Annabel Lee


It was many and many a year ago,

In a kingdom by the sea,

That a maiden there lived whom you may know

By the name of Annabel Lee;

And this maiden she lived with no other thought

Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,

In this kingdom by the sea,

But we loved with a love that was more than love—

I and my Annabel Lee—

With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven

Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,

In this kingdom by the sea,

A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling

My beautiful Annabel Lee;

So that her highborn kinsmen came

And bore her away from me,

To shut her up in a sepulchre

In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,

Went envying her and me—

Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,

In this kingdom by the sea)

That the wind came out of the cloud by night,

Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love

Of those who were older than we—

Of many far wiser than we—

And neither the angels in Heaven above

Nor the demons down under the sea

Can ever dissever my soul from the soul

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side

Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,

In her sepulchre there by the sea—

In her tomb by the sounding sea.


Edgar Allan Poe, 1809 - 1849

Ah broken is the golden bowl! the spirit flown forever!
Let the bell toll!--a saintly soul floats on the Stygian river;
And, Guy De Vere, hast thou no tear?--weep now or never more!
See! on yon drear and rigid bier low lies thy love, Lenore!
Come! let the burial rite be read--the funeral song be sung!--
An anthem for the queenliest dead that ever died so young--
A dirge for her the doubly dead in that she died so young.
“Wretches! ye loved her for her wealth and hated her for her pride,
“And when she fell in feeble health, ye blessed her--that she died!
“How shall the ritual, then, be read?--the requiem how be sung
“By you--by yours, the evil eye,--by yours, the slanderous tongue
“That did to death the innocent that died, and died so young?”
Peccavimus; but rave not thus! and let a Sabbath song
Go up to God so solemnly the dead may feel so wrong!
The sweet Lenore hath “gone before," with Hope, that flew beside
Leaving thee wild for the dear child that should have been thy bride--
For her, the fair and debonair, that now so lowly lies,
The life upon her yellow hair but not within her eyes--
The life still there, upon her hair--the death upon her eyes.
“Avaunt! to-night my heart is light. No dirge will I upraise,
“But waft the angel on her flight with a Pæan of old days!
“Let no bell toll!--lest her sweet soul, amid its hallowed mirth,
“Should catch the note, as it doth float up from the damnéd Earth.
“To friends above, from fiends below, the indignant ghost is riven--
“From Hell unto a high estate far up within the Heaven--
“From grief and groan, to a golden throne, beside the King of Heaven.”

My Sneaky Cousin


She put in her clothes,

Then thought she’d get

A free bath here

At the launderette.

So round she goes now,


Lookin’ clean—

But not too happy.

~Shel Silverstein 

Posted in Falling Up Book

Early Bird


Oh, if you’re a bird, be an early bird

And catch the worm for your breakfast plate.

If you’re a bird, be an early early bird—

But if you’re a worm, sleep late.

~Shel Silverstein

Noise Day


Let’s have one day for girls and boyses

When you can make the grandest noises.

Screech, scream, holler, and yell—

Buzz a buzzer, clang a bell,


Laugh until your lungs wear out,

Toot a whistle, kick, a can,

Bang a spoon against a pan,

Sing, yodel, bellow, hum,

Blow a horn, beat a drum,

Rattle a window, slam a door,

Scrape a rake across the floor,

Use a drill, drive a nail,

Turn the hose on the garbage pail,

Shout Yahoo—Hurrah—Hooray,

Turn up the music all the way,

Try and bounce your bowling ball,

Ride a skateboard up the wall,

Chomp your food with a smack and a slurp,


One day a year do all of these,

The rest of the days—be quiet please.

~Shel Silverstein

Posted in Falling Up Book

This World Which Is Made of Our Love for Emptiness

Praise to the emptiness that blanks out existence. Existence:  This place made from our love for that emptiness!

Yet somehow comes emptiness,  this existence goes.

Praise to that happening, over and over!  For years I pulled my own existence out of emptiness.

Then one swoop, one swing of the arm,  that work is over.

Free of who I was, free of presence, free of dangerous fear, hope,  free of mountainous wanting.

The here-and-now mountain is a tiny piece of a piece of straw  blown off into emptiness.

These words I'm saying so much begin to lose meaning:  Existence, emptiness, mountain, straw:

Words and what they try to say swept  out the window, down the slant of the roof.

This Marriage

May these vows and this marriage be blessed.  May it be sweet milk,  this marriage, like wine and halvah.  May this marriage offer fruit and shade  like the date palm.  May this marriage be full of laughter,  our every day a day in paradise.  May this marriage be a sign of compassion,  a seal of happiness here and hereafter.  May this marriage have a fair face and a good name,  an omen as welcomes the moon in a clear blue sky.  I am out of words to describe  Our death is our wedding with eternity.  What is the secret? "God is One."  The sunlight splits when entering the windows of the house.  This multiplicity exists in the cluster of grapes;  It is not in the juice made from the grapes.  For he who is living in the Light of God,  The death of the carnal soul is a blessing.  Regarding him, say neither bad nor good,  For he is gone beyond the good and the bad.  Fix your eyes on God and do not talk about what is invisible,  So that he may place another look in your eyes.  It is in the vision of the physical eyes  That no invisible or secret thing exists.  But when the eye is turned toward the Light of God  What thing could remain hidden under such a Light?  Although all lights emanate from the Divine Light  Don't call all these lights "the Light of God";  It is the eternal light which is the Light of God,  The ephemeral light is an attribute of the body and the flesh.  ...Oh God who gives the grace of vision!  The bird of vision is flying towards You with the wings of desire.

how spirit mingles in this marriage.

I've said before that every craftsman  searches for what's not there  to practice his craft.

A builder looks for the rotten hole  where the roof caved in. A water-carrier  picks the empty pot. A carpenter  stops at the house with no door.

Workers rush toward some hint  of emptiness, which they then  start to fill. Their hope, though,  is for emptiness, so don't think  you must avoid it. It contains  what you need!  Dear soul, if you were not friends  with the vast nothing inside,  why would you always be casting you net  into it, and waiting so patiently?

This invisible ocean has given you such abundance,  but still you call it "death",  that which provides you sustenance and work.

God has allowed some magical reversal to occur,  so that you see the scorpion pit  as an object of desire,  and all the beautiful expanse around it,  as dangerous and swarming with snakes.

This is how strange your fear of death  and emptiness is, and how perverse  the attachment to what you want.

Now that you've heard me  on your misapprehensions, dear friend,  listen to Attar's story on the same subject.

He strung the pearls of this  about King Mahmud, how among the spoils  of his Indian campaign there was a Hindu boy,  whom he adopted as a son. He educated  and provided royally for the boy  and later made him vice-regent, seated  on a gold throne beside himself.

One day he found the young man weeping..  "Why are you crying? You're the companion  of an emperor! The entire nation is ranged out  before you like stars that you can command!"

The young man replied, "I am remembering  my mother and father, and how they  scared me as a child with threats of you!  'Uh-oh, he's headed for King Mahmud's court!  Nothing could be more hellish!' Where are they now  when they should see me sitting here?"

This incident is about your fear of changing.  You are the Hindu boy. Mahmud, which means  Praise to the End, is the spirit's  poverty or emptiness.

The mother and father are your attachment  to beliefs and blood ties  and desires and comforting habits.  Don't listen to them!  They seem to protect  but they imprison.

They are your worst enemies.  They make you afraid  of living in emptiness.

Some day you'll weep tears of delight in that court,  remembering your mistaken parents!

Know that your body nurtures the spirit,  helps it grow, and gives it wrong advise.

The body becomes, eventually, like a vest  of chain mail in peaceful years,  too hot in summer and too cold in winter.

But the body's desires, in another way, are like  an unpredictable associate, whom you must be  patient with. And that companion is helpful,  because patience expands your capacity  to love and feel peace.  The patience of a rose close to a thorn  keeps it fragrant. It's patience that gives milk  to the male camel still nursing in its third year,  and patience is what the prophets show to us.

The beauty of careful sewing on a shirt  is the patience it contains.

Friendship and loyalty have patience  as the strength of their connection.

Feeling lonely and ignoble indicates  that you haven't been patient.

Be with those who mix with God  as honey blends with milk, and say,

"Anything that comes and goes,  rises and sets, is not  what I love." else you'll be like a caravan fire left  to flare itself out alone beside the road. 

 The Road Goes Ever On

The Road goes ever on and on    Down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone,    And I must follow, if I can, Pursuing it with eager feet,    Until it joins some larger way Where many paths and errands meet.    And whither then? I cannot say.

The Drinking Song

Ho! Ho! Ho! To the bottle I go To heal my heart and drown my woe. Rain may fall and wind may blow, And many miles be still to go But under a tall tree I will lie, And let the clouds go sailing by.

Luthien Tinuviel

"The leaves were long, the grass was green, The hemlock-umbels tall and fair, And in the glade a light was seen Of stars in shadow shimmering. Tinuviel was dancing there To music of a pipe unseen, And light of stars was in her hair, And in her raiment glimmering.

There Beren came from mountains cold. And lost he wandered under leaves, And where the Elven-river rolled He walked alone and sorrowing. He peered between the hemlock-leaves And saw in wonder flowers of gold Upon her mantle and her sleeves, And her hair like shadow following.

Enchantment healed his weary feet That over hills were doomed to roam; And forth he hastened, strong and fleet, And grasped at moonbeams glistening.

Through woven woods in Elvenhome She lightly fled on dancing feet, And left him lonely still to roam In the silent forest listening.

He heard there oft the flying sound Of feet as light as linden-leaves, Or music welling underground, In hidden hollows quavering. Now withered lay the hemlock-sheaves, And one by one with sighing sound Whispering fell the beachen leaves In wintry woodland wavering.

Yule Horror

There is snow on the ground, And the valleys are cold, And a midnight profound Blackly squats o'er the wold; But a light on the hilltops half-seen hints of feastings un-hallowed and old.

There is death in the clouds, There is fear in the night, For the dead in their shrouds Hail the sin's turning flight. And chant wild in the woods as they dance round a Yule- altar fungous and white.

To no gale of Earth's kind Sways the forest of oak, Where the sick boughs entwined By mad mistletoes choke, For these pow'rs are the pow'rs of the dark, from the graves of the lost Druid-folk.


Through the ghoul-guarded gateways of slumber, Past the wan-mooned abysses of night, I have lived o'er my lives without number, I have sounded all things with my sight; And I struggle and shriek ere the daybreak, being driven to madness with fright.

I have whirled with the earth at the dawning, When the sky was a vaporous flame; I have seen the dark universe yawning Where the black planets roll without aim, Where they roll in their horror unheeded, without knowledge or lustre or name.

I had drifted o'er seas without ending, Under sinister grey-clouded skies, That the many-forked lightning is rending, That resound with hysterical cries; With the moans of invisible daemons, that out of the green waters rise.

I have plunged like a deer through the arches Of the hoary primoridal grove, Where the oaks feel the presence that marches, And stalks on where no spirit dares rove, And I flee from a thing that surrounds me, and leers through dead branches above.

I have stumbled by cave-ridden mountains That rise barren and bleak from the plain, I have drunk of the fog-foetid fountains That ooze down to the marsh and the main; And in hot cursed tarns I have seen things, I care not to gaze on again.

I have scanned the vast ivy-clad palace, I have trod its untenanted hall, Where the moon rising up from the valleys Shows the tapestried things on the wall; Strange figures discordantly woven, that I cannot endure to recall.

I have peered from the casements in wonder At the mouldering meadows around, At the many-roofed village laid under The curse of a grave-girdled ground; And from rows of white urn-carven marble, I listen intently for sound.

I have haunted the tombs of the ages, I have flown on the pinions of fear, Where the smoke-belching Erebus rages; Where the jokulls loom snow-clad and drear: And in realms where the sun of the desert consumes what it never can cheer.

I was old when the pharaohs first mounted The jewel-decked throne by the Nile; I was old in those epochs uncounted When I, and I only, was vile; And Man, yet untainted and happy, dwelt in bliss on the far Arctic isle.

Oh, great was the sin of my spirit, And great is the reach of its doom; Not the pity of Heaven can cheer it, Nor can respite be found in the tomb: Down the infinite aeons come beating the wings of unmerciful gloom.

Through the ghoul-guarded gateways of slumber, Past the wan-mooned abysses of night, I have lived o'er my lives without number, I have sounded all things with my sight; And I struggle and shriek ere the daybreak, being driven to madness with fright.

The Garden

There's an ancient, ancient garden that I see sometimes in dreams,          Where the very Maytime sunlight plays and glows with spectral gleams;      Where the gaudy-tinted blossoms seem to wither into grey,                  And the crumbling walls and pillars waken thoughts of yesterday.            There are vines in nooks and crannies, and there's moss about the pool,    And the tangled weedy thicket chokes the arbour dark and cool:              In the silent sunken pathways springs a herbage sparse and spare,          Where the musty scent of dead things dulls the fragrance of the air.        There is not a living creature in the lonely space arouna,                  And the hedge~encompass'd d quiet never echoes to a sound.                  As I walk, and wait, and listen, I will often seek to find                  When it was I knew that garden in an age long left behind;                  I will oft conjure a vision of a day that is no more,                      As I gaze upon the grey, grey scenes I feel I knew before.                  Then a sadness settles o'er me, and a tremor seems to start -              For I know the flow'rs are shrivell'd hopes - the garden is my heart.


O'er the midnight moorlands crying, Thro' the cypress forests sighing, In the night-wind madly flying, Hellish forms with streaming hair; In the barren branches creaking, By the stagnant swamp-pools speaking, Past the shore-cliffs ever shrieking, Damn'd demons of despair.

Once, I think I half remember, Ere the grey skies of November Quench'd my youth's aspiring ember, Liv'd there such a thing as bliss; Skies that now are dark were beaming, Bold and azure, splendid seeming Till I learn'd it all was dreaming — Deadly drowsiness of Dis.

But the stream of Time, swift flowing, Brings the torment of half-knowing — Dimly rushing, blindly going Past the never-trodden lea; And the voyager, repining, Sees the wicked death-fires shining, Hears the wicked petrel's whining As he helpless drifts to sea.

Evil wings in ether beating; Vultures at the spirit eating; Things unseen forever fleeting Black against the leering sky. Ghastly shades of bygone gladness, Clawing fiends of future sadness, Mingle in a cloud of madness Ever on the soul to lie.

Thus the living, lone and sobbing, In the throes of anguish throbbing, With the loathsome Furies robbing Night and noon of peace and rest. But beyond the groans and grating Of abhorrent Life, is waiting Sweet Oblivion, culminating All the years of fruitless quest.

Where Once Poe Walked

Eternal brood the shadows on this ground, Dreaming of centuries that have gone before; Great elms rise solemnly by slab and mound, Arched high above a hidden world of yore. Round all the scene a light of memory plays, And dead leaves whisper of departed days, Longing for sights and sounds that are no more.

Lonely and sad, a specter glides along Aisles where of old his living footsteps fell; No common glance discerns him, though his song Peals down through time with a mysterious spell. Only the few who sorcery's secret know, Espy amidst these tombs the shade of Poe.


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