I’ve just got back from wonderfully inspiring Dublin where I attended an Interdependence Day Conference, a very good vintage, I reckon! Among the wonderful participants is one charming lady I keep loving more and more as she’s so authentic, with a priceless voice and a serene attitude I simply adore, Pam Rose. The way she sings Some walls haunts you for a long time.

She was kind enough to send me the lyrics of another marvelous and indeed extremely poetic song. I believe it belongs to this page

Bullet
As he placed me in the chamber, I could taste the sweat on his hands
He was a baby-faced Alabama boy playing soldiers in the sand
He was steady as the Tuscaloosa rain, as the cross-hairs found their mark
He whispered “Eagle eye can’t miss” cause God was on his side & in his heartback home more or less 195
He drew in half a breath as his trigger finger squeezed back slow
I’d waited all my life for this one moment, and I was ready to go
He said “This one’s for my baby girl” the rifle cracked and I began to spin
Down the barrel and out into a couple hundred yards of Heaven
I just go where I’m told and do what I was made to do
Don’t blame me, blame the gun or blame that boy who looked a lot like you
I am lead cased in steel and I can’t hate cause I can’t feel
And I don’t care who’s right, to tell the truth
I just go where I’m told and I do what I was made to do.
Flyin through the mornin sky I was thinkin’ ’bout the night before
I overheard a worried boy ask his friends what they thought about this war
But I was destiny bound and don’t that whistling sound like a dead man’s lullaby
And I did not feel a thing when I got close enough to look him in the eye
back home more or less 194I just go where I’m told and do what I was made to do
Don’t blame me, blame the gun or blame that man who looks a lot like you
I am lead cased in steel and I can’t hate cause I can’t feel
And I don’t care who wins, to tell the truth
I just go where I’m told and I do what I was made to do.
He was trying to load his gun while his brothers dropped like stones at his side
And I looked down at his bullets and I thought “what a wild, crazy ride”
Cause he was asking God for victory and praying for his babies back home
When I busted through his eyebrow and settled in his right temple bone
I just go where I’m told and do what I was made to do
Don’t blame me, blame the gun or blame that boy who looks a lot like you
I am lead cased in steel and I can’t hate cause I can’t feel
And I don’t care who dies, to tell the truth
I just go where I’m told and I do what I was made to do.
written by Lisa Carver

Thanks to the remarkable and multi-talented Franck Ferrand, I was reminded of the anniversary of one of my favourite author’s death…and of the beauty of his sad poem, despite his work considered light and witty. This is the dark side of a man who has known glory and fall, but who was above all graceful and charming. In the same programme, however, I heard of his rather strange attitude during the Dreyfus Affair, so invite you to ask for more if you are interested. He nevertheless remains high in my list of authors! This is also my way to cheer the inmates I was honored to meet recently in California

Here are the two versions, compliment of the Guthenberg Project…with some help from the Guardian:

First version prepared by:

Faith Knowles
faith@wile.thetech.org

The Ballad of Reading Gaol

I.

He did not wear his scarlet coat,
  For blood and wine are red,
And blood and wine were on his hands
  When they found him with the dead,
The poor dead woman whom he loved,
  And murdered in her bed.

He walked amongst the Trial Men
  In a suit of shabby grey;
A cricket cap was on his head,
  And his step seemed light and gay;
But I never saw a man who looked 
  So wistfully at the day.

I never saw a man who looked
  With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
  Which prisoners call the sky,
And at every drifting cloud that went
  With sails of silver by.

I walked, with other souls in pain,
  Within another ring,
And was wondering if the man had done
  A great or little thing,
When a voice behind me whispered low,
  "That fellows got to swing."

Dear Christ! the very prison walls
  Suddenly seemed to reel,
And the sky above my head became
  Like a casque of scorching steel;
And, though I was a soul in pain,
  My pain I could not feel.

I only knew what hunted thought 
  Quickened his step, and why
He looked upon the garish day
  With such a wistful eye;
The man had killed the thing he loved
  And so he had to die.
___
Yet each man kills the thing he loves
  By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
  Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
  The brave man with a sword!

Some kill their love when they are young,
  And some when they are old;
Some strangle with the hands of Lust,
  Some with the hands of Gold:
The kindest use a knife, because
  The dead so soon grow cold.

Some love too little, some too long,
  Some sell, and others buy;
Some do the deed with many tears,
  And some without a sigh:
For each man kills the thing he loves,
  Yet each man does not die.
___
He does not die a death of shame
  On a day of dark disgrace,
Nor have a noose about his neck,
  Nor a cloth upon his face,
Nor drop feet foremost through the floor
  Into an empty place

He does not sit with silent men 
  Who watch him night and day;
Who watch him when he tries to weep,
  And when he tries to pray;
Who watch him lest himself should rob
  The prison of its prey.

He does not wake at dawn to see
  Dread figures throng his room,
The shivering Chaplain robed in white,
  The Sheriff stern with gloom,
And the Governor all in shiny black,
  With the yellow face of Doom.

He does not rise in piteous haste
  To put on convict-clothes,
While some coarse-mouthed Doctor gloats, and notes
  Each new and nerve-twitched pose,
Fingering a watch whose little ticks
  Are like horrible hammer-blows.

He does not know that sickening thirst
  That sands one's throat, before
The hangman with his gardener's gloves
  Slips through the padded door,
And binds one with three leathern thongs,
  That the throat may thirst no more.

He does not bend his head to hear
  The Burial Office read,
Nor, while the terror of his soul
  Tells him he is not dead,
Cross his own coffin, as he moves
  Into the hideous shed.

He does not stare upon the air
  Through a little roof of glass;
He does not pray with lips of clay
  For his agony to pass;
Nor feel upon his shuddering cheek
  The kiss of Caiaphas.

II.

Six weeks our guardsman walked the yard,
  In a suit of shabby grey:
His cricket cap was on his head,
  And his step seemed light and gay,
But I never saw a man who looked 
  So wistfully at the day.

I never saw a man who looked 
  With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
  Which prisoners call the sky,
And at every wandering cloud that trailed
  Its raveled fleeces by.

He did not wring his hands, as do
  Those witless men who dare
To try to rear the changeling Hope
  In the cave of black Despair:
He only looked upon the sun,
  And drank the morning air.

He did not wring his hands nor weep,
  Nor did he peek or pine,
But he drank the air as though it held
  Some healthful anodyne;
With open mouth he drank the sun
  As though it had been wine!

And I and all the souls in pain,
  Who tramped the other ring,
Forgot if we ourselves had done 
  A great or little thing,
And watched with gaze of dull amaze
  The man who had to swing.

And strange it was to see him pass
  With a step so light and gay,
And strange it was to see him look 
  So wistfully at the day,
And strange it was to think that he
  Had such a debt to pay.
___
For oak and elm have pleasant leaves
  That in the spring-time shoot:
But grim to see is the gallows-tree,
  With its adder-bitten root,
And, green or dry, a man must die
  Before it bears its fruit!

The loftiest place is that seat of grace
  For which all worldlings try:
But who would stand in hempen band
  Upon a scaffold high,
And through a murderer's collar take
  His last look at the sky?

It is sweet to dance to violins
  When Love and Life are fair:
To dance to flutes, to dance to lutes
  Is delicate and rare:
But it is not sweet with nimble feet
  To dance upon the air!

So with curious eyes and sick surmise
  We watched him day by day,
And wondered if each one of us
  Would end the self-same way,
For none can tell to what red Hell
  His sightless soul may stray.

At last the dead man walked no more
  Amongst the Trial Men,
And I knew that he was standing up
  In the black dock's dreadful pen,
And that never would I see his face
  In God's sweet world again.

Like two doomed ships that pass in storm
  We had crossed each other's way:
But we made no sign, we said no word,
  We had no word to say;
For we did not meet in the holy night,
  But in the shameful day.

A prison wall was round us both,
  Two outcast men were we:
The world had thrust us from its heart,
  And God from out His care:
And the iron gin that waits for Sin
  Had caught us in its snare.

In Debtors' Yard the stones are hard,
  And the dripping wall is high,
So it was there he took the air
  Beneath the leaden sky,
And by each side a Warder walked,
  For fear the man might die.

Or else he sat with those who watched
  His anguish night and day;
Who watched him when he rose to weep,
  And when he crouched to pray;
Who watched him lest himself should rob
  Their scaffold of its prey.

The Governor was strong upon
  The Regulations Act:
The Doctor said that Death was but
  A scientific fact:
And twice a day the Chaplain called
  And left a little tract.

And twice a day he smoked his pipe,
  And drank his quart of beer:
His soul was resolute, and held
  No hiding-place for fear;
He often said that he was glad
  The hangman's hands were near.

But why he said so strange a thing
  No Warder dared to ask:
For he to whom a watcher's doom
  Is given as his task,
Must set a lock upon his lips,
  And make his face a mask.

Or else he might be moved, and try
  To comfort or console:
And what should Human Pity do
  Pent up in Murderers' Hole?
What word of grace in such a place
  Could help a brother's soul?

With slouch and swing around the ring
  We trod the Fool's Parade!
We did not care: we knew we were
  The Devil's Own Brigade:
And shaven head and feet of lead
  Make a merry masquerade.

We tore the tarry rope to shreds
  With blunt and bleeding nails;
We rubbed the doors, and scrubbed the floors,
  And cleaned the shining rails:
And, rank by rank, we soaped the plank,
  And clattered with the pails.

We sewed the sacks, we broke the stones,
  We turned the dusty drill:
We banged the tins, and bawled the hymns,
  And sweated on the mill:
But in the heart of every man
  Terror was lying still.

So still it lay that every day
  Crawled like a weed-clogged wave:
And we forgot the bitter lot
  That waits for fool and knave,
Till once, as we tramped in from work,
  We passed an open grave.

With yawning mouth the yellow hole
  Gaped for a living thing;
The very mud cried out for blood
  To the thirsty asphalte ring:
And we knew that ere one dawn grew fair
  Some prisoner had to swing.

Right in we went, with soul intent
  On Death and Dread and Doom:
The hangman, with his little bag,
  Went shuffling through the gloom
And each man trembled as he crept
  Into his numbered tomb.
____
That night the empty corridors
  Were full of forms of Fear,
And up and down the iron town
  Stole feet we could not hear,
And through the bars that hide the stars
  White faces seemed to peer.

He lay as one who lies and dreams
  In a pleasant meadow-land,
The watcher watched him as he slept,
  And could not understand
How one could sleep so sweet a sleep
  With a hangman close at hand?

But there is no sleep when men must weep
  Who never yet have wept:
So we--the fool, the fraud, the knave--
  That endless vigil kept,
And through each brain on hands of pain
  Another's terror crept.
___
Alas! it is a fearful thing
  To feel another's guilt!
For, right within, the sword of Sin
  Pierced to its poisoned hilt,
And as molten lead were the tears we shed
  For the blood we had not spilt.

The Warders with their shoes of felt
  Crept by each padlocked door,
And peeped and saw, with eyes of awe,
  Grey figures on the floor,
And wondered why men knelt to pray
  Who never prayed before.

All through the night we knelt and prayed,
  Mad mourners of a corpse! 
The troubled plumes of midnight were
  The plumes upon a hearse:
And bitter wine upon a sponge
  Was the savior of Remorse.
___
The cock crew, the red cock crew,
  But never came the day:
And crooked shape of Terror crouched,
  In the corners where we lay:
And each evil sprite that walks by night
  Before us seemed to play.

They glided past, they glided fast,
  Like travelers through a mist:
They mocked the moon in a rigadoon
  Of delicate turn and twist,
And with formal pace and loathsome grace
  The phantoms kept their tryst.

With mop and mow, we saw them go,
  Slim shadows hand in hand:
About, about, in ghostly rout
  They trod a saraband:
And the damned grotesques made arabesques,
  Like the wind upon the sand!

With the pirouettes of marionettes,
  They tripped on pointed tread:
But with flutes of Fear they filled the ear,
  As their grisly masque they led,
And loud they sang, and loud they sang,
  For they sang to wake the dead.

"Oho!" they cried, "The world is wide,
  But fettered limbs go lame!
And once, or twice, to throw the dice
  Is a gentlemanly game,
But he does not win who plays with Sin
  In the secret House of Shame."
No things of air these antics were
  That frolicked with such glee:
To men whose lives were held in gyves,
  And whose feet might not go free,
Ah! wounds of Christ! they were living things,
  Most terrible to see.
Around, around, they waltzed and wound;
  Some wheeled in smirking pairs:
With the mincing step of demirep
  Some sidled up the stairs:
And with subtle sneer, and fawning leer,
  Each helped us at our prayers.
___
The morning wind began to moan,
  But still the night went on:
Through its giant loom the web of gloom
  Crept till each thread was spun:
And, as we prayed, we grew afraid
  Of the Justice of the Sun.

The moaning wind went wandering round
  The weeping prison-wall:
Till like a wheel of turning-steel
  We felt the minutes crawl:
O moaning wind! what had we done
  To have such a seneschal?

At last I saw the shadowed bars
  Like a lattice wrought in lead,
Move right across the whitewashed wall
  That faced my three-plank bed,
And I knew that somewhere in the world
  God's dreadful dawn was red.
___
At six o'clock we cleaned our cells, 
  At seven all was still,
But the sough and swing of a mighty wing
  The prison seemed to fill,
For the Lord of Death with icy breath
  Had entered in to kill.

He did not pass in purple pomp,
  Nor ride a moon-white steed.
Three yards of cord and a sliding board
  Are all the gallows' need:
So with rope of shame the Herald came
  To do the secret deed.

We were as men who through a fen
  Of filthy darkness grope:
We did not dare to breathe a prayer,
  Or give our anguish scope:
Something was dead in each of us,
  And what was dead was Hope.

For Man's grim Justice goes its way,
  And will not swerve aside:
It slays the weak, it slays the strong,
  It has a deadly stride:
With iron heel it slays the strong,
  The monstrous parricide!

We waited for the stroke of eight:
  Each tongue was thick with thirst:
For the stroke of eight is the stroke of Fate
  That makes a man accursed,
And Fate will use a running noose
  For the best man and the worst.

We had no other thing to do,
  Save to wait for the sign to come:
So, like things of stone in a valley lone,
  Quiet we sat and dumb:
But each man's heart beat thick and quick
  Like a madman on a drum!

With sudden shock the prison-clock
  Smote on the shivering air,
And from all the gaol rose up a wail
  Of impotent despair,
Like the sound that frightened marshes hear
  From a leper in his lair.

And as one sees most fearful things
  In the crystal of a dream,
We saw the greasy hempen rope
  Hooked to the blackened beam,
And heard the prayer the hangman's snare
  Strangled into a scream.

And all the woe that moved him so
  That he gave that bitter cry,
And the wild regrets, and the bloody sweats,
  None knew so well as I:
For he who live more lives than one
  More deaths than one must die.

IV.

There is no chapel on the day
  On which they hang a man:
The Chaplain's heart is far too sick,
  Or his face is far to wan,
Or there is that written in his eyes
  Which none should look upon.

So they kept us close till nigh on noon,
  And then they rang the bell,
And the Warders with their jingling keys
  Opened each listening cell,
And down the iron stair we tramped,
  Each from his separate Hell.

Out into God's sweet air we went,
  But not in wonted way,
For this man's face was white with fear,
  And that man's face was grey,
And I never saw sad men who looked
  So wistfully at the day.

I never saw sad men who looked
  With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
  We prisoners called the sky,
And at every careless cloud that passed
  In happy freedom by.

But their were those amongst us all
  Who walked with downcast head,
And knew that, had each go his due,
  They should have died instead:
He had but killed a thing that lived
  Whilst they had killed the dead.

For he who sins a second time
  Wakes a dead soul to pain,
And draws it from its spotted shroud,
  And makes it bleed again,
And makes it bleed great gouts of blood
  And makes it bleed in vain!

Like ape or clown, in monstrous garb
  With crooked arrows starred,
Silently we went round and round
  The slippery asphalte yard;
Silently we went round and round,
  And no man spoke a word.

Silently we went round and round,
  And through each hollow mind
The memory of dreadful things
  Rushed like a dreadful wind,
An Horror stalked before each man,
  And terror crept behind.
___
The Warders strutted up and down,
  And kept their herd of brutes,
Their uniforms were spick and span,
  And they wore their Sunday suits,
But we knew the work they had been at
  By the quicklime on their boots.

For where a grave had opened wide,
  There was no grave at all:
Only a stretch of mud and sand
  By the hideous prison-wall,
And a little heap of burning lime,
  That the man should have his pall.

For he has a pall, this wretched man,
  Such as few men can claim:
Deep down below a prison-yard,
  Naked for greater shame,
He lies, with fetters on each foot,
  Wrapt in a sheet of flame!

And all the while the burning lime
  Eats flesh and bone away,
It eats the brittle bone by night,
  And the soft flesh by the day,
It eats the flesh and bones by turns,
  But it eats the heart alway.
___
For three long years they will not sow
  Or root or seedling there:
For three long years the unblessed spot
  Will sterile be and bare,
And look upon the wondering sky
  With unreproachful stare.

They think a murderer's heart would taint
  Each simple seed they sow.
It is not true!  God's kindly earth
  Is kindlier than men know,
And the red rose would but blow more red,
  The white rose whiter blow.

Out of his mouth a red, red rose!
  Out of his heart a white!
For who can say by what strange way,
  Christ brings his will to light,
Since the barren staff the pilgrim bore
  Bloomed in the great Pope's sight?

But neither milk-white rose nor red
  May bloom in prison air;
The shard, the pebble, and the flint,
  Are what they give us there:
For flowers have been known to heal
  A common man's despair.

So never will wine-red rose or white,
  Petal by petal, fall
On that stretch of mud and sand that lies
  By the hideous prison-wall,
To tell the men who tramp the yard
  That God's Son died for all.

Yet though the hideous prison-wall
  Still hems him round and round,
And a spirit man not walk by night
  That is with fetters bound,
And a spirit may not weep that lies
  In such unholy ground,

He is at peace--this wretched man--
  At peace, or will be soon:
There is no thing to make him mad,
  Nor does Terror walk at noon,
For the lampless Earth in which he lies
  Has neither Sun nor Moon.
___
They hanged him as a beast is hanged:
  They did not even toll
A reguiem that might have brought
  Rest to his startled soul,
But hurriedly they took him out,
  And hid him in a hole.

They stripped him of his canvas clothes,
  And gave him to the flies;
They mocked the swollen purple throat
  And the stark and staring eyes:
And with laughter loud they heaped the shroud
  In which their convict lies.

The Chaplain would not kneel to pray
  By his dishonored grave:
Nor mark it with that blessed Cross
  That Christ for sinners gave,
Because the man was one of those
  Whom Christ came down to save.

Yet all is well; he has but passed
  To Life's appointed bourne:
And alien tears will fill for him
  Pity's long-broken urn,
For his mourner will be outcast men,
  And outcasts always mourn.

V.

I know not whether Laws be right,
  Or whether Laws be wrong;
All that we know who lie in goal
  Is that the wall is strong;
And that each day is like a year,
  A year whose days are long.

But this I know, that every Law
  That men have made for Man,
Since first Man took his brother's life,
  And the sad world began,
But straws the wheat and saves the chaff
  With a most evil fan.

This too I know--and wise it were
  If each could know the same--
That every prison that men build
  Is built with bricks of shame,
And bound with bars lest Christ should see
  How men their brothers maim.

With bars they blur the gracious moon,
  And blind the goodly sun:
And they do well to hide their Hell,
  For in it things are done
That Son of God nor son of Man
  Ever should look upon!
___
The vilest deeds like poison weeds
  Bloom well in prison-air:
It is only what is good in Man
  That wastes and withers there:
Pale Anguish keeps the heavy gate,
  And the Warder is Despair

For they starve the little frightened child
  Till it weeps both night and day:
And they scourge the weak, and flog the fool,
  And gibe the old and grey,
And some grow mad, and all grow bad,
And none a word may say.

Each narrow cell in which we dwell
  Is foul and dark latrine,
And the fetid breath of living Death
  Chokes up each grated screen,
And all, but Lust, is turned to dust
  In Humanity's machine.

The brackish water that we drink
  Creeps with a loathsome slime,
And the bitter bread they weigh in scales
  Is full of chalk and lime,
And Sleep will not lie down, but walks
  Wild-eyed and cries to Time.
___
But though lean Hunger and green Thirst
  Like asp with adder fight,
We have little care of prison fare,
  For what chills and kills outright
Is that every stone one lifts by day
  Becomes one's heart by night.

With midnight always in one's heart,
  And twilight in one's cell,
We turn the crank, or tear the rope,
  Each in his separate Hell,
And the silence is more awful far
  Than the sound of a brazen bell.

And never a human voice comes near
  To speak a gentle word:
And the eye that watches through the door
  Is pitiless and hard:
And by all forgot, we rot and rot,
  With soul and body marred.

And thus we rust Life's iron chain
  Degraded and alone:
And some men curse, and some men weep,
  And some men make no moan:
But God's eternal Laws are kind
  And break the heart of stone.
___
And every human heart that breaks,
  In prison-cell or yard,
Is as that broken box that gave
  Its treasure to the Lord,
And filled the unclean leper's house
  With the scent of costliest nard.

Ah! happy day they whose hearts can break
  And peace of pardon win!
How else may man make straight his plan
  And cleanse his soul from Sin?
How else but through a broken heart
  May Lord Christ enter in?
___
And he of the swollen purple throat.
  And the stark and staring eyes,
Waits for the holy hands that took
  The Thief to Paradise;
And a broken and a contrite heart
  The Lord will not despise.

The man in red who reads the Law
  Gave him three weeks of life,
Three little weeks in which to heal
  His soul of his soul's strife,
And cleanse from every blot of blood
  The hand that held the knife.

And with tears of blood he cleansed the hand,
  The hand that held the steel:
For only blood can wipe out blood,
  And only tears can heal:
And the crimson stain that was of Cain
  Became Christ's snow-white seal.

VI.

In Reading gaol by Reading town
  There is a pit of shame,
And in it lies a wretched man
  Eaten by teeth of flame,
In burning winding-sheet he lies,
  And his grave has got no name.

And there, till Christ call forth the dead,
  In silence let him lie:
No need to waste the foolish tear,
  Or heave the windy sigh:
The man had killed the thing he loved,
  And so he had to die.

And all men kill the thing they love,
  By all let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
  Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
  The brave man with a sword!

End of the first Project Gutenberg Etext of

The Ballad of Reading Gaol.
I've got better photos so just ask if you wish...but right now I'm in a rush!
***

Second Version

                I

He did not wear his scarlet coat,
  For blood and wine are red,
And blood and wine were on his hands
  When they found him with the dead,
The poor dead woman whom he loved,
  And murdered in her bed.

He walked amongst the Trial Men
  In a suit of shabby gray;
A cricket cap was on his head,
  And his step seemed light and gay;
But I never saw a man who looked
  So wistfully at the day.

I never saw a man who looked
  With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
  Which prisoners call the sky,
And at every drifting cloud that went
  With sails of silver by.

I walked, with other souls in pain,
  Within another ring,
And was wondering if the man had done
  A great or little thing,
When a voice behind me whispered low,
  "That fellow's got to swing."

Dear Christ! the very prison walls
  Suddenly seemed to reel,
And the sky above my head became
  Like a casque of scorching steel;
And, though I was a soul in pain,
  My pain I could not feel.

I only knew what haunted thought
  Quickened his step, and why
He looked upon the garish day
  With such a wistful eye;
The man had killed the thing he loved,
  And so he had to die.

Yet each man kills the thing he loves,
  By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
  Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
  The brave man with a sword!

Some kill their love when they are young,
  And some when they are old;
Some strangle with the hands of Lust,
  Some with the hands of Gold:
The kindest use a knife, because
  The dead so soon grow cold.

Some love too little, some too long,
  Some sell, and others buy;
Some do the deed with many tears,
  And some without a sigh:
For each man kills the thing he loves,
  Yet each man does not die.

He does not die a death of shame
  On a day of dark disgrace,
Nor have a noose about his neck,
  Nor a cloth upon his face,
Nor drop feet foremost through the floor
  Into an empty space.

He does not sit with silent men
  Who watch him night and day;
Who watch him when he tries to weep,
  And when he tries to pray;
Who watch him lest himself should rob
  The prison of its prey.

He does not wake at dawn to see
  Dread figures throng his room,
The shivering Chaplain robed in white,
  The Sheriff stern with gloom,
And the Governor all in shiny black,
  With the yellow face of Doom.

He does not rise in piteous haste
  To put on convict-clothes,
While some coarse-mouthed Doctor gloats, and notes
  Each new and nerve-twitched pose,
Fingering a watch whose little ticks
  Are like horrible hammer-blows.

He does not feel that sickening thirst
  That sands one's throat, before
The hangman with his gardener's gloves
  Comes through the padded door,
And binds one with three leathern thongs,
That the throat may thirst no more.

He does not bend his head to hear
  The Burial Office read,
Nor, while the anguish of his soul
  Tells him he is not dead,
Cross his own coffin, as he moves
  Into the hideous shed.

He does not stare upon the air
  Through a little roof of glass:
He does not pray with lips of clay
  For his agony to pass;
Nor feel upon his shuddering cheek
  The kiss of Caiaphas.

                II

Six weeks the guardsman walked the yard,
  In the suit of shabby gray:
His cricket cap was on his head,
  And his step was light and gay,
But I never saw a man who looked
  So wistfully at the day.

I never saw a man who looked
  With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
  Which prisoners call the sky,
And at every wandering cloud that trailed
  Its ravelled fleeces by.

He did not wring his hands, as do
  Those witless men who dare
To try to rear the changeling Hope
  In the cave of black Despair:
He only looked upon the sun,
  And drank the morning air.

He did not wring his hands nor weep,
  Nor did he peek or pine,
But he drank the air as though it held
  Some healthful anodyne;
With open mouth he drank the sun
  As though it had been wine!

And I and all the souls in pain,
  Who tramped the other ring,
Forgot if we ourselves had done
  A great or little thing,
And watched with gaze of dull amaze
  The man who had to swing.

For strange it was to see him pass
  With a step so light and gay,
And strange it was to see him look
  So wistfully at the day,
And strange it was to think that he
  Had such a debt to pay.

The oak and elm have pleasant leaves
  That in the spring-time shoot:
But grim to see is the gallows-tree,
  With its alder-bitten root,
And, green or dry, a man must die
  Before it bears its fruit!

The loftiest place is the seat of grace
  For which all worldlings try:
But who would stand in hempen band
  Upon a scaffold high,
And through a murderer's collar take
  His last look at the sky?

It is sweet to dance to violins
  When Love and Life are fair:
To dance to flutes, to dance to lutes
  Is delicate and rare:
But it is not sweet with nimble feet
  To dance upon the air!

So with curious eyes and sick surmise
  We watched him day by day,
And wondered if each one of us
  Would end the self-same way,
For none can tell to what red Hell
  His sightless soul may stray.

At last the dead man walked no more
  Amongst the Trial Men,
And I knew that he was standing up
  In the black dock's dreadful pen,
And that never would I see his face
  For weal or woe again.

Like two doomed ships that pass in storm
  We had crossed each other's way:
But we made no sign, we said no word,
  We had no word to say;
For we did not meet in the holy night,
  But in the shameful day.

A prison wall was round us both,
  Two outcast men we were:
The world had thrust us from its heart,
  And God from out His care:
And the iron gin that waits for Sin
  Had caught us in its snare.
               III

In Debtors' Yard the stones are hard,
  And the dripping wall is high,
So it was there he took the air
  Beneath the leaden sky,
And by each side a warder walked,
  For fear the man might die.

Or else he sat with those who watched
  His anguish night and day;
Who watched him when he rose to weep,
  And when he crouched to pray;
Who watched him lest himself should rob
  Their scaffold of its prey.

The Governor was strong upon
  The Regulations Act:
The Doctor said that Death was but
  A scientific fact:
And twice a day the Chaplain called,
  And left a little tract.

And twice a day he smoked his pipe,
  And drank his quart of beer:
His soul was resolute, and held
  No hiding-place for fear;
He often said that he was glad
  The hangman's day was near.

But why he said so strange a thing
  No warder dared to ask:
For he to whom a watcher's doom
  Is given as his task,
Must set a lock upon his lips,
  And make his face a mask.

Or else he might be moved, and try
  To comfort or console:
And what should Human Pity do
  Pent up in Murderers' Hole?
What word of grace in such a place
  Could help a brother's soul?

With slouch and swing around the ring
  We trod the Fools' Parade!
We did not care: we knew we were
  The Devils' Own Brigade:
And shaven head and feet of lead
  Make a merry masquerade.

We tore the tarry rope to shreds
  With blunt and bleeding nails;
We rubbed the doors, and scrubbed the floors,
  And cleaned the shining rails:
And, rank by rank, we soaped the plank,
  And clattered with the pails.

We sewed the sacks, we broke the stones,
  We turned the dusty drill:
We banged the tins, and bawled the hymns,
  And sweated on the mill:
But in the heart of every man
  Terror was lying still.

So still it lay that every day
  Crawled like a weed-clogged wave:
And we forgot the bitter lot
  That waits for fool and knave,
Till once, as we tramped in from work,
  We passed an open grave.

With yawning mouth the horrid hole
  Gaped for a living thing;
The very mud cried out for blood
  To the thirsty asphalte ring:
And we knew that ere one dawn grew fair
  The fellow had to swing.

Right in we went, with soul intent
  On Death and Dread and Doom:
The hangman, with his little bag,
  Went shuffling through the gloom:
And I trembled as I groped my way
  Into my numbered tomb.

That night the empty corridors
  Were full of forms of Fear,
And up and down the iron town
  Stole feet we could not hear,
And through the bars that hide the stars
  White faces seemed to peer.

He lay as one who lies and dreams
  In a pleasant meadow-land,
The watchers watched him as he slept,
  And could not understand
How one could sleep so sweet a sleep
  With a hangman close at hand.

But there is no sleep when men must weep
  Who never yet have wept:
So we- the fool, the fraud, the knave-
  That endless vigil kept,
And through each brain on hands of pain
  Another's terror crept.

Alas! it is a fearful thing
  To feel another's guilt!
For, right within, the sword of Sin
  Pierced to its poisoned hilt,
And as molten lead were the tears we shed
  For the blood we had not spilt.

The warders with their shoes of felt
  Crept by each padlocked door,
And peeped and saw, with eyes of awe,
  Gray figures on the floor,
And wondered why men knelt to pray
  Who never prayed before.

All through the night we knelt and prayed,
  Mad mourners of a corse!
The troubled plumes of midnight shook
  Like the plumes upon a hearse:
And as bitter wine upon a sponge
  Was the savour of Remorse.

The gray cock crew, the red cock crew,
  But never came the day:
And crooked shapes of Terror crouched,
  In the corners where we lay:
And each evil sprite that walks by night
  Before us seemed to play.

They glided past, the glided fast,
  Like travellers through a mist:
They mocked the moon in a rigadoon
  Of delicate turn and twist,
And with formal pace and loathsome grace
  The phantoms kept their tryst.

With mop and mow, we saw them go,
  Slim shadows hand in hand:
About, about, in ghostly rout
  They trod a saraband:
And the damned grotesques made arabesques,
  Like the wind upon the sand!

With the pirouettes of marionettes,
  They tripped on pointed tread:
But with flutes of Fear they filled the ear,
  As their grisly masque they led,
And loud they sang, and long they sang,
  For they sang to wake the dead.

"Oho!" they cried, "the world is wide,
  But fettered limbs go lame!
And once, or twice, to throw the dice
  Is a gentlemanly game,
But he does not win who plays with Sin
  In the secret House of Shame."

No things of air these antics were,
  That frolicked with such glee:
To men whose lives were held in gyves,
  And whose feet might not go free,
Ah! wounds of Christ! they were living things,
  Most terrible to see.

Around, around, they waltzed and wound;
  Some wheeled in smirking pairs;
With the mincing step of a demirep
  Some sidled up the stairs:
And with subtle sneer, and fawning leer,
  Each helped us at our prayers.

The morning wind began to moan,
  But still the night went on:
Through its giant loom the web of gloom
  Crept till each thread was spun:
And, as we prayed, we grew afraid
  Of the Justice of the Sun.

The moaning wind went wandering round
  The weeping prison wall:
Till like a wheel of turning steel
  We felt the minutes crawl:
O moaning wind! what had we done
  To have such a seneschal?

At last I saw the shadowed bars,
  Like a lattice wrought in lead,
Move right across the whitewashed wall
  That faced my three-plank bed,
And I knew that somewhere in the world
  God's dreadful dawn was red.

At six o'clock we cleaned our cells,
  At seven all was still,
But the sough and swing of a mighty wing
  The prison seemed to fill,
For the Lord of Death with icy breath
  Had entered in to kill.

He did not pass in purple pomp,
  Nor ride a moon-white steed.
Three yards of cord and a sliding board
  Are all the gallows' need:
So with rope of shame the Herald came
  To do the secret deed.

We were as men who through a fen
  Of filthy darkness grope:
We did not dare to breathe a prayer,
  Or to give our anguish scope:
Something was dead in each of us,
  And what was dead was Hope.

For Man's grim Justice goes its way
  And will not swerve aside:
It slays the weak, it slays the strong,
  It has a deadly stride:
With iron heel it slays the strong
  The monstrous parricide!

We waited for the stroke of eight:
  Each tongue was thick with thirst:
For the stroke of eight is the stroke of Fate
  That makes a man accursed,
And Fate will use a running noose
  For the best man and the worst.

We had no other thing to do,
  Save to wait for the sign to come:
So, like things of stone in a valley lone,
  Quiet we sat and dumb:
But each man's heart beat thick and quick,
  Like a madman on a drum!

With sudden shock the prison-clock
  Smote on the shivering air,
And from all the gaol rose up a wail
  Of impotent despair,
Like the sound the frightened marshes hear
  From some leper in his lair.

And as one sees most fearful things
  In the crystal of a dream,
We saw the greasy hempen rope
  Hooked to the blackened beam,
And heard the prayer the hangman's snare
  Strangled into a scream.

And all the woe that moved him so
  That he gave that bitter cry,
And the wild regrets, and the bloody sweats,
  None knew so well as I:
For he who lives more lives than one
  More deaths that one must die.
                IV

There is no chapel on the day
  On which they hang a man:
The Chaplain's heart is far too sick,
  Or his face is far too wan,
Or there is that written in his eyes
  Which none should look upon.

So they kept us close till nigh on noon,
  And then they rang the bell,
And the warders with their jingling keys
  Opened each listening cell,
And down the iron stair we tramped,
  Each from his separate Hell.

Out into God's sweet air we went,
  But not in wonted way,
For this man's face was white with fear,
  And that man's face was gray,
And I never saw sad men who looked
  So wistfully at the day.

I never saw sad men who looked
  With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
  We prisoners called the sky,
And at every happy cloud that passed
  In such strange freedom by.

But there were those amongst us all
  Who walked with downcast head,
And knew that, had each got his due,
  They should have died instead:
He had but killed a thing that lived,
  Whilst they had killed the dead.

For he who sins a second time
  Wakes a dead soul to pain,
And draws it from its spotted shroud
  And makes it bleed again,
And makes it bleed great gouts of blood,
  And makes it bleed in vain!

Like ape or clown, in monstrous garb
  With crooked arrows starred,
Silently we went round and round
  The slippery asphalte yard;
Silently we went round and round,
  And no man spoke a word.

Silently we went round and round,
  And through each hollow mind
The Memory of dreadful things
  Rushed like a dreadful wind,
And Horror stalked before each man,
  And Terror crept behind.

The warders strutted up and down,
  And watched their herd of brutes,
Their uniforms were spick and span,
  And they wore their Sunday suits,
But we knew the work they had been at,
  By the quicklime on their boots.

For where a grave had opened wide,
  There was no grave at all:
Only a stretch of mud and sand
  By the hideous prison-wall,
And a little heap of burning lime,
  That the man should have his pall.

For he has a pall, this wretched man,
  Such as few men can claim:
Deep down below a prison-yard,
  Naked, for greater shame,
He lies, with fetters on each foot,
  Wrapt in a sheet of flame!

And all the while the burning lime
  Eats flesh and bone away,
It eats the brittle bones by night,
  And the soft flesh by day,
It eats the flesh and bone by turns,
  But it eats the heart alway.

For three long years they will not sow
  Or root or seedling there:
For three long years the unblessed spot
  Will sterile be and bare,
And look upon the wondering sky
  With unreproachful stare.

They think a murderer's heart would taint
  Each simple seed they sow.
It is not true! God's kindly earth
  Is kindlier than men know,
And the red rose would but glow more red,
  The white rose whiter blow.

Out of his mouth a red, red rose!
  Out of his heart a white!
For who can say by what strange way,
  Christ brings His will to light,
Since the barren staff the pilgrim bore
  Bloomed in the great Pope's sight?

But neither milk-white rose nor red
  May bloom in prison air;
The shard, the pebble, and the flint,
  Are what they give us there:
For flowers have been known to heal
  A common man's despair.

So never will wine-red rose or white,
  Petal by petal, fall
On that stretch of mud and sand that lies
  By the hideous prison-wall,
To tell the men who tramp the yard
  That God's Son died for all.

Yet though the hideous prison-wall
  Still hems him round and round,
And a spirit may not walk by night
  That is with fetters bound,
And a spirit may but weep that lies
  In such unholy ground,

He is at peace- this wretched man-
  At peace, or will be soon:
There is no thing to make him mad,
  Nor does Terror walk at noon,
For the lampless Earth in which he lies
  Has neither Sun nor Moon.

They hanged him as a beast is hanged:
  They did not even toll
A requiem that might have brought
  Rest to his startled soul,
But hurriedly they took him out,
  And hid him in a hole.

The warders stripped him of his clothes,
  And gave him to the flies:
They mocked the swollen purple throat,
  And the stark and staring eyes:
And with laughter loud they heaped the shroud
  In which the convict lies.

The Chaplain would not kneel to pray
  By his dishonoured grave:
Nor mark it with that blessed Cross
  That Christ for sinners gave,
Because the man was one of those
  Whom Christ came down to save.

Yet all is well; he has but passed
  To  Life's appointed bourne:
And alien tears will fill for him
  Pity's long-broken urn,
For his mourners be outcast men,
  And outcasts always mourn.
                V

I know not whether Laws be right,
  Or whether Laws be wrong;
All that we know who lie in gaol
  Is that the wall is strong;
And that each day is like a year,
  A year whose days are long.

But this I know, that every Law
  That men have made for Man,
Since first Man took His brother's life,
  And the sad world began,
But straws the wheat and saves the chaff
  With a most evil fan.

This too I know- and wise it were
  If each could know the same-
That every prison that men build
  Is built with bricks of shame,
And bound with bars lest Christ should see
  How men their brothers maim.

With bars they blur the gracious moon,
  And blind the goodly sun:
And the do well to hide their Hell,
  For in it things are done
That Son of things nor son of Man
  Ever should look upon!

The vilest deeds like poison weeds
  Bloom well in prison-air:
It is only what is good in Man
  That wastes and withers there:
Pale Anguish keeps the heavy gate,
  And the warder is Despair.

For they starve the little frightened child
  Till it weeps both night and day:
And they scourge the weak, and flog the fool,
  And gibe the old and gray,
And some grow mad, and all grow bad,
  And none a word may say.

Each narrow cell in which we dwell
  Is a foul and dark latrine,
And the fetid breath of living Death
  Chokes up each grated screen,
And all, but Lust, is turned to dust
  In Humanity's machine.

The brackish water that we drink
  Creeps with a loathsome slime,
And the bitter bread they weigh in scales
  Is full of chalk and lime,
And Sleep will not lie down, but walks
  Wild-eyed, and cries to Time.

But though lean Hunger and green Thirst
  Like asp with adder fight,
We have little care of prison fare,
  For what chills and kills outright
Is that every stone one lifts by day
  Becomes one's heart by night.

With midnight always in one's heart,
  And twilight in one's cell,
We turn the crank, or tear the rope,
  Each in his separate Hell,
And the silence is more awful far
  Than the sound of a brazen bell.

And never a human voice comes near
  To speak a gentle word:
And the eye that watches through the door
  Is pitiless and hard:
And by all forgot, we rot and rot,
  With soul and body marred.

And thus we rust Life's iron chain
  Degraded and alone:
And some men curse, and some men weep,
  And some men make no moan:
But God's eternal Laws are kind
  And break the heart of stone.

And every human heart that breaks,
  In prison-cell or yard,
Is as that broken box that gave
  Its treasure to the Lord,
And filled the unclean leper's house
  With the scent of costliest nard.

Ah! happy they whose hearts can break
  And peace of pardon win!
How else may man make straight his plan
  And cleanse his soul from Sin?
How else but through a broken heart
  May Lord Christ enter in?

And he of the swollen purple throat,
  And the stark and staring eyes,
Waits for the holy hands that took
  The Thief to Paradise;
And a broken and a contrite heart
  The Lord will not despise.

The man in red who reads the Law
  Gave him three weeks of life,
Three little weeks in which to heal
  His soul of his soul's strife,
And cleanse from every blot of blood
  The hand that held the knife.

And with tears of blood he cleansed the hand,
  The hand that held the steel:
For only blood can wipe out blood,
  And only tears can heal:
And the crimson stain that was of Cain
  Became Christ's snow-white seal.
                VI

In Reading gaol by Reading town
  There is a pit of shame,
And in it lies a wretched man
  Eaten by teeth of flame,
In a burning winding-sheet he lies,
  And his grave has got no name.

And there, till Christ call forth the dead,
  In silence let him lie:
No need to waste the foolish tear,
  Or heave the windy sigh:
The man had killed the thing he loved,
  And so he had to die.

And all men kill the thing they love,
  By all let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
  Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
  The brave man with a sword!

                         C. 3. 3.

             THE END

End of the second Project Gutenberg Etext of
The Ballad of Reading Gaol.

and the header of their page on the poem:

Full text of “Ballad of Reading Gaol

The Project Gutenberg Etext Wilde's The Ballad of Reading Gaol

[Two Versions Included In This File]

Please take a look at the important information in this header.
We encourage you to keep this file on your own disk, keeping an
electronic path open for the next readers.  Do not remove this.

**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts**

**Etexts Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971**

*These Etexts Prepared By Hundreds of Volunteers and Donations*

Information on contacting Project Gutenberg to get Etexts, and
further information is included below.  We need your donations.

The Ballad of Reading Gaol

by

Oscar Wilde

July, 1995  [Etext #301]

In Memoriam
C.T.W.
Sometime Trooper of the Royal Horse Guards.
Obiit H.M. Prison, Reading, Berkshire,
July 7th, 1896
Presented by Project Gutenberg on the 99th Anniversary.

The Project Gutenberg Etext Wilde's The Ballad of Reading Gaol
*****This file should be named rgaol10.txt or rgaol10.zip******

Corrected EDITIONS of our etexts get a new NUMBER, rgaol11.txt.
VERSIONS based on separate sources get new LETTER, rgaol10a.txt.

We are now trying to release all our books one month in advance
of the official release dates, for time for better editing.

Please note:  neither this list nor its contents are final till
midnight of the last day of the month of any such announcement.
The official release date of all Project Gutenberg Etexts is at
Midnight, Central Time, of the last day of the stated month.  A
preliminary version may often be posted for suggestion, comment
and editing by those who wish to do so.  To be sure you have an
up to date first edition [xxxxx10x.xxx] please check file sizes
in the first week of the next month.  Since our ftp program has
a bug in it that scrambles the date [tried to fix and failed] a
look at the file size will have to do, but we will try to see a
new copy has at least one byte more or less.

Information about Project Gutenberg (one page)

We produce about two million dollars for each hour we work.  The
fifty hours is one conservative estimate for how long it we take
to get any etext selected, entered, proofread, edited, copyright
searched and analyzed, the copyright letters written, etc.  This
projected audience is one hundred million readers.  If our value
per text is nominally estimated at one dollar then we produce $4
million dollars per hour this year as we release some eight text
files per month:  thus upping our productivity from $2 million.

The Goal of Project Gutenberg is to Give Away One Trillion Etext
Files by the December 31, 2001.  [10,000 x 100,000,000=Trillion]
This is ten thousand titles each to one hundred million readers,
which is 10% of the expected number of computer users by the end
of the year 2001.

We need your donations more than ever!

All donations should be made to "Project Gutenberg/IBC", and are
tax deductible to the extent allowable by law ("IBC" is Illinois
Benedictine College).  (Subscriptions to our paper newsletter go
to IBC, too)

For these and other matters, please mail to:

Project Gutenberg
P. O. Box  2782
Champaign, IL 61825

Email dircompg@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu for more information.
When all other email fails try our Michael S. Hart, Executive
Director:
hart@vmd.cso.uiuc.edu (internet)   hart@uiucvmd   (bitnet)

We would prefer to send you this information by email
(Internet, Bitnet, Compuserve, ATTMAIL or MCImail).

******
If you have an FTP program (or emulator), please
FTP directly to the Project Gutenberg archives:
[Mac users, do NOT point and click. . .type]

ftp mrcnext.cso.uiuc.edu
login:  anonymous
password:  your@login
cd etext/etext90 through /etext95
or cd etext/articles [get suggest gut for more information]
dir [to see files]
get or mget [to get files. . .set bin for zip files]
GET INDEX?00.GUT
for a list of books
and
GET NEW GUT for general information
and
MGET GUT* for newsletters.

**Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor**
(Three Pages)

***START**THE SMALL PRINT!**FOR PUBLIC DOMAIN ETEXTS**START***
Why is this "Small Print!" statement here?  You know: lawyers.
They tell us you might sue us if there is something wrong with
your copy of this etext, even if you got it for free from
someone other than us, and even if what's wrong is not our
fault.  So, among other things, this "Small Print!" statement
disclaims most of our liability to you.  It also tells you how
you can distribute copies of this etext if you want to.

*BEFORE!* YOU USE OR READ THIS ETEXT
By using or reading any part of this PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm
etext, you indicate that you understand, agree to and accept
this "Small Print!" statement.  If you do not, you can receive
a refund of the money (if any) you paid for this etext by
sending a request within 30 days of receiving it to the person
you got it from.  If you received this etext on a physical
medium (such as a disk), you must return it with your request.

ABOUT PROJECT GUTENBERG-TM ETEXTS
This PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm etext, like most PROJECT GUTENBERG-
tm etexts, is a "public domain" work distributed by Professor
Michael S. Hart through the Project Gutenberg Association at
Illinois Benedictine College (the "Project").  Among other
things, this means that no one owns a United States copyright
on or for this work, so the Project (and you!) can copy and
distribute it in the United States without permission and
without paying copyright royalties.  Special rules, set forth
below, apply if you wish to copy and distribute this etext
under the Project's "PROJECT GUTENBERG" trademark.

To create these etexts, the Project expends considerable
efforts to identify, transcribe and proofread public domain
works.  Despite these efforts, the Project's etexts and any
medium they may be on may contain "Defects".  Among other
things, Defects may take the form of incomplete, inaccurate or
corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other
intellectual property infringement, a defective or damaged
disk or other etext medium, a computer virus, or computer
codes that damage or cannot be read by your equipment.

LIMITED WARRANTY; DISCLAIMER OF DAMAGES
But for the "Right of Replacement or Refund" described below,
[1] the Project (and any other party you may receive this
etext from as a PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm etext) disclaims all
liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including
legal fees, and [2] YOU HAVE NO REMEDIES FOR NEGLIGENCE OR
UNDER STRICT LIABILITY, OR FOR BREACH OF WARRANTY OR CONTRACT,
INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO INDIRECT, CONSEQUENTIAL, PUNITIVE
OR INCIDENTAL DAMAGES, EVEN IF YOU GIVE NOTICE OF THE
POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.

If you discover a Defect in this etext within 90 days of
receiving it, you can receive a refund of the money (if any)
you paid for it by sending an explanatory note within that
time to the person you received it from.  If you received it
on a physical medium, you must return it with your note, and
such person may choose to alternatively give you a replacement
copy.  If you received it electronically, such person may
choose to alternatively give you a second opportunity to
receive it electronically.

THIS ETEXT IS OTHERWISE PROVIDED TO YOU "AS-IS".  NO OTHER
WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, ARE MADE TO YOU AS
TO THE ETEXT OR ANY MEDIUM IT MAY BE ON, INCLUDING BUT NOT
LIMITED TO WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A
PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

Some states do not allow disclaimers of implied warranties or
the exclusion or limitation of consequential damages, so the
above disclaimers and exclusions may not apply to you, and you
may have other legal rights.

INDEMNITY
You will indemnify and hold the Project, its directors,
officers, members and agents harmless from all liability, cost
and expense, including legal fees, that arise directly or
indirectly from any of the following that you do or cause:
[1] distribution of this etext, [2] alteration, modification,
or addition to the etext, or [3] any Defect.

DISTRIBUTION UNDER "PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm"
You may distribute copies of this etext electronically, or by
disk, book or any other medium if you either delete this
"Small Print!" and all other references to Project Gutenberg,
or:

[1]  Only give exact copies of it.  Among other things, this
     requires that you do not remove, alter or modify the
     etext or this "small print!" statement.  You may however,
     if you wish, distribute this etext in machine readable
     binary, compressed, mark-up, or proprietary form,
     including any form resulting from conversion by word pro-
     cessing or hypertext software, but only so long as
     *EITHER*:

     [*]  The etext, when displayed, is clearly readable, and
          does *not* contain characters other than those
          intended by the author of the work, although tilde
          (~), asterisk (*) and underline (_) characters may
          be used to convey punctuation intended by the
          author, and additional characters may be used to
          indicate hypertext links; OR

     [*]  The etext may be readily converted by the reader at
          no expense into plain ASCII, EBCDIC or equivalent
          form by the program that displays the etext (as is
          the case, for instance, with most word processors);
          OR

     [*]  You provide, or agree to also provide on request at
          no additional cost, fee or expense, a copy of the
          etext in its original plain ASCII form (or in EBCDIC
          or other equivalent proprietary form).

[2]  Honor the etext refund and replacement provisions of this
     "Small Print!" statement.

[3]  Pay a trademark license fee to the Project of 20% of the
     net profits you derive calculated using the method you
     already use to calculate your applicable taxes.  If you
     don't derive profits, no royalty is due.  Royalties are
     payable to "Project Gutenberg Association / Illinois
     Benedictine College" within the 60 days following each
     date you prepare (or were legally required to prepare)
     your annual (or equivalent periodic) tax return.

WHAT IF YOU *WANT* TO SEND MONEY EVEN IF YOU DON'T HAVE TO?
The Project gratefully accepts contributions in money, time,
scanning machines, OCR software, public domain etexts, royalty
free copyright licenses, and every other sort of contribution
you can think of.  Money should be paid to "Project Gutenberg
Association / Illinois Benedictine College".

*END*THE SMALL PRINT! FOR PUBLIC DOMAIN ETEXTS*Ver.04.29.93*END*

In Memoriam
C.T.W.
Sometime Trooper of the Royal Horse Guards.
Obiit H.M. Prison, Reading, Berkshire,
July 7th, 1896
Presented by Project Gutenberg on the 99th Anniversary.

Because I’m in Thailand and that’s how I feel right now…this marvelous Baudelaire Poem, with a few english translations I found on the Fleurs du Mal Website.

L’invitation au voyage

Mon enfant, ma soeur,
Songe à la douceur
D’aller là-bas vivre ensemble!
Aimer à loisir,
Aimer et mourir
Au pays qui te ressemble!
Les soleils mouillés
De ces ciels brouillés
Pour mon esprit ont les charmes
Si mystérieux
De tes traîtres yeux,
Brillant à travers leurs larmes.

Là, tout n’est qu’ordre et beauté,
Luxe, calme et volupté.

Des meubles luisants,
Polis par les ans,
Décoreraient notre chambre;
Les plus rares fleurs
Mêlant leurs odeurs
Aux vagues senteurs de l’ambre,
Les riches plafonds,
Les miroirs profonds,
La splendeur orientale,
Tout y parlerait
À l’âme en secret
Sa douce langue natale.

Là, tout n’est qu’ordre et beauté,
Luxe, calme et volupté.

Vois sur ces canaux
Dormir ces vaisseaux
Dont l’humeur est vagabonde;
C’est pour assouvir
Ton moindre désir
Qu’ils viennent du bout du monde.
— Les soleils couchants
Revêtent les champs,
Les canaux, la ville entière,
D’hyacinthe et d’or;
Le monde s’endort
Dans une chaude lumière.

Là, tout n’est qu’ordre et beauté,
Luxe, calme et volupté.

— Charles Baudelaire

Invitation to the Voyage

My child, my sister,
Think of the rapture
Of living together there!
Of loving at will,
Of loving till death,
In the land that is like you!
The misty sunlight
Of those cloudy skies
Has for my spirit the charms,
So mysterious,
Of your treacherous eyes,
Shining brightly through their tears.

There all is order and beauty,
Luxury, peace, and pleasure.

Gleaming furniture,
Polished by the years,
Will ornament our bedroom;
The rarest flowers
Mingling their fragrance
With the faint scent of amber,
The ornate ceilings,
The limpid mirrors,
The oriental splendor,
All would whisper there
Secretly to the soul
In its soft, native language.

There all is order and beauty,
Luxury, peace, and pleasure.

See on the canals
Those vessels sleeping.
Their mood is adventurous;
It’s to satisfy
Your slightest desire
That they come from the ends of the earth.
— The setting suns
Adorn the fields,
The canals, the whole city,
With hyacinth and gold;
The world falls asleep
In a warm glow of light.

There all is order and beauty,
Luxury, peace, and pleasure.

— William Aggeler, The Flowers of Evil (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954)

Invitation to the Voyage

My daughter, my sister,
Consider the vista
Of living out there, you and I,
To love at our leisure,
Then, ending our pleasure,
In climes you resemble to die.
There the suns, rainy-wet,
Through clouds rise and set
With the selfsame enchantment to charm me
That my senses receive
From your eyes, that deceive,
When they shine through your tears to disarm me.

There’ll be nothing but beauty, wealth, pleasure,
With all things in order and measure.

With old treasures furnished,
By centuries burnished,
To gleam in the shade of our chamber,
While the rarest of flowers
Vaguely mix through the hours
Their own with the perfume of amber:
Each sumptuous ceiling,
Each mirror revealing
The wealth of the East, will be hung
So the part and the whole
May speak to the soul
In its native, indigenous tongue.

There’ll be nothing but beauty, wealth, pleasure,
With all things in order and measure.

On the channels and streams
See each vessel that dreams
In its whimsical vagabond way,
Since its for your least whim
The oceans they swim
From the ends of the night and the day.
The sun, going down, With its glory will crown
Canals, fields, and cities entire,
While the whole earth is rolled
In the jacinth and gold
Of its warming and radiant fire.

There’ll be nothing but beauty, wealth, pleasure
With all things in order and measure.

— Roy Campbell, Poems of Baudelaire (New York: Pantheon Books, 1952)

Invitation to the Voyage

Think, would it not be
Sweet to live with me
All alone, my child, my love? —
Sleep together, share
All things, in that fair
Country you remind me of?
Charming in the dawn
There, the half-withdrawn
Drenched, mysterious sun appears
In the curdled skies,
Treacherous as your eyes
Shining from behind their tears.

There, restraint and order bless
Luxury and voluptuousness.

We should have a room
Never out of bloom:
Tables polished by the palm
Of the vanished hours
Should reflect rare flowers
In that amber-scented calm;
Ceilings richly wrought,
Mirrors deep as thought,
Walls with eastern splendor hung,
All should speak apart
To the homesick heart
In its own dear native tongue.

There, restraint and order bless
Luxury and voluptuousness.

See, their voyage past,
To their moorings fast,
On the still canals asleep,
These big ships; to bring
You some trifling thing
They have braved the furious deep.
— Now the sun goes down,
Tinting dyke and town,
Field, canal, all things in sight,
Hyacinth and gold;
All that we behold
Slumbers in its ruddy light.

There, restraint and order bless
Luxury and voluptuousness.

— Edna St. Vincent Millay, Flowers of Evil (NY: Harper and Brothers, 1936)

Invitation to the Voyage

My child mistress/mother sister/dream
How acceptable all things would be
Were we to live in that land where
The slow and the long, short and the strong

Die in the dance of being less than one another
In a perpetual summer of imageless desire.
Flagellated and forgotten suns
Drink in the step of my azure lost skies
And move to mysterylessness our chemical miseries
Within which the treadling eyes of indefiniteness
Are no more than the tears of the damned.
Take from my heart, a platinum measure
Free of solitude’s false grace
And awkward adolescent pleasures.
Here is the furniture
That caresses the dust of the years
And counts the wrinkled set into the brain
On fingers that have made their own doom.
Evil the eyes that look back at us in dreams,
Evil the touch of the deaths that have not loved us
Evil the sorrow which shelters itself from release
And the evils accumulate
Leaving us idle and alone
Though an Eastern splendor,
An Eastern hatred of the idea of loss
Eddies in the river of slime
That has not won us.
Hidden from the waves in still canals
We sit in a small boat that refuses
To set forth.
To satisfy need,
To accommodate our need of forever,
We sit in the boat
And wait for a clearer sky,
A more propitious moment to launch
While thinking of Cortez’
Miraculous slaughter of and victory over
The children of the sun.

— Will Schmitz

muerte de Antoñito el camborio
My friend Claude Pierre Senouf posted this splendid Lorca poem on 7 October 2012
Voces de muerte sonaron
cerca del Guadalquivir.
Voces antiguas que cercan
voz de clavel varonil.
Les clavó sobre las botas
mordiscos de jabalí.
En la lucha daba saltos
jabonados de delfín.
Bañó con sangre enemiga
su corbata carmesí,
pero eran cuatro puñales
y tuvo que sucumbir.
Cuando las estrella clavan
rejones al agua gris,
cuando los erales sueñan
verónicas de alhelí,
voces de muerte sonaron
cerca del Guadalquivir.

Antonio Torres Heredia.
Camborio de dura crin,
moreno de verde luna,
voz de clavel varonil:
¿Quién te ha quitado la vida
cerca del Guadalquivir?
Mis cuatro primos Heredias
Hijos de Benamejí.
Lo que en otros no envidiaban,
ya lo envidiaban en mí.

Zapatos color corinto,
medallones de marfil,
y este cutis amasado
con aceituna y jazmín.
¡Ay, Antoñito el Camborio,
digno de una Emperatriz!
Acuérdate de la Virgen
porque te vas a morir.
¡Ay Federico García,
llama a la guardia civil!
Ya mi talle se ha quebrado
como caña de maíz.

Tres golpes de sangre tuvo
y se murió de perfil.
Viva moneda que nunca
se volverá a repetir.
Un ángel marchoso pone
su cabeza en un cojín.
Otros de rubor cansado
encendieron un candil.
Y cuando los cuatro primos
llegan a Benamejí,
voces de muerte cesaron
cerca del Guadalquivir.
(Traduction française)

En l’honneur d’une amie disparue trop tôt cette amazing song:

Amazing Grace Lyrics (via Constitution.org)
John Newton (1725-1807)

Stanza 6 anon.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

When we’ve been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

Et cliquez ici pour écouter la merveilleuse musique interprétée par Judy Collins.

Je suis en train de réécouter la merveilleuse émission de Guillaume Gallienne sur France Inter. Je podcaste son émission Ca ne peut pas faire du mal sur Le Printemps des poètes…qui débute par ce qui a été toute mon enfance l’un de mes auteurs chéris, Jacques Prévert. Et en particuler son…Cancre (allez savoir pourquoi et vous en apprendrez bien plus sur moi;-)

Image provenant de la page Triche et Technologie de l’U. de Laval…ça me s’invente pas
http://wikini.ten.laval.tuxcafe.org/wakka.php?wiki=TechnologieTricherie

Le Cancre, de Jacques Prévert. (écoutez l’émission, la lecture de Serge Reggiani est merveilleuse…)

Il dit non avec la tête
Mais il dit oui avec le coeur
Il dit oui à ce qu’il aime
Il dit non au professeur.

Il est debout, on le questionne
et tous les problèmes sont posés
Soudain le fou-rire le prend
et il efface tout, les chiffres et les mots,
Les dates et les noms,
Les phrases et les pièges

Et, malgré les menaces du maître,
sous les huées des enfants prodiges,
avec des craies de toutes les couleurs

sur le tableau noir du malheur,
Il dessine le visage du bonheur

Imagine, John Lennon, Rise (ΓΚΡΟΥΝΝΙ)By Yorgos Soukoulis, Mourir pour des Idées(Georges Brassens), Ne me regarde pas comme ça, par Robin et ses copains, Brise marine de Stéphane Mallarmé, Shylock’s monologue, in the Merchant of Venice by the Greatest of All…., Le bâteau ivre, Arthur Rimbaud, Sonnet 142 by William Shakespeare (aka the Greatest of all), William Blake, Jerusalem

Imagine, by John Lennon

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today…

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

Rise (ΓΚΡΟΥΝΝΙ)

I discovered the existence of the Arvanitika, a language still spoken by a handful of people in Greece and Cyprus. A very endangered language indeed! Probably in the same situation as the lady in this beautiful poem, as she complains that her “own people have forgotten me,
cast me aside, and now seek to bury” her and to whom we long to say “Rise, Rise”. You will find more information about the author and tranlator on the Oxford’s Modern Poetry in Translation page. I particularly salute the fact that it dedicated the whole issue to endangered languages. I wish it became a worldwide movement. As the crisis and the world go bad, we’ve never been in more need of beauty and poetry! Please find under the English translation, the text in this Arvanitica language.

Translation by Peter Constantine

I had a dream last night,
I saw a woman with wild eyes,
in her left arm she held an infant,
in her right hand a double-edged sword.
She glared at me and said,
‘Why have you forgotten me?’
And I asked in wonder,
‘Who are you? I know I have seen you somewhere.’
‘I am one of the women a foreign man
captured with paint on a canvas
so that I can be seen by generations to come.
My own people have forgotten me,
cast me aside, and now seek to bury me.
But you? Why did you forget me?’
‘You must be one of the women of Souli
who, to keep your honour from the enemy,
took your children in your arms
and singing ‘Farewell, poor world’,
and dancing our ancient dances,
threw yourselves and your children from the rocks,
writing sacrifice and history.
Women of Souli and Zalongu, rise!
Leave the blood you shed as icons on the rocks
so that our unborn generations can pray to them.
Take your infants, now grown, and fly high into the air,
above the clouds and between the stars
so all the world can see you,
and dance once more our ancient dances,
and show this world of misery the worth of honour
and freedom that can only be bought with blood and sacrifice.
Rise, rise, rise!’

Rise (ΓΚΡΟΥΝΝΙ)

By Yorgos Soukoulis

Πάσσι νιέ νίντερε, ντιέ μπρέμα.
Ισ’ νιέ γκρούα, μέ νιέ σσι τ’ έγκιρε.
Μπάι μέ ζερβένε ντόρε, ντιάλινε ντ’ αγκαλέ,
εδέ μέ τ’ ντιάθετινε, νιέ δικόπε θίκε.
Μ’ βισντόι μέ νιέ φιτίρε, τσ’ τ’ φρικιτόν,
εδέ μ’ θά, μούα ψέ μ’ χαρόβε?
Ε βισντόβα μέ φρίκε, εδέ μέ απορί ε πίειτα,
Τσίλια γιέ τί, ντίκου τ’ κάμε πάρε.
Γιάμε νιέ γκά ατό, τσ’ νιέ ι χούαϊ
μ’ βού μέ μπογιέ, ντέ νιέ πλιχούρε
πρ’ τ’ μ’ σιόχενε, ατά τσ’ ο’ βίνιενε
ψέ κίτα τάνετε, μ’ χαρούανε,
παστάι μ’ βιρβίνε, εδέ νάνι ντούανε τ΄μ’ κάουνινε.
Πό τί, ψέ μ’ χαρόβε?
Ο γιέσ εδέ τί, νιέ γκά ατό, γκράτε ε Σούλιτε
τσ’ πρ’ τ’ σπιτόνιτε τιμίνε γκά οχθρότε
ριμπίετε ντιέλτε τούαϊ, ντ’ αγκαλέ,
εδέ ντίκου κιντούαρε, κέ σιντέτε κόσμι ι καιμόιτε,
εδέ ντίκου λιούαρε, ατέ βάουενε ε Ζαλόγγουτε
ού βιρβίτε μπάσκε μέ ντιέλτε, γκά σκιμπίνιετε,
εδέ σκρούαιτιτε, τ’ μάδενε θισί εδέ ιστορί.
Γκράτε ε Σούλιτε ε Ζαλόγγουτε, γκρούννι.
Λίνι γκιάκιρατε τσ΄ ντέρδτε, κονίσμε ντ΄σκιμπίνιετε
πρ’ τ’ φάλενε, τ’ πά λέιτουριτε τσ’ αρούνε.
Μίρι ντιέλτε, τσ’ νάνι γιάνε μπίνε τρίμα,
εδέ βιρβίνε λιά, μπ’ λιά γκά ρέτε, πρίζε ντ’ ίλτε
πρ’ τ’ δινίσετε τ’ ού σιόχε, χέπ κόσμι
εδέ λίουανι, νιέ χέρε μέτα, ατέ βάουενε ε Ζαλόγγουτε,
εδέ φιρτίενι, κιτίατε παλιοκόσμιτε
σά βιλιένε, τιμία εδέ λεφτερία
τσ’ σπαγγούχετε, μέ γκί,
βέτιμε μέ γκιάκε, εδέ θισί
Γκρούννι, γκρούννι, ΓΚΡΟΥΝΝΙ.

Brassens, comme je l’aime!

Je viens de visiter la sympathique expo Brassens à la Cité de la Musique. Dépêchez-vous, si, comme moi, vous fondez devant cet être vraiment délicieusement familier et atypique qui a changé votre vision du monde. Je vous soumets la chanson que je préfère à toute autre, même si d’autres sont également chères à mon coeur (Lien vers la video)

Brassens et ses amis sur la plage de Sète © photographie Victor Laville

Mourir pour des idées, l’idée est excellente
Moi j’ai failli mourir de ne l’avoir pas eu
Car tous ceux qui l’avaient, multitude accablante
En hurlant à la mort me sont tombés dessus
Ils ont su me convaincre et ma muse insolente
Abjurant ses erreurs, se rallie à leur foi
Avec un soupçon de réserve toutefois
Mourrons pour des idées, d’accord, mais de mort lente,
D’accord, mais de mort lente

Jugeant qu’il n’y a pas péril en la demeure
Allons vers l’autre monde en flânant en chemin
Car, à forcer l’allure, il arrive qu’on meure
Pour des idées n’ayant plus cours le lendemain
Or, s’il est une chose amère, désolante
En rendant l’âme à Dieu c’est bien de constater
Qu’on a fait fausse route, qu’on s’est trompé d’idée
Mourrons pour des idées, d’accord, mais de mort lente
D’accord, mais de mort lente

Les saint jean bouche d’or qui prêchent le martyre
Le plus souvent, d’ailleurs, s’attardent ici-bas
Mourir pour des idées, c’est le cas de le dire
C’est leur raison de vivre, ils ne s’en privent pas
Dans presque tous les camps on en voit qui supplantent
Bientôt Mathusalem dans la longévité
J’en conclus qu’ils doivent se dire, en aparté
“Mourrons pour des idées, d’accord, mais de mort lente
D’accord, mais de mort lente”

Des idées réclamant le fameux sacrifice
Les sectes de tout poil en offrent des séquelles
Et la question se pose aux victimes novices
Mourir pour des idées, c’est bien beau mais lesquelles ?
Et comme toutes sont entre elles ressemblantes
Quand il les voit venir, avec leur gros drapeau
Le sage, en hésitant, tourne autour du tombeau
Mourrons pour des idées, d’accord, mais de mort lente
D’accord, mais de mort lente

Encor s’il suffisait de quelques hécatombes
Pour qu’enfin tout changeât, qu’enfin tout s’arrangeât
Depuis tant de “grands soirs” que tant de têtes tombent
Au paradis sur terre on y serait déjà
Mais l’âge d’or sans cesse est remis aux calendes
Les dieux ont toujours soif, n’en ont jamais assez
Et c’est la mort, la mort toujours recommencée
Mourrons pour des idées, d’accord, mais de mort lente
D’accord, mais de mort lente

O vous, les boutefeux, ô vous les bons apôtres
Mourez donc les premiers, nous vous cédons le pas
Mais de grâce, morbleu! laissez vivre les autres!
La vie est à peu près leur seul luxe ici bas
Car, enfin, la Camarde est assez vigilante
Elle n’a pas besoin qu’on lui tienne la faux
Plus de danse macabre autour des échafauds!
Mourrons pour des idées, d’accord, mais de mort lente
D’accord, mais de mort lente

©http://www.musikiwi.com


Pour le Nouvel An des Arbres…ce poème du nouvel an tout court.

Une fois de temps en temps, je poste un poème qui me bouleverse
ou m'émeut ou encore m'enchante....Aucun de ceux publiés ici
jusqu'à présent ne m'a touchée autant que celui que je vous livre
aujourd' hui. J'ai l'honneur d'en connaître l'auteur et le prix
inestimable!
J'aurais voulu vous l'offrir plus tôt, mais il me fallait quelques
 autorisations des auteurs, en particulier de Robin et de son
éducateur. Il me fallait aussi le courage de vous conter l'histoire
navrante mais sublime d'un petit Robin de 13 ans qui a un jour
voulu jouer au jeu... du foulard.
Pour ceux qui ignorent ce jeu, je vous invite à visiter les sites d'SOS Benjamin. Toujours est-il que cinq ans après ce drame qui a
frappé mes amis Florence et Patrick. L'année 2011 permet de
retrouver le plus radieux des sourires.
Non, Robin n'est pas né une fois, il est né deux fois et
Florence et Patrick ont trois enfants. L'un deux s'est estompé
il y a 5 ans pour renaître avec une autre personalité, un autre
destin mais toujours le même sourire, le même humour et l'espoir
que d'autres petits et grands bonheur viennent faire oublier un
soir de malheur.  Le poème ci-dessous est celui d'un vrai Cosmo kid
car la diversité, c'est cela aussi...
Il ne l'a pas écrit seul mais avec de 4 autres camarades tous âgés
de 14 à 18 ans qui sont pensionnaires comme lui à
l'institut Guillaume Belluard à Crans-Gevrier, dans le groupe
 "passerelle". Si vous désirez en savoir plus sur cet institut
remarquable, je me ferai un devoir de passer votre demande à mon
amie Flo que j'embrasse très fort et que j'admire encore plus fort!
 Mais assez de blabla, place au poème.
A vous de juger, personnellement, je trouve que la vie est belle et
 réserve, parmi nos tourments plus ou moins supportables, de
merveilleuses pépites de bonheur.
A Robin et ses copains! Vous avez la vie devant vous et vous en connaissez le prix plus et mieux que d'autres!
cliquez sur le lien ci-dessous
Robin_groupe de mots 2010 (cliquez sur le lien) 
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Brise marine, Stéphane Mallarmé

La chair est triste, hélas! et j’ai lu tous les livres. Fuir! Là bas fuir! Je sens que les oiseaux sont ivres D’être parmi l’écume inconnue et les cieux. Rien, ni les vieux jardins reflétés par les cieux Ne retiendra ce coeur qui dans la mer se trempe. O nuits! Ni la clarté déserte de ma lampe Sur le vide papier que la blancheur défend Et ni la jeune femme allaitant son enfant. Je partirai! Steamer balançant ta mâture Lève l’ancre pour une exotique nature! Un Ennui, désolé par les cruels espoirs, Croit encore à l’adieu suprême des mouchoirs! Et, peut-être, les mâts, invitant les orages Sont-ils de ceux qu’un vent penche sur les naufrages Perdus, sans mâts, sans mâts, ni fertiles îlots… Mais ô mon coeur entend le chant des matelots!

Shylock’s monologue, in the Merchant of Venice by the Greatest of All….

“I am a Jew… Hath not a Jew eyes ?

Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions ?

Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is ?

If you prick us, do we not bleed ? If you tickle us, do we not laugh ? If you poison us, do we not die ? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge ? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that…”

et en Français…

“Je suis juif… un Juif n’a-t-il pas des yeux ? Un Juif n’a-t-il pas des mains, des organes, des proportions, des sens, des émotions, des passions ? N’est-il pas nourri de même nourriture, blessé des mêmes armes, sujet aux mêmes maladies, guéri par les mêmes moyens, réchauffé et refroidi par le même été, le même hiver, comme un chrétien ? Si vous nous piquez, ne saignons-nous pas ? Si vous nous chatouillez, ne rions-nous pas ? Si vous nous empoisonnez, ne mourons-nous pas ? Si vous nous faites tort, ne nous vengerons-nous pas ? Si nous vous ressemblons dans le reste, nous vous ressemblerons aussi en cela…”

Le bateau ivre…my mood of the day! Vive le Printemps

Comme je descendais des Fleuves impassibles,
Je ne me sentis plus guidé par les haleurs :
Des Peaux-Rouges criards les avaient pris pour cibles,
Les ayant cloués nus aux poteaux de couleurs.

J’étais insoucieux de tous les équipages,
Porteur de blés flamands ou de cotons anglais.
Quand avec mes haleurs ont fini ces tapages,
Les Fleuves m’ont laissé descendre où je voulais.

Dans les clapotements furieux des marées,
Moi, l’autre hiver, plus sourd que les cerveaux d’enfants,
Je courus ! Et les Péninsules démarrées
N’ont pas subi tohu-bohus plus triomphants.

La tempête a béni mes éveils maritimes.
Plus léger qu’un bouchon j’ai dansé sur les flots
Qu’on appelle rouleurs éternels de victimes,
Dix nuits, sans regretter l’oeil niais des falots !

Plus douce qu’aux enfants la chair des pommes sûres,
L’eau verte pénétra ma coque de sapin
Et des taches de vins bleus et des vomissures
Me lava, dispersant gouvernail et grappin.

Et dès lors, je me suis baigné dans le Poème
De la Mer, infusé d’astres, et lactescent,
Dévorant les azurs verts ; où, flottaison blême
Et ravie, un noyé pensif parfois descend ;

Où, teignant tout à coup les bleuités, délires
Et rhythmes lents sous les rutilements du jour,
Plus fortes que l’alcool, plus vastes que nos lyres,
Fermentent les rousseurs amères de l’amour !

Je sais les cieux crevant en éclairs, et les trombes
Et les ressacs et les courants : je sais le soir,
L’Aube exaltée ainsi qu’un peuple de colombes,
Et j’ai vu quelquefois ce que l’homme a cru voir !

J’ai vu le soleil bas, taché d’horreurs mystiques,
Illuminant de longs figements violets,
Pareils à des acteurs de drames très antiques
Les flots roulant au loin leurs frissons de volets !

J’ai rêvé la nuit verte aux neiges éblouies,
Baiser montant aux yeux des mers avec lenteurs,
La circulation des sèves inouïes,
Et l’éveil jaune et bleu des phosphores chanteurs !

J’ai suivi, des mois pleins, pareille aux vacheries
Hystériques, la houle à l’assaut des récifs,
Sans songer que les pieds lumineux des Maries
Pussent forcer le mufle aux Océans poussifs !

J’ai heurté, savez-vous, d’incroyables Florides
Mêlant aux fleurs des yeux de panthères à peaux
D’hommes ! Des arcs-en-ciel tendus comme des brides
Sous l’horizon des mers, à de glauques troupeaux !

J’ai vu fermenter les marais énormes, nasses
Où pourrit dans les joncs tout un Léviathan !
Des écroulements d’eaux au milieu des bonaces,
Et les lointains vers les gouffres cataractant !

Glaciers, soleils d’argent, flots nacreux, cieux de braises !
Échouages hideux au fond des golfes bruns
Où les serpents géants dévorés des punaises
Choient, des arbres tordus, avec de noirs parfums !

J’aurais voulu montrer aux enfants ces dorades
Du flot bleu, ces poissons d’or, ces poissons chantants.
– Des écumes de fleurs ont bercé mes dérades
Et d’ineffables vents m’ont ailé par instants.

Parfois, martyr lassé des pôles et des zones,
La mer dont le sanglot faisait mon roulis doux
Montait vers moi ses fleurs d’ombre aux ventouses jaunes
Et je restais, ainsi qu’une femme à genoux…

Presque île, ballottant sur mes bords les querelles
Et les fientes d’oiseaux clabaudeurs aux yeux blonds.
Et je voguais, lorsqu’à travers mes liens frêles
Des noyés descendaient dormir, à reculons !

Or moi, bateau perdu sous les cheveux des anses,
Jeté par l’ouragan dans l’éther sans oiseau,
Moi dont les Monitors et les voiliers des Hanses
N’auraient pas repêché la carcasse ivre d’eau ;

Libre, fumant, monté de brumes violettes,
Moi qui trouais le ciel rougeoyant comme un mur
Qui porte, confiture exquise aux bons poètes,
Des lichens de soleil et des morves d’azur ;

Qui courais, taché de lunules électriques,
Planche folle, escorté des hippocampes noirs,
Quand les juillets faisaient crouler à coups de triques
Les cieux ultramarins aux ardents entonnoirs ;

Moi qui tremblais, sentant geindre à cinquante lieues
Le rut des Béhémots et les Maelstroms épais,
Fileur éternel des immobilités bleues,
Je regrette l’Europe aux anciens parapets !

J’ai vu des archipels sidéraux ! et des îles
Dont les cieux délirants sont ouverts au vogueur :
– Est-ce en ces nuits sans fonds que tu dors et t’exiles,
Million d’oiseaux d’or, ô future Vigueur ?

Mais, vrai, j’ai trop pleuré ! Les Aubes sont navrantes.
Toute lune est atroce et tout soleil amer :
L’âcre amour m’a gonflé de torpeurs enivrantes.
Ô que ma quille éclate ! Ô que j’aille à la mer !

Si je désire une eau d’Europe, c’est la flache
Noire et froide où vers le crépuscule embaumé
Un enfant accroupi plein de tristesse, lâche
Un bateau frêle comme un papillon de mai.

Je ne puis plus, baigné de vos langueurs, ô lames,
Enlever leur sillage aux porteurs de cotons,
Ni traverser l’orgueil des drapeaux et des flammes,
Ni nager sous les yeux horribles des pontons.

I just saw a rather sad version of this on stage in a disaster Peter Brook representation…I know it was an accident and the artist who performed was still brilliant enough to make us forget the mishaps. Shakespeare’s unbelievable talent accounts for the rest….

Love is my sin

Love is my sin, and thy dear virtue hate,
Hate of my sin, grounded on sinful loving,
O, but with mine, compare thou thine own state,
And thou shalt find it merits not reproving,
Or if it do, not from those lips of thine
That have profaned their scarlet ornaments
And sealed false bonds of love as oft as mine,
Robbed others’ beds’ revenues of their rents.
Be it lawful I love thee as thou lov’st those
Whom thine eyes woo as mine importune thee.
Root pity in thy heart, that when it grows
Thy pity may deserve to pitied be.
If thou dost seek to have what thou dost hide,
By self-example mayst thou be denied!

Sonnet 142 by William Shakespeare

William Blake, Jerusalem….Prompted by Martine…I forgot how much I loved this one!

And did those feet in Ancient Time
Walk upon England’s Mountain Green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
Upon England’s pleasant pastures seen?

And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded Hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these Dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire !
Bring me my spear! O Clouds, unfold!
Bring me my charriot of Fire!

I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my Hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant Land .

Sing it along I personally found this particularly moving…

6 Responses to “Poetic mood – Humeur poétique.”

  1. Sheila Hazel Says:

    This is beautiful!!!

  2. Ingrid Liebeskind Sauthier Says:

    J’aime beaucoup ton blog qui te ressemble : généreux et éclectique, continue !

    1. cosmopolitanism Says:

      Merci beaucoup, j’en rougis! L’éclectisme est le moindre de mes défauts cosmopolites;-))


  3. [...] Poetic mood – Humeur poétique. [...]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 134 other followers