Age of Jahiliyah

A blog of wide and varied interest, including Islam, Muslims, Poetry, Art and much more.

Archive for the day “February 16, 2011”

Friendship by Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

Oh, the comfort – the inexpressible comfort

of feeling safe with a person,

Having neither to weigh thoughts,

Nor measure words – but pouring them

All right out – just as they are –

Chaff and grain together –

Certain that a faithful hand will

Take and sift them –

Keep what is worth keeping –

And with the breath of kindness

Blow the rest away.

 

 

 

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She and He by Edwin Arnold

“She is dead!” they said to him; “come away;
Kiss her and leave her, — thy love is clay!”

They smoothed her tresses of dark brown hair;
On her forehead of stone they laid it fair;

Over her eyes that gazed too much
They drew the lids with a gentle touch;

With a tender touch they closed up well
The sweet thin lips that had secrets to tell;

About her brows and beautiful face
They tied her veil and her marriage lace,

And drew on her white feet her white silk shoes —
Which were the whitest no eye could choose —

And over her bosom they crossed her hands.
“Come away!” they said; “God understands.”

And there was silence, and nothing there
But silence, and scents of eglantere,

And jasmine, and roses, and rosemary;
And they said, “As a lady should lie, lies she.”

And they held their breath till they left the room,
With a shudder, to glance at its stillness and gloom.

But he who loved her too well to dread
The sweet, the stately, the beautiful dead,

He lit his lamp and took the key
And turned it — alone again — he and she.

He and she; but she would not speak,
Though he kissed, in the old place, the quiet cheek.

He and she; yet she would not smile,
Though he called her the name she loved erewhile.

He and she; still she did not move
To any one passionate whisper of love.

Then he said: “Cold lips and breasts without breath,
Is there no voice, no language of death?

“Dumb to the ear and still to the sense,
But to heart and to soul distinct, intense?

“See now; I will listen with soul, not ear;
What was the secret of dying, dear?

“Was it the infinite wonder of all
That you ever could let life’s flower fall?

“Or was it a greater marvel to feel
The perfect calm o’er the agony steal?

“Was the miracle greater to find how deep
Beyond all dreams sank downward that sleep?

“Did life roll back its records dear,
And show, as they say it does, past things clear?

“And was it the innermost heart of the bliss
To find out so, what a wisdom love is?

“O perfect dead! O dead most dear
I hold the breath of my soul to hear!

“I listen as deep as to horrible hell,
As high as to heaven, and you do not tell.

“There must be pleasure in dying, sweet,
To make you so placid from head to feet!

“I would tell you, darling, if I were dead,
And ’twere your hot tears upon my brow shed, —

“I would say, though the Angel of Death had laid
His sword on my lips to keep it unsaid.

“You should not ask vainly, with streaming eyes,
Which of all deaths was the chiefest surprise,

“The very strangest and suddenest thing
Of all the surprises that dying must bring.”

Ah, foolish world; O most kind dead!
Though he told me, who will believe it was said?

Who will believe that he heard her say,
With the sweet, soft voice, in the dear old way:

“The utmost wonder is this, — I hear
And see you, and love you, and kiss you, dear;

“And am your angel, who was your bride,
And know that, though dead, I have never died.”

The Men that Don’t Fit In by Robert W. Service

There’s a race of men that don’t fit in,
A race that can’t stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and they rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain’s crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
And they don’t know how to rest.

If they just went straight they might go far,
They are strong and brave and true;
But they’re always tired of the things that are,
And they want the strange and new.
They say: “Could I find my proper groove,
What a deep mark I would make!”
So they chop and change, and each fresh move
Is only a fresh mistake.

And each forgets, as he strips and runs
With a brilliant, fitful pace,
It’s the steady, quiet, plodding ones
Who win in the lifelong race.
And each forgets that his youth has fled,
Forgets that his prime is past,
Till he stands one day, with a hope that’s dead,
In the glare of the truth at last.

He has failed, he has failed; he has missed his chance;
He has just done things by half.
Life’s been a jolly good joke on him,
And now is the time to laugh.
Ha, ha! He is one of the Legion Lost;
He was never meant to win;
He’s a rolling stone, and it’s bred in the bone;
He’s a man who won’t fit in.

 

 

A Woman’s Question by Lena Lathrop

Do you know you have asked for the costliest thing,

Ever made by the Hand above?

A woman’s heart and a woman’s life,

And a woman’s wonderful love.

Do you know you have asked for this priceless thing,

As a child might ask for a toy?

Demanding what others have died to win,

With the reckless dash of a boy.

 

You have written my lesson of duty out,

Manlike, you have questioned me.

Now stand at the bars of my woman’s soul,

Until I have questioned thee.

 

You require that your mutton shall always be hot,

Your socks and your shirts be whole;

I require that your heart be as true as Yah’s stars,

And as pure as His heaven, your soul.

 

You require a cook for your mutton and beef,

I require a far greater thing.

A seamstress you’re wanting for socks and shirts,

I look for a man and a king.

 

A king for the beautiful realm called Home,

And a man that his Maker Yah, could,

Look upon just as He did at the first,

And say, ‘it is very good’.

 

I am fair and young but the rose may fade,

From this soft young cheek one day;

Will you love me amid the falling leaves,

As you did ‘mong the blossoms of May?

 

Is your heart an ocean, strong and true,

I may launch my all on its tide?

A loving woman finds heaven or hell,

On the day she is made a bride.

 

I require all things that are grand and free,

All things that a man should be;

If you give this all, I would stake my life,

To be all you demand of me.

 

If you cannot be this, a laundress and cook,

You can hire and little to pay;

But a woman’s heart and a woman’s life

Are not to be won that way.

 

To a Friend by Grace Stricker Dawson

You entered my life in a casual way;
And saw at a glance what I needed;
There were others who passed me or met me each day,
But never a one of them heeded.
Perhaps you were thinking of other folks more,
Or chance simply seemed to decree it;
I know there were many such chances before,
But the others – well, they didn’t see it.
You said just the things that I wished you would say,
And you made me believe that you meant it;
I held up my head in the old gallant way,
And resolved you should never repent it.
There are times when encouragement means such a lot,
And a word is enough to convey it;
There were others who could have, as easy as not –
But, just the same, they didn’t say it.

There may have been someone who could have done more
To help me along, though I doubt it;
What I needed was cheering, and always before
They had let me plod onward without it.
You helped to refashion the dream of my heart,
And made me turn eagerly to it;
There were others who might have (I question that part)-
But, after all, they didn’t do it.

 

 

Ad Finem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

On the white throat of the useless passion
That scorched my soul with its burning breath,
I clutched my fingers in murderous fashion,
And gathered them close in a grip of death;
For why should I fan, or feed with fuel,
A love that showed me but blank despair?
So my hold was firm, and my grasp was cruel –
I meant to strangle it then and there!

I thought it was dead. But with no warning,
It rose from its grave last night, and came
And stood by my bed till the early morning,
And over and over it spoke your name.
Its throat was red where my hands had held it,
It burned my brow with its scorching breath;
And I said, the moment my eyes beheld it,
A love like this can know no death.

For just one kiss that your lips have given
In the lost and beautiful past to me
I would gladly barter my hopes of Heaven
And all the bliss of Eternity.
For never a joy are the angels keeping
To lay at my feet in Paradise,
Like that of into your strong arms creeping,
And looking into your love-lit eyes.

I know, in the way that sins are reckoned,
This thought is a sin of the deepest dye;
But I know, too, if an angel beckoned,
Standing close by the Throne on High,
And you adown by the gates infernal,
Should open your loving arms and smile,
I would turn my back on things supernal,
To lie on your breast a little while.

To know for an hour you were mine completely –
Mine in body and soul, my own –
I would bear unending tortures sweetly,
With not a murmur and not a moan.
A lighter sin or a lesser error
Might change through hope or fear divine;
But there is no fear, and hell has no terror,
To change or alter a love like mine.

If by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!

Love’s Philosophy by Percy Bysshe Shelley

The fountains mingle with the river,
And the rivers with the ocean;
The winds of heaven mix forever,
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In one another’s being mingle;–
Why not I with thine?

See! the mountains kiss high heaven,
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister flower would be forgiven,
If it disdained it’s brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea;–
What are all these kissings worth,
If thou kiss not me?

Dandelion by Malachi Black

She sleeps folded
up like an old phone
number, no name

on a scrap of nap
kin in a stranger’s calf
skin wallet, her

half-closed hand
in the shape
of a shaved lamb.

She is the seed
ingrown, alone
inside an avocado.

Her heart: a handful
of feathers
rubber-banded together:

a dandelion dismantled
by a breeze too cold to keep
to the East Coast.

Starfish quiver in her
head: slow rowboat
floating on the bed

If I Had Known by Mary Carolyn Davies

If I had known what trouble you were bearing;

What griefs were in the silence of your face;

I would have been more gentle, and more caring,

And tried to give you gladness for a space.

I would have brought more warmth into the place,

If I had known.

 

If I had known what thoughts despairing drew you;

(Why do we never try to understand?)

I would have lent a little friendship to you,

and slipped my hand within your hand,

And made your stay more pleasant in the land,

If I had known.

 

 

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