Logo: A Beautiful Miniature Book
"Never Offer Your Heart"
Never offer your heart
to someone who eats hearts
who finds heartmeat delicious but not rare
who sucks the juices drop by drop
and bloody-chinned grins
like a God.
Never offer your heart
to a heart gravy lover.
Your stewed, over seasoned
he will sop up your grief with bread
and send it shuttling from side to side
in his mouth like bubblegum.
If you find yourself in love
with a person who eats heart
these things you must do:
Freeze your heart immediately.
Let him--next time
he examines your chest--
find your heart cold
flinty and unappetizing.
Refrain from kissing
lest he in revenge
dampen the spark in your soul.
sail away to Africa where holy women
await you on the shore--
long having practiced the art of replacing hearts
with gods and Song.
For more on Jim Phelan...please click here.
Myself when young did eagerly frequent
Doctor and Saint, and heard great argument
About it and about; but evermore
Came out by the same Door as in I went.
Into this universe, and why not knowing
Nor whence, like Water willy-nilly flowing;
And out of it, as Wind along the Waste,
I know not whither, willy-nilly blowing.
For in the Market-place one Dusk of Day,
I watch’d the Potter thumping his wet clay:
And with its all obliterated tongue
It murmur’d….”Gently, Brother, gently, pray!”.
And, strange to tell, among the Earthen Lot
Some could articulate, while others not:
And suddenly one more impatient cried….
“Who is the Potter, pray, and who the Pot?”.
None answered this; but after silence spake
A Vessel of more ungainly Make:
“They sneer at me for leaning all awry;
What! Did the Hand then of the Potter shake?”.
One Moment in Annihilation’s Waste
One moment, of the Well of Life to taste….
The stars are setting and the caravan
Starts for the dawn of nothing….Oh, make haste!
For in and out , above, about, below,
‘Tis nothing but a Magic Shadow-show,
Play’d in a Box whose candle is the Sun,
Round which we Phantom Figures come and go.
”The Rubaiyat”. Edward Fitzgerald. 1859 First Edition.
Our Favourite Seven, of the 110 Quatrains.
The Back Story…
In London, one day in 1861, poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti (above left) and his great friend, poet Algernon Swinburne (above right), rummaging through the Penny Book Box at bookseller Quaritch's, made a sensational "find" — a “Rubaiyat” of “Omar Khayyam” rendered into English by an anonymous translator. "Next day," Swinburne reported crossly, "when we returned for more [copies], the price was raised to the iniquitous and exorbitant sum of twopence ! ”.
It’s June 2018, so let’s start from one of the absolute pinnacles of poetry…….a very Everest of poems…”The Rubaiyat”.
Edward Fitzgerald (above center) started it in 1856 (the ideas came from a Persian manuscript of about 1460 AD, passed to him by a friend, but it’s not a literal translation…its very much him…)…he worked on this one poem till his death in 1883…a total of 27 years!
It has just 110 four line verses (“quatrains”….lines 1,2, and 4 rhyme). Each verse embodies a statement about life (his life…., my life… your life….…anyone’s life….?). So, the majority of the quatrains can be read as separate poems, epigrammatic expressions of a single thought. Here we have selected seven in the extract above…..
Edward Fitzgerald published the poem at his own expense in four versions (editions) in his lifetime…and a fifth came after his death. We have a book collector customer who has over one thousand different editions (this is possible through widening ones collection to include foreign languages...).
It has never been out of print…it is quoted everywhere….it has been translated into most language. To read more, click...
All men dream: but not equally
Those who dream by night
In the dusty recesses of their minds
Wake in the day to find that it was vanity:
But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men,
For they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.
"Do not stand at my grave and weep."
Do not stand at my grave and weep:
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starshine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry:
I am not there; I did not die.
Mary Elizabeth Frye. 1905 - 2004.
Yevgeny Yevtushenko. 1932 - 2017.
He was transformed.
And because this time he had attained
The true eternal transformation,
Because he had now become a whole
From a half, he could, from this hour on,
Transform himself as much as ever he wanted.
Constantly the magic stream of becoming flowed through his blood.
Eternally he took part in creation.
He became deer, he became fish, he became man & snake, cloud & bird.
In each incarnation, however, he was wholly himself, was a pair, contained moon and sun, contained male and female in himself,
Flowing as a double river through all the lands,
And now stood as a twin star in the sky.
“Pictor’s Metamorphoses”. Hesse. 1922.
“The Minister for Exams”
When I was a child I sat an exam. The test was so simple
There was no way I could fail.
Q1. Describe the taste of the moon
“It tastes like creation” I wrote,..”..”it has the flavour of sunlight”.
Q2. What colour is love?
“Love is the colour of the water a man
lost in the desert finds”, I wrote..
Q3. Why do snowflakes melt?
I wrote…”.. they melt because they fall
on the warm tongue of God”.
There were other questions. They were just as simple.
I described the grief of Adam when he was expelled from Eden.
I wrote down the weight of an elephant’s dream.
Yet today, many years later
For my living I sweep the street
…and clean out the toilets of the fat hotels
Why? Because constantly I failed my exams.
Why? Well…let me set a test..
Q1. How large is a child’s imagination..?
Q2. How shallow is the soul of the Minister for Exams…..?
Click here for...Brian Patten
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.
William Ernest Henley. 1875.
This poem is reputed to have been known to Nelson Mandela (top right) during his incarceration, hence the famous film title. Interestingly, there is a slight link with our home town, Lyme Regis. Henley (top left image) suffered all his life from tuberculosis of the bone…eventually resulting in a leg amputation.
The surgeon? Joseph Lister (1827-1912)
(Baron Lister of Lyme Regis)
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