Friday, October 29, 2004

Amichai at his best

The Diameter of the Bomb

--Yehuda Amichai

The diameter of the bomb was thirty centimeters
and the diameter of its effective range about seven meters,
with four dead and eleven wounded.
And around these, in a larger circle
of pain and time, two hospitals are scattered
and one graveyard. But the young woman
who was buried in the city she came from,
at a distance of more than a hundred kilometers,
enlarges the circle considerably,
and the solitary man mourning her death
at the distant shores of a country far across the sea
includes the entire world in the circle.
And I won’t even mention the crying of orphans
that reaches up to the throne of God and
beyond, making
a circle with no end and no God.

Amichai at his best! The trivial start with the trite statistic creates a deliberate stir when all of a sudden Amichai transitions into the Metaphor mode. Where he transcends himself and all the readers expectations is in the final few lines where the images of the crying orphans rend the reader's heart, setting things up classically for the final line. Yehuda Amichai is a treasure trove half buried to the world.

Yehuda Amichai

Temporary Poem of My Time

Hebrew writing and Arabic writing go from east to west,
Latin writing, from west to east.
Languages are like cats:
You must not stroke their hair the wrong way.
The clouds come from the sea, the hot wind from the desert,
The trees bend in the wind,
And stones fly from all four winds,
Into all four winds. They throw stones,
Throw this land, one at the other,
But the land always falls back to the land.
They throw the land, want to get rid of it.
Its stones, its soil, but you can't get rid of it.
They throw stones, throw stones at me
In 1936, 1938, 1948, 1988,
Semites throw at Semites and anti-Semites at anti-Semites,
Evil men throw and just men throw,
Sinners throw and tempters throw,
Geologists throw and theologists throw,
Archaelogists throw and archhooligans throw,
Kidneys throw stones and gall bladders throw,
Head stones and forehead stones and the heart of a stone,
Stones shaped like a screaming mouth
And stones fitting your eyes
Like a pair of glasses,
The past throws stones at the future,
And all of them fall on the present.
Weeping stones and laughing gravel stones,
Even God in the Bible threw stones,
Even the Urim and Tumim were thrown
And got stuck in the beastplate of justice,
And Herod threw stones and what came out was a Temple.

Oh, the poem of stone sadness
Oh, the poem thrown on the stones
Oh, the poem of thrown stones.
Is there in this land
A stone that was never thrown
And never built and never overturned
And never uncovered and never discovered
And never screamed from a wall and never discarded by the builders
And never closed on top of a grave and never lay under lovers
And never turned into a cornerstone?

Please do not throw any more stones,
You are moving the land,
The holy, whole, open land,
You are moving it to the sea
And the sea doesn't want it
The sea says, not in me.

Please throw little stones,
Throw snail fossils, throw gravel,
Justice or injustice from the quarries of Migdal Tsedek,
Throw soft stones, throw sweet clods,
Throw limestone, throw clay,
Throw sand of the seashore,
Throw dust of the desert, throw rust,
Throw soil, throw wind,
Throw air, throw nothing
Until your hands are weary
And the war is weary
And even peace will be weary and will be.

-- Yehuda Amichai

The verse is Amichai typified. Amichai, the master of images. For those who have read The Diameter of the Bomb, I need to say no more. The sudden, almost violent, imagery shifts end up leaving the reader enraptured and intrigued, almost pining for more. Writings to seas to trees to stones to winds to lands to people to Semites... the blur of graphic images absorb. Almost like the images of the Bioscope whirring slowly into a beautiful swansong. Amichai executes the metaphor with aplomb. The delusive fleeting snapshots segue into less drastic image forms that temper towards the end, almost pulling out despair from the deepest recesses of the reader, before bringing everything to a standstill. "And even peace will be weary and will be." haunts, long after it has come and gone.

The temporality of the wildly oscillating glimpses etches a permanent mark.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Who goes with Fergus?

WHO will go drive with Fergus now,
And pierce the deep wood's woven shade,
And dance upon the level shore?
Young man, lift up your russet brow,
And lift your tender eyelids, maid,
And brood on hopes and fear no more.

And no more turn aside and brood
Upon love's bitter mystery;
For Fergus rules the brazen cars,
And rules the shadows of the wood,
And the white breast of the dim sea
And all dishevelled wandering stars

-- William Butler Yeats

What makes Yeats a great poet? Not his subject matter, surely. He wrote wonderful love poetry, but OTOH ranted way too much about the trials of old age. When attempting philosophy, he always seemed to have the most embarrasingly confused ideas on art and the intellect.

But as a wordsmith and a craftsman of verse, he was unequalled (at least in the last century.) He had the Irishman's mastery of sound and rhythm; You can hear a soft uileann pipe or Celtic faerie song whenever a Yeats verse is read out. His skill was not just divinely inspired genius however, it was careful construction - Notice how the last two lines use short sharp syllables followed by the drawn out words "dishevelled wandering" to evoke a sense of majesty and finality.

Lines 7-9 are quoted by that other great Irish poet( yes, poet) James Joyce in Ulysses. They have a deep significance for Stephen Dedalus, the secondary protagonist and Joyce's alter ego, who associates the verse with the memory of his mother, recently deceased. Permit me to quote the words, as they are poetry themselves:

The twining stresses, two by two. A hand plucking the
harpstrings, merging their twining chords. Wavewhite wedded words
shimmering on the dim tide.

A cloud began to cover the sun slowly, wholly, shadowing the bay in
deeper green. It lay beneath him, a bowl of bitter waters. Fergus' song:
I sang it alone in the house, holding down the long dark chords. Her door
was open: she wanted to hear my music. Silent with awe and pity I went to
her bedside. She was crying in her wretched bed. For those words,
Stephen: love's bitter mystery.

Where now?

Funeral Blues by W.H Auden

I was watching "Four Weddings and a Funeral" last week. There is a scene where John Hannah pays a funeral tribute to his deceased friend. He reads a poem "Funeral Blues" by W H Auden. The rendition was amazing.He sure is one talented actor (too talented for stuff like "Mummy" and all)...


Funeral Blues

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever; I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood,
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

-- W. H. Auden

Rejoinder: Observations on Prufrock


I can think of Camus' Mersault, Holden Caulfield and all...but with the latter two, there was always an element of nonchalancy involved..

This leads me to another train of thought altogether. We talked about Salinger's Holden, Robert Pirsig's Phaedrus, Camus' Mersault and TSE's Prufrock. Obviously, each one the alter-ego of the author/poet. If you search for objectivity in this realm of literature, forget it. Holden IS Salinger, Prufrock IS TSE...Now just see, who made it and who did not. Salinger and Syd Barrett, never seemd to understand the world around them. They got caught in the anomalies and paradoxes, and where are they now? Nobody knows. Both of them recluses, repoertedly insane, and remarkably, there were rumours that both had committed suicide. It is as though "Catcher in The rye" and Syd's lyrics were their last cries of agony in this hopeless world. They could not lead the fight, nor give it up,ultimately falling into "insanity"...But, TSE and Camus, both seemed to the sense that they knew the world cannot be understood. They stopped right at the end of the cliff...knew what was in store if they strode further and chose to walk back into the "sane world". Both got the Nobel Prize, led a seemingly comfortable, though compromised, existence, and lived famously. They knew the world was phony..They knew it wanted no association with whatever they understood as the plague of life. But, yet they did not want to give it all up, inspite of their greatness (or is it, because of their greatness ???). I think we have three kinds of people: 1)Those who havent realised something is wrong with the world. 2) Those who realise, and perished in the hope of unravelling it and 3) Those who realise, know that it is a hopeless situation and pretended to ignore everything about it.So, what is sanity? This seems to be a powerful question...

I mean, in Prufrock, the poem opens with a excerpt from Dante's hell and all...may be an objective co-relative of TSE on the burningsoul of prufrock

By the way, there is a different interpretation to the inclusion of the epigraph in the poem. The epigraph is as told to Dante when he visits Hades (Hell). it translates to

"If I thought my answer were for one who ever could return to the world, this flame should shake no more, but since none ever did return alive from this depth, if what I hear be true, without fear of infamy I answer thee.".

After this, Dante is made known of certain divine secrets that are not for the ears of mortals. If Dante, had a chance of going back to the world, he would not be told what is to be told after the passage.

This might point to the fact that Prufrock might not talk about all these things, if he came to know that the reader is going back to the same hellish existence. He needs a symapthetic ear from a person who is suffering just as he is. This might be another clue to the insecurity that Prufock/TSE might be having on account of living two lives. They realise, yet cannot admit, for fear of being lost in the struggle to convince the world. In the best words I can conjure, they were caught between the forgetful insanity of sanity and the realising sanity of insanity.

I believe there is more to it...


The Madcap Laughs

This might not be considered to be "poetry" and all...But somehow I always think of barrett as a poet...Opel , the song I was talking about goes something like this....

On a distant shore, miles from land
stands the ebony totem in ebony sand
a dream in a mist of grey...
on a far distant shore...

The pebble that stood alone
and driftwood lies half buried
warm shallow waters sweep shells
so the cockles shine...

A bare winding carcase, stark
shimmers as flies scoop up meat, an empty way...
dry tears...
crisp black squeaks tore reeds
make a circle of grey in a summer way, around man
so don't ground...

I'm trying
I'm trying to find you!
To find you
I'm living, I'm giving,
To find you, To find you,
I'm living, I'm living,
I'm trying, I'm giving


Re: Observations on Prufrock


I guess the idea of alienation amidst a crowd, helplessness because ofthe world and its phony attitude, the ensuing search for th truth by the protaganist and the subsequent depression due tohis own judgemental nature has been the general theme behind many of characters that we have come across...apart from prufrock, I can think of Camus' Mersault, Holden Caulfield and all...but with the latter two, there was always an element of nonchalancy involved...Dunno why, but somehow this brilliant song by Syd Barrett called Opel, seems to be a fitting expression for all the searching and not finding...Somewhat akin to the feeling of being slam bang in the middle of this crowded see people walking past you....different sounds, different faces....everything is chaotic...somehow you figure it's you are yelling out as if your lungs could burst anytime...But then somehow no one seems to hear....

Even though there didn't seem to be much common ground between prufrock and mersault at first...I mean, in Prufrock, the poem opens with a excerpt from Dante's hell and all...may be an objective co-relative of TSE on the burning soul of prufrock and all...while Mersault he begins to realise the world around him only after his mother died....Prufrock probably realises eventually the futility of having an emotional stand on the whole issue....while Mersault seems to have born with an emotional void and all...

But then the small thread of comparison that i found is that they both realise they cannot engage in an escapist attitude, even though it seems to be the easiest thing to do...they also dread the fact that they are always been continously evaluated..
people are gauging every move they make....(remember?...And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin....)It irks them but they know they can't escape this scrutiny as much as they want to.....

This article I found has this interesting insight... In Prufrock and Meursault we find two classic cases of the outsider. In both cases there is a tortuous quest for truth, and detachment has been necessary to provide a viewpoint for what is truly real. But after its discovery, the truth is either dismissed or subverted. Prufrock is dissuaded from telling us everything;

If one, settling her pillow by her head,
Should say: 'That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all.'

As for Meursault, he is hanged for his revelation.

And of course, both are the characters don't want to lie... Camus says, "Lying isn't only saying what isn't true. It is also in fact saying more than is true . . . We all do it to make life simpler. But, contrary to appearances, Meursault does not want to make life simpler. He says what he is, he refuses to hide his feelings and society immediately feels threatened."

Guess in a way, both Prufrock and Mersault are similar...

I am sure there are more parallels to these "outsiders".... can any one think of any more?


Observations on Prufrock

(The text of Prufrock can be found HERE. You're urged to read it first! -- Ed)

Hi all,

Since, this is a poem which most of us have discussed, I thought we can start moving beyond the obvious and start dissecting the poem a little differently. I, for long have a slighty different interpretaion for Prufrock... not totally different but slightly varied...I'd love to know what you feel abt this.

Modern man seems very eloquent, confident, aware and self-sufficient. He dresses like a gentleman, he prefers a good society, expected to be socially conscious, assertive of his freedom, ready for his civic duties et al. In a sense, modernity seems to make all men feel equal, purposeful in life, and disciplines them, in the art of social living. And superficially, it seems to succeed. On a material level, we have grown through the ages.

Imposed equality and moral reponsibilities create stable societies. It evens out wrinkles of differences when you look at the macrocosmic level...So, what is wrong? Why is there so much dissent in the world? Maybe because, at the individual level, there are misfits. Your role is either too big for you or too small for you... The speaker is perhaps, afflicted by a sense of emptiness, of feeling a big void inside the huge mould of his personality. Nowadays, everybody reads...everybody is a poet. Everybody has some poetic sense in him. Exaggeration, profoundness is evident in almost everybody. Everybody is able to think big. Compare this with the olden ages...where Greek and Latin were esoteric, the only real scholars were those who knew these languages...Philosophers and scholars had their intricate thoughts expressed in such languages,which was kind of closed to everybody else. Moreover, poetry was for ecclesiastical purposes, which by itself was tightly controlled. There was really no opening up. Everything was so rigid but somehow everything FIT. Peasants worked, they did not think. though life was full of hardships.

The revoultions started the opening up. They fought for equality of the masses. Nothing and nobody was special anymore. Essentially, among all those mundane things that happened as a result of the revolution, one important change was that people were "free to think." I know, how incorrect this seems politically...but, I have a feeling on reading Prufrock, that maybe, the problem is this "Freedom to think" itself. The problem with this guy is, he feels inundated with all the thoughts, knowledge, information, mannerisms, culture etc, that he has and he is unable to handle them all. It required a Socrates or a Plato or a Sophocles or a Homer to be a great scholar or a great poet or even really amounting to somebody . Presumably, this was not because they "could merely think" but they had something else apart from being able to think. Some kind of capacity to handle the truths, that they may derive out of the deep thinking.

The following is an extract from one of the sites that guided me to the poem:

"The last line of the poem suggests otherwise--that when the world intrudes, when "human voices wake us," the dream is shattered: "we drown." With this single line, Eliot dismantles the romantic notion that poetic genius is all that is needed to triumph over the destructive, impersonal forces of the modern world. In reality, Eliot the poet is little better than his creation: He differs from Prufrock only by retaining a bit of hubris, which shows through from time to time. Eliot's poetic creation, thus, mirrors Prufrock's soliloquy: Both are an expression of aesthetic ability and sensitivity that seems to have no place in the modern world. This realistic, anti-romantic outlook sets the stage for Eliot's later works, including The Waste Land."

Maybe, the poet wants to convey this...Thinking, romancing, contemplating.... doesnt make a great man (Talking of Michaelangelo gets you nowhere). Understanding philosphical truths at the outset, recognising the beauty and ugliness of things, doesnt move you an inch from who you are... (You still measure your life only with coffee spoons...afflicted by mundane issues)..Thinking profoundly is not going to raise you to any exalted position...Still it is going to be the same old life, only you pretend to be enlightened...and be recieved by others like you have been...But you are still empty, as ever, because what is cast on you doesnt fit.

In reality, it is something else that makes a great man. Something apart from thoughts, emotions and feelings. Some thing that makes some people more gifted, and better equipped than the others...which Prufrock (and may be TSE himself didnt have). I think the love story is secondary and only sets a background for expreseing this helplessness, of somehow not amounting to much. This seems to be a very good reason why such a learned poet like TS Eliot, was still depressed a lot. To write "Hollow Men" and "Waste land" affter this seems a very logical continuation. In the end, he discarded his quest for philosphy and converted himself to Anglicanism, out of a need for a stable life, and went on to write about mundane things like "Cats"...His life somehow reminds me of Phaedrus in Zen and the Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance, who after pursuing on his quest to find the basis of rationality, abandons it in despair and backs off for a "normal" life.

I have written something so long that it troubles me even to read this stuff again. Hope, you came upto this point still trusting my sanity.. :-) I just opened up a little. Hope to hear your views,


Hamlet by Spike Milligan


"Hollow Men" and "Waste land" are too consuming. I am kinda missing our classes where we could have sat around and tried to get a grip of this...I would like to have some kind of a discussion on TSE... Krithika, Ditch and the others... wat do u say..? Shall we start something? Maybe we can all take up one section at a time... and discuss it...

Meanwhile.... here's an incredibly funny poem(let) from spike milligan. Check out Milligan...a shade of Ogden Nash i guess


Said Hamlet to Ophelia,
'I'll do a sketch of thee,
What kind of pencil shall I use,
2B or not 2B?'

--Spike Milligan


Elliot's Hollow Men

Krithika posted the last verse of TS Elliot's 'Hollow Men' sometime back. Here's all of it.

The opening verses use images of dryness very similarly to 'The Waste Land'. it does not represent simply death (which in Buddhist thought, is the supreme goal of Nirvana, only reached by the most enlightened beings), but a lack of real life, a dreadful, sterile limbo state devoid of redemption or spiritual meaning. Amazingly depressing.

The Hollow Men

A penny for the Old Guy

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
Remember us-if at all-not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men


Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death's dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are

Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind's singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer
In death's dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat's coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer-

Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom

This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man's hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.
Is it like this
In death's other kingdom?
Walking alone

At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.

The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

In this last of meeting places
We grope together and avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death's twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men


Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o'clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow

For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the shadow

Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow

For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

-- T.S. Elliot



Er...this is one of those long ones...but then for what is worth, it's a brilliant one about the poet's musings on death, the questions surrounding it and its ongoing cycle with life and, read on...


by William Cullen Bryant

To him who in the love of nature holds
Communion with her visible forms, she speaks
A various language; for his gayer hours
She has a voice of gladness, and a smile
And eloquence of beauty; and she glides
Into his darker musings, with a mild
And healing sympathy that steals away
Their sharpness ere he is aware. When thoughts
Of the last bitter hour come like a blight
Over thy spirit, and sad images
Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall,
And breathless darkness, and the narrow house,
Make thee to shudder, and grow sick at heart;--
Go forth, under the open sky, and list
To Nature's teachings, while from all around--
Earth and her waters, and the depths of air--
Comes a still voice. Yet a few days, and thee
The all-beholding sun shall see no more
In all his course; nor yet in the cold ground,
Where thy pale form was laid, with many tears,
Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist
Thy image. Earth, that nourished thee, shall claim
Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again,
And, lost each human trace, surrendering up
Thine individual being, shalt thou go
To mix forever with the elements,
To be a brother to the insensible rock
And to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain
Turns with his share, and treads upon. The oak
Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mold.

Yet not to thine eternal resting-place
Shalt thou retire alone, nor couldst thou wish
Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down
With patriarchs of the infant world -- with kings,
The powerful of the earth -- the wise, the good,
Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past,
All in one mighty sepulchre. The hills
Rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun, -- the vales
Stretching in pensive quietness between;
The venerable woods -- rivers that move
In majesty, and the complaining brooks
That make the meadows green; and, poured round all,
Old Ocean's gray and melancholy waste,--
Are but the solemn decorations all
Of the great tomb of man. The golden sun,
The planets, all the infinite host of heaven,
Are shining on the sad abodes of death
Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread
The globe are but a handful to the tribes
That slumber in its bosom. -- Take the wings
Of morning, pierce the Barcan wilderness,
Or lose thyself in the continuous woods
Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound,
Save his own dashings -- yet the dead are there:
And millions in those solitudes, since first
The flight of years began, have laid them down
In their last sleep -- the dead reign there alone.

So shalt thou rest -- and what if thou withdraw
In silence from the living, and no friend
Take note of thy departure? All that breathe
Will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh
When thou art gone, the solemn brood of care
Plod on, and each one as before will chase
His favorite phantom; yet all these shall leave
Their mirth and their employments, and shall come
And make their bed with thee. As the long train
Of ages glides away, the sons of men--
The youth in life's fresh spring, and he who goes
In the full strength of years, matron and maid,
The speechless babe, and the gray-headed man--
Shall one by one be gathered to thy side,
By those, who in their turn, shall follow them.

So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan, which moves
To that mysterious realm, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.


To the tune of "if you're happy and you know it"

To the tune of "if you're happy and you know it"

If you cannot find Osama, bomb Iraq.
If the markets are a drama, bomb Iraq.
If the terrorists are frisky,
Pakistan is looking shifty,
North Korea is too risky,
Bomb Iraq.

If we have no allies with us, bomb Iraq.
If we think someone has dissed us, bomb Iraq.
So to hell with the inspections,
Let's look tough for the elections,
Close your mind and take directions,
Bomb Iraq.

It's "pre-emptive non-aggression", bomb Iraq.
Let's prevent this mass destruction, bomb Iraq.
They've got weapons we can't see,
And that's good enough for me,
'Cos it's all the proof I need to
Bomb Iraq.

If you never were elected, bomb Iraq.
If your mood is quite dejected, bomb Iraq.
If you think Saddam's gone mad,
With the weapons that he had,
(And he tried to kill your dad),
Bomb Iraq.

If your corp'rate fraud is growin', bomb Iraq.
If your ties to it are showin', bomb Iraq.
If your politics are sleazy,
And hiding that ain't easy,
And your manhood's getting queasy,
Bomb Iraq.

Fall in line and follow orders, bomb Iraq.
For our might knows not our borders, bomb Iraq.
Disagree? We'll call it treason,
Let's make war not love this season,
Even if we have no reason,
Bomb Iraq.



Migration by Wadih Sa'adeh


This guys is some obscure poet from Lebanon. he writes about war mostly. I found some of the translations very powerful. This one is the best, i guess.



When they left they did not lock their doors;
they left water in the basin for the nightingale
and the stray dog that used to visit them.
On the dining table, they left bread, a pitcher of water
and a tin of sardines.

They said nothing before they left, but their silence
was like a covenant
with the door, the pitcher and the bread on the table.
The road, the only thing to feel their footsteps,
could not see them afterwards,
however it did eventually.
But one day it became numbed by the wheat carried
along it from dawn till dusk
and from doors it had seen leaving their place in the walls.

The sea recalled that some sardines had flopped into it,
swimming on to unknown places.
Those who remained in the village
said that a stray dog would come each evening
and howl in front of their house.

-- Wadih Sa'adeh

He Said by Wadih Sa'adeh

He Said

He said they were alike,
the basil plant and his mother.
People could never tell the difference between them.
If they said `good morning' to his mother
the basil answered.
If they greeted the basil
his mother answered.

He explained that some veins on her hands
were roots of her plants,
her palms were two leaves,
her eyes were two flowers.
Whenever she walked in a neighbourhood,
the fragrance of fields emanated from her garments.

He said his father and the tree were twins.
If he embraced it,
he was embraced by the tree.
When looking at him, the tree became green.
It turned Yellow if he was ill.
If it was shaken by the wind
he would shiver.

He explained this as he walked
to the door,
rolling a cigarette.
Then he left.

-- Wadih Sa'adeh

The Dead are Sleeping by Wadih Sa'adeh

The Dead are Sleeping

They were innocent people.
They would caress their children's hair in the dusk,
dropping off to sleep.

They were innocent, simple people,
sweating during the day and smiling.
On their way home they would pause before shop windows,
measuring with their eyes the size of children's clothes,
then walk on.

They would take one step
in the early breath of dawn
to touch the tree trunks.
During January frosts,
while they were watching,
some branches would bear fruit.
Their scythes yearned for the fields,
the air in the village was waiting for their cries.

Suddenly, their wheat became ribs,
the breeze and grass, rooted
in their bodies.

They were innocent, simple people.
Each evening the sun slid its silky mantle
over their souls.

-- Wadi Sa'adeh


Lamericks (not a misspelling)

I know this must be getting boring. But i couldn't resist after seeing the last one:

There once was a man from Japan,
Who wrote verses that never would scan,
When the said "but the thing,
doesnt go with a swing"
He said, "yes but I always try to put as many words
into the last line as I possibly can".

Stangenlord, is that structurally pure?

Here's one from the master, Isaac Asimov aka Paul French aka Dr. A :

You cant call the British Queen Ms,
Tain't as nice as Elizabeth is,
But i think that the queen,
would be even less keen,
to hear herself referred to as Liz,

btw, does any1 know what a clerihew is? It's like a limerick but even simpler. eg.

The mustache of Hitler,
could hardly be littler,
was the thought that kept occuring,
to field marshal Goering.


After a Long Hiatus

hey ppl!

since limerick frenzy is in the air- here's my fav:

There once was a girl from the sticks
Who liked to write limericks.
But she failed at the sport,
'cause she wrote them too short.


The Master of Allusions


The Hollow Men...Yet another poem of T.S.Eliot's which is densely layered with his typical literary allusions.Like many of his better known works like the waste land, four quartets and the love song of prufrock, this is also drenched with dreadful imagery....the poem is a wee bit long, so I am sending only the last few lines...

The Hollow Men

Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow

For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow

Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

And do check out ,"Whispers of Immortality" by Eliot...his fascination with death and darkness is evident in this particular poem too...


Some Frost

Hi ,

Robert Frost has written some of the most widely discussed poems, essentially simple, which can hold you spellbound just by the thought. For those who have read 'Stopping by the Woods...' and 'The Road Not Taken' I need to say no more . These, I thought, are nice ones.

The Jack ;)

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To know that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.


Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature's first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Robert Frost

An Elegy to Everyday Poetry by Anon

An elegy to my everyday poetry

Take birth, my songs, at the break of day
Conceived and nurtured, with the streaks of grey
Soft-coloured, tender-voiced and waxen touched,
In a realising reverie, they drown me bewitched.
Matures them to its music, the mirthful midday,
Surge they forward, to rage against and flay
The monstrous murals off those rock-hardened hearts.

Just to chafe their petric faces and fall like darts.

Fall like warriors, my brave little songs,
To the melancholic twilight and to the falling sun.
Words and phrases plucked out, dismembered
Senses squeezed out, like blood from corpses
Die not they, the dashing death deserved
Burnt out, cause-dried, orphaned to the wind
They shrivel to pieces, powdered to the ground.

Soft melodies! Grave chants! Unsung songs!
My everyday poetry! Such you are! Such is poetry!


The Mosquito's Limerick

My new signature file, which I am posting here, by the way, is worth a look.


A Mosquito's Limerick

A mosquito was heard to complain
That a chemist had poisoned his brain
The cause of his sorrow
Was paradichloro

An Enigma by Edgar Allan Poe

Hey all,

Heard of self reference, Godel's Theorem etc etc? What do you think of this poem? By the Master of The Macabre, a truly brillinat satire.

An Enigma

"Seldom we find," says Solomon Don Dunce,
"Half an idea in the profoundest sonnet.
Through all the flimsy things we see at once
As easily as through a Naples bonnet ---
Trash of all trash! --- how can a lady don it?
Yet heavier far than your Petrarchan stuff ---
Owl-downy nonsense that the faintest puff
Twirls into trunk-paper the while you con it."
And, veritably, Sol is right enough.
The general tuckermanities are arrant
Bubbles --- ephemeral and so transparent ---
But this is, now --- you may depend upon it ---
Stable, opaque, immortal --- all by dint
Of the dear names that he concealed within 't.

-- Edgar Allan Poe


Dust by Carl Sandburg

Was hunting for a good signature file, when I came across this... Too good for a signature file, so here it goes...


Here is dust remembers it was a rose
one time and lay in a woman's hair.
Here is dust remembers it was a woman
one time and in her hair lay a rose.
Oh things one time dust, what else now is it
you dream and remember of old days?

-- Carl Sandburg


Pope and the King

Alexander Pope's physical defects made him an easy target for mockery. He took his revenge through masterful works of satire and ridicule such as The Rape of the Lock.

In just 15 words he could ridcules the snobbery and pretentiousness he saw at the court of King Charles.


Epigram Engraved on the Collar of a Dog Which I Gave to His Royal Highness

I am his Highness' dog at Kew;
Pray tell me, sir, whose dog are you?

-- Alexander Pope

Dulce Et Decorum Est

NOTE :- ( "Dulce Et Ecorum Est Pro Patria Mori" (from Horace's Odes, iii ii 13) meaning "It is sweet and proper to die for one's country'.

Hey all,

Look at the last line again. Maybe the next time we won't be so quick to support war against Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan...etc. etc. Here's from the eyes of a man who has seen it all because ironically Wilfred enlisted for Britain in the WWI and was killed in action, just days after writing this.

Dulce Et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

- Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues -
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori

-- Wilfred Owen

Anthem of Doomed Youth

Anthem of Doomed Youth

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
- Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, -
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in The hands of boys but in their eyes
Shall shine The holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

-- Wilfred Owen

The Parable of the Old Man and the Young

Hi all,

Wilfred Owen sets the mood today. I guess "the greatest anti-war poet ever". Ditch should agree (Remember Dulce et Decorum Est... that you read to me?. The following poem should be an aperitif for more to follow.

The Parable of the Old Man and the Young

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 and 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, thy son.
Behold! Caught in a thicket by its horns,
A Ram. Offer the Ram of Pride instead.

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

-- Wilfred Owen

Kipling's Vermont

Ogden Nash is a poet not many people take seriously.But here's a gem.

Kipling's Vermont

The summer like a rajah dies,
And every widowed tree
Kindles for Congregationalist eyes
An alien suttee.

--Ogden Nash


Beat! Beat! Drums! by Walt Whitman

Beat! beat! drums!

Beat! beat! drums! -- blow! bugles! blow!
Through the windows -- through doors -- burst like a ruthless force,
Into the solemn church, and scatter the congregation,
Into the school where the scholar is studying;
Leave not the bridegroom quiet -- no happiness must he have now with
his bride,
Nor the peaceful farmer any peace, ploughing his field or gathering
his grain,
So fierce you whirr and pound you drums -- so shrill you bugles blow.

Beat! beat! drums! -- blow! bugles! blow!
Over the traffic of cities -- over the rumble of wheels in the
Are beds prepared for sleepers at night in the houses?
no sleepers must sleep in those beds,
No bargainers bargains by day -- no brokers or speculators --
would they continue?
Would the talkers be talking? would the singer attempt to sing?
Would the lawyer rise in the court to state his case before the judge?
Then rattle quicker, heavier drums -- you bugles wilder blow.

Beat! beat! drums! -- blow! bugles! blow!
Make no parley -- stop for no expostulation,
Mind not the timid -- mind not the weeper or prayer,
Mind not the old man beseeching the young man,
Let not the child's voice be heard, nor the mother's entreaties,
Make even the trestles to shake the dead where they lie awaiting the hearses,
So strong you thump O terrible drums -- so loud you bugles blow.

-- Walt Whitman

Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold

Hey all,

An example of how even mundane, little things inspire poets, reminding them of deeper allusions (reference to Sophocles etc.), points of view and inferences. A simple look at the Dover beach leads the poet to a discourse on Enlightenment. For those who have read Ray Bradbury's 'Fahrenheit 451', this poem might strike a chord. This is the poem that Montag recites to the three ladies, thereby begining the revolution.

Dover Beach

The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; -on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanch'd land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.
Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Aegean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl'd.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,

Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

-- Matthew Arnold


Wild Wild Sea by Sting

Ok, maybe song lyrics are not strictly poetry, but read this anyway.

Sting wrote this song, soon after his father's death. I guess it's supposed to represent his desolate wanderings afterwards and how the soul of his father's
memory brought him back to sanity.

Wild Wild Sea

-- by Sting (from the album " The Soul Cages")

I saw it again this evening,
Black sail in a pale yellow sky
And just as before in a moment,
It was gone where the grey gulls fly

If it should happen again I shall worry
That only a strange ship could fly
And my sanity scans the horizon
In the light of a darkening sky

That night as I walked in my slumber
I walked into the sea strand
And I swam with the moon and her lover
Until I lost sight of the land

I swam till the night became morning
Black sea in the reddening sky
Found myself on the deck on a rolling ship
So far where no grey gulls fly

All around me was silence
As if mocking my frail human hopes
And a question mark hung in the canvas
For the wind that had died in the ropes

I may have slept for an hour
I may have slept for a day
For I woke in a bed of white linen
And the sky was the colour of clay

At first just a rustle of canvas
And the gentlest breath on my face
But a galloping line of white horses
Said that soon we were in for a race

The gentle sigh turned to a howling
And the grey sky she angered to black
And my anxious eyes searched the horizon
With the gathering sea at my back

Did I see the shade of a sailor
On the bridge through the wheelhouse pane
Held fast to the wheel of the rocking ship
As I squinted my eyes in the rain

For the ship had turned into the wind
Against the storm to brace
And underneath the sailor's hat
I saw my father's face

If a prayer today is spoken
Please offer it for me
When the bridge to heaven is broken
And you've lost on the wild wild sea
Lost on the wild wild sea...



Haiku Experiments


Well. Life and Death, Slow and Fast dissected through different eyes. Does anyone here enjoy Haiku?

I am not very good at this. But, I read that a Haiku poem is composed of 17 syllables, 5 in the first line, 7 in the second and 5 again in the last. I don't know how to appreciate such poems. But, I am pretty intrigued. Nevertheless, here is a small collection. If anybody can understand anything more than what is obvious, please share it with us.

The following is by Buson, a 17th century Samurai, considered by many to be the greatest among all Haiku poets. I am including only a few that somehow appealed to me. There are lots more on the web by this fellow.

The Haikus of Buson

1. That handsaw marks time
with the sound of poverty
late on a winter night

2. In seasonal rain
along a nameless river
fear too has no name

3. Clinging to the bell
he dozes so peacefully,
this new butterfly

4. Head pillowed on arm,
such affection for myself!
and this smoky moon

5. This cold winter night,
that old wooden-head buddha
would make a nice fire

6. With the noon conch blown
those old rice-planting songs
are suddenly gone

7. Walking on dishes
the rat's feet make the music
of shivering cold

8. Nobly, the great priest
deposits his daily stool /* Excuse me ????!! - Stangenlord */
in bleak winter fields

9. In a bitter wind
a solitary monk bends /* This is beautiful - Stangenlord*/
to words cut in stone

10.At a roadside shrine,
before the stony buddha
a firefly burns

11. With no underrobes,
bare butt suddenly exposed
a gust of spring wind

12. Priestly poverty
he carves a wooden buddha
through a long cold night

13. With a woman friend,
bowing at the Great Palace
a pale , hazy moon

14. Whore and monk, we sleep
under one roof together,
moon in a field of clover

Quite intrigued,

Life... from the Jaws of Death

All this talk of death is strangling me! I think I shall take it upon myself to provide you all a lease of life!

The Jack ;)

A Psalm of Life

What the Heart of the Young Man Said to the Psalmist

-- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

TELL me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!--
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest! 5
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way; 10
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating 15
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife! 20

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,--act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us 25
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main, 30
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing, 35
Learn to labor and to wait.


here are john donne's views on the topic- pretty contrary to whitman..

Holy Sonnets: Death, be not proud

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell;
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

-- John Donne

Ode to Death by Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman was one of America's earliest celebrated poets. He was known as the Good Grey Beard. His poems are usually about himself, plain and simple. He was also a great champion of the new found American democracy. A great deal of his poems are about the Civil War and the world after that.

I am not going to talk much about the following poem. I leave it crisp and fresh to your appreciation. Here's somebody who wants not only to "go gently into that dark night", but welcomes the night with a song that floats "over the tree-tops" with a great deal of joy.


Ode to Death

Come, lovely and soothing death,
Undulate round the world, serenely arriving, arriving,
In the day, in the night, to all, to each,
Sooner or later, delicate death.
...Praise! Praise! Praise!
For the sure-enwinding arms of cool-enfolding death...
Have none chanted for thee a chant of fullest welcome?
Then I chant it for thee, I glorify thee above all,
I bring thee a song that when thou must indeed come, come unfalteringly...
Over the tree-tops I float thee a song...
I float this carol with joy, with joy to thee, O death.

-- Walt Whitman


thks a million for the wasteland link. I've tried reading and understanding it for sometime now and it was always incredibly difficult . TSE's arbit notes dont help either. This guy's site is simply amazing, "labour of love" is the phrase that comes to mind. Before this, I couln't get beyond the lines "Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee" without bulbing . But then I read this site. And,

Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez, when with eagle eyes
He stared at the Pacific—and all his men
Look'd at each other with a wild surmise—
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.


Another Classic


-- W. H. Auden

Lay Your Sleeping head, my love,
Human on my faithless arm:
Time and fevers burn away
Individual beauty from
Thoughtful children, and the grave
Proves the child ephemeral:
But in my arms till break of day
Let the living creature lie,
Mortal, guilty, but to me
The entirely beautiful.
Soul and body have no bounds:
To lovers as they lie upon
Her tolerant enchanted slope
In their ordinary swoon,
Grave the vision Venus sends
Of supernatural sympathy,
Universal love and hope;
While an abstract insight wakes
Among the glaciers and the rocks
The hermit's carnal ecstasy,
Certainty, fidelity
On the stroke of midnight pass
Like vibrations of a bell
And fashionable madmen raise
Their pedantic boring cry:
Every farthing of the cost.
All the dreaded cards foretell.
Shall be paid, but from this night
Not a whisper, not a thought.
Not a kiss nor look be lost.
Beauty, midnight, vision dies:
Let the winds of dawn that blow
Softly round your dreaming head
Such a day of welcome show
Eye and knocking heart may bless,
Find our mortal world enough;
Noons of dryness find you fed
By the involuntary powers,
Nights of insult let you pass
Watched by every human love.


A Brook in The City by Robert Frost


True to the legend, poets have violent mood swings :-) As much as I agree with that, I don't seem to be moving beyond melancholy. Pity, the Gods to be, havent given me the eyes for anything better, I guess. :-)

How do you cope with change? Don't we always wonder when sometimes we do "slow down" and look back and see how many things have changed? Things change so seamlessly and effortlessly that it takes some time to realise that they have indeed changed. And we all fit into the new schema of things as well as we did earlier, most of the time. Well, change is one rule of nature that man still seems to obey without a whimper, I guess...maybe because the choice is not his.


A Brook in the City

The firm house lingers, though averse to square
With the new city street it has to wear A number in.
But what about the brook
That held the house as in an elbow-crook?
I ask as one who knew the brook, its strength
And impulse, having dipped a finger length
And made it leap my knuckle, having tossed
A flower to try its currents where they crossed.
The meadow grass could be cemented down
>From growing under pavements of a town;
The apple trees be sent to hearth-stone flame.
Is water wood to serve a brook the same?
How else dispose of an immortal force
No longer needed? Staunch it at its source
With cinder loads dumped down? The brook wasthrown
Deep in a sewer dungeon under stone
In fetid darkness still to live and run -
And all for nothing it had ever done
Except forget to go in fear perhaps.
No one would know except for ancient maps
That such a brook ran water. But I wonder
If from its being kept forever under
The thoughts may not have risen that so keep
This new-built city from both work and sleep.

-- Robert Frost

In A Disused Graveyard


A few weeks ago, I had sent this poem to a few of you. Melancholetta has taken birth and so deserves to have this entry in the archives. Ever since, I read this one, it has become one of my favourite poems.

Look at the mocking irony in the verses. Frost, I am sure, wrote this with a lot of bitterness in his mouth over some loss and the hypocrisy surrounding it all.


In a Disused Graveyard

The living come with grassy tread
To read the gravestones on the hill;
The graveyard draws the living still,
But never anymore the dead.
The verses in it say and say:
"The ones who living come today
To read the stones and go away
Tomorrow dead will come to stay."
So sure of death the marbles rhyme,
Yet can't help marking all the time
How no one dead will seem to come.
What is it men are shrinking from?
It would be easy to be clever
And tell the stones: Men hate to die
And have stopped dying now forever.
I think they would believe the lie.

-- Robert Frost

(Also visit this link in Armchair Realities, Stangenlord's blog for his write-up on the poem. -- Ed)

A Detailed Guide to Wasteland

Hello Melancholites,

Waste Land, one of the most complex poems of the 20th century continues to baffle readers 75 years after it was published. TS Eliot, widely regarded as one of the most learned critics, has inundated the work with a barrage of references and allusions to countless works and also with his entrancing imagery.

To help beginners to Eliot get a grip of the poem, there are a few online sites available. Please follow this link for an excellent website on Waste Land.



romance any1?

If You Forget Me

I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.

-- Pablo Neruda


John Donne

founder of the "metaphysical" genre of poetry...

heres one from him:

Break of Day

Tis true, 'tis day; what though it be?
O wilt thou therefore rise from me?
Why should we rise, because 'tis light?
Did we lie down, because 'twas night?
Love, which in spite of darkness brought us hither,
Should in despite of light keep us together.

Light hath no tongue, but is all eye;
If it could speak as well as spy,
This were the worst that it could say,
That being well, I fain would stay,
And that I loved my heart and honor so,
That I would not from him, that had them, go.

Must business thee from hence remove?
O, that's the worst disease of love.
The poor, the foul, the false, love can
Admit, but not the busied man.
He which hath business, and makes love, doth do
Such wrong, as when a married man doth woo.

-- John Donne


Husband's Day

its husband's day sometime this week- i know what u'll say- another cheap
hallmark trick!

neways here is something more by wilde- less melancholic- more mush.

To My Wife - With A Copy Of My Poems

I can write no stately proem
As a prelude to my lay;
From a poet to a poem
I would dare to say.

For if of these fallen petals
One to you seem fair,
Love will waft it till it settles
On your hair.

And when wind and winter harden
All the loveless land,
It will whisper of the garden,
You will understand.

-- Oscar Wilde


(This was posted on Feb 24, 2003 -- Ed.)


my fav poet of the romantic age..

this one's by another of my favs, oscar wilde about keats.

The Grave Of Keats

Rid of the world's injustice, and his pain,
He rests at last beneath God's veil of blue:
Taken from life when life and love were new
The youngest of the martyrs here is lain,
Fair as Sebastian, and as early slain.
No cypress shades his grave, no funeral yew,
But gentle violets weeping with the dew
Weave on his bones an ever-blossoming chain.
O proudest heart that broke for misery!
O sweetest lips since those of Mitylene!
O poet-painter of our English Land!
Thy name was writ in water - it shall stand:
And tears like mine will keep thy memory green,
As Isabella did her Basil-tree.

-- Oscar Wilde

am in a very sad mood today.. so excuse the "melancholy"


Sitting, Staring. Relaxing....Adding to the list, Alexander Pope


Some really nice verses on "slowing down" being posted....I particularly enjoyed Seth's translation of Li Po and 'Leisure'. I am reminded of Simon and Garfunkel's lyrics. 'America','59th Bridge Song','Sounds Of Silence','Dangling Conversation'.... all very good pieces expressing the same feeling of loneliness,nostalgia,feeling lost in a mad world. Here's my favourite verse from 'Homeward Bound'.... just exactly how you feel when you are homesick.

"Tonight I'll sing my songs again, I'll play the game and pretend.
But all my words come back to me in shades of mediocrity
Like emptiness in harmony I need someone to comfort me.
Homeward bound, I wish I was, Homeward bound,
Home where my thought's escaping, Home where my music's playing,
Home where my love lies waiting, Silently for me, Silently for me."

Of course, you have to listen to the songs to really appreciate it. Please do so...if you haven't.

I contemplate often, if we would continue to suffer the same turmoil, if we would allow ourselves to drift away and to drown in this violent stream of life, if....if only we knew what fate has in store for us at the next step. The following is an excerpt from "An essay on Man" by the eternal cynic, Alexander Pope. This verse is one of my old favourites. Look at how he talks about how everybody is equal in the eyes of nature/God (as it suits you). Things that we think are great, and massive are just as significant as what we deem to be trivial things the way they all vanish at one point. So, where are we going,without realising this?

An Essay on Man

Heav'n from all creatures hides the book of fate,
All but the page prescrib'd, their present state:
From brutes what men, from men what spirits know:
Or who could suffer being here below?
The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed today,
Had he thy reason, would he skip and play?
Pleas'd to the last, he crops the flow'ry food,
And licks the hand just rais'd to shed his blood.
Oh blindness to the future! kindly giv'n,
That each may fill the circle mark'd by Heav'n:
Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,
A hero perish, or a sparrow fall,
Atoms or systems into ruin hurl'd,
And now a bubble burst, and now a world.

Alexander Pope

Thoughtfully yours,

Of Sitting, Standing, Staring...


W H Davies' simplicity in romanticism is very idiosyncratic to him. He is lucid and readable. Sit, stand, stare, care... Amen

The Jack ;)


WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

W.H. Davies

More Seth

i hope u all enjoyed the poems i posted-

this one is really small- it comes froma collection of translations of poems by 3 chiinese poets that seth did as his phd thesis - this one is originally by a poet called Li Po

In the Quiet Night

The floor before my bed is bright:
Moonlight - like hoarfrost - in my room.
I lift my head and watch the moon.

I drop my head and think of home.


this is a review that some one wrote about this poem...

I came across this poem years ago in Seth's volume "Three Chinese Poets" which I began reading more from a love of Seth than any great interest in Chinese poetry. What I love about this poem is its sparseness, something that Li Po shares with other Chinese poets, and which I think has to do with a culture where emotional restraint is encouraged. Yet this quatrain is an example of just how much loneliness can hide behind a facade of serenity. The poem resembles the Chinese script itself - a minutely detailed painting brought to life with a few deft strokes.


For those stressed out...


Sit, drink your coffee here; your work can wait awhile.
You're twenty-six, and still have some of life ahead.
No need for wit; just talk vacuities, and I'll
Reciprocate in kind, or laugh at you instead.

The world is too opaque, distressing and profound.
This twenty minutes' rendezvous will make my day:
To sit here in the sun, with grackles all around,
Staring with beady eyes, and you two feet away.

-- Vikram Seth

Vikram Seth

One of the best english language poets that india has ever produced. though his poetry is extremely underrated in india atleast. seth, i believe , is a wonderful master of verse who manages to put across deep empathy without using much imagery or any such twists of language. his style is lucid yet testing to the reader, because he often has a different purpose to his writing, than the one normally perceived.

this is my favorite seth poem, from a collection of the same name. read it and check out the foot notes:

All You who Sleep Tonight

All you who sleep tonight
Far from the ones you love,
No hand to left or right

And emptiness above -

Know that you aren't alone
The whole world shares your tears,
Some for two nights or one,
And some for all their years.

-- Vikram Seth

p.s: this poem , is on the homepage of the gaybombay sight. seth is a well known supporter of the gay movement in india, though his own oorientation is not in question.. he has written a number of poems about the apathy of gays in india, and this issue finds constant reference in almost all his works.

and in case u have any doubta about him being straight- check out this one!

its called "round and round".

Round and Round

After a long and wretched flight
That stretched from daylight into night,
Where babies wept and tempers shattered
And the plane lurched and whiskey splattered
Over my plastic food, I came
To claim my bags from Baggage Claim

Around, the carousel went around
The anxious travelers sought and found
Their bags, intact or gently battered,
But to my foolish eyes what mattered
Was a brave suitcase, red and small,
That circled round, not mine at all.

I knew that bag. It must be hers.
We hadnt met in seven years!
And as the metal plates squealed and clattered
My happy memories chimed and chattered.
An old man pulled it of the Claim.
My bags appeared: I did the same.

hope u enjoyed that,


On My First Son

Hello all,

Compare the previous death poem by Dylan with the one that follows by Ben Johnson. Ben Johnson was a contemporary of Shakespeare, a friend and fellow poet, and many people believe that had the Shakespeare not existed, he would be as famous as William is today. This poem is about the loss of his son, and refers to the period of seven years which was common for a loan to be lent for. At the end of those years, the money is collected, just as the boy is collected from his father.

On My First Son
Ben Jonson
Farewell, thou child of my right hand, and joy ;
My sin was too much hope of thee, lov'd boy.
Seven years thou wert lent to me, and I thee pay,
Exacted by thy fate, on the just day.
Oh, could I lose all father now ! For why
Will man lament the state he should envy?
To have so soon 'scaped world's and flesh's rage,
And if no other misery, yet age !
Rest in soft peace, and, asked, say, Here doth lie
Ben Jonson his best piece of poetry.
For whose sake henceforth all his vows be such
As what he loves may never like too much.

A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London


Here's another piece from Dylan. The powerful last stanza, particularly the last line makes a strong statement.

A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London
Dylan Thomas

Never until the mankind making
Bird beast and flower
Fathering and all humbling darkness
Tells with silence the last light breaking
And the still hour
Is come of the sea tumbling in harness

And I must enter again the round
Zion of the water bead
And the synagogue of the ear of corn
Shall I let pray the shadow of a sound
Or sow my salt seed
In the least valley of sackcloth to mourn

The majesty and burning of the child's death.
I shall not murder
The mankind of her going with a grave truth
Nor blaspheme down the stations of the breath
With any further
Elegy of innocence and youth.

Deep with the first dead lies London's daughter,
Robed in the long friends,
The grains beyond age, the dark veins of her mother,
Secret by the unmourning water
Of the riding Thames.
After the first death, there is no other.

Do not go gentle into that good night

Hello group,

Here's a piece from Dylan Thomas. He was a very aggressive poet, who wrote some shrill,sharp and yet intriguingly appealing poetry. He was inspired by D H Lawrence's works. He stood out among contemporary poets like T S Eliot and W H Auden who were staunch proponents of poetry identifying with reality and social and intellectual issues. He was a modern romanticist..who often challenged life and the miseries it brings and was forever ready for a bout...

Here's an example.


Do Not Go gentle Into that Good Night

Dylan Thomas
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Tennyson's Tunes

Being a die-hard Tennyson fan, I present one of my favourites; one of his better works. This is probably not as famous as The Lady of Shalott and The Charge of the Light Brigade, but I'm sure that you'll enjoy this just as much. Just the clatter of words, the lucidity and the rhyme make making heavy weather of this almost impossible. If poetry can be made so simple and so fascinating all at once...

The Jack ;)


Alfred Lord Tennyson

IN her ear he whispers gaily,
'If my heart by signs can tell,
Maiden, I have watch'd thee daily,
And I think thou lov'st me well.'
She replies, in accents fainter,
'There is none I love like thee.'
He is but a landscape-painter,
And a village maiden she.
He to lips, that fondly falter,
Presses his without reproof:
Leads her to the village altar,
And they leave her father's rooú
'I can make no marriage present:
Little can I give my wife.
Love will make our cottage pleasant,
And I love thee more than life.'
They by parks and lodges going
See the lordly castles stand:
Summer woods, about them blowing,
Made a murmur in the land.
From deep thought himself he rouses,
Says to her that loves him well,
'Let us see these handsome houses
Where the wealthy nobles dwell.'
So she goes by him attended,
Hears him lovingly converse,
Sees whatever fair and splendid
Lay betwixt his home and hers;
Parks with oak and chestnut shady,
Parks and order'd gardens great,
Ancient homes of lord and lady,
Built for pleasure and for state.
All he shows her makes him dearer:
Evermore she seems to gaze
On that cottage growing nearer,
Where they twain will spend their days.
O but she will love him truly !
He shall have a cheerful home;
She will order all things duly,
When beneath his roof they come.
Thus her heart rejoices greatly,
Till a gateway she discerns
With armorial bearings stately,
And beneath the gate she turns;
Sees a mansion more majestic
Than all those she saw before:
Many a gallant gay domestic
Bows before him at the door.
And they speak in gentle murmur,
When they answer to his call,
While he treads with footstep firmer,
Leading on from hall to hall.
And, while now she wonders blindly,
Nor the meaning can divine,
Proudly turns he round and kindly,
'All of this is mine and thine.'
Here he lives in state and bounty,
Lord of Burleigh, fair and free,
Not a lord in all the county
Is so great a lord as he.
All at once the colour flushes
Her sweet face from brow to chin:
As it were with shame she blushes,
And her spirit changed within.
Then her countenance all over
Pale again as death did prove:
But he clasp'd her like a lover,
And he cheer'd her soul with love.
So she strove against her weakness,
Tho' at times her spirit sank:
Shaped her heart with woman's meekness
To all duties of her rank:
And a gentle consort made he,
And her gentle mind was such
That she grew a noble lady,
And the people loved her much.
But a trouble weigh'd upon her,
And perplex'd her, night and morn,
With the burthen of an honour
Unto which she was not born.
Faint she grew, and ever fainter,
And she murmur'd, 'Oh, that he
Were once more that landscape-painter,
Which did win my heart from me!'
So she droop'd and droop'd before him,
Fading slowly from his side:
Three fair children first she bore him,
Then before her time she died.
Weeping, weeping late and early,
Walking up and pacing down,
Deeply mourn'd the Lord of Burleigh,
Burleigh-house by Stamford-town.
And he came to look upon her,
And he look'd at her and said,
'Bring the dress and put it on her,
That she wore when she was wed.'
Then her people, softly treading,
Bore to earth her body, drest
In the dress that she was wed in,
That her spirit might have rest.


Aparajith's previous post continued:



A snake came to my water-trough
On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat,
To drink there.

In the deep, strange-scented shade of the great dark carob-tree
I came down the steps with my pitcher
And must wait, must stand and wait, for there he was at the trough
before me.

He reached down from a fissure in the earth-wall in the gloom
And trailed his yellow-brown slackness soft-bellied down, over the
edge of the stone trough

And rested his throat upon the stone bottom,
And where the water had dripped from the tap, in a small clearness,
He sipped with his straight mouth,


Someone was before me at my water-trough,
And I, like a second comer, waiting.

He lifted his head from his drinking, as cattle do,
And looked at me vaguely, as drinking cattle do,
And flickered his two-forked tongue from his lips, and mused a
And stooped and drank a little more,
Being earth-brown, earth-golden from the burning bowels of the earth
On the day of Sicilian July, with Etna smoking.

The voice of my education said to me
He must be killed,
For in Sicily the black, black snakes are innocent, the gold are

And voices in me said, If you were a man

But must I confess how I liked him,
How glad I was he had come like a guest in quiet, to drink at my
And depart peaceful, pacified, and thankless,
Into the burning bowels of this earth?

Was it cowardice, that I dared not kill him?
Was it perversity, that I longed to talk to him?
Was it humility, to feel so honoured?
I felt so honoured.

And yet those voices:
If you were not afraid, you would kill him!

And truly I was afraid, I was most afraid,
But even so, honoured still more
That he should seek my hospitality
From out the dark door of the secret earth.

He drank enough
And lifted his head, dreamily, as one who has drunken,
And flickered his tongue like a forked night on the air, so black,
Seeming to lick his lips,
And looked around like a god, unseeing, into the air,
And slowly turned his head,
And slowly, very slowly, as if thrice adream,
Proceeded to draw his slow length curving round
And climb again the broken back of my wall-face.

And as he put his head into that dreadful hole,
And as he slowly drew up, snake-easing his shoulders, and entered
A sort of horror, a sort of protest against his withdrawing into that
horrid black hole,
Deliberately going into the blackness, and slowly drawing himself
Overcame me now his back was turned.

I picked up a clumsy log
And threw it at the water-trough with a clatter.

I think it did not hit him,
But suddenly that part of him that was left behind convulsed in
undignified haste,
Writhed like lightning, and was gone
Into the black hole, the earth-lipped fissure in the wall-front.
At which, in the intense still noon, I stared with fascination.

And immediately I regretted it.
I thought how paltry, how vulgar, what a mean act!
I despised myself and the voices of my accursed human education.

And I thought of the albatross,
And wished he would come back, my snake.

For he seemed to me again like a king,
Like a king in exile, uncrowned in the underworld

And so, I missed my chance with one of the lords
Of life.
And I have something to expiate;
A pettiness

Untain Lion

You must've read these before but just thought looking at them together would create a nice effect. For a man who wrote a century ago, DH Lawrence seems to show a rare - even touching - empathy towards animals. However, it would be interesting to know, given the culture he was born into, whether he had second thoughts about lamb and chicken! Perhaps he was vegetarian, I don't know.


Untain Lion

D.H. Lawrence

Climbing through the January snow, into the Lobo canyon
Dark grow the spruce-trees, blue is the balsam, water sounds still
unfrozen, and the trail is still evident.
Two men!
Men! The only animal in the world to fear!

They hesitate.
We hesitate.
They have a gun.
We have no gun.

Then we all advance, to meet.

Two Mexicans, strangers, emerging out of the dark and snow and
inwardness of the Lobo valley.

What is he carrying?
Something yellow.
A deer?

Qué tiene, amigo?
León -

He smiles, foolishly, as if he were caught doing wrong.
And we smile, foolishly, as if we didn't know.
He is quite gentle and dark-faced.

It is a mountain lion,
A long, long slim cat, yellow like a lioness.

He trapped her this morning, he says, smiling foolishly.
Lift up her face,
Her round, bright face, bright as frost.

And stripes in the brilliant frost of her face, sharp, fine dark rays,
Dark, keen, fine rays in the brilliant frost of her face.
Beautiful dead eyes.

Hermoso es!

They go out towards the open;
We go on into the gloom of Lobo.
And above the trees I found her lair,
A hole in the blood-orange brilliant rocks that stick up, a little
And bones, and twigs, and a perilous ascent.

So, she will never leap up that way again, with the yellow flash of a
mountain lion's long shoot!
And her bright striped frost-face will never watch any more, out of
shadow of the cave in the blood-orange rock,
Above the trees of the Lobo dark valley-mouth!

Instead, I look out.
And out to the dim of the desert, like a dream, never real;
To the snow of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, the ice of the
of Picoris,
And near across at the opposite steep of snow, green trees motionless
standing in snow, like a Christmas toy.

And I think in this empty world there was room for me and a mountain
And I think in the world beyond, how easily we might spare a million
or two of humans
And never miss them.
Yet what a gap in the world, the missing white frost-face of that slim
yellow mountain lion!

A for an Alliteration!

A masterpiece in its own right . ( But what happened to J! )

The Jack ;)

The Siege of Belgrade

Alaric Alexander Watts

An Austrian army, awfully arrayed,
Boldly by battery besieged Belgrade.
Cossack commanders cannonading come,
Dealing destruction's devastating doom.
Every endeavor engineers essay,
For fame, for fortune fighting - furious fray!
Generals 'gainst generals grapple - gracious God!
How honors Heaven heroic hardihood!
Infuriate, indiscrminate in ill,
Kindred kill kinsmen, kinsmen kindred kill.
Labor low levels longest, lofiest lines;
Men march 'mid mounds, 'mid moles, ' mid murderous mines;
Now noxious, noisey numbers nothing, naught
Of outward obstacles, opposing ought;
Poor patriots, partly purchased, partly pressed,
Quite quaking, quickly "Quarter! Quarter!" quest.
Reason returns, religious right redounds,
Suwarrow stops such sanguinary sounds.
Truce to thee, Turkey! Triumph to thy train,
Unwise, unjust, unmerciful Ukraine!
Vanish vain victory! vanish, victory vain!
Why wish we warfare? Wherefore welcome were
Xerxes, Ximenes, Xanthus, Xavier?
Yield, yield, ye youths! ye yeomen, yield your yell!
Zeus', Zarpater's, Zoroaster's zeal,
Attracting all, arms against acts appeal!

A Blue Valentine

A Blue Valentine
(For Aline)

Joyce Kilmer
Right Reverend Bishop Valentinus,
Sometime of Interamna, which is called Ferni,
Now of the delightful Court of Heaven,
I respectfully salute you,
I genuflect
And I kiss your episcopal ring.

It is not, Monsignore,
The fragrant memory of your holy life,
Nor that of your shining and joyous martyrdom,
Which causes me now to address you.
But since this is your august festival, Monsignore,
It seems appropriate to me to state
According to a venerable and agreeable custom,
That I love a beautiful lady.
Her eyes, Monsignore,
Are so blue that they put lovely little blue reflections
On everything that she looks at,
Such as a wall
Or the moon
Or my heart.
It is like the light coming through blue stained glass,
Yet not quite like it,
For the blueness is not transparent,
Only translucent.
Her soul's light shines through,
But her soul cannot be seen.
It is something elusive, whimsical, tender, wanton, infantile, wise
And noble.
She wears, Monsignore, a blue garment,
Made in the manner of the Japanese.
It is very blue-
I think that her eyes have made it more blue,
Sweetly staining it
As the pressure of her body has graciously given it form.
Loving her, Monsignore,
I love all her attributes;
But I believe
That even if I did not love her
I would love the blueness of her eyes,
And her blue garment, made in the manner of the Japanese.

I have never before troubled you with a request.
The saints whose ears I chiefly worry with my pleas
are the most exquisite and maternal Brigid,
Gallant Saint Stephen, who puts fire in my blood,
And your brother bishop, my patron,
The generous and jovial Saint Nicholas of Bari.
But, of your courtesy, Monsignore,
Do me this favour:
When you this morning make your way
To the Ivory Throne that bursts into bloom with roses
because of her who sits upon it,
When you come to pay your devoir to Our Lady,
I beg you, say to her:
"Madame, a poor poet, one of your singing servants yet on earth,
Has asked me to say that at this moment he is especially grateful to
For wearing a blue gown".

-Joyce Kilmer

The Village Schoolmaster

The Village Schoolmaster
Oliver Goldsmith

Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way,
With blossom'd furze unprofitably gay,
There, in his noisy mansion, skill'd to rule,
The village master taught his little school.
A man severe he was, and stern to view;
I knew him well, and every truant knew;
Well had the boding tremblers learn'd to trace
The day's disasters in his morning face;
Full well they laugh'd with counterfeited glee
At all his jokes, for many a joke had he;
Full well the busy whisper circling round
Convey'd the dismal tidings when he frown'd.
Yet he was kind, or, if severe in aught,
The love he bore to learning was in fault;
The village all declar'd how much he knew;
'Twas certain he could write, and cypher too:
Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage,
And ev'n the story ran that he could gauge.
In arguing, too, the parson own'd his skill,
For, ev'n though vanquish'd, he could argue still;
While words of learned length and thundering sound
Amazed the gazing rustics rang'd around;
And still they gaz'd, and still the wonder grew,
That one small head could carry all he knew.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

I have loved flowers that fade

I have loved flowers that fade
Robert Bridges

I have loved flowers that fade,
Within whose magic tents
Rich hues have marriage made
With sweet unmemoried scents:
A honeymoon delight,
A joy of love at sight,
That ages in an hour
My song be like a flower!.

I have loved airs that die
Before their charm is writ
Along a liquid sky
Trembling to welcome it.
Notes, that with pulse of fire
Proclaim the spirit's desire,
Then die, and are nowhere
My song be like an air!.

Die, song, die like a breath,
And wither as a bloom;
Fear not a flowery death,
Dread not an airy tomb!
Fly with delight, fly hence!
'Twas thine love's tender sense
To feast; now on thy bier
Beauty shall shed a tear.


Here's some dark humour(??) from Lewis Carroll. The group's name is inspired by the theme

- Stangenlord


by Lewis Carroll

WITH saddest music all day long
She soothed her secret sorrow:
At night she sighed "I fear 'twas wrong
Such cheerful words to borrow.
Dearest, a sweeter, sadder song
I'll sing to thee to-morrow." -
I thanked her, but I could not say
That I was glad to hear it:
I left the house at break of day,
And did not venture near it
Till time, I hoped, had worn away
Her grief, for nought could cheer it! -
My dismal sister! Couldst thou know
The wretched home thou keepest!
Thy brother, drowned in daily woe,
Is thankful when thou sleepest;
For if I laugh, however low,
When thou'rt awake, thou weepest! -
I took my sister t'other day
(Excuse the slang expression)
To Sadler's Wells to see the play
In hopes the new impression
Might in her thoughts, from grave to gay
Effect some slight digression. -
I asked three gay young dogs from town
To join us in our folly,
Whose mirth, I thought, might serve to drown
My sister's melancholy:
The lively Jones, the sportive Brown,
And Robinson the jolly. -
The maid announced the meal in tones
That I myself had taught her,
Meant to allay my sister's moans
Like oil on troubled water:
I rushed to Jones, the lively Jones,
And begged him to escort her. -
Vainly he strove, with ready wit,
To joke about the weather-
To ventilate the last "on dit"-
To quote the price of leather-
She groaned "Here I and Sorrow sit:
Let us lament together!" -
I urged "You're wasting time, you know
Delay will spoil the venison."
"My heart is wasted with my woe!
There is no rest- in Venice, on //Amusing rhyme - RL!!
The Bridge of Sighs!" she quoted low
From Byron and from Tennyson. -
I need not tell of soup and fish
In solemn silence swallowed,
The sobs that ushered in each dish,
And its departure followed,
Nor yet my suicidal wish
To be the cheese I hollowed. -
Some desperate attempts were made
To start a conversation;
"Madam," the sportive Brown essayed,
"Which kind of recreation,
Hunting or fishing, have you made
Your special occupation?" -
Her lips curved downwards instantly,
As if of india-rubber.
"Hounds in full cry I like," said she:
(Oh, how I longed to snub her!)
"Of fish, a whale's the one for me,
It is so full of blubber!" -
The night's performance was "King John".
"It's dull", she wept, "and so-so!"
Awhile I let her tears flow on,
She said they soothed her woe so!
At length the curtain rose upon
"Bombastes Furioso". -
In vain we roared; in vain we tried
To rouse her into laughter:
Her pensive glances wandered wide
From orchestra to rafter-
"Tier upon tier!" she said, and sighed;
And silence followed after.