The Freedom, Death and Love by Sorin Cerin

Freedom is a Truth,
as long as the Truth,
can not become,
Freedom.

Death is a Truth,
as long as the Truth,
can not become,
Death.

Only Love is a Truth,
whose Truth,
may become,
Love.

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Go far; Come near by Walter de la Mare

Go far; come near;
You still must be
The centre of your own small mystery.
Range body and soul –
Gone on to further goal,
Still shall you find
At end, nought else but thee.
Oh, in what straitened bounds
Of thought and aim –
And even sights and sounds –
Your earthly lot is doomed to stay!

And yet, your smallest whim
By secret grace
To look the simplest flower in the face
Gives an inevitable reflection back,
Not of your own self only,
But of one
Who, having achieved its miracle,
Rests there, and is not gone;
Who still o’er your own darker deeps holds sway
Into whatever shallows you may stray.

Whatever quicksands loom before you yet, –
Indifference, the endeavour to forget,
Whatever truce for which your soul may yearn,
Gives you but smaller room
In which to turn,
Until you reach the haven
Of the tomb.

“The haven?” Count the chances … Is that so?
You are your Universe. Could death’s quick dart
Be aimed at aught less mortal than the heart?
Could body’s end,
Whereto it soon shall go,
Be end of all you mean, and are, my friend?

Ah, when clocks stop, and no-more-time-begins,
May he who gave the flower
Its matchless hour,
And you the power
To win the love that only loving wins,
Have mercy on your miseries and your sins.

A Mad Gardener’s Song by Lewis Carrol

He thought he saw an Elephant,
That practised on a fife:
He looked again, and found it was
A letter from his wife.
‘At length I realise,’ he said,
‘The bitterness of Life!’

He thought he saw a Buffalo
Upon the chimney-piece:
He looked again, and found it was
His Sister’s Husband’s Niece.
‘Unless you leave this house,’ he said,
“I’ll send for the Police!’

He thought he saw a Rattlesnake
That questioned him in Greek:
He looked again, and found it was
The Middle of Next Week.
‘The one thing I regret,’ he said,
‘Is that it cannot speak!’

He thought he saw a Banker’s Clerk
Descending from the bus:
He looked again, and found it was
A Hippopotamus.
‘If this should stay to dine,’ he said,
‘There won’t be much for us!’

He thought he saw a Kangaroo
That worked a coffee-mill:
He looked again, and found it was
A Vegetable-Pill.
‘Were I to swallow this,’ he said,
‘I should be very ill!’

He thought he saw a Coach-and-Four
That stood beside his bed:
He looked again, and found it was
A Bear without a Head.
‘Poor thing,’ he said, ‘poor silly thing!
It’s waiting to be fed!’

He thought he saw an Albatross
That fluttered round the lamp:
He looked again, and found it was
A Penny-Postage Stamp.
‘You’d best be getting home,’ he said:
‘The nights are very damp!’

He thought he saw a Garden-Door
That opened with a key:
He looked again, and found it was
A Double Rule of Three:
‘And all its mystery,’ he said,
‘Is clear as day to me!’

He thought he saw a Argument
That proved he was the Pope:
He looked again, and found it was
A Bar of Mottled Soap.
‘A fact so dread,’ he faintly said,
‘Extinguishes all hope!’

Bad Moon by Claire Askew

The moon must be sick of being in poems –
always gripped by fingers of late honeysuckle,
always filtered in the lake through the jetty’s slats,
always silvering the flicked tails of the koi.
Always a dinner plate or mirror,
always a fingernail clipping, a grin.

The moon must be sick of being in poems.
Always the bright pin in the picture’s corner,
always looking in at the windows of middle class homes.
Always shoved above a bridge in Paris or Venice,
always an eyeball or symbol,
always a radiant woman, a bowl.

It’s also in the splintered windscreen of the crime scene
with its blots of blood. It’s hung over the pig farm,
streaking white across the silo’s cheek
and slanting through the lorry walls in blades.
It’s in every dented can at the landfill pit,
turning the tip to a shoal of dirty fish.

Never the buried skull,
never the gummed plug in the junkie’s sink.
Never the white cat under the truck’s wheel,
never the beached and stinking jellyfish.
Never the gallstone or the pulled tooth, of course.
Nobody wants to read poems about this.

A Superscription by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Look in my face; my name is Might-have-been;
I am also call’d No-more, Too-late, Farewell;
Unto thine ear I hold the dead-sea shell
Cast up thy Life’s foam-fretted feet between;
Unto thine eyes the glass where that is seen
Which had Life’s form and Love’s, but by my spell
Is now a shaken shadow intolerable,
Of ultimate things unutter’d the frail screen.

Mark me, how still I am! But should there dart
One moment through thy soul the soft surprise
Of that wing’d Peace which lulls the breath of sighs,—
Then shalt thou see me smile, and turn apart
Thy visage to mine ambush at thy heart
Sleepless with cold commemorative eyes.

Requests by Digby Mackworth Dolben

I asked for Peace—
 My sins arose,
 And bound me close,
I could not find release.

I asked for Truth—
 My doubts came in,
 And with their din
They wearied all my youth.

I asked for Love—
 My lovers failed,
 And griefs assailed
Around, beneath, above.

I asked for Thee—
 And Thou didst come
 To take me home
Within Thy Heart to be.

As in Life by Ethel McBain Clarke

Three players sat at a game of chance
They were Flattery, Love and Truth;
They played a game which we call Fate
Each game tied ’till the hour was late
Each trick went down on Life’s long slate,
And well each played, in sooth.

Love was a player fair to see,
And held winning cards to play;
But as the hours went on apace,
He glanced from Truth to Flattery’s face;
Flattery smiled with errant grace,
While Truth had naught to say.

Then Love forgot that Truth was there,
And Flattery did the same;
Each chance to win they let slip by,
Each scorned to win and ceased to try,
Forgetting that stakes were sure and high,
And so Truth won the game.

Then Truth threw a scornful word at Love,
And Love saw Flattery’s stare;
Love moaned, and his face grew white and set;
Flattery smiled as she smileth yet;
Truth had no smile, and no regret,
For she knew that the game was fair.

The Tune from The Uncelestial City by Humbert Wolfe

Draw back the bolt; swing the gate;
it is evening. How
shall you refuse the traveller,
gate-warden, now?

He brings nothing with him
but a shadowy burden
that will mix with the darker
shade of your garden.

He walked with love once.
It is evening. Let him
pass where all knew love,
and all forget him.

He has built castles;
they have fallen. Thou
shalt let him rebuild them
of shadow now.

He dreamed, he desired.
Give him the wage
of silence
after pilgrimage.

He has brought his sorrow,
his failure, his sin.
And therefore let him
enter in.

Comic Miseries by John. G. Saxe

My dear young friend, whose shining wit
Sets all the room ablaze,
Don’t think yourself ‘ a happy dog,’
For all your merry ways ;
But learn to wear a sober phiz,
Be stupid,, if you can.
It’s such a very serious thing
To be a funny man !

You’re at an evening party, with
A group of pleasant folks, —
You venture quietly to crack
The least of little jokes, —
A lady doesn’t catch the point,
And begs you to explain —
Alas I for one who drops a jest
And takes it up again !

You’re talking deep philosophy
With very special force,
To edify a clergyman
With suitable discourse, —
You think you’ve got him — when he calls
A friend across the way.
And begs you’ll say that funny thing
You said the other day !

You drop a pretty jeu-de-mot
Into a neighbor’s ears,
Who likes to give you credit for
The clever thing he hears,
And so he hawks your jest about,
The old, authentic one.
Just breaking off the point of it.
And leaving out the pun !

By sudden change in politics,
Or sadder change in Polly,
You, lose your love, or loaves, and fall
A prey to melancholy,
While every body marvels why
Your mirth is under ban, —
They think your very grief ‘ a joke,’
You’re such a funny man !

You follow up a stylish card
That bids you come and dine,
And bring along your freshest wit,
(To pay for musty wine,)
You’re looking very dismal, when
My lady bounces in,
And wonders what you’re thinking of,
And why you don’t begin !

You’re telling to a knot of friends
A fancy-tale of woes
That cloud your matrimonial sky.
And banish all repose, —
A solemn lady overhears
The story of your strife,
And tells the town the pleasant news : —
You quarrel with your wife !

My dear young friend, whose shining wil
Sets all the room ablaze,
Don’t think yourself ‘ a happy dog,’
For all your merry ways ;
But learn to wear a sober phiz,
Be stupid, if you can,
It’s such a very serious thing
To be a funny man !