January 26, 2011

Selene & Endymion

Posted in visual arts tagged , , at 4:44 pm by BT

i’ve always loved the story of this couple. Selene, the moon goddess, falls in love with a mortal, Endymion. Selene, knowing that he will age and die being a mortal so she appeals to Zeus and he gives the mortal a choice, and Endymion chose to sleep forever so that he may remain as he is. they had fifty daughters, as Selene kept visiting him every night. well, that’s one version of the story, which i like enough. lol of course as a kid, i could only appreciate sailormoon’s story. but now that i’m more capable of researching stuff (lol), i am really such a hopeless romantic for these kinds of stories. the pianting itself is magnificent, isn’t it? =)

p.s. i cannot find the artist for this.. if anyone knows, please tell me so i can give credit properly.. =)

October 3, 2010

Long, Broad and Sharpsight

Posted in literature, writing tagged , , , at 4:49 pm by BT

This is a fairy tale or folk tale of the Slavonians (Western). I’ve read this one quite a long time ago; I was probably still under 10 years old. My cousins had lots and lots of books and I would just read and read. This was in a collection book of Slavic fairy tales among those other ones which I have yet to find. This was very interesting to me and I think my reading experiences as a child are what mostly drives me to write my own. So without further ado, here is the story of Long, Broad and Sharpsight:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

THERE was a king, who was already old, and had but one son. Once upon a time he called this son to him, and said to him, ‘My dear son! you know that old fruit falls to make room for other fruit. My head is already ripening, and maybe the sun will soon no longer shine upon it; but before you bury me, I should like to see your wife, my future daughter. My son, marry!’ The prince said, ‘I would gladly, father, do as you wish; but I have no bride, and don’t know any.’ The old king put his hand into his pocket, took out a golden key and showed it to his son, with the words, ‘Go up into the tower, to the top story, look round there, and then tell me which you fancy.’ The prince went without delay. Nobody within the memory of man had been up there, or had ever heard what was up there.

When he got up to the last story, he saw in the ceiling a little iron door like a trap-door. It was closed. He opened it with the golden key, lifted it, and went up above it. There there was a large circular room. The ceiling was blue like the sky on a clear night, and silver stars glittered on it; the floor was a carpet of green silk, and around in the wall were twelve high windows in golden frames, and in each window on crystal glass was a damsel painted with the colours of the rainbow, with a royal crown on her head, in each window a different one in a different dress, each handsomer than the other, and it was a wonder that the prince did not let his eyes dwell upon them. When he had gazed at them with astonishment, the damsels began to move as if they were alive, looked down upon him, smiled, and did everything but speak.

Now the prince observed that one of the twelve windows was covered with a white curtain; he drew the curtain to see what was behind it. There there was a damsel in a white dress, girt with a silver girdle, with a crown of pearls on her head; she was the most beautiful of all, but was sad and pale, as if she had risen from the grave. The prince stood long before the picture, as if he had made a discovery, and as he thus gazed, his heart pained him, and he cried, ‘This one will I have, and no other.’ As he said the words the damsel bowed her head, blushed like a rose, and that instant all the pictures disappeared.

When he went down and related to his father what he had seen and which damsel he had selected, the old king became sad, bethought himself, and said, ‘You have done ill, my son, in uncovering what was curtained over, and have placed yourself in great danger on account of those words. That damsel is in the power of a wicked wizard, and kept captive in an iron castle; of all who have attempted to set her free, not one has hitherto returned. But what’s done cannot be undone; the plighted word is a law. Go! try your luck, and return home safe and sound!’

The prince took leave of his father, mounted his horse, and rode away in search of his bride. It came to pass that he rode through a vast forest, and through the forest he rode on and on till he lost the road. And as he was wandering with his horse in thickets and amongst rocks and morasses, not knowing which way to turn, he heard somebody shout behind him, ‘Hi! stop!’ The prince looked round, and saw a tall man hastening after him. ‘Stop and take me with you, and take me into your service, and you won’t regret it!’ ‘Who are you,’ said the prince, ‘and what can you do?’ ‘My name is Long, and I can extend myself. Do you see a bird’s nest in that pine yonder? I will bring you the nest down without having to climb up.’

Long then began to extend himself; his body grew rapidly till it was as tall as the pine; he then reached the nest, and in a moment contracted himself again and gave it to the prince. ‘You know your business well, but what’s the use of birds’ nests to me, if you can’t conduct me out of this forest?’ ‘Ahem! that’s an easy matter,’ said Long, and began to extend himself till he was thrice as high as the highest fir in the forest, looked round, and said: ‘Here on this side we have the nearest way out of the forest.’ He then contracted himself, took the horse by the bridle, and before the prince had any idea of it, they were beyond the forest. Before them was a long and wide plain, and beyond the plain tall gray rocks, like the walls of a large town, and mountains overgrown with forest trees.

‘Yonder, sir, goes my comrade!’ said Long, and pointed suddenly to the plain; ‘you should take him also into your service; I believe he would serve you well.’ ‘Shout to him, and call him hither, that I may see what he is good for.’ ‘It is a little too far, sir,’ said Long; ‘he would hardly hear me, and it would take a long time before he came, because he has a great deal to carry. I’ll jump after him instead.’ Then Long again extended himself to such a height that his head plunged into the clouds, made two or three steps, took his comrade by the arm, and placed him before the prince. He was a short, thick-set fellow, with a paunch like a sixty-four gallon cask. ‘Who are you?’ demanded the prince, ‘and what can you do?’ ‘My name, sir, is Broad; I can widen myself.’ ‘Give me a specimen.’ ‘Ride quick, sir, quick, back into the forest!’ cried Broad, as he began to blow himself out.

The prince didn’t understand why he was to ride away; but seeing that Long made all haste to get into the forest, he spurred his horse, and rode full gallop after him. It was high time that he did ride away, or else Broad would have squashed him, horse and all, as his paunch rapidly grew in all directions; it filled everything everywhere, just as if a mountain had rolled up. Broad then ceased to blow himself out, and took himself in again, raising such a wind that the trees in the forest bowed and bent, and became what he was at first. ‘You’ve played me a nice trick,’ said the prince, ‘but I shan’t find such a fellow every day; come with me.’

They proceeded further. When they approached the rocks, they met a man who had his eyes bandaged with a handkerchief. ‘Sir, this is our third comrade,’ said Long, ‘you ought to take him also into your service. I’m sure he won’t eat his victuals for naught.’ ‘Who are you?’ the prince asked him, ‘and why are your eyes bandaged? You don’t see your way!’ ‘No, sir, quite the contrary! It is just because I see too well that I am obliged to bandage my eyes; I see with bandaged eyes just as well as others with unbandaged eyes; and if I unbandage them I look everything through and through, and when I gaze sharply at anything, it catches fire and bursts into flame, and what can’t burn splits into pieces. For this reason my name is Sharpsight.’ He then turned to a rock opposite, removed the bandage, and fixed his flaming eyes upon it; the rock began to crackle, pieces flew on every side, and in a very short time nothing of it remained but a heap of sand, on which something glittered like fire. Sharpsight went to fetch it, and brought it to the prince. It was pure gold.

‘Heigho! you’re a fellow that money can’t purchase!’ said the prince. ‘He is a fool who wouldn’t make use of your services, and if you have such good sight, look and tell me whether it is far to the iron castle, and what is now going on there?’ ‘If you rode by yourself, sir,’ answered Sharpsight, ‘maybe you wouldn’t get there within a year; but with us you’ll arrive to-day–they’re just getting supper ready for us.’ ‘And what is my bride doing?’

An iron lattice is before her,
In a tower that’s high
She doth sit and sigh,
A wizard watch and ward keeps o’er her.’

The prince cried, ‘Whoever is well disposed, help me to set her free!’ They all promised to help him. They guided him among the gray rocks through the breach that Sharpsight had made in them with his eyes, and further and further on through rocks, through high mountains and deep forests, and wherever there was any obstacle in the road, forthwith it was removed by the three comrades. And when the sun was declining towards the west, the mountains began to become lower, the forests less dense, and the rocks concealed themselves amongst the heath; and when it was almost on the point of setting, the prince saw not far before him an iron castle; and when it was actually setting, he rode by an iron bridge to the gate, and as soon as it had set, up rose the iron bridge of itself, the gate closed with a single movement, and the prince and his companions were captives in the iron castle.

When they had looked round in the court, the prince put his horse up in the stable, where everything was ready for it, and then they went into the castle. In the court, in the stable, in the castle hall, and in the rooms, they saw in the twilight many richly-dressed people, gentlemen and servants, but not one of them stirred–they were all turned to stone. They went through several rooms, and came into the supper-room. This was brilliantly lighted up, and in the midst was a table, and on it plenty of good meats and drinks, and covers were laid for four persons. They waited and waited, thinking that someone would come; but when nobody came for a long time, they sat down and ate and drank what the palate fancied.

When they had done eating, they looked about to find where to sleep. Thereupon the door flew open unexpectedly all at once, and into the room came the wizard; a bent old man in a long black garb, with a bald head, a gray beard down to his knees, and three iron hoops instead of a girdle. By the hand he led a beautiful, very beautiful damsel, dressed in white; she had a silver girdle round her waist, and a crown of pearls on her head, but was pale and sad, as if she had risen from the grave. The prince recognised her at once, sprang forward, and went to meet her; but before he could utter a word the wizard addressed him: ‘I know for what you have come; you want to take the princess away. Well, be it so! Take her, if you can keep her in sight for three nights, so that she doesn’t vanish from you. If she vanishes, you will be turned into stone as well as your three servants; like all who have come before you.’ He then motioned the princess to a seat and departed.

The prince could not take his eyes off the princess, so beautiful was she. He began to talk to her, and asked her all manner of questions, but she neither answered nor smiled, nor looked at anyone any more than if she had been of marble. He sat down by her, and determined not to sleep all night long lest she should vanish from him, and, to make surer, Long extended himself like a strap, and wound himself round the whole room along the wall; Broad posted himself in the doorway, swelled himself up, and stopped it up so tight that not even a mouse could have slipped through; while Sharpsight placed himself against a pillar in the midst of the room on the look-out. But after a time they all began to nod, fell asleep, and slept the whole night, just as if the wizard had thrown them into the water.

In the morning, when it began to dawn, the prince was the first to wake, but–as if a knife had been thrust into his heart–the princess was gone! He forthwith awoke his servants, and asked what was to be done. ‘Never mind, sir,’ said Sharpsight, and looked sharply out through the window, ‘I see her already. A hundred miles hence is a forest, in the midst of the forest an old oak, and on the top of the oak an acorn, and she is that acorn.’ Long immediately took him on his shoulders, extended himself, and went ten miles at a step, while Sharpsight showed him the way.

No more time elapsed than would have been wanted to move once round a cottage before they were back again, and Long delivered the acorn to the prince. ‘Sir, let it fall on the ground.’ The prince let it fall, and that moment the princess stood beside him. And when the sun began to show itself beyond the mountains, the folding doors flew open with a crash, and the wizard entered the room and smiled spitefully; but when he saw the princess he frowned, growled, and hang! one of the iron hoops which he wore splintered and sprang off him. He then took the damsel by the hand and led her away.

The whole day after the prince had nothing to do but walk up and down the castle, and round about the castle, and look at the wonderful things that were there. It was everywhere as if life had been lost in a single moment. In one hall he saw a prince, who held in both hands a brandished sword, as if he intended to cleave somebody in twain; but the blow never fell: he had been turned into stone. In one chamber was a knight turned into stone, just as if he had been fleeing from some one in terror, and, stumbling on the threshold, had taken a downward direction, but not fallen. Under the chimney sat a servant, who held in one hand a piece of roast meat, and with the other lifted a mouthful towards his mouth, which never reached it; when it was just in front of his mouth, he had also been turned to stone. Many others he saw there turned to stone, each in the position in which he was when the wizard said, ‘Be turned into stone.’ He likewise saw many fine horses turned to stone, and in the castle and round the castle all was desolate and dead; there were trees, but without leaves; there were meadows, but without grass; there was a river, but it did not flow; nowhere was there even a singing bird, or a flower, the offspring of the ground, or a white fish in the water.

Morning, noon, and evening the prince and his companions found good and abundant entertainment in the castle; the viands came of themselves, the wine poured itself out. After supper the folding doors opened again, and the wizard brought in the princess for the prince to guard. And although they all determined to exert themselves with all their might not to fall asleep, yet it was of no use, fall asleep again they did. And when the prince awoke at dawn and saw the princess had vanished, he jumped up and pulled Sharpsight by the arm, ‘Hey! get up, Sharpsight, do you know where the princess is?’ He rubbed his eyes. looked, and said, ‘I see her. There’s a mountain 200 miles off; and in the mountain a rock, and in the rock a precious stone, and she’s that precious stone. If Long carries me thither, we shall obtain her.’

Long took him at once on his shoulders, extended himself, and went twenty miles at a step. Sharpsight fixed his flaming eyes on the mountain, the mountain crumbled, and the rock in it split into a thousand pieces, and amongst them glittered the precious stone. They took it up and brought it to the prince, and when he let it fall on the ground, the princess again stood there. When afterwards the wizard came and saw her there, his eyes flashed with spite, and bang! again an iron hoop cracked upon him and flew off. He growled and led the princess out of the room.

That day all was again as it had been the day before. After supper the wizard brought the princess in again, looked the prince keenly in the face, and scornfully uttered the words, ‘It will be seen who’s a match for whom; whether you are victorious or I,’ and with that he departed. This day they all exerted themselves still more to avoid going to sleep. They wouldn’t even sit down, they wanted to walk about all night long, but all in vain; they were bewitched; one fell asleep after the other as he walked, and the princess vanished away from them.

In the morning the prince again awoke earliest, and when he didn’t see the princess, woke Sharpsight. ‘Hey! get up, Sharpsight! look where the princess is!’ Sharpsight looked out for a long time. ‘Oh sir,’ says he, ‘she is a long way off, a long way off! Three hundred miles off is a black sea, and in the midst of the sea a shell on the bottom, and in the shell is a gold ring, and she’s the ring. But never mind! we shall obtain her, but to-day Long must take Broad with him as well; we shall want him.’ Long took Sharpsight on one shoulder, and Broad on the other, and went thirty miles at a step. When they came to the black sea, Sharpsight showed him where he must reach into the water for the shell. Long extended his hand as far as he could, but could not reach the bottom.

‘Wait, comrades! wait only a little and I’ll help you,’ said Broad, and swelled himself out as far as his paunch would stretch; he then lay down on the shore and drank. In a very short time the water fell so low that Long easily reached the bottom and took the shell out of the sea. Out of it he extracted the ring, took his comrades on his shoulders, and hastened back. But on the way he found it a little difficult to run with Broad, who had half a sea of water inside him, so he cast him from his shoulder on to the ground in a wide valley. Thump he went like a sack let fall from a tower, and in a moment the whole valley was under water like a vast lake. Broad himself barely crawled out of it.

Meanwhile the prince was in great trouble in the castle. The dawn began to display itself over the mountains, and his servants had not returned; the more brilliantly the rays ascended, the greater was his anxiety; a deadly perspiration came out upon his forehead. Soon the sun showed itself in the east like a thin strip of flame–and then with a loud crash the door flew open, and on the threshold stood the wizard. He looked round the room, and seeing the princess was not there, laughed a hateful laugh and entered the room. But just at that moment, pop! the window flew in pieces, the gold ring fell on the floor, and in an instant there stood the princess again. Sharpsight, seeing what was going on in the castle, and in what danger his master was, told Long. Long made a step, and threw the ring through the window into the room. The wizard roared with rage, till the castle quaked, and then bang! went the third iron hoop that was round his waist, and sprang off him the wizard turned into a raven, and flew out and away through the shattered window.

Then, and not till then, did the beautiful damsel speak and thank the prince for setting her free, and blushed like a rose. In the castle and round the castle everything became alive again at once. He who was holding in the hall the outstretched sword, swung it into the air, which whistled again, and then returned it to its sheath; he who was stumbling on the threshold, fell on the ground, but immediately got up again and felt his nose to see whether it was still entire; he who was sitting under the chimney put the piece of meat into his mouth and went on eating; and thus everybody completed what he had begun doing, and at the point where he had left off. In the stables the horses merrily stamped and snorted, the trees round the castle became green like periwinkles, the meadows were full of variegated flowers, high in the air warbled the skylark, and abundance of small fishes appeared in the clear river. Everywhere was life, everywhere enjoyment.

Meanwhile a number of gentlemen assembled in the room where the prince was, and all thanked him for their liberation. But he said, ‘You have nothing to thank me for; if it had not been for my trusty servants Long, Broad, and Sharpsight, I too should have been what you were.’ He then immediately started on his way home to the old king, his father, with his bride and servants. On the way they met Broad and took him with them.

The old king wept for joy at the success of his son; he had thought he would return no more. Soon afterwards there was a grand wedding, the festivities of which lasted three weeks; all the gentlemen that the prince had liberated were invited. After the wedding Long, Broad, and Sharpsight announced to the young king that they were going again into the world to look for work. The young king tried to persuade them to stay with him. ‘I will give you everything you want, as long as you live,’ said he; ‘you needn’t work at all.’ But they didn’t like such an idle life, took leave of him, went away and have been ever since knocking about somewhere or other in the world.

********

Note: There are plenty more of this. Entertain yourself with a good read at this site.

June 22, 2010

Frozen Ponds in Summer

Posted in writing tagged , , at 4:10 pm by BT

safety melted a long time ago. so why bother crying about it when you know it’s long gone and you’re on your own? you used to rock my world, baby! lol now it’s over.

….ehem….

“didn’t think the tiny pond would freeze hell over, didn’t you?” said the little toad. “at least you got to scream like you wanted to,” a sinister laugh could only come from an ugly little thing like the toad.

i used to be the fastest runner of them all. i was ahead of the game. or was i? ever since the twilight came, the dawn was never the same anymore. i could still feel my lust for the wind but the sky never gave me a smile anymore. it refused to let the pretty sun look my way and everything turned dark. suddenly i became a part of that darkness as well. i cry because there’s nothing else i could do.

“telling me your problem is not going to help, you know.” the little toad smirked. “i could listen all you want, but it’s not like i’m here to help you or sympathize with you.”

i hate you. since when have you helped me overcome this darkness that traps me? never! and yet you stand there mocking me with every word you say. i will forget i ever met you. your tricks won’t work on me twice. as soon as the new moon shows, you shall perish before me.

“well, now. i’m off to see the big boss underground. see you soon!” the toad’s laughter echoed in my ears as i plunged deeper in the clutches of the dark mind.

The Night Will Come

Posted in writing tagged at 3:54 pm by BT

the night will come to take us all. to nowhere, within our our world of darkness. flee towards the light and jump down the cliff of madness with arms spread out to catch the souls of the wind. cry ’til death cries, mourn ’til death mourns, however long that may take, but what’s worth our while will be when we finally go together to walk in the waves cold as ice but rich with living things. hidden underneath our face, the arrows peirce the heart. criss-cross of songs unknown to man’s ears are high and proud. the air sizzles wavering beneath the shadowy arms. to take is to lose, to live is to die. but no one quells their grasp of the blessed neck of breathing life. the judges shall fall when the crimes are paid for and rain will drown us all in blood. soaked forever we shall not evaporate to the heavens found in other stars. my galaxies shall not be won, nor lost in the time of implosion. but rather it will surely sleep caressed by the light of space, when the sun takes us all.

___________________End Transmission________________

Poem 1

Posted in literature, poetry tagged at 3:21 pm by BT

When I Say I Love You…   (BT, 2005)

When I say I love you,

I mean I have no other choice

And hating you is useless

But also ungrateful of me,

Because you were–are–my life;

Everything you do, every single single word

That you say is a goal

I can never reach, never… but I try

To give you what you want,

To offer you everything I am

Although it hurts me; I strive

So be your best and I worship you,

So much that I can never accept

To fail. You are my master

And I am your slave;

For that I can never admire you

Nor praise you at all. I stiffen

At the thought of you loving me,

Holding close in your arms,

As my breath catches, as you smile

At you nicest… at my weakness.

When I say I love you,

I only say it.

Brush Up on Your Shakespeare

Posted in literature tagged , at 3:17 pm by BT

I had to act this thing in front of my high school L.A. class: (i was pretty scared at the thought, but i presented it extravagantly if i may say so myself)

Act 5, Scene 5, Lines 19-30, page 233.

Macbeth: She should have died hereafter;

There would have been a time for such a word.

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,

To the last syllable of recorded time;

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools

The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage

And then is heard no more: it is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

P.S. it was scary to begin, but i got on a roll and just rolled with it, yo. LOL

… i miss my L.A. class in high school, primarily because i miss our teacher, Mr. Tulner, from whom i actually learned so much, not just about literature, but about life as well. Thanks, Mr. T. =)

May 8, 2010

La Belle Dame Sans Merci by John Keats

Posted in literature, poetry tagged , at 6:23 pm by BT

Oh what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.

Oh what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel’s granary is full,
And the harvest’s done.

I see a lily on thy brow,
With anguish moist and fever-dew,
And on thy cheeks a fading rose
Fast withereth too.

I met a lady in the meads,
Full beautiful – a faery’s child,
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild.

I made a garland for her head,
And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She looked at me as she did love,
And made sweet moan.

I set her on my pacing steed,
And nothing else saw all day long,
For sidelong would she bend, and sing
A faery’s song.

She found me roots of relish sweet,
And honey wild, and manna-dew,
And sure in language strange she said –
‘I love thee true’.

She took me to her elfin grot,
And there she wept and sighed full sore,
And there I shut her wild wild eyes
With kisses four.

And there she lulled me asleep
And there I dreamed – Ah! woe betide! –
The latest dream I ever dreamt
On the cold hill side.

I saw pale kings and princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
They cried – ‘La Belle Dame sans Merci
Hath thee in thrall!’

I saw their starved lips in the gloam,
With horrid warning gaped wide,
And I awoke and found me here,
On the cold hill’s side.

And this is why I sojourn here
Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.

—————————————————————————————————————————–

i love this ballad style poem! i remember in Language Arts in high school, i got so caught up in the poem, that i made 3 ballad style poetry myself, with one to hand in for class, LOL. it was really something to be able to get into that kind of thinking and get the creativity going.. hahaha i sound so nerdy.  anyways, someday i might post it here–if you haven’t found it through my self intro post–so that you can take a look at it and say nasty stuff if you want. LOL. although it would be good, if the comments were nice too.

February 14, 2010

A Thing of Beauty (Endymion) by John Keats

Posted in literature, poetry tagged , at 11:31 pm by BT

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its lovliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o’er-darkn’d ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
With the green world they live in; and clear rills
That for themselves a cooling covert make
‘Gainst the hot season; the mid-forest brake,
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
We have imagined for the mighty dead;
An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven’s brink.

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

I read this poem from this site. It has a lot of good poems too. =) This is a wonderful poem; I just love the desciptiveness of the lines and the imagery it paints as a whole. I’ve actually  just recently read it since  i was just searching for john keats’ poems.. lol Splendid, eh? =)

January 7, 2010

Song by John Donne

Posted in literature tagged , , , at 3:23 am by BT

the first time i got exposed to this piece was when i read Diana Wynn Jones’ Howl’s Moving Castle. that was the first book that made me realize i can input my small little poems into my stories, even though i recall reading a few books that have already done such a thing. the piece was very intriguing and to me it somehow felt incomplete, as though waiting for an answer. i actually have my own ‘reply’ to this poem, keeping in mind the same number of lines and beats to each line. even to this day i feel like John Donne’s poem is waiting for something…

Song (John Donne 1572-1631)

GO and catch a falling star,
Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
Or who cleft the Devil’s foot;
Teach me to hear mermaids singing, 5
Or to keep off envy’s stinging,
And find
What wind
Serves to advance an honest mind.
If thou be’st born to strange sights, 10
Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights
Till Age snow white hairs on thee;
Thou, when thou return’st, wilt tell me
All strange wonders that befell thee, 15
And swear
No where
Lives a woman true and fair.
If thou find’st one, let me know;
Such a pilgrimage were sweet. 20
Yet do not; I would not go,
Though at next door we might meet.
Though she were true when you met her,
And last till you write your letter,
Yet she 25
Will be
False, ere I come, to two or three.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

sorry about the small font, i couldn’t figure out how to make it bigger without messing up the line spacing.. this piece does sound like a spell of some sort especially at the beginning. it made me think of adventures and perilous journeys and magical beings. to me, it really is a wonderful piece, and after thinking about it for quite a long while, the response poem came to me…

Voice

Come and hear the echo’s cries,
Hear a queen in bowers sing,
Tell me where the past dies,
Or who tore the angel’s wing,
Teach him to hear sirens sighing,
Or to stop the bane of lying,
And see
What she
Will be but a hindrance to me.

If thine eyes see strange and fey,
And things not told about in words,
Move a thousand skies to lay,
As snow blurs the eyes, the swords,
Then shall you remain rooted still,
With wonders belying our fill,
And vow
Somehow
Lives the woman Fates allow.

If thou found such, tell me fast,
Such a trek would be heaven;
Yet even I shall refuse last,
Though it’s sweet, little haven,
Though she were true when you loved her,
And passed, ‘til you lose my offer,
Then I
Shall sigh
To die where I to say goodbye.

The Lady or The Tiger

Posted in literature tagged , at 2:47 am by BT

i was in 6th grade when i got my first adult calibre literature, not the ones for little kids. even when i was in kindergarten, i think i already loved reading. i could hardly remember the titles of the books but i can still remember the plots and the dialogues of several stories. i even remember the spelling test that got me a scolding from my teacher because i spelled the word ‘the’ incorrectly; i had written ‘da’ on my paper. my teacher was furious. thinking back, the book that introduced me to Frank Stockton’s The Lady or The Tiger was a book that compiled several literature pieces including The Cask of Amontillado, The Tell-Tale Heart and The Game.

The Lady or The Tiger was the piece that i admired. the writing style and the prose, everything about it was marvelous to me then, and even now the short story still has the ability to grab me in the neck and make me think. It is the story of people, their characters and their circumstances. What stuck to me about this short story is that it made me think. Can one really know what a person will do based on their character, based on their circustances alone? What i’ve always like about people is that fact that they can change but at the same time be habitual. Frank Stockton definitely stirs the mind with his story…

THE LADY OR THE TIGER

In the very olden time there lived a semi-barbaric king, whose ideas, though somewhat polished and sharpened by the progressiveness of distant Latin neighbors, were still large, florid, and untrammeled, as became the half of him which was barbaric. He was a man of exuberant fancy, and, withal, of an authority so irresistible that, at his will, he turned his varied fancies into facts. He was greatly given to self-communing, and, when he and himself agreed upon anything, the thing was done. When every member of his domestic and political systems moved smoothly in its appointed course, his nature was bland and genial; but, whenever there was a little hitch, and some of his orbs got out of their orbits, he was blander and more genial still, for nothing pleased him so much as to make the crooked straight and crush down uneven places.

Among the borrowed notions by which his barbarism had become semified was that of the public arena, in which, by exhibitions of manly and beastly valor, the minds of his subjects were refined and cultured.

But even here the exuberant and barbaric fancy asserted itself. The arena of the king was built, not to give the people an opportunity of hearing the rhapsodies of dying gladiators, nor to enable them to view the inevitable conclusion of a conflict between religious opinions and hungry jaws, but for purposes far better adapted to widen and develop the mental energies of the people. This vast amphitheater, with its encircling galleries, its mysterious vaults, and its unseen passages, was an agent of poetic justice, in which crime was punished, or virtue rewarded, by the decrees of an impartial and incorruptible chance.

When a subject was accused of a crime of sufficient importance to interest the king, public notice was given that on an appointed day the fate of the accused person would be decided in the king’s arena, a structure which well deserved its name, for, although its form and plan were borrowed from afar, its purpose emanated solely from the brain of this man, who, every barleycorn a king, knew no tradition to which he owed more allegiance than pleased his fancy, and who ingrafted on every adopted form of human thought and action the rich growth of his barbaric idealism.

When all the people had assembled in the galleries, and the king, surrounded by his court, sat high up on his throne of royal state on one side of the arena, he gave a signal, a door beneath him opened, and the accused subject stepped out into the amphitheater. Directly opposite him, on the other side of the enclosed space, were two doors, exactly alike and side by side. It was the duty and the privilege of the person on trial to walk directly to these doors and open one of them. He could open either door he pleased; he was subject to no guidance or influence but that of the aforementioned impartial and incorruptible chance. If he opened the one, there came out of it a hungry tiger, the fiercest and most cruel that could be procured, which immediately sprang upon him and tore him to pieces as a punishment for his guilt. The moment that the case of the criminal was thus decided, doleful iron bells were clanged, great wails went up from the hired mourners posted on the outer rim of the arena, and the vast audience, with bowed heads and downcast hearts, wended slowly their homeward way, mourning greatly that one so young and fair, or so old and respected, should have merited so dire a fate.

~2~

But, if the accused person opened the other door, there came forth from it a lady, the most suitable to his years and station that his majesty could select among his fair subjects, and to this lady he was immediately married, as a reward of his innocence. It mattered not that he might already possess a wife and family, or that his affections might be engaged upon an object of his own selection; the king allowed no such subordinate arrangements to interfere with his great scheme of retribution and reward. The exercises, as in the other instance, took place immediately, and in the arena. Another door opened beneath the king, and a priest, followed by a band of choristers, and dancing maidens blowing joyous airs on golden horns and treading an epithalamic measure, advanced to where the pair stood, side by side, and the wedding was promptly and cheerily solemnized. Then the gay brass bells rang forth their merry peals, the people shouted glad hurrahs, and the innocent man, preceded by children strewing flowers on his path, led his bride to his home.

This was the king’s semi-barbaric method of administering justice. Its perfect fairness is obvious. The criminal could not know out of which door would come the lady; he opened either he pleased, without having the slightest idea whether, in the next instant, he was to be devoured or married. On some occasions the tiger came out of one door, and on some out of the other. The decisions of this tribunal were not only fair, they were positively determinate: the accused person was instantly punished if he found himself guilty, and, if innocent, he was rewarded on the spot, whether he liked it or not. There was no escape from the judgments of the king’s arena.

The institution was a very popular one. When the people gathered together on one of the great trial days, they never knew whether they were to witness a bloody slaughter or a hilarious wedding. This element of uncertainty lent an interest to the occasion which it could not otherwise have attained. Thus, the masses were entertained and pleased, and the thinking part of the community could bring no charge of unfairness against this plan, for did not the accused person have the whole matter in his own hands?

~3~

This semi-barbaric king had a daughter as blooming as his most florid fancies, and with a soul as fervent and imperious as his own. As is usual in such cases, she was the apple of his eye, and was loved by him above all humanity. Among his courtiers was a young man of that fineness of blood and lowness of station common to the conventional heroes of romance who love royal maidens. This royal maiden was well satisfied with her lover, for he was handsome and brave to a degree unsurpassed in all this kingdom, and she loved him with an ardor that had enough of barbarism in it to make it exceedingly warm and strong. This love affair moved on happily for many months, until one day the king happened to discover its existence. He did not hesitate nor waver in regard to his duty in the premises. The youth was immediately cast into prison, and a day was appointed for his trial in the king’s arena. This, of course, was an especially important occasion, and his majesty, as well as all the people, was greatly interested in the workings and development of this trial. Never before had such a case occurred; never before had a subject dared to love the daughter of the king. In after years such things became commonplace enough, but then they were in no slight degree novel and startling.

The tiger-cages of the kingdom were searched for the most savage and relentless beasts, from which the fiercest monster might be selected for the arena; and the ranks of maiden youth and beauty throughout the land were carefully surveyed by competent judges in order that the young man might have a fitting bride in case fate did not determine for him a different destiny. Of course, everybody knew that the deed with which the accused was charged had been done. He had loved the princess, and neither he, she, nor any one else, thought of denying the fact; but the king would not think of allowing any fact of this kind to interfere with the workings of the tribunal, in which he took such great delight and satisfaction. No matter how the affair turned out, the youth would be disposed of, and the king would take an aesthetic pleasure in watching the course of events, which would determine whether or not the young man had done wrong in allowing himself to love the princess.

~4~

The appointed day arrived. From far and near the people gathered, and thronged the great galleries of the arena, and crowds, unable to gain admittance, massed themselves against its outside walls. The king and his court were in their places, opposite the twin doors, those fateful portals, so terrible in their similarity.

All was ready. The signal was given. A door beneath the royal party opened, and the lover of the princess walked into the arena. Tall, beautiful, fair, his appearance was greeted with a low hum of admiration and anxiety. Half the audience had not known so grand a youth had lived among them. No wonder the princess loved him! What a terrible thing for him to be there!

As the youth advanced into the arena he turned, as the custom was, to bow to the king, but he did not think at all of that royal personage. His eyes were fixed upon the princess, who sat to the right of her father. Had it not been for the moiety of barbarism in her nature it is probable that lady would not have been there, but her intense and fervid soul would not allow her to be absent on an occasion in which she was so terribly interested. From the moment that the decree had gone forth that her lover should decide his fate in the king’s arena, she had thought of nothing, night or day, but this great event and the various subjects connected with it. Possessed of more power, influence, and force of character than any one who had ever before been interested in such a case, she had done what no other person had done – she had possessed herself of the secret of the doors. She knew in which of the two rooms, that lay behind those doors, stood the cage of the tiger, with its open front, and in which waited the lady. Through these thick doors, heavily curtained with skins on the inside, it was impossible that any noise or suggestion should come from within to the person who should approach to raise the latch of one of them. But gold, and the power of a woman’s will, had brought the secret to the princess.

And not only did she know in which room stood the lady ready to emerge, all blushing and radiant, should her door be opened, but she knew who the lady was. It was one of the fairest and loveliest of the damsels of the court who had been selected as the reward of the accused youth, should he be proved innocent of the crime of aspiring to one so far above him; and the princess hated her. Often had she seen, or imagined that she had seen, this fair creature throwing glances of admiration upon the person of her lover, and sometimes she thought these glances were perceived, and even returned. Now and then she had seen them talking together; it was but for a moment or two, but much can be said in a brief space; it may have been on most unimportant topics, but how could she know that? The girl was lovely, but she had dared to raise her eyes to the loved one of the princess; and, with all the intensity of the savage blood transmitted to her through long lines of wholly barbaric ancestors, she hated the woman who blushed and trembled behind that silent door.

~5~

When her lover turned and looked at her, and his eye met hers as she sat there, paler and whiter than any one in the vast ocean of anxious faces about her, he saw, by that power of quick perception which is given to those whose souls are one, that she knew behind which door crouched the tiger, and behind which stood the lady. He had expected her to know it. He understood her nature, and his soul was assured that she would never rest until she had made plain to herself this thing, hidden to all other lookers-on, even to the king. The only hope for the youth in which there was any element of certainty was based upon the success of the princess in discovering this mystery; and the moment he looked upon her, he saw she had succeeded, as in his soul he knew she would succeed.

Then it was that his quick and anxious glance asked the question: “Which?” It was as plain to her as if he shouted it from where he stood. There was not an instant to be lost. The question was asked in a flash; it must be answered in another.

Her right arm lay on the cushioned parapet before her. She raised her hand, and made a slight, quick movement toward the right. No one but her lover saw her. Every eye but his was fixed on the man in the arena.

He turned, and with a firm and rapid step he walked across the empty space. Every heart stopped beating, every breath was held, every eye was fixed immovably upon that man. Without the slightest hesitation, he went to the door on the right, and opened it.
Now, the point of the story is this: Did the tiger come out of that door, or did the lady ?
The more we reflect upon this question, the harder it is to answer. It involves a study of the human heart which leads us through devious mazes of passion, out of which it is difficult to find our way. Think of it, fair reader, not as if the decision of the question depended upon yourself, but upon that hot-blooded, semi-barbaric princess, her soul at a white heat beneath the combined fires of despair and jealousy. She had lost him, but who should have him?

~6~

How often, in her waking hours and in her dreams, had she started in wild horror, and covered her face with her hands as she thought of her lover opening the door on the other side of which waited the cruel fangs of the tiger!

But how much oftener had she seen him at the other door! How in her grievous reveries had she gnashed her teeth, and torn her hair, when she saw his start of rapturous delight as he opened the door of the lady! How her soul had burned in agony when she had seen him rush to meet that woman, with her flushing cheek and sparkling eye of triumph; when she had seen him lead her forth, his whole frame kindled with the joy of recovered life; when she had heard the glad shouts from the multitude, and the wild ringing of the happy bells; when she had seen the priest, with his joyous followers, advance to the couple, and make them man and wife before her very eyes; and when she had seen them walk away together upon their path of flowers, followed by the tremendous shouts of the hilarious multitude, in which her one despairing shriek was lost and drowned!

Would it not be better for him to die at once, and go to wait for her in the blessed regions of semi-barbaric futurity?

And yet, that awful tiger, those shrieks, that blood!

Her decision had been indicated in an instant, but it had been made after days and nights of anguished deliberation. She had known she would be asked, she had decided what she would answer, and, without the slightest hesitation, she had moved her hand to the right.

The question of her decision is one not to be lightly considered, and it is not for me to presume to set myself up as the one person able to answer it. And so I leave it with all of you: Which came out of the opened door – the lady, or the tiger?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

this short story is taken from www.eastoftheweb.com. i hoped you enjoyed reading it as much as i did and often do. =)

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