I love to go out in late September among the fat, overripe, icy, black blackberries to eat blackberries for breakfast, the stalks very prickly, a penalty they earn for knowing the black art of blackberry-making; and as I stand among them lifting the stalks to my mouth, the ripest berries fall almost unbidden to my tongue, as words sometimes do, certain peculiar words like strengths or squinched, many-lettered, one-syllabled lumps, which I squeeze, squinch open, and splurge well in the silent, startled, icy, black language of blackberry - eating in late September.
I was on the verge of tears, so I turned and ran past the trailer and along the field road until I was safely out of their sight. Then I ducked into the cotton and waited for friendly voices. I sat on the hot ground, surrounded by stalks four feet tall, and I cried, something I really hated to do.
No matter how devastating our struggles, disappointments, and troubles are, they are only temporary. No matter what happens to you, no matter the depth of tragedy or pain you face, no matter how death stalks you and your loved ones, the Resurrection promises you a future of immeasurable good.
I renounce war for its consequences, for the lies it lives on and propagates, for the undying hatred it arouses, for the dictatorships it puts in place of democracy, for the starvation that stalks after it. I renounce war, and never again, directly or indirectly, will I sanction or support another.
Harry Emerson Fosdick
Until-as often happened during those first months travel, whenever I would feel such happiness-my guilt alarm went off. I heard my ex-husband's voice speaking disdainfully in my ear: So this is what you gave up everything for? This is why you gutted our entire life together? For a few stalks of asparagus and an Italian newspaper? I replied aloud to him: "First of all, " I said, "I'm very sorry, but this isn't your business anymore. And secondly, to answer you question... yes.
Until-as often happened during those first months travel, whenever I would feel such happiness-my guilt alarm went off. I heard my ex-husband's voice speaking disdainfully in my ear: So this is what you gave up everything for? This is why you gutted our entire life together? For a few stalks of asparagus and an Italian newspaper? I replied aloud to him: "First of all," I said, "I'm very sorry, but this isn't your business anymore. And secondly, to answer you question...yes.
Now that lilacs are in bloom She has a bowl of lilacs in her room And twists one in her fingers while she talks. "Ah, my friend, you do not know, you do not know What life is, you who hold it in your hands"; (slowly twisting the lilac stalks) "You let it flow from you, you let it flow, And youth is cruel, and has no remorse And smiles at situations which it cannot see." I smile, of course, And go on drinking tea.
T. S. Eliot
When a lion stalks a herd, he sneaks in close, lies down, and surveys them to choose his victim. He takes his time. The deer or buffalo have no idea he's near. He finds his prey and then he explodes from his hiding place and grabs it. Even if another, perfectly serviceable animal ends up within his reach, he isn't going to alter his course. He has chosen, and he would rather go hungry than change his mind.
What if the leaves were to fall a-weeping, and say, "It will be so painful for us to be pulled from our stalks, when autumn comes?" Foolish fear! Summer goes, and autumn succeeds. The glory of death is upon the leaves; and the gentlest breeze that blows takes them softly and silently from the bough, and they float slowly down, like fiery sparks, upon the moss.
Henry Ward Beecher
For brick and mortar breed filth and crime, With a pulse of evil that throbs and beats; And men are whithered before their prime By the curse paved in with the lanes and streets. And lungs are poisoned and shoulders bowed, In the smothering reek of mill and mine; And death stalks in on the struggling crowd- But he shuns the shadow of the oak and pine
George W. Sears Nessmuk
The sign work of the Orient it runneth up and down; The Talmud stalks from right to left, a rabbi in a gown; The Roman rolls from left to right from Maytime unto May; But the gods shake up their symbols in an absent-minded way. Their language runs to circles like the language of the eyes, Emphasised by strange dilations with little panting sighs.
At the head of all these laws, in and through every particle of matter and force, stands One through whose command the wind blows, the fire burns, the clouds rain, and death stalks upon the earth. And what is His nature? He is everywhere the pure and formless One, the Almighty and the All Merciful. Thou art our Father. Thou art our beloved Friend.
Death is around everyone's corner, people try to run and hide from it, but it al-ways catches up with them. Like a bad scene from a horror movie. Death stalks you like a lion, waiting for just the right moment to attack. You can run but sooner or later you'll trip and death will devour you. Did anyone know the secret to outrun death? No one that lived to tell about it, that's saying something right?
America is addicted to oil...We must also change how we power our automobiles. We will increase our research in better batteries for hybrid and electric cars and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen. We will also fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn but from wood chips and stalks or switch grass.
George W. Bush
Then all at once in late August's heat, tall leafless stalks crowned with iridescent pink and purple blossoms burst from the purgatory in the earth. This arcane act of nature, though perceived by us as ordinary, is a manifestation of Maya's phantom play, the great immensity expressed in every way. My garden is the universe. I am the universe. I am my garden. All things are the same.
It is said that God notes each sparrow that falls. And so He does. But the proper closest statement of it that can be made in English is that God cannot avoid noting the sparrow because the Sparrow is God. And when a cat stalks a sparrow both of them are God, carrying out God's thoughts.
Robert A. Heinlein
Stalked He stalks her waiting for the right time, a single purpose stirring within his mind. His soul longs for that one deep connation, as his body seeks its final redemption. For he is the hunter and she his prey, her power untouched waiting for the moment to be set free on that final day. One sweet tasted form his lips as death he willed her way.
For time and eternity there have been fathers like Nathan who simply can see no way to have a daughter but to own her like a plot of land. To work her, plow her under, rain down a dreadful poison upon her. Miraculously, it causes these girls to grow. They elongate on the pale slender stalks of their longing, like sunflowers with heavy heads. You can shield them with your body and soul, trying to absorb that awful rain, but they'll still move toward him. Without cease they'll bend to his light.
The priest motioned for the congrecation to sit, then welcomed everyone in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He wasn't so much thin as soft, with wisps of dull brown hair and oversize glasses that made him look gooberish. As he shook holy water over a bundle of cane stalks leaning against the wall, Charley wondered if his blessing would be powerful enough, because from where she sat, it looked like he'd have trouble asking for extra mayo on his sandwich.
They hooted and laughed all the way back to the car, teasing Milkman, egging him on to tell more about how scared he was. And he told them. Laughing too, hard, loud, and long. Really laughing, and he found himself exhilarated by simply walking the earth. Walking it like he belonged on it; like his legs were stalks, tree trunks, a part of his body that extended down down down into the rock and soil, and were comfortable there-on the earth and on the place where he walked. And he did not limp.
First, the wind would rumble in the distance like an approaching river, then he would see grass bend, pressed by a great invisible hand. The dull rumble would rise in pitch to a swishing, lashing exultation, causing stalks to lie flat against the ground while the tougher branches of shrubs held themselves up and shrieked their defiance in the gusts. Then the first drops, cold and heavy, would plummet from the sky and burst on the ground.
If Congress were to pass a 'flat' tax, you'd simply pay a fixed percentage of your income, and you wouldn't have to fill out any complicated forms, and there would be no loopholes for politically connected groups, and normal people would actually understand the tax laws, and giant talking broccoli stalks would come around and mow your lawn for free, because Congress is NOT going to pass a flat tax, you pathetic fool.
The word 'vegetable' has no precise botanical meaning in reference to food plants, and we find that almost all parts of plants have been employed as vegetables - roots (carrot and beet), stems (Irish potato and asparagus), leaves (spinach and lettuce), leaf stalk (celery and Swiss chard), bracts (globe artichoke), flower stalks and buds (broccoli and cauliflower), fruits (tomato and squash), seeds (beans), and even the petals (Yucca and pumpkin).
Last night I encountered a dream cat with a very long neck and a body like a human fetus, gray and transluscent. I don't know what it needs or how to provide for it. Another dream years ago of a human child with eyes on stalks. It is very small, but can walk and talk "Don't you want me?" Again, I don't know how to care for the child. But I am dedicated to protecting and nurturing him at any cost! It is the function of the Guardian to protect hybrids and mutants in the vulnerable stage of infancy.
William S. Burroughs
The Unexpected stalks a farm in big boots like a vagrant bent on havoc. Not every farmer is an inventor, but the good ones have the seeds of invention within them. Economy and efficiency move their relentless tinkering and yet the real motive often seems to be aesthetic. The mind that first designed a cutter bar is not far different from a mind that can take the intractable steel of an outsized sickle blade and make it hum in the end. The question is how to reduce the simplicity that constitutes a problem ("It's simple; it's broke.") to the greater simplicity that constitutes a solution.
Then we had the irises, rising beautiful and cool on their tall stalks, like blown glass, like pastel water momentarily frozen in a splash, light blue, light mauve, and the darker ones, velvet and purple, black cat's ears in the sun, indigo shadow, and the bleeding hearts, so female in shape it was a surprise they'd not long since been rooted out. There is something subversive about this garden of Serena's, a sense of buried things bursting upwards, wordlessly, into the light, as if to point, to say: Whatever is silenced will clamor to be heard, though silently.
Well. Then we had the irises, rising beautiful and cool on their tall stalks, like blown glass, like pastel water momentarily frozen in a splash, light blue, light mauve, and the darker ones, velvet and purple, black cat's ears in the sun, indigo shadow, and the bleeding hearts, so female in shape it was a surprise they'd not long since been rooted out. There is something subversive about this garden of Serena's, a sense of buried things bursting upwards, wordlessly, into the light, as if to point, to say: Whatever is silenced will clamor to be heard, though silently.
They stood brow to brow, brown to white, black to black, he supporting her elbows, she playing her limp light fingers over his collarbone, and how he "ladored,"he said, the dark aroma of her hair blending with crushed lily stalks, Turkish cigarettes and the lassitude that comes from "lass." "No, no, don't," she said, I must wash, quick-quick, Ada must wash; but for yet another immortal moment they stood embraced in the hushed avenue, enjoying as they had never enjoyed before, the "happy-forever" feeling at the end of never-ending fairy tales.
Man preys on man; and you mourn for the idle tapestry that decorated a gothic pillar, and the dronish bell that summoned the fat priest to prayer. You mourn for the empty pageant of a name, when slavery flaps her wing, ... Why is our fancy to be appalled by terrific perspectives of a hell beyond the grave? - Hell stalks abroad; - the lash resounds on the slave's naked sides; and the sick wretch, who can no longer earn the sour bread of unremitting labour, steals to a ditch to bid the world a long good night.
Where suspicion fills the air and holds scholars in line for fear of their jobs, there can be no exercise of the free intellect. Supineness and dogmatism take the place of inquiry. A problem can no longer be pursued to its edges. Fear stalks the classroom. The teacher is no longer a stimulant to adventurous thinking; she becomes instead a pipe line for safe and sound information. A deadening dogma takes the place of free inquiry. Instruction tends to become sterile; pursuit of knowledge is discouraged; discussion often leaves off where it should begin.
William O. Douglas
Song of a Second April APRIL this year, not otherwise Than April of a year ago Is full of whispers, full of sighs, Dazzling mud and dingy snow; Hepaticas that pleased you so Are here again, and butterflies. There rings a hammering all day, And shingles lie about the doors; From orchards near and far away The gray wood-pecker taps and bores, And men are merry at their chores, And children earnest at their play. The larger streams run still and deep; Noisy and swift the small brooks run. Among the mullein stalks the sheep Go up the hillside in the sun Pensively; only you are gone, You that alone I cared to keep.
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Often, when I have been feeling lonely, when a book as been thrust aside in boredom [... ] I have lain back and stared at the shadows on the ceiling, wondering what life is all about [... ] and then, suddenly, there is the echo of the swinging door, and across the carpet, walking with the utmost delicacy and precision, stalks Four or Five or Oscar. He sits down on the floor beside me, regarding my long legs, my old jumper, and my floppy arms, with a purely practical interest. Which part of this large male body will form the most appropriate lap? Usually he settles for the chest. Whereupon he springs up and there is a feeling of cold fur [... ] and the tip of an icy nose, thrust against my wrist and a positive tattoo of purrs. And I no longer wonder what life is all about.
Elizabeth Taylor is pre-feminist woman. This is the source of her continuing greatness and relevance. She wields the sexual power that feminism cannot explain and has tried to destroy. Through stars like Taylor, we sense the world-disordering impact of legendary women like Delilah, Salome, and Helen of Troy. Feminism has tried to dismiss the femme fatale as a misogynist libel, a hoary clich?. But the femme fatale expresses women's ancient and eternal control of the sexual realm. The specter of the femme fatale stalks all men's relations with women.
Dabbling in the sandbox gives Rabbit a small headache. Over at the pavilion the rubber thump of Roofball and the click of checkers call to his memory, and the forgotten smell of that narrow plastic ribbon you braid bracelets and whistlechains out of and of glue and of the sweat on the handles on athletic equipment is blown down by a breeze laced with children's murmuring. He feels the truth: the thing that has left his life has left irrevocably; no search would recover it. No flight would reach it. It was here, beneath the town, in these smells and these voices, forever behind him. The fullness ends when we give Nature her ransom, when we make children for her. Then she is through with us, and we become, first inside, and then outside, junk. Flower stalks.
The spring rains woke the dormant tillers, and bright green shoots sprang from the moist earth and rose like sleepers stretching after a long nap. As spring gave way to summer, the bright green stalks darkened, became tan, turned golden brown. The days grew long and hot. Thick towers of swirling black clouds brought rain, and the brown stems glistened in the perpetual twilight that dwelled beneath the canopy. The wheat rose and the ripening heads bent in the prairie wind, a rippling curtain, an endless, undulating sea that stretched to the horizon.
Love is the great intangible. In our nightmares, we can create beasts out of pure emotion. Hate stalks the streets with dripping fangs, fear flies down narrow alleyways on leather wings, and jealousy spins sticky webs across the sky. In daydreams, we can maneuver with poise, foiling an opponent, scoring high on fields of glory while crowds cheer, cutting fast to the heart of an adventure. But what dream state is love? Frantic and serene, vigilant and calm, wrung-out and fortified, explosive and sedate -love commands a vast army of moods. Hoping for victory, limping from the latest skirmish, lovers enter the arena once again. Sitting still, we are as daring as gladiators.
I know now what was happening to me, what was overwhelming me, what was about to consume and almost destroy me. Didier had even given me a name for it - assassin grief, he'd once called it: the kind of grief that lies in wait and attacks you from ambush, with no warning and no mercy. I know now that assassin grief can hide for years and then strike suddenly on the happiest day, without discernible reason or exegesis. But on that day, ... almost a year after Khader's death, I couldn't understand the dark and trembling mood that was moving in me, swelling to the sorrow I'd too long denied. I couldn't understand it, so i tried to fight it as a man fights pain or despair. But you can't bite down on assassin grief and will it away. The enemy stalks you, step for step, and knows your every move before you make it. The enemy is your own grieving heart and, when it strikes, it can't miss.
Gregory David Roberts
If the Baudelaire orphans had been stalks of celery, they would not have been small children in great distress, and if they had been lucky, Carmelita Spats would have not approached their table at this particular moment and delivered another unfortunate message. "Hello, you cakesniffers, " she said, "although judging from the baby brat you're more like saladsniffers. I have another message for you from Coach Genghis. I get to be his Special Messenger because I'm the cutest, prettiest, nicest little girl in the whole school." "If you were really the nicest person in the whole school, " Isadora said, "you wouldn't make fun of a sleeping infant. But never mind, what is the message?" "It's actually the same as last time, " Carmelita said, "but I'll repeat it in case you're too stupid to remember. The three Baudelaire orphans are to report to the front lawn tonight, immediately after dinner." "What?" Klaus asked. "Are you deaf as well as cakesniffy?" Carmelita asked.
Next, Please Always too eager for the future, we Pick up bad habits of expectancy. Something is always approaching; every day Till then we say, Watching from a bluff the tiny, clear, Sparkling armada of promises draw near. How slow they are! And how much time they waste, Refusing to make haste! Yet still they leave us holding wretched stalks Of disappointment, for, though nothing balks Each big approach, leaning with brasswork prinked, Each rope distinct, Flagged, and the figurehead with golden tits Arching our way, it never anchors; it's No sooner present than it turns to past. Right to the last We think each one will heave to and unload All good into our lives, all we are owed For waiting so devoutly and so long. But we are wrong: Only one ship is seeking us, a black- Sailed unfamiliar, towing at her back A huge and birdless silence. In her wake No waters breed or break.
Why, if one wants to compare life to anything, one must liken it to being blown through the Tube at fifty miles an hour-landing at the other end without a single hairpin in one's hair! Shot out at the feet of God entirely naked! Tumbling head over heels in the asphodel meadows like brown paper parcels pitched down a shoot in the post office! With one's hair flying back like the tail of a race-horse. Yes, that seems to express the rapidity of life, the perpetual waste and repair; all so casual, all so haphazard... But after life. The slow pulling down of thick green stalks so that the cup of the flower, as it turns over, deluges one with purple and red light. Why, after all, should one not be born there as one is born here, helpless, speechless, unable to focus one's eyesight, groping at the roots of the grass, at the toes of the Giants?
Perhaps swimming was dancing under the water, he thought. To swim under lily pads seeing their green slender stalks wavering as you passed, to swim under upraised logs past schools of sunfish and bluegills, to swim through reed beds past wriggling water snakes and miniature turtles, to swim in small lakes, big lakes, Lake Michigan, to swim in small farm ponds, creeks, rivers, giant rivers where one was swept along easefully by the current, to swim naked alone at night when you were nineteen and so alone you felt like you were choking every waking moment, having left home for reasons more hormonal than rational; reasons having to do with the abstraction of the future and one's questionable place in the world of the future, an absurdity not the less harsh for being so widespread.
For a moment or two before the spell took effect, he was aware of all the sounds around him: rain splashing on metal and leather, and running down canvas; horses shuffling and snorting; Englishmen singing and Scotsmen playing bagpipes; two Welsh soldiers arguing over the proper interpretation of a Bible passage; the Scottish captain, John Kincaid, entertaining the American savages and teaching them to drink tea (presumably with the idea that once a man had learnt to drink tea, the other habits and qualities that make up a Briton would naturally follow). Then silence. Men and horses began to disappear, few by few at first, and then more quickly - hundreds, thousands of them vanishing from sight. Great gaps appeared among the close-packed soldiers. A little further to the east an entire regiment was gone, leaving a hole the size of Hanover-square. Where, moments before, all had been life, conversation and activity, there was now nothing but the rain and the twilight and the waving stalks of rye. Strange wiped his mouth because he felt sick.
What is this food in my head, anyway? Let's see... it's green and good for you and so delicious. It's prepared by angels with love. The minute you bite into it, it's savory, chewy, nourishing, and whole- some. You feel instantly revitalized. A small, tiny amount, just a few bites, rejuvenates every cell, deepens your breath, clears your mind, heals your wounds, and mends your heart. It's made from joyous plants that voluntarily separate themselves from their stalks, laying themselves at the feet of the approaching gardener who gathers them. They eagerly offer their vital energies to nourish living spirits. The angels in their chef hats, singing mantras, cook it tenderly to retain all the benefits of the generous plants. It's barely sweet, barely salty, and contains all the freshness of spring herbs, summer fruit, spreading leaves, and burgeoning seeds. It comes premade in bags or boxes... you just open it up, sit down, and enjoy. It's a full meal, enough maybe for a whole day, maybe for a week, maybe for your family, maybe for your friends and neighbors. It multiplies like loaves and fishes, in little biodegradable containers that vaporize instantly the moment you finish them, without any greenhouse emissions. Nothing to clean up!
History is a funny little creature. Do you remember visiting your old Aunt that autumn when the trees shone so very yellow, and how she owned a striped and unsocial cat, quite old and fat and wounded about the ears and whiskers, with a crooked, broken tail? That cat would not come to you no matter how you coaxed and called; it had its own business, thank you, and no time for you. But as the evening wore on, it would come and show some affection or favor to your Aunt, or your Father, or the old end-table with the stack of green coasters on it. You couldn't predict who that cat might decide to love, or who it might decide to bite. You couldn't tell what it thought or felt, or how old it might really be, or whether it would one day, miraculously, decide to let you put one hand, very briefly, on its dusty head. History is like that. Of course, unlike your Aunt's cat, history is going on all around you, all the time, and is often quite lively. Sometimes it rests in a sunbeam for a peaceful century or two, but on the whole, history is always plotting, and it bites very hard. It stalks around the world, fickle and dissatisfied and often angry. It demands to be fed just a little earlier each day, until you find yourself carving meat from the bone as fast as you can, faster than you thought possible, just to satisfy it. Some people have a kind of marvelous talent for calming it and enticing it onto their laps. To some it will never even spare a glance.
Catherynne M. Valente
Caged Bird A free bird leaps on the back of the wind and floats downstream till the current ends and dips his wing in the orange suns rays and dares to claim the sky. But a bird that stalks down his narrow cage can seldom see through his bars of rage his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing. The caged bird sings with a fearful trill of things unknown but longed for still and his tune is heard on the distant hill for the caged bird sings of freedom. The free bird thinks of another breeze and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn and he names the sky his own. But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing. The caged bird sings with a fearful trill of things unknown but longed for still and his tune is heard on the distant hill for the caged bird sings of freedom.
In the jumbled, fragmented memories I carry from my childhood there are probably nearly as many dreams as images from waking life. I thought of one which might have been my earliest remembered nightmare. I was probably about four years old - I don't think I'd started school yet - when I woke up screaming. The image I retained of the dream, the thing which had frightened me so, was an ugly, clown-like doll made of soft red and cream-coloured rubber. When you squeezed it, bulbous eyes popped out on stalks and the mouth opened in a gaping scream. As I recall it now, it was disturbingly ugly, not really an appropriate toy for a very young child, but it had been mine when I was younger, at least until I'd bitten its nose off, at which point it had been taken away from me. At the time when I had the dream I hadn't seen it for a year or more - I don't think I consciously remembered it until its sudden looming appearance in a dream had frightened me awake. When I told my mother about the dream, she was puzzled. 'But what's scary about that? You were never scared of that doll.' I shook my head, meaning that the doll I'd owned - and barely remembered - had never scared me. 'But it was very scary, ' I said, meaning that the reappearance of it in my dream had been terrifying. My mother looked at me, baffled. 'But it's not scary, ' she said gently. I'm sure she was trying to make me feel better, and thought this reasonable statement would help. She was absolutely amazed when it had the opposite result, and I burst into tears. Of course she had no idea why, and of course I couldn't explain. Now I think - and of course I could be wrong - that what upset me was that I'd just realized that my mother and I were separate people. We didn't share the same dreams or nightmares. I was alone in the universe, like everybody else. In some confused way, that was what the doll had been telling me. Once it had loved me enough to let me eat its nose; now it would make me wake up screaming. ("My Death")
Modern man is drinking and drugging himself out of awarness, or he spends his time shopping, which is the same thing. As awarness calls for types of heroic dedication that his culture no longer provides for him, society contrives to help him forget. In the mysterious way in which life is given to us in evolution on this planet, it pushes in the direction of its own expansion. We don't understand it simply because we don't know the purpose of creation; we only feel life straining in ourselves and see it thrashing others about as they devour each other. Life seeks to expand in an unknown direction for unknown reasons. What are we to make of creation in which routine activity is for organisms to be tearing others apart with teeth of all types - biting, grinding flesh, plant stalks, bones between molars, pushing the pulp greedily down the gullet with delight, incorporating its essence into one's own organization, and then excreting with foul stench and gasses residue. Everyone reaching out to incorporate others who are edible to him. The mosquitoes bloating themselves on blood, the maggots, the killer-bees attacking with a fury and a demonism, sharks continuing to tear and swallow while their own innards are being torn out - not to mention the daily dismemberment and slaughter in 'natural' accidents of all types: an earthquake buries alive 70 thousand bodies in Peru, a tidal wave washes over a quarter of a million in the Indian Ocean. Creation is a nightmare spectacular taking place on a planet that has been soaked for hundreds of millions of years in the blood of all creatures. The soberest conclusion that we could make about what has actually been taking place on the planet about three billion years is that it is being turned into a vast pit of fertilizer. But the sun distracts our attention, always baking the blood dry, making things grow over it, and with its warmth giving the hope that comes with the organism's comfort and expansiveness.
It is a great wonder How Almighty God in his magnificence Favors our race with rank and scope And the gift of wisdom; His sway is wide. Sometimes He allows the mind of a man Of distinguished birth to follow its bent, Grants him fulfillment and felicity on earth And forts to command in his own country. He permits him to lord it in many lands Until the man in his unthinkingness Forgets that it will ever end for him. He indulges his desires; illness and old age Mean nothing to him; his mind is untroubled By envy or malice or thought of enemies With their hate-honed swords. The whole world Conforms to his will, he is kept from the worst Until an element of overweening Enters him and takes hold While the soul's guard, its sentry, drowses, Grown too distracted. A killer stalks him, An archer who draws a deadly bow. And then the man is hit in the heart, The arrow flies beneath his defenses, The devious promptings of the demon start. His old possessions seem paltry to him now. He covets and resents; dishonors custom And bestows no gold; and because of good things That the Heavenly powers gave him in the past He ignores the shape of things to come. Then finally the end arrives When the body he was lent collapses and falls Prey to its death; ancestral possessions And the goods he hoarded and inherited by another Who lets them go with a liberal hand. 'O flower of warriors, beware of that trap. Choose, dear Beowulf, the better part, Eternal rewards. Do not give way to pride. For a brief while your strength is in bloom But it fades quickly; and soon there will follow Illness or the sword to lay you low, Or a sudden fire or surge of water Or jabbing blade or javelin from the air Or repellent age. Your piercing eye Will dim and darken; and death will arrive, Dear warrior, to sweep you away.
Live or die, but don't poison everything... Well, death's been here for a long time - it has a hell of a lot to do with hell and suspicion of the eye and the religious objects and how I mourned them when they were made obscene by my dwarf-heart's doodle. The chief ingredient is mutilation. And mud, day after day, mud like a ritual, and the baby on the platter, cooked but still human, cooked also with little maggots, sewn onto it maybe by somebody's mother, the damn bitch! Even so, I kept right on going on, a sort of human statement, lugging myself as if I were a sawed-off body in the trunk, the steamer trunk. This became perjury of the soul. It became an outright lie and even though I dressed the body it was still naked, still killed. It was caught in the first place at birth, like a fish. But I play it, dressed it up, dressed it up like somebody's doll. Is life something you play? And all the time wanting to get rid of it? And further, everyone yelling at you to shut up. And no wonder! People don't like to be told that you're sick and then be forced to watch you come down with the hammer. Today life opened inside me like an egg and there inside after considerable digging I found the answer. What a bargain! There was the sun, her yolk moving feverishly, tumbling her prize - and you realize she does this daily! I'd known she was a purifier but I hadn't thought she was solid, hadn't known she was an answer. God! It's a dream, lovers sprouting in the yard like celery stalks and better, a husband straight as a redwood, two daughters, two sea urchings, picking roses off my hackles. If I'm on fire they dance around it and cook marshmallows. And if I'm ice they simply skate on me in little ballet costumes. Here, all along, thinking I was a killer, anointing myself daily with my little poisons. But no. I'm an empress. I wear an apron. My typewriter writes. It didn't break the way it warned. Even crazy, I'm as nice as a chocolate bar. Even with the witches' gymnastics they trust my incalculable city, my corruptible bed. O dearest three, I make a soft reply. The witch comes on and you paint her pink. I come with kisses in my hood and the sun, the smart one, rolling in my arms. So I say Live and turn my shadow three times round to feed our puppies as they come, the eight Dalmatians we didn't drown, despite the warnings: The abort! The destroy! Despite the pails of water that waited, to drown them, to pull them down like stones, they came, each one headfirst, blowing bubbles the color of cataract-blue and fumbling for the tiny tits. Just last week, eight Dalmatians, 3/4 of a lb., lined up like cord wood each like a birch tree. I promise to love more if they come, because in spite of cruelty and the stuffed railroad cars for the ovens, I am not what I expected. Not an Eichmann. The poison just didn't take. So I won't hang around in my hospital shift, repeating The Black Mass and all of it. I say Live, Live because of the sun, the dream, the excitable gift.