Thursday, September 30, 2010

quoth the madman

The great art of life is sensation, to feel that we exist, even in pain.
— Lord Byron

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Thy soul shall find itself alone
’Mid dark thoughts of the gray tombstone—
Not one, of all the crowd, to pry
Into thine hour of secrecy.
Be silent in that solitude,
Which is not loneliness—for then
The spirits of the dead who stood
In life before thee are again
In death around thee—and their will
Shall overshadow thee: be still.
The night, tho’ clear, shall frown—
And the stars shall look not down
From their high thrones in the heaven,
With light like Hope to mortals given—
But their red orbs, without beam,
To thy weariness shall seem
As a burning and a fever
Which would cling to thee for ever.
Now are thoughts thou shalt not banish,
Now are visions ne’er to vanish;
From thy spirit shall they pass
No more—like dew-drop from the grass.
The breeze—the breath of God—is still—
And the mist upon the hill,
Shadowy—shadowy—yet unbroken,
Is a symbol and a token—
How it hangs upon the trees,
A mystery of mysteries!

~ Spirits of the Dead ~ Edgar Allan Poe

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


My life, this is all you are. This narrow space
between the enormous past and the inchoate
future. This minute, which has already
passed, this word, which is already null,
this body, which dies incessantly
with each word. I may have found solace
in language or memory, an alley in Paris
or in Prague, in Kafka or in Proust.
Mirror of the senses, they will disappear
with me, as with all time, space, and death,
these enchanted vectors of the soul.
I move in the world with all of my body,
through the labyrinth made of one
straight line. The inconceivable
infinities no longer bother me. This moment
is all I believe in, October and the dry leaves
blowing where I’m heading, a storm
rushing to presage me. At the crucial junctures
someone will already know my name.
The earth will again unfold its heart
of sulfur, and I will be born
into the recurring terror, inescapable
being, to which I eternally return.
May these small tokens prove that I tried
my best, though human cruelty made no sense
to me, though love was inexplicable, more
phantom than reality. If forgiveness be true,
I want to be annihilated completely,
I want reciprocal forgetting,
I want the angels not to recognize me.

~ Labyrinth ~ Eric Gamalinda

Monday, September 27, 2010


Twice or thrice had I lov'd thee,
Before I knew thy face or name;
So in a voice, so in a shapeless flame
Angels affect us oft, and worshipp'd be;
Still when, to where thou wert, I came,
Some lovely glorious nothing I did see.
But since my soul, whose child love is,
Takes limbs of flesh, and else could nothing do,
More subtle than the parent is
Love must not be, but take a body too;
And therefore what thou wert, and who,
I bid Love ask, and now
That it assume thy body, I allow,
And fix itself in thy lip, eye, and brow.

Whilst thus to ballast love I thought,
And so more steadily to have gone,
With wares which would sink admiration,
I saw I had love's pinnace overfraught;
Ev'ry thy hair for love to work upon
Is much too much, some fitter must be sought;
For, nor in nothing, nor in things
Extreme, and scatt'ring bright, can love inhere;
Then, as an angel, face, and wings
Of air, not pure as it, yet pure, doth wear,
So thy love may be my love's sphere;
Just such disparity
As is 'twixt air and angels' purity,
'Twixt women's love, and men's, will ever be.

- Air and Angels - John Donne

quoth the madman

"There is a road from the eye to heart that does not go through the intellect.”
- G. K. Chesterton

Sunday, September 26, 2010


By a dismal cypress lying,
Damon cried, all pale and dying,
Kind is death that ends my pain,
But cruel she I lov'd in vain.
The mossy fountains
Murmur my trouble,
And hollow mountains
My groans redouble:
Ev'ry nymph mourns me,
Thus while I languish;
She only scorns me,
Who caus'd my anguish.
No love returning me, but all hope denying;
By a dismal cypress lying,
Like a swan, so sung he dying:
Kind is death that ends my pain,
But cruel she I lov'd in vain.

-A Song from the Italian from Limberham: or, the Kind Keeper - John Dryden

Saturday, September 25, 2010


“You tasted it. Isn’t that enough? Of what do you ever get more than a taste? That’s all we’re given in life, that’s all we’re given of life. A taste. There is no more. ”
The Dying Animal - Philip Roth

quoth the madman

“Sometimes I’m terrified of my heart; of its constant hunger for whatever it is it wants. The way it stops and starts. ”
—Edgar Allan Poe

Friday, September 24, 2010

quoth the madman

“I sometimes think that people’s hearts are like deep wells. Nobody knows what’s at the bottom. All you can do is imagine by what comes floating to the surface every once in a while. ”
—Haruki Murakami

Thursday, September 23, 2010


“It would be so much better if I could only stop thinking. Thoughts are the dullest things. Duller than flesh. They stretch out and there’s no end to them and they leave a funny taste in the mouth. ”
—Jean-Paul Sartre - Nausea

Wednesday, September 22, 2010



"The history of the universe…is the handwriting produced by a minor god in order to communicate with a Demon."
— Jorge Luis Borges [Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius]

quoth the madman

“Is it better to out-monster the monster or to be quietly devoured?”
—Friedrich Nietzsche

the first day of fall

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Monday, September 20, 2010


There is a coal-black Angel
With a thick Afric lip,
And he dwells (like the hunted and harried)
In a swamp where the green frogs dip.
But his face is against a City
Which is over a bay of the sea,
And he breathes with a breath that is blastment,
And dooms by a far decree.

By night there is fear in the City,
Through the darkness a star soareth on;
There’s a scream that screams up to the zenith,
Then the poise of a meteor lone—
Lighting far the pale fright of the faces,
And downward the coming is seen;
Then the rush, and the burst, and the havoc,
And wails and shrieks between.

It comes like the thief in the gloaming;
It comes, and none may foretell
The place of the coming—the glaring;
They live in a sleepless spell
That wizens, and withers, and whitens;
It ages the young, and the bloom
Of the maiden is ashes of roses—
The Swamp Angel broods in his gloom.

Swift is his messengers’ going,
But slowly he saps their halls,
As if by delay deluding.
They move from their crumbling walls
Farther and farther away;
But the Angel sends after and after,
By night with the flame of his ray—
By night with the voice of his screaming—
Sends after them, stone by stone,
And farther walls fall, farther portals,
And weed follows weed through the Town.

Is this the proud City? the scorner
Which never would yield the ground?
Which mocked at the coal-black Angel?
The cup of despair goes round.

Vainly she calls upon Michael
(The white man’s seraph was he),
For Michael has fled from his tower
To the Angel over the sea.

Who weeps for the woeful City
Let him weep for our guilty kind;
Who joys at her wild despairing—
Christ, the Forgiver, convert his mind.

-The Swamp Angel - Herman Melville

Sunday, September 19, 2010


“I have cultivated my hysteria with delight and terror … and today I have received a singular warning. I have felt the wind of the wing of madness pass over me.”
-Charles Baudelaire - My Heart Laid Bare

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

ladies cultural awareness day

Edward John Poynter - Cave of the Storm Nymphs 1903

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Then Almitra spoke, saying, "We would ask now of Death."
And he said:
You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.
In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?

Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?
For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

- Death XXVII - Khalil Gibran

Monday, September 13, 2010

quoth the madman

“The price of being a sheep is boredom. The price of being a wolf is loneliness. Choose one or the other with great care.”
- Hugh Macleod

quoth the madman

Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.
—Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)


“I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.”
—Khaled Hosseini


“We are little flames poorly sheltered by frail walls against the storm of dissolution and madness, in which we flicker and somtimes almost go out…we creep in upon ourselves and with big eyes stare into the night…and thus we wait for morning. ”
—Erich Maria Remarque - All Quiet on the Western Front

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Webster was much possessed by death
And saw the skull beneath the skin;
And breastless creatures under ground
Leaned backward with a lipless grin.

Daffodil bulbs instead of balls
Stared from the sockets of the eyes!
He knew that thought clings round dead limbs
Tightening its lusts and luxuries.

Donne, I suppose, was such another
Who found no substitute for sense;
To seize and clutch and penetrate,
Expert beyond experience,
He knew the anguish of the marrow
The ague of the skeleton;
No contact possible to flesh
Allayed the fever of the bone.
. . . . .Grishkin is nice: her Russian eye
Is underlined for emphasis;
Uncorseted, her friendly bust
Gives promise of pneumatic bliss.

The couched Brazilian jaguar
Compels the scampering marmoset
With subtle effluence of cat;
Grishkin has a maisonette;

The sleek Brazilian jaguar
Does not in its arboreal gloom
Distil so rank a feline smell
As Grishkin in a drawing-room.

And even the Abstract Entities
Circumambulate her charm;
But our lot crawls between dry ribs
To keep our metaphysics warm.


ain't no grave

Saturday, September 11, 2010


When I crept over the hill, broken with tears,
When I crouched down on the grass, dumb in despair,
I heard the soft croon of the wind bend to my ears,
I felt the light kiss of the wind touching my hair.

When I stood lone on the height, my sorrow did speak,
As I went down the hill, I cried and I cried,
The soft little hands of the rain stroking my cheek,
The kind little feet of the rain ran by my side.

When I went to thy grave, broken with tears,
When I crouched down in the grass, dumb in despair,
I heard the soft croon of the wind soft in my ears,
I felt the kind lips of the wind touching my hair.

When I stood lone by thy cross, sorrow did speak,
When I went down the long hill, I cried and I cried,
The soft little hands of the rain stroked my pale cheek,
The kind little feet of the rain ran by my side.

- The Comforters - Dora Sigerson Shorter


The dead return to us continually:
Not at the void of night, as fables feign,
In some lone spot where murdered bones have lain
Wailing for vengeance to the passer-by;
But in the merry clamour and full cry
Of the brave noon, our dead whom we have slain
And in forgotten graves hidden in vain,
Rise up and stand beside us terribly.

Sick with the beauty of their decay
We conjure them with laughters onerous
And drunkenness of labour; yet not thus
May we absolve ourselves of yesterday—
We cannot put those clinging arms away,
Nor those glad faces yearning over us.

- Ghosts - Brian Hooker

Friday, September 10, 2010

quoth the madman

It's so curious: one can resist tears and 'behave' very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer... and everything collapses.


You wanted to be so hungry, you would break into branches,
and have to choose between the starving month’s
nineteenth, twenty-first, and twenty-third evenings.
The liturgy begins to echo itself and why does it matter?
If the ground-water is too scarce one can stretch nets
into the air and harvest the fog.
Hunger opens you to illiteracy,
thirst makes clear the starving pattern,
the thick night is so quiet, the spinning spider pauses,
the angel stops whispering for a moment—
The secret night could already be over,
you will have to listen very carefully—
You are never going to know which night’s mouth is sacredly reciting
and which night’s recitation is secretly mere wind—

- Ramadan - Kazim Ali

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Saudade: a Portuguese and Galician word for a feeling of nostalgic longing for something or someone that one was fond of and which is lost. It often carries a fatalist tone and a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might really never return.


There is nothing more poetic and terrible than the skyscrapers’ battle with the heavens that cover them. Snow, rain, and mist highlight, drench, or conceal the vast towers, but those towers, hostile to mystery and blind to any sort of play, shear off the rain’s tresses and shine their three thousand swords through the soft swan of the fog.
- Frederico Garcia Lorca

quoth the madman

There are two kinds of truth: the truth that lights the way and the truth that warms the heart. The first of these is science, and the second is art. Neither is independent of the other or more important than the other. Without art, science would be as useless as a pair of high forceps in the hands of a plumber. Without science art would become a crude mess of folklore and emotional quackery. The truth of art keeps science from becoming inhuman, and the truth of science keeps art from becoming ridiculous.

-Raymond Chandler

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


“Mirrors should think longer before they reflect. ”
—Jean Cocteau

promise of living

Monday, September 6, 2010

quoth the madman

‘I’m the type who’d be happy not going anywhere as long as I was sure I knew exactly what was happening at the places I wasn’t going to.’
–Andy Warhol

Sunday, September 5, 2010


"Prefer an ounce of opium. Celestials. Rank heresy for them."
- Ulysses - James Joyce

Saturday, September 4, 2010


twilight of the genre

little big berlin


Not that it was beautiful,
but that, in the end, there was
a certain sense of order there;
something worth learning
in that narrow diary of my mind,
in the commonplaces of the asylum
where the cracked mirror
or my own selfish death
outstared me …
I tapped my own head;
it was glass, an inverted bowl.
It’s small thing
to rage inside your own bowl.
At first it was private.
Then it was more than myself.

-Anne Sexton -
More than Myself

Friday, September 3, 2010


She is standing on my lids
And her hair is in my hair
She has the colour of my eye
She has the body of my hand
In my shade she is engulfed
As a stone against the sky

She will never close her eyes
And she does not let me sleep
And her dreams in the bright day
Make the suns evaporate
And me laugh cry and laugh
Speak when I have nothing to say

- Paul Eluard - L’amoureuse

Thursday, September 2, 2010

quoth the madman

"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself."
-George Bernard Shaw

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


“‎If I must be wrung through the paradox — broken into wholeness, wring me around the moon; pelt me with particles from the dark side. Fling me into space; hide me in a black hole. Let me dance with devils on dead stars. Let my scars leave brilliant traces, for my highborn soul seeks its hell — in high places. ”

- Individuation — Aveh Pevlor Johnson