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Best Famous Falsehood Poems

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12
Written by Aleister Crowley | Create an image from this poem

A Birthday

 "Aug.
" 10, 1911.
Full moon to-night; and six and twenty years Since my full moon first broke from angel spheres! A year of infinite love unwearying --- No circling seasons, but perennial spring! A year of triumph trampling through defeat, The first made holy and the last made sweet By this same love; a year of wealth and woe, Joy, poverty, health, sickness --- all one glow In the pure light that filled our firmament Of supreme silence and unbarred extent, Wherein one sacrament was ours, one Lord, One resurrection, one recurrent chord, One incarnation, one descending dove, All these being one, and that one being Love! You sent your spirit into tunes; my soul Yearned in a thousand melodies to enscroll Its happiness: I left no flower unplucked That might have graced your garland.
I induct Tragedy, comedy, farce, fable, song, Each longing a little, each a little long, But each aspiring only to express Your excellence and my unworthiness --- Nay! but my worthiness, since I was sense And spirit too of that same excellence.
So thus we solved the earth's revolving riddle: I could write verse, and you could play the fiddle, While, as for love, the sun went through the signs, And not a star but told him how love twines A wreath for every decanate, degree, Minute and second, linked eternally In chains of flowers that never fading are, Each one as sempiternal as a star.
Let me go back to your last birthday.
Then I was already your one man of men Appointed to complete you, and fulfil From everlasting the eternal will.
We lay within the flood of crimson light In my own balcony that August night, And conjuring the aright and the averse Created yet another universe.
We worked together; dance and rite and spell Arousing heaven and constraining hell.
We lived together; every hour of rest Was honied from your tiger-lily breast.
We --- oh what lingering doubt or fear betrayed My life to fate! --- we parted.
Was I afraid? I was afraid, afraid to live my love, Afraid you played the serpent, I the dove, Afraid of what I know not.
I am glad Of all the shame and wretchedness I had, Since those six weeks have taught me not to doubt you, And also that I cannot live without you.
Then I came back to you; black treasons rear Their heads, blind hates, deaf agonies of fear, Cruelty, cowardice, falsehood, broken pledges, The temple soiled with senseless sacrileges, Sickness and poverty, a thousand evils, Concerted malice of a million devils; --- You never swerved; your high-pooped galleon Went marvellously, majestically on Full-sailed, while every other braver bark Drove on the rocks, or foundered in the dark.
Then Easter, and the days of all delight! God's sun lit noontide and his moon midnight, While above all, true centre of our world, True source of light, our great love passion-pearled Gave all its life and splendour to the sea Above whose tides stood our stability.
Then sudden and fierce, no monitory moan, Smote the mad mischief of the great cyclone.
How far below us all its fury rolled! How vainly sulphur tries to tarnish gold! We lived together: all its malice meant Nothing but freedom of a continent! It was the forest and the river that knew The fact that one and one do not make two.
We worked, we walked, we slept, we were at ease, We cried, we quarrelled; all the rocks and trees For twenty miles could tell how lovers played, And we could count a kiss for every glade.
Worry, starvation, illness and distress? Each moment was a mine of happiness.
Then we grew tired of being country mice, Came up to Paris, lived our sacrifice There, giving holy berries to the moon, July's thanksgiving for the joys of June.
And you are gone away --- and how shall I Make August sing the raptures of July? And you are gone away --- what evil star Makes you so competent and popular? How have I raised this harpy-hag of Hell's Malice --- that you are wanted somewhere else? I wish you were like me a man forbid, Banned, outcast, nice society well rid Of the pair of us --- then who would interfere With us? --- my darling, you would now be here! But no! we must fight on, win through, succeed, Earn the grudged praise that never comes to meed, Lash dogs to kennel, trample snakes, put bit In the mule-mouths that have such need of it, Until the world there's so much to forgive in Becomes a little possible to live in.
God alone knows if battle or surrender Be the true courage; either has its splendour.
But since we chose the first, God aid the right, And damn me if I fail you in the fight! God join again the ways that lie apart, And bless the love of loyal heart to heart! God keep us every hour in every thought, And bring the vessel of our love to port! These are my birthday wishes.
Dawn's at hand, And you're an exile in a lonely land.
But what were magic if it could not give My thought enough vitality to live? Do not then dream this night has been a loss! All night I have hung, a god, upon the cross; All night I have offered incense at the shrine; All night you have been unutterably mine, Miner in the memory of the first wild hour When my rough grasp tore the unwilling flower From your closed garden, mine in every mood, In every tense, in every attitude, In every possibility, still mine While the sun's pomp and pageant, sign to sign, Stately proceeded, mine not only so In the glamour of memory and austral glow Of ardour, but by image of my brow Stronger than sense, you are even here and now Miner, utterly mine, my sister and my wife, Mother of my children, mistress of my life! O wild swan winging through the morning mist! The thousand thousand kisses that we kissed, The infinite device our love devised If by some chance its truth might be surprised, Are these all past? Are these to come? Believe me, There is no parting; they can never leave me.
I have built you up into my heart and brain So fast that we can never part again.
Why should I sing you these fantastic psalms When all the time I have you in my arms? Why? 'tis the murmur of our love that swells Earth's dithyrambs and ocean's oracles.
But this is dawn; my soul shall make its nest Where your sighs swing from rapture into rest Love's thurible, your tiger-lily breast.
Written by Czeslaw Milosz | Create an image from this poem

Child of Europe

 1
We, whose lungs fill with the sweetness of day.
Who in May admire trees flowering Are better than those who perished.
We, who taste of exotic dishes, And enjoy fully the delights of love, Are better than those who were buried.
We, from the fiery furnaces, from behind barbed wires On which the winds of endless autumns howled, We, who remember battles where the wounded air roared in paroxysms of pain.
We, saved by our own cunning and knowledge.
By sending others to the more exposed positions Urging them loudly to fight on Ourselves withdrawing in certainty of the cause lost.
Having the choice of our own death and that of a friend We chose his, coldly thinking: Let it be done quickly.
We sealed gas chamber doors, stole bread Knowing the next day would be harder to bear than the day before.
As befits human beings, we explored good and evil.
Our malignant wisdom has no like on this planet.
Accept it as proven that we are better than they, The gullible, hot-blooded weaklings, careless with their lives.
2 Treasure your legacy of skills, child of Europe.
Inheritor of Gothic cathedrals, of baroque churches.
Of synagogues filled with the wailing of a wronged people.
Successor of Descartes, Spinoza, inheritor of the word 'honor', Posthumous child of Leonidas Treasure the skills acquired in the hour of terror.
You have a clever mind which sees instantly The good and bad of any situation.
You have an elegant, skeptical mind which enjoys pleasures Quite unknown to primitive races.
Guided by this mind you cannot fail to see The soundness of the advice we give you: Let the sweetness of day fill your lungs For this we have strict but wise rules.
3 There can be no question of force triumphant We live in the age of victorious justice.
Do not mention force, or you will be accused Of upholding fallen doctrines in secret.
He who has power, has it by historical logic.
Respectfully bow to that logic.
Let your lips, proposing a hypothesis Not know about the hand faking the experiment.
Let your hand, faking the experiment No know about the lips proposing a hypothesis.
Learn to predict a fire with unerring precision Then burn the house down to fulfill the prediction.
4 Grow your tree of falsehood from a single grain of truth.
Do not follow those who lie in contempt of reality.
Let your lie be even more logical than the truth itself So the weary travelers may find repose in the lie.
After the Day of the Lie gather in select circles Shaking with laughter when our real deeds are mentioned.
Dispensing flattery called: perspicacious thinking.
Dispensing flattery called: a great talent.
We, the last who can still draw joy from cynicism.
We, whose cunning is not unlike despair.
A new, humorless generation is now arising It takes in deadly earnest all we received with laughter.
5 Let your words speak not through their meanings But through them against whom they are used.
Fashion your weapon from ambiguous words.
Consign clear words to lexical limbo.
Judge no words before the clerks have checked In their card index by whom they were spoken.
The voice of passion is better than the voice of reason.
The passionless cannot change history.
6 Love no country: countries soon disappear Love no city: cities are soon rubble.
Throw away keepsakes, or from your desk A choking, poisonous fume will exude.
Do not love people: people soon perish.
Or they are wronged and call for your help.
Do not gaze into the pools of the past.
Their corroded surface will mirror A face different from the one you expected.
7 He who invokes history is always secure.
The dead will not rise to witness against him.
You can accuse them of any deeds you like.
Their reply will always be silence.
Their empty faces swim out of the deep dark.
You can fill them with any feature desired.
Proud of dominion over people long vanished, Change the past into your own, better likeness.
8 The laughter born of the love of truth Is now the laughter of the enemies of the people.
Gone is the age of satire.
We no longer need mock.
The sensible monarch with false courtly phrases.
Stern as befits the servants of a cause, We will permit ourselves sycophantic humor.
Tight-lipped, guided by reasons only Cautiously let us step into the era of the unchained fire.
Written by Charles Baudelaire | Create an image from this poem

The Ghost

 Down the street as I was drifting with the city's human tide, 
Came a ghost, and for a moment walked in silence by my side -- 
Now my heart was hard and bitter, and a bitter spirit he, 
So I felt no great aversion to his ghostly company.
Said the Shade: `At finer feelings let your lip in scorn be curled, `Self and Pelf', my friend, has ever been the motto for the world.
' And he said: `If you'd be happy, you must clip your fancy's wings, Stretch your conscience at the edges to the size of earthly things; Never fight another's battle, for a friend can never know When he'll gladly fly for succour to the bosom of the foe.
At the power of truth and friendship let your lip in scorn be curled -- `Self and Pelf', my friend, remember, is the motto of the world.
`Where Society is mighty, always truckle to her rule; Never send an `i' undotted to the teacher of a school; Only fight a wrong or falsehood when the crowd is at your back, And, till Charity repay you, shut the purse, and let her pack; At the fools who would do other let your lip in scorn be curled, `Self and Pelf', my friend, remember, that's the motto of the world.
`Ne'er assail the shaky ladders Fame has from her niches hung, Lest unfriendly heels above you grind your fingers from the rung; Or the fools who idle under, envious of your fair renown, Heedless of the pain you suffer, do their worst to shake you down.
At the praise of men, or censure, let your lip in scorn be curled, `Self and Pelf', my friend, remember, is the motto of the world.
`Flowing founts of inspiration leave their sources parched and dry, Scalding tears of indignation sear the hearts that beat too high; Chilly waters thrown upon it drown the fire that's in the bard; And the banter of the critic hurts his heart till it grows hard.
At the fame your muse may offer let your lip in scorn be curled, `Self and Pelf', my friend, remember, that's the motto of the world.
`Shun the fields of love, where lightly, to a low and mocking tune, Strong and useful lives are ruined, and the broken hearts are strewn.
Not a farthing is the value of the honest love you hold; Call it lust, and make it serve you! Set your heart on nought but gold.
At the bliss of purer passions let your lip in scorn be curled -- `Self and Pelf', my friend, shall ever be the motto of the world.
' Then he ceased and looked intently in my face, and nearer drew; But a sudden deep repugnance to his presence thrilled me through; Then I saw his face was cruel, by the look that o'er it stole, Then I felt his breath was poison, by the shuddering of my soul, Then I guessed his purpose evil, by his lip in sneering curled, And I knew he slandered mankind, by my knowledge of the world.
But he vanished as a purer brighter presence gained my side -- `Heed him not! there's truth and friendship in this wondrous world,' she cried, And of those who cleave to virtue in their climbing for renown, Only they who faint or falter from the height are shaken down.
At a cynic's baneful teaching let your lip in scorn be curled! `Brotherhood and Love and Honour!' is the motto for the world.
'
Written by Bliss Carman | Create an image from this poem

On Love

 TO the assembled folk 
At great St.
Kavin’s spoke Young Brother Amiel on Christmas Eve; I give you joy, my friends, That as the round year ends, We meet once more for gladness by God’s leave.
On other festal days For penitence or praise Or prayer we meet, or fullness of thanksgiving; To-night we calendar The rising of that star Which lit the old world with new joy of living.
Ah, we disparage still The Tidings of Good Will, Discrediting Love’s gospel now as then! And with the verbal creed That God is love indeed, Who dares make Love his god before all men? Shall we not, therefore, friends, Resolve to make amends To that glad inspiration of the heart; To grudge not, to cast out Selfishness, malice, doubt, Anger and fear; and for the better part, To love so much, so well, The spirit cannot tell The range and sweep of her own boundary! There is no period Between the soul and God; Love is the tide, God the eternal sea.
… To-day we walk by love; To strive is not enough, Save against greed and ignorance and might.
We apprehend peace comes Not with the roll of drums, But in the still processions of the night.
And we perceive, not awe But love is the great law That binds the world together safe and whole.
The splendid planets run Their courses in the sun; Love is the gravitation of the soul.
In the profound unknown, Illumined, fair, and lone, Each star is set to shimmer in its place.
In the profound divine Each soul is set to shine, And its unique appointed orbit trace.
There is no near nor far, Where glorious Algebar Swings round his mighty circuit through the night, Yet where without a sound The winged seed comes to ground, And the red leaf seems hardly to alight.
One force, one lore, one need For satellite and seed, In the serene benignity for all.
Letting her time-glass run With star-dust, sun by sun, In Nature’s thought there is no great nor small.
There is no far nor near Within the spirit’s sphere.
The summer sunset’s scarlet-yellow wings Are tinged with the same dye That paints the tulip’s ply.
And what is colour but the soul of things? (The earth was without form; God moulded it with storm, Ice, flood, and tempest, gleaming tint and hue; Lest it should come to ill For lack of spirit still, He gave it colour,—let the love shine through.
)… Of old, men said, ‘Sin not; By every line and jot Ye shall abide; man’s heart is false and vile.
’ Christ said, ‘By love alone In man’s heart is God known; Obey the word no falsehood can defile.
’… And since that day we prove Only how great is love, Nor to this hour its greatness half believe.
For to what other power Will life give equal dower, Or chaos grant one moment of reprieve! Look down the ages’ line, Where slowly the divine Evinces energy, puts forth control; See mighty love alone Transmuting stock and stone, Infusing being, helping sense and soul.
And what is energy, In-working, which bids be The starry pageant and the life of earth? What is the genesis Of every joy and bliss, Each action dared, each beauty brought to birth? What hangs the sun on high? What swells the growing rye? What bids the loons cry on the Northern lake? What stirs in swamp and swale, When April winds prevail, And all the dwellers of the ground awake?… What lurks in the deep gaze Of the old wolf? Amaze, Hope, recognition, gladness, anger, fear.
But deeper than all these Love muses, yearns, and sees, And is the self that does not change nor veer.
Not love of self alone, Struggle for lair and bone, But self-denying love of mate and young, Love that is kind and wise, Knows trust and sacrifice, And croons the old dark universal tongue.
… And who has understood Our brothers of the wood, Save he who puts off guile and every guise Of violence,—made truce With panther, bear, and moose, As beings like ourselves whom love makes wise? For they, too, do love’s will, Our lesser clansmen still; The House of Many Mansions holds us all; Courageous, glad and hale, They go forth on the trail, Hearing the message, hearkening to the call.
… Open the door to-night Within your heart, and light The lantern of love there to shine afar.
On a tumultuous sea Some straining craft, maybe, With bearings lost, shall sight love’s silver star.
Written by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot | Create an image from this poem

Ash Wednesday

 I

Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the agèd eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?

Because I do not hope to know
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is
nothing again

Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessèd face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice

And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us

Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care Teach us to sit still.
Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
II Lady, three white leopards sat under a juniper-tree In the cool of the day, having fed to sateity On my legs my heart my liver and that which had been contained In the hollow round of my skull.
And God said Shall these bones live? shall these Bones live? And that which had been contained In the bones (which were already dry) said chirping: Because of the goodness of this Lady And because of her loveliness, and because She honours the Virgin in meditation, We shine with brightness.
And I who am here dissembled Proffer my deeds to oblivion, and my love To the posterity of the desert and the fruit of the gourd.
It is this which recovers My guts the strings of my eyes and the indigestible portions Which the leopards reject.
The Lady is withdrawn In a white gown, to contemplation, in a white gown.
Let the whiteness of bones atone to forgetfulness.
There is no life in them.
As I am forgotten And would be forgotten, so I would forget Thus devoted, concentrated in purpose.
And God said Prophesy to the wind, to the wind only for only The wind will listen.
And the bones sang chirping With the burden of the grasshopper, saying Lady of silences Calm and distressed Torn and most whole Rose of memory Rose of forgetfulness Exhausted and life-giving Worried reposeful The single Rose Is now the Garden Where all loves end Terminate torment Of love unsatisfied The greater torment Of love satisfied End of the endless Journey to no end Conclusion of all that Is inconclusible Speech without word and Word of no speech Grace to the Mother For the Garden Where all love ends.
Under a juniper-tree the bones sang, scattered and shining We are glad to be scattered, we did little good to each other, Under a tree in the cool of day, with the blessing of sand, Forgetting themselves and each other, united In the quiet of the desert.
This is the land which ye Shall divide by lot.
And neither division nor unity Matters.
This is the land.
We have our inheritance.
III At the first turning of the second stair I turned and saw below The same shape twisted on the banister Under the vapour in the fetid air Struggling with the devil of the stairs who wears The deceitul face of hope and of despair.
At the second turning of the second stair I left them twisting, turning below; There were no more faces and the stair was dark, Damp, jaggèd, like an old man's mouth drivelling, beyond repair, Or the toothed gullet of an agèd shark.
At the first turning of the third stair Was a slotted window bellied like the figs's fruit And beyond the hawthorn blossom and a pasture scene The broadbacked figure drest in blue and green Enchanted the maytime with an antique flute.
Blown hair is sweet, brown hair over the mouth blown, Lilac and brown hair; Distraction, music of the flute, stops and steps of the mind over the third stair, Fading, fading; strength beyond hope and despair Climbing the third stair.
Lord, I am not worthy Lord, I am not worthy but speak the word only.
IV Who walked between the violet and the violet Whe walked between The various ranks of varied green Going in white and blue, in Mary's colour, Talking of trivial things In ignorance and knowledge of eternal dolour Who moved among the others as they walked, Who then made strong the fountains and made fresh the springs Made cool the dry rock and made firm the sand In blue of larkspur, blue of Mary's colour, Sovegna vos Here are the years that walk between, bearing Away the fiddles and the flutes, restoring One who moves in the time between sleep and waking, wearing White light folded, sheathing about her, folded.
The new years walk, restoring Through a bright cloud of tears, the years, restoring With a new verse the ancient rhyme.
Redeem The time.
Redeem The unread vision in the higher dream While jewelled unicorns draw by the gilded hearse.
The silent sister veiled in white and blue Between the yews, behind the garden god, Whose flute is breathless, bent her head and signed but spoke no word But the fountain sprang up and the bird sang down Redeem the time, redeem the dream The token of the word unheard, unspoken Till the wind shake a thousand whispers from the yew And after this our exile V If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent If the unheard, unspoken Word is unspoken, unheard; Still is the unspoken word, the Word unheard, The Word without a word, the Word within The world and for the world; And the light shone in darkness and Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled About the centre of the silent Word.
O my people, what have I done unto thee.
Where shall the word be found, where will the word Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence Not on the sea or on the islands, not On the mainland, in the desert or the rain land, For those who walk in darkness Both in the day time and in the night time The right time and the right place are not here No place of grace for those who avoid the face No time to rejoice for those who walk among noise and deny the voice Will the veiled sister pray for Those who walk in darkness, who chose thee and oppose thee, Those who are torn on the horn between season and season, time and time, between Hour and hour, word and word, power and power, those who wait In darkness? Will the veiled sister pray For children at the gate Who will not go away and cannot pray: Pray for those who chose and oppose O my people, what have I done unto thee.
Will the veiled sister between the slender Yew trees pray for those who offend her And are terrified and cannot surrender And affirm before the world and deny between the rocks In the last desert before the last blue rocks The desert in the garden the garden in the desert Of drouth, spitting from the mouth the withered apple-seed.
O my people.
VI Although I do not hope to turn again Although I do not hope Although I do not hope to turn Wavering between the profit and the loss In this brief transit where the dreams cross The dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dying (Bless me father) though I do not wish to wish these things From the wide window towards the granite shore The white sails still fly seaward, seaward flying Unbroken wings And the lost heart stiffens and rejoices In the lost lilac and the lost sea voices And the weak spirit quickens to rebel For the bent golden-rod and the lost sea smell Quickens to recover The cry of quail and the whirling plover And the blind eye creates The empty forms between the ivory gates And smell renews the salt savour of the sandy earth This is the time of tension between dying and birth The place of solitude where three dreams cross Between blue rocks But when the voices shaken from the yew-tree drift away Let the other yew be shaken and reply.
Blessèd sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit of the garden, Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood Teach us to care and not to care Teach us to sit still Even among these rocks, Our peace in His will And even among these rocks Sister, mother And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea, Suffer me not to be separated And let my cry come unto Thee.
Written by Ralph Waldo Emerson | Create an image from this poem

Saadi

 Trees in groves,
Kine in droves,
In ocean sport the scaly herds,
Wedge-like cleave the air the birds,
To northern lakes fly wind-borne ducks,
Browse the mountain sheep in flocks,
Men consort in camp and town,
But the poet dwells alone.
God who gave to him the lyre, Of all mortals the desire, For all breathing men's behoof, Straitly charged him, "Sit aloof;" Annexed a warning, poets say, To the bright premium,— Ever when twain together play, Shall the harp be dumb.
Many may come, But one shall sing; Two touch the string, The harp is dumb.
Though there come a million Wise Saadi dwells alone.
Yet Saadi loved the race of men,— No churl immured in cave or den,— In bower and hall He wants them all, Nor can dispense With Persia for his audience; They must give ear, Grow red with joy, and white with fear, Yet he has no companion, Come ten, or come a million, Good Saadi dwells alone.
Be thou ware where Saadi dwells.
Gladly round that golden lamp Sylvan deities encamp, And simple maids and noble youth Are welcome to the man of truth.
Most welcome they who need him most, They feed the spring which they exhaust: For greater need Draws better deed: But, critic, spare thy vanity, Nor show thy pompous parts, To vex with odious subtlety The cheerer of men's hearts.
Sad-eyed Fakirs swiftly say Endless dirges to decay; Never in the blaze of light Lose the shudder of midnight; And at overflowing noon, Hear wolves barking at the moon; In the bower of dalliance sweet Hear the far Avenger's feet; And shake before those awful Powers Who in their pride forgive not ours.
Thus the sad-eyed Fakirs preach; "Bard, when thee would Allah teach, And lift thee to his holy mount, He sends thee from his bitter fount, Wormwood; saying, Go thy ways, Drink not the Malaga of praise, But do the deed thy fellows hate, And compromise thy peaceful state.
Smite the white breasts which thee fed, Stuff sharp thorns beneath the head Of them thou shouldst have comforted.
For out of woe and out of crime Draws the heart a lore sublime.
" And yet it seemeth not to me That the high gods love tragedy; For Saadi sat in the sun, And thanks was his contrition; For haircloth and for bloody whips, Had active hands and smiling lips; And yet his runes he rightly read, And to his folk his message sped.
Sunshine in his heart transferred Lighted each transparent word; And well could honoring Persia learn What Saadi wished to say; For Saadi's nightly stars did burn Brighter than Dschami's day.
Whispered the muse in Saadi's cot; O gentle Saadi, listen not, Tempted by thy praise of wit, Or by thirst and appetite For the talents not thine own, To sons of contradiction.
Never, sun of eastern morning, Follow falsehood, follow scorning, Denounce who will, who will, deny, And pile the hills to scale the sky; Let theist, atheist, pantheist, Define and wrangle how they list,— Fierce conserver, fierce destroyer, But thou joy-giver and enjoyer, Unknowing war, unknowing crime, Gentle Saadi, mind thy rhyme.
Heed not what the brawlers say, Heed thou only Saadi's lay.
Let the great world bustle on With war and trade, with camp and town.
A thousand men shall dig and eat, At forge and furnace thousands sweat, And thousands sail the purple sea, And give or take the stroke of war, Or crowd the market and bazaar.
Oft shall war end, and peace return, And cities rise where cities burn, Ere one man my hill shall climb, Who can turn the golden rhyme; Let them manage how they may, Heed thou only Saadi's lay.
Seek the living among the dead: Man in man is imprisoned.
Barefooted Dervish is not poor, If fate unlock his bosom's door.
So that what his eye hath seen His tongue can paint, as bright, as keen, And what his tender heart hath felt, With equal fire thy heart shall melt.
For, whom the muses shine upon, And touch with soft persuasion, His words like a storm-wind can bring Terror and beauty on their wing; In his every syllable Lurketh nature veritable; And though he speak in midnight dark, In heaven, no star; on earth, no spark; Yet before the listener's eye Swims the world in ecstasy, The forest waves, the morning breaks, The pastures sleep, ripple the lakes, Leaves twinkle, flowers like persons be, And life pulsates in rock or tree.
Saadi! so far thy words shall reach; Suns rise and set in Saadi's speech.
And thus to Saadi said the muse; Eat thou the bread which men refuse; Flee from the goods which from thee flee; Seek nothing; Fortune seeketh thee.
Nor mount, nor dive; all good things keep The midway of the eternal deep; Wish not to fill the isles with eyes To fetch thee birds of paradise; On thine orchard's edge belong All the brass of plume and song; Wise Ali's sunbright sayings pass For proverbs in the market-place; Through mountains bored by regal art Toil whistles as he drives his cart.
Nor scour the seas, nor sift mankind, A poet or a friend to find; Behold, he watches at the door, Behold his shadow on the floor.
Open innumerable doors, The heaven where unveiled Allah pours The flood of truth, the flood of good, The seraph's and the cherub's food; Those doors are men; the pariah kind Admits thee to the perfect Mind.
Seek not beyond thy cottage wall Redeemer that can yield thee all.
While thou sittest at thy door, On the desert's yellow floor, Listening to the gray-haired crones, Foolish gossips, ancient drones,— Saadi, see, they rise in stature To the height of mighty nature, And the secret stands revealed Fraudulent Time in vain concealed, That blessed gods in servile masks Plied for thee thy household tasks.
Written by Kahlil Gibran | Create an image from this poem

Yesterday and Today XII

 The gold-hoarder walked in his palace park and with him walked his troubles.
And over his head hovered worries as a vulture hovers over a carcass, until he reached a beautiful lake surrounded by magnificent marble statuary.
He sat there pondering the water which poured from the mouths of the statues like thoughts flowing freely from a lover's imagination, and contemplating heavily his palace which stood upon a knoll like a birth-mark upon the cheek of a maiden.
His fancy revealed to him the pages of his life's drama which he read with falling tears that veiled his eyes and prevented him from viewing man's feeble additions to Nature.
He looked back with piercing regret to the images of his early life, woven into pattern by the gods, until he could no longer control his anguish.
He said aloud, "Yesterday I was grazing my sheep in the green valley, enjoying my existence, sounding my flute, and holding my head high.
Today I am a prisoner of greed.
Gold leads into gold, then into restlessness and finally into crushing misery.
"Yesterday I was like a singing bird, soaring freely here and there in the fields.
Today I am a slave to fickle wealth, society's rules, and city's customs, and purchased friends, pleasing the people by conforming to the strange and narrow laws of man.
I was born to be free and enjoy the bounty of life, but I find myself like a beast of burden so heavily laden with gold that his back is breaking.
"Where are the spacious plains, the singing brooks, the pure breeze, the closeness of Nature? Where is my deity? I have lost all! Naught remains save loneliness that saddens me, gold that ridicules me, slaves who curse to my back, and a palace that I have erected as a tomb for my happiness, and in whose greatness I have lost my heart.
"Yesterday I roamed the prairies and the hills together with the Bedouin's daughter; Virtue was our companion, Love our delight, and the moon our guardian.
Today I am among women with shallow beauty who sell themselves for gold and diamonds.
"Yesterday I was carefree, sharing with the shepherds all the joy of life; eating, playing, working, singing, and dancing together to the music of the heart's truth.
Today I find myself among the people like a frightened lamb among the wolves.
As I walk in the roads, they gaze at me with hateful eyes and point at me with scorn and jealousy, and as I steal through the park I see frowning faces all about me.
"Yesterday I was rich in happiness and today I am poor in gold.
"Yesterday I was a happy shepherd looking upon his head as a merciful king looks with pleasure upon his contented subjects.
Today I am a slave standing before my wealth, my wealth which robbed me of the beauty of life I once knew.
"Forgive me, my Judge! I did not know that riches would put my life in fragments and lead me into the dungeons of harshness and stupidity.
What I thought was glory is naught but an eternal inferno.
" He gathered himself wearily and walked slowly toward the palace, sighing and repeating, "Is this what people call wealth? Is this the god I am serving and worshipping? Is this what I seek of the earth? Why can I not trade it for one particle of contentment? Who would sell me one beautiful thought for a ton of gold? Who would give me one moment of love for a handful of gems? Who would grant me an eye that can see others' hearts, and take all my coffers in barter?" As he reached the palace gates he turned and looked toward the city as Jeremiah gazed toward Jerusalem.
He raised his arms in woeful lament and shouted, "Oh people of the noisome city, who are living in darkness, hastening toward misery, preaching falsehood, and speaking with stupidity.
.
.
until when shall you remain ignorant? Unit when shall you abide in the filth of life and continue to desert its gardens? Why wear you tattered robes of narrowness while the silk raiment of Nature's beauty is fashioned for you? The lamp of wisdom is dimming; it is time to furnish it with oil.
The house of true fortune is being destroyed; it is time to rebuild it and guard it.
The thieves of ignorance have stolen the treasure of your peace; it is time to retake it!" At that moment a poor man stood before him and stretched forth his hand for alms.
As he looked at the beggar, his lips parted, his eyes brightened with a softness, and his face radiated kindness.
It was as if the yesterday he had lamented by the lake had come to greet him.
He embraced the pauper with affection and filled his hands with gold, and with a voice sincere with the sweetness of love he said, "Come back tomorrow and bring with you your fellow sufferers.
All your possessions will be restored.
" He entered his palace saying, "Everything in life is good; even gold, for it teaches a lesson.
Money is like a stringed instrument; he who does not know how to use it properly will hear only discordant music.
Money is like love; it kills slowly and painfully the one who withholds it, and it enlivens the other who turns it upon his fellow man.
"
Written by Emily Bronte | Create an image from this poem

Self-Interrogation

 The evening passes fast away,
'Tis almost time to rest;
What thoughts has left the vanished day,
What feelings, in thy breast? 

"The vanished day? It leaves a sense 
Of labour hardly done;
Of little, gained with vast expense, -
A sense of grief alone! 

"Time stands before the door of Death,
Upbraiding bitterly;
And Conscience, with exhaustless breath,
Pours black reproach on me: 

"And though I've said that Conscience lies,
And Time should Fate condemn;
Still, sad Repentance clouds my eyes,
And makes me yield to them! 

"Then art thou glad to seek repose?
Art glad to leave the sea,
And anchor all thy weary woes
In calm Eternity? 

"Nothing regrets to see thee go -
Not one voice sobs "farewell,"
And where thy heart has suffered so,
Canst thou desire to dwell?" 

"Alas! The countless links are strong 
That bind us to our clay;
The loving spirit lingers long,
And would not pass away! 

"And rest is sweet, when laurelled fame
Will crown the soldier's crest;
But, a brave heart, with a tarnished name,
Would rather fight than rest.
" "Well, thou hast fought for many a year, Hast fought thy whole life through, Hast humbled Falsehood, trampled Fear; What is there left to do?" "'Tis true, this arm has hotly striven, Has dared what few would dare; Much have I done, and freely given, But little learnt to bear!" "Look on the grave, where thou must sleep, Thy last, and strongest foe; It is endurance not to weep, If that repose seem woe.
"The long war closing in defeat, Defeat serenely borne, Thy midnight rest may still be sweet, And break in glorious morn!"
Written by John Donne | Create an image from this poem

Loves Deity

 I long to talk with some old lover's ghost,
Who died before the God of Love was born:
I cannot think that he, who then loved most,
Sunk so low as to love one which did scorn.
But since this god produced a destiny, And that vice-nature, Custom, lets it be, I must love her that loves not me.
Sure, they which made him god meant not so much, Nor he in his young godhead practised it; But when an even flame two hearts did touch, His office was indulgently to fit Actives to passives.
Correspondency Only his subject was; it cannot be Love, till I love her that loves me.
But every modern god will now extend His vast prerogative as far as Jove.
To rage, to lust, to write to, to commend, All is the purlieu of the God of Love.
Oh were we wakened by this tyranny To ungod this child again, it could not be I should love her who loves not me.
Rebel and atheist too, why murmur I As though I felt the worst that love could do? Love might make me leave loving, or might try A deeper plague, to make her love me too, Which, since she loves before, I'm loth to see; Falsehood is worse than hate; and that must be, If she whom I love should love me.
Written by Siegfried Sassoon | Create an image from this poem

The Imperfect Lover

 I never asked you to be perfect—did I?— 
Though often I’ve called you sweet, in the invasion 
Of mastering love.
I never prayed that you Might stand, unsoiled, angelic and inhuman, Pointing the way toward Sainthood like a sign-post.
Oh yes, I know the way to heaven was easy.
We found the little kingdom of our passion That all can share who walk the road of lovers.
In wild and secret happiness we stumbled; And gods and demons clamoured in our senses.
But I’ve grown thoughtful now.
And you have lost Your early-morning freshness of surprise At being so utterly mine: you’ve learned to fear The gloomy, stricken places in my soul, And the occasional ghosts that haunt my gaze.
You made me glad; and I can still return To you, the haven of my lonely pride: But I am sworn to murder those illusions That blossom from desire with desperate beauty: And there shall be no falsehood in our failure; Since, if we loved like beasts, the thing is done, And I’ll not hide it, though our heaven be hell.
You dream long liturgies of our devotion.
Yet, in my heart, I dread our love’s destruction.
But, should you grow to hate me, I would ask No mercy of your mood: I’d have you stand And look me in the eyes, and laugh, and smite me.
Then I should know, at least, that truth endured, Though love had died of wounds.
And you could leave me Unvanquished in my atmosphere of devils.
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