Thoughts of his own death,
like the distant roll
of thunder at a picnic.
I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.
By mourning tongues
The death of the poet was kept from his poems.
But for him it was his last afternoon as himself,
An afternoon of nurses and rumours;
The provinces of his body revolted,
The squares of his mind were empty,
Silence invaded the suburbs.
The current of his feeling failed: he became his admirers.
Now he is scattered over a hundred cities
And wholly given over to unfamiliar affections;
To find his happiness in another kind of wood
And be punished under a foreign code of conscience.
The words of a dead man
are modified in the guts of the living.
When women let their hair down, it means either sexiness or craziness or death, the three by Victorian times having become virtually synonymous.
The one good thing to be said about announcing yourself as a writer in the colonial Canadian fifties is that nobody told me I couldn't do it because I was a girl. They simply found the entire proposition ridiculous. Writers were dead and English, or else extremely elderly and American; they were not sixteen years old and Canadian. It would have been worse if I'd been a boy, though. Never mind the fact that all the really stirring poems I'd read at that time had been about slaughter, mayhem, sex and death poetry was thought of as existing in the pastel female realm, along with embroidery and flower arranging. If I'd been male I would probably have had to roll around in the mud, in some boring skirmish over whether or not I was a sissy.
He wants only the simple things: a chair,
someone to pull off his shoes, someone to watch him
while he talks, with admiration and fear, gratitude if
possible, someone in whom to plunge himself for rest
and renewal. These things can best be had by marrying
a woman who has been condemned to death by other
men for wishing to be beautiful. There is a wide
He was not condemned to death, freedom awaited
him. What was the temptation, the one that worked?
Perhaps he wanted to live with a woman whose life
he had saved, who had seen down into the earth but
had nevertheless followed him back up to life. It was
his only chance to be a hero, to one person at least,
for if he became the hangman the others would
despise him. He was in prison for wounding another
man, on one finger of the right hand, with a sword.
This too is history.
You wonder about her crime. She was condemned
to death for stealing clothes from her employer, from
the wife of her employer. She wished to make herself
more beautiful. This desire in servants was not legal.
He was not condemned to death, freedom awaited.
In order to avoid her death, her particular death, with
wrung neck and swollen tongue, she must marry the
She has been condemned to death by hanging. A man
may escape this death by becoming the hangman, a
woman by marrying the hangman. But at the present
time there is no hangman; thus there is no escape.
There is only a death, indefinitely postponed. This is
not fantasy, it is history.
His monuments decay, and death comes even to his marbles and his names.
O Death, our masked friend and maker of opportunities, when thou wouldst open the gate, hesitate not to tell us beforehand; for we are not of those who are shaken by its iron jarring.
Within a system which denies the existence of basic human rights, fear tends to be the order of the day. Fear of imprisonment, fear of torture, fear of death, fear of losing friends, family, property or means of livelihood, fear of poverty, fear of isolation, fear of failure. A most insidious form of fear is that which masquerades as common sense or even wisdom, condemning as foolish, reckless, insignificant or futile the small, daily acts of courage which help to preserve man's self-respect and inherent human dignity. It is not easy for a people conditioned by fear under the iron rule of the principle that might is right to free themselves from the enervating miasma of fear. Yet even under the most crushing state machinery courage rises up again and again, for fear is not the natural state of civilized man.
Mr. Chamberlain's Budget was the natural expression of the character of the present Government. There was hardly any increase allowed for the services which went to build up the life of the people, education and health. Everything was devoted to piling up the instruments of death. The Chancellor expressed great regret that he should have to spend so much on armaments, but said that it was absolutely necessary and was due only to the actions of other nations. One would think to listen to him that the Government had no responsibility for the state of world affairs.
I thought of the long ages of the past during which the successive generations of these things of beauty had run their course. Year by year being born and living and dying amid these dark gloomy woods with no intelligent eye to gaze upon their loveliness, to all appearances such a wanton waste of beauty. It seems sad that on the one hand such exquisite creatures should live out their lives and exhibit their charms only in these wild inhospitable regions. This consideration must surely tell us that all living things were not made for man, many of them have no relation to him, their happiness and enjoyment's, their loves and hates, their struggles for existence, their vigorous life and early death, would seem to be immediately related to their own well-being and perpetuation alone.
Someone told me sleep was the cousin of death and followin’ the dollar finds nothin’ but stress.
To me, the thing that is worse than death is betrayal. You see, I could conceive death, but I could not conceive betrayal.
Just consider how terrible the day of your death will be
Others will go on speaking and you will not be able to argue back
It is better to guide one soul than to possess all that is on earth, for as long as that guided soul is under the shadow of the Tree of Divine Unity, he and the one who hath guided him will both be recipients of Gods tender mercy, whereas possession of earthly things will cease at the time of death. The path to guidance is one of love and compassion, not of force and coercion. This hath been Gods method in the past, and shall continue to be in the future!
When we wrong God, he does not let us go, he makes us pay for our wrongs but through the death of his own son Jesus Christ. When God's people (Jews) wronged him, he weakened them in battle and caused them to be captives in Babylon for 70 years.
An ignorant doctor is the aide-de-camp of death.
The Church has become hostile to new ideas. If any doctrine came from the priesthood the church would hear it and heed it, but if it came from an out of the way place, like Nazareth, they would scorn and persecute it. It was churchmen who put Jesus to the cross. In Luther's time when he hurled his advanced ideas like bombshells into the Roman Church, it was the churchmen of his day that sought his death. In Wesley's time, though he preached the purest form of spiritual Truth that was proclaimed to his age, yet the churchmen of his time drove him out and he had to preach in graveyards and coal mines and on the markets.
Besides, I like epitaphs. Among civilized people they're an expression of that pious and secret selfishness that induces us to pull out of death a shred at least of the shade that has passed on.
For some time I debated over whether I should start these memoirs at the beginning or at the end, that is, whether I should put my birth or my death in first place. Since common usage would call for beginning with birth, two considerations led me to adopt a different method: the first is that I am not exactly a writer who is dead but a dead man who is a writer, for whom the grave was a second cradle; the second is that the writing would be more distinctive and novel in that way. Moses, who also wrote about his death, didn't place it at the opening but at the close: a radical difference between this book and the Pentateuch.
Life is so beautiful that even the idea of death must be born before it can be realized.