One need not be a chamber to be haunted,
One need not be a house;
The brain has corridors surpassing
Far safer, of a midnight meeting
Than an interior confronting
That whiter host.
Far safer through an Abbey gallop,
The stones achase,
Than, moonless, one’s own self encounter
In lonesome place.
Ourself, behind ourself concealed,
Should startle most;
Assassin, hid in our apartment,
Be horror’s least.
The prudent carries a revolver,
He bolts the door,
O’erlooking a superior spectre
The Ocean Shipwreck
Lord Byron (1788–1824)
(From Don Juan)
’T WAS twilight, for the sunless day went down
Over the waste of waters; like a veil,
Which, if withdrawn, would but disclose the frown
Of one who hates us, so the night was shown,
And grimly darkled o’er their faces pale,
And hopeless eyes, which o’er the deep alone
Gazed dim and desolate; twelve days had Fear
Been their familiar, and now Death was here.
* * * * *
At half past eight o’clock, booms, hencoops, spars,
And all things, for a chance, had been cast loose,
That still could keep afloat the struggling tars,
For yet they strove, although of no great use:
There was no light in heaven but a few stars;
The boats put off o’ercrowded with their crews;
She gave a heel, and then a lurch to port,
And, going down head-foremost,—sunk, in short.
Then rose from sea to sky the wild farewell!
Then shrieked the timid, and stood still the brave;
Then some leaped overboard with dreadful yell,
As eager to anticipate their grave;
And the sea yawned around her like a hell,
And down she sucked with her the whirling wave,
Like one who grapples with his enemy,
And strives to strangle him before he die.
And first one universal shriek there rushed,
Louder than the loud ocean, like a crash
Of echoing thunder; and then all was hushed,
Save the wild wind and the remorseless dash
Of billows; but at intervals there gushed,
Accompanied with a convulsive splash,
A solitary shriek—the bubbling cry
Of some strong swimmer in his agony.
“When I am gone, release me. Let me go.
I have so many things to see and do.
You mustn’t tie yourself to me with tears.
Be happy that we had so many beautiful years.
I gave to you my love. You can only guess
How much you gave to me in happiness.
I thank you for the love you each have shown,
But now it’s time I traveled on alone.
So grieve a while for me, if grieve you must.
Then let your grief be comforted by trust.
It’s only for a while that we must part,
So bless the memories within your heart.
I won’t be far away, for life goes on.
So if you need me, call and I will come.
Though you can’t see or touch me, I’ll be near.
And if you listen with your heart,
You’ll hear all my love around you soft and clear.
And then, when you must come this way alone,
I’ll greet you with a smile and say welcome home…”
On summer Hill
John K Trainer
The fragrance of a memory
From childhood long ago
I’m brought back
To a fenced in back yard
Crayola blue sky
Burnt umber ground
Islands of green and yellow grass
The scent of Summer Hill wafts
As the unseen is revealed
A dream remembered then forgotten
You say it didn’t happen
I recollect the aroma that says it did
By Alfred, Lord Tennyson
It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Matched with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy’d
Greatly, have suffer’d greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when
Thro’ scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honour’d of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!
As tho’ to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.
This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,—
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro’ soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.
There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil’d, and wrought, and thought with me—
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
it is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.