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BS: Poems that speak to you.


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Marion 23 Oct 07 - 12:37 AM
Marion 23 Oct 07 - 12:45 AM
Mickey191 23 Oct 07 - 01:04 AM
Mickey191 23 Oct 07 - 01:30 AM
Rowan 23 Oct 07 - 02:24 AM
Wild Flying Dove 23 Oct 07 - 05:41 AM
Emma B 23 Oct 07 - 06:42 AM
Jeanie 23 Oct 07 - 07:08 AM
Azizi 23 Oct 07 - 08:03 AM
Rapparee 23 Oct 07 - 09:11 AM
kendall 23 Oct 07 - 09:12 AM
Wild Flying Dove 23 Oct 07 - 09:59 AM
Peace 23 Oct 07 - 10:11 AM
Bill D 23 Oct 07 - 11:27 AM
Peace 23 Oct 07 - 11:34 AM
Bill D 23 Oct 07 - 11:35 AM
Emma B 23 Oct 07 - 03:44 PM
Rowan 23 Oct 07 - 05:53 PM
Peace 23 Oct 07 - 06:11 PM
GUEST,GUEST 23 Oct 07 - 06:30 PM
Jean(eanjay) 23 Oct 07 - 06:43 PM
Marion 23 Oct 07 - 09:14 PM
Joe_F 23 Oct 07 - 09:15 PM
Rapparee 23 Oct 07 - 10:11 PM
bobad 23 Oct 07 - 10:27 PM
Rowan 24 Oct 07 - 04:14 AM
Emma B 24 Oct 07 - 05:24 AM
Azizi 24 Oct 07 - 06:58 AM
Emma B 24 Oct 07 - 08:54 PM
Rapparee 24 Oct 07 - 10:35 PM
GUEST,TIA 24 Oct 07 - 10:43 PM
maeve 24 Oct 07 - 11:43 PM
kendall 25 Oct 07 - 09:06 AM
Peace 25 Oct 07 - 09:09 AM
Rapparee 25 Oct 07 - 09:14 AM
GUEST,Edgar A. 25 Oct 07 - 12:11 PM
Rapparee 25 Oct 07 - 01:25 PM
Amos 25 Oct 07 - 01:30 PM
Rowan 25 Oct 07 - 06:23 PM
Rapparee 25 Oct 07 - 09:10 PM
Amos 25 Oct 07 - 09:31 PM
Rapparee 25 Oct 07 - 10:20 PM
Amos 25 Oct 07 - 11:08 PM
Peace 25 Oct 07 - 11:10 PM
Rowan 25 Oct 07 - 11:34 PM
GUEST,rock chick 26 Oct 07 - 05:30 PM
Mrrzy 26 Oct 07 - 11:05 PM
Rowan 26 Oct 07 - 11:22 PM
kendall 27 Oct 07 - 09:10 AM
Leadfingers 27 Oct 07 - 11:18 AM

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Marion
Date: 23 Oct 07 - 12:37 AM

by Belle Waring

Dying babies need

Dead babies need

So why am I still

PS. NICU stands for neonatal intensive care unit; I found this in a book of poetry by nurses.

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Marion
Date: 23 Oct 07 - 12:45 AM

One more for tonight...

Elegy for the Gift (Elegy for the Light)

Sometimes, when the subway car
comes briefly out of the tunnel,
we don't look up, miss the light.
And it's as though, inattentive,
we'd never had that moment
of brightness. A life may be full
of such small losses, or full,
equally, of small, dense gifts:
the child on that same car
dipping her face into her mother's;
that perfect regard.

PS. Found on a poster in the Toronto subway. The title is sic; I know it looks like I wasn't sure and offered two versions.

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Mickey191
Date: 23 Oct 07 - 01:04 AM

American Tune lyrics
Paul Simon lyrics

Many's the time I've been mistaken,
and many times confused
Yes, and I've often felt forsaken,
and certainly misused.

Ah, but I'm all right, I'm all right.
I'm just weary to my bones.
Still you don't expect to be bright and bon vivant,
so far away from home,
so far away from home.

And I don't know a soul who's not been battered.
I don't have a friend who feels at ease.
I don't know a dream that's not been shattered,
or driven to its knees.

Ah, but it's all right. It's all right.
For we've lived so well so long.
Still, when I think of the road we're travelin' on,
I wonder what's gone wrong.
I can't help but wonder what's gone wrong.

And I dreamed I was dying.
I dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedly,
and looking back down at me, smiled reassuringly.

And I dreamed I was flying,
and high up above my eyes could clearly see
the Statue of Liberty sailing away to sea.
And I dreamed I was flying.

And we come on the ship they call the Mayflower.
We come on the ship that sailed the moon.
We come in the age's most uncertain hours,
and sing an American tune.

Oh, and it's all right, it's all right,
it's all right.
You can't be forever blessed.
Still tomorrow's gonna be another working day
and I'm tryin' to get some rest;
that's all - I'm trying to get some rest.


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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Mickey191
Date: 23 Oct 07 - 01:30 AM


We promised we wouldn't do this But now I look into your face My legs are weak, just one hug And a kiss, for old times sake Then another hug, and I quiver
In remembrance

Your hand is so soft
As it strokes my hair and down my back
Smoothing away months and years
You light the candles
And shadows dance across the walls

We lie down just to hold
And suddenly, remembrance takes over
You are everywhere
Beside me, above me, below me, in me

Your mouth is the sweetest thing I've ever known. I can't touch enough, kiss enough, hold enough.      Like time has been standing still
You cause me to shudder.


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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Rowan
Date: 23 Oct 07 - 02:24 AM

The first few stanzas of AD Hope's "The double looking glass" reads;

See how she strips her lily for the sun;
the silk shrieks upward from her wading feet;
down through the pool her wavering echoes run;
candour with candour, shade and substance meet.

From where a wet meniscus rings the shin
the crisp air shivers up her glowing thighs,
swell round a noble haunch and whispers in
the dimple of her belly.... Surely eyes

lurk in the aurels, wher each leafy nest
darts its quick bird-glance through the shifting screen.
.... Yawn of the oxter, lift of liquid breast
splinter their white shafts through our envious green

where thuds this rage of double double hearts.
.... My foolish fear refracts a foolish dream.
Here all things have imagined counterparts:
a dragon-fly dim-darting in the stream

follows and watches with enormous eyes
his blue narcissus glitter in the air.
The flesh reverberates its own surprise
and startles at the act which makes it bare.

Laced with quick air and vibrant to the light,
now my whole animal breathes and knows its place
in the great web of being, and its right;
the mind learns ease again, the heart finds grace.

I am as all things living. Man alone
cowers from his world in clothes and cannot guess
how earth and water, branch and beast and stone
speak to the naked in their nakedness.

.... A silver rising of her arms, that share
their pure and slender crescent with the pool
plunders the braided treasure of her hair.
Loosed from their coils uncrowning falls the full

cascade of tresses whispering down her flanks,
and idly now she wades a step, and stays
tp watch the ripples widen to the banks
and lapse in mossy coves and rushy bays.

And that's the first 9 of the allegory's 42 stanzas.

Cheers, Rowan

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Wild Flying Dove
Date: 23 Oct 07 - 05:41 AM

Jeanie - the Pomeganate poem is DH Lawrence, part of a series about fruit - the Fig poem is well known for being a partly veiled description of female genitalia. Pomegranite alludes to sex and morality - in his era he has forced to justify his actions - eg. the last 2 lines of Pomegranite ... "For my part, I prefer my heart to be broken, It is so lovely, dawn-kaleidoscopic within the crack." Bet you've never heard it described like that before! He was masterful with words.

Poems I especially like are:

Entirely by Louis MacNeice


The Great Lover by Robert Graves

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Emma B
Date: 23 Oct 07 - 06:42 AM

The cadencies of John Masefield's "Cargoes" also reminded me of another favourite one of mine.

I don't think I need to add what it "speaks" to me :)

The Rolling English Road
by G.K.Chesterton

Before the Roman came to Rye or out to Severn strode,
The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road.
A reeling road, a rolling road, that rambles round the shire,
And after him the parson ran, the sexton and the squire;
A merry road, a mazy road, and such as we did tread
The night we went to Birmingham by way of Beachy Head.

I knew no harm of Bonaparte and plenty of the Squire,
And for to fight the Frenchman I did not much desire;
But I did bash their baggonets because they came arrayed
To straighten out the crooked road an English drunkard made,
Where you and I went down the lane with ale-mugs in our hands,
The night we went to Glastonbury by way of Goodwin Sands.

His sins they were forgiven him; or why do flowers run
Behind him; and the hedges all strengthening in the sun?
The wild thing went from left to right and knew not which was which,
But the wild rose was above him when they found him in the ditch.
God pardon us, nor harden us; we did not see so clear
The night we went to Bannockburn by way of Brighton Pier.

My friends, we will not go again or ape an ancient rage,
Or stretch the folly of our youth to be the shame of age,
But walk with clearer eyes and ears this path that wandereth,
And see undrugged in evening light the decent inn of death;
For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen,
Before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green.

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Jeanie
Date: 23 Oct 07 - 07:08 AM

Wild Flying Dove: The pomegranate poem I am looking for is not the DH Lawrence one. I agree, though: a master with words.

The poem came from an anthology called something like "A Book of Commonwealth Poetry". It was one of the set books for the London GCE A Level English exams in 1971. It was a wonderful collection of poems. I did see it once in a second-hand bookshop, and could kick myself for not having bought it. I am determined to track it down some time !

- jeanie

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Azizi
Date: 23 Oct 07 - 08:03 AM

{Paul Laurence Dunbar}

G'WAY an' quit dat noise, Miss Lucy --
Put dat music book away;
What's de use to keep on tryin'?
Ef you practise twell you're gray,
You cain't sta't no notes a-flyin'
Lak de ones dat rants and rings
F'om de kitchen to be big woods
When Malindy sings.

You ain't got de nachel o'gans
Fu' to make de soun' come right,
You ain't got de tu'ns an' twistin's
Fu' to make it sweet an' light.
Tell you one thing now, Miss Lucy,
An' I'm tellin' you fu' true,
When hit comes to raal right singin',
'T ain't no easy thing to do.

Easy 'nough fu' folks to hollah,
Lookin' at de lines an' dots,
When dey ain't no one kin sence it,
An' de chune comes in, in spots;
But fu' real melojous music,
Dat jes' strikes yo' hea't and clings,
Jes' you stan' an' listen wif me
When Malindy sings.

Ain't you nevah hyeahd Malindy?
Blessed soul, tek up de cross!
Look hyeah, ain't you jokin', honey?
Well, you don't know whut you los'.
Y' ought to hyeah dat gal a-wa'blin',
Robins, la'ks, an' all dem things,
Heish dey moufs an' hides dey faces
When Malindy sings.

Fiddlin' man jes' stop his fiddlin',
Lay his fiddle on de she'f;
Mockin'-bird quit tryin' to whistle,
'Cause he jes' so shamed hisse'f.
Folks a-playin' on de banjo
Draps dey fingahs on de strings--
Bless yo' soul--fu'gits to move em,
When Malindy sings.

She jes' spreads huh mouf and hollahs,
"Come to Jesus," twell you hyeah
Sinnahs' tremblin' steps and voices,
Timid-lak a-drawin' neah;
Den she tu'ns to "Rock of Ages,"
Simply to de cross she clings,
An' you fin' yo' teahs a-drappin'
When Malindy sings.

Who dat says dat humble praises
Wif de Master nevah counts?
Heish yo' mouf, I hyeah dat music,
Ez hit rises up an' mounts--
Floatin' by de hills an' valleys,
Way above dis buryin' sod,
Ez hit makes its way in glory
To de very gates of God!

Oh, hit's sweetah dan de music
Of an edicated band;
An' hit's dearah dan de battle's
Song o' triumph in de lan'.
It seems holier dan evenin'
When de solemn chu'ch bell rings,
Ez I sit an' ca'mly listen
While Malindy sings.

Towsah, stop dat ba'kin', hyeah me!
Mandy, mek dat chile keep still;
Don't you hyeah de echoes callin'
F'om de valley to de hill?
Let me listen, I can hyeah it,
Th'oo de bresh of angels' wings,
Sof' an' sweet, "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,"
Ez Malindy sings.


Online resource of selected Dunbar poems:

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Rapparee
Date: 23 Oct 07 - 09:11 AM

Carl Sandburg

Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
Shovel them under and let me work -

       I am the grass; I cover all.

And pile them high at Gettysburg
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
Shovel them under and let me work.
Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:

       What place is this?
       Where are we now?

       I am the grass.
       Let me work.

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: kendall
Date: 23 Oct 07 - 09:12 AM

The Loch Archre was a clipper tall
With seven and twenty hands in all
Twenty to hand and reef and haul
A skipper to sail, and Mates to bawl,
"Tally into the tackles falls,
Heave now and start her,
Heave and pawl."

Hear the yarn of a sailor
'Tis and old yarn, learned at sea.

The crew were shipped and they said "Farewell,
So long me tottie you lovely gal
We sail today should we fetch to hell
It's time we tackled the wheel a spell."

The dockside loafers talked on the Quay (Key)
the day they towed her down to the sea
"Lord, what a handsome ship she be.
Cheer her sonny boys, three times three."
They gave her a cheer as the custom is
And the crew yelled back "GIVE OUR LOVE TO LIZ!
Three cheers for the old pier head
And the bloody "stay at homes," they said.

Then the darkness, the coming on of night
She drops the tug at the Tusker Light
Her yards were trimmed and she slanted south
With her royals set, and a "bone in her mouth."

They crossed the line and all went well
They ate, they slept, they struck the bell
And I give you gospel truth when I state
The crew could find no fault with the Mate.

But, one night, off the river Platte
She freshens up and blows like thunder
Buried her deep lee scuppers under
She couldn't lay to, nor yet pay off
Her decks swept clean in the bloody trough.
Then, a fierce squall hit the Loch Archre
Buried her down to her waterways
The main shrouds gave and the forstay
Green seas carried the wheel away.

Before the watch below could dress
She was cluttered up in a blushing mess
Her masts were gone and before you knowed
She filled by the head, and down she goed.

The crew made seven and 20 dishes
For the big Jacksharks and the little fishes
Over their bones the water swishes.

Now, the wives, the girls wait in the rain
For a ship that won't come home again
"Oh, I reckon it must be them head winds," they say,
"They'll be home tomorrow, if not today.
I'll just nip home and air the sheets
Buy the fixin's and cook the meats
As my man likes, as my man eats."

Up the windy streets they go
They are thinking their men are homeward bound
With anchors hungry for English ground,
But, the bloody fun of it is, they've all drowned.

Hear the yarn of a sailor
'Tis an old yarn, learned at sea.

John Masefield

This is from memory which is not getting better.

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Wild Flying Dove
Date: 23 Oct 07 - 09:59 AM

Sorry Jeanie! There appear to be loads of references to pomegranates in poems, so finding it without author and title will be hard. I will ask my colleague who teaches English if he has any ideas. By the way, I did English Literature too, 1971-3, but didn't do any Commonwealth stuff. I still love all the literature I read then.

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Peace
Date: 23 Oct 07 - 10:11 AM

An Immorality

Sing we for love and idleness,
Naught else is worth the having.

Though I have been in many a land,
There is naught else in living.

And I would rather have my sweet,
Though rose-leaves die of grieving,

Than do high deeds in Hungary
To pass all men's believing.

Ezra Pound

I am aware of Pound's difficulties during the war. That said, I like much of his poetry--especially the ones I comprehend.

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Bill D
Date: 23 Oct 07 - 11:27 AM

In my first German class, in 1957, we read this poem by Walther von der Vogelweide, ca. 1170-1230. I put the 1st verse here from memory, though I have long lost the book it was in, and cannot vouch for the spelling.

Unter den Linden, auf die Heide,
Wo Ich mit meinen Leibsten lag;
Da mögt er finden wo wir beide,
Die Blumen braüchen, und das grass.
Vor dem Wald in einem Tal.
So leiblich sang die Nachtigal.

Now, here it is in its entirety, in its original Middle High German spelling.

Under der linden

        Under der linden
an der heide,
dâ unser zweier bette was,
dâ muget ir vinden
schône beide
gebrochen bluomen unde gras.
Vor dem walde in einem tal,
schône sanc diu nahtegal.

Ich kam gegangen
zuo der ouwe:
dô was mîn friedel komen ê.
Dâ wart ich empfangen
(hêre frouwe!)
daz ich bin sælic iemer mê.
Kust er mich?
Wol tûsentstunt:
seht wie rôt mir ist der munt.

Dô hete er gemachet
alsô rîche
von bluomen eine bettestat.
Des wirt noch gelachet
kumt iemen an daz selbe pfat:
bî den rôsen er wol mac,
merken wâ mir'z houbet lac.

Daz er bî mir læge,
wesse'z iemen
(nu enwelle got!), so schamte ich mich.
Wes er mit mir pflæge,
niemer niemen
bevinde daz, wan er und ich,
und ein kleinez vogellîn:
daz mac wol getriuwe sîn.

Walther von der Vogelweide

and here is a translation (not a good one, in my opinion, as the translator treats it pretty lightly - read in German, it can sound quite sensual.)(he translates 'tanderadei' as "heigh-de-ho", when I hear it as "wow..oh, my gracious!" (I have seen it translated as "Gracious Mary!")

So, here is another translation which does not even bother to translate the exclamation.
and last, a poem about Vogëlweide by Longfellow.

Walter Von Der Vogelweide
      Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

VOGELWEID, the Minnesinger,
When he left this world of ours,
Laid his body in the cloister,
Under Wurtzburg's minster towers.

And he gave the monks his treasures,
Gave them all with this behest
They should feed the birds at noontide
Daily on his place of rest;

Saying, "From these wandering minstrels
I have learned the art of song;
Let me now repay the lessons
They have taught so well and long."

Thus the bard of love departed;
And, fulfilling his desire,
On his tomb the birds were feasted
By the children of the choir.

Day by day, o'er tower and turret,
In foul weather and in fair,
Day by day, in vaster numbers,
Flocked the poets of the air.

On the tree whose heavy branches
Overshadowed all the place,
On the pavement, on the tombstone;
On the poet's sculptured face,

On the cross-bars of each window,
On the lintel of each door,
They renewed the War of Wartburg,
Which the bard had fought before.

There they sang their merry carols,
Sang their lauds on every side;
And the name their voices uttered
Was the name of Vogelweid.

Till at length the portly abbot
Murmured, "Why this waste of food?
Be it changed to loaves henceforward
For our fasting brotherhood."

Then in vain o'er tower and turret,
From the walls and woodland nests,
When the minster bells rang noontide,
Gathered the unwelcome guests.

Then in vain, with cries discordant,
Clamorous round the Gothic spire,
Screamed the feathered Minnesingers
For the children of the choir.

Time has long effaced the inscriptions
On the cloister's funeral stones,
And tradition only tells us
Where repose the poet's bones.

But around the vast cathedral,
By sweet echoes multiplied,
Still the birds repeat the legend,
And the name of Vogelweid.

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Peace
Date: 23 Oct 07 - 11:34 AM

I'm not much for religion, but ever since encountering this 25 years ago I have liked it, both for sound and for meaning. Simple and elegant at once.

Fæder ure,
þu þe eart on heofonum,
si þin nama gehalgod.
Tobecume þin rice.
Gewurþe ðin willa on eorðan swa swa on heofonum.
Urne gedæghwamlican hlaf syle us to dæg.
And forgyf us ure gyltas, swa swa we forgyfað urum gyltendum.
And ne gelæd þu us on costnunge,
ac alys us of yfele. Soþlice.

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Bill D
Date: 23 Oct 07 - 11:35 AM

exerpt from Carl Sandburg's "The People, Yes" -

"Get off this estate."
"What for?"
"Because it's mine."
"Where did you get it?"
"From my father."
"Where did he get it?"
"From his father."
"And where did he get it?"
"He fought for it."
"Well, I'll fight you for it."


and doesn't that say a lot about "the people"?

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Emma B
Date: 23 Oct 07 - 03:44 PM

An extract from a (tranlated) poem by Blaga Dimitrova I can really feel empathy with -

"I was always distracted
from my goal in life
I was always diverted , late ,
missed deadlines.
But now ,looking back ,
I see how much
I would have missed ,
If I had perfectly pursued my goal.
(by the way ,what was it ?)"

Here is a poem of hers that I find almost unbearably personally moving.

Blaga Dimitrova


At night I make her bed
in the folds of old age.
Her skinny hand
pulls mine into the dark.

Before her dreams begin,
from a brain erased of speech,
a small cracked voice calls "Mama"
and I become my mother's mother.
and am jolted
as if the earth's axis tilted
and the poles reversed.
Where am I?
I have no time for speculations.

Flustered, I wipe her dry
just as she once taught me.
"Mama", she whispers
worried at being naughty.
A draft streams from the window.

Heating pad. Glass. The pills.
I tip the lampshade back.
"Mama, don't leave me alone
all by myself in the dark."

She chokes her sobs
as I take her in my arms
so heavy with pain and fear.
She or me? In cold winter
a double cradle breaks.

"Please wake me early.
I need an early start"
Is anything left to do?
Which of us left work undone?

Mama, my child sleep.
"Little baby bunting……"

             Translated by John Balaban

more information about this poet and further extracts here

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Rowan
Date: 23 Oct 07 - 05:53 PM

Ever since researching lithoseres at Wilson's Promontory I've had an affinity with granite landscapes; I now live in the one described here.

South of my days
Judith Wright

South of my days' circle, part of my bloods' country,
rises that tableland, high delicate outline
of bony slopes wincing under the winter,
low trees blue-leaved and olive, outcropping granite —
clean, lean, hungry country. The creek's leaf-silenced,
willow-choked, the slope a tangle of medlar and crabapple
branching over and under, blotched with a green lichen;
and the old cottage lurches in for shelter.

O cold the black-frost night. The walls draw in to the warmth
and the old roof cracks its joints; the slung kettle
hisses a leak on the fire. Hardly to be believed that summer
will turn up again some day in a wave of rambler roses,
thrusts its hot face in here to tell another yarn —
a story old Dan can spin into a blanket against the winter.
Seventy years of stories he clutches round his bones.
Seventy summers are hived in him like old honey.

During that year, Charleville to the Hunter,
nineteen-one it was, and the drought beginning;
sixty head left at the McIntyre, the mud round them
hardened like iron; and the yellow boy died
in the sulky ahead with the gear, but the horse went on,
stopped at the Sandy Camp and waited in the evening.
It was the flies we seen first, swarming like bees.
Came to the Hunter, three hundred head of a thousand —
cruel to keep them alive — and the river was dust.

Or mustering up in the Bogongs in the autumn
when the blizzards came early. Brought them down; we brought them
down, what aren't there yet. Or driving for Cobb's on the run
up from Tamworth — Thunderbolt at the top of Hungry Hill,
and I give him a wink. I wouldn't wait long Fred,
not if I was you; the troopers are just behind,
coming for that job at the Hillgrove. He went like a luny,
him on his big black horse.

                                        Oh, they slide and they vanish
as he shuffles the years like a pack of conjuror's cards.
True or not, it's all the same; and the frost on the roof
cracks like a whip, and the back-log breaks into ash.
Wake, old man. This is winter, and the yarns are over.
No one is listening.
                                        South of my days' circle
I know it is dark against the stars. the high lean country
full of old stories that still go walking in my sleep.

Cheers, Rowan

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Peace
Date: 23 Oct 07 - 06:11 PM

"South of my days' circle
I know it is dark against the stars. the high lean country
full of old stories that still go walking in my sleep."


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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
Date: 23 Oct 07 - 06:30 PM


I know that I shall meet my fate   
Somewhere among the clouds above;   
Those that I fight I do not hate   
Those that I guard I do not love;   
My country is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan's poor,   
No likely end could bring them loss   
Or leave them happier than before.   
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,   
Nor public man, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight   
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,   
The years to come seemed waste of breath,   
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death

When I play on my fiddle in Dooney,
Folk dance like a wave on the sea;
My cousin is priest in Kilvarnet
My brother in Mocharabuiee.*

I passed my brother and cousin:
They read in their books of prayer:
I read in my book of songs
I bought at the Sligo fair.

When we come at the end of time
To Peter sitting in state,
He will smile on three old spirits,
But call me first through the gate;

For the good are always the merry,
Save by an evil chance,
And the merry love the fiddle,
And the merry love to dance.

And when the folk there spy me,
They will all come up to me,
With 'Here is the fiddler of Dooney!'
And dance like the wave on the sea.

* Pronounced as if spelt 'Mockrabwee'.

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Jean(eanjay)
Date: 23 Oct 07 - 06:43 PM

We'll go no more a-roving
Lord Byron
SO, we'll go no more a-roving   
So late into the night,   
Though the heart be still as loving,   
And the moon be still as bright.   

For the sword outwears its sheath,         
And the soul wears out the breast,   
And the heart must pause to breathe,   
And love itself have rest.   

Though the night was made for loving,   
And the day returns too soon,   
Yet we'll go no more a-roving   
By the light of the moon.   


Upon the Death of Sir Albert Morton's Wife
Sir Henry Wotton

He first deceased; she for a little tried
To live without him, liked it not, and died.


The Lover in Winter Plaineth for the Spring

Western wind, when will thou blow
The small rain down can rain?
Christ, if my love were in my arms
And I in my bed again!

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Marion
Date: 23 Oct 07 - 09:14 PM

Fiddler Jones
by Edgar Lee Masters

THE EARTH keeps some vibration going   
There in your heart, and that is you.   
And if the people find you can fiddle,   
Why, fiddle you must, for all your life.   
What do you see, a harvest of clover?          5
Or a meadow to walk through to the river?   
The wind's in the corn; you rub your hands   
For beeves hereafter ready for market;   
Or else you hear the rustle of skirts   
Like the girls when dancing at Little Grove.   10
To Cooney Potter a pillar of dust   
Or whirling leaves meant ruinous drouth;   
They looked to me like Red-Head Sammy   
Stepping it off, to "Toor-a-Loor."   
How could I till my forty acres   15
Not to speak of getting more,   
With a medley of horns, bassoons and piccolos   
Stirred in my brain by crows and robins   
And the creak of a wind-mill—only these?   
And I never started to plow in my life   20
That some one did not stop in the road   
And take me away to a dance or picnic.   
I ended up with forty acres;   
I ended up with a broken fiddle—   
And a broken laugh, and a thousand memories,   25
And not a single regret.

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Joe_F
Date: 23 Oct 07 - 09:15 PM

As the long year came to an end all the world wept.
Clouds burst against the spires and minarets,
The streets melted and
Many shivered at their gray reflections.
And I was glad, as one is relieved at artificial endings.
Tomorrow, in a different year, we shave the same face
or powder it; and lawyers tell the same old laws for
or against us.
Yet the mind relaxes as midnight passes,
And I was glad this year crept out in tears,
That the dirty sky, without a lawyer's aid, should open,
And make an end of it.

-- Johanna Ross

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Rapparee
Date: 23 Oct 07 - 10:11 PM

Another one we memorized:

Richard Cory
Edwin Arlington Robinson

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
"Good-morning," and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich—yes, richer than a king—
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: bobad
Date: 23 Oct 07 - 10:27 PM

This poem resonates with me because I grew up the "wrong" side of the tracks:


he's a runt
he snarls and scratches
chases cars
groans in his sleep
and has a perfect star above each eyebrow

we hear it outside:
he's ripping the shit out of something out there
5 times his

it's the professor's dog from across the street
that educated expensive bluebook dog
o, we're all in trouble

I pull them apart
and we run inside with the runt
bolt the door
flick out the lights
and see them crossing the street
immaculate and concerned

it looks like 7 or 8 people
coming to get their
that big bag of jelly with hair
he ought to know better than to cross
the railroad tracks.

Charles Bukowski

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Rowan
Date: 24 Oct 07 - 04:14 AM

And whenever I watch the muttonbirds leave the island on their migration from their nests in NSW to their feeding grounds in the Bering Sea I marvel, wonder, and then think on the following.

The death of the bird
AD Hope

For every bird there is this last migration:
Once more the cooling year kindles her heart;
With a warm passage to the summer station
Love pricks the course in lights across the chart.

Year after year a speck on the map, divided
By a whole hemisphere, summons her to come;
Season after season, sure and safely guided,
Going away she is also coming home.

And being home, memory becomes a passion
With which she feeds her brood and straws her nest,
Aware of ghosts that haunt the heart's possession
And exiled love mourning within the breast.

The sands are green with a mirage of valleys;
The palm-tree casts a shadow not its own;
Down the long architrave of temple or palace
Blows a cool air from moorland scarps of stone.

And day by day the whisper of love grows stronger;
That delicate voice, more urgent with despair,
Custom and fear constraining her no longer,
Drives her at last on the waste leagues of air.

A vanishing speck in those inane dominions,
Single and frail, uncertain of her place,
Alone in the bright host of her companions,
Lost in the blue unfriendliness of space,

She feels it close now, the appointed season:
The invisible thread is broken as she flies;
Suddenly, without warning, without reason,
The guiding spark of instinct winks and dies.

Try as she will, the trackless world delivers
No way, the wilderness of light no sign,
The immense and complex map of hills and rivers
Mocks her small wisdom with its vast design.

And darkness rises from the eastern valleys,
And the winds buffet her with their hungry breath,
And the great earth, with neither grief nor malice,
Receives the tiny burden of her death.

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Emma B
Date: 24 Oct 07 - 05:24 AM

The wondeful thing about poetry is how it can assure us that others have experienced our pain and have survived to write about it, helps to put raw feelings into words and phrases and provide meaning in a world that may feel devoid of meaning.

"Revisitation" by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

...Still I must make a faithful pilgrimage
To those particular landmarks that were yours,
Or intimately haunted by your sight;
Not in the hope of finding you again,
Not in obeisance to your memory,
Nor self indulgently in search of pain.
No, I must go
Back to the places
Where you put your hand,
To see them now without you, gutted bare,
Swept hollow of your presence. I must stand
Alone and in their empty faces stare,
To find another truth I do not know;
To balance those unequal shifted planes
Of our existence, yours and mine; to fix
The whirling landscapes of the heart in which
I walk a stranger both to space and time
I must go back;
In each familiar corner wait until
I witness once again the flesh turn cold,
The spirit parting from the body's hold
And let it go, and love the landscape still;
But now on only for itself alone...

For I must meet and marry in myself
The truth of what has ended, what is new;
The past and future; death and life. And when
At last the two conflicting pairs are met;
The planes are balanced and the landscapes set;
The strands of past and future tied in one
Tough, weather-beaten, salted twist of hemp,
The present - then
I shall be able to refind myself
And also you

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Azizi
Date: 24 Oct 07 - 06:58 AM


[Nikki Giovanni]

I was born in the congo
I walked to the fertile crescent and built
    the sphinx
I designed a pyramid so tough that a star
    that only glows every one hundred years falls
    into the center giving divine perfect light
I am bad

I sat on the throne
    drinking nectar with allah
I got hot and sent an ice age to europe
    to cool my thirst
My oldest daughter is nefertiti
    the tears from my birth pains
    created the nile
I am a beautiful woman

I gazed on the forest and burned
    out the sahara desert
    with a packet of goat's meat
    and a change of clothes
I crossed it in two hours
I am a gazelle so swift
    so swift you can't catch me

    For a birthday present when he was three
I gave my son hannibal an elephant
    He gave me rome for mother's day
My strength flows ever on

My son noah built new/ark and
I stood proudly at the helm
    as we sailed on a soft summer day
I turned myself into myself and was
    men intone my loving name
    All praises All praises
I am the one who would save

I sowed diamonds in my back yard
My bowels deliver uranium
    the filings from my fingernails are
    semi-precious jewels
    On a trip north
I caught a cold and blew
My nose giving oil to the arab world
I am so hip even my errors are correct
I sailed west to reach east and had to round off
    the earth as I went
    The hair from my head thinned and gold was laid
    across three continents

I am so perfect so divine so ethereal so surreal
I cannot be comprehended except by my permission

I mean...I...can fly
    like a bird in the sky...

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Emma B
Date: 24 Oct 07 - 08:54 PM

If I was stranded on a desert island I'd need at least one of the quintesscently English poems of John Betjeman.

I've no idea why, but this never ceases to ring a wry smile to my lips!

"The Licorice Fields At Pontefract"

In the licorice fields at Pontefract
My love and I did meet
And many a burdened licorice bush
Was blooming round our feet;
Red hair she had and golden skin,
Her sulky lips were shaped for sin,
Her sturdy legs were flannel-slack'd
The strongest legs in Pontefract.

The light and dangling licorice flowers
Gave off the sweetest smells;
From various black Victorian towers
The Sunday evening bells
Came pealing over dales and hills
And tanneries and silent mills
And lowly streets where country stops
And little shuttered corner shops.

She cast her blazing eyes on me
And plucked a licorice leaf;
I was her captive slave and she
My red-haired robber chief.
Oh love! for love I could not speak,
It left me winded, wilting, weak,
And held in brown arms strong and bare
And wound with flaming ropes of hair.

.......dedicated to Mrs Duck

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Rapparee
Date: 24 Oct 07 - 10:35 PM

Lawrence Ferlinghetti

The dog trots freely in the street
and sees reality
and the things he sees
are bigger than himself
and the things he sees
are his reality
Drunks in doorways
Moons on trees
The dog trots freely thru the street
and the things he sees
are smaller than himself
Fish on newsprint
Ants in holes
Chickens in Chinatown windows
their heads a block away
The dog trots freely in the street
and the things he smells
smell something like himself
The dog trots freely in the street
past puddles and babies
cats and cigars
poolrooms and policemen
He doesn't hate cops
He merely has no use for them
and he goes past them
and past the dead cows hung up whole
in front of the San Francisco Meat Market
He would rather eat a tender cow
than a tough policeman
though either might do
And he goes past the Romeo Ravioli Factory
and past Coit's Tower
and past Congressman Doyle of the Unamerican Committee
He's afraid of Coit's Tower
but he's not afraid of Congressman Doyle
although what he hears is very discouraging
very depressing
very absurd
to a sad young dog like himself
to a serious dog like himself
But he has his own free world to live in
His own fleas to eat
He will not be muzzled
Congressman Doyle is just another
fire hydrant
to him
The dog trots freely in the street
and has his own dog's life to live
and to think about
and to reflect upon
touching and tasting and testing everything
investigating everything
without benefit of perjury
a real realist
with a real tale to tell
and a real tail to tell it with
a real live
                 democratic dog
engaged in real
                free enterprise
with something to say
                         about ontology
something to say
                about reality
                               and how to see it
                                              and how to hear it
with his head cocked sideways
                               at streetcorners
as if he is just about to have
                         his picture taken
                                             for Victor Records
                         listening for
                                His Master's Voice
        and looking
                       like a living questionmark
                                       into the
                                       great gramophone
                                  of puzzling existence
          with its wondrous hollow horn
              which always seems
               just about to spout forth
                                 some Victorious answer
                                    to everything

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
Date: 24 Oct 07 - 10:43 PM

And Then...

And then all that has divided us will merge

And then compassion will be wedded to power

And then softness will come to a world that is harsh and unkind

And then both men and women will be gentle

And then both women and men will be strong

And then no person will be subject to another's will

And then all will be rich and free and varied

And then the greed of some will give way to the needs of many

And then all will share equally in the Earth's abundance

And then all will care for the sick and the weak and the old

And then all will nourish the young

And then will cherish life's creatures

And then all will live in harmony with one another and the Earth

And then everywhere will be called Eden once again.

(Judy Chicago)

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: maeve
Date: 24 Oct 07 - 11:43 PM

One of my favorites:


Because of the light of the moon,
Silver is found on the moor;
And because of the light of the sun,
There is gold on the walls of the poor.

Because of the light of the stars,
Planets are found in the stream;
And because of the light of your eyes,
There is love in the depths of my dream.

Francis Carlin (1881-1945)

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: kendall
Date: 25 Oct 07 - 09:06 AM

The night has a thousand eyes and the day but one.
Yet, the light of the whole world dies with the setting sun.
The mind has a thousand eyes, the heart but one,
Yet, the light of a whole life dies when its love is done.

Wm. Shakespere

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Peace
Date: 25 Oct 07 - 09:09 AM

Great one here from Beardedbruce.

Kisses are,
                but may be classified,
                according to intent.
                A kiss
                Upon the forehead
                is to seal devotion:
                A light touch on eyelids
                indicates a hope for peaceful dreams:
                On a cheek
                shows family affection.

                A kiss upon the lips
                has several meanings:
                One, a gentle brush of lips,
                offers concern,
                The other, a striving of the teeth and tongues,
                shows willingness and desire.

                To kiss the ears, the neck, or chin
                Might be to seek for trust, or just to taste the skin.

                A kiss upon the curve of breast,
                That upon the nipple often a plea,
                or hunger for attention.

                The kiss upon the stomach, back or arms
                is to arouse sensation.

                A kiss on back of hand,
                a greeting, or a subtle offer:
                Upon the palm, a gift of heart,
                to be tightly held, or quickly released.

                The kissing of the fingers, or the toes,
                shows a desire to please,
                or to be guided onward.

                The touch of lips to thighs, and variations,
                are preludes and will not
                be treated in this note.

                This is a partial catalog of meaning:
                Next week, we will discuss techniques.


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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Rapparee
Date: 25 Oct 07 - 09:14 AM

The Logical Vegetarian
       G. K. Chesterton

    You will find me drinking rum,
    Like a sailor in a slum,
You will find me drinking beer like a Bavarian.
    You will find me drinking gin
    In the lowest kind of inn,
Because I am a rigid Vegetarian.

    So I cleared the inn of wine,
    And I tried to climb the sign,
And I tried to hail the constable as "Marion."
    But he said I couldn't speak,
    And he bowled me to the Beak
Because I was a Happy Vegetarian.

    Oh, I knew a Doctor Gluck,
    And his nose it had a hook,
And his attitudes were anything but Aryan;
    So I gave him all the pork
    That I had, upon a fork;
Because I am myself a Vegetarian.

    I am silent in the Club,
    I am silent in the pub,
I am silent on a bally peak in Darien;
    For I stuff away for life
    Shoving peas in with a knife,
Because I am at heart a Vegetarian.

    No more the milk of cows
    Shall pollute my private house
Than the milk of the wild mares of the Barbarian;
    I will stick to port and sherry,
    For they are so very, very
So very, very, very Vegetarian.

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: GUEST,Edgar A.
Date: 25 Oct 07 - 12:11 PM

No one has posted any of mine!


My father knows the proper way
The nation should be run;
He tells us children every day
Just what should now be done.
He knows the way to fix the trusts,
He has a simple plan;
But if the furnace needs repairs,
We have to hire a man.
My father, in a day or two
Could land big thieves in jail;
There's nothing that he cannot do,
He knows no word like "fail."
"Our confidence" he would restore,
Of that there is no doubt;
But if there is a chair to mend,
We have to send it out.

All public questions that arise,
He settles on the spot;
He waits not till the tumult dies,
But grabs it while it's hot.
In matters of finance he can
Tell Congress what to do;
But, O, he finds it hard to meet
His bills as they fall due.

It almost makes him sick to read
The things law-makers say;
Why, father's just the man they need,
He never goes astray.
All wars he'd very quickly end,
As fast as I can write it;
But when a neighbor starts a fuss,
'Tis mother has to fight it.

In conversation father can
Do many wondrous things;
He's built upon a wiser plan
Than presidents or kings.
He knows the ins and outs of each
And every deep transaction;
We look to him for theories,
But look to ma for action.

Edgar Albert Guest

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Rapparee
Date: 25 Oct 07 - 01:25 PM

Having been called "a mercenary" and a "baby-killer" I've always liked this poem by A. E. Housman:

Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,
The hour when earth's foundations fled,
Followed their mercenary calling,
And took their wages, and are dead.

Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned, these defended,
And saved the sum of things for pay.

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Amos
Date: 25 Oct 07 - 01:30 PM

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.
We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school, where children strove
At recess, in the ring;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

Or rather, be passed us;
The dews grew quivering and chill,
For only gossamer my gown,
My tippet only tulle.

We paused before house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then 'tis centuries, and yet each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses' heads
Were toward eternity.

Emily Dickinson

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Rowan
Date: 25 Oct 07 - 06:23 PM

While working, often alone and well away from civilisation in some of the more remote parts of Oz, I've often contemplated these two.

Nancy Cato
I will think of the leech-gatherer on the lonely moor. — Wordsworth

How the red road stretched before us, mile on mile
narrowing into the distance, straight as though ruled
on yellow paper, away to the lilac hills
low on the horizon. Above them the storm-clouds piled
in a sky blue as though bruised, yet all ahead
was glowing in an unearthly wash of light —
dry roly-poly and saltbush lit to beauty,
the sky a menace, but the wide plains bright.

And there in that lonely place an ancient swagman,
traveller, bagman, sundowner, what you will —
his rolled-up blankets slung aslant his shoulders,
billy dangling, his back to the line of hills
and the coming storm; as mysterious in that place
(with his hat set straight and his grey beard blowing)
as a small ship glimpsed a moment far from land.
Where did he come from? Where could he be going?

I shall never know, for we had to race the rain
that turns the black soil plains to a gluey mud
bogging to the axles. Only a wave of the hand,
but still the imagination glows, the blood
stirs at the memory of that symbolic stranger
glimpsed in a moment of vision, and swiftly gone:
Man and his independent spirit, alone
on the vast plains, with night and rain coming on.


The dead swagman
Nancy Cato

His rusted billy left beside the tree;
under a root, most carefully tucked away,
his steel-rimmed glasses folded in their case
of mildewed purple velvet; there he lies
in the sunny afternoon, and takes his ease,
curled like a possum within the hollow trunk.

He came one winter evening when the tree
hunched its broad back against the rain, and made
his camp, and slept, and did not wake again.
Now white-ants make a home within his skull:
his old friend Fire has walked across the hill
and blackened the old tree and the old man
and buried him half in ashes, where he lay.

It might be called a lonely death. The tree
led its own alien life beneath the sun,
yet both belonged to the Bush, and now are one:
the roots and bones lie close among the soil,
and he ascends in leaves towards the sky.

Cheers, Rowan

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Rapparee
Date: 25 Oct 07 - 09:10 PM

Not poems, but poetic:

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,        
As I foretold you, were all spirits and        
Are melted into air, into thin air:        
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,        
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,        
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,        
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve        
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,        
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff        
As dreams are made on, and our little life        
Is rounded with a sleep.


I have of late,—but wherefore I know not,—lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises; and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory; this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me but a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form, in moving, how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not me; no, nor woman neither, though, by your smiling, you seem to say so.        

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Amos
Date: 25 Oct 07 - 09:31 PM

Actually, Rapaire is being modest. Last time he posted that on the MOAB thread he admitted, though, that it was his own work!! Can you believe that!!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Rapparee
Date: 25 Oct 07 - 10:20 PM

Amos, they were both written by my old buddy, Billy Bob Shakespeare. He was drunk at the time, just swiggin' down the Old Milwaukee and tossin' the empty cans into his pickup. Then he decided to shoot tin cans, grabbed the .30-30 out of his gun rack and started blazin' away. Shot up six empty cans, the sides of the pickup, both back tires, and his gas tank before he tossed his cookies and passed out.

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Amos
Date: 25 Oct 07 - 11:08 PM

Man, if anyone had thought to publish that varmint, he'd a-been FAMOUS!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Peace
Date: 25 Oct 07 - 11:10 PM

Beautiful piece of work, Rapaire.

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Rowan
Date: 25 Oct 07 - 11:34 PM

Celtic bluegum

Lines intertwining,
sinuously recurrent;
almost repeating.

Sensuous, lovely,
shapely, almost feminine
forms, with clean, firm, curves.

I see my love now,
through those dreamlike images;
sweet sheen, gold, blue-green.

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: GUEST,rock chick
Date: 26 Oct 07 - 05:30 PM

Face to Face:

I'm me,
I know I'm me
I saw myself
in the mirrow
this morning
and said 'Hello'
And I never speak
to strangers.

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Mrrzy
Date: 26 Oct 07 - 11:05 PM

One of my faves....

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Rowan
Date: 26 Oct 07 - 11:22 PM

As I mentioned in the thread Lyr Req: The would-be Conscientious Objector I am grealy indebted to Joe Offer for digging this up; it was a piece that spoke powerfully to me at a time when conscription (to serve in Vietnam) was in full swing in Oz; I'd already ended my military involvement by the time I came across this the first time around.

Dooley is a Traitor
(James Michie)

'So then you won't fight?'
'Yes, your Honour,' I said, 'that's right.'
'Now is it that you simply aren't willing,
Or have you a fundamental objection to killing?'
Says the judge, blowing his nose
And making his words stand to attention in long rows.
I stand to attention too, but with half a grin
(In my time I've done a good many in).
'No objection at all, sir,' I said.
'There's a deal of the world I'd rather see dead --
Such as Johnny Stubbs or Fred Settle or my last landlord, Mr Syme.
Give me a gun and your blessing, your Honour, and I'll be killing them
all the time.
But my conscience says a clear no
To killing a crowd of gentlemen I don't know.
Why, I'd as soon think of killing a worshipful judge,
High-court, like yourself (against whom, God knows, I've got no
grudge --
So far), as murder a heap of foreign folk.
If you've got no grudge, you've got no joke
To laugh at after.'
Now the words never come flowing
Proper for me till I get the old pipe going.
And just as I was poking
Down baccy, the judge looks up sharp with 'No smoking,
Mr Dooley. We're not fighting this war for fun.
And we want a clearer reason why you refuse to carry a gun.
This war is not a personal feud, it's a fight
Against wrong ideas on behalf of the Right.
Mr Dooley, won't you help to destroy evil ideas?'
'Ah, your Honour, here's
the tragedy,' I said. 'I'm not a man of the mind.
I couldn't find it in my heart to be unkind
To an idea. I wouldn't know one if I saw one. I haven't one of my own.
So I'd best be leaving other people's alone.'
'Indeed,' he sneers at me, 'this defence is
Curious for someone with convictions in two senses.
A criminal invokes conscience to his aid
To support an individual withdrawal from a communal crusade
Sanctioned by God, led by the Church, against a godless, churchless
I asked his Honour for a translation.
'You talk of conscience,' he said. 'What do you know of the Christian
'Nothing, sir, except what I can read.
That's the most you can hope for from us jail-birds.
I just open the Book here and there and look at the words.
And I find that when the Lord himself misliked an evil notion
He turned it into a pig and drove it squealing over a cliff into the ocean,
And the loony ran away
And lived to think another day.
There was a clean job done and no blood shed!
Everybody happy and forty wicked thoughts drowned dead.
A neat and Christian murder. None of your mad slaughter
Throwing away the brains with the blood and the baby with the
Now I look at the war as a sportsman. It's a matter of choosing
The decentest way of losing.
Heads or tails, losers or winners,
We all lose, we're all damned sinners.
And I'd rather be with the poor cold people at the wall that's shot
Than the bloody guilty devils in the firing-line, in Hell and keeping
'But what right, Dooley, what right,' he cried,
'Have you to say the Lord is on your side?'
'That's a dirty crooked question,' back I roared.
'I said not the Lord was on my side, but I was on the side of the Lord.'
Then he was up at me and shouting,
But by and by he calms: 'Now we're not doubting
Your sincerity, Dooley, only your arguments,
Which don't make sense.'
('Hullo,' I thought, 'that's the wrong way round.
I may be skylarking a bit, but my brainpan's sound.')
Then biting his nail and sugaring his words sweet:
'Keep your head, Mr Dooley. Religion is clearly not up your street.
But let me ask you as a plain patriotic fellow
Whether you'd stand there so smug and yellow
If the foe were attacking your own dear sister.'
'I'd knock their brains out, mister,
On the floor,' I said. 'There,' he says kindly, 'I knew you were no
It's your straight duty as a man to enlist.
The enemy is at the door.' You could have downed
Me with a feather. 'Where?' I gasp, looking round.
'Not this door,' he says angered. 'Don't play the clown.
But they're two thousand miles away planning to do us down.
Why, the news is full of the deeds of those murderers and rapers.'
'Your Eminence,' I said, 'my father told me never to believe the papers
But to go by my eyes,
And at two thousand miles the poor things can't tell truth from lies.'
His fearful spectacles glittered like the moon: 'For the last time what
Has a man like you to refuse to fight?'
'More right,' I said, 'than you.
You've never murdered a man, so you don't know what is it I won't do.
I've done it in good hot blood, so haven't I the right to make bold
To declare that I shan't do it in cold?'
The the judge rises in a great rage
And writes Dooley Is A Traitor in black upon a page
And tells me I must die.
'What, me?' says I.
'If you still won't fight.'
'Well, yes, your Honour,' I said, 'that's right.'

from the Oxford Book of Twentieth Century English Verse

James Michie

1927 -

I (Joe Offer) searched under books at for dooley is a traitor, and an excerpt of the Oxford book came up. The excerpt contained the entire poem - looks like the above is a good transcription of it, although I admit I didn't compare the two word-for-word.

Cheers, Rowan

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: kendall
Date: 27 Oct 07 - 09:10 AM

I hadn't thought of Richard Cory in years. Thanks for bringing him back, Rapaire.

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Subject: RE: BS: Poems that speak to you.
From: Leadfingers
Date: 27 Oct 07 - 11:18 AM

Of all the rhymes that I have plundered

I like the ones that make Two Hundred

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