melting & burning


On suicide by H. L. Mencken
November 9, 2015, 10:12 pm
Filed under: quote | Tags: , ,

“Speaking for myself, I don’t recall a single day in my life when I was contented with my lot, though as human destiny runs, it has been a not unfortunate one. Worse, I have got to a point. in my old age, that I can’t imagine any concrete amelioration: experience has taught me that what I want today will only upset me if I get it tomorrow. But to give us hope is surely not the same as to embrace despair. The show remains engrossing, though it is no longer exhilarating. The horror of week after next will at least be a new one. It may be any one of ten dozen: I find myself vaguely eager to know which it is to be. Thus I advise against suicide. Life may not be exactly pleasant, but it is at least not dull. Heave yourself into Hell today, and you may miss, tomorrow or next day, another Scopes trial, or another War to End War, or perchance a rich and buxom widow with all her first husband’s clothes. There are always more Hardings hatching. I advocate hanging on as long as possible.”

From “The Library,”
The American Mercury (1929)
H. L. Mencken

http://www.ralphmag.org/mencken-suicideZM.html 

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“Remember, Body …” Constantine P. Cavafy
May 28, 2012, 4:51 pm
Filed under: poem | Tags: , , ,

Body, remember not only how much you were loved,
not only the beds where you lay,
but also those desires for you,
shining clearly in eyes
and trembling in a voice—and some chance
obstacle thwarted them.
Now when everything is the past,
it almost looks as if you gave yourself
to those desires as well—how they shone—
remember—in the eyes that looked at you,
how they trembled for you in the voice—remember, body.

Translated by Aliki Barnstone



Forgetfulness – Billy Collins
August 3, 2011, 12:40 am
Filed under: poem | Tags: ,

The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.