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August 12, 2004, 03:47:03 am #0

favorite poems

 i thought i would start a thread for people to post a poem they like, this can be on going, kind of like a game..just to share a poem you really love.

i'm poem crazy.

here is one i really like


penis Envy by Erica Jong   

   I envy men who can yearn
with infinite emptiness
toward the body of a woman,

hoping that the yearning
will make a child,
that the emptiness itself
will fertilize the darkness.

Women have no illusions about this,
being at once
houses, tunnels,
cups & cupbearers,
knowing emptiness as a temporary state
between two fullnesses,
& seeing no romance in it.

If I were a man
doomed to that infinite emptiness,
& having no choice in the matter,
I would, like the rest, no doubt,
find a woman
& christen her moonbelly,
madonna, gold-haired goddess
& make her the tent of my longing,
the silk parachute of my lust,
the blue-eyed icon of my sacred sexual itch,
the mother of my hunger.

But since I am a woman,
I must not only inspire the poem
but also type it,
not only conceive the child
but also bear it,
not only bear the child
but also bathe it,
not only bathe the child
but also feed it,
not only feed the child
but also carry it
everywhere, evertwhere...

while men write poems
on the mysteries of motherhood.

I envy men who can yearn
with infinite emptiness

/insert something witty here.
August 13, 2004, 01:24:37 am #1

favorite poems

 Yay! Poems! *peasants rejoice and chant "roses are red, violets are blue..."*

Here's one that I've always been fond of:

The Cat
(Ogden Nash)

You get a wife, you get a house,
Eventually you get a mouse.
You get some words regarding mice,
You get a kitty in a trice.

By two a.m. or thereabouts,
The mouse is in, the cat is out.
It dawns upon you, in your cot,
The mouse is silent, the cat is not.

Instead of kitty, says your spouse,
You should have got another mouse.

August 13, 2004, 02:51:20 pm #2

favorite poems

 lol !

i love ogden nash

/insert something witty here.
September 14, 2004, 01:27:30 am #3

favorite poems

 another one of my favorites

Poppies in October
   by sylvia plath

Even the sun-clouds this morning cannot manage such skirts.
Nor the woman in the ambulance
Whose red heart blooms through her coat so astoundingly --

A gift, a love gift
Utterly unasked for
By a sky

Palely and flamily
Igniting its carbon monoxides, by eyes
Dulled to a halt under bowlers.

O my God, what am I
That these late mouths should cry open
In a forest of frost, in a dawn of cornflowers.

/insert something witty here.
October 01, 2004, 06:04:33 pm #4
radical jojo

favorite poems

 A favorite of mine.

"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T. S. Eliot
         S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse
 A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
 Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
 Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo
 Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
 Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.
LET us go then, you and I,  
When the evening is spread out against the sky  
Like a patient etherised upon a table;  
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,  
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels  
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:  
Streets that follow like a tedious argument  
Of insidious intent  
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”  
Let us go and make our visit.  
In the room the women come and go  
Talking of Michelangelo.  
The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes  
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,  
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,  
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,  
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,  
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.  
And indeed there will be time  
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,  
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time  
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;  
There will be time to murder and create,  
And time for all the works and days of hands  
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,  
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,  
And for a hundred visions and revisions,  
Before the taking of a toast and tea.  
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.  
And indeed there will be time  
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”  
Time to turn back and descend the stair,  
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair--
[They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”]  
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,  
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—  
[They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”]  
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?  
In a minute there is time  
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.  
For I have known them all already, known them all:—  
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;  
I know the voices dying with a dying fall  
Beneath the music from a farther room.  
  So how should I presume?  
And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,  
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,  
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,  
Then how should I begin  
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
  And how should I presume?  
And I have known the arms already, known them all—  
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare  
[But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!]  
It is perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?  
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.  
  And should I then presume?  
  And how should I begin?
      .      .      .      .      .  
Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes  
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?…  
I should have been a pair of ragged claws  
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
      .      .      .      .      .  
And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,  
Asleep … tired … or it malingers,  
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.  
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,  
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,  
Though I have seen my head [grown slightly bald] brought in upon a platter,  
I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;  
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,  
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.  
And would it have been worth it, after all,  
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,  
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,  
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,  
To have squeezed the universe into a ball  
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,  
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,  
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—
If one, settling a pillow by her head,  
  Should say: “That is not what I meant at all.  
  That is not it, at all.”  
And would it have been worth it, after all,  
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,  
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—  
And this, and so much more?—  
It is impossible to say just what I mean!  
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while  
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,  
And turning toward the window, should say:  
  “That is not it at all,  
  That is not what I meant, at all.”
      .      .      .      .      .        
No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;  
Am an attendant lord, one that will do  
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,  
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,  
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;  
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;  
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—  
Almost, at times, the Fool.  
I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.  
Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?  
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.  
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.  
I do not think that they will sing to me.
I have seen them riding seaward on the waves  
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back  
When the wind blows the water white and black.  
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea  
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.  

October 01, 2004, 08:45:29 pm #5

favorite poems

 Sarah Teasdale- There Will Come Soft Rains

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white;

Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done;

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

Thought of another. The original is in Japanese, but I'll translate:

ame ni mo makezu
kaze ni mo makezu
yuki ni mo natsu no atsusa hi mo makezu
joubuna karada o mochi
yoku wa naku
keshite okorazu
itsumo shizuka ni waratte iru
ichinichi ni genmai yon go to
miso to sukoshi no yasai o tabe
arayuru koto o
jibun o kanjou ni irezu
yoku mikiki shi wakari
soshite wasurezu
nohara no matsu no hayashi no kage no
chiisana kayabuki no koya ni ite
higashi ni byouki no kodomo areba
itte kanbyou shite yan
nishi ni tsukareta haha areba
itte sono ine no taba o oi
minami ni shinisouna hito areba
itte kowagaranakute mo ii to ii
kita ni kenka ya soshou ga areba
tsumaranai kara yamero to ii
hideri no toki wa namida o magashi
samusa no natsu wa oro oro aruki
minna ni dekunobou to yobare
homerare mo sezu
ku ni no sarezu
sou iu mono ni
watashi wa naritai

*phew* Translation:

undefeated by rain
undefeated by wind
undefeated by snow or summer's heat
having a healthy body
without desire
never angering
always quietly smiling
in one day eating four cups of brown rice
miso and a few vegetables
not adding my own feelings
to everything
looking and listening well, understanding
and then not forgetting
in the shadows of the pine trees on a field
living in a small shed with a thatched roof
if in the east there is a sick child
going to nurse him back to health
if in the west there is a tired mother
going to carry her bundle of rice
if in the south there is a person dying
going to say "it's all right not to be afraid"
if in the north there are fights and disputes
saying "this is pointless, stop it"
shedding tears in time of drought
pacing nervously through cold summers
being treated like a fool by everyone
not receiving praise
neither cause nor suffering
that's the kind of person
I want to become.


The tire flies into the stands and hits a woman in the FACE! When you first saw it you were like "OOOOOOOOOOOHHHH!! The tire just hit that woman in the FACE!."

-Dane Cook
October 09, 2004, 06:00:31 pm #6

favorite poems

A favorite of mine.

my favorite all time poem ever!!!! i quote that so much. mmm. "and human voices wake us and we drown* ^_^

im not much for rhyme..but i LOVE this poem

by robert frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.  

/insert something witty here.
December 05, 2004, 07:17:09 pm #7
radical jojo

favorite poems

 Yay! SD is another T.S. Eliot fan! That one is my number-one, all-time favorite, too.

I also really like Charles Simic.

"Matches" by Charles Simic

Very dark when I step
On the street
But then he shows up
The one who plays with matches
In my dreams

I have never seen
His face his eyes

Why do I always
Have to be so slow
And the matches already
Down to his fingertips

If it's a house
Time only for a glimpse
If a woman--
Just a single kiss
Before the shadows converge

I could be dining
Making a snowball
Having my teeth pulled
By the Pope in Rome
Or running naked
Over a battlefield

The one with matches
Knows and won't say
He likes only abandoned games
Illegible cities
Great loves that go out
In a puff


January 05, 2005, 06:55:47 pm #8

favorite poems

 This is basically how ive been feeling for 2 weeks, and its going to be another week.

Love?? by Jackie Gagne

From the time I wake
'Till the time I sleep
And even in my dreams
I think of you.
I like to talk,
And fool around
Or, just sit and stare
But only when I'm with you
I never thought that this could happen,
These feelings that I have.
I feel lust,
I feel passion,
I feel need for you
Is it love or obsession?
Friendship or desire?
I don't know.
But I want it forever.
I never want it to go away.  
January 14, 2005, 08:00:26 pm #9

favorite poems

 Not modern poetry, but I fell in love with this poem when we studied it in English.

Spring and Fall to a Young Child
(Gerard Manley Hopkins)

Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like things of man you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to sight much colder
By & by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep & know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

I've also loved "The Highway Man", but I won't post that here because it's long...and you've probably all read it any way Smiley.  I wish I could find my copy of The Beloved.  I adore Kahlil Gibran.  But I guess that's more prose than poetry anyway.  

I had to memorize "ame ni mo makezu" my senior year for Japanese class.  I can still hear Grames-sensei up at the front of the class.  "Ame ne mo.  San, Hai!"  I've forgotten most of the second half though.  Need to brush up on that.

"Never be an idiot the same way twice."  -Andy Watson
February 13, 2005, 09:20:57 pm #10

favorite poems

 Well, my absolute favorite poems are by Poe, but I'm sure you've all heard them.

So I'll share this one with you. I got it from a videogame, actually (Silent Hill 2), but it is one of the best poems I've ever read. Have fun:

Dead men, dead men
swinging in a tree
How many dead men
do you see?
Tongue turned blue and
face gone grey
Watch them as they
twist and sway

The first one killed
the butcher man
Then cooked him in
the frying pan
Served him to his hungry guests
And gave them seconds on request

The next one with his smile
and sweets
Stole poor children off the streets
To men who dressed unsavory
He sold them into slavery

Breaking into home at night
The thief he had a nasty fright
Filled his foolish head with ale
Woke in the morn
in the county jail

The artist with his daunting skill
Tried his hand at painting bills
But caught in rain he was undone
When the ink he'd use did
start to run

With promises of great return
Taking gold he did not earn
Bundled it up out of sight
Quietly slipped off into night

Three houses into ashes burned
The sheriff with no place to turn
Did spy a stranger to his town
Locked him up and beat him down

Dead men, dead men
swinging in a tree
How many dead men
do you see?
Six feet long and
six men wide
Round their necks
the noose be tied.

This is your life and it's ending one minute at a time.
February 18, 2005, 12:49:19 pm #11

favorite poems

 I always loved: Mommy by unknown

Jonny brought a gun to school,
He told his friends that it was cool,
And when he pulled the trigger back,
It shot with a great crack.
Mommy, I was a good girl, i did what i was told,
I went to school, I got straight A's,
I even got the gold!
But Mommy, when I went to school that day,
I never said goodbye,
I'm sorry Mommy, i had to go,
But Mommy , please don't cry.
When Johnny shot the gun,
He hit me and another,
And all because Johnny,
Got the gun from his older brother.
Mommy, please tell Daddy,
That I love him very much,
And please tell Chris, my boyfriend,
That it wasn't just a crush.
And tell my little sister,
That she is the only one now,
And tell my dear sweet Grandmother,
i'll be waiting for her now,
And tell my wonderful friends,
That they always were the best,
Mommy, I'm not the first,
I'm no better then the rest.
Mommy, tell my teachers,
I won't show up for class,
And never to forget this,
And please don't let this pass.
Mommy, why'd it have to be me?
No one deserves this,
Mommy, warn the others,
Mommy, tell the doctors,
I know they really did try,
I think I even saw a doctor,
trying not to cry.
Mommy, i'm slowly dying,
With a bullet in my chest,
But Mommy, please remember,
I'm in Heaven with the rest.
Mommy, I ran as fast as I could,
When i heard that crack,
Mommy, listen to me if you would,
I'm not coming back.
I wanted to go to college,
I wanted to try things that were new,
I guess I'm not going with Daddy,
On that trip to the new zoo.
I wanted to get married,
I wanted to have a kid,
i wanted to be an actress,
Mommy, I wanted to live.
But Mommy, I must go now,
The time is getting late,
Mommy, tell my boyfriend,
I'm sorry, but I had to cancel the date.
I love you, Mommy, I always have,
I know, you know it's true,
And Mommy all i wanted to say is,
"Mommy, I love you"


"Reality is but a fingernail away from hell."
user posted image
My. Lucky. Stars.
April 21, 2005, 11:45:36 am #12

favorite poems

 My favorite poem is the "The Lady of Shalott" by Alfred Tennyson:

On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And through the field the road run by
To many-tower'd Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
The island of Shalott.

Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Through the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river
Flowing down to Camelot.
Four grey walls, and four grey towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
The Lady of Shalott.

By the margin, willow veiled,
Slide the heavy barges trailed
By slow horses; and unhailed
The shallop flitteth silken-sailed
Skimming down to Camelot:
But who hath seen her wave her hand?
Or at the casement seen her stand?
Or is she known in all the land,
The Lady of Shalott?

Only reapers, reaping early,
In among the bearded barley
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly;
Down to towered Camelot;
And by the moon the reaper weary,
Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers, " 'Tis the fairy
The Lady of Shalott."

There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
The Lady of Shalott.

And moving through a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near
Winding down to Camelot;
There the river eddy whirls,
And there the surly village churls,
And the red cloaks of market girls
Pass onward from Shalott.

Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
An abbot on an ambling pad,
Sometimes a curly shepherd lad,
Or long-hair'd page in crimson clad
Goes by to towered Camelot;
And sometimes through the mirror blue
The knights come riding two and two.
She hath no loyal Knight and true,
The Lady of Shalott.

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror's magic sights,
For often through the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights
And music, went to Camelot;
Or when the Moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed.
"I am half sick of shadows," said
The Lady of Shalott.

A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rode between the barley sheaves,
The sun came dazzling through the leaves,
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A red-cross knight for ever kneeled
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
Beside remote Shalott.

The gemmy bridle glittered free,
Like to some branch of stars we see
Hung in the golden Galaxy.
The bridle bells rang merrily
As he rode down to Camelot:
And from his blazoned baldric slung
A mighty silver bugle hung,
And as he rode his armor rung
Beside remote Shalott.

All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewelled shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather
Burned like one burning flame together,
As he rode down to Camelot.
As often through the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, burning bright,
Moves over still Shalott.

His broad clear brow in sunlight glowed;
On burnished hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow'd
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flashed into the crystal mirror,
"Tirra lirra," by the river
Sang Sir Lancelot.

She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces through the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She look'd down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack'd from side to side;
"The curse is come upon me," cried
The Lady of Shalott.

In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining.
Heavily the low sky raining
Over towered Camelot;
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And around about the prow she wrote
The Lady of Shalott.

And down the river's dim expanse
Like some bold seer in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance --
With a glassy countenance
Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott.

Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to left and right --
The leaves upon her falling light --
Through the noises of the night,
She floated down to Camelot:
And as the boat-head wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her singing her last song,
The Lady of Shalott.

Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darkened wholly,
Turned to towered Camelot.
For ere she reached upon the tide
The first house by the water-side,
Singing in her song she died,
The Lady of Shalott.

Under tower and balcony,
By garden-wall and gallery,
A gleaming shape she floated by,
Dead-pale between the houses high,
Silent into Camelot.
Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and Burgher, Lord and Dame,
And around the prow they read her name,
The Lady of Shalott.

Who is this? And what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they crossed themselves for fear,
All the Knights at Camelot;
But Lancelot mused a little space
He said, "She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
The Lady of Shalott."

Keep your fears to yourself...but share your courage...
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.
May 16, 2005, 10:45:13 am #13

favorite poems

 This is one of my own but it’s my fav. But the only thing is that is deals with heart brake and betrayal and death all in one.


Now that you’re gone everything starts to fall a part.
Now that your gone everything come crashing down upon me.
Now that everything has fallen on me it starts to suffocate me and all I can see is the ash that falls over everything.
In that miserable hour of life I said to myself what is there to live for.
I think and come to realize that there’s nothing to live for anymore so I let the weight of everything crush the body that I was in and died a slow and painful death.
But I was welcomed because it didn’t hurt as bad as the pain that you putt me through that day when you ripped the heart form my chest.

i wrote this when i found out that my x was cheating on y with a friend of mine.

when praying to the computer gods you must repeatedly say omena omena untill something happens!
May 27, 2005, 12:03:18 am #14

favorite poems

 Two of my faves:

A Kitty Litter-ary Moment with Bucky B. Katt
Whose toads are these I think I knew
His frogs are in the viscous stew;
He will not see me stooping here
To launch his toads to frog fondue.

The little puss would think it queer
To stop with no frogs to toss near
Between the toads and froggy fling
The farthest frog tossed o'er the pier

He gives the slimy newts a swing
As if they are some green plaything...
The only other sound's the cheep
Of peepers pinned and sent flying.

The toads are best found sound asleep
But I have prodigious frogs to reap.
Reptiles to throw before I sleep.
Reptiles to throw before I sleep.

And another:

Two slugs slithered on a yellow wood
And sorry I could not trample both
Being one trampler, long I stood
And looked them down as fierce I could
To where they sat in the undergrowth...

I will be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere sitting upon a fence:
Two slugs slithered on a yellow wood
And I - I ate the slug less trampled by,
And that has made all the difference.

-Darby Conley

**EDIT: Heck why not? Heres another one by Eliot, quite long:


APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding  
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing  
Memory and desire, stirring  
Dull roots with spring rain.  
Winter kept us warm, covering          5
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding  
A little life with dried tubers.  
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee  
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,  
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,   10
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.  
Bin gar keine Russin, stamm' aus Litauen, echt deutsch.  
And when we were children, staying at the archduke's,  
My cousin's, he took me out on a sled,  
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,   15
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.  
In the mountains, there you feel free.  
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.  
What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow  
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,   20
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only  
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,  
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,  
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only  
There is shadow under this red rock,   25
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),  
And I will show you something different from either  
Your shadow at morning striding behind you  
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;  
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.   30
                Frisch weht der Wind  
                Der Heimat zu.  
                Mein Irisch Kind,  
                Wo weilest du?  
'You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;   35
'They called me the hyacinth girl.'  
—Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,  
Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not  
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither  
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,   40
Looking into the heart of light, the silence.  
Od' und leer das Meer.  
Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante,  
Had a bad cold, nevertheless  
Is known to be the wisest woman in Europe,   45
With a wicked pack of cards. Here, said she,  
Is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor,  
(Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!)  
Here is Belladonna, the Lady of the Rocks,  
The lady of situations.   50
Here is the man with three staves, and here the Wheel,  
And here is the one-eyed merchant, and this card,  
Which is blank, is something he carries on his back,  
Which I am forbidden to see. I do not find  
The Hanged Man. Fear death by water.   55
I see crowds of people, walking round in a ring.  
Thank you. If you see dear Mrs. Equitone,  
Tell her I bring the horoscope myself:  
One must be so careful these days.  
Unreal City,   60
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,  
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,  
I had not thought death had undone so many.  
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,  
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.   65
Flowed up the hill and down King William Street,  
To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours  
With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine.  
There I saw one I knew, and stopped him, crying 'Stetson!  
'You who were with me in the ships at Mylae!   70
'That corpse you planted last year in your garden,  
'Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?  
'Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?  
'Oh keep the Dog far hence, that's friend to men,  
'Or with his nails he'll dig it up again!   75
'You! hypocrite lecteur!—mon semblable,—mon frère!'  

THE Chair she sat in, like a burnished throne,  
Glowed on the marble, where the glass  
Held up by standards wrought with fruited vines  
From which a golden Cupidon peeped out   80
(Another hid his eyes behind his wing)  
Doubled the flames of sevenbranched candelabra  
Reflecting light upon the table as  
The glitter of her jewels rose to meet it,  
From satin cases poured in rich profusion;   85
In vials of ivory and coloured glass  
Unstoppered, lurked her strange synthetic perfumes,  
Unguent, powdered, or liquid—troubled, confused  
And drowned the sense in odours; stirred by the air  
That freshened from the window, these ascended   90
In fattening the prolonged candle-flames,  
Flung their smoke into the laquearia,  
Stirring the pattern on the coffered ceiling.  
Huge sea-wood fed with copper  
Burned green and orange, framed by the coloured stone,   95
In which sad light a carvèd dolphin swam.  
Above the antique mantel was displayed  
As though a window gave upon the sylvan scene  
The change of Philomel, by the barbarous king  
So rudely forced; yet there the nightingale  100
Filled all the desert with inviolable voice  
And still she cried, and still the world pursues,  
'Jug Jug' to dirty ears.  
And other withered stumps of time  
Were told upon the walls; staring forms  105
Leaned out, leaning, hushing the room enclosed.  
Footsteps shuffled on the stair.  
Under the firelight, under the brush, her hair  
Spread out in fiery points  
Glowed into words, then would be savagely still.  110
'My nerves are bad to-night. Yes, bad. Stay with me.  
'Speak to me. Why do you never speak? Speak.  
'What are you thinking of? What thinking? What?  
'I never know what you are thinking. Think.'  
I think we are in rats' alley  115
Where the dead men lost their bones.  
'What is that noise?'  
                      The wind under the door.  
'What is that noise now? What is the wind doing?'  
                      Nothing again nothing.  120
'You know nothing? Do you see nothing? Do you remember  
  I remember  
Those are pearls that were his eyes.  125
'Are you alive, or not? Is there nothing in your head?'  
O O O O that Shakespeherian Rag—  
It's so elegant  
So intelligent  130
'What shall I do now? What shall I do?'  
'I shall rush out as I am, and walk the street  
'With my hair down, so. What shall we do to-morrow?  
'What shall we ever do?'  
                          The hot water at ten.  135
And if it rains, a closed car at four.  
And we shall play a game of chess,  
Pressing lidless eyes and waiting for a knock upon the door.  
When Lil's husband got demobbed, I said—  
I didn't mince my words, I said to her myself,  140
Now Albert's coming back, make yourself a bit smart.  
He'll want to know what you done with that money he gave you  
To get yourself some teeth. He did, I was there.  
You have them all out, Lil, and get a nice set,  145
He said, I swear, I can't bear to look at you.  
And no more can't I, I said, and think of poor Albert,  
He's been in the army four years, he wants a good time,  
And if you don't give it him, there's others will, I said.  
Oh is there, she said. Something o' that, I said.  150
Then I'll know who to thank, she said, and give me a straight look.  
If you don't like it you can get on with it, I said.  
Others can pick and choose if you can't.  
But if Albert makes off, it won't be for lack of telling.  155
You ought to be ashamed, I said, to look so antique.  
(And her only thirty-one.)  
I can't help it, she said, pulling a long face,  
It's them pills I took, to bring it off, she said.  
(She's had five already, and nearly died of young George.)  160
The chemist said it would be alright, but I've never been the same.  
You are a proper fool, I said.  
Well, if Albert won't leave you alone, there it is, I said,  
What you get married for if you don't want children?  
Well, that Sunday Albert was home, they had a hot gammon,  
And they asked me in to dinner, to get the beauty of it hot—  
Goonight Bill. Goonight Lou. Goonight May. Goonight.  170
Ta ta. Goonight. Goonight.  
Good night, ladies, good night, sweet ladies, good night, good night.  

THE river's tent is broken: the last fingers of leaf  
Clutch and sink into the wet bank. The wind  
Crosses the brown land, unheard. The nymphs are departed.  175
Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.  
The river bears no empty bottles, sandwich papers,  
Silk handkerchiefs, cardboard boxes, cigarette ends  
Or other testimony of summer nights. The nymphs are departed.  
And their friends, the loitering heirs of city directors;  180
Departed, have left no addresses.  
By the waters of Leman I sat down and wept...  
Sweet Thames, run softly till I end my song,  
Sweet Thames, run softly, for I speak not loud or long.  
But at my back in a cold blast I hear  185
The rattle of the bones, and chuckle spread from ear to ear.  
A rat crept softly through the vegetation  
Dragging its slimy belly on the bank  
While I was fishing in the dull canal  
On a winter evening round behind the gashouse  190
Musing upon the king my brother's wreck  
And on the king my father's death before him.  
White bodies naked on the low damp ground  
And bones cast in a little low dry garret,  
Rattled by the rat's foot only, year to year.  195
But at my back from time to time I hear  
The sound of horns and motors, which shall bring  
Sweeney to Mrs. Porter in the spring.  
O the moon shone bright on Mrs. Porter  
And on her daughter  200
They wash their feet in soda water  
Et, O ces voix d'enfants, chantant dans la coupole!  
Twit twit twit  
Jug jug jug jug jug jug  
So rudely forc'd.  205
Unreal City  
Under the brown fog of a winter noon  
Mr. Eugenides, the Smyrna merchant  
Unshaven, with a pocket full of currants  210
C.i.f. London: documents at sight,  
Asked me in demotic French  
To luncheon at the Cannon Street Hotel  
Followed by a weekend at the Metropole.  
At the violet hour, when the eyes and back  215
Turn upward from the desk, when the human engine waits  
Like a taxi throbbing waiting,  
I Tiresias, though blind, throbbing between two lives,  
Old man with wrinkled female breasts, can see  
At the violet hour, the evening hour that strives  220
Homeward, and brings the sailor home from sea,  
The typist home at teatime, clears her breakfast, lights  
Her stove, and lays out food in tins.  
Out of the window perilously spread  
Her drying combinations touched by the sun's last rays,  225
On the divan are piled (at night her bed)  
Stockings, slippers, camisoles, and stays.  
I Tiresias, old man with wrinkled dugs  
Perceived the scene, and foretold the rest—  
I too awaited the expected guest.  230
He, the young man carbuncular, arrives,  
A small house agent's clerk, with one bold stare,  
One of the low on whom assurance sits  
As a silk hat on a Bradford millionaire.  
The time is now propitious, as he guesses,  235
The meal is ended, she is bored and tired,  
Endeavours to engage her in caresses  
Which still are unreproved, if undesired.  
Flushed and decided, he assaults at once;  
Exploring hands encounter no defence;  240
His vanity requires no response,  
And makes a welcome of indifference.  
(And I Tiresias have foresuffered all  
Enacted on this same divan or bed;  
I who have sat by Thebes below the wall  245
And walked among the lowest of the dead.)  
Bestows on final patronising kiss,  
And gropes his way, finding the stairs unlit...  
She turns and looks a moment in the glass,  
Hardly aware of her departed lover;  250
Her brain allows one half-formed thought to pass:  
'Well now that's done: and I'm glad it's over.'  
When lovely woman stoops to folly and  
Paces about her room again, alone,  
She smoothes her hair with automatic hand,  255
And puts a record on the gramophone.  
'This music crept by me upon the waters'  
And along the Strand, up Queen Victoria Street.  
O City city, I can sometimes hear  
Beside a public bar in Lower Thames Street,  260
The pleasant whining of a mandoline  
And a clatter and a chatter from within  
Where fishmen lounge at noon: where the walls  
Of Magnus Martyr hold  
Inexplicable splendour of Ionian white and gold.  265
      The river sweats  
      Oil and tar  
      The barges drift  
      With the turning tide  
      Red sails  270
      To leeward, swing on the heavy spar.  
      The barges wash  
      Drifting logs  
      Down Greenwich reach  275
      Past the Isle of Dogs.  
            Weialala leia  
            Wallala leialala  
      Elizabeth and Leicester  
      Beating oars  280
      The stern was formed  
      A gilded shell  
      Red and gold  
      The brisk swell  
      Rippled both shores  285
      Southwest wind  
      Carried down stream  
      The peal of bells  
      White towers  
            Weialala leia  290
            Wallala leialala  
'Trams and dusty trees.  
Highbury bore me. Richmond and Kew  
Undid me. By Richmond I raised my knees  
Supine on the floor of a narrow canoe.'  295
'My feet are at Moorgate, and my heart  
Under my feet. After the event  
He wept. He promised "a new start".  
I made no comment. What should I resent?'  
'On Margate Sands.  300
I can connect  
Nothing with nothing.  
The broken fingernails of dirty hands.  
My people humble people who expect  
Nothing.'  305
      la la  
To Carthage then I came  
Burning burning burning burning  
O Lord Thou pluckest me out  
O Lord Thou pluckest  310

PHLEBAS the Phoenician, a fortnight dead,  
Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep seas swell  
And the profit and loss.  
                          A current under sea  315
Picked his bones in whispers. As he rose and fell  
He passed the stages of his age and youth  
Entering the whirlpool.  
                          Gentile or Jew  
O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,  320
Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.  

AFTER the torchlight red on sweaty faces  
After the frosty silence in the gardens  
After the agony in stony places  
The shouting and the crying  325
Prison and place and reverberation  
Of thunder of spring over distant mountains  
He who was living is now dead  
We who were living are now dying  
With a little patience  330
Here is no water but only rock  
Rock and no water and the sandy road  
The road winding above among the mountains  
Which are mountains of rock without water  
If there were water we should stop and drink  335
Amongst the rock one cannot stop or think  
Sweat is dry and feet are in the sand  
If there were only water amongst the rock  
Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit  
Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit  340
There is not even silence in the mountains  
But dry sterile thunder without rain  
There is not even solitude in the mountains  
But red sullen faces sneer and snarl  
From doors of mudcracked houses
                                 If there were water  345
  And no rock  
  If there were rock  
  And also water  
  And water  
  A spring  350
  A pool among the rock  
  If there were the sound of water only  
  Not the cicada  
  And dry grass singing  
  But sound of water over a rock  355
  Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees  
  Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop  
  But there is no water  
Who is the third who walks always beside you?  
When I count, there are only you and I together  360
But when I look ahead up the white road  
There is always another one walking beside you  
Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded  
I do not know whether a man or a woman  
—But who is that on the other side of you?  365
What is that sound high in the air  
Murmur of maternal lamentation  
Who are those hooded hordes swarming  
Over endless plains, stumbling in cracked earth  
Ringed by the flat horizon only  370
What is the city over the mountains  
Cracks and reforms and bursts in the violet air  
Falling towers  
Jerusalem Athens Alexandria  
Vienna London  375
A woman drew her long black hair out tight  
And fiddled whisper music on those strings  
And bats with baby faces in the violet light  
Whistled, and beat their wings  380
And crawled head downward down a blackened wall  
And upside down in air were towers  
Tolling reminiscent bells, that kept the hours  
And voices singing out of empty cisterns and exhausted wells.  
In this decayed hole among the mountains  385
In the faint moonlight, the grass is singing  
Over the tumbled graves, about the chapel  
There is the empty chapel, only the wind's home.  
It has no windows, and the door swings,  
Dry bones can harm no one.  390
Only a cock stood on the rooftree  
Co co rico co co rico  
In a flash of lightning. Then a damp gust  
Bringing rain  
Ganga was sunken, and the limp leaves  395
Waited for rain, while the black clouds  
Gathered far distant, over Himavant.  
The jungle crouched, humped in silence.  
Then spoke the thunder  
D A  400
Datta: what have we given?  
My friend, blood shaking my heart  
The awful daring of a moment's surrender  
Which an age of prudence can never retract  
By this, and this only, we have existed  405
Which is not to be found in our obituaries  
Or in memories draped by the beneficent spider  
Or under seals broken by the lean solicitor  
In our empty rooms  
D A  410
Dayadhvam: I have heard the key  
Turn in the door once and turn once only  
We think of the key, each in his prison  
Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison  
Only at nightfall, aetherial rumours  415
Revive for a moment a broken Coriolanus  
D A  
Damyata: The boat responded  
Gaily, to the hand expert with sail and oar  
The sea was calm, your heart would have responded  420
Gaily, when invited, beating obedient  
To controlling hands  
                      I sat upon the shore  
Fishing, with the arid plain behind me  
Shall I at least set my lands in order?  425
London Bridge is falling down falling down falling down  
Poi s'ascose nel foco che gli affina  
Quando fiam ceu chelidon—O swallow swallow  
Le Prince d'Aquitaine à la tour abolie  
These fragments I have shored against my ruins  430
Why then Ile fit you. Hieronymo's mad againe.  
Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata.  
            Shantih shantih shantih  


"Live the best life you can. Life is a game whose rules you learn if you leap into it and play it to the hilt. Otherwise, you are caught off balance, continually surprised by the shifting play."

Darwi Odrade
Chapterhouse: Dune
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