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Ecce Puer
Of the dark past
A child is born;
With joy and grief
My heart is torn.


Calm in his cradle
The living lies.
May love and mercy
Unclose his eyes!


Young life is breathed
On the glass;
The world that was not
Comes to pass.


A child is sleeping:
An old man gone.
O, father forsaken,
Forgive your son!
James Joyce

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In the Dark Pine-Wood
In the dark pine-wood
I would we lay,
In deep cool shadow
At noon of day.


How sweet to lie there,
Sweet to kiss,
Where the great pine-forest
Enaisled is!


Thy kiss descending
Sweeter were
With a soft tumult
Of thy hair.


O unto the pine-wood
At noon of day
Come with me now,
Sweet love, away.
James Joyce

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Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.
-Will Rogers

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The only line that's wrong in Shakespeare is 'holding a mirror up to nature.' You hold a magnifying glass up to nature. As an actor you just enlarge it enough so that your audience can identify with the situation. If it were a mirror, we would have no art.
-Montgomery Clift

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The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.
-Mark Twain

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Back Yard
Shine on, O moon of summer.
Shine to the leaves of grass, catalpa and oak,
All silver under your rain to-night.

An Italian boy is sending songs to you to-night from an accordion.
A Polish boy is out with his best girl; they marry next month; to-night they are throwing you kisses.

An old man next door is dreaming over a sheen that sits in a cherry tree in his back yard.

The clocks say I must go?I stay here sitting on the back porch drinking white thoughts you rain down.

Shine on, O moon,
Shake out more and more silver changes.
-Carl Sandburg

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(for Cindy Sheehan and all other mothers around the world who have lost their sons and daughters in war and peace):

Elegy On The Death Of A Young Man
Mournful groans, as when a tempest lowers,
Echo from the dreary house of woe;
Death-notes rise from yonder minster's towers!
Bearing out a youth, they slowly go;
Yes! a youth--unripe yet for the bier,
Gathered in the spring-time of his days,
Thrilling yet with pulses strong and clear,
With the flame that in his bright eye plays--
Yes, a son--the idol of his mother,
(Oh, her mournful sigh shows that too well!)
Yes! my bosom-friend,--alas my brother!--
Up! each man the sad procession swell!

Do ye boast, ye pines, so gray and old,
Storms to brave, with thunderbolts to sport?
And, ye hills, that ye the heavens uphold?
And, ye heavens, that ye the suns support!
Boasts the graybeard, who on haughty deeds
As on billows, seeks perfection's height?
Boasts the hero, whom his prowess leads
Up to future glory's temple bright!
If the gnawing worms the floweret blast,
Who can madly think he'll ne'er decay?
Who above, below, can hope to last,
If the young man's life thus fleets away?

Joyously his days of youth so glad
Danced along, in rosy garb beclad,
And the world, the world was then so sweet!
And how kindly, how enchantingly
Smiled the future,--with what golden eye
Did life's paradise his moments greet!
While the tear his mother's eye escaped,
Under him the realm of shadows gaped
And the fates his thread began to sever,--
Earth and Heaven then vanished from his sight.
From the grave-thought shrank he in affright--
Sweet the world is to the dying ever!

Dumb and deaf 'tis in that narrow place,
Deep the slumbers of the buried one!
Brother! Ah, in ever-slackening race
All thy hopes their circuit cease to run!
Sunbeams oft thy native hill still lave,
But their glow thou never more canst feel;
O'er its flowers the zephyr's pinions wave,
O'er thine ear its murmur ne'er can steal;
Love will never tinge thine eye with gold,
Never wilt thou embrace thy blooming bride,
Not e'en though our tears in torrents rolled--
Death must now thine eye forever hide!

Yet 'tis well!--for precious is the rest,
In that narrow house the sleep is calm;
There, with rapture sorrow leaves the breast,--
Man's afflictions there no longer harm.
Slander now may wildly rave o'er thee,
And temptation vomit poison fell,
O'er the wrangle on the Pharisee,
Murderous bigots banish thee to hell!
Rogues beneath apostle-masks may leer,
And the bastard child of justice play,
As it were with dice, with mankind here,
And so on, until the judgment day!

O'er thee fortune still may juggle on,
For her minions blindly look around,--
Man now totter on his staggering throne,
And in dreary puddles now be found!
Blest art thou, within thy narrow cell!
To this stir of tragi-comedy,
To these fortune-waves that madly swell,
To this vain and childish lottery,
To this busy crowd effecting naught,
To this rest with labor teeming o'er,
Brother!--to this heaven with devils--fraught,
Now thine eyes have closed forevermore.

Fare thee well, oh, thou to memory dear,
By our blessings lulled to slumbers sweet!
Sleep on calmly in thy prison drear,--
Sleep on calmly till again we meet!
Till the loud Almighty trumpet sounds,
Echoing through these corpse-encumbered hills,
Till God's storm-wind, bursting through the bounds
Placed by death, with life those corpses fills--
Till, impregnate with Jehovah's blast,
Graves bring forth, and at His menace dread,
In the smoke of planets melting fast,
Once again the tombs give up their dead!

Not in worlds, as dreamed of by the wise,
Not in heavens, as sung in poet's song,
Not in e'en the people's paradise--
Yet we shall o'ertake thee, and ere long.
Is that true which cheered the pilgrim's gloom?
Is it true that thoughts can yonder be
True, that virtue guides us o'er the tomb?
That 'tis more than empty phantasy?
All these riddles are to thee unveiled!
Truth thy soul ecstatic now drinks up,
Truth in radiance thousandfold exhaled
From the mighty Father's blissful cup.

Dark and silent bearers draw, then, nigh!
To the slayer serve the feast the while!
Cease, ye mourners, cease your wailing cry!
Dust on dust upon the body pile!
Where's the man who God to tempt presumes?
Where the eye that through the gulf can see?
Holy, holy, holy art thou, God of tombs!
We, with awful trembling, worship Thee!
Dust may back to native dust be ground,
From its crumbling house the spirit fly,
And the storm its ashes strew around,--
But its love, its love shall never die!
-Friedrich von Schiller

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It is not because the truth is too difficult to see that we make mistakes... we make mistakes because the easiest and most comfortable course for us is to seek insight where it accords with our emotions - especially selfish ones.
-Alexander Solzhenitsyn

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Todo Cambia
Cambia lo superficial
cambia tambien lo profundo
cambia el modo de pensar
cambia todo en este mundo

Cambia el clima con los años
cambia el pastor su rebaño
y así como todo cambia
que yo cambie no es extraño

Cambia el mas fino brillante
de mano en mano su brillo
cambia el nido el pajarillo
cambia el sentir un amante

Cambia el rumbo el caminante
aunque esto le cause daño
y así como todo cambia
que yo cambie no es extraño

Cambia todo cambia
Cambia todo cambia
Cambia todo cambia
Cambia todo cambia

Cambia el sol en su carrera
cuando la noche subsiste
cambia la planta y se viste
de verde en la primavera

Cambia el pelaje la fiera
Cambia el cabello el anciano
y así como todo cambia
que yo cambie no es extraño

Pero no cambia mi amor
por mas lejos que me encuentre
ni el recuerdo ni el dolor
de mi pueblo y de mi gente

Lo que cambió ayer
tendrá que cambiar mañana
así como cambio yo
en esta tierra lejana

Cambia todo cambia
Cambia todo cambia
Cambia todo cambia
Cambia todo cambia

Pero no cambia mi amor...
-Mercedes Sosa

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The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who remain neutral in times of moral crisis
-Dante

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If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.
-Joseph Goebbels

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Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.
-Josef Stalin

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To plunder, to slaughter, to steal, these things they misname empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace.
-Tacitus

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Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country."
-President Theodore Roosevelt, 1908

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We have weapons of mass destruction we have to address here at home. Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction. Homelessness is a weapon of mass destruction. Unemployment is a weapon of mass destruction.
-Dennis Kucinich

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Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different.
-Katherine Mansfield

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No le parece que ha de haber cosa imposible a quien ama.
-Santa Teresa de Jesús

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Our souls may lose their peace and disturb other people's, if we are always criticizing trivial actions-which often are not real defects at all, but we construe them wrongly through our ignorance of their
motives.
-Saint Theresa of Avila

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I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.
-Mahatma Gandhi

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In real love you want the other person's good. In romantic love, you want the other person.
-Margaret Anderson

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Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.
-Franklin D. Roosevelt

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Remember you are just an extra in everyone else's play.
-Franklin D. Roosevelt

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The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation.
-Pierre Elliott Trudeau

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The myths underlying our culture and underlying our common sense have not taught us to feel identical with the universe, but only parts of it, only in it, only confronting it - aliens.
-Alan Watts

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You just keep pushing. You just keep pushing. I made every mistake that could be made. But I just kept pushing.
-Rene Descartes

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Gratitude is a duty which ought to be paid, but which none have a right to expect.
-Jean Jacques Rousseau

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What falls away is always. And is near.
-Theodore Roethke

From:
The Waking
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me, so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

Source: Selected Poems (ed. Hirsch, American poets' project 2005)
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A lively understandable spirit Once entertained you. It will come again. Be still. Wait.
-Theodore Roethke

From:
The Lost Son
1. The Flight

At Woodlawn I heard the dead cry:
I was lulled by the slamming of iron,
A slow drip over stones,
Toads brooding wells.
All the leaves stuck out their tongues;
I shook the softening chalk of my bones,
Saying,
Snail, snail, glister me forward,
Bird, soft-sigh me home,
Worm, be with me.
This is my hard time.

Fished in an old wound,
The soft pond of repose;
Nothing nibbled my line,
Not even the minnows came.

Sat in an empty house
Watching shadows crawl,
Scratching.
There was one fly.

Voice, come out of the silence.
Say something.

Appear in the form of a spider
Or a moth beating the curtain.

Tell me:
Which is the way I take;
Out of what door do I go,
Where and to whom?

Dark hollows said, lee to the wind,
The moon said, back of an eel,
The salt said, look by the sea,
Your tears are not enough praise,
You will find no comfort here,
In the kingdom of bang and blab.

Running lightly over spongy ground,
Past the pasture of flat stones,
The three elms,
The sheep strewn on a field,
Over a rickety bridge
Toward the quick-water, wrinkling and rippling.

Hunting along the river,
Down among the rubbish, the bug-riddled foliage,
By the muddy pond-edge, by the bog-holes,
By the shrunken lake, hunting, in the heat of summer.

The shape of a rat?
It's bigger than that.
It's less than a leg
And more than a nose,
Just under the water
It usually goes.

Is it soft like a mouse?
Can it wrinkle its nose?
Could it come in the house
On the tips of its toes?

Take the skin of a cat
And the back of an eel,
Then roll them in grease,-
That's the way it would feel.

It's sleek as an otter
With wide webby toes
Just under the water
It usually goes.

2. The Pit

Where do the roots go?
Look down under the leaves.
Who put the moss there?
These stones have been here too long.
Who stunned the dirt into noise?
Ask the mole, he knows.
I feel the slime of a wet nest.
Beware Mother Mildew.
Nibble again, fish nerves.

3. The Gibber

At the wood's mouth,
By the cave's door,
I listened to something
I had heard before.

Dogs of the groin
Barked and howled,
The sun was against me,
The moon would not have me.

The weeds whined,
The snakes cried,
The cows and briars
Said to me: Die.

What a small song. What slow clouds. What dark water.
Hath the raine a father? All the caves are ice. Only the snow's
here.
I'm cold. I'm cold all over. Rub me in father and mother.
Fear was my father, Father Fear.
His look drained the stones.

What gliding shape
Beckoning through halls,
Stood poised on the stair,
Fell dreamily down?

From the mouths of jugs
Perched on many shelves,
I saw substance flowing
That cold morning.
Like a slither of eels
That watery cheek
As my own tongue kissed
My lips awake.

Is this the storm's heart? The ground is unsmiling itself.
My veins are running nowhere. Do the bones cast out their
fire?
Is the seed leaving the old bed? These buds are live as birds.
Where, where are the tears of the world?
Let the kisses resound, flat like a butcher's palm;
Let the gestures freeze; our doom is already decided.
All the windows are burning! What's left of my life?
I want the old rage, the lash of primordial milk!
Goodbye, goodbye, old stones, the time-order is going,
I have married my hands to perpetual agitation,
I run, I run to the whistle of money.

Money money money
Water water water

How cool the grass is.
Has the bird left?
The stalk still sways.
Has the worm a shadow?
What do the clouds say?

These sweeps of light undo me.
Look, look, the ditch is running white!
I've more veins than a tree!
Kiss me, ashes, I'm falling through a dark swirl.

4. The Return

The way to the boiler was dark,
Dark all the way,
Over slippery cinders
Through the long greenhouse.

The roses kept breathing in the dark.
They had many mouths to breathe with.
My knees made little winds underneath
Where the weeds slept.

There was always a single light
Swinging by the fire-pit,
Where the fireman pulled out roses,
The big roses, the big bloody clinkers.

Once I stayed all night.
The light in the morning came slowly over the white
Snow.
There were many kinds of cool
Air.
Then came steam.

Pipe-knock.

Scurry of warm over small plants.
Ordnung! ordnung!
Papa is coming!

A fine haze moved off the leaves;
Frost melted on far panes;
The rose, the chrysanthemum turned toward the light.
Even the hushed forms, the bent yellowy weeds
Moved in a slow up-sway.

5

It was beginning winter,
An in-between time,
The landscape still partly brown:
The bones of weeds kept swinging in the wind,
Above the blue snow.

It was beginning winter,
The light moved slowly over the frozen field,
Over the dry seed-crowns,
The beautiful surviving bones
Swinging in the wind.

Light traveled over the wide field;
Stayed.
The weeds stopped swinging.
The mind moved, not alone,
Through the clear air, in the silence.

Was it light?
Was it light within?
Was it light within light?
Stillness becoming alive,
Yet still?
A lively understandable spirit
Once entertained you.
It will come again.
Be still.
Wait.

Source: Selected Poems (ed Hirsch, American Poets Project 2005)

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It behooves a prudent person to make trial of everything before arms
Jean Racine

From Eunuchus. Act iv. Sc. 7, 19. (789.)

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We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects
Herman Melville
Last edited: 29 October 2007 10:28:20