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Yours or someone else’s.

Ran across this one again several days ago and it put me mind of @MrSquirrel:

The Gods of the Copybook Headings
Rudyard Kipling

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

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Nathicana
By H. P. Lovecraft

It was in the pale garden of Zaïs;
The mist-shrouded gardens of Zaïs,
Where blossoms the white nephalotë,
The redolent herald of midnight.
There slumber the still lakes of crystal,
And streamlets that flow without murm’ring;
Smooth streamlets from caverns of Kathos
Where brood the calm spirits of twilight.
And over the lakes and the streamlets
Are bridges of pure alabaster,
White bridges all cunningly carven
With figures of fairies and daemons.
Here glimmer strange suns and strange planets,
And strange is the crescent Banapis
That sets ’yond the ivy-grown ramparts
Where thickens the dust of the evening.
Here fall the white vapours of Yabon;
And here in the swirl of vapours
I saw the divine Nathicana;
The garlanded, white Nathicana;
The slender, black-hair’d Nathicana;
The sloe-ey’d, red-lipp’d Nathicana;
The silver-voic’d, sweet Nathicana;
The pale-rob’d, belov’d Nathicana.
And ever was she my belovèd,
From ages when Time was unfashion’d;
From days when the stars were not fashion’d
Nor any thing fashion’d but Yabon.
And here dwelt we ever and ever,
The innocent children of Zaïs,
At peace in the paths and the arbours,
White-crown’d with the blest nephalotë.
How oft would we float in the twilight
O’er flow’r-cover’d pastures and hillsides
All white with the lowly astalthon;
The lowly yet lovely astalthon,
And dream in a world made of dreaming
The dreams that are fairer than Aidenn;
Bright dreams that are truer than reason!
So dream’d and so lov’d we thro’ ages,
Till came the curs’d season of Dzannin;
The daemon-damn’d season of Dzannin;
When red shone the suns and the planets,
And red gleamed the crescent Banapis,
And red fell the vapours of Yabon.
Then redden’d the blossoms and streamlets
And lakes that lay under the bridges,
And even the calm alabaster
Glow’d pink with uncanny reflections
Till all the carv’d fairies and daemons
Leer’d redly from the backgrounds of shadow.
Now redden’d my vision, and madly
I strove to peer thro’ the dense curtain
And glimpse the divine Nathicana;
The pure, ever-pale Nathicana;
The lov’d, the unchang’d Nathicana.
But vortex on vortex of madness
Beclouded my labouring vision;
My damnable, reddening vision
That built a new world for my seeing;
A new world of redness and darkness,
A horrible coma call’d living.
So now in this coma call’d living
I view the bright phantons of beauty;
The false, hollow phantoms of beauty
That cloak all the evils of Dzannin.
I view them with infinite longing,
So like do they seem to my lov’d one;
So shapely and fair like my lov’d one;
Yet foul from their eyes shines their evil;
Their cruel and pitiless evil,
More evil than Thaphron and Latgoz,
Twice ill for its gorgeous concealment.
And only in slumbers of midnight
Appears the lost maid Nathicana,
The pallid, the pure Nathicana,
Who fades at the glance of the dreamer.
Again and again do I seek her;
I woo with deep draughts of Plathotis,
Deep draughts brew’d in wine of Astarte
And strengthen’d with tears of long weeping.
I yearn for the gardens of Zaïs;
The lovely lost garden of Zaïs
Where blossoms the white nephalotë,
The redolent herald of midnight.
The last potent draught I am brewing;
A draught that the daemons delight in;
A draught that will banish the redness;
The horrible coma call’d living.
Soon, soon, if I fail not in brewing,
The redness and madness will vanish,
And deep in the worm-peopled darkness
Will rot the base chains that hav bound me.
Once more shall the gardens of Zaïs
Dawn white on my long-tortur’d vision,
And there midst the vapours of Yabon
Will stand the divine Nathicana;
The deathless, restor’d Nathicana
Whose like is not met with in living.

2 Likes

My favorite poem is in portuguese but I’ll post it anyway.

To a Green God - Eugénio de Andrade

Trazia consigo a graça
das fontes quando anoitece.
Era um corpo como um rio
em sereno desafio
com as margens quando desce.

He brought with him the grace
of fountains when it’s dark.
It was a body like a river
in a serene challenge
with it’s banks when it descends.

Andava como quem passa
sem ter tempo de parar.
Ervas nasciam dos passos,
cresciam troncos dos braços
quando os erguia no ar.

He walked like those who pass
without time to stop.
Weeds grew with his steps,
logs grew in his arms
when he lifted them in the air.

Sorria como quem dança.
E desfolhava ao dançar
o corpo, que lhe tremia
num ritmo que ele sabia
que os deuses devem usar.

He smiled like who dances,
And he crumbled when he danced
the body, that shook
in a rythme that he knew
gods would wear.

E seguia o seu caminho,
porque era um deus que passava.
Alheio a tudo o que via,
enleado na melodia
duma flauta que tocava.

And he followed his way,
because he was a god that passed by,
Oblivious to everything he saw,
absorbed in the melody
of a flute that he played.

I’m sorry, the translation I made doesn’t show nearly 1% of the beauty of this poem.

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Richard Cory

  • by Edwin Arlington Robinson -
    Whenever Richard Cory went downtown,
    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 he still fluttered pulses when he said,
‘Good morning’, and he glittered when he walked.

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

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without 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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I love works of Khalil Gibran

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BY HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW
What The Heart Of The Young Man Said To The Psalmist.

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!
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;
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
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!

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
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,
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,
Learn to labor and to wait.

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I know he wasn’t exactly a poet and it’s not likely to wow anyone, but LotR is so much better than Star Wars anyway so who cares.

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

1 Like

He was a poet. I’m crazy about the poetry of the Rohirrim, honestly. Also very much loved this one:

The stars are far brighter
Than gems without measure,
The moon is far whiter
Than silver in treasure:
The fire is more shining
On hearth in the gloaming
Than gold won by mining,
So why so a-roaming?

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That’s a gorgeous translation, Minnster! Thank you!

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Right back at you:

Sonnet 130:
My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun

BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground.
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.

2 Likes

That makes me feel much better about my post. :smile:

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I feel like this thread is almost a call-and-response.

Dirge Without Music
BY EDNA ST. VINCENT MILLAY

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains,—but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,—
They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

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Alarmingly, a thread where I posted this poem before was my first google result when searching today.

ONE ORDINARY EVENING
Virginia Hamilton Adair

Lying entwined with you
on the long sofa

the hi-fi helping
Isolde to her climax

I was clipping
the coarse hairs

from your ears
and ruby nostrils

when you said, “Music
for cutting nose wires”

and we shook so
the nailscissors nicked

your gentle neck
blood your blood

I cleansed the place
with my tongue

and we clung tight
pelted with Teutonic cries

till the player
lifted its little prick

from the groove
all arias over

leaving us
in post-Wagnerian sadness

later that year
you were dead

by your own hand
blood your blood

I have never understood
I will never understand.

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I’ve never seen this before and it’s incredibly beautiful! My mom passed six years ago and still this poem crushes me (in a good way) today.

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I wish you’d post some you liked particularly. Here’s Rumi for you:

‘I Am Wind, You are Fire’
Translation by Annemarie Schimmel

Oh, if a tree could wander
and move with foot and wings!
It would not suffer the axe blows
and not the pain of saws!
For would the sun not wander
away in every night ?
How could at ev’ry morning
the world be lighted up?
And if the ocean’s water
would not rise to the sky,
How would the plants be quickened
by streams and gentle rain?
The drop that left its homeland,
the sea, and then returned ?
It found an oyster waiting
and grew into a pearl.
Did Yusaf not leave his father,
in grief and tears and despair?
Did he not, by such a journey,
gain kingdom and fortune wide?
Did not the Prophet travel
to far Medina, friend?
And there he found a new kingdom
and ruled a hundred lands.
You lack a foot to travel?
Then journey into yourself!
And like a mine of rubies
receive the sunbeams’ print!
Out of yourself? such a journey
will lead you to your self,
It leads to transformation
of dust into pure gold!

A Dream Within a Dream
By Edgar Allan Poe

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow —
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand —
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep — while I weep!
O God! Can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

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The Flower
BY GEORGE HERBERT
How fresh, oh Lord, how sweet and clean
Are thy returns! even as the flowers in spring;
To which, besides their own demean,
The late-past frosts tributes of pleasure bring.
Grief melts away
Like snow in May,
As if there were no such cold thing.

     Who would have thought my shriveled heart

Could have recovered greenness? It was gone
Quite underground; as flowers depart
To see their mother-root, when they have blown,
Where they together
All the hard weather,
Dead to the world, keep house unknown.

     These are thy wonders, Lord of power,

Killing and quickening, bringing down to hell
And up to heaven in an hour;
Making a chiming of a passing-bell.
We say amiss
This or that is:
Thy word is all, if we could spell.

     Oh that I once past changing were,

Fast in thy Paradise, where no flower can wither!
Many a spring I shoot up fair,
Offering at heaven, growing and groaning thither;
Nor doth my flower
Want a spring shower,
My sins and I joining together.

     But while I grow in a straight line,

Still upwards bent, as if heaven were mine own,
Thy anger comes, and I decline:
What frost to that? what pole is not the zone
Where all things burn,
When thou dost turn,
And the least frown of thine is shown?

     And now in age I bud again,

After so many deaths I live and write;
I once more smell the dew and rain,
And relish versing. Oh, my only light,
It cannot be
That I am he
On whom thy tempests fell all night.

     These are thy wonders, Lord of love,

To make us see we are but flowers that glide;
Which when we once can find and prove,
Thou hast a garden for us where to bide;
Who would be more,
Swelling through store,
Forfeit their Paradise by their pride.

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Roberto Bolaño

http://imgur.com/g6gx6Zo
http://imgur.com/9eTvWdu

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This is my all time favourite. Takes a patience to read it…the best love making invite ever…
Vladimir Mayakovski
A Cloud In Trousers - part IV

Maria! Maria! Maria!
Let me in, Maria!
I can’t suffer the streets!
You won’t?
You’d rather wait
until my cheeks cave in,
until, pawed by everyone,
I arrive,
stale,
toothlessly mumbling
that today I am
"amazingly honest."

Maria,
as you see my shoulders droop.

In the streets
men will prick the blubber of four-story craws,
thrust out their little eyes,
worn in forty years of wear and tear to snigger
at my champing
again! on the hard crust of yesterday’s caress.

Rain has drowned the sidewalks in sobs;
the puddle-prisoned rougue,
all drenched, licks the corpse of the streets by cobbles clobbered,
but on his grizzled eyelashes yes!
on the eyelashes of frosted icicles,
tears gush from his eyes yes! from the drooping eyes of the drainpipes.

The rain’s snout licked all pedestrians;
but fleshy athletes, gleaming, passed by in carriages;
people burst asunder,
gorged to the marrow,
and grease dripped through the cracks;
and the cud of old ground meat,
together with the pulp of chewed bread,
dribbled down in a turbid stream from the carriages.

Maria!
How stuff a gentle word into their fat-bulged ears?
A bird
sings
for alms,
hungry and resonant.
But I am a man, Maria,
a simple man,
coughed up by consumptive night on the dirty hand of the Presnya.

Maria, do you want such a man?
Let me in, Maria!
With shuddering fingers I shall grip the doorbell’s iron throat!

Maria!

The paddocks of the streets run wild.
The fingers of the mob mark my neck.

Open up!

I’m hurt!

Look -my eyes are stuck
with ladies’ hatpins!

You’ve let me in.

Darling!
Don’t be alarmed
if a mountain of women with sweating bellies
squats on my bovine shoulders through life I drag
millions of vast pure loves
and a million million of foul little lovekins.
Don’t be afraid
if once again
in the inclemency of betrayal,
I’ll cling to thousands of pretty faces “that love Mayakovsky!” for this is the dynasty
of queens who have ascended the heart of a madman.

Maria, come closer!

Whether in unclothed shame
or shudders of apprehension,
do yield me the unwithered beauty of your lips:
my heart and I have never got as far as May,
and in my expended life
there is only a hundredth April.

Maria!
The poet sings sonnets to Tiana,
but I
am all flesh,
a man every bit I simply ask for your body
as Christians pray:
“Give us this day
our daily bread!”

Maria - give!

Maria!
I fear to forget your name
as a poet fears to forget some word
sprung in the torment of the night,
mighty as god himself.

Your body
I shall cherish and love
as a soldier,
amputated by war,
unwanted
and friendless,
cherishes his last remaining leg.

Maria you won’t have me?
you won’t have me!
The once again,
darkly and dully,
my heart I shall take,
with tears besprinkled,
and carry it,
like a dog
carries
to its kennel
a paw which a train ran over.

With the heart’s blood I gladden the road,
and flowering it sticks to the dusty tunic.
The sun, like Salome,
will dance a thousand times
round the earth - the Baptist’s head.

And when my quantity of years
has finished its dance,
a million bloodstains will lie spread
on the path to my father’s house.

I shall clamber out
filthy (from sleeping in ditches);
I’ll stand at his side
and, bending,
shall speak in his ear:

"Listen, mister god!
Isn’t it tedious
to dip your puffy eyes
every day into a jelly of cloud?
Let us¡ªwhy not start a merry-go-round
on the tree of what is good and evil!
Omnipresent, you will be in each cupboard,
and with such wines we’ll grace the table
than even frowning Apostle Peter
will want to step out in the ki-ka-pou.
In Eden again we’ll lodge little Eves:
command-
and this very night, for you,
from the boulevards, I’ll round up
all the most beautiful girls.

Would you like that?

You would not?

You shake your head, curlylocks?
You’re frowning, grey brows?
You believe
this
creature with wings behind you
knows what love is?

I too am an angel; I was one
with a sugar lamb’s eye I gazed;
but I’ll give no more presents to mares
of ornamental vases made of tortured Sevres.
Almighty, you concocted a pair of hands,
arranged
for everyone to have a head:
but why didn’t you see to it
that one could without torture
kiss, and kiss and kiss?!

I though you a great big god almighty,
but you’re a dunce, a minute little godlet.
Watch me stoop
and reach for the shoemaker’s knife
in my boot.

Swindlers with wings,
huddle in heaven!
Ruffle your feathers in shuddering flight!
I’ll rip you open, reeking of incense,
wide open from here to Alaska!

Let me in!

You can’t stop me.
I may be wrong
or right,
but I’m as calm as I can be.
Look¡
again they’ve beheaded the stars,
and the sky is bloody with carnage!

Hey, you!
Heaven!
Off with your hat!
I am coming!

Not a sound.

The universe sleeps,
its huge paw curled
upon a star-infested ear.