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Willam E. Strafford

If you don't know the kind of person I am

and I don't know the kind of person you are

A pattern that others made may prevail in the world

and follow the wrong god home: we may miss our star


For there is many a small betrayal in the mind

a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break 

sending with shots the horrible errors of childhood

storming out to play through the broken dike


And as elephants parade holding each others tail,

but if one wanders- the circus won't find the park,

 I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty

to know what occurs but not to recognize the fact


And so I appeal to a voice, something shadowy

a remote and important region in all who talk:

though we could fool each other, we should consider-

lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark


For it is important that awake people be awake

or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;

the signals we give- yes or no, or maybe-

should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.


Edited by littlejoe3
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A chilly night

I rose at the dead of night 
And went to the lattice alone 
To look for my Mother's ghost 
Where the ghostly moonlight shone. 

My friends had failed one by one, 
Middleaged, young, and old, 
Till the ghosts were warmer to me 
Than my friends that had grown cold. 

I looked and I saw the ghosts 
Dotting plain and mound: 
They stood in the blank moonlight 
But no shadow lay on the ground; 
They spoke without a voice 
And they leapt without a sound. 

I called: ' O my Mother dear, ' — 
I sobbed: ' O my Mother kind, 
Make a lonely bed for me 
And shelter it from the wind: 

' Tell the others not to come 
To see me night or day; 
But I need not tell my friends 
To be sure to keep away. ' 

My Mother raised her eyes, 
They were blank and could not see; 
Yet they held me with their stare 
While they seemed to look at me. 

She opened her mouth and spoke, 
I could not hear a word 
While my flesh crept on my bones 
And every hair was stirred. 

She knew that I could not hear 
The message that she told 
Whether I had long to wait 
Or soon should sleep in the mould: 
I saw her toss her shadowless hair 
And wring her hands in the cold. 

I strained to catch her words 
And she strained to make me hear, 
But never a sound of words 
Fell on my straining ear. 

From midnight to the cockcrow 
I kept my watch in pain 
While the subtle ghosts grew subtler 
In the sad night on the wane. 

From midnight to the cockcrow 
I watched till all were gone, 
Some to sleep in the shifting sea 
And some under turf and stone: 
Living had failed and dead had failed 
And I was indeed alone. 

Christina Georgina Rossetti.

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Don't Quit
John Greenleaf Whittier

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is strange with its twists and turns
As every one of us sometimes learns
And many a failure comes about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow—
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out—
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell just how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit—
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

This poem is in the public domain.


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     I just ran across this, which was penned by Abraham Lincoln:



A wild bear chase didst never see?
            Then hast thou lived in vain—
Thy richest bump of glorious glee
            Lies desert in thy brain.

When first my father settled here,
            ’T was then the frontier line;
The panther’s scream filled night with fear
            And bears preyed on the swine.

But woe for bruin’s short-lived fun
            When rose the squealing cry;
Now man and horse, with dog and gun
            For vengeance at him fly.

A sound of danger strikes his ear;
            He gives the breeze a snuff;
Away he bounds, with little fear,
            And seeks the tangled rough.

On press his foes, and reach the ground
            Where’s left his half-munched meal;
The dogs, in circles, scent around
            And find his fresh made trail.

With instant cry, away they dash,
            And me at fast pursue;
O’er logs they leap, through water splash
            And shout the brisk halloo.

Now to elude the eager pack
            Bear shuns the open ground,
Through matted vines he shapes his track,
            And runs it, round and round.

The tall, fleet cur, with deep-mouthed voice
           Now speeds him, as the wind;
While half-grown pup, and short-legged fice*
            Are yelping far behind.

And fresh recruits are dropping in
            To join the merry corps;
With yelp and yell, a mingled din—
            The woods are in a roar—

And round, and round the chase now goes,
            The world ’s alive with fun;
Nick Carter’s horse his rider throws,
            And Mose Hill drops his gun.

Now, sorely pressed, bear glances  back,
            And lolls his tired tongue,
When as, to force him from his track
            An ambush on him sprung.

Across the glade he sweeps for flight,
            And fully is in view—
The dogs, new fired by the sight
            Their cry and speed renew.

The foremost ones now reach his rear;
            He turns, they dash away,
And circling now the wrathful bear
            They have him full at bay.

At top of speed the horsemen come,
            All screaming in a row—
‘Whoop!’ ‘Take him, Tiger!’ ‘Seize him, Drum!’
            BangBang!  the rifles go!

And furious now, the dogs he tears,
            And crushes in his ire—
Wheels right and left, and upward rears,
            With eyes of burning fire.

But leaden death is at his heart—
            Vain all the strength he plies,
And, spouting blood from every part,
            He reels, and sinks, and dies!

And now a dinsome clamor rose,—
            ‘But who should have his skin?’
Who first draws blood, each hunter knows
            This prize must always win.

But, who did this, and how to trace
            What ’s true from what ’s a lie,—
Like lawyers in a murder case
            They stoutly argufy.

Aforesaid fice, of blustering mood,
            Behind, and quite forgot,
Just now emerging from the wood
            Arrives upon the spot.

With grinning teeth, and up-turned hair
            Brim full of spunk and wrath,
He growls, and seizes on dead bear
            And shakes for life and death—

And swells, as if his skin would tear,
            And growls, and shakes again,
And swears, as plain as dog can swear
            That he has won the skin!

Conceited whelp! we laugh at thee,
            Nor mind that not a few
Of pompous, two-legged dogs there be
            Conceited quite as you.
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Democracy by Leonard Cohen.


It's coming through a hole in the air,
from those nights in Tiananmen Square.
It's coming from the feel
that it ain't exactly real,
or it's real, but it ain't exactly there.
From the wars against disorder,
from the sirens night and day,
from the fires of the homeless,
from the ashes of the gay:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A. 

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Up at a Villa. Down in the City.

Had I but plenty of money, money enough and to spare,
The house for me, no doubt, were a house in the city-square;
Ah, such a life, such a life, as one leads at the window there!

Something to see, by Bacchus, something to hear, at least!
There, the whole day long, one's life is a perfect feast;
While up at a villa one lives, I maintain it, no more than a beast.

Well now, look at our villa! stuck like the horn of a bull
Just on a mountain-edge as bare as the creature's skull,
Save a mere shag of a bush with hardly a leaf to pull!
--I scratch my own, sometimes, to see if the hair's turned wool.

But the city, oh the city--the square with the houses! Why?
They are stone-faced, white as a curd, there's something to take the eye!
Houses in four straight lines, not a single front awry;
You watch who crosses and gossips, who saunters, who hurries by;
Green blinds, as a matter of course, to draw when the sun gets high;
And the shops with fanciful signs which are painted properly.

What of a villa? Though winter be over in March by rights,
'Tis May perhaps ere the snow shall have withered well off the heights:
You've the brown ploughed land before, where the oxen steam and wheeze,
And the hills over-smoked behind by the faint gray olive-trees.

Is it better in May, I ask you? You've summer all at once;
In a day he leaps complete with a few strong April suns.
'Mid the sharp short emerald wheat, scarce risen three fingers well,
The wild tulip, at end of its tube, blows out its great red bell
Like a thin clear bubble of blood, for the children to pick and sell.

Is it ever hot in the square? There's a fountain to spout and splash!
In the shade it sings and springs: in the shine such foambows flash
On the horses with curling fish-tails, that prance and paddle and pash
Round the lady atop in her conch--fifty gazers do not abash,
Though all that she wears is some weeds round her waist in a sort of sash.

All the year long at the villa, nothing to see though you linger,
Except yon cypress that points like death's lean lifted forefinger.
Some think fireflies pretty, when they mix in the corn and mingle,
Or thrid the stinking hemp till the stalks of it seem a-tingle.
Late August or early September, the stunning cicala is shrill,
And the bees keep their tiresome whine round the resinous firs on the hill.
Enough of the seasons,--I spare you the months of the fever and chill.

Ere you open your eyes in the city, the blessed church-bells begin:
No sooner the bells leave off than the diligence rattles in:
You get the pick of the news, and it costs you never a pin.
By and by there's the travelling doctor gives pills, lets blood, draws teeth;
Or the Pulcinello-trumpet breaks up the market beneath.
At the post-office such a scene-picture--the new play, piping hot!
And a notice how, only this morning, three liberal thieves were shot.

Above it, behold the Archbishop's most fatherly of rebukes,
And beneath, with his crown and his lion, some little new law of the Duke's!
Or a sonnet with flowery marge, to the Reverend Don So-and so,
Who is Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarca, Saint Jerome and Cicero,
"And moreover," (the sonnet goes rhyming,) "the skirts of Saint Paul has reached,
Having preached us those six Lent-lectures more unctuous than ever he preached."
Noon strikes,--here sweeps the procession! our Lady borne smiling and smart
With a pink gauze gown all spangles, and seven swords stuck in her heart!
Bang-whang-whang goes the drum, tootle-te-tootle the fife.
No keeping one's haunches still: it's the greatest pleasure in life.

But bless you, it's dear--it's dear! fowls, wine, at double the rate.
They have clapped a new tax upon salt, and what oil pays passing the gate
It's a horror to think of. And so, the villa for me, not the city!
Beggars can scarcely be choosers: but still--ah, the pity, the pity!
Look, two and two go the priests, then the monks with cowls and sandals,
And the penitents dressed in white shirts a-holding the yellow candles;
One, he carries a flag up straight, and another a cross with handles.
And the Duke's guard brings up the rear, for the better prevention of scandals:
Bang-whang-whang goes the drum, tootle-te-tootle the fife;
Oh, a day in the city-square, there is no such pleasure in life!

Robert Browning


Edited by paoladegliesposti
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And when that foghorn blows...you know I will be coming home....and when that foghorn whistle blows...I gotta hear it...I don't have to fear it...and I wanna rock your gypsy soul....just like way back in the days of old....and together we will float...into the mystic.   


Edited by Manohlive
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On 8/7/2018 at 3:02 AM, paoladegliesposti said:


Non Pucccini o Bellini o Rossini or Salieri?   ?

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Mi hai ispirato, paoladegliespoti.  Questo Americano deve andare a letto.  Buonanotte per me e buongiorno a te.

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A pretty woman 


That fawn-skin-dappled hair of hers,
And the blue eye
Dear and dewy,
And that infantine fresh air of hers! 


To think men cannot take you, Sweet,
And enfold you,
Ay, and hold you,
And so keep you what they make you, Sweet! 


You like us for a glance, you know- -
For a word's sake
Or a sword's sake,
All's the same, whate'er the chance, you know.


And in turn we make you ours, we say- -
You and youth too,
Eyes and mouth too,
All the face composed of flowers, we say.


All's our own, to make the most of, Sweet- -
Sing and say for,
Watch and pray for,
Keep a secret or go boast of, Sweet! 


But for loving, why, you would not, Sweet,
Though we prayed you,
Paid you, brayed you
in a mortar- -for you could not, Sweet! 


So, we leave the sweet face fondly there:
Be its beauty
Its sole duty! 
Let all hope of grace beyond, lie there! 


And while the face lies quiet there,
Who shall wonder
That I ponder
A conclusion? I will try it there.


As,- -why must one, for the love foregone,
Scout mere liking? 
Earth,- -the heaven, we looked above for, gone! 


Why, with beauty, needs there money be,
Love with liking? 
Crush the fly-king
In his gauze, because no honey-bee? 


May not liking be so simple-sweet,
If love grew there
'Twould undo there
All that breaks the cheek to dimples sweet? 


Is the creature too imperfect,
Would you mend it
And so end it? 
Since not all addition perfects aye! 


Or is it of its kind, perhaps,
Just perfection- -
Whence, rejection
Of a grace not to its mind, perhaps? 


Shall we burn up, tread that face at once
Into tinder,
And so hinder
Sparks from kindling all the place at once? 


Or else kiss away one's soul on her? 
Your love-fancies! 
- -A sick man sees
Truer, when his hot eyes roll on her! 


Thus the craftsman thinks to grace the rose,- -
Plucks a mould-flower
For his gold flower,
Uses fine things that efface the rose:


Rosy rubies make its cup more rose,
Precious metals
Ape the petals,- -
Last, some old king locks it up, morose! 


Then how grace a rose? I know a way! 
Leave it, rather. 
Must you gather? 
Smell, kiss, wear it- -at last, throw away! 


Robert Browning
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