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On Poetry

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I share below (without comment...which is a personal act that belongs in the real, not the virtual world), an evolving, far from exhaustive, but from an emotional point-of-view, highly illustrative and authentic selection of my favourite poetry and lyrics...

When I loved you
And you loved me,
You were the sea,
The sky, the tree.

Now skies are skies,
And seas are seas,
And trees are brown
And they are trees.

– Charles A. Wagner

----------

Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
Mary Elizabeth Frye (1932)

---------

I throw my passport in the sea,

And name you my country.

I throw all my dictionaries in the fire,

And name you my language

- Nizar Qabbani

...........

So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,
And took the fire with him, and a knife.
And as they sojourned, both of them together,
Isaac the first-born spake, and said, My Father,
Behold the preparations, fire and iron,
But where the lamb for this burnt-offering?
Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps,
And builded parapets the trenches there,
And stretched forth the knife to slay his son.
When lo! an angel called him out of heaven,
Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad,
Neither do anything to him. Behold,
A ram, caught in a thicket by its horns;
Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him.

But the old man would not so, but slew his son,
And half the seed of Europe, one by one.

- The Parable of the Young Man and the Old, by Wilfred Owen

-------------

No more turning away

from the weak and the weary

no more turning away

from the coldness inside

just a world that we all must share

it's not enough just to stand and stare

is it only a dream that there'll be

no more turning away?

- from On The Turning Away, by Pink Floyd

-------------
 
Don't you feel the day is coming
that will stay and remain
when your children see the answers
that you saw the same
when the clouds have all gone
there will be no more rain
and the beauty of all things
is uncovered again

- from Changes IV , by Cat Stevens

-------------

So while the light fails
On a winter's afternoon, in a secluded chapel
History is now and England 
fromT.S. Eliot, from Four Quartets, Little Gidding

-------------

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
Took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference
from Robert Frost, A Road in the Woods

-------------

Come to me in the silence of the night
Come to me in the speaking silence of a dream...
Come back in tears,
O memory, hope, love of finished years...
Speak low, lean low
As long ago, my love, how long ago
from Christina Rossetti, Echo
http://www.potw.org/archive/potw152.html

--------------

In secret we met -
In silence I grieve,
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee? -
With silence and tears.
from George Gordon, Lord Byron "When We Two Parted"

---------------

Once, when I was young and true,
Someone left me sad -
Broke my brittle heart in two;
And that was very bad.
from  Dorothy Parker "A Very Short Song"

----------------

Look in my face, my name is Might-have-been
I am also called No-more, Too-late, Farewell
from Dante Gabriel Rossetti, The House of Life

-----------------

I'll always be with you
This rose will never die,
This rose will never die

from Cat Stevens, Lady D'Arbanville

-----------------

After two thousand years of mass
We've got as far as poison gas
from Thomas Hardy, Christmas: 1924

------------------

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow
from  A.E. Houseman, A  Shropshire Lad

-------------------

Some blessed hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware
from Thomas Hardy, The Darkling Thrush

-------------------

The two divinest things this world has got
A lovely woman in a rural spot
from Leigh Hunt, the Story of Rimini

--------------------

A thing of beauty is a joy forever.
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness
from  John Keats, Endymion

--------------------

When I heard the learn'd astronomer;
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and
measure them;
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much
applause in the lecture-room,
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
Till rising and gliding out, I wander'd off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars.

~ Walt Whitman

----------------------

For death and life, in ceaseless strife,

Beat wild on this world’s shore,

And all our calm is in that balm -

Not lost but gone before.

from Not Lost but Gone Before, by Caroline Norton 

--------------------

I never know what kind of day it's been on my battlefield of ideals

But the way she touches and the way it feels, must be just how it heals...

I never know what time of year it is living on top of the fire

But the robin outside has to hunt and hide in the cold and frosty shire...

She wakes my days with a glad face

She fakes and says I'm a hard case...

And the cuckoo she moves through the dawn fanfare

The dew leaves the rooves in the magic air

from Me and My Woman, Roy Harper

----------------------

...Spin me back down the years and the days of my youth

Draw the lace and black curtains and shut out the whole truth.

Spin me down the long ages: let them sing the song...

The do-er and the thinker: no allowance for the other...

Let me tell you the tales of your life of

your love and the cut of the knife

the tireless oppression

the wisdom instilled

the desire to kill or be killed.

Let me sing of the losers who lie in the street as the last bus goes by.

The pavements are empty: the gutters run red -- while the fool

toasts his god in the sky

from Thick as a Brick, Jethro Tull http://remus.rutgers.edu/JethroTull/Albums/ThickAsABrick-lyrics.html

--------------------------

...One day you'll wake up in the Present Day ---

a million generations removed from expectations

of being who you really want to be...

So as you push off from the shore,

won't you turn your head once more --- and make your peace with everyone?...

Well, do you ever get the feeling that the story's

too damn real and in the present tense?

Or that everybody's on the stage, and it seems like

you're the only person sitting in the audience?

from Skating away on the Thin Ice of the New Day - Jethro Tull

---------------------------

...And someday

In the mist of time

When they asked me if I knew you

I'd smile and say you were a friend of mine

And the sadness would be lifted from my eyes

Oh when I'm old and wise

from Old and Wise, Alan Parsons Project

--------------------------

I am cold and rainy,

I am dirty as a glass roof in a train station,

I feel like an empty cast iron exhibition...

heavy with proverbs and corrections,

confusing the star-dazed tourists

with our incomparable sense of loss.

from Queen Victoria, Leonard Cohen

---------------------------

...And here is your love

For all things...

And here is your love

For all of this...

Here is your wine,

And your drunken fall;

And here is your love.

Your love for it all...

Here is your sickness.

Your bed and your pan;

And here is your love

For the woman, the man...

And here is the dawn,

(Until death do us part);

And here is your death,

In your daughter’s heart...

And here you are hurried,

And here you are gone;

And here is the love,

That it’s all built upon...

Here is your cross,

Your nails and your hill;

And here is your love,

That lists where it will.

from Here It Is, Leonard Cohen

---------------------------

...Outside the street's on fire in a real death waltz

Between what's flesh and what's fantasy

And the poets down here don't write nothing at all

They just stand back and let it all be

from Jungleland, Bruce Springsteen

---------------------------

Wond'ring aloud

how we feel today.

Last night sipped the sunset

my hands in her hair.

We are our own saviours

as we start both our hearts beating life

into each other.

Wond'ring aloud

will the years treat us well.

As she floats in the kitchen,

I'm tasting the smell

of toast as the butter runs.

Then she comes, spilling crumbs on the bed

and I shake my head.

And it's only the giving

that makes you what you are.

Wond'ring aloud - Jethro Tull

-----------------------------

...now I lay me down to sleep

pray the Lord my soul to keep

kiss to kiss breath to breath

my soul surrenders astonished to death

night of wonder for us to keep

set our sails channel out deep

after the rapture two hearts meet

mine entwined in a single beat

Frederick you're the one

as we journey from sun to sun

all the dreams I waited so long for

fly tonight so long so long

from Frederick - Patti Smith

--------------------------------

My mind's distracted and diffused

My thoughts are many miles away

They lie with you when you're asleep

And kiss you when you start your day

And so you see I have come to doubt

All that I once held as true

I stand alone without beliefs

The only truth I know is you

And as I watch the drops of rain

Weave their weary paths and die

I know that I am like the rain

There but for the grace of you go I

from Kathy's Song - Simon and Garfunkel

------------------------------------

Every heart, every heart

to love will come

but like a refugee.

Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack in everything

That's how the light gets in.

from Anthem - Leonard Cohen

------------------------------------

For as the sun confounds the feeblest sight,

So the remembrance of her fresh sweet smile

Severs my memory from my sense of self.

From the first day on which I saw her face

In this lifetime, until that sight of her,

My song has never stopped from following her.

But now must my pursuit cease following

Her beauty further in my poetry,

Like any artist come to his full limit.

So I leave her to nobler heralding

Than the sounding of my trumpet which here draws

Its arduous subject matter to a close...

from Dante - Paradiso XXX

-------------------------------------

Not for the proud man apart

From the raging moon I write

On these spindrift pages

Nor for the towering dead

With their nightingales and psalms

But for the lovers, their arms

Round the griefs of the ages,

Who pay no praise or wages

Nor heed my craft or art.

from In My Craft and Sullen Art - Dylan Thomas

--------------------------------------

To see a world in a grain of sand

and a heaven in a wild flower,

hold infinity in the palm of your hand

and eternity in an hour.

from Songs of Innocence, William Blake

---------------------------------------

How I wish, how I wish you were here.

We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl year after year

from Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here

--------------------------------------

...Down the rivers of the windfall light...

In the sun that is young once only...

In the pebbles of the holy streams...

The sky gathered again

And the sun grew round that very day.

So it must have been after the birth of the simple light

In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm

Out of the whinnying green stable

On to the fields of praise...

In the sun born over and over,

I ran my heedless ways...

My wishes raced through the house high hay

And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows

In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs

Before the children green and golden

Follow him out of grace...

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me

Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand...

Time held me green and dying

Though I sang in my chains like the sea.

 

from Fern Hill - Dylan Thomas

---------------------------------------------

Snowy, Flowy, Blowy,

Showery, Flowery, Bowery,

Hoppy, Croppy, Droppy

Breezy, Sneezy, Freezy.

George Ellis - The Twelve Months

----------------------------------------------

And all my days are trances,

And all my nightly dreams,

Are where thy dark eye glances,

And where thy footstep gleams

In what ethereal dances,

By what eternal streams.

Edgar Allan Poe

-----------------------------------------------

Myself, for what I did, I cannot be excused,

The changes I was going through can't even be used,

For the lies that I told her in hopes not to lose

The could-be dream-lover of my lifetime.

From silhouetted anger to manufactured peace,

Answers of emptiness, voice vacancies,

Till the tombstones of damage read me no questions but, "Please,

What's wrong and what's exactly the matter?"

And so it did happen like it could have been foreseen,

The timeless explosion of fantasy's dream.

At the peak of the night, the king and the queen

Tumbled all down into pieces.

The wind knocks my window, the room it is wet.

The words to say I'm sorry, I haven't found yet.

I think of her often and hope whoever she's met

Will be fully aware of how precious she is.

Ah, my friends from the prison, they ask unto me,

"How good, how good does it feel to be free?"

And I answer them most mysteriously,

"Are birds free from the chains of the skyway?

from Ballad in Plain D - Bob Dylan

-------------------------------------------------

Through the mad mystic hammering of the wild ripping hail

The sky cracked its poems in naked wonder

Through the wild cathedral evening the rain unraveled tales

For the disrobed faceless forms of no position

Tolling for the tongues with no place to bring their thoughts

All down in taken-for-granted situations

Tolling for the deaf an' blind, tolling for the mute

For the mistreated, mateless mother, the mistitled prostitute

For the misdemeanor outlaw, chased an' cheated by pursuit

An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

Even though a cloud's white curtain in a far-off corner flashed

An' the hypnotic spattered mist was slowly lifting

Electric light still struck like arrows, fired but for the ones

Condemned to drift or else be kept from drifting

Tolling for the searching ones, on their speechless, seeking trail

For the lonesome-hearted lovers with too personal a tale

An' for each unharmful, gentle soul misplaced inside a jail

An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

Starry-eyed an' laughing as I recall when we were caught

Trapped by no track of hours for they hanged suspended

As we listened one last time an' we watched with one last look

Spellbound an' swallowed 'til the tolling ended

Tolling for the aching ones whose wounds cannot be nursed

For the countless confused, accused, misused, strung-out ones an' worse

An' for every hung-up person in the whole wide universe

An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

from Chimes of Freedom - Bob Dylan

--------------------------------------------------------

I'll remember you

When I've forgotten all the rest,

You to me were true,

You to me were the best.

When there is no more,

You cut to the core

Quicker than anyone I knew.

When I'm all alone

In the great unknown,

I'll remember you.

When the roses fade

And I'm in the shade,

I'll remember you.

In the end,

My dear sweet friend,

I'll remember you.

from I'll Remember You - Bob Dylan

-------------------------------------------------------

And though our separation, it pierced me to the heart

She still lives inside of me, we've never been apart.

If you get close to her, kiss her once for me

I always have respected her for busting out and gettin' free

from If You See Her, Say Hello - Bob Dylan

------------------------------------------------------

The flowers of the city

Though breathlike, get deathlike at times.

And there's no use in tryin'

T' deal with the dyin',

Though I cannot explain that in lines.

You've been fooled into thinking

That the finishin' end is at hand.

Yet there's no one to beat you,

No one t' defeat you,

'Cept the thoughts of yourself feeling bad.

I've heard you say many times

That you're better 'n no one

And no one is better 'n you.

If you really believe that,

You know you got

Nothing to win and nothing to lose.

From fixtures and forces and friends,

Your sorrow does stem,

That hype you and type you,

Making you feel

That you must be exactly like them.

I'd forever talk to you,

But soon my words,

Would turn into a meaningless ring.

For deep in my heart, love

I know there's no help I can bring.

Everything passes,

Everything changes,

Just do what you think you should do.

And someday, maybe,

Who knows, baby,

I'll come and be cryin' to you.

from To Ramona - Bob Dylan

--------------------------------------------

Thank you for the days,

Those endless days, those sacred days you gave me.

I'm thinking of the days,

I won't forget a single day, believe me.

I bless the light,

I bless the light that lights on you believe me.

And though you're gone,

Days I’ll remember all my life...

from Days by Ray Davies

---------------------------------------------

Ah, but I was so much older then

I'm younger than that now

from My Back Pages - Bob Dylan

---------------------------------------------

(She) was (then) my North, my South, my East and West,

My working week and Sunday rest,

My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;

I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

- W. H. Auden

---------------------------------------------

If you said good-bye to me tonight,

There would still be music left to write.

from Billy Joel "The Longest Time"

--------------------------------------------

All this he saw, for one moment breathless and intense, vivid on the morning sky; and still, as he looked, he lived; and still, as he lived, he wondered

from Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame http://www.writewords.org.uk/library/9030.asp

--------------------------------------------

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, "Speak to us of Children." And he said:

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning...
All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.
But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor,

To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.
And to know that all the blessed dead are standing about you and watching.
Much of your pain is self-chosen.
It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.

- from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

 ---------------------------------------------

And what I filled with blueprint, what I filled with light

- Leonard Cohen

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,

Healthy, free, the world before me,

The long brown path before me leading wherever I

choose.

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,

Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,

Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,

Strong and content I travel the open road.

- from Song of the Open Road, by Walt Whitman

------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is the true joy in life,

the being used for a purpose

Recognised by yourself as a mighty one.

The being thoroughly worn out

before you are thrown on the scrap heap.

 

The being a force of Nature

instead of a feverish selfish little clod

of ailments and grievances,

Complaining that the world

will not devote itself to making you happy.

 

I am of the opinion that my life

belongs to the whole community and

for as long as I live, it is my privilege

to do whatever I can.

I want to be thoroughly used up when I die

for the harder I work, the more I live.

 

I rejoice in life for its own sake.

Life is no "brief candle" to me.

It is a sort of splendid torch

which I have got hold of for the moment.

I want to make it burn as brightly as possible

before handing it over to future generations.

- George Bernard Shaw

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

The very leaves of the acacia-tree are London;

London tap-water fills out the fuchsia buds in the back garden,

Blackbirds pull London worms out of the sour soil,

The woodlice, centipedes, eat London, the wasps even.

London air through stomata of myriad leaves

And million lungs of London breathes.

Chlorophyll and haemoglobin do what life can

To purify, to return this great explosion

To sanity of leaf and wing.

Gradual and gentle the growth of London pride,

And sparrows are free of all the time in the world:

Less than a window-pane between.

The Very Leaves of the Acacia-Tree are London, Kathleen Raine (b. 1908)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The art of losing isn't hard to master;

so many things seem filled with the intent

to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster

of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.

The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:

places, and names, and where it was you meant

to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or

next-to-last, of three loved houses went.

The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,

some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.

I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture

I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident

the art of losing's not too hard to master

though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

One Art, Elizabeth Bishop

--------------------

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,

England mourns for her dead across the sea.

Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,

Fallen in the cause of the free...

There is music in the midst of desolation

And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,

Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.

They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;

They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;

They sit no more at familiar tables of home;

They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;

They sleep beyond England's foam...

To the innermost heart of their own land they are known

As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,

Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;

As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,

To the end, to the end, they remain.

from For The Fallen, Laurence Binyon

------------------

Though I saw it all around

Never thought I could be affected

Thought that wed be the last to go

It is so strange the way things turn

Drove the night toward my home

The place that I was born, on the lakeside

As daylight broke, I saw the earth

The trees had burned down to the ground

from Don't Give Up, Peter Gabriel

-------------------

Behind the dark, deserted halls of memory...

We need your hands to carry us to our joy...

Between the shadow and uncertain colour

Between the word and sign

Between the man and all his time

Between the sidewalk and the moving stairway

Between the yea and nay

There falls the truth we aim to slay...

Until we gather life and all our dreams

Until we cool the heat

Until we share our cup of meat

Until the trail of waste is put to stud

Until we drift away

Towards the picture in the frame

Our celebratian comes a game to play

Just black or white

from Black or White, Steve Harley

--------------------

When I quit this mortal shore,

And mosey round this earth no more,

Don't weep or sigh or grieve a cob,

I may have struck a better job...

Don't go and buy a big bouquet,

For which you'll find it hard to pay,

Don't hang around me lookin' blue,

I may be better off than you.

Don't tell folks I was a saint,

Or anything you know I ain't,

If you have that stuff to spread,

Please hand it out before I'm dead....

If you have roses, bless your soul,

Just put them in my buttonhole,

But do it while I'm at my best,

Instead of when I'm safe at rest.

When I Quit This Mortal Shore - Author Unknown (found in a '2 for 1' bin at a thrift store in Spokane, Washington. It was signed very simply, 'Mom'.)

----------------------

My heart is like a singing bird, whose nest is in a watered shoot.

My heart is like an apple-tree, whose boughs are bent with thick-set fruit.

My heart is like a rainbow shell that paddles in a halcyon sea.

My heart is gladder than all these.

Because my love is come to me.

Raise me a dais of silk and down.

Hang it with vair and purple dyes.

Carve it in doves and pomegranates.

And peacocks with a hundred eyes.

Work it in gold and silver grapes,

In leaves and silver fleurs-de-ly.

Because the birthday of my life Is come, my love is come to me

- Christina Rossetti, (1830-1894), pseudonym: Ellen Alleyne English poet from A Birthday

------------------------

I am sad that my life and work for the world will soon come to an end

I am sad that I will return to the Earth

I am sad at God for not having made me eternal on this beautiful planet,

But perhaps He did

Perhaps we are part of an unceasing change of worlds

Perhaps my life and work will not die

Perhaps my matter will be reborn in other forms of life

Perhaps I am part of the whole universe and eternity, for ever and ever

- Robert Muller

------------

Suddenly the night has grown colder.

The god of love preparing to depart.

Alexandra hoisted on his shoulder,

They slip between the sentries of the heart.

Upheld by the simplicities of pleasure,

They gain the light, they formlessly entwine;

And radiant beyond your widest measure

They fall among the voices and the wine.

It’s not a trick, your senses all deceiving,

A fitful dream, the morning will exhaust

Say goodbye to Alexandra leaving.

Then say goodbye to Alexandra lost.

Even though she sleeps upon your satin;

Even though she wakes you with a kiss.

Do not say the moment was imagined;

Do not stoop to strategies like this.

As someone long prepared for this to happen,

Go firmly to the window. Drink it in.

Exquisite music. Alexandra laughing.

Your first commitments tangible again.

And you who had the honour of her evening,

And by the honour had your own restored

Say goodbye to Alexandra leaving;

Alexandra leaving with her lord.

Even though she sleeps upon your satin;

Even though she wakes you with a kiss.

Do not say the moment was imagined;

Do not stoop to strategies like this.

As someone long prepared for the occasion;

In full command of every plan you wrecked

Do not choose a coward’s explanation

that hides behind the cause and the effect.

And you who were bewildered by a meaning;

Whose code was broken, crucifix uncrossed

Say goodbye to Alexandra leaving.

Then say goodbye to Alexandra lost.

from Alexandra Leaving, Leonard Cohen (Hydra, Greece, September 1999)

------------

The god forsakes Antony

When suddenly, at the midnight hour,

an invisible troupe is heard passing

with exquisite music, with shouts --

your fortune that fails you now, your works

that have failed, the plans of your life

that have all turned out to be illusions, do not mourn in vain.

As if long prepared, as if courageous,

bid her farewell, the Alexandria that is leaving.

Above all do not be fooled, do not tell yourself

it was a dream, that your ears deceived you;

do not stoop to such vain hopes.

As if long prepared, as if courageous,

as it becomes you who have been worthy of such a city,

approach the window with firm step,

and with emotion, but not

with the entreaties and complaints of the coward,

as a last enjoyment listen to the sounds,

the exquisite instruments of the mystical troupe,

and bid her farewell, the Alexandria you are losing

- Constantine P. Cavafy (1911), http://users.hol.gr/~barbanis/cavafy/antony.html

---------------

We hang from well-worn threads

of life, embedded in a fragile web.

We are the weavers and the woven.

In tenacity of being, we've been chosen.

We daily choose among the voices

offering strange Confucian choices.

At times, a man must take a stand,

must take the future in his hands.

The winds are fierce and bitter cold

and we grow sad and we grow old.

Wandering through fresh fields of war

we plant our flags, we lose our core.

A sage walks slowly, straight and proud,

faces life with head unbowed.

David Krieger

February 2007

------------------

The time will come

when, with elation

you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror

and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.

Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,

peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit. Feast on your life.

Love After Love, by Derek Walcott

------------------

We die with the dying:

See, they depart, and we go with them.

We are born with the dead:

See, they return, and bring us with them.

The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew-tree

Are of equal duration. A people without history

Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern

Of timeless moments. So, while the light fails

On a winter's afternoon, in a secluded chapel

History is now and England.

from Little Gidding, by T.S. Eliot

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Come, my friends,

'T is not too late to seek a newer world.

Push off, and sitting well in order smite

The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds

To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths

Of all the western stars, until I die.

It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:

It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,

And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.

Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
 
We are not now that strength which in old days
 
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
 
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
 
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
 
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
 
- from Ulysses, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

 

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