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Author Topic: A little time to reflect...

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Icon 1 posted March 07, 2006 14:34      Profile for Grummash     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
As the title says, this post is about having a moment or two away from the stress of daily life - or indeed the stress in other parts of the forum. [Wink]

So, if you will indulge me, I would like to present one of my favourite poems, with all credit to William Ernest Henley. Your opinions, as always, are most welcome.

Out of the night that covers me
Black as the Pit from pole to pole
I thank whatever Gods may be
For my unconquerable soul

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody but unbowed

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade
And yet, the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll;
I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul

...and yet, across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably superior to ours regarded this earth with envious eyes...

Posts: 2335 | From: Lancashire,UK | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged

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Icon 1 posted March 07, 2006 17:18      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hehe.... I LOVED that poem in high school. That was my mantra.

I know, I know: It's surprising that cute, innocent Rhonnie had such a dark side. [evil]

In all honesty, I was somewhat of a rebel, but I felt like I had a lot against which to rebel: emotional and physical abuse from my parents, abuse promulgated by the church in which I grew up, the stigma associated with being an overweight, poor, strong-willed girl, etc.

I wanted to shock people out of their prejudices and complacencies, and Invictus expressed my anger/rebellion perfectly. Eventually I grew to realize that there's a better, more challenging way to live, but for a few years, the angst-laden teenager I was found her salvation in the strength of self expressed by Invictus.

Change the way you SEE, not the way you LOOK!

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Icon 1 posted March 07, 2006 17:41      Profile for YaYawoman     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thank you for sharing grummash. This is the first time I have read this poem and I really enjoyed it.
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Icon 1 posted March 07, 2006 17:48      Profile for Metasquares   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I always liked this one, by Stephen R. Donaldson, my favorite author:

"Something there is in beauty
That grows in the soul of the beholder
Like a flower
Fragile -
For many are the blights
that may waste
the beauty
or the beholder
and imperishable
for the beauty may die
or the beholder may die
or the world may die
but the soul in which the flower grows

For some reason, the two seem similar to me.

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Icon 1 posted March 08, 2006 00:48      Profile for Ashitaka     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
You forgat to mention the title is called INVICTICUS

I love that poem (even made myself a tshirt with it on it.)

I like Prospice by browning more though. Its along the same lines of dark heroic poetry from the 1800's.


Fear death?--to feel the fog in my throat,
The mist in my face,
When the snows begin, and the blasts denote
I am nearing the place,
The power of the night, the press of the storm,
The post of the foe;
Where he stands, the Arch Fear in a visible form;
Yet the strong man must go:
For the journey is done and the summit attained,
And the barriers fall,
Though a battle's to fight ere the guerdon be gained,
The reward of it all.
I was ever a fighter, so--one fight more,
The best and the last!
I would hate that Death bandaged my eyes, and forbore,
And made me creep past.
No! let me taste the whole of it, fare like my peers,
The heroes of old,
Bear the brunt, in a minute pay glad life's arrears
Of pain, darkness and cold.
For sudden the worst turns the best to the brave.
The black minute's at end,
And the elements' rage, the fiend voices that rave,
Shall dwindle, shall blend,
Shall change, shall become first a peace out of pain.
Then a light, then thy breat,
O thou soul of my soul! I shall clasp thee again,
And with God be the rest!

Robert Browning.

"If they're not gonna make a distinction between Muslims and violent extremists, then why should I take the time to distinguish between decent, fearful white people and racists?"

-Assif Mandvi

Posts: 3093 | From: Switzerland | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged

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Icon 1 posted March 08, 2006 12:26      Profile for Grummash     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Ashitaka - you're right, of course, I did forget to include the title. Very shoddy - mea culpa. [Frown]
I haven't come across the Browning poem before, and after the the initial few readings, it clearly has a similar message to Invictus in the way it deals with the virtues of courage and fortitude. I like it, thanks.

YaYawoman - gladya liked it [Smile]

Rhonwyyn - I was interested to hear your experience of this poem. (I always find your point of view interesting, even when we disagree about something.)
However, I was surprised to hear that you find this poem once expressed your anger and rebellion. I do not read any anger or rebellion into the words and maybe this is because I do not feel angry or rebellious at this stage in my life.

Metasquares - For me, Invictus is about that indefinable, unpollutable spark inside each of us...and so I do see parallels between Invictus and the poem you posted. They both speak to me about truth, resilience, and the conviction that this brief corporeal life is not the full story.

...and yet, across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably superior to ours regarded this earth with envious eyes...

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Icon 1 posted March 08, 2006 17:50      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
From Bartleby:

William Ernest Henley was born in 1849 and was educated at the Grammar School of Gloucester. From childhood he was afflicted with a tuberculous disease which finally necessitated the amputation of a foot. His Hospital Verses, those vivid precursors of current free verse, were a record of the time when he was at the infirmary at Edinburgh; they are sharp with the sights, sensations, even the actual smells of the sickroom. In spite (or, more probably, because) of his continued poor health, Henley never ceased to worship strength and energy; courage and a triumphant belief in a harsh world shine out of the athletic London Voluntaries (1892) and the lightest and most musical lyrics in Hawthorn and Lavender (1898).
The bulk of Henley's poetry is not great in volume. He has himself explained the small quantity of his work in a Preface to his Poems, first published by Charles Scribner's Sons in 1898. "A principal reason," he says, "is that, after spending the better part of my life in the pursuit of poetry, I found myself (about 1877) so utterly unmarketable that I had to own myself beaten in art, and to indict myself to journalism for the next ten years." Later on, he began to write again—"old dusty sheaves were dragged to light; the work of selection and correction was begun; I burned much; I found that, after all, the lyrical instinct had slept—not died."
After a brilliant and varied career (see Preface), devoted mostly to journalism, Henley died in 1903.

Change the way you SEE, not the way you LOOK!

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Icon 1 posted March 09, 2006 09:11      Profile for Demosthenes     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
A poem I kept coming back to over and over again, especially when I was in school, was The General Public by Stephen Vincent Benet. The message isn't especially uplifting, but the imagery is strong:

"Ah, did you once see Shelley plain?" -- Browning.

"Shelley? Oh, yes, I saw him often then,"
The old man said. A dry smile creased his face
With many wrinkles. "That's a great poem, now!
That one of Browning's! Shelley? Shelley plain?
The time that I remember best is this --

A thin mire crept along the rutted ways,
And all the trees were harried by cold rain
That drove a moment fiercely and then ceased,
Falling so slow it hung like a grey mist
Over the school. The walks were like blurred glass.
The buildings reeked with vapor, black and harsh
Against the deepening darkness of the sky;
And each lamp was a hazy yellow moon,
Filling the space about with golden motes,
And making all things larger than they were.
One yellow halo hung above a door,
That gave on a black passage. Round about
Struggled a howling crowd of boys, pell-mell,
Pushing and jostling like a stormy sea,
With shouting faces, turned a pasty white
By the strange light, for foam. They all had clods,
Or slimy balls of mud. A few gripped stones.
And there, his back against the battered door,
His pile of books scattered about his feet,
Stood Shelley while two others held him fast,
And the clods beat upon him. `Shelley! Shelley!'
The high shouts rang through all the corridors,
`Shelley! Mad Shelley! Come along and help!'
And all the crowd dug madly at the earth,
Scratching and clawing at the streaming mud,
And fouled each other and themselves. And still
Shelley stood up. His eyes were like a flame
Set in some white, still room; for all his face
Was white, a whiteness like no human color,
But white and dreadful as consuming fire.
His hands shook now and then, like slender cords
Which bear too heavy weights. He did not speak.
So I saw Shelley plain."
"And you?" I said.

"I? I threw straighter than the most of them,
And had firm clods. I hit him -- well, at least
Thrice in the face. He made good sport that night."

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Icon 1 posted March 09, 2006 12:02      Profile for Aditu     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I've always loved the Psalm of Life by Longfellow. It is a very old fashion poem, but there you are.

TELL me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!—
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest! 5
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way; 10
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating 15
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife! 20

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,—act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us 25
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main, 30
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing, 35
Learn to labor and to wait.

I love poetry from many sources and countries, but for some reason big chunks of this particular poem stick in my brain. I get great pleasure from being able to recite them.

Posts: 1355 | From: Osten Ard | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
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Icon 1 posted March 29, 2006 09:07      Profile for maybe.logic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I have just read this poem by a 10 year old girl and i think it is amazing...

What do you think?

It is a cold night,
endless and icy,
and I sit alone
reading a newspaper
with no headlines
under a light
that hides the words
as broken down taxis
carrying dead tourists
run the boulevard
to hotels
where no one checks in.

I am a ghost with no eyes.

Under a moon
masked by clouds,
listening to nothing
as the evening weeps,
the wind whistles
down congested
where the cars sit
rusted and dead,
and Time passes
through my mind
like a stiletto
slicing through my ribs,
but here I will sit,
here I will wait,
feeling the clock
tick away moments
where I could
bathe in starlight,
where I could sing
in a voice birthing summer,
but instead I am
bleeding away Life
for one last sight
of you.

I am a ghost with no eyes.

I would cry for you,
but I would bleed out
before the ambulance
could rescue me.

It is so wonderful
mine are the last lips
you kissed.
Here I will sit,
here I will wait,
as the clock
emptying my universe
of all the moments
where I saw your face.

It is a cold night,
endless and icy...

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