Category Archives: Poetry

A (Nearly) Free Kindle Workflow


While the Kindle Paperwhite is a great lightweight device with near-infinite battery life for reading anywhere (even walking or at the gym), you can also pick up a Kindle app for free…there’s no need to buy a dedicated Kindle tablet (although they are discounted during the “National Reading Month” of March and radically expand your reading opportunities):

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 6.36.32 PMBy using a kindle workflow it is easy to read, store, and annotate digital text anywhere on any device, forever, from your own personal archive, including such free books as this miracle from Amazon: translations of Petrarch’s sonnets by many different poets through the centuries…available here: 

91H8huPR5rL._SL1500_With the free ‘Send to Kindle’ app you can archive all of your eBooks and PDF scripts in the cloud (available for free from sources such as Lee Thompson’s Script Archive and

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 6.37.26 PMFinally there is also a ‘Send to Kindle’ browser-plugin for Chrome to permanently archive html (from sources such as Luminarium, Renascence Editions, and Elizabethan Authors):

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Echoes of Shakespeare


For those interested in experiencing Shakespeare by way of his predecessors
these resources may be a start…

1597 translation of Ovid’s Metamorphosis by Arthur Golding

Petrarch’s Lyric Poems

Tottel’s Miscellany sidneypenshurst

Philip Sidney, Astrophel and Stella    Screen Shot 2014-01-18 at 9.17.29 AM

“Chop Bard” Down to Earth Shakespeare…

$2 Collected Works of Poets Formatted for eReaders Homer’s Iliad, translated by George Chapman in 1598

England’s Helicon

Virgil’s The Aeneid
Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 3.55.56 PM Plutarch’s Lives (North translation)
shakespeare-crowd-630x300 Shakespeare’s Sonnets…

Imr El Kais: Ode (Translated by Lady Anne and Wilfrid Scawen Blunt)



Weep, ah weep love’s losing, love’s with its dwelling-place
set where the hills divide Dakhuli and Haumali.

Tudiha and Mikrat! There the hearths-stones of her
stand where the South and North winds cross-weave the

See the white-doe droppings strewn by the wind on them,
black on her floors forsaken, fine-grain of peppercorns.

Here it was I watched her, lading her load-camels,
stood by these thorn-trees weeping tears as of colocynth.

Here my twin-friends waited, called to me camel-borne:
Man ! not of grief thou diest. Take thy pain patiently.

Not though tears assuage thee, deem it beseemeth thee
thus for mute stones to wail thee, all thy foes witnesses.

What though fortune flout thee! Thus Om Howeyrith did,
thus did thy Om Rebabi, fooled thee in Masali.

O, where these two tented, sweet was the breath of them,
sweet as of musk their fragrance, sweet as garanfoli.

Mourned I for them long days, wept for the love of them,
tears on my bosom raining, tears on my sword-handle.

Yet, was I unvanquished. Had I not happiness,
I, at their hands in Daret, Daret of Juljuli?

O that day of all days! Slew I my milch-camel,
feasted the maidens gaily: well did they load for me!

Piled they high the meat-strings. All day they pelted me,
pelted themselves with fatness, fringes of camel-meat.

Climbed I to her howdah, sat with Oneyzata,
while at my raid she chided: Man ! Must I walk afoot?

Swayed the howdah wildly, she and I close in it:
There! my beast’s back is galled now. Slave of Grief,
down with thee.

Answered I: Nay, sweet heart, loosen the rein of him.
Think not to stay my kisses. Here will I harvest them.

Grieve not for thy camel. Grudge not my croup-riding.
Give me and thee to taste things sweeter than clove-

Kisses on thy white teeth, teeth, nay the pure petals,
even and clean and close-set, wreathing a camomile.

Wooed have I thy equals, maidens and wedded ones.
Her, the nursling’s mother, did I not win to her?

What though he wailed loudly, babe of the amulets,
turned she not half towards him, half of her clasped to me?

Woe is me, the hard heart! How did she mock at me,
high on the sand-hill sitting, vowing to leave and go!

Fatma, nay, my own love, though thou wouldst break with
still be thou kind awhile now, leave me not utterly.

Clean art thou mistaken. Love is my malady.
Ask me the thing thou choosest. Straight will I execute.

If so be thou findest ought in thy lover wrong,
cast from thy back my garments, moult thee my finery.

Woe is me, the hard heart ! When did tears trouble thee,
save for my soul’s worse wounding, stricken and near to

Fair too was that other, she the veil-hidden one,
howdahed how close, how guarded! Yet did she welcome

Passed I twixt her tent-ropes : what though her near-of-kin
lay in the dark to slay me, blood-shedders all of them.

Came I at the mid-night, hour when the Pleiades
showed as the links of seed-pearls binding the sky’s

Stealing in, I stood there. She had cast off from her
every robe but one robe, all but her night-garment.

Tenderly she scolded : What is this stratagem?
Speak, on thine oath, thou mad one. Stark is thy

Passed we out together, while she drew after us
on our twin track to hide it, wise, her embroideries,

Fled beyond the camp-lines. There in security
dark in the sand we lay down far from the prying eyes.

By her plaits I wooed her, drew her face near to me,
won to her waist how frail-lined, hers of the ankle-rings.

Fair-faced she no redness noble of countenance,
smooth as of glass her bosom, bare with its necklaces.

Thus are pearls yet virgin, seen through the dark water,
clear in the sea-depths gleaming, pure, inaccessible.

Coyly she withdraws her, shows us a cheek, a lip,
she a gazelle of Wujra: yearling the fawn with her.

Roe-like her throat slender, white as an ariel’s,
sleek to thy lips up-lifted : pearls are its ornament.

On her shoulders fallen thick lie the locks of her,
dark as the dark date – clusters hung from the palm –

See the side-plaits pendent, high on the brows of her,
tressed in a knot, the caught ones fast with the fallen

Slim her waist: a well-cord scarce has its slenderness.
Smooth are her legs as reed-stems stripped at a water-

The morn through she sleepeth, musk-strewn in indolence,
hardly at noon hath risen, girded her day dresses.

Soft her touch: her fingers fluted as water- worms,
sleek as the snakes of Thobya, tooth-sticks of ‘Ishali.

Lighteneth she night’s darkness, ay, as an evening lamp
hung for a sign of guidance lone on a hermitage.

Who but shall desire her, seeing her standing thus,
half in her childhood’s short frock, half in her woman’s
robe !

Strip thee of youth’s fooling, thou in thy manhood’s
Yet to her love be faithful: hold it a robe to thee.

Many tongues have spoken, warned me of craft in love.
Yet have they failed an answer: all were thine enemies.

Dim the drear night broodeth: veil upon veil let down,
dark as a mad sea raging, tempting the heart of me.

Spake I to Night stoutly, while he, a slow camel,
dragged with his hind-feet halting: gone the forehand of

Night! I cried, thou snail Night, when wilt thou turn to
When? Though in sooth day’s dawning worse were than
thou to me.

Sluggard Night, what stays thee ? Chained hang the stars
of thee,
fast to the rocks with hempen ropes set un-movable.

Water-skins of some folk ay, with the thong of them
laid on my naga’s wither borne have I joyfully,

Crossed how lone the rain-ways, bare as an ass-belly:
near me the wolf, starved gamester, howled to his

Cried I: Wolf, thou wailest. Surely these lives of ours,
thine and my own, go empty, robbed of prosperity.

All we won we leave here. Whoso shall follow us,
seed in our corn-track casting, reap shall he barrenness.

Rode I forth at day-dawn–birds in their nests asleep–
stout on my steed, the sleek coat, him the game-

Lo, he chargeth, turneth–gone is he–all in one, like
to a rock stream-trundled, hurled from it’s eminence.

Red-bay he—his loin-cloth chafing the ribs of him.
Shifts as a rain-stream smoothing stones in a river-bed.

Hard is he–he snorteth loud in the pride of him, fierce
as a full pot boiling, bubbling beneath the lid.

Straineth he how stoutly, while, as spent fishes swim,
tied to his track the fleet ones plow his steps wearily.

See, in scorn he casteth youth from the back of him,
leaveth the horseman cloakless, naked the hard-ride.

As a sling-stone hand-whirled, so is the might of him,
loosed from the string that held it, hurled from the
spliced ribbon.

Lean his flanks, gazelle-like, legs as the ostrich’s; he like
a strong wolf troteth; lithe as a fox-cub he.

Stout his frame; behind him, look, you shall note of him
full-filled the hind-leg gap, tail with no twist in it.

Polished, hard his quarters, smooth as the pounding-
stone used for a bridegroom’s spices, grind-slab of

As the henna juice lies dyed on a beard grown hoar, so
on his neck the blood-stains mark the game down-

Rushed we on the roe-herd. Sudden, as maids at play
circling in skirts low-training, forth leaped the does
of it.

Flashing fled they, jewels, shells set alternately on a
young gallant’s neck-string, his the high pedigreed.

Yet he gained their leaders, far while behind him lay
bunched in a knot the hindmost, ere they fled scatter-

‘Twixt the cow and bull herds held he in wrath his road;
made he of both his booty–sweatless the neck of

All that day we roasted, seethed the sweet meat of them,
row upon row in cauldrons, firelighters all of us.

Nathless home at night-fall, he in the fore-front still.
Where is the eye shall bind him? How shall it follow

The night through he watcheth, scorneth him down to
lay, close, while I sleep, still saddled, bridled by side
of me.

Friend, thou seest the lightning. Mark where it
wavereth, gleameth like fingers twisted, clasped in
the cloud-rivers.

Like a lamp new-lighted, so is the flash of it, trimmed
by a hermit nightly pouring oil-sesame.

Stood I long a watcher, twin-friends how dear with me,
till in Otheyb it faded, ended in Dariji.

By it’s path we judged it: rain over Kattan is; far in
Sitar it falleth, streameth in Yathoboli.

Gathereth gross the flood-head dammed in Kuteyfati.
Woe to the trees, the branched ones! Woe the kanah-

El Kanaan hath known it, quailed from the lash of it.
Down from their lairs it driveth hot foot the ibexes.

Known it too hath Teyma; standeth no palm of her
there, nor no house low-founded,–none but her rock-

Stricken stood Thabira whelmed by the rush of it, like
an old chief robe-folded, bowed in his striped mantle.

nay, but he Mujeymir, tall-peaked at dawn of day,
showed like a spinster’s distaff tossed on the flood-

Cloud-wrecked lay the valley piled with the load of it,
high as in sacks the Yemami heapeth his corn-

Seemed it then the song-birds, wine-drunk at sun-rising,
loud through the valley shouted, maddened with

While the wild beast corpses, grouped like great bulbs
up-torn, cumbered the hollow places, drowned in the

Black Marigolds (versified translation by E. Powys Mathers of the 11th century Sanskrit poem “Caurapañcāśikā”, written by the Kasmiri poet Bilhana Kavi)




Even now
My thought is all of this gold-tinted king’s daughter
With garlands tissue and golden buds,
Smoke tangles of her hair, and sleeping or waking
Feet trembling in love, full of pale languor;
My thought is clinging as to a lost learning
Slipped down out of the minds of men,
Labouring to bring her back into my soul.

Even now
If I see in my soul the citron-breasted fair one
Still gold-tinted, her face like our night stars,
Drawing unto her; her body beaten about with flame,
Wounded by the flaring spear of love,
My first of all by reason of her fresh years,
Then is my heart buried alive in snow.

Even now
If my girl with lotus eyes came to me again
Weary with the dear weight of young love,
Again I would give her to these starved twins of arms
And from her mouth drink down the heavy wine,
As a reeling pirate bee in fluttered ease
Steals up the honey from the nenuphar.

Even now
I bring her back, ah, wearied out with love
So that her slim feet could not bear her up;
Curved falls of her hair down on her white cheeks;
In the confusion of her coloured vests
Speaking that guarded giving up, and her scented arms
Lay like cool bindweed over against my neck.

Even now
I bring her back to me in her quick shame,
Hiding her bright face at the point of day;
Making her grave eyes move in watered stars,
For love’s great sleeplessness wandering all night,
Seeming to sail gently, as that pink bird,
Down the water of love in a harvest of lotus.

Even now
If I saw her lying all wide eyes
And with collyrium the indent of her cheek
Lengthened to the bright ear and her pale side
So suffering the fever of my distance,
Then would my love for her be ropes of flowers, and night
A black-haired lover on the breasts of day.

Even now
I see the heavy startled hair of this reed-flute player
Who curved her poppy lips to love dances,
Having a youth’s face madding like the moon
Lying at her full; limbs ever moving a little in love,
Too slight, too delicate, tired with the small burden
Of bearing love ever on white feet.

Even now
She is present to me on her beds,
Balmed with the exhalation of a flattering musk,
Rich with the curly essence of santal;
Girl with eyes dazing as the seeded-wine,
Showing as a pair of gentle nut-hatches
Kissing each other with their bills, each hidden
By turns within a little grasping mouth.

Even now
She swims back in the crowning hour of love
All red with wine her lips have given to drink,
Soft round the mouth with camphor and faint blue
Tinted upon the lips, her slight body,
Her great live eyes, the colourings of herself
A clear perfection; sighs of musk outstealing
And powdered wood spice heavy of Cashmir.

Even now
I see her; fair face blond like gold
Rich with small lights, and tinted shadows surprised
Over and over all of her; with glittering eyes
All bright for love but very love-weary,
As it were the conjuring disk of the moon when Rahu ceases
With his dark stumbling-block to hide her rays.

Even now
She is art-magically present to my soul
And that one word of strange heart’s ease, good-bye,
That in the night, in loth moving to go,
And bending over to a golden mouth,
I said softly to the turned away
Tenderly tired hair of this king’s daughter.

Even now
My eyes that hurry to see no more are painting, painting
Faces of my lost girl. O golden rings,
That tap against cheeks of small magnolia leaves,
O whitest so soft parchment where
My poor divorced lips have written excellent
Stanzas of kisses, and will write no more. 

Even now
Death sends me the flickering of powdery lids
Over wild eyes and the pity of her slim body
All broken up with the weariness of joy;
The little red flowers of her breasts to be my comfort
Moving above scarves, and for my sorrow
Wet crimson lips that once I marked as mine.

Even now
By a cool noise of waters in the spring
The asoka with young flowers that feign her fingers
And bud in red; and in the green vest pearls kissing
As it were rose leaves in the gardens of God; the shining at night
Of white cheeks in the dark; smiles from light thoughts within,
And her walking as of a swan; these trouble me.

Even now
The pleased intimacy of rough love
Upon the patient glory of her form
Racks me with memory; and her bright dress
As it were yellow flame, which the white hand
Shamefastly gathers in her rising haste,
The slender grace of her departing feet.

Even now
When all my heavy heart is broken up
I seem to see my prison walls breaking
And then a light, and in that light a girl
Her fingers busied about her hair, her cool white arms
Faint rosy at the elbows, raised in the sunlight,
And temperate eyes that wander far away.

Even now
I seem to see my prison walls come close,
Built up of darkness, and against that darkness
A girl no taller than my breast and very tired,
Leaning upon the bed and smiling, feeding
A little bird and lying slender as ash-trees,
Sleepily aware as I told of the green
Grapes and the small bright-coloured river flowers. 

Even now
I see her, as I used, in her white palace
Under black torches throwing cool red light,
Woven with many flowers and tearing the dark.
I see her rising, showing all her face
Defiant timidly, saying clearly;
Now I shall go to sleep, good-night, my ladies.

Even now
Though I am so far separate, a flight of birds
Swinging from side to side over the valley trees,
Passing my prison with their calling and crying,
Bring me to see my girl. For very bird-like
Is her song singing, and the state of a swan
In her light walking, like the shaken wings
Of a black eagle falls her nightly hair.

Even now
I know my princess was happy. I see her stand
Touching her breasts with all her flower-soft fingers,
Looking askance at me with smiling eyes.
There is a god that arms him with a flower
And she was stricken deep. Her, oh die here.
Kiss me and I shall be purer than quick rivers.

Even now
They chatter her weakness through the two bazaars
Who was so strong to love me. And small men
That buy and sell for silver being slaves
Crinkle the fat about their eyes; and yet
No Prince of the Cities of the Sea has taken her,
Leading to his grim bed. Little lonely one,
You clung to me as a garment clings, my girl.

Even now
Only one dawn shall rise for me. The stars
Revolve to-morrow’s night and I not heed.
One brief cold watch beside an empty heart
And that is all. This night she rests not well;
Oh, sleep; for there is heaviness for all the world
Except for the death-lighted heart of me.

Even now
My sole concern the slipping of her vests,
Her little breasts the life beyond this life.
One night of disarray in her green hems,
Her golden cloths, outweighs the order of the earth,
Making of none effect the tides of the sea.
I have seen her enter the temple meekly and there seem
The flag of flowers that veils the very god.

Even now
I mind the coming and talking of wise men from towers
Where they had thought away their youth. And I, listening,
Found not the salt of the whispers of my girl,
Murmur of confused colours, as we lay near sleep;
Little wise words and little witty words
Wanton as water, honeyed with eagerness.

Even now
I call to mind her weariness in the morning
Close lying in my arms, and tiredly smiling
At my disjointed prayer for her small sake.
Now in my morning the weariness of death
Sends me to sleep. Had I made coffins
I might have lived singing to three score. 

Even now
The woodcutter and fisherman turn home,
With on his axe the moon and in his dripping net
Caught yellow moonlight. The purple flame of fire
Calls them to love and sleep. From the hot town
The maker of scant songs for bread wanders
To lie under the clematis with his girl.
The moon shines on her breasts, and I must die. 

Even now
I have a need to make up prayers, to speak
My last consideration of the world
To the great thirteen gods, to make my balance
Ere the soul journeys on. I kneel and say:
Father of Light. Leave we it burning still
That I may look at you. Mother of the Stars,
Give me your feet to kiss; I love you, dear.

Even now
I seem to see the face of my lost girl
With frightened eyes, like a wood wanderer,
In travail with sorrowful waters, unwept tears
Labouring to be born and fall; when white face turned
And little ears caught at the far murmur,
The pleased snarling of the tumult of dogs
When I was buried away down the white road. 

Even now
When slow rose-yellow moons looked out at night
To guard the sheaves of harvest and mark down
The peach’s fall, how calm she was and love worthy.
Glass-coloured starlight falling as thin as dew
Was wont to find us at the spirit’s starving time
Slow straying in the orchard paths with love. 

Even now
Love is a god and Rati the dark his bride;
But once I found their child and she was fairer,
That could so shine. And we were each to each
Wonderful and a presence not yet felt
In any dream. I knew the sunset earth
But as a red gold ring to bear my emerald
Within the little summer of my youth.

Even now
I marvel at the bravery of love,
She, whose two feet might be held in one hand
And all her body on a shield of the guards,
Lashed like a gold panther taken in a pit
Tearfully valiant, when I too was taken’
Bearding her black-beard father in his wrath,
Striking the soldiers with white impotent hands.

Even now
I mind that I loved cypress and roses, dear,
The great blue mountains and the small grey hills,
The sounding of the sea. Upon a day
I saw strange eyes and hands like butterflies;
For me at morning larks flew from the thyme
And children came to bathe in little streams.

Even now
Sleep left me all these nights for your white bed
And I am sure you sistered lay with sleep
After much weeping. Piteous little love,
Death is in the garden, time runs down,
The year that simple and unexalted ran till now
Ferments in winy autumn, and I must die.

Even now
I mind our going, full of bewilderment
As who should walk from sleep into great light,
Along the running of the winter river,
A dying sun on the cool hurrying tide
No more by green rushes delayed in dalliance,
With a clear purpose in his flower-flecked length
Informed, to reach Nirvana and the sea.

Even now
I love long black eyes that caress like silk,
Ever and ever sad and laughing eyes,
Whose lids make such sweet shadow when they close
It seems another beautiful look of hers.
I love a fresh mouth, ah, a scented mouth,
And curving hair, subtle as a smoke,
And light fingers, and laughter of green gems.

Even now
I mind asking: Where love and how love Rati’s priestesses?
You can tell me of their washings at moon-down
And if that warm basin have silver borders.
Is it so that when they comb their hair
Their fingers, being purple-stained, show
Like coral branches in the black sea of their hair?

Even now
I remember that you made answer very softly,
We being one soul, your hand on my hair,
The burning memory rounding your near lips;
I have seen the priestesses of Rati make love at moon-fall
And then in a carpeted hall with a bright gold lamp
Lie down carelessly anywhere to sleep.

Even now
I have no surety that she is not Mahadevi
Rose red of Siva, or Kapagata
The wilful ripe Companion of the King,
Or Krishna’s own Lakshmi, the violet-haired.
I am not certain but that dark Brahma
In his high secret purposes
Has sent my soft girl down to make the three worlds mad
With capering about her scented feet.

Even now
Call not the master painters from all the world,
Their thin black boards, their rose and green and grey,
Their ashes of lapis ultramarine, Their earth of shadows the umber.
Laughing at art
Sunlight upon the body of my bride,
For painting not nor any eyes for ever.
Oh warm tears on the body of my bride.

Even now
I mind when the red crowds were passed and it was raining
How glad those two that shared the rain with me;
For they talked happily with rich young voices
And at the storm’s increase, closer and with content,
Each to the body of the other held
As there were no more severance for ever.

Even now
The stainless fair appearance of the moon
Rolls her gold beauty over an autumn sky
And the stiff anchorite forgets to pray;
How much the sooner I, if her wild mouth
Tasting of the taste of manna came to mine
And kept my soul at balance above a kiss. 

Even now
Her mouth careless scented as with lotus dust
Is water of love to the great heat of love,
A tirtha very holy, a lover’s lake
Utterly sacred. Might I go down to it
But one more time, then should I find a way
To hold my lake for ever and ever more
Sobbing out my life beside the waters.

Even now
I mind that the time of the falling of blossoms started my dream
Into a wild life, into my girl;
Then was the essence of her beauty spilled
Down on my days so that it fades not,
Fails not, subtle and fresh, in perfuming
That day, and the days, and this the latest day. 

Even now
She with young limbs as smooth as flower pollen,
Whose swaying body is laved in the cool
Waters of languor, this dear bright-coloured bird,
Walks not, changes not, advances not
Her weary station by the black lake
Of Gone Forever, in whose fountain vase
Balance the water-lilies of my thought.

Even now
Spread we our nets beyond the farthest rims
So surely that they take the feet of dawn
Before you wake and after you are sleeping
Catch up the visible and invisible stars
And web the ports the strongest dreamer dreamed,
Yet is it all one, Vidya, yet it is nothing.

Even now
The night is full of silver straws of rain,
And I will send my soul to see your body
This last poor time. I stand beside our bed;
Your shadowed head lies leaving a bright space
Upon the pillow empty, your sorrowful arm
Holds from your side and clasps not anything.
There is no covering upon you.

Even now
I think your feet seek mine to comfort them.
There is some dream about you even now
Which I’ll not hear at waking. Weep not at dawn,
Though day brings wearily your daily loss
And all the light is hateful. Now is it time
To bring my soul away. 

Even now
I mind that I went round with men and women,
And underneath their brows, deep in their eyes,
I saw their souls, which go slippng aside
In swarms before the pleasure of my mind;
The world was like a flight of birds, shadow or flame
Which I saw pass above the engraven hills.
Yet was there never one like to my woman.

Even now
Death I take up as consolation.
Nay, were I free as the condor with his wings
Or old kings throned on violet ivory,
Night would not come without beds of green floss
And never a bed without my bright darling.
 Most fit that you strike now, black guards,
And let the fountain out before the dawn.

Even now
I know that I have savoured the hot taste of life
Lifting green cups and gold at the great feast.
Just for a small and a forgotten time
I have had full in my eyes from off my girl
The whitest pouring of eternal light.
The heavy knife. As to a gala day.



“This is a versified translation of the Caurapañcāśikā. This love poem of fifty stanzas was written by the Kasmiri poet Bilhana Kavi in the 11th century. The story runs that the Brahman Bilhana had a clandestine love affair with Princess Yaminipurnatilaka, the daughter of King Madanabhirama. He was discovered and Bilhana wrote this poem in prison before he learned whether he would be executed or banished. The historic outcome is unknown, which adds to the readers’ suspense.

Initially this poem was transmitted orally, and by the time it was written down, there several variations: the South Indian versions tend to have a happy ending, and the Northern, Kashmiri, recension has an open ending.

The Caurapañcāśikā was ‘discovered’ by Europeans in the nineteenth century. The first French edition, published in The Journal Asiatique of 1848, was based on one of the South Indian versions with a happy ending. There were several 19th century translations in various languages; it was suitable material for Romantic poets, including Sir Edwin Arnold, who produced his own (very loose) translation. In 1919, the English poet Powys Mathers produced this free-verse translation, titled Black Marigolds. This was the translation which John Steinbeck quotes in Cannery Row. A modern version worth looking for isThe Secret Delights of Love, by Gertrude Clorius Schwebell, Peter Pauper Press, New York [1966].”

Extraordinary 2003 History Channel Documentary on Dr Seuss

Dr Seuss: Rhymes and Reasons (2003 documentary) Part 1 of 9
Oh! The Places You’ll Go!
by Dr. Seuss
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know. 
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
You’ll look up and down streets. 
Look’em over with care. 
About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.” 
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, 
you’re too smart to go down a not-so-good street.
And you may not find any you’ll want to go down. 
In that case, of course, you’ll head straight out of town. 
It’s opener there in the wide open air.
Out there things can happen and frequently do 
to people as brainy and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen, don’t worry. 
Don’t stew. Just go right along. 
You’ll start happening too.
Oh! The Places You’ll Go!
You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.
You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed. 
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead. 
Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best. 
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.
I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups 
and Hang-ups can happen to you.
You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch. 
And your gang will fly on. You’ll be left in a Lurch.
You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. 
And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump.
And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. 
Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.
You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. 
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darker. 
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! 
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? 
How much can you lose? How much can you win?
And if you go in, should you turn left or right…
or right-and-three-quarters? 
Or, maybe, not quite? 
Or go around back and sneak in from behind? 
Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find, 
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.
You can get so confused that you’ll start in 
to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace 
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, 
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, 
or a plane to go or the mail to come, 
or the rain to go or the phone to ring, 
or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No 
or waiting for their hair to grow. 
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite 
or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, 
for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, 
or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, 
or Another Chance. 
Everyone is just waiting.
No! That’s not for you!
Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying. 
You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing. 
With banner flip-flapping, once more you’ll ride high! 
Ready for anything under the sky. 
Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!
Oh, the places you’ll go! 
There is fun to be done! 
There are points to be scored. 
There are games to be won. 
And the magical things you can do with that ball 
will make you the winning-est winner of all. 
Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be, 
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.
Except when they don’t. Because, sometimes, they won’t.
I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too. 
Games you can’t win ‘cause you’ll play against you.
All Alone!
Whether you like it or not, 
Alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot.
And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance you’ll 
meet things that scare you right out of your pants. 
There are some, down the road between hither and yon, 
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.
But on you will go though the weather be foul. 
On you will go though your enemies prowl. 
On you will go though the Hakken-Kraks howl. 
Onward up many a frightening creek, 
though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. 
On and on you will hike. 
And I know you’ll hike far 
and face up to your problems whatever they are.
You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. 
You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. 
So be sure when you step. 
Step with care and great tact 
and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. 
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. 
And never mix up your right foot with your left.
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)
Kid, you’ll move mountains!
So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby 
or Bray or Mordecai Ale Van Allen O’Shea, 
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!


Role Model to Superheroes: Walt Whitman, America’s Poet

“Walt Whitman, an American, one of the roughs, a kosmos, disorderly, fleshly, and sensual, no sentimentalist, no stander above men or women or apart from them, no more modest than immodest”

“This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.” 

Part of Whitman’s role at the Attorney General’s office was interviewing former Confederate soldiers for Presidential pardons. “There are real characters among them”, he later wrote, “and you know I have a fancy for anything out of the ordinary.”

Whitman wrote in the preface to the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass, “The proof of a poet is that his country absorbs him as affectionately as he has absorbed it.”

Whitman died on March 26, 1892. Thousands visited attended his funeral, Whitman’s oak coffin was barely visible because of all the flowers and wreaths left for him.

His poem “Song of the Open Road” may be found here.

Role Model to Superheroes: Rabia Basri (Rābiʻa al-ʻAdawiyya al-Qaysiyya رابعة العدوية القيسية ) Original Sufi Celebrant of ‘Divine Love’

of what
I would want my child to know
my poems attempt.
We are infants before each other, are we not,
so vulnerable to each other’s words and 
A school I sat in cured me of hurting others.
I have come to see that all are seated at God’s table, 
and I have become God’s
Sometimes God is too shy to speak in public
and so God
pinches me.
is my cue —
to fill in the blanks of your
the best I 
(Rabia lived from 717 to 801 in Basra, Iraq)
Since no one really knows anything about God,
those who think they do are just
She is without a doubt the most popular and influential of female Islamic saints and a central figure in the Sufi tradition.  Having been born nearly 500 years before Rumi, she, more than any other poet, influenced his writings.  Reading Rabia is like reading Rumi or Hafez – in the original.

Role Model to Superheroes: Pablo Neruda (Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto), Poet of Hope, Love, and Humanity

Neruda occupied many diplomatic posts and served a stint as a senator for the Chilean Communist Party. When conservative Chilean President González Videla outlawed communism in Chile in 1948, a warrant was issued for Neruda’s arrest. Friends hid him for months in a house basement in the Chilean port of Valparaíso before he escaped into exile through a mountain pass near Maihue Lake to Argentina.

Years later, Neruda was a close collaborator to socialist President Salvador Allende. When Neruda returned to Chile after his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Allende invited him to read at the Estadio Nacional before 70,000 people. Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet denied permission to transform Neruda’s funeral into a public event. However, hundreds of thousands of grieving Chileans disobeyed the curfew and crowded the streets of Santiago.

Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez called Neruda “the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language.” Neruda always wrote in green ink, “the color of hope.”

Every Day You Play
Every day you play with the light of the universe.
Subtle visitor, you arrive in the flower and the water.
You are more than this white head that I hold tightly
as a cluster of fruit, every day, between my hands.
You are like nobody since I love you.
Let me spread you out among yellow garlands.
Who writes your name in letters of smoke among the stars of the south?
Oh let me remember you as you were before you existed.
Suddenly the wind howls and bangs at my shut window.
The sky is a net crammed with shadowy fish.
Here all the winds let go sooner or later, all of them.
The rain takes off her clothes.
The birds go by, fleeing.
The wind. The wind.
I can contend only against the power of men.
The storm whirls dark leaves
and turns loose all the boats that were moored last night to the sky.
You are here. Oh, you do not run away.
You will answer me to the last cry.
Cling to me as though you were frightened.
Even so, at one time a strange shadow ran through your eyes.
Now, now too, little one, you bring me honeysuckle,
and even your breasts smell of it.
While the sad wind goes slaughtering butterflies
I love you, and my happiness bites the plum of your mouth.
How you must have suffered getting accustomed to me,
my savage, solitary soul, my name that sends them all running.
So many times we have seen the morning star burn, kissing our eyes,
and over our heads the gray light unwind in turning fans.
My words rained over you, stroking you.
A long time I have loved the sunned mother-of-pearl of your body.
I go so far as to think that you own the universe.
I will bring you happy flowers from the mountains, bluebells,
dark hazels, and rustic baskets of kisses.
I want to do with you what spring does with cherry trees.

Welcome Splash Image with Short Poem for Facebook’s Hafez Page

(click for enlarged version)

An English language Facebook Page with more poetry may be viewed here:

(Facebook has a ‘Hefez’ Wikipedia Community page and dozens in Persian for him…but the only English language page uses ‘Hafiz’…and features none of his poetry…so….)