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Do not go gentle into that good night

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Another from "A Coney Island Of The Mind".

 

Sometime During Eternity

 

Sometime during eternity
some guys show up
and one of them
who shows up real late
is a kind of carpenter
from some square-type place
like Galilee
and he starts wailing
and claiming he is hep
to who made heaven
and earth
and that the cat
who really laid it on us
is his Dad

And moreover
he adds
It's all writ down
on some scroll-type parchments
which some henchmen
leave lying around the Dead Sea somewheres
a long time ago
and which you won't even find
for a coupla thousand years or so
or at least for
ninteen hundred and fortyseven
of them
to be exact
and even then
nobody really believes them
or me
for that matter

You're hot
they tell him

And they cool him

They stretch him on the Tree to cool
And everybody after that
is always making models
of this Tree
with Him hung up
and always crooning His name
and calling Him to come down
and sit in
on their combo
as if he is THE king cat
who's got to blow
or they can't quite make it

Only he don't come down
from His Tree

Him just hang there
on His Tree
looking real Petered out
and real cool
and also
according to a roundup
of late world news
from the usual unreliable sources
real dead

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Which reminds me ...

 

The Prophet of Main Street


He said to believe in holiness wholly.
He expounded, declared and proclaimed:

 

In de Gabban a Beeben
was Madam an’ Eben,
an’ doze two encounter a snork.
De snork start a babble:
“Jus’ eatem an abble”,
An’ den dey kick out of de pork.


I wasn’t convinced of what he’d evinced,
But persisting, he hotly explained:


Der was Faro an’ Mose
an’ he strongly oppose
Faro’s pyramid scheme wit’ de Joos.
So he split up de Redsy
an’ drownded ‘em dead, see?
An’ dat ruse gave Faro de blues.


Now, I don’t believe and I wanted reprieve
But did not get a break to complain:


Der’s a guy onna cross
An’ now he’s de boss
cuz dey kilt ‘im an den he rose up.
So gimme your cash,
all dat cash dat you stash.
Jus’ stick it right here in dis cup.
All dis money we use
gains’ de Mooslims an’ Joos.
Burn a mosk or a Joo cemetery.
Den kill us some fags.
Der’s some femanis hags,
librals, ragheads, an’ heebies to bury.
I’m de profit o’ Main Street an’ I tell you true
dat der jus’ ain’t no good in a libral or Joo.
Dey lie an’ dey cheat. All der words is distortion.
Look out! Dey might force you to have an abortion!


I’ve always known where my loyalties lie.
I know right from wrong and what rules should apply.
But the thing that I wanted the most on that day
Was to turn that man’s cheek into fleshly decay.

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Mr. Businessman

 

Ray Stevens

 

Itemize the things you covet
As you squander through your life
Bigger cars, bigger houses
Term insurance for your wife
Tuesday evenings with your harlot
And on Wednesdays it's your charlatan analyst
He's high upon your list

You've got air conditioned sinuses
And dark disturbing doubts about religion
And you keep those cards and letters going out
While your secretary's tempting you
Your morals are exempting you from guilt and shame
Heaven knows you're not to blame

You better take care of business, Mr. Businessman
What's your plan?
Get down to business, Mr. Businessman
If you can
Before it's too late and you throw your life away

Did you see your children growing up today
And did you hear the music of their laughter
As they set about to play?
Did you catch the fragrance of those roses in your garden?

Did the morning sunlight warm your soul
Brighten up your day?
Do you qualify to be alive
Or is the limit of your senses so as only to survive?

Spending counterfeit incentive
Wasting precious time and health
Placing value on the worthless
Disregarding priceless wealth
You can wheel and deal the best of them
Steal it from the rest of them
You know the score, their ethics are a bore

Eighty-six proof anesthetic crutches
Prop you to the top
Where the smiles are all synthetic
And the ulcers never stop
When they take that final inventory

Yours will be the same sad story everywhere
No one will really care, no one more lonely than
This rich important man
Let's have your autograph, endorse your epitaph

You better take care of business, Mr. Businessman
What's your plan?
Get down to business, Mr. Businessman
If you can
Hey, yeah, hey, hey, hey, yeah, yeah

 

 

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The line "children guessed but only a few and down they forgot as up they grew" always gets to me.

This is one of the poems to which I react emotionally.

Another is the one which follows below.
 

anyone lived in a pretty how town     E. E. Cummings, 1894 - 1962

 

anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn’t he danced his did.

 

Women and men (both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain

 

children guessed (but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more

 

when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone’s any was all to her

 

someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then) they
said their nevers they slept their dream

 

stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)

 

one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was

 

all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes.

 

Women and men (both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain

 

===================================

 

Two Went to Sleep    by Leonard Cohen, 1964

 

Two went to sleep
almost every night
one dreamed of mud
one dreamed of Asia
visiting a zeppelin
visiting Nijinsky
Two went to sleep
one dreamed of ribs
one dreamed of senators
Two went to sleep
two travellers
The long marriage
in the dark
The sleep was old
the travellers were old
one dreamed of oranges
one dreamed of Carthage
Two friends asleep
years locked in travel
Good night my darling
as the dreams waved goodbye
one travelled lightly
one walked through water
visiting a chess game
visiting a booth
always returning
to wait out the day
One carried matches
one climbed a beehive
one sold an earphone
one shot a German
Two went to sleep
every sleep went together
wandering away
from an operating table
one dreamed of grass
one dreamed of spokes
one bargained nicely
one was a snowman
one counted medicine
one tasted pencils
one was a child
one was a traitor
visiting heavy industry
visiting the family
Two went to sleep
none could foretell
one went with baskets
one took a ledger
one night happy
one night in terror
Love could not bind them
Fear could not either
they went unconnected
they never knew where
always returning
to wait out the day
parting with kissing
parting with yawns
visiting Death till
they wore out their welcome
visiting Death till
the right disguise worked

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On 9/30/2018 at 5:46 PM, laripu said:

 

Pus is us

 

Blake's tiger is the topic,

and fearsome though it is,

can be humbled unto death

by enemies microscopic.

 

So: We are pus. Pus is us.

It's part of what we do.

We make this stinky goo

when threatened with bacterial infection.

You might call out to a deity,

but as for me,

I acknowledge natural protection.

In truth, so do you.

Every lifeform feeds on life

and every life will end soon.

And one day what is left of us

will not be deemed superfluous.

Life will ever nourish life,

eternally consumed.

 

Ewwww!

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On 9/30/2018 at 5:39 PM, laripu said:

 

Drugs, like religions, are mostly used to stop feeling existential angst, to suppress our fear of life and it's inevitable outcome.

 

Facing those feelings can be made to work for us. It can increase our empathy for the suffering of others, in understanding our own minimal suffering.

 

If it gets you through the night, it's alright.:)

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On 10/19/2018 at 6:26 PM, TDS said:

If it gets you through the night, it's alright.:)

 

If it gets you through the night, without getting you in jail, and without getting you in the hospital.

 

John Lennon notwithstanding. 

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9 minutes ago, laripu said:

 

If it gets you through the night, without getting you in jail, and without getting you in the hospital.

 

John Lennon notwithstanding. 

 

Check out quote #3. by the good doctor.

:)

http://www.whizzpast.com/20-greatest-hunter-s-thompson-quotes-voted-goodreads/

“I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.”

 

did it for you.:)

 

 

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35 minutes ago, TDS said:

 

Check out quote #3. by the good doctor.

:)

http://www.whizzpast.com/20-greatest-hunter-s-thompson-quotes-voted-goodreads/

“I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.”

 

did it for you.:)

 

It's worth noting that 1) Hunter Thompson was an amusing writer, but not a medical doctor and 2) he committed suicide at age 67.

 

I believe his writing talent was despite his drug use, not because of it. 

 

https://www.today.com/popculture/writer-hunter-s-thompson-commits-suicide-wbna7005168

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35 minutes ago, TDS said:

 

Check out quote #3. by the good doctor.

:)

http://www.whizzpast.com/20-greatest-hunter-s-thompson-quotes-voted-goodreads/

“I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.”

 

did it for you.:)

 

It's worth noting that 1) Hunter Thompson was an amusing writer, but not a medical doctor and 2) he committed suicide at age 67.

 

I believe his writing talent was despite his drug use, not because of it. 

 

https://www.today.com/popculture/writer-hunter-s-thompson-commits-suicide-wbna7005168

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9 minutes ago, laripu said:

 

It's worth noting that 1) Hunter Thompson was an amusing writer, but not a medical doctor and 2) he committed suicide at age 67.

 

I believe his writing talent was despite his drug use, not because of it. 

 

https://www.today.com/popculture/writer-hunter-s-thompson-commits-suicide-wbna7005168

 

God only knows. I loved him.

 

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Hunter Thompson #1 quote according to whizzpast.com:

Quote

1. “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

 

Contained in this quote is the same assumption which bothers me about the first poem in this thread  Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.   As elegant as the poem is, it does not depict real life.  Both the poem and Thompson's quote reflect a common but false, young man's fantasy about old age.

 

If "life" should be something other than "a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body",  It will be literally impossible to "skid broadside, in a cloud of smoke",  "and loudly proclaiming "Wow!  What a Ride", when one is "thoroughly used up" and "totally worn out".  In completely irrational doublethink, Thompson confers youthful vigor to old age.  He literally cannot imagine what "used up" and "worn out" means, in advanced old age.

 

Similarly, Thomas' poem, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, inspired poetry though it might be, misses the most basic feature of advanced old age:  feebleness and loss of intensity.  He exhorts his father that "Old age should burn and rave at close of day";  "Rage, rage against the dying of the light".   The young Thomas did his father's raging and raving for him, since his father was undoubtedly, long past doing it himself.

 

I will speculate about what might have been one of the reasons Hunter Thompson killed himself:  Once he found out, through experience, what getting older was really all about, he couldn't accept it.  One of the truest cliches out there is "You have to be tough to get old".  Because, as the harsh physical and mental changes one experiences with age accumulate, one needs to accept, reassess and reorganize one's life to all the new, unpleasant realities.  If you can't do that, you're in for a rocky ride.

 

 

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The Example

 

by W.H. Davies

 

Here's an example from
A Butterfly;
That on a rough, hard rock
Happy can lie;
Friendless and all alone
On this unsweetened stone.

Now let my bed be hard
No care take I;
I'll make my joy like this
Small Butterfly;
Whose happy heart has power
To make a stone a flower.

 

 

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Bludog, thank you. You are completely correct, and don't need me to tell you so.

 

Before Dylan Thomas himself died at age 39, of bronchial disease and other ailments exacerbated by alcohol overuse, he was working on another poem for his father. It was incomplete, but kind of completed, as it were, by a close friend, based in notes Thomas left.

 

Even imperfect as it is, I think it's a pure expression of grief. Perhaps better in this raw form than if it had been as polished as Thomas could have left it. Better than "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night".

 

Elegy           by Dylan Thomas

 

Too proud to die; broken and blind he died 
The darkest way, and did not turn away, 
A cold kind man brave in his narrow pride 

On that darkest day, Oh, forever may 
He lie lightly, at last, on the last, crossed 
Hill, under the grass, in love, and there grow 

Young among the long flocks, and never lie lost 
Or still all the numberless days of his death, though 
Above all he longed for his mother's breast 

Which was rest and dust, and in the kind ground 
The darkest justice of death, blind and unblessed. 
Let him find no rest but be fathered and found, 

I prayed in the crouching room, by his blind bed, 
In the muted house, one minute before 
Noon, and night, and light. the rivers of the dead 

Veined his poor hand I held, and I saw 
Through his unseeing eyes to the roots of the sea. 
(An old tormented man three-quarters blind, 

I am not too proud to cry that He and he 
Will never never go out of my mind. 
All his bones crying, and poor in all but pain, 

Being innocent, he dreaded that he died 
Hating his God, but what he was was plain: 
An old kind man brave in his burning pride. 

The sticks of the house were his; his books he owned. 
Even as a baby he had never cried; 
Nor did he now, save to his secret wound. 

Out of his eyes I saw the last light glide. 
Here among the light of the lording sky 
An old man is with me where I go 

Walking in the meadows of his son's eye 
On whom a world of ills came down like snow. 
He cried as he died, fearing at last the spheres' 

Last sound, the world going out without a breath: 
Too proud to cry, too frail to check the tears, 
And caught between two nights, blindness and death. 

O deepest wound of all that he should die 
On that darkest day. oh, he could hide 
The tears out of his eyes, too proud to cry. 

Until I die he will not leave my side.)

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