Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!
Long has it waived on high,
And many an eye has danced to see
That banner in the sky;
Beneath it rung the battle-shout,
And burst the cannon's roar:
The meteor of the ocean air
Shall sweep the clouds no more!
Her deck, once red with heroes' blood,
Where knelt the vanquished foe,
When winds were hurrying o'er the flood,
And waves were white below,
No more shall feel the victor's tread,
Or know the conquered knee:
The harpies of the shore shall pluck
The eagle of the sea!
Oh, better that her shattered hulk
Should sink beneath the wave!
Her thunders shook the mighty deep,
And there should be her grave:
Nail to the mast her holy flag,
Set every threadbare sail,
And give her to the god of storms,
The lighting, and the gale!
starving there, sitting around the bars, and at night walking the streets for hours, the moonlight always seemed fake to me, maybe it was, and in the French Quarter I watched the horses and buggies going by, everybody sitting high in the open carriages, the black driver, and in back the man and the woman, usually young and always white. and I was always white. and hardly charmed by the world. New Orleans was a place to hide. I could piss away my life, unmolested. except for the rats. the rats in my dark small room very much resented sharing it with me. they were large and fearless and stared at me with eyes that spoke an unblinking death.
women were beyond me. they saw something depraved. there was one waitress a little older than I, she rather smiled, lingered when she brought my coffee.
that was plenty for me, that was enough.
there was something about that city, though it didn't let me feel guilty that I had no feeling for the things so many others needed.
it let me alone.
sitting up in my bed the lights out, hearing the outside sounds, lifting my cheap bottle of wine, letting the warmth of the grape enter me as I heard the rats moving about the room, I preferred them to humans.
being lost, being crazy maybe is not so bad if you can be that way undisturbed.
New Orleans gave me that.
nobody ever called my name.
no telephone, no car, no job, no anything.
me and the rats and my youth, one time, that time I knew even through the nothingness, it was a celebration of something not to do but only know.
When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer
By Walt Whitman
When I heard the learn'd astronomer
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add,
divide, and measure them;
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with
much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
Till rising and gliding out, I wander'd off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars.
Droning a drowsy syncopated tune,
Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon,
I heard a negro play.
Down on Lenox Avenue the other night
By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light
He did a lazy sway ...
He did a lazy sway ...
To the tune o' those Weary Blues.
With his ebony hands on each ivory key
He made that poor pieno moan with melody.
Swinging to and for on his rickety stool
He played that sad raggy tune like a musical fool.
Coming from a black man's soul.
In a deep song voice with a melancholy tone
I heard that Negro sing, that old piano moan --
"Ain't got nobody in all this world,
Ain't got nobody but ma self.
I's gwine to quit ma frownin'
And put ma troubles on the shelf."
Thump, thump, thump, went his foot on the floor..
He played a few chords then sang some more --
"I got the Weary Blues
And I can't be satisfied.
Got the Weary Blues
And can't be satisfied --
I ain't happy no mo'
And I wish that I had died."
And far into the night he crooned that tune.
The stars went out and so did the moon.
The singer stopped playing and went to bed
While the Weary Blues echoed through his head.
He slept like a rock or a man that's dead.
You may talk o' gin and beer
When you're quartered safe out 'ere
An' you're sent to penny-fights an' Aldershot it;
But when it comes to slaughter
You will do your work on water,
An' you'' lick the bloomin' boots of 'im that's got it.
Now in Injia's sunny clime,
Where I used to spend my time
A-servin' of 'Er Majesty the Queen,
Of all them blackfaced crew
The finest man I knew
Was our regimental bhisti, Gunga Din.
He was 'Din! 'Din! 'Din!
You limping lump o' brick-dust, Gunga Din!
Hi! slippery hitherao!
Water, get it! Panee lao!
You squidgy-nosed old idol, Gunga Din.
The uniform 'e wore
Was nothin' much before,
An' rather less than 'arf o' that be'ind,
For a piece o' twisty rag
An' a goatskin water-bag
Was all the field-equipment 'e could find.
When the sweatin' troop-train lay
In a sidin' through the day,
Where the 'eat would make your bloomin' eyebrows crawl,
We shouted 'Harru By!'
Till our throat were brick dry,
Then we wopped 'im 'cause 'e couldn't serve us all.
It was 'Din! 'Din! 'Din!
You 'eathen, where the mischief 'ave you been?
You put some juldee in it
Or i'll marrow you this minute
If you don't fill up my helmet, Gunga Din!
'E would dot an' carry one
Till the longest day was done;
An' 'e didn't seem to know the use o' fear.
If we charged or broke or cut,
You could bet your bloomin' nut,
'E'd be waitin' fifty paces right flank rear.
With 'is mussick on 'is back,
'E would skip with our attack,
An' watch us till the bugles made 'Retire,'
An' for all 'is dirty 'ide
'E was white, clear white, inside
When 'e went to tend the wounded under fire!
It was 'Din! 'Din! 'Din!
With the bullets kickin' dust-spots on the green.
When the cartridges ran out,
You could hear the front-lines shout,
'Hi! ammunition-mules an' Gunga Din!'
I sha'n't forgit the night
When I dropped be'ind the fight
With a bullet where my belt-plate should 'a' been.
I was chokin' mad with thirst,
An' the man that spied me first
Was our good old grinnin', gruntin' Gunga Din.
'E lifted up my 'ead,
An he plugged me where I bled,
An' 'e guv me 'arf-a-pint o' water-green:
It was crawlin' and it stunk,
But of allt he drinks I've drunk,
I'm gratefullest to one from Gunga Din.
It was 'Din! 'Din! 'Din!
'Ere's a begger with a bullet through 'is spleen;
'E's chawin' up the ground,
An' 'e's kickin' all around:
For Gawd's sake git the water, Gunga Din!
'E carried me away
To where a dooli lay,
An' a bullet come an' drilled the beggar clean.
'E put me safe inside,
An' just before 'e died:
'I 'ope you liked your drink,' sez Gunga Din.
So I'll meet 'im later on
At the place where 'e is gone -
An' I' get a swing in hell from Gunga Din!
Yes, Din! Din! Din!
You Lazarushian-leather Gunga Din!
Though I've belted you and flayed you,
By the living Gawd that made you,
You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!
Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of Big Shoulders:
They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I have
seen your painted women under the gas lamps luring the
And they tell me you are crooked and i answer: Yes, it is true
I have seen the gunman kill and go free to kill again.
And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the faces
of the women and children I have seen the marks of
And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer
at this my city, and i give them back the sneer and say
Come and show me another city lifted head singing so
proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.
Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on job,
here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the little soft
Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning as a
savage pitted against the wilderness,
Building, breaking, rebuilding,
Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with
Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man
Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has never
lost a battle,
Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse and
under his ribs is the heart of the people,
Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of Youth, half-
naked, sweating, proud to be Hog Butcher, Tool Maker,
Stacker of Wheat, Player with the Railroads and Freight
Handler to the Nation.
On Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough, 1785
Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a pani's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty
Wi' bickering brattle!
I was be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murdering pattle!
I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion
An' fello mortal!
I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve,
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live.
A daimen icker in a thrave
'S a sma' request;
I'll get a blessin wi' the lave,
An' never miss't!
Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
Its silly wa's the win's are strewin!
An' naething, now, to big a new ane,
O' foggage green!
An' bleak December's win's ensuin,
Baith snell an' keen!
Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste,
An' weary winter comin fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro' thy cell.
That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble,
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou's turned out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld!
But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!
Still thou art blest, compared wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But och! I backward cast my e'e,
On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!
Small, crafty, cowering, timorous little beast, O, what a panic is in your little breast! You need not start away so hasty With argumentative chatter! I would be loath to run and chase you, With murdering plough-staff.
I'm truly sorry man's dominion Has broken Nature's social union, And justifies that ill opinion Which makes thee startle At me, thy poor, earth born companion And fellow mortal!
I doubt not, sometimes, but you may steal; What then? Poor little beast, you must live! An odd ear in twenty-four sheaves Is a small request; I will get a blessing with what is left, And never miss it.
Your small house, too, in ruin! Its feeble walls the winds are scattering! And nothing now, to build a new one, Of coarse grass green! And bleak December's winds coming, Both bitter and keen!
You saw the fields laid bare and wasted, And weary winter coming fast, And cozy here, beneath the blast, You thought to dwell, Till crash! the cruel plough passed Out through your cell.
That small bit heap of leaves and stubble, Has cost you many a weary nibble! Now you are turned out, for all your trouble, Without house or holding, To endure the winter's sleety dribble, And hoar-frost cold.
But little Mouse, you are not alone, In proving foresight may be vain: The best laid schemes of mice and men Go often awry, And leave us nothing but grief and pain, For promised joy!
Still you are blest, compared with me! The present only touches you: But oh! I backward cast my eye, On prospects dreary! And forward, though I cannot see, I guess and fear!
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long i stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, i kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever comeback.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
There's a breathless hush in the Close tonight -
Ten to make and the match to win -
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play and the last man in.
And it's not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
Or the selfish hope of a season's fame,
But his Captain's hand on his shoulder -
"Play up! play up! and play the game!"
The sand of the desert is sodden red, -
Red with the wreck of a square that broke; -
The gatling's jammed and the Colonel dead,
And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
The river of death has brimmed his banks,
And England's far, and Honour a name,
But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks:
"Play up! play up! and play the game!"
This is the word that year by year,
While in her place the School is set,
Every one of her sons must hear,
And none that hears it dare forget.
This they all with a joyful mind
Bear through life like a torch in flame,
And falling fling to the host behind -
"Play up! play up! and play the game!"
Stepping to the plate, all the ghosts vanished and he wore the cocky smile he knew pissed off opposing pitchers (and had led to his getting on base numerous times from getting hit). The ghosts used to come with him into the batter’s box. The ghost of the one who could have played, but had the chance taken away from him. The ghost of the one who wanted to play, but didn’t have the skill. The ghosts of all those who loved the game, but just didn’t play. He had realized in here it had to be him and the pitcher and the challenge of the ball.
I celebrate myself, and sing myself
And what I assume you shall assume
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you
I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass
My tongue, every atom of my blood, form'd from this soil, this air,
Born here from parents born here from parents the same, and their
parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not til death.
Creeds and schools in abeyance,
Retiring back awhile sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten,
I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard
Nature without check with original energy.
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert ... Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk; a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
He didn’t like the look of the three guys walking down the street towards him. He know this was stupid, and more than likely there would be nothing, and they would pass and say hi or howdy to each other (he had never been able to shake from saying howdy - maybe too many cowboy movies as a kid). But he still didn’t like the look of the three, so he moved his hand to his knife on his hip. In reality, the knife was nothing more than a security blanket, and he knew this. Sure, in his head and fantasies he liked to think he could use it fast enough to take out any attacker, like Zatoichi. He knew though he would just wind up a bloody mess on the ground like any other victim. He flipped his shirt up just like in those old westerns, but his common sense was right and the three passed him except there was no hi or howdy since the boys could care less about him and were more interested in talking to each other.
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 away to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk to 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 to build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe 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!
I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sails shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking.
I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.