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Posts Tagged ‘Rome’

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.-

Roll on, thou deep and dark blue ocean-roll!
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain;
Man marks the earth with ruin-his control
Stops with the shore;-upon the watery plain
The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain
A shadow of man’s ravage, save his own,
When for a moment, like a drop of rain,
He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan,
Without a grave, unknell’d, uncoffin’d, and unknown.

His steps are not upon thy paths-thy fields
Are not a spoil for him-thou dost arise
And shake him from thee; the vile strength he wields
For earth’s destruction thou dost all despise,
Spurning him from thy bosom to the skies,
And send’st him, shivering in thy playful spray,
And howling, to his gods, where haply lies
His petty hope in some near port or bay,
And dashest him again to earth: there let him lay.

The armaments which thunderstrike the walls
Of rock-built cities, bidding nations quake,
And monarchs tremble in their capitals,
The oak leviathans, whose huge ribs make
Their clay creator the vain title take
Of lord of thee, and arbiter of war;
These are thy toys, and, as the snowy flake,
They melt into thy yeast of waves, which mar
Alike the armada’s pride, or spoils of Trafalgar.

Thy shores are empires, changed in all save thee-
Assyria, Greece, Rome, Carthage, what are they?
Thy waters washed them power while they were free,
And many a tyrant since: their shores obey
The stranger, slave or savage; their decay
Has dried up realms to deserts:-not so thou,
Unchangeable, save to thy wild waves’ play-
Time writes no wrinkle on thine azure brow-
Such as creation’s dawn beheld, thou rollest now.

Thou glorious mirror, where the Almighty’s form
Glasses itself in tempests; in all time
Calm or convulsed-in breeze, or gale, or storm,
Icing the pole, or in the torrid clime
Dark-heaving; boundless, endless and sublime-
The image of eternity-the throne
Of the invisible; even from out thy slime
The monsters of the deep are made; each zone
Obeys thee; thou goest forth, dread, fathomless, alone.

And I have loved thee, ocean! And my joy
Of youthful sports was on thy breast to be
Borne, like thy bubbles, onward: from a boy
I wanton’d with thy breakers-they to me
Were a delight; and if the freshening sea
Made them a terror-’twas a pleasing fear,
For I was as it were a child of thee,
And trusted to thy billows far and near,
And laid my hand upon thy mane – as I do here.

 

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Along a side street but a busy one
In Small Town, Texas (true name Ballinger),
Once sat our solar system’s center’s sun,
The theater where movies would appear.

The Texas sat, its shoulders touching two
Mere rubies to its diamond glow at night,
A window to the world that we saw through
From where, in dark, we sat and shared delight.

Subliminal upon the screen or not,
The smell of popcorn wafted through the hall
Till minds were buttered, legs made lobby trot.
Returning, we then ate and drank in thrall.

Most Friday nights and Saturdays were spent
Like precious coins thrown into its fount.
And in return, that social circle lent
The outer, inner world in fair amount.

One winter night, with all the town asleep,
The Texas put on one last private show
That no one watched, though ev’ry seat was cheap
And cheaper still in ashen afterglow.

It was the night that Scarlett’s Tara burned,
When tragic Hindenburg went up in flames,
When the O’Leary lantern overturned,
And fire in Rome fed Christians to the Games.

Ne’er was the passion in the Texas hot
As flames that night that licked the rolls of film
Which twisted, curled, and shrunk till they were not
And they and that theater wrote, “The End.”

There was no second feature for the town;
The empty, burned-out shell is there today.
Just like a trav’ling circus with a clown,
The Texas and our youth both went away.

————————————————————————–

The photo is mine, of the shell of the Texas Theater
in Ballinger, Texas.

————————————————————————–

© Dennis Allen Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2017.

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Morning, evening, noon and night,
“Praise God!” sang Theocrite.

Then to his poor trade he turned,
Whereby the daily meal was earned.

Hard he laboured, long and well;
O’er his work the boy’s curls fell.

But ever, at each period,
He stopped and sang, “Praise God!”

Then back again his curls he threw,
And cheerful turned to work anew.

Said Blaise, the listening monk, “Well done;
I doubt not thou art heard, my son:

“As well as if thy voice to-day
Were praising God, the Pope’s great way.

“This Easter Day, the Pope at Rome
Praises God from Peter’s dome.”

Said Theocrite, “Would God that I
Might praise Him, that great way, and die!”

Night passed, day shone,
And Theocrite was gone.

With God a day endures alway,
A thousand years are but a day.

God said in heaven, “Nor day nor night
Now brings the voice of my delight.”

Then Gabriel, like a rainbow’s birth,
Spread his wings and sank to earth;

Entered, in flesh, the empty cell,
Loved there, and played the craftsman well;

And morning, evening, noon and night,
Praised God in place of Theocrite.

And from a boy, to youth he grew:
The man put off the stripling’s hue:

The man matured and fell away
Into the season of decay:

And ever o’er the trade he bent,
And ever lived on earth content.

(He did God’s will; to him, all one
If on the earth or in the sun.)

God said, “A praise is in mine ear;
There is no doubt in it, no fear:

“So sing old worlds, and so
New worlds that from my footstool go.

“Clearer loves sound other ways:
I miss my little human praise.”

Then forth sprang Gabriel’s wings, off fell
The flesh disguise, remained the cell.

‘T was Easter Day: he flew to Rome,
And paused above Saint Peter’s dome.

In the tiring-room close by
The great outer gallery,

With his holy vestments dight,
Stood the new Pope, Theocrite:

And all his past career
Came back upon him clear.

Since when, a boy, he plied his trade,
Till on his life the sickness weighed;

And in his cell, when death drew near,
An angel in a dream brought cheer:

And rising from the sickness drear,
He grew a priest, and now stood here.

To the East with praise he turned,
And on his sight the angel burned.

“I bore thee from thy craftsman’s cell,
And set thee here; I did not well.

“Vainly I left my angel-sphere,
Vain was thy dream of many a year.

“Thy voice’s praise seemed weak; it dropped –
Creation’s chorus stopped!

“Go back and praise again
The early way, while I remain.

With that weak voice of our disdain,
Take up creation’s praising strain.

“Back to the cell and poor employ:
Resume the craftsman and the boy!”

Theocrite grew old at home;
A new Pope dwelt in Peter’s dome.

One vanished as the other died:
They sought God side by side.

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Time, you old gipsy man,
Will you not stay?
Put up your caravan
Just for one day?

All things I’ll give you
Will you be my guest,
Bells for your jennet
Of silver the best,
Goldsmiths shall beat you
A great golden ring,
Peacocks shall bow to you,
Little boys sing.
Oh, and sweet girls will
Festoon you with may,
Time, you old gipsy,
Why hasten away?

Last week in Babylon,
Last night in Rome,
Morning, and in the crush
Under Paul’s dome;
Under Paul’s dial
You tighten your rein –
Only a moment,
And off once again;
Off to some city
Now blind in the womb,
Off to another
Ere that’s in the tomb.

Time, you old gipsy man,
Will you not stay,
Put up your caravan
Just for one day?


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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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