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It was late one fall night at a fairground near town
When esther first saw the armenian man
Who groveled toward her and stood by her side
With a bucket that swung in his hand
His grin stretched the folds of his pasty white cheeks
And his lips hurled a dollop of murk on the curb
And the lights from the rides showed a mischievous sparkle
That flashed in his hollow eyed stare
He said little girl, you can chop off my legs
And then peel off my socks if you want to.
But Id rather you took this old puppet from me
That I hold in my pail as we speak.
And he stood looking down at the innocent girl
And she stared at the bucket bewildered
Til he lifted the doll for the young girl to see
And a giant smile grew on his face
She saw the dolls eyes and she couldnt resist
And she thanked the man quickly and ran to the church
And she burst through the door with puppet held high
And a hush filled the chapel, and the people looked mean
Esther tried in vain to pacify the mob
Quibble grew to spat, to wrangle, then to brawl
The frenzied congregation struggled desperately to fetch
The pretty puppet snugly nestled deep in esthers leather sack
Through the window of the church a storm began to rage
And esther knew the time had come to flee
She scurried down the aisle toward the doorway in the distance
And out into the rainstorm where she felt she would be free
But the wind was blowing harder
And her skirt began to billow
Until finally her feet began to lift
And she rose above the people and the houses
And the chimneys
And esther and the doll were set adrift
Floating higher over the hills, and the valleys and treetops
Theyd flutter and glide
Soaring and turning suspended on air
With the earth far below them theyd tumble
And dive through the clouds
And she began to plummet earthward till she
Landed in the nasty part of town
She glanced about the village sure to find the evil men
Who rob and pillage in the darkest hour of night
Nervously she fumbled for the pouch that held the
Puppet on her rump.
Feeling quite outnumbered esther hid behind
A nearby pile of lumber, where she waited
Till the dawn
Cause it would have been a blunder to
Succumb to a hoodlum on the prowl
When the morning came, she wandered through the streets
Along the chilly lake that lay beside the town
At last a peaceful moment, but she thought she heard a sound
It was an angry mob of joggers coming up to knock her down
As esther stood and shook her head
The joggers were approaching
And she knew she had no choice left but to swim
As the frosty water sank its bitter teeth into her hide
She tried to slide the heavy clothing from her skin
Naked now she made her way toward the shore
When suddenly she felt a tiny tugging at her toe.
And the puppet shed forgotten wrapped its tiny
Little arms around her ankle and wouldnt let her go.
The waves seemed to open and swallow her whole
As the doll pulled her down through the eerie green deep
And the sound of the laughing old man filled her ears
As she drifted away to a tranquil
And motionless sleep.

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Late Fall Rain

Let the fall rain kiss you
Let the fall rain beat upon your head with silver pearl drops
Let the late fall rain sing you a lullaby
The late rain makes still pools on the sidewalk
The late fall rain makes running pools in the gutter
The late fall rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night and day
The fall is as beautiful as I stay in there for several hours
I love the late fall rain as well as I love my boyfriend

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Patrick White

Manically Slashing Paint Late At Night

Manically slashing paint late at night
on a white canvas.
Blood on the snow.
Chewing my limbs off to get out of a leg-hold trap.
Tearing my heart out like that of a noble enemy
to eat it for the homoeopathic courage
to make something out of the chaos
of conditioned consciousness
like a small tent in this homeless desert of stars
that might let me enter
like a loveletter into an envelope
that’s empty enough to offer shelter to anyone
with a return address on the point of no return.
The dove is bleeding down the handle of my brush.
Insomniac poppies are haemorrhaging on their feet
after they got caught sleepwalking
down the dark alley of a dead end street
and a bad moon rising cut their throats
like a serial killer exploring the creative potential
of blood spatter as an expressive form of forensic art.
And now here come
the chameleonic mood swings of the cyanotic blues
like painted Pictish corpses with talismanic tattoos
buried in the mass graves of violet underworlds
that bloom like deadly nightshade with hot spots of yellow
at the one way entrance with no exit
to the cave mouth of Tartarus.
That ought to make a big splash
among the abstract expressionists.
A Payne’s grey black hole goes supernova
and I’m caught in the crossfire
of gamma radiation against the greens and blues
of a small habitable planet that got in the way.
And maybe if I eat enough cadmium yellow
the way Van Gogh did
to get closer to his subject
than he’d ever been
I’d be able to paint sunflowers
with great solar flares of harvest gold
lying on the table
like the manes of magnificent dead lions
that still threaten the still lives of the village
to this very day
with the carnivorous intensity
of hungry predators
picking up the spoor of their prey.
A sum of destructions a painting is
said Picasso
but there’s got to be something there
to destroy in the first place.
He did it to a beautiful woman’s face.
But I prefer to splash acid into my own eyes
for the things they’ve seen
than take it out on a sunset
that’s done nothing to me
but put an end to another glaring day
trying to stare the stars down
to see which of us will be the first to blink.
Slowly life emerges out of the bright vacancy
of my random spontaneity
like a black waterlily of sumi ink.
Slowly the polymorphous perversity
and atavistic complexity
of my creative rage
begins to take the shape of a star map
where all the animals have escaped from their cages
and left the maniacs on their own
like vampires at the break of dawn
to seek asylum in caves and attics and graves
like bats in the belfry
of the thirteenth house of the zodiac
as a sign that nobody’s home.
Beginning to look like someone I know.
A face rises from the depths of the ultramarine
like Ophelia in a negligee of moonlight
and then slowly descends back into the darkness
as if somebody turned around to look
on their way up out of hell
and all I’ve got left are her eyes
as a momento mori.
If I were the Taliban
I’d throw acid in them at this point.
As it is I veil them in a wash of alizarin crimson
like oxygen rich blood
and watch them turn violet
in case there’s an iris scan among the dead
and she has to prove she can see in the dark.

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Patrick White

These Days, This Late At Night

These days, this late at night, I'm usually a lone wolf sage
high above the timberline in a sanctuary of solitude
that occasionally breaks the silence
with the elegaic echo of the anquished shriek of a hawk
wheeling in the abyss like the stars overhead
feeling as if its flightfeathers just caught fire
and for a few brief moments no longer
than the wingspan of a wavelength
it was shining like them and there were jewels
like a woman's eyes cracking the rock
of a heart that's been more of an asteroid
than habitable planet with a few ancestral skulls of its own
for moons and a creative atmosphere where the clouds
can move mountains to tears with the beauty
of what can bloom spontaneously out of nothing
like wildflowers strewn all over the starfields
as if they were expecting someone to come
of the things we really feel are worth crying for.

These days, this time of night, I delight
in looking for the most beautiful nocturnal metaphors
I can compare to you inside and out and beyond both
like a spirit of female serpent fire that haunts me
into paying tribute to her like a muse
who's beginning to possess me like the sea does
when the moon swims out to practise witchcraft
on a lonely island retreat that sings to itself at night.
Even from here, I can hear the song being carried
across the light years like the dove of a deep lament
she keeps like the wind in a locket the size
of the noose around her neck, and the flying carpet
under her feet all that's between her
and firewalking on stars like a burning kite
someone let go of like the umbilical cord
of a lifeboat that had come unmoored in a lunar storm.

Maybe I'm just fossil hunting on the moon
I've been howling at all these years
over the bone pits of dark wisdom I've dug up
on the far side of a black mirror
that doesn't insult your seeing with a night light.
But I swear sometimes when I think of you,
what lies like an archives in the riverbeds
of the sedimentary starmud you put back down
like a book you've read eras of time before,
and look out the window like a door
where you don't have to leave your body
on the threshold like shoes at the edge of the sea
when you walk into your own depths up over your head
to see if your eyes can still swim
with the dolphins and the stars and the flying fish
you left in your wake like a locust plague of urgent telegrams.

I know we're still more strangers to each other
than intimates, that there maybe watersheds
we have in common, and maybe it's still too early
for the fountains to come into blossom yet
as the last stars of the season become
the chandeliers of the morning stars of the next
like dusky candles going out in the blue light of the dawn.
And maybe there are ladders of fire to paradise
trembling like crutches on the edge of a shaky precipice
trying to climb higher than its cloud cover
to break into light like the Pleiades
just above the moon and Jupiter on a good seeing night,
but these days, this late at night, I've been inhaling
a lyrical lantern of oxygen and breathing out stars
like the circumpolar constellation of a healing dragon
pole-dancing with the caduceus of the celestial axis of the earth.

I'm laired with the unmarrowed riddles of bones of my own
I'm trying to read like the yarrow sticks
of a bird skeleton with rose-arbour wings
to see if the light I sense approaching out of the dark
is a mirage of fireflies disguised as a lightning bolt
or the soul mate of a rogue planet
that wants to ghost dance around the third eye
of a first magnitude star that doesn't have any idea
of what I'm doing up here, nor how far
a whisper of light away can seem
to a man fully awake these days, this late at night,
writing in the shadows cast by the candelabra
of a homeless zodiac off the beaten path
like the first draft a waking dream
sleepwalking beside me like the dakini
of a star struck maniac lifting the veils
of the inconceivable like the paint rags
of the night vision shining in the eyes behind them
that even in the dark make everything seem
so incredibly counter-intuitive and lucidly beautiful
I'd be truly out of my mind, like a crystal cranium
that's lost touch with its own translucency
if I didn't find it wholly believable
down to the last mystic detail my enlightened lunacy
howling like a wolf seer at the rising of a new moon
out of a valley where I can hear the distant barking
of the seeing-eye dog that follows Orion around
like a traffic light for the blind compared
to the way you light me up like the Pleiades
whenever I'm trying to get a parallactic fix
on your radiance dancing like a cult of fireflies
on the event horizons of my prophetic skull.

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Matsuo Basho

A cool fall night

At a hermitage:

A cool fall night--
getting dinner, we peeled
eggplants, cucumbers.

Translated by Robert Hass

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Late at night

Late at night I hear the trees creek
in the woods and bats swooping down
in the valley, I watch slowly till it
comes to dawn every moment savouring
the beauty of the night turning slowly
drifting until dawn start and the birds
start there song whilst the night goes
to bed and the bats sweep into their warm homes.

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Late At Night

what do you think about,
late at night...
when you're alone with yourself,
and the weight of your actions?

the older you get,
the harder it gets.
you see the mistakes,
wish you'd spent more time

in the moments of love...
honesty comes knocking
as your time runs short...
maybe, most of all,

you wish you'd said, 'thank you! '

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The Poem Came Late At Night

The poem came late at night
Long after the world had gone to sleep
It had a quiet in it and a peace and a happiness
And it felt alone and easy
Blank and white as an empty page or a fresh fallen snow-
It had in it magic and mystery
And a rare kind of beauty
Words speaking to themselves easily and readily-
It came just so so soft and so so quietly
And with such beauty and such kindness-
Surely it was a gift
This poem of the night
And surely it told me
How I should forever love life more.

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Sometimes Late At Night

(e) sometimes late at night,
When our (a) friends are fast a- (e) sleep,
You say youd like to take a stroll with (b7) me,
Tho (e) we are wed to others, and (a) it may not be (e) right,
I have (a) longed to hold you (e) in my arms,
(b7) sometimes late at (e) night.
Ive (a) cried myself to sleep,
A (e) thousand times or more,
But when I dream of you, my heart is (b7) light,
No (e) matter what our friends may (e7) say,
And (a) it may not be (e) right,
I (a) love you so, you (e) know Ill go,
(b7) sometimes late at (e) night.
Repeat chorus.

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In The Late of Night

Always thought your promise was for life
I did not think that I
Would hear you say good-bye
And I always heard you led another life
I doubted every time
I guess my love was blind
Cause in my eyes
Love was always something magical
But the feeling is so tragical
And all I know is in love
The thing that I want most
I can't possess
There's only emptiness

In the late of night
Just before I closed my eyes
You lied
As you kissed me goodnight
In the late of night
Just before I closed my eyes
I cried
As you kissed my lips good-bye

In my eyes
You will always be the lucky one
Cause you know you'll always have my love
For all times until I die
Through the end I gave to you my best
You gave

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The Night I Called The Old Man Out

The dining room fell silent
I cant believe what I just said
I just told my dad hes full of it
And I watched his face turn red
And I shouldve said, Im sorry
But I matched him shout for shout
I can still hear that screen door slammin
The night I called him out.
He said, son its gonna hurt me more than it hurts you
But somehow I couldnt help but have my doubts
cause Id seen my old brothers crawl back in the house
Each time they called the old man out.
Fist to fist and eye to eye
Standin toe to toe
He wouldve let me walk away
But I just would not let it go
Years of my frustration
Had let me to this night
Now hell pay for all the times that hes been right.
It was over in a minute
Thats when I realized
The blood came from my mouth and nose
But the tears came from his eyes
And in memory of that fateful night
I know the greatest pain was his
And I just pray some day Im half the man he is.
Just like my old brothers
I crawled back in the house
The night I called the old man out

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Late Last Night

Saw you in the restaurant
Late last night
You were looking in her eyes
Holding her hand tight
Said that you were working late
Well I guess that's true
You were working on somebody new
So you were in a restaurant with someone else
Why you were busy fooling me
Well I guess I fooled myself
But I won't be the fool again
And I tell you now
I won't stay around
While you play around
So baby pack your lies and walk right out this door
No no
I don't want your tight excuses anymore
No no
I don't wanna hear the same old lies (by the same old price)
Cause I'm through...wasting my time on loving you
Did you give your to her late last night
Did you say those things you said
When we turned out the light
When she went to touch your hand
Did you hide the ring? Haha
Did you forget to tell her about me?
Yes you did
I saw you in the restaurant
And get in her car
I don't know where you went
But this time you went to far
Stumbling in the door at four in the morning
Just won't do
I won't stay around no
While you play around with my heart
So baby pack your lies and walk right out this door
Oh No no no no
I don't want your tight excuses anymore
No no
I don't wanna hear the same old lies (by the same old price)
(Cause I'm through) I'm so through baby, wasting my time on loving you
Didn't I give you the best of my love? (of my love)
Worse or in bad
didn't I care enough (I care enough oh)
How could you go and just hurt me that way (hurt me that way)
Well I'm not gonna take it no more
(So baby pack your lies and walk right out this door)
No walk right out the door baby (oh no)
I don't want your tight excuses anymore
Nono (nono)
I don't wanna hear the same old lies again (by the same old price)
(Cause I'm through)
I'm so through baby wasting my time - I'm wasting my time
(wasting my time on loving you)
(So baby pack your lies and walk right out this door)
I don't wanna waste it baby (oh no)
(I don't want your tight excuses anymore)
I don't want your tight excuses
I don't wanna hear the same old lies again (by the same old price)
(Cause I'm through)
I'm so through baby wasting my time - I'm wasting my time
(Wasting my time on loving you

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tales Of A Wayside Inn : Part 2. The Poet's Tale; Lady Wentworth

One hundred years ago, and something more,
In Queen Street, Portsmouth, at her tavern door,
Neat as a pin, and blooming as a rose,
Stood Mistress Stavers in her furbelows,
Just as her cuckoo-clock was striking nine.
Above her head, resplendent on the sign,
The portrait of the Earl of Halifax,
In scarlet coat and periwig of flax,
Surveyed at leisure all her varied charms,
Her cap, her bodice, her white folded arms,
And half resolved, though he was past his prime,
And rather damaged by the lapse of time,
To fall down at her feet and to declare
The passion that had driven him to despair.
For from his lofty station he had seen
Stavers, her husband, dressed in bottle-green,
Drive his new Flying Stage-coach, four in hand,
Down the long lane, and out into the land,
And knew that he was far upon the way
To Ipswich and to Boston on the Bay!

Just then the meditations of the Earl
Were interrupted by a little girl,
Barefooted, ragged, with neglected hair,
Eyes full of laughter, neck and shoulders bare,
A thin slip of a girl, like a new moon,
Sure to be rounded into beauty soon,
A creature men would worship and adore,
Though now in mean habiliments she bore
A pail of water, dripping, through the street
And bathing, as she went, her naked feet.

It was a pretty picture, full of grace,--
The slender form, the delicate, thin face;
The swaying motion, as she hurried by;
The shining feet, the laughter in her eye,
That o'er her face in ripples gleamed and glanced,
As in her pail the shifting sunbeam danced:
And with uncommon feelings of delight
The Earl of Halifax beheld the sight.
Not so Dame Stavers, for he heard her say
These words, or thought he did, as plain as day:
'O Martha Hilton! Fie! how dare you go
About the town half dressed, and looking so!'
At which the gypsy laughed, and straight replied:
'No matter how I look; I yet shall ride
In my own chariot, ma'am.' And on the child
The Earl of Halifax benignly smiled,
As with her heavy burden she passed on,
Looked back, then turned the corner, and was gone.

What next, upon that memorable day,
Arrested his attention was a gay
And brilliant equipage, that flashed and spun,
The silver harness glittering in the sun,
Outriders with red jackets, lithe and lank,
Pounding the saddles as they rose and sank,
While all alone within the chariot sat
A portly person with three-cornered hat,
A crimson velvet coat, head high in air,
Gold-headed cane, and nicely powdered hair,
And diamond buckles sparkling at his knees,
Dignified, stately, florid, much at ease.
Onward the pageant swept, and as it passed,
Fair Mistress Stavers courtesied low and fast;
For this was Governor Wentworth, driving down
To Little Harbor, just beyond the town,
Where his Great House stood looking out to sea,
A goodly place, where it was good to be.
It was a pleasant mansion, an abode_
Near and yet hidden from the great high-road,
Sequestered among trees, a noble pile,
Baronial and colonial in its style;
Gables and dormer-windows everywhere,
And stacks of chimneys rising high in air,--
Pandaean pipes, on which all winds that blew
Made mournful music the whole winter through.
Within, unwonted splendors met the eye,
Panels, and floors of oak, and tapestry;
Carved chimney-pieces, where on brazen dogs
Revelled and roared the Christmas fires of logs;
Doors opening into darkness unawares,
Mysterious passages, and flights of stairs;
And on the walls, in heavy gilded frames,
The ancestral Wentworths with Old-Scripture names.

Such was the mansion where the great man dwelt.
A widower and childless; and he felt
The loneliness, the uncongenial gloom,
That like a presence haunted every room;
For though not given to weakness, he could feel
The pain of wounds, that ache because they heal.

The years came and the years went,--seven in all,
And passed in cloud and sunshine o'er the Hall;
The dawns their splendor through its chambers shed,
The sunsets flushed its western windows red;
The snow was on its roofs, the wind, the rain;
Its woodlands were in leaf and bare again;
Moons waxed and waned, the lilacs bloomed and died,
In the broad river ebbed and flowed the tide,
Ships went to sea, and ships came home from sea,
And the slow years sailed by and ceased to be.

And all these years had Martha Hilton served
In the Great House, not wholly unobserved:
By day, by night, the silver crescent grew,
Though hidden by clouds, her light still shining through;
A maid of all work, whether coarse or fine,
A servant who made service seem divine!
Through her each room was fair to look upon;
The mirrors glistened, and the brasses shone,
The very knocker on the outer door,
If she but passed, was brighter than before.

And now the ceaseless turning of the mill
Of Time, that never for an hour stands still,
Ground out the Governor's sixtieth birthday,
And powdered his brown hair with silver-gray.
The robin, the forerunner of the spring,
The bluebird with his jocund carolling,
The restless swallows building in the eaves,
The golden buttercups, the grass, the leaves,
The lilacs tossing in the winds of May,
All welcomed this majestic holiday!
He gave a splendid banquet served on plate,
Such as became the Governor of the State,
Who represented England and the King,
And was magnificent in everything.
He had invited all his friends and peers,--
The Pepperels, the Langdons, and the Lears,
The Sparhawks, the Penhallows, and the rest;
For why repeat the name of every guest?
But I must mention one in bands and gown,
The rector there, the Reverend Arthur Brown
Of the Established Church; with smiling face
He sat beside the Governor and said grace;
And then the feast went on, as others do,
But ended as none other I e'er knew.

When they had drunk the King, with many a cheer,
The Governor whispered in a servant's ear,
Who disappeared and presently there stood
Within the room, in perfect womanhood,
A maiden, modest and yet self-possessed,
Youthful and beautiful, and simply dressed.
Can this be Martha Hilton? It must be!
Yes, Martha Hilton, and no other she!
Dowered with the beauty of her twenty years,
How ladylike, how queenlike she appears;
The pale, thin crescent of the days gone by
Is Dian now in all her majesty!
Yet scarce a guest perceived that she was there,
Until the Governor, rising from his chair,
Played slightly with his ruffles, then looked down,
And said unto the Reverend Arthur Brown:
'This is my birthday: it shall likewise be
My wedding-day; and you shall marry me!'

The listening guests were greatly mystified,
None more so than the rector, who replied:
'Marry you? Yes, that were a pleasant task,
Your Excellency; but to whom? I ask.'
The Governor answered: 'To this lady here;'
And beckoned Martha Hilton to draw near.
She came and stood, all blushes, at his side.
The rector paused. The impatient Governor cried:
'This is the lady; do you hesitate?
Then I command you as Chief Magistrate.'
The rector read the service loud and clear:
'Dearly beloved, we are gathered here,'
And so on to the end. At his command
On the fourth finger of her fair left hand
The Governor placed the ring; and that was all:
Martha was Lady Wentworth of the Hall!

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The Lord of the Isles: Canto II.

Fill the bright goblet, spread the festive board!
Summon the gay, the noble, and the fair!
Through the loud hall, in joyous concert pour'd,
Let mirth and music sound the dirge of Care!
But ask thou not if Happiness be there,
If the loud laugh disguise convulsive throe,
Or if the brow the heart's true livery wear;
Lift not the festal mask! - enough to know,
No scene of mortal life but teems with mortal woe.

With beaker's clang, with harpers' lay,
With all that olden time deem'd gay,
The Island Chieftain feasted high;
But there was in his troubled eye
A gloomy fire, and on his brow
Now sudden flush'd, and faded now,
Emotions such as draw their birth
From deeper source than festal mirth.
By fits he paused, and harper's strain
And jester's tale went round in vain,
Or fell but on his idle ear
Like distant sounds which dreamers hear.
Then would he rouse him, and employ
Each art to aid the clamorous joy,
And call for pledge and lay,
And, for brief space, of all the crowd,
As he was loudest of the loud,
Seem gayest of the gay.

Yet nought amiss the bridal throng
Mark'd in brief mirth, or musing long;
The vacant brow, the unlistening ear,
They gave to thoughts of raptures near,
And his fierce starts of sudden glee
Seem'd bursts of bridegroom's ecstasy.
Nor thus alone misjudged the crowd,
Since lofty Lorn, suspicious, proud,
And jealous of his honour'd line,
And that keen knight, De Argentine,
(From England sent on errand high,
The western league more firm to tie),
Both deem'd in Ronald's mood to find
A lover's transport-troubled mind.
But one sad heart, one tearful eye,
Pierced deeper through the mystery,
And watch'd, with agony and fear,
Her wayward bridegroom's varied cheer.

She watch'd - yet fear'd to meet his glance,
And he shunn'd hers; - till when by chance
They met, the point of foeman's lance
Had given a milder pang!
Beneath the intolerable smart
He writhed; - then sternly mann'd his heart
To play his hard but destined part,
And from the table sprang,
'Fill me the mighty cup!' he said,
'Erst own'd by royal Somerled:
Fill it, till on the studded brim
In burning gold the bubbles swim,
And every gem of varied shine
Glow doubly bright in rosy wine!
To you, brave Lord, and brother mine,
Of Lorn, this pledge I drink -
The Union of Our House with thine,
By this fair bridal-link!'-

'Let it pass round!' quoth He of Lorn,
'And in good time - that winded horn
Must of the Abbot tell;
The laggard monk is come at last.'
Lord Ronald heard the bugle-blast,
And on the floor at random cast,
The untasted goblet fell.
But when the Warder in his ear
Tells other news, his blither cheer
Returns like sun of May,
When through a thunder-cloud it beams!-
Lord of two hundred isles, he seems
As glad of brief delay,
As some poor criminal might feel,
When from the gibbet or the wheel
Respited for a day.

'Brother of Lorn,' with hurried voice
He said, 'and you, fair lords, rejoice!
Here, to augment our glee,
Come wandering knights from travel far,
Well proved, they say, in strife of war,
And tempest on the sea.-
Ho! give them at your board such place
As best their presences may grace,
And bid them welcome free!'
With solemn step, and silver wand,
The Seneschal the presence scann'd
Of these strange guests; and well he knew
How to assign their rank its due;
For though the costly furs
That erst had deck'd their caps were torn,
And their gay robes were over-worn,
And soil'd their gilded spurs,
Yet such a high commanding grace
Was in their mien and in their face,
As suited best the princely dais,
And royal canopy;
And there he marshall'd them their place,
First of that company.

Then lords and ladies spake aside,
And angry looks the error chide,
That gave to guests unnamed, unknown,
A place so near their prince's throne;
But Owen Erraught said -
'For forty tears a seneschal,
To marshal guests in bower and hall
Has been my honour'd trade.
Worship and birth to me are known,
By look, by bearing, and by tone,
Not by furr'd robe or broider'd zone;
And 'gainst an oaken bough
I'll gage my silver wand of state,
That these three strangers oft have sate
In higher place than now.' -

'I, too,' the aged Ferrand said,
'Am qualified by minstrel trade
Of rank and place to tell;-
Mark'd ye the younger stranger's eye,
My mates, how quick, how keen, how high,
How fierce its flashes fell,
Glancing among the noble rout
As if to seek the noblest out,
Because the owner might not brook
On any save his peers to look?
And yet it moves me more,
That steady, calm, majestic brow,
With which the elder chief even now
Scann'd the gay presence o'er,
Life being of superior kind,
In whose high-toned impartial mind
Degrees of mortal rank and state
Seem objects of indifferent weight.
The lady too - though closely tied
Her motions' veil both face and eye,
Her motions' grace it could not hide,
Nor could her form's fair symmetry.'

Suspicious doubt and lordly scorn
Lour'd on the haughty front of Lorn,
From underneath his brows of pride,
The stranger guests her sternly eyed,
And whisper'd closely what the ear
Of Argentine alone might hear;
Then question'd, high and brief,
If, in their voyage, aught they knew
Of the rebellious Scottish crew,
Who to Rath-Erin's shelter drew,
With Carrick's outlaw'd Chief?
And if, their winter's exile o'er,
They harbour'd still by Ulster's shore,
Or launch'd their galleys on the main,
To vex their native land again?

That younger stranger, fierce and high,
At once confronts the Chieftain's eye
With look of equal scorn; -
'Of rebels have we nought to show;
But if of royal Bruce thou'dst know,
I warn thee he has sworn,
Ere thrice three days shall come and go,
His banner Scottish winds shall blow,
Despite each mean or mighty foe,
From England's every bill and bow,
To Allaster of Lorn.'
Kindled the mountain Chieftain's ire,
But Ronald quench'd the rising fire: -
'Brother, it better suits the time
To chase the night with Ferrand's rhyme,
Than wake, 'midst mirth and wine, the jars
That flow from these unhappy wars.'-
'Content,' said Lorn; and spoke apart
With Ferrand, master of his art,
Then whisper'd Argentine,-
'The lay I named will carry smart
To these bold strangers' haughty heart,
If right his guess of mine.'
He ceased, and it was silence all,
Until the minstrel waked the hall.


The Broach of Lorn.

'Whence the broach of burning gold,
That clasps the Chieftain's mantle-fold,
Wrought and chased with rare device,
Studded fair with gems of price,
On the varied tartans beaming,
As, through night's pale rainbow gleaming,
Fainter now, now seen afar,
Fitful shines the northern star?

'Gem! ne'er wrought on Highland mountain,
Did the fairy of the fountain,
Or the mermaid of the wave,
Frame thee in some coral cave?
Did, in Iceland's darksome mine,
Dwarf's swart hands thy metal twine?
Or, mortal-moulded, comest thou here,
From England's love, or France's fear?


Song Continued.

'No! - thy splendours nothing tell
Foreign art or faery spell.
Moulded thou for monarch's use,
By the overweening Bruce,
When the royal robe he tied
O'er a heart of wrath and pride;
Thence in triumph wert thou torn,
By the victor hand of Lorn!

'When the gem was won and lost,
Widely was the war-cry toss'd!
Rung aloud Bendourish fell,
Answer'd Douchart's sounding dell,
Fled the deer from wild Teyndrum,
When the homicide, o'ercome,
Hardly 'scaped with scathe and scorn,
Left the pledge with conquering Lorn!


Song Continued.

'Vain was then the Douglas brand,
Vain the Campbell's vaunted hand,
Vain Kirkpatrick's bloody dirk,
Making sure of murder's work;
Barendown fled fast away,
Fled the fiery De la Haye,
When this broach, triumphant borne,
Beam'd upon the breast of Lorn.

'Farthest fled its former Lord,
Left his men to brand and cord,
Bloody brand of Highland steel,
English gibbet, axe, and wheel.
Let him fly from coast to coast,
Dogg'd by Comyn's vengeful ghost,
While his spoils, in triumph worn,
Long shall grace victorious Lorn!'

As glares the tiger on his foes,
Hemm'd in by hunters, spears, and bows,
And, ere he bounds upon the ring,
Selects the object of his spring,-
Now on the Bard, now on his Lord,
So Edward glared and grasp'd his sword-
But stern his brother spoke,- 'Be still.
What! art thou yet so wild of will,
After high deeds and sufferings long,
To chafe thee for a menial's song? -
Well hast thou framed, Old Man, thy strains,
To praise the hand that pays thy pains!
Yet something might thy song have told
Of Lorn's three vassals, true and bold,
Who rent their Lord from Bruce's hold,
As underneath his knee he lay,
And died to save him in the fray.
I've heard the Bruce's cloak and clasp
Was clench'd within their dying grasp,
What time a hundred foemen more
Rush'd in, and back the victor bore,
Long after Lorn had left the strife,
Full glad to 'scape with limb and life.-
Enough of this - And, Minstrel, hold,
As minstrel-hire, this chain of gold,
For future lays a fair excuse,
To speak more nobly of the Bruce.'-

'Now, by Columba's shrine, I swear,
And every saint that's buried there,
'Tis he himself!' Lorn sternly cries,
'And for my kinsman's death he dies.'
As loudly Ronald calls - 'Forbear!
Not in my sight wile brand I wear,
O'ermatch'd by odds, shall warrior fall,
Or blood of stranger stain my hall!
This ancient fortress of my race
Shall be misfortune's resting-place,
Shelter and shield of the distress'd,
No slaughter-house for shipwreck'd guest.'-
'Of odds or match! - when Comyn died,
Three daggers clash'd within his side!
Talk not to me of sheltering hall,
The Church of God saw Comyn fall!
On God's own altar stream'd his blood,
While o'er my prostrate kinsman stood
The ruthless murderer - e'en as now -
With armed hand and scornful brow! -
Up, all who love me! blow on blow!
And lay the outlaw'd felons low!'

Then up sprang many a mainland Lord,
Obedient to their Chieftain's word.
Barcaldine's arm is high in air,
And Kinloch-Alline's blade is bare,
Black Murthok's dirk has left its sheath,
And clench'd is Dermid's hand of death.
Their mutter'd threats of vengeance swell
Into a wild and warlike yell;
Onward they press with weapons high,
The affrighted females shriek and fly,
And, Scotland, then thy brightest ray
Had darken'd ere its noon of day,
But every chief of birth and fame,
That from the Isles of Ocean came,
At Ronald's side that hour withstood
Fierce Lorn's relentless thirst for blood.

Brave Torquil from Dunvegan high,
Lord of the misty hills of Skye,
Mac-Niel, wild Bara's ancient thane,
Duart, of bold Clan-Gillian's strain,
Fergus, of Canna's castled bay,
Mac-Duffith, Lord of Colonsay,
Soon as they saw the broadswords glance,
With ready weapons rose at once,
More prompt, that many an ancient feud,
Full oft suppress'd, full oft renew'd,
Glow'd 'twixt the chieftains of Argyle,
And many a lord of ocean's isle.
Wild was the scene - each sword was bare,
Back stream'd each chieftain's shaggy hair,
In gloomy opposition set,
Eyes, hands, and brandish'd weapons met;
Blue gleaming o'er the social board,
Flash'd to the torches many a sword;
And soon those bridal lights may shine
On purple blood for rosy wine.

While thus for blows and death prepared,
Each heart was up, and weapon bared,
Each foot advanced, - a surly pause
Still reverenced hospitable laws.
All menaced violence, but alike
Reluctant each the first to strike,
(For aye accursed in minstrel line
Is he who brawls 'mid song and wine),
And, match'd in numbers and in might,
Doubtful and desperate seem'd the fight.
Thus threat and murmur died away,
Till on the crowded hall there lay
Such silence, as the deadly still,
Ere bursts the thunder on the hill.
With blade advanced, each Chieftain bold
Show'd like the Sworder's form of old,
As wanting still the torch of life,
To wake the marble into strife.

That awful pause the stranger maid,
And Edith, seized to pray for aid.
As to De Argentine she clung,
Away her veil the stranger flung,
And, lovely 'mid her wild despair,
Fast stream'd her eyes, wide flow'd her hair:-
'O thou, of knighthood once the flower,
Sure refuge in distressful hour,
Thou, who in Judah well hast fought
For our dear faith, and oft hast sought
Renown in knightly exercise,
When this poor hand has dealt the prize,
Say, can thy soul of honour brook
On the unequal strife to look,
When, butcher'd thus in peaceful hall,
Those once thy friends, my brethren, fall!'
To Argentine she turn'd her word,
But her eye sought the Island Lord.
A flush like evening's setting flame
Glow'd on his cheek; his hardy frame,
As with a brief convulsion, shook:
With hurried voice and eager look, -
'Fear not', he said, 'my Isabel!
What said I - Edith! - all is well -
Nay, fear not - I will well provide
The safety of my lovely bride -
My bride?' - but there the accents clung
In tremor to his faltering tongue.

Now rose De Argentine, to claim
The prisoners in his sovereign's name,
To England's crown, who, vassals sworn,
'Gainst their liege lord had weapon borne -
(Such speech, I ween, was but to hide
His care their safety to provide;
For knight more true in thought and deed
Than Argentine ne'er spurr'd a steed) -
And Ronald, who his meaning guess'd,
Seem'd half to sanction the request.
This purpose fiery Torquil broke:-
'Somewhat we've heard of England's yoke,'
He said, 'and, in our islands, Fame
Hath whisper'd of a lawful claim,
That calls the Bruce fair Scotland's Lord,
Though dispossess'd by foreign sword.
This craves reflection - but though right
And just the charge of England's Knight,
Let England's crown her rebels seize
Where she has power; - in towers like these,
'Midst Scottish Chieftains summon'd here
To bridal mirth and bridal cheer,
Be sure, with no consent of mine,
Shall either Lorn or Argentine
With chains or violence, in our sight,
Oppress a brave and banish'd Knight.'

Then waked the wild debate again,
With brawling threat and clamour vain.
Vassals and menials, thronging in,
Lent their brute rage to swell the din;
When, far and wide, a bugle-clang
From the dark ocean upward rang.
'The Abbot comes!' they cry at once,
'The holy man, whose favour'd glance
Hath sainted visions known;
Angels have met him on the way,
Beside the blessed martyr's bay,
And by Columba's stone.
His monks have heard their hymnings high
Sound from the summit of Dun-Y,
To cheer his penance lone,
When at each cross, on girth and wold,
(Their number thrice a hundred-fold),
His prayer he made, his beads he told,
With Aves many a one -
He comes man from sainted isle;
We will his holy doom abide,
The Abbot shall our strife decide.'

Scarcely this fair accord was o'er,
When through the wide revolving door
The black-stol'd brethren wind;
Twelve sandall'd monks, who relics bore,
With many a torch-bearer before,
And many a cross behind.
Then sunk each fierce uplifted hand,
And dagger bright and flashing brand
Dropp'd swiftly at the sight;
They vanish'd from the Churchman's eye,
As shooting stars, that glance and die,
Dart from the vault of night.

The Abbot on the threshold stood,
And in his hand the holy rood;
Back on his shoulders flow'd his hood,
The torch's glaring ray
Show'd, in its red and flashing light,
His wither'd cheek and amice white,
His blue eye glistening cold and bright
His tresses scant and grey.
'Fair Lords,' he said, 'Our Lady's love,
And peace be with you from above,
And Benedicite!-
-But what means this? - no peace is here! -
Do dirks unsheathed suit bridal cheer?
Or are these naked brands
A seemly show for Churchman's sight,
When he comes summon'd to unite
Betrothed hearts and hands?'

Then, cloaking hate with fiery zeal,
Proud Lorn first answer'd the appeal;-
'Thou comest, O holy Man,
True sons of blessed church to greet,
But little deeming here to meet
A wretch, beneath the ban
Of Pope and Church, for murder done
Even on the sacred altar-stone -
Well may'st thou wonder we should know
Such miscreant here, nor lay him low,
Or dream of greeting, peace, or truce,
With excommunicated Bruce!
Yet well I grant, to end debate,
Thy sainted voice decide his fate.'

Then Ronald pled the stranger's cause,
And knighthood's oath and honour's laws,
And Isabel, on bended knee,
Brought pray'rs and tears to back the plea:
And Edith lent her generous aid,
And wept, and Lorn for mercy pray'd.
'Hence,' he exclaim'd, 'degenerate maid!
Was't not enough, to Ronald's bower
I brought thee, like a paramour,
Or bond-maid at her master's gate,
His careless cold approach to wait? -
But the bold Lord of Cumberland,
The gallant Clifford, seeks thy hand;
His it shall be - Nay, no reply!
Hence! till those rebel eyes be dry.' -
With grief the Abbot heard and saw,
Yet nought relax'd his brow of awe.

Then Argentine, in England's name,
So highly urged his sovereign's claim,
He wak'd a spark, that, long suppress'd,
Had smoulder'd in Lord Ronald's breast;
And now, as from the flint of fire,
Flash'd forth at once his generous ire.
'Enough of noble blood,' he said,
'By English Edward had been shed,
Since matchless Wallace first had been
In mock'ry crown'd with wreaths of green,
And done to death by felon hand,
For guarding well his father's land.
Where's Nigel Bruce? and De la Haye,
And valiant Seton - where are they?
Where Somerville, the kind and free?
And Fraser, flower of chivalry?
Have they not been on gibbet bound,
Their quarters flung to hawk and hound,
And hold we here a cold debate,
To yield more victims to their fate?
What! can the English Leopard's mood
Never be gorged with northern blood?
Was not the life of Athole shed,
To soothe the tyrant's sicken'd bed?
And must his word, till dying day,
Be nought but quarter, hang, and slay! -
Thou frown'st, De Argentine, - My gage
Is prompt to prove the strife I wage.' -

'Nor deem,' said stout Dunvegan's knight,
'That thou shalt brave alone the fight!
By saints of isle and mainland both,
By Woden wild, (my grandsire's oath),
Let Rome and England do their worst,
Howe'er attainted or accurs'd,
If Bruce shall e'er find friends again,
Once more to brave a battle-plain,
If Douglas couch again his lance,
Or Randolph dare another chance,
Old Torquil will not be to lack
With twice a thousand at his back. -
Nay, chafe not at my bearing bold,
Good Abbot! for thou know'st of old,
Torquil's rude thought and stubborn will
Smack of the wild Norwegian still;
Nor will I barter Freedom's cause
For England's wealth, or Rome's applause.'

The Abbot seem'd with eye severe
The hardy Chieftain's speech to hear:
Then on King Robert turn'd the Monk
But twice his courage came and sunk,
Confronted with the hero's look;
Twice fell his eye, his accents shook;
At length, resolved in tone and brow,
Sternly he question'd him - 'And thou,
Unhappy! what hast thou to plead,
Why I denounce not on thy deed
That awful doom which canons tell
Shuts paradise, and opens hell;
Anathema of power so dread,
It blends the living with the dead,
Bids each good angel soar away,
And every ill one claim his prey;
Expels thee from the church's care,
And deafens Heaven against thy prayer;
Arms every hand against thy life,
Bans all who aid thee in the strife,
Nay, each whose succour, cold and scant,
With meanest alms relieves thy want;
Haunts thee while living, - and, when dead,
Dwells on thy yet devoted head,
Rends Honour's scutcheon from thy hearse,
Stills o'er thy bier the holy verse,
And spurns thy corpse from hallow'd ground,
Flung like vile carrion to the hound;
Such is the dire and desperate doom
For sacrilege, decreed by Rome;
And such the well-deserved meed
Of thine unhallow'd, ruthless deed.' -

'Abbot!' the Bruce replied, 'thy charge
It boots not to dispute at large.
This much, howe'er, I bid thee know,
No selfish vengeance dealt the blow,
For Comyn died his country's foe.
Nor blame I friends whose ill-timed speed
Fulfill'd my soon-repented deed,
Nor censer those from whose stern tongue
The dire anathema has rung.
I only blame mine own wild ire,
By Scotland's wrongs incensed to fire.
Heaven knows my purpose to atone,
Far as I may, the evil done,
And hears a penitent's appeal
From papal curse and prelate's zeal.
My first and dearest task achieved,
Fair Scotland from her thrall relieved,
Shall many a priest in cope and stole
Say requiem for Red Comyn's soul,
While I the blessed cross advance,
And expiate this unhappy chance
In Palestine, with sword and lance.
But, while content the Church should know
My conscience owns the debt I owe,
Unto De Argentine and Lorn
The name of traitor I return,
Bid them defiance stern and high,
And give them in their throats the lie!
These brief words spoke, I speak no more.
Do what thou wilt; my shrift is o'er.'

Like man by prodigy amazed,
Upon the King the Abbot gazed;
Then o'er his pallid features glance,
Convulsions of ecstatic trance.
His breathing came more thick and fast,
And from his pale blue eyes were cast
Strange rays of wild and wandering light;
Uprise his locks of silver white,
Flush'd in his brow, through every vein
In azure tide the currents strain,
And undistinguished accents broke
The awful silence ere he spoke.

'De Bruce! I rose with purpose dread
To speak my curse upon thy head,
And give thee as an outcast o'er
To him who burns to shed thy gore;-
But, like the Midianite of old,
Who stood on Zophim, Heaven-controll'd,
I feel within mine aged breast
A power that will not be repress'd.
It prompts my voice, it swells my veins,
It burns, it maddens, it constrains!-
De Bruce, thy sacrilegious blow
Hath at God's altar slain thy foe:
O'ermaster'd yet by high behest,
I bless thee, and thou shalt be bless'd!'
He spoke, and o'er the astonish'd throng
Was silence, awful, deep, and long.

Again that light has fired his eye,
Again his form swells bold and high,
The broken voice of age is gone,
'Tis vigorous manhood's lofty tone:-
'Thrice vanquish'd on the battle-plain,
Thy followers slaughter'd, fled, or ta'en,
A hunted wanderer on the wild,
On foreign shores a man exiled,
Disown'd, deserted, and distress'd,
I bless thee, and thou shalt be bless'd!
Bless'd in the hall and in the field,
Under the mantle as the shield.
Avenger of thy country's shame,
Restorer of her injured fame,
Bless'd in thy sceptre and thy sword,
De Bruce, fair Scotland's rightful Lord,
Bless'd in thy deeds and in thy fame,
What lengthen'd honours wait thy name!
In distant ages, sire to son
Shall tell thy tale of freedom won,
And teach his infants, in the use
Of earliest speech, to falter Bruce.
Go, then, triumphant! sweep along
Thy course, the theme of many a song!
The Power, whose dictates swell my breast
Hath bless'd thee, and thou shalt be bless'd!-
Enough - my short-lived strength decays,
And sinks the momentary blaze. -
Heaven hath our destined purpose broke,
Not here must nuptial vow he spoke;
Brethren, our errand here is o'er,
Our task discharged. - Unmoor, unmoor!' -
His priests received the exhausted Monk,
As breathless in their arms he sunk.
Punctual his orders to obey,
The train refused all longer stay,
Embark'd, raised sail, and bore away.

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Secrets of Women

Women are pressured about
The least little thing
her counter-part has been

Caught at the swing
Now he expects her to sing
But she holds to her dream

She barely screams
Women are pressured
And a secret she keeps

It's late at night when she weeps
Her man has many hands
Thinking of right is not his plan

With most women he dance
To him, she still gives a chance
Hoping for that tiny bit of romance

Praying that there relationship
She will enhance
Harboring the secrets to her next

While putting up with man's

Her secrets help her to maintain
Laying low excepting the pain
Pressure, pain and secret

Don't make her dumb
It makes that man a bum.
Cherish, love, and respect

Is always in her dialect
Those are things she deserve
Even while being toss a curve

Pressure makes a woman strong
Lack of love makes her wise
Re-fusing to share her thighs

Secrets of women
Survival for the willing
Pain helps her to keep on living

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When The Lights Go Out

Well you say you have a friend
You trust him with your life
You trust him with your car, you trust him with your kids
You even trust him with your wife
You better watch whats going down when the lights go out
When the night is dark, when there aint nobody looking around
When the lights go out
Down in this dirty little town
Well now the world is dark and funny
You better listen to what I say
You aint gonna know whats going on
By what you see in the light of day
You better watch whats going on when the lights go out
When the night is dark, when there aint nobody looking around
When the lights go out
Down in this dirty little town
Well now baby she trusted billy
With reason you understand
But billy he kept coming home late at night
And in the morning he had that smell on his hand
Well now the world is turning
Rome is burning
Me Im watching
And Im learning
They say it sure is gods hand in the ticking of the clock
The lords light shining under every dirty rock
Well now last night I slept right here
And I heard gods voice whisper in my ear
You better watch whats going on when the lights go out
When the night is dark, when there aint nobody looking around
When the lights go out
Down in this dirty little town
Down in this dirty little town
Down in this dirty little town

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Man On The Side

six numbers
one more to dial
before i'm before you
i tried to call
been busy all night
gave up waiting at daylight
excuse me mrs. busybody
could you pencil me in when you can?
though we both know
that the worst part about it
is i would be free when you wanted me
if you wanted me
oh, i am the man on the side
hoping you'll make up your mind
i am the one who will swallow his pride
life as the man on the side
one of the many
but one of the few
to stand back and wait for you
excuse me mrs. busybody
could you pencil me in when you can?
though we both know that the worst part about it
is i would be free when you wanted me
if you wanted me
if you wanted me
oh, i am the man on the side
hoping you'll make up your mind
i am the one who will swallow his pride
life as the man on the side
life as the man on the side
i fell in love with a dream that i built of you
playing the part of the queen
taking my own advice
i'm giving up tonight
good luck to you and the king
excuse me mrs. busybody
could you pencil in?
though we both know that the worst part about it
is i would be free when you wanted me
if you wanted me
if you wanted me
i am the man on the side
hoping you'll make up your mind
i am the one who will swallow his pride
life as the man
you know life as the man
living life as the man on the side

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Rudyard Kipling

An Imperial Rescript

Now this is the tale of the Council the German Kaiser decreed,
To ease the strong of their burden, to help the weak in their need,
He sent a word to the peoples, who struggle, and pant, and sweat,
That the straw might be counted fairly and the tally of bricks be set.

The Lords of Their Hands assembled; from the East and the West they drew --
Baltimore, Lille, and Essen, Brummagem, Clyde, and Crewe.
And some were black from the furnace, and some were brown from the soil,
And some were blue from the dye-vat; but all were wearied of toil.

And the young King said: -- "I have found it, the road to the rest ye seek:
The strong shall wait for the weary, the hale shall halt for the weak;
With the even tramp of an army where no man breaks from the line,
Ye shall march to peace and plenty in the bond of brotherhood -- sign!"

The paper lay on the table, the strong heads bowed thereby,
And a wail went up from the peoples: -- "Ay, sign -- give rest, for we die!"
A hand was stretched to the goose-quill, a fist was cramped to scrawl,
When -- the laugh of a blue-eyed maiden ran clear through the council-hall.

And each one heard Her laughing as each one saw Her plain --
Saidie, Mimi, or Olga, Gretchen, or Mary Jane.
And the Spirit of Man that is in Him to the light of the vision woke;
And the men drew back from the paper, as a Yankee delegate spoke: --

"There's a girl in Jersey City who works on the telephone;
We're going to hitch our horses and dig for a house of our own,
With gas and water connections, and steam-heat through to the top;
And, W. Hohenzollern, I guess I shall work till I drop."

And an English delegate thundered: -- "The weak an' the lame be blowed!
I've a berth in the Sou'-West workshops, a home in the Wandsworth Road;
And till the 'sociation has footed my buryin' bill,
I work for the kids an' the missus. Pull up? I be damned if I will!"

And over the German benches the bearded whisper ran: --
"Lager, der girls und der dollars, dey makes or dey breaks a man.
If Schmitt haf collared der dollars, he collars der girl deremit;
But if Schmitt bust in der pizness, we collars der girl from Schmitt."

They passed one resolution: -- "Your sub-committee believe
You can lighten the curse of Adam when you've lightened the curse of Eve.
But till we are built like angels, with hammer and chisel and pen,
We will work for ourself and a woman, for ever and ever, amen."

Now this is the tale of the Council the German Kaiser held --
The day that they razored the Grindstone, the day that the Cat was belled,
The day of the Figs from Thistles, the day of the Twisted Sands,
The day that the laugh of a maiden made light of the Lords of Their Hands.

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Strip Jack!

We'd been caught out in the yacht that day,
A storm blew up in the lee,
The clouds had gathered at four o'clock
In the wake of a rising sea,
'It's looking grim, ' I had said to her
As we spun the bows around,
And headed in to the distant shore
As the first of the rain came down.

The sun went in and the sky was black
As I reefed the sail in short,
While Linda pulled in the spinnaker,
And clung to the rail's support,
She made her way to the cabin then
As my phone began to ring,
I heard, 'It's done! ' and my mind went numb,
It was time to do my thing!

She stood with her back toward me as
I lunged with the marlin spike,
She dropped like a faded butterfly
In search of its last midnight,
I dragged her out to the afterdeck
And bound her up in the chain,
Then sent her down with the anchor where
She never would wake again!

I cast off the anchor chain and then
I retched all over the deck,
It had to be done, I told myself,
And I thought of her cousin, Beck,
She'd done the deed we'd agreed upon,
Had seen off her husband, Ben,
So Beck would be mine to have and hold
As I'd dreamed and I'd schemed, back when.

We'd always been close, the four of us,
Had holidayed in the snow,
We'd sat in a dark secluded bar
In the aftermath of a show,
We'd played Strip Jack in the garden 'til
The women were stripped to the waist,
Then each of us swapped, and went to bed,
And woke to a different face!

We thought we could get away with it,
Old friends, just casual sex,
We'd been together so long, we had
No clue what would happen next,
I thought that Linda was furtive,
Making eyes at Ben in the dark,
And I was caught in a whisper then,
With Beck in our local park.

Then Ben and I found the silences
Embarrassing, hard to bear,
Where once we'd laughed and we'd joked
That camaraderie wasn't there,
Then Beck had told me he'd soured on her,
And Linda, too, went strange,
So when we swapped, we schemed and planned
With our partners out of range.

'I think he's planning to murder me, '
Said Beck, on a tearful night,
When she curled up tight in the sheets and cried,
And seemed in an awful plight,
'I wonder what they're planning now, '
She said, in the early dawn,
Then I thought of Linda's silences,
And Ben, and I felt forlorn.

Then Beck had told me she loved me so,
And drove me out of my mind,
I knew that I'd do most anything
For the wife of my former friend,
She said one day that she had a plan,
To rid herself of Ben,
'But you must do what you have to do
When I phone, and tell you when! '

I tied the yacht to the outer Quay
Drove homeward, just as we'd planned,
I thought to report the following day
That she'd left for another man,
But when I opened the old front door
I saw them sitting there,
Both Ben, alive, in the dining room,
And Beck with a frightened stare!

'Where's Linda, ' Ben was the first to speak,
And I just froze - he knew!
But Beck said, 'I tried phoning her,
I thought she was with you.'
And then she showed me the frosted cake
She'd worked on all day through,
'It's for your anniversary,
She'd planned a surprise for you! '

I pulled the cell phone out, and stared,
The phone had been my wife's,
My own I'd left in the den downstairs,
That message cost her life.
'It's done! ' meant the anniversary cake,
I hadn't said a word,
Now Ben looked long and hard at me,
'Where's Linda? ' - then he stared!

I said that she must be out somewhere,
Then opened a cask of wine,
Sat back, as Ben filled the tumblers full
I knew, for the final time.
'Here's to your anniversary, '
He said, as we drank the toast,
And I thought I could see by the window there
The shape of my Linda's ghost.

But Beck had choked on the wine, and gasped,
Her mouth a purple hue,
She stared and sighed in a faint surprise
As the truth came into view.
'She's dead, my friend, did you think I'd lend
My wife for the sake of yours?
I knew the play and it ends today,
Where's Linda - Dead? Of course! '

There wasn't another word to say,
We sat and drank in the dark,
With Beck spread over the table like
Some rag doll, left in the park.
I read the anniversary card
That Linda had left for me:
'To the only man I have ever loved...
On our anniversary! '

14 February 2010

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Four Woman

My skin is black
My arms are long
My hair is woolly
My back is strong
Strong enough to take the pain
inflicted again and again
What do they call me
My name is AUNT SARAH
My name is Aunt Sarah
My skin is yellow
My hair is long
Between two worlds
I do belong
My father was rich and white
He forced my mother late one night
What do they call me
My name is SAFFRONIA
My name is Saffronia
My skin is tan
My hair is fine
My hips invite you
my mouth like wine
Whose little girl am I?
Anyone who has money to buy
What do they call me
My name is SWEET THING
My name is Sweet Thing
My skin is brown
my manner is tough
I'll kill the first mother I see
my life has been too rough
I'm awfully bitter these days
because my parents were slaves
What do they call me
My name is PEACHES

song performed by Nina SimoneReport problemRelated quotes
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I wake up late at night
Makin' sure you're still by my side
I try hard not to make a sound
Can't help my heart it just beats so loud
So full of love I could burst
The way I feel about you girl I wanna just
Scream at the top of my lungs
Tell the whole world how much I love you
Shout it from the highest mountain
Let 'em know I found the girl of my dreams
It's pure electricity girl, you get into me
Like nobody else could
It feels so good I could scream
How can I sleep with you right there
I wanna bury my face in your long blonde hair
Moonlight falls across your skin
I fight the urge building up again
But it's too late I feel the rush
Runnin' through my body girl I wanna just
Scream at the top of my lungs
Tell the whole world how much I love you
Shout it from the highest mountain
Let 'em know I found the girl of my dreams
It's pure electricity girl, you get into me
Like nobody else could
It feels so good I could scream
Scream at the top of my lungs
Tell the whole world how much I love you
Scream at the top of my lungs
Tell the whole world how much I love you
Shout it from the highest mountain
Let 'em know I found the girl of my dreams
It's pure electricity girl, you get into me
Like nobody else could
It feels so good I could
Can't help myself I gotta
Here it comes, I wanna scream
I'm sorry, I just couldn't help myself
Make me wanna scream baby
Here it come baby, I'm gonna
Scream, yeah
You scream too if you feel the need to

song performed by Trace AdkinsReport problemRelated quotes
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