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Destination

I look out a window
at the traffic below.
Where are they going
I don’t really know?
Each has a destination
that they want to get to;
Some it will be work
with a long drive ahead,
while others it will be home
so they can rest their head.
However, whatever destination
in which you have to go
drive carefully and remember
there are those out there
who don’t really care.

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Homer

The Odyssey: Book 18

Now there came a certain common tramp who used to go begging all
over the city of Ithaca, and was notorious as an incorrigible
glutton and drunkard. This man had no strength nor stay in him, but he
was a great hulking fellow to look at; his real name, the one his
mother gave him, was Arnaeus, but the young men of the place called
him Irus, because he used to run errands for any one who would send
him. As soon as he came he began to insult Ulysses, and to try and
drive him out of his own house.
"Be off, old man," he cried, "from the doorway, or you shall be
dragged out neck and heels. Do you not see that they are all giving me
the wink, and wanting me to turn you out by force, only I do not
like to do so? Get up then, and go of yourself, or we shall come to
blows."
Ulysses frowned on him and said, "My friend, I do you no manner of
harm; people give you a great deal, but I am not jealous. There is
room enough in this doorway for the pair of us, and you need not
grudge me things that are not yours to give. You seem to be just
such another tramp as myself, but perhaps the gods will give us better
luck by and by. Do not, however, talk too much about fighting or you
will incense me, and old though I am, I shall cover your mouth and
chest with blood. I shall have more peace to-morrow if I do, for you
will not come to the house of Ulysses any more."
Irus was very angry and answered, "You filthy glutton, you run on
trippingly like an old fish-fag. I have a good mind to lay both
hands about you, and knock your teeth out of your head like so many
boar's tusks. Get ready, therefore, and let these people here stand by
and look on. You will never be able to fight one who is so much
younger than yourself."
Thus roundly did they rate one another on the smooth pavement in
front of the doorway, and when Antinous saw what was going on he
laughed heartily and said to the others, "This is the finest sport
that you ever saw; heaven never yet sent anything like it into this
house. The stranger and Irus have quarreled and are going to fight,
let us set them on to do so at once."
The suitors all came up laughing, and gathered round the two
ragged tramps. "Listen to me," said Antinous, "there are some goats'
paunches down at the fire, which we have filled with blood and fat,
and set aside for supper; he who is victorious and proves himself to
be the better man shall have his pick of the lot; he shall be free
of our table and we will not allow any other beggar about the house at
all."
The others all agreed, but Ulysses, to throw them off the scent,
said, "Sirs, an old man like myself, worn out with suffering, cannot
hold his own against a young one; but my irrepressible belly urges
me on, though I know it can only end in my getting a drubbing. You
must swear, however that none of you will give me a foul blow to
favour Irus and secure him the victory."
They swore as he told them, and when they had completed their oath
Telemachus put in a word and said, "Stranger, if you have a mind to
settle with this fellow, you need not be afraid of any one here.
Whoever strikes you will have to fight more than one. I am host, and
the other chiefs, Antinous and Eurymachus, both of them men of
understanding, are of the same mind as I am."
Every one assented, and Ulysses girded his old rags about his loins,
thus baring his stalwart thighs, his broad chest and shoulders, and
his mighty arms; but Minerva came up to him and made his limbs even
stronger still. The suitors were beyond measure astonished, and one
would turn towards his neighbour saying, "The stranger has brought
such a thigh out of his old rags that there will soon be nothing
left of Irus."
Irus began to be very uneasy as he heard them, but the servants
girded him by force, and brought him [into the open part of the court]
in such a fright that his limbs were all of a tremble. Antinous
scolded him and said, "You swaggering bully, you ought never to have
been born at all if you are afraid of such an old broken-down creature
as this tramp is. I say, therefore- and it shall surely be- if he
beats you and proves himself the better man, I shall pack you off on
board ship to the mainland and send you to king Echetus, who kills
every one that comes near him. He will cut off your nose and ears, and
draw out your entrails for the dogs to eat."
This frightened Irus still more, but they brought him into the
middle of the court, and the two men raised their hands to fight. Then
Ulysses considered whether he should let drive so hard at him as to
make an end of him then and there, or whether he should give him a
lighter blow that should only knock him down; in the end he deemed
it best to give the lighter blow for fear the Achaeans should begin to
suspect who he was. Then they began to fight, and Irus hit Ulysses
on the right shoulder; but Ulysses gave Irus a blow on the neck
under the ear that broke in the bones of his skull, and the blood came
gushing out of his mouth; he fell groaning in the dust, gnashing his
teeth and kicking on the ground, but the suitors threw up their
hands and nearly died of laughter, as Ulysses caught hold of him by
the foot and dragged him into the outer court as far as the
gate-house. There he propped him up against the wall and put his staff
in his hands. "Sit here," said he, "and keep the dogs and pigs off;
you are a pitiful creature, and if you try to make yourself king of
the beggars any more you shall fare still worse."
Then he threw his dirty old wallet, all tattered and torn, over
his shoulder with the cord by which it hung, and went back to sit down
upon the threshold; but the suitors went within the cloisters,
laughing and saluting him, "May Jove, and all the other gods," said
they, 'grant you whatever you want for having put an end to the
importunity of this insatiable tramp. We will take him over to the
mainland presently, to king Echetus, who kills every one that comes
near him."
Ulysses hailed this as of good omen, and Antinous set a great goat's
paunch before him filled with blood and fat. Amphinomus took two
loaves out of the bread-basket and brought them to him, pledging him
as he did so in a golden goblet of wine. "Good luck to you," he
said, "father stranger, you are very badly off at present, but I
hope you will have better times by and by."
To this Ulysses answered, "Amphinomus, you seem to be a man of
good understanding, as indeed you may well be, seeing whose son you
are. I have heard your father well spoken of; he is Nisus of
Dulichium, a man both brave and wealthy. They tell me you are his son,
and you appear to be a considerable person; listen, therefore, and
take heed to what I am saying. Man is the vainest of all creatures
that have their being upon earth. As long as heaven vouchsafes him
health and strength, he thinks that he shall come to no harm
hereafter, and even when the blessed gods bring sorrow upon him, he
bears it as he needs must, and makes the best of it; for God
Almighty gives men their daily minds day by day. I know all about
it, for I was a rich man once, and did much wrong in the
stubbornness of my pride, and in the confidence that my father and
my brothers would support me; therefore let a man fear God in all
things always, and take the good that heaven may see fit to send him
without vainglory. Consider the infamy of what these suitors are
doing; see how they are wasting the estate, and doing dishonour to the
wife, of one who is certain to return some day, and that, too, not
long hence. Nay, he will be here soon; may heaven send you home
quietly first that you may not meet with him in the day of his coming,
for once he is here the suitors and he will not part bloodlessly."
With these words he made a drink-offering, and when he had drunk
he put the gold cup again into the hands of Amphinomus, who walked
away serious and bowing his head, for he foreboded evil. But even so
he did not escape destruction, for Minerva had doomed him fall by
the hand of Telemachus. So he took his seat again at the place from
which he had come.
Then Minerva put it into the mind of Penelope to show herself to the
suitors, that she might make them still more enamoured of her, and win
still further honour from her son and husband. So she feigned a
mocking laugh and said, "Eurynome, I have changed my and have a
fancy to show myself to the suitors although I detest them. I should
like also to give my son a hint that he had better not have anything
more to do with them. They speak fairly enough but they mean
mischief."
"My dear child," answered Eurynome, "all that you have said is true,
go and tell your son about it, but first wash yourself and anoint your
face. Do not go about with your cheeks all covered with tears; it is
not right that you should grieve so incessantly; for Telemachus,
whom you always prayed that you might live to see with a beard, is
already grown up."
"I know, Eurynome," replied Penelope, "that you mean well, but do
not try and persuade me to wash and to anoint myself, for heaven
robbed me of all my beauty on the day my husband sailed; nevertheless,
tell Autonoe and Hippodamia that I want them. They must be with me
when I am in the cloister; I am not going among the men alone; it
would not be proper for me to do so."
On this the old woman went out of the room to bid the maids go to
their mistress. In the meantime Minerva bethought her of another
matter, and sent Penelope off into a sweet slumber; so she lay down on
her couch and her limbs became heavy with sleep. Then the goddess shed
grace and beauty over her that all the Achaeans might admire her.
She washed her face with the ambrosial loveliness that Venus wears
when she goes dancing with the Graces; she made her taller and of a
more commanding figure, while as for her complexion it was whiter than
sawn ivory. When Minerva had done all this she went away, whereon
the maids came in from the women's room and woke Penelope with the
sound of their talking.
"What an exquisitely delicious sleep I have been having," said
she, as she passed her hands over her face, "in spite of all my
misery. I wish Diana would let me die so sweetly now at this very
moment, that I might no longer waste in despair for the loss of my
dear husband, who possessed every kind of good quality and was the
most distinguished man among the Achaeans."
With these words she came down from her upper room, not alone but
attended by two of her maidens, and when she reached the suitors she
stood by one of the bearing-posts supporting the roof of the cloister,
holding a veil before her face, and with a staid maid servant on
either side of her. As they beheld her the suitors were so overpowered
and became so desperately enamoured of her, that each one prayed he
might win her for his own bed fellow.
"Telemachus," said she, addressing her son, "I fear you are no
longer so discreet and well conducted as you used to be. When you were
younger you had a greater sense of propriety; now, however, that you
are grown up, though a stranger to look at you would take you for
the son of a well-to-do father as far as size and good looks go,
your conduct is by no means what it should be. What is all this
disturbance that has been going on, and how came you to allow a
stranger to be so disgracefully ill-treated? What would have
happened if he had suffered serious injury while a suppliant in our
house? Surely this would have been very discreditable to you."
"I am not surprised, my dear mother, at your displeasure," replied
Telemachus, "I understand all about it and know when things are not as
they should be, which I could not do when I was younger; I cannot,
however, behave with perfect propriety at all times. First one and
then another of these wicked people here keeps driving me out of my
mind, and I have no one to stand by me. After all, however, this fight
between Irus and the stranger did not turn out as the suitors meant it
to do, for the stranger got the best of it. I wish Father Jove,
Minerva, and Apollo would break the neck of every one of these
wooers of yours, some inside the house and some out; and I wish they
might all be as limp as Irus is over yonder in the gate of the outer
court. See how he nods his head like a drunken man; he has had such
a thrashing that he cannot stand on his feet nor get back to his home,
wherever that may be, for has no strength left in him."
Thus did they converse. Eurymachus then came up and said, "Queen
Penelope, daughter of Icarius, if all the Achaeans in Iasian Argos
could see you at this moment, you would have still more suitors in
your house by tomorrow morning, for you are the most admirable woman
in the whole world both as regards personal beauty and strength of
understanding."
To this Penelope replied, "Eurymachus, heaven robbed me of all my
beauty whether of face or figure when the Argives set sail for Troy
and my dear husband with them. If he were to return and look after
my affairs, I should both be more respected and show a better presence
to the world. As it is, I am oppressed with care, and with the
afflictions which heaven has seen fit to heap upon me. My husband
foresaw it all, and when he was leaving home he took my right wrist in
his hand- 'Wife, 'he said, 'we shall not all of us come safe home
from Troy, for the Trojans fight well both with bow and spear. They
are excellent also at fighting from chariots, and nothing decides
the issue of a fight sooner than this. I know not, therefore,
whether heaven will send me back to you, or whether I may not fall
over there at Troy. In the meantime do you look after things here.
Take care of my father and mother as at present, and even more so
during my absence, but when you see our son growing a beard, then
marry whom you will, and leave this your present home. This is what he
said and now it is all coming true. A night will come when I shall
have to yield myself to a marriage which I detest, for Jove has
taken from me all hope of happiness. This further grief, moreover,
cuts me to the very heart. You suitors are not wooing me after the
custom of my country. When men are courting a woman who they think
will be a good wife to them and who is of noble birth, and when they
are each trying to win her for himself, they usually bring oxen and
sheep to feast the friends of the lady, and they make her
magnificent presents, instead of eating up other people's property
without paying for it."
This was what she said, and Ulysses was glad when he heard her
trying to get presents out of the suitors, and flattering them with
fair words which he knew she did not mean.
Then Antinous said, "Queen Penelope, daughter of Icarius, take as
many presents as you please from any one who will give them to you; it
is not well to refuse a present; but we will not go about our business
nor stir from where we are, till you have married the best man among
us whoever he may be."
The others applauded what Antinous had said, and each one sent his
servant to bring his present. Antinous's man returned with a large and
lovely dress most exquisitely embroidered. It had twelve beautifully
made brooch pins of pure gold with which to fasten it. Eurymachus
immediately brought her a magnificent chain of gold and amber beads
that gleamed like sunlight. Eurydamas's two men returned with some
earrings fashioned into three brilliant pendants which glistened
most beautifully; while king Pisander son of Polyctor gave her a
necklace of the rarest workmanship, and every one else brought her a
beautiful present of some kind.
Then the queen went back to her room upstairs, and her maids brought
the presents after her. Meanwhile the suitors took to singing and
dancing, and stayed till evening came. They danced and sang till it
grew dark; they then brought in three braziers to give light, and
piled them up with chopped firewood very and dry, and they lit torches
from them, which the maids held up turn and turn about. Then Ulysses
said:
"Maids, servants of Ulysses who has so long been absent, go to the
queen inside the house; sit with her and amuse her, or spin, and
pick wool. I will hold the light for all these people. They may stay
till morning, but shall not beat me, for I can stand a great deal."
The maids looked at one another and laughed, while pretty Melantho
began to gibe at him contemptuously. She was daughter to Dolius, but
had been brought up by Penelope, who used to give her toys to play
with, and looked after her when she was a child; but in spite of all
this she showed no consideration for the sorrows of her mistress,
and used to misconduct herself with Eurymachus, with whom she was in
love.
"Poor wretch," said she, "are you gone clean out of your mind? Go
and sleep in some smithy, or place of public gossips, instead of
chattering here. Are you not ashamed of opening your mouth before your
betters- so many of them too? Has the wine been getting into your
head, or do you always babble in this way? You seem to have lost
your wits because you beat the tramp Irus; take care that a better man
than he does not come and cudgel you about the head till he pack you
bleeding out of the house."
"Vixen," replied Ulysses, scowling at her, "I will go and tell
Telemachus what you have been saying, and he will have you torn limb
from limb."
With these words he scared the women, and they went off into the
body of the house. They trembled all aver, for they thought he would
do as he said. But Ulysses took his stand near the burning braziers,
holding up torches and looking at the people- brooding the while on
things that should surely come to pass.
But Minerva would not let the suitors for one moment cease their
insolence, for she wanted Ulysses to become even more bitter against
them; she therefore set Eurymachus son of Polybus on to gibe at him,
which made the others laugh. "Listen to me," said he, "you suitors
of Queen Penelope, that I may speak even as I am minded. It is not for
nothing that this man has come to the house of Ulysses; I believe
the light has not been coming from the torches, but from his own head-
for his hair is all gone, every bit of it."
Then turning to Ulysses he said, "Stranger, will you work as a
servant, if I send you to the wolds and see that you are well paid?
Can you build a stone fence, or plant trees? I will have you fed all
the year round, and will find you in shoes and clothing. Will you
go, then? Not you; for you have got into bad ways, and do not want
to work; you had rather fill your belly by going round the country
begging."
"Eurymachus," answered Ulysses, "if you and I were to work one
against the other in early summer when the days are at their
longest- give me a good scythe, and take another yourself, and let
us see which will fast the longer or mow the stronger, from dawn
till dark when the mowing grass is about. Or if you will plough
against me, let us each take a yoke of tawny oxen, well-mated and of
great strength and endurance: turn me into a four acre field, and
see whether you or I can drive the straighter furrow. If, again, war
were to break out this day, give me a shield, a couple of spears and a
helmet fitting well upon my temples- you would find me foremost in the
fray, and would cease your gibes about my belly. You are insolent
and cruel, and think yourself a great man because you live in a little
world, ind that a bad one. If Ulysses comes to his own again, the
doors of his house are wide, but you will find them narrow when you
try to fly through them."
Eurymachus was furious at all this. He scowled at him and cried,
"You wretch, I will soon pay you out for daring to say such things
to me, and in public too. Has the wine been getting into your head
or do you always babble in this way? You seem to have lost your wits
because you beat the tramp Irus. With this he caught hold of a
footstool, but Ulysses sought protection at the knees of Amphinomus of
Dulichium, for he was afraid. The stool hit the cupbearer on his right
hand and knocked him down: the man fell with a cry flat on his back,
and his wine-jug fell ringing to the ground. The suitors in the
covered cloister were now in an uproar, and one would turn towards his
neighbour, saying, "I wish the stranger had gone somewhere else, bad
luck to hide, for all the trouble he gives us. We cannot permit such
disturbance about a beggar; if such ill counsels are to prevail we
shall have no more pleasure at our banquet."
On this Telemachus came forward and said, "Sirs, are you mad? Can
you not carry your meat and your liquor decently? Some evil spirit has
possessed you. I do not wish to drive any of you away, but you have
had your suppers, and the sooner you all go home to bed the better."
The suitors bit their lips and marvelled at the boldness of his
speech; but Amphinomus the son of Nisus, who was son to Aretias, said,
"Do not let us take offence; it is reasonable, so let us make no
answer. Neither let us do violence to the stranger nor to any of
Ulysses' servants. Let the cupbearer go round with the
drink-offerings, that we may make them and go home to our rest. As for
the stranger, let us leave Telemachus to deal with him, for it is to
his house that he has come."
Thus did he speak, and his saying pleased them well, so Mulius of
Dulichium, servant to Amphinomus, mixed them a bowl of wine and
water and handed it round to each of them man by man, whereon they
made their drink-offerings to the blessed gods: Then, when they had
made their drink-offerings and had drunk each one as he was minded,
they took their several ways each of them to his own abode.

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Is Anybody Out There ?

(gill/johnson/nash/otoole)
If I could change the things Ive done
Would I be the only one
To with again if only I could take your pain away
And think of better, better things to say
The highest price Id gladly pay
For you to live, just golden days, golden days, golden days
So celebrate the moment now, have all that you desire
Well keep each other warm, together well weather the storm
The children are dying and nobodys crying
Theres got to be something out there, someone who cares
Got to be something out there *
Give me real life, the worry and the strife
Ill throw it out of the window, to the dogs below
So come with me Ill guide you through wardrobes of fantasy
And treasure chests of what could be
A world without anxiety
A legacy of golden days, golden days, golden days
Leave it all behind the blind leading the blind
Have all that you desire
Gotta be, gotta be someone out there
Lets break the rules scattering the jewels
Of joy amongst ourselves
The lonely, lonely of the shelves
Feel good about yourself, Ill drink to your health
Have all that you desire
(repeat)*
Im looking for something, and I dont know what it is

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A Grammarian's Funeral Shortly after the Revival of Learnin

Let us begin and carry up this corpse,
Singing together.
Leave we the common crofts, the vulgar thorpes
Each in its tether
Sleeping safe on the bosom of the plain,
Cared-for till cock-crow:
Look out if yonder be not day again
Rimming the rock-row!
That's the appropriate country; there, man's thought,
Rarer, intenser,
Self-gathered for an outbreak, as it ought,
Chafes in the censer.
Leave we the unlettered plain its herd and crop;
Seek we sepulture
On a tall mountain, citied to the top,
Crowded with culture!
All the peaks soar, but one the rest excels;
Clouds overcome it;
No! yonder sparkle is the citadel's
Circling its summit.
Thither our path lies; wind we up the heights:
Wait ye the warning?
Our low life was the level's and the night's;
He's for the morning.
Step to a tune, square chests, erect each head,
'Ware the beholders!
This is our master, famous, calm and dead,
Borne on our shoulders.

Sleep, crop and herd! sleep, darkling thorpe and croft,
Safe from the weather!
He, whom we convoy to his grave aloft,
Singing together,
He was a man born with thy face and throat,
Lyric Apollo!
Long he lived nameless: how should spring take note
Winter would follow?
Till lo, the little touch, and youth was gone!
Cramped and diminished,
Moaned he, "New measures, other feet anon!
My dance is finished"?
No, that's the world's way: (keep the mountain-side,
Make for the city!)
He knew the signal, and stepped on with pride
Over men's pity;
Left play for work, and grappled with the world
Bent on escaping:
"What's in the scroll," quoth he, "thou keepest furled
Show me their shaping,
Theirs who most studied man, the bard and sage,--
Give!"--So, he gowned him,
Straight got by heart that book to its last page:
Learned, we found him.
Yea, but we found him bald too, eyes like lead,
Accents uncertain:
"Time to taste life," another would have said,
"Up with the curtain!"
This man said rather, "Actual life comes next?
Patience a moment!
Grant I have mastered learning's crabbed text,
Still there's the comment.
Let me know all! Prate not of most or least,
Painful or easy!
Even to the crumbs I'd fain eat up the feast,
Ay, nor feel queasy."
Oh, such a life as he resolved to live,
When he had learned it,
When he had gathered all books had to give!
Sooner, he spurned it.
Image the whole, then execute the parts--
Fancy the fabric
Quite, ere you build, ere steel strike fire from quartz,
Ere mortar dab brick!

(Here's the town-gate reached: there's the market-place
Gaping before us.)
Yea, this in him was the peculiar grace
(Hearten our chorus!)
That before living he'd learn how to live--
No end to learning:
Earn the means first--God surely will contrive
Use for our earning.
Others mistrust and say, "But time escapes:
Live now or never!"
He said, "What's time? Leave Now for dogs and apes!
Man has Forever."
Back to his book then: deeper drooped his head:
Calculus racked him:
Leaden before, his eyes grew dross of lead:
Tussis attacked him.
"Now, master, take a little rest!"--not he!
(Caution redoubled
Step two abreast, the way winds narrowly!)
Not a whit troubled,
Back to his studies, fresher than at first,
Fierce as a dragon
He (soul-hydroptic with a sacred thirst)
Sucked at the flagon.
Oh, if we draw a circle premature,
Heedless of far gain,
Greedy for quick returns of profit, sure
Bad is our bargain!
Was it not great? did not he throw on God,
(He loves the burthen)--
God's task to make the heavenly period
Perfect the earthen?
Did not he magnify the mind, show clear
Just what it all meant?
He would not discount life, as fools do here,
Paid by instalment.
He ventured neck or nothing--heaven's success
Found, or earth's failure:
"Wilt thou trust death or not?" He answered "Yes:
Hence with life's pale lure!"
That low man seeks a little thing to do,
Sees it and does it:
This high man, with a great thing to pursue,
Dies ere he knows it.
That low man goes on adding one to one,
His hundred's soon hit:
This high man, aiming at a million,
Misses an unit.
That, has the world here--should he need the next,
Let the world mind him!
This, throws himself on God, and unperplexed
Seeking shall find him.
So, with the throttling hands of death at strife,
Ground he at grammar;
Still, thro' the rattle, parts of speech were rife:
While he could stammer
He settled Hoti's business--let it be!--
Properly based Oun--
Gave us the doctrine of the enclitic De,
Dead from the waist down.
Well, here's the platform, here's the proper place:
Hail to your purlieus,
All ye highfliers of the feathered race,
Swallows and curlews!
Here's the top-peak; the multitude below
Live, for they can, there:
This man decided not to Live but Know--
Bury this man there?
Here--here's his place, where meteors shoot, clouds form,
Lightnings are loosened,
Stars come and go! Let joy break with the storm,
Peace let the dew send!
Lofty designs must close in like effects:
Loftily lying,
Leave him--still loftier than the world suspects,
Living and dying.

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So Bold Are Those Shoulders

It's hard to disapprove someone determined.
Someone like that,
Is not easily swayed to be steered off track.

It is difficult to distract a mind fixed and attached.
As others scheme,
To remove one's hopes and dreams.

So bold are those shoulders,
Of one with reach.
One impossible to convince,
Obstacles can not be leaped.

So bold are those shoulders,
Of one with reach.
Especially if the one that teaches,
Isn't one that follows.
But that one who leads.

It is difficult to distract a mind fixed and attached.
As others scheme,
To remove one's hopes and dreams.

It's hard to disapprove someone determined,
Like that.
Someone who has already been stabbed in the back.

So bold are those shoulders,
Of one with reach.
One impossible to convince,
Obstacles can not be leaped.

So bold are those shoulders,
Of one with reach.
Especially if the one that teaches,
Isn't one that follows.
But that one who leads.

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A Grammarian's Funeral

Let us begin and carry up this corpse,
Singing together.
Leave we the common crofts, the vulgar thorpes
Each in its tether
Sleeping safe on the bosom of the plain,
Cared-for till cock-crow:
Look out if yonder be not day again
Rimming the rock-row!
That's the appropriate country; there, man's thought,
Rarer, intenser,
Self-gathered for an outbreak, as it ought,
Chafes in the censer.
Leave we the unlettered plain its herd and crop;
Seek we sepulture
On a tall mountain, citied to the top,
Crowded with culture!
All the peaks soar, but one the rest excels;
Clouds overcome it;
No! Yonder sparkle is the citadel's
Circling its summit.
Thither our path lies; wind we up the heights:
Wait ye the warning?
Our low life was the level's and the night's;
He's for the morning.
Step to a tune, square chests, erect each head,
'Ware the beholders!
This is our master, famous calm and dead,
Borne on our shoulders.


Sleep, crop and herd! sleep, darkling thorpe and croft,
Safe from the weather!
He, whom we convoy to his grave aloft,
Singing together,
He was a man born with thy face and throat,
Lyric Apollo!
Long he lived nameless: how should spring take note
Winter would follow?
Till lo, the little touch, and youth was gone!
Cramped and diminished,
Moaned he, "New measures, other feet anon!
My dance is finished?"
No, that's the world's way: (keep the mountain-side,
Make for the city!)
He knew the signal, and stepped on with pride
Over men's pity;
Left play for work, and grappled with the world
Bent on escaping:
"What's in the scroll," quoth he, "thou keepest furled?
Show me their shaping
Theirs who most studied man, the bard and sage,
Give!"—So, he gowned him,
Straight got by heart that book to its last page:
Learned, we found him.
Yea, but we found him bald too, eyes like lead,
Accents uncertain:
"Time to taste life," another would have said,
"Up with the curtain!"
This man said rather, "Actual life comes next?
Patience a moment!
Grant I have mastered learning's crabbed text,
Still there's the comment
Let me know all! Prate not of most or least,
Painful or easy!
Even to the crumbs I'd fain eat up the feast,
Ay, nor feel queasy."
Oh, such a life as he resolved to live,
When he had learned it,
When he had gathered all books had to give!
Sooner, he spurned it.
Image the whole, then execute the parts—
Fancy the fabric
Quite, ere you build, ere steel strike fire from quartz,
Ere mortar dab brick!


(Here's the town-gate reached: there's the market-place
Gaping before us.)
Yea, this in him was the peculiar grace
(Hearten our chorus!)
That before living he'd learn how to live—
No end to learning:
Earn the means first—God surely will contrive
Use for our earning.
Others mistrust and say, "But time escapes:
Live now or never!"
He said, "What's time? Leave Now for dogs and apes!
Man has Forever."
Back to his book then: deeper drooped his head:
Calculus racked him:
Leaden before, his eyes grew dross of lead:
Tussis attacked him.
"Now, master, take a little rest!"—not he!
(Caution redoubled,
Step two abreast, the way winds narrowly!)
Not a whit troubled
Back to his studies, fresher than at first,
Fierce as a dragon
He (soul-hydroptic with a sacred thirst)
Sucked at the flagon.
Oh, if we draw a circle premature,
Heedless of far gain,
Greedy for quick returns of profit, sure
Bad is our bargain!
Was it not great? did not he throw on God,
(He loves the burthen)
God's task to make the heavenly period
Perfect the earthen?
Did not he magnify the mind, show clear
Just what it all meant?
He would not discount life, as fools do here,
Paid by instalment.
He ventured neck or nothing-heaven's success
Found, or earth's failure:
"Wilt thou trust death or not?" He answered "Yes:
"Hence with life's pale lure!"
That low man seeks a little thing to do,
Sees it and does it:
This high man, with a great thing to pursue,
Dies ere he knows it.
That low man goes on adding one to one,
His hundred's soon hit:
This high man, aiming at a million,
Misses an unit.
That, has the world here—should he need the next,
Let the world mind him!
This, throws himself on God, and unperplexed
Seeking shall find him.
So, with the throttling hands of death at strife,
Ground he at grammar;
Still, thro' the rattle, parts of speech were rife:
While he could stammer
He settled Hoti's business—let it be!—
Properly based Oun—
Gave us the doctrine of the enclitic De,
Dead from the waist down.
Well, here's the platform, here's the proper place:
Hail to your purlieus,
All ye highfliers of the feathered race,
Swallows and curlews!
Here's the top-peak; the multitude below
Live, for they can, there:
This man decided not to Live but Know
Bury this man there?
Here—here's his place, where meteors shoot, clouds form,
Lightnings are loosened,
Stars come and go! Let joy break with the storm,
Peace let the dew send!
Lofty designs must close in like effects:
Loftily lying,
Leave him—still loftier than the world suspects,
Living and dying.

poem by from Men and Women (1845)Report problemRelated quotes
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The Fair of Beauty

I must confess! An angel must hide placidly undermine eyelids, for when I close them I see a word magnanimously delightful, and when I open them I see a pageant as sweet as a garden of sugar. I see the land of Lucien.

With languorous sunsets, charming lakes and emerald grass the land of Lucien is a place of beauty. It is a kingdom where romance lavishes the land. In the heart of Lucien, a small castle stands, ornamented with stained glass, beautiful balustrades and gothic arches. The gray stone which holds it together is forged by the hands of many peasants, but its form was conceived by the mind of one talented artisan. This gives the building a real integrity and a strange personality peculiar to one man. To that man no one knew or knows, no myth even could or can shed light into its mystery. "Mysteries shall be left mysterious, for shall they be discovered they lose their charm, " Madame Rupert once said with the eloquence of an aristocrat.

In this story there is no place for mystery, for beauty is forever revealing itself to us, but here is short history of Lucien. In order to understand this story I must give an account of the castle. The castle is called the house of Rupert, for the Rupert's have reigned over the land of Lucien for many a century. The family is everything royal except their horrible habit of being unconventional. They never marry within royal line, for they suffer from the malady of beauty and love and the lads of the family hold beauty contests to chose the wife they think the most beautiful. Dowries mean nil compared to a charming countenance in this world. They worship love, as other's worship the mammoth, however, they worship love with as much avidity as others worship the latter, that it would be quite pernicious to their name in a practical world, therefore, I thank Venus for making my land of Lucien quite unpractical, for here the Rupert's mania for beauty doesn't seem to affect their status, or their sanity, and more importantly their virtue.

Beauty! Beauty is the way of life here. The Rupert's excessive love of beauty transcends the emotion of admiration and even slips importunately into the realm of Justice. To the Rupert's, justice must follow the law of beauty, hence the inscription engraved in marble adorning the head of the entrance way which reads Beauty is Thine Nature, Justice Must Protect Thine Nature, and Good Shall Prosper Here, For Justice is Not Just Shall It Produce Bad Results.

The Story begins.

On this day, the 11th of August, the patriarch, the king, the majestic lord, King Eric de Rupert, dressed in raiment ebony, laced with gold ruffles, calls into session the Fair of Beauty. The king's brown Moorish eyes overlook the crowd and its meticulous beauty. The praetorian guards stand erect and proud; magenta rubies are sewn into the turbans resting upon their heads; their scarlet cloaks are stained with the blood of dead youth and underneath their pleasant attire lay a well of gold, for their skin appears to be laced with gold.

Dear reader, music always seems to sing from the heart. For musicians play lovely tunes with their skillfully wrought instruments. The ceremony is conducted in a way to infuse a merry emollient on all the hearts of all the spectators'. The scenery is potent in beautiful colors, an elegant display of fashion rests listlessly on all who attend, and an uncanny feast is prepared and served in lovely style, that one didn't notice, if what one is eating, is good or not. That is the charm of beauty here, it has no taste, like water, it is a necessity to live.
A squire whispers to his wanton mistress, "The King appears to be alone, for where is his noble wife and her amorous spirit? "
"The King looks so handsome this evening maybe he'll notice my azure mascara, " said Lyla to her girlfriend Plenie.
"The King sees nothing but beauty, that is what makes him so irresistible, " replied Plenie.
'For twenty years he has ruled with compassion and benevolence, and twenty years more shall he be loved with compassion and benevolence, " said Lorenzo the accountant.

(The King rises from a throne made of Persian Wood)

The King: "Tis my favorite time of all my life. The Fair of Beauty is born again. My apologies, my fellow citizens, for my wife's heart is empty of jealously; for it flows through her purple veins. I am sorry for time has wrinkled her very forehead and shriveled her very hands. She will not attend this lovely noble ceremony because she is conceived herself not beautiful enough. I, myself, could not convince her, that she herself, is still beautiful in body and soul. For she is a woman and gentleman we know how women can be. I give thee my humble apologies for her absence. My people, dear citizens of Lucien, thou shall receive a barrel of honey for such a grievous loss. For I know how thee cherish her beauty as a school of fish cherish the sea. Therefore let us partake of the glorious ceremony. Shall it begin! "

Here is the Ode of Beauty that my ancestors have passed to me by way of memory and mouth.

Sympathy is in thy sigh,
Kindness blessed thy hand
Beauty is in thy eye
Love looks on thy land
Live and be Free
And thou will See
What is Noble
In You and Me.

King: "Beauty shall triumph! As you know, my son Menillo Rupert, has been courting five exquisite women for the last year. Tonight he shall chose the love of his life, and forever live in happiness, because love is the panacea to all our sorrows. For to have love means to never die, to know nothing of vulgarity, to dwell lazily under the eyes of another, and to never know of loneliness. For your beloved knows thee without inquiry and loves thee without scruples."

(Menillo enters escorted by five guardsmen of refined physical features and envious beauty.)

King: "For my son to see true beauty and know real truth his eyes shall be covered by the cloth of Tangerine."

(A Guard places a vermillion blindfold over the eyes of Menillo)

King: Call on the beauties of earth so they can test their heart to the heart of mine son.

(Enter the Five Beauties of Earth)

King: "Shatalana, the first beauty, who comes from the Ivory Coast, whose skin smells of coconuts, whose vigorous eyes stir my lands imagination. How lovely are thee."

King: "Carmelita, the second beauty, who comes from South America, the Incan sun light rests inside thine skin, and your thick strands of hair flow like a gentle spring wind. How lovely are thee."

King: "Unchi, the third beauty, who comes from the Korean peninsula, your skin is a like a doll's skin, and your heart burns with the intensity of a hot spring which colors thy cheek. How lovely are thee."

King: "Lorelei, the fourth beauty, who comes from the Scandinavian peninsula, your Nordic beauty is as fair as the cloud, and your eyes are blue like oceanic pearls. How lovely are thee."

King: "Azianna, the fifth beauty, who comes from the land of Arabia, thine eyes burn my heart and thy body chills my soul. How lovely are thee."

King: "Lovers of Lucien, as you know, true love hides in the shadow of one's voice, each lady will whisper to my son, so he can hear with his very ear, the voice of true love."

Shatalana: I love you Menillo and your grape colored eyes.

Carmelita: I love you so, so much Menillo. I wish to grow old with you.

Unchi: I love you Menillo, you are the mystery of my mind, and you trotted my brain for many years now. I realized love when I realized you.

Lorelei: I see you clearly Menillo and all your love, promise me, that you will see me clearly too; for I love you!

Azianna: I love you with all my joy and all my pain, if you pick me I will share my virginity.

King: Now that beauty has spoken, let love touch. When love touches one, one knows that it is love.

Shatalana touches Menillo's hand and deftly kisses his cheek. He takes a deep breath and smiles. Carmelita touches his heart and deftly kisses his lips. He sighs. Unchi touches his collar bone and deftly kisses his forehead. He squints and smiles. Lorelei touches his lips and deftly kisses his blindfolded eyes. He shivers. Azianna touches his thigh, kneels and deftly kisses his feet. His chest and chin rise.

King: Now that beauty has touched, let love smell. When one smells love, one knows it is love.

With dignity the beauties approach Menillo. Menillo smells the neck of Shatalana. "Charming" he says. Menillo smells the hair of Carmelita. He blushes. Menillo smells the brow of Unchi. He ponders. Menillo smells the chest of Lorelei. His heart smolders. Menillo smells the brow of Azianna. Sensation jingles down his spine.

King: Now that beauty has been smelled, let love taste. When one tastes love, one knows that it is love.

Menillo licks the lips of Shatalana. He grins. Menillo licks the fingers of Carmelita. He smiles. Menillo licks the hand of Unchi. He savors the taste. Menillo licks the cheek of Lorelei. He licks it again. She giggles. Menillo licks the chest of Azainna. He is satiated.

King: Now that beauty has been tasted, let love see. When one sees love, one knows that it is love.

The guards remove Menillo's blind fold. He peers past the five beauties of the world. In an anxious demeanor he walks into the crowd. The people make way for him as if he is an Admiral. In a corner of the ballroom, he sees a girl dressed in gray linen, with her hands in her face, sobbing softly. He cries out, "Heatherly! Heatherly! It is you that I love." In solemn tone and melancholic wonder, Menillo continued. "The whole ceremony my mind was lost in the labyrinth of your beauty. I heard your flaccid tears echo in mine ears, I felt the serenity of your eyes stab mine heart, I tasted jealousy in your skin, I smelled loved in your being." He grasps her in his arms. He sees himself in the tears pouring from her eyes. He feels he is the cause of all her misery. Tears of myrrh flow from the bank of his heart and he continues. "You are modest in beauty, but rich in pain. I will love you forever and never harm thee again. I have offended you and the fair of beauty. For you are the fairest of all. You are my soul mate." He deftly kisses her lips and her tears dry away. Menillo loved a lady who was modest in beauty but rich in love.

King: Tis the end of the Fair of Beauty. My son has found his true love. Forever shall this kingdom be happy, for love reigns higher then the son, and love lasts longer then all glory. Go citizens of Lucien, love and be free, for love and freedom, will shine light to what is noble in thee!


The End

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Tarafa

The tent lines these of Kháula in stone--stricken Tháhmadi.
See where the fire has touched them, dyed dark as the hands of her.
'Twas here thy friends consoled thee that day with thee comforting,
cried; Not of grief, thou faint--heart! Men die not thus easily.
Ay, here the howdahs passed thee at day--dawn, how royally!
stood for the Dédi pastures: a white fleet they seemed to thee,
Ships tall--rigged from Adáuli--of Yámin the build of them--
wandering wide the night through, to meet at the sunrising.
Thus climbed they the long wave--lines, their prows set how loftily!
ploughing the drifted ridges, sand heaped by the sandseers.

Alas for the dark--lipped one, the maid of the topazes,
hardly yet grown a woman, sweet fruit--picking loiterer!
A girl, a fawn still fawnless, which browses the thorn--bushes,
close to the doe--herd feeding, aloof in the long valleys.
I see her mouth--slit smiling, her teeth,--nay, a camomile
white on the white sand blooming and moist with the night--showers.
Sun--steeped it is, pure argent, white all but the lips of her,
these are too darkly painted to shrink from the sunburning.
The face of her how joyous, the day's robe enfolding her,
clean as a thing fresh fashioned, untouched by sad time--fingers.

Enough! New joys now claim me. Ay, mount and away from her!
Here on my swift--foot camel I laugh at love's bitterness.
Ship--strong is she, my nága, my stout--timbered road--goer,
footing the long--lined path--way--a striped cloak--in front of us.
Steel tempered are her sinews. She runs like an ostrich--hen,
one which has fled defying the ash--plumed proud lord of her.
Out--paces she the best--born, shank still on shank following,
threading the mazes lightly. Ah, what foot shall follow her?
The spring--long on Kufféyn she has wandered, her kind with her,
pastured in pleasant places, the rain--watered thyme--valleys,
Has turned to her herd's calling, aloft in wrath brandishing,
scared by the thick--furred red thief, that proud tuft the tail of her.
Her tail sways this and that way--a falcon, the wings of him
bating her flanks impatient: erect stands the bone of it--
So lasheth she in anger anon her croup--rider's knee,
then her own shrunken udder, a drought--withered water--skin.
Note well her limbs' perfection, her thighs like the elbow--worn
jambs of a city gateway, two smooth shafts of porphyry.
Her barrel, a stone well--mouth, like bent bows the curves of it,
caved where the neck--shaft enters, ends in an arched hollow.
Deep dens are her two arm--pits, a tree--trunk with cavities.
Bows are her rib--bones bended, her spine the hands holding them.
Her elbows are twin buckets, the pails of a water--man
wide--set, the neck between them the strong man who carries them.
Bridge--like, and Roman--builded! How swore he its architect
none should leave work or loiter, its key--stone unlaid by them!
Red chestnut is her chin--tuft, a vast vault the back of her.
Swift--step her hind--feet follow the path of her fore--footing.
Her legs are a cord twisted. Towards them the arms of her
slant from the shoulders outward, a tent--roof the slope of them.
So sways she, the strong--skulled one, and lightly her shoulder blades
rise from her spine alternate, arhyme with the march of her.
Like rain--pools in the smooth rock, so, flecking the sides of her,
white stand the girth--marks, witness once of the sores on them.
Her neck, how tall, how proud--set! Behold her! She raises it
high as in ships of Díjleh the point of a stern--rudder.
Her head--piece a stout anvil, and, joined to it hardily
sharp as a file the neck--ridge, fixed as a vice to it.
Her jowl a Syrian parchment, clean vellum the lip of her,
smooth as a hide of Yémen, no skin--crease nor fold in it.
Her eyes two mirrors shining, her bent brows the shade of them, pitted with deep--set hollows, as rock--holes for rain--water.
Eyes dark--rimmed, pure of dust--stains. You gaze in the depths of them as in a wild cow's wide eyes, scared for the calf of her.
Ears fearful of the night--sounds, the whispers, the murmurings
caught in the darkness passing--night--day: they can rest never.
Their thorn--tips tell her lineage, a wild bull's of Háumala
raging alone forsaken; her breeding you read in them.
Heart watchful of strange dangers, yet stout in the face of them.
Firm as a test--stone standing where cleft lie the base pebbles.
Lip slit, nose pierced for nose--ring, how slender its cartilage!
Nobly she lowers it running and stretched to the front of her.
I strike at her, my nága: I force her: I hurry her,
while in our path the false--lights lure us to follow them.
The gait of her how rhythmic! She sways like a dancing--girl,
one with the white skirts trailing, who bends to the lord of her.
Obedient to your riding, she slackens her outrunning,
watches the hide--thong twisted, the speed that you need of her.
Her head by your hand close held, your knee--crutch how near to it!
Then with her fore--arms swimming, an ostrich, she flies with you.

Thus rode I, and thus spake he, the friend of my tear--sheddings:
O for the wit to cure thee, but and my own sorrows!
His soul within him trembled; it seemed to his hardihood
death and a sure destruction, though far we from roadfarers.
For which of us is valiant? When men speak of true valour,
I feel my own the name named. Straight am I roused by it.
No recreant I, my tent--ridge I hide from no enemy.
Nor in the far hills build it who bring men a swift succour.
The hand that seeks shall find me. I stand at the gatherings.
Ay, where men tap the wine--skin, 'tis there they shall speak with me.
What day the tribes assemble, behold me conspicuous,
sitting as fits my lineage, nor go I in fear of them.
Beside me my companions, bright stars of nobility.
Dyed is her robe with saffron the girl who pours out to us.
O sweet is her shirt's neck--slit, set wide to the eyes of us.
Soft is the thing it hides there. We bade her: Now, sing to us.
Ay sing to us: we prayed her. And she, with monotony
striking a low note slowly, chaunted unchangingly.
O strange it was that cadence: it came back the wail of it,
grave as a mother's grieving the one son new--slain from her.

Thus sang she. And I spared not the full cups of revelry,
not till my spoil was wasted, my whole wealth's inheritance.
Then left me they that loved me. Then shunned me my tribe--fellows.
Sat I alone forsaken, a mange--stricken male camel.
Nathless the poor showed pity, the sons of Earth's particles,
these and the alien tent--lords, the far chiefs befriended me.
You only did revile me. Yet, say, ye philosophers,
was that same wealth eternal I squandered in feasting you?
Could all you my fate hinder? Friends, run we ahead of it,
rather our lives enjoying, since Time will not wait for us.
And, truly, but for three things in youth's day of vanity,
fain would I see them round me the friends at my deathbedding,
As first: to outstrip the sour ones, be first at the winebibbing,
ay, at the blink of day--dawn when mixed the cup foams for me;
And next, to ride their champion, who none have to succour them,
fierce on my steed, the led one, a wolf roused and thirst--stricken;
And third, to lie the day--long, while wild clouds are wildering,
close in her tent of goat's hair, the dearest beloved of me.
O noble she, a tree--stem unpruned in her maidenhood,
tall as a branch of Khírwa, where men hang their ornaments.
'Tis thus I slake my soul's rage, the life--thirst so wild in me.
If we two died to--morrow, think, which would go thirstier?
For lo, his grave the miser's! Lo, next it the prodigal's!
Both are alike, scant favour to hoarder or squanderer.
'Neath mounds of earth the twain lie, a low stone atop of them,
heavy and broad and shapeless, with new slabs o'erlaying it.
Death is no subtle chooser. He takes all, the free--givers,
ay, and the rogues close--fisted, the fast--handed goldhiders.
And life's heap lies unguarded. The night--thieves make spoil of it.
All that these leave the day--thieves straightway come plundering.
Nay, by thy life--I swear it, though fast fly the heels of him,
Death has a lead--rope round him, loose though it seem to you.

Ha! How is this? My kinsman? my fool--cousin Máleki?
Daily, as I draw near him, he turns his mad back on me.
He frowns I know not wherefore. He flouts me, as once with them
Kurt, in the face of all men, flouted and jibed at me.
His help he has denied me; and, truly, our brotherhood
tried in the fire of asking lies dead in love's sepulchre.
My word his words discredit. Yet all I for Mábadi
asked was a poor assistance to gather his lost camels,
I who hold fast to kinship. I swear by the luck of thee,
when they shall want hard riding, that day they shall fawn on me,
What day their tribes need succour, when loudly their womenfolk
cry from his hand the oppressor's to hands that are mightier.
Be but their honour tainted, I straight will pour out for them
death as from brimming cisterns, nor ask for an argument.
They rail at and revile me, who know me no ill--doer;
me, who have borne their burdens, cast would they out from them.
Yet, had my friend been other, this Málek of larger soul,
long had my pain been ended, a respiting found for me.
Shame on him for his baseness. His black hand would strangle me,
whether I thanked or sued him, or turned but my back on him.
O cruel is the sword--stroke: it bites with an Indian edge:
yet is their temper keener, the clowns I call kin to me.
Then leave me to my own ways, my tent set in Dárghadi,
far from the eyes of all men, and earn thee my gratitude.
Had he, the Lord, so willed it, my name had been Khálidi,
or had he willed it Ámer, or Káis, or Márthadi.
Wealth had been mine and increase, ay, all that men most covet,
sons as a gift of heaven, a proud--lined posterity.
Yet see me a man subtle, one lithe--souled and lithe--bodied,
quick as a snake for wounding, whose head is a hurt to them.
The oath my tongue has sworn to is this, to keep close to me
ever my sword--blade loosened; of Indies the edge of it.
Such blade, if I take vengeance and rise up and smite with it,
needs not a second down--stroke; I wield me no wood--chopper.
My sword is my true brother. It grudges no blood--spilling.
Called on to spare, it answers: My lord alone holdeth me.
Thus was I when men armed them and rushed to the battle--field:
grasped I my sword--hilt foremost, nor feared what fate doomed for me.

Herds knelt, their necks stretched earth--long. How scared them the eyes of me,
me with my sword drawn marching, its sheath cast away from me.
There passed a strong fair nága, a full--uddered milch--camel,
joy of her lord, the gray--beard, a hot man, though time--troubled.
He shouted when she fell there, her stout sinews houghed by me:
Man, art thou blind who seest not thy sword hath done robbery?
He spake, and to his friends turned: Behold him, this wine--bibber!
What is his rage against us, his wild words, his drinkfolly?
Yet paused: Nay, give him wide room and leave it to profit him: herd
we the scared ones rather, lest more he should slay of them.
Then fell the maids aroasting its fair flesh the foal of her,
nor of the fat denied us, the whole hump our prize of it.
We cast the arrows gaily, the dun shafts, the fire--hardened:
each time the holder held them, straightway I won with them.

When I am dead, speak kindly, thou daughter of Mábadi:
rend for my sake thy garments as one worth the love of thee.
Nor count me with the lewd folk, the night--knaves, the roysterers,
men with nor wit nor wisdom nor will to do weightily,
Men slow to deeds of virtue, men swift but in ill--doing,
men by the brave held lightly, with spread palms and brow--knitting.
For, had I been a weakling, know well, their mad hate of me
long had been my destruction, their blind wrath my butchery.
Only it wards me from them the fear of my hand's valour,
this, and my faith untainted, my fame too of ancestry.
Once on a time I bound me with vows, on the battlefield
ever to guard the weak posts, points where the foe threatened,
Points where the bravest faltered, where pale men stood panic--struck,
where they the strong--hearts trembled, faint through the fear in them.
Nay, by thy life, I fear not. I hold not time weariness;
neither hath day distressed me, nor night what it brought to me.
Because I see Death spares none. It smites with an even hand,
bows not to names exalted, nor knows it men's dignities;
Because with Death behind me, my flight can avail me not,
neither can I outwit him, he lying in wait for me.
Because if one be proved vain by those who seek aid of him,
helpless to hurt the harmful, better he perishèd.
The days to come, what are they? A handful, a borrowing:
vain is the thing thou fearest. To--day is the life of thee.
And death is as a well--spring; to it men pass and pass:
near them is each to--morrow; near them was yesterday.
Only shall Age, the slow--foot, arraign thee of ignorance:
only shall One bring tidings, when least thou desirest him,
One who is hard to deal with, of whom thou art ransomer
neither for pay nor raiment, nor madest thou tryst with him.

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I Want To Die In My Own Bed

All night the army came up from Gilgal
To get to the killing field, and that's all.
In the ground, warf and woof, lay the dead.
I want to die in My own bed.
Like slits in a tank, their eyes were uncanny,
I'm always the few and they are the many.
I must answer. They can interrogate My head.
But I want to die in My own bed.

The sun stood still in Gibeon. Forever so, it's willing
to illuminate those waging battle and killing.
I may not see My wife when her blood is shed,
But I want to die in My own bed.

Samson, his strength in his long black hair,
My hair they sheared when they made me a hero
Perforce, and taught me to charge ahead.
I want to die in My own bed.

I saw you could live and furnish with grace
Even a lion's den, if you've no other place.
I don't even mind to die alone, to be dead,
But I want to die in My own bed.


Translated from the Hebrew by Barbara and Benjamin Harshav

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Not Listening or Paying Attention

Put a smile on your face.
Take your food stamps and fixed income.
And be happy you have shelter...
In a warm and safe comfortable place!

Those who looked upon you,
With turned up noses just last year...
Wish they were in your shoes,
Right now.
There is not a hint of a grin on those who ache.
Exposing frowns traced with bitterness and disgrace.

Take my advice,
And be thankful you are blessed.
Be grateful you are not like the rest,
Who are experiencing financial and emotional ruin.
Weighing heavy on their shoulders and reflecting stress.

'What kind of 'reading' is that?
You said you were a psychic! '

I most certainly did not!
Once again...
You have misunderstood me.
I said you need to stop your sighing!
Because the sight of you and hearing it,
Makes me sick!

However,
I must admit this...
Not listening or paying attention,
Has produced for you a benefit!
The others will claim they've done the opposite.
And look where they are...
Tied in knots and expressing mental anguish.

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On The Rails

Phew! This department if so unbearably stifling,
The whole populace is frantically rifling,
Through loads of clothes, hanging up for inspection,
Either for your acceptance, or for your rejection,
On the rails,
At the Sales!

The available sizes left, are eight's and eighteen's,
In shirts, blouses, jumpers and denim blue jeans,
Bra cups in E's and F's and G's.
Skirts so short, they ride way above the knees,
What sort of 'shapes' are these stores expecting,
What choice, have we, when it comes to selecting,
From the rails,
At the Sales!

It's a manic crush, and there's really no mistaking,
Fighting over, items' that aren't worth the taking,
Like that half price dress, that was less than you thought,
But that someone else has just grabbed and has bought,
So quick, and you being just a little bit too slack,
You have lost it, and it won't now be yours, with diamante in black,
Off the rails,
At the Sales!

Oh! It's a battle, and such a mad struggle to survive,
And in the end, it takes so many hours to revive,
Your senses, and days like this one can be so tiring,
When buying these bargains, which you have stood there admiring,
Hung on rails,
At the Sales!

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Mayakovsky

1
My heart's aflutter!
I am standing in the bath tub
crying. Mother, mother
who am I? If he
will just come back once
and kiss me on the face
his coarse hair brush
my temple, it's throbbing!

then I can put on my clothes
I guess, and walk the streets.

2
I love you. I love you,
but I'm turning to my verses
and my heart is closing
like a fist.

Words! be
sick as I am sick, swoon,
roll back your eyes, a pool,

and I'll stare down
at my wounded beauty
which at best is only a talent
for poetry.

Cannot please, cannot charm or win
what a poet!
and the clear water is thick

with bloody blows on its head.
I embrace a cloud,
but when I soared
it rained.

3
That's funny! there's blood on my chest
oh yes, I've been carrying bricks
what a funny place to rupture!
and now it is raining on the ailanthus
as I step out onto the window ledge
the tracks below me are smoky and
glistening with a passion for running
I leap into the leaves, green like the sea

4
Now I am quietly waiting for
the catastrophe of my personality
to seem beautiful again,
and interesting, and modern.

The country is grey and
brown and white in trees,
snows and skies of laughter
always diminishing, less funny
not just darker, not just grey.

It may be the coldest day of
the year, what does he think of
that? I mean, what do I? And if I do,
perhaps I am myself again.

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Papa You Have Long Been Dead

you come back
as a very young man
wearing levi's pants
and adidas fitting shirt
you are smiling
as you open the knob
of our door

i do not like this lie
papa you have been dead
in 1987 and there is no more
reason for you to be back
goodbye had been so
well said

you close the door again
goes outside us
less the smile
the truth must seal
the distance between us
papa
the past has no more use
the future too fruitless

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Do Not Say Goodbye

i have not met you
and then you tell me that you are suffering.
you keep it a secret to your family and then
you cannot help it but tell them, the pain must be known

someone still does not know who you really are
and we keep that secret and i shall not reveal it
it is my respect to you and your pain
i have offered some prayers, and then perhaps i shall offer flowers

i have not seen you in pain
i have always imagined you smiling and taking time with the flowers in the
park

how many years? it was not that long
to really forget and simply dismiss what we shared as
nothing but
a brief encounter and
without any significance at all

i have not lost you because i will
not lose you
we decide what we forget
and remember.

do not say goodbye, there is no such thing
between friends.

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Blessed To Be Selected For This Test

My life lived here on Earth,
May be an elaborate experiment...
By those involved,
In the creating of this magnificent delusion.
Created in a scientific laboratory it was not!

And my experiences will be the best.
Whatever the effects I receive to get.
Since 'Whomever'...
Or the 'Who' or the 'What' watching,
Unseen and behind this 'mysticism' I am living...
I want it known I've been blessed to be selected for this test.

Those I hear whining about what the Divine does...
OR believe they can manipulate their way through life,
With a faking of faith but carrying in their hearts hatred...
Are the ones failing with every attempt they try to deny,
A power so great that can eliminate all manmade beliefs.
And grateful I am to be aware of 'something' there...
Besides the worshipping of conflict and ignorance celebrated.

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The Surf Talks

Oooh I love you
Giggle giggle
The surf talks
Do you love me too?
If the surf could talk, I know shed ask
Do you think youre equal to the task?
If the surf could talk, shed say
Beware I love you
So Id answer very carefully
And Id ask if shed be there for me
And the surf says always
Beware I love you
The surf says I want you like you want me
Am I in you? are you in me?
Tell me
The surf talks
And it knows what to say
The surf talks
I must learn to obey
The gun cocks, the clock stops, the earth rocks, the surf talks
The surf talks
Puts its tongue on my skin
The surf talks
While its sucking me in
The door locks and unlocks, the veil drops, the surf talks
She has promised me a beach of pearls
And an endless wave, a perfect curl
And she tells me always
Beware I love you
She will place the world inside my hand
She will touch the soul of every man
She will take my message
Im here to love you
The surf says I want you here inside me
Am I in you? are you in me?
Tell me
We are standing on a beach of pearls
We are riding deep inside the curl
And everybody all around the world
Must surrender when your flag unfurls
We are standing on a beach of pearls
We are riding deep inside the curl
And everybody all around the world
Will be dancing in the sea.

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when you have forgotten Sunday: the love story

And when you have forgotten the bright bedclothes on a Wednesday and a Saturday,
And most especially when you have forgotten Sunday—
When you have forgotten Sunday halves in bed,
Or me sitting on the front-room radiator in the limping afternoon
Looking off down the long street
To nowhere,
Hugged by my plain old wrapper of no-expectation
And nothing-I-have-to-do and I’m-happy-why?
And if-Monday-never-had-to-come—
When you have forgotten that, I say,
And how you swore, if somebody beeped the bell,
And how my heart played hopscotch if the telephone rang;
And how we finally went in to Sunday dinner,
That is to say, went across the front room floor to the ink-spotted table in the southwest corner
To Sunday dinner, which was always chicken and noodles
Or chicken and rice
And salad and rye bread and tea
And chocolate chip cookies—
I say, when you have forgotten that,
When you have forgotten my little presentiment
That the war would be over before they got to you;
And how we finally undressed and whipped out the light and flowed into bed,
And lay loose-limbed for a moment in the week-end
Bright bedclothes,
Then gently folded into each other—
When you have, I say, forgotten all that,
Then you may tell,
Then I may believe
You have forgotten me well.

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The Creditor To His Proud Debtor

Ha, tott'ring Johny, strut and boast,
But think of what your feathers cost;
Your crowing days are short at most,
You bloom but soon to fade;
Surely you could not stand so wide,
If strictly to the bottom tried,
The wind would blow your plume aside
If half your debts were paid.
Then boast and bear the crack,
With the sheriff at your back;
Huzza for dandy Jack,
My jolly fop, my Joe.

The blue smoke from your segar flies,
Offensive to my nose and eyes;
The most of people would be wise
Your presence to evade;
Your pocket jingles loud with cash,
And thus you cut a foppish dash,
But, alas! dear boy, you would be trash,
If your accounts were paid.
Then boast and bear the crack, &c.

My duck bill boots would look as bright,
Had you in justice served me right;
Like you I then could step as light,
Before a flaunting maid;
As nicely could I clear my throat,
And to my tights my eyes devote;
But I'd leave you bare without that coat,
For which you have not paid.
Then boast and bear the crack, &c.

I'd toss myself with a scornful air,
And to a poor man pay no care;
I could rock cross-leg'd on my chair
Within the cloister shade;
I'd gird my neck with a light cravat,
And creaning wear my bell-crown hat;
But away my down would fly at that,
If once my debts were paid.
Then boast and bear the crack,
With a sheriff at your back;
Huzza for dandy Jack,
My jolly fop, my Joe.

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Bible in Poetry: 1 John 4

Do not believe in all spirits;
Find out if they have come from God;
False prophets have come to the world;
But how can you ascertain them?

A spirit that acknowledges
That Jesus came in flesh from God,
Is from God, Almighty Father;
And that which says that Christ isn’t Lord,
Is spirit of the antichrist,
Which you have heard is coming now,
And has already entered world.

You are from God too, dear children;
You’ve overcome the bad spirits;
The one in you is greater than
The one found in the world by man;

They’re from the world and speak like-wise;
The world listens as they entice;
Whoev’r knows God, listens to us,
As we are also from same God;
Whoever isn’t from God does not,
Then listen to us anytime.
This is the way to recognize,
The true spirit from that, that’s false!

God’s Love and Ours:

Dear friends, lets love one another,
As love comes from God the Father;
The ones who love are born of God,
For God is love and love knows God.

God showed His love for all of us,
By sending His one Son Jesus,
Into the world, die for our sins,
Like Lamb of God for sacrifice;
So that, we may then live through Him.

God’s love is not because we loved
Him, but He loved man as beloved;
We ought to love one another,
As God loved us like our Father;
No one has ev’r seen God as yet,
But if we love one another,
God will reside in us forev’r!

We live in Him and He in us,
As He has given His spirit;
We testify we’ve seen the Son,
Whom Father sent as world’s Savior;
If you acknowledge Son Of God,
God lives in him and he in God;
Therefore we know God’s love for us.

As God is love, whoever loves,
Then lives in God and God in Him;
Thus, love is made wholesome in us;
We’ll stand in confidence ‘fore God,
On Judgment-Day as we’re like Him.

There is no need for fear in love,
For, perfect love drives out all fear;
Fear comes when we await God’s rod;
Imperfect is the love with fear.

God loved us first and then we love;
The one who says, ‘I love God but
Hate my brother is a liar! ’
He who does not love his brother,
Although he has seen him so well,
Cannot love God, the unseen one;
God has given this commandment:
‘Whoev’r loves God, loves his brethren.’

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Eating A Bullet

Speaking to ghosts
Sitting next to the soldiers of the past.
Where did we go so wrong?
Why is it taking so long?
A new discovery.
A new dream.
Building something not as dull as it seems.

I wrote it all down in a letter.
Sent it in a red envelope.
That has been stained by these hands.
To quick to the conclusion.
Where did the time go.

Speaking to the ones I love most.
Telling them I did the best I could.
Knowing that it no longer even matters.
I'm of the wrong time and age.
A hippie at heart.
Loving the world as its being torn apart
Divide and conquer.
That is what I see today.
Playing all their silly games.
I will not par take.

I wrote it all down in a letter.
Sent it in a red envelope.
That has been stained by these hands.
To quick to the conclusion.
Where did the time go.

I want to take in all your pain.
I want to take in all your hate.
I want to take in all your anger.
Just let me eat all this suffering in one gulp.
Swallow it all down.
Hold it deep inside.
And just maybe I can make it to the other side.
A place where I can rest my head
Without worrying about all of you.
And what you must be going through.

I wrote it all down in a letter.
Sent it in a red envelope.
That has been stained by these hands.
To quick to the conclusion.
Where did the time go.

The after life must be nice.
But at what price.
Will my helping hand ever suffice.
Everybody wants something and nobody is willing to give up anything.
So take it from me.
Give me the lashings.
Make me wear the crown of thorns.
Inflict every evil known to man.
Just leave them alone.
Let me be the victim of your ignorance.
Hate me because I want you to.

I wrote it all down in a letter.
Sent it in a red envelope.
That has been stained by these hands.
To quick to the conclusion.
Where did the time go.

I will never stand for it.
I will jump in the middle every time.
Not to pick sides.
But to lye defenseless for someone else.
Me before the child.
Me before the mother.
Me before the father.
A savior of none, but a victim from it all.
My daily life will not be measured by thing I did for myself.
But instead what I did for you.
Not because you asked.
I don't care if its what you wanted.
A forced sacrifice.
Solid as a block of ice.

I wrote it all down in a letter.
Sent it in a red envelope.
That has been stained by these hands.
To quick to the conclusion.
Where did the time go.

I'm sorry just run.
I take the brunt of it.
Its not my fault but I don't even care.
Sometimes you have to do things out of love.
Even if it means I will die.
It's not even my fight.
That's why I will just be another punching bag.
As the lights dim.
I know soon my life will end.

I wrote it all down in a letter.
Sent it in a red envelope.
That has been stained by these hands.
To quick to the conclusion.
Where did the time go.

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A Slapper With Class

What are you doing?

'Slapping anything against the wall,
To see what sticks.
It seems to work for others.
And amazingly enough,
To their benefit.'

But...
What about that which you value?
Aren't your values and standards,
Going to be diminished?

'Are you kidding?
I'm not an ordinary slapper.
I am a slapper with class.
It will be noticed how much of it I have.
Hand me that bucket.'

Which one?

'The one that has the mixture of glitter in it.'

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