Month: October 2013
The day that I was christened-
It’s a hundred years, and more!-
A hag came and listened
At the white church door,
A-hearing her that bore me
And all my kith and kin
Considerately, for me,
While some gave me corals,
And some gave me gold,
And porringers, with morals
The hag stood, buckled
In a dim gray cloak;
Stood there and chuckled,
Spat, and spoke:
“There’s few enough in life’ll
Be needing my help,
But I’ve got a trifle
For your fine young whelp.
I give her sadness,
And the gift of pain,
The new-moon madness,
And the love of rain.”
And little good to lave me
In their holy silver bowl
After what she gave me-
Rest her soul!
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You ask me how I became a madman. It happened thus: One day, long
before many gods were born, I woke from a deep sleep and found all
my masks were stolen,–the seven masks I have fashioned an worn in
seven lives,–I ran maskless through the crowded streets shouting,
‘Thieves, thieves, the cursed thieves.’
Men and women laughed at me and some ran to their houses in fear
And when I reached the market place, a youth standing on a house-top
cried, ‘He is a madman.’ I looked up to behold him; the sun kissed
my own naked face for the first time. For the first time the sun
kissed my own naked face and my soul was inflamed with love for
the sun, and I wanted my masks no more. And as if in a trance I
cried, ‘Blessed, blessed are the thieves who stole my masks.’
Thus I became a madman.
And I have found both freedom of loneliness and the safety from
being understood, for those who understand us enslave something in
But let me not be too proud of my safety. Even a Thief in a jail
is safe from another thief.
I robbed the Woods—
The trusting Woods.
The unsuspecting Trees
Brought out their Burs and mosses
My fantasy to please.
I scanned their trinkets curious—I grasped—I bore away—
What will the solemn Hemlock—
What will the Oak tree say?
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Not like a daring, bold, aggressive boy,
Is inspiration, eager to pursue,
But rather like a maiden, fond, yet coy,
Who gives herself to him who best doth woo.
Once she may smile, or thrice, thy soul to fire,
In passing by, but when she turns her face,
Thou must persist and seek her with desire,
If thou wouldst win the favor of her grace.
And if, like some winged bird she cleaves the air,
And leaves thee spent and stricken on the earth,
Still must thou strive to follow even there,
That she may know thy valor and thy worth.
Then shall she come unveiling all her charms,
Giving thee joy for pain, and smiles for tears;
Then shalt thou clasp her with possessing arms,
The while she murmurs music in thine ears.
But ere her kiss has faded from thy cheek,
She shall flee from thee over hill and glade,
So must thou seek and ever seek and seek
For each new conquest of this phantom maid.