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Rock of ages, cleft for me
Let me hide myself in Thee
Rock of ages, cleft for me
Let me hide myself in Thee

Let the water and the blood
From Thy riven side which flowed
Be of sin the double cure
Cleanse me from it’s guilt and pow’r

Nothing in my hand I bring
Simply to Thy cross I cling
Nothing in my hand I bring
Simply to Thy cross I cling

Naked, come to Thee for dress
Helpless, look to Thee for grace
Vile, I to the fountain fly
Wash me, savior, or I die

Rock of ages, cleft for me
Let me hide myself in Thee
Rock of ages, cleft for me
Let me hide myself in Thee

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Iran

Iran, are your brains even there?
Did you seize two ships on a dare?
We’d blow you away
Like wind blows the spray
Except that behind’s you a bear.

——————————————

© Dennis Allen Lange, 2019.

 

Go, for they call you, shepherd, from the hill;
Go, shepherd, and untie the wattled cotes!
No longer leave thy wistful flock unfed,
Nor let thy bawling fellows rack their throats,
Nor the cropp’d herbage shoot another head.
But when the fields are still,
And the tired men and dogs all gone to rest,
And only the white sheep are sometimes seen
Cross and recross the strips of moon-blanch’d green.
Come, shepherd, and again begin the quest!

Here, where the reaper was at work of late–
In this high field’s dark corner, where he leaves
His coat, his basket, and his earthen cruse,
And in the sun all morning binds the sheaves,
Then here, at noon, comes back his stores to use–
Here will I sit and wait,
While to my ear from uplands far away
The bleating of the folded flocks is borne,
With distant cries of reapers in the corn–
All the live murmur of a summer’s day.

Screen’d is this nook o’er the high, half-reap’d field,
And here till sun-down, shepherd! will I be.
Through the thick corn the scarlet poppies peep,
And round green roots and yellowing stalks I see
Pale pink convolvulus in tendrils creep;
And air-swept lindens yield
Their scent, and rustle down their perfumed showers
Of bloom on the bent grass where I am laid,
And bower me from the August sun with shade;
And the eye travels down to Oxford’s towers.

And near me on the grass lies Glanvil’s book–
Come, let me read the oft-read tale again!
The story of the Oxford scholar poor,
Of pregnant parts and quick inventive brain,
Who, tired of knocking at preferment’s door,
One summer-morn forsook
His friends, and went to learn the gipsy-lore,
And roam’d the world with that wild brotherhood,
And came, as most men deem’d, to little good,
But came to Oxford and his friends no more.

But once, years after, in the country-lanes,
Two scholars, whom at college erst he knew,
Met him, and of his way of life enquired;
Whereat he answer’d, that the gipsy-crew,
His mates, had arts to rule as they desired
The workings of men’s brains,
And they can bind them to what thoughts they will.
‘And I,’ he said, ‘the secret of their art,
When fully learn’d, will to the world impart;
But it needs heaven-sent moments for this skill.’

This said, he left them, and return’d no more.–
But rumours hung about the country-side,
That the lost Scholar long was seen to stray,
Seen by rare glimpses, pensive and tongue-tied,
In hat of antique shape, and cloak of grey,
The same the gipsies wore.
Shepherds had met him on the Hurst in spring;
At some lone alehouse in the Berkshire moors,
On the warm ingle-bench, the smock-frock’d boors
Had found him seated at their entering,

But, ‘mid their drink and clatter, he would fly.
And I myself seem half to know thy looks,
And put the shepherds, wanderer! on thy trace;
And boys who in lone wheatfields scare the rooks
I ask if thou hast pass’d their quiet place;
Or in my boat I lie
Moor’d to the cool bank in the summer-heats,
‘Mid wide grass meadows which the sunshine fills,
And watch the warm, green-muffled Cumner hills,
And wonder if thou haunt’st their shy retreats.

For most, I know, thou lov’st retired ground!
Thee at the ferry Oxford riders blithe,
Returning home on summer-nights, have met
Crossing the stripling Thames at Bab-lock-hithe,
Trailing in the cool stream thy fingers wet,
As the punt’s rope chops round;
And leaning backward in a pensive dream,
And fostering in thy lap a heap of flowers
Pluck’d in shy fields and distant Wychwood bowers,
And thine eyes resting on the moonlit stream.

And then they land, and thou art seen no more!–
Maidens, who from the distant hamlets come
To dance around the Fyfield elm in May,
Oft through the darkening fields have seen thee roam,
Or cross a stile into the public way.
Oft thou hast given them store
Of flowers–the frail-leaf’d, white anemony,
Dark bluebells drench’d with dews of summer eves,
And purple orchises with spotted leaves–
But none hath words she can report of thee.

And, above Godstow Bridge, when hay-time’s here
In June, and many a scythe in sunshine flames,
Men who through those wide fields of breezy grass
Where black-wing’d swallows haunt the glittering Thames,
To bathe in the abandon’d lasher pass,
Have often pass’d thee near
Sitting upon the river bank o’ergrown;
Mark’d thine outlandish garb, thy figure spare,
Thy dark vague eyes, and soft abstracted air–
But, when they came from bathing, thou wast gone!

At some lone homestead in the Cumner hills,
Where at her open door the housewife darns,
Thou hast been seen, or hanging on a gate
To watch the threshers in the mossy barns.
Children, who early range these slopes and late
For cresses from the rills,
Have known thee eyeing, all an April-day,
The springing pasture and the feeding kine;
And mark’d thee, when the stars come out and shine,
Through the long dewy grass move slow away.

In autumn, on the skirts of Bagley Wood–
Where most the gipsies by the turf-edged way
Pitch their smoked tents, and every bush you see
With scarlet patches tagg’d and shreds of grey,
Above the forest-ground called Thessaly–
The blackbird, picking food,
Sees thee, nor stops his meal, nor fears at all;
So often has he known thee past him stray,
Rapt, twirling in thy hand a wither’d spray,
And waiting for the spark from heaven to fall.

And once, in winter, on the causeway chill
Where home through flooded fields foot-travellers go,
Have I not pass’d thee on the wooden bridge,
Wrapt in thy cloak and battling with the snow,
Thy face tow’rd Hinksey and its wintry ridge?
And thou has climb’d the hill,
And gain’d the white brow of the Cumner range;
Turn’d once to watch, while thick the snowflakes fall,
The line of festal light in Christ-Church hall–
Then sought thy straw in some sequester’d grange.

But what–I dream! Two hundred years are flown
Since first thy story ran through Oxford halls,
And the grave Glanvil did the tale inscribe
That thou wert wander’d from the studious walls
To learn strange arts, and join a gipsy-tribe;
And thou from earth art gone
Long since, and in some quiet churchyard laid–
Some country-nook, where o’er thy unknown grave
Tall grasses and white flowering nettles wave,
Under a dark, red-fruited yew-tree’s shade.

–No, no, thou hast not felt the lapse of hours!
For what wears out the life of mortal men?
‘Tis that from change to change their being rolls;
‘Tis that repeated shocks, again, again,
Exhaust the energy of strongest souls
And numb the elastic powers.
Till having used our nerves with bliss and teen,
And tired upon a thousand schemes our wit,
To the just-pausing Genius we remit
Our worn-out life, and are–what we have been.

Thou hast not lived, why should’st thou perish, so?
Thou hadst one aim, one business, one desire;
Else wert thou long since number’d with the dead!
Else hadst thou spent, like other men, thy fire!
The generations of thy peers are fled,
And we ourselves shall go;
But thou possessest an immortal lot,
And we imagine thee exempt from age
And living as thou liv’st on Glanvil’s page,
Because thou hadst–what we, alas! have not.

For early didst thou leave the world, with powers
Fresh, undiverted to the world without,
Firm to their mark, not spent on other things;
Free from the sick fatigue, the languid doubt,
Which much to have tried, in much been baffled, brings.
O life unlike to ours!
Who fluctuate idly without term or scope,
Of whom each strives, nor knows for what he strives,
And each half lives a hundred different lives;
Who wait like thee, but not, like thee, in hope.

Thou waitest for the spark from heaven! and we,
Light half-believers of our casual creeds,
Who never deeply felt, nor clearly will’d,
Whose insight never has borne fruit in deeds,
Whose vague resolves never have been fulfill’d;
For whom each year we see
Breeds new beginnings, disappointments new;
Who hesitate and falter life away,
And lose to-morrow the ground won to-day–
Ah! do not we, wanderer! await it too?

Yes, we await it!–but it still delays,
And then we suffer! and amongst us one,
Who most has suffer’d, takes dejectedly
His seat upon the intellectual throne;
And all his store of sad experience he
Lays bare of wretched days;
Tells us his misery’s birth and growth and signs,
And how the dying spark of hope was fed,
And how the breast was soothed, and how the head,
And all his hourly varied anodynes.

This for our wisest! and we others pine,
And wish the long unhappy dream would end,
And waive all claim to bliss, and try to bear;
With close-lipp’d patience for our only friend,
Sad patience, too near neighbour to despair–
But none has hope like thine!
Thou through the fields and through the woods dost stray,
Roaming the country-side, a truant boy,
Nursing thy project in unclouded joy,
And every doubt long blown by time away.

O born in days when wits were fresh and clear,
And life ran gaily as the sparkling Thames;
Before this strange disease of modern life,
With its sick hurry, its divided aims,
Its heads o’ertax’d, its palsied hearts, was rife–
Fly hence, our contact fear!
Still fly, plunge deeper in the bowering wood!
Averse, as Dido did with gesture stern
From her false friend’s approach in Hades turn,
Wave us away, and keep thy solitude!

Still nursing the unconquerable hope,
Still clutching the inviolable shade,
With a free, onward impulse brushing through,
By night, the silver’d branches of the glade–
Far on the forest-skirts, where none pursue,
On some mild pastoral slope
Emerge, and resting on the moonlit pales
Freshen thy flowers as in former years
With dew, or listen with enchanted ears,
From the dark dingles, to the nightingales!

But fly our paths, our feverish contact fly!
For strong the infection of our mental strife,
Which, though it gives no bliss, yet spoils for rest;
And we should win thee from thy own fair life,
Like us distracted, and like us unblest.
Soon, soon thy cheer would die,
Thy hopes grow timorous, and unfix’d thy powers,
And thy clear aims be cross and shifting made;
And then thy glad perennial youth would fade,
Fade and grow old at last, and die like ours.

Then fly our greetings, fly our speech and smiles!
–As some grave Tyrian trader, from the sea,
Descried at sunrise an emerging prow
Lifting the cool-hair’d creepers stealthily,
The fringes of a southward-facing brow
Among the Ægæan Isles;
And saw the merry Grecian coaster come,
Freighted with amber grapes, and Chian wine,
Green, bursting figs, and tunnies steep’d in brine–
And knew the intruders on his ancient home,

The young light-hearted masters of the waves–
And snatch’d his rudder, and shook out more sail;
And day and night held on indignantly
O’er the blue Midland waters with the gale,
Betwixt the Syrtes and soft Sicily,
To where the Atlantic raves
Outside the western straits; and unbent sails
There, where down cloudy cliffs, through sheets of foam,
Shy traffickers, the dark Iberians come;
And on the beach undid his corded bales.

mITZbBM

Sometimes it’s true when reading verse
   And we can’t stand the lay,
We wonder which of two is worse:
   The poem or Judgment Day?
And just as we’re about to curse,
   The pain – quick – goes away.
We’re at the end, for he was terse;
   He’d nothing much to say.

—————————————————————-

photo by Adrian van Leen at
http://www.rgbstock.com/photo/mITZbBM/yellow+centre

—————————————————————–

© Dennis Allen Lange, 2019.

(shortly after the revival of learning in Europe)

 

Let us begin and carry up this corpse,
Singing together.
Leave we the common crofts, the vulgar thorpes
Each in its tether
Sleeping safe on the bosom of the plain,
Cared-for till cock-crow:
Look out if yonder be not day again
Rimming the rock-row!
That’s the appropriate country; there, man’s thought,
Rarer, intenser,
Self-gathered for an outbreak, as it ought,
Chafes in the censer.
Leave we the unlettered plain its herd and crop;
Seek we sepulture
On a tall mountain, citied to the top,
Crowded with culture!
All the peaks soar, but one the rest excels;
Clouds overcome it;
No! yonder sparkle is the citadel’s
Circling its summit.
Thither our path lies; wind we up the heights:
Wait ye the warning?
Our low life was the level’s and the night’s;
He’s for the morning.
Step to a tune, square chests, erect each head,
‘Ware the beholders!
This is our master, famous, calm and dead,
Borne on our shoulders.

 

Sleep, crop and herd! sleep, darkling thorpe and croft,
Safe from the weather!
He, whom we convoy to his grave aloft,
Singing together,
He was a man born with thy face and throat,
Lyric Apollo!
Long he lived nameless: how should spring take note
Winter would follow?
Till lo, the little touch, and youth was gone!
Cramped and diminished,
Moaned he, “New measures, other feet anon!
My dance is finished”?
No, that’s the world’s way: (keep the mountain-side,
Make for the city!)
He knew the signal, and stepped on with pride
Over men’s pity;
Left play for work, and grappled with the world
Bent on escaping:
“What’s in the scroll,” quoth he, “thou keepest furled
Show me their shaping,
Theirs who most studied man, the bard and sage,–
Give!”–So, he gowned him,
Straight got by heart that book to its last page:
Learned, we found him.
Yea, but we found him bald too, eyes like lead,
Accents uncertain:
“Time to taste life,” another would have said,
“Up with the curtain!”
This man said rather, “Actual life comes next?
Patience a moment!
Grant I have mastered learning’s crabbed text,
Still there’s the comment.
Let me know all! Prate not of most or least,
Painful or easy!
Even to the crumbs I’d fain eat up the feast,
Ay, nor feel queasy.”
Oh, such a life as he resolved to live,
When he had learned it,
When he had gathered all books had to give!
Sooner, he spurned it.
Image the whole, then execute the parts–
Fancy the fabric
Quite, ere you build, ere steel strike fire from quartz,
Ere mortar dab brick!

(Here’s the town-gate reached: there’s the market-place
Gaping before us.)
Yea, this in him was the peculiar grace
(Hearten our chorus!)
That before living he’d learn how to live–
No end to learning:
Earn the means first–God surely will contrive
Use for our earning.
Others mistrust and say, “But time escapes:
Live now or never!”
He said, “What’s time? Leave Now for dogs and apes!
Man has Forever.”
Back to his book then: deeper drooped his head:
Calculus racked him:
Leaden before, his eyes grew dross of lead:
Tussis attacked him.
“Now, master, take a little rest!”–not he!
(Caution redoubled
Step two abreast, the way winds narrowly!)
Not a whit troubled,
Back to his studies, fresher than at first,
Fierce as a dragon
He (soul-hydroptic with a sacred thirst)
Sucked at the flagon.
Oh, if we draw a circle premature,
Heedless of far gain,
Greedy for quick returns of profit, sure
Bad is our bargain!
Was it not great? did not he throw on God,
(He loves the burthen)–
God’s task to make the heavenly period
Perfect the earthen?
Did not he magnify the mind, show clear
Just what it all meant?
He would not discount life, as fools do here,
Paid by instalment.
He ventured neck or nothing–heaven’s success
Found, or earth’s failure:
“Wilt thou trust death or not?” He answered “Yes:
Hence with life’s pale lure!”
That low man seeks a little thing to do,
Sees it and does it:
This high man, with a great thing to pursue,
Dies ere he knows it.
That low man goes on adding one to one,
His hundred’s soon hit:
This high man, aiming at a million,
Misses an unit.
That, has the world here–should he need the next,
Let the world mind him!
This, throws himself on God, and unperplexed
Seeking shall find him.
So, with the throttling hands of death at strife,
Ground he at grammar;
Still, thro’ the rattle, parts of speech were rife:
While he could stammer
He settled Hoti’s business–let it be!–
Properly based Oun–
Gave us the doctrine of the enclitic De,
Dead from the waist down.
Well, here’s the platform, here’s the proper place:
Hail to your purlieus,
All ye highfliers of the feathered race,
Swallows and curlews!
Here’s the top-peak; the multitude below
Live, for they can, there:
This man decided not to Live but Know–
Bury this man there?
Here–here’s his place, where meteors shoot, clouds form,
Lightnings are loosened,
Stars come and go! Let joy break with the storm,
Peace let the dew send!
Lofty designs must close in like effects:
Loftily lying,
Leave him–still loftier than the world suspects,
Living and dying.

 

Abandoned gas pump

The whole town
Up and moved away –
Left this pump.

————————————-

photo by Ariel da Silva Parreira at
http://www.rgbstock.com/photo/n0opVN8/Abandoned+gas+pump

————————————–

* The haiku I write are lines of 3-5-3 syllables instead of 5-7-5.

See Haiku article here for explanation, if needed: https://thebardonthehill.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/haiku/
——————–

© Dennis Allen Lange, 2019.

 

 

On a tree by a river a little tomtit
Sang “Willow, titwillow, titwillow!”
And I said to him, “Dicky-bird, why do you sit
Singing ‘Willow, titwillow, titwillow’?
Is it weakness of intellect, birdie?” I cried,
“Or a rather tough worm in your little inside?”
With a shake of his poor little head he replied,
“Oh, willow, titwillow, titwillow!”

He slapped at his chest, as he sat on that bough,
Singing “Willow, titwillow, titwillow!”
And a cold perspiration bespangled his brow,
Oh, willow, titwillow, titwillow!
He sobbed and he sighed, and a gurgle he gave,
Then he threw himself into the billowy wave,
And an echo arose from the suicide’s grave –
“Oh, willow, titwillow, titwillow!”

Now I feel just as sure as I’m sure that my name
Isn’t Willow, titwillow, titwillow,
That ’twas blighted affection that made him exclaim,
“Oh, willow, titwillow, titwillow!”
And if you remain callous and obdurate, I
Shall perish as he did, and you will know why,
Though I probably shall not exclaim as I die,
“Oh, willow, titwillow, titwillow!”

nVig2o2

If there’s no God, I die, my atoms disappear
Like bubbles blown and frantic to escape their ring.
Wind takes them by the hand – “Let’s run away from here!
Let’s go somewhere and find another song to sing!” 

And when I’m gone, perhaps my poems will linger on;
My children with their children and then theirs – a chain;
Or some good deed will swim within my wake – a swan,
Until the sun grows old, expands, and naught remains. 

If there’s no God, I live my life upon the sand.
I leave my print; I have a heavy present weight.
And I reflect upon my life and think it’s grand.
But when I die, it’s like I never left the gate. 

If there’s no God, then soon or late there is no me.
The sand along my beach is smoothed, impression free.

———————————————————————

photo by marmit at http://www.rgbstock.com/photo/nVig2o2/Follow+my+steps+2

————————————————————————————————————

© Dennis Allen Lange, 2019.

 

I heard men saying, Leave hope and praying,
All days shall be as all have been;
To-day and to-morrow bring fear and sorrow,
The never-ending toil between.

When Earth was younger mid toil and hunger,
In hope we strove, and our hands were strong;
Then great men led us, with words they fed us,
And bade us right the earthly wrong.

Go read in story their deeds and glory,
Their names amidst the nameless dead;
Turn then from lying to us slow-dying
In that good world to which they led;

Where fast and faster our iron master,
The thing we made, for ever drives,
Bids us grind treasure and fashion pleasure
For other hopes and other lives.

Where home is a hovel and dull we grovel,
Forgetting that the world is fair;
Where no babe we cherish, lest its very soul perish;
Where mirth is crime, and love a snare.

Who now shall lead us, what God shall heed us
As we lie in the hell our hands have won?
For us are no rulers but fools and befoolers,
The great are fallen, the wise men gone.

I heard men saying, Leave tears and praying,
The sharp knife heedeth not the sheep;
Are we not stronger than the rich and the wronger,
When day breaks over dreams and sleep?

Come, shoulder to shoulder ere the world grows older!
Help lies in nought but thee and me;
Hope is before us, the long years that bore us
Bore leaders more than men may be.

Let dead hearts tarry and trade and marry,
And trembling nurse their dreams of mirth,
While we the living our lives are giving
To bring the bright new world to birth.

Come, shoulder to shoulder ere Earth grows older!
The Cause spreads over land and sea;
Now the world shaketh, and fear awaketh,
And joy at last for thee and me.

47458826042_e248bd6320_o

A four lane
Divided highway –
Speed: 80!

——————————-

The photo is mine of I-10 in the Texas Hill Country
with the spring flowers blooming.

——————————–

* The haiku I write are lines of 3-5-3 syllables instead of 5-7-5.

See Haiku article here for explanation, if needed: https://thebardonthehill.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/haiku/
——————–

© Dennis Allen Lange, 2019.