Category “Prose & Poetics”

Invictus

William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

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The Coming of the Ship

“Almustafa, the chosen and the beloved, who was a dawn onto his own day, had waited twelve years in the city of Orphalese for his ship that was to return and bear him back to the isle of his birth. » Continue reading “The Coming of the Ship”

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Fill the Cup

OmarKhayyamXX.
“Ah, my Belovéd, fill the Cup that clears
To-day of past Regrets and future Fears–
To-morrow? – Why, To-morrow I may be
Myself with Yesterday’s Sev’n Thousands Years.
XXI.
“Lo! some we loved, the loveliest and the best
That Time and Fate of all their Vintage prest,
Have drunk their Cup a Round or two before,
And one by one crept silently to Rest.
XXIX.
“Into this Universe, and why, not knowing,
Nor whence, like Water willy-nilly flowing:
And out of it, as Wind along the Waste,
I know not whither, willy-nilly blowing.
XXXIV.
“Then to this earthen Bowl did I adjourn
My Lip the secret Well of Life to learn:
And Lip to Lip it murmur’d–’While you live
Drink! for once dead you never shall return.'”
Omar Khayyam

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Crying in the Autumn

Red coated leaves like soldiers,

Fall,

In a last salute to the sky,

Dead.

– Camilla Loyd

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Enheduanna’s Poetry

Thanks to my friend Melanie Lyon for introducing me to the incredible world of women’s poetry from antiquity. Enheduanna, the first known writer, was a Sumerian moon priestess who was born around 2300 B.C.E.  Translations into English can be found here:

A hymn to Inana

Inana and Ebih

The temple hymns

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Ethan Brand

By Nathaniel Hawthorne

BARTRAM the lime-burner, a rough, heavy-looking man, begrimed with charcoal, sat watching his kiln at nightfall, while his little son played at building houses with the scattered fragments of marble, when, on the hill-side below them, they heard a roar of laughter, not mirthful, but slow, and even solemn, like a wind shaking the boughs of the forest.

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The Absurd Man

By Albert Camus

“My field,” said Goethe, “is time.” That is indeed the absurd speech. What, in fact, is the Absurd Man? He who, without negating it, does nothing for the eternal. Not that nostalgia is foreign to him. But he prefers his courage and his reasoning. The first teaches him to live without appeal and to get along with what he has; the second informs him of his limits. Assured of his temporally limited freedom, of his revolt devoid of future, and of his mortal consciousness, he lives out his adventure within the span of his lifetime. That is his field, that is his action, which he shields from any judgment but his own. A greater life for him cannot mean another life. That would be unfair. I am not even speaking here of that paltry eternity that is called posterity. Mme Roland relied on herself. That rashness was taught a lesson. Posterity is glad to quote her remark, but forgets to judge it. Mme Roland is indifferent to posterity.

» Continue reading “The Absurd Man”

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For the time being

The legend of the Traveler appears in every civilization,
perpetually assuming new forms, afflictions, powers and
symbols. Through every age he walks in utter solitude toward
penance and redemption.

Should I mark more than shining hours?

I have agreed to paint a narrative on the city walls.
I have now been at work many years,
there is so much to be told.

– Evan S. Connell, Jr., Notes from a Bottle Found on the Beach at Carmel.
= Discovered in: Annie Dillard (1999), For the Time Being.

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Water

Everything on the earth bristled, the bramble
pricked and the green thread
nibbled away, the petal fell, falling
until the only flower was the falling itself.
Water is another matter,
has no direction but its own bright grace,
runs through all imaginable colors,
takes limpid lessons
from stone,
and in those functionings plays out

the unrealized ambitions of the foam.

– Pablo Neruda

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