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Fabulous Fairy Tales

Confabbing
over the cornflakes
she passed the milk
and I gave her the sugar
about the fallibility
of the fabulous.

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Something I Gave Her

it was something which i gave her
which she cannot really forget
and she cannot take that something again
for i already belong to the arms of another
it was something so beautiful which i gave her
which she wants to have with her again
but time betrays her like any other
and she cannot any longer have that
most beautiful thing which i gave her

and i know this made her angry forever
let me say i am sorry i am very sorry
we were never meant for each other

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Why God Gave Her So Many Miseries?

With no money in the
Pocket
I was lying on the road
Writhing in pain
When passing by me
She saw me
Stopped by my side
Gave me water to drink
Took me the hospital
Got me treated
Paid for the treatment
As soon as I recovered
To my astonishment
She vanished in thin air
I asked the hospital staff
If anybody knew her
I got an answer
That left me speechless
She was a lonely widow
Living on meager income
She was suffering from
Cancer
Her days were numbered
Her gesture left me startled
To me she was a god sent
Angel
She forget her misery
To help me
I failed to understand
Why god gave her
So many miseries

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She Gave Her Angels

And now Id like 2 turn your heart 2 a tale of sheer delight
A song of adulation, love and fear
No one loved him better, no one better sacrificed
She gave her angels that summer night
Fate as she designed it took her from her man
Destiny and love dont always go hand in hand (hand in hand)
As the world lay waiting like an embryo in a womb
She gave her angels that night in june (she gave her angels)
She gave her angels 2 a man because her man had none
2 watch over him till she returned - her man, her lover, her son
Her father 4 all these things he meant 2 her, she felt it right
She gave her angels that summer night {x2}

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He Was In Heaven Before He Died

Theres a rainbow of babies
Draped over the graveyard
Where all the dead sailors
Wait for their brides
And the cold bitter snow
Has strangled each grassblade
Where the salt from their tears
Washed out with the tide
Chorus
And I smiled on the wabash
The last time I passed it
Yes I gave her a wink
From the passenger side
And my foot fell asleep
As I swallowed my candy
Knowing he was in heaven
Before he died
Now the harbors on fire
With the dreams and desires
Of a thousand young poets
Who failed cause they tried
For a rhyme without reason
Floats down to the bottom
Where the scavengers eat em
And wash in with the tide
Repeat chorus:
The sun can play tricks
With your eyes on the highway
The moon can lay sideways
Till the ocean stands still
But a person cant tell
His best friend he loves him
Till time has stopped breathing
Youre alone on the hill
Repeat chorus:

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We Gave Her A Bouquet Of Roses

We gave her a bouquet of roses to place on her baby's grave
The baby girl born alive that the doctors could not save
The birth of new born baby a time of joy and cheer
But if the new born baby die such news none wish to hear.

She has to weep her grief away and shed those painful tears
Or else the hurt will stay with her for years and years and years
To bottle up her sense of loss will only cause more pain
She has to shed her grief in tears or with her 'twill remain.

She carried her child for nine months looked to the birth with joy
But her happiness was snatched from her in the twinkling of an eye
My thoughts go to her husband too his expectations high
But tragedy visited him he watched his baby die.

What can one say at a time like this there's nothing one can say
To ease the burden of the grief that they must feel today
Nine months of expectations in a moment snatched away
But sun as ever waits to shine behind the clouds of gray.

A bouquet of flowers and sympathy card to place on baby's grave
But how can any one expect of them at such time to be brave
They have to let their feelings show and weep their grief away
For if not sorrow will live on and hurt with them will stay.

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To The College Boys

un / fortunately she to my best pal was sent,
she said him'can ur books by me be lent.'....
he gave her his fate,
in hope dat with her whole life he would go for date..

with her time like sand passed by,
she said him'without u i shall die'
he thought all this were truth,
but he knew not the path had no fruit.

she as a student was weak,
but knew with his help good marks she would seek.
her plan worked out well,
coz he taught her without any fail.

the results were out,
she topped without any doubt.
but he didnot get good score,
he got 75 but potentials he had more.

she left him,
coz she says'with u my future is dim.'
he felt very low,
and saw the whole world as a foe.

we all knew he was very strong,
but also knew recovery time he needed was long.
but he recovered soon,
and now he shined like spotless moon.

now back to him she came,
seeing his bright and yet growing fame.
but he said'y u came here,
go away if to God u fear...........'

that day we both laughed the whole night,
more louder as past came to our clear sight.
but to all i would say...
'don't wait till dat bad day'................................

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The Gift

A poor orphan girl named maria
Was walking to market one day
She stopped for a rest by the roadside
Where a bird with a broken wing lay
A few moments passed till she saw it
For its feathers were covered with sand
But soon clean and wrapped it was travelling
In the warmth of marias small hand
She happily gave her last peso
On a cage made of rushes and twine
She fed it loose corn from the market
And watched it grow stronger with time
Now the christmas eve service was coming
And the church shone with tinsel and light
And all of the townfolks brought presents
To lay by the manger that night
There were diamonds and incense
And perfumes
In packages fit for a king
But for one ragged bird in a small cage
Maria had nothing to bring
She waited till just before midnight
So no one would see her go in
And crying she knelt by the manger
For her gift was unworthy of him
Then a voice spoke to her through the darkness
Maria, what brings you to me
If the bird in the cage is your offering
Open the door and let me see
Though she trembled, she did as he asked her
And out of the cage the bird flew
Soaring up into the rafters
On a wing that had healed good as new
Just then the midnight bells rang out
And the little bird started to sing
A song that no words could recapture
Whose beauty was fit for a king
Now maria felt blessed just to listen
To that cascade of notes sweet and long
As her offerings was lifted to heaven
By the very first nightingales song

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The Burghers of Calais

It were after the Battle of Crecy-
The foe all lay dead on the ground-
And King Edward went out with his soldiers
To clean up the places around.

The first place they came to were Calais,
Where t' burghers all stood in a row,
And when Edward told them to surrender
They told Edward where he could go.

Said he, " I'll beleaguer this city,
I'll teach them to flout their new King -
Then he told all his lads to get camp-stools
And sit round the place in a ring.

Now the burghers knew nowt about Crecy-
They laughed when they saw Edward's plan-
And thinking their side were still winning,
They shrugged and said- " San fairy Ann."

But they found at the end of a fortnight
That things wasn't looking so nice,
With nowt going out but the pigeons,
And nowt coming in but the mice.

For the soldiers sat round on their camp-stools,
And never a foot did they stir,
But passed their time doing their knitting,
And crosswords, and things like that there.

The burghers began to get desperate
Wi' t' food supply sinking so low,
For they'd nowt left but dry bread and water,
Or what they called in French "pang" and "oh"

They stuck it all autumn and winter,
But when at last spring came around
They was bothered, bewitched and beleaguered,
And cods' heads was tenpence a pound.

So they hung a white flag on the ramparts
To show they was sick of this 'ere-
And the soldiers, who'd finished their knitting,
All stood up and gave them a cheer.

When King Edward heard they had surrendered
He said to them, in their own tongue,
"You've kept me here all football season,
And twelve of you's got to be hung."

Then up stood the Lord Mayor of Calais,
"I'll make one" he gallantly cried-
Then he called to his friends on the Council
To make up the rest of the side.

When the townspeople heard of the hanging
They rushed in a crowd through the gate-
They was all weeping tears of compassion,
And hoping they wasn't too late.

With ropes round their necks the twelve heroes
Stood proudly awaiting their doom,
Till the hangman at last crooked his finger
And coaxingly said to them-" Come.

At that moment good Queen Phillippa
Ran out of her bower and said-
Oh, do have some mercy, my husband;
Oh don't be so spiteful, dear Ted."

Then down on her knee-joints before them
She flopped, and in accents that rang,
Said, "Please, Edward, just to oblige me,
You can't let these poor burghers hang.

The King was so touched with her pleading,
He lifted his wife by the hand
And he gave her all twelve as a keepsake
And peace once again reigned in the land.

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George and the Dragon

I'll tell you the tale of an old country pub
As fancied itself up to date,
It had the word " Garage" wrote on t' stable door
And a petrol pump outside the gate.

The " George and the Dragon" were t' name of the pub,
And it stood in a spot wild and bleak,
Where nowt ever seemed to be passing that way
Except Carrier's cart once a week.

The Carrier's cart were a sturdy old Ford
And its driver were known as " Old Joe
He had passed pub each week but he'd never been in,
It's name even he didn't know.

One cold winter night, about quarter to one,
He were driving home over the moor,
And had just reached the pub, when his engine stopped dead
A thing it had ne'er done before.

He lifted the bonnet and fiddled around
And gave her a bit of a crank;
When he looked at his petrol he found what were wrong,
There wasn't a drop in the tank.

He had eight miles to go and 'twere starting to rain,
And he thought he were there for the night,
Till he saw the word " Garage" wrote on t' stable door;
Then he said, " Lizzie, Lass... we're all right."

He went up to t' pub and he hammered at door
Till a voice up above said " Hello!"
It were t' Publican's Wife-she said,
"Now what's to do?", "I've run out of petrol," said Joe.

She said " Who are you? " He said " Carrier Joe."
" Oh, so that's who it is," she replied
You've been passing this door now for close on ten years
And never once set foot inside."

"A nice time of night to come knocking folks up,
She continued. "Away with your truck,
" You'd best get your petrol where you buy your beer...
" You only come here when you re stuck."

Said Joe, "Aye, I'll go if you'll sell me some fuel,
"I can't start my engine without.
"I'm willing to pay." but she told him to go
Where he'd get his fuel for nowt.

"Coom, coom, Lass!" said Joe, conci-latory like,
"Let bygones be bygones, and when
I come round next time I'll look in."
She said, "Oh, Well, your petrol can wait until then."

With these few remarks th' old girl took in her head
And slammed winder to in his face;
He took a look round and for t' very first time
He noticed the name of the place.

He picked up some pebbles he found in the road
And tossed them against winder pane,
And before very long lattice opened above
And out came the old girl again.

What d'ye want? " she enquired. And " Not you," Joe replied,
For this treatment had fair raised his gorge
"I see George and t' Dragon's the name on the house,
"And I'd just like a word now with George."

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The Tale Of Steven

’TIS the tale of Simon Steven, braceman at the Odd-and-Even,
At The Nations, in the gully. They were sinking in the rock.
Sim was small and wiry rather, and a husband and a father,
But he’s gone and left his family as a consequence of shock.

Shock was Sim’s disease, we reckoned, for it took him in a second,
And no doctor born could dognose what the symptoms were, I think,
But we’re missin’ Sim completely—he could play the whistle sweetly,
And was always very sociable and brotherly in drink.

That was how poor Steven drifted into trouble—being gifted,
He was hungry for an audience, and it led him up to Coy’s;
But his wife made no deductions for the artist, and the ructions
What she raised around that public were just fireworks for the boys.

When she caught him on the liquor, being stronger like and quicker,
She would hammer him in company, which, I take it, wasn’t right;
Yet he bore it like a martyr while his wife played up the tartar,
And she gave her straight opinion of each mother’s son in sight.

Sim had marks of her corrections scattered round in all directions
On his features and his figure, but he didn’t seem to care—
For he thought his missus clearly did her duty by him merely
When she pommelled him for boosing with a poker or a chair.

’Twas a Wednesday, boss, I’m thinking. There’d been much promiscuous drinking
Up the gully, where some city chaps were christening Spooner’s mill;
Sim was dayshift at The Nations, and he missed the grand orations,
But, with help from men and brothers, he contrived to get his fill.

They’d been shooting holes, an’ Steven, when he left the Odd-and-Even,
Carried with him in his pocket here a plug of dynamite.
Sim had put it there to soften—which is done by miners often,
But it’s not the sort of practice that I’d recommend as right.

Well, the braceman didn’t worry after tea that day, nor hurry
To the bosom of his family, but took drink for drink with Mack;
When they aimed him homewards kindly, Steven went the distance blindly,
And his feet performed the lockstitch all the way along the track.

Mrs. Sim was primed and ready, and she met him with a neddy,
And she passed no vain remarks, but aimed an awful blow at him;
Came a sound of roaring thunder—Mrs. Sim was blown from under,
And the universe was ruined, and the sun went out for Sim.

After search in all directions, we found very few selections
Of the widow’s dear departed, but we did the best we could.
For, you see, by passion goaded, and not knowing Sim was loaded,
She’d concussed that plug of dynamite, and blown him up for good.

There was room for no reproaches ’bout the hearse and mourning coaches;
Though we only buried samples, yet we ’lowed for style and tone—
Man’s-size coffin, grave, and preacher for a broken fellow creature,
And we wrote ‘In Death Divided’ at the bottom of the stone.

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The Ideals

And wilt thou, faithless one, then, leave me,
With all thy magic phantasy,--
With all the thoughts that joy or grieve me,
Wilt thou with all forever fly?
Can naught delay thine onward motion,
Thou golden time of life's young dream?
In vain! eternity's wide ocean
Ceaselessly drowns thy rolling stream.

The glorious suns my youth enchanting
Have set in never-ending night;
Those blest ideals now are wanting
That swelled my heart with mad delight.
The offspring of my dream hath perished,
My faith in being passed away;
The godlike hopes that once I cherish
Are now reality's sad prey.

As once Pygmalion, fondly yearning,
Embraced the statue formed by him,
Till the cold marble's cheeks were burning,
And life diffused through every limb,
So I, with youthful passion fired,
My longing arms round Nature threw,
Till, clinging to my breast inspired,
She 'gan to breathe, to kindle too.

And all my fiery ardor proving,
Though mute, her tale she soon could tell,
Returned each kiss I gave her loving,
The throbbings of my heart read well.
Then living seemed each tree, each flower,
Then sweetly sang the waterfall,
And e'en the soulless in that hour
Shared in the heavenly bliss of all.

For then a circling world was bursting
My bosom's narrow prison-cell,
To enter into being thirsting,
In deed, word, shape, and sound as well.
This world, how wondrous great I deemed it,
Ere yet its blossoms could unfold!
When open, oh, how little seemed it!
That little, oh, how mean and cold!

How happy, winged by courage daring,
The youth life's mazy path first pressed--
No care his manly strength impairing,
And in his dream's sweet vision blest!
The dimmest star in air's dominion
Seemed not too distant for his flight;
His young and ever-eager pinion
Soared far beyond all mortal sight.

Thus joyously toward heaven ascending,
Was aught for his bright hopes too far?
The airy guides his steps attending,
How danced they round life's radiant car!
Soft love was there, her guerdon bearing,
And fortune, with her crown of gold,
And fame, her starry chaplet wearing,
And truth, in majesty untold.

But while the goal was yet before them,
The faithless guides began to stray;
Impatience of their task came o'er them,
Then one by one they dropped away.
Light-footed Fortune first retreating,
Then Wisdom's thirst remained unstilled,
While heavy storms of doubt were beating
Upon the path truth's radiance filled.

I saw Fame's sacred wreath adorning
The brows of an unworthy crew;
And, ah! how soon Love's happy morning,
When spring had vanished, vanished too!
More silent yet, and yet more weary,
Became the desert path I trod;
And even hope a glimmer dreary
Scarce cast upon the gloomy road.

Of all that train, so bright with gladness,
Oh, who is faithful to the end?
Who now will seek to cheer my sadness,
And to the grave my steps attend?
Thou, Friendship, of all guides the fairest,
Who gently healest every wound;
Who all life's heavy burdens sharest,
Thou, whom I early sought and found!

Employment too, thy loving neighbor,
Who quells the bosom's rising storms;
Who ne'er grows weary of her labor,
And ne'er destroys, though slow she forms;
Who, though but grains of sand she places
To swell eternity sublime,
Yet minutes, days, ay! years effaces
From the dread reckoning kept by Time!

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The Two Elizabeths

Read at the unveiling of the bust of Elizabeth Fry at the Friends'
School, Providence, R. I.

A. D. 1209.

AMIDST Thuringia's wooded hills she dwelt,
A high-born princess, servant of the poor,
Sweetening with gracious words the food she dealt
To starving throngs at Wartburg's blazoned door.

A blinded zealot held her soul in chains,
Cramped the sweet nature that he could not kill,
Scarred her fair body with his penance-pains,
And gauged her conscience by his narrow will.

God gave her gifts of beauty and of grace,
With fast and vigil she denied them all;
Unquestioning, with sad, pathetic face,
She followed meekly at her stern guide's call.

So drooped and died her home-blown rose of bliss
In the chill rigor of a discipline
That turned her fond lips from her children's kiss,
And made her joy of motherhood a sin.

To their sad level by compassion led,
One with the low and vile herself she made,
While thankless misery mocked the hand that fed,
And laughed to scorn her piteous masquerade.

But still, with patience that outwearied hate,
She gave her all while yet she had to give;
And then her empty hands, importunate,
In prayer she lifted that the poor might live.

Sore pressed by grief, and wrongs more hard to bear,
And dwarfed and stifled by a harsh control,
She kept life fragrant with good deeds and prayer,
And fresh and pure the white flower of her soul.

Death found her busy at her task: one word
Alone she uttered as she paused to die,
'Silence!'--then listened even as one who heard
With song and wing the angels drawing nigh!

Now Fra Angelico's roses fill her hands,
And, on Murillo's canvas, Want and Pain
Kneel at her feet. Her marble image stands
Worshipped and crowned in Marburg's holy fane.

Yea, wheresoe'er her Church its cross uprears,
Wide as the world her story still is told;
In manhood's reverence, woman's prayers and tears,
She lives again whose grave is centuries old.

And still, despite the weakness or the blame
Of blind submission to the blind, she hath
A tender place in hearts of every name,
And more than Rome owns Saint Elizabeth!

A. D. 1780.

Slow ages passed: and lo! another came,
An English matron, in whose simple faith
Nor priestly rule nor ritual had claim,
A plain, uncanonized Elizabeth.

No sackcloth robe, nor ashen-sprinkled hair,
Nor wasting fast, nor scourge, nor vigil long,
Marred her calm presence. God had made her fair,
And she could do His goodly work no wrong.

Their yoke is easy and their burden light
Whose sole confessor is the Christ of God;
Her quiet trust and faith transcending sight
Smoothed to her feet the difficult paths she trod.

And there she walked, as duty bade her go,
Safe and unsullied as a cloistered nun,
Shamed with her plainness Fashion's gaudy show,
And overcame the world she did not shun.

In Earlham's bowers, in Plashet's liberal hall,
In the great city's restless crowd and din,
Her ear was open to the Master's call,
And knew the summons of His voice within.

Tender as mother, beautiful as wife,
Amidst the throngs of prisoned crime she stood
In modest raiment faultless as her life,
The type of England's worthiest womanhood.

To melt the hearts that harshness turned to stone
The sweet persuasion of her lips sufficed,
And guilt, which only hate and fear had known,
Saw in her own the pitying love of Christ.

So wheresoe'er the guiding Spirit went
She followed, finding every prison cell
It opened for her sacred as a tent
Pitched by Gennesaret or by Jacob's well.

And Pride and Fashion felt her strong appeal,
And priest and ruler marvelled as they saw
How hand in hand went wisdom with her zeal,
And woman's pity kept the bounds of law.

She rests in God's peace; but her memory stirs
The air of earth as with an angel's wings,
And warms and moves the hearts of men like hers,
The sainted daughter of Hungarian kings.

United now, the Briton and the Hun,
Each, in her own time, faithful unto death,
Live sister souls! in name and spirit one,
Thuringia's saint and our Elizabeth!

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The Organist

In his dim chapel day by day
The organist was wont to play,
And please himself with fluted reveries;
And all the spirit's joy and strife,
The longing of a tender life,
Took sound and form upon the ivory keys;
And though he seldom spoke a word,
The simple hearts that loved him heard
His glowing soul in these.

One day as he wrapped, a sound
Of feet stole near; he turned and found
A little maid that stood beside him there.
She started, and in shrinking-wise
Besought him with her liquid eyes
And little features, very sweet and spare.
'You love the music, child,' he said,
And laid his hand upon her head,
And smoothed her matted hair.

She answered, 'At the door one day
I sat and heard the organ play;
I did not dare to come inside for fear;
But yesterday, a little while,
I crept half up the empty aisle
And heard the music sounding sweet and clear;
To-day I thought you would not mind,
For, master dear, your face was kind,
And so I came up here.'

'You love the music then,' he said,
And still he stroked her golden head,
And followed out some winding reverie;
'And you are poor?' said he at last;
The maiden nodded, and he passed
His hand across his forehead dreamingly;
'And will you be my friend?' he spake,
'And on the organ learn to make
Grand music here with me?'

And all the little maiden's face
Was kindled with a grateful grace;
'Oh, master, teach me; I will slave for thee!'
She cried; and so the child grew dear
To him, and slowly year by year
He taught her all the organ's majesty;
And gave her from his slender store
Bread and warm clothing, that no more
Her cheeks were pinched to see.

And year by year the maiden grew
Taller and lovelier, and the hue
Deepened upon her tender cheeks untried.
Rounder, and queenlier, and more fair
Her form grew, and her golden hair
Fell yearly richer at the master's side.
In speech and bearing, form and face,
Sweeter and graver, grace by grace,
Her beauties multiplied.

And sometimes at his work a glow
Would touch him, and he murmured low
'How beautiful she is?' and bent his head;
And sometimes when the day went by
And brought no maiden he would sigh,
And lean and listen to her velvet tread;
And he would drop his hands and say,
'My music cometh not to-day;
Pray God she be not dead!'

So the sweet maiden filled his heart,
And with her growing grew his art,
For day by day more wondrously he played.
Such heavenly things the master wrought,
That in his happy dreams he thought,
The organ's self did love the gold-haired maid:
But she, the maiden, never guessed-
What prayers for her in hours of rest
The sombre organ prayed.

At last, one summer morning fair,
The maiden came with braided hair,
And took his hands, and held them eagerly.
'To-morrow is my wedding day;
Dear master, bless me that the way
Of life be smooth, not bitter unto me.'
He stirred not; but the light did go
Out of his shrunken cheeks, and oh!
His head hung heavily.

'You love him, then?' 'I love him well,'
She answered, and a numbness fell
Upon his eyes and all his heart that bled.
A glory, half a smile, abode
Within the maiden's eyes and glowed
Upon her parted lips. The master said,
'God bless and bless thee, little maid,
With peace and long delight,' and laid
His hands upon her head.

And she was gone; and all that day
The hours crept up and slipped away,
And he sat still, as moveless as a stone.
The night came down, with quiet stars,
And darkened him: in coloured bars
Along the shadowy aisle the moonlight shone.
And then the master woke and passed
His hands across the keys at last,
And made the organ moan.

The organ shook, the music wept;
For sometimes like a wail it crept
In broken moanings down the shadows drear;
And otherwhiles the sound did swell,
And like a sudden tempest fell
Through all the windows wonderful and clear.
The people gathered from the street,
And filled the chapel seat by seat-
They could not choose but hear.

And there they sat till dawning light,
Nor ever stirred to awe. 'To-night,
The master hath a noble mood,' they said.
But on a sudden ceased the sound:
Like ghosts the people gathered round,
And on the keys they found his fallen head.
The silent organ had received
The master's broken heart relieved,
And he was white and dead.

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La Fontaine

The Sick Abbess

EXAMPLE often proves of sov'reign use;
At other times it cherishes abuse;
'Tis not my purpose, howsoe'er, to tell
Which of the two I fancy to excel.
Some will conceive the Abbess acted right,
While others think her conduct very light
Be that as 'twill, her actions right or wrong,
I'll freely give a license to my tongue,
Or pen, at all events, and clearly show,
By what some nuns were led to undergo,
That flocks are equally of flesh and blood,
And, if one passes, hundreds stem the flood,
To follow up the course the first has run,
And imitate what t'other has begun.
When Agnes passed, another sister came,
And ev'ry nun desired to do the same;
At length the guardian of the flock appeared,
And likewise passed, though much at first she feared.
The tale is this, we purpose to relate;
And full particulars we now will state.

AN Abbess once a certain illness had,
Chlorosis named, which oft proves very bad,
Destroys the rose that decorates the cheek,
And renders females languid, pale, and weak.
Our lady's face was like a saint's in Lent:
Quite wan, though otherwise it marked content.
The faculty, consulted on her case,
And who the dire disorder's source would trace,
At length pronounced slow fever must succeed,
And death inevitably be decreed,
Unless;--but this unless is very strange
Unless indeed she some way could arrange;
To gratify her wish, which seemed to vex,
And converse be allowed with t'other sex:
Hippocrates, howe'er, more plainly speaks,
No circumlocutory phrase he seeks.

O JESUS! quite abashed the Abbess cried;
What is it?--fy!--a man would you provide?
Yes, they rejoined, 'tis clearly what you want,
And you will die without a brisk gallant;
One truly able will alone suffice;
And, if not such, take two we would advise.
This still was worse, though, if we rightly guess,
'Twas by her wished, durst she the truth confess.
But how the sisterhood would see her take
Such remedies and no objection make?
Shame often causes injury and pain;
And ills concealed bring others in their train.

SAID sister Agnes, Madam, take their word;
A remedy like this would be absurd,
If, like old death, it had a haggard look,
And you designed to get by hook or crook.
A hundred secrets you retain at ease;
Can one so greatly shock and you displease?--
You talk at random, Agnes, she replied;
Now, would you for the remedy decide,
Upon your word, if you were in my place?--
Yes, madam, said the nun, and think it grace;
Still more I'd do, if necessary thought;
Your health, by me, would ev'ry way be sought,
And, if required by you to suffer this,
Not one around would less appear remiss;
Sincere affection for you I have shown,
And my regard I'll ever proudly own.

A THOUSAND thanks the Abbess gave her friend;
The doctors said:--no use for them to send;
Throughout the convent sad distress appeared;
When Agnes, who to sage advice adhered,
And was not thought the weakest head around,
A kinder soul perhaps could not be found,
Said to the sisterhood,--What now retains
Our worthy Abbess, and her will enchains,
Is nothing but the shame of pow'rs divine,
Or else, to what's prescribed she would resign.
Through charity will no one take the lead,
And, by example, get her to proceed?

THE counsel was by ev'ry one approved,
And commendation through the circle moved.

IN this design not one, nor grave, nor old,
Nor young, nor prioress, at all seemed cold;
Notes flew around, and friends of worth and taste,
The black, the fair, the brown, appeared in haste;
The number was not small, our records say,
Not (what might be) appearance of delay,
But all most anxious seemed the road to show,
And what the Abbess feared, at once to know;
None more sincerely 'mong the nuns desired,
That shame should not prevent what was required.
Nor that the Abbess should, within her soul,
Retain what might injuriously control.

NO sooner one among the flock had made
The step, of which the Abbess was afraid,
But other sisters followed in the train:--
Not one behind consented to remain;
Each forward pressed, in dread to be the last;
At length, from prejudice the Abbess passed;
To such examples she at last gave way,
And, to a youth, no longer offered nay.

THE operation o'er, her lily face
Resumed the rose, and ev'ry other grace.
O remedy divine, prescription blessed!
Thy friendly aid to numbers stands confessed;
The friends of thousands, friend of nature too;
The friend of all, except where honour 's due.
This point of honour is another ill,
In which the faculty confess no skill.

WHAT ills in life! what mis'ries dire around,
While remedies so easy may be found!

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The Wreck of the Columbine

Kind Christians, all pay attention to me,
And Miss Mouat's sufferings I'll relate to ye;
While on board the Columbine, on the merciless sea,
Tossing about in the darkness of night in the storm helplessly.

She left her home (Scatness), on Saturday morning, bound for Lerwick,
Thinking to get cured by a man she knew, as she was very sick;
But for eight days she was tossed about on the stormy main,
By a severe storm of wind, hail, and rain.

The waves washed o'er the little craft, and the wind
loudly roared, And the Skipper, by a big wave, was washed overboard;
Then the crew launched the small boat on the stormy main,
Thinking to rescue the Skipper, but it was all in vain.

Nevertheless, the crew struggled hard his life to save,
But alas! the Skipper sank, and found a watery grave;
And the white crested waves madly did roar,
Still the crew, thank God, landed safe on shore.

As soon as Miss Mouat found she was alone,
Her mind became absorbed about her friends at home;
As her terrible situation presented itself to her mind,
And her native place being quickly left far behind.

And as the big waves lashed the deck with fearful shocks,
Miss Mouat thought the vessel had struck upon a reef of rocks;
And she thought the crew had gone to get help from land,
While she held to a rope fastened to the cabin roof by her right hand.

And there the poor creature was in danger of being thrown to the floor,
Whilst the heavy showers of spray were blown against the cabin door,
And the loosened sail was reduced to tatters and flapping with the wind,
And the noise thereof caused strange fears to arise in her mind.

And after some hours of darkness had set in,
The table capsized with a lurch of the sea which made a fearful din,
Which helped to put the poor creature in a terrible fright,
To hear the drawers of the table rolling about all the night.

And there the noble heroine sat looking very woe-begone,
With hands uplifted to God making her moan,
Praying to God above to send her relief,
While in frantic screams she gave vent to her pent up grief.

And loud and earnestly to God the noble heroine did cry,
And the poor invalid's bosom heaved many a sigh;
Oh! heaven, hard was the fate of this woman of sixty years of age,
Tossing about on the briny deep, while the storm fiend did rage.

Oh! think of the poor soul crouched in the cabin below,
With her heart full of fear, cold, hunger, and woe,
And the pitless storm of rain, hail, and snow,
Tossing about her tiny craft to and fro.

And when the morning came she felt very sick,
And she expected the voyage would be about three hours to Lerwick,
And her stock of provisions was but very small,
Only two half-penny biscuits and a quart bottle of milk in all

Still the heavy snow kept falling, and the sky was obscured,
And on Sabbath morning she made her first meal on board,
And this she confined to a little drop of milk and half a biscuit,
Which she wisely considered was most fit.

And to the rope fastened to the cabin roof she still held on
Until her hands began to blister, and she felt woe-begone,
But by standing on a chest she could look out of the hatchway,
And spend a little time in casting her eyes o'er the sea each day.

When Wednesday morning came the weather was very fine,
And the sun in the heavens brightly did shine,
And continued so all the live long day;
Then Miss Mouat guessed that land to the norward lay.

Then the poor creature sat down to her last meal on board,
And with heartfelt thanks she praised the Lord;
But when Thursday morning came no more food could be had,
Then she mounted a box about seven o'clock while her heart felt sad.

And she took her usual gaze o'er the sea with a wistful eye,
Hoping that some passing vessel she might descry,
And to the westward she espied a bright red light,
But as the little craft passed on it vanished from her sight.

But alas; no vessel could she see around anywhere,
And at last the poor soul began to despair,
And there the lonely woman sat looking out to the heavens above,
Praying to God for succour with her heart full of love.

At last the Columbine began to strike on submerged rocks,
And with the rise and fall of the sea she received some dreadful shocks,
And notwithstanding that the vessel was still rolling among the rocks,
Still the noble heroine contrived once more to raise herself upon the box.

Still the Columbine sped on, and ran upon a shingly beach,
And at last the Island of Lepsoe, Miss Mouat did reach,
And she was kindly treated by the inhabitants in everyway that's grand,
And conveyed to Aalesund and there taking steamer to fair England.

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Robert Frost

The Black Cottage

We chanced in passing by that afternoon
To catch it in a sort of special picture
Among tar-banded ancient cherry trees,
Set well back from the road in rank lodged grass,
The little cottage we were speaking of,
A front with just a door between two windows,
Fresh painted by the shower a velvet black.
We paused, the minister and I, to look.
He made as if to hold it at arm's length
Or put the leaves aside that framed it in.
'Pretty,' he said. 'Come in. No one will care.'
The path was a vague parting in the grass
That led us to a weathered window-sill.
We pressed our faces to the pane. 'You see,' he said,
'Everything's as she left it when she died.
Her sons won't sell the house or the things in it.
They say they mean to come and summer here
Where they were boys. They haven't come this year.
They live so far away-one is out west-
It will be hard for them to keep their word.
Anyway they won't have the place disturbed.'
A buttoned hair-cloth lounge spread scrolling arms
Under a crayon portrait on the wall
Done sadly from an old daguerreotype.
'That was the father as he went to war.
She always, when she talked about war,
Sooner or later came and leaned, half knelt
Against the lounge beside it, though I doubt
If such unlifelike lines kept power to stir
Anything in her after all the years.
He fell at Gettysburg or Fredericksburg,
I ought to know-it makes a difference which:
Fredericksburg wasn't Gettysburg, of course.
But what I'm getting to is how forsaken
A little cottage this has always seemed;
Since she went more than ever, but before-
I don't mean altogether by the lives
That had gone out of it, the father first,
Then the two sons, till she was left alone.
(Nothing could draw her after those two sons.
She valued the considerate neglect
She had at some cost taught them after years.)
I mean by the world's having passed it by-
As we almost got by this afternoon.
It always seems to me a sort of mark
To measure how far fifty years have brought us.
Why not sit down if you are in no haste?
These doorsteps seldom have a visitor.
The warping boards pull out their own old nails
With none to tread and put them in their place.
She had her own idea of things, the old lady.
And she liked talk. She had seen Garrison
And Whittier, and had her story of them.
One wasn't long in learning that she thought
Whatever else the Civil War was for
It wasn't just to keep the States together,
Nor just to free the slaves, though it did both.
She wouldn't have believed those ends enough
To have given outright for them all she gave.
Her giving somehow touched the principle
That all men are created free and equal.
And to hear her quaint phrases-so removed
From the world's view to-day of all those things.
That's a hard mystery of Jefferson's.
What did he mean? Of course the easy way
Is to decide it simply isn't true.
It may not be. I heard a fellow say so.
But never mind, the Welshman got it planted
Where it will trouble us a thousand years.
Each age will have to reconsider it.
You couldn't tell her what the West was saying,
And what the South to her serene belief.
She had some art of hearing and yet not
Hearing the latter wisdom of the world.
White was the only race she ever knew.
Black she had scarcely seen, and yellow never.
But how could they be made so very unlike
By the same hand working in the same stuff?
She had supposed the war decided that.
What are you going to do with such a person?
Strange how such innocence gets its own way.
I shouldn't be surprised if in this world
It were the force that would at last prevail.
Do you know but for her there was a time
When to please younger members of the church,
Or rather say non-members in the church,
Whom we all have to think of nowadays,
I would have changed the Creed a very little?
Not that she ever had to ask me not to;
It never got so far as that; but the bare thought
Of her old tremulous bonnet in the pew,
And of her half asleep was too much for me.
Why, I might wake her up and startle her.
It was the words 'descended into Hades'
That seemed too pagan to our liberal youth.
You know they suffered from a general onslaught.
And well, if they weren't true why keep right on
Saying them like the heathen? We could drop them.
Only-there was the bonnet in the pew.
Such a phrase couldn't have meant much to her.
But suppose she had missed it from the Creed
As a child misses the unsaid Good-night,
And falls asleep with heartache-how should I feel?
I'm just as glad she made me keep hands off,
For, dear me, why abandon a belief
Merely because it ceases to be true.
Cling to it long enough, and not a doubt
It will turn true again, for so it goes.
Most of the change we think we see in life
Is due to truths being in and out of favour.
As I sit here, and oftentimes, I wish
I could be monarch of a desert land
I could devote and dedicate forever
To the truths we keep coming back and back to.
So desert it would have to be, so walled
By mountain ranges half in summer snow,
No one would covet it or think it worth
The pains of conquering to force change on.
Scattered oases where men dwelt, but mostly
Sand dunes held loosely in tamarisk
Blown over and over themselves in idleness.
Sand grains should sugar in the natal dew
The babe born to the desert, the sand storm
Retard mid-waste my cowering caravans-
'There are bees in this wall.' He struck the clapboards,
Fierce heads looked out; small bodies pivoted.
We rose to go. Sunset blazed on the windows.

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Over The Darkened City

Over the darkened city, the city of towers,
The city of a thousand gates,
Over the gleaming terraced roofs, the huddled towers,
Over a somnolent whisper of loves and hates,
The slow wind flows, drearily streams and falls,
With a mournful sound down rain-dark walls.
On one side purples the lustrous dusk of the sea,
And dreams in white at the city's feet;
On one side sleep the plains, with heaped-up hills.
Oaks and beeches whisper in rings about it.
Above the trees are towers where dread bells beat.

The fisherman draws his streaming net from the sea
And sails toward the far-off city, that seems
Like one vague tower.
The dark bow plunges to foam on blue-black waves,
And shrill rain seethes like a ghostly music about him
In a quiet shower.

Rain with a shrill sings on the lapsing waves;
Rain thrills over the roofs again;
Like a shadow of shifting silver it crosses the city;
The lamps in the streets are streamed with rain;
And sparrows complain beneath deep eaves,
And among whirled leaves
The sea-gulls, blowing from tower to lower tower,
From wall to remoter wall,
Skim with the driven rain to the rising sea-sound
And close grey wings and fall . . .

. . . Hearing great rain above me, I now remember
A girl who stood by the door and shut her eyes:
Her pale cheeks glistened with rain, she stood and shivered.
Into a forest of silver she vanished slowly . . .
Voices about me rise . . .

Voices clear and silvery, voices of raindrops,-
'We struck with silver claws, we struck her down.
We are the ghosts of the singing furies . . . '
A chorus of elfin voices blowing about me
Weaves to a babel of sound. Each cries a secret.
I run among them, reach out vain hands, and drown.

'I am the one who stood beside you and smiled,
Thinking your face so strangely young . . . '
'I am the one who loved you but did not dare.'
'I am the one you followed through crowded streets,
The one who escaped you, the one with red-gleamed hair.'

'I am the one you saw to-day, who fell
Senseless before you, hearing a certain bell:
A bell that broke great memories in my brain.'
'I am the one who passed unnoticed before you,
Invisible, in a cloud of secret pain.'

'I am the one who suddenly cried, beholding
The face of a certain man on the dazzling screen.
They wrote me that he was dead. It was long ago.
I walked in the streets for a long while, hearing nothing,
And returned to see it again. And it was so.'

Weave, weave, weave, you streaks of rain!
I am dissolved and woven again . . .
Thousands of faces rise and vanish before me.
Thousands of voices weave in the rain.

'I am the one who rode beside you, blinking
At a dazzle of golden lights.
Tempests of music swept me: I was thinking
Of the gorgeous promise of certain nights:
Of the woman who suddenly smiled at me this day,
Smiled in a certain delicious sidelong way,
And turned, as she reached the door,
To smile once more . . .
Her hands are whiter than snow on midnight water.
Her throat is golden and full of golden laughter,
Her eyes are strange as the stealth of the moon
On a night in June . . .
She runs among whistling leaves; I hurry after;
She dances in dreams over white-waved water;
Her body is white and fragrant and cool,
Magnolia petals that float on a white-starred pool . . .
I have dreamed of her, dreaming for many nights
Of a broken music and golden lights,
Of broken webs of silver, heavily falling
Between my hands and their white desire:
And dark-leaved boughs, edged with a golden radiance,
Dipping to screen a fire . . .
I dream that I walk with her beneath high trees,
But as I lean to kiss her face,
She is blown aloft on wind, I catch at leaves,
And run in a moonless place;
And I hear a crashing of terrible rocks flung down,
And shattering trees and cracking walls,
And a net of intense white flame roars over the town,
And someone cries; and darkness falls . . .
But now she has leaned and smiled at me,
My veins are afire with music,
Her eyes have kissed me, my body is turned to light;
I shall dream to her secret heart tonight . . . '

He rises and moves away, he says no word,
He folds his evening paper and turns away;
I rush through the dark with rows of lamplit faces;
Fire bells peal, and some of us turn to listen,
And some sit motionless in their accustomed places.

Cold rain lashes the car-roof, scurries in gusts,
Streams down the windows in waves and ripples of lustre;
The lamps in the streets are distorted and strange.
Someone takes his watch from his pocket and yawns.
One peers out in the night for the place to change.

Rain . . . rain . . . rain . . . we are buried in rain,
It will rain forever, the swift wheels hiss through water,
Pale sheets of water gleam in the windy street.
The pealing of bells is lost in a drive of rain-drops.
Remote and hurried the great bells beat.

'I am the one whom life so shrewdly betrayed,
Misfortune dogs me, it always hunted me down.
And to-day the woman I love lies dead.
I gave her roses, a ring with opals;
These hands have touched her head.

'I bound her to me in all soft ways,
I bound her to me in a net of days,
Yet now she has gone in silence and said no word.
How can we face these dazzling things, I ask you?
There is no use: we cry: and are not heard.

'They cover a body with roses . . . I shall not see it . . .
Must one return to the lifeless walls of a city
Whose soul is charred by fire? . . . '
His eyes are closed, his lips press tightly together.
Wheels hiss beneath us. He yields us our desire.

'No, do not stare so-he is weak with grief,
He cannot face you, he turns his eyes aside;
He is confused with pain.
I suffered this. I know. It was long ago . . .
He closes his eyes and drowns in death again.'

The wind hurls blows at the rain-starred glistening windows,
The wind shrills down from the half-seen walls.
We flow on the mournful wind in a dream of dying;
And at last a silence falls.

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The House Of Dust: Part 01: 06: Over the darkened city, the city of towers

Over the darkened city, the city of towers,
The city of a thousand gates,
Over the gleaming terraced roofs, the huddled towers,
Over a somnolent whisper of loves and hates,
The slow wind flows, drearily streams and falls,
With a mournful sound down rain-dark walls.
On one side purples the lustrous dusk of the sea,
And dreams in white at the city's feet;
On one side sleep the plains, with heaped-up hills.
Oaks and beeches whisper in rings about it.
Above the trees are towers where dread bells beat.

The fisherman draws his streaming net from the sea
And sails toward the far-off city, that seems
Like one vague tower.
The dark bow plunges to foam on blue-black waves,
And shrill rain seethes like a ghostly music about him
In a quiet shower.

Rain with a shrill sings on the lapsing waves;
Rain thrills over the roofs again;
Like a shadow of shifting silver it crosses the city;
The lamps in the streets are streamed with rain;
And sparrows complain beneath deep eaves,
And among whirled leaves
The sea-gulls, blowing from tower to lower tower,
From wall to remoter wall,
Skim with the driven rain to the rising sea-sound
And close grey wings and fall . . .

. . . Hearing great rain above me, I now remember
A girl who stood by the door and shut her eyes:
Her pale cheeks glistened with rain, she stood and shivered.
Into a forest of silver she vanished slowly . . .
Voices about me rise . . .

Voices clear and silvery, voices of raindrops,—
'We struck with silver claws, we struck her down.
We are the ghosts of the singing furies . . . '
A chorus of elfin voices blowing about me
Weaves to a babel of sound. Each cries a secret.
I run among them, reach out vain hands, and drown.

'I am the one who stood beside you and smiled,
Thinking your face so strangely young . . . '
'I am the one who loved you but did not dare.'
'I am the one you followed through crowded streets,
The one who escaped you, the one with red-gleamed hair.'

'I am the one you saw to-day, who fell
Senseless before you, hearing a certain bell:
A bell that broke great memories in my brain.'
'I am the one who passed unnoticed before you,
Invisible, in a cloud of secret pain.'

'I am the one who suddenly cried, beholding
The face of a certain man on the dazzling screen.
They wrote me that he was dead. It was long ago.
I walked in the streets for a long while, hearing nothing,
And returned to see it again. And it was so.'


Weave, weave, weave, you streaks of rain!
I am dissolved and woven again . . .
Thousands of faces rise and vanish before me.
Thousands of voices weave in the rain.

'I am the one who rode beside you, blinking
At a dazzle of golden lights.
Tempests of music swept me: I was thinking
Of the gorgeous promise of certain nights:
Of the woman who suddenly smiled at me this day,
Smiled in a certain delicious sidelong way,
And turned, as she reached the door,
To smile once more . . .
Her hands are whiter than snow on midnight water.
Her throat is golden and full of golden laughter,
Her eyes are strange as the stealth of the moon
On a night in June . . .
She runs among whistling leaves; I hurry after;
She dances in dreams over white-waved water;
Her body is white and fragrant and cool,
Magnolia petals that float on a white-starred pool . . .
I have dreamed of her, dreaming for many nights
Of a broken music and golden lights,
Of broken webs of silver, heavily falling
Between my hands and their white desire:
And dark-leaved boughs, edged with a golden radiance,
Dipping to screen a fire . . .
I dream that I walk with her beneath high trees,
But as I lean to kiss her face,
She is blown aloft on wind, I catch at leaves,
And run in a moonless place;
And I hear a crashing of terrible rocks flung down,
And shattering trees and cracking walls,
And a net of intense white flame roars over the town,
And someone cries; and darkness falls . . .
But now she has leaned and smiled at me,
My veins are afire with music,
Her eyes have kissed me, my body is turned to light;
I shall dream to her secret heart tonight . . . '

He rises and moves away, he says no word,
He folds his evening paper and turns away;
I rush through the dark with rows of lamplit faces;
Fire bells peal, and some of us turn to listen,
And some sit motionless in their accustomed places.

Cold rain lashes the car-roof, scurries in gusts,
Streams down the windows in waves and ripples of lustre;
The lamps in the streets are distorted and strange.
Someone takes his watch from his pocket and yawns.
One peers out in the night for the place to change.

Rain . . . rain . . . rain . . . we are buried in rain,
It will rain forever, the swift wheels hiss through water,
Pale sheets of water gleam in the windy street.
The pealing of bells is lost in a drive of rain-drops.
Remote and hurried the great bells beat.

'I am the one whom life so shrewdly betrayed,
Misfortune dogs me, it always hunted me down.
And to-day the woman I love lies dead.
I gave her roses, a ring with opals;
These hands have touched her head.

'I bound her to me in all soft ways,
I bound her to me in a net of days,
Yet now she has gone in silence and said no word.
How can we face these dazzling things, I ask you?
There is no use: we cry: and are not heard.

'They cover a body with roses . . . I shall not see it . . .
Must one return to the lifeless walls of a city
Whose soul is charred by fire? . . . '
His eyes are closed, his lips press tightly together.
Wheels hiss beneath us. He yields us our desire.

'No, do not stare so—he is weak with grief,
He cannot face you, he turns his eyes aside;
He is confused with pain.
I suffered this. I know. It was long ago . . .
He closes his eyes and drowns in death again.'

The wind hurls blows at the rain-starred glistening windows,
The wind shrills down from the half-seen walls.
We flow on the mournful wind in a dream of dying;
And at last a silence falls.

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From The Wreck

'Turn out, boys'—'What's up with our super. to-night ?
The man's mad—Two hours to daybreak I'd swear—
Stark mad—why, there isn't a glimmer of light.'
'Take Bolingbroke, Alec, give Jack the young mare ;
Look sharp. A large vessel lies jamm'd on the reef,
And many on board still, and some wash'd on shore.
Ride straight with the news—they may send some relief
From the township ; and we—we can do little more.

You, Alec, you know the near cuts ; you can cross
'The Sugarloaf' ford with a scramble, I think ;
Don't spare the blood filly, nor yet the black horse ;
Should the wind rise, God help them ! the ship will soon sink.
Old Peter's away down the paddock, to drive
The nags to the stockyard as fast as he can—
A life and death matter ; so, lads, look alive.'
Half-dressed, in the dark to the stockyard we ran.

There was bridling with hurry, and saddling with haste,
Confusion and cursing for lack of a moon ;
'Be quick with these buckles, we've no time to waste ;'
'Mind the mare, she can use her hind legs to some tune.'
'Make sure of the crossing-place ; strike the old track,
They've fenced off the new one ; look out for the holes
On the wombat hills.' 'Down with the slip rails ; stand back.'
'And ride, boys, the pair of you, ride for your souls.'

In the low branches heavily laden with dew,
In the long grasses spoiling with deadwood that day,
Where the blackwood, the box, and the bastard oak grew,
Between the tall gum-trees we gallop'd away—
We crashed through a brush fence, we splash'd through a swamp—
We steered for the north near 'The Eaglehawk's Nest'—
We bore to the left, just beyond 'The Red Camp',
And round the black tea-tree belt wheel'd to the west—

We cross'd a low range sickly scented with musk
From wattle-tree blossom—we skirted a marsh—
Then the dawn faintly dappled with orange the dusk,
And peal'd overhead the jay's laughter note harsh,
And shot the first sunstreak behind us, and soon
The dim dewy uplands were dreamy with light ;
And full on our left flash'd 'The Reedy Lagoon,'
And sharply 'The Sugarloaf' rear'd on our right.
A smother'd curse broke through the bushman's brown beard,
He turn'd in his saddle, his brick-colour'd cheek
Flush'd feebly with sundawn, said, 'Just what I fear'd ;
Last fortnight's late rainfall has flooded the creek.'

Black Bolingbroke snorted, and stood on the brink
One instant, then deep in the dark sluggish swirl
Plunged headlong. I saw the horse suddenly sink,
Till round the man's armpits the waves seemed to curl.
We follow'd,—one cold shock, and deeper we sank
Than they did, and twice tried the landing in vain ;
The third struggle won it ; straight up the steep bank
We stagger'd, then out on the skirts of the plain.

The stockrider, Alec, at starting had got
The lead, and had kept it throughout ; 'twas his boast
That through thickest of scrub he could steer like a shot,
And the black horse was counted the best on the coast.
The mare had been awkward enough in the dark,
She was eager and headstrong, and barely half broke ;
She had had me too close to a big stringy-bark,
And had made a near thing of a crooked sheoak.

But now on the open, lit up by the morn,
She flung the white foam-flakes from nostril to neck,
And chased him—I hatless, with shirt sleeves all torn
(For he may ride ragged who rides from a wreck)—
And faster and faster across the wide heath
We rode till we raced. Then I gave her her head,
And she—stretching out with the bit in her teeth—
She caught him, outpaced him, and passed him, and led.
We neared the new fence, we were wide of the track;
I look'd right and left—she had never been tried
At a stiff leap ; 'twas little he cared on the black.
'You're more than a mile from the gateway,' he cried.
I hung to her head, touched her flank with the spurs
(In the red streak of rail not the ghost of a gap) ;
She shortened her long stroke, she pricked her sharp ears,
She flung it behind her with hardly a rap—
I saw the post quiver where Bolingbroke struck,
And guessed that the pace we had come the last mile
Had blown him a bit (he could jump like a buck).
We galloped more steadily then for a while.

The heath was soon pass'd, in the dim distance lay
The mountain. The sun was just clearing the tips
Of the ranges to eastward. The mare—could she stay?
She was bred very nearly as clean as Eclipse ;
She led, and as oft as he came to her side,
She took the bit free and untiring as yet ;
Her neck was arched double, her nostrils were wide,
And the tips of her tapering ears nearly met—
'You're lighter than I am,' said Alec at last ;
'The horse is dead beat and the mare isn't blown.
She must be a good one—ride on and ride fast,
You know your way now.' So I rode on alone.

Still galloping forward we pass'd the two flocks
At M'Intyre's hut and M'Allister's hill—
She was galloping strong at the Warrigal Rocks—
On the Wallaby Range she was galloping still—
And over the wasteland and under the wood,
By down and by dale, and by fell and by flat,
She gallop'd, and here in the stirrups I stood
To ease her, and there in the saddle I sat
To steer her. We suddenly struck the red loam
Of the track near the troughs—then she reeled on the rise—
From her crest to her croup covered over with foam,
And blood-red her nostrils, and bloodshot her eyes,
A dip in the dell where the wattle fire bloomed—
A bend round a bank that had shut out the view—
Large framed in the mild light the mountain had loomed,
With a tall, purple peak bursting out from the blue.

I pull'd her together, I press'd her, and she
Shot down the decline to the Company's yard,
And on by the paddocks, yet under my knee
I could feel her heart thumping the saddle-flaps hard.
Yet a mile and another, and now we were near
The goal, and the fields and the farms flitted past ;
And ‘twixt the two fences I turned with a cheer,
For a green grass-fed mare 'twas a far thing and fast ;
And labourers, roused by her galloping hoofs,
Saw bare-headed rider and foam-sheeted steed;
And shone the white walls and the slate-coloured roofs
Of the township. I steadied her then—I had need—
Where stood the old chapel (where stands the new church—
Since chapels to churches have changed in that town).
A short, sidelong stagger, a long, forward lurch,
A slight, choking sob, and the mare had gone down.
I slipp'd off the bridle, I slacken'd the girth,
I ran on and left her and told them my news ;
I saw her soon afterwards. What was she worth ?
How much for her hide ? She had never worn shoes.

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The Double Image

1.

I am thirty this November.
You are still small, in your fourth year.
We stand watching the yellow leaves go queer,
flapping in the winter rain.
falling flat and washed. And I remember
mostly the three autumns you did not live here.
They said I'd never get you back again.
I tell you what you'll never really know:
all the medical hypothesis
that explained my brain will never be as true as these
struck leaves letting go.

I, who chose two times
to kill myself, had said your nickname
the mewling mouths when you first came;
until a fever rattled
in your throat and I moved like a pantomine
above your head. Ugly angels spoke to me. The blame,
I heard them say, was mine. They tattled
like green witches in my head, letting doom
leak like a broken faucet;
as if doom had flooded my belly and filled your bassinet,
an old debt I must assume.

Death was simpler than I'd thought.
The day life made you well and whole
I let the witches take away my guilty soul.
I pretended I was dead
until the white men pumped the poison out,
putting me armless and washed through the rigamarole
of talking boxes and the electric bed.
I laughed to see the private iron in that hotel.
Today the yellow leaves
go queer. You ask me where they go I say today believed
in itself, or else it fell.

Today, my small child, Joyce,
love your self's self where it lives.
There is no special God to refer to; or if there is,
why did I let you grow
in another place. You did not know my voice
when I came back to call. All the superlatives
of tomorrow's white tree and mistletoe
will not help you know the holidays you had to miss.
The time I did not love
myself, I visited your shoveled walks; you held my glove.
There was new snow after this.

2.

They sent me letters with news
of you and I made moccasins that I would never use.
When I grew well enough to tolerate
myself, I lived with my mother, the witches said.
But I didn't leave. I had my portrait
done instead.

Part way back from Bedlam
I came to my mother's house in Gloucester,
Massachusetts. And this is how I came
to catch at her; and this is how I lost her.
I cannot forgive your suicide, my mother said.
And she never could. She had my portrait
done instead.

I lived like an angry guest,
like a partly mended thing, an outgrown child.
I remember my mother did her best.
She took me to Boston and had my hair restyled.
Your smile is like your mother's, the artist said.
I didn't seem to care. I had my portrait
done instead.

There was a church where I grew up
with its white cupboards where they locked us up,
row by row, like puritans or shipmates
singing together. My father passed the plate.
Too late to be forgiven now, the witches said.
I wasn't exactly forgiven. They had my portrait
done instead.

3.

All that summer sprinklers arched
over the seaside grass.
We talked of drought
while the salt-parched
field grew sweet again. To help time pass
I tried to mow the lawn
and in the morning I had my portrait done,
holding my smile in place, till it grew formal.
Once I mailed you a picture of a rabbit
and a postcard of Motif number one,
as if it were normal
to be a mother and be gone.

They hung my portrait in the chill
north light, matching
me to keep me well.
Only my mother grew ill.
She turned from me, as if death were catching,
as if death transferred,
as if my dying had eaten inside of her.
That August you were two, by I timed my days with doubt.
On the first of September she looked at me
and said I gave her cancer.
They carved her sweet hills out
and still I couldn't answer.

4.

That winter she came
part way back
from her sterile suite
of doctors, the seasick
cruise of the X-ray,
the cells' arithmetic
gone wild. Surgery incomplete,
the fat arm, the prognosis poor, I heard
them say.

During the sea blizzards
she had here
own portrait painted.
A cave of mirror
placed on the south wall;
matching smile, matching contour.
And you resembled me; unacquainted
with my face, you wore it. But you were mine
after all.

I wintered in Boston,
childless bride,
nothing sweet to spare
with witches at my side.
I missed your babyhood,
tried a second suicide,
tried the sealed hotel a second year.
On April Fool you fooled me. We laughed and this
was good.

5.

I checked out for the last time
on the first of May;
graduate of the mental cases,
with my analysts's okay,
my complete book of rhymes,
my typewriter and my suitcases.

All that summer I learned life
back into my own
seven rooms, visited the swan boats,
the market, answered the phone,
served cocktails as a wife
should, made love among my petticoats

and August tan. And you came each
weekend. But I lie.
You seldom came. I just pretended
you, small piglet, butterfly
girl with jelly bean cheeks,
disobedient three, my splendid

stranger. And I had to learn
why I would rather
die than love, how your innocence
would hurt and how I gather
guilt like a young intern
his symptons, his certain evidence.

That October day we went
to Gloucester the red hills
reminded me of the dry red fur fox
coat I played in as a child; stock still
like a bear or a tent,
like a great cave laughing or a red fur fox.

We drove past the hatchery,
the hut that sells bait,
past Pigeon Cove, past the Yacht Club, past Squall's
Hill, to the house that waits
still, on the top of the sea,
and two portraits hung on the opposite walls.

6.

In north light, my smile is held in place,
the shadow marks my bone.
What could I have been dreaming as I sat there,
all of me waiting in the eyes, the zone
of the smile, the young face,
the foxes' snare.

In south light, her smile is held in place,
her cheeks wilting like a dry
orchid; my mocking mirror, my overthrown
love, my first image. She eyes me from that face
that stony head of death
I had outgrown.

The artist caught us at the turning;
we smiled in our canvas home
before we chose our foreknown separate ways.
The dry redfur fox coat was made for burning.
I rot on the wall, my own
Dorian Gray.

And this was the cave of the mirror,
that double woman who stares
at herself, as if she were petrified
in time - two ladies sitting in umber chairs.
You kissed your grandmother
and she cried.

7.

I could not get you back
except for weekends. You came
each time, clutching the picture of a rabbit
that I had sent you. For the last time I unpack
your things. We touch from habit.
The first visit you asked my name.
Now you will stay for good. I will forget
how we bumped away from each other like marionettes
on strings. It wasn't the same
as love, letting weekends contain
us. You scrape your knee. You learn my name,
wobbling up the sidewalk, calling and crying.
You can call me mother and I remember my mother again,
somewhere in greater Boston, dying.

I remember we named you Joyce
so we could call you Joy.
You came like an awkward guest
that first time, all wrapped and moist
and strange at my heavy breast.
I needed you. I didn't want a boy,
only a girl, a small milky mouse
of a girl, already loved, already loud in the house
of herself. We named you Joy.
I, who was never quite sure
about being a girl, needed another
life, another image to remind me.
And this was my worst guilt; you could not cure
or soothe it. I made you to find me.

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