From Mother Goose

The North Wind Doth Blow The north wind doth blow, And we shall have snow, And what will the robin do then, Poor thing? He’ll sit in a barn, To keep himself warm, And hide his head under his wing, Poor thing.

The North Wind Doth Blow

The north wind doth blow,
And we shall have snow,
And what will the robin do then,
Poor thing?

He’ll sit in a barn,
To keep himself warm,
And hide his head under his wing,
Poor thing.

Joseph Heller

Success and failure are both difficult to endure. Along with success come drugs, divorce, fornication, bullying, travel, meditation, medication, depression, neurosis and suicide. With failure comes failure.

Success and failure are both difficult to endure. Along with success come drugs, divorce, fornication, bullying, travel, meditation, medication, depression, neurosis and suicide. With failure comes failure.

George Eliot

I’m proof against that word failure. I’ve seen behind it. The only failure a man ought to fear is failure of cleaving to the purpose he sees to be best.

I’m proof against that word failure. I’ve seen behind it. The only failure a man ought to fear is failure of cleaving to the purpose he sees to be best.

Hilaire Belloc

Tarantella Do you remember an Inn, Miranda? Do you remember an Inn? And the tedding and the spreading Of the straw for a bedding, And the fleas that tease in the High Pyrenees, And the wine that tasted of tar? And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers (Under the vine of the … Continue reading “Hilaire Belloc”

Tarantella

Do you remember an Inn,
Miranda?
Do you remember an Inn?
And the tedding and the spreading
Of the straw for a bedding,
And the fleas that tease in the High Pyrenees,
And the wine that tasted of tar?
And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers
(Under the vine of the dark verandah)?
Do you remember an Inn, Miranda,
Do you remember an Inn?
And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers
Who hadn’t got a penny,
And who weren’t paying any,
And the hammer at the doors and the Din?
And the Hip! Hop! Hap!
Of the clap
Of the hands to the twirl and the swirl
Of the girl gone chancing,
Glancing,
Dancing,
Backing and advancing,
Snapping of a clapper to the spin
Out and in —
And the Ting, Tong, Tang, of the Guitar.
Do you remember an Inn,
Miranda?
Do you remember an Inn?

Never more;
Miranda,
Never more.
Only the high peaks hoar:
And Aragon a torrent at the door.
No sound
In the walls of the Halls where falls
The tread
Of the feet of the dead to the ground
No sound:
But the boom
Of the far Waterfall like Doom.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Know’st thou the land where the lemon-trees bloom, Where the gold orange glows in the deep thicket’s gloom, Where a wind ever soft from the blue heaven blows, And the groves are of laurel and myrtle and rose?

Know’st thou the land where the lemon-trees bloom,
Where the gold orange glows in the deep thicket’s gloom,
Where a wind ever soft from the blue heaven blows,
And the groves are of laurel and myrtle and rose?

Godfrey Hardy

317 is a prime, not because we think so, or because our minds are shaped in one way rather than another, but because it is so, because mathematical reality is built that way.

317 is a prime, not because we think so, or because our minds are shaped in one way rather than another, but because it is so, because mathematical reality is built that way.

Theodore Roethke

In a Dark Time In a dark time, the eye begins to see, I meet my shadow in the deepening shade; I hear my echo in the echoing wood– A lord of nature weeping to a tree, I live between the heron and the wren, Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den. What’s … Continue reading “Theodore Roethke”

In a Dark Time

In a dark time, the eye begins to see,
I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;
I hear my echo in the echoing wood–
A lord of nature weeping to a tree,
I live between the heron and the wren,
Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den.

What’s madness but nobility of soul
At odds with circumstance? The day’s on fire!
I know the purity of pure despair,
My shadow pinned against a sweating wall,
That place among the rocks–is it a cave,
Or winding path? The edge is what I have.

A steady storm of correspondences!
A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon,
And in broad day the midnight come again!
A man goes far to find out what he is–
Death of the self in a long, tearless night,
All natural shapes blazing unnatural light.

Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire.
My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly,
Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?
A fallen man, I climb out of my fear.
The mind enters itself, and God the mind,
And one is One, free in the tearing wind.

Stephen Crane

A man said to the universe: “Sir I exist!” “However,” replied the universe, “The fact has not created in me A sense of obligation.”

A man said to the universe:
“Sir I exist!”
“However,” replied the universe,
“The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation.”

Seneca

I persist on praising not the life I lead, but that which I ought to lead. I follow it at a mighty distance, crawling.

I persist on praising not the life I lead, but that which I ought to lead. I follow it at a mighty distance, crawling.

Jorge Luis Borges

To a Coin Cold and stormy the night I sailed from Montevideo. As we rounded the Cerro, I threw from the upper deck a coin that glinted and winked out in the muddy water, a gleam of light swallowed by time and darkness. I felt I had committed an irrevocable act, adding to the history … Continue reading “Jorge Luis Borges”

To a Coin

Cold and stormy the night I sailed from Montevideo.
As we rounded the Cerro,
I threw from the upper deck
a coin that glinted and winked out in the muddy water,
a gleam of light swallowed by time and darkness.
I felt I had committed an irrevocable act,
adding to the history of the planet
two endless series, parallel, possibly infinite:
my own destiny, formed from anxieties, love and futile upsets
and that of that metal disk
carried away by the water to the quiet depths
or to far-off seas that still wear down
the leavings of Saxon and Viking.
Any moment of mine, asleep or wakeful,
matches a moment of the sightless coin’s.
At times I have felt remorse,
at others, envy
of you, existing, as we do, in time and its labyrinth,
but without knowing it.

William Blake

Three Things to Remember A Robin Redbreast in a cage, Puts all Heaven in a rage. A skylark wounded on the wing Doth make a cherub cease to sing. He who shall hurt the little wren Shall never be beloved by men.

Three Things to Remember

A Robin Redbreast in a cage,
Puts all Heaven in a rage.

A skylark wounded on the wing
Doth make a cherub cease to sing.

He who shall hurt the little wren
Shall never be beloved by men.

Erich Fried

What it is It is madness says reason It is what it is says love It is unhappiness says caution It is nothing but pain says fear It has no future says insight It is what it is says love It is ridiculous says pride It is foolish says caution It is impossible says experience … Continue reading “Erich Fried”

What it is

It is madness
says reason
It is what it is
says love

It is unhappiness
says caution
It is nothing but pain
says fear
It has no future
says insight
It is what it is
says love

It is ridiculous
says pride
It is foolish
says caution
It is impossible
says experience
It is what it is
says love.

George Orwell

At this moment a man, presumably carrying a message to an officer, jumped out of the trench and ran along the top of the parapet in full view. He was half-dressed and was holding up his trousers with both hands as he ran. I refrained from shooting at him. It is true that I am … Continue reading “George Orwell”

At this moment a man, presumably carrying a message to an officer, jumped out of the trench and ran along the top of the parapet in full view. He was half-dressed and was holding up his trousers with both hands as he ran. I refrained from shooting at him. It is true that I am a poor shot and unlikely to hit a running man at a hundred yards…. Still, I did not shoot partly because of that detail about the trousers. I had come here to shoot at “Fascists”; but a man who is holding up his trousers isn’t a Fascist he is visibly a fellow creature, similar to yourself, and you don’t feel like shooting at him.

Constantine P. Cavafy

Waiting for the Barbarians What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum? The barbarians are to arrive today. Why such inaction in the Senate? Why do the Senators sit and pass no laws? Because the barbarians are to arrive today. What laws can the Senators pass any more? When the barbarians come they will … Continue reading “Constantine P. Cavafy”

Waiting for the Barbarians

What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?

The barbarians are to arrive today.

Why such inaction in the Senate?
Why do the Senators sit and pass no laws?

Because the barbarians are to arrive today.
What laws can the Senators pass any more?
When the barbarians come they will make the laws.

Why did our emperor wake up so early,
and sits at the greatest gate of the city,
on the throne, solemn, wearing the crown?

Because the barbarians are to arrive today.
And the emperor waits to receive
their chief. Indeed he has prepared
to give him a scroll. Therein he inscribed
many titles and names of honor.

Why have our two consuls and the praetors come out
today in their red, embroidered togas;
why do they wear amethyst-studded bracelets,
and rings with brilliant, glittering emeralds;
why are they carrying costly canes today,
wonderfully carved with silver and gold?

Because the barbarians are to arrive today,
and such things dazzle the barbarians.

Why don’t the worthy orators come as always
to make their speeches, to have their say?

Because the barbarians are to arrive today;
and they get bored with eloquence and orations.

Why all of a sudden this unrest
and confusion. (How solemn the faces have become).
Why are the streets and squares clearing quickly,
and all return to their homes, so deep in thought?

Because night is here but the barbarians have not come.
And some people arrived from the borders,
and said that there are no longer any barbarians.

And now what shall become of us without any barbarians?
Those people were some kind of solution.

Albert Einstein

When asked to describe radio. You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference … Continue reading “Albert Einstein”

When asked to describe radio.

You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat.

J K Galbraith

Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.

Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.