Month: April 2015
Though loath to grieve
The evil time’s sole patriot,
I cannot leave
My honeyed thought
For the priest’s cant,
Or statesman’s rant.
If I refuse
My study for their politic,
Which at the best is trick,
The angry Muse
Puts confusion in my brain.
But who is he that prates
Of the culture of mankind,
Of better arts and life?
Go, blindworm, go,
Behold the famous States
With rifle and with knife!
Or who, with accent bolder
Dare praise the freedom-loving mountaineer?
I found by thee, O rushing Contoocook!
And in thy valleys, Agiochook!
The jackals of the Negro-holder.
The God who made New Hampshire
Taunted the lofty land
With little men;–
Small bat and wren
House in the oak:–
If earth-fire cleave
The upheaved land, and bury the folk,
The southern crocodile would grieve.
Virtue palters; Right is hence;
Freedom praised, but hid;
Rattles the coffin lid.
What boots thy zeal,
O glowing friend,
That would indignant rend
The northland from the south?
Wherefore? to what good end?
Boston Bay and Bunker Hill
Would serve things still;–
Things are of the snake.
The horseman serves the horse
The neatherd serves the neat,
The merchant serves the purse,
The eater serves his meat;
‘Tis the day of the chattel,
Web to weave, and corn to grind;
Things are in the saddle,
And ride mankind.
There are two laws discrete,
Law for man, and law for thing;
The last builds town and fleet,
But it runs wild,
And doth the man unking.
‘Tis fit the forest fall,
The steep be graded,
The mountain tunneled,
The sand shaded,
The orchard planted,
The glebe tilled,
The prairie granted
The steamer built.
Let man serve law for man;
Live for friendship, live for love,
For truth’s and harmony’s behoof;
The state may follow how it can,
As Olympus follows Jove.
Yet do not I implore
The wrinkled shopman to my sounding woods,
Nor did the unwilling senator
Ask votes of thrushes in the solitudes.
Everyone to his chosen work–
Foolish hands may mix and mar;
Wise and sure the issues are.
Round they roll till dark is light,
Sex to sex, and even to odd;–
Who marries Right to Might,
Who peoples, unpeoples,–
He who exterminates
Races by stronger races,
Black by white faces,–
Knows to bring honey
Out of the lion;
Grafts gentlest scion
On pirate and Turk.
The Cossack eats Poland,
Like stolen fruit;
Her last noble is ruined,
Her last poet mute;
Straight, into double band
The victors divide;
Half for freedom strike and stand;–
The astonished Muse finds thousands at her side.
– William Ernst Henley
1933 Willie Nelson (country singer)
1828 King Shaka (great King of the Zulus)
On This Day:
1789 George Washington inaugurated (first President of the USA)
Have a good Thursday, 30th April – especially Alain who turns 61 today!
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
– William Ernest Henley
I have a dilemma…
My nature is one of non violence, and I cannot, in my heart, reconcile myself with the concept of capital punishment.
I hold human life in too high esteem, and question the right of one human being to make the cold blooded decision to take the life of another.
And I wonder at how anybody could actually find it in themselves to actually aim the gun, flick the switch etc to take the life of another.
The people who were executed in Indonesia yesterday knew what they were risking when they made the choice to commit their crime.
They knew the risks, and perhaps the rewards were therefore so high that they decided to take on those risks.
More importantly, what right do those of us who are not citizens of Indonesia have to condemn the laws of another sovereign nation?
From what I have read, the people of Indonesia support the death penalty, and it is, after all, their country.
So I suppose I’ve sort of solved my dilemma.
Tragic as it is – a horror for not only those executed – but also for their friends and family, I can only pass on my deepest sympathy.
I cannot join the outcry against the Indonesian authorities.
The ultimate objective of the death penalty is to deter other people from doing the same thing.
I can only hope that somewhere, someone has changed their minds about risking their own lives, and the misery of their loved ones – so that the deaths have not been for nothing.
Once I wished I might rehearse Freedom’s paean in my verse,
That the slave who caught the strain
Should throb until he snapped his chain.
But the Spirit said,
‘Not so; Speak it not, or speak it low;
Name not lightly to be said,
Gift too precious to be prayed,
Passion not to be expressed
But by heaving of the breast:
Yet,–wouldst thou the mountain find
Where this deity is shrined,
Who gives to seas and sunset skies
Their unspent beauty of surprise,
And, when it lists him, waken can Brute or savage into man;
Or, if in thy heart he shine,
Blends the starry fates with thine,
Draws angels nigh to dwell with thee,
And makes thy thoughts archangels be;
Freedom’s secret wilt thou know?– Counsel not with flesh and blood;
Loiter not for cloak or food;
Right thou feelest, rush to do.’
– Ralph Waldo Emerson