Friday, December 3, 2010
mccain was never the brightest bulb in the senate, or in flight school, or when flying, or when serving in the government. check his records -- he was the son and grandson of admirals, and that's where his qualifications began and ended. how does being a vietnam prisoner -- and tortured -- for five years qualify him to pass judgment on gays in the military?
even Cindy disagrees with him on this one. he has no credibility and less probity than Rodin's The Thinker -- i.e., a hunk of stone in a contemplative position. between grey and gay, i'll take gay any day. at least gays are capable of reasoned thought and compassion -- two things in which mccain is lacking. mccain is ye olde guard -- something we need less of.
the only opposition to gays serving openly and honestly is religious, and that has no place in civil government or a civilian military. look to the 10 Amendments, not the 10 commandments. The 9th Amendment guarantees our unenumerated rights, and that trumps particular religious "moralities" that are in actuality objectively immoral. a man of limited and circumscribed thought, such as mccain, is in no position to judge rationality. books like the bible and the qur'an prescribe death to homosexuals -- is that rational thought? the 9th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights implicitly guarantees freedom from any particular religious moral code. i don't think mccain is capable of such understanding, considering his limited philosophical talents. i suggest we as a nation not take him seriously in his bronze-age prejudices.
Friday, October 1, 2010
"Thursday's ruling said the Hindus could keep the area where the mosque once stood because the court determined it was the birthplace of Rama and archaeological evidence showed a temple had predated the mosque."
okay, a court has determined the birthplace of a fictional character; fictional, that is, except to its believers. this is positively surreal and beyond the bounds of reason.
as far as evidence that the mosque sat atop a temple -- it is common practice for "victorious" religions to build their houses of worship directly upon the site of a "loser" religion's place of worship. christians did it to jews, muslims to jews and christians, etc. this is very much relevant to the Ground Zero mosque debate. it would seem as though the muslims in that scenario would wish to build a "victorious" mosque atop a "loser"'s holy site.
it's all about "location, location, location."
Shirvell 'accused Armstrong of hosting the party with the intent to "liquor-up underage freshmen and promote homosexual activity in an effort to recruit them to the homosexual lifestyle."' -- did he really say that? is this the 21st century or the 11th century? homosexuality isn't something you're recruited into, as though it were a choice, and liquoring-up underage freshmen to get them to be homosexually active is just so ignorant. Shirvell studied law at the Ave Maria law school -- that should tell you his agenda right there. this is another of the many christian homophobes who believe (1) homosexuality is a sin, and (2) homosexuality is a choice. neither are true. he has forfeited his right to be a civil servant since, obviously, he cannot serve the civilians in his sinecure.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
this is clearly a case of intentional infliction of emotional distress. the phelps cult had no real business at Matthew's funeral BUT to inflict emotional distress. they are hiding behind two banners -- (1) religion, and (2) free speech. but you can't yell "fire" in a crowded theater, and you can't yell "i'm glad you're dead; god hates you; you're burning in hell" at a private funeral.
the cult's lawyer says they'll keep "talking" until they get their message across? -- they're not talking to anyone; they're yelling at everyone. they've gotten their point across; now they can go home and wait for their god to reward their good acts. SCOTUS should rule in favor of Mr. Snyder, because this is a clear intention to inflict emotional distress, hiding behind the guise of a church. it is a hate crime, just as if they had burnt down a place of worship or blown up some children.
and this is a nontheist talking. i personally don't believe in any gods, but i do believe in respect for peoples' grief. Matthew Snyder is beyond grief now, but his family and friends are not. they are vulnerable to attack, and emotionally sensitive. turning his funeral into a hate-filled spectacle is the same thing as yelling "fire" in a crowded theater, as i said before. it creates the exact same kind of emotional distress.
Monday, September 27, 2010
i have been saying, for years, that our education system has more than enough money, not enough good teachers -- and, consequently, too many bad teachers -- and too short a schedule. finally, obama has said something i can agree wholeheartedly with! i am a testament to what good teachers can do for students -- they inspire, create curiosity, and generate interest in the subject matter by bringing it to life.
here's a shout-out for some of my best, A#1 teachers: Mrs. Salisbury (4th grade), Mr. Davis (8th grade), Dr. Harned, Lorenzo Thomas, and Dr. Haney (university). they all deserve(d) much more money than we pay them. and librarians, too -- don't leave out the very important keepers-of-books. these people should be compensated monetarily according to the importance of their careers and the success that they have achieved.
another thing -- teaching to the test is not the way to find out if you are a good teacher. teaching the subject matter well and successfully is the way to find out. how interested are the students? are they excited to come to class? are they intellectually stimulated? do they welcome tests, in order to show what they know as well as find out what they don't yet know? do they do homework willingly, even gladly? these are some of the ways to judge a good teacher.
and if teachers had more time to teach students, students would learn more. that's just common sense. with good teachers, students would be much more anxious to attend school, much less likely to ditch classes (right, Ferris?), and much more likely to understand the subject matter in a mature way that generates lifelong interest. they just might be interested in having a clear mind for learning, rather than a clouded mind by drugging and drinking. we are educating citizens, future leaders, fellow homo sapiens. what could be more important?
when republicans point at the democrats and accuse them of, e.g., abuse of power, they are condemning themselves as well, with their own words. nothing can be said about the one that is not true of the other, as well. and, as we all know, two wrongs do not make a right.
political parties are sects that are beholden to one another. they invite corruption. i believe it was James Madison in Federalist 10 or 11 who railed against the party system. right now, it is the party that builds the platform for which it stands; it should be the individual who is running for office -- any office -- who is required to set forth his or her platform. and i don't mean that they should just say, "i'm for the democrats" or "i'm for the republicans." they need to set out detailed statements/explications of their political views. this would of course require thinking and writing; and reading, by the public.
we are all complicit -- we need to fully participate. we cannot afford to be mentally lazy when it comes to electing representatives, and they cannot afford to be mentally and philosophically lazy when it comes to defining their platform. no more adhering to the republicrats; let's see individual accountability and individual participation.
candidates need, for one, to leave religious values out of their platforms. the First Amendment gives us rights that cannot be undone, no matter how much one sect would have their moral standards thrust upon all citizens. this goes for democrats as well as republicans -- one would legislate what goes on in our bedrooms, the other would dare legislate what goes on in the rest of the house.
there is an evil at work here; it is called bureaucracy. untold millions of trees are killed to make the paper behind which politicians hide, the huge mass of paperwork that does naught but obfuscate and misrepresent.
popularity should be exorcised from candidacy; personal traits, such as religious belief, should be kept personal. i look forward to the day when an atheist can openly run for office and actually be elected. we have had atheists in office, but they must behave as though they were caught by the throat of a "don't ask; don't tell" policy. belief in gods should not be a prerequisite for holding office. the Constitution allows for oath or affirmation, and that is all it has to say on the subject. the Bill of Rights works as a check upon government -- the "they shalt nots" that government cannot perpetrate upon its citizenry. too many people mix it up with the ten commandments -- the "thou shalt nots" -- that ought to be obeyed by one and all. this is explicitly forbidden by the First and Ninth Amendments.
it is very difficult to vote in today's climate. one must settle for the lesser of several evils, and then hope that congress is of the opposite persuasion, so that nothing can get done. this is the safest we can ever be, when it comes to enacting legislation. it is simply a total waste of the sapient mind and of a reasonable citizenry.
but at least we get to vote, which is a good thing, as martha stewart would say. how and whether our votes are counted and registered is, of course, another story. practically every election since 2000 has brought up that political bad boy. we remain uncertain as to whether our vote "counts," and this engenders disillusionment in the entire system. and we're back to the beginning of my argument ...
Sunday, September 12, 2010
ratzinger should be arrested. he was in charge during the initial stages of the sex-abuse scandal, and he is in charge now as the ultimate figurehead of the rcc. he is the gang leader, and should be made to pay for his crimes and his aiding and abetting criminals.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
to everyone out there in internet-land -- rent the documentary "Islam: What The West Needs To Know" before you talk about free speech rights. islam is determined to take over the world, until they are the only religion, except for the dhimmi. read the qur'an and the hadith. it's all in there. islam is a religion of the sword; they have elevated death while killing infidels to the level of martyrdom. there is nothing peaceful about a religion whose name literally translates to "submission" and whose stated and unstated desires are for world domination. there is no such thing as a moderate muslim -- they are considered apostates and are targeted for death by assassination. if you read islam's religious texts, you will see that "moderate" has no place there. believers are permitted to lie and deceive to get to the eventual goal.
again, watch "Islam: What The West Needs To Know" and listen to what the experts say. they will kill over a cartoon, a book (Salman Rushdie's "The Satanic Verses," even over a threat to burn their qur'an. they will kill at the drop of a hat, because islam is all about killing. no doubt about it.
to those who believe that the acts of 9/11/01 were cowardly, they were not. they were the acts of deeply committed religious people who KNEW that they would be rewarded in islamic heaven with virgins and family members. they were merely following the precepts of their religion to the letter. let that be a warning to all those who do the same, no matter what religion it may be.
Friday, September 10, 2010
btw, i'm a heterosexual woman, NOT a pervert or a pedophile. you're the pervert ... are you also a pedophile? methinks the poster doth protest too much.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Monday, September 6, 2010
what the heck is she being punished for? she was a widow and she had sex. she did not commit adultery, unless having a dead husband prevents you from ever having sex again. this is so totally backwards and immature that i cannot imagine the people who actually take this seriously!
if this woman is put to death, a great crime will have been committed. having already subjected her to 99 lashes -- a very painful punishment (just see mel gibson's passion of christ) -- is barbarous. these people don't have the sense or maturity to be ashamed of themselves. please let's don't take them seriously, as they would like us to do.
see what they are willing to do with stones and whips? now imagine what they will be willing to do with nuclear weapons.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
and another thing, why should businesses be closed on sunday? i'm all for 24/7/365 workdays. if you want to go to church, fine -- go to church. if you want to buy a bottle of liquor, fine -- buy a bottle of liquor. sunday is just another day of the week.
the post office should lower the price of stamps and deliver mail 7 days a week. then, maybe they'd get more business. there would certainly be more jobs available.
all these objections/prohibitions are based on judeochristian morality, which has no place in secular government. just because one group of people find sex purveyors immoral, doesn't mean that they are immoral. if you don't like it, turn off the tv, change the channel, don't hire a sex worker, etc. but don't impose your outmoded, faith-based morality upon the rest of us.
reason tells us that there are people -- of both sexes -- who want to engage in sex, and there are people -- of both sexes -- who are willing to accommodate them. a person's religion or faith in general have no business in the public arena. i am personally offended at the imposition of an irrational morality that ignores reason in favor of belief without evidence. sex sells, and there will always be people -- of both sexes -- who are willing to sell. let's let them!
Friday, August 20, 2010
space b-s. anybody out there like Cliff Simak? James Blish?
Ward Moore? C.M. Kornbluth? Kuttner and Moore? Ted Sturgeon?
L. Sprague de Camp?
Clifford Simak is my favorite author.
we had a correspondence shortly before he died, but it's been
published in a czech translation of one of his books. so i am in a
czech book :) i would suggest anyone read The Big Front Yard, Immigrant,
Drop Dead, Desertion (from the book City), Skirmish, Way Station, and lots
and don't forget Kornbluth. his The Words of Guru
is absolutely fascinating and repulsive at the same time;
truly frightening in a weird way. he co-wrote The Space Merchants,
a great book. and many, many more before he died at age 38 --
much too young.
there are really too many to tell you about,
mostly from the '30s to the '60s. i've been a real fan for almost 40 years.
no militarism, no belligerence, no war-making (except in de Camp's Lest
Darkness Fall, an excellent short novel about a modern man trying to prevent
the dark ages from coming, back in 565 c.e.
really, it's more than star wars and star trek. although Galaxy Quest was
Thursday, August 12, 2010
just because we're more familiar with the monotheistic judeochristianislamic culture, doesn't mean that gods stop there. ain't none of 'em a reality. mohammed makes jim jones look like a nice guy with a penchant for koolaid; jesus preached obligatory altruism; abraham was willing to kill his own son ... i could go on forever.
the mormon tradition is, to paraphrase Dr. Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith, just christianity with a few more stupid ideas.
again, people, repeat after me: THERE ARE NO GODS!
Monday, August 9, 2010
Ted Olson and David Boies did a bang-up job; their arguments were right on point. I read the entire ruling -- all 138 pages -- and it is tight tight tight. no wriggle room for Scalia or Thomas.
Here is what is relevant:
Bill of Rights -- First Amendment and Ninth Amendment (unenumerated rights).
Marriage is a civil ceremony, appropriated by but not the purview of religion.
The "religious views of the majority of Americans" have no relevance in this civil matter. The same arguments were used in favor of miscegenation, if you remember. And they were ruled unconstitutional, as is prop. 8.
And the majority of Americans is not as "religious" as you think. We nontheists/atheists/agnostics are coming on strong, and we will also soon be able to influence the political process, merely by keeping our personal views out of it.
Monday, June 28, 2010
truly civilized people find the idea of faith repugnant and ridiculous. don't sanction faith over scientific proof, and don't make up irrational arguments in favor of god and faith that can be refuted by the merest among us thinkers. faith allowed pedophiles to be alone with children, and faith kept those children silent about their abuse for a very long time. what will faith be responsible for next?
Saturday, June 26, 2010
1. "atheist" is an anti-theist term. i am not anti-theist; i do not honor the question. also, i do not reject only the traditional judeo-christian god; i reject ALL gods: past, present, and future. they are not nice, and they bring out the inherent evil in believers.
2. "atheist" is what people of one set of beliefs call people of a different set of beliefs, although both sets profess a belief in god/s. i do not wish to be part of that melange.
3. "atheist" seems to refer mainly to the "great" judeo-christian god (who is not), while i do not limit myself to only one. the prefix "a-" is a negative; the prefix "non-" is a more comprehensive and at the same time less negative term. it is a rejection without a fight.
4. atheists are considered godless, while i look upon that word as an inherent negative. i prefer to look upon myself as god-free, which is a load off my back and a happier thought. i am not less because i have no gods in my life; i am free of dogma of any kind. it is exhilarating to be positive about it rather than working from a negative terminology.
i agree with Sam Harris that we should not have to call ourselves anything at all, but until that day comes (and i do not see it coming in my lifetime), i will be god-free, not god-less; nontheist rather than atheist.
i consider religions anathema -- they bring out the worst in people. they spread moralities that are at the very least suspect; at the most, destructive. obligatory altruism is not a good; faith is not a good; belief without evidence (faith) is actually bad for homo sapiens. even animals are smarter than that -- they have to be, in all practicality, or they will be eaten.
in our culture, it is those who are god-free who are eaten, but that will inevitably change, as Man matures. religion is for children who need father-figures and who are afraid of death. i am an orphan in the maelstrom, and not unhappy with that thought. i had one father; i need no more. even the "founding fathers" i prefer to call the "Framers," for that is what they did.
religion was invented by men who craved answers to questions. i prefer questions; they are more interesting, and even the interesting answers only lead to more questions, ad infinitum.
finally, i want to thank you for your eloquent and fervent arguments in favor of nonbelief. i am a fan, of course, and i loved "god is not great," "the missionary position," and "the values of the worst family." (hillary the enabler is my least favorite, but bill the perjurer and sexual harasser comes close behind).
keep up the good work. i wish we could have lunch together; we would have a great conversation; of that i am sure. i would like to break bread with, e.g., socrates, voltaire, and ben franklin -- compare those companions to oprah winfrey's obsequious choice: jesus. what a bore! i would be inclined to include thomas jefferson, tom paine, and mark twain, but i self-limited to three.
thank goodness for you.
Monday, June 21, 2010
as a nontheist, i am of course interested in the right to freedom from religion. i believe that the Ninth Amendment implicitly gives me the right to be free of religion. the unenumerated rights are i think the most important phrase in the entire Bill of Rights. if we paid more attention to the Ninth Amendment, we wouldn’t need several of the later amendments — slaves would be free, all men and women would have the right to vote, prohibition would never have happened, e.g.
the Bill protects individual citizens from the tyranny of the federal government. it is a list of “they shalt nots” — not “thou shalt nots.” as such, the Ninth Amendment is probably the most important of them all. and notice that it is placed — deliberately, i believe — ahead of the Tenth Amendment’s guarantee of states’ rights vs. federal rights. placement matters. the rights of the individual trump the rights of the state or of the federal government.
and, in the light of the Ninth Amendment, i plead with you to keep god out of government, including out of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. i do not have a favorable opinion of any gods, including the judeo-christian one so often quoted. we are not a nation “under god” as long as i — and the 12-14% of my fellow americans share that opinion. how can we be indivisible if there are those of us who are not “under god”? the Ninth Amendment gives us the right to be free of god and religion. i am not godless — i am god-free. and i have that right, thanks to the unenumerated rights of the Ninth Amendment.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
i have faith -- nay, actual proof -- that gods are vindictive manmade apparatuses designed to explain that which is not currently understood. you are seeking answers because you're unsure of things. i am seeking questions, because they are more interesting than answers and, besides, answers only lead to more questions.
as to it being too late for me -- it's too late when i take my final breath. if my soul joins a superstring, then so be it. if not, then oh well. i won't be judged by a nonentity nor will i go to a nonhell. but, if by some miniscule chance heaven as currently "known" exists, i prefer hell. there are too many people out there -- the godfearing ones, i mean -- with whom i would not want to share an afterlife. nor would i want to be stuck worshipping such mean gods -- i cannot say enough bad things about the believed gods, for they are bad. intrinsically. they were made to keep the sheeple in line and, as such, they are really, really baaaaaaad. your heaven is my hell.
all rational arguments to the contrary are welcomed -- nay, urged. those who wish to reply via emotion will not be acknowledged.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
if sexual harassment in the workplace isn't a crime, it darned well should be. remember the michael crichton book "disclosure" that became a movie with michael douglas and demi moore? any kind of sexual harassment in the workplace is criminal. favoring one employee above all others makes for an uncomfortable and resentful atmosphere in the office, wouldn't you think?
so i don't care whether he sinned against his wife, his family, his god, or his dog. he sinned against his employees in an office environment. he played the favoritism card. how dare he pontificate. he should be publicly stoned (and i don't mean that in a good sense). if he did it once, he probably has done it before, and will probably do it again. he still hasn't admitted to the full sin of workplace sexual harassment, and i bet he never will.
and what does this farce say about his abstinence preaching? if he can't say no, how does he expect others to follow his false example? what hypocrisy!
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
by Anne SextonI was tired of being a woman,
tired of the spoons and the pots,
tired of my mouth and my breasts,
tired of the cosmetics and the silks.
There were still men who sat at my table,
circled around the bowl I offered up.
The bowl was filled with purple grapes
and the flies hovered in for the scent
and even my father came with his white bone.
But I was tired of the gender of things.
Last night I had a dream
and I said to it ...
"You are the answer.
You will outlive my husband and my father."
In that dream there was a city made of chains
where Joan was put to death in man's clothes
and the nature of the angels went unexplained,
no two made in the same species,
one with a nose, one with an ear in its hand,
one chewing a star and recording its orbit,
each one like a poem obeying itself,
performing God's functions,
a people apart.
"You are the answer,"
I said, and entered,
lying down on the gates of the city.
Then the chains were fastened around me
and I lost my common gender and my final aspect.
Adam was on the left of me
and Eve was on the right of me,
both thoroughly inconsistent with the world of reason.
We wove our arms together
and rode under the sun.
I was not a woman anymore,
not one thing or the other.
O daughters of Jerusalem,
the king has brought me into his chamber.
I am black and I am beautiful.
I've been opened and undressed.
I have no arms or legs.
I'm all one skin like a fish.
I'm no more a woman
than Christ was a man.
by Anne SextonI was thinking of a son.
The womb is not a clock
nor a bell tolling,
but in the eleventh month of its life
I feel the November
of the body as well as of the calendar.
In two days it will be my birthday
and as always the earth is done with its harvest.
This time I hunt for death,
the night I lean toward,
the night I want.
Well then —
speak of it!
It was in the womb all along.
I was thinking of a son . . . You! The never acquired,
the never seeded or unfastened,
you of the genitals I feared,
the stalk and the puppy's breath.
Will I give you my eyes or his?
Will you be the David or the Susan?
(Those two names I picked and listened for.)
Can you be the man your fathers are —
the leg muscles from Michelangelo,
hands from Yugoslavia,
somewhere the peasant, Slavic and determined,
somewhere the survivor, bulging with life —
and could it still be possible,
all this with Susan's eyes? All this without you —
two days gone in blood.
I myself will die without baptism,
a third daughter they didn't bother.
My death will come on my name day.
What's wrong with the name day?
It's only an angel of the sun.
weaving a web over your own,
a thin and tangled poison.
bad spider —
My death from the wrists,
two name tags,
blood worn like a corsage
one on the left and one on the right —
It's a warm room,
the place of the blood.
Leave the door open on its hinges!
Two days for your death
and two days until mine.
Love! That red disease —
year after year, David, you would make me wild!
David! Susan! David! David!
Full and disheveled, hissing into the night,
never growing old,
waiting always for you on the porch . . .
year after year,
my carrot, my cabbage,
I would have possessed you before all women,
calling your name,
calling you mine.
by John Keats
Thou still unravished bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?
Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endeared,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
Bold lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal — yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!
Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unwearièd,
For ever piping songs for ever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
For ever warm and still to be enjoyed,
For ever panting, and for ever young;
All breathing human passion far above,
That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloyed,
A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.
Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
What little town by river or sea shore,
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
Will silent be; and not a soul to tell
Why thou art desolate, can e'er return.
O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty," — that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
On First Looking into Chapman's Homer
by John Keats
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne;
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He stared at the Pacific — and all his men
Looked at each other with a wild surmise —
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.
1129 — Tell All The Truth
by Emily Dickinson
Tell all the Truth but tell it slant —
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind —
by Emily Dickinson
I dwell in Possibility —
A fairer House than Prose —
More numerous of Windows —
Superior — for Doors —
Of Chambers as the Cedars —
Impregnable of Eye —
And for an Everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky —
Of Visitors — the fairest —
For Occupation — This —
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise —
by Emily Dickinson
I heard a Fly buzz — when I died —
The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air —
Between the Heaves of Storm —
The Eyes around — had wrung them dry —
And Breaths were gathering firm
For that last Onset — when the King
Be witnessed — in the Room —
I willed my Keepsakes — Signed away
What portion of me be
Assignable — and then it was
There interposed a Fly —
With Blue — uncertain stumbling Buzz —
Between the light — and me —
And then the Windows failed — and then
I could not see to see —
449 — I Died For Beauty
by Emily Dickinson
I died for Beauty — but was scarce
Adjusted in the Tomb
When One who died for Truth, was lain
In an adjoining Room —
He questioned softly "Why I failed"?
"For Beauty", I replied —
"And I — for Truth — Themselves are One —
We Brethren, are", He said —
We talked between the Rooms —
Until the Moss had reached our lips —
And covered up — our names —
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
The woods decay, the woods decay and fall,
The vapors weep their burthen to the ground,
Man comes and tills the field and lies beneath,
And after many a summer dies the swan.
Me only cruel immortality
Consumes; I wither slowly in thine arms,
Here at the quiet limit of the world,
A white-haired shadow roaming like a dream
The ever-silent spaces of the East,
Far-folded mists, and gleaming halls of morn.
Alas! For this gray shadow, once a man —
So glorious in his beauty and thy choice,
Who madest him thy chosen, that he seemed
To his great heart none other than a God!
I asked thee, "Give me immortality."
Then didst thou grant mine asking with a smile,
Like wealthy men who care not how they give.
But thy strong Hours indignant worked their wills,
And beat me down and marred and wasted me,
And though they could not end me, left me maimed
To dwell in presence of immortal youth,
Immortal age beside immortal youth,
And all I was in ashes. Can thy love,
Thy beauty, make amends, though even now,
Close over us, the silver star, thy guide,
Shines in those tremulous eyes that fill with tears
To hear me? Let me go; take back thy gift.
Why should a man desire in any way
To vary from the kindly race of men,
Or pass beyond the goal of ordinance
Where all should pause, as is most meet for all?
A soft air fans the cloud apart; there comes
A glimpse of that dark world where I was born.
Once more the old mysterious glimmer steals
From thy pure brows, and from thy shoulders pure,
And bosom beating with a heart renewed.
Thy cheek begins to redden through the gloom,
Thy sweet eyes brighten slowly close to mine,
Ere yet they blind the stars, and the wild team
Which love thee, yearning for thy yoke, arise,
And shake the darkness from their loosened manes,
And beat the twilight into flakes of dire.
Lo! Ever thus thou growest beautiful
In silence, then before thine answer given
Departest, and thy tears are on my cheek.
Why wilt thou ever scare me with thy tears,
And make me tremble lest a saying learnt,
In days far-off, on that dark earth, be true?
"The Gods themselves cannot recall their gifts."
Ay me! Ay me! With what another heart
In days far-off, and with what other eyes
I used to watch — if I be he that watched —
The lucid outline forming round thee; saw
The dim curls kindle into sunny rings;
Changed with thy mystic change, and felt my blood
Glow with the glow that slowly crimsoned all
Thy presence and thy portals, while I lay,
Mouth, forehead, eyelids, growing dewy-warm
With kisses balmier than half-opening buds
Of April, and could hear the lips that kissed
Whispering I knew not what of wild and sweet,
Like that strange song I heard Apollo sing,
While Ilion like a mist rose into towers.
Yet hold me not forever in thine East;
How can my nature longer mix with thine?
Coldly thy rosy shadows bathe me, cold
Are all thy lights, and cold my wrinkled feet
Upon thy glimmering thresholds, when the steam
Floats up from those dim fields about the homes
Of happy men that have the power to die,
And grassy barrows of the happier dead.
Release me, and restore me to the ground.
Thou seest all things, thou wilt see my grave;
Thou wilt renew thy beauty morn by morn,
I earth in earth forget these empty courts,
And thee returning on thy silver wheels.
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Matched with an agèd wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel; I will drink
Life to the lees. All times I have enjoyed
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Through scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vexed the dim sea. I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known, — cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honored of them all, —
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch where-through
Gleams that untravelled world whose margin fades
Forever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
As though to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains; but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.
This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the scepter and the isle —
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfill
This labor, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and through soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centered in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.
There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail;
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toiled, and wrought, and thought with me —
That even with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads — you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honor and his toil;
Death closes all. But something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks;
The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs; the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
by Robert Burns
Is there, for honest poverty,
That hangs his head, an' a' that?
The coward slave, we pass him by,
We dare be poor for a' that!
For a' that, an' a' that,
Our toils obscure, an' a' that;
The rank is but the guinea's stamp;
The man's the gowd for a' that.
What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hodden-gray, an' a' that;
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine,
A man's a man for a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that,
Their tinsel show, an' a' that;
The honest man, though e'er sae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that.
A marquis, duke, an' a' that;
But an honest man's aboon his might,
Guid faith he mauna fa' that!
For a' that, an' a' that,
Their dignities, an' a' that,
The pith o' sense, an' pride o' worth,
Are higher rank than a' that.
Then let us pray that come it may,
As come it will for a' that,
That sense and worth, o'er a' the earth,
May bear the gree, an' a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that.
It's coming yet, for a' that,
That man to man, the warld o'er,
Shall brothers be for a' that.
ON TURNING HER UP IN HER NEST WITH THE PLOW
by Robert Burns
Read history: thus learn how small a space
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Read history: thus learn how small a space
You may inhabit, nor inhabit long
In crowding Cosmos — in that confined place
Work boldly; build your flimsy barriers strong;
Turn round and round, make warm your nest; among
The other hunting beasts, keep heart and face, —
Not to betray the doomed and splendid race
You are so proud of, to which you belong.
For trouble comes to all of us: the rat
Has courage, in adversity, to fight;
But what a shining animal is man,
Who knows, when pain subsides, that is not that,
For worse than that must follow — yet can write
Music; can laugh; play tennis; even plan.
Read history: so learn your place in Time
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Read history: so learn your place in Time
And go to sleep: all this was done before;
We do it better, fouling every shore;
We disinfect, we do not probe, the crime.
Our engines plunge into the seas, they climb
Above our atmosphere: we grow not more
Profound as we approach the ocean's floor;
Our flight is lofty, it is not sublime.
Yet long ago this Earth by struggling men
Was scuffed, was scraped by mouths that bubbled mud;
And will be so again, and yet again;
Until we trace our poison to its bud
And root, and there uproot it: until then,
Earth will be warmed each winter by man's blood.
This should be simple; if one's power were great
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
This should be simple; if one's power were great,
If one were God, for instance, — and the world
Not yet created; Lucifer not hurled
Yet out of Heaven, to plot and instigate
Most thoughtful mischief: simple, in a state
Of non-existence, to manipulate
And mould unwieldy, heavy, obstinate
But thoughtless matter, into some bright world: —
Make something out of nothing, and create
As many planets, and as various men
And other mortal creatures as might seem
Consistent with the structure and the theme
Of one's proposed achievement; not from dream,
No, not from aspiration, not from hope,
But out of art and wisdom, and those powers
Such as must qualify a god, create
A world at least as beautiful and brave
And terrified and sorrowful as ours.
For nothingness is plastic, has no trend;
Is stubborn but in this: it is inert;
Wills not to render justice, nor do hurt;
And should be, in strong hands, easy to bend.
But evil upon evil laminate
Through layers uncountable as leaves in coal —
To strip that into strata — perpetrate
Such outrage upon evil; and create
Good out of wickedness at this late date —
There, there's a trick to tame the gamiest soul
Sweet earth, you might from birth — oh beaming sight: —
With gentle glow have lighted all the night;
And Man, a star upon a planet, see,
Radiant beyond the furthest nebulae.
But earth, though grown to green and lush estate,
Her blossom, Man, has never yet unfurled:
Observe how bawdy, botched and profligate,
Except in greed, proceeds this pretty world.
We move in darkness solemn and extreme;
We falter forward, hesitate, decide
To turn about, pause, fumble, plunge, collide, —
Beg pardon, and then bob and bob about
From left to right,
Bump foreheads, then burst out
In nervous, merry laughter, and plunge forth
Into the forest suddenly, you running east by north,
Gasping and stumbling over stumps, and I
East by south,
Slashing through bogs, tripped by submerged logs and
with muddy water in my mouth,
Till every sound subsides
And all is lost in darkness and in fog,
And neither of us has thought to say goodnight.
Such blindness does not intercept the sight
Of the efficient: they have learned by heart
By daylight, from a most meticulous chart
Just where to go; they know ...
And can as well through darkness as by day
Find their direct, discreet, expedient way:
Know where to go to muster, or to hide;
They move among us all throughout the night;
They pass close by your side;
You do not hear their step, they step so light.
... why cannot we as well as they
Scout, reconnoiter, photograph, survey,
Make maps and study them, and learn our way? —
Or must we lie and sleep, "because 'tis night"?
Then it is true, that in this world today
Lucifer, alone, can bring men light.
Must double-dealing, like a snake's forked tongue,
Flick red at us from under every stone?
Must Honour be self-conscious, being alone? —
And Aspiration, an infected lung?
Must Justice always dawdle, don its wig,
And wipe its spectacles before it speaks?
And Government keep flapping to and fro
Like a loose shutter on a hinge that squeaks? —
Kindness of heart be such a whirligig?
Courtesy mince and bow with pointed toe?
Piety smirk? — and Scholarship repose
In camphor, saving on Commencement Day?
Evil alone has oil for every wheel;
Rolls without friction and arrives on time;
Looks forward and sees far; does not reveal
Itself in conversation; is sublime
In logic; is not wasteful; does not feel
Compunction; buries the dead past in lime.
I think, perhaps, the gods, who may not die,
May not achieve unconsciousness, forget
Even their errors or their sins, are set
On making daily pieties comply
With nightly assignations — and are shy
Of mortal things, like laughter, say, or tears, —
Things which they might regret an eon of years —
Fervour, devotion, fright, audacity.
But we are singled out, — oh, we have doom
To comfort us, — sweet peril, imminent death —
So we have leisure, we have time, have room
For wide despair and all its leagues beneath,
Lethal delights the gods dare not assume,
And, not possessing them, cannot bequeath.
And, out of haughty, smooth, serene despair,
We might envisage, and we might fulfill
Appointments and arrangements, which the fair
Soft gods have never made, and never will.
From so much energy, so little hope,
So vast a consolation in the end,
We could erect a thing of poise and scope,
Which future generations might defend,
And put to their own use; and what we grope
To get a glimpse of, they might comprehend.
To build a house would be, it seems to me,
An easy task, if you had solid, good,
Simple material, clean of history:
Honest, unbiased brick, cement, and wood —
If you had sense, authority, and time,
And need not quibble, shift, cajole, subdue,
Break down partitions, breathe old hair and lime,
And tease the out-of-plumb into the true —
If you need not, for instance, for one thing,
Lure ancient chimneys to be lined with tile,
Oh, what a joy! Oh, hear the hammers ring!
A house! — and building houses is worth while.
We, we, the living, we, the still-alive, —
Why, what a triumph, what a task is here!
But how to go about it? — how connive
To outwit Evil in his proper sphere
And element? — Evil, conservative,
Established, disciplined, adroit, severe.
And yet, in some way, yet, we may contrive
To build our world; if not this year, next year.
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
All I could see from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood;
I turned and looked another way,
And saw three islands in a bay.
So with my eyes I traced the line
Of the horizon, thin and fine,
Straight around till I was come
Back to where I'd started from;
And all I saw from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood.
Over these things I could not see;
These were the things that bounded me;
And I could touch them with my hand,
Almost, I thought, from where I stand.
And all at once things seemed so small
My breath came short, and scarce at all.
But, sure, the sky is big, I said;
Miles and miles above my head;
So here upon my back I'll lie
And look my fill into the sky.
And so I looked, and, after all,
The sky was not so very tall.
The sky, I said, must somewhere stop,
And -- sure enough! -- I see the top!
The sky, I thought, is not so grand;
I 'most could touch it with my hand!
And reaching up my hand to try,
I screamed to feel it touch the sky.
I screamed, and -- lo! -- Infinity
Came down and settled over me;
Forced back my scream into my chest,
Bent back my arm upon my breast,
And, pressing of the Undefined
The definition on my mind,
Held up before my eyes a glass
Through which my shrinking sight did pass
Until it seemed I must behold
Immensity made manifold;
Whispered to me a word whose sound
Deafened the air for worlds around,
And brought unmuffled to my ears
The gossiping of friendly spheres,
The creaking of the tented sky,
The ticking of Eternity.
I saw and heard, and knew at last
The How and Why of all things, past,
And present, and forevermore.
The Universe, cleft to the core,
Lay open to my probing sense
That, sick'ning, I would fain pluck thence
But could not, -- nay! But needs must suck
At the great wound, and could not pluck
My lips away till I had drawn
All venom out. -- Ah, fearful pawn!
For my omniscience paid I toll
In infinite remorse of soul.
All sin was of my sinning, all
Atoning mine, and mine the gall
Of all regret. Mine was the weight
Of every brooded wrong, the hate
That stood behind each envious thrust,
Mine every greed, mine every lust.
And all the while for every grief,
Each suffering, I craved relief
With individual desire, --
Craved all in vain! And felt fierce fire
About a thousand people crawl;
Perished with each, -- then mourned for all!
A man was starving in Capri;
He moved his eyes and looked at me;
I felt his gaze, I heard his moan,
And knew his hunger as my own.
I saw at sea a great fog bank
Between two ships that struck and sank;
A thousand screams the heavens smote;
And every scream tore through my throat.
No hurt I did not feel, no death
That was not mine; mine each last breath
That, crying, met an answering cry
From the compassion that was I.
All suffering mine, and mine its rod;
Mine, pity like the pity of God.
Ah, awful weight! Infinity
Pressed down upon the finite Me!
My anguished spirit, like a bird,
Beating against my lips I heard;
Yet lay the weight so close about
There was no room for it without.
And so beneath the weight lay I
And suffered death, but could not die.
Long had I lain thus, craving death,
When quietly the earth beneath
Gave way, and inch by inch, so great
At last had grown the crushing weight,
Into the earth I sank till I
Full six feet under ground did lie,
And sank no more, -- there is no weight
Can follow here, however great.
From off my breast I felt it roll,
And as it went my tortured soul
Burst forth and fled in such a gust
That all about me swirled the dust.
Deep in the earth I rested now;
Cool is its hand upon the brow
And soft its breast beneath the head
Of one who is so gladly dead.
And all at once, and over all
The pitying rain began to fall;
I lay and heard each pattering hoof
Upon my lowly, thatched roof,
And seemed to love the sound far more
Than ever I had done before.
For rain it hath a friendly sound
To one who's six feet underground;
And scarce the friendly voice or face:
A grave is such a quiet place.
The rain, I said, is kind to come
And speak to me in my new home.
I would I were alive again
To kiss the fingers of the rain,
To drink into my eyes the shine
Of every slanting silver line,
To catch the freshened, fragrant breeze
From drenched and dripping apple-trees.
For soon the shower will be done,
And then the broad face of the sun
Will laugh above the rain-soaked earth
Until the world with answering mirth
Shakes joyously, and each round drop
Rolls, twinkling, from its grass-blade top.
How can I bear it; buried here,
While overhead the sky grows clear
And blue again after the storm?
O, multi-colored, multiform,
Beloved beauty over me,
That I shall never, never see
Again! Spring-silver, autumn-gold,
That I shall never more behold!
Sleeping your myriad magics through,
Close-sepulchred away from you!
O God, I cried, give me new birth,
And put me back upon the earth!
Upset each cloud's gigantic gourd
And let the heavy rain, down-poured
In one big torrent, set me free,
Washing my grave away from me!
I ceased; and through the breathless hush
That answered me, the far-off rush
Of herald wings came whispering
Like music down the vibrant string
Of my ascending prayer, and -- crash!
Before the wild wind's whistling lash
The startled storm-clouds reared on high
And plunged in terror down the sky,
And the big rain in one black wave
Fell from the sky and struck my grave.
I know not how such things can be;
I only know there came to me
A fragrance such as never clings
To aught save happy living things;
A sound as of some joyous elf
Singing sweet songs to please himself,
And, through and over everything,
A sense of glad awakening.
The grass, a-tiptoe at my ear,
Whispering to me I could hear;
I felt the rain's cool finger-tips
Brushed tenderly across my lips,
Laid gently on my sealed sight,
And all at once the heavy night
Fell from my eyes and I could see, --
A drenched and dripping apple-tree,
A last long line of silver rain,
A sky grown clear and blue again.
And as I looked a quickening gust
Of wind blew up to me and thrust
Into my face a miracle
Of orchard-breath, and with the smell, --
I know not how such things can be! --
I breathed my soul back into me.
Ah! Up then from the ground sprang I
And hailed the earth with such a cry
As is not heard save from a man
Who has been dead, and lives again.
About the trees my arms I wound;
Like one gone mad I hugged the ground;
I raised my quivering arms on high;
I laughed and laughed into the sky,
Till at my throat a strangling sob
Caught fiercely, and a great heart-throb
Sent instant tears into my eyes;
O God, I cried, no dark disguise
Can e'er hereafter hide from me
Thy radiant identity!
Thou canst not move across the grass
But my quick eyes will see Thee pass,
Nor speak, however silently,
But my hushed voice will answer Thee.
I know the path that tells Thy way
Through the cool eve of every day;
God, I can push the grass apart
And lay my finger on Thy heart!
The world stands out on either side
No wider than the heart is wide;
Above the world is stretched the sky, --
No higher than the soul is high.
The heart can push the sea and land
Farther away on either hand;
The soul can split the sky in two,
And let the face of God shine through.
But East and West will pinch the heart
That can not keep them pushed apart;
And he whose soul is flat -- the sky
Will cave in on him by and by.
Euclid Alone Has Looked On Beauty Bare
- by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Let all who prate of Beauty hold their peace,
And lay them prone upon the earth and cease
To ponder on themselves, the while they stare
At nothing, intricately drawn nowhere
In shapes of shifting lineage; let geese
Gabble and hiss, but heroes seek release
From dusty bondage into luminous air.
O blinding hour, O holy, terrible day,
When first the shaft into his vision shone
Of light anatomized! Euclid alone
Has looked on Beauty bare. Fortunate they
Who, though once only and then but far away,
Have heard her massive sandal set on stone.