Here must thou be, O man,Strength to thyself — no helper hast thou here —Here keepest thou thy individual state:No other can divide with thee this work,No secondary hand can interveneTo fashion this ability. 'Tis thine,The prime and vital principle is thineIn the recesses of thy nature, farFrom any reach of outward fellowship,Else 'tis not thine at all.
Sonnet IIf thee must say that I am not who I am,That I am not real or true,Then thou must say you are not as well,For we either walk in fairytales and dance to our dreams,Or we die trying to capture a miracle between the ordinary moments,We rejoice in the gratitude for our needs met, But we pray for the staircases and open doors to our desires,We redefine our gratitude with another day, Another dance of praise to Thee for undoing are mistakes of unneeded wants and needs we want, but not met.
When I do count the clock that tells the time,And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;When I behold the violet past prime,And sable curls all silver'd o'er with white;When lofty trees I see barren of leavesWhich erst from heat did canopy the herd,And summer's green all girded up in sheavesBorne on the bier with white and bristly beard,Then of thy beauty do I question make,That thou among the wastes of time must go,Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsakeAnd die as fast as they see others grow;And nothing 'gainst Time's scythe can make defenceSave breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence.
Certainly not! I didn't build a machine to solve ridiculous crossword puzzles! That's hack work, not Great Art! Just give it a topic, any topic, as difficult as you like..."Klapaucius thought, and thought some more. Finally he nodded and said:"Very well. Let's have a love poem, lyrical, pastoral, and expressed in the language of pure mathematics. Tensor algebra mainly, with a little topology and higher calculus, if need be. But with feeling, you understand, and in the cybernetic spirit.""Love and tensor algebra?" Have you taken leave of your senses?" Trurl began, but stopped, for his electronic bard was already declaiming:Come, let us hasten to a higher plane,Where dyads tread the fairy fields of Venn,Their indices bedecked from one to n,Commingled in an endless Markov chain!Come, every frustum longs to be a cone,And every vector dreams of matrices.Hark to the gentle gradient of the breeze:It whispers of a more ergodic zone.In Reimann, Hilbert or in Banach spaceLet superscripts and subscripts go their ways.Our asymptotes no longer out of phase,We shall encounter, counting, face to face.I'll grant thee random access to my heart,Thou'lt tell me all the constants of thy love;And so we two shall all love's lemmas prove,And in bound partition never part.For what did Cauchy know, or Christoffel,Or Fourier, or any Boole or Euler,Wielding their compasses, their pens and rulers,Of thy supernal sinusoidal spell?Cancel me not--for what then shall remain?Abscissas, some mantissas, modules, modes,A root or two, a torus and a node:The inverse of my verse, a null domain.Ellipse of bliss, converge, O lips divine!The product of our scalars is defined!Cyberiad draws nigh, and the skew mindCuts capers like a happy haversine.I see the eigenvalue in thine eye,I hear the tender tensor in thy sigh.Bernoulli would have been content to die,Had he but known such a^2 cos 2 phi!
O Deus Ego Amo TeOh God, I love Thee mightily,Not only for Thy saving me, Nor yet because who love not TheeMust burn throughout eternity.Thou, Thou, my Jesu, once didst meEmbrace upon the bitter Tree.For me the nails, the soldier's spear, With injury and insult, bear-In pain all pain exceeding,In sweating and in bleeding,Yea, very death, and that for meA sinner all unheeding!O Jesu, should I not love TheeWho thus hast dealt so lovingly-Not hoping some reward to see,Nor lest I my damnation be;But as Thyself hast loved me,So love I now and always Thee,Because my King alone Thou art,Because, O God, mine own Thou art!
...the solitude was intoxicating. On my first night there I lay on my back on the sticky carpet for hours, in the murky orange pool of city glow coming through the window, smelling heady curry spices spiraling across the corridor and listening to two guys outside yelling at each other in Russian and someone practicing stormy flamboyant violin somewhere, and slowly realizing that there was not a single person in the world who could see me or ask me what I was doing or tell me to do anything else, and I felt as if at any moment the bedsit might detach itself from the buildings like a luminous soap bubble and drift off into the night, bobbing gently above the rooftops and the river and the stars.
I have had so many Dwellings, Nat, that I know these Streets as well as a strowling Beggar: I was born in this Nest of Death and Contagion and now, as they say, I have learned to feather it. When first I was with Sir Chris. I found lodgings in Phenix Street off Hogg Lane, close by St Giles and Tottenham Fields, and then in later times I was lodged at the corner of Queen Street and Thames Street, next to the Blew Posts in Cheapside. (It is still there, said Nat stirring up from his Seat, I have passed it!) In the time before the Fire, Nat, most of the buildings in London were made of timber and plaister, and stones were so cheap that a man might have a cart-load of them for six-pence or seven-pence; but now, like the Aegyptians, we are all for Stone. (And Nat broke in, I am for Stone!) The common sort of People gawp at the prodigious Rate of Building and exclaim to each other London is now another City or that House was not there Yesterday or the Situacion of the Streets is quite Changd (I contemn them when they say such things! Nat adds). But this Capital City of the World of Affliction is still the Capitol of Darknesse, or the Dungeon of Man's Desires: still in the Centre are no proper Streets nor Houses but a Wilderness of dirty rotten Sheds, allways tumbling or takeing Fire, with winding crooked passages, lakes of Mire and rills of stinking Mud, as befits the smokey grove of Moloch. (I have heard of that Gentleman, says Nat all a quiver). It is true that in what we call the Out-parts there are numberless ranges of new Buildings: in my old Black-Eagle Street, Nat, tenements have been rais'd and where my Mother and Father stared without understanding at their Destroyer (Death! he cryed) new-built Chambers swarm with life. But what a Chaos and Confusion is there: meer fields of Grass give way to crooked Passages and quiet Lanes to smoking Factors, and these new Houses, commonly built by the London workmen, are often burning and frequently tumbling down (I saw one, says he, I saw one tumbling!). Thus London grows more Monstrous, Straggling and out of all Shape: in this Hive of Noise and Ignorance, Nat, we are tyed to the World as to a sensible Carcasse and as we cross the stinking Body we call out What News? or What's a clock? And thus do I pass my Days a stranger to mankind. I'll not be a Stander-by, but you will not see me pass among them in the World. (You will disquiet your self, Master, says Nat coming towards me). And what a World is it, of Tricking and Bartering, Buying and Selling, Borrowing and Lending, Paying and Receiving; when I walk among the Piss and Sir-reverence of the Streets I hear, Money makes the old Wife trot, Money makes the Mare to go (and Nat adds, What Words won't do, Gold will). What is their God but shineing Dirt and to sing its Devotions come the Westminster-Hall-whores, the Charing-cross whores, the Whitehall whores, the Channel-row whores, the Strand whores, the Fleet Street whores, the Temple-bar whores; and they are followed in the same Catch by the Riband weavers, the Silver-lace makers, the Upholsterers, the Cabinet-makers, Watermen, Carmen, Porters, Plaisterers, Lightemen, Footmen, Shopkeepers, Journey-men... and my Voice grew faint through the Curtain of my Pain.
I believe in you my soul, the other I am must not abase itself to you,And you must not be abased to the other.Loaf with me on the grass, loose the stop from your throat,Not words, not music or rhyme I want, not custom or lecture, not even the best,Only the lull I like, the hum of your valved voice.I mind how once we lay such a transparent summer morning,How you settled your head athwart my hips, and gently turned over upon me,And parted the shirt from my bosom bone, and plunged your tongue to my bare-stripped heart,And reached till you felt my beard, and reached till you held my feet.Swiftly arose and spread around me the peace and knowledge that pass all the argument of the earth,And I know that the hand of God is the promise of my own,And I know that the spirit of God is the brother of my own,And that all the men ever born are also my brothers, and the women my sisters and lovers,And that a kelson of the creation is love,And limitless are leaves stiff or drooping in the fields,And brown ants in the little wells beneath them,And mossy scabs of the worm fence, heaped stones, elder, mullein and pokeweed.
I propose a toast to mirth; be merry! Let us complete our course of law by folly and eating! Indigestion and the digest. let Justinian be the male, and Feasting, the female! Joy the depths! Live, O creation! The world is a great diamond. I am happy. The birds are astonishing. What a festival everywhere! The nightingale is a gratuitous Elleviou.Summer, I salute thee!
I must,” then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse. Then come close to Nature. Then, as if no one had ever tried before, try to say what you see and feel and love and lose......Describe your sorrows and desires, the thoughts that pass through your mind and your belief in some kind of beauty - describe all these with heartfelt, silent, humble sincerity and, when you express yourself, use the Things around you, the images from your dreams, and the objects that you remember. If your everyday life seems poor, don’t blame it; blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches; because for the creator there is not poverty and no poor, indifferent place. And even if you found yourself in some prison, whose walls let in none of the world’s sounds – wouldn’t you still have your childhood, that jewel beyond all price, that treasure house of memories? Turn your attentions to it. Try to raise up the sunken feelings of this enormous past; your personality will grow stronger, your solitude will expand and become a place where you can live in the twilight, where the noise of other people passes by, far in the distance. - And if out of this turning-within, out of this immersion in your own world, poems come, then you will not think of asking anyone whether they are good or not. Nor will you try to interest magazines in these works: for you will see them as your dear natural possession, a piece of your life, a voice from it. A work of art is good if it has arisen out of necessity. That is the only way one can judge it.
Prayer before BirthI am not yet born; O hear me.Let not the bloodsucking bat or the rat or the stoat or the club-footed ghoul come near me.I am not yet born, console me.I fear that the human race may with tall walls wall me, with strong drugs dope me, with wise lies lure me, on black racks rack me, in blood-baths roll me.I am not yet born; provide meWith water to dandle me, grass to grow for me, trees to talk to me, sky to sing to me, birds and a white light in the back of my mind to guide me.I am not yet born; forgive meFor the sins that in me the world shall commit, my words when they speak me, my thoughts when they think me, my treason engendered by traitors beyond me, my life when they murder by means of my hands, my death when they live me.I am not yet born; rehearse meIn the parts I must play and the cues I must take when old men lecture me, bureaucrats hector me, mountains frown at me, lovers laugh at me, the white waves call me to folly and the desert calls me to doom and the beggar refuses my gift and my children curse me.I am not yet born; O hear me,Let not the man who is beast or who thinks he is God come near me.I am not yet born; O fill meWith strength against those who would freeze my humanity, would dragoon me into a lethal automaton, would make me a cog in a machine, a thing with one face, a thing, and against all those who would dissipate my entirety, would blow me like thistledown hither and thither or hither and thither like water held in the hands would spill me.Let them not make me a stone and let them not spill me.Otherwise kill me.
To SolitudeO Solitude! if I must with thee dwell, Let it not be among the jumbled heap Of murky buildings; climb with me the steep,— Nature’s observatory—whence the dell, Its flowery slopes, its river’s crystal swell, May seem a span; let me thy vigils keep ’Mongst boughs pavillion’d, where the deer’s swift leap Startles the wild bee from the fox-glove bell. But though I’ll gladly trace these scenes with thee, Yet the sweet converse of an innocent mind, Whose words are images of thoughts refin’d, Is my soul’s pleasure; and it sure must be Almost the highest bliss of human-kind, When to thy haunts two kindred spirits flee.
To a Vase"How do I break thee? Let me count the ways.I break thee if thou art at any heightMy paw can reach, when, smarting from some slight,I sulk, or have one of my crazy days.I break thee with an accidental grazeOr twitch of tail, if I should take a fright.I break thee out of pure and simple spiteThe way I broke the jar of mayonnaise.I break thee if a bug upon thee sits.I break thee if I'm in a playful mood,And then I wrestle with the shiny bits.I break thee if I do not like my food.And if someone they shards together fits,I'll break thee once again when thou art glued.
If thou must love me, let it be for noughtExcept for love's sake only. Do not say'I love her for her smile ... her look ... her wayOf speaking gently, ... for a trick of thoughtThat falls in well with mine, and certes broughtA sense of pleasant ease on such a day'For these things in themselves, Beloved, mayBe changed, or change for thee,--and love, so wrought,May be unwrought so. Neither love me forThine own dear pity's wiping my cheeks dry,A creature might forget to weep, who boreThy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!But love me for love's sake, that evermoreThou may'st love on, through love's eternity.
I am glad," he said, "that I do not dwell in your country among such savage peoples. Here, in Caspak, men fight with men when they meet - men of different races - but their weapons are first for the slaying of beasts in the chase and defense. We do not fashion weapons solely for the killing of man as do your peoples. Your country must indeed be a savage country, from which you are fortunate to have escaped to the peace and security of Caspak.