The Death of the Poor

It is Death which consoles men, alas, and keeps them alive. Death is the aim of life; it is the only hope which, like an elixir, raises our spirits and intoxicates us, and gives us the heart to march until evening;

Through the storm, and the snow, and the frost, it is the light pulsating on our black horizon; it is the famous inn promised in the book where we shall eat, and sleep, and sit down;

It is an Angel who holds in his magnetic fingers sleep and the gift of ecstatic dreams, who makes up the bed of the poor and naked;

It is the glory of the gods, the mystic granary, the poor man’s purse and his ancient fatherland, it is the portico open on to the unknown Heavens!

Charles Baudelaire

Poems

…poems amount to so little when you write them too early in your life. you ought to wait and gather sense and sweetness for a whole lifetime, and a long one if possible, and then, at the very end, you might perhaps be able to write ten good lines. for poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences. for the sake of a single poem, you must see many cities, many people and things, you must understand animals, must feel how birds fly, and know the gesture which small flowers make when they open in the morning. you must be able to think back to streets in unknown neighborhoods, to unexpected encounters, and to partings you had long seen coming; to days of childhood whose mystery is still unexplained, to parents whom you had to hurt when they brought in a joy and you didn’t pick it up (it was a joy meant for somebody else—); to childhood illnesses that began so strangely with so many profound and difficult transformations, to days in quite, retrained rooms and to mornings by the sea, to the sea itself, to seas, to nights of travel that rushed along high overhead and went flying with all the stars,—and it is still not enough to be able to think of all that. you must have memories of many nights of love, each one different from all the others, memories of women screaming in labor, and of light, pale, sleeping girls who have just given birth and are closing again. but you must also have been beside the dying, must have sat beside the dead in the room with the open window and the scattered noises. and it is not yet enough to have memories. you must be able to forget them when they are many, and you must have the immense patience to wait until they return. for the memories themselves are not important. only when they have changed into our very blood, into glance and gesture, and are nameless, no longer to be distinguished from ourselves—only then can it happen that some very rare hour the first word of a poem arises in their midst and goes forth from them.

Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge

Listening to the Reed Flute

There’s a blind man on the road saying,
Allah, Allah. Sheikh Nuri runs to him,
‘What do you know of Allah? And if you know,
why do you stay alive?’ The sheikh keeps on,
beside himself with ecstatic questions.
Then he runs into a low place, where
a reedbed has recently been cut down.

He falls and gets up, falls again,
floundering on the sharp reed-ends.
People come and find him dead, the ground
wet with blood and written on every reed-tip,
the word Allah. This is the way one must
listen to the reed flute. Be killed
in it and lie down in the blood.

Attar, Persian Poet

trans. coleman barks

I Am In Front of This Feminine Land

Like a child in front of the fire
Smiling vaguely with tears in my eyes
In front of this land where all moves in me
Where mirrors mist where mirrors clear
Reflecting two nude bodies season on season

I’ve so many reasons to lose myself
On this road-less earth under horizon-less skies
Good reasons I ignored yesterday
And I’ll never ever forget
Good keys of gazes keys their own daughters
in front of this land where nature is mine

In front of the fire the first fire
Good mistress reason
Identified star
On earth under sky in and out of my heart
Second bud first green leaf
That the sea covers with sails
And the sun finally coming to us

I am in front of this feminine land
Like a branch in the fire.

Paul Éluard

X

Unknown, she was my favorite shape,
She who relieved me of the worry of being a man,
And I see her and I lose her and I suffer
My pain, like a little sunlight in cold water.

Paul Éluard

A Psalm of Life

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.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Hope

The heavens burned,
the stars cried out
and under the ashes of infinity
HOPE, scarred and bleeding,
breathed its last.

Ulatempa Poetess

If

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

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