18 Nov 2013

A Poison Tree – William Blake

[1757–1827, English]

I was angry with my friend: 
I told my wrath, my wrath did end. 
I was angry with my foe: 
I told it not, my wrath did grow. 

And I watered it in fears 
Night and morning with my tears, 
And I sunned it with smiles 
And with soft deceitful wiles. 

And it grew both day and night, 
Till it bore an apple bright, 
And my foe beheld it shine, 
And he knew that it was mine,– 

And into my garden stole 
When the night had veiled the pole; 
In the morning, glad, I see 
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.

Source: Blake, W 1794, Songs of Experience.

Proverbs 17:1 – David Curzon

[Born Australia, migrated to America]

Better is a dry morsel with quiet

and a key turning in a front lock,
a door that opens onto empty rooms,
a lonely mouth watering at the thought
of a kiss as it reads a trashy romance,
and a death undiscovered for several days,
and a funeral to which few come,

than a house full of feasting with strife

Source: Curson, D 1998, The view from Jacob’s Ladder, Jewish Publ., USA.

A Statistician to His Love – Peter Goldsworthy

[1951–current, Australian]

Men kill women in bedrooms, usually 
by hand, or gun. Women kill men, 
less often, in kitchens, with knives. 
Don’t be alarmed, there is understanding 
to be sucked from all such hard 
and bony facts, or at least a sense 
of symmetry. Drowned men – an 
instance – float face down, women up. 
But women, ignited, burn more fiercely. 
The death camp pyres were therefore, 
sensibly, women and children first, 
an oily kind of kindling. The men 
were stacked in rows on top. Yes, 
there is always logic in this world. 
And neatness. And the comfort 
of fact. Did I mention that suicides 
outnumber homicides? The figures 
are reliable. So stay awhile yet 
with me: the person to avoid, alone,
is mostly you yourself.

Source: Goldsworthy, P 1992, After the Ball, National Library of Australia, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.