we tend to like those artists
who starved or went mad or killed themselves
and were discovered afterwards.
it happens often
because great talent is usually fifty to
one hundred years ahead of its
most of those acclaimed in their
are mediocre performers.
of course, this is common knowledge,
so common that many of those who are not
recognized in their time
believe that this is a sign of their own true
and countless wives, children, relatives,
friends and bystanders
because of this illusion.
to laugh truly is to continue anyhow.
Now we are silent
And sing no songs any more,
Our pace grows heavy;
This is the night, that was bound to come.
Give me your hand,
Perhaps we still have a long way to go.
It’s snowing, it’s snowing.
Winter is a hard thing in a strange country.
Where is the time
When a light, a hearth burned for us?
Give me your hand!
Perhaps we still have a long way to go.
Sleep and Waking
In sleep I am not, I am gone,
I am given up.
And nothing in the world is lovelier than sleep,
dark dreamless sleep, in deep oblivion!
Nothing in life is quite so good as this.
Yet there is waking from the soundest sleep,
waking, and waking new.
Did you sleep well?
Ah yes, the sleep of God!
The world is created afresh.
Only the Best Matters
Only the best matters, in man especially.
True, you can’t produce the best without attending to the whole,
but that which is secondary is only important
in so far as it goes to bringing forth of the best.
It is conceit that kills us
and makes us cowards instead of gods.
Under the great Command: Know thy self, and that thou art mortal!
we have become fatally self-conscious, fatally self-important, fatally
entangled in the Laocoön coils of our conceit.
Now we have to admit we can’t know ourselves, we can only know
And I am not interested to know about myself any more,
I only entangle myself in the knowing.
Now let me be myself,
now let me be myself, and flicker forth,
now let me be myself, in the being, one of the gods.
Race and Battle
The race is not to the swift,
but to those that can stand still
and let the waves go over them.
The battle is not to the strong,
but to the frail, who know best
how to efface themselves
to save the streaked pansy of the heart from being trampled
Sense of Truth
You must fuse mind and wit with all the senses
before you can feel truth.
And if you can’t feel truth you can’t have any other
satisfactory sensual experience.
People who complain of loneliness must have lost something,
lost some living connection with the cosmos, out of themselves,
lost their life-flow
like a plant whose roots are cut.
And they are crying like plants whose roots are cut.
The Effort of Love
I am worn out
with the effort of trying to love people
and not succeeding.
Now I’ve made up my mind
I love nobody, I’m going to love nobody,
I’m not going to tell any lies about it
and it’s final.
If there’s any man here, or a woman
whom I can really like,
that’s quite enough for me.
And if by a miracle a woman had happened to come along
who warmed the cockles of my heart
I’d rejoice over the woman and the warmed cockles of my heart
so long as it didn’t all fizzle out in talk.
A man can’t fully live unless he dies and ceases to care
ceases to care.
Why don’t people leave off being lovable
or thinking they are lovable, or wanting to be lovable,
and be a bit elemental instead?
Since man is made up of the elements
fire, and rain, and air, and live loam
and none of these is lovable
man is lop-sided on the side of the angels.
I wish men would get back to their balance among the elements
and be a bit more fiery, as incapable of telling lies
as fire is.
I wish they’d be true to their own variation, as water is,
which goes through all the stages of steam and stream and ice
without losing its head.
I am sick of lovable people,
somehow they are a lie.
People Who Care
People who care, who care, who care
and who dare not die for fear they should be nothing at all
probably are nothing at all.
It is only immoral
to be dead-alive
and busy putting out the sun
in other people.
The only people I ever heard talk about my Lady Poverty
were rich people, or people who imagined themselves rich.
Saint Francis himself was a rich and spoiled young man.
Being born amoung the working people
I know povery is a hard old hag,
and a monster, when you’re pinched for actual necessities.
And whoever says she isn’t, is a liar.
I don’t want to be poor, it means I am pinched.
But neither do I want to be rich.
When I look at this pine-tree near the sea,
that grows out of rock, and it plumes forth, plumes forth,
I see it has a natural abundance.
With its roots it has a grand grip on its daily bread,
and its plumes look like green cup held up to the sun and air
and full of wine.
I want to be like that, to have a natural abundance
and plume forth, and be splendid.
I wish people, when you sit near them
wouldn’t think it necessary to make conversation
and send thin draughts of words
blowing down your neck and your ears
and giving you a cold in your inside.