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When I got to Chicago I had to find my way.

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When Reality Got Too Heavy

riddle wield and wonderful
has always offered comfort
when reality got too heavy
battered shit out of normality

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There Was A Time When I Got Drunk

there was this time when
i got drunk and looked at
myself in the mirror to
check if the image was
really mine. I stared.

I liked what was in there.
I liked to stay something, but i just
passed by.

The mirror in the
comfort room happened
to be so silent, and
i was sort of like
a word misspelled
uncorrected,

just passing by,
unhampered.

Was it really me?

How handsome could i
be when i am drunk
and lonely.

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When You Got A Good Friend

(Robert Johnson)
When you got a good friend, that will stay right by your side [2x]
Give her all of your spare time, try to love and treat her right
I mistreated my baby, but I can't see no reason why [2x]
Anytime I think about it, I just wring my hands and cry
Wonder, could I bear apologize, or would she sympathize with me
Mmm, or would she sympathize with me
She's a brownskin woman, just as sweet as a girlfriend can be
Mmm, baby I may be right or wrong
Baby, it your opinion, I may be right or wrong
Watch your close friend, baby, then you enemies can't do you no harm
When you got a good friend that will stay right by your side [2x]
Give her all of your spare time, love and treat her right

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When You Got Good Friends

(allen collins -- ronnie vanzant)
You got to love ol charlie daniels
You got to cut the rug with wet willie too
And you got to be a fan of the marshall tucker band
Before Ill sit down and have a drink with you
Yes, bakersfield has got ol merle haggard
Hes a bad, bad boy, yes indeed
Nashvilles got a million and one guitar pickers
But I guess my favorite would be the cdb
(chorus)
Yes theres a few good rockers in new york city
Guess the big la, it never cared for me
So wont you tell all them hollywierd writer people
That it just dont make a damn
When you got good friends like me
Never dick on good ol waylon jennings
Or willie nelson, bob wills or me
Well theyre playin that good ol country-western
You know this thing they call the texas swing
(chorus)

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When Youve Got What It Takes

When youve got what it takes
Youve got nothing to hide
Youve got miles of feelings
And acres of pride
Youve got it
Youve really got it
When you know who you are
Then you live what you feel
You give what you can
And its good when youve really got it
And when youve got it
(*) let it out
Let it show
Letem know
Inside youve got it
Let it shine like a fine tomorrow
For when you do
The feeling comes back to you
What a difference it makes
When youve got what it takes
What a difference it makes
When youve got it
When youre sure of your heart
Then you give it away
And love is a promise
You keep every day
You know it
And when you know it
You begin to believe
Youll do more than survive
That the best part of being is being alive
You feel it
And when you feel it
Repeat (*)
When a difference it makes
When youve got what it takes
What a difference it makes
When youve got it
When a difference it makes
When youve got what it takes
What a difference it makes
When youve got it everyday

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Song: When You Got No-One

When you got no-one,
To go home to,
And you dread the moving walls;
An empty space, you cannot face,
It ain't no place at all.
When you got no-one,
To come home to,
No warming hearth recalls,
You got no-one and then you're done,
And the whole damned thing appalls!

When you got no-one,
To go home to,
You haunt the shopping malls.
You tell yourself that's what you want:
To hang out with the girls.
When you got no-one,
To go home to;
No lusting lover just for you.
At the setting sun,
When the night's begun,
The twilight slips to blue...

When you got no reason,
To come home,
'Cause home ain't home no more.
A twisted life of constant strife's,
Not what you signed up for!
And now it's open season,
On the down and out and poor:
The billionaires shout treason,
And spin revolving doors.

When you got no-one,
To go home to,
You got no-one at all.
No bosom chums, to share the crumbs,
And turn largess to small.
When you got no-one,
No web is spun,
No gentle plan or program run;
When you got no-one,
It ain't no fun,
And the whole damned thing appalls!

When you got no home,
To go home to,
You got no home at all.
You're on your own, you're so alone.
You need shelter from the storm.
A catacomb or a covered dome,
A tomb of steel, all polished chrome;
When you got no home.
You're forced to roam,
The drop-zone when you fall.

That ain't no home at all!

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When I got a telly we had no aerial, but I discovered that if I or one of the children stood by it you could get a picture. So I had to make a statue that could stand by the telly.

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Eric McCormack

I have accomplished a lot, but it didn't happen overnight for me. I was 35 when I got the show, and had been working professionally for 15 years. It would be a lot weirder if I were in my early 20s and stumbled into it.

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Some words having to do with the death of the people in the World Trade Center attack had been added, and when I got to it, I had this overwhelmingly emotional experience. I struggled to get through the words; tears were streaming down my cheeks.

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I've Had It Coming My Way

Standing on the balcony, trembling like a friggin' leaf
Its freezin' cold I must be mad its 4AM and gettin' really f*ckin' bad
There's an end to everything
Some folks are best at when they sleep
More than can be said 'bout me
This is what I asked for and what I need but there's always a price to pay
For quite sometime I've known for sure I've had it coming my way
Coming my way I've had it coming my way
Coming my way I've had it coming my way
Starring blind into thin air eternity one step from here
Pardon me I must have blown a fuse I'd really like to be excused
There's an end...
This is what I asked for...
Coming my way...
This is what I asked for...
Coming my way...
I've had it coming my way ::

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Good Intentions

Mama always prayed that Id be a better man than daddy
And I determined not to let her down
Deserted by the man she loved and left to raise four children
We were the local gossip of the town.
I promised her that Id live right and not be like the others
But I wound up in jail on chrismas day
I told her Id be home and not to worry bout my brothers
When I got home my mom had passed away
(chorus)
And I hear tell the road to hell is paved with good intentions
And mama my intentions were the best
Theres lotsa things in my life I just as soon not mention
Looks like Ive turned out like all the rest
But mama my intentions were the best
A little boy with big blue eyes a-beggin to go fishing
I promised him but never took the time
Now they wont let me see him and I sit here a-wishing
Wishin I could hold him one more time
(repeat chorus)
But mama my intentions were the best

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Love You Like A Brother

It was always you and me and him
A whiskey sour, beer and gin
We were having fun
When the night was over
Youd go off together leaving me alone,
All alone
I stayed up every night, I had to find a way
I had to get to you
So I told you he was stepping outside
I said when you broke down and cried
Why dont you come to me
* she said I love you like a brother
And thats how its got to stay
Because I dont need no reminder
Of the love that went away
And the more I desire,
The less it does inspire
Because she says I remind her
Of the love she left behind
I found myself in the same old place
In the bar, another lonely night to spend
But the first thing I saw when I walked in
Was my almost lover, and my ex best friend
She was drinking all alone
And he was on the telephone
They wouldnt look at me
I went outside, I wanted to cry
Its a lonely life, aint what it used to be
(* repeat 2 times and fade)

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Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

My aunt gave me a turkey to give to my brother who
lived in the neighbouring town, I cooked the fowl first
to stop it going bad and put it in a bag, went down to
the post office to send it, but the place had closed for
the day. Took the bus to my brother’s town, but when
arriving I had forgotten his address, asked the doorman
at a hotel, who new my brother, to show me the way,
only to find when we got there that I had left the bag
on the bus. Got lost trying to find the bus terminal,
I didn’t know brother’s phone number I also resented
the fact that aunt had given him the bird because he
was the oldest, leaving me with all the work, so I got
fed up and left; but I couldn’t get home as no bus was
going my way. Down at the docks there was a steamer
ready to sail for Djibouti, with a cargo of frozen turkey
for the presidential army, she needed a cook, so I sign
on, but did sent brother a cable telling him where his
turkey was. Too late, the bus driver, since no one had
claimed it, took the bird home and had a feast.

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The Sport Of Kings

I hate the horse races
Except when I'm winning
But it's always a bad sign when
Your horse starts strong and leads
The pack from the gate
He almost always falls behind by the time
He reaches the last straight-away
And the horse that started last
Gallops thru the group like his
Hooves are on fire
While his jockey whips his ass
All the way to the finish line

She left her overnight bag at my place
Where we drank a bit and horsed around
Before we left to meet up with her friends
I paced myself through the liquor cabinet
To be sure I’d be ready for an early morning romp
When we got back home
She had been talking all night to this
Thick-necked dude who got there late
With broader shoulders stronger haunches and a shinier mane
When one of her pals discreetly handed off a rubber like
They had just made a cocaine deal
I rolled my eyes and slugged
What was left in my glass
The last thing I remember that night before I blacked out:
I saw her leave with him
And slap his ass on their way
Out the door

She called me from his place the next afternoon
Audibly hungover and slightly out of breath
Her overnight bag still sat at the foot of my bed
She said she hoped I wasn’t mad
And I honestly wasn’t

We both knew this horse wouldn’t
Win, place or show

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Accordian In The Metro

In 2002 I was in Paris for a couple of days. My wife & daughter let me loose. They wanted to look at shops & so I left early at dawn to walk around a have a look at that great city.

I got lost & found a few times & had to try out the few French words I could remember from the 3rd form. On the way home at the end of an exhilarating day & I went into the Metro to catch a ride back to the Arch DT which was near our hotel in Victor Hugo ‘street.'

I was walking thru the tunnel & heard an excellent accordion player. He finished playing some French tunes as I was approaching. Then he switched to Bach's Toccata & Fugue in D minor. I stood close to the wall & listen as people hurried past.

A year or so later I saw an SBS documentary on TV called ‘DOWN UNDER PARIS' about Australians in living Paris who were working as buskers or selling their paintings on the street.

I was sitting there engrossed when I heard the accordian player. That sounds familiar I thought, ‘yes that's him. I watched him play, he was excellent, ' & there I was standing close to the wall listening wearing the black jacket I'd bought in Switzerland.

I asked google for the film maker's email & I wrote a note to Richard Snashall asking if I could buy his dvd. I told him that it was me in the background in his movie. I recalled vaguely that there had been someone crouched down with a video camera while I was listening.

When Richard sent me the dvd he said that he thought I was a Parisian on his way home when he filmed me standing there. When I got the dvd it had a note,

‘Hi Lindsay, Here's some bonus raw footage I dug out in addition to Down Under Paris. regards, Richard.

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Cut Price Bloody Flights

I fancied going on holiday,
So I searched the Internet,
I tried out various airlines,
Just to see what I could get.

As I'm on a real tight budget,
The price had to be the best,
Nothing fancy, there and back,
Costing less than all the rest.

I then came across a company,
Their seats were really cheap,
A no frills airline that would do,
My debts wouldn't go too deep.

When I searched their website,
I was amazed at what I found,
A flight to where I want to go,
For just a single pound.

I then went on to pay the bill,
So I used my credit card,
What they charged me for using it,
Has left me feeling scarred.

Then before the bill was finalised,
When I thought I could relax,
They told me I then had to pay,
Something called airport tax.

But now on to the airport,
As I checked my baggage in,
They said it should be done on-line,
Otherwise you cannot win.

I paid another surcharge,
By this time I was running late,
Another charge for that said she,
I thought this is bloody great.

As you didn't print your tickets off,
I'm afraid that's even more,
This is sheer and utter madness,
But our terms you can't ignore.

She said your bags are far too heavy,
that will cost you more again,
I was running out of money,
This was driving me insane.

Eventually when I boarded,
They left me so surprised,
They made me pay for an extra seat,
Saying I was oversized.

I thought that I had seen it all,
Then I asked them for a meal,
Thirty pounds for micro chips,
Is not the greatest deal.

I also bought a drink of juice,
My micro chips to soak,
The price they charged me for it,
Would have made an elephant choke.

Then I visited the toilet,
This caused even more ado,
They even charge an entry fee,
To use the bloody loo.

Eventually when we landed,
I asked where we were at,
She said in Spain I don't know where,
But at least the ground is flat.

I eventually got a taxi,
The driver was full of smiles,
I found out why when I got the bill,
We had travelled two hundred miles.

If you want to travel cheap,
Make sure you read their rules,
Or the consequences you will reap,
They use complicated tools.

Now as I sit here bankrupt,
I wish had studied my rights,
I'm living proof there's no such thing as,

'' Cut Price Bloody Flights ''

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Joey

Born in red hook, brooklyn, in the year of who knows when
Opened up his eyes to the tune of an accordion
Always on the outside of whatever side there was
When they asked him why it had to be that way, well, he answered, just
Because.
Larry was the oldest, joey was next to last.
They called joe crazy, the baby they called kid blast.
Some say they lived off gambling and runnin numbers too.
It always seemed they got caught between the mob and the men in blue.
Joey, joey,
King of the streets, child of clay.
Joey, joey,
What made them want to come and blow you away?
There was talk they killed their rivals, but the truth was far from that
No one ever knew for sure where they were really at.
When they tried to strangle larry, joey almost hit the roof.
He went out that night to seek revenge, thinkin he was bulletproof.
The war broke out at the break of dawn, it emptied out the streets
Joey and his brothers suffered terrible defeats
Till they ventured out behind the lines and took five prisoners.
They stashed them away in a basement, called them amateurs.
The hostages were tremblin when they heard a man exclaim,
Lets blow this place to kingdom come, let con edison take the blame.
But joey stepped up, he raised his hand, said, were not those kind of men.
Its peace and quiet that we need to go back to work again.
Joey, joey,
King of the streets, child of clay.
Joey, joey,
What made them want to come and blow you away?
The police department hounded him, they called him mr. smith
They got him on conspiracy, they were never sure who with.
What time is it? said the judge to joey when they met
Five to ten, said joey. the judge says, thats exactly what you get.
He did ten years in attica, reading nietzsche and wilhelm reich
They threw him in the hole one time for tryin to stop a strike.
His closest friends were black men cause they seemed to understand
What its like to be in society with a shackle on your hand.
When they let him out in 71 hed lost a little weight
But he dressed like jimmy cagney and I swear he did look great.
He tried to find the way back into the life he left behind
To the boss he said, I have returned and now I want whats mine.
Joey, joey,
King of the streets, child of clay.
Joey, joey,
Why did they have to come and blow you away?
It was true that in his later years he would not carry a gun
Im around too many children, hed say, they should never know of one.
Yet he walked right into the clubhouse of his lifelong deadly foe,
Emptied out the register, said, tell em it was crazy joe.
One day they blew him down in a clam bar in new york
He could see it comin through the door as he lifted up his fork.
He pushed the table over to protect his family
Then he staggered out into the streets of little italy.
Joey, joey,
King of the streets, child of clay.
Joey, joey,
What made them want to come and blow you away?
Sister jacqueline and carmela and mother mary all did weep.
I heard his best friend frankie say, he aint dead, hes just asleep.
Then I saw the old mans limousine head back towards the grave
I guess he had to say one last goodbye to the son that he could not save.
The sun turned cold over president street and the town of brooklyn mourned
They said a mass in the old church near the house where he was born.
And someday if gods in heaven overlookin his preserve
I know the men that shot him down will get what they deserve.
Joey, joey,
King of the streets, child of clay.
Joey, joey,
What made them want to come and blow you away?

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Jack Honest, or the Widow and Her Son

Jack Honest was only eight years of age when his father died,
And by the death of his father, Mrs Honest was sorely tried;
And Jack was his father's only joy and pride,
And for honesty Jack couldn't be equalled in the country-side.

So a short time before Jack's father died,
'Twas loud and bitterly for Jack he cried,
And bade him sit down by his bedside,
And then told him to be honest whatever did betide.

John, he said, looking him earnestly in the face,
Never let your actions your name disgrace,
Remember, my dear boy, and do what's right,
And God will bless you by day and night.

Then Mr Honest bade his son farewell, and breathed his last,
While the hot tears from Jack's eyes fell thick and fast;
And the poor child did loudly sob and moan,
When he knew his father had left him and his mother alone.

So, as time wore on, Jack grew to be a fine boy,
And was to his mother a help and joy;
And, one evening, she said, Jack, you are my only prop,
I must tell you, dear, I'm thinking about opening a shop.

Oh! that's a capital thought, mother, cried Jack,
And to take care of the shop I won't be slack;
Then his mother said, Jackey, we will try this plan,
And look to God for his blessing, and do all we can.

So the widow opened the shop and succeeded very well,
But in a few months fresh troubles her befell--
Alas! poor Mrs Honest was of fever taken ill,
But Jack attended his mother with a kindly will.

But, for fear of catching the fever, her customers kept away,
And once more there wasn't enough money the rent to pay;
And in her difficulties Mrs Honest could form no plan to get out,
But God would help her, she had no doubt.

So, one afternoon, Mrs Honest sent Jack away
To a person that owed her some money, and told him not to stay,
But when he got there the person had fled,
And to return home without the money he was in dread.

So he saw a gentleman in a carriage driving along at a rapid rate,
And Jack ran forward to his mansion and opened the lodge-gate,
Then the gentleman opened his purse and gave him, as he thought, a shilling
For opening the lodge-gate so cleverly and so willing.

Then Jack stooped to lift up the coin, when lo and behold!
He found to his surprise it was a piece of gold!
And Jack cried oh! joyful, this will make up for my mother's loss,
Then he ran home speedily, knowing his mother wouldn't be cross.

And when he got home he told his mother of his ill success,
And his adventure with the gentleman, then she felt deep distress;
And when Jack showed her the sovereign, the gentleman gave him,
She cried, We mustn't keep that money, it would be a sin.

Dear mother, I thought so, there must be some mistake,
But in the morning, to Squire Brooksby, the sovereign I'll take;
So, when morning came, he went to Squire Brooksby's Hall,
And at the front door for the Squire he loudly did call.

Then the hall door was opened by a footman, dressed in rich livery,
And Jack told him he wished Mr Brooksby to see;
Then to deliver Jack's message the footman withdrew,
And when the footman returned he said, Master will see you.

Then Jack was conducted into a rich furnished room,
And to Mr Brooksby he told his errand very soon,
While his honest heart, with fear, didn't quake,
Saying, Mr Brooksby, you gave me a sovereign yesterday in a mistake.

Why, surely I have seen you before, said Mr Brooksby;
Yes, Sir, replied Jack Honest, bowing very politely;
Then what is your name, my honest lad? Asked Mr Brooksby;
John Honest, sir, replied Jack, right fearlessly.

The, my brave lad, you are Honest by name, and honest by nature,
Which, really, you appear to be in every feature,
But, I am afraid, such boys as you are very few,
But, I dare say, your mother has taught you.

Then Jack laid the sovereign down on the table before Mr Brooksby;
But Mr Brooksby said, No! my lad, I freely give it to thee;
Then Jack said, Oh, sir, I'm obliged to you I'm sure,
Because, sir, this money will help my mother, for she is poor.

Mrs Brooksby came to see Mrs Honest in a few days,
And for Jack's honesty she was loud in praise;
And she took Jack into her service, and paid him liberally,
And she gave Mrs Honest a house, for life, rent free.

Now, I must leave Jack Honest and his mother in fresh found glory,
Hoping my readers will feel interested in this story,
And try always to imitate the hero-- Jack Honest--
And I'm sure they will find it the safest and the best!

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Patrick White

Stranger In The Leaving

Stranger in the leaving
than you were before you came.
Is it not always so
when people separate?
Lovers who knew each other intimately for years
close their gates to each other
and say each others' name
as if they weren't philosopher's stones anymore.
And the base metal outweighs the gold that comes of it.
Alone with the alone
in the abyss of the absolutes
what was vivid and vital
turns numb as glass
and what was mystically specific about the other
is no longer a shrine that holds the secret name of God.
Stranger in the leaving
than you were before you came.
You leave with some of my memes
as I leave with some of yours
and we are both no doubt slightly changed for good
by the reciprocity of the encounter
like hydrogen and oxygen make water.
Though now it's all tears frozen on the moon.
Good-bye my lovely
I shall miss your eyes and your skin
and the thrill of your dangerous heart.
I will miss your wounded mouth
I tried to heal with messianic kisses
that never walked on anything but the earth.
And there's no blame
you couldn't fit my lunar month
into your solar calendar.
We had everything in common except time
and our faults were as compatible as our virtues.
I will miss the rumours of alien life in the wavelengths of your hair.
I shall miss losing myself like a firefly
in the wishing wells of your eyes
even if now my own seem more
like impact craters in the prophetic skull of the moon
when I consider what's leaving like an atmosphere from this mindscape.
And I shall always remember
that your heart was as generous as your breasts
and whenever we made love
how the earthly was the envy of the spiritual fact.
You didn't want anyone to know you were gentle.
Not even me.
But I could see through that mask
eyebrow to eyebrow with you
as if we both were intent on showing the same face to the earth
like the crescent fangs of a Georgia moon that said
don't step on me
because we were afraid.
More than enough to have you in the nude
I wasn't a glutton for your nakedness
that demanded you take your illusions off
to prove you loved me.
It would have been an irreverence
beyond the aspirations of heresy
to witness you renewing your virginity
like the new moon bathing in a sea of shadows.
I never tried to pry the petals of the flowers open
before they were ready to bloom.
I was never the ant
that told the peony what to do.
I never tried to look under the closed eyelids of the rose
to see what it was dreaming.
Though I'm not into voodoo
I never desecrated
the bird shrines
of your involuntary taboos.
But now I look in your eyes
and see that yesterday
is less vivid than tomorrow
though neither of them has happened yet.
The new moon is all potential
The full moon all used up.
There are effigies of potential
standing like scarecrows
in late autumn cornfields
and paragons of actuality
who love to star in constellations
that make them out to be the hero.
I try to stay
and I end up going.
I try to go
and the earth moves underfoot.
The root feels the death of its flower
as the autumn stars turn into frost
and burn its petals like old loveletters
to the immensities that didn't have time to read them.
The harmonies of life
are distinguished from the harmonies of death
by a single breath
taken in
and turned out
into the vast expanses of where it came from in the first place.
And the spirit that isn't shy of its own lucidity
knows that everything it illuminates
whether by day or by night
has the lifespan of light
and light is the brainchild of the darkness.
So even when the lights go out
like people and candles
and us
the shadows go on blooming
and even when the stars
are a gust of ghosts at our heels
the dust is rich
with the memory of all the roads
that once got lost in us
trying to find their way back home
like blood and fire and spirit
as if their final destination
were always the place they started from.
And if in the lightyears ahead
you should ever wonder if I remember you
be deeply assured
I shall remember you
as if every footstep I took
were a threshold of this homelessness
I am brave enough to cross without you.
And I shall thank you for this courage
inspired by the muse of your absence
and the feel of my blood Doppler-shift toward
long meditative wavelengths of red
that stream from the intensity
of the wounded white-hot blue of a renewed beginning.
You can't teach a bird to fly in a cage
or snakes to bite other people.
But when I first met you
it was as if the serpent-fire at the base of my spinal cord
that was running to keep its thoughts aloft like kites
suddenly had wings
and all my dirt-bag myths
that crawled on the earth among the lowest
were elevated into constellations
that burned like dragons among the chandeliers.
And when the muses of life well up in me like water
as they will
and ask me back
for all the tears they've shed on the sorrow
of the way things had to be
between you and me
for them and us
to happen the way we did
I will show them the eternal flame
of the nightwaterlily
blooming in the clear fire
of its lonely lucidity
not even the rain
the dragon brings
can aspire to put out.
I will show them the sun.
I will show them the moon.
And I'll say
you see?
That's us forever.
That swan in the heart of a phoenix.
And they will be well-pleased with the beauty of the lies
I use to shadow the truth with compassionate alibis
for why the flowers fall.
Sometimes it's the bird that swims through stone
and the snake that flys
in a profusion of fire and water
shadow and form
darkness and light
intensity and death
madness and wisdom.
Sometimes you meet someone
and you realize
this fallible flesh just as it is
is the deepest longing of the spirit fulfilled
like light in a perishable garden.
That there are no flaming swords
in the hands of the angels
at the wounded gates of our exile
trying to keep anything in or out.
Stranger in the leaving
than you were before you came.
The knowledge we have of each other
might want to keep things the same
but like all living things
in this garden of creation
the only way to sustain our innocence
is change.

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Jonah’s Luck

OUT OF LUCK, mate? Have a liquor. Hang it, where’s the use complaining?
Take your fancy, I’m in funds now—I can stand the racket, Dan.
Dump your bluey in the corner; camp here for the night, it’s raining;
Bet your life I’m glad to see you—glad to see a Daylesford man.
Swell? Correct, Dan. Spot the get up; and I own this blooming shanty,
Me the fellows christened ‘Jonah’ at Jim Crow and Blanket Flat,
’Cause my luck was so infernal—you remember me and Canty?
Rough times, those—the very memory keeps a chap from getting fat.

Where’d I strike it? That’s a yarn. The fire’s a comfort—sit up nearer.
Hoist your heels, man; take it easy till Kate’s ready with the stew.
Yes, I’ll tell my little story; ’tain’t a long one, but it’s queerer
Than those lies that Tullock pitched us on The Flat in ’52.
Fancy Phil a parson now! He’s smug as grease, the Reverend Tullock.
Yes, he’s big—his wife and fam’ly are a high and mighty lot.
Didn’t I say his jaw would keep him when he tired of punching mullock?
Well, it has—he’s made his pile here. How d’you like your whisky—hot?

Luck! Well, now, I like your cheek, Dan. You had luck, there’s no denying.
I in thirty years had averaged just a wage of twenty bob—
Why, at Alma there I saw men making fortunes without trying,
While for days I lived on ’possums, and then had to take a job.
Bah! you talk about misfortune—my ill-luck was always thorough:
Gold once ran away before me if I chased it for a week.
I was starved at Tarrangower—lived on tick at Maryborough—
And I fell and broke my thigh-bone at the start of Fiery Creek.

At Avoca Canty left me. Jim, you know, was not a croaker,
But he jacked the whole arrangement—found we couldn’t make a do:
Said he loved me like a brother, but ’twas rough upon a joker
When he’d got to fight the devil, and find luck enough for two.
Jim was off. I didn’t blame him, seeing what he’d had to suffer
When Maginnis, just beside us, panned out fifty to the tub.
‘We had pegged out hours before him, and had struck another duffer,
And each store upon the lead, my lad, had laid us up for grub.

After that I picked up Barlow, but we parted at Dunolly
When we’d struggled through at Alma, Adelaide Lead, and Ararat.
See, my luck was hard upon him; he contracted melancholy,
And he hung himself one morning in the shaft at Parrot Flat.
Ding it? No. Where gold was getting I was on the job, and early,—
Struck some tucker dirt at Armstrong’s, and just lived at Pleasant Creek,
Always grafting like a good ’un, never hopeless-like or surly,
Living partly on my earnings, Dan, but largely on my cheek.

Good old days, they like to call them—they were tough old days to many:
I was through them, and they left me still the choice to graft or beg—
Left me gray, and worn, and wrinkled, aged and stumped—without a penny—
With a chronic rheumatism and this darned old twisted leg.
Other work? That’s true—in plenty. But you know the real old stager
Who has followed up the diggings, how he hangs on to the pan,
How he hates to leave the pipeclay. Though you mention it I’ll wager
That you never worked on top until you couldn’t help it, Dan.

Years went by. On many fields I worked, and often missed a meal, and
Then I found Victoria played out, and the yields were very slack,
So I took a turn up Northward, tried Tasmania and New Zealand,—
Dan, I worked my passage over, and I sneaked the journey back.
Times were worse. I made a cradle, and went fossicking old places;
But the Chows had been before me, and had scraped the country bare;
There was talk of splendid patches ’mongst the creeks and round the races,
But ’twas not my luck to strike them, and I think I lived on air.

Rough? That’s not the word. So help me, Dan, I hadn’t got a stiver
When I caved in one fine Sunday—found I couldn’t lift my head.
They removed me, and the doctor said I’d got rheumatic fever,
And for seven months I lingered in a ward upon a bed.
Came out crippled, feeling done-up, hopeless-like and very lonely,
And dead-beat right down to bed rock as I’d never felt before.
Bitter? Just! Those hopeful years of honest graft had left me only
This bent leg; and some asylum was the prospect I’d in store.

You’ll be knowing how I felt then—cleaned-out, lame, completely gravelled—
All the friends I’d known were scattered widely north, and east, and west:
There seemed nothing there for my sort, and no chances if I travelled;
No, my digging days were over, and I had to give it best.
Though ’twas hard, I tried to meet it like a man in digger fashion:
’Twasn’t good enough—I funked it; I was fairly on the shelf,
Cursed my bitter fortune daily, and was always in a passion
With the Lord, sir, and with everyone, but mostly with myself.

I was older twenty years then than I am this blessed minute,
But I got a job one morning, knapping rock at Ballarat;
Two-and-three for two-inch metal. You may say there’s nothing in it,
To the man who’s been through Eaglehawk and mined at Blanket Flat.
Wait—you’d better let me finish. We and ill, I bucked in gladly,
But to get the tools I needed I was forced to pawn my swag.
I’d no hope of golden patches, but I needed tucker badly,
And this job, I think, just saved me being lumbered on the vag.

Fortune is a fickle party, but in spite of all her failings,
Don’t revile her, Dan, as I did, while you’ve still a little rope.
Well, the heap that I was put on was some heavy quartz and tailings,
That was carted from a local mine, I think the Band of Hope.
Take the lesson that is coming to your heart, old man, and hug it:
For I started on the heap with scarce a soul to call my own,
And in less than twenty minutes I’d raked out a bouncing nugget
Scaling close on ninety ounces, and just frosted round with stone.

How is that for high, my hearty? Miracle! It was, by thunder!
After forty years of following the rushes up and down,
Getting old, and past all prospect, and about to knuckle under,
Struck it lucky knapping metal in the middle of a town!
Pass the bottle! Have another! Soon we’ll get the word from Kitty—
She’s a daisy cook, I tell you. Yes, the public business pays
But my pile was made beforehand—made it ‘broking’ in the city.
That’s the yarn I pitch the neighbours. Here’s to good old now-a-days.

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