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I ran out of time to do this yesterday. (OK, I got sidetracked.) So, belatedly, in honor of Veterans Day, I give you some of the most moving poems written to honor fallen heroes. I also highly recommend reading The Teeth Mother Naked at Last by Robert Bly, which was too long to reproduce here, but which is especially pertinent now. Suicide in the Trenches Siegfried Sassoon I KNEW a simple solder boy Who grinned at life in empty joy. Slept soundly through the lonesome dark, And whistled early with the lark. In winter trenches, cowed and glum, With crumps and lice and lack of rum, He put a bullet through his brain. Noone spoke of him again. You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye Who cheer when soldier lads march by, Sneak home and pray you'll never know The hell where youth and laughter go.

In Flanders Fields John McCrae In Flanders Fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders Fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields.
The Messages Wilfrid Wilson Gibson "I cannot quite remember... There were five Dropt dead beside me in the trench - and three Whispered their last messages to me..." Back from the trenches, more dead than alive, Stone-deaf and dazed, and with a broken knee, He hobbled slowly, muttering vacantly: "I cannot quite remember... There were five Dropt dead beside me in the trench, and three Whispered their dying messages to me... "Their friends are waiting, wondering how they thrive - Waiting a word in silence patiently... But what they said, or who their friends may be "I cannot quite remember... There where five Dropt dead beside me in the trench - and three Whispered their dying messages to me...
In Memoriam Ewart Alan Mackintosh (killed in action 21 November 1917 aged 24) (To Private D Sutherland killed in action in the German trenches, 16 May 1916, and the others who died.) So you were David's father, And he was your only son, And the new-cut peats are rotting And the work is left undone, Because of an old man weeping, Just an old man in pain, For David, his son David, That will not come again. Oh, the letters he wrote you, And I can see them still, Not a word of the fighting, But just the sheep on the hill And how you should get the crops in Ere the year get stormier, And the Bosches have got his body, And I was his officer. You were only David's father, But I had fifty sons When we went up in the evening Under the arch of the guns, And we came back at twilight - O God! I heard them call To me for help and pity That could not help at all. Oh, never will I forget you, My men that trusted me, More my sons than your fathers', For they could only see The little helpless babies And the young men in their pride. They could not see you dying, And hold you while you died. Happy and young and gallant, They saw their first-born go, But not the strong limbs broken And the beautiful men brought low, The piteous writhing bodies, They screamed 'Don't leave me, sir', For they were only your fathers But I was your officer.
Two In The Campagna by Robert Browning I. I wonder do you feel to-day As I have felt since, hand in hand, We sat down on the grass, to stray In spirit better through the land, This morn of Rome and May? II. For me, I touched a thought, I know, Has tantalized me many times, (Like turns of thread the spiders throw Mocking across our path) for rhymes To catch at and let go. III. Help me to hold it! First it left The yellowing fennel, run to seed There, branching from the brickwork's cleft, Some old tomb's ruin: yonder weed Took up the floating wet, IV. Where one small orange cup amassed Five beetles,--blind and green they grope Among the honey-meal: and last, Everywhere on the grassy slope I traced it. Hold it fast! V. The champaign with its endless fleece Of feathery grasses everywhere! Silence and passion, joy and peace, An everlasting wash of air-- Rome's ghost since her decease. VI. Such life here, through such lengths of hours, Such miracles performed in play, Such primal naked forms of flowers, Such letting nature have her way While heaven looks from its towers! VII. How say you? Let us, O my dove, Let us be unashamed of soul, As earth lies bare to heaven above! How is it under our control To love or not to love? VIII. I would that you were all to me, You that are just so much, no more. Nor yours nor mine, nor slave nor free! Where does the fault lie? What the core O' the wound, since wound must be? IX. I would I could adopt your will, See with your eyes, and set my heart Beating by yours, and drink my fill At your soul's springs,--your part my part In life, for good and ill. X. No. I yearn upward, touch you close, Then stand away. I kiss your cheek, Catch your soul's warmth,--I pluck the rose And love it more than tongue can speak-- Then the good minute goes. XI. Already how am I so far Out of that minute? Must I go Still like the thistle-ball, no bar, Onward, whenever light winds blow, Fixed by no friendly star? XII. Just when I seemed about to learn! Where is the thread now? Off again! The old trick! Only I discern-- Infinite passion, and the pain Of finite hearts that yearn.
(That Elizabeth Barrett Browning... she's a funny one. Read this all the way through. Seriously. The last stanza's the best part.) A Man's Requirements by Elizabeth Barrett Browning I Love me Sweet, with all thou art, Feeling, thinking, seeing; Love me in the lightest part, Love me in full being. II Love me with thine open youth In its frank surrender; With the vowing of thy mouth, With its silence tender. III Love me with thine azure eyes, Made for earnest grantings; Taking colour from the skies, Can Heaven's truth be wanting? IV Love me with their lids, that fall Snow-like at first meeting; Love me with thine heart, that all Neighbours then see beating. V Love me with thine hand stretched out Freely -- open-minded: Love me with thy loitering foot, -- Hearing one behind it. VI Love me with thy voice, that turns Sudden faint above me; Love me with thy blush that burns When I murmur 'Love me!' VII Love me with thy thinking soul, Break it to love-sighing; Love me with thy thoughts that roll On through living -- dying. VIII Love me in thy gorgeous airs, When the world has crowned thee; Love me, kneeling at thy prayers, With the angels round thee. IX Love me pure, as muses do, Up the woodlands shady: Love me gaily, fast and true, As a winsome lady. X Through all hopes that keep us brave, Farther off or nigher, Love me for the house and grave, And for something higher. XI Thus, if thou wilt prove me, Dear, Woman's love no fable, I will love thee -- half a year -- As a man is able.
Sarah McLachlan - Ice The ice is thin come on dive in underneath my lucid skin the cold is lost, forgotten Hours pass days pass time stands still light gets dark and darkness fills my secret heart forbidden... I think you worried for me then the subtle ways that I'd give in but I know you liked the show Tied down to this bed of shame you tried to move around the pain but oh your soul is anchored The only comfort is the moving of the river You enter into me, a lie upon your lips offer what you can, I'll take all that I can get only a fool's here... I don't like your tragic sighs as if your god has passed you by well hey fool that's your deception Your angels speak with jilted tongues the serpent's tale has come undone you have no strength to squander The only comfort is the moving of the river You enter into me, a lie upon your lips offer what you can, I'll take all that I can get only a fool's here to stay
There are a couple songs, simple really, about breakups that really hit me. One is a simple statement about how daily life changes so drastically after a breakup. And the other is an expression of despair. Jewel - You Were Meant For Me I hear the clock, it's six a.m. I feel so far from where I've been I got my eggs and my pancakes too I got my maple syrup, everything but you. I break the yolks, make a smiley face I kinda like it in my brand new place I wipe the spots off the mirror Don't leave the keys in the door Never put wet towels on the floor anymore 'cause Dreams last for so long even after you're gone I know you love me And soon you will see You were meant for me And I was meant for you. I called my momma, she was out for a walk Consoled a cup of coffee but it didn't wanna talk So I picked up a paper, it was more bad news More hearts being broken or people being used Put on my coat in the pouring rain I saw a movie it just wasn't the same 'Cause it was happy and I was sad It made me miss you oh so bad 'cause I go about my business, I'm doin fine Besides what would I say if I had you on the line Same old story, not much to say Hearts are broken, everyday. I brush my teeth and put the cap back on I know you hate it when I leave the light on I pick a book up. Turn the sheets down. Take a deep breath and a good look around. Put on my pjs and hop into bed I'm half alive but I feel mostly dead I try and tell myself it'll be all right I just shouldn't think anymore tonight 'cause Dreams last for so long Even after you're gone I know you love me And soon I know you will see You were meant for me And I was meant for you Yeah.... You were meant for me and I was meant for you.
Nina Gordon - The End Of The World Why does the sun go on shining? Why does the sea rush to shore? Don't they know it's the end of the world If you don't love me anymore? Why do the birds go on singing? Why do the stars glow above? Don't they know it's the end of the world? It ended when I lost your love. I wake up in the morning and I wonder Why everything is the same as it was. And I can't understand, No I can't understand Why life goes on the way it does. Why does my heart go on beating? Why do these eyes of mine cry? Don't they know it's the end of the world? It ended when we said goodbye.
We all have moods where we feel like the emotions are overwhelming us... that we would be better off if we were simply cut off from the pain. Yes, even me. :) The Pet Shop Boys Numb Don't wanna hear the news What's going on What's coming through I don't wanna know Don't wanna know Just wanna hide away Make my my escape I want the world To leave me alone Feels like I feel too much I've seen too much For a little while I want to forget I wanna be numb I don't wanna feel this pain no more Wanna lose touch I just wanna go and lock the door I don't wanna think I don't wanna feel nothing I wanna be numb I just wanna be Wanna be numb Can't find no space to breathe World's closing in Right on me now Well that's how it feels That's how it feels Too much light There's too much sound Wanna turn it off Wanna shut it out I need some relief Think that like I think too much I've seen too much There is just too much Thought in my head I just wanna be Taken away from all the madness Need to escape Escape from the pain I'm out on the edge About to lose my mind For a little while For a little while I wanna be numb
I love Verdi Cries by 10,000 Maniacs because it's both a beautiful song and a lovely poem. Like many of the best songs, it's a simple one -- it's just images of a vacation, and reminds us of those happy memories we all have of such times. Verdi Cries by 10,000 Maniacs The man in 119 takes his tea all alone. Mornings we all rise to wireless Verdi cries. I'm hearing opera through the door. The souls of men and women, impassioned all. Their voices climb and fall; battle trumpets vall. I fill the bath and climb inside, singing. He will not touch their pastry but every day they bring him more. Gold from the breakfast tray, I steal them all away and then go and eat them on the shore. I draw a jackal-headed woman in the sand, sing of a lover's fate sealed by jealous hate then wash my hand in the sea. With just three days more I'd have just about learned the entire score to Aida. Holidays must end as you know. All is memory taken home with me: the opera, the stolen tea, the sand drawing, the verging sea, all years ago.
So, I'm starting a new blog. I'm going to stick my favorite lyrics and poetry in here. Just for the hell of it, since some of you actually read this stuff. (Woo hoo, you!) Sometimes lyrics touch us because they tell a simple but elegant story -- a picture painted for us in words. Sometimes they connect with a certain mood, a certain emotion. And sometimes they are both -- an image, an emotion -- that connects with a memory we have. I hope that you, too, can connect with the stuff I put here. And god, please let me not sound completely pretentious. :) Oh well, if I failed at that, hopefully you'll like me anyway! O:-)
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