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Lament for Mr Tai

Wine-maker there by Yellow Fountains,
‘Eternal Spring’ that’s still your vintage.
Without Li Po on Night’s Terrace
Who can there be to bring you custom?

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John Milton

Paradise Lost: Book 05

Now Morn, her rosy steps in the eastern clime
Advancing, sowed the earth with orient pearl,
When Adam waked, so customed; for his sleep
Was aery-light, from pure digestion bred,
And temperate vapours bland, which the only sound
Of leaves and fuming rills, Aurora's fan,
Lightly dispersed, and the shrill matin song
Of birds on every bough; so much the more
His wonder was to find unwakened Eve
With tresses discomposed, and glowing cheek,
As through unquiet rest: He, on his side
Leaning half raised, with looks of cordial love
Hung over her enamoured, and beheld
Beauty, which, whether waking or asleep,
Shot forth peculiar graces; then with voice
Mild, as when Zephyrus on Flora breathes,
Her hand soft touching, whispered thus. Awake,
My fairest, my espoused, my latest found,
Heaven's last best gift, my ever new delight!
Awake: The morning shines, and the fresh field
Calls us; we lose the prime, to mark how spring
Our tender plants, how blows the citron grove,
What drops the myrrh, and what the balmy reed,
How nature paints her colours, how the bee
Sits on the bloom extracting liquid sweet.
Such whispering waked her, but with startled eye
On Adam, whom embracing, thus she spake.
O sole in whom my thoughts find all repose,
My glory, my perfection! glad I see
Thy face, and morn returned; for I this night
(Such night till this I never passed) have dreamed,
If dreamed, not, as I oft am wont, of thee,
Works of day past, or morrow's next design,
But of offence and trouble, which my mind
Knew never till this irksome night: Methought,
Close at mine ear one called me forth to walk
With gentle voice; I thought it thine: It said,
'Why sleepest thou, Eve? now is the pleasant time,
'The cool, the silent, save where silence yields
'To the night-warbling bird, that now awake
'Tunes sweetest his love-laboured song; now reigns
'Full-orbed the moon, and with more pleasing light
'Shadowy sets off the face of things; in vain,
'If none regard; Heaven wakes with all his eyes,
'Whom to behold but thee, Nature's desire?
'In whose sight all things joy, with ravishment
'Attracted by thy beauty still to gaze.'
I rose as at thy call, but found thee not;
To find thee I directed then my walk;
And on, methought, alone I passed through ways
That brought me on a sudden to the tree
Of interdicted knowledge: fair it seemed,
Much fairer to my fancy than by day:
And, as I wondering looked, beside it stood
One shaped and winged like one of those from Heaven
By us oft seen; his dewy locks distilled
Ambrosia; on that tree he also gazed;
And 'O fair plant,' said he, 'with fruit surcharged,
'Deigns none to ease thy load, and taste thy sweet,
'Nor God, nor Man? Is knowledge so despised?
'Or envy, or what reserve forbids to taste?
'Forbid who will, none shall from me withhold
'Longer thy offered good; why else set here?
This said, he paused not, but with venturous arm
He plucked, he tasted; me damp horrour chilled
At such bold words vouched with a deed so bold:
But he thus, overjoyed; 'O fruit divine,
'Sweet of thyself, but much more sweet thus cropt,
'Forbidden here, it seems, as only fit
'For Gods, yet able to make Gods of Men:
'And why not Gods of Men; since good, the more
'Communicated, more abundant grows,
'The author not impaired, but honoured more?
'Here, happy creature, fair angelick Eve!
'Partake thou also; happy though thou art,
'Happier thou mayest be, worthier canst not be:
'Taste this, and be henceforth among the Gods
'Thyself a Goddess, not to earth confined,
'But sometimes in the air, as we, sometimes
'Ascend to Heaven, by merit thine, and see
'What life the Gods live there, and such live thou!'
So saying, he drew nigh, and to me held,
Even to my mouth of that same fruit held part
Which he had plucked; the pleasant savoury smell
So quickened appetite, that I, methought,
Could not but taste. Forthwith up to the clouds
With him I flew, and underneath beheld
The earth outstretched immense, a prospect wide
And various: Wondering at my flight and change
To this high exaltation; suddenly
My guide was gone, and I, methought, sunk down,
And fell asleep; but O, how glad I waked
To find this but a dream! Thus Eve her night
Related, and thus Adam answered sad.
Best image of myself, and dearer half,
The trouble of thy thoughts this night in sleep
Affects me equally; nor can I like
This uncouth dream, of evil sprung, I fear;
Yet evil whence? in thee can harbour none,
Created pure. But know that in the soul
Are many lesser faculties, that serve
Reason as chief; among these Fancy next
Her office holds; of all external things
Which the five watchful senses represent,
She forms imaginations, aery shapes,
Which Reason, joining or disjoining, frames
All what we affirm or what deny, and call
Our knowledge or opinion; then retires
Into her private cell, when nature rests.
Oft in her absence mimick Fancy wakes
To imitate her; but, misjoining shapes,
Wild work produces oft, and most in dreams;
Ill matching words and deeds long past or late.
Some such resemblances, methinks, I find
Of our last evening's talk, in this thy dream,
But with addition strange; yet be not sad.
Evil into the mind of God or Man
May come and go, so unreproved, and leave
No spot or blame behind: Which gives me hope
That what in sleep thou didst abhor to dream,
Waking thou never will consent to do.
Be not disheartened then, nor cloud those looks,
That wont to be more cheerful and serene,
Than when fair morning first smiles on the world;
And let us to our fresh employments rise
Among the groves, the fountains, and the flowers
That open now their choisest bosomed smells,
Reserved from night, and kept for thee in store.
So cheered he his fair spouse, and she was cheered;
But silently a gentle tear let fall
From either eye, and wiped them with her hair;
Two other precious drops that ready stood,
Each in their crystal sluice, he ere they fell
Kissed, as the gracious signs of sweet remorse
And pious awe, that feared to have offended.
So all was cleared, and to the field they haste.
But first, from under shady arborous roof
Soon as they forth were come to open sight
Of day-spring, and the sun, who, scarce up-risen,
With wheels yet hovering o'er the ocean-brim,
Shot parallel to the earth his dewy ray,
Discovering in wide landskip all the east
Of Paradise and Eden's happy plains,
Lowly they bowed adoring, and began
Their orisons, each morning duly paid
In various style; for neither various style
Nor holy rapture wanted they to praise
Their Maker, in fit strains pronounced, or sung
Unmeditated; such prompt eloquence
Flowed from their lips, in prose or numerous verse,
More tuneable than needed lute or harp
To add more sweetness; and they thus began.
These are thy glorious works, Parent of good,
Almighty! Thine this universal frame,
Thus wonderous fair; Thyself how wonderous then!
Unspeakable, who sitst above these heavens
To us invisible, or dimly seen
In these thy lowest works; yet these declare
Thy goodness beyond thought, and power divine.
Speak, ye who best can tell, ye sons of light,
Angels; for ye behold him, and with songs
And choral symphonies, day without night,
Circle his throne rejoicing; ye in Heaven
On Earth join all ye Creatures to extol
Him first, him last, him midst, and without end.
Fairest of stars, last in the train of night,
If better thou belong not to the dawn,
Sure pledge of day, that crownest the smiling morn
With thy bright circlet, praise him in thy sphere,
While day arises, that sweet hour of prime.
Thou Sun, of this great world both eye and soul,
Acknowledge him thy greater; sound his praise
In thy eternal course, both when thou climbest,
And when high noon hast gained, and when thou fallest.
Moon, that now meetest the orient sun, now flyest,
With the fixed Stars, fixed in their orb that flies;
And ye five other wandering Fires, that move
In mystick dance not without song, resound
His praise, who out of darkness called up light.
Air, and ye Elements, the eldest birth
Of Nature's womb, that in quaternion run
Perpetual circle, multiform; and mix
And nourish all things; let your ceaseless change
Vary to our great Maker still new praise.
Ye Mists and Exhalations, that now rise
From hill or steaming lake, dusky or gray,
Till the sun paint your fleecy skirts with gold,
In honour to the world's great Author rise;
Whether to deck with clouds the uncoloured sky,
Or wet the thirsty earth with falling showers,
Rising or falling still advance his praise.
His praise, ye Winds, that from four quarters blow,
Breathe soft or loud; and, wave your tops, ye Pines,
With every plant, in sign of worship wave.
Fountains, and ye that warble, as ye flow,
Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise.
Join voices, all ye living Souls: Ye Birds,
That singing up to Heaven-gate ascend,
Bear on your wings and in your notes his praise.
Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walk
The earth, and stately tread, or lowly creep;
Witness if I be silent, morn or even,
To hill, or valley, fountain, or fresh shade,
Made vocal by my song, and taught his praise.
Hail, universal Lord, be bounteous still
To give us only good; and if the night
Have gathered aught of evil, or concealed,
Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark!
So prayed they innocent, and to their thoughts
Firm peace recovered soon, and wonted calm.
On to their morning's rural work they haste,
Among sweet dews and flowers; where any row
Of fruit-trees over-woody reached too far
Their pampered boughs, and needed hands to check
Fruitless embraces: or they led the vine
To wed her elm; she, spoused, about him twines
Her marriageable arms, and with him brings
Her dower, the adopted clusters, to adorn
His barren leaves. Them thus employed beheld
With pity Heaven's high King, and to him called
Raphael, the sociable Spirit, that deigned
To travel with Tobias, and secured
His marriage with the seventimes-wedded maid.
Raphael, said he, thou hearest what stir on Earth
Satan, from Hell 'scaped through the darksome gulf,
Hath raised in Paradise; and how disturbed
This night the human pair; how he designs
In them at once to ruin all mankind.
Go therefore, half this day as friend with friend
Converse with Adam, in what bower or shade
Thou findest him from the heat of noon retired,
To respite his day-labour with repast,
Or with repose; and such discourse bring on,
As may advise him of his happy state,
Happiness in his power left free to will,
Left to his own free will, his will though free,
Yet mutable; whence warn him to beware
He swerve not, too secure: Tell him withal
His danger, and from whom; what enemy,
Late fallen himself from Heaven, is plotting now
The fall of others from like state of bliss;
By violence? no, for that shall be withstood;
But by deceit and lies: This let him know,
Lest, wilfully transgressing, he pretend
Surprisal, unadmonished, unforewarned.
So spake the Eternal Father, and fulfilled
All justice: Nor delayed the winged Saint
After his charge received; but from among
Thousand celestial Ardours, where he stood
Veiled with his gorgeous wings, up springing light,
Flew through the midst of Heaven; the angelick quires,
On each hand parting, to his speed gave way
Through all the empyreal road; till, at the gate
Of Heaven arrived, the gate self-opened wide
On golden hinges turning, as by work
Divine the sovran Architect had framed.
From hence no cloud, or, to obstruct his sight,
Star interposed, however small he sees,
Not unconformed to other shining globes,
Earth, and the garden of God, with cedars crowned
Above all hills. As when by night the glass
Of Galileo, less assured, observes
Imagined lands and regions in the moon:
Or pilot, from amidst the Cyclades
Delos or Samos first appearing, kens
A cloudy spot. Down thither prone in flight
He speeds, and through the vast ethereal sky
Sails between worlds and worlds, with steady wing
Now on the polar winds, then with quick fan
Winnows the buxom air; till, within soar
Of towering eagles, to all the fowls he seems
A phoenix, gazed by all as that sole bird,
When, to enshrine his reliques in the Sun's
Bright temple, to Egyptian Thebes he flies.
At once on the eastern cliff of Paradise
He lights, and to his proper shape returns
A Seraph winged: Six wings he wore, to shade
His lineaments divine; the pair that clad
Each shoulder broad, came mantling o'er his breast
With regal ornament; the middle pair
Girt like a starry zone his waist, and round
Skirted his loins and thighs with downy gold
And colours dipt in Heaven; the third his feet
Shadowed from either heel with feathered mail,
Sky-tinctured grain. Like Maia's son he stood,
And shook his plumes, that heavenly fragrance filled
The circuit wide. Straight knew him all the bands
Of Angels under watch; and to his state,
And to his message high, in honour rise;
For on some message high they guessed him bound.
Their glittering tents he passed, and now is come
Into the blissful field, through groves of myrrh,
And flowering odours, cassia, nard, and balm;
A wilderness of sweets; for Nature here
Wantoned as in her prime, and played at will
Her virgin fancies pouring forth more sweet,
Wild above rule or art, enormous bliss.
Him through the spicy forest onward come
Adam discerned, as in the door he sat
Of his cool bower, while now the mounted sun
Shot down direct his fervid rays to warm
Earth's inmost womb, more warmth than Adam needs:
And Eve within, due at her hour prepared
For dinner savoury fruits, of taste to please
True appetite, and not disrelish thirst
Of nectarous draughts between, from milky stream,
Berry or grape: To whom thus Adam called.
Haste hither, Eve, and worth thy sight behold
Eastward among those trees, what glorious shape
Comes this way moving; seems another morn
Risen on mid-noon; some great behest from Heaven
To us perhaps he brings, and will vouchsafe
This day to be our guest. But go with speed,
And, what thy stores contain, bring forth, and pour
Abundance, fit to honour and receive
Our heavenly stranger: Well we may afford
Our givers their own gifts, and large bestow
From large bestowed, where Nature multiplies
Her fertile growth, and by disburthening grows
More fruitful, which instructs us not to spare.
To whom thus Eve. Adam, earth's hallowed mould,
Of God inspired! small store will serve, where store,
All seasons, ripe for use hangs on the stalk;
Save what by frugal storing firmness gains
To nourish, and superfluous moist consumes:
But I will haste, and from each bough and brake,
Each plant and juciest gourd, will pluck such choice
To entertain our Angel-guest, as he
Beholding shall confess, that here on Earth
God hath dispensed his bounties as in Heaven.
So saying, with dispatchful looks in haste
She turns, on hospitable thoughts intent
What choice to choose for delicacy best,
What order, so contrived as not to mix
Tastes, not well joined, inelegant, but bring
Taste after taste upheld with kindliest change;
Bestirs her then, and from each tender stalk
Whatever Earth, all-bearing mother, yields
In India East or West, or middle shore
In Pontus or the Punick coast, or where
Alcinous reigned, fruit of all kinds, in coat
Rough, or smooth rind, or bearded husk, or shell,
She gathers, tribute large, and on the board
Heaps with unsparing hand; for drink the grape
She crushes, inoffensive must, and meaths
From many a berry, and from sweet kernels pressed
She tempers dulcet creams; nor these to hold
Wants her fit vessels pure; then strows the ground
With rose and odours from the shrub unfumed.
Mean while our primitive great sire, to meet
His God-like guest, walks forth, without more train
Accompanied than with his own complete
Perfections; in himself was all his state,
More solemn than the tedious pomp that waits
On princes, when their rich retinue long
Of horses led, and grooms besmeared with gold,
Dazzles the croud, and sets them all agape.
Nearer his presence Adam, though not awed,
Yet with submiss approach and reverence meek,
As to a superiour nature bowing low,
Thus said. Native of Heaven, for other place
None can than Heaven such glorious shape contain;
Since, by descending from the thrones above,
Those happy places thou hast deigned a while
To want, and honour these, vouchsafe with us
Two only, who yet by sovran gift possess
This spacious ground, in yonder shady bower
To rest; and what the garden choicest bears
To sit and taste, till this meridian heat
Be over, and the sun more cool decline.
Whom thus the angelick Virtue answered mild.
Adam, I therefore came; nor art thou such
Created, or such place hast here to dwell,
As may not oft invite, though Spirits of Heaven,
To visit thee; lead on then where thy bower
O'ershades; for these mid-hours, till evening rise,
I have at will. So to the sylvan lodge
They came, that like Pomona's arbour smiled,
With flowerets decked, and fragrant smells; but Eve,
Undecked save with herself, more lovely fair
Than Wood-Nymph, or the fairest Goddess feigned
Of three that in mount Ida naked strove,
Stood to entertain her guest from Heaven; no veil
She needed, virtue-proof; no thought infirm
Altered her cheek. On whom the Angel Hail
Bestowed, the holy salutation used
Long after to blest Mary, second Eve.
Hail, Mother of Mankind, whose fruitful womb
Shall fill the world more numerous with thy sons,
Than with these various fruits the trees of God
Have heaped this table!--Raised of grassy turf
Their table was, and mossy seats had round,
And on her ample square from side to side
All autumn piled, though spring and autumn here
Danced hand in hand. A while discourse they hold;
No fear lest dinner cool; when thus began
Our author. Heavenly stranger, please to taste
These bounties, which our Nourisher, from whom
All perfect good, unmeasured out, descends,
To us for food and for delight hath caused
The earth to yield; unsavoury food perhaps
To spiritual natures; only this I know,
That one celestial Father gives to all.
To whom the Angel. Therefore what he gives
(Whose praise be ever sung) to Man in part
Spiritual, may of purest Spirits be found
No ingrateful food: And food alike those pure
Intelligential substances require,
As doth your rational; and both contain
Within them every lower faculty
Of sense, whereby they hear, see, smell, touch, taste,
Tasting concoct, digest, assimilate,
And corporeal to incorporeal turn.
For know, whatever was created, needs
To be sustained and fed: Of elements
The grosser feeds the purer, earth the sea,
Earth and the sea feed air, the air those fires
Ethereal, and as lowest first the moon;
Whence in her visage round those spots, unpurged
Vapours not yet into her substance turned.
Nor doth the moon no nourishment exhale
From her moist continent to higher orbs.
The sun that light imparts to all, receives
From all his alimental recompence
In humid exhalations, and at even
Sups with the ocean. Though in Heaven the trees
Of life ambrosial fruitage bear, and vines
Yield nectar; though from off the boughs each morn
We brush mellifluous dews, and find the ground
Covered with pearly grain: Yet God hath here
Varied his bounty so with new delights,
As may compare with Heaven; and to taste
Think not I shall be nice. So down they sat,
And to their viands fell; nor seemingly
The Angel, nor in mist, the common gloss
Of Theologians; but with keen dispatch
Of real hunger, and concoctive heat
To transubstantiate: What redounds, transpires
Through Spirits with ease; nor wonder;if by fire
Of sooty coal the empirick alchemist
Can turn, or holds it possible to turn,
Metals of drossiest ore to perfect gold,
As from the mine. Mean while at table Eve
Ministered naked, and their flowing cups
With pleasant liquours crowned: O innocence
Deserving Paradise! if ever, then,
Then had the sons of God excuse to have been
Enamoured at that sight; but in those hearts
Love unlibidinous reigned, nor jealousy
Was understood, the injured lover's hell.
Thus when with meats and drinks they had sufficed,
Not burdened nature, sudden mind arose
In Adam, not to let the occasion pass
Given him by this great conference to know
Of things above his world, and of their being
Who dwell in Heaven, whose excellence he saw
Transcend his own so far; whose radiant forms,
Divine effulgence, whose high power, so far
Exceeded human; and his wary speech
Thus to the empyreal minister he framed.
Inhabitant with God, now know I well
Thy favour, in this honour done to Man;
Under whose lowly roof thou hast vouchsafed
To enter, and these earthly fruits to taste,
Food not of Angels, yet accepted so,
As that more willingly thou couldst not seem
At Heaven's high feasts to have fed: yet what compare
To whom the winged Hierarch replied.
O Adam, One Almighty is, from whom
All things proceed, and up to him return,
If not depraved from good, created all
Such to perfection, one first matter all,
Endued with various forms, various degrees
Of substance, and, in things that live, of life;
But more refined, more spiritous, and pure,
As nearer to him placed, or nearer tending
Each in their several active spheres assigned,
Till body up to spirit work, in bounds
Proportioned to each kind. So from the root
Springs lighter the green stalk, from thence the leaves
More aery, last the bright consummate flower
Spirits odorous breathes: flowers and their fruit,
Man's nourishment, by gradual scale sublimed,
To vital spirits aspire, to animal,
To intellectual; give both life and sense,
Fancy and understanding; whence the soul
Reason receives, and reason is her being,
Discursive, or intuitive; discourse
Is oftest yours, the latter most is ours,
Differing but in degree, of kind the same.
Wonder not then, what God for you saw good
If I refuse not, but convert, as you
To proper substance. Time may come, when Men
With Angels may participate, and find
No inconvenient diet, nor too light fare;
And from these corporal nutriments perhaps
Your bodies may at last turn all to spirit,
Improved by tract of time, and, winged, ascend
Ethereal, as we; or may, at choice,
Here or in heavenly Paradises dwell;
If ye be found obedient, and retain
Unalterably firm his love entire,
Whose progeny you are. Mean while enjoy
Your fill what happiness this happy state
Can comprehend, incapable of more.
To whom the patriarch of mankind replied.
O favourable Spirit, propitious guest,
Well hast thou taught the way that might direct
Our knowledge, and the scale of nature set
From center to circumference; whereon,
In contemplation of created things,
By steps we may ascend to God. But say,
What meant that caution joined, If ye be found
Obedient? Can we want obedience then
To him, or possibly his love desert,
Who formed us from the dust and placed us here
Full to the utmost measure of what bliss
Human desires can seek or apprehend?
To whom the Angel. Son of Heaven and Earth,
Attend! That thou art happy, owe to God;
That thou continuest such, owe to thyself,
That is, to thy obedience; therein stand.
This was that caution given thee; be advised.
God made thee perfect, not immutable;
And good he made thee, but to persevere
He left it in thy power; ordained thy will
By nature free, not over-ruled by fate
Inextricable, or strict necessity:
Our voluntary service he requires,
Not our necessitated; such with him
Finds no acceptance, nor can find; for how
Can hearts, not free, be tried whether they serve
Willing or no, who will but what they must
By destiny, and can no other choose?
Myself, and all the angelick host, that stand
In sight of God, enthroned, our happy state
Hold, as you yours, while our obedience holds;
On other surety none: Freely we serve,
Because we freely love, as in our will
To love or not; in this we stand or fall:
And some are fallen, to disobedience fallen,
And so from Heaven to deepest Hell; O fall
From what high state of bliss, into what woe!
To whom our great progenitor. Thy words
Attentive, and with more delighted ear,
Divine instructer, I have heard, than when
Cherubick songs by night from neighbouring hills
Aereal musick send: Nor knew I not
To be both will and deed created free;
Yet that we never shall forget to love
Our Maker, and obey him whose command
Single is yet so just, my constant thoughts
Assured me, and still assure: Though what thou tellest
Hath passed in Heaven, some doubt within me move,
But more desire to hear, if thou consent,
The full relation, which must needs be strange,
Worthy of sacred silence to be heard;
And we have yet large day, for scarce the sun
Hath finished half his journey, and scarce begins
His other half in the great zone of Heaven.
Thus Adam made request; and Raphael,
After short pause assenting, thus began.
High matter thou enjoinest me, O prime of men,
Sad task and hard: For how shall I relate
To human sense the invisible exploits
Of warring Spirits? how, without remorse,
The ruin of so many glorious once
And perfect while they stood? how last unfold
The secrets of another world, perhaps
Not lawful to reveal? yet for thy good
This is dispensed; and what surmounts the reach
Of human sense, I shall delineate so,
By likening spiritual to corporal forms,
As may express them best; though what if Earth
Be but a shadow of Heaven, and things therein
Each to other like, more than on earth is thought?
As yet this world was not, and Chaos wild
Reigned where these Heavens now roll, where Earth now rests
Upon her center poised; when on a day
(For time, though in eternity, applied
To motion, measures all things durable
By present, past, and future,) on such day
As Heaven's great year brings forth, the empyreal host
Of Angels by imperial summons called,
Innumerable before the Almighty's throne
Forthwith, from all the ends of Heaven, appeared
Under their Hierarchs in orders bright:
Ten thousand thousand ensigns high advanced,
Standards and gonfalons 'twixt van and rear
Stream in the air, and for distinction serve
Of hierarchies, of orders, and degrees;
Or in their glittering tissues bear imblazed
Holy memorials, acts of zeal and love
Recorded eminent. Thus when in orbs
Of circuit inexpressible they stood,
Orb within orb, the Father Infinite,
By whom in bliss imbosomed sat the Son,
Amidst as from a flaming mount, whose top
Brightness had made invisible, thus spake.
Hear, all ye Angels, progeny of light,
Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers;
Hear my decree, which unrevoked shall stand.
This day I have begot whom I declare
My only Son, and on this holy hill
Him have anointed, whom ye now behold
At my right hand; your head I him appoint;
And by myself have sworn, to him shall bow
All knees in Heaven, and shall confess him Lord:
Under his great vice-gerent reign abide
United, as one individual soul,
For ever happy: Him who disobeys,
Me disobeys, breaks union, and that day,
Cast out from God and blessed vision, falls
Into utter darkness, deep ingulfed, his place
Ordained without redemption, without end.
So spake the Omnipotent, and with his words
All seemed well pleased; all seemed, but were not all.
That day, as other solemn days, they spent
In song and dance about the sacred hill;
Mystical dance, which yonder starry sphere
Of planets, and of fixed, in all her wheels
Resembles nearest, mazes intricate,
Eccentrick, intervolved, yet regular
Then most, when most irregular they seem;
And in their motions harmony divine
So smooths her charming tones, that God's own ear
Listens delighted. Evening now approached,
(For we have also our evening and our morn,
We ours for change delectable, not need;)
Forthwith from dance to sweet repast they turn
Desirous; all in circles as they stood,
Tables are set, and on a sudden piled
With Angels food, and rubied nectar flows
In pearl, in diamond, and massy gold,
Fruit of delicious vines, the growth of Heaven.
On flowers reposed, and with fresh flowerets crowned,
They eat, they drink, and in communion sweet
Quaff immortality and joy, secure
Of surfeit, where full measure only bounds
Excess, before the all-bounteous King, who showered
With copious hand, rejoicing in their joy.
Now when ambrosial night with clouds exhaled
From that high mount of God, whence light and shade
Spring both, the face of brightest Heaven had changed
To grateful twilight, (for night comes not there
In darker veil,) and roseat dews disposed
All but the unsleeping eyes of God to rest;
Wide over all the plain, and wider far
Than all this globous earth in plain outspread,
(Such are the courts of God) the angelick throng,
Dispersed in bands and files, their camp extend
By living streams among the trees of life,
Pavilions numberless, and sudden reared,
Celestial tabernacles, where they slept
Fanned with cool winds; save those, who, in their course,
Melodious hymns about the sovran throne
Alternate all night long: but not so waked
Satan; so call him now, his former name
Is heard no more in Heaven; he of the first,
If not the first Arch-Angel, great in power,
In favour and pre-eminence, yet fraught
With envy against the Son of God, that day
Honoured by his great Father, and proclaimed
Messiah King anointed, could not bear
Through pride that sight, and thought himself impaired.
Deep malice thence conceiving and disdain,
Soon as midnight brought on the dusky hour
Friendliest to sleep and silence, he resolved
With all his legions to dislodge, and leave
Unworshipt, unobeyed, the throne supreme,
Contemptuous; and his next subordinate
Awakening, thus to him in secret spake.
Sleepest thou, Companion dear? What sleep can close
Thy eye-lids? and rememberest what decree
Of yesterday, so late hath passed the lips
Of Heaven's Almighty. Thou to me thy thoughts
Wast wont, I mine to thee was wont to impart;
Both waking we were one; how then can now
Thy sleep dissent? New laws thou seest imposed;
New laws from him who reigns, new minds may raise
In us who serve, new counsels to debate
What doubtful may ensue: More in this place
To utter is not safe. Assemble thou
Of all those myriads which we lead the chief;
Tell them, that by command, ere yet dim night
Her shadowy cloud withdraws, I am to haste,
And all who under me their banners wave,
Homeward, with flying march, where we possess
The quarters of the north; there to prepare
Fit entertainment to receive our King,
The great Messiah, and his new commands,
Who speedily through all the hierarchies
Intends to pass triumphant, and give laws.
So spake the false Arch-Angel, and infused
Bad influence into the unwary breast
Of his associate: He together calls,
Or several one by one, the regent Powers,
Under him Regent; tells, as he was taught,
That the Most High commanding, now ere night,
Now ere dim night had disincumbered Heaven,
The great hierarchal standard was to move;
Tells the suggested cause, and casts between
Ambiguous words and jealousies, to sound
Or taint integrity: But all obeyed
The wonted signal, and superiour voice
Of their great Potentate; for great indeed
His name, and high was his degree in Heaven;
His countenance, as the morning-star that guides
The starry flock, allured them, and with lies
Drew after him the third part of Heaven's host.
Mean while the Eternal eye, whose sight discerns
Abstrusest thoughts, from forth his holy mount,
And from within the golden lamps that burn
Nightly before him, saw without their light
Rebellion rising; saw in whom, how spread
Among the sons of morn, what multitudes
Were banded to oppose his high decree;
And, smiling, to his only Son thus said.
Son, thou in whom my glory I behold
In full resplendence, Heir of all my might,
Nearly it now concerns us to be sure
Of our Omnipotence, and with what arms
We mean to hold what anciently we claim
Of deity or empire: Such a foe
Is rising, who intends to erect his throne
Equal to ours, throughout the spacious north;
Nor so content, hath in his thought to try
In battle, what our power is, or our right.
Let us advise, and to this hazard draw
With speed what force is left, and all employ
In our defence; lest unawares we lose
This our high place, our sanctuary, our hill.
To whom the Son with calm aspect and clear,
Lightning divine, ineffable, serene,
Made answer. Mighty Father, thou thy foes
Justly hast in derision, and, secure,
Laughest at their vain designs and tumults vain,
Matter to me of glory, whom their hate
Illustrates, when they see all regal power
Given me to quell their pride, and in event
Know whether I be dextrous to subdue
Thy rebels, or be found the worst in Heaven.
So spake the Son; but Satan, with his Powers,
Far was advanced on winged speed; an host
Innumerable as the stars of night,
Or stars of morning, dew-drops, which the sun
Impearls on every leaf and every flower.
Regions they passed, the mighty regencies
Of Seraphim, and Potentates, and Thrones,
In their triple degrees; regions to which
All thy dominion, Adam, is no more
Than what this garden is to all the earth,
And all the sea, from one entire globose
Stretched into longitude; which having passed,
At length into the limits of the north
They came; and Satan to his royal seat
High on a hill, far blazing, as a mount
Raised on a mount, with pyramids and towers
From diamond quarries hewn, and rocks of gold;
The palace of great Lucifer, (so call
That structure in the dialect of men
Interpreted,) which not long after, he
Affecting all equality with God,
In imitation of that mount whereon
Messiah was declared in sight of Heaven,
The Mountain of the Congregation called;
For thither he assembled all his train,
Pretending so commanded to consult
About the great reception of their King,
Thither to come, and with calumnious art
Of counterfeited truth thus held their ears.
Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers;
If these magnifick titles yet remain
Not merely titular, since by decree
Another now hath to himself engrossed
All power, and us eclipsed under the name
Of King anointed, for whom all this haste
Of midnight-march, and hurried meeting here,
This only to consult how we may best,
With what may be devised of honours new,
Receive him coming to receive from us
Knee-tribute yet unpaid, prostration vile!
Too much to one! but double how endured,
To one, and to his image now proclaimed?
But what if better counsels might erect
Our minds, and teach us to cast off this yoke?
Will ye submit your necks, and choose to bend
The supple knee? Ye will not, if I trust
To know ye right, or if ye know yourselves
Natives and sons of Heaven possessed before
By none; and if not equal all, yet free,
Equally free; for orders and degrees
Jar not with liberty, but well consist.
Who can in reason then, or right, assume
Monarchy over such as live by right
His equals, if in power and splendour less,
In freedom equal? or can introduce
Law and edict on us, who without law
Err not? much less for this to be our Lord,
And look for adoration, to the abuse
Of those imperial titles, which assert
Our being ordained to govern, not to serve.
Thus far his bold discourse without controul
Had audience; when among the Seraphim
Abdiel, than whom none with more zeal adored
The Deity, and divine commands obeyed,
Stood up, and in a flame of zeal severe
The current of his fury thus opposed.
O argument blasphemous, false, and proud!
Words which no ear ever to hear in Heaven
Expected, least of all from thee, Ingrate,
In place thyself so high above thy peers.
Canst thou with impious obloquy condemn
The just decree of God, pronounced and sworn,
That to his only Son, by right endued
With regal scepter, every soul in Heaven
Shall bend the knee, and in that honour due
Confess him rightful King? unjust, thou sayest,
Flatly unjust, to bind with laws the free,
And equal over equals to let reign,
One over all with unsucceeded power.
Shalt thou give law to God? shalt thou dispute
With him the points of liberty, who made
Thee what thou art, and formed the Powers of Heaven
Such as he pleased, and circumscribed their being?
Yet, by experience taught, we know how good,
And of our good and of our dignity
How provident he is; how far from thought
To make us less, bent rather to exalt
Our happy state, under one head more near
United. But to grant it thee unjust,
That equal over equals monarch reign:
Thyself, though great and glorious, dost thou count,
Or all angelick nature joined in one,
Equal to him begotten Son? by whom,
As by his Word, the Mighty Father made
All things, even thee; and all the Spirits of Heaven
By him created in their bright degrees,
Crowned them with glory, and to their glory named
Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers,
Essential Powers; nor by his reign obscured,
But more illustrious made; since he the head
One of our number thus reduced becomes;
His laws our laws; all honour to him done
Returns our own. Cease then this impious rage,
And tempt not these; but hasten to appease
The incensed Father, and the incensed Son,
While pardon may be found in time besought.
So spake the fervent Angel; but his zeal
None seconded, as out of season judged,
Or singular and rash: Whereat rejoiced
The Apostate, and, more haughty, thus replied.
That we were formed then sayest thou? and the work
Of secondary hands, by task transferred
From Father to his Son? strange point and new!
Doctrine which we would know whence learned: who saw
When this creation was? rememberest thou
Thy making, while the Maker gave thee being?
We know no time when we were not as now;
Know none before us, self-begot, self-raised
By our own quickening power, when fatal course
Had circled his full orb, the birth mature
Of this our native Heaven, ethereal sons.
Our puissance is our own; our own right hand
Shall teach us highest deeds, by proof to try
Who is our equal: Then thou shalt behold
Whether by supplication we intend
Address, and to begirt the almighty throne
Beseeching or besieging. This report,
These tidings carry to the anointed King;
And fly, ere evil intercept thy flight.
He said; and, as the sound of waters deep,
Hoarse murmur echoed to his words applause
Through the infinite host; nor less for that
The flaming Seraph fearless, though alone
Encompassed round with foes, thus answered bold.
O alienate from God, O Spirit accursed,
Forsaken of all good! I see thy fall
Determined, and thy hapless crew involved
In this perfidious fraud, contagion spread
Both of thy crime and punishment: Henceforth
No more be troubled how to quit the yoke
Of God's Messiah; those indulgent laws
Will not be now vouchsafed; other decrees
Against thee are gone forth without recall;
That golden scepter, which thou didst reject,
Is now an iron rod to bruise and break
Thy disobedience. Well thou didst advise;
Yet not for thy advice or threats I fly
These wicked tents devoted, lest the wrath
Impendent, raging into sudden flame,
Distinguish not: For soon expect to feel
His thunder on thy head, devouring fire.
Then who created thee lamenting learn,
When who can uncreate thee thou shalt know.
So spake the Seraph Abdiel, faithful found
Among the faithless, faithful only he;
Among innumerable false, unmoved,
Unshaken, unseduced, unterrified,
His loyalty he kept, his love, his zeal;
Nor number, nor example, with him wrought
To swerve from truth, or change his constant mind,
Though single. From amidst them forth he passed,
Long way through hostile scorn, which he sustained
Superiour, nor of violence feared aught;
And, with retorted scorn, his back he turned
On those proud towers to swift destruction doomed.

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Eternal Spring

Be not afeared of the future, lament not the past-
Look now to the glory before you and see to its last;
Mate not with doubt, use faith to cease its loom-
Your fortune is an eternal Spring, allow its bloom!

Trepidation should not be causal to a glory's vanish-
The future is decided not by fear's utter banish,
Yet, by staring it in the face, and acting according
To what shall, in spite of fear, offer glory's affording!
Thought contrary shall see to absolutely naught,
Except what you were afraid to do, you ought!

Ruminate not of what may stand in your way,
Ponder upon what is there, and shall stay;
Do not allow your elysian futurity's languish
By dwelling in the pall of your past's anguish!

Maurice Harris,7 June 2010

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Bastard Born

Why do you clothe me with scarlet of shame?
Why do you point with your finger of scorn?
What is the crime that you hissingly name
When you sneer in my ears, "Thou bastard born?"

Am I not as the rest of you,
With a hope to reach, and a dream to live?
With a soul to suffer, a heart to know
The pangs that the thrusts of the heartless give?"

I am no monster! Look at me --
Straight in my eyes, that they do not shrink!
Is there aught in them you can see
To merit this hemlock you make me drink?

This poison that scorches my soul like fire,
That burns and burns until love is dry,
And I shrivel with hate, as hot as a pyre,
A corpse, while its smoke curls up to the sky?

Will you touch my hand? It is flesh like yours;
Perhaps a little more brown and grimed,
For it could not be white while the drawers' and hewers',
My brothers, were calloused and darkened and slimed.

Yet touch it! It is no criminal's hand!
No children are toiling to keep it fair!
It is free from the curse of the stolen land,
It is clean of the theft of the sea and air!

It has set no seals to a murderous law,
To sign a bitter, black league with death!
No covenants false do these fingers draw
In the name of "The State" to barter Faith!

It bears no stain of the yellow gold
That Earth's wrethches give as the cost of heaven!
No priestly garment of silken fold
I wear as the price of their "sins forgiven!"

Still do you shrink! Still I hear the hiss
Between your teeth, and I feel the scorn
That flames in your gaze! Well, what is this,
This crime I commit, being "bastard born?"

What! You whisper my "eyes are gray,"
The "color of hers," up there on the hill,
Where the white stone gleams, and the willow spray
Falls over her grave in the starlight still!

My "hands are shaped like" those quiet hands,
Folded away from their life, their care;
And the sheen that lies on my short, fair strands
Gleams darkly down on her buried hair!

My voice is toned like that silent tone
That might, if it could, break up through the sod
With such rebuke as would shame your stone,
Stirring the grass-roots in their clod!

And my heart-beats thrill to the same strong chords;
And the blood that was hers is mine to-day;
And the thoughts she loved, I love; and the words
That meant most to her, to me most say!

She was my mother-I her child!
Could ten thousand priests have made us more?
Do you curse the bloom of the heather wild?
Do you trample the flowers and cry "impure?"

Do you shun the bird-songs' silver shower?
Does their music arouse your curling scorn
That none but God blessed them? The whitest flower,
The purest song, were but "bastard born!"

This is my sin, -I was born of her!
This is my crime, -that I reverence deep!
God, that her pale corpse may not stir,
Press closer down on her lids -the sleep!

Would you have me hate her? Me, who knew
That the gentlest soul in the world looked there,
Out of the gray eyes that pitied you
E'en while you cursed her? The long brown hair

That waived from her forehead, has brushed my cheek,
When her soft lips have drunk up my salt of grief;
And the voice, whose echo you hate, would speak
The hush of pity and love's relief!

And those still hands that are folded now
Have touched my sorrows for years away!
Would you have me question her whence and how
The love-light streamed from her heart's deep ray?

Do you question the sun that it gives its gold?
Do you scowl at the cloud when it pours its rain
Till the fields that were withered and burnt and old
Are fresh and tender and young again?

Do you search the source of the breeze that sweeps
The rush of the fever from the tortured brain?
Do you ask whence the perfume that round you creeps
When your soul is wrought to the quick with pain?

She was my Sun, my Dew, my Air,
The highest, the purest, the holiest;
Peace -was the shade of her beautiful hair,
Love -was all that I knew on her breast!

Would You have me forget? Or remembering
Say that her love had bloomed from Hell?
Then BLESSED BE HELL! And let Heaven sing
"Te Deum laudamus," until it swell

And ring and roll to the utterest earth,
That the damned are free, -since out of sin
Came the whiteness that shamed all ransomed worth
Till God opened the gates, saying "Enter in!"

What! In the face of the witness I bear
To her measureless love and her purity,
Still of your hate would you make me to share,
Despising that she gave life to me?

You would have me stand at her helpless grave,
To dig through its earth with a venomed dart!
This is Honor! and Right! and Brave!
To fling a stone at her pulseless heart!

This is Virtue! To blast the lips
Speechless beneath the Silence dread!
To lash with Slander's scorpion whips
The voiceless, defenseless, helpless dead!

God! I turn to an adder now!
Back upon you I hurl your scorn!
Bind the scarlet upon your brow!
Ye it is, who are "bastard born"!

Touch me not! These hands of mine
Despise your fairness --the leper's white!
Tanned and hardened and black with grime,
They are clean beside your souls to-night!

Basely born! 'Tis ye are base!
Ye who would guerdon holy trust
With slavish law to a tyrant race,
To sow the earth with the seed of lust.

Base! By Heaven! Prate of peace,
When your garments are red with the stain of wars.
Reeling with passion's mad release
By your sickly gaslight damn the stars!

Blurred with wine ye behold the snow
Smirched with the foulness that blots within!
What of purity can ye know,
Ye ten-fold children of Hell and Sin?

Ye to judge her! Ye to cast
The stone of wrath from your house of glass!
Know ye the Law, that ye dare to blast
The bell of gold with your clanging brass?

Know ye the harvest the reapers reap
Who drop in the furrow the seed of scorn?
Out of this anguish ye harrow deep,
Ripens the sentence: "Ye, bastard born!"

Ay, sin-begotten, hear the curse;
Not mine -not hers -but the fatal Law!
"Who bids one suffer, shall suffer worse;
Who scourges, himself shall be scourged raw!

"For the thoughts ye think, and the deeds ye do,
Move on, and on, till the flood is high,
And the dread dam bursts, and the waves roar through
Hurling a cataract dirge to the sky!"

"To-night ye are deaf to the beggar's prayer;
To-morrow the thieves shall batter your wall!
Ye shall feel the weight of a starved child's care
When your warders under the mob's feet fall!

"'Tis the roar of the whirlwind ye invoke
When ye scatter the wind of your brother's moans;
'Tis the red of your hate on your own head broke,
When the blood of the murdered spatters the stones!

"Hark ye! Out of the reeking slums,
Thick with the fetid stench of crime,
Boiling up through their sickening scums,
Bubbles that burst through the crimson wine,

"Voices burst --with terrible sound,
Crying the truth your dull souls ne'er saw!
We are your sentence! The wheel turns round!
The bastard spawn of your bastard law!"

This is bastard: That Man should say
How Love shall love, and how Life shall live!
Setting a tablet to groove God's way,
Measuring how the divine shall give!

O, Evil Hearts! Ye have maddened me,
That I should interpret the voice of God!
Quiet! Quiet! O angered Sea!
Quiet! I go to her blessed sod!

Mother, Mother, I come to you!
Down in your grasses I press my face!
Under the kiss of their cold, pure dew,
I may dream that I lie in the dear old place!

Mother, sweet Mother, take me back,
Into the bosom from whence I came!
Take me away from the cruel rack,
Take me out of the parching flame!

Fold me again with your beautiful hair,
Speak to this terrible heaving Sea!
Over me pour the soothing of prayer,
The words of the Love-child of Galilee:

"PEACE -BE STILL!" Still, -could I but hear!
Softly, -I listen. -O fierce heart, cease!
Softly, -I breathe not, -low, -in my ear,
-Mother, Mother -I heard you! -PEACE!

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Early Works - For There Is Only One You

I can make birds
to fly across a sky of blue.
I can make fish
to swim in the sea too,
but I can’t make an angel
for there is only one you.

I built a dream of hope;
it crumbled around me like burnt rope.
I built a dream of happiness,
but it tumbled around me like shattered glass.

I can make homes
for people to live.
I can make love
and to you I can give,
but I can’t make an angel
for there is only one you.


Date unknown. (Probably in the 1960’s)

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There Were The Lips You Kissed

You kissed but for a day
And eyes glittering hope of the future
That there was no time to fulfill

There were the hours you counted
You counted but for a day
And they slipped away into the next dawn
And you were left alone

There were the eyes you met
You met and knew but for a day
That told you everything about the eyes
And a vision long haunting into dust

There were the paths you walked
You walked but for a day
And the paths turned the day
Into the life long journey
Now travel and hope for some more time

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Let There Be Peace With You

The economy is down
No jobs in town
The cupboards are bare
No one seems to care
Let There Be Peace with You

Time spent all alone
No rings on the phone
As darkness sets in
I need a friend
Let There Be Peace with You

When troubles arise
It is no surprise
Faith seems to wane
There's no one to blame
Let There Be Peace with You

My family too far
Can't wish on a star
Life is not fair
This is my prayer
Let There Be Peace with You

May God Bless your life
To live without strife
In the Lord's way
Survive every day
Let There Be Peace with You

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Rabindranath Tagore

Lover's Gifts VIII: There Is Room for You

There is room for you. You are alone with your few sheaves of rice.
My boat is crowded, it is heavily laden, but how can I turn you
away? Your young body is slim and swaying; there is a twinkling
smile in the edge of your eyes, and your robe is coloured like the
rain cloud.
The travellers will land for different roads and homes. You
will sit for a while on the prow of my boat, and at the journey's
end none will keep you back.
Where do you go, and to what home, to garner your sheaves? I
will not question you, but when I fold my sails and moor my boat
I shall sit and wonder in the evening, -Where do you go, and to
what home, to garner your sheaves?

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Eternal Time, That Wastest Without Waste

Eternal Time, that wastest without waste,
That art and art not, diest, and livest still;
Most slow of all, and yet of greatest haste;
Both ill and good, and neither good nor ill:
How can I justly praise thee, or dispraise?
Dark are thy nights, but bright and clear thy days.

Both free and scarce, thou giv'st and tak'st again;
Thy womb that all doth breed, is tomb to all;
What so by thee hath life, by thee is slain;
From thee do all things rise, by thee they fall:
Constant, inconstant, moving, standing still;
Was, Is, Shall be, do thee both breed and kill.

I lose thee, while I seek to find thee out;
The farther off, the more I follow thee;
The faster hold, the greater cause of doubt;
Was, Is, I know; but Shall, I cannot see.
All things by thee are measur'd; thou, by none:
All are in thee; thou, in thyself alone.

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Is there a flower in you waiting to bloom?

is there a flower in you waiting to bloom?
to colour the world with its charms?
is it forming? a promising little bud
rearing its head in the sanctum of your soul
that would one day burst off to mersmerise the world

is there a flower in you waiting to bloom?
are the petals giving their ways to grow?
or are they retarded, in the shadows of a hut
no sun could break through?

every carnation in the garden
is a dream achieved, their smiles spanning wide,
the rain and shine have brought out their best
and children and insects all crowd around
to share their heavenly blessings

is there a flower in you waiting to bloom?
a sky is waiting to greet your song,
be it white violet or blue
are you working sweats and tears for it
to come true? a carnation the sun kisses
the wind lifs up and the boy crowns his love with

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Love Cannot Die

In crime and enmity they lie
Who sin and tell us love can die,
Who say to us in slander's breath
That love belongs to sin and death.
From heaven it came on angel's wing
To bloom on earth, eternal spring;
In falsehood's enmity they lie
Who sin and tell us love can die.

Twas born upon an angel's breast.
The softest dreams, the sweetest rest,
The brightest sun, the bluest sky,
Are love's own home and canopy.
The thought that cheers this heart of mine
Is that of love; love so divine
They sin who say in slander's breath
That love belongs to sin and death.

The sweetest voice that lips contain,
The sweetest thought that leaves the brain,
The sweetest feeling of the heart--
There's pleasure in its very smart.
The scent of rose and cinnamon
Is not like love remembered on;
In falsehood's enmity they lie
Who sin and tell us love can die.

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I know you are there and I know you understand

What I am saying,
I say from my heart
Two faces, happy & sad, Hate & love in one body,
And you see them
In the mirror as you shake your hair
For some lies, combing some truths
For me to gaze upon like I am
This woman asking from your crystal ball

What happens tomorrow?
When I am alone and he is gone,
Do I have to speak in riddles for you to
Really find the answers? No, I don’t because

I am candid about feelings,
Ask me again if I am happy
And I will show you some scars.
I know you are there and I know you understand

When I tell you that I am crying and sobbing
On a laptop of stories,
He will neither hear me nor you, but we will all be here,
In this tragedy of the hearts

Of two faces, happy & sad, and hate & love, and hate & love,
Wanting to go but also wanting to stay
I know you are there and I know you understand, stay, and stay

I will be going away but only for a while.

(a poem for ric, from his wife)

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On Being a Poet

When Hafiz
sang the poetry in his heart
in the beautiful gardens of Shiraz

they said his voice was like
pouring light into a cup
when the soul is thirsty

so no-one wrote it down; for
the page does not always sing;
better now, to seek out an old woman
who had heard Hafiz when she was young,
ask her to speak those verses
as she remembered them

or even to ask her grandchild
who remembered the light
of his voice in her grandmother’s eyes.

Because Hafiz
never saw anyone
who is not God

he called God sometimes Friend,
sometimes Beloved,
or Sweet Uncle, Generous Merchant,
The Immediate One,
The Problem Giver,
The Problem Solver, or
The Clever Rascal.

Because Hafiz
never saw anywhere
which is not God

he gave God’s address as
sometimes the holes in the roof,
or the cracks in the walls,
or even the back door
of a favourite pub

where God is the dancer,
the musician, the wine,
the beautiful companion.

Hafiz knew
we need poets
to bring rest and refreshment
because separation from God
is the hardest work in the world.

So don’t do a thing;
just rest there, and
we’ll bring you what you need.

*

[To Daniel Ladinsky, translator of 'Hafiz',
Shams-ud-din Muhammad,
c.1320-1389]

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The Great Beech

With heart disposed to memory, let me stand
Near this monarch and this minstrel of the land,
Now that Dian leans so lovely from her car.
Illusively brought near by seeming falsely far,
In yon illustrious summit sways the tangled evening star.

From trembling towers of greenery there heaves
In glorious curves a precipice of leaves.
Superbly rolls thy passionate voice along,
Withstander of the tempest, grim and strong,
When at the wind's imperative thou burstest into song.

Still must I love thy gentle music most,
Utterly innocent of challenge or of boast,
And playmate of the sun's adoring beam.
Close kindred to thy softer tremblings seem
The sighs of her I covet, when she kindles in a dream.

Oft at thy branching altar have I knelt,
Searched for the secret, and thy lesson spelt
Before the athletes of the night had done
Their starry toil and joyous beams had run
To melt the ancient silversmith who loves the set of sun.

When Spring was budding in my heart anew,
Thy prayer for foliage soared into the blue.
Within thy branches myriad children heard:
Pale were their lips and fingers as they stirred
And promised leafiness enough to tempt thy favourite bird.

Quick was the wonder to amaze my sight:
Where stood the leafless suppliant towered a knight
Green to the helm and touching lips with May!
Far on the hill the wheatstalks stopped from play
To call across the valley love to leaves more fine than they.

Then wert thou vocal, hospitable king!
Safe in thy heart the birds were glad to sing,
For dove and stormcock to thy breast had come;
And at the perfect hour a moony foam
And starlight fell upon the thrush that made thy bosom home.

As gentle gatherer of the weary wing,
Happy to quaff from the eternal spring
That damps the woodwren's feather-swollen breast,
Thou lendest to my heart a deeper rest,
Working with priceless balm a miracle for thy guest.

On thee, in green and sunshine greatly stoled,
Thy kindred of the undulating wold
Obeisance, as befits their stature, spend:
Sweet is the embassy, with wind for friend,
When lofty limes of Todenham Church their fragrant homage send.

Rightly they worship. Rightly comes the maid
To look for love beneath thy bounteous shade;
Rightly as these the village children haste,
And with their sunburned fingers interlaced
Fasten a living girdle round thy cool and stalwart waist.

For games and grief thou hast an equal heart,
Giving to all petitioners the needed part.
Often I ask the shape of him who fled
To drink of knowledge at the fountain-head:
He pulses in the shadow as a fugitive from the dead.

Old noble of the county, once we twain
Beneath thy roof discoursed of bliss and pain;
And, looking upward for the star Content,
Laughed deep at soul to watch the sunbeams sent
In coveys glittering all along the field of firmament.

If ever the travelled spirit can return
Where once in earthly bliss 'twas proud to burn
In hard-won triumph over resolute clay,
'Tis here my friend shall fold his wings and stay
To fill my unforgetting heart with tremulous holiday.

The tryst is here. Brother, I shall not fail
Whether in Summer's ripeness, Winter's hail.
Come most in Autumn's sympathetic charms,
When opal hazes touch the red-roofed farms,
And in the night the beech-tree holds the red moon in his arms.

And tell me, Brother, if the shining plan
Of resurrection chooses only man;
If every friend of plain and upland dies.
For I would have this turreted tree arise
To lord it over beeches in the forest of Paradise.

Fast in the ample chamber of his bole
There dwells, perchance, an unintelligible soul
Destined to tower in some celestial wold,
Where you and I, conversing as of old,
May watch the Alps of Heaven become as mountains made of gold.

Or bend to watch how cunningly the earth
Tangles our kin in webs of tears and mirth,
And soils them even as they fly the stain;
And, seeing this, may find that Heaven is vain
To keep earth-broken hearts from breaking in Heaven again

Till shines the hour when Home is truly Home,
With all the brave and dear familiars come:
Assembled ripely in the lustrous sheaf
Of Love, and radiant in divine relief
From Joy that used to spoil the earth by whispering to Grief.

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Guy Laliberte

I believe there are so many other disciplines and themes that we still haven't explored yet. It's infinite what we can apply our creativity to.

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Out Of A Deep Sleep

Cypress trees, magnolia moss
Flowers in the blessed moonlight
Your soft voice like an angel
Search the world but only love satisfies
Love makes the stars shine bright
Darling your eyes bring me joy
How I long for thee day and night
A friend to kiss good morning
A lover and a fire in the night
No lust can conqueror my heart
For you my dearest have won
There you are a dream and a gift
Out of a deep sleep I have come

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Unify

You reached out and rescued me...
answer to my dreams
and love hung on a cross so we could meet....
calmed my restlesness...
words fail to express...
there's no where I would rather be than with you..
the whole earth fall on it's knees...
at the sound of your beautiful name
and all the voices in teh world unify today
to bring you this song of praise..
I call on you my king...
you open your arms to me
and embrace me like a father to a child

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Hearts Entwine

Across a sky west and crooked,
flies a little white bird,
and in its beak an olive leaf,
for all sad lovers everywhere,
to show them all,
there is a change of fortune
waiting for them somewhere.
The old story goes,
for everyone there is a someone.
Just keep looking and you’ll find,
the someone you’ve been seeking,
that will make your hearts entwine.
Cupid will let his arrow flow,
and you’ll find the one you seek,
to love forever more.

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You Can Fly

Expanse of land that would cushion your fall
As you tumble down from the sky
Marble cakes of delicious design and
Theyre yours, you can fly
I have no wings but I wish that I had
I have dreams about it every night
And I can soar with the wind in my face
On my flight, on my flight
Wont you try and just bother
Wont you bother to care
And then somehow or other
Youll be there
Cotton clouds look like mountainous land
Covered by december snow
And I can see from my majestic view
Down below, yes I know

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It's Not That Bad

Just when you feel like youv'e had enough
Just when your life feels just to rough
Although these time can really be tough
When you seem do nothing but huff and puff
The longer you hold out the better you'll be
Just put up with this storm and then you will see
Your storm will only be for a season
To be upset the whole time, there's really no reason
What would your good times be without the bad
Cause after the bad, just wait a sec here comes your glad
No matter who you are, rather brother, sister, mom or dad
You can make it through, just remind yourself It's not that bad

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My Angel (In Response To A Poem Called My Knight)

Sometimes what we love the most will never see the light.
Not in a way most people understand.
A occasional midnight cry that is only heard through words.
A plea for help and understanding.
A calm steady hand in need of a little bit of mending.

That angel still whispers to me on a scarce night.
One where the wind blows a certain way.
As prayer for a better day.
With the stars glistening under the twilight.
And the flames burning bright.
I don't need her.

When the stars dim and the fire fissile out.
When the darkness engulfs my own since of being.
She is my angel and she is always there waiting.

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