cocold.
In every thing she doth but as she shold:
Construe the best, beleve no tales newe,
For many a lie is told, that semeth full trewe.


But think that she, so bounteous and fair,
Coud not be fals: imagine this algate;
And think that tonges wikke wold her appair,
Slaundering her name and worshipfull estat,
And lovers true to setten at debat:
And though thow seest a faut right at thyne y,
Excuse it blyve, and glose it pretily.


The fifteenth statut, Use to swere and stare,
And counterfet a lesing hardely,
To save thy ladys honour every-where,
And put thyself to fight [for her] boldly:
Sey she is good, virtuous, and gostly,
Clere of entent, and herte, and thought and wille;
And argue not, for reson ne for skille,


Agayn thy ladys plesir ne entent,
For love wil not be countrepleted, indede:
Sey as she seith, than shalt thou not be shent,
The crow is whyte; ye, truly, so I rede:
And ay what thing that she thee will forbede,
Eschew all that, and give her sovereintee,
Her appetyt folow in all degree.


The sixteenth statut, kepe it if thow may:—
Seven sith at night thy lady for to plese,
And seven at midnight, seven at morow-day;
And drink a cawdell erly for thyn ese.
Do this, and kepe thyn hede from all disese,
And win the garland here of lovers all,
That ever come in court, or ever shall.


Ful few, think I, this statut hold and kepe;
But truly, this my reson giveth me fele,
That som lovers shuld rather fall aslepe,
Than take on hand to plese so oft and wele.
There lay non oth to this statut a-dele,
But kepe who might, as gave him his corage:
Now get this garland, lusty folk of age.


Now win who may, ye lusty folk of youth,
This garland fresh, of floures rede and whyte,
Purpill and blewe, and colours ful uncouth,
And I shal croune him king of all delyt!
In al the court there was not, to my sight,
A lover trew, that he ne was adred,
When he expresse hath herd the statut red.


The seventeenth statut, Whan age approchith on,
And lust is leid, and all the fire is queint,
As freshly than thou shalt begin to fon,
And dote in love, and all her image paint
In rémembraunce, til thou begin to faint,
As in the first seson thyn hert began:
And her desire, though thou ne may ne can


Perform thy living actuell, and lust;
Regester this in thy rememb[e]raunce:
Eke when thou mayst not kepe thy thing from rust,
Yit speke and talk of plesaunt daliaunce;
For that shall make thyn hert rejoise and daunce.
And when thou mayst no more the game assay,
The statut bit thee pray for hem that may.


The eighteenth statut, hoolly to commend,
To plese thy lady, is, That thou eschewe
With sluttishness thy-self for to offend;
Be jolif, fresh, and fete, with thinges newe,
Courtly with maner, this is all thy due,
Gentill of port, and loving clenlinesse;
This is the thing that lyketh thy maistresse.


And not to wander lich a dulled ass,
Ragged and torn, disgysed in array,
Ribaud in speche, or out of mesure pass,
Thy bound exceding; think on this alway:
For women been of tender hertes ay,
And lightly set their plesire in a place;
Whan they misthink, they lightly let it passe.


The nineteenth statut, Mete and drink forgete:
Ech other day, see that thou fast for love,
For in the court they live withouten mete,
Sauf such as cometh from Venus all above;
They take non heed, in pain of greet reprove,
Of mete and drink, for that is all in vain;
Only they live by sight of their soverain.


The twentieth statut, last of everichoon,
Enroll it in thyn hertes privitee;
To wring and wail, to turn, and sigh and grone,
When that thy lady absent is from thee;
And eke renew the wordes [all] that she
Bitween you twain hath seid, and all the chere
That thee hath mad thy lyves lady dere.


And see thyn herte in quiet ne in rest
Sojorn, to tyme thou seen thy lady eft;
But wher she won by south, or est, or west,
With all thy force, now see it be not left:
Be diligent, till tyme thy lyfe be reft,
In that thou mayst, thy lady for to see;
This statut was of old antiquitee.


An officer of high auctoritee,
Cleped Rigour, made us swere anon:
He nas corrupt with parcialitee,
Favour, prayer, ne gold that cherely shoon;
'Ye shall,' quod he, 'now sweren here echoon,
Yong and old, to kepe, in that ye may,
The statuts truly, all, aftir this day.'


O god, thought I, hard is to make this oth!
But to my pouer shall I thaim observe;
In all this world nas mater half so loth,
To swere for all; for though my body sterve,
I have no might the hole for to reserve.
But herkin now the cace how it befell:
After my oth was mad, the trouth to tell,


I turned leves, loking on this boke,
Where other statuts were of women shene;
And right furthwith Rigour on me gan loke
Full angrily, and seid unto the quene
I traitour was, and charged me let been:
'There may no man,' quod he, 'the statut[s] know,
That long to woman, hy degree ne low.


In secret wyse thay kepten been full close,
They sowne echon to libertie, my frend;
Plesaunt thay be, and to their own purpose;
There wot no wight of thaim, but god and fend,
Ne naught shall wit, unto the worldes end.
The quene hath yeve me charge, in pain to dye,
Never to rede ne seen thaim with myn ye.


For men shall not so nere of councell ben,
With womanhode, ne knowen of her gyse,
Ne what they think, ne of their wit th'engyn;
I me report to Salamon the wyse,
And mighty Sampson, which begyled thryes
With Dalida was: he wot that, in a throw,
There may no man statut of women knowe.


For it paravénture may right so befall,
That they be bound by nature to disceive,
And spinne, and wepe, and sugre strewe on gall,
The hert of man to ravissh and to reyve,
And whet their tong as sharp as swerd or gleyve:
It may betyde, this is their ordinaunce;
So must they lowly doon the observaunce,


And kepe the statut yeven thaim of kind,
Or such as love hath yeve hem in their lyfe.
Men may not wete why turneth every wind,
Nor waxen wyse, nor ben inquisityf
To know secret of maid, widow, or wyfe;
For they their statutes have to thaim reserved,
And never man to know thaim hath deserved.


Now dress you furth, the god of Love you gyde!'
Quod Rigour than, 'and seek the temple bright
Of Cither[e]a, goddess here besyde;
Beseche her, by [the] influence and might
Of al her vertue, you to teche a-right,
How for to serve your ladies, and to plese,
Ye that ben sped, and set your hert in ese.


And ye that ben unpurveyed, pray her eke
Comfort you soon with grace and destinee,
That ye may set your hert there ye may lyke,
In suche a place, that it to love may be
Honour and worship, and felicitee
To you for ay. Now goth, by one assent.'
'Graunt mercy, sir!' quod we, and furth we went


Devoutly, soft and esy pace, to see
Venus the goddes image, all of gold:
And there we founde a thousand on their knee,
Sum freshe and feire, som dedely to behold,
In sondry mantils new, and som were old,
Som painted were with flames rede as fire,
Outward to shew their inward hoot desire:


With dolefull chere, full fele in their complaint
Cried 'Lady Venus, rewe upon our sore!
Receive our billes, with teres all bedreint;
We may not wepe, there is no more in store;
But wo and pain us frettith more and more:
Thou blisful planet, lovers sterre so shene,
Have rowth on us, that sigh and carefull been;


And ponish, Lady, grevously, we pray,
The false untrew with counterfet plesaunce,
That made their oth, be trew to live or dey,
With chere assured, and with countenaunce;
And falsly now thay foten loves daunce,
Barein of rewth, untrue of that they seid,
Now that their lust and plesire is alleyd.'


Yet eft again, a thousand milion,
Rejoysing, love, leding their life in blis:
They seid:—'Venus, redresse of all division,
Goddes eterne, thy name y-heried is!
By loves bond is knit all thing, y-wis,
Best unto best, the erth to water wan,
Bird unto bird, and woman unto man;


This is the lyfe of joye that we ben in,
Resembling lyfe of hevenly paradyse;
Love is exyler ay of vice and sin;
Love maketh hertes lusty to devyse;
Honour and grace have thay, in every wyse,
That been to loves law obedient;
Love makith folk benigne and diligent;


Ay stering theim to drede[n] vice and shame:
In their degree it maketh thaim honorable;
And swete it is of love [to] bere the name,
So that his love be feithfull, true, and stable:
Love prunith him, to semen amiable;
Love hath no faut, there it is exercysed,
But sole with theim that have all love dispised.


Honour to thee, celestiall and clere
Goddes of love, and to thy celsitude,
That yevest us light so fer down from thy spere,
Persing our hertes with thy pulcritude!
Comparison non of similitude
May to thy grace be mad in no degree,
That hast us set with love in unitee.


Gret cause have we to praise thy name and thee,
For [that] through thee we live in joye and blisse.
Blessed be thou, most souverain to see!
Thy holy court of gladness may not misse:
A thousand sith we may rejoise in this,
That we ben thyn with harte and all y-fere,
Enflamed with thy grace, and hevinly fere.'


Musing of tho that spakin in this wyse,
I me bethought in my rememb[e]raunce
Myne orison right goodly to devyse,
And plesauntly, with hartes obeisaunce,
Beseech the goddes voiden my grevaunce;
For I loved eke, sauf that I wist nat where;
Yet down I set, and seid as ye shall here.


'Fairest of all that ever were or be!
Lucerne and light to pensif crëature!
Myn hole affiaunce, and my lady free,
My goddes bright, my fortune and my ure,
I yeve and yeld my hart to thee full sure,
Humbly beseching, lady, of thy grace
Me to bestowe into som blessed place.


And here I vow me feithfull, true, and kind,
Without offence of mutabilitee,
Humbly to serve, whyl I have wit and mind,
Myn hole affiaunce, and my lady free!
In thilkë place, there ye me sign to be:
And, sith this thing of newe is yeve me, ay
To love and serve, needly must I obey.


Be merciable with thy fire of grace,
And fix myne hert there bewtie is and routh,
For hote I love, determine in no place,
Sauf only this, by god and by my trouth,
Trowbled I was with slomber, slepe, and slouth
This other night, and in a visioun
I sey a woman romen up and down,


Of mene stature, and seemly to behold,
Lusty and fresh, demure of countynaunce,
Yong and wel shap, with here [that] shoon as gold,
With yen as cristall, farced with plesaunce;
And she gan stir myne harte a lite to daunce;
But sodenly she vanissh gan right there:
Thus I may sey, I love and wot not where.


For what she is, ne her dwelling I not,
And yet I fele that love distraineth me:
Might ich her know, that wold I fain, god wot,
Serve and obey with all benignitee.
And if that other be my destinee,
So that no wyse I shall her never see,
Than graunt me her that best may lyken me,


With glad rejoyse to live in parfit hele,
Devoide of wrath, repent, or variaunce;
And able me to do that may be wele
Unto my lady, with hertes hy plesaunce:
And, mighty goddes! through thy purviaunce
My wit, my thought, my lust and love so gyde,
That to thyne honour I may me provyde


To set myne herte in place there I may lyke,
And gladly serve with all affeccioun.
Gret is the pain which at myn hert doth stik,
Till I be sped by thyn eleccioun:
Help, lady goddes! that possessioun
I might of her have, that in all my lyfe
I clepen shall my quene and hertes wife.


And in the Court of Love to dwell for ay
My wille it is, and don thee sacrifice:
Daily with Diane eke to fight and fray,
And holden werre, as might well me suffice:
That goddes chaste I kepen in no wyse
To serve; a fig for all her chastitee!
Her lawe is for religiositee.'


And thus gan finish preyer, lawde, and preise,
Which that I yove to Venus on my knee,
And in myne hert to ponder and to peise,
I gave anon hir image fressh bewtie;
'Heil to that figure sweet! and heil to thee,
Cupide,' quod I, and rose and yede my way;
And in the temple as I yede I sey


A shryne sormownting all in stones riche,
Of which the force was plesaunce to myn y,
With diamant or saphire; never liche
I have non seyn, ne wrought so wonderly.
So whan I met with Philobone, in hy
I gan demaund, 'Who[s] is this sepulture?'
'Forsoth,' quod she, 'a tender creature


Is shryned there, and Pitè is her name.
She saw an egle wreke him on a fly,
And pluk his wing, and eke him, in his game,
And tender herte of that hath made her dy:
Eke she wold wepe, and morn right pitously
To seen a lover suffre gret destresse.
In all the court nas non that, as I gesse,


That coude a lover half so well availe,
Ne of his wo the torment or the rage
Aslaken, for he was sure, withouten faile,
That of his grief she coud the hete aswage.
In sted of Pitè, spedeth hot corage
The maters all of court, now she is dede;
I me report in this to womanhede.


For weile and wepe, and crye, and speke, and pray,—
Women wold not have pitè on thy plaint;
Ne by that mene to ese thyn hart convey,
But thee receiven for their own talent:
And sey, that Pitè causith thee, in consent
Of rewth, to take thy service and thy pain
In that thow mayst, to plese thy souverain.


But this is councell, keep it secretly;'
Quod she, 'I nold, for all the world abowt,
The Quene of Love it wist; and wit ye why?
For if by me this matter springen out,
In court no lenger shuld I, owt of dowt,
Dwellen, but shame in all my life endry:
Now kepe it close,' quod she, 'this hardely.


Well, all is well! Now shall ye seen,' she seid,
'The feirest lady under son that is:
Come on with me, demene you liche a maid,
With shamefast dred, for ye shall spede, y-wis,
With her that is the mir[th] and joy and blis:
But sumwhat straunge and sad of her demene
She is, be ware your countenaunce be sene,


Nor over light, ne recheless, ne to bold,
Ne malapert, ne rinning with your tong;
For she will you abeisen and behold,
And you demaund, why ye were hens so long
Out of this court, without resort among:
And Rosiall her name is hote aright,
Whose harte as yet [is] yeven to no wight.


And ye also ben, as I understond,
With love but light avaunced, by your word;
Might ye, by hap, your fredom maken bond,
And fall in grace with her, and wele accord,
Well might ye thank the god of Love and lord;
For she that ye sawe in your dreme appere,
To love suche one, what are ye than the nere?


Yit wot ye what? as my rememb[e]raunce
Me yevith now, ye fayn, where that ye sey
That ye with love had never acqueintaunce,
Sauf in your dreme right late this other day:
Why, yis, parde! my life, that durst I lay,
That ye were caught upon an heth, when I
Saw you complain, and sigh full pitously;


Within an erber, and a garden fair
With floures growe, and herbes vertuous,
Of which the savour swete was and the eyr,
There were your-self full hoot and amorous:
Y-wis, ye ben to nice and daungerous;
A! wold ye now repent, and love som new?'—
'Nay, by my trouth,' I seid, 'I never knew


The goodly wight, whos I shall be for ay:
Guyde me the lord that love hath made and me.'
But furth we went in-till a chambre gay,
There was Rosiall, womanly to see,
Whose stremes sotell-persing of her ee
Myn hart gan thrill for bewtie in the stound:
'Alas,' quod I, 'who hath me yeve this wound?'


And than I dred to speke, till at the last
I gret the lady reverently and wele,
Whan that my sigh was gon and over-past;
And down on knees full humbly gan I knele,
Beseching her my fervent wo to kele,
For there I took full purpose in my mind,
Unto her grace my painfull hart to bind.


For if I shall all fully her discryve,
Her hede was round, by compace of nature,
Her here as gold,—she passed all on-lyve,—
And lily forhede had this crëature,
With lovelich browes, flawe, of colour pure,
Bytwene the which was mene disseveraunce
From every brow, to shewe[n] a distaunce.


Her nose directed streight, and even as lyne,
With fourm and shap therto convenient,
In which the goddes milk-whyt path doth shine;
And eke her yen ben bright and orient
As is the smaragde, unto my juggement,
Or yet thise sterres hevenly, smale and bright;
Her visage is of lovely rede and whyte.


Her mouth is short, and shit in litell space,
Flaming somdele, not over-rede, I mene,
With pregnant lippes, and thik to kiss, percas;
(For lippes thin, not fat, but ever lene,
They serve of naught, they be not worth a bene;
For if the basse ben full, there is delyt,
Maximian truly thus doth he wryte.)


But to my purpose:—I sey, whyte as snow
Ben all her teeth, and in order thay stond
Of oon stature; and eke hir breth, I trow,
Surmounteth alle odours that ever I fond
In sweetnes; and her body, face, and hond
Ben sharply slender, so that from the hede
Unto the fote, all is but womanhede.


I hold my pees of other thinges hid:—
Here shall my soul, and not my tong, bewray:—
But how she was arrayed, if ye me bid,
That shall I well discover you and say:
A bend of gold and silk, full fressh and gay;
With here in tresse[s], browdered full well,
Right smothly kept, and shyning every-del.


About her nek a flour of fressh devyse
With rubies set, that lusty were to sene;
And she in gown was, light and somer-wyse,
Shapen full wele, the colour was of grene,
With aureat seint about her sydes clene,
With dyvers stones, precious and riche:—
Thus was she rayed, yet saugh I never her liche.


For if that Jove had [but] this lady seyn,
Tho Calixto ne [yet] Alcmenia,
Thay never hadden in his armes leyn;
Ne he had loved the faire Europa;
Ye, ne yet Dane ne Antiopa!
For al their bewtie stood in Rosiall;
She semed lich a thing celestiall


In bowntè, favor, port, and semliness,
Plesaunt of figure, mirrour of delyt,
Gracious to sene, and rote of gentilness,
With angel visage, lusty rede and white:
There was not lak, sauf daunger had a lite
This goodly fressh in rule and governaunce;
And somdel straunge she was, for her plesaunce.


And truly sone I took my leve and went,
Whan she had me enquyred what I was;
For more and more impressen gan the dent
Of Loves dart, whyl I beheld her face;
And eft again I com to seken grace,
And up I put my bill, with sentence clere
That folwith aftir; rede and ye shall here.


'O ye [the] fressh, of [all] bewtie the rote,
That nature hath fourmed so wele and made
Princesse and Quene! and ye that may do bote
Of all my langour with your wordes glad!
Ye wounded me, ye made me wo-bestad;
Of grace redress my mortall grief, as ye
Of all myne harm the verrey causer be.


Now am I caught, and unwar sodenly,
With persant stremes of your yën clere,
Subject to ben, and serven you meekly,
And all your man, y-wis, my lady dere,
Abiding grace, of which I you requere,
That merciles ye cause me not to sterve;
But guerdon me, liche as I may deserve.


For, by my troth, the dayes of my breth
I am and will be youre in wille and hert,
Pacient and meek, for you to suffre deth
If it require; now rewe upon my smert;
And this I swere, I never shall out-stert
From Loves Court for none adversitee,
So ye wold rewe on my distresse and me.


My destinee, my fate, and ure I bliss,
That have me set to ben obedient
Only to you, the flour of all, y-wis:
I trust to Venus never to repent;
For ever redy, glad, and diligent
Ye shall me finde in service to your grace,
Till deth my lyfe out of my body race.


Humble unto your excellence so digne,
Enforcing ay my wittes and delyt
To serve and plese with glad herte and benigne,
And ben as Troilus, [old] Troyes knight,
Or Antony for Cleopatre bright,
And never you me thinkes to reney:
This shall I kepe unto myne ending-day.


Enprent my speche in your memorial
Sadly, my princess, salve of all my sore!
And think that, for I wold becomen thrall,
And ben your own, as I have seyd before,
Ye must of pity cherissh more and more
Your man, and tender aftir his desert,
And yive him corage for to ben expert.


For where that oon hath set his herte on fire,
And findeth nether refut ne plesaunce,
Ne word of comfort, deth will quyte his hire.
Allas! that there is none allegeaunce
Of all their wo! allas, the gret grevaunce
To love unloved! But ye, my Lady dere,
In other wyse may govern this matere.'


'Truly, gramercy, frend, of your good will,
And of your profer in your humble wyse!
But for your service, take and kepe it still.
And where ye say, I ought you well cheryse,
And of your gref the remedy devyse,
I know not why: I nam acqueinted well
With you, ne wot not sothly where ye dwell.'


'In art of love I wryte, and songes make,
That may be song in honour of the King
And Quene of Love; and than I undertake,
He that is sad shall than full mery sing.
And daunger[o]us not ben in every thing
Beseche I you, but seen my will and rede,
And let your aunswer put me out of drede.'


'What is your name? reherse it here, I pray,
Of whens and where, of what condicion
That ye ben of? Let see, com of and say!
Fain wold I know your disposicion:—
Ye have put on your old entencion;
But what ye mene to servë me I noot,
Sauf that ye say ye love me wonder hoot.'


'My name? alas, my hert, why [make it straunge?]
Philogenet I cald am fer and nere,
Of Cambrige clerk, that never think to chaunge
Fro you that with your hevenly stremes clere
Ravissh myne herte and gost and all in-fere:
This is the first, I write my bill for grace,
Me think, I see som mercy in your face.


And what I mene, by god that al hath wrought,
My bill, that maketh finall mencion,
That ye ben, lady, in myne inward thought
Of all myne hert without offencion,
That I best love, and have, sith I begon
To draw to court. Lo, than! what might I say?
I yeld me here, [lo!] unto your nobley.


And if that I offend, or wilfully
By pompe of hart your precept disobey,
Or doon again your will unskillfully,
Or greven you, for ernest or for play,
Correct ye me right sharply than, I pray,
As it is sene unto your womanhede,
And rewe on me, or ellis I nam but dede.'


'Nay, god forbede to feffe you so with grace,
And for a worde of sugred eloquence,
To have compassion in so litell space!
Than were it tyme that som of us were hens!
Ye shall not find in me suche insolence.
Ay? what is this? may ye not suffer sight?
How may ye loke upon the candill-light,


That clere[r] is and hotter than myn y?
And yet ye seid, the bemes perse and frete:—
How shall ye than the candel-[l]ight endry?
For wel wot ye, that hath the sharper hete.
And there ye bid me you correct and bete,
If ye offend,—nay, that may not be doon:
There come but few that speden here so soon.


Withdraw your y, withdraw from presens eke:
Hurt not yourself, through foly, with a loke;
I wold be sory so to make you seke:
A woman shuld be ware eke whom she toke:
Ye beth a clark:—go serchen [in] my boke,
If any women ben so light to win:
Nay, byde a whyl, though ye were all my kin.


So soon ye may not win myne harte, in trouth
The gyse of court will seen your stedfastness,
And as ye don, to have upon you rewth.
Your own desert, and lowly gentilness,
That will reward you joy for heviness;
And though ye waxen pale, and grene and dede,
Ye must it use a while, withouten drede,


And it accept, and grucchen in no wyse;
But where as ye me hastily desyre
To been to love, me think, ye be not wyse.
Cese of your language! cese, I you requyre!
For he that hath this twenty yere ben here
May not obtayn; than marveile I that ye
Be now so bold, of love to trete with me.'


'Ah! mercy, hart, my lady and my love,
My rightwyse princesse and my lyves guyde!
Now may I playn to Venus all above,
That rewthles ye me give these woundes wyde!
What have I don? why may it not betyde,
That for my trouth I may received be?
Alas! your daunger and your crueltè!


In wofull hour I got was, welaway!
In wofull hour [y-]fostred and y-fed,
In wofull hour y-born, that I ne may
My supplicacion swetely have y-sped!
The frosty grave and cold must be my bedde,
Without ye list your grace and mercy shewe,
Deth with his axe so faste on me doth hewe.


So greet disese and in so litell whyle,
So litell joy, that felte I never yet;
And at my wo Fortune ginneth to smyle,
That never erst I felt so harde a fit:
Confounded ben my spirits and my wit,
Till that my lady take me to her cure,
Which I love best of erthely crëature.


But that I lyke, that may I not com by;
Of that I playn, that have I habondaunce;
Sorrow and thought, thay sit me wounder ny;
Me is withhold that might be my plesaunce:
Yet turne again, my worldly suffisaunce!
O lady bright! and save your feithfull true,
And, er I die, yet on[e]s upon me rewe.'


With that I fell in sounde, and dede as stone,
With colour slain, and wan as assh[es] pale;
And by the hand she caught me up anon,
'Aryse,' quod she, 'what? have ye dronken dwale?
Why slepen ye? it is no nightertale.'
'Now mercy, swete,' quod I, y-wis affrayed:
'What thing,' quod she, 'hath mad you so dismayed?


Now wot I well that ye a lover be,
Your hewe is witnesse in this thing,' she seid:
'If ye were secret, [ye] might know,' quod she,
'Curteise and kind, all this shuld be allayed:
And now, myn herte! all that I have misseid,
I shall amend, and set your harte in ese.'
'That word it is,' quod I, 'that doth me plese.'


'But this I charge, that ye the statuts kepe,
And breke thaim not for sloth nor ignoraunce.'
With that she gan to smyle and laughen depe.
'Y-wis,' quod I, 'I will do your plesaunce;
The sixteenth statut doth me grete grevaunce,
But ye must that relesse or modifie.'
'I graunt,' quod she, 'and so I will truly.'


And softly than her colour gan appeare,
As rose so rede, through-out her visage all,
Wherefore me think it is according here,
That she of right be cleped Rosiall.
Thus have I won, with wordes grete and small,
Some goodly word of hir that I love best,
And trust she shall yit set myne harte in rest.


'Goth on,' she seid to Philobone, 'and take
This man with you, and lede him all abowt
Within the court, and shew him, for my sake,
What lovers dwell withinne, and all the rowte
Of officers; for he is, out of dowte,
A straunger yit:'—'Come on,' quod Philobone,
'Philogenet, with me now must ye gon.'


And stalking soft with esy pace, I saw
About the king [ther] stonden environ,
Attendaunce, Diligence, and their felaw
Fortherer, Esperaunce, and many oon;
Dred-to-offend there stood, and not aloon;
For there was eke the cruell adversair,
The lovers fo, that cleped is Dispair,


Which unto me spak angrely and fell,
And said, my lady me deceiven shall:
'Trowest thow,' quod she, 'that all that she did tell,
Is true? Nay, nay, but under hony gall!
Thy birth and hers, [they] be nothing egall:
Cast of thyn hart, for all her wordes whyte,
For in good faith she lovith thee but a lyte.


And eek remember, thyn habilite
May not compare with hir, this well thow wot.'
Ye, than cam Hope and said, 'My frend, let be!
Beleve him not: Dispair, he ginneth dote.'
'Alas,' quod I, 'here is both cold and hot:
The tone me biddeth love, the toder nay;
Thus wot I not what me is best to say.


But well wot I, my lady graunted me,
Truly to be my woundes remedy;
Her gentilness may not infected be
With dobleness, thus trust I till I dy.'
So cast I void Dispaires company,
And taken Hope to councell and to frend.
'Ye, kepe that wele,' quod Philobone, 'in mind.'


And there besyde, within a bay-window,
Stood oon in grene, full large of brede and length,
His berd as blak as fethers of the crow;
His name was Lust, of wounder might and strength;
And with Delyt to argue there he thenkth,
For this was all his [hool] opinion,
That love was sin! and so he hath begon


To reson fast, and legge auctoritè:
'Nay,' quod Delyt, 'love is a vertue clere,
And from the soule his progress holdeth he:
Blind appetyt of lust doth often stere,
And that is sin: for reson lakketh there,
For thow [dost] think thy neigbours wyfe to win:
Yit think it well that love may not be sin;


For god and seint, they love right verely,
Void of all sin and vice: this knowe I wele,
Affeccion of flessh is sin, truly;
But verray love is vertue, as I fele,
For love may not thy freil desire akele:
For [verray] love is love withouten sin.'
'Now stint,' quoth Lust, 'thow spekest not worth a pin.'


And there I left thaim in their arguing,
Roming ferther in the castell wyde,
And in a corner Lier stood talking
Of lesings fast, with Flatery there besyde;
He seid that women were attire of pryde,
And men were founde of nature variaunt,
And coud be false, and shewen beau semblaunt.


Than Flatery bespake and seid, y-wis:
'See, so she goth on patens faire and fete,
Hit doth right wele: what prety man is this
That rometh here? Now truly, drink ne mete
Nede I not have; myne hart for joye doth bete
Him to behold, so is he goodly fressh:
It semeth for love his harte is tender nessh.'


This is the court of lusty folk and glad,
And wel becometh their habit and array:
O why be som so sorry and so sad,
Complaining thus in blak and whyte and gray?
Freres they ben, and monkes, in good fay:
Alas, for rewth! greet dole it is to seen,
To see thaim thus bewaile and sory been.


See how they cry and wring their handes whyte,
For they so sone went to religion!
And eke the nonnes, with vaile and wimple plight,
There thought that they ben in confusion:
'Alas,' thay sayn, 'we fayn perfeccion,
In clothes wide, and lak our libertè;
But all the sin mote on our frendes be.


For, Venus wot, we wold as fayn as ye,
That ben attired here and wel besene,
Desiren man, and love in our degree,
Ferme and feithfull, right as wold the quene:
Our frendes wikke, in tender youth and grene,
Ayenst our will made us religious;
That is the cause we morne and wailen thus.'


Than seid the monks and freres in the tyde,
'Wel may we curse our abbeys and our place,
Our statuts sharp, to sing in copes wyde,
Chastly to kepe us out of loves grace,
And never to fele comfort ne solace;
Yet suffre we the hete of loves fire,
And after than other haply we desire.


O Fortune cursed, why now and wherefore
Hast thow,' they seid, 'beraft us libertè,
Sith nature yave us instrument in store,
And appetyt to love and lovers be?
Why mot we suffer suche adversitè,
Diane to serve, and Venus to refuse?
Ful often sith this matier doth us muse.


We serve and honour, sore ayenst our will,
Of chastitè the goddes and the quene;
Us leffer were with Venus byden still,
And have reward for love, and soget been
Unto thise women courtly, fressh, and shene.
Fortune, we curse thy whele of variaunce!
There we were wele, thou revest our plesaunce.'


Thus leve I thaim, with voice of pleint and care,
In raging wo crying ful pitously;
And as I yede, full naked and full bare
Some I behold, looking dispitously,
On povertè that dedely cast their y;
And 'Welaway!' they cried, and were not fain,
For they ne might their glad desire attain.


For lak of richesse worldely and of gode,
They banne and curse, and wepe, and sein, 'Alas,
That poverte hath us hent that whylom stode
At hartis ese, and free and in good case!
But now we dar not shew our-self in place,
Ne us embolde to duelle in company,
There-as our hart wold love right faithfully.'


And yet againward shryked every nonne,
The prang of love so straineth thaim to cry:
'Now wo the tyme,' quod thay, 'that we be boun!
This hateful ordre nyse will don us dy!
We sigh and sobbe, and bleden inwardly,
Freting our-self with thought and hard complaint,
That ney for love we waxen wode and faint.'


And as I stood beholding here and there,
I was war of a sort full languisshing,
Savage and wild of loking and of chere,
Their mantels and their clothës ay tering;
And oft thay were of nature complaining,
For they their members lakked, fote and hand,
With visage wry and blind, I understand.


They lakked shap, and beautie to preferre
Theim-self in love: and seid, that god and kind
Hath forged thaim to worshippen the sterre,
Venus the bright, and leften all behind
His other werkes clene and out of mind:
'For other have their full shape and bewtee,
And we,' quod they, 'ben in deformitè.'


And nye to thaim there was a company,
That have the susters waried and misseid;
I mene, the three of fatall destinè,
That be our werdes; and sone, in a brayd,
Out gan they cry as they had been affrayd,
'We curse,' quod thay, 'that ever hath nature
Y-formed us, this wofull lyfe t'endure!'


And there he was contrite, and gan repent,
Confessing hole the wound that Citherè
Hath with the dart of hot desire him sent,
And how that he to love must subjet be:
Than held he all his skornes vanitè,
And seid, that lovers lede a blisful lyfe,
Yong men and old, and widow, maid and wyfe.


'Bereve me, goddesse,' quod he, '[of] thy might,
My skornes all and skoffes, that I have
No power forth, to mokken any wight,
That in thy service dwell: for I did rave:
This know I well right now, so god me save,
And I shal be the chief post of thy feith,
And love uphold, the révers who-so seith.'


Dissemble stood not fer from him in trouth,
With party mantill, party hood and hose;
And said, he had upon his lady rowth,
And thus he wound him in, and gan to glose
Of his entent full doble, I suppose:
And al the world, he seid, he loved it wele;
But ay, me thoughte, he loved her nere a dele.


Eek Shamefastness was there, as I took hede,
That blusshed rede, and durst nat ben a-knowe
She lover was, for thereof had she drede;
She stood and hing her visage down alowe;
But suche a sight it was to sene, I trow,
As of these roses rody on their stalk:
There cowd no wight her spy to speke or talk


In loves art, so gan she to abasshe,
Ne durst not utter all her privitè:
Many a stripe and many a grevous lasshe
She gave to thaim that wolden loveres be,
And hindered sore the simpill comonaltè,
That in no wyse durst grace and mercy crave;
For were not she, they need but ask and have;


Where if they now approchin for to speke,
Than Shamefastness returnith thaim again:
Thay think, if we our secret councell breke,
Our ladies will have scorn on us, certain,
And [per]aventure thinken greet disdain:
Thus Shamefastness may bringin in Dispeir,
Whan she is dede, the toder will be heir.


Com forth, Avaunter! now I ring thy bell!
I spyed him sone; to god I make a-vowe,
He loked blak as fendes doth in hell:—
'The first,' quod he, 'that ever [I] did wowe,
Within a word she com, I wot not how,
So that in armes was my lady free;
And so hath ben a thousand mo than she.


In Englond, Bretain, Spain, and Pycardie,
Arteys, and Fraunce, and up in hy Holand,
In Burgoyne, Naples, and [in] Italy,
Naverne, and Grece, and up in hethen land,
Was never woman yit that wold withstand
To ben at myn commaundement, whan I wold:
I lakked neither silver, coin, ne gold.


And there I met with this estate and that;
And here I broched her, and here, I trow:
Lo! there goth oon of myne; and wot ye what?
Yon fressh attired have I leyd full low;
And such oon yonder eke right well I know:
I kept the statut whan we lay y-fere;
And yet yon same hath made me right good chere.'


Thus hath Avaunter blowen every-where
Al that he knowith, and more, a thousand-fold;
His auncetrye of kin was to Lière,
For firste he makith promise for to hold
His ladies councell, and it not unfold;
Wherfore, the secret when he doth unshit,
Than lyeth he, that all the world may wit.


For falsing so his promise and behest,
I wounder sore he hath such fantasie;
He lakketh wit, I trowe, or is a best,
That can no bet him-self with reson gy.
By myn advice, Love shal be contrarie
To his availe, and him eke dishonoure,
So that in court he shall no more sojoure.


'Take hede,' quod she, this litell Philobone,
'Where Envy rokketh in the corner yond,
And sitteth dirk; and ye shall see anone
His lenë bodie, fading face and hond;
Him-self he fretteth, as I understond;
Witnesse of Ovid Methamorphosose;
The lovers fo he is, I wil not glose.


For where a lover thinketh him promote,
Envy will grucch, repyning at his wele;
Hit swelleth sore about his hartes rote,
That in no wyse he can not live in hele;
And if the feithfull to his lady stele,
Envy will noise and ring it round aboute,
And sey moche worse than don is, out of dowte.'


And Prevy Thought, rejoysing of him-self,
Stood not fer thens in habit mervelous;
'Yon is,' thought [I], 'som spirit or some elf,
His sotill image is so curious:
How is,' quod I, 'that he is shaded thus
With yonder cloth, I not of what colour?'
And nere I went, and gan to lere and pore,


And frayned him [a] question full hard.
'What is,' quod I, 'the thing thou lovest best?
Or what is boot unto thy paines hard?
Me think, thow livest here in grete unrest;
Thow wandrest ay from south to est and west,
And est to north; as fer as I can see,
There is no place in court may holden thee.


Whom folowest thow? where is thy harte y-set?
But my demaunde asoile, I thee require.'
'Me thought,' quod he, 'no crëature may let
Me to ben here, and where-as I desire:
For where-as absence hath don out the fire,
My mery thought it kindleth yet again,
That bodily, me think, with my souverain


I stand and speke, and laugh, and kisse, and halse,
So that my thought comforteth me full oft:
I think, god wot, though all the world be false,
I will be trewe; I think also how soft
My lady is in speche, and this on-loft
Bringeth myn hart to joye and [greet] gladnesse;
This prevey thought alayeth myne hevinesse.


And what I thinke, or where to be, no man
In all this erth can tell, y-wis, but I:
And eke there nis no swallow swift, ne swan
So wight of wing, ne half [so] yern can fly;
For I can been, and that right sodenly,
In heven, in helle, in paradise, and here,
And with my lady, whan I will desire.


I am of councell ferre and wyde, I wot,
With lord and lady, and their previtè
I wot it all; but be it cold or hot,
They shall not speke without licence of me,
I mene, in suche as sesonable be;
For first the thing is thought within the hert,
Ere any word out from the mouth astert.'


And with that word Thought bad farewell and yede:
Eke furth went I to seen the courtes gyse:
And at the dore cam in, so god me spede,
Twey courteours of age and of assyse
Liche high, and brode, and, as I me advyse,
The Golden Love, and Leden Love thay hight:
The ton was sad, the toder glad and light.


. . .

'Yis! draw your hart, with all your force and might,
To lustiness, and been as ye have seid;
And think that I no drop of favour hight,
Ne never had to your desire obeyd,
Till sodenly, me thought, me was affrayed,
To seen you wax so dede of countenaunce;
And Pitè bad me don you some plasaunce.


Out of her shryne she roos from deth to lyve,
And in myne ere full prevely she spak,
'Doth not your servaunt hens away to dryve,
Rosiall,' quod she; and than myn harte [it] brak,
For tender reuth: and where I found moch lak
In your persoune, than I my-self bethought;
And seid, 'This is the man myne harte hath sought.''


'Gramercy, Pitè! might I but suffice
To yeve the lawde unto thy shryne of gold,
God wot, I wold; for sith that thou did rise
From deth to lyve for me, I am behold
To thanken you a thousand tymes told,
And eke my lady Rosiall the shene,
Which hath in comfort set myn harte, I wene.


And here I make myn protestacion,
And depely swere, as [to] myn power, to been
Feithfull, devoid of variacion,
And her forbere in anger or in tene,
And serviceable to my worldes quene,
With al my reson and intelligence,
To don her honour high and reverence.'


I had not spoke so sone the word, but she,
My souverain, did thank me hartily,
And seid, 'Abyde, ye shall dwell still with me
Till seson come of May; for than, truly,
The King of Love and all his company
Shall hold his fest full ryally and well:'
And there I bode till that the seson fell.


On May-day, whan the lark began to ryse,
To matens went the lusty nightingale
Within a temple shapen hawthorn-wise;
He might not slepe in all the nightertale,
But 'Domine labia,' gan he crye and gale,
'My lippes open, Lord of Love, I crye,
And let my mouth thy preising now bewrye.'


The eagle sang 'Venite, bodies all,
And let us joye to love that is our helth.'
And to the deske anon they gan to fall,
And who come late, he pressed in by stelth:
Than

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The Goat Crossing The Moat

The Capote is afloat beside the goat
Crossing the moat to read the note
And keep the quote in its throat

A tote does not vote that is what you wrote
So back to the rote eating the oat and
Smash the mote hidden on the boat

The seas bloat so you devote a bank note
For the seed coat of a wild oat
& scare quote for your strep throat
As Joseph's coat dote the eight note.

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The Island

Alive in this island of seclusion
As my fearful eyes witness
The maelstrom multitude of the mighty waves
Placing my nation in deep peril
The tides of tyranny the tides of terror smashing into the shores
Tide after tide draws nearer and nearer out to destroy what I live for
Freedom and fraternity, peace and serenity
All in this island I adore
The waves ever-nearer, are out to fill
My island with things I abhor

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The Old Fool In The Wood

'If I could whisper you all I know,'
Said the Old Fool in the Wood,
'You'd never say that green leaves grow.
You'd say, 'Ah, what a happy mood
The Master must be in today,
To think such thoughts,'
That's what you'd say.'

'If I could whisper you all I've heard,'
Said the Old Fool in the fern,
'You'd never say the song of a bird.
You'd say, 'I'll listen, and p'raps I'll learn
One word of His joy as He passed this way,
One syllable more,'
That's what you'd say.'

'If I could tell you all the rest,'
Said the Old Fool under the skies,
'You'd hug your griefs against your breast
And whisper with love-lit eyes,
'I am one with the sorrow that made the may,
And the pulse of His heart,'
That's what you'd say.'

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Hope For The Runaway

Out in the city strees
Alone and weak from the cold and hunger,
Trembling hands unfold a photograph.
Mom and Dan and Ann Marie,
Smiles from a distant sunrise,
The only smile you've seen in days.
CHORUS
Come back to me
Come back my darlin'
Come back to me
Or I will fade away
Come back to me
Come back my darlin'
I still believe in you
My runaway.
Jesse and Willy Lee
Play in the street while their mother wonders,
"Why won't they listen to a word I say?"
I sing a lullaby
To the baby in my arms
And the laughter fades away.
CHORUS
Come back to me
Come back my darlin'
I'm sending hope
For the runaway
Somewhere a flash of light
Cuts through the night
Like a lighthouse callin'
All of the lost and forgotten.
I made a vow I will continue
'Till i find you.
I'll never stop, I'll never stop believein'
I will wait for you forever
Sending you Hope for the runaway.

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The Assignment Sequence

Hendin
The assignment the assignment okay
Not too loud now not too loud
The song is called the assignment
Talks about the lover's gap
Tha gap between lovers
Especially in marriage and other forms
Bouncing off your wall
Tha pathways of my mind
Are on their way
Another way for today
You want me to see you
Baby I cannot see you
You want me to come for you
I cannot come for you
Cos you wany an assignment
I see no concession
Sall I hang my head with yours and be blue
Send alway laughter and fun
Spend all my time thinking about you
Don't you know there are things I can't do for you
My mind is on its way
Another way for today
My spirit is so foreign
You want silence
My spirit id taking flight now
But baby you're in a mood
And you wanna cry tonight now
Shall I hang my head with yours and be blue
That's what you want me to do
Send away laughter and fun
Spend my time crying
Trying to please you
Oh don't you know
There are things I can't do for you
My mind is on its way
Another way now for today

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Label Yourself Anything You Wish

Why is it that you feel,
You 'must' seek a definition...
To label me and what it is I do?
And I should fit comfortably within,
Your limited boundaries?
If that works for 'you...
Fine!

Haven't I already 'suggested' to you,
Approval and acceptance are not words...
In my vocabulary?
In fact...
I think the notion of both is ridiculous!
Why are you staring at me like that?
It's true.
I do!

Can we at least agree,
You have visions of building bigger boxes.
And I will always find a way to look outside of them!

There is no need to ruin your indigestion over this.
Or roll your eyes.
Call me names.
Or do your offensive thing!
You...
Not me,
Waste time!

I've stated to you...
You can label yourself anything you wish.
Great.
The Best.
Untouchable.
Monkey Doodle...
Whatever!
I-am-not-into-that...period.

What you do...
And how you achieve 'mental security'
Is 'not' going to change...
What OR 'whom' with an 'It' or an 'Is',
That provides my insight.
And that is 'not' YOU!
It will 'never' be you!

Why are you on my doorstep,
Trying to convince me of that?
Why can't you just go home and relax?
Chill out?
Why is it you've got me in your head like that?
You've got to be sexually frustrated!
Or severely impaired by a lack of comprehension!

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The Naiads' Music: From A Faun's Holiday

Come, ye sorrowful, and steep
Your tired brows in a nectarous sleep:
For our kisses lightlier run
Than the traceries of the sun
By the lolling water cast
Up grey precipices vast,
Lifting smooth and waem and steep
Out of the palely shimmering deep.

Come, ye sorrowul, and take
Kisses that are but half awake:
For here are eyes O softer far
Than the blossom of the star
Upon the mothy twilit waters,
And here are mouths whose gentle laughters
Are but the echoes of the deep
Laughing and murmuring in its sleep.

Come, ye sorrowful, and see
The raindrops flaming goldenly
On the stream's eddies overhead
And dragonflies with drops of red
In the crisp surface of each wing
Threading slant rains that flash and sing,
Or under the water-lily's cup,
From darkling depths, roll slowly up
The bronze flanks of ancient bream
Into the hot sun's shattered beam,
Or over a sunk tree's bubbled bole
The perch stream in a golden shoal:
Come, ye sorrowful; our deep
Holds dreams lovelier than sleep.

But if ye sons of Sorrow come
Only wishing to be numb:
Our eyes are sad as bluebell posies,
Our breasts are soft as silken roses,
And our hands are tenderer
Than he breaths that scarce can stir
The sunlit eglantine that is
Murmurous with hidden bees.
Come, ye sorrowful, and steep
Your tired brows in a nectarous sleep.

Come, ye sorrowful, for here
No voices sound but fond and clear
Of mouths as lorn as is the rose
That under water doth disclose,
Amid her crimson petals torn,
A heart as golden as the morn;
And here are tresses langourous
As the weeds wander over us,
And brows as holy and as bland
As the honey-coloured sand
Lying sun-entranced below
The lazy water's limpid flow:
Come, ye sorrowful, and steep
Your tired brows in a nectorous sleep.

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I can hear in the silence

The silence of our conversation
Is worse than anything you can say
And that fact that there's but silence between us
Is well to my dismay
I love you so much
Yet silence is the only thing I let escape
...... ....... ...... ....... ........ .......
Silence draped over our conversations
Like a long, black cape
There's so much I want to tell you
But I know I wouldn't
And I want to scream at you
But I know I shouldn't
...... ....... ...... ....... ........ .......
I know you want to say something too
Of this I'm sure
But it is only so little
That you or I will endure
The few times we talk
I can hear it in you voice
I can her uncertainty
And the need to make a choice
...... ....... ...... ....... ........ .......
I wish silence would leave
Once and for all
Then maybe we could have better communication
Perhaps even outside a phone call
And I try so hard
Just like I try to make this poem rhyme
But it just takes too much effort
And way too much time
But you can't expect me to let silence take over
And if you do you are very wrong
And if we continue like this
We won't be together long
And I bet that's what you want
....
........
............
......... .......
The silence continues.....
And so does this game
What's worst is I know
That I'm the only one to blame
It's all my fault
It's because of what I did and didn't do
And it hurts so much
Because I'm so in love with you
...... ....... ...... ....... ........ .......
I can hear in the silence
What I've heard for some time
You don't say anything
But I know what's on your mind
You leave behind silence
In the dark abyss that is my heart
And what's worst is
I, myself, tore it apart
...... ....... ...... ....... ........ .......
When I realized what I was doing
It was already too late
Just another
Twist of my terrible fate
And silence took over
A silence caused by me
A silence that's eternal
A silence that won't leave
................
............
.... ....
....
.

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Kisses And Cuddles!

Kisses and cuddles, yes, that's what you're worth!
And these you've received from the day of your birth!
Paradise started when life was received,
Preceding the moment that you ever breathed!
No man is an island, exempt from your charms!
Or the touch of your hand or embraced in your arms,
Or caressed with the fingers of fate at its best...
Awaiting the honour of one truly blessed.
Two lips left to reckon, and lowered eyes, too...
My heart seeks to beckon the nearness of you...
For what is the whole world itself worth to me
If true love is distant and never to be?
Yet hope springs eternal, it ever was so...
You are the sweetheart my heart yearns to know...

Take away riches, the clothes off my back,
And yet if you loved me, then nothing I'd lack.
Your love is most precious, most gracious of all...
Your kisses are luscious and sensuous to recall...
Forgive me for falling in love with your face,
Your body, your beauty, your skin soft as lace,
Your ideals as noble as God would decree,
Your patience and kindness and integrity.
And if dreams are the only highway to love
Then there I will love you as pure as a dove.
Like an angel who's known you and cherished your soul,
Who wishes your blessing and to at last see you're whole,
Who prays for the future when struggles are done
And Man's inner natures combine into one...

Kisses and cuddles, yes, that's what you're worth!
And these you've received from the day of your birth!
Paradise started when life was received,
Preceding the moment that you ever breathed!
No man is an island, exempt from your charms!
Or the touch of your hand or embraced in your arms,
Or caressed with the fingers of fate at its best...
Awaiting the honour of one truly blessed.
Two lips left to reckon, and lowered eyes, too...
My heart seeks to beckon the nearness of you...
For what is the whole world itself worth to me
If true love is distant and never to be?
Yet hope springs eternal, it ever was so...
Yes, you are the sweetheart my heart yearns to know...

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Patrick White

A Canadian Poet Since You Asked

A Canadian poet since you asked.
I’m madder than the landscape.
Glaciers have scarred me
retreating north like my father.
My heart has been shaped by neolithic chisels
into a dolmen of Michelangelo’s David
with a silver bullet and a rock in his hand
and the determination of a statue
who refuses to be intimidated by a scarecrow.
The end of an ice age.
No leftovers.
The platter scraped clean as the Canadian Shield.
Savage runes carved in rock by rock.
Older than the Rosetta Stone
my silence is indecipherable.
I mean marrow.
I mean broken bones.
I mean blood on the snow.
The moon comes like a nurse to the wounded pines
and applies a cool poultice of light to their limbs
in a season of storms
when the lake raves
and the fish dive deeper into themselves
and the bears huddle up under their layers of fat
in caves they’ve turned into dream wombs
and I burn underground like the root-fire
of a radical evangelist
among survivalist cedars
gathering under tents of snow
to be born again in the blood of the Caribou.
There are more heretics in the wilderness
than there are saints.
Whatever it takes to keep warm.
There are nights when my spirit is so cold
it congeals on my eyes
like breath on a windowpane
and I’d say anything
without amending an iota of it
just to be burnt at the stake
and thaw the chandeliers of frozen tears
that hang over me like the sword of Damocles
or the brittle radiance of the Pleiades
where they pick glass apples from sapphire trees
or the crystal castles of Arianrod in Corona Borealis
where everything turns like a Sufi top
but no one ever gets vertigo
and the Celts pay back money they owe the dead
after they die
if you can imagine that.
I make a significant Doppler Shift in my lifelines
and heaven sees red.
I am a Canadian poet
and my wingspan
is the sky over Saskatchewan.
I’m the firemaster of the staghorn sumac
when it rises like a phoenix in the fall
and then I’m a bird in the chimney
like a word stuck in my throat
I can’t recall
but it had something to do
with a wishbone and a harp.
I’m not the nice guy everyone purports me to be.
I’ve got the manners of a mountain
and the emotional life of the sea
and if I seem happy to meet people
it’s only because
it sometimes gets as lonely here
in the vastness of this snow blind no man’s land
as an icebreaker
shattering imageless mirrors
like cataracts in Frobisher Bay.
I’m a warm house
that opens its door to strangers on a cold night.
I bond like fire and shadows to anyone
against the impersonal inclemency of the weather.
That said
no man is Baffin Island
but there are foreign submarines
breeding like pods of killer whales all around me.
Explorers have been planting flags here for years
like artificial flowers in real gardens
but they keep getting lost in the holocaust of maples
gliding through no man’s land
behind a barrage of pine-cone artillery shells
to overrun the hill
like October assaulting Vimy Ridge.
What the earth teaches us here
like a female warrior shaman
is the hard love of an exacting mother
that no one owns
and can’t be possessed by another
because she’s got thresholds like timberlines
even a wolf can’t cross
and a memory like the Arctic
if she’s taken for granted
or real estate.
I am a Canadian poet.
White gold
from English ore
and uranium from the French.
The raven trickster of native lore.
The sacred clown.
The dangerous taboo
that lives too deep in the woods
for anyone to break.
I am a Canadian poet.
I marry knives like superstitions
that are meant to protect me from myself
but the moon keeps baiting my lovelife
with sexual acts
to trap and trade me in
like the skin of a mink
for a double-bladed ax.
I am a Canadian poet
with multiple identities.
A multilingual polyphrenic patriot.
A chameleon with a passport thats turning green.
because it’s spring here
and the lilaceous asphodels are up
but the seasons change like manic moodrings
and by the fall I’ll be burning my i.d.
in a protest rally of disaffected leaves
just to balance things
between Cain and Able
heaven and earth
murder and sacrifice
in a fair-minded farmboy kind of way
where everyone gets their ten minute say before God
and then sits down like the House of Commons
to break meat and wheat
salt and bread
loaves and fishs
or barbecued burgers and hotdogs with the crowds.
I am a Canadian poet.
I was cooked like a kid in its mother’s milk.
I grew up on the scraps they threw under the table.
I’ve learned to sing
like a streetcorner guitar case
that belts it out
like an open coffin at the Last Supper
where all they ever eat is flesh and blood
and I’m a desert on a diet
thats not into moral food.
If religion wanted to do my generation any good
it should go confess its accusation
to a world it’s misunderstood
like a child it won’t admit
is the issue of its own miscegenation.
I am a Canadian poet
from a big country with with an aquiline overview
of human nature red in tooth and claw
and like you
I am a citizen of the same abomination.
I arm myself to go to peace.
I talk myself to death
instead of committing suicide.
When nobody wants to know you
what have you got to hide?
There’s no risk in being open.
And yesterday always tells me the truth
about why it lied to my youth
about why the windows were weeping for the future
like a skull with glacial lakes for eyes
and a place on the totem
they keep for the dead
where I just can’t seem to get ahead
of my own prophecies.
Here’s one.
Stick a fork in it.
I’m as done as a barbecue in hell
and that doesn’t mean I just don’t feel well
it means I can feel the flesh slipping from my bones
like snow off a roof in a spring warm-up
and all I’ve got to live on
is recalled food for thought.
I’m grateful for everything
but sometimes it’s hard to know
what to be grateful for
when everything tastes like a foodbank
or Canadian culture
with the government for a muse.
For nearly fifty years
I’ve burned like a furnace
with the mouth of a fountain
firewalking across the waterstars.
There’s no axle on the wheel of birth and death
but for years I’ve been spinning it in the mud
thinking it might go somewhere
if I drive hard enough
but all I’ve done
is carded and spun whole cloth like Ghandi
from cottonmouths and fer de lance
meant to regulate the baby boom in slaves
like a cottage industry.
Now the skin I wore
like Yeats’ coat of old mythologies
in the fools’ eyes
to cover my enterprising nakedness
fits like the shroud of Turin
in a snakepit of sewing machines
that keep testing my bloodstream for plutonium.
It’s hard to learn to walk on water
when it’s high tide without any waves
and you’re always falling through the ice
too far from shore to risk a rescue.
When I’m cold enough to take my own advice.
I am a Canadian poet.
Second to none.
Because more than any nation could encompass
I’m first and foremost human.
And though it’s my brain
it’s not my mind
anymore than the wind is
and what it thinks
is not my personal property
to put my name on
and say I own this.
Sooner say you own the leaves in fall
you can at least take a rake to
and gather up and dispose of
like junkmail that came to the wrong address
than say this thought is mine
and that thought is yours.
You make a fist
of an open hand.
You begin to live behind closed doors
to keep yours in
and theirs out.
You concoct wars
that get out of hand
to change their children’s minds.
Wasn’t King Canute
and Britain when she put to sea
enough to convince anybody
that if anyone did rule the waves
nobody told the waves?
It’s the same with your mind.
How are your wavelengths
any different than those of the sea?
It’s like a star saying I own that light.
And I’m the one who decides whom it falls upon.
I am a Canadian poet.
The light is free
as it always has been
to create anything it wants to.
And though they’re my eyes
who can say the seeing
belongs to them alone?
You get the pointless point
of cowboy Zen?
I’m not a fountain pen
with blue blood for ink.
I say what I think without a blotter
to wipe my mouth clean of what I’ve said
like snow melting on the red oak in the woodshed
because it can’t take the heat
and wants to get out of the fridge.
I am a Canadian poet.
Wilderness flowers.
Fireweed after every conflagration
and columbine in the ashes
that didn’t know what else to grow.
And I suppose I should say something corny
about wheat and beavers and maple leaves and Mounties
and all that
but you already know and besides
at the bottom of all these totem poles
and reformed trees
that went to A.A. for drinking too much
I’m a lot more complicated than that.
I’m more dangerous
than any hardware store
you’ve ever met before.
And one thing about being born into a country
with enormous natural resources
like a mouse in a well-stocked pantry
you can afford to be seen
being kind and considerate to the poor
or as I do
scream murder
when I hear them being killed on the news.
Orpheus picks up his guitar in the corner
and begins to sing the blues.
See what I mean?
It’s obscene to be so decent about suffering
you raise both hands to stop it.
Every quarter given that was asked.
No surrender.
In this country that makes me an iconoclast.
Stand fast in the name
of any deception you disown
and you’re an outlaw
bad to the bone.
In literature class
they teach you to kiss ass anapestically
at wine and cheese soirees
making small talk awkwardly
across language barriers
with cultural attaches
after the reading
after the hour you spent
listening to cement
lament some lost cornerstone
that brought the house down
like the government
when she just couldn’t shovel
or churn it out anymore
and pretend it was butter
and good luck woman
made for the door.
He wants to call her a whore.
But he’s too nice for that.
So he talks about her poetry
as if it were as flat-chested
as she believed she was
playing to her worst fear
like paint ball
in suggestive overtones of camouflage.
A whole hour
waiting for one good line
that isn’t about making jam
or bleeding maples for their syrup
and how to flip a pancake like a lyric
over an open fire on the shore of Canoe Lake
where Tom Tomson drowned
standing up in his birchbark
to take a piss
or being hit on the head with a poker
out of jealousy
and somebody swapped his body with an Inuit
so its hard to intuit whose ghost was left
to give the creative seance of poets on tour
a sponsor to write about.
I write from the inside out
not the outside in.
I put the pauper before the prince
because I don’t like dressing up for royalty
and my girlfriend couldn’t afford a hat to meet the queen.
She was a hell of a human being
but she had rude hair
that wasn’t familiar with protocol.
She could paint like Frieda Rivera
or Georgia O’Keefe
but she was raised on welfare in Westmount
and didn’t think she needed a hat
to go anywhere
except when it rained
and even then she didn’t mind getting wet.
Things are so bittersweet here
you’d think everyone kept killer bees
and a hive was as good as a muse
to poets as dormant as smoke.
They all burn cedar boughs in a bucket
they swing like pioneer incense
to chase the bats out of the attic
across the road to their neighbour’s house
who answers them in kind with odes.
But I’m not a turtle crossing.
I am a Canadian poet
with low enough self-esteem
like the sea at the foot of the mountains
to compel me to abuse myself
by pursuing an earthly excellence
thats always a threshold beyond
my material means to achieve
but works wonders for the spirit
you wouldn’t believe.
I can conceive gold easy enough
when I write like the Yukon
but I live like ore
at the bottom of an abandoned mine
that was staked out by alchemists years ago
like base metal trying to strike it rich
without having to be philosophical about it.
I am a Canadian poet.
Thats not a fact.
Thats an interpretation.
And I’m turning it
like a jewel in the light
to see if that means
I’m the right man for the wrong nation.
Nature or nurture.
Dynamic equilibrium
or the membranal equivalence of hyperspace
blowing bubbles that pop like worlds?
The same eye by which I see my country
is the same eye by which it sees me?
I can live with the ambivalence if need be
but what I can’t stand
is the artificiality of the collective unconscious
when it starts adding flags and logos to its archetypes.
Jung would weep himself to sleep
every night like a recurring nightmare for years
or turn into an advertising executive
just to see how polluted things can get
when you leave the farm to an idiot.
You end up threshing waterlilies
and the engineers can’t help
competing with beavers
to see who can build the most dams.
I am a Canadian poet.
I think like Montreal
but I feel just like Toronto
with Vancouver for a spiritual life
and Ottawa for a conscience.
But I’m most at home in the backwoods
with flowering weeds and islands of trees
the farmers circumnavigate with ploughs
with little things that go on in the grass
as if everything that went on in the rest of the universe
were of absolutely no concern to them.
One-eyed Zen.
Ants on the chicory.
The fox is in its den.
I can see more space in a grain of sand
than a dragonfly’s got places
to plant pot on crown land.
And I like the way time stops
when nobody’s watching
and there’s something ageless about aging
I hadn’t noticed before
that makes me feel I’ve been here forever
and none of my questions
about what human beings are doing
walking around on the earth
really mattered anymore
now that I’ve found a place
for my homelessness
in Canadian folklore.
I used to feel trivial
surrounded by so much that was majestic.
Sunsets out over the Pacific
that put poppies to shame
and the savage pyramids of the pharaonic Rockies
too young to have an afterlife
worth the time and effort that has to go into it.
And besides
who needs hieroglyphs
when you’ve got the Burgess Shale?
I used to feel small
scurrying around in the shadows
of the tall imperium next door
under the feet of a brontosaur
waiting for a meteor
like my only hope
to get this dinosaur off my back.
I don’t have the genes to dominate a species
and evolution when you get right down to it
isn’t much of an achievement
when all it amounts to
is trying to make up for what you lack.
In art that means
there’s lots of grants for ingenuity
but none for genius.
The first painting goes up on the fridge.
The second jumps from a bridge
just to show them
how creative it is.
But that was years ago
when the only things I didn’t doubt
were trees.
I learned to weather things
like a whistling cherub in the corner of a map
that tells you which way the wind is blowing
by the gps of its cheeks.
I tasted the weather for myself
and found out all that rant
they taught me in highschool
about the pathetic fallacy not being true
was just science’s way
of looking at snow like a labcoat.
I am a Canadian poet.
It really does rain when I do.

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The greatest joys are found not only in what we do and feel, but also in what we hope for.

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Barbara Kingsolver

The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope.

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Just before she died she asked, What is the answer? No answer came. She laughed and said, In that case, what is the question? Then she died.

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Jack

Mental throughts,
I am Jack on the muse of love;
But an attractive and a beautiful woman is what you are,
And like the poor and the needy who need my help.

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Reese Witherspoon

I got a role in this movie called Freeway playing this really angry, aggressive, violent young woman who believed wholeheartedly in the truth. I had such satisfaction afterward, and I thought, That's what I want to do.

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A Child Not Forgotten

A child as a mother
You know in your heart
Not likely they'll make it
One's damned from the start

A child born too early
and there's not a sound
You pray for a miracle
then slowly break down

A child with no name
and future so bleak
not here to hold on to
was to tiny and weak

A child not forgotten
tho you need to say bye
to the one that you lost
but still makes your heart cry

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Everybody knows

Everybody knows there's a dream that makes us all feel good
Well I haven't had it for some time
I believe that it was something about love
But I cannot see the details anymore

Tell us 'bout your dream and the million things that you go and see
That I gotta say you've done allright
By the measures of society today
And I guess that's what you wanted anyway
Everybody's got it all

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My Big Mouth

Everybody knows...but no-one's saying nothing
And it was a sound so very loud...that no-one can hear
I got something in my shoes...It's keeping me from walking
Down the long and winding road... back home to you
(Bridge)
And round this town you've ceased to be
That's what you get for sleeping with the enemy
Where angels fly you won't play
So guess who's gonna take the blame for...
(Chorus)
My big mouth

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