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James Stewart

I always told Hitch that it would have been better to put seats around the set and sell tickets.

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The Shell....

i once had
a beautiful body
many beg to
touch it
many want to
sleep with me
even without
any responsibility

i look at myself
in the mirror
grateful for this
body

i had conceit
like a prince
of arrogance

time is my enemy
my body wears out
skin is loose
and bones become
brittle
there is a squeak
when i walk

sometimes i
regret having this
body
since i never had
used it
the way others
want it
if they had it

i tell myself
that it would have
been better
if this body
is the body of the
one i love

it would have been
more useful
perhaps lovelier
and i would have
been happier


my body is silent and indifferent
it has no independent mind of its own

it is one of those shells
where the hermit crab dwells

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Better It Would Have Been (Sonnet Corona / Crown Of Sonnets)

I

Without you much better it would have been,
if in this wide world under all the skies
I did not know you, I had never seen
the glimmer, the attraction in your eyes.

Better it would have been if I unseen
at the braking of that particular day
joyous, somewhat sincere like a teen
went on another different kind of way,

I would then have totally missed you
as our love, our joy was sealed in vain.
You would not have opportunity to do
things that leave much heartache and pain

as your heart was set in some treachery,
your blunt rebuke was not sought by me.


II

Your blunt rebuke was not sought by me,
yet you gave it to me as if earned,
as if from it I was not to be free,
its impact did hurt and really burned

right into my depths, my heart's inner core
and still I then very much loved you
every day more and even much more
as something very sincere and true

but my Lord I loved more deeper still
as He always dwelled in everything
and I try to live by His very will,
with your love being at times a cursing

and at times there was water on my glasses;
when the wild wind rushes through the grasses.


III

When the wild wind rushes through the grasses,
it is something that you will never see
nor the beauty of the places were it passes
as you can never be really quite free

from the rich earthly things that embraces
you in wantonness, in deep iniquity
and at many different kinds of places
high up on the hill and down in the lea

diamonds adorn grasses and wild flowers
as if nature cries for you and me
as tears of dew that shines, not from showers
while life is how it's determined to be,

when you had chosen a fresh sort of start;
I did not ask you to return my heart.


IV

I did not ask you to return my heart
you have trampled it again and again
and now it would be really just in vain
as it is broken in every part

but now from each other being apart
we live separate lives of joy and pain
and the simple fact does still remain,
it does not take someone really quite smart

to know that when you do not have me
your whole life becomes somewhat mundane,
then you do not really want to be free
and I know that it sounds very inane
but obviously I cannot anymore be
yours in love's strange painful mystery.


V

Yours in love's strange painful mystery
were without any tears and full of glee
but left me totally broken hearted
then I noted after more than fifteen years

that you did not take a last kind of kiss,
from me was taking whatever you could,
had totally forgotten our sweet bliss,
maybe I knew this was the way that it would.

I wish time and again not to have know you
in the way that it ended when you were gone,
while then you had been wickedly untrue
had have intimate sex with someone,

it's sometimes hard to be the only one,
when at night in darkness I lie down alone.


VI

When at night in darkness I lie down alone
the golden moon and all the stars are bright
and some of them to me are quite unknown,
Orion and the seven sisters gleam at night

but life does continually carry on
the morning sun seems at times out of sight
and it is stripped from all affection
but can constantly bring back life and light

to what is still left of my kind of world,
as if everything is falling apart
and in all the things that I do behold
you seem to be somehow the crucial part

as if everything was astray leaden,
as you left me, my life did then deaden.


VII

As you left me, my life did then deaden
as if being tied up and underfed,
walking away, not anymore a maiden,
leaving my heart filled with only dread.

In love I saw you as pure and holy
a mother for children, true to the gods,
but with your lover you acted lowly
as you did cast me away to life's odds

and you have lost all the joyful graces
with the very thoughts of you that remain,
images of your many different faces
are filled to the brim with utter pain

and to meet you again I am not keen,
without you much better it would have been.

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Which One Would Have a Better Chance

Who is better equipped,
To endure a prolonged and costly conflict?

Those accustomed to it with an appetite.
Or those nurtured on video games...
Created in 3-D.
Turned off after a few hours,
To eat sandwiches and other snacks.
To begin again,
After studying what strategies to use to win!

Which one would have a better chance,
To defeat the other?

'That's easy!
Anyone who can afford to play...
And keep their game updated!
Hopefully with sustained patriotism maintained.
With lots of mayo.'

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None of This Would Have Been Mentioned

It was only 'after' they acknowledged me,
That you accused me of not telling you.
Whatever it was they had to mention.
But...
I had gone to you first to exclaim my good news.
And you ignored me.
In fact...
You wanted to bring 'that' to my attention!
As I recall.

I didn't approach them at all.
If they had not acknowledged me...
You would not have cared or known.
And I knew that.
Remember this...
I am no stranger.
And if I had been...
I would have gotten your attention.
And none of this would have been mentioned.

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If She Would Have Been Faithful

I was thinking about her
Visiting the past
Reconstructing details with old photographs
Studying the faces
With an objective point of view
Suddenly remembering doesnt haunt me
At the time you couldnt tell me
That one day Id be glad
That something that I thought was love was misinterpreted
She had another lover- she emphatically denied
But they were doin me a favor
A blessing in disguise
Chorus:
If she would have been faithful
If she could have been true
Then I wouldve been cheated
I would never know real love
I wouldve missed out on you
I watch you sleeping- your body touchin me
Theres no doubt about it
This is where I want to be
Its so ironic- I had to lose to win
I want to thank her (thank her again)
Chorus
Bridge:
Its a paradox- full of contradiction
How I got from there to here
It defies a
Logical explanation
Chorus

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I Should Have I Could Have I Would Have

I vowed I would not say my father's famous words
'I should have could have I would have '
I do not know if I want to say them now
But somewhere in me is some longing unrealized
Some dream unreached
Some hope untouched-

'I could have done better
I could have worked harder
I should have been more conscientious
I should have tried to make money
I should have found the way to hold it all together once long ago
I should have concentrated on works of thought
I should have found a way in writing which would truly help others
I should have been kinder
I should have had the guts to say what I really think and feel about many things
I should have loved more
I should have taught my children in a better way
I should have been a stronger person'

But all the shoulds and all the coulds and all the woulds
What do they amount to?

I am here now
Who knows how much time left
Let me do the best I can
To help those I love
To try to serve God
in whatever small way I can

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What Might Have Been.(Poem)

You had been in Tangiers
until the early hours

of the morning
and was brought back

to base camp on the truck
as the sun was beginning to rise

over the horizon
and had then gone

to crash down
in your tent

too tired to undress
and slept through

until midday
then showered

and sat in the bar
when Mamie came

and sat beside you
and said

where'd you go last night?
I thought you

were going to walk me
down by the beach

and watch the sun rise
from the sea?

I was too tired
you said

I crashed out in my tent
she looked at her glass of coke

I could have joined you there
she whispered

and done what?
you said

slept beside me?
she shifted her buttocks

on the stool and said
well it would have been better

than sleeping in my tent
with that Scottish hen

as her brother calls her
you sipped your drink

and watched
the old Moroccan guy

in the corner
inhale on his marijuana smoke

plus I had her snoring
and moaning in her sleep

Mamie added
giving you her side on stare

yes
you said

it would have been
better than that

and she put her hand
on your thigh

and rubbed it back
and forth and said

but it didn't happen
maybe next time

you replied
imaging it all

in your mind
right down

to the last removing
of clothes

and trying to move
in the tent's small space

your body drained
of all strength

wanting only sleep
the Tangier booze

and belly dancers
and nightclub smoke and music

clinging on your flesh
and ringing in your ears

and she trying
to get you in

the right place
and you closing your eyes

and drifting away
like one who dies.

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Orlando Furioso Canto 11

ARGUMENT
Assisted by the magic ring she wears,
Angelica evanishes from view.
Next in a damsel, whom a giant bears
Beneath his arm, his bride Rogero true
Beholds. Orlando to the shore repairs,
Where the fell orc so many damsels slew;
Olympia frees, and spoils the beast of life:
Her afterwards Oberto takes to wife.

I
Although a feeble rein, in mid career,
Will oft suffice to stop courageous horse;
'Tis seldom Reason's bit will serve to steer
Desire, or turn him from his furious course,
When pleasure is in reach: like headstrong bear,
Whom from the honeyed meal 'tis ill to force,
If once he scent the tempting mess, or sup
A drop, which hangs upon the luscious cup.

II
What reason then Rogero shall withhold
From taking with Angelica delight, -
That gentle maid, there naked in his hold,
In the lone forest, and secure from sight?
Of Bradamant he thinks not, who controlled
His bosom erst: and foolish were the knight,
If thinking of that damsel as before,
By this he had not set an equal store;

III
Warmed by whose youthful beauties, the severe
Xenocrates would not have been more chaste.
The impatient Child had dropt both shield and spear,
And hurrying now his other arms uncased;
When, casting down her eyes in shame and fear,
The virtuous ring upon her finger placed,
Angelica descried, and which of yore
From her Brunello in Albracca bore.

IV
This is the ring she carried into France,
When thither first the damsel took her way;
With her the brother, bearer of the lance,
After, the paladin, Astolpho's prey.
With this she Malagigi's spells and trance
Made vain by Merlin's stair; and on a day
Orlando freed, with many knights and good,
From Dragontina's cruel servitude:

V
With this passed viewless from the turret-cell,
Where her that bad old man had mewed; but why
Recount its different wonders, if as well
You know the virtues of the ring as I?
From her this even in her citadel,
His monarch Agramant to satisfy,
Brunello took: since where she had been crost
By Fortune, till her native realm was lost.

VI
Now that she this upon her hand surveys,
She is so full of pleasure and surprise,
She doubts it is a dream, and, in amaze,
Hardly believes her very hand and eyes.
Then softly to her mouth the hoop conveys,
And, quicker than the flash which cleaves the skies,
From bold Rogero's sight her beauty shrowds,
As disappears the sun, concealed in clouds.

VII
Yet still Rogero gazed like wight distraught,
And hurried here and there with fruitless speed:
But when he had recalled the ring to thought,
Foiled and astounded, cursed his little heed.
And now the vanished lady, whom he sought,
Of that ungrateful and discourteous deed
Accusing stood, wherewith she had repaid,
(Unfitting recompense) his generous aid.

VIII
'Ungrateful damsel! and is this the pay
You render for the service done?' (said he)
'Why rather would you steal my ring away
Than have it as a welcome gift from me?
Not only this, (but use me as you may)
I, and my shield and courser, yours shall be;
So you no more conceal your beauteous cheer.
Cruel, though answering not, I know you hear.'

IX
So saying, like one blind, with bootless care,
Feeling his way about the fount he strayed.
How often he embraced the empty air,
Hoping in this to have embraced the maid!
Meanwhile, now far removed, the flying fair
Had halted not, till to a cave conveyed.
Formed in a mountain was that harbour rude;
Spacious, and for her need supplied with food.

X
'Twas here an aged herdsman, one who tended
A numerous troop of mares, had made his won:
These, seeking pasture, through the valley wended,
Where the green grass was fed by freshening run:
While stalls on either side the cave, defended
His charge from the oppressive noon-tide sun;
Angelica, within, that livelong day,
Unseen of prying eyes, prolonged her stay;

XI
And about evening, when refreshed with rest
And food, she deemed her course she might renew;
In certain rustic weeds her body dressed:
How different from those robes of red, or blue,
Green, yellow, purple, her accustomed vest,
So various in its fashion, shape, and hue!
Yet her not so that habit misbecame,
But that she looked the fair and noble dame.

XII
Then Phillis' and Neaera's praise forbear,
And ye who sing of Amaryllis cease,
Or flying Galataea, not so fair,
Tityrus and Melibaeus, with your peace!
'Twas here the beauteous lady took a mare,
Which liked her best, of all that herd's increase.
Then, and then first conceived the thought, again
To seek in the Levant her antient reign.

XIII
This while Rogero, after he had passed
Long space in hope the maid might re-appear,
Awakened from his foolish dream at last,
And found she was not nigh, and did not hear.
Then to remount his griffin-courser cast,
In earth and air accustomed to career.
But, having slipt his bit, the winged horse
Had towered and soared in air a freer course.

XIV
To his first ill addition grave and sore
Was to have lost the bird of rapid wing,
Which he no better than the mockery bore
Put on him by the maid; but deeper sting
Than this or that, implants, and pains him more,
The thought of having lost the precious ring;
Not for its power so much, esteemed above
Its worth, as given him by his lady love.

XV
Afflicted beyond measure, he, with shield
Cast on his shoulder, and new-cased in mail,
Left the sea-side, and through a grassy field
Pursued his way, towards a spacious vale:
Where he beheld a path, by wood concealed,
The widest and most beaten in the dale.
Nor far had wound the closest shades within,
Ere on his right he heard a mighty din.

XVI
He heard a din, and fearful clashing sound
Of arms, and hurrying on with eager pace
'Twixt tree and tree, two furious champions found,
Waging fierce fight in close and straightened place:
Who to each other (warring on what ground
I know not) neither showed regard nor grace.
The one a giant was of haughty cheer,
And one a bold and gallant cavalier.

XVII
Covered with shield and sword, one, leaping, sped
Now here now there, and thus himself defended,
Lest a two-handed mace upon his head
Should fall, with which the giant still offended: -
On the field lay his horse, already dead.
Rogero paused, and to the strife attended:
And straight his wishes leant towards the knight,
Whom he would fain see conqueror in the fight:

XVIII
Yet not for this would lend the champion aid,
But to behold the cruel strife stood nigh.
Lo! a two-handed stroke the giant made
Upon the lesser warrior's casque, and by
The mighty blow the knight was overlaid:
The other, when astound he saw him lie,
To deal the foe his death, his helm untied,
So that the warrior's face Rogero spied.

XIX
Of his sweet lady, of his passing fair,
And dearest Bradamant Rogero spies
The lovely visage of its helmet bare;
Towards whom, to deal her death, the giant hies:
So that, advancing with his sword in air,
To sudden battle him the Child defies,
But he, who will not wait for new alarm,
Takes the half-lifeless lady in his arm,

XX
And on his shoulder flings and bears away;
As sometimes wolf a little lamb will bear,
Or eagle in her crooked claws convey
Pigeon, or such-like bird, through liquid air.
Rogero runs with all the speed he may,
Who sees how needed is his succour there.
But with such strides the giant scours the plain,
Him with his eyes the knight pursues with pain.

XXI
This flying and that following, the two
Kept a close path which widened still, and they
Piercing that forest, issued forth to view
On a wide meadow, which without it lay.
- No more of this. Orlando I pursue,
That bore Cymosco's thunder-bolt away;
And this had in the deepest bottom drowned,
That never more the mischief might be found.

XXII
But with small boot: for the impious enemy
Of human nature, taught the bolt to frame,
After the shaft, which darting from the sky
Pierces the cloud and comes to ground in flame,
Who, when he tempted Eve to eat and die
With the apple, hardly wrought more scathe and shame,
Some deal before, or in our grandsires' day,
Guided a necromancer where it lay.

XXIII
More than a hundred fathom buried so,
Where hidden it had lain a mighty space,
The infernal tool by magic from below
Was fished and born amid the German race;
Who, by one proof and the other, taught to know
Its powers, and he who plots for our disgrace,
The demon, working on their weaker wit,
As last upon its fatal purpose hit.

XXIV
To Italy and France, on every hand
The cruel art among all people past:
And these the bronze in hollow mould expand,
First in the furnace melted by the blast:
Others the iron bore, and small or grand,
Fashion the various tube they pierce or cast.
And bombard, gun, according to its frame,
Or single cannon this, or double, name.

XXV
This saker, culverine, or falcon hight,
I hear (all names the inventor has bestowed);
Which splits or shivers steel and stone outright,
And, where the bullet passes, makes a road.
- Down to the sword, restore thy weapons bright,
Sad soldier, to the forge, a useless load;
And gun or carbine on thy shoulder lay,
Who without these, I wot, shalt touch no pay.

XXVI
How, foul and pestilent discovery,
Didst thou find place within the human heart?
Through thee is martial glory lost, through thee
The trade of arms became a worthless art:
And at such ebb are worth and chivalry,
That the base often plays the better part.
Through thee no more shall gallantry, no more
Shall valour prove their prowess as of yore.

XXVII
Through thee, alas! are dead, or have to die,
So many noble lords and cavaliers
Before this war shall end, which, Italy
Afflicting most, has drowned the world in tears,
That, if I said the word, I err not, I,
Saying he sure the cruellest appears
And worst, of nature's impious and malign,
Who did this hateful engine first design:

XXVIII
And I shall think, in order to pursue
The sin for ever, God has doomed to hell
That cursed soul, amid the unhappy crew,
Beside the accursed Judas there to dwell.
But follow we the good Orlando, who
So burns to seek Ebuda's island fell,
Whose foul inhabitants a monster sate
With flesh of women, fair and delicate.

XXIX
But no less slow than eager was the knight:
The winds appear, which still his course delay;
Who, whether blowing on the left or right,
Or poop, so faintly in his canvas play,
His bark makes little speed; and, spent outright,
The breeze which wafts her sometimes dies away,
Or blows so foul, that he is fain to steer
Another course, or to the leeward veer.

XXX
It was the will of Heaven that he, before
The King of Ireland, should not reach the land,
The he with greater ease upon that shore
Might act what shortly you shall understand.
'Make for the isle. Now' (said he) 'may'st thou moor,'
(Thus issuing to the pilot his command),
'And give me for my need the skiff; for I
Will to the rock without more company.

XXXI
'The biggest cable that thou hast aboard,
And biggest anchor to my hands consign;
Thou shalt perceive why thus my boat is stored,
If I but meet that monster of the brine.'
He bade them lower the pinnace overboard,
With all things that befitted his design:
His arms he left behind, except his blade,
And singly for the rocky island made.

XXXII
Home to his breast the count pulls either oar,
With the island at his back, to which he wends,
In guise that, crawling up the sandy shore,
The crooked crab from sea or marsh ascends.
It was the hour Aurora gay before
The rising sun her yellow hair extends
(His orb as yet half-seen, half-hid from sight)
Not without stirring jealous Tithon's spite.

XXXIII
Approaching to the naked rock as near
As vigorous hand might serve to cast a stone,
He knew not if he heard, or did not hear
A cry, so faint and feeble was the moan.
When, turning to the left, the cavalier,
His level sight along the water thrown,
Naked as born, bound to a stump, espied
A dame whose feet were wetted by the tide.

XXXIV
Because she distant is, and evermore
Holds down her face, he ill can her discern:
Both sculls he pulls amain, and nears the shore,
With keen desire more certain news to learn:
But now the winding beach is heard to roar,
And wood and cave the mighty noise return;
The billows swell, and, lo! the beast! who pressed,
And nigh concealed the sea beneath his breast.

XXXV
As cloud from humid vale is seen to rise,
Pregnant with rain and storm, which seems withal
To extinguished day, and charged with deeper dyes
Than night, to spread throughout this earthly ball,
So swims the beast, who so much occupies
Of sea, he may be said to keep it all.
Waves roar: collected in himself, the peer
Looks proudly on, unchanged in heart and cheer.

XXXVI
He, as one well resolved in his intent,
Moved quickly to perform the feat he planned;
And, for he would the damsel's harm prevent,
And would with that assail the beast at hand,
Between her and the orc the boat he sent,
Leaving within the sheath his idle brand,
Anchor and cable next he takes in hold,
And waits the foe with constant heart and bold.

XXXVII
As soon as him the monster has descried,
And skiff at little interval, his throat
The fish, to swallow him, expands so wide,
That horse and horseman through his jaws might float.
Here Roland with the anchor, and beside
(Unless I am mistaken) with the boat
Plunged, and engulphed the parted teeth betwixt,
His anchor in the tongue and palate fixt;

XXXVIII
So that the monster could no longer drop
Or raise his horrid jaws, which this extends.
'Tis thus who digs the mine is wont to prop
The ground, and where he works the roof suspends,
Lest sudden ruin whelm him from atop,
While he incautiously his task intends.
Roland (so far apart was either hook)
But by a leap could reach the highest crook.

XXXIX
The prop so placed, Orlando now secure
That the fell beast his mouth no more can close,
Unsheathes his sword, and, in that cave obscure,
Deals here and there, now thrusts, now trenchant blows.
As well as citadel, whose walls immure
The assailants, can defend her from her foes,
The monster, harassed by the war within,
Defends himself against the Paladin.

XL
Now floats the monstrous beast, o'ercome with pain,
Whose scaly flanks upon the waves expand;
And now descends into the deepest main,
Scowers at the bottom, and stirs up the sand.
The rising flood ill able to sustain,
The cavalier swims forth, and makes for land.
He leaves the anchor fastened in his tongue,
And grasps the rope which from the anchor hung.

XLI
So swimming till the island is attained,
With this towards the rock Orlando speeds:
He hawls the anchor home (a footing gained),
Pricked by whose double fluke, the monster bleeds.
The labouring orc to follow is constrained,
Dragged by that force which every force exceeds;
Which at a single sally more achieves
Than at ten turns the circling windlass heaves.

XLII
As a wild bull, about whose horn is wound
The unexpected noose, leaps here and there,
When he has felt the cord, and turns him round,
And rolls and rises, yet slips not the snare;
So from his pleasant seat and ancient bound,
Dragged by that arm and rope he cannot tear,
With thousands of strange wheels and thousand slides,
The monster follows where the cable guides.

XLIII
This the red sea with reason would be hight
To-day, such streams of blood have changed its hue;
And where the monster lashed it in his spite,
The eye its bottom through the waves might view.
And now he splashed the sky, and dimmed the light
Of the clear sun, so high the water flew.
The noise re-echoing round, the distant shore
And wood and hill rebound the deafening roar.

XLIV
Forth from his grotto aged Proteus hies,
And mounts above the surface at the sound;
And having seen Orlando dive, and rise
From the orc, and drag the monstrous fish to ground,
His scattered flock forgot, o'er ocean flies;
While so the din increases, that, astound,
Neptune bids yoke his dolphins, and that day
For distant Aethiopia posts away.

XLV
With Melicerta on her shoulders, weeping
Ino, and Nereids with dishevelled hair,
The Glauci, Tritons, and their fellows, leaping
They know not whither, speed, some here, some there.
Orlando draws to land, the billows sweeping,
That horrid fish, but might his labour spare:
For, with the torment worn, and travel sore,
The brute, exhausted, died, ere dragged ashore.

XLVI
Of the islanders had trooped no petty throng,
To witness that strange fight, who by a vain
And miserable superstition stung,
Esteemed such holy deed a work profane;
And said that this would be another wrong
To Proteus, and provoke his ire again;
Make him his herds pour forth upon the strand,
And with the whole old warfare vex the land;

XLVII
And that it better were to sue for peace,
First from the injured god, lest worse ensue;
And Proteus from his cruel hate would cease,
If they into the sea the offender threw.
As torch to torch gives fire, and lights increase,
Until the flame is spread the country through,
Even so from heart to heart the fury spread,
Which in the waves would doom Orlando dead.

XLVIII
These, armed with sling or bow, upon the shore,
And these supplied with spear or sword descend;
And on each side, behind him and before,
Distant and near, as best they can, offend.
At such a brutal insult wonders sore
The peer, who sees that mischief they intend,
In vengeance for the cruel monster slain,
Whence he had glory hoped, and praise to gain.

XLIX
But as the usage is of surly bear,
By sturdy Russ or Lithuanian led,
Little to heed the dogs in crowded fair,
Nor even at their yelps to turn his head,
The clamour of the churls assembled there
Orlando witnessed with as little dread;
Who knew that he the rout which threatened death,
Had power to scatter at a single breath:

L
And speedily he made them yield him place,
When turned on them, he grasped his trenchant blade.
Misjudging of his worth, the foolish race
Deemed that he would have short resistance made;
Since him they saw no covering buckler brace,
Uncuirassed, nor in other arms arrayed;
But knew not that, from head to foot, a skin
More hard than diamond cased the Paladin.

LI
What by Orlando others cannot do,
The knight by others can; at half a score
Of blows in all he thirty killed; by few
He passed that measure, if the strokes were more:
And had already turned him to undo
The naked lady, having cleared the shore,
When other larum sounds, and other cries
From a new quarter of the island rise.

LII
While so the Paladin had kept in play
The barbarous islanders, upon that hand,
The men of Ireland, without let or fray,
Had poured from many quarters on the strand:
And now, without remorse or pity, slay
The inhabitants, through all the wasted land;
And, was it justice moved, or cruel rage,
Slaughter without regard to sex or age.

LIII
Little or no defender the island-crew
Attempt; in part as taken unaware,
In part that in the little place are few,
And that those few without a purpose are.
'Mid sack and fire, the wasted country through,
The islanders are slain, and everwhere
The walls are upon earth in ruin spread,
Nor in the land is left a living head.

LIV
As if the mighty tumult which he hears,
And shriek and ruin had concerned him nought,
The naked rock the bold Orlando nears,
Where she was placed, to feed the monster brought.
He looks, and known to him the dame appears,
And more appears, when nigher her he sought:
Olympia she appears, and is indeed
Olympia, whose faith reaped so ill a meed.

LV
Wretched Olympia; whom, beside the scorn
Which Love put on her, Fortune too pursued,
Who sent the corsairs fell, which her had born
That very day to the island of Ebude.
She Roland recollects on his return
Landward; but, for the damsel naked stood,
Not only nought she to the warrior said,
But dared not raise her eyes, and dropt her head.

LVI
Orlando asks what evil destiny
Her to that cruel island had conveyed
From where she in as much felicity
Was with her consort left as could be said:
'I know not (cried the weeping dame) if I
Have thanks to render thee for death delayed,
Or should lament me that, through means of thee,
This day did not my woes concluded see.

LVII
'I have to thank thee that from death, too dread
And monstrous, thy good arm deliverance gave;
Which would have been too monstrous, had I fed
The beast, and in his belly found a grave:
But cannot thank thee that I am not dead,
Since death alone can me from misery save,
Well shall I thank thee for that wished relief,
Which can deliver me from every grief.'

LVIII
Next she related, with loud sobs and sighs,
How her false spouse betrayed her as she lay
Asleep, and how of pirates made the prize,
They bore her from the desert isle away.
And, as she spake, she turned her in the guise
Of Dian, framed by artists, who pourtray
Her carved or painted, as in liquid font
She threw the water in Actaeon's front.

LIX
For, as she can, her waist she hides, and breast,
More liberal of flowing flank and reins.
Roland desires his ship, to find a vest
To cover her, delivered from her chains:
While he is all intent upon this quest,
Oberto comes; Oberto, he that reigns
O'er Ireland's people, who had understood
How lifeless lay the monster of the flood;

LX
And, swimming, how, amid the watery roar,
A knight a weighty anchor in his throat
Had fix'd, and so had dragged him to the shore,
As men against the current track a boat.
This while Oberto comes; who, if his lore,
Who told the tale, were true, desires to note;
While his invading army, far and wide,
Ebuda burn and waste on every side.

LXI
Oberto, though the Paladin to sight
Was dripping, and with water foul and gore;
With gore, that from the orc, emerged to light,
Whom he had entered bodily, he bore,
He for the country knew the stranger knight
As he perused his face; so much the more,
That he had thought when told the tidings, none
Save Roland could such mighty fear have done;

LXII
Knew him, because a page of honour he
Had been in France, and for the crown, his right
Upon his father's death, had crossed the sea
The year before. So often he the knight
Had seen, and had with him held colloquy,
Their times of meeting had been infinite.
He doffed his casque, with festive welcome pressed
Towards the count, and clasped him to the breast.

LXIII
Orlando is no less rejoined to see
The king, than is the king that champion true.
After with friendly cheer and equal glee
Had once or twice embraced the noble two,
To Oberto Roland told the treachery
Which had been done the youthful dame, and who
Had done it, - false Bireno - that among
All men should least have sought to do her wrong.

LXIV
To him he told the many proofs and clear
By which the dame's affection had been tried;
And how she for Bireno kin and geer
Had lost, and would in fine for him have died.
And how he this could warrant, and appear
To vouch for much, as witness on her side.
While thus to him her griefs Orlando showed,
The lady's shining eyes with tears o'erflowed.

LXV
Her face was such as sometimes in the spring
We see a doubtful sky, when on the plain
A shower descends, and the sun, opening
His cloudy veil, looks out amid the rain.
And as the nightingale then loves to sing
From branch of verdant stem her dulcet strain,
So in her beauteous tears his pinions bright
Love bathes, rejoicing in the chrystal light.

LXVI
The stripling heats his golden arrow's head
At her bright eyes, then slacks the weapon's glow
In streams, which falls between white flowers and red;
And, the shaft tempered, strongly draws his bow,
And roves at him, o'er whom no shield is spread,
Nor iron rind, nor double mail below;
Who, gazing on her tresses, eyes, and brow,
Feels that his heart is pierced, he knows not how.

LXVII
Olympia's beauties are of those most rare,
Nor is the forehead's beauteous curve alone
Excellent, and her eyes and cheeks and hair,
Mouth, nose, and throat, and shoulders; but, so down
Descending from the lady's bosom fair,
Parts which are wont to be concealed by gown,
Are such, as haply should be placed before
Whate'er this ample world contains in store.

LXVIII
In whiteness they surpassed unsullied snow,
Smooth ivory to the touch: above were seen
Two rounding paps, like new-pressed milk in show,
Fresh-taken from its crate of rushes green;
The space betwixt was like the valley low,
Which oftentimes we see small hills between,
Sweet in its season, and now such as when
Winter with snows has newly filled the glen.

LXIX
The swelling hips and haunches' symmetry,
The waist more clear than mirror's polished grain,
And members seem of Phidias' turnery,
Or work of better hand and nicer pain.
As well to you of other parts should I
Relate, which she to hide desired in vain.
To sum the beauteous whole, from head to feet,
In her all loveliness is found complete.

LXX
And had she in the Idaean glen unveiled
In ancient days before the Phrygian swain,
By how much heavenly Venus had prevailed
I know not, though her rivals strove in vain.
Nor haply had the youth for Sparta sailed,
To violate the hospitable reign;
But said: 'With Menelaus let Helen rest!
No other prize I seek, of this possest';

LXXI
Or in Crotona dwelt, where the divine
Zeuxis in days of old his work projected,
To be the ornament of Juno's shrine,
And hence so many naked dames collected;
And in one form perfection to combine,
Some separate charm from this or that selected,
He from no other model need have wrought.
Since joined in her were all the charms he sought.

LXXII
I do not think Bireno ever viewed
Naked that beauteous form; for sure it were
He never could have been so stern of mood,
As to have left her on that desert lair.
That Ireland's king was fired I well conclude,
Nor hid the flame that he within him bare.
He strives to comfort her, and hope instill,
That future good shall end her present ill.

LXXIII
And her to Holland promises to bear,
And vows till she is to her state restored,
And just and memorable vengeance there
Achieved upon her perjured, traitor lord,
He never will unceasing war forbear,
Waged with all means that Ireland can afford;
And this with all his speed. He, up and down,
Meantime bids seek for female vest and gown.

LXXIV
Now will it need to send in search of vest
Beyond the savage island's narrow bound,
Since thither every day in such came dressed,
Some dame, to feed the beast, from countries round.
Nor long his followers there pursued the quest,
Ere many they of various fashions found.
So was Olympia clothed; while sad of mood
Was he, not so to clothe her as he wou'd.

LXXV
But never silk so choice or gold so fine
Did the industrious Florentine prepare,
Nor whosoever broiders gay design,
Though on his task be spent time, toil, and care,
Nor Lemnos' god, nor Pallas' art divine,
Form raiment worthy of those limbs so fair,
That King Oberto cannot choose but he
Recalls them at each turn to memory.

LXXVI
To see that love so kindled by the dame,
On many grounds Orlando was content;
Who not alone rejoiced that such a shame
Put upon her, Bireno should repent;
But, that in the design on which he came,
He should be freed from grave impediment.
Not for Olympia thither had he made,
But, were his lady there, to lend her aid.

LXXVII
To him, that there she was not, soon was clear,
But clear it was not if she had been there,
Or no; since of those islesmen, far and near,
One was not left the tidings to declare.
The following day they from the haven steer,
And all united in one squadron fare.
The Paladin with them to Ireland hies,
From whence to France the warrior's passage lies.

LXXVIII
Scarcely a day in Ireland's realm he spends:
And for no prayers his purposed end forbore:
Love, that in quest of his liege-lady sends
The knight upon this track, permits no more.
Departing, he Olympia recommends
To the Irish monarch, who to serve her swore:
Although this needed not; since he was bent
More than behoved, her wishes to content:

LXXIX
So levied in few days his warlike band,
And (league with England's kind and Scotland's made)
In Holland and in Friesland left no land
To the false duke, so rapid was the raid.
And to rebel against that lord's command
His Zealand stirred; nor he the war delayed,
Until by him Bireno's blood was spilt:
A punishment that ill atoned his guilt.

LXXX
Oberto takes to wife Olympia fair,
And her of countess makes a puissant queen.
But be the Paladin again our care,
Who furrows , night and day, the billows green,
And strikes his sails in the same harbour, where
They to the wind erewhile unfurled had been
All armed, he on his Brigliadoro leaps,
And leaves behind him winds and briny deeps.

LXXXI
The remnant of the winter, he with shield
And spear achieved things worthy to be shown,
I ween; but these were then so well concealed,
It is no fault of mine they are not blown;
For good Orlando was in fighting field,
Prompter to do, than make his prowess known.
Nor e'er was bruited action of the knight,
Save when some faithful witness was in sight.

LXXXII
That winter's remnant he so passed that feat
Of his was known not to the public ear;
But when within that animal discreet
Which Phryxus bore, the sun illumed the sphere,
And Zephyrus returning glad and sweet,
Brought back with him again the blooming year,
The wondrous deeds Orlando did in stower,
Appeared with the new grass and dainty flower.

LXXXIII
From plain to hill, from champaign flat to shore,
Oppressed with grief and pain the County fares,
When a long cry, entering a forest hoar,
- A load lamenting smites upon his ears.
He grasps his brand and spurs his courser sore,
And swiftly pricks toward the sound he hears.
But I shall at another season say
What chanced, and may be heard in future lay.

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The Echo

i make a sound
around the sides of the mountain
like walls to my being
the sound comes back to me
over and over again
like a conscience barking
a dog fenced
barking without end
i listened
and i wonder if it is the first sound
i made

what we do and say comes back to us
begging
that it would have been better if we have not
done and said them at all

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Woman's Fury

you must remember the sweetness
of her: her smile and the touch of her
soft hands
recall: the green hill and the blue
clouds, and the dinner together
candlelit and outside the kiss
by the door

long ago, twenty three years to be
exact, she went ahead and you
promised to follow

it did not work out and then she
comes back with a mask
she writes what you cannot
relate, not a hint of what really
happened
when things did not really work out
between the two of
you

she is emptying herself from anything
about you
it would have been a sweet love story

now the phantoms and gargoyles
are staying in her house
she cannot leave
she never outlived what was it that bound her.

this time, love means a lot if you would only say
I'm sorry.

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My Father

Judy collins
Original lyrics by judy collins
My father always promised me
That we would live in france
Wed go boating on the seine
And I would learn to dance
We lived in ohio then
He worked in the mines
On his dreams like boats
We knew we would sail in time
All my sisters soon were gone
To denver and cheyenne
Marrying their grownup dreams
The lilacs and the man
I stayed behind the youngest still
Only danced alone
The colors of my fathers dreams
Faded without a sound
And I live in paris now
My children dance and dream
Hearing the ways of a miners life
In words theyve never seen
I sail my memories of home
Like boats across the seine
And watch the paris sun
As it sets in my fathers eyes again
My father always promised us
That we would live in france
Wed go boating on the seine
And I would learn to dance
I sail my memories of home
Like boats across the seine
And watch the paris sun
As it sets in my fathers eyes again

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Old Friends

sometimes i admit i miss old friends,
and when i see some of them,
alumnus of the same university
where i spent most of my years,
i feel we are one big family and
i am happy and if there is a need
we shall have our reunions, and get
to recall what we shared before
some old songs, some hardships,
common joys and sorrows
untold escapades, emotions cascade

sometimes i like to go back to the past
and ask where i succeeded and failed, where i was once
aloof and not so cooperative,
i go back with a
heavy heart, and i make some promises
for recompense and be more likable

but then, they have already formed their opinions
fixed their minds, sculpted me to finality,

to a certain extent i am as i was once and
there is no more change from their points of view

i feel they wish that i should have died earlier
and that it would have been better if they have not seen me again.

there is this hard rock, like their conclusions, like fists
and here i am, again under the same wrong impression
now and ever shall be.(forever amen)

i give them the same response: i am used to all these.
and i do not really care if i still continue writing poems.

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First Impressions

They say that first impressions
should be lasting ones
by which we build
people’s characters from.
Do not believe it, that’s wrong.
I’ve known people
who were smiles at the start,
but once you got to know them
wouldn’t hesitate
to stab you in the back,
and others whom the first impressions
were so very wrong,
but as you got to know them,
you really found out how good they were.

The story I am about to relate
illustrates the second point so well.
It is the true story
of a very dear friend of mine.
It all started about three years ago
in the Western town I belong to.
Maggie turned up one day,
a single girl with a married man.
Some looked on her with suspicion,
especially after her man friend
left her alone again.
Slowly she was looked upon
as a bit of a tart
because of her friendliness
towards some of the men.
At our annual Christmas party that year,
she seemed to be throwing herself at every man.

Now that first impression
would put off a lot of people
and they would have been wrong.
She helped out around the town,
in the eating-house with afternoon teas.
When someone’s car broke down who lived near her,
she would bring them to the town
and take them back home again.
Slowly she integrated into
the family of the town.
Her unconventional entrance
and first impression was soon forgotten.

She attended our church
whenever she could.
Respect for her began to grow
as the months passed by.
Maggie began to become
a pillar of our little town.
She wears a smile for everyone she meets
and laughs sincerely at funny things said.
Her story is far from over.

Last month on my birthday,
tragedy struck our town
and two dear friends of mine
were struck down.
One passed away and the other
is in hospital for a considerable stay.
The later is Irish who was widowed
just over a year ago and left to bring up
three young sons on his own.
As town-folk, we’ve tried
to help him the best we could.
Now he is in hospital,
but who was going to look after his sons.
It was then Maggie stepped forward
and said the lads could stay with her
while Irish was recovering.

The three boys who were a wild bunch
have tamed a bit under the guiding hand
of this loving surrogate mum.
I saw them together last Saturday
laughing and joking just like a real family.
Maggie has the highest admiration
and respect from everyone in our town.
So the next time you meet someone
take a little time before you judge their character.
This story is still continuing
it’s a story without end,
at least for now.
It proves once again how friendship
can overcome any adversity.

8 July 2008

This poem is dedicated to Maggie
And all the others like her out there in the world today.

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A Secret Gratitude

1
She cleaned house, and then lay down long
On the long stair.


On one of those cold white wings
That the strange fowl provide for us like one hillside of the sea,
That cautery of snow that blinds us,
Pitiless light,
One winter afternoon
Fair near the place where she sank down with one wing broken,
Three friends and I were caught
Stalk still in the light.


Five of the lights. Why should they care for our eyes?
Five deer stood there.
They looked back, a good minute.
They knew us, all right:
Four chemical accidents of horror pausing
Between one suicide or another
On the passing wing
Of an angel that cared no more for our biology, our pity, and our pain
Than we care.


Why should any mere multitude of the angels care
To lay one blind white plume down
On this outermost limit of something that is probably no more
Than an aphid,
An aphid which is one of the angels whose wings toss the black pears
Of tears down on the secret shores
Of the seas in the corner
Of a poet’s closed eye.
Why should five deer
Gaze back at us?
They gazed back at us.
Afraid, and yet they stood there,
More alive than we four, in their terror,
In their good time.


We had a dog.
We could have got other dogs.
Two or three dogs could have taken turns running and dragging down
Those fleet lights, whose tails must look as mysterious as the
Stars in Los Angeles.
We are men.
It doesn’t even satisfy us
To kill one another.
We are a smear of obscenity
On the lake whose only peace
Is a hole where the moon
Abandoned us, that poor
Girl who can’t leave us alone.


If I were the moon I would shrink into a sand grain
In the corner of the poet’s eye,
While there’s still room.


We are men.
We are capable of anything.
We could have killed every one of those deer.
The very moon of lovers tore herself with the agony of a wounded tigress
Out of our side.
We can kill anything.
We can kill our own bodies.
Those deer on the hillside have no idea what in hell
We are except murderers.
They know that much, and don’t think
They don’t.
Man’s heart is the rotten yolk of a blacksnake egg
Corroding, as it is just born, in a pile of dead
Horse dung.
I have no use for the human creature.
He subtly extracts pain awake in his own kind.
I am born one, out of an accidental hump of chemistry.
I have no use.


2
But
We didn’t set dogs on the deer,
Even though we know,
As well as you know,
We could have got away with it,
Because
Who cares?


3
Boissevain, who was he?
Was he human? I doubt it,
From what I know
Of men.


Who was he,
Hobbling with his dry eyes
Along in the rain?


I think he must have fallen down like the plumes of new snow,
I think he must have fallen into the grass, I think he
Must surely have grown around
Her wings, gathering and being gathered,
Leaf, string, anything she could use
To build her still home of songs
Within sound of water.


4
By God, come to that, I would have married her too,
If I’d got the chance, and she’d let me.
Think of that. Being alive with a girl
Who could turn into a laurel tree
Whenever she felt like it.
Think of that.


5
Outside my window just now
I can hear a small waterfall rippling antiphonally down over
The stones of my poem.

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My, My How You've Changed

You never cared what others thought
You never gossiped about anyone
You never tried to fit in with the rest
You never judged anyone on their looks

Today you base life from what others think
Today gossip is a natural thing
Today you try so hard to fit in with the rest
Today everyone needs to look their best

My, my how you've changed
It would have been better if you'd stayed the same
You have lost all of your true friends
My, my how you've changed

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As a World Would Have It

ALCESTIS


Shall I never make him look at me again?
I look at him, I look my life at him,
I tell him all I know the way to tell,
But there he stays the same.

Shall I never make him speak one word to me?
Shall I never make him say enough to show
My heart if he be glad? Be glad? … ah! God,
Why did they bring me back?

I wonder, if I go to him again,
If I take him by those two cold hands again,
Shall I get one look of him at last, or feel
One sign—or anything?

Or will he still sit there in the same way,
Without an answer for me from his lips,
Or from his eyes,—or even with a touch
Of his hand on my hand?…

“Will you look down this once—look down at me?
Speak once—and if you never speak again,
Tell me enough—tell me enough to make
Me know that you are glad!

“You are my King, and once my King would speak:
You were Admetus once, you loved me once:
Life was a dream of heaven for us once—
And has the dream gone by?

“Do I cling to shadows when I call you Life?
Do you love me still, or are the shadows all?
Or is it I that love you in the grave,
And you that mourn for me?

“If it be that, then do not mourn for me;
Be glad that I have loved you, and be King.
But if it be not that—if it be true …
Tell me if it be true!”

Then with a choking answer the King spoke;
But never touched his hand on hers, or fixed
His eyes on hers, or on the face of her:
“Yes, it is true,” he said.

“You are alive, and you are with me now;
And you are reaching up to me that I
That I may take you—I that am a King—
I that was once a man."

So then she knew. She might have known before;
Truly, she thought, she must have known it long
Before: she must have known it when she came
From that great sleep of hers.

She knew the truth, but not yet all of it:
He loved her, but he would not let his eyes
Prove that he loved her; and he would not hold
His wife there in his arms.

So, like a slave, she waited at his knees,
And waited. She was not unhappy now.
She quivered, but she knew that he would speak
Again—and he did speak.

And while she felt the tremor of his words,
He told her all there was for him to tell;
And then he turned his face to meet her face,
That she might look at him.

She looked; and all her trust was in that look,
And all her faith was in it, and her love;
And when his answer to that look came back,
It flashed back through his tears.

So then she put her arms around his neck,
And kissed him on his forehead and his lips;
And there she clung, fast in his arms again,
Triumphant, with closed eyes.

At last, half whispering, she spoke once more:
“Why was it that you suffered for so long?
Why could you not believe me—trust in me?
Was I so strange as that?

“We suffer when we do not understand;
And you have suffered—you that love me now—
Because you are a man.… There is one thing
No man can understand.

I would have given everything?—gone down
To Tartarus—to silence? Was it that?
I would have died? I would have let you live?—
And was it very strange?”

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Thespis: Act II

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

GODS

Jupiter, Aged Diety
Apollo, Aged Diety
Mars, Aged Diety
Diana, Aged Diety
Mercury

THESPIANS

Thespis
Sillimon
TimidonTipseion
Preposteros
Stupidas
Sparkeio n
Nicemis
Pretteia
Daphne
Cymon

ACT II - The same Scene, with the Ruins Restored


SCENE-the same scene as in Act I with the exception that in place
of the ruins that filled the foreground of the stage, the
interior of a magnificent temple is seen showing the background
of the scene of Act I, through the columns of the portico at the
back. High throne. L.U.E. Low seats below it. All the substitute
gods and goddesses [that is to say, Thespians] are discovered
grouped in picturesque attitudes about the stage, eating and
drinking, and smoking and singing the following verses.

CHO. Of all symposia
The best by half
Upon Olympus, here await us.
We eat ambrosia.
And nectar quaff,
It cheers but don't inebriate us.
We know the fallacies,
Of human food
So please to pass Olympian rosy,
We built up palaces,
Where ruins stood,
And find them much more snug and cosy.

SILL. To work and think, my dear,
Up here would be,
The height of conscientious folly.
So eat and drink, my dear,
I like to see,
Young people gay--young people jolly.
Olympian food my love,
I'll lay long odds,
Will please your lips--those rosy portals,
What is the good, my love
Of being gods,
If we must work like common mortals?

CHO. Of all symposia...etc.

[Exeunt all but Nicemis, who is dressed as Diana and Pretteia,
who is dressed as Venus. They take Sillimon's arm and bring him
down]

SILL. Bless their little hearts, I can refuse them nothing. As
the Olympian stage-manager I ought to be strict with them and
make them do their duty, but i can't. Bless their little hearts,
when I see the pretty little craft come sailing up to me with a
wheedling smile on their pretty little figure-heads, I can't turn
my back on 'em. I'm all bow, though I'm sure I try to be stern.

PRET. You certainly are a dear old thing.

SILL. She says I'm a dear old thing. Deputy Venus says I'm a
dear old thing.

NICE. It's her affectionate habit to describe everybody in those
terms. I am more particular, but still even I am bound to admit
that you are certainly a very dear old thing.

SILL. Deputy Venus says I'm a dear old thing, and Deputy Diana
who is much more particular, endorses it. Who could be severe
with such deputy divinities.

PRET. Do you know, I'm going to ask you a favour.

SILL. Venus is going to ask me a favour.

PRET. You see, I am Venus.

SILL. No one who saw your face would doubt it.

NICE. [aside] No one who knew her character would.

PRET. Well Venus, you know, is married to Mars.

SILL. To Vulcan, my dear, to Vulcan. The exact connubial relation
of the different gods and goddesses is a point on which we must
be extremely particular.

PRET. I beg your pardon--Venus is married to Mars.

NICE. If she isn't married to Mars, she ought to be.

SILL. Then that decides it--call it married to Mars.

PRET. Married to Vulcan or married to Mars, what does it signify?

SILL. My dear, it's a matter on which I have no personal feeling
whatever.

PRET. So that she is married to someone.

SILL. Exactly. So that she is married to someone. Call it married
to Mars.

PRET. Now here's my difficulty. Presumptios takes the place of
Mars, and Presumptios is my father.

SILL. Then why object to Vulcan?

PRET. Because Vulcan is my grandfather.

SILL. But, my dear, what an objection. You are playing a part
till the real gods return. That's all. Whether you are supposed
to be married to your father--or your grandfather, what does it
matter? This passion for realism is the curse of the stage.

PRET. That's all very well, but I can't throw myself into a part
that has already lasted a twelvemonth, when I have to make love
to my father. It interferes with my conception of the
characters. It spoils the part.

SILL. Well, well. I'll see what can be done. [Exit Pretteia,
L.U.E.) That's always the way with beginners, they've no
imaginative power. A true artist ought to be superior to such
considerations. [Nicemis comes down R.] Well, Nicemis, I should
say, Diana, what's wrong with you? Don't you like your part?

NICE. Oh, immensely. It's great fun.

SILL. Don't you find it lonely out by yourself all night?

NICE. Oh, but I'm not alone all night.

SILL. But, I don't want to ask any injudicious questions, but who
accompanies you?

NICE. Who? Why Sparkeion, of course.

SILL. Sparkeion? Well, but Sparkeion is Phoebus Apollo [enter
Sparkeion] He's the sun, you know.

NICE. Of course he is. I should catch my death of cold, in the
night air, if he didn't accompany me.

SPAR. My dear Sillimon, it would never do for a young lady to be
out alone all night. It wouldn't be respectable.

SILL. There's a good deal of truth in that. But still--the sun--
at night--I don't like the idea. The original Diana always went
out alone.

NICE. I hope the original Diana is no rule for me. After all,
what does it matter?

SILL. To be sure--what does it matter?

SPAR. The sun at night, or in the daytime.

SILL. So that he shines. That's all that's necessary. [Exit
Nicemis, R.U.E.] But poor Daphne, what will she say to this.

SPAR. Oh, Daphne can console herself; young ladies soon get over
this sort of thing. Did you never hear of the young lady who was
engaged to Cousin Robin?

SILL. Never.

SPAR. Then I'll sing it to you.

Little maid of Arcadee
Sat on Cousin Robin's knee,
Thought in form and face and limb,
Nobody could rival him.
He was brave and she was fair,
Truth they made a pretty paid.
Happy little maiden she--
Happy maid of Arcadee.

Moments fled as moments will
Happily enough, until
After, say, a month or two,
Robin did as Robins do.
Weary of his lover's play,
Jilted her and went away,
Wretched little maiden, she--
Wretched maid of Arcadee.

To her little home she crept,
There she sat her down and wept,
Maiden wept as maidens will--
Grew so thin and pale--until
Cousin Richard came to woo.
Then again the roses grew.
Happy little maiden she--
Happy maid of Arcadee. [Exit Sparkeion]

SILL. Well Mercury, my boy, you've had a year's experience of us
here. How do we do it? I think we're rather an improvement on the
original gods--don't you?

MER. Well, you see, there's a good deal to be said on both sides
of the question; you are certainly younger than the original
gods, and, therefore, more active. On the other hand, they are
certainly older than you, and have, therefore, more experience.
On the whole I prefer you, because your mistakes amuse me.

Olympus is now in a terrible muddle,
The deputy deities all are at fault
They splutter and splash like a pig in a puddle
And dickens a one of 'em's earning his salt.
For Thespis as Jove is a terrible blunder,
Too nervous and timid--too easy and weak--
Whenever he's called on to lighten or thunder,
The thought of it keeps him awake for a week.

Then mighty Mars hasn't the pluck of a parrot.
When left in the dark he will quiver and quail;
And Vulcan has arms that would snap like a carrot,
Before he could drive in a tenpenny nail.
Then Venus's freckles are very repelling,
And Venus should not have a quint in her eyes;
The learned Minerva is weak in her spelling,
And scatters her h's all over the skies.

Then Pluto in kindhearted tenderness erring,
Can't make up his mind to let anyone die--
The Times has a paragraph ever recurring,
"Remarkable incidence of longevity."
On some it has some as a serious onus,
to others it's quite an advantage--in short,
While ev're life office declares a big bonus,
The poor undertakers are all in the court.

Then Cupid, the rascal, forgetting his trade is
To make men and women impartially smart,
Will only shoot at pretty young ladies,
And never takes aim at a bachelor's heart.
The results of this freak--or whatever you term it--
Should cover the wicked young scamp with disgrace,
While ev'ry young man is as shy as a hermit,
Young ladies are popping all over the place.

This wouldn't much matter--for bashful and shymen,
When skillfully handled are certain to fall,
But, alas, that determined young bachelor Hymen
Refuses to wed anybody at all.
He swears that Love's flame is the vilest of arsons,
And looks upon marriage as quite a mistake;
Now what in the world's to become of the parsons,
And what of the artist who sugars the cake?

In short, you will see from the facts that I'm showing,
The state of the case is exceedingly sad;
If Thespis's people go on as they're going,
Olympus will certainly go to the bad.
From Jupiter downward there isn't a dab in it,
All of 'em quibble and shuffle and shirk,
A premier in Downing Street forming a cabinet,
Couldn't find people less fit for their work.

[enter Thespis L.U.E.]

THES. Sillimon, you can retire.

SILL. Sir, I--

THES. Don't pretend you can't when I say you can. I've seen you
do it--go. [exit Sillimon bowing extravagantly. Thespis imitates
him]Well, Mercury, I've been in power one year today.

MER. One year today. How do you like ruling the world?

THES. Like it. Why it's as straightforward as possible. Why
there hasn't been a hitch of any kind since we came up here. Lor'
the airs you gods and goddesses give yourselves are perfectly
sickening. Why it's mere child's play.

MER. Very simple isn't it?

THES. Simple? Why I could do it on my head.

MER. Ah--I darsay you will do it on your head very soon.

THES. What do you mean by that, Mercury?

MER. I mean that when you've turned the world quite topsy-turvy
you won't know whether you're standing on your head or your
heels.

THES. Well, but Mercury, it's all right at present.

MER. Oh yes--as far as we know.

THES. Well, but, you know, we know as much as anybody knows; you
know I believe the world's still going on.

MER. Yes--as far as we can judge--much as usual.

THES. Well, the, give the Father of the Drama his due Mercury.
Don't be envious of the Father of the Drama.

MER. But you see you leave so much to accident.

THES. Well, Mercury, if I do, it's my principle. I am an easy
man, and I like to make things as pleasant as possible. What did
I do the day we took office? Why I called the company together
and I said to them: "Here we are, you know, gods and goddesses,
no mistake about it, the real thing. Well, we have certain duties
to discharge, let's discharge them intelligently. Don't let us be
hampered by routine and red tape and precedent, let's set the
original gods an example, and put a liberal interpretation on our
duties. If it occurs to any one to try an experiment in his own
department, let him try it, if he fails there's no harm done, if
he succeeds it is a distinct gain to society. Don't hurry your
work, do it slowly and well." And here we are after a twelvemonth
and not a single complaint or a single petition has reached me.

MER. No, not yet.

THES. What do you mean by "no,not yet?"

MER. Well, you see, you don't understand things. All the
petitions that are addressed by men to Jupiter pass through my
hands, and its my duty to collect them and present them once a
year.

THES. Oh, only once a year?

MER. Only once a year--

THES. And the year is up?

MER. Today.

THES. Oh, then I suppose there are some complaints?

MER. Yes, there are some.

THES. [Disturbed] Oh, perhaps there are a good many?

MER. There are a good many.

THES. Oh, perhaps there are a thundering lot?

MER. There are a thundering lot.

THES. [very much disturbed] Oh.

MER. You see you've been taking it so very easy--and so have most
of your company.

THES. Oh, who has been taking it easy?

MER. Well, all except those who have been trying experiments.

THES. Well but I suppose the experiment are ingenious?

MER. Yes; they are ingenious, but on the whole ill-judged. But
it's time go and summon your court.

THES. What for.

MER. To hear the complaints. In five minutes they will be here.
[Exit]

THES. [very uneasy] I don't know how it is, but there is
something in that young man's manner that suggests that the
father of the gods has been taking it too easy. Perhaps it would
have been better if I hadn't given my company so much scope. I
wonder what they've been doing. I think I will curtail their
discretion, though none of them appear to have much of the
article. It seems a pity to deprive 'em of what little they
have.

[Enter Daphne, weeping]

THES. Now then, Daphne, what's the matter with you?

DAPH. Well, you know how disgracefully Sparkeion--

THES. [correcting her] Apollo--

DAPH. Apollo, then--has treated me. He promised to marry me years
ago and now he's married to Nicemis.

THES. Now look here. I can't go into that. You're in Olympus now
and must behave accordingly. Drop your Daphne--assume your
Calliope.

DAPH. Quite so. That's it. [mysteriously]

THES. Oh--that is it? [puzzled]

DAPH. That is it. Thespis. I am Calliope, the muse of fame.
Very good. This morning I was in the Olympian library and I took
down the only book there. Here it is.

THES. [taking it] Lempriere's Classical Dictionary. The Olympian
Peerage.

DAPH. Open it at Apollo.

THES. [opens it] It is done.

DAPH. Read.

THES. "Apollo was several times married, among others to Issa,
Bolina, Coronis, Chymene, Cyrene, Chione, Acacallis, and
Calliope."

DAPH. And Calliope.

THES. [musing] Ha. I didn't know he was married to them.

DAPH. [severely] Sir. This is the family edition.

THES. Quite so.

DAPH. You couldn't expect a lady to read any other?

THES. On no consideration. But in the original version--

DAPH. I go by the family edition.

THES. Then by the family edition, Apollo is your husband.

[Enter Nicemis and Sparkeion]

NICE. Apollo your husband? He is my husband.

DAPH. I beg your pardon. He is my husband.

NICE. Apollo is Sparkeion, and he's married to me.

DAPH. Sparkeion is Apollo, and he's married to me.

NICE. He is my husband.

DAPH. He's your brother.

THES. Look here, Apollo, whose husband are you? Don't let's have
any row about it; whose husband are you?

SPAR. Upon my honor I don't know. I'm in a very delicate
position, but I'll fall in with any arrangement Thespis may
propose.

DAPH. I've just found out that he's my husband and yet he goes
out every evening with that "thing."

THES. Perhaps he's trying an experiment.

DAPH. I don't like my husband to make such experiments. The
question is, who are we all and what is our relation to each
other.

SPAR. You're Diana. I'm Apollo
And Calliope is she.

DAPH. He's your brother.

NICE. You're another. He has fairly married me.

DAPH. By the rules of this fair spot
I'm his wife and you are not.

SPAR & DAPH. By the rules of this fair spot
I'm/she's his wife and you are not.

NICE. By this golden wedding ring,
I'm his wife, and you're a "thing."

DAPH, NICE, SPAR. By this golden wedding ring,
I'm/She's his wife and you're a "thing."

ALL. Please will someone kindly tell us.
Who are our respective kin?
All of us/them are very jealous
Neither of us/them will give in.

NICE. He's my husband, I declare,
I espoused him properlee.

SPAR. That is true, for I was there,
And I saw her marry me.

DAPH. He's your brother--I'm his wife.
If we go by Lempriere.

SPAR. So she is, upon my life.
Really, that seems very fair.

NICE. You're my husband and no other.

SPAR. That is true enough I swear.

DAPH. I'm his wife, and you're his brother.

SPAR. If we go by Lempriere.

NICE. It will surely be unfair,
To decide by Lempriere. [crying]

DAPH. It will surely be quite fair,
To decide by Lempriere.

SPAR & THES How you settle it I don't care,
Leave it all to Lempriere.
[Spoken] The Verdict
As Sparkeion is Apollo,
Up in this Olympian clime,
Why, Nicemis, it will follow,
He's her husband, for the time. [indicating Daphne]

When Sparkeion turns to mortal
Join once more the sons of men.
He may take you to his portal [indicating Nicemis]
He will be your husband then.
That oh that is my decision,
'Cording to my mental vision,
Put an end to all collision,
My decision, my decision.

ALL. That oh that is his decision. etc.

[Exeunt Thes, Nice., Spar and Daphne, Spar. with Daphne, Nicemis
weeping with Thespis. mysterious music. Enter Jupiter, Apollo
and Mars from below, at the back of stage. All wear cloaks, as
disguise and all are masked]

JUP., AP., MARS. Oh rage and fury, Oh shame and sorrow.
We'll be resuming our ranks tomorrow.
Since from Olympus we have departed,
We've been distracted and brokenhearted,
Oh wicked Thespis. Oh villain scurvy.
Through him Olympus is topsy turvy.
Compelled to silence to grin and bear it.
He's caused our sorrow, and he shall share it.
Where is the monster. Avenge his blunders.
He has awakened Olympian thunders.

[Enter Mercury]

JUP. Oh monster.

AP. Oh monster.

MARS. Oh monster.

MER. [in great terror] Please sir, what have I done, sir?

JUP. What did we leave you behind for?

MER. Please sir, that's the question I asked for when you went
away.

JUP. Was it not that Thespis might consult you whenever he was in
a difficulty?

MER. Well, here I've been ready to be consulted, chockful of
reliable information--running over with celestial maxims--advice
gratis ten to four--after twelve ring the night bell in cases of
emergency.

JUP. And hasn't he consulted you?

MER. Not he--he disagrees with me about everything.

JUP. He must have misunderstood me. I told him to consult you
whenever he was in a fix.

MER. He must have though you said in-sult. Why whenever I opened
my mouth he jumps down my throat. It isn't pleasant to have a
fellow constantly jumping down your throat--especially when he
always disagrees with you. It's just the sort of thing I can't
digest.

JUP. [in a rage] Send him here. I'll talk to him.

[enter Thespis. He is much terrified]

JUP. Oh monster.

AP. Oh monster.

MARS. Oh monster.

[Thespis sings in great terror, which he endeavours to conceal]

JUP. Well sir, the year is up today.

AP. And a nice mess you've made of it.

MARS. You've deranged the whole scheme of society.

THES. [aside] There's going to be a row. [aloud and very
familiarly]My dear boy, I do assure you--

JUP. Be respectful.

AP. Be respectful.

MARS. Be respectful.

THES. I don't know what you allude to. With the exception of
getting our scene painter to "run up" this temple, because we
found the ruins draughty, we haven't touched a thing.

JUP. Oh story teller.

AP. Oh story teller.

MARS. Oh story teller.

[Enter thespians]

THES. My dear fellows, you're distressing yourselves
unnecessarily. The court of Olympus is about to assemble to
listen to the complaints of the year, if any. But there are
none, or next to none. Let the Olympians assemble. [Thespis
takes chair. JUP., AP., and MARS sit below him.

Ladies and gentlemen, it seems that it is usual for the gods to
assemble once a year to listen to mortal petitions. It doesn't
seem to me to be a good plan, as work is liable to accumulate;
but as I am particularly anxious not to interfere with Olympian
precedent, but to allow everything to go on as it has always been
accustomed to go--why, we'll say no more about it. [aside] But
how shall I account for your presence?

JUP. Say we are the gentlemen of the press.

THES. That all our proceedings may be perfectly open and above-
board I have communicated with the most influential members of
the Athenian press, and I beg to introduce to your notice three
of its most distinguished members. They bear marks emblematic of
the anonymous character of modern journalism. [Business of
introduction. Thespis is very uneasy] Now then, if you're all
ready we will begin.

MER. [brings tremendous bundle of petitions] Here is the agenda.

THES. What's that? The petitions?

MER. Some of them. [opens one and reads] Ah, I thought there'd be
a row about it.

THES. Why, what's wrong now?

MER. Why, it's been a foggy Friday in November for the last six
months and the Athenians are tired of it.

THES. There's no pleasing some people. This craving for perpetual
change is the curse of the country. Friday's a very nice day.

MER. So it is, but a Friday six months long.--it gets monotonous.

JUP, AP, MARS. [rising] It's perfectly ridiculous.

THES. [calling them] Cymon.

CYM. [as time with the usual attributes] Sir.

THES. [Introducing him to the three gods] Allow me--Father Time--
rather young at present but even time must have a beginning. In
course of time, time will grow older. Now then, Father Time,
what's this about a wet Friday in November for the last six
months.

CYM. Well, the fact is, I've been trying an experiment. Seven
days in the week is an awkward number. It can't be halved. Two;'s
into seven won't go.

THES. [tries it on his fingers] Quite so--quite so.

CYM. So I abolished Saturday.

JUP, AP, MARS. Oh but. [Rising]

THES. Do be quiet. He's a very intelligent young man and knows
what he is about. So you abolished Saturday. And how did you find
it answer?

CYM. Admirably.

THES. You hear? He found it answer admirably.

CYM. Yes, only Sunday refused to take its place.

THES. Sunday refused to take its place?

CYM. Sunday comes after Saturday--Sunday won't go on duty after
Friday. Sunday's principles are very strict. That's where my
experiment sticks.

THES. Well, but why November? Come, why November?

CYM. December can't begin until November has finished. November
can't finish because he's abolished Saturday. There again my
experiment sticks.

THES. Well, but why wet? Come now, why wet?

CYM. Ah, that is your fault. You turned on the rain six months
ago and you forgot to turn it off again.

JUP., AP., MARS. [rising] On this is monstrous.

ALL. Order. Order.

THES. Gentlemen, pray be seated. [to the others] The liberty of
the press, one can't help it. [to the three gods] It is easily
settled. Athens has had a wet Friday in November for the last six
months. Let them have a blazing Tuesday in July for the next
twelve.

JUP., AP., MARS. But--

ALL. Order. Order.

THES. Now then, the next article.

MER. Here's a petition from the Peace Society. They complain
because there are no more battles.

MARS. [springing up] What.

THES. Quiet there. Good dog--soho; Timidon.

TIM. [as Mars] Here.

THES. What's this about there being no battles?

TIM. I've abolished battles; it's an experiment.

MARS. [spring up] Oh come, I say--

THES. Quiet then. [to Tim] Abolished battles?

TIM. Yes, you told us on taking office to remember two things. To
try experiments and to take it easy. I found I couldn't take it
easy while there are any battles to attend to, so I tried the
experiment and abolished battles. And then I took it easy. The
Peace Society ought to be very much obliged to me.

THES. Obliged to you. Why, confound it. Since battles have been
abolished, war is universal.

TIM. War is universal?

THES. To b sure it is. Now that nations can't fight, no two of
'em are on speaking terms. The dread of fighting was the only
thing that kept them civil to each other. Let battles be
restored and peace reign supreme.

MER. Here's a petition from the associated wine merchants of
Mytilene? Are there no grapes this year?

THES. Well, what's wrong with the associated wine merchants of
Mytilene? Are there no grapes this year?

THES. Plenty of grapes. More than usual.

THES. [to the gods] You observe, there is no deception. There are
more than usual.

MER. There are plenty of grapes, only they are full of ginger
beer.

THREE GODS. Oh, come I say [rising they are put down by Thespis.]

THES. Eh? what [much alarmed] Bacchus.

TIPS. [as Bacchus] Here.

THES. There seems to be something unusual with the grapes of
Mytilene. They only grow ginger beer.

TIPS. And a very good thing too.

THES. It's very nice in its way but it is not what one looks for
from grapes.

TIPS. Beloved master, a week before we came up here, you insisted
on my taking the pledge. By so doing you rescued me from my
otherwise inevitable misery. I cannot express my thanks. Embrace
me. [attempts to embrace him.]

THES. Get out, don't be a fool. Look here, you know you're the
god of wine.

TIPS. I am.

THES. [very angry] Well, do you consider it consistent with your
duty as the god of wine to make the grapes yield nothing but
ginger beer?

TIPS. Do you consider it consistent with my duty as a total
abstainer to grow anything stronger than ginger beer?

THES. But your duty as the god of wine--

TIPS. In every respect in which my duty as the god of wine can be
discharged consistently with my duty as a total abstainer, I will
discharge it. But when the functions clash, everything must give
way to the pledge. My preserver. [Attempts to embrace him]

THES. Don't be a confounded fool. This can be arranged. We can't
give over the wine this year, but at least we can improve the
ginger beer. Let all the ginger beer be extracted from it
immediately.

THREE GODS. We can't stand this,
We can't stand this.
It's much too strong.
We can't stand this.
It would be wrong.
Extremely wrong.
If we stood this.

If we stand this
If we stand this
We can't stand this.

DAPH, SPAR, NICE. Great Jove, this interference.
Is more than we can stand;
Of them make a clearance,
With your majestic hand.

JOVE. This cool audacity, it beats us hollow.
I'm Jupiter.

MARS. I'm Mars.

AP. I'm Apollo.

[Enter Diana and all the other gods and goddesses.

ALL. [kneeling with their foreheads on the ground]

Jupiter, Mars, and Apollo
Have quitted the dwellings of men;
The other gods quickly will follow.
And what will become of us then.
Oh pardon us, Jove and Apollo,
Pardon us, Jupiter, Mars:
Oh see us in misery wallow.
Cursing our terrible stars.

[enter other gods.]

ALL THESPIANS: Let us remain, we beg of you pleadingly.

THREE GODS: Let them remain, they beg of us pleadingly.

THES. Life on Olympus suits us exceedingly.

GODS. Life on Olympus suits them exceedingly.

THES. Let us remain, we pray in humility.

GODS. Let 'em remain, they pray in humility.

THES. If we have shown some little ability.

GODS. If they have shown some little ability.
Let us remain, etc...

JUP. Enough, your reign is ended.
Upon this sacred hill.
Let him be apprehended
And learn out awful will.
Away to earth, contemptible comedians,
And hear our curse, before we set you free'
You shall be all be eminent tragedians,
Whom no one ever goes to see.

ALL. We go to earth, contemptible tragedians,
We hear his curse, before he sets us free,
We shall all be eminent tragedians,
Whom no one ever, ever goes to see.

SILL, SPAR, THES. Whom no one
Ever goes to see.

[The thespians are driven away by the gods, who group themselves
in attitudes of triumph.]

THES. Now, here you see the arrant folly
Of doing your best to make things jolly.
I've ruled the world like a chap in his senses,
Observe the terrible consequences.
Great Jupiter, whom nothing pleases,
Splutters and swears, and kicks up breezes,
And sends us home in a mood avengin'
In double quick time, like a railroad engine.
And this he does without compunction,
Because I have discharged with unction
A highly complicated function
Complying with his own injunction,
Fol, lol, lay

CHO. All this he does....etc.

[The gods drive the thespians away. The thespians prepare to
descend the mountain as the curtain falls.]

CURTAIN

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I Should Have Known Better

I should Have Known Better

You promised me forever
You promised me honesty
You promised me your love

I should have known better

You said I was the best
You said I was beautiful
You said I was your one and only

I should have known better

You told me you loved me
You told me I’d never be alone
You told me we’d always be together

I should have known better

I knew you broke all of your promises
I knew you never meant anything you said
I knew you have never once told me the truth
-but I wasn’t honest that I knew-

I should have known better

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I Could Not Have Shown You That!

By that time you were in between,
Making up your mind...
Which direction to take,
With an identity that was your own...
I had been there, by myself, alone!
And you could have asked me...
What it was like.
But that struggle would have been,
Still your fight!

I know for you...
The road ahead would have been easier,
To pursue.
But,
You chose not to ask what you should do.
And I respect that.
Since we have become closer...
After you stumbled more than a few times,
To know exactly what you've gone through.

And...
I could not have shown you that!
What you needed and wanted,
Could not have happened overnight.

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They Would Have Requested His Tongue

ooo...
I want to cuss so bad.

'Why don't you? '

I spent no time in the Navy.
Just a few years in the Air Force.
And we were trained to intellectualize our lives.
With a boring done of achievements made and attempted.

My dad,
On the other hand...
Had been a Merchant Marine.
He could box, cuss and swim at the same time.
And if he was alive...
I'm sure they would have requested his tongue,
To exhibit in The Smithsonian.

I would love to sit and hear him pronounce f's and t's...
Where there wasn't any.
He was highly creative and I miss him dearly.

'What cuss words do 'not' have f's and t's in them? '

Exactly!
That's what I'm saying.
He created his own!
And offended those who understimated his talents!
He was a very gifted man.

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