And I'm not lying. I was a great shrieker. I'd been practicing too. If you're going to get this right, you can't just shriek. Anyone can do that. To shriek like an insane woman who has been locked in an attic for a great many years, you have to practice. The first time I practiced was in.our bathroom, and when Lucas heard it, he tried to roll his wheelchair right up the stairs because he figured there was a bloody, bloody muderer at my throat. He got three steps before I heard him. After that, he said I had to practice outside. So I went to the green field on the way to Mrs. Windermere's house and hoped that no one was around.
Gary D. Schmidt
I have almost forgotten the taste of fears: The time has been, my senses would have cool'd to hear a night-shriek; and my fell of hair would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir as life were in't: I have supt full with horrors; Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts, cannot once start me.
Thank you, ' she whispered, sending up a quick prayer for his continued recovery. 'You're welcome, ' Marcus murmured. Honoria let out a little shriek of surprise, jumping back nearly a foot. 'Sorry, ' he said, but he was laughing. It was quite the loveliest sound Honoria had ever heard. 'I wasn't thanking you, ' she said pertly. 'I know.' He smiled
It is a magic book. Words mean things. When you put them together they speak. Yes, sometimes they flatten out and nothing they say is real, and that is one kind of magic. But sometimes a vision will rip up from them and shriek and clank wings clear as the sweat smudge on the paper under your thumb. And that is another kind.
Samuel R. Delany
If your lot makes you cry and be wretched, get rid of it and take another; strike out for yourself; don't listen to the shriek of your relations...don't be afraid of public opinion in the shape of the neighbours in the next house, when all the world is before you new and shining, and everything is possible, if you will only be energetic and independent and seize opportunity by the scruff of the neck.
Elizabeth von Arnim
If your lot makes you cry and be wretched, get rid of it and take another; strike out for yourself; don't listen to the shriek of your relations... don't be afraid of public opinion in the shape of the neighbours in the next house, when all the world is before you new and shining, and everything is possible, if you will only be energetic and independent and seize opportunity by the scruff of the neck.
Elizabeth von Arnim
Fang: "There is one bright side to this." Max: "Yeah? What's that?" The new and improved Erasers would mutilate us before they killed us? Fang: *grins* You looove me. (holds out arms) You love me this much. Max: My shriek of appalled rage would probably be heard in California, or maybe Hawaii.
Disney World?" Ari felt like his head was about to explode. "Disney World?" His gravelly voice rose into a harsh shriek. "They're not on vacation! They're on the run! They're running for their lives! Death is following them like a bullet, and they're on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad?
Did any of you, parents, ever hear your child wake from sleep with some panic fear and shriek the mother's name through the darkness? Was not that a more powerful appeal than all words? And, depend upon it, that the soul which cries aloud on God, "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ," though it have "no language but a cry," will never call in vain.
You never hear Jesus say in Pilate's judgement hall one word that would let you imagine that He was sorry that He had undertaken so costly a sacrifice for us. When His hands are pierced, when He is parched with fever, His tongue dried up like a shard of pottery, when His whole body is dissolved into the dust of death, you never hear a groan or a shriek that looks like Jesus is going back on His commitment.
Look at it this way: There are many here among us for whom the life force is best represented by the livid twitching of one tortured nerve, or even a full-scale anxiety attack. I do not subscribe to this point of view 100 percent, but I understand it, have lived it. Thus the shriek, the caterwaul, the chainsaw gnarlgnashing, the yowl and the whizz that decapitates may be reheard by the adventurous or emotionally damaged as mellifluous bursts of unarguable affirmation.
I went closer this time and touched him. He let out a deafening shriek, as if something had pierced into his heart. I held his hand and sat there, admiring the intricate network of life on them. The creases and folds in his body were testament to the cruelty that he had been subjected to in this world. The watery eyes screamed of the pain, the agonising wait to leave this godforsaken place forever, that had given him nothing but pleadings for mercy.
I confess, without shame, that I am sick and tired of fighting "" its glory is all moonshine; even success the most brilliant is over dead and mangled bodies, with the anguish and lamentations of distant families, appealing to me for sons, husbands, and fathers ... it is only those who have never heard a shot, never heard the shriek and groans of the wounded and lacerated ... that cry aloud for more blood, more vengeance, more desolation.
William Tecumseh Sherman
Adolescence hits boys harder than it does girls. Girls bleed a little and their breasts pop out, big deal, but adolescence lands on a guy with both feet. . . . Your body is engulfed by chemicals of rage and despair, you pound, you shriek, you batter your head against the trees. You come away wounded, feeling that life is unknowable, can never be understood, only endured and sometimes cheated.
Down the hall came the wife. She was glorious, burning. She didn't know yet that her husband was dead. We knew. That's what gave her such power over us. The doctor took her into a room with a desk at the end of the hall, and from under the closed door a slab of brilliance radiated as if, by some stupendous process, diamonds were being incinerated in there. What a pair of lungs! She shrieked as I imagined an eagle would shriek. It felt wonderful to be alive to hear it! I've gone looking for that feeling everywhere.
I heard from clear across the city, over the Hudson in the Jersey yards, one fierce whistle of a locomotive which took me to a train late at night hurling through the middle of the West, its iron shriek blighting the darkness. One hundred years before, some first trains had torn through the prairie and their warning had congealed the nerve. "Beware, " said the sound. "Freeze in your route. Behind this machine comes a century of maniacs and a heat which looks to consume the earth." What a rustling those first animals must have known.
We dream "" it is good we are dreaming "" It would hurt us "" were we awake "" But since it is playing "" kill us, And we are playing "" shriek "" What harm? Men die "" externally "" It is a truth "" of Blood "" But we "" are dying in Drama "" And Drama "" is never dead "" Cautious "" We jar each other "" And either "" open the eyes "" Lest the Phantasm "" prove the Mistake "" And the livid Surprise Cool us to Shafts of Granite "" With just an Age "" and Name "" And perhaps a phrase in Egyptian "" It's prudenter "" to dream ""
We dream - it is good we are dreaming - It would hurt us - were we awake - But since it is playing - kill us, And we are playing - shriek - What harm? Men die - externally - It is a truth - of Blood - But we - are dying in Drama - And Drama - is never dead - Cautious - We jar each other - And either - open the eyes - Lest the Phantasm - prove the Mistake - And the livid Surprise Cool us to Shafts of Granite - With just an Age - and Name - And perhaps a phrase in Egyptian - It's prudenter - to dream -
Finnick!" Something between a shriek and a cry of joy. A lovely if somewhat bedraggled young woman--dark tangled hair, sea green eyes--runs toward us in nothing but a sheet. "Finnick!" And suddenly, it's as if there's no one in the world but these two, crashing through space to reach each other. They collide, enfold, lose their balance, and slam against a wall, where they stay. Clinging into one being. Indivisible. A pang of jealousy hits me. Not for either Finnick or Annie but for their certainty. No one seeing them could doubt their love.
Frodo gave a cry, and there was, fallen upon his knees at the chasm's edge. But Gollum, dancing like a mad thing, held aloft the ring, a finger still thrust within its circle. "Precious, precious, precious!" Gollum cried. "My Precious! O my Precious!" And with that, even as his eyes were lifted up to gloat on his prize, he stepped too far, toppled, wavered for a moment on the brink, and then with a shriek he fell. Out of the depths came his last wail precious, and he was gone.
Up telephone poles, Which rear, half out of leavage As though they would shriek Like things smothered by their own Green, mindless, unkillable ghosts. In Georgia, the legend says That you must close your windows At night to keep it out of the house The glass is tinged with green, even so, As the tendrils crawl over the fields. The night the Kudzu has Your pasture, you sleep like the dead. Silence has grown oriental And you cannot step upon the ground... ALL: Kudzu by James Dickey
There is a place in men's lives where pictures do in fact bleed, ghosts gibber and shriek, maidens run forever through mysterious landscapes from nameless foes; that place is, of course, the world of dreams and of the repressed guilts and fears that motivate them [i.e., the unconscious]. This world the dogmatic optimism and shallow psychology of the Age of Reason had denied; and yet this world it is the final, perhaps the essential, purpose of the gothic romance to assert.
Then someone within closed the door, shutting Norah out into the howling dust of the night. The clouds parted briefly to reveal the full moon's cold eye, then closed again. Wind seared over the pavilion's double roof, its voice rising to a shriek. Distantly, among the maze of walls, came the frenzied barking of hundreds of tiny dogs. As she drifted towards wakefulness, Norah could not tell whether it was the wind that she heard just at the end, or whether, within the dark hall, the girl had begun to scream.
Reflected in a rippling pool of gutter water a metal hawk razored across the midday sky, belching a long trailing shriek as she crossed zenith and descended talons-first into her nearby nest on the horizon. The prophet Austin's shined black loafer described a high arc over the pool and onto the waydrive of a one-story dwelling. Close behind followed his brother in Christ, Chad, though his loafer did crash into the pool-water and split the image of the metal bird asunder.
And then there will be the times when I see you laughing. Like the time you'll be playing with the neighbor's puppy, poking your hands through the chain-link fence separating our back yards, and you'll be laughing so hard you'll start hiccupping. The puppy will run inside the neighbor's house, and your laughter will gradually subside, letting you catch your breath. Then the puppy will come back to the fence to lick your fingers again, and you'll shriek and start laughing again. It will be the most wonderful sound I could ever imagine, a sound that makes me feel like a fountain, or a wellspring.
Take the matter as you find it ask no questions, utter no remonstrances; it is your best wisdom. You expected bread and you have got a stone: break your teeth on it, and don't shriek because the nerves are martyrised; do not doubt that your mental stomach - if you have such a thing - is strong as an ostrich's; the stone will digest. You held out your hand for an egg, and fate put into it a scorpion. Show no consternation; close your fingers firmly upon the gift; let it sting through your palm. Never mind; in time, after your hand and arm have swelled and quivered long with torture, the squeezed scorpion will die, and you will have learned the great lesson how to endure without a sob.
THE FINAL ACT, BRIANS AT THE DOOR WITH A BLACK AND RED NAP SACK HERE TO BRING THE VINYL BACK I PUT IT BACK BEFORE ANYBODY NOTICES HE SAID "CLOSE CALL" I SAID "YEA I KNOW THIS IS" BUT I GOT AWAY WITH IT LIKE THE PERFECT CRIME AND MADE A FRESH TAPE, MAN IT WAS WORTH THE TIME AGGRAVATION AND STRESS ALMOST MADE A MESS IF SHE FOUND OUT IT WAS ME WOULD LAID THE REST BUT I'M OVER LIKE A FAT RAT THAT WAS SMART IT'S A GOOD THING YOU HID 'EM IN THAT BACKPACK IT FEELS SO GOOD TO GET THAT OUT THE WAY NOW I'M OUT THE DOOR, BACK OUT TO PLAY I'M ABOUT TO SAY THESE ARE THE GOOD TIME LIKE CHIC AND THEN I HEAR MY MOM SHRIEK
Silence THERE is a silence where hath been no sound, There is a silence where no sound may be, In the cold grave-under the deep, deep sea, Or in wide desert where no life is found, Which hath been mute, and still must sleep profound; No voice is hush'd-no life treads silently, But clouds and cloudy shadows wander free, That never spoke, over the idle ground: But in green ruins, in the desolate walls Of antique palaces, where Man hath been, Though the dun fox or wild hye¦na calls, And owls, that flit continually between, Shriek to the echo, and the low winds moan- There the true Silence is, self-conscious and alone.
Jill's face was hard when PE ended, and I had the feeling she was trying not to cry. I tried talking to her in the locker room, but she simply shook her head and headed off for the showers. I was about to go there myself when I heard a shriek. Those of us who were still by the lockers raced to the shower room to see what was happening. Laurel jerked the curtain back from her stall and came running out, oblivious to the fact that she was naked. I gaped. Her skin was covered in a fine sheen of ice. Water droplets from the shower had frozen solid on her skin and in her hair, though in the steamy heat of the rest of the room, they were already starting to melt. I glanced over to the shower itself and noticed that the water coming out of the faucet was also frozen solid.
In Sarajevo in 1992, while being shown around the starved, bombarded city by the incomparable John Burns, I experienced four near misses in all, three of them in the course of one day. I certainly thought that the Bosnian cause was worth fighting for and worth defending, but I could not take myself seriously enough to imagine that my own demise would have forwarded the cause. (I also discovered that a famous jaunty Churchillism had its limits: the old war-lover wrote in one of his more youthful reminiscences that there is nothing so exhilarating as being shot at without result. In my case, the experience of a whirring, whizzing horror just missing my ear was indeed briefly exciting, but on reflection made me want above all to get to the airport. Catching the plane out with a whole skin is the best part by far.) Or suppose I had been hit by that mortar that burst with an awful shriek so near to me, and turned into a Catherine wheel of body-parts and (even worse) body-ingredients? Once again, I was moved above all not by the thought that my death would 'count, ' but that it would not count in the least.
A red-gold glow burst suddenly across the enchanted sky above them as an edge of dazzling sun appeared over the sill of the nearest window. The light hit both of their faces at the same time, so that Voldemort's was suddenly a flaming blur. Harry heard the high voice shriek as he too yelled his best hope to the heavens, pointing Draco's wand: "Avada Kedavra!" "Expelliarmus!" The bang was like a cannon blast, and the golden flames that erupted between them, at the dead center of the circle they had been treading, marked the point where the spells collided. Harry saw Voldemort's green jet meet his own spell, saw the Elder Wand fly high, dark against the sunrise, spinning across the enchanted ceiling, spinning through the air toward the master it would not kill, who had come to take full possession of it at last.
The boy knelt, shoulders bowed, on the sand in the grey of morning, moaning softly, fearfully. Glowing tendrils of energy streamed across the agitated sky, converging high above him in a vortex of brightness. He flung his hands heavenward and a sheet of blinding brilliance descended from the vortex. It enveloped him and from its core a pulsing sphere of light fell, entering his body and almost tearing him apart. He went rigid, screaming to shatter the heavens, his dark eyes bulging from their sockets, his mouth wide in a rictus of agony. Sirius exploded in a burst of silver-blue radiance, as his howl rose to a shriek beyond hearing and endurance. Out of the light and the sound and the anguish, two names imprinted themselves on his mind. One of them, he knew, was his own. The other floated for an instant above his consciousness like a fugitive white dove in the morning.
Ron seems to be enjoying the celebrations.' said Hermione. 'Don't pretend you didn't see him. He wasn't exactly hiding it, was - ?' The door behind them burst open. To Harry's horror, Ron came in, laughing, pulling Lavender by the hand. 'Oh, ' he said, drawing up short at the sight of Harry and Hermione. 'Oops!' said Lavender, and she backed out of the room, giggling. There was a horrible, swelling, billowing silence. Hermione was staring at Ron, who refused to look at her. She walked very slowly and erectly toward the door. Harry glanced at Ron, who was looking relieved that nothing worse had happened. 'Oppugno!' came a shriek from the doorway. Harry spun around [... ] The little flock of birds was speeding like a hail of fat golden bullets toward Ron, pecking and clawing at every bit of flesh they could reach. 'Gerremoffme!' he yelled, but with one last look of vindictive fury, Hermione wrenched open the door and disappeared through it. Harry thought he heard a sob before it slammed.
Dr. Urbino caught the parrot around the neck with a triumphant sigh: e§a y est. But he released him immediately because the ladder slipped from under his feet and for an instant he was suspended in the air and then he realized that he had died without Communion, without time to repent of anything or to say goodbye to anyone, at seven minutes after four on Pentecost Sunday. Fermina Daza was in the kitchen tasting the soup for supper when she heard Digna Pardo's horrified shriek and the shouting of the servants and then of the entire neighborhood. She dropped the tasting spoon and tried to run despite the invincible weight of her age, screaming like a madwoman without knowing yet what had happened under the mango leaves, and her heart jumped inside her ribs when she saw her man lying on his back in the mud, dead to this life but still resisting death's final blow for one last minute so that she would have time to come to him. He recognized her despite the uproar, through his tears of unrepeatable sorrow at dying without her, and he looked for her for the last and final time with eyes more luminous, more grief-stricken, more grateful that she had ever seen them in the half century of a shared life, and he managed to say to her with his last breath: "Only God knows how much I loved you.
Gabriel GarceÂa Me¡rquez
I Hear the sledges with the bells - Silver bells! What a world of merriment their melody foretells! How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle, In the icy air of night! While the stars that oversprinkle All the heavens, seem to twinkle With a crystalline delight; Keeping time, time, time, In a sort of Runic rhyme, To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells From the bells, bells, bells, bells, Bells, bells, bells - From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells. II Hear the mellow wedding bells - Golden bells! What a world of happiness their harmony foretells! Through the balmy air of night How they ring out their delight! - From the molten - golden notes, And all in tune, What a liquid ditty floats To the turtle - dove that listens, while she gloats On the moon! Oh, from out the sounding cells, What a gush of euphony voluminously wells! How it swells! How it dwells On the Future! - how it tells Of the rapture that impels To the swinging and the ringing Of the bells, bells, bells - Of the bells, bells, bells, bells, Bells, bells, bells - To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells! III Hear the loud alarum bells - Brazen bells! What a tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells! In the startled ear of night How they scream out their affright! Too much horrified to speak, They can only shriek, shriek, Out of tune, In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire, In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire, Leaping higher, higher, higher, With a desperate desire, And a resolute endeavor Now - now to sit, or never, By the side of the pale - faced moon. Oh, the bells, bells, bells! What a tale their terror tells Of Despair! How they clang, and clash and roar! What a horror they outpour On the bosom of the palpitating air! Yet the ear, it fully knows, By the twanging, And the clanging, How the danger ebbs and flows; Yet the ear distinctly tells, In the jangling, And the wrangling, How the danger sinks and swells, By the sinking or the swelling in the anger of the bells - Of the bells - Of the bells, bells, bells, bells, Bells, bells, bells - In the clamor and the clanging of the bells! IV Hear the tolling of the bells - Iron bells! What a world of solemn thought their monody compels! In the silence of the night, How we shiver with affright At the melancholy menace of their tone! For every sound that floats From the rust within their throats Is a groan. And the people - ah, the people - They that dwell up in the steeple, All alone, And who, tolling, tolling, tolling, In that muffled monotone, Feel a glory in so rolling On the human heart a stone - They are neither man nor woman - They are neither brute nor human - They are Ghouls: - And their king it is who tolls: - And he rolls, rolls, rolls, Rolls A paean from the bells! And his merry bosom swells With the paean of the bells! And he dances, and he yells; Keeping time, time, time, In a sort of Runic rhyme, To the paean of the bells: - Of the bells: Keeping time, time, time In a sort of Runic rhyme, To the throbbing of the bells - Of the bells, bells, bells: - To the sobbing of the bells: - Keeping time, time, time, As he knells, knells, knells, In a happy Runic rhyme, To the rolling of the bells - Of the bells, bells, bells - To the tolling of the bells - Of the bells, bells, bells, bells, Bells, bells, bells, - To the moaning and the groaning of the bells.
Edgar Allan Poe
Caxtons are mechanical birds with many wings and some are treasured for their markings- they cause the eyes to melt or the body to shriek without pain. I have never seen one fly, but sometimes they perch on the hand. Mist is when the sky is tired of flight and rests its soft machine on the ground: then the world is dim and bookish like engravings under tissue paper. Rain is when the earth is television. It has the properites of making colours darker. Model T is a room with the lock inside - a key is turned to free the world for movement, so quick there is a film to watch for anything missed. But time is tied to the wrist or kept in a box, ticking with impatience. In homes, a haunted apparatus sleeps, that snores when you pick it up. If the ghost cries, they carry it to their lips and soothe it to sleep with sounds. And yet, they wake it up deliberately, by tickling with a finger. Only the young are allowed to suffer openly. Adults go to a punishment room with water but nothing to eat. They lock the door and suffer the noises alone. No one is exempt and everyone's pain has a different smell. At night, when all the colours die, they hide in pairs and read about themselves - in colour, with their eyelids shut.
I'm going to tell you something once and then whether you die is strictly up to you, " Westley said, lying pleasantly on the bed. "What I'm going to tell you is this: drop your sword, and if you do, then I will leave with this baggage here"-he glanced at Buttercup-"and you will be tied up but not fatally, and will be free to go about your business. And if you choose to fight, well, then, we will not both leave alive." You are only alive now because you said 'to the pain.' I want that phrase explained." My pleasure. To the pain means this: if we duel and you win, death for me. If we duel and I win, life for you. But life on my terms. The first thing you lose will be your feet. Below the ankle. You will have stumps available to use within six months. Then your hands, at the wrists. They heal somewhat quicker. Five months is a fair average. Next your nose. No smell of dawn for you. Followed by your tongue. Deeply cut away. Not even a stump left. And then your left eye-" And then my right eye, and then my ears, and shall we get on with it?" the Prince said. Wrong!" Westley's voice rang across the room. "Your ears you keep, so that every shriek of every child shall be yours to cherish-every babe that weeps in fear at your approach, every woman that cries 'Dear God, what is that thing?' will reverberate forever with your perfect ears. That is what 'to the pain' means. It means that I leave you in anguish, in humiliation, in freakish misery until you can stand it no more; so there you have it, pig, there you know, you miserable vomitous mass, and I say this now, and live or die, it's up to you: Drop your sword!" The sword crashed to the floor.
He was just a small church parson when the war broke out, and he Looked and dressed and acted like all parsons that we see. He wore the cleric's broadcloth and he hooked his vest behind. But he had a man's religion and he had a stong man's mind. And he heard the call to duty, and he quit his church and went. And he bravely tramped right with 'em every- where the boys were sent. He put aside his broadcloth and he put the khaki on; Said he'd come to be a soldier and was going to live like one. Then he'd refereed the prize fights that the boys pulled off at night, And if no one else was handy he'd put on the gloves and fight. He wasn't there a fortnight ere he saw the sol- diers' needs, And he said: "I'm done with preaching; this is now the time for deeds." He learned the sound of shrapnel, he could tell the size of shell From the shriek it make above him, and he knew just where it fell. In the front line trench he laboured, and he knew the feel of mud, And he didn't run from danger and he wasn't scared of blood. He wrote letters for the wounded, and he cheered them with his jokes, And he never made a visit without passing round the smokes. Then one day a bullet got him, as he knelt be- side a lad Who was "going west" right speedy, and they both seemed mighty glad, 'Cause he held the boy's hand tighter, and he smiled and whispered low, "Now you needn't fear the journey; over there with you I'll go." And they both passed out together, arm in arm I think they went. He had kept his vow to follow everywhere the boys were sent.
Edgar A. Guest
DAMNATION!' No device of the printer's art, not even capital letters, can indicate the intensity of that shriek of rage. Emerson is known to his Egyptian workers by the admiring sobriquet of Father of Curses. The volume as well as the content of his remarks earned him the title; but this shout was extraordinary even by Emerson's standards, so much so that the cat Bastet, who had become more or less accustomed to him, started violently, and fell with a splash into the bathtub. The scene that followed is best not described in detail. My efforts to rescue the thrashing feline were met with hysterical resistance; water surged over the edge of the tub and onto the floor; Emerson rushed to the rescue; Bastet emerged in one mighty leap, like a whale broaching, and fled - cursing, spitting, and streaming water. She and Emerson met in the doorway of the bathroom. The ensuing silence was broken by the quavering voice of the safragi, the servant on duty outside our room, inquiring if we required his assistance. Emerson, seated on the floor in a puddle of soapy water, took a long breath. Two of the buttons popped off his shirt and splashed into the water. In a voice of exquisite calm he reassured the servant, and then transferred his bulging stare to me. I trust you are not injured, Peabody. Those scratches... ' The bleeding has almost stopped, Emerson. It was not Bastet's fault.' It was mine, I suppose, ' Emerson said mildly. Now, my dear, I did not say that. Are you going to get up from the floor?' No, ' said Emerson. He was still holding the newspaper. Slowly and deliberately he separated the soggy pages, searching for the item that had occasioned his outburst. In the silence I heard Bastet, who had retreated under the bed, carrying on a mumbling, profane monologue. (If you ask how I knew it was profane, I presume you have never owned a cat.)
In a cage of wire-ribs The size of a man's head, the macaw bristles in a staring Combustion, suffers the stoking devils of his eyes. In the old lady's parlour, where an aspidistra succumbs To the musk of faded velvet, he hangs in clear flames, Like a torturer's iron instrument preparing With dense slow shudderings of greens, yellows, blues, Crimsoning into the barbs: Or like the smouldering head that hung In Killdevil's brass kitchen, in irons, who had been Volcano swearing to vomit the world away in black ash, And would, one day; or a fugitive aristocrat From some thunderous mythological hierarchy, caught By a little boy with a crust and a bent pin, Or snare of horsehair set for a song-thrush, And put in a cage to sing. The old lady who feeds him seeds Has a grand-daughter. The girl calls him 'Poor Polly', pokes fun. 'Jolly Mop.' But lies under every full moon, The spun glass of her body bared and so gleam-still Her brimming eyes do not tremble or spill The dream where the warrior comes, lightning and iron, Smashing and burning and rending towards her loin: Deep into her pillow her silence pleads. All day he stares at his furnace With eyes red-raw, but when she comes they close. 'Polly. Pretty Poll', she cajoles, and rocks him gently. She caresses, whispers kisses. The blue lids stay shut. She strikes the cage in a tantrum and swirls out: Instantly beak, wings, talons crash The bars in conflagration and frenzy, And his shriek shakes the house.
And then, with a shock like high-voltage coursing through me, the phone beside me started pealing thinly. I just stood there and stared at it, blood draining from my face. A call to a tollbooth? It must, it must be a wrong number, somebody wanted the Information Booth or-! It must have been audible outside, with all I had the slide partly closed. One of the redcaps passing by turned, looked over, then started coming across toward where I was. To get rid of him I picked up the receiver, put it to my ear. 'You'd better come out now, time's up, ' a flat, deadly voice said. 'They're calling your train, but you're not getting on that one - or any other.' 'Wh-where are talking from?' 'The next booth to yours, ' the voice jeered. 'You forgot the glass inserts only reach halfway down.' The connection broke and a man's looming figure was shadowing the glass in front of my eyes, before I could even get the receiver back on the hook. I dropped it full-length, tensed my right arm to pound it through his face as soon as I shoved the glass aside. He had a revolver-bore for a top vest-button, trained on me. Two more had shown up behind him, from which direction I hadn't noticed. It was very dark in the booth now, their collective silhouettes shut out all the daylight. The station and all its friendly bustle was blotted out, had receded into the far background, a thousand miles away for all the help it could give me. I slapped the glass wearily aside, came slowly out. One of them flashed a badge - maybe Crow had loaned him his for the occasion. 'You're being arrested for putting slugs in that phone. It won't do any good to raise your voice and shriek for help, try to tell people different. But suit yourself.' I knew that as well as he; heads turned to stare after us by the dozens as they started with me in their midst through the station's main-level. But not one in all that crowd would have dared interfere with what they mistook for a legitimate arrest in the line of duty. The one with the badge kept it conspicuously tilted in his upturned palm, at sight of which the frozen onlookers slowly parted, made way for us through their midst. I was being led to my doom in full view of scores of people. ("Graves For The Living")
LADY LAZARUS I have done it again. One year in every ten I manage it- A sort of walking miracle, my skin Bright as a Nazi lampshade, My right foot A paperweight, My face a featureless, fine Jew linen. Peel off the napkin O my enemy. Do I terrify?- The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth? The sour breath Will vanish in a day. Soon, soon the flesh The grave cave ate will be At home on me And I a smiling woman. I am only thirty. And like the cat I have nine times to die. This is Number Three. What a trash To annihilate each decade. What a million filaments. The peanut-crunching crowd Shoves in to see Them unwrap me hand and foot- The big strip tease. Gentlemen, ladies These are my hands My knees. I may be skin and bone, Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman. The first time it happened I was ten. It was an accident. The second time I meant To last it out and not come back at all. I rocked shut As a seashell. They had to call and call And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls. Dying Is an art, like everything else. I do it exceptionally well. I do it so it feels like hell. I do it so it feels real. I guess you could say I've a call. It's easy enough to do it in a cell. It's easy enough to do it and stay put. It's the theatrical Comeback in broad day To the same place, the same face, the same brute Amused shout: 'A miracle!' That knocks me out. There is a charge For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge For the hearing of my heart- It really goes. And there is a charge, a very large charge For a word or a touch Or a bit of blood Or a piece of my hair or my clothes. So, so, Herr Doktor. So, Herr Enemy. I am your opus, I am your valuable, The pure gold baby That melts to a shriek. I turn and burn. Do not think I underestimate your great concern. Ash, ash- You poke and stir. Flesh, bone, there is nothing there- A cake of soap, A wedding ring, A gold filling. Herr God, Herr Lucifer Beware Beware. Out of the ash I rise with my red hair And I eat men like air.
Religion, with its metaphysical error of absolute guilt, dominated the broadest, the cosmic realm. From there, it infiltrated the subordinate realms of biological, social and moral existence with its errors of the absolute and inherited guilt. Humanity, split up into millions of factions, groups, nations and states, lacerated itself with mutual accusations. "The Greeks are to blame, " the Romans said, and "The Romans are to blame, " the Greeks said. So they warred against one another. "The ancient Jewish priests are to blame, " the early Christians shouted. "The Christians have preached the wrong Messiah, " the Jews shouted and crucified the harmless Jesus. "The Muslims and Turks and Huns are guilty, " the crusaders screamed. "The witches and heretics are to blame, " the later Christians howled for centuries, murdering, hanging, torturing and burning heretics. It remains to investigate the sources from which the Jesus legend derives its grandeur, emotional power and perseverance. Let us continue to stay outside this St. Vitus dance. The longer we look around, the crazier it seems. Hundreds of minor patriarchs, self-proclaimed kings and princes, accused one another of this or that sin and made war, scorched the land, brought famine and epidemics to the populations. Later, this became known as "history." And the historians did not doubt the rationality of this history. Gradually the common people appeared on the scene. "The Queen is to blame, " the people's representatives shouted, and beheaded the Queen. Howling, the populace danced around the guillotine. From the ranks of the people arose Napoleon. "The Austrians, the Prussians, the Russians are to blame, " it was now said. "Napoleon is to blame, " came the reply. "The machines are to blame!" the weavers screamed, and "The lumpenproletariat is to blame, " sounded back. "The Monarchy is to blame, long live the Constitution!" the burgers shouted. "The middle classes and the Constitution are to blame; wipe them out; long live the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, " the proletarian dictators shout, and "The Russians are to blame, " is hurled back. "Germany is to blame, " the Japanese and the Italians shouted in 1915. "England is to blame, " the fathers of the proletarians shouted in 1939. And "Germany is to blame, " the self-same fathers shouted in 1942. "Italy, Germany and Japan are to blame, " it was said in 1940. It is only by keeping strictly outside this inferno that one can be amazed that the human animal continues to shriek "Guilty!" without doubting its own sanity, without even once asking about the origin of this guilt. Such mass psychoses have an origin and a function. Only human beings who are forced to hide something catastrophic are capable of erring so consistently and punishing so relentlessly any attempt at clarifying such errors.