A King has sought at midnight hour The sorceress in her cell, And bids invoke the Prophet’s shade, His coming doom to tell. He bows before the spectral form, He speaks in anguish sore— “God is departed from me, And answereth me no more.”
Dark words—how pregnant with despair! How fraught with hopeless woe! Stern spake the spirit-seer—”What hope When God He is thy foe? And wherefore seek to know thy doom, For this thou knew’st before? “ ‘God is departed from thee, And answereth thee no more!’
“The word which God hath spoke by me He hath confirmed and done— He rends the kingdom from thy hand; His own anointed one, Even David, he shall fill thy throne; Thy reign, thy life is o’er— ‘God is departed from thee, And answereth thee no more!’
“Since thou obey’dst not God, nor didst His high behest fulfil, He gives thy host, thy sons, thy life, Up to the enemies’ will. Thy soul, ere midnight glooms again, Shall wing th’ eternal shore. ‘God is departed from thee, And answereth thee no more.’“
He faints, he falls, on earth he lies, That stately, peerless form, Which oft had tower’d in Israel’s van And ruled in battles’ storm. Oh kingly oak! the thunder fires Have scathed thine inmost core. “God is departed from thee, And answereth thee no more.”
Who runs may read this awful truth, In lines of lightning traced, The spoken, written Word of God, Though trampled, scorn’d, defaced By men of sin and pride, the earth Shall burn, the heavens decay, Ere Word of God, to man reveal’d, Shall fail or pass away.
We present this work in honor of the poet’s 145th birthday.
I write for the day when I will no longer be here To share how pleasure wept for joy – was air! For carried into the future’s throng, my book Should show how I loved life with a natural look.
Attentive to all toil, in dwellings as in pastures, Every day I’ve traced a season’s changing contours: Water, earth and a flaming torch uplifts No corner quite so much as through my spirit’s gifts.
I’ve shown what I have seen, and what I’ve sensed, With a heart for which the truth is no extravagance, And now I have this yearning, as if for an affair, To be, beyond death, loved, more loved than heretofore.
And that a young man, say, deep into what I’ve written, Feels through me his heart: moved, astonished, smitten; One who just erases all his commonplace amours, Takes me to his breast, and tells me, I am yours!
We present this work in honor of the poet’s 60th birthday.
How they strut about, people in love, How tall they grow, pleased with themselves, Their hair, glossy, their skin shining. They don’t remember who they have been.
How filmic they are just for this time. How important they’ve become – secret, above The order of things, the dreary mundane. Every church bell ringing, a fresh sign. How dull the lot that are not in love. Their clothes shabby, their skin lustreless; How clueless they are, hair a mess; how they trudge Up and down the streets in the rain,
remembering one kiss in a dark alley, A touch in a changing room, if lucky, a lovely wait For the phone to ring, maybe, baby. The past with its rush of velvet, its secret hush Already miles away, dimming now, in the late day.
In honor of Guy Fawkes Night, we present this work by one of 17th century England’s most contemplative poets.
Tell me thou safest End of all our Woe, Why wreched Mortals do avoid thee so: Thou gentle drier o’th’ afflicteds Tears, Thou noble ender of the Cowards Fears; Thou sweet Repose to Lovers sad dispaire, Thou Calm t’Ambitions rough Tempestuous Care. If in regard of Bliss thou wert a Curse, And then the Joys of Paradise art worse; Yet after Man from his first Station fell, And God from Eden Adam did expel, Thou wert no more an Evil, but Relief; The Balm and Cure to ev’ry Humane Grief: Through thee (what Man had forfeited before) He now enjoys, and ne’r can loose it more.
No subtile Serpents in the Grave betray, Worms on the Body there, not Soul do prey; No Vice there Tempts, no Terrors there afright, No Coz’ning Sin affords a false delight: No vain Contentions do that Peace annoy, No feirce Alarms break the lasting Joy.
Ah since from thee so many Blessings flow, Such real Good as Life can never know; Come when thou wilt, in thy afrighting’st Dress, Thy Shape shall never make thy Welcome less. Thou mayst to Joy, but ne’er to Fear give Birth, Thou Best, as well as Certain’st thing on Earth. Fly thee? May Travellers then fly their Rest, And hungry Infants fly the profer’d Brest. No, those that faint and tremble at thy Name, Fly from their Good on a mistaken Fame. Thus Childish fear did Israel of old From Plenty and the Promis’d Land with-hold; They fancy’d Giants, and refus’d to go, When Canaan did with Milk and Honey flow.
We present this work in honor of the poet’s 460th birthday.
Ay me, to whom shall I my case complaine, That may compassion my impatient griefe! Or where shall I unfold my inward paine, That my enriven heart may find reliefe! Shall I unto the heavenly powres it show? Or unto earthly men that dwell below?
To heavens? ah they alas the authors were, And workers of my unremedied wo: For they foresee what to us happens here, And they foresaw, yet suffred this be so. From them comes good, from them comes also il That which they made, who can them warne to spill.
To men? ah, they alas like wretched bee, And subject to the heavens ordinance: Bound to abide what ever they decree, Their best redresse, is their best sufferance. How then can they like wretched comfort mee, The which no lesse, need comforted to bee?
Then to my selfe will I my sorrow mourne, Sith none alive like sorrowfull remaines: And to my selfe my plaints shall back retourne, To pay their usury with doubled paines. The woods, the hills, the rivers shall resound The mournfull accent of my sorrowes ground.
Woods, hills and rivers, now are desolate, Sith he is gone the which them all did grace: And all the fields do waile their widow state, Sith death their fairest flowre did late deface. The fairest flowre in field that ever grew, Was Astrophel: that was, we all may rew.
What cruell hand of cursed foe unknowne, Hath cropt the stalke which bore so faire a flowre? Untimely cropt, before it well were growne, And cleane defaced in untimely howre. Great losse to all that ever him did see, Great losse to all, but greatest losse to mee.
Breake now your gyrlonds, O ye shepheards lasses, Sith the faire flowre, which them adornd, is gon: The flowre, which them adornd, is gone to ashes, Never againe let lasse put gyrlond on: In stead of gyrlond, weare sad Cypres nowe, And bitter Elder, broken from the bowe.
Ne ever sing the love-layes which he made, Who ever made such layes of love as hee? Ne ever read the riddles, which he sayd Unto your selves, to make you mery glee. Your mery glee is now laid all abed, Your mery maker now alasse is dead.
Death, the devourer of all worlds delight, Hath robbed you and reft from me my joy: Both you and me, and all the world he quight Hath robd of joyance, and left sad annoy. Joy of the world, and shepheards pride was hee, Shepheards hope never like againe to see.
Oh death that hast us of such riches reft, Tell us at least, what hast thou with it done? What is become of him whose flowre here left Is but the shadow of his likenesse gone. Scarse like the shadow of that which he was, Nought like, but that he like a shade did pas.
But that immortall spirit, which was deckt With all the dowries of celestiall grace: By soveraine choyce from th’ hevenly quires select, And lineally deriv’d from Angels race, O what is now of it become aread, Ay me, can so divine a thing be dead?
Ah no: it is not dead, ne can it die, But lives for aie, in blisfull Paradisse: Where like a new-borne babe it soft doth lie, In beds of lillies wrapt in tender wise. And compast all about with roses sweet, And daintie violets from head to feet.
There thousand birds all of celestiall brood, To him do sweetly caroll day and night: And with straunge notes, of him well understood, Lull him asleepe in Angel-like delight: Whilest in sweet dreame to him presented bee Immortall beauties, which no eye may see.
But he them sees and takes exceeding pleasure Of their divine aspects, appearing plaine, And kindling love in him above all measure, Sweet love still joyous, never feeling paine. For what so goodly forme he there doth see, He may enjoy from jealous rancor free.
There liveth he in everlasting blis, Sweet spirit never fearing more to die: Ne dreading harme from any foes of his, Ne fearing salvage beasts more crueltie. Whilest we here wretches waile his private lack, And with vain vowes do often call him back.
But live thou there still happie, happie spirit, And give us leave thee here thus to lament: Not thee that doest thy heavens joy inherit, But our owne selves that here in dole are drent. Thus do we weep and waile, and wear our eies, Mourning in others, our owne miseries.
Which when she ended had, another swaine Of gentle wit and daintie sweet device, Whom Astrophel full deare did entertaine, Whilest here he liv’d, and held in passing price, Hight Thestylis, began his mournfull tourne; And made the Muses in his song to mourne.
And after him full many other moe, As everie one in order lov’d him best, Gan dight themselves t’ expresse their inward woe, With dolefull layes unto the time addrest: The which I here in order will rehearse, As fittest flowres to deck his mournfull hearse.
We present this work in honor of the poet’s 70th birthday.
Our hands grope in vain the springs have dried up leaving us with salt water and we remember the days when the hooting of the owl sanctified our mortality
we stand paralyzed like skeletons mounted on the sandy soil struggling against the dry wind blowing sand into our eyes which have since ceased to see
footprints of blessed ages past deeply backed on to the soil show the way to the horizon and beyond but we cannot reach it you and I
our kisses bite like grains of sand in the eye then our bodies touch like two scaly fish we stand paralyzed like two accursed.
We plunge ourselves into the abyss mindless of the outcome our blind eyes surveying the darkness and in the labyrinths we grope and sniff for signs of our brothers in the catacombs at the gate we present our printed tickets decaying lips toothless gums cracking laughter
shameless folk that seek entrance into the land of their fathers you cannot partake of the coummunion without you ofo without your chi
and we are back at the cross-roads dreading once more to cross the horizon having she our outer shell.
Contact telegraphic our sons speak a foreign language devoid of feeling devoid of meaning
what choice have we but to take refuge in obganje passing excrement into the mouths of our daughters our ever mourning mothers
home again and yet homeless a dreary failure for a nameless folk.