Archive for April, 2013

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Listen to the Wind by Caroline Sturgis Tappan

Oft do I pause amid this various life,
And ask me whence and to what end I be,
And how this world is, with its busy strife,
Till all seems new and marvellous to me.
The faces and the forms, which long had grown
Tedious and common to my wearied sense,
Seem in a moment changed to things unknown,
And I gaze at them with an awe intense;
But none do stop to wonder with me too,
So I pass on and mingle with the rest,
And quite forget the far and wondrous view
In glimpses shown, when mystery was my guest.
Yet, when I sit and prate of idle things
With idle men, the night wind’s howl I hear,
And straight come back those dim, wild questionings,
Like ghosts who wander through a sense-bound sphere.

From: Tappan, Caroline Sturgis, Listen to the Wind, The Dial, April 1841, I (IV), 461

Date: 1841

By: Caroline Sturgis Tappan (1818-1888)

Monday, 29 April 2013

Virtues That Pay by Joseph Furphy

You argue — as sympathy governs your bias —
That Wisdom distributes the capon and crust,
Indulging the sinful, and stinting the pious,
Or starving the wicked, and fattening the just.
You are wongwrong to the Evil One; hear what I say
There are ruinous virtues, and virtues that pay.

If your purpose be saving your soul and your bacon —
Fruition forthwith, and a sweet by-and-bye;
If your definite project stand clear and unshaken
A fatman on earth, and a seraph on high
In working this out let it still be your lay
There are ruinous virtues, and virtues that pay.

Such virtues are not of the workshop or cloister:
They test every act by the way it pans out;
They prompt you to seize on the world as your oyster,
Inserting our knife with a spirit devout.
For strait is the portal, and narrow the way
Representing the route of the virtues that pay.

Men as good as yourself, or most probably better,
Have gone to the rear, after many a try —
A permanent wage-slave, a usurers’ debtor
Reduced to the motto of “Root, hog or die,”
But their handicap dates from an earlier day,
When they failed in espousals of virtues that pay.

There is nothing outre in the man with the bluey;
He started, like you, for a goal undisclosed
But never in life can he come within coo-ee —
Though he may reach a goal, (with the vowels transposed)
And a similar Sheol gapes fair in your way,
If you turn out deficient in virtues that pay.

You must race, like St. Paul —you must race for the dollar —
No pause of compunction must ever intrude:
You must watch, you must pray, never missing a collar
The course is severe, and the company good.
You must reverence the Thrift-God, and earnestly pray
To be grounded and built up in virtues that pay.

By this means you will serve the Almighty and Mammon,
And die in a state of salvation and wealth;
When the clergy, without a suggestion of gammon,
Will furnish your soul with a clean bill of health.
So you’ll sweep through the gates in your spotless array
A shining example of Virtues that pay.

From: Furphy, Joseph, The Poems of Joseph Furphy Collected and Edited by K B, 1916, Lothian Book Publishing Company: Melbourne and Sydney, pp, 26-27.

Date: 1916 (published)

By: Joseph Furphy (1843-1912)

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Questionings by Frederic Henry Hedge

Hath this world, without me wrought,
Other substance than my thought?
Lives it by my sense alone,
Or by essence of its own?
Will its life, with mine begun,
Cease to be when that is done,
Or another consciousness
With the self-same forms impress?

Doth yon fireball, poised in air,
Hang by my permission there?
Are the clouds that wander by,
But the offspring of mine eye,
Born with every glance I cast,
Perishing when that is past?
And those thousand, thousand eyes,
Scattered through the twinkling skies,
Do they draw their life from mine,
Or, of their own beauty shine?

Now I close my eyes, my ears,
And creation disappears;
Yet if I but speak the word,
All creation is restored.
Or–more wonderful–within,
New creations do begin;
Hues more bright and forms more rare,
Thank reality doth wear,
Flash across my inward sense,
Born of the mind’s omnipotence.

Soul! that all informest, say!
Shall those glories pass away?
Will those planets cease to blaze,
When these eyes no longer gaze?
And the life of things be o’er,
When these pulses beat no more?

Thought! that in me works and lives,–
Life to all things living gives,–
Art thou not thyself, perchance,
But the universe in trance?
A reflection inly flung
By that world thou fanciedst sprung
From thyself;–thyself a dream;–
Of the world’s thinking thou the theme.

Be it thus, or be thy birth
From a source above the earth.
Be thou matter, be thou mind,
In thee alone myself I find,
And through thee alone, for me,
Hath this world reality.
Therefore, in thee will I live,
To thee all myself will give,
Losing still, that I may find,
This bounded self in boundless Mind.


Date: 1841

By: Frederic Henry Hedge (1805-1890)

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Anti-Love Poem by Grace Goodside Paley

Sometimes you don’t want to love the person you love
you turn your face away from that face
whose eyes lips might make you give up anger
forget insult     steal sadness of not wanting
to love     turn away then turn away     at breakfast
in the evening     don’t lift your eyes from the paper
to see that face in all its seriousness     a
sweetness of concentration     he holds his book
in his hand     the hard-knuckled winter wood-
scarred fingers     turn away     that’s all you can
do     old as you are to save yourself     from love


Date: 2003

By: Grace Goodside Paley (1922-2007)

Friday, 26 April 2013

Where the Dead Men Lie by Barcroft Henry Thomas Boake

Out on the wastes of the Never Never—
That’s where the dead men lie!
There where the heat-waves dance for ever—
That’s where the dead men lie!
That’s where the Earth’s loved sons are keeping
Endless tryst: not the west wind sweeping
Feverish pinions can wake their sleeping—
Out where the dead men lie!

Where brown Summer and Death have mated—
That’s where the dead men lie!
Loving with fiery lust unsated—
That’s where the dead men lie!
Out where the grinning skulls bleach whitely
Under the saltbush sparkling brightly;
Out where the wild dogs chorus nightly—
That’s where the dead men lie!

Deep in the yellow, flowing river—
That’s where the dead men lie!
Under the banks where the shadows quiver—
That’s where the dead men lie!

Where the platypus twists and doubles,
Leaving a train of tiny bubbles;
Rid at last of their earthly troubles—
That’s where the dead men lie!

East and backward pale faces turning—
That’s how the dead men lie!
Gaunt arms stretched with a voiceless yearning—
That’s how the dead men lie!
Oft in the fragrant hush of nooning
Hearing again their mothers’ crooning,
Wrapt for aye in a dreamful swooning—
That’s how the dead men lie!

Only the hand of Night can free them—
That’s when the dead men fly!
Only the frightened cattle see them—
See the dead men go by!
Cloven hoofs beating out one measure,
Bidding the stockman know no leisure—
That’s when the dead men take their pleasure!
That’s when the dead men fly!

Ask, too, the never-sleeping drover:
He sees the dead pass by;
Hearing them call to their friends—the plover,
Hearing the dead men cry;
Seeing their faces stealing, stealing,
Hearing their laughter pealing, pealing,
Watching their grey forms wheeling, wheeling
Round where the cattle lie!

Strangled by thirst and fierce privation—
That’s how the dead men die!
Out on Moneygrub’s farthest station—
That’s how the dead men die!
Hardfaced greybeards, youngsters callow;
Some mounds cared for, some left fallow;
Some deep down, yet others shallow;
Some having but the sky.

Moneygrub, as he sips his claret,
Looks with complacent eye
Down at his watch-chain, eighteen-carat—
There, in his club, hard by:
Recks not that every link is stamped with
Names of the men whose limbs are cramped with
Too long lying in grave mould, camped with
Death where the dead men lie.

From: Boake, Barcroft, Where the Dead Men Lie, 1897, Angus and Robertson: Sydney, pp. 140-142.

Date: 1891

By: Barcroft Henry Thomas Boake (1866-1892)

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels by Herbert (Bert) E Beros

Dedicated to Sapper Victor Cooke, 2/22nd Field Coy, R.A.E.

Many a mother in Australia,
When the busy day is done,
Sends a prayer to the Almighty
For the keeping of her son,
Asking that an angel guide him
And bring him safely back—
Now we see those prayers are answered
On the Owen Stanley Track.
For they haven’t any halos,
Only holes slashed in their ears,
And their faces worked by tattoos,
With scratch pins in their hair.
Bringing back the badly wounded
Just as steady as a hearse,
Using leaves to keep the rain off
And as gentle as a nurse.
Slow and careful in bad places
On the awful mountain track,
The look upon their faces
Would make you think that Christ was black.
Not a move to hurt the wounded,
As they treat him like a saint;
It’s a picture worth recording,
That an artist’s yet to paint.
Many a lad will see his mother,
And husbands wee’uns and wives,
Just because the fuzzy wuzzies
Carried them to save their lives
From mortar bombs, machine-gun fire,
Or a chance surprise attack,
To safety and the care of doctors
At the bottom of the track.
May the mothers of Australia,
When they offer up a prayer,
Mention those impromptu angels,
With their fuzzy wuzzy hair.

Written 14 October 1942, at Dump 66, the first Range of the Owen Stanley.
Sapper H.E. “Bert” Beros, NX6925  7 Div., R.A.E., AIF.


Date: 1942

By: Herbert (Bert) E Beros (?1907-1974)

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Make the Extended Skies Your Tomb by James Hervey

Make the extended Skies your Tomb,
Let Stars record your Worth:
Yet know, vain Mortals, all must die,
As Nature’s sickliest Birth.

Wou’d bounteous Heav’n indulge my Pray’r,
I frame a nobler Choice;
Nor, living, wish the pompous Pile,
Nor dead regret the Loss.

In thy fair Book of Life divine,
My God, inscribe my Name:
Then let it fill some humble Place,
Beneath the slaughter’d Lamb.

The Saints, while Ages roll away,
In endless Fame survive;
Their Glories, o’er the Wrongs of Time,
Greatly triumphant, live.

From: Hervey, James, Meditations Among theTombs. In a Letter to a Lady, 1746, J and J Rivington and J Leake:London and Bath, pp. 48-49.

Date: 1746

By: James Hervey (1714-1758)

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Death by James Hervey Hyslop

It is not loneliness of soul.
Nor grief nor tears that sternly bring
The pall that rests on broken hearts.
But shattered hopes and bleeding wounds
Of mind and spirit, slow to heal.
And gentle souls will ever weep
When death’s cold ruthless hand lays hold
The silver cords of love and life.

From: Hyslop, James Hervey, Poems, Original and Translations, 1915, Small, Maynard & Company: Boston, p. 29.

Date: 1915

By: James Hervey Hyslop (1854-1920)

Monday, 22 April 2013

Fifteen, Maybe Sixteen Things to Worry About by Judith Viorst

My pants could maybe fall down when I dive off the diving board.
My nose could maybe keep growing and never quit.
Miss Brearly could ask me to spell words like stomach and special.
(Stumick and speshul?)
I could play tag all day and always be “it.”
Jay Spievack, who’s fourteen feet tall, could want to fight me.
My mom and my dad–like Ted’s–could want a divorce.
Miss Brearly could ask me a question about Afghanistan.
(Who’s Afghanistan?)
Somebody maybe could make me ride a horse.
My mother could maybe decide that I needed more liver.
My dad could decide that I needed less TV.
Miss Brearly could say that I have to write script and stop printing.
(I’m better at printing.)
Chris could decide to stop being friends with me.

The world could maybe come to an end on next Tuesday.
The ceiling could maybe come crashing on my head.
I maybe could run out of things for me to worry about.
And then I’d have to do my homework instead.


Date: 1981

By: Judith Viorst (1931- )

Sunday, 21 April 2013

A Song by Nathaniel Cotton

Tell me, my Caelia, why so coy,
Of men so much afraid;
Caelia, ’tis better far to die
A mother than a maid.

The rose, when past its damask hue,
Is always out of favour;
And when the plum hath lost its blue.
It loses too its flavour.

To vernal flow’rs the rolling years
Returning beauty bring ;
But faded once, thou’lt bloom no more,
Nor know a second spring.

From: Cotton, Nathaniel, Various Pieces in Verse and Prose by the Late Nathaniel Cotton, M.D., Many of Which Were Never Before Published, 1791, J Dodsley: London,p. 88.

Date: 1791

By: Nathaniel Cotton (1707-1788)