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Meister Eckhart

Only the hand that erases can write the true thing.

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Why Do I Write

I write from my sadness
I write from the madness
I write because I have something to say
I write to pass the day
I write only from the heart
I write for sometimes I am not that smart
Whatever is in head just comes out on paper (in this case a word document) , and I go with the flow
Write to let my mind go

I follow my hand to where ever it takes me
I write all the things that I can see
I write when I am happy, but not as much
I write from my heart that you can touch
I write because I’d go insane
I am driven to write quell my pain

At times I feel alone so I write what I am feeling
I write for it is self-healing
Confident not so I write it all away
I write and write to pass the day
I write to comfort my soul that cries out in the night
I write for love is always out of sight
I write so I don't have to cry any more
I write for I have no one to adore
I write so someone somewhere will hear my plea
I write for someone is out there for me
I am lost and I the clown
I write to turn my frown upside down

I write to embrace the sadness I hide inside
I write with my heart opened wide
I write to silence the ghost
I write for I’ve been let down by the one I loved the most
I write through the stormy weather
I write for I am light as a feather
I am not a writer nor am I a poet
I write for the grief I do know it

I will write until I draw my last breath
I write because I'll die a lonely death
I have to write for strangers delight
I write because I have to write
I write for my own happiness
I write to relieve my stress
I write because I have no other choice
I write as if I was writing a letter
I write because I can’t do any better
I write because I am afraid not to
I write for this is what I do
I write for I give a damn

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A Poem Written By A Confessed Bipolar (her Name To Be Revealed Upon Her Permission)

I write because I can
I write because there are so many things to be written.
I write because I can make a painting without a brush and paints in my hand.
I write because I can capture the moment without having a camera.
I write because letters and words are the only recipe I know how to cook.
I write because I want to read what I’ve written.
I write because I’m used to speak in silence.
I write because I have a story to tell.
I write because I want to strip off my flesh and live as a pure being.
I write because I can record my “voice” without having a recorder.
I write because it’s like a cup of coffee, it keeps me awake
I write because I want to live even when I do not exist.
I write because this is my throwing stones when I’m frustrated.
6/11/09 at 4: 42 PM
I write because I can flaunt my being when I don’t have clothes to show off.
I write because this is like making an encyclopedia to a coloring book.
I write because it’s more effective than my lithium medication.
I write because I’m tired of carrying these baggages on the road.
I write because I’m tired of talking too much.
I write because it’s a healthier diversion than smoking.
I write because it’s more therapeutic than analyzing my problem.
I write because I want to paint a thousand pictures with words.
I write because I can put colors to the letters and make a rainbow of words.
I write because it’s the key combinations to my hidden vaults.
I write because my ball pen is my best friend in the darkest nights.
I write because it surprises me with what I am capable of thinking&doing. 6/11/09 at 4: 43 PM
I write because I like that ideas are popping like pop corns.
I write because I can wander in the adventures of my own world.
I write because I have to cleanse my collection of memories of an old home.
I write because like a mirror you need to do a lot of reflections.
I write because I want to fight the battle of life.
I write because I wanted my little voice to be heard.
I write because I want to run from the insanities of the world.
I write because pictures don’t talk.
I write because it helps me connect the dots when I look back in my life.
I write because it brings me back to my crib of silence.
I write because it makes a buzz to other bees in my beehive.
I write because unlike my bike my destination is limitless.
I write because I want to become an inspiration without extinction 6/11/09 at 4: 43 PM
I write because like strumming of the guitar, it vibrates in my soul.
I write because I love to write.

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Patrick White

The Only Way To Control Things

The only way to control things is with an open hand.
Water on rock
a fist can't do anything to stop the rain
that keeps washing its bloody knuckles
by kissing the raw red buds
of the pain-killing poppies clean.
Anger grows ashamed of itself
in the presence of unopposable compassion
just as planets are humbled by their atmospheres.
The soft supple things of life insist
and the hard brittle ones comply.
Bullies are the broken toys of wimps.
Power limps.
But space is an open hand.
Mass may shape it
but it teaches matter how to move
just as the sky converts its openness
into a cloud and a bird
or the silence nurtures
the embryo of a blue word
in the empty womb of the dark mother
like the echo of something that can't be said.

The only way to control things is with an open hand.
Not a posture of giving.
Not a posture of receiving.
Not a posture of greeting or farewell.
Not hanging on or letting go
but the single bridge they both make
when they're both at peace with the flow.
It's not the branch it's not the trunk
it's not the root it's not the fruit
but the open handedness of its leaves
that is a tree's consummate passion.
Isis tattoos her star on their palms
like sailors and sails
to keep them from drowning
and into the valleys of their open hands
that lie at the foot of their crook-backed mountains
the aloof stars risk the intimacy of fireflies
and fate flows down like tributaries into the mindstream
as life roots its wildflowers on both shores
as if there were no sides to the flowing
of our binary lifelines.

The only way to control things is with an open hand.
You cannot bind the knower to the knowing
as if time had to know where eternity was going
before anything could change.
X marks the spot where all maps are born

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VI. Giuseppe Caponsacchi

Answer you, Sirs? Do I understand aright?
Have patience! In this sudden smoke from hell,—
So things disguise themselves,—I cannot see
My own hand held thus broad before my face
And know it again. Answer you? Then that means
Tell over twice what I, the first time, told
Six months ago: 't was here, I do believe,
Fronting you same three in this very room,
I stood and told you: yet now no one laughs,
Who then … nay, dear my lords, but laugh you did,
As good as laugh, what in a judge we style
Laughter—no levity, nothing indecorous, lords!
Only,—I think I apprehend the mood:
There was the blameless shrug, permissible smirk,
The pen's pretence at play with the pursed mouth,
The titter stifled in the hollow palm
Which rubbed the eyebrow and caressed the nose,
When I first told my tale: they meant, you know,
"The sly one, all this we are bound believe!
"Well, he can say no other than what he says.
"We have been young, too,—come, there's greater guilt!
"Let him but decently disembroil himself,
"Scramble from out the scrape nor move the mud,—
"We solid ones may risk a finger-stretch!
And now you sit as grave, stare as aghast
As if I were a phantom: now 't is—"Friend,
"Collect yourself!"—no laughing matter more—
"Counsel the Court in this extremity,
"Tell us again!"—tell that, for telling which,
I got the jocular piece of punishment,
Was sent to lounge a little in the place
Whence now of a sudden here you summon me
To take the intelligence from just—your lips!
You, Judge Tommati, who then tittered most,—
That she I helped eight months since to escape
Her husband, was retaken by the same,
Three days ago, if I have seized your sense,—
(I being disallowed to interfere,
Meddle or make in a matter none of mine,
For you and law were guardians quite enough
O' the innocent, without a pert priest's help)—
And that he has butchered her accordingly,
As she foretold and as myself believed,—
And, so foretelling and believing so,
We were punished, both of us, the merry way:
Therefore, tell once again the tale! For what?
Pompilia is only dying while I speak!
Why does the mirth hang fire and miss the smile?
My masters, there's an old book, you should con
For strange adventures, applicable yet,

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VII. Pompilia

I am just seventeen years and five months old,
And, if I lived one day more, three full weeks;
'T is writ so in the church's register,
Lorenzo in Lucina, all my names
At length, so many names for one poor child,
—Francesca Camilla Vittoria Angela
Pompilia Comparini,—laughable!
Also 't is writ that I was married there
Four years ago: and they will add, I hope,
When they insert my death, a word or two,—
Omitting all about the mode of death,—
This, in its place, this which one cares to know,
That I had been a mother of a son
Exactly two weeks. It will be through grace
O' the Curate, not through any claim I have;
Because the boy was born at, so baptized
Close to, the Villa, in the proper church:
A pretty church, I say no word against,
Yet stranger-like,—while this Lorenzo seems
My own particular place, I always say.
I used to wonder, when I stood scarce high
As the bed here, what the marble lion meant,
With half his body rushing from the wall,
Eating the figure of a prostrate man—
(To the right, it is, of entry by the door)
An ominous sign to one baptized like me,
Married, and to be buried there, I hope.
And they should add, to have my life complete,
He is a boy and Gaetan by name—
Gaetano, for a reason,—if the friar
Don Celestine will ask this grace for me
Of Curate Ottoboni: he it was
Baptized me: he remembers my whole life
As I do his grey hair.

All these few things
I know are true,—will you remember them?
Because time flies. The surgeon cared for me,
To count my wounds,—twenty-two dagger-wounds,
Five deadly, but I do not suffer much—
Or too much pain,—and am to die to-night.

Oh how good God is that my babe was born,
—Better than born, baptized and hid away
Before this happened, safe from being hurt!
That had been sin God could not well forgive:
He was too young to smile and save himself.
When they took two days after he was born,
My babe away from me to be baptized
And hidden awhile, for fear his foe should find,—

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Write Me

Aerosmith
Write Me
Well I've been away forever, suicide's crossin' my mind,
But I'll never never never never never get so far behind.
I said, the ways of the night are evil with eyes that love the day,
but I'll never never never never never get so far away.
I said write me, write me, write me.
I said write me, write me, write me.
Well there's nothin' I can see that'd ever make
me want to be without her she's good, she's good to me.
Said there's no way to explain the kind of feeling
that you get out in the rain she's good, she's good to me.
See this emptiness inside it makes me scream
it make me crawl out of my high, she's good, she's good to me.
I love her.
Write me a letter, write me a letter, write it today, I'm goin' away.
Well I've been away forever, suicide's crossin' my mind,
But I'll never never never never never get so far behind.
Well I've been so many places hidin' from the wind and the rain,
But you could write me a letter for to save me from a goin' insane.
I said write me, write, write, write me.
Write me, write, write, write me.
Write me, write, write, write.
I said write me, write, write, write me.
Write me, write, write, write me.
Don't write me baby.

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Write Me A Letter

Write me a letter
Write me a letter
Write it today
Im goin away (yes it has)
Write me a letter
Write me a letter
Write it today
Im goin away (yes it is)
Well Ive been away forever
Suicides crossin my mind
Well Ill never, never get so far behind
I said, the ways of the night are evil
Without that lord of day
But Ill never, never get so far away
I said write me
Write me
Write me
Write me
I said write me
Write me
Write me
Well theres nothin I can see
Thatd ever make me
Want to be without her
Shes good, she good to me
Said theres no way to explain
The kind of feelin that you get out in the
She good, she good to me
She good, she good to me
I love her
Write me a letter
Write me a letter
Write it today
Im goin away (yes it has)
Write me a letter
Write me a letter
Write it today
Im goin away (yes it is)
Well Ive been away forever
Suicides crossin my mind
Well Ill never, never get so far behind
Well Ive been so many places
Hidin from the wind and the rain
But you could write me a letter
For to save me from goin insane
Write me
Excite me
Write me
Write me
Write me

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Keeping My Mistakes Replayed

Keeping my mistakes replayed,
Is just too much.
With a play decaying,
Out of touch!
And...
Erases what we gave to save.

Keeping my mistakes replayed,
Is just too much.
With increasing hating...
Rough enough,
To...
Knock me out on my behind.

Not taking a chill pill that could heal,
Erases what we gave to save.
To let the spilling of milk just build,
Erases what we gave to save.
And a pouting grouched over mole hills,
Erases what we gave to save...
That kept manifesting raged days,
And made me run away.
Yes.
Made me run away.

Keeping my mistakes replayed,
Is just too much.
With a play decaying,
Out of touch!
And...
Erases what we gave to save.

Keeping my mistakes replayed,
Is just too much.
With increasing hating...
Rough enough,
To...
Knock me out on my behind.
And that time is not mine to find.

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Lancelot And Elaine

Elaine the fair, Elaine the loveable,
Elaine, the lily maid of Astolat,
High in her chamber up a tower to the east
Guarded the sacred shield of Lancelot;
Which first she placed where the morning's earliest ray
Might strike it, and awake her with the gleam;
Then fearing rust or soilure fashioned for it
A case of silk, and braided thereupon
All the devices blazoned on the shield
In their own tinct, and added, of her wit,
A border fantasy of branch and flower,
And yellow-throated nestling in the nest.
Nor rested thus content, but day by day,
Leaving her household and good father, climbed
That eastern tower, and entering barred her door,
Stript off the case, and read the naked shield,
Now guessed a hidden meaning in his arms,
Now made a pretty history to herself
Of every dint a sword had beaten in it,
And every scratch a lance had made upon it,
Conjecturing when and where: this cut is fresh;
That ten years back; this dealt him at Caerlyle;
That at Caerleon; this at Camelot:
And ah God's mercy, what a stroke was there!
And here a thrust that might have killed, but God
Broke the strong lance, and rolled his enemy down,
And saved him: so she lived in fantasy.

How came the lily maid by that good shield
Of Lancelot, she that knew not even his name?
He left it with her, when he rode to tilt
For the great diamond in the diamond jousts,
Which Arthur had ordained, and by that name
Had named them, since a diamond was the prize.

For Arthur, long before they crowned him King,
Roving the trackless realms of Lyonnesse,
Had found a glen, gray boulder and black tarn.
A horror lived about the tarn, and clave
Like its own mists to all the mountain side:
For here two brothers, one a king, had met
And fought together; but their names were lost;
And each had slain his brother at a blow;
And down they fell and made the glen abhorred:
And there they lay till all their bones were bleached,
And lichened into colour with the crags:
And he, that once was king, had on a crown
Of diamonds, one in front, and four aside.
And Arthur came, and labouring up the pass,
All in a misty moonshine, unawares

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III. The Other Half-Rome

Another day that finds her living yet,
Little Pompilia, with the patient brow
And lamentable smile on those poor lips,
And, under the white hospital-array,
A flower-like body, to frighten at a bruise
You'd think, yet now, stabbed through and through again,
Alive i' the ruins. 'T is a miracle.
It seems that, when her husband struck her first,
She prayed Madonna just that she might live
So long as to confess and be absolved;
And whether it was that, all her sad life long
Never before successful in a prayer,
This prayer rose with authority too dread,—
Or whether, because earth was hell to her,
By compensation, when the blackness broke
She got one glimpse of quiet and the cool blue,
To show her for a moment such things were,—
Or else,—as the Augustinian Brother thinks,
The friar who took confession from her lip,—
When a probationary soul that moved
From nobleness to nobleness, as she,
Over the rough way of the world, succumbs,
Bloodies its last thorn with unflinching foot,
The angels love to do their work betimes,
Staunch some wounds here nor leave so much for God.
Who knows? However it be, confessed, absolved,
She lies, with overplus of life beside
To speak and right herself from first to last,
Right the friend also, lamb-pure, lion-brave,
Care for the boy's concerns, to save the son
From the sire, her two-weeks' infant orphaned thus,
And—with best smile of all reserved for him—
Pardon that sire and husband from the heart.
A miracle, so tell your Molinists!

There she lies in the long white lazar-house.
Rome has besieged, these two days, never doubt,
Saint Anna's where she waits her death, to hear
Though but the chink o' the bell, turn o' the hinge
When the reluctant wicket opes at last,
Lets in, on now this and now that pretence,
Too many by half,—complain the men of art,—
For a patient in such plight. The lawyers first
Paid the due visit—justice must be done;
They took her witness, why the murder was.
Then the priests followed properly,—a soul
To shrive; 't was Brother Celestine's own right,
The same who noises thus her gifts abroad.
But many more, who found they were old friends,
Pushed in to have their stare and take their talk

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V. Count Guido Franceschini

Thanks, Sir, but, should it please the reverend Court,
I feel I can stand somehow, half sit down
Without help, make shift to even speak, you see,
Fortified by the sip of … why, 't is wine,
Velletri,—and not vinegar and gall,
So changed and good the times grow! Thanks, kind Sir!
Oh, but one sip's enough! I want my head
To save my neck, there's work awaits me still.
How cautious and considerate … aie, aie, aie,
Nor your fault, sweet Sir! Come, you take to heart
An ordinary matter. Law is law.
Noblemen were exempt, the vulgar thought,
From racking; but, since law thinks otherwise,
I have been put to the rack: all's over now,
And neither wrist—what men style, out of joint:
If any harm be, 't is the shoulder-blade,
The left one, that seems wrong i' the socket,—Sirs,
Much could not happen, I was quick to faint,
Being past my prime of life, and out of health.
In short, I thank you,—yes, and mean the word.
Needs must the Court be slow to understand
How this quite novel form of taking pain,
This getting tortured merely in the flesh,
Amounts to almost an agreeable change
In my case, me fastidious, plied too much
With opposite treatment, used (forgive the joke)
To the rasp-tooth toying with this brain of mine,
And, in and out my heart, the play o' the probe.
Four years have I been operated on
I' the soul, do you see—its tense or tremulous part—
My self-respect, my care for a good name,
Pride in an old one, love of kindred—just
A mother, brothers, sisters, and the like,
That looked up to my face when days were dim,
And fancied they found light there—no one spot,
Foppishly sensitive, but has paid its pang.
That, and not this you now oblige me with,
That was the Vigil-torment, if you please!
The poor old noble House that drew the rags
O' the Franceschini's once superb array
Close round her, hoped to slink unchallenged by,—
Pluck off these! Turn the drapery inside out
And teach the tittering town how scarlet wears!
Show men the lucklessness, the improvidence
Of the easy-natured Count before this Count,
The father I have some slight feeling for,
Who let the world slide, nor foresaw that friends
Then proud to cap and kiss their patron's shoe,
Would, when the purse he left held spider-webs,
Properly push his child to wall one day!

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IX. Juris Doctor Johannes-Baptista Bottinius, Fisci et Rev. Cam. Apostol. Advocatus

Had I God's leave, how I would alter things!
If I might read instead of print my speech,—
Ay, and enliven speech with many a flower
Refuses obstinate to blow in print,
As wildings planted in a prim parterre,—
This scurvy room were turned an immense hall;
Opposite, fifty judges in a row;
This side and that of me, for audience—Rome:
And, where yon window is, the Pope should hide—
Watch, curtained, but peep visibly enough.
A buzz of expectation! Through the crowd,
Jingling his chain and stumping with his staff,
Up comes an usher, louts him low, "The Court
"Requires the allocution of the Fisc!"
I rise, I bend, I look about me, pause
O'er the hushed multitude: I count—One, two—

Have ye seen, Judges, have ye, lights of law,—
When it may hap some painter, much in vogue
Throughout our city nutritive of arts,
Ye summon to a task shall test his worth,
And manufacture, as he knows and can,
A work may decorate a palace-wall,
Afford my lords their Holy Family,—
Hath it escaped the acumen of the Court
How such a painter sets himself to paint?
Suppose that Joseph, Mary and her Babe
A-journeying to Egypt, prove the piece:
Why, first he sedulously practiseth,
This painter,—girding loin and lighting lamp,—
On what may nourish eye, make facile hand;
Getteth him studies (styled by draughtsmen so)
From some assistant corpse of Jew or Turk
Or, haply, Molinist, he cuts and carves,—
This Luca or this Carlo or the like.
To him the bones their inmost secret yield,
Each notch and nodule signify their use:
On him the muscles turn, in triple tier,
And pleasantly entreat the entrusted man
"Familiarize thee with our play that lifts
"Thus, and thus lowers again, leg, arm and foot!"
—Ensuring due correctness in the nude.
Which done, is all done? Not a whit, ye know!
He,—to art's surface rising from her depth,—
If some flax-polled soft-bearded sire be found,
May simulate a Joseph, (happy chance!)—
Limneth exact each wrinkle of the brow,
Loseth no involution, cheek or chap,
Till lo, in black and white, the senior lives!
Is it a young and comely peasant-nurse

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The Ghost - Book IV

Coxcombs, who vainly make pretence
To something of exalted sense
'Bove other men, and, gravely wise,
Affect those pleasures to despise,
Which, merely to the eye confined,
Bring no improvement to the mind,
Rail at all pomp; they would not go
For millions to a puppet-show,
Nor can forgive the mighty crime
Of countenancing pantomime;
No, not at Covent Garden, where,
Without a head for play or player,
Or, could a head be found most fit,
Without one player to second it,
They must, obeying Folly's call,
Thrive by mere show, or not at all
With these grave fops, who, (bless their brains!)
Most cruel to themselves, take pains
For wretchedness, and would be thought
Much wiser than a wise man ought,
For his own happiness, to be;
Who what they hear, and what they see,
And what they smell, and taste, and feel,
Distrust, till Reason sets her seal,
And, by long trains of consequences
Insured, gives sanction to the senses;
Who would not (Heaven forbid it!) waste
One hour in what the world calls Taste,
Nor fondly deign to laugh or cry,
Unless they know some reason why;
With these grave fops, whose system seems
To give up certainty for dreams,
The eye of man is understood
As for no other purpose good
Than as a door, through which, of course,
Their passage crowding, objects force,
A downright usher, to admit
New-comers to the court of Wit:
(Good Gravity! forbear thy spleen;
When I say Wit, I Wisdom mean)
Where (such the practice of the court,
Which legal precedents support)
Not one idea is allow'd
To pass unquestion'd in the crowd,
But ere it can obtain the grace
Of holding in the brain a place,
Before the chief in congregation
Must stand a strict examination.
Not such as those, who physic twirl,
Full fraught with death, from every curl;

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What is a Friend?

True friends will never let each other down
True friends will tell each other when they are right or wrong
True friends listen to their problems without casting judgment
True friends are never afraid to tell you like it is

A true friend knows when to say no
A true friend will never flop you
A true friend will be supportive of all you do
A true friend will be there to dry your weeping eyes

A true friend will lend a shoulder for you to cry on
A true friend cares how you are doing
A true friend cares about your day-to-day life
A true friend always calls and checks up on you

A true friend gives of himself/herself without asking for anything in return
A true friend would not lend you money but give you whatever they can
A true friend may argue, fuss, and fight with you but will always be there for you
A true friend forgives you for your shortcomings

A true friend will come to your aid no matter what time of day it is
A true friend doesn’t wait to hear from you to make the first call
A true friend just calls to chitchat with you
A true friend is like a Godsend in times of perils

A true friend is always welcoming
A true would give you the coat off their backs
A true friend knows enough is enough
A true friend will be by your side when you need them the most

A true friend will run an intercept or blockage for you
True friends will CYA for each other
True friends knows that this world wasn’t promised to us
True friends make the best of a bad situation

True friends keeps each others secretes
True friends keeps no secretes from one another
True friends share each other’s lives
A true friend is forever

Are you a true friend?
Ask yourself that question
Can you be a true friend?
Do you deserve a good friend?

There are no goodbyes in life, just hellos

Hello friend

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Paul Eluard

The Human Face

I. Soon

Of all the springtimes of the world
This one is the ugliest
Of all of my ways of being
To be trusting is the best

Grass pushes up snow
Like the stone of a tomb
But I sleep within the storm
And awaken eyes bright

Slowness, brief time ends
Where all streets must pass
Through my innermost recesses
So that I would meet someone

I don’t listen to monsters
I know them and all that they say
I see only beautiful faces
Good faces, sure of themselves
Certain soon to ruin their masters

II. The women’s role

As they sing, the maids dash forward
To tidy up the killing fields
Well-powdered girls, quickly to their knees

Their hands -- reaching for the fresh air --
Are blue like never before
What a glorious day!

Look at their hands, the dead
Look at their liquid eyes

This is the toilet of transience
The final toilet of life
Stones sink and disappear
In the vast, primal waters
The final toilet of time

Hardly a memory remains
the dried-up well of virtue
In the long, oppressive absences
One surrenders to tender flesh
Under the spell of weakness

III. As deep as the silence

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Elizabeth Barrett Browning

First Book

OF writing many books there is no end;
And I who have written much in prose and verse
For others' uses, will write now for mine,–
Will write my story for my better self,
As when you paint your portrait for a friend,
Who keeps it in a drawer and looks at it
Long after he has ceased to love you, just
To hold together what he was and is.

I, writing thus, am still what men call young;
I have not so far left the coasts of life
To travel inland, that I cannot hear
That murmur of the outer Infinite
Which unweaned babies smile at in their sleep
When wondered at for smiling; not so far,
But still I catch my mother at her post
Beside the nursery-door, with finger up,
'Hush, hush–here's too much noise!' while her sweet eyes
Leap forward, taking part against her word
In the child's riot. Still I sit and feel
My father's slow hand, when she had left us both,
Stroke out my childish curls across his knee;
And hear Assunta's daily jest (she knew
He liked it better than a better jest)
Inquire how many golden scudi went
To make such ringlets. O my father's hand,
Stroke the poor hair down, stroke it heavily,–
Draw, press the child's head closer to thy knee!
I'm still too young, too young to sit alone.

I write. My mother was a Florentine,
Whose rare blue eyes were shut from seeing me
When scarcely I was four years old; my life,
A poor spark snatched up from a failing lamp
Which went out therefore. She was weak and frail;
She could not bear the joy of giving life–
The mother's rapture slew her. If her kiss
Had left a longer weight upon my lips,
It might have steadied the uneasy breath,
And reconciled and fraternised my soul
With the new order. As it was, indeed,
I felt a mother-want about the world,
And still went seeking, like a bleating lamb
Left out at night, in shutting up the fold,–
As restless as a nest-deserted bird
Grown chill through something being away, though what
It knows not. I, Aurora Leigh, was born
To make my father sadder, and myself
Not overjoyous, truly. Women know
The way to rear up children, (to be just,)

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Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Seventh Book

'THE woman's motive? shall we daub ourselves
With finding roots for nettles? 'tis soft clay
And easily explored. She had the means,
The moneys, by the lady's liberal grace,
In trust for that Australian scheme and me,
Which so, that she might clutch with both her hands,
And chink to her naughty uses undisturbed,
She served me (after all it was not strange,;
'Twas only what my mother would have done)
A motherly, unmerciful, good turn.

'Well, after. There are nettles everywhere,
But smooth green grasses are more common still;
The blue of heaven is larger than the cloud;
A miller's wife at Clichy took me in
And spent her pity on me,–made me calm
And merely very reasonably sad.
She found me a servant's place in Paris where
I tried to take the cast-off life again,
And stood as quiet as a beaten ass
Who, having fallen through overloads, stands up
To let them charge him with another pack.

'A few months, so. My mistress, young and light,
Was easy with me, less for kindness than
Because she led, herself, an easy time
Betwixt her lover and her looking-glass,
Scarce knowing which way she was praised the most.
She felt so pretty and so pleased all day
She could not take the trouble to be cross,
But sometimes, as I stooped to tie her shoe,
Would tap me softly with her slender foot
Still restless with the last night's dancing in't,
And say 'Fie, pale-face! are you English girls
'All grave and silent? mass-book still, and Lent?
'And first-communion colours on your cheeks,
'Worn past the time for't? little fool, be gay!'
At which she vanished, like a fairy, through
A gap of silver laughter.
'Came an hour
When all went otherwise. She did not speak,
But clenched her brows, and clipped me with her eyes
As if a viper with a pair of tongs,
Too far for any touch, yet near enough
To view the writhing creature,–then at last,
'Stand still there, in the holy Virgin's name,
'Thou Marian; thou'rt no reputable girl,
'Although sufficient dull for twenty saints!
'I think thou mock'st me and my house,' she said;
'Confess thou'lt be a mother in a month,

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Alexander Pope

An Essay on Criticism

Part I

INTRODUCTION. That it is as great a fault to judge ill as to write ill, and a more dangerous one to the public. That a true Taste is as rare to be found as a true Genius. That most men are born with some Taste, but spoiled by false education. The multitude of Critics, and causes of them. That we are to study our own Taste, and know the limits of it. Nature the best guide of judgment. Improved by Art and rules, which are but methodized Nature. Rules derived from the practice of the ancient poets. That therefore the ancients are necessary to be studied by a Critic, particularly Homer and Virgil. Of licenses, and the use of them by the ancients. Reverence due to the ancients, and praise of them.


'Tis hard to say if greater want of skill
Appear in writing or in judging ill;
But of the two less dangerous is th'offence
To tire our patience than mislead our sense:
Some few in that, but numbers err in this;
Ten censure wrong for one who writes amiss;
A fool might once himself alone expose;
Now one in verse makes many more in prose.

'Tis with our judgments as our watches, none
Go just alike, yet each believes his own.
In Poets as true Genius is but rare,
True Taste as seldom is the Critic's share;
Both must alike from Heav'n derive their light,
These born to judge, as well as those to write.
Let such teach others who themselves excel,
And censure freely who have written well;
Authors are partial to their wit, 'tis true,
But are not Critics to their judgment too?

Yet if we look more closely, we shall find
Most have the seeds of judgment in their mind:
Nature affords at least a glimm'ring light;
The lines, tho' touch'd but faintly, are drawn right:
But as the slightest sketch, if justly traced,
Is by ill col'ring but the more disgraced,
So by false learning is good sense defaced:
Some are bewilder'd in the maze of schools,
And some made coxcombs Nature meant but fools:
In search of wit these lose their common sense,
And then turn Critics in their own defence:
Each burns alike, who can or cannot write,
Or with a rival's or an eunuch's spite.
All fools have still an itching to deride,
And fain would be upon the laughing side.
If Mævius scribble in Apollo's spite,
There are who judge still worse than he can write.

Some have at first for Wits, then Poets pass'd;
Turn'd Critics next, and prov'd plain Fools at last.
Some neither can for Wits nor Critics pass,
As heavy mules are neither horse nor ass.
Those half-learn'd witlings, numerous in our isle,
As half-form'd insects on the banks of Nile;
Unfinish'd things, one knows not what to call,

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0005 Letter to a Younger Poet

Thanks for your letter. Though
you’ve caught me at a rather awkward time –
I’m going into surgery tomorrow – a rather
risky op; so I’ll try to put all the answers that I’ve got
into this one letter;
I hope you'll understand...

and that helps me to make my first point to you:
write as if you, too, may not live
beyond tomorrow – write as if
it’s the last thing that you’ll ever write
give it everything you’ve got,
hold nothing back;

or better still – write as if
the world will end for everyone tomorrow:
write so that in their last hours, too, this
will make them feel, will make them know
we’ve faced life fully, faced it so complete
that death is relatively unimportant now…

write as if it were only yesterday
that, in an air crash, all your family –
parents, wife or husband, partner, children, and best friend,
had lost their lives; write as if,
were you not to write,
your heart would break forever, or you would go mad...

write as if you’re writing somewhere
where there’s no such thing around, as ink;
you’ll have to use your own blood in the pen,
so use it carefully; so red, so living,
look at it… so beautiful, so precious,
and so solemn – use it carefully, don’t spill a drop…

write as if you’re borrowing every word
from the very centre of the universe, where suns and gods are made;
and need thus to account for every word
with your whole life, no less; know that every word
must be given back, cleaner, stronger, brighter
with your own power, than when you borrowed it;

write as if every poet that ever lived
is leaning over your shoulder, so that you
can feel their breath upon your neck as they say
‘Tell them all that we would tell,
but cannot now; tell them all of this’…
this, now, is how you must deeply be and speak;

write as if you are the only being on earth

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IV. Tertium Quid

True, Excellency—as his Highness says,
Though she's not dead yet, she's as good as stretched
Symmetrical beside the other two;
Though he's not judged yet, he's the same as judged,
So do the facts abound and superabound:
And nothing hinders that we lift the case
Out of the shade into the shine, allow
Qualified persons to pronounce at last,
Nay, edge in an authoritative word
Between this rabble's-brabble of dolts and fools
Who make up reasonless unreasoning Rome.
"Now for the Trial!" they roar: "the Trial to test
"The truth, weigh husband and weigh wife alike
"I' the scales of law, make one scale kick the beam!"
Law's a machine from which, to please the mob,
Truth the divinity must needs descend
And clear things at the play's fifth act—aha!
Hammer into their noddles who was who
And what was what. I tell the simpletons
"Could law be competent to such a feat
"'T were done already: what begins next week
"Is end o' the Trial, last link of a chain
"Whereof the first was forged three years ago
"When law addressed herself to set wrong right,
"And proved so slow in taking the first step
"That ever some new grievance,—tort, retort,
"On one or the other side,—o'ertook i' the game,
"Retarded sentence, till this deed of death
"Is thrown in, as it were, last bale to boat
"Crammed to the edge with cargo—or passengers?
"'Trecentos inseris: ohe, jam satis est!
"'Huc appelle!'—passengers, the word must be."
Long since, the boat was loaded to my eyes.
To hear the rabble and brabble, you'd call the case
Fused and confused past human finding out.
One calls the square round, t' other the round square—
And pardonably in that first surprise
O' the blood that fell and splashed the diagram:
But now we've used our eyes to the violent hue
Can't we look through the crimson and trace lines?
It makes a man despair of history,
Eusebius and the established fact—fig's end!
Oh, give the fools their Trial, rattle away
With the leash of lawyers, two on either side—
One barks, one bites,—Masters Arcangeli
And Spreti,—that's the husband's ultimate hope
Against the Fisc and the other kind of Fisc,
Bound to do barking for the wife: bow—wow!
Why, Excellency, we and his Highness here
Would settle the matter as sufficiently

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