“Learning the Bicycle” by Wyatt Prunty

(Still one of the most perfect poems I’ve ever read or heard. – Owen)

Learning the Bicycle

for Heather

The older children pedal past
Stable as little gyros, spinning hard
To supper, bath, and bed, until at last
We also quit, silent and tired
Beside the darkening yard where trees
Now shadow up instead of down.
Their predictable lengths can only tease
Her as, head lowered, she walks her bike alone
Somewhere between her wanting to ride
And her certainty she will always fall.
Tomorrow, though I will run behind,
Arms out to catch her, she’ll tilt then balance wide
Of my reach, till distance makes her small,
Smaller, beyond the place I stop and know
That to teach her I had to follow
And when she learned I had to let her go.

To K****

What is love? ‘Tis not hereafter.
Present mirth hath present laughter.
What’s to come is still unsure.

In delay there lies no plenty.
Then come kiss me, sweet and twenty.
Youth’s a stuff will not endure.

– Shakespeare, “Twelfth Night

Yes, I played the fool:
But it was love, I swear it was —

For young though we were then,
We knew the world, the stars above,
We knew the truth,
And we knew love.

What pride had I,
To lose control?
To let her steal my will,
Toy with my soul?

For young though I was then,
I knew the face, the shoulders I dreamed of:
I knew the agony of hope,
And truly, very truly, I knew love.

I sat upon a couch of sorts,
Amid unspoken prayers:
I saw her sitting on the stairs,
She looked at me as though I was the one,
The only one:
The sole and ever only one –
Because I knew her pain and wouldn’t draw away —

For young though she was then,
She’d known the bruise the scream the shove;
She longed for freedom to be hers,
And she knew love, yes – she knew love.

I played the fool to escort her
From danger out to safety –
She loved me with the passion of
A thousand burning suns.
We loved with inexperience, our
Clumsiness turned into something stately –
And many times – the first time – was
A thousand more than once —

And how she wept upon my shoulder
Dreaming of tomorrow;
And where her soul flew to at night
I never understood –
But what she had to give, she’d never
Let a vagrant borrow,
Then she left me for better, and
For good.

But there: the fool who plays at love,
Who loves with all ignominy —

When I heard what had come of her,
I thought of her sad dignity,
That would not be held down,
Or trapped,
Restricted by the hidden threads of fate —

Who ran away not far enough,
And left a life

Too early and
Too late

“Only In Sleep” by Sara Teasdale and Ēriks Ešenvalds

Only in sleep I see their faces,
Children I played with when I was a child,
Louise comes back with her brown hair braided,
Annie with ringlets warm and wild.

Only in sleep Time is forgotten—
What may have come to them, who can know?
Yet we played last night as long ago,
And the doll-house stood at the turn of the stair.

The years had not sharpened their smooth round faces,
I met their eyes and found them mild—
Do they, too, dream of me, I wonder,
And for them am I too a child?

— Sara Teasdale

Excerpt from “Politics and The English Language” by George Orwell

… Now that I have made this catalogue of swindles and perversions, let me give another example of the kind of writing that they lead to. This time it must of its nature be an imaginary one. I am going to translate a passage of good English into modern English of the worst sort. Here is a well-known verse from Ecclesiastes:

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Here it is in modern English:

Objective considerations of contemporary phenomena compel the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.

This is a parody, but not a very gross one…

“To Fear Love…”

“To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead.” – Bertrand Russell, Marriage and Morals

Escape –
It’s all he really sought.
The certitudes of power games beyond the touch of anything like love —

And he had always found the ones who still believed;
The having of them, simple, as
They gave and gave without those second thoughts
That haunted him if he thought he was losing —

But money’s curse:
To have enough that others use you for it –
This happened to him, finally, as he,
Who thought he understood the rules, found out.

There’s nothing so pathetic
As an aging man who does not know what to do
When the women attracted to him are no longer
Young, or drunk, or (preferably) both.

He never understood the mechanism
That attracted these women to him,
So he missed it’s passing.

And now he knows,
The realization blinding as the sunrise:
He can always pay for companionship,
But now he only gets the kind that
He, previously, gave —

And wow, what power.

To know his companion only wants what he has,
Not him.
This must have been what…
What was her name? ..
Felt like

That night she cried as she packed —

Hangovers are so much harder than they used to be

And God, he feels old

Vitae Summa Brevis by Ernest Dowson

“The brief sum of life forbids us the hope of enduring long.”


They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate:
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.

They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.

Favorite Movie Quotes – Nicholas Nickleby

In every life, no matter how full or empty one’s purse, there is tragedy. It is the one promise life always fulfills. Thus, happiness is a gift, and the trick is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes, and to add to other people’s store of it.

What happens if, too early, we lose a parent, that party on whom we rely for only — everything? What did these people do when their families shrank? They cried their tears, but then they did the vital thing. They built a new family, person by person. They came to see that family need not be defined merely as those with whom they share blood, but as those for whom they would give their blood.

– Douglas McGrath, “Nicholas Nickleby”