Author's Poems

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A set of phrases learnt by rote;
A passion for a scarlet coat;
When at a play to laugh, or cry,
Yet cannot tell the reason why:
Never to hold her tongue a minute;
While all she prates has nothing in it.
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    September 1,1939

    Defenceless under the night
    Our world in stupor lies;
    Yet, dotted everywhere,
    Ironic points of light
    Flash out wherever the Just
    Exchange their messages:
    May I, composed like them
    Of Eros and of dust,
    Beleaguered by the same
    Negation and despair,
    Show an affirming flame.
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      Trivia; Or, The Art Of Walking The Streets Of London

      Are bawl'd in frequent cries through all the town,
      Then judge the festival of Christmas near,
      Christmas, the joyous period of the year.
      Now with bright holly all your temples strow,
      With laurel green and sacred mistletoe.
      Now, heav'n-born Charity, thy blessings shed;
      Bid meagre Want uprear her sickly head:
      Bid shiv'ring limbs be warm; let plenty's bowl
      In humble roofs make glad the needy soul.
      See, see, the heav'n-born maid her blessings shed;
      Lo! Meagre Want uprears her sickly head;
      Cloth'd are the naked, and the needy glad,
      While selfish Avarice alone is sad.

      Proud coaches pass, regardless of the moan
      Of infant orphans, and the widow's groan;
      While Charity still moves the walker's mind,
      His lib'ral purse relieves the lame and blind.
      Judiciously thy half-pence are bestow'd,
      Where the laborious beggar sweeps the road.
      Whate'er you give, give ever at demand,
      Nor let old age long stretch his palsy'd hand.
      Those who give late are importun'd each day,
      And still are teas'd because they still delay.
      If e'er the miser durst his farthings spare,
      He thinly spreads them through the public square,
      Where, all beside the rail, rang'd beggars lie,
      And from each other catch the doleful cry;
      With heav'n, for two-pence, cheaply wipes his score,
      Lifts up his eyes, and hastes to beggar more.

      Where the brass knocker, wrapt in flannel band,
      Forbids the thunder of the footman's hand;
      Th'upholder, rueful harbinger of death,
      Waits with impatience for the dying breath;
      As vulture, o'er a camp, with hov'ring flight,
      Snuff up the future carnage of the fight.
      Here canst thou pass, unmindful of a pray'r,
      That heav'n in mercy may thy brother spare?
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        All wars are boyish, and are fought by boys,
        The champions and enthusiasts of the state:
        Turbid ardors and vain joys
        Not barrenly abate
        Stimulants to the power mature,
        Preparatives of fate.
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          Last Will And Testament

          Comrades, if I don't live to see the day
          I mean, if I die before freedom comes
          take me away
          and bury me in a village cemetery in Anatolia.

          The worker Osman whom Hassan Bey ordered shot
          can lie on one side of me, and on the other side
          the martyr Aysha, who gave birth in the rye
          and died inside of forty days.

          Tractors and songs can pass below the cemetery - -
          in the dawn light, new people, the smell of burnt gasoline,
          fields held in common, water in canals,
          no drought or fear of the police.

          Of course, we won't hear those songs:
          the dead lie stretched out underground
          and rot like black branches,
          deaf, dumb, and blind under the earth.
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            Conversation is but carving!
            Give no more to every guest
            Than he's able to digest.
            Give him always of the prime,
            And but little at a time.
            Carve to all but just enough,
            Let them neither starve nor stuff,
            And that you may have your due,
            Let your neighbor carve for you.
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