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Archive for May, 2011


The fearless, fair-haired youth go racing by
To beat the sun with their eternal play;
Ignoring all the volumes as they sit
On shelves, made dusty by the ancient day.

But if they pause to look within the door,
Tis brief, for volumes do not speak with rap,
Nor beer commercials with seductiveness.
Instead, they stand or lean, and seem to nap.

Philosophy and history there dwell
As tenants, with a monthly rent long paid
By labor in the decades of the past,
And speak of Time, not black, or white, but grayed.

A smattering of math and arts reside
By politics in its disgraceful cave.
A button brings the turning of a tune –
A play-by-play of athletes in the grave.

Outranking all the facts that dwell within
Is Wisdom, treasured for her pillared strength,
Who, in the living of the testing years,
Spread through the books to fill the width and length.

She lives in leathered lexicons and tracts,
Anthologies of age, experience,
In almanacs beneath the thinning hair
Beside her sacred sister – Common Sense.

Youth shudder at the shaking in a hand;
They wince at wrinkles, see the years as gloom.
They view the silver hair like cobwebs.  Flee!
The tomes of wisdom are too near the tomb.

Library and librarian – the same –
He shuffles down the lane the young ones fly.
Their laughter sounds, as though the race was won,
But they, as yet, have no discerning eye.


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© Dennis Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2011.

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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.

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I took my girl to a fancy ball;
It was a social hop;
We waited till the folks got out,
And the music it did stop,
Then to a restaurant we went,
The best one on the street;
She said she wasn’t hungry,
But this is what she eat:
A dozen raw, a plate of slaw,
A chicken and a roast,
Some applesass, and sparagrass,
And soft-shell crabs on toast,
A big box stew, and crackers too;
Her appetite was immense!
When she called for pie,
I thought I’d die,
For I had but fifty cents.

She said she wasn’t hungry
And didn’t care to eat,
But I’ve got money in my clothes
To bet she can’t be beat;
She took it in so cozy,
She had an awful tank;
She said she wasn’t thirsty,
But this is what she drank:
A whisky skin, a glass of gin,
Which made me shake with fear,
A ginger pop, with rum on top,
A schooner then of beer,
A glass of ale, a gin cocktail;
She should have had more sense;
When she called for more,
I fell on the floor,
For I had but fifty cents.

Of course I wasn’t hungry,
And didn’t care to eat,
Expecting every moment
To be kicked into the street;
She said she’d fetch her family round,
And some night we’d have fun;
When I gave the man the fifty cents,
This is what he done:
He tore my clothes,
He smashed my nose,
He hit me on the jaw,
He gave me a prize
Of a pair of black eyes
And with me swept the floor.
He took me where my pants hung loose,
And threw me over the fence;
Take my advice, don’t try it twice
If you’ve got but fifty cents!

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(by Abraham Lincoln at age 37)

My childhood’s home I see again,
And sadden with the view;
And still, as memory crowds my brain,
There’s pleasure in it, too.

O memory! thou midway world
‘ Twixt earth and paradise,
Where things decayed and loved ones lost
In dreamy shadows rise,

And, freed from all that’s earthly, vile,
Seem hallowed, pure and bright,
Like scenes in some enchanted isle
All bathed in liquid light.

As dusky mountains please the eye
When twilight chases day;
As bugle notes that, passing by,
In distance die away;

As, leaving some grand waterfall,
We, lingering, list its roar –
So memory will hallow all
We’ve known but know no more.

Near twenty years have passed away
Since here I bid farewell
To woods and fields, and scenes of play,
And playmates loved so well.

Where many were, but few remain
Of old familiar things,
But seeing them to mind again
The lost and absent brings.

The friends I left that parting day,
How changed, as time has sped!
Young childhood grown, strong manhood gray;
And half of us are dead.

I hear the loved survivors tell
How nought from death could save,
Till every sound appears a knell
And every spot a grave.

I range the fields with pensive tread,
And pace the hollow rooms,
And feel (compassion of the dead)
I’m living in the tombs.

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Talk happiness.  The world is sad enough
Without your woes.  No path is wholly rough;
Look for the places that are smooth and clear,
And speak of those, to rest the weary ear
Of Earth, so hurt by one continuous strain
Of human discontent and grief and pain.

Talk faith.  The world is better off without
Your uttered ignorance and morbid doubt.
If you have faith in God, or man, or self,
Say so.  If not, push back upon the shelf
Of silence all your thoughts, till faith shall come;
No one will grieve because your lips are dumb.

Talk health.  The dreary, never-changing tale
Of mortal maladies is worn and stale.
You cannot charm, or interest, or please
By harping on that minor chord, disease.
Say you are well, or all is well with you,
And God shall hear your words and make them true.


					

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A small cross by the busy road, above a tiny mound –
It seems an extra daisy to the travelers homeward bound
Who speed their ways to destinies without a second thought,
Of just another cup of sorrow that the journey brought –
…….Just a mother’s broken heart.

It lies beneath the ocean like a corpse beneath the sheets –
A sunken, sullen hull that not a sailor ever greets.
Its captain was not called by either king or queen to court;
Just another ship that sailed that did not reach its port –
…….Just a dreamer’s broken heart.

We miss the mark of moodiness within his distant look,
And in the sigh that wishes for the time two lovers took
To hold each other tenderly within a blissful swoon.
But now he’s just a darkened sky that never holds a moon –
…….Just another broken heart.

The love that has been offered like a hand stretched out to shake
On a hill that’s not remembered in daily trips we take,
Was fastened by the nails of Rome amid the quaking gloom.
He’s just another casualty for which we’ve scarcely room –
…….Just the Father’s broken heart.

If at the end of life, or even at the close of day,
I find, reflecting, that my time was simply passed in play,
Or small pursuits, or habits harmful in their thoughtlessness,
Then I become, in selling my life’s universe for less –
…….Just another broken heart.

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© Dennis Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2011.

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Little drops of water,
Little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean
And the pleasant land.

Thus the little minutes,
Humble though they be,
Make the mighty ages
Of eternity.

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Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

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The sounds repeated please the soul –
We love the falling rain
That softly pitters on the porch
And patters on the pane.

Alliteration fills our ears
Like trilling r’s in Spain,
Like opera singers singing scales
Of la la’s in a chain.

Perhaps it is the heart of man,
The pulsing in the vein,
That whispers sweetly, whispers for
A whispered back refrain.


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© Dennis Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2011.

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I must go down to the seas again, the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a gray mist on the sea’s face, and a gray dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way, where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

                 

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