of late
I’ve had this thought
that this country
has gone backwards
4 or 5 decades
and that all the
social advancement
the good feeling of
person toward
has been washed
and replaced by the same
we have
more than ever
the selfish wants of power
the disregard for the
the old
the impoverished


we are replacing want with
salvation with
we have wasted the
we have become
we have our Bomb
it is our fear
our damnation
and our
something so sad
has hold of us
the breath
and we can’t even


–charles bukowski

from the collection “the pleasures of the damned”



mary had a little lamb

it’s heart was black as coal

it sneaked into her room one night

and ate her fucking soul


seen on facebook

name withheld to protect the guilty :)


there is no accounting for what your blog host might find funny…



salve for a sore soul

distressed, i could not read another word on the internet… i turned to this poem:

The Marshes of Glynn

Glooms of the live-oaks, beautiful-braided and woven
With intricate shades of the vines that myriad-cloven
Clamber the forks of the multiform boughs, —
Emerald twilights, —
Virginal shy lights,
Wrought of the leaves to allure to the whisper of vows,
When lovers pace timidly down through the green colonnades
Of the dim sweet woods, of the dear dark woods,
Of the heavenly woods and glades,
That run to the radiant marginal sand-beach within
The wide sea-marshes of Glynn; —

Beautiful glooms, soft dusks in the noon-day fire, —
Wildwood privacies, closets of lone desire,
Chamber from chamber parted with wavering arras of leaves, —
Cells for the passionate pleasure of prayer to the soul that grieves,
Pure with a sense of the passing of saints through the wood,
Cool for the dutiful weighing of ill with good; —

O braided dusks of the oak and woven shades of the vine,
While the riotous noon-day sun of the June-day long did shine
Ye held me fast in your heart and I held you fast in mine;
But now when the noon is no more, and riot is rest,
And the sun is a-wait at the ponderous gate of the West,
And the slant yellow beam down the wood-aisle doth seem
Like a lane into heaven that leads from a dream, —
Ay, now, when my soul all day hath drunken the soul of the oak,
And my heart is at ease from men, and the wearisome sound of the stroke
Of the scythe of time and the trowel of trade is low,
And belief overmasters doubt, and I know that I know,
And my spirit is grown to a lordly great compass within,
That the length and the breadth and the sweep of the marshes of Glynn
Will work me no fear like the fear they have wrought me of yore
When length was fatigue, and when breadth was but bitterness sore,
And when terror and shrinking and dreary unnamable pain
Drew over me out of the merciless miles of the plain,

Oh, now, unafraid, I am fain to face
The vast sweet visage of space.
To the edge of the wood I am drawn, I am drawn,
Where the gray beach glimmering runs, as a belt of the dawn,
For a mete and a mark
To the forest-dark: —
Affable live-oak, leaning low, —
Thus — with your favor — soft, with a reverent hand,
(Not lightly touching your person, Lord of the land!)
Bending your beauty aside, with a step I stand
On the firm-packed sand,
By a world of marsh that borders a world of sea.

Sinuous southward and sinuous northward the shimmering band
Of the sand-beach fastens the fringe of the marsh to the folds of the land.
Inward and outward to northward and southward the beach-lines
linger and curl
As a silver-wrought garment that clings to and follows
the firm sweet limbs of a girl.
Vanishing, swerving, evermore curving again into sight,
Softly the sand-beach wavers away to a dim gray looping of light.
And what if behind me to westward the wall of the woods stands high?
The world lies east: how ample, the marsh and the sea and the sky!
A league and a league of marsh-grass, waist-high, broad in the blade,
Green, and all of a height, and unflecked with a light or a shade,
Stretch leisurely off, in a pleasant plain,
To the terminal blue of the main.

Oh, what is abroad in the marsh and the terminal sea?
Somehow my soul seems suddenly free
From the weighing of fate and the sad discussion of sin,
By the length and the breadth and the sweep of the marshes of Glynn.

Ye marshes, how candid and simple and nothing-withholding and free
Ye publish yourselves to the sky and offer yourselves to the sea!
Tolerant plains, that suffer the sea and the rains and the sun,
Ye spread and span like the catholic man who hath mightily won
God out of knowledge and good out of infinite pain
And sight out of blindness and purity out of a stain.

As the marsh-hen secretly builds on the watery sod,
Behold I will build me a nest on the greatness of God:
I will fly in the greatness of God as the marsh-hen flies
In the freedom that fills all the space ‘twixt the marsh and the skies:
By so many roots as the marsh-grass sends in the sod
I will heartily lay me a-hold on the greatness of God:
Oh, like to the greatness of God is the greatness within
The range of the marshes, the liberal marshes of Glynn.

And the sea lends large, as the marsh: lo, out of his plenty the sea
Pours fast: full soon the time of the flood-tide must be:
Look how the grace of the sea doth go
About and about through the intricate channels that flow
Here and there,
Till his waters have flooded the uttermost creeks and the low-lying lanes,
And the marsh is meshed with a million veins,
That like as with rosy and silvery essences flow
In the rose-and-silver evening glow.
Farewell, my lord Sun!
The creeks overflow: a thousand rivulets run
‘Twixt the roots of the sod; the blades of the marsh-grass stir;
Passeth a hurrying sound of wings that westward whirr;
Passeth, and all is still; and the currents cease to run;
And the sea and the marsh are one.

How still the plains of the waters be!
The tide is in his ecstasy.
The tide is at his highest height:
And it is night.

And now from the Vast of the Lord will the waters of sleep
Roll in on the souls of men,
But who will reveal to our waking ken
The forms that swim and the shapes that creep
Under the waters of sleep?
And I would I could know what swimmeth below when the tide comes in
On the length and the breadth of the marvellous marshes of Glynn.

–Sidney Lanier

ode – intimations of immortality


The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight
To me did seem
Aparell’d in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;—
Turn wheresoe’er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

The rainbow comes and goes,
And lovely is the rose;
The moon doth with delight
Look round her when the heavens are bare;
Waters on a starry night
Are beautiful and fair;
The sunshine is a glorious birth;
But yet I know, where’er I go,
That there hath past away a glory from the earth.

Now, while the birds thus sing a joyous song,
And while the young lambs bound
As to the tabor’s sound,
To me alone there came a thought of grief:
A timely utterance gave that thought relief,
And I again am strong.
The cataracts blow their trumpets from the steep;—
No more shall grief of mine the season wrong:
I hear the echoes through the mountains throng,
The winds come to me from the fields of sleep,
And all the earth is gay;
Land and sea
Give themselves up to jollity,
And with the heart of May
Doth every beast keep holiday;—
Thou child of joy
Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy Shepherd-boy!

Ye blesséd Creatures, I have heard the call
Ye to each other make; I see
The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;
My heart is at your festival,
My head hath its coronal,
The fulness of your bliss, I feel—I feel it all.
Oh evil day! if I were sullen
While Earth herself is adorning
This sweet May-morning;
And the children are culling
On every side
In a thousand valleys far and wide,
Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm
And the babe leaps up on his mother’s arm:—
I hear, I hear, with joy I hear!
—But there’s a tree, of many, one,
A single field which I have look’d upon,
Both of them speak of something that is gone:
The pansy at my feet
Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting
And cometh from afar;
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy,
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,
He sees it in his joy;
The Youth, who daily farther from the east
Must travel, still is Nature’s priest,
And by the vision splendid
Is on his way attended;
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day.

Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own;
Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind,
And, even with something of a mother’s mind
And no unworthy aim,
The homely nurse doth all she can
To make her foster-child, her inmate, Man,
Forget the glories he hath known,
And that imperial palace whence he came.

Behold the Child among his new-born blisses,
A six years’ darling of a pigmy size!
See, where ‘mid work of his own hand he lies,
Fretted by sallies of his mother’s kisses,
With light upon him from his father’s eyes!
See, at his feet, some little plan or chart,
Some fragment from his dream of human life,
Shaped by himself with newly-learnéd art;
A wedding or a festival,
A mourning or a funeral;
And this hath now his heart,
And unto this he frames his song:
Then will he fit his tongue
To dialogues of business, love, or strife;
But it will not be long
Ere this be thrown aside,
And with new joy and pride
The little actor cons another part;
Filling from time to time his ‘humorous stage’
With all the Persons, down to palsied Age,
That life brings with her in her equipage;
As if his whole vocation
Were endless imitation.

Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie
Thy soul’s immensity;
Thou best philosopher, who yet dost keep
Thy heritage, thou eye among the blind,
That, deaf and silent, read’st the eternal deep,
Haunted for ever by the eternal Mind,—
Mighty Prophet! Seer blest!
On whom those truths do rest
Which we are toiling all our lives to find,
In darkness lost, the darkness of the grave;
Thou, over whom thy Immortality
Broods like the day, a master o’er a slave,
A Presence which is not to be put by;
Thou little child, yet glorious in the might
Of heaven-born freedom on thy being’s height,
Why with such earnest pains dost thou provoke
The years to bring the inevitable yoke,
Thus blindly with thy blessedness at strife?
Full soon thy soul shall have her earthly freight,
And custom lie upon thee with a weight
Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life!

O joy! that in our embers
Is something that doth live,
That Nature yet remembers
What was so fugitive!
The thought of our past years in me doth breed
Perpetual benediction: not indeed
For that which is most worthy to be blest,
Delight and liberty, the simple creed
Of Childhood, whether busy or at rest,
With new-fledged hope still fluttering in his breast:—
—Not for these I raise
The song of thanks and praise;
But for those obstinate questionings
Of sense and outward things,
Fallings from us, vanishings;
Blank misgivings of a creature
Moving about in worlds not realized,
High instincts, before which our mortal nature
Did tremble like a guilty thing surprized:
But for those first affections,
Those shadowy recollections,
Which, be they what they may,
Are yet the fountain-light of all our day,
Are yet a master-light of all our seeing;
Uphold us, cherish, and have power to make
Our noisy years seem moments in the being
Of the eternal Silence: truths that wake,
To perish never;
Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavour,
Nor man nor boy
Nor all that is at enmity with joy,
Can utterly abolish or destroy!
Hence, in a season of calm weather
Though inland far we be,
Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
Which brought us hither;
Can in a moment travel thither—
And see the children sport upon the shore,
And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.
Then, sing ye birds, sing, sing a joyous song!
And let the young lambs bound
As to the tabor’s sound!
We, in thought, will join your throng
Ye that pipe and ye that play,
Ye that through your hearts to-day
Feel the gladness of the May!
What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;
In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.

And O, ye Fountains, Meadows, Hills, and Groves,
Forbode not any severing of our loves!
Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might;
I only have relinquish’d one delight
To live beneath your more habitual sway:
I love the brooks which down their channels fret
Even more than when I tripp’d lightly as they;
The innocent brightness of a new-born day Is lovely yet;
The clouds that gather round the setting sun
Do take a sober colouring from an eye
That hath kept watch o’er man’s mortality;
Another race hath been, and other palms are won.
Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.

William Wordsworth — 1770-1850
–[from Miscellanies and Collections, 1750-1900: The Golden Treasury (1891-1897) ]


the promised sequel to my earlier post “Thanatopsis”

that poem ended with one wrapping oneself in one’s bedclothes and lying down to sleep

this poem is about waking into new life…

over many decades i have returned to both poems over and again

i hope you enjoy them as much as i have!


Thanatopsis   (Meditation on  death [Greek])

To him  who in  the  love of Nature holds
Communion with  her  visible  forms, she  speaks
A various language; for his gayer  hours
She  has  a voice  of gladness, and  a smile
And eloquence of beauty, and  she  glides
Into  his darker musings, with  a mild
And  healing sympathy, that  steals  away
Their sharpness ere  he is aware. When thoughts
Of the  last  bitter hour come  like a blight
Over  thy spirit, and  sad  images
Of the  stern agony,  and  shroud, and  pall,
And  breathless darkness, and  the  narrow house,
Make  thee  to shudder, and  grow sick at  heart–­
Go forth, under the  open  sky, and  list
To  Nature’s teachings, while  from  all around­–
Earth and  her  waters, and  the  depths of air–
Comes a still voice-Yet a few days,  and  thee
The  all-beholding sun  shall  see  no more
In all his course; nor  yet in the  cold  ground,
Where thy pale  form  was laid,  with  many  tears.
Nor  in the  embrace of ocean, shall  exist
Thy  image. Earth, that  nourished thee, shall  claim
Thy  growth, to be resolved  to earth again,
And,  lost  each  human trace, surrendering up
Thine individual being,  shalt thou  go
To mix for ever with  the  elements,
To be a brother to the  insensible rock
And  to the  sluggish clod, which the  rude  swain
Turns with  his share,  and  treads upon. The  oak
Shall  send  his roots  abroad, and  pierce thy mold.

Yet not  to thine eternal resting-place
Shall  thou  retire alone,-nor couldst thou  wish
Couch more  magnificent. Thou shalt lie down
With patriarchs of the  infant world-with kings,
The  powerful of the  earth-the wise,  the  good,
Fair  forms, and  hoary  seers  of ages  past,
All in one  mighty sepulchre. The  hills
Rock-ribbed and  ancient as the  sun; the  vales
Stretching in pensive quietness between;
The  venerable woods; rivers  that  move
In majesty, and  the  complaining brooks
That make  the  meadows green; and,  poured round all,
Old  ocean’s gray and  melancholy waste,–
Are but  the  solemn decorations all
Of the  great  tomb  of man.  The  golden sun,
The  planets, all the  infinite host  of heaven,
Are shining on  the  sad  abodes of death,
Through the  still  lapse  of ages.  All that  tread
The  globe  are  but  a handful to the  tribes
That slumber in its bosom.–Take the  wings
Of morning,  traverse Barca’s  desert sands,
Or lose  thyself  in the  continuous woods
Where rolls  the  Oregan, and  hears  no sound,
Save  his own  dashings–yet–the dead  are  there:
And  millions in those solitudes, since  first
The  flight  of years  began, have laid  them down
In  their  last  sleep-the dead  reign  there alone.
So shalt thou  rest,  and  what  if thou  withdraw
In silence from  the  living,  and  no friend
Take  note  of thy departure? All that  breathe
Will  share thy destiny. The  gay will laugh
When thou art  gone,  the  solemn brood  of care
Plod  on,  and  each one  as before will chase
His  favorite phantom; yet all these shall  leave
Their mirth and  their  employments, and  shall  come,
And  make  their bed with  thee. As the  long  train
Of ages  glide  away,  the  sons  of men,
The  youth in life’s  green  spring, and  he who  goes
In  the  full  strength of years,  matron, and  maid,
And  the  sweet  babe,  and  the  gray-headed man,­–
Shall  one  by one  be gathered to thy side,
By those, who  in their  turn shall  follow  them.

So live, that  when  thy  summons comes to join
The  innumerable caravan, which moves
To  that  mysterious realm, where each shall  take
His chamber in the  silent halls  of death,
Thou  go not,  like the  quarry-slave at  night,
Scourged to his dungeon, but,  sustained and  soothed
By an  unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
Like one  who  wraps  the  drapery of his couch
About  him,  and  lies down  to pleasant dreams.


almost all of this was written by william cullen bryant when he was 17 years old

only a few lines at the beginning and the end were added 10 years later

critics at the time did not believe such verse could have been written in america…

this is one of my all-time favorite poems

i will follow this one up with another, similarly themed poem in the near future