Friday, April 22, 2011

No updates for a few days

Thank you to all of you who follow my blog. I will be stuck with a very bad internet connection for the next week or so, and posting will become extremely difficult. But I will be back ASAP.

:-)

Sandra

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

There Was a Little Girl



There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow




The Tear



IT WAS a tale of passion that we read—
Of two who loved, not happily, but well!
And evermore her gentle breast did swell
Like a twin-billow,—for her feelings fed
Upon its rhythmic grief—and brimming shed
Such dews of pity as can only fall
From natures full of sweetness, when the pall
Of tragedy o’ershadows them with dread.
Then, as I looked, in her raised eye there stood
A gem more excellent that ever shined
Within my spirit’s transcendental sphere,
And so embalmed its love with an immortal tear.

Charles Harpur

Lispeth



Look, you have cast out Love! What Gods are these
You bid me please?
The Three in One, the One in Three? Not so!
To my own Gods I go.
It may be they shall give me greater ease
Than your cold Christ and tangled Trinities.

Rudyard Kipling

Body And Soul: A Metaphysical Argument



Man openeth the case
Body, from the arrogance
Of the Soul thou seekest shield,
Makest prayer the old mis--chance
Of your birth--bond be repealed,
Since, sayest thou, the Soul would wield
Sovereign power and looks askance
At her partner in life's dance.

Tell me, Soul, why claimest thou,
Of what right, this sovereignty?
Wherefore dost thou cloud thy brow,
This thy partner standing nigh?
Scorn is written in thine eye
Watching him. Speak plain and show
All thy plaint that I may know.

The Soul speaketh
Judge most just! Wouldst ask of me
My being's secret? Ask the fire
Why he is kindled in the tree,
And why his flames mount high and higher
In scorn of the poor tortured pyre
Which feedeth him. Ask why the Sea
Thus frets her bed eternally.

The flames their kindred flames would reach;
The waves leap up towards the Moon,
And when they foam upon the beach
Grow pale like her. From morn to noon
The sun--flower turneth with the Sun.
A power there is in all and each
Should lesson thee what I would teach.

For I am subtle as the air
Which stirs the tree--tops, scattering wide
The feathered seed--blooms everywhere
And ordering all, itself unspied,
And is unchanged while all beside
Change and decay. In me no share
Is of the death these others bear.

Simple in essence I, to thee
Known but as one exiled by Fate
From her old home Eternity,
And sunk awhile from her estate
And bound to a material mate,
Through whose gross shape and quality
Alone my worth revealed may be.

Yet, shall I doubt me of the power,
Inborn in me, to seek a throne,
Although I stumble toward the hour
Which waits with death, my penance done,
Body to naught and I to run
Simple and unconditioned nor
On quality dependent more?

Or is faith nothing? O I feel
Pity for this poor thing of dust;
And that is why I bid him kneel
And be ennobled, for he must
Kneel first before his queen in trust.
Then would I strike him with my steel
And bind my spurs upon his heel.

But his mistrust defieth me,
His striving still against the bond
Which joineth us, nor will he see
Our wisdom must be straight uncrowned,
And he but perish of the wound,
In such divorcement were he free.
This is my secret, this my plea.

The Judge questioneth
Body, hast thou heard aright
How Soul thus doth thee deny?
She hath claimed in thy despite
Being from Eternity.
Hast thou ancestry as high?
Tell thy title, thou sad wight,
Else her claim will I requite. Body replieth
Wouldst thou know my lineage?
Look around thee. Thou shalt trace
From form to form, from age to age,
Fossil records of my race.
I, the latest, claim my place
Engrossed on Earth's ancestral page
By right inscribed of heritage.

Tell me, in those days long gone
Where was Soul? What then her power?
If to--day she claims a throne,
Was she fashioned me before?
Both of us old Matter bore.
I the elder was, Time's son,
Ages vast ere Soul was known.

Soul came later. My male might
Shielded her in her first cell,
She a frail fair anchorite,
Guarded by my valiance well,
Silent, sanct, intangible.
All my joy she was, and light,
A new dawning on my night.

Thus the out--set. Tryst we kept
In good concord I and she.
Mine the strength which overstepped
Her weak life's propinquity.
Or we yielded mutually;
I was weary and she slept,
She was wounded and I wept.

Happy days of growth. Ah why
Must change come with pride of youth?
She was eager, slow--foot I,
Glorious she, I all uncouth.
Her new wit showed little ruth,
Threw out cunning wings to fly,
Made as she would pass me by.

And when she found she could not win
Alone upon the blast of Time,
It irked her we were counted kin,
Until she held it me a crime
I should be matched with one sublime
And noble as she fain had been,
And last she claimed to be my queen.

Therefore from her arrogance
And her pride I make appeal
Praying this the ordinance
Of our birth--bond, grown unleal,
Thou wouldst cancel or make real.
Be our judge in this mis--chance;
Else decree deliverance. Judgement is given
I am but by your union.
With either Soul or Body lost,
All perisheth. Then work ye on
Together friends, not corpse and ghost.
To live and be is a brave boast.
Learn this; alone ye nothing can,
Yet both together ye make Man.

Wilfrid Scawen Blunt

A Bird Came Down



A bird came down the walk:
He did not know I saw;
He bit an angle-worm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw.

And then he drank a dew
From a convenient grass,
And then hopped sidewise to the wall
To let a beetle pass.

He glanced with rapid eyes
That hurried all abroad,--
They looked like frightened beads, I thought;
He stirred his velvet head

Like one in danger; cautious,
I offered him a crumb,
And he unrolled his feathers
And rowed him softer home

Than oars divide the ocean,
Too silver for a seam,
Or butterflies, off banks of noon,
Leap, splashless, as they swim.

Emily Dickinson

Lover´s Infiniteness



IF yet I have not all thy love,
Dear, I shall never have it all ;
I cannot breathe one other sigh, to move,
Nor can intreat one other tear to fall ;
And all my treasure, which should purchase thee,
Sighs, tears, and oaths, and letters I have spent ;
Yet no more can be due to me,
Than at the bargain made was meant.
If then thy gift of love were partial,
That some to me, some should to others fall,
Dear, I shall never have thee all.

Or if then thou gavest me all,
All was but all, which thou hadst then ;
But if in thy heart since there be or shall
New love created be by other men,
Which have their stocks entire, and can in tears,
In sighs, in oaths, and letters, outbid me,
This new love may beget new fears,
For this love was not vow'd by thee.
And yet it was, thy gift being general ;
The ground, thy heart, is mine ; what ever shall
Grow there, dear, I should have it all.

Yet I would not have all yet.
He that hath all can have no more ;
And since my love doth every day admit
New growth, thou shouldst have new rewards in store ;
Thou canst not every day give me thy heart,
If thou canst give it, then thou never gavest it ;
Love's riddles are, that though thy heart depart,
It stays at home, and thou with losing savest it ;
But we will have a way more liberal,
Than changing hearts, to join them ; so we shall
Be one, and one another's all.

John Donne

He Came to Read



He came to read. Two or three books
are open; historians and poets.
But he only read for ten minutes,
and gave them up. He is dozing
on the sofa. He is fully devoted to books
but he is twenty-three years old, and he's very handsome;
and this afternoon love passed
through his ideal flesh, his lips.
Through his flesh which is full of beauty
the heat of love passed;
without any silly shame for the form of the enjoyment.....

Constantine P Cavafy

Morning Song Of Senlin



It is morning, Senlin says, and in the morning
When the light drips through the shutters like the dew,
I arise, I face the sunrise,
And do the things my fathers learned to do.
Stars in the purple dusk above the rooftops
Pale in a saffron mist and seem to die,
And I myself on a swiftly tilting planet
Stand before a glass and tie my tie.
Vine leaves tap my window,
Dew-drops sing to the garden stones,
The robin chips in the chinaberry tree
Repeating three clear tones.
It is morning. I stand by the mirror
And tie my tie once more.
While waves far off in a pale rose twilight
Crash on a white sand shore.
I stand by a mirror and comb my hair:
How small and white my face!—
The green earth tilts through a sphere of air
And bathes in a flame of space.
There are houses hanging above the stars
And stars hung under a sea. . .
And a sun far off in a shell of silence
Dapples my walls for me. . .
It is morning, Senlin says, and in the morning
Should I not pause in the light to remember God?
Upright and firm I stand on a star unstable,
He is immense and lonely as a cloud.
I will dedicate this moment before my mirror
To him alone, and for him I will comb my hair.
Accept these humble offerings, cloud of silence!
I will think of you as I descend the stair.
Vine leaves tap my window,
The snail-track shines on the stones,
Dew-drops flash from the chinaberry tree
Repeating two clear tones.
It is morning, I awake from a bed of silence,
Shining I rise from the starless waters of sleep.
The walls are about me still as in the evening,
I am the same, and the same name still I keep.
The earth revolves with me, yet makes no motion,
The stars pale silently in a coral sky.
In a whistling void I stand before my mirror,
Unconcerned, I tie my tie.
There are horses neighing on far-off hills
Tossing their long white manes,
And mountains flash in the rose-white dusk,
Their shoulders black with rains. . .
It is morning. I stand by the mirror
And surprise my soul once more;
The blue air rushes above my ceiling,
There are suns beneath my floor. . .
. . . It is morning, Senlin says, I ascend from darkness
And depart on the winds of space for I know not where,
My watch is wound, a key is in my pocket,
And the sky is darkened as I descend the stair.
There are shadows across the windows, clouds in heaven,
And a god among the stars; and I will go
Thinking of him as I might think of daybreak
And humming a tune I know. . .
Vine-leaves tap at the window,
Dew-drops sing to the garden stones,
The robin chirps in the chinaberry tree
Repeating three clear tones.

Conrad Potter Aiken

Apology to Delia



This evening, Delia, you and I,
Have managed most delightfully,
For with a frown we parted;
Having contrived some trifle that
We both may be much troubled at,
And sadly disconcerted.

Yet well as each performed their part,
We might perceive it was but art;
And that we both intended
To sacrifice a little ease;
For all such petty flaws as these
Are made but to be mended.

You knew, dissembler! all the while,
How sweet it was to reconcile
After this heavy pelt;
That we should gain by this allay
When next we met, and laugh away
The care we never felt.

Happy! when we but seek to endure
A little pain, then find a cure
By double joy requited;
For friendship, like a severed bone,
Improves and joins a stronger tone
When amply reunited.

William Cowper

Delicious ambiguity

I always wanted a happy ending... Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.

Gilda Radner

If you have a talent

If you have a talent, use it in every which way possible. Don't hoard it. Don't dole it out like a miser. Spend it lavishly like a millionaire intent on going broke.

Brendan Francis

Talking and eloquence

Talking and eloquence are not the same: to speak and to speak well are two things. A fool may talk, but a wise man speaks.

Ben Jonson

Dangerous

The most dangerous untruths are truths slightly distorted.

G. C. Lichtenberg

Bright passages

In reading authors, when you find
Bright passages, that strike your mind,
And which, perhaps, you may have reason
To think on, at another season,
Be not contented with the sight,
But take them down in black and white;
Such a respect is wisely shown,
As makes another's sense one's own.

Lord Byron [George Gordon Byron]

Never again

I suppose every old scholar has had the experience of reading something in a book which was significant to him, but which he could never find again. Sure he is that he read it there, but no one else ever read it, nor can he find it again, though he buy the book and ransack every page.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Counfound

There is nothing in life so irrational, that good sense and chance may not set it to rights; nothing so rational, that folly and chance may not utterly confound it.

Johann W. von Goethe

Monday, April 18, 2011

An Enigma



A needle, small as small can be,
In bulk and use surpasses me,
Nor is my purchase dear;
For little, and almost for nought
As many of my kind are bought
As days are in the year.

Yet though but little use we boast,
And are procured at little cost,
The labour is not light;
Nor few artificers it asks,
All skilful in their several tasks,
To fashion us aright,

One fuses metal o’er the fire,
A second draws it into wire,
The shears another plies;
Who clips in length the brazen thread
From him who, chafing every shred,
Gives all an equal size.

A fifth prepares, exact and round,
The knob with which it must be crown’d;
His follower makes it fast;
And with his mallet and his file
To shape the point, employs awhile
The seventh and the last.

Now, therefore, Œdipus! declare
What creature, wonderful, and rare,
A process that obtains
Its purpose with so much ado
At last produces!—tell me true,
And take me for your pains!

William Cowper

Miracles



Twilight is spacious, near things in it seem far,
And distant things seem near.
Now in the green west hangs a yellow star.
And now across old waters you may hear
The profound gloom of bells among still trees,
Like a rolling of huge boulders beneath seas.

Silent as though in evening contemplation
Weaves the bat under the gathering stars.
Silent as dew, we seek new incarnation,
Meditate new avatars.
In a clear dusk like this
Mary climbed up the hill to seek her son,
To lower him down from the cross, and kiss
The mauve wounds, every one.

Men with wings
In the dusk walked softly after her.
She did not see them, but may have felt
The winnowed air around her stir;
She did not see them, but may have known
Why her son's body was light as a little stone.
She may have guessed that other hands were there
Moving the watchful air.

Now, unless persuaded by searching music
Which suddenly opens the portals of the mind,
We guess no angels,
And are contented to be blind.
Let us blow silver horns in the twilight,
And lift our hearts to the yellow star in the green,
To find perhaps, if, while the dew is rising,
Clear things may not be seen.

Conrad Potter Aiken

Half an Hour



I never had you, nor will I ever have you
I suppose. A few words, an approach
as in the bar yesterday, and nothing more.
It is, undeniably, a pity. But we who serve Art
sometimes with intensity of mind, and of course only
for a short while, we create pleasure
which almost seems real.
So in the bar the day before yesterday -- the merciful alcohol
was also helping much --
I had a perfectly erotic half-hour.
And it seems to me that you understood,
and stayed somewhat longer on purpose.
This was very necessary. Because
for all the imagination and the wizard alcohol,
I needed to see your lips as well,
I needed to have your body close.

Constantine P Cavafy

The Triple Fool



I am two fools, I know,
For loving, and for saying so
In whining poetry ;
But where's that wise man, that would not be I,
If she would not deny ?
Then as th' earth's inward narrow crooked lanes
Do purge sea water's fretful salt away,
I thought, if I could draw my pains
Through rhyme's vexation, I should them allay.
Grief brought to numbers cannot be so fierce,
For he tames it, that fetters it in verse.
But when I have done so,
Some man, his art and voice to show,
Doth set and sing my pain ;
And, by delighting many, frees again
Grief, which verse did restrain.
To love and grief tribute of verse belongs,
But not of such as pleases when 'tis read.
Both are increasèd by such songs,
For both their triumphs so are published,
And I, which was two fools, do so grow three.
Who are a little wise, the best fools be.


John Donne

"Why do I love" You, Sir?



"Why do I love" You, Sir?
Because—
The Wind does not require the Grass
To answer—Wherefore when He pass
She cannot keep Her place.

Because He knows—and
Do not You—
And We know not—
Enough for Us
The Wisdom it be so—

The Lightning—never asked an Eye
Wherefore it shut—when He was by—
Because He knows it cannot speak—
And reasons not contained—
—Of Talk—
There be—preferred by Daintier Folk—

The Sunrise—Sire—compelleth Me—
Because He's Sunrise—and I see—
Therefore—Then—
I love Thee—

Emily Dickinson

At The Parting Of The Ways



Here our roads part. Go thou by thy green valley,
Thy youth before thee and the river Nile.
My path lies o'er the desert, and my galley
Has rougher seas to plough (and days) the while.
I know not what to offer you: a smile,
A blessing, a farewell? I dare not dally
Even with the thought of tears. 'Twas but a mile
We walked together, and such things were folly.
I will not hope, who have no faith in fate,
That I shall you remember or you me
Beyond to--morrow. Yet, perhaps the wind
Blowing some morning through its Eastern gate
May tell you of my fortune; and behind
The Western star some evening I may see,
As in a vision of far days more kind,
Your dear eyes watching while the night grows blind.

Wilfrid Scawen Blunt

Lady Geraldine's Hardship



E.B. Browning


I turned -- Heaven knows we women turn too much
To broken reeds, mistaken so for pine
That shame forbids confession -- a handle I turned
(The wrong one, said the agent afterwards)
And so flung clean across your English street
Through the shrill-tinkling glass of the shop-front-paused,
Artemis mazed 'mid gauds to catch a man,
And piteous baby-caps and christening-gowns,
The worse for being worn on the radiator.

. . . . . . .

My cousin Romney judged me from the bench:
Propounding one sleek forty-shillinged law
That takes no count of the Woman's oversoul.
I should have entered, purred he, by the door --
The man's retort -- the open obvious door --
And since I chose not, he -- not he -- could change
The man's rule, not the Woman's, for the case.
Ten pounds or seven days... Just that... I paid!

Rudyard Kipling

The Past



The Past is flowing through my thoughts—
Flowing like a sea;
With all its billows dancing bright
Over what?—an undermight
Of darkling loss and destiny.
Still it floweth through my thoughts—
Floweth like a sea;
While of worn hope I ask alway,
Like an unsought cast-astray—
What can the future bring to me?

And hope herself admits: To thee
But a darkening scene—
Only slow days of care and doubt,
Only a dreary lengthening out,
Of what this later past hath been.


Charles Harpur

The Wave



'Whither, thou turbid wave?
Whither, with so much haste,
As if a thief wert thou?'

'I am the Wave of Life,
Stained with my margin's dust;
From the struggle and the strife
Of the narrow stream I fly
To the Sea's immensity,
To wash from me the slime
Of the muddy banks of Time.'

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Monna Innominata, 4



I loved you first: but afterwards your love,
...Outsoaring mine, sang such a loftier song
As drowned the friendly cooings of my dove.
...Which owes the other most? My love was long,
...And yours one moment seemed to wax more strong;
I loved and guessed at you, you contrued me
And loved me for what might or might not be--
...Nay, weights and measures do us both a wrong.
For verily love knows not 'mine' or 'thine';
With separate 'I' and 'thou' free love has done,
...For one is both and both are one in love:
Rich love knows nought of 'thine that is not mine';
...Both have the strength and both the length thereof,
Both of us, of the love which makes us one.

Christina Rossetti

The Folly Of Being Comforted



ONE that is ever kind said yesterday:
'Your well-beloved's hair has threads of grey,
And little shadows come about her eyes;
Time can but make it easier to be wise
Though now it seems impossible, and so
All that you need is patience.'
Heart cries, 'No,
I have not a crumb of comfort, not a grain.
Time can but make her beauty over again:
Because of that great nobleness of hers
The fire that stirs about her, when she stirs,
Burns but more clearly. O she had not these ways
When all the wild Summer was in her gaze.'
Heart! O heart! if she'd but turn her head,
You'd know the folly of being comforted.

William Butler Yeats

Would you not like?

Would you not like to try all sorts of lives — one is so very small— but that is the satisfaction of writing — one can impersonate so many people.

Katherine Mansfield

Good idea

It is not a bad idea to get in the habit of writing down one's thoughts. It saves one having to bother anyone else with them.

Isabel Colegate

Paradise

It is a curious thing... that every creed promises a paradise which will be absolutely uninhabitable for anyone of civilized taste.

Evelyn Waugh

Tomorrow

Seize the day, put no trust in tomorrow.

Horace

He who knoweth

He who knoweth not what he ought to know, is a brute beast among men; he that knoweth no more than he hath need of, is a man among brute beasts; and he that knoweth all that may be known, is as a God among men.

Pythagoras

Freedom

Freedom is the right to live as we wish.

Epictetus

No rainbow

The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears.

Cheney, John Vance

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Venetian Gondolier



Here rest the weary oar! -- soft airs
Breathe out in the o'erarching sky;
And Night!-- sweet Night -- serenely wears
A smile of peace; her noon is nigh.

Where the tall fir in quiet stands,
And waves, embracing the chaste shores,
Move o'er sea-shells and bright sands,-
Is heard the sound of dipping oars.

Swift o'er the wave the light bark springs,
Love's midnight hour draws lingering near:
And list!-- his tuneful viol strings
The young Venetian Gondolier.

Lo! on the silver-mirrored deep,
On earth, and her embosomed lakes,
And where the silent rivers sweep,
From the thin cloud fair moonlight breaks

Soft music breathes around, and dies
On the calm bosom of the sea;
Whilst in her cell the novice sighs
Her vespers to her rosary.

At their dim altars bow fair forms,
In tender charity for those,
That, helpless left to life's rude storms,
Have never found this calm repose.

The bell swings to its midnight chime,
Relieved against the deep blue sky!--
Haste!-- dip the oar again! -- 'tis time
To seek Genevra's balcony.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Would I Were With Thee!



WOULD I were with thee! every day and hour
Which now I spend so sadly, far from thee--
Would that my form possessed the magic power
To follow where my heavy heart would be!
Whate'er thy lot--by land or sea--
Would I were with thee--eternally!

Would I were with thee! when, the world forgetting,
Thy weary limbs upon the turf are thrown,
While bright and red the evening sun is setting,
And all thy thoughts belong to heaven alone:
While happy dreams thy heart employ--
Would I were with thee--in thy joy!

Would I were with thee! when, no longer feigning
The hurried laugh that stifles back a sigh;
Thy young lip pours unheard its sweet complaining,
And tears have quenched the light within thine eye:
When all seems dark and sad below,
Would I were with thee--in thy woe!

Would I were with thee! when the day is breaking,
And when the moon hath lit the lonely sea--
Or when in crowds some careless note awaking:
Speaks to thy heart in memory of me.
In joy or pain, by sea or shore--
Would I were with thee--evermore!

Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton

The Nevers of Poetry



Never say aught in verse, or grave or gay,
That you in prose would hesitate to say.
Never in rhyme pretend to tears, unless
True feeling sheds them in unfeigned distress;
Or some dream-grief, with such a mournful strain
As night winds make in pine tops, stirs your brain,
To shake them, dew-like, o’er the flowers that bloom
In the wild dark, round Joy’s imagined tomb;
Or save when doubts that over Love may lower,
Like summer clouds, break in a sunny shower
Out of your gladdened eyes, to freshen all
The bowers of memory with their grateful fall.
Never too much affect that polished thing—
Once belauded—known as point, or sting.
The highest and the noblest growths of wit
Are never, or but seldom, touched with it.
For of the muse it is not truly born
Unless the apex of some burst of scorn,
Or irony, or hate all torture-torn!
Not to increase the passion, but to make
The wave, full surging, on its object break.

Never, if you’d be readable at all,
Aim overmuch at being ethical.
Though she should be a teacher, still the Muse
To be a mere schoolmistress should refuse.
She should instruct us, but her methods never
Be academic ones, however clever.
Her morals, like great nature’s morals, aye
Should work themselves out in an unforced way,
And not so patly as to hint the while
At cryptic ingenuities of style.
Whate’er the theme, her ethic lights should shine
Full forth, as from a central heat divine,
Or heat inherent to the passion, wrought
Into the chastened harmony of thought;
And not be mere extraneous coals of fire
Blown for the nonce into factitious ire.

Though sone has oft some beauty most divine,
Which well we feel, yet cannot well define—
Some yearning excellence, intense and far,
Coming and going like a clouded star—
Some awful glory we but half descry,
Like a strong sunset in a stormy sky—
Yet ne’er be murky of set purpose, since
You only thereby shall the more evince
That even the Sublime’s but then made sure
When, like a morning alp, it breaks from the obscure.

Never heed whether a line strictly goes
By learned rule, if, brook-like, it warble as it flows,
Or if, in concord with the thought, it fills
Fast forward, like a torrent fast flooding from the hills.

Never say aught is “fading like a star”
Because receding in the past afar,
Since stars do not fade, but shine on no less,
Thought lost in light to our weaksightedness;
And no true trope should ever rest on fancy,
But claim a universal relevancy;
Nor think a line is racy to the core,
And bold, and bravely eloquent, the more
It striving seems to tear itself asunder,
Like this—“Down there i’ the deep heart o’ the thunder,”
But for which, surely (out of chaos), none
Might feign to find a sanction, save in fun.

Never think harshness the best foil to raise
And relish sweetness; for love craggy lays.
Yet never be you glib, when passion’s force
Should ridge your style, as by a tempest hoarse
The deep is roughened into waves that roar
At heaven—upheaping, huddling, more and more,
To burst at last in booming thunder on the shore.

Never be such a pagan as to deem
That truth or beauty must diviner seem
For some abnormal set-off, hunched and rude,
Prowling for evil in the neighbourhood,
If such strange opposite breathe not the air
Of nature—being found, not conjured there;
And never to be graceless be you fain,
Till to be graceful you have tried in vain.

Never be cheated—never may you be!—
Into the cramp belief that poesy
Must of necessity in soul be one
With the mere form of verse if it but deftly run;
Or pour, as with a mill-wheel’s vigorous cheer,
A rhyming clatter hard upon the ear.

Never believe that verse a license knows
For aught that would be balderdash in prose,
Or that all reason may at any time
Find a sufficient substitute in rhyme;
Or that because with many words you re fraught,
There must be under them some flood of thought.

Never compel a simile that wont
Take service without forcing; if it don t,
As of itself, into your verses flow,
But true to liberty—and let it go.

Never reject a homely-sounding phrase,
That your whole meaning easily conveys,
For one made current by some courtly wit
Which barely indicates a shade of it,
Or which—for probably it so may fall—
Does not express what you would mean at all.

Never suppose that you in song are free
To strain all praise, and make it flattery.
To sing of the heroic is to raise
One value by another—but to praise
Mere clowns, in verse, or natures lean and cold,
Is like to setting gravel stones in gold.

Never exalt vagaries to a station
But due to flights of the imagination—
Gas-charged balloons, put vainly all a-bloat,
For clouds of God that in the orient float;
Theatric thunders, all set brattling for
The dread all-shaking tempest-trumps of Thor;
For in the end all charlatanry must,
The more it startle, but the more disgust.

And lastly, never take for gospel all
Your friends say of your genius, when they call
Its merits o’er; but at the same time see
That you do never take yourself to be
So great an ass as your known foes declare
They do most solemnly believe you are.

[Each embryo poet, profit by my strain!
Then shall men say, “He has not lived in vain! ”]

Charles Harpur

Justice



October, 1918


Across a world where all men grieve
And grieving strive the more,
The great days range like tides and leave
Our dead on every shore.
Heavy the load we undergo,
And our own hands prepare,
If we have parley with the foe,
The load our sons must bear.

Before we loose the word
That bids new worlds to birth,
Needs must we loosen first the sword
Of Justice upon earth;
Or else all else is vain
Since life on earth began,
And the spent world sinks back again
Hopeless of God and Man.

A People and their King
Through ancient sin grown strong,
Because they feared no reckoning
Would set no bound to wrong;
But now their hour is past,
And we who bore it find
Evil Incarnate hell at last
To answer to mankind.

For agony and spoil
Of nations beat to dust,
For poisoned air and tortured soil
And cold, commanded lust,
And every secret woe
The shuddering waters saw.
Willed and fulfilled by high and low.
Let them relearn the Low.

That when the dooms are read,
Not high nor low shall say:--
" My haughty or my humble head
Was saved me in this day."
That, till the end of time,
Their remnant shall recall
Their fathers old, confederate crime
Availed them not at all.

That neither schools nor priests,
Nor Kings may build again
A people with the heart of beasts
Made wise concerning men.
Whereby our dead shall sleep
In honour, unbetrayed,
And we in faith and honour keep
That peace for which they paid.

Rudyard Kipling