Poetry, quotes, etc.

KeskusteluThe Chapel of the Abyss

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Poetry, quotes, etc.

joulukuu 26, 2012, 2:26 pm

A Ghost Story

The Fox lifts his head from the feathers,
And stares to the goose in the sky;
A song drifts from the top of the towers
To the sow asleep in her sty.

The crushed or folded flower
Is grey in the grey of the moon;
The moonlight dreams of moonlight.
The vacant whorls of the tune.

Ripple like wheat to the shepherd
From the light in the empty tower.
He nods, and the blurred moon sets.
The voice laughs over and over,

The ticking shriek of the crickets
Fades, and a long, light sigh
Trails over the lonely valley,
The leaves stir absently.

Randall Jarrell

joulukuu 31, 2012, 12:05 am

The Daily Dirty Limerick:


joulukuu 31, 2012, 6:13 pm

Yevgeny Bonver's translations of Russian poets at the Poetry Lover's site. There are many great translations of previously untranslated works by Blok, Bryusov, Gippius, Sologub, etc.


tammikuu 13, 2013, 10:43 am

Recently acquired the Penguin Book of First World War Poetry, 2nd edition. Lots of good stuff, especially some poems by George Trakl and other rarities.

tammikuu 13, 2013, 11:30 pm


Putrefaction of dream-created paradises

Blows around this mourning-filled, tired heart,

That drank only disgust out of all sweetness,

And bleeds to death in vulgar pain.

Now it beats after the rhythm of faded dances

To the cloudy melodies of despair,

Meanwhile the star-crowns of old hope

Wither on the long ago godless altar.

From the drunkenness of fragrances and wines

An extreme awake feeling of shame remained with you -

Yesterday in distorted reflection -

And everyday's gray grief crushes you.

Georg Trakl

helmikuu 13, 2013, 6:25 pm

helmikuu 14, 2013, 5:16 pm

"Humanity is a pigsty where liars, hypocrites and the obscene in spirit congregate." -- George Moore, Confessions of a Young Man (1888)

"Civilization displays the face which bears the double imprint of sterile blood and ruins forever dead." -- Octave Mirbeau, The Torture Garden (1899)

"Life creates itself in delirium and is undone by ennui." -- EM Cioran, A Short History of Decay (1949)

Selections from the splendid anthology, The Dark Side by Alan R. Pratt

syyskuu 9, 2015, 2:53 pm

Dark Angel

by Lionel P. Johnson

Dark Angel, with thine aching lust
To rid the world of penitence:
Malicious Angel, who still dost
My soul such subtile violence!

Because of thee, no thought, no thing,
Abides for me undesecrate:
Dark Angel, ever on the wing,
Who never reachest me too late!

When music sounds, then changest thou
Its silvery to a sultry fire:
Nor will thine envious heart allow
Delight untortured by desire.

Through thee, the gracious Muses turn,
To Furies, O mine Enemy!
And all the things of beauty burn
With flames of evil ecstasy.

Because of thee, the land of dreams
Becomes a gathering place of fears:
Until tormented slumber seems
One vehemence of useless tears.

When sunlight glows upon the flowers,
Or ripples down the dancing sea:
Thou, with thy troop of passionate powers,
Beleaguerest, bewilderest, me.

Within the breath of autumn woods,
Within the winter silences:
Thy venomous spirit stirs and broods,
O Master of impieties!

The ardour of red flame is thine,
And thine the steely soul of ice:
Thou poisonest the fair design
Of nature, with unfair device.

Apples of ashes, golden bright;
Waters of bitterness, how sweet!
O banquet of a foul delight,
Prepared by thee, dark Paraclete!

Thou art the whisper in the gloom,
The hinting tone, the haunting laugh:
Thou art the adorner of my tomb,
The minstrel of mine epitaph.

I fight thee, in the Holy Name!
Yet, what thou dost, is what God saith:
Tempter! should I escape thy flame,
Thou wilt have helped my soul from Death:

The second Death, that never dies,
That cannot die, when time is dead:
Live Death, wherein the lost soul cries,
Eternally uncomforted.

Dark Angel, with thine aching lust!
Of two defeats, of two despairs:
Less dread, a change to drifting dust,
Than thine eternity of cares.

Do what thou wilt, thou shalt not so,
Dark Angel! triumph over me:
Lonely, unto the Lone I go;
Divine, to the Divinity.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 4, 2015, 6:43 pm

The verse of the Right Honourable John Wilmot, Earl Rochester:

A Ramble in St. James's Park

Much wine had passed, with grave discourse
Of who fucks who, and who does worse
(Such as you usually do hear
From those that diet at the Bear),
When I, who still take care to see
Drunkenness relieved by lechery,
Weent out into St. James's Park
To cool my head and fire my heart.
But though St. James has th' honor on 't,
'Tis consecrate to prick and cunt.
There, by a most incestuous birth,
Strange woods spring from the teeming earth;
For they relate how heretofore,
When ancient Pict behan to whore,
Deluded of his assignation
(Jilting, it seems, was then in fashion),
Poor pensive lover, in this place
Would frig upon his mother's face;
Whence rows of mandrakes tall did rise
Whose lewd tops fucked the very skies.
Each imitative branch does twine
In some loved fold of Aretine,
And nightly now beneath their shade
Are buggeries, rapes, and incests made.
Unto this all-sin-sheltering grove
Whores of the bulk and the alcove,
Great ladies, chambermaids, and drudges,
The ragpicker, and heiress trudges.
Carmen, divines, great lords, and tailors,
Prentices, poets, pimps, and jailers,
Footmen, fine fops do here arrive,
And here promiscuously they swive.

Along these hallowed walks it was
That I beheld Corinna pass.
Whoever had been by to see
The proud disdain she cast on me
Through charming eyes, he would have swore
She dropped from heaven that very hour,
Forsaking the divine abode
In scorn of some despairing god.
But mark what creatures women are:
How infinitely vile, when fair!

Three knights o' the' elbow and the slur
With wriggling tails made up to her.

The first was of your Whitehall baldes,
Near kin t' th' Mother of the Maids;
Graced by whose favor he was able
To bring a friend t' th' Waiters' table,
Where he had heard Sir Edward Sutton
Say how the King loved Banstead mutton;
Since when he'd ne'er be brought to eat
By 's good will any other meat.
In this, as well as allthe rest,
He ventures to do like the best,
But wanting common sense, th' ingredient
In choosing well not least expedient,
Converts abortive imitation
To universal affectation.
Thus he not only eats and talks
But feels and smells, sits down and walks,
Nay looks, and lives, and loves by rote,
In an old tawdry birthday coat.

The second was a Grays Inn wit,
A great inhabiter of the pit,
Where critic-like he sits and squints,
Steals pocket handkerchiefs, and hints
From 's neighbor, and the comedy,
To court, and pay, his landlady.

The third, a lady's eldest son
Within few years of twenty-one
Who hopes from his propitious fate,
Against he comes to his estate,
By these two worthies to be made
A most accomplished tearing blade.

One, in a strain 'twixt tune and nonsense,
Cries, "Madam, I have loved you long since.
Permit me your fair hand to kiss";
When at her mouth her cunt cries, "Yes!"
In short, without much more ado,
Joyful and pleased, away she flew,
And with these three confounded asses
From park to hackney coach she passes.
brkSo a proud bitch does lead about
Of humble curs the amorous rout,
Who most obsequiously do hunt
The savory scent of salt-swoln cunt.
Some power more patient now relate
The sense of this surprising fate.
Gods! that a thing admired by me
Should fall to so much infamy.
Had she picked out, to rub her arse on,
Some stiff-pricked clown or well-hung parson,
Each job of whose spermatic sluice
Had filled her cunt with wholesome juice,
I the proceeding should have praised
In hope sh' had quenched a fire I raised.
Such natural freedoms are but just:
There's something generous in mere lust.
But to turn a damned abandoned jade
When neither head nor tail persuade;

To be a whore in understanding,
A passive pot for fools to spend in!
The devil played booty, sure, with thee
To bring a blot on infamy.
brkBut why am I, of all mankind,
To so severe a fate designed?
Ungrateful! Why this treachery
To humble fond, believing me,
Who gave you privilege above
The nice allowances of love?
Did ever I refuse to bear
The meanest part your lust could spare?
When your lewd cunt came spewing home
Drenched with the seed of half the town,
My dram of sperm was supped up after
For the digestive surfeit water.
Full gorged at another time
With a vast meal of slime
Which your devouring cunt had drawn
From porters' backs and footmen's brawn,
I was content to serve you up
My ballock-full for your grace cup,
Nor ever thought it an abuse
While you had pleasure for excuse -
You that could make my heart away
For noise and color, and betray
The secrets of my tender hours
To such knight-errant paramours,
When, leaning on your faithless breast,
Wrapped in security and rest,
Soft kindness all my powers did move,
And reason lay dissolved in love!

May stinking vapors choke your womb
Such as the men you dote upon
May your depraved appetite,
That could in whiffling fools delight,
Beget such frenzies in your mind
You may go mad for the north wind,
And fixing all your hopes upon't
To have him bluster in your cunt,
Turn up your longing arse t' th' air
And perish in a wild despair!
But cowards shall forget to rant,
Schoolboys to frig, old whores to paint;
The Jesuits' fraternity
Shall leave the use of buggery;
Crab-louse, inspired with grace divine,
From earthly cod to heaven shall climb;
Physicians shall believe in Jesus,
And disobedience cease to please us,
Ere I desist with all my power
To plague this woman and undo her.
But my revenge will best be timed
When she is married that is limed.
In that most lamentable state
I'll make her feel my scorn and hate:
Pelt her with scandals, truth or lies,
And her poor cur with jealousied,
Till I have torn him from her breech,
While she whines like a dog-drawn bitch;
Loathed and despised, kicked out o' th' Town
Into some dirty hole alone,
To chew the cud of misery
And know she owes it all to me.

And may no woman better thrive
That dares prophane the cunt I swive!

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 20, 2016, 2:55 pm

Poetry of Alejandra Pizarnik:

Of Things Unseen

Before words can run out, something in the heart must die.

The light of language covers me like music, like a picture ripped to shreds by the dogs of grief. And winter reaches for me like a woman who has fallen in love with a wall.

Just when I’d hoped to give up hoping, your fall takes place within me. No longer am I any more than this within.

Translated from the Spanish by Yvette Siegert

Your Voice

Ambushed in my writing
you are singing in my poem.
Captive of your sweet voice
engraved in my memory.
Bird intent on its flight.
Air branded by absence.
Clock that keeps time with me
so I never wake up.

Night Singer

for Olga Orozco

Joe, macht die Musik von damals Nacht…

She who died of her blue dress is singing. Her song is suffused with death and she sings to the sun of her drunkenness. Inside her song there is a blue dress, a white horse, a green heart tattooed with echoes of her own dead heart. Exposed to all that is lost, she sings with a stray girl who is also herself, her amulet. And in spite of the green mist on her lips and the grey cold in her eyes, her voice breaks down the distance gaping between thirst and the hand that reaches for water. She is singing.


Fragments for Subduing the Silence

The powers of language are the solitary ladies who sing, desolate, with this voice of mine that I hear from a distance. And far away, in the black sand, lies a girl heavy with ancestral music. Where is death itself? I have wanted clarity in light of my lack of light. Branches die in the memory. The girl lying in the sand nestles into me with her wolf mask. The one she couldn’t stand anymore and that begged for flames and that we set on fire.

When the roof tiles blow away from the house of language, and words no longer keep—that is when I speak.
The ladies in red have lost themselves in their masks. Though they will return to sob among the flowers.
Death is no mute. I hear the song of the mourners sealing the clefts of silence. I listen and the sweetness of your crying brings life to my grey silence.

Death has restored to silence its own bewitching charm. And I will not say my poem and I will say it. Even if (here, now) the poem has no feeling, no future.

syyskuu 6, 2016, 1:48 pm

A Prayer

Dear, let me dream of love,
Ah! though a dream it be!
I'll ask no boon above
A word, a smile, from thee;
At most, in some still hour, one kindly thought of me.

Sweet, let me gaze awhile
Into those radiant eyes!
I'll scheme not to beguile
The heart, that deeper lies
Beneath them, than yon star in night's mysterious skies.

Love, let my spirit bow
In worship at this shrine!
I'll swear, thou shalt not know
One word from lips of mine,
An instant's pain that sends through that shy soul of thine.

--- Selwyn Image

syyskuu 6, 2016, 3:32 pm

And now for something completely objectionable:

Leah Sublime
by Aleister Crowley

Cefalú, Italy

5.25pm to 5.15am

Against all principals, and in breach of two promises, I have sat up all night in the snows, writing a poem to Leah.
One long poem — an occasional publishable line thrown in when I weakened.
7.00 am: I think I’ll collect all my filth in one poem and mark it Leah in plain figures.
10.00 am: I think I did.

Leah Sublime,

Goddess above me!

Snake of the slime

Alostrael, love me!

Our master, the devil

Prospers the revel.

Tread with your foot

My heart til it hurt!

Tread on it, put

The smear of your dirt

On my love, on my shame

Scribble your name!

Straddle your Beast

My Masterful Bitch

With the thighs of you greased

With the Sweat of your Itch!

Spit on me, scarlet

Mouth of my harlot!

Now from your wide

Raw cunt, the abyss,

Spend spouting the tide

Of your sizzling piss

In my mouth; oh my Whore

Let it pour, let it pour!

You stale like a mare

And fart as you stale;

Through straggled wet hair

You spout like a whale.

Splash the manure

And piss from the sewer.

Down to me quick

With your tooth on my lip

And your hand on my prick

With feverish grip

My life as it drinks—

How your breath stinks!

Your hand, oh unclean

Your hand that has wasted

Your love, in obscene

Black masses, that tasted

Your soul, it’s your hand!

Feel my prick stand!

Your life times from lewd

Little girl, to mature

Worn whore that has chewed

Your own pile of manure.

Your hand was the key to—

And now your frig me, too!

Rub all the much

Of your cunt on me, Leah

Cunt, let me suck

All your glued gonorrhea!

Cunt without end!

Amen! til you spend!

Cunt! you have harboured

All dirt and disease

In your slimy unbarbered

Loose hole, with its cheese

And its monthlies, and pox

You chewer of cocks!

Cunt, you have sucked

Up pricks, you squirted

Out foetuses, fucked

Til bastards you blurted

Out into space—

Spend on my face!

Rub all your gleet away!

Envenom the arrow.

May your pox eat away

Me to the marrow.

Cunt you have got me;

I love you to rot me!

Spend again, lash me!

Leah, one spasm

Scream to splash me.

Slime of the chasm

Choke me with spilth

Of your sow-belly’s filth.

Stab your demonic

Smile to my brain!

Soak me in cognac

Cunt and cocaine;

Sprawl on me! Sit

On my mouth, Leah, shit!

Shit on me, slut!

Creamy the curds

That drip from your gut!

Greasy the turds!

Dribble your dung

On the tip of my tongue!

Churn on me, Leah!

Twist on your thighs!

Smear diarrhoea

Into my eyes!

Splutter out shit

From the bottomless pit.

Turn to me, chew it

With me, Leah, whore!

Vomit it, spew it

And lick it once more.

We can make lust

Drunk on Disgust.

Splay out your gut,

Your ass hole, my lover!

You buggering slut,

I know where to shove her!

There she goes, plumb

Up the foul Bitch’s bum!

Sackful of skin

And bone, as I speak

I’ll bugger your grin

Into a shriek.

Bugger you, slut

Bugger your gut!

Wriggle, you hog!

Wrench at the pin!

Wrench at it, drag

It half out, suck it in!

Scream, you hog dirt, you!

I want it to hurt you!

Beast-Lioness, squirt

From your Cocksucker’s hole!

Belch out the dirt

From your Syphillis soul.

Splutter foul words

Through your supper of turds!

May the Devil our lord, your

Soul scribble over

With sayings of ordure!

Call me your lover!

Slave of the gut

Of the arse of a slut!

Call me your sewer

Of spilth and snot

Your fart-sniffer, chewer

Of the shit in your slot.

Call me that as you rave

In the rape of your slave.

Fuck! Shit! Let me come


I’ve spent in your bum.

Shit! Give me the muck

From my whore’s arse, slick

Dirt of my prick!

Eat it, you sow!

I’m your dog, fuck, shit!

Swallow it now!

Rest for a bit!

Satan, you gave

A crown to a slave.

I am your fate, on

Your belly, above you.

I swear it by Satan

Leah, I love you.

I’m going insane

Do it again!

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 6, 2016, 5:35 pm

I will never manage to forget the performance of "Leah Sublime" I once witnessed, with tom-tom accompaniment and antiphonal choruses of "Ooh, baby!"

syyskuu 6, 2016, 8:08 pm

If true, this would serve to explain a few things: http://whale.to/c/george.html.

syyskuu 7, 2016, 11:34 am

The Listeners

‘Is there anybody there?’ said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champed the grasses
Of the forest’s ferny floor:
And a bird flew up out of the turret,
Above the Traveller’s head:
And he smote upon the door again a second time;
‘Is there anybody there?’ he said.
But no one descended to the Traveller;
No head from the leaf-fringed sill
Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,
Where he stood perplexed and still.
But only a host of phantom listeners
That dwelt in the lone house then
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
To that voice from the world of men:
Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,
That goes down to the empty hall,
Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken
By the lonely Traveller’s call.
And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
Their stillness answering his cry,
While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,
’Neath the starred and leafy sky;
For he suddenly smote on the door, even
Louder, and lifted his head:—
‘Tell them I came, and no one answered,
That I kept my word,’ he said.
Never the least stir made the listeners,
Though every word he spake
Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house
From the one man left awake:
Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
And the sound of iron on stone,
And how the silence surged softly backward,
When the plunging hoofs were gone.

- Walter de La Mare

joulukuu 21, 2016, 2:52 pm

This lines from Chesterton's Lepanto tract give a series of tiny shivers every time... (The love that dare not squeak it's name):

"The walls are hung with velvet that is black and soft as sin,
And little dwarfs creep out of it and little dwarfs creep in."

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 4, 2017, 5:22 pm

The first ever biography of Theodore Wratislaw has been published by the Rivendell Press. Wratislaw left poetry for a living early on:


Orange and purple, shot with white and mauve,
Such in a greenhouse wet with tropic heat
One sees these delicate flowers whose parents throve
In some Pacific island's hot retreat.

Their ardent colours that betray the rank
Fierce hotbed of corruption whence they rose
Please eyes that long for stranger sweets than prank
Wild meadow-blooms and what the garden shows.

Exotic flowers! How great is my delight
To watch your petals curiously wrought,
To lie among your splendours day and night
Lost in a subtle dream of subtler thought.

Bathed in your clamorous orchestra of hues,
The palette of your perfumes, let me sleep
While your mesmeric presences diffuse
Weird dreams: and then bizarre sweet rhymes shall creep

Forth from my brain and slowly form and make
Sweet poems as a weaving spider spins,
A shrine of loves that laugh and swoon and ache,
A temple of coloured sorrows and perfumed sins.


I love you for the grief that lurks within
Your languid spirit, and because you wear
Corruption with a vague and childish air,
And with your beauty know the depths of sin;

Because shame cuts and holds you like a gin,
And virtue dies in you slain by despair,
Since evil has you tangled in its snare
And triumphs on the soul good cannot win.

I love you since you know remorse and tears,
And in your troubled loveliness appears
The spot of ancient crimes that writhe and hiss:

I love you for your hands that calm and bless,
The perfume of your sad and slow caress,
The avid poison of your subtle kiss.

helmikuu 10, 2017, 2:45 pm

Through the gates, and defecating in the foyer....

Waiting for the Barbarians

by C.P. Cavafy

What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?

The barbarians are due here today.

Why isn’t anything happening in the senate?
Why do the senators sit there without legislating?

Because the barbarians are coming today.
What laws can the senators make now?
Once the barbarians are here, they’ll do the legislating.

Why did our emperor get up so early,
and why is he sitting at the city’s main gate
on his throne, in state, wearing the crown?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and the emperor is waiting to receive their leader.
He has even prepared a scroll to give him,
replete with titles, with imposing names.

Why have our two consuls and praetors come out today
wearing their embroidered, their scarlet togas?
Why have they put on bracelets with so many amethysts,
and rings sparkling with magnificent emeralds?
Why are they carrying elegant canes
beautifully worked in silver and gold?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and things like that dazzle the barbarians.

Why don’t our distinguished orators come forward as usual
to make their speeches, say what they have to say?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and they’re bored by rhetoric and public speaking.

Why this sudden restlessness, this confusion?
(How serious people’s faces have become.)
Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,
everyone going home so lost in thought?

Because night has fallen and the barbarians have not come.
And some who have just returned from the border say
there are no barbarians any longer.

And now, what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?
They were, those people, a kind of solution.

(Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard)

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 2, 2017, 11:44 am

This ain't the Summer of Love: lovely song writing from Buck Dharma and the Blue Öyster Cult (First lp, 1972). The cynicism/nihilism, like a black dress, seems always in fashion:

"Then Came The Last Days Of May"*

Parched land no desert sand, sun was just a dot
And a little bit of water goes a long way, 'cause it's hot
Three good buddies were laughing and smoking in the back
Of a rented ford
They couldn't know they weren't going far

Each one with the money in his pocket
Could go out and buy himself a brand new car
But they all had the money they had
Money they hoped would take them very far

The sky was bright, a traffic light, now and then a truck
And they hadn't seen a cop around all day (what luck)
They brought everything they needed
Bags and scales to weigh the stuff
The driver said the border's just over the bluff

It wasn't until the car suddenly stopped
In the middle of a cold and barren place
And the other guy turned and spilled
Three boys blood, did they know a trap had been lain?

They're ok the last days of may, I'll be breathing dry air
I'm leaving soon, the others are already there
You wouldn't be interested in coming along, instead of staying here
They say the west is nice this time of year, that's what they say.

*(The wonderful guitarist (Dream Syndicate, etc.)/English Lit. prof., Karl Precoda named his project band after the title of this song).

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 2, 2017, 1:37 pm

>21 Randy_Hierodule:

I've been fond of BÖC's eerie "Last Days of May" for a long time. Reading the lyrics here, I just associated it with the Ridley Scott film The Counselor (2013), with its strong cast and deeply unsettling misanthropic script by Cormac McCarthy--recommended only to those lapped in the proof of extreme cynicism.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 2, 2017, 3:06 pm

>22 paradoxosalpha:

Thank you for the film reference, I will queue that up. Cormac McCarthy is a great touchstone for cynicism. I don't think I've read many books that have so well outlined the psychic geography of the Outer Dark than the novel by that name (and his Blood Meridian and Child of God).

The song, a sort of variant on the classic "death song" (John Hardy, Ballad of Willie Brown, Endless Sleep, etc...), has the interesting quality of having the narrator or singer being either the killer or one of his party.

maaliskuu 3, 2017, 11:13 am


Memento, homo, quod sinis es
Et in cenerem reverteris.

Erthe oute of erthe is wondirly wroghte,
Erthe has geten one erthe a dignite of noghte,
Erthe appon erthe hase sett alle his thoghte
How that erthe upon erthe may be heghe broghte.

Erthe upon erthe wolde be a kinge
Bot how erthe to erthe sall, thinkes he no thinge
When erthe bredes erthe and his rentes home bringe
Thane shall erthe of erthe have full harde parting.

Erthe upon erthe winnes castells and towrres
Thane sayse erthe unto erthe, "This es al ourres"
When erthe upon erthe has bigged up his bourres
Thane shall erthe for erthe suffere sharpe scourres.

Erthe gos upon erthe as molde upon molde
He that gose upon erthe, gleterande as golde,
Like as erthe never more go to erthe scholde
And yitt schall erthe unto erthe ga rathere than he wolde

Now why that erthe luffes erthe, wondere me thinke
Or why erthe for erthe sholde other swete or swinke
For when erthe appon erthe has broughte within brinke
Thane shall erthe of erthe have a foul stinke.

Mors solvit omnia.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 8, 2017, 12:43 pm

A poem in prose:


In the Manner of the Psychological Autobiographists.

Ours is a world of words: Quiet we call

Silence — which is the merest word of all

Al Aaraaf.

“Listen to me,” said the Demon, as he placed his hand upon my head. “There is a spot upon this accursed earth which thou hast never yet beheld And if by any chance thou hast beheld it, it must have been in one of those vigorous dreams which come like the Simoon upon the brain of the sleeper who hath lain down to sleep among the forbidden sunbeams — among the sunbeams, I say, which slide from off the solemn columns of the melancholy temples in the wilderness. The region of which I speak is a dreary region in Libya, by the borders of the river Zaire. And there is no quiet there, nor silence.

“The waters of the river have a saffron and sickly hue — and they flow not onwards to the sea, but palpitate forever and forever beneath the red eye of the sun with a tumultuous and convulsive motion. For many miles on either side of the river’s oozy bed is a pale desert of gigantic water-lilies. They sigh one unto the other in that solitude, and stretch towards the heaven their long ghastly necks, and nod to and fro their everlasting heads. And there is an indistinct murmur which cometh out from among them like the rushing of subterrene water. And they sigh one unto the other.

“But there is a boundary to their realm — the boundary of the dark, horrible, lofty forest. There, like the waves about the Hebrides, the low underwood is agitated continually. But there is no wind throughout the heaven. And the tall primœval trees rock eternally hither and thither with a crashing and mighty sound. And from their high summits, one by one, drop everlasting dews. And at the roots strange poisonous flowers lie writhing in perturbed slumber. And overhead, with a rustling and loud noise, the grey clouds rush westwardly forever, until they roll, a cataract, over the fiery wall of the horizon. But there is no wind throughout the heaven. And by the shores of the river Zaire there is neither quiet nor silence.

“It was night, and the rain fell; and, falling, it was rain, but, having fallen, it was blood. And I stood in the morass among the tall lilies, and the rain fell upon my head — and the lilies sighed one unto the other in the solemnity of their desolation.

“And, all at once, the moon arose through the thin ghastly mist, and was crimson in color. And mine eyes fell upon a huge grey rock which stood by the shore of the river, and was litten by the light of the moon. And the rock was grey, and ghastly, and tall, — and the rock was grey. Upon its front were characters engraven in the stone; and I walked through the morass of water-lilies, until I came close unto the shore, that I might read the characters upon the stone. But I could not decypher the characters. And I was going back into the morass, when the moon shone with a fuller red, and I turned and looked again upon the rock, and upon the characters — and the characters were DESOLATION.

“And I looked upwards, and there stood a man upon the summit of the rock, and I hid myself among the water-lilies that I might discover the actions of the man. And the man was tall and stately in form, and was wrapped up from his shoulders to his feet in the toga of old Rome. And the outlines of his figure were indistinct — but his features were the features of a Deity; for the mantle of the night, and of the mist, and of the moon, and of the dew, had left uncovered the features of his face. And his brow was lofty with thought, and his eye wild with care; and, in the few furrows upon his cheek I read the fables of sorrow, and weariness, and disgust with mankind, and a longing after solitude. And the moon shone upon his face, and upon the features of his face, and oh! they were more beautiful than the airy dreams which hovered about the souls of the daughters of Delos!

“And the man sat down upon the rock, and leaned his head upon his hand, and looked out upon the desolation. He looked down into the low unquiet shrubbery, and up into the tall primœval trees, and up higher at the rustling heaven, and into the crimson moon. And I lay close within shelter of the lilies, and observed the actions of the man. And the man trembled in the solitude — but the night waned and he sat upon the rock.

“And the man turned his attention from the heaven, and looked out upon the dreary river Zaire, and upon the yellow ghastly waters, and upon the pale legions of the water-lilies. And the man listened to the sighs of the water-lilies, and of the murmur that came up from among them. And I lay close within my covert and observed the actions of the man. And the man trembled in the solitude — but the night waned and he sat upon the rock.

“Then I went down into the recesses of the morass, and waded afar in among the wilderness of the lilies, and called unto the hippopotami which dwelt among the fens in the recesses of the morass. And the hippopotami heard my call, and came, with the behemoth, unto the foot of the rock, and roared loudly and fearfully beneath the moon. And I lay close within my covert and observed the actions of the man. And the man trembled in the solitude — but the night waned and he sat upon the rock.

“Then I cursed the elements with the curse of tumult; and a frightful tempest gathered in the heaven where before there had been no wind. And the heaven became livid with the violence of the tempest — and the rain beat upon the head of the man — and the floods of the river came down — and the river was tormented into foam — and the water-lilies shrieked within their beds — and the forest crumbled before the wind — and the thunder rolled, — and the lightning fell — and the rock rocked to its foundation. And I lay close within my covert and observed the actions of the man. And the man trembled in the solitude — but the night waned and he sat upon the rock.

“Then I grew angry and cursed, with the curse of silence, the river, and the lilies, and the wind, and the forest, and the heaven, and the thunder, and the sighs of the water-lilies. And they became accursed and were still. And the moon ceased to totter in its pathway up the heaven — and the thunder died away — and the lightning did not flash — and the clouds hung motionless — and the waters sunk to their level and remained — and the trees ceased to rock — and the water-lilies sighed no more — and the murmur was heard no longer from among them, nor any shadow of sound throughout the vast illimitable desert. And I looked upon the characters of the rock, and they were changed — and the characters were SILENCE.

“And mine eyes fell upon the countenance of the man, and his countenance was wan with terror. And, hurriedly, he raised his head from his hand, and stood forth upon the rock, and listened. But there was no voice throughout the vast illimitable desert, and the characters upon the rock were SILENCE. And the man shuddered, and turned his face away, and fled afar off, and I beheld him no more.”

* * * * * * * * * * *

Now there are fine tales in the volumes of the Magi — in the iron-bound, melancholy volumes of the Magi. Therein, I say, are glorious histories of the Heaven, and of the Earth, and of the mighty Sea — and of the Genii that over-ruled the sea, and the earth, and the lofty heaven. There was much lore too in the sayings which were said by the sybils; and holy, holy things were heard of old by the dim leaves that trembled around Dodona — but, as Allah liveth, that fable which the Demon told me as he sat by my side in the shadow of the tomb, I hold to be the most wonderful of all! And as the Demon made an end of his story, he fell back within the cavity of the tomb and laughed. And I could not laugh with the Demon, and he cursed me because I could not laugh. And the lynx which dwelleth forever in the tomb, came out therefrom, and lay down at the feet of the Demon, and looked at him steadily in the face.

maaliskuu 24, 2017, 3:40 pm

About the Man who Sits in the Cellar

by Hans Werner Cohn

The man sits in the cellar
and fades away:
a sprouting potato in the corner.
His hands hang flabbily across the knees
the shoulders swallow the head.

Sometimes the woman
comes into the cellar
and combs his hair
and wipes his ears
takes his arm and pulls him
as if on a lead
into the parlour:
there her lady-friends sit around the table.
They say: how nice! and also: how clever!
For in daylight he does not look so bad,
the man,
and thoughts become rampant
in the cellar-air
and now he turns them out in front of the lady-friends,
the man.
At the end of the presentation the woman pulls the man
back into the cellar.

This is her hour.
True: he is looking forward to it
because a little light
gets through the velvet
of the curtains
in the parlour.
But: it is her hour.
His hour will come
his hour is coming
at night.
The woman lies in bed
but the man is awake.
His hour is coming.
His head shoots up
between the shoulders
and knocks against the ceiling
red and wild
in time with the heart.
The hands become tense
red and wild
and beat in time with the heart
against the cellar-door.

The woman lies in bed
bathed in fear
in fear.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 15, 2017, 12:07 pm

Decadent parodies: Along with Smythe-Hichen's The Green Carnation, Egan's The Sink of Solitude, Les Déliquescences d'Adoré Floupette and Enoch Soames - Owen Seaman's "A Ballad of a Bun":


'I am sister to the mountains now,
And sister to the sun and moon.'

'Heed not belletrist jargon.'


From Whitsuntide to Whitsuntide,
That is to say, all through the year,
Her patient pen was occupied
With songs and tales of pleasant cheer.

But still her talent went to waste
Like flotsam on an open sea;
She never hit the public taste,
Or knew the knack of Bellettrie.

Across the sounding City's fogs
There hurtled round her weary head
The thunder of the rolling logs;
"The Critics' Carnival!" she said.

Immortal prigs took heaven by storm,
Prigs scattered largesses of praise;
The work of both was rather warm;
"This is," she said, "the thing that pays!"

Sharp envy turned her wine to blood,
I mean it turned her blood to wine;
And this resolve came like a flood,
"The cake of knowledge must be mine!

"I am in Eve's predicament,
I sha'n't be happy till I've sinned;
Away!" She lightly rose, and sent
Her scruples sailing down the wind.

She did not tear her open breast,
Nor leave behind a track of gore,
But carried flannel next her chest,
And wore the boots she always wore.

Across the sounding City's din
She wandered, looking indiscreet,
And ultimately landed in
The neighbourhood of Regent Street.

She ran against a resolute
Policeman standing like a wall;
She kissed his feet and asked the route
To where they held the Carnival.

Her strange behaviour caused remark;
They said, "Her reason has been lost;"
Beside her eyes the gas was dark,
But that was owing to the frost.

A Decadent was dribbling by;
"Lady," he said, "you seem undone;
You need a panacea; try
This sample of the Bodley bun.

"It is fulfilled of precious spice,
Whereof I give the recipe;,
Take common dripping, stew in vice,
And serve with vertu; taste and see!

"And lo! I brand you on the brow
As kin to Nature's lowest germ;
You are sister to the microbe now,
And second-cousin to the worm."

He gave her of his golden store,
Such hunger hovered in her look;
She took the bun, and asked for more,
And went away and wrote a book.

To put the matter shortly, she
Became the topic of the town;
In all the lists of Bellettrie
Her name was regularly down.

"We recognise," the critics wrote,
"Maupassant's verve and Heine's wit;"
Some even made a verbal note
Of Shakespeare being out of it.

The seasons went and came again;
At length the languid Public cried:
"It is a sorry sort of Lane
That hardly ever turns aside.

"We want a little change of air;
On that," they said, "we must insist;
We cannot any longer bear
The seedy sex-impressionist."

Across the sounding City's din
This rumour smote her on the ear:
"The publishers are going in
For songs and tales of pleasant cheer!"

"Alack!" she said, "I lost the art,
And left my womanhood foredone,
When first I trafficked in the mart
All for a mess of Bodley bun.

"I cannot cut my kin at will,
Or jilt the protoplastic germ;
I am sister to the microbe still,
And second-cousin to the worm!"

Here is a link to source Davidson's "A Ballad of a Nun" (from Ballads and Songs, 1894): http://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/poems/ballad-nun

huhtikuu 21, 2017, 9:51 am

Jean Richepin, opening paragraph to "Constant Guignard":

"The Guignard spouses, married for love, longed passionately for a son. As if the little soul who was so desired had hastened to fulfill their wishes, he arrived prematurely. His mother died in childbirth and, unable to bear the loss, his father hanged himself."

huhtikuu 21, 2017, 11:28 pm

klazomaniac: A compulsive shouter; one who speaks entirely in shouts. Depraved and Insulting English

The famous klazomaniac Bill O'Reilly is also an omnifutuant* philodox**.

*Prone to engage in sexual activity with anything.
**A person in love with his own opinions.

huhtikuu 26, 2017, 10:07 am

When, heaving on the stormy waters,
I felt my ship beneath to sink,
I prayed, "Oh, Father Satan, save me,
Forgive me at death's utter brink!

"If you will save my soul embittered
From perishing before its hour,
The days to come, the nights that follow
I vow to vice, I pledge to power."

The Devil forthwith snatched and flung me
Into a boat; the sides were frail,
But on the bench the oars were lying
And in the bow an old gray sail.

And landward once again I carried
My outcast soul, bereft of kin,
Upon its sick and vicious sojourn
My body and its gift of sin.

And I am faithful, Father Satan,
Unto my evil hour's vow,
When from my drowning ship you saved me
And when I prayed you guide the prow.

To you descend my praises, Father,
No day from bitter blame exempt.
O'er worlds my blasphemy shall tower;
And I shall tempt -- and I shall tempt.

Fyodor Sologub

huhtikuu 26, 2017, 3:42 pm


She lies, opening her teats, strong, swollen, wide,
And at her breasts, their equal gift bestowing,
Mad Nero and meek Buddha clutch, unknowing,
As clinging twins who suckle side by side.
She holds two vessels, whence, forever flowing,
The streams of Life and Death serenely glide.
She breathes—and wreaths of stars are lit, and bide,
She breathes anew: they fly like sere leaves blowing.

She looks ahead with cold unseeing eyes;
She cares not though she bear or cause to perish;
The children whom she nurtures she will cherish,
But when she weans them, every claim denies.
Evil and Good gather them in thereafter
And play the cosmic game with idle laughter.

By N. Minsky (Nikolai Vilenkin)

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 8, 2017, 9:05 am


by Constantine Cavafy

I do not want the real narcissus— nor do lilies

please me, nor real roses.

They adorn the trite, pedestrian gardens.

Their flesh embitters, tires, and pains me—

I am weary of their perishable beauties.

Give me artificial flowers— glories of glass and metal —

With never-wilting, never-spoiling, never-aging forms.

Flowers of superb gardens of another land

where Contemplations and Rhythms and Learning dwell.

I love flowers fashioned of glass or gold,

genuine gifts of a genuine Art,

dyed in hues lovelier than natural colors

wrought with mother-of-pearl and enamel,

with ideal leaves and stalks.

They draw their grace from wise and purest Taste.

They did not sprout unclean in dirt and mire.

If they have no aroma, we will pour fragrance,

we will burn myrrh of sentiment before them.

heinäkuu 27, 2017, 10:45 pm

"The stamp of great minds is to suggest much in few words; by contrast, little minds have the gift of talking a great deal and saying nothing." -- François de La Rochefoucauld

... unlike some world leaders who can't shut up on Twitter.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 6, 2017, 12:06 pm

Viestin kirjoittaja on poistanut viestin.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 6, 2017, 12:06 pm

Viestin kirjoittaja on poistanut viestin.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 6, 2017, 12:06 pm

Viestin kirjoittaja on poistanut viestin.

syyskuu 28, 2017, 7:51 pm

So tired of having suffered, more tired of having loved.
Life, having charmed with its open spaces,
Now tightens around its monotonous glove,
And my dream, seeing the walls around it rise,
Curls up in melancholy surprise.
Who knows, on hearing the touching sounds of fall,
Whether it is stifling a sob or holding a song at bay,
As solemn as time and, like time, equivocal?
My heart, without knowing it, has turned away.

-- Marcel Proust from "The Collected Poems of Marcel Proust"

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 16, 2017, 2:33 pm

by George Sterling

Unseen the ghostly hand that led,
I walked where all was darkness, save
What light the moon, half-wasted, gave
Above a city of the dead.

So lone it was, so grey, I deemed
That death itself was scarce so old;
The moonlight fell forlorn and cold
On tombs where Time lay dead, it seemed.

Within its gates I heard the sound
Of winds in cypress-caverns caught
Of huddling trees that moaned, and sought
To whisper what their roots had found.

Within its gates my soul was led,
Down nettle-choked and haunted way—
An atom of the Dark's dismay,
In deaf immensities of dread.

In broken crypts where ghouls had slept
I saw how muttering devils sate
(Knowing the final grasp of Fate)
And told grim auguries, and wept.

The night was mad with nameless fear.
The Powers of Darkness feared the gloom.
From sentried sky to anxious tomb
Ran messages I bent to hear.

Mine ears were sealed, nor heard I save
The secret known to Endor's witch—
Whispered to lemur and to lich
From lips made wiser by the grave.

O'er tarns where spectral vapors flowed
Antares shook with bloody light,
And guarded on its haughty flight
The offended fire of Alphard glowed.

The menace of infinity
Constrained the cavern of the skies.
I felt the gaze of solemn eyes
In hostile gulfs intent to see;

Gage of whose imminent designs,
Satanic Armageddon broke,
Where monstrous vans in blackness spoke
The flight of Evil on the Signs—

Abysmal occultation cast
By kingdoms of the sunken noon,
And shadow-shafts that smote the moon
At altars of the cloven Vast!

To worlds that faltered on their way
Python's intolerable hiss
Told from the jaws of his abyss
Malign amazement and dismay.

By god or demon undestroyed,
In malediction sate the stars,
Concentered from Titanic wars
To cry the judgments of the Void.

Assigned, implacable, supreme,
The heralds of the Curse came down:
I felt the eternal bastions' frown;
I saw colossal cerements gleam.

Convoking trumpets shook the gloom.
Their incommunicable word
Announced o'er Time's foundations, stirred,
All vasts and covenants of doom.

I saw the light of dreadful fanes,
I heard enormous valves resound,
For aeons sealed in crypts profound,
And clangor of ascending chains.

maaliskuu 31, 4:18 pm

Medical poetry, from the young Aleister Crowley:


In the hospital bed she lay
……….Rotting away!
Cursing by night and cursing by day,
……….Rotting away!
The lupus is over her face and head,
Filthy and foul and horrid and dread,
And her shrieks they would almost wake the dead;
……….Rotting away!
In her horrible grave she lay,
……….Rotting away!
In the place of her face is a gory hole,
And the worms are gnawing the tissues foul,
And the devil is gloating over her soul,
……….Rotting away!

elokuu 20, 10:14 pm

Aux mes amis perdus a la Nuit sans fin:

When I go musing all alone
Thinking of divers things fore-known.
When I build castles in the air,
Void of sorrow and void of fear,
Pleasing myself with phantasms sweet,
Methinks the time runs very fleet.
All my joys to this are folly,
Naught so sweet as melancholy.
When I lie waking all alone,
Recounting what I have ill done,
My thoughts on me then tyrannise,
Fear and sorrow me surprise,
Whether I tarry still or go,
Methinks the time moves very slow.
All my griefs to this are jolly,
Naught so mad as melancholy.
When to myself I act and smile,
With pleasing thoughts the time beguile,
By a brook side or wood so green,
Unheard, unsought for, or unseen,
A thousand pleasures do me bless,
And crown my soul with happiness.
All my joys besides are folly,
None so sweet as melancholy.
When I lie, sit, or walk alone,
I sigh, I grieve, making great moan,
In a dark grove, or irksome den,
With discontents and Furies then,
A thousand miseries at once
Mine heavy heart and soul ensconce,
All my griefs to this are jolly,
None so sour as melancholy.
Methinks I hear, methinks I see,
Sweet music, wondrous melody,
Towns, palaces, and cities fine;
Here now, then there; the world is mine,
Rare beauties, gallant ladies shine,
Whate'er is lovely or divine.
All other joys to this are folly,
None so sweet as melancholy.
Methinks I hear, methinks I see
Ghosts, goblins, fiends; my phantasy
Presents a thousand ugly shapes,
Headless bears, black men, and apes,
Doleful outcries, and fearful sights,
My sad and dismal soul affrights.
All my griefs to this are jolly,
None so damn'd as melancholy.
Methinks I court, methinks I kiss,
Methinks I now embrace my mistress.
O blessed days, O sweet content,
In Paradise my time is spent.
Such thoughts may still my fancy move,
So may I ever be in love.
All my joys to this are folly,
Naught so sweet as melancholy.
When I recount love's many frights,
My sighs and tears, my waking nights,
My jealous fits; O mine hard fate
I now repent, but 'tis too late.
No torment is so bad as love,
So bitter to my soul can prove.
All my griefs to this are jolly,
Naught so harsh as melancholy.
Friends and companions get you gone,
'Tis my desire to be alone;
Ne'er well but when my thoughts and I
Do domineer in privacy.
No Gem, no treasure like to this,
'Tis my delight, my crown, my bliss.
All my joys to this are folly,
Naught so sweet as melancholy.
'Tis my sole plague to be alone,
I am a beast, a monster grown,
I will no light nor company,
I find it now my misery.
The scene is turn'd, my joys are gone,
Fear, discontent, and sorrows come.
All my griefs to this are jolly,
Naught so fierce as melancholy.
I'll not change life with any king,
I ravisht am: can the world bring
More joy, than still to laugh and smile,
In pleasant toys time to beguile?
Do not, O do not trouble me,
So sweet content I feel and see.
All my joys to this are folly,
None so divine as melancholy.
I'll change my state with any wretch,
Thou canst from gaol or dunghill fetch;
My pain's past cure, another hell,
I may not in this torment dwell!
Now desperate I hate my life,
Lend me a halter or a knife;
All my griefs to this are jolly,
Naught so damn'd as melancholy.

- Robert Burton

elokuu 24, 1:28 am

The Drunk in the Furnace

For a good decade
The furnace stood in the naked gully, fireless
And vacant as any hat. Then when it was
No more to them than a hulking black fossil
To erode unnoticed with the rest of the junk-hill
By the poisonous creek, and rapidly to be added
to their ignorance.

They were afterwards astonished
To confirm, one morning, a twist of smoke like a pale
Resurrection, staggering out of it's chewed hole,
And to remark then other tokens that someone,
Cosily bolted behind the eye-holed iron
Door of the drafty burner, had there established
his bad castle.

Where he gets his spirits
It's a mystery. But the stuff keeps him musical:
Hammer-and-anvilling with poker and bottle
to his jugged bellowings, till the last groaning clang
As he collapses onto the rioting
Springs of a litter of car-seats ranged on the grates,
to sleep like an iron pig.

In their tar-paper church
On a text about stoke-holes that are sated never
Their Reverend lingers. They nod and hate trespassers.
When the furnace wakes, though, all afternoon
Their witless offspring flock like piped rats to it's siren
Crescendo, and agape on the crumbling ridge
Stand in a row and learn.

W. S. Merwin

elokuu 24, 8:39 pm

good stuff

Muokkaaja: elokuu 26, 11:28 am

Anthem for The official Rhode Island State Shellfish
by Matthew S. Farrell

Oh beau-ti-ful, crus-ta-ceous life
A-bid-ing in our muck
Through what a bi-valve knows of strife
We wish you e-very luckkkkkkk

Tho' sed-i-ment, and kinds of silt
May blanket o'er your reign
Sow seeds of roe and mind your milt
Peee-ple your wet domainnnnnnnnnnnn

Behind your bulging azure eyes
Through your breathy mollusk sighs
A clammy ethos mild and meek
Your shell is strong but mind is weak.

When aenemone with stinging spine
Or jellyfish with limbs like twine
Should on your restful time impinge
You just contract--and close your hinge.

While quick seas rush and swell above
The lang'rous shellfish dreams of love
But below in lonely briney sand
His mussel amors meet faint demand

And Lo! his mournful wails expand
Across the Stygian marine land
To fill with rueful cry the oceans
With his forlorn longing a-balone notions

Though sun may shine in air-filled skies
In ombrageous acqueous torpor he lies
His love as great as ever seen. She
Now doth garnish cheese linguini......

Embittered neither, not to grow sick
From thoughts on fate: a clam is Stoic
Would suffer samely less nor mo' joy
Had she wound up upon a PoBoy...

On sunny beaches all palm-fretted
Natives drumming frond-envetted
Stew-pots boil with what they've netted
Clams seek not to be so feted

New England too, its sounds and shores
Abound in Yale and Harvard bores
Who deem it is a mark of stah-tus
To shew our friend their learned glottis

Still so some other humbler genus
Treat the clam in ways as heinous
See the otter on his back
Give the Quahog rocky whack

Seagulls using no stone mallet
No less seek clams to gift their palate
Even octopi, of man-like heart
Are known to prise their shells apart

But though many foreign nation
From his husk seeks his ablation
He cannot loathe he doth not hate
Regards placidly his fate

For when there are two halves of you
Whether in chowder or island stew
Seabird slurp or otter bang
The end is self-same, yin or yang

Muokkaaja: elokuu 25, 11:03 pm

>47 Randy_Hierodule: 😝 🪼🦞 Good one.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 27, 12:06 am

>48 varielle: His satyrical things were quite funny, and learned. That one won him first prize in a contest sponsored in the recondite domain of RI.

He's the one who got me on to Alexander Theroux, who left messages on his answering machine ("what did he want?"

"I don't know, maybe tips on writing?").

True and typical. ' Bless the lad.

elokuu 26, 7:07 pm

>46 slickdpdx: yeah, he's an old fave, just spent too much on a signed first ed!

Muokkaaja: elokuu 29, 12:41 pm

DIALOGUE OF A MAN WITH HIS BA (translated in The Literature of Ancient Egypt as, "The Man Who was Weary of Life")

c. 12th Dynasty (1937–1759 B.C.) of the Middle Kingdom.

I opened my mouth to my soul, that I might answer what it had said: “This is too much for me today, that my soul no (longer) talks with me. It is really too great to be exaggerated. It is like abandoning me. Let not my soul go away; it should wait for me because of. . . . There is no competent person who deserts on the day of misfortune. Behold, my soul wrongs me, (but) I do not listen to it, dragging myself toward death before I come to it and casting (myself) upon the fire to burn myself up. . . . May it be near to me on the day of misfortune and wait on that side. . . . My soul is stupid to (try to) win over one wretched over life and delay me from death before I come to it. Make the West pleasant for me! Is that (so) bad? Life is a circumscribed period: (even) the trees must fall. Trample down wrongs—(yet) my wretchedness endures. Let Thoth, who propitiates the gods, judge me. Let Khonsu, the scribe in truth, defend me. Let Re, who pilots the sun barque, hear my speech. Let Isdes. . .defend me. My wretchedness is heavy. . . . Pleasant would be the defense of a god for the secrets of my body.”

What my soul said to me: “Art thou not a man? Art thou. . .whilst thou livest? What is thy goal? Thou art concerned with burial like a possessor of wealth!”

I said: “I have not departed as long as these things are neglected. He who carries (men) off forcibly will take, without caring about thee, (like) any criminal saying: ‘I shall carry thee off, for thy (fate) is still death, (though) thy name may live.’ (But) yonder is a place for setting down, the guide of the heart; the West is home. . . . If my soul will listen to me, an innoc‌ent man, and its heart agrees with me, it will be fortunate. (Then) I shall make it reach the West like one who is in his pyramid, at whose burial a survivor has stood. I shall make a shelter over thy corpse, (so that) thou mayest scorn another soul as inert. I shall make a shelter—now it must not be (too) cool—(so that) thou mayest scorn another soul which is (too) hot. I shall drink at the watering place and shall. . ., (so that) thou mayest scorn another soul which is hungry. If thou delayest me from a death of this fashion, thou wilt not find a place where thou canst settle down in the West. (So) be patient, my soul and my brother, until my heir has appeared, he who will make offerings and will stand at the grave on the day of burial, so that he may prepare the bed of the cemetery.”

My soul opened its mouth to me, that it might answer what I had said: “If thou art thinking of burial that is heart’s distress. It is a bringing of tears, making a man sad. It is taking a man out of his house, (so that) he is left on the hillside, (whence) thou shalt never go up above that thou mightest see the suns. They who build in granite and who hew out chambers in a pyramid, good men in good work, as soon as the builders have become gods, their offering-stones are as bare, for lack of a survivor, as (those of) the weary ones, the dead on the dyke—the waters take hold of an end of him, and the sunlight as well, and the fish of the water-banks talk to them. Listen to me. Behold, it is good for men to listen. Pursue the happy day and forget care!

“The poor man plows his plot of ground and loads his harvest into a ship’s hold. He makes the journey by towing (the boat), (because) his feast day is approaching. When he sees the forthcoming of an evening of high water, he is vigilant in the ship when Re retires, (and so) comes out (safely), with his wife. (But) his children are lost on the lake, treacherous with crocodiles in the night. At last he sits down, when he can take part in speech, saying: ‘I am not weeping for that girl, (although) there is no coming forth from the West for her, for another (time) on earth. (But) I am concerned about her (unborn) children, broken in the egg, who saw the face of the crocodile-god before they had (even) lived!’

“The poor man asks for an afternoon meal, (but) his wife says to him: “It’s for supper!’ He goes out-of-doors to grumble for a while. If he comes back into the house and is like another man, his wife is (still) experienced in him: that he does not listen to her (but) grumbles, unresponsive to communications.” I opened my mouth to my soul, that I might answer what it had said:

Behold, my name will reek through thee
More than the stench of bird-droppings
On summer days, when the sky is hot.
Behold, my name will reek through thee
(More than) a fish-handler
On the day of the catch, when the sky is hot.
Behold, my name will reek through thee
More than the stench of bird-droppings,
More than a covert of reeds with waterfowl.
Behold, my name will reek through thee
More than the stench of fisherman,
More than the stagnant pools which they have fished.
Behold, my name will reek through thee
More than the stench of crocodiles,
More than sitting in the assembly among the crocodiles.
Behold, my name will reek through thee
More than a (married) woman
Against whom a lie has been told because of a man.
Behold, my name will reek through thee
More than a sturdy boy of whom it is said:
“He belongs to his rival!”
Behold, my name will reek through thee
(More than) a treacherous town, which plots rebellion,
Of which (only) the outside can be seen.


To whom can I speak today?
(One’s) fellows are evil;
The friends of today do not love.
To whom can I speak today?
Hearts are rapacious:
Every man seizes his fellow’s goods.
(To whom can I speak today?)
The gentle man has perished,
(But) the violent man has access to everybody.
To whom can I speak today?
(Even) the calm of face is wicked;
Goodness is rejected everywhere.
To whom can I speak today?
(Though) a man should arouse wrath by his evil character,
He (only) stirs everyone to laughter, (so) wicked is his sin.
To whom can I speak today?
Men are plundering;
Every man seizes his fellow’s (goods).
To whom can I speak today?
The foul friend is an intimate,
(But) a brother, with whom one worked, has become an enemy.
To whom can I speak today?
No one thinks of yesterday;
No one at this time acts for him who has acted.
To whom can I speak today?
(One’s) fellows are evil;
One has recourse to strangers for uprightness of heart.
To whom can I speak today?
Faces have disappeared:
Every man has a downcast face toward his fellows.
To whom can I speak today?
Hearts are rapacious;
No man has a heart upon which one may rely.
To whom can I speak today?
There are no righteous;
The land is left to those who do wrong.
To whom can I speak today?
There is lack of an intimate (friend);
One has recourse to an unknown to complain to him.
To whom can I speak today?
There is no one contented of heart;
That man with whom one went, he no (longer) exists.
To whom can I speak today?
I am laden with wretchedness
For lack of an intimate (friend).
To whom can I speak today?
The sin which treads the earth,
It has no end.

Death is in my sight today
(Like) the recovery of a sick man,
Like going out into the open after a confinement.
Death is in my sight today
Like the odor of myrrh
Like sitting under an awning on a breezy day.
Death is in my sight today
Like the odor of lotus blossoms,
Like sitting on the bank of drunkenness.
Death is in my sight today
Like the passing away of rain,
Like the return of men to their houses from an expedition.
Death is in my sight today
Like the clearing of the sky,
Like a man fowling thereby for what he knew not.
Death is in my sight today
Like the longing of a man to see his house (again),
After he has spent many years held in captivity.

Why surely, he who is yonder
Will be a living god,
Punishing a sin of him who commits it.
Why surely, he who is yonder
Will stand in the barque of the sun,
Causing that the choicest (offerings) therein be given to the temples.
Why surely, he who is yonder
Will be a man of wisdom,
Not hindered from appealing to Re when he speaks.

What my soul said to me: “Set mourning aside, thou who belongest to me, my brother! (Although) thou be offered up on the brazier, (still) thou shalt cling to life, as thou sayest. Whether it be desirable that I (remain) here (because) thou hast rejected the West, or whether it be desirable that thou reach the West and thy body join the earth, I shall come to rest after thou hast relaxed (in death). Thus we shall make a home together.”

It has come (to its end), its beginning to its end, as found in writing.

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