revised Feb 2012
quotes index page
home page

Verse & lyrics.
A very small collection of things that caught my ear at some point.
No man is an island, entire of itself;
every man is a piece of the continent,
a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less,
as well as if a promontory were,
as well as if a manor of thy friends,
or of thine own were;
any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind;
and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
it tolls for thee.


John Donne
Donne
Dylan Thomas


Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas, Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night

Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving
And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour,
That's orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it's reckoned,
A sun that is the source of all our power.
The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
Are moving at a million miles a day
In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour,
Of the galaxy we call the 'Milky Way'.

Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars.
It's a hundred thousand light years side to side.
It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick,
But out by us, it's just three thousand light years wide.
We're thirty thousand light years from galactic central point.
We go 'round every two hundred million years,
And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe.

The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
In all of the directions it can whizz
As fast as it can go, at the speed of light, you know,
Twelve million miles a minute, and that's the fastest speed there is.
So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth,
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth.

- Monty Python's Meaning Of Life
Meaning of Life
Auden


Defenceless under the night
Our World in a stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaugered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

W.H. Auden

Maybe it's the movies, maybe it's the books
Maybe it's the bullets, maybe it's the real crooks
Maybe it's the drugs, maybe it's the parents
Maybe it's the colors everybody's wearin
Maybe it's the President, maybe it's the last one
Maybe it's the one before that, what he done
Maybe it's the high schools, maybe it's the teachers
Maybe it's the tattooed children in the bleachers
Maybe it's the Bible, maybe it's the lack
Maybe it's the music, maybe it's the crack
Maybe it's the hairdos, maybe it's the TV
Maybe it's the cigarettes, maybe it's the family
Maybe it's the fast food, maybe it's the news
Maybe it's divorce, maybe it's abuse
Maybe it's the lawyers, maybe it's the prisons
Maybe it's the Senators, maybe it's the system
Maybe it's the fathers, maybe it's the sons
Maybe it's the sisters, maybe it's the moms
Maybe it's the radio, maybe it's road rage
Maybe El Nino, or UV rays
Maybe it's the army, maybe it's the liquor
Maybe it's the papers, maybe the militia
Maybe it's the athletes, maybe it's the ads
Maybe it's the sports fans, maybe it's a fad
Maybe it's the magazines, maybe it's the internet
Maybe it's the lottery, maybe it's the immigrants
Maybe it's taxes, big business
Maybe it's the KKK and the skinheads
Maybe it's the communists, maybe it's the Catholics
Maybe it's the hippies, maybe it's the addicts
Maybe it's the art, maybe it's the sex
Maybe it's the homeless, maybe it's the banks
Maybe it's the clearcut, maybe it's the ozone
Maybe it's the chemicals, maybe it's the car phones
Maybe it's the fertilizer, maybe it's the nose rings
Maybe it's the end, but I know one thing.
If it were up to me, I'd take away the guns.

- Cheryl Wheeler, If It Were Up to Me, (P) October 1, 1997

Cheryl
                    Wheeler
Greg Brown

The road used to go someplace you never been before
Now it's just a race track and the only prize is more
The only off-ramp is up ahead and just where ain't too clear
and change is a semi with smoking wheels filling the rear view mirror

    Greg Brown, Small Dark Movie

I watched my country turn into
a coast-to-coast strip mall
and I cried out in a song:
if we could do all that in thirty years,
then please tell me you all -
why does good change take so long?

    Greg Brown, Poet Game, 1994



Lincoln's Address at Gettysburg

Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate; we cannot consecrate; we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. - Abraham Lincoln, November 19, 1863

Lincoln
renegade centurion

You ride in 250 tons of molecularly aligned crystalline titanium wedded to a ceramic ablative matrix. You carry a 200mm Gauss cannon, two massive 10-gigawatt lasers, two SMLM fire-and-forget missiles, a Vulcan IV point defense anti-missile system, and a deadly assortment of other equally lethal weapons. Your vehicle is the ultimate product of 4,000 years of armored warfare. Your life expectancy is less than two minutes. - RENEGADE LEGION: CENTURION

THE COD-FISHER

Where leap the long Atlantic swells
    In foam-streaked stretch of hill and dale,
Where shrill the north-wind demon yells,
    And flings the spindrift down the gale;
Where, beaten 'gainst the bending mast,
    The frozen raindrop clings and cleaves,
With steadfast front for calm or blast
    His battered schooner rocks and heaves.

To some the gain, to some the loss,  
    To each, the chance, the risk, the fight:
For men must die that men may live—
    Lord, may we steer our course aright.

The dripping deck beneath him reels,
    The flooded scuppers spout the brine;
He heeds them not, he only feels
    The tugging of a tightened line.

The grim white sea-fog o'er him throws
    Its clammy curtain, damp and cold ;
He minds it not—his work he knows,
    'Tis but to fill an empty hold.

Oft, driven through the night's blind wrack,
    He feels the dread berg's ghastly breath,
Or hears draw nigh through walls of black
    A throbbing engine chanting death.;
But with a calm, unwrinkled brow
    He fronts them, grim and undismayed,
For storm and ice and liner's bow—
    These are but chances of the trade.

Yet well he knows—where'er it be,  
    On low Cape Cod or bluff Cape Ann—
With straining eyes that search the sea
    A watching woman waits her man :
He knows it, and his love is deep,
    But work is work, and bread is bread,
And though men drown and women weep
    The hungry thousands must be fed.

To some the gain, to some the loss,
    To each his chance, the game with Fate:
For men must die that men may live—
    Dear Lord, be kind to those who wait.
Joseph Lincoln

Cape Cod Ballads was Joseph C. Lincoln's first book, published in 1902.
I am the Ride

Forms are loosely fitting
Jury still are sitting
Sense of duty keeps us all in motion
Prison sirens wailing
That security is failing
Do not inspire a lifetime of devotion
No one will sympathize
No one really tries
They need a faith that leads them like a drum
And I can hear it pounding down among the ruins
Sad to say, I don't think I'm the only one.

I awoke and someone spoke
They asked me in a whisper
If all my dreams and visions had been answered
And I don't know what to say
I never even pray
I just feel the pulse of universal dancers
They'll waltz me till I die
They'll never tell me why
I never stop to ask them where we're going
Yes, but the holy, the profane
Are all helplessly insane
Wishful, hopeful, never even knowing.

And they asked if I believe
And do the angels really grieve
Or is it all a comforting invention?
It's just like gravity, I said
It's not a product of my head
It doesn't speak, but nonetheless commands attention
And I don't care what it means
Or who decorates the scenes
The problem is more with my sense of pride
Because it keeps me thinking "me"
Instead of what it is to be
I'm not a passenger, I am the ride
I'm not a passenger
I am the ride
Chris Smither
Chris Smither
from Pharngula, Oct 2007
A poem by Dr. Jerry Sterns
 
 Books will be replaced by electronic libraries, talking videos, interactive computers, CD-Roms with 100s of volumes, gigabytes of memory dancing on pixillated screens at which we will bleerily stare into eternity, and so I Sing the Song of the Book:
 
 Nothing more voluptuous do I know than sitting with bright
 pictures upon my lap and turning glossy pages of giraffes and
 Gauguins penguins and pyramids
 I love wide atlases, deliniating the rise and fall of empires, the
 trade routes from Kashkar to Samarkand
 I love heavy dictionaries, their tiny pictures, complicated columns,
 minute definitions of incarnitive, and laniary, hagboat and
 fopdoodle
 I love the texture of pages, the high gloss slickness of magazines
 as slippery as oiled eels
 the soft nubble of old books, delicate India paper so thin that my
 hands tremble trying to turn the fluttering dry leaves and the
 yellow coarse cheap paper of mystery novels so gripping that I
 don't care if the plane circles Atlanta forever, because it is a full
 moon and I am stalking in the Arizona desert a malevolent shaped
 shifter
 I love the feel of ink on paper, the shiny varnishes, the silky
 lacquers, the satiny mattes
 I love the press of letters in thick paper, the roughness sizzles my
 fingers with centuries of craft embedded in pulped old rags
 My hands caress the leather of old bindings crumbling like
 ancient gentlemen
 I sing these pleasures of white paper and black ink of the small
 jab of the hard cover corner at the edge of my diaphram, of the
 look of type, of the flip of a page, of the sinful abandon of the
 turned down corner, the reckless possessiveness of my marginal
 scrawl
 The cover picture as much a part of the book as the contents
 itself--like Holden Caufield in his red cap turned backwards
 staring away from us at what we all thought we should become
 I also love those great fat bibles evangelists wave like otter pelts,
 the long greying sets of unreadable authors, the tall books of
 boyhood enthusiastically crayoned, the embossed covers of
 adolescents, the tiny poetry anthologies you could slip in your
 pocket
 And the yellowing cookbooks of recipes for glace blanche dupont
 and Argentine mocha toast, their stains and spots souvenirs of
 long evenings full of love and arguments and the talk like as not of
 books, books, books...
Dirty Laundry. from The Eagles
-----------------
I make my living off the evening news
Just give me something-something I can use
People love it when you lose,
They love dirty laundry

Well, I coulda been an actor, but I wound up here
I just have to look good, I dont have to be clear
Come and whisper in my ear
Give us dirty laundry

Kick em when theyre up
Kick em when theyre down
Kick em when theyre up
Kick em when theyre down
Kick em when theyre up
Kick em when theyre down
Kick em when theyre up
Kick em all around

We got the bubble-headed-bleach-blonde who
Comes on at five
She can tell you bout the plane crash with a gleam
In her eye
Its interesting when people die-
Give us dirty laundry

Can we film the operation?
Is the head dead yet?
You know, the boys in the newsroom got a
Running bet
Get the widow on the set!
We need dirty laundry
You dont really need to find out whats going on
You dont really want to know just how far its gone
Just leave well enough alone
Eat your dirty laundry

Kick em when theyre up
Kick em when theyre down
Kick em when theyre up
Kick em when theyre down

Kick em when theyre up
Kick em when theyre down
Kick em when theyre stiff
Kick em all around

Dirty little secrets
Dirty little lies
We got our dirty little fingers in everybodys pie
We love to cut you down to size
We love dirty laundry

We can do the innuendo
We can dance and sing
When its said and done we haven't told you a thing
We all know that crap is king
Give us dirty laundry!
detail of Audubon golden eagle
Tom Paxton -
                Ramblin Boy
DAILY NEWS
    (Tom Paxton, Ramblin' Boy, 1964)

Civil rights leaders are a pain in the neck
Can't hold a candle to Chang Kai Shek
How do I know? I read it in the Daily News
Ban the bombers are afraid of a fight
Peace hurts business and that ain't right
How do I know? I read it in the Daily News

  Daily News, daily blues
  Pick up a copy any time you choose
  Seven little pennies in the newsboy's hand
  And you ride right along to never, never land

We got to bomb Castro, got to bomb him flat
He's too damn successful and we can't risk that
How do I know? I read it in the Daily News
There's millions of commies in the freedom fight
Yelling for Lenin and civil rights
How do I know? I read it in the Daily News

Seems like the whole damn world's gone wrong
Saint Joe McCarthy is dead and gone
How do I know? I read it in the Daily News
Don't try to make me change my mind with facts
To hell with the graduated income tax
How do I know? I read it in the Daily News

John Paul Getty is just plain folks
The UN charter is a cruel hoax
How do I know? I read it in the Daily News
J. Edgar Hoover is the man of the hour
All he needs is just a little more power
How do I know? I read it in the Daily News

    Copyright Cherry Lane Music Publishing Co., Inc.
    Youtube - Raymond Crooke version  (not bad, but he's no Tom Paxton)
Balaena mystractus!
   Balaena mysticetus!
If we were animalculae
   You wouldn’t take long to eat us.

Arthur Conan Doyle
humpback whale calf off
                Provincetown

quotes index