Ozymandias (Percy Bysshe Shelley)

Ozymandias

by Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said-“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert….Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Work, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

_____________________________________________________

A letter from the sculptor of the monument from Ozymandias

Dear Cleo,

Hi, how are you? I miss you so much! I hope I am able to come home soon… But you know what kind of person Ozymandias is. Is everything ok with the baby? I will send you all the money I earn immediately.
You know I got another job at Ozymandias’ palace, right? Turns out: I have to sculpt a huge monument for him. This crazy project will take years to finish. To make it even more fun: it will be standing in the middle of the desert, in the middle of nowhere!
The only reason that he wants this monument to be made is that he wants to be remembered.
Till the end of time. Isn’t being the mightiest and most well-known king in this century not enough? How arrogant can you be?

He wants a statue of his whole body with, of course, a really ‘unselfish’ text on the pedestal:

“My name is Ozymandias, King of kings; Look on my Work, ye Mighty, and despair!”

But doesn’t he know no one can beat the test of Time? Everybody will eventually be forgotten! Even Ozymandias! You can be as rich, mighty, famous and powerful as you want, but over thousands and thousands of years, nobody will even ever have heard of his name. People will find this statue in the middle of the desert and, hopefully, see what an arrogant person he was.

Wow, now I am writing you, I got an idea! A really good idea, though I say so myself. Since I have the power of presenting Ozymandias any way I want… I will give his face the ice-cold expression he always has! Maybe even with his signature frown and a little sneer on his lips. Then they will understand what kind of personality Ozymandias had, don’t you think?

I’m sorry, Ozymandias demands me to start right now with the statue. The block of stone is ready to work with. My next letter will be longer, I promise!

I hope to be hearing from you soon!
Lots of love,

Marcus

by Anonymous

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I Hid My Love (John Clare)

I Hid my Love

By John Clare

I hid my love when young till I
Couldn’t bear the buzzing of a fly;
I hid my love to my despite
Till I could not bear to look at light:
I dare not gaze upon her face
But left her memory in each place;
Where’er I saw a wild flower lie
I kissed and bade my love good-bye.

I met her in the greenest dells,
Where dewdrops pearl the wood bluebells;
The lost breeze kissed her bright blue eye,
The bee kissed and went singing by,
A sunbeam found a passage there,
A gold chain round her neck so fair;
As secret as the wild bee’s song
She lay there all the summer long.

I hid my love in field and town
Till e’en the breeze would knock me down;
The bees seemed singing ballads o’er,
The fly’s bass turned a lion’s roar;
And even silence found a tongue,
To haunt me all the summer long;
The riddle nature could not prove
Was nothing else but secret love.

_____________________________________________________

To my secret love,

I need to stop running back to you in my mind all the time, but I have never been able do that since I saw you for the first time, in the wild flower fields on that summer night. I tried to stop loving you, I really did, but those flies buzzing in the sky, waking me on those sleepless nights where only the beams of the sun could give me a sense of real life, just these simple things, you’re not easy to forget. How could I forget you with your eyes that could swallow stars, universes and galaxies. How am I supposed to hide my love? But all those times I actually did,  I was too shy to tell you how I felt, sometimes even  to scared to look upon your  lovely face, so instead I hid my love behind soft smiles and hopeful hellos. And with each wild flower that would grow, I would say to myself that I should let you go.

Do you actually remember the first time we actually talked without your crowd of friends? I reckon you don’t, because in my mind it was the foremost chapter of my story, yet for you just another page. You see, I didn’t fall in love with you once, but I fall in love with every single time you look at me. But even harder that summer morning, when the sun just started to rise, the dewdrops pearled the wood bluebells and the bees started to sing their hymn. And you asked, ‘how do I look?’ While combing nervously a hand through your golden hair. And I said, ‘the way the summer breeze kisses your bright blue eyes and how these morning sunbeams light up your hair and just the fact that you are so unknowing of your alluring appearance, makes you the most beautiful. But it only came out as ‘you look fine’.

And here I am now, writing this letter in the wild flower fields, not knowing that this spark inside my frozen body could turn into a burning fire. I never thought I would love you this much, and I never planned to have you in my mind this often. And all those twirling thoughts in my head, it makes me go mad. It’s like the breeze, – that once kissed your eyes – could knock me down. And the bees – that once sang a pleasing song –  could make me a deaf man blinded by love. This whole summer I’ve been wondering what you’d hear in the silence between us.

You were both everything I could ever want, and nothing I could ever have.

I really wish you all the happiness in the world, but if there’s any chance I could be that happiness, let me know.

Yours sincerely,

John

by Anonymous

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud (William Wordsworth)

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

By William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

_____________________________________________________

Dear Caitlyn, my sweetest love,

I have been meaning to tell you about this amazing experience I had.  A few days ago I decided to go for a walk. I walked through a forest and a field of corn, alongside a road and finally I went over the hills and through the valley near a lake, which was surrounded by another forest. That’s where I saw the most beautiful field of flowers, a field of golden daffodils, reflecting the sunlight. This field stretched forever in every direction. When I saw this I decided to stop and just lay down in the middle of those daffodils for a while and close my eyes. I listened to the breeze passing through the daffodils and it sounded like beautiful music, the music became louder and louder. Louder than the sounds of the singing birds and falling leaves, even louder than the small waves on the lake, rolling to shore. As I was listening I sunk into a very deep sleep. So deep that I thought I was in the Milky Way itself, looking at the billion stars shining so bright in there. I always imagine you being one of those and that I am a star right next to you. I miss you. I miss you so much. And there are times when I feel like I can’t live without you, that I want to be next to you back at our house in London. But whenever I feel like this when I’m in the sofa watching the open fire, I think of those golden daffodils. They remind me of you and how beautiful you can sing and dance. I did not realize that these flowers would bring me so much comfort when I’m feeling alone and yet they do bring me comfort when I miss you. They make me happy and put I smile on my face even though I feel lonely without you. And when I come back I will stay with you forever and I will take you to see those daffodils, near the hills and valley, near the forest and the lake. I’ll take you to see them, because want you to enjoy them just as much as I do. My dearest Caitlyn: I love you so much.

Yours Sincerely,

Edward

by Anonymous

 

(Extract from) The Ballad of Reading Gaol (Oscar Wilde)

(Extract from) The Ballad of Reading Gaol

by Oscar Wilde

He did not wear his scarlet coat,
For blood and wine are red,
And blood and wine were on his hands
When they found him with the dead,
The poor dead woman whom he loved,
And murdered in her bed.

He walked amongst the Trial Men
In a suit of shabby grey;
A cricket cap was on his head,
And his step seemed light and gay;
But I never saw a man who looked
So wistfully at the day.

I never saw a man who looked
With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
Which prisoners call the sky,
And at every drifting cloud that went
With sails of silver by.

I walked, with other souls in pain,
Within another ring,
And was wondering if the man had done
A great or little thing,
When a voice behind me whispered low,
“That fellow’s got to swing.”

Dear Christ! the very prison walls
Suddenly seemed to reel,
And the sky above my head became
Like a casque of scorching steel;
And, though I was a soul in pain,
My pain I could not feel.

I only knew what hunted thought
Quickened his step, and why
He looked upon the garish day
With such a wistful eye;
The man had killed the thing he loved
And so he had to die.

Yet each man kills the thing he loves
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!

_____________________________________________________

(Extract from) The Ballad of the Reading Gaol

Dear stranger,

Were you looking for this story? I guess you didn’t. Probably you were just bored, wandering upon the tiniest yellow stones and you came across this little object. I would have loved to brighten your day, by writing some words on paper. I’m afraid that is not going to happen. If you want to be cheered up, turn around, walk away and try to find some joyful happening. My story is only there for the people, that want to get a message, eventhough you haven’t got a clue what this message contains. Still interested? Maybe I should tell you I am a criminal. God, I just loved other boys. I don’t know if that even is a crime. Is it, where you come from? Anyways, that’s how I ended up between the walls of Reading Gaol.

One day, I am slumbering through my cell and all of a sudden, I hear yelling. I run outside to see what is happening. I hear that a man has been convicted. With blood on his body and wine on his hands, this man was captured alive, carrying his beloved lady. She had just been killed. They tell me the man had been drunk. He is sober right now, wearing his downtrodden suit of grey, but he can’t escape the trial, that is waiting for him. However, the man is walking as if it is the first day of spring and nothing bad can break his day. But I am looking carefully and I remark the melancholic look in his eyes.  The eyes, that are fixed at the deepblue sky and some grey clouds.
Just as I am asking the man before me what the man had misdone, I hear a rasping voice behind me say: ‘That man needs to swing!’. The reality of life in jail suddenly becomes so real to me. The place is far from pleasant…
At this point, I realise why the man has such a melancholic look and why his eyes are fixed on the sky: the man had killed one of his most beloved persons in his life. But as murder is a crime, the man has to face the consequences. Before they take his life, he suddenly feels the urge to say some valuable words: ‘Everyone of you has killed some things he loved. The only reason why you are free from guilt and I am about to be slain, is that a coward does it with the sweetest kiss and I did it with my sword!’

The last words of a criminal hunted me for the rest of my life. I couldn’t bear living with other people around me, as these words screamed out the main problem of our society. You can see this as my suicide note. I don’t want to be remembered for who I was. I want this message to be seen by as many people as possible, all over the world.
So please, pick up the bottle, roll up this letter, put it back in the bottle and put back the cork.
Throw it as far as you can,
Back into the ocean.

by Roderick Peul

When I have fears that I may cease to be (John Keats)

When I have fears that I may cease to be

by John Keats

When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain,
Before high-pilèd books, in charactery,
Hold like rich garners the full ripened grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starred face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love—then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.

_____________________________________________________

Dear George,

How are you, my brother? I’m writing you because something crossed my mind. Things haven’t been going great for me. This afternoon, I was casually sitting on my couch in front of the fireplace. A glass of fine wine on the side: a lovely, cosy evening. Well… It seemed a lovely evening. I started thinking… Thinking about death. What if I die tomorrow? Mother died, father died… Even Thomas has died. I have fears… Fears that my end is near. I have still so much to write, and so little time left. My head is full of unwritten stories, poems, letters… There are so many books to be written; holding my words like a grain silo holds grain. I want the fame. I want the recognition. I deserve it. What if I die tomorrow? I went out to get some fresh air, and look up the sky. Just to clear my head. The clouds I saw, depressed me even more. I saw clouds that floated so peacefully. It made me thinking even more. I would never get the chance to try the sweet taste of love. Not any kind of love, no, not any kind. The real kind of love, the best feeling love can give. If I die tomorrow… I can’t even get close to sparkles of that feeling when I die tomorrow. There’s too little time to find love. Never will I experience the magical feeling of blinding adoration for someone. But then I went back inside. I sat down, and my eye fell on the globe next to my sofa. And all my fear rushed out my body. Because I realised, what does it even matter? In the end, we’re all the same, little creatures subservient to the great, cruel, wide world. What’s love and fame in a world as big as ours?

It doesn’t matter, it does not.

Life was never what it seemed, not what I’ve thought.

Yours sincerely,

John

 

by Anonymous

The Lady of Shalott (Alfred, Lord Tennyson)

The Lady of Shalott (1832)

by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Part I
On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And thro’ the field the road runs by
       To many-tower’d Camelot;
The yellow-leaved waterlily
The green-sheathed daffodilly
Tremble in the water chilly
       Round about Shalott.

 

Willows whiten, aspens shiver.
The sunbeam showers break and quiver
In the stream that runneth ever
By the island in the river
       Flowing down to Camelot.
Four gray walls, and four gray towers
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
       The Lady of Shalott.

 

Underneath the bearded barley,
The reaper, reaping late and early,
Hears her ever chanting cheerly,
Like an angel, singing clearly,
       O’er the stream of Camelot.
Piling the sheaves in furrows airy,
Beneath the moon, the reaper weary
Listening whispers, ‘ ‘Tis the fairy,
       Lady of Shalott.’

 

The little isle is all inrail’d
With a rose-fence, and overtrail’d
With roses: by the marge unhail’d
The shallop flitteth silken sail’d,
       Skimming down to Camelot.
A pearl garland winds her head:
She leaneth on a velvet bed,
Full royally apparelled,
       The Lady of Shalott.

 

Part II
No time hath she to sport and play:
A charmed web she weaves alway.
A curse is on her, if she stay
Her weaving, either night or day,
       To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be;
Therefore she weaveth steadily,
Therefore no other care hath she,
       The Lady of Shalott.

 

She lives with little joy or fear.
Over the water, running near,
The sheepbell tinkles in her ear.
Before her hangs a mirror clear,
       Reflecting tower’d Camelot.
And as the mazy web she whirls,
She sees the surly village churls,
And the red cloaks of market girls
       Pass onward from Shalott.

 

Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
An abbot on an ambling pad,
Sometimes a curly shepherd lad,
Or long-hair’d page in crimson clad,
       Goes by to tower’d Camelot:
And sometimes thro’ the mirror blue
The knights come riding two and two:
She hath no loyal knight and true,
       The Lady of Shalott.

 

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror’s magic sights,
For often thro’ the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights
       And music, came from Camelot:
Or when the moon was overhead
Came two young lovers lately wed;
‘I am half sick of shadows,’ said
       The Lady of Shalott.

 

Part III
A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rode between the barley-sheaves,
The sun came dazzling thro’ the leaves,
And flam’d upon the brazen greaves
       Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A red-cross knight for ever kneel’d
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
       Beside remote Shalott.

 

The gemmy bridle glitter’d free,
Like to some branch of stars we see
Hung in the golden Galaxy.
The bridle bells rang merrily
       As he rode down from Camelot:
And from his blazon’d baldric slung
A mighty silver bugle hung,
And as he rode his armour rung,
       Beside remote Shalott.

 

All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewell’d shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather
Burn’d like one burning flame together,
       As he rode down from Camelot.
As often thro’ the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, trailing light,
       Moves over green Shalott.

 

His broad clear brow in sunlight glow’d;
On burnish’d hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow’d
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
       As he rode down from Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flash’d into the crystal mirror,
‘Tirra lirra, tirra lirra:’
       Sang Sir Lancelot.

 

She left the web, she left the loom
She made three paces thro’ the room
She saw the water-flower bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
       She look’d down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack’d from side to side;
‘The curse is come upon me,’ cried
       The Lady of Shalott.

 

Part IV
In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining,
Heavily the low sky raining
       Over tower’d Camelot;
Outside the isle a shallow boat
Beneath a willow lay afloat,
Below the carven stern she wrote,
The Lady of Shalott.

 

A cloudwhite crown of pearl she dight,
All raimented in snowy white
That loosely flew (her zone in sight
Clasp’d with one blinding diamond bright)
       Her wide eyes fix’d on Camelot,
Though the squally east-wind keenly
Blew, with folded arms serenely
By the water stood the queenly
       Lady of Shalott.

 

With a steady stony glance—
Like some bold seer in a trance,
Beholding all his own mischance,
Mute, with a glassy countenance—
       She look’d down to Camelot.
It was the closing of the day:
She loos’d the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
       The Lady of Shalott.

 

As when to sailors while they roam,
By creeks and outfalls far from home,
Rising and dropping with the foam,
From dying swans wild warblings come,
       Blown shoreward; so to Camelot
Still as the boathead wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her chanting her deathsong,
       The Lady of Shalott.

 

A longdrawn carol, mournful, holy,
She chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her eyes were darken’d wholly,
And her smooth face sharpen’d slowly,
       Turn’d to tower’d Camelot:
For ere she reach’d upon the tide
The first house by the water-side,
Singing in her song she died,
       The Lady of Shalott.

 

Under tower and balcony,
By garden wall and gallery,
A pale, pale corpse she floated by,
Deadcold, between the houses high,
       Dead into tower’d Camelot.
Knight and burgher, lord and dame,
To the planked wharfage came:
Below the stern they read her name,
The Lady of Shalott.

 

They cross’d themselves, their stars they blest,
Knight, minstrel, abbot, squire, and guest.
There lay a parchment on her breast,
That puzzled more than all the rest,
       The wellfed wits at Camelot.
‘The web was woven curiously,
The charm is broken utterly,
Draw near and fear not,—this is I,
       The Lady of Shalott.’
_____________________________________________________

Dear Sasha,

I was riding to the many-towered Camelot, through the fields, alongside the river, a river full of yellow-leaved waterlily’s and green-sheathed Daffodilly’s. Riding through the white willows and aspens. Then I saw, on the island in the river, a tower. Four grey walls and four grey towers. And there, within the tower, I saw a lady, the lady of Shalott. She was singing so beautifully, like an angel. The lady of Shalott. When I arrived in Camelot I asked about the tower and his beauty, the lady of Shalott. I asked at least five people, who did not know who I was talking about, and told me I was crazy. I almost gave up when there was an old lady, she came up to me and said; ‘The lady of Shalott? I can tell you her story.’ So happy as I was, to hear that I wasn’t the only person who has seen this beauty. We went to a pub and sat down, the old lady started telling; ‘The lady of Shalott, she shelters within the four grey walls of the tower in the river. She is dressed like a royal. She has no time to sport and play, she only weaves. She weaves a charming web. A true gift, as beautifully as that she weaves. But she never leaves the tower to share this gift. Why? She is cursed. She does not know what the curse is. The only thing she knows is that she is cursed and cannot leave her tower. That is why she keeps on weaving. She has no joy, no fear in her live. She does has a mirror. A mirror to look at the shadows. The shadows of Camelot. One day she looks into her mirror and saw something. She saw a rider coming, a knight, Sir Lancelot. Sir Lancelot rides to Camelot, singing. His black curls flowing underneath his helmet. She never saw someone like this, the lady of Shalott. She left her web and went to the window. She looked out of the window and saw Sir Lancelot riding to Camelot. The mirror shattered. The lady of Shalott knows that now the curse is upon her. She left her tower and laid down in a boat. A boat with beautiful snowy white robes. The boat sailed the river, while the lady of Shalott lays in the boat. Leaves falling on her beautiful face. The boat sailed on the river, through the willowy hills and silent fields. The lady of Shalott started to sing. She started to sing her last song. While she sang the boat sailed to Camelot. Here last song. A carol, mournful and holy. She sang until her eyes closed and her body froze. She sang until she died.’ The old lady went on and said; Then we saw her in Camelot, we saw her body, frozen, in the boat. Nobody knew who she was, nobody knew her name. The lady of Shalott. Everyone was fearful, except for Sir Lancelot. Who saw the lady of Shalott and said; ‘Such a lovely face. Let God in his mercy lend her grace.’ The lady of Shalott.’ The old lady ended her story. I was confused, after all I had seen her in her tower, singing. The old lady looked at me and said. That even though the lady of Shalott died they still hear her singing. Then the old lady left. I was flabbergasted. The next day I rode away from Camelot. And while I rode I heard her sing. The lady of Shalott.

Greetings Loes

by Loes Versteeg

Ozymandias (Percy Bysshe Shelley)

Ozymandias

by Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: `Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear —
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.’

_____________________________________________________

Letter to his Majesty the King George William Fredrick the Third,

Your Majesty, this letter is from our archaeological expedition in Egypt to inform you about the situation.

It was hot, incredibly hot. The temperatures were more than twenty degrees higher than what we’re used to in England. The sweat was dripping from my forehead and it seemed like we hadn’t moved for hours, as if we were still in the same place as miles back. Sand, sand and sand. It was all I could see. As unfortunate as I already was we had to climb the enormous mountain of almost melting sand in front of us and were about to give up our searching efforts. And out of the blue we saw two rocks peaking above the sandy hill. I wanted to sprint out of happiness of finally finding something but as exhausted as we already were we could barely walk. You wouldn’t believe me, Sire, when I say this, but they were two legs both around the size of a house. It was impossible to hide our feelings and after 10 seconds of gazing we started cheering that we found something. The body of the statue was nowhere to be seen, but the severed head lying was found moments later. His face had this emotionless look, but so much detail was carved into this once lifeless rock. A true, but cold-hearted leader is what he looked like. Like you, Your Majesty, he was the leader of an unconquerable and vast nation and still there’s only one broken statue left of this mighty empire. An entire people has disappeared from this planet. And the only record of them is the face and legs of a fallen king. This shows the importance of time. Minutes have passed while you, Your Majesty, read this, but the true power of time can’t be seen when taking these small steps. Hundreds of years ago our country didn’t exist, thousands of years ago God hadn’t created our species. That was what amazed me the most of our expedition. Time changes everything. We continued our expedition and brought the statue with us. I will write you as soon as we’ve come across more artefacts.

I have the honour to remain, Sir, Your Majesty’s most humble and obedient servant.

Yours Truly,

Albert George Cosgrove,
Leader of the King George’s expedition in Egypt.

by Anonymous

I am! (John Clare)

I Am!

By John Clare

I am—yet what I am none cares or knows;
My friends forsake me like a memory lost:
I am the self-consumer of my woes—
They rise and vanish in oblivious host,
Like shadows in love’s frenzied stifled throes
And yet I am, and live—like vapours tossed

Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of life or joys,
But the vast shipwreck of my life’s esteems;
Even the dearest that I loved the best
Are strange—nay, rather, stranger than the rest.

I long for scenes where man hath never trod
A place where woman never smiled or wept
There to abide with my Creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie
The grass below—above the vaulted sky.

_____________________________________________________

Every single person has a destiny, please forgive me for my extreme clichés, but I do believe this. And yesterday, as I turned 49, I found mine. My destiny is not like his or hers, to change the world for the better. My destiny is not to be, rather than to be.  It is not a question anymore. I solved Shakespeare’s riddle and became the king of Denmark.

Dear stranger,

Oh damned are you, unlucky reader, finder and now rightful owner of my sorrows and pain. You shall be the first and last person to know me, to know who I am. Because I am, aren’t I? I exist, don’t I? I have a shadow claiming every second of every move. Am I not able to see my reflection? May this last note of mine be the everlasting proof of my existence.

You, my dearest, surely don’t know me, yet. For no one knows anything about me, for I am a wandering soul, lost on a one-way road. I am faceless in-between the millions of faces baring even more eyes that wouldn’t find me worthy enough for a second look, if I had the pleasure of receiving the first, in the first place.

They simply don’t care; really, they don’t even try to make it look like they do. This is how unattractive I am to the world, nothing but a useless pile of flesh and bones slowly in decay.

My friends, to whom I gave this rank because they weren’t completely appalled, the first time we met, haven’t forgotten about me. For you have to know someone before you can forget him. My mother, who carried me for nine months, looked at me and said ‘I wish it were a girl’. Even the one person, who was biologically forced to love me, didn’t.

With no one to speak to, I am doomed to be the self-consumer of my woes, with the lights out, with a glass of whatever and a bottle of even more whatever. I am lonely, I guess. I should be, right? Don’t you feel sorry for me? Do you wish you could have been my friend? Please don’t. Because I am, I am alive today as I write this letter to you, stranger. I am alive like the weeds in your backyard, which grow taller and more ugly every day, yet still, are as useless as the day before. I am alive like the insect you smacked away from the fruit in your kitchen. I do no harm, yet am disgusting and you don’t want me around because I’ll make you feel uncomfortable.

I am alive, I feel my heart beating through my chest right now, it sings in tune with an 808 beat. But do I want to be alive; do I need to be alive? Who else other than me should care and yet, I myself don’t want to live… Should I? Oh why am I even asking? Don’t get me wrong; I am by no means looking for help or a reason not to end it. I will, because I want to. I have grown surer every word of this letter.

I long for long virgin beaches, which my feet would be the first to touch. I long for long starry nights nobody saw but my teary eyes and blind heart. I long for a long past history of myself. I, me, mine. Make it murder. Because I know that with or without me, you, beloved friend or fiend, will always be mine, after today. Hold me with you, woven into your scar tissue and think about me. Look up to the moon; I will be sitting there, looking at you from my own pale kingdom. Where I belong. I am the man on the moon and I will finally be recognized in my invisibility. My days will turn into the everlasting night but it won’t turn dark for a second. As a new-born I will fall asleep as the moon goes in retrograde, flowing through the star crusted skies, kissing the sun, losing gravity and finally howling back at the earth.

by Aska Hayakawa

My Last Duchess (Robert Browning)

My Last Duchess

by Robert Browning

That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall,
Looking as if she were alive. I call
That piece a wonder, now: Frà Pandolf’s hands
Worked busily a day, and there she stands.
Will ‘t please you sit and look at her? I said
‘Frà Pandolf’ by design, for never read
Strangers like you that pictured countenance,
The depth and passion of its earnest glance,
But to myself they turned (since none puts by
The curtain I have drawn for you, but I)
And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst,
How such a glance came there; so, not the first
Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, ‘t was not
Her husband’s presence only, called that spot
Of joy into the Duchess’ cheek: perhaps
Frà Pandolf chanced to say, ‘Her mantle laps
Over my lady’s wrist too much,’ or ‘Paint
Must never hope to reproduce the faint
Half-flush that dies along her throat:’ such stuff
Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough
For calling up that spot of joy. She had
A heart—how shall I say?—too soon made glad,
Too easily impressed; she liked whate’er
She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.
Sir, ‘t was all one! My favour at her breast,
The dropping of the daylight in the West,
The bough of cherries some officious fool
Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule
She rode with round the terrace—all and each
Would draw from her alike the approving speech,
Or blush, at least. She thanked men,—good! but thanked
Somehow—I know not how—as if she ranked
My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name
With anybody’s gift. Who’d stoop to blame
This sort of trifling? Even had you skill
In speech—(which I have not)—to make your will
Quite clear to such an one, and say, ‘Just this
Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss,
Or there exceed the mark’—and if she let
Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set
Her wits to yours, forsooth, and made excuse,
—E’en then would be some stooping; and I choose
Never to stoop. Oh, sir, she smiled, no doubt,
Whene’er I passed her; but who passed without
Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands;
Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands
As if alive. Will ‘t please you rise? We’ll meet
The company below then. I repeat,
The Count your master’s known munificence
Is ample warrant that no just pretence
Of mine for dowry will be disallowed;
Though his fair daughter’s self, as I avowed
At starting, is my object. Nay, we’ll go
Together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though,
Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity,
Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me!

_____________________________________________________

 

To my last Duchess,

You are missed. You are missed by your beautiful white skin, your lips red as blood. You are missed by how you were so easy-going. By how you were so easily gone. You are missed by your laugh that cuts through silence like a knife. You might be wondering how I still seem to remember every part of you, your personality and your proceedings, as if you only left this world little days ago. As it occurs, I still marvel at your looks everyday. Fra Pandolf has been so kind to immortalise you in the form of a painting, so your presence will be available by only the draw of a curtain. Though do not think that just any soul can pull said curtain; from now on I will be the only man to spectate your beauty. I must say, it was spectacular to view Pandolf’s process of painting you. From the blush on your cheeks to the way your mantle used to fall, I thought I was the only one who knew you so intimately detailed. But I guess it would be foolish to think that I, a Duke with a nine-hundred-years-old name, possessor of anything you and your family could ever love, would deserve any other ranking than all those lovely gentlemen you would ride around the gardens with, let alone get close enough to you to see how well God sculpted you. At least your limitless beauty and lack of dignity led to a beautiful painting, which I can now adore whenever I have the desire to. It is simply a great addition to my art collection. It looks beautiful besides my sculpture of Neptune. Claus of Innsbruck beautifully cast the taming of that sea-horse in bronze. I would say taming is kind of a recurring theme in my collection, although Neptune seems to be a lot more proficient at domesticating than I happen to be. Another Duchess, another try, let’s just say. I should now get back to my guests downstairs as my absence will lead to neither the growth of my marriage portion nor the increased amount of respect this young girl might still have for me. Let’s hope she’s much like you, as someday I aspire to become much as mighty as Neptune has shown himself to this world to be.

With regards,

Your Duke

by Merel Smeets

Remembrance (Emily Brontë)

Remembrance

By Emily Brontë

Cold in the earth—and the deep snow piled above thee,
Far, far removed, cold in the dreary grave!
Have I forgot, my only Love, to love thee,
Severed at last by Time’s all-severing wave?

Now, when alone, do my thoughts no longer hover
Over the mountains, on that northern shore,
Resting their wings where heath and fern-leaves cover
Thy noble heart forever, ever more?

Cold in the earth—and fifteen wild Decembers,
From those brown hills, have melted into spring:
Faithful, indeed, is the spirit that remembers
After such years of change and suffering!

Sweet Love of youth, forgive, if I forget thee,
While the world’s tide is bearing me along;
Other desires and other hopes beset me,
Hopes which obscure, but cannot do thee wrong!

No later light has lightened up my heaven,
No second morn has ever shone for me;
All my life’s bliss from thy dear life was given,
All my life’s bliss is in the grave with thee.

But, when the days of golden dreams had perished,
And even Despair was powerless to destroy,
Then did I learn how existence could be cherished,
Strengthened, and fed without the aid of joy.

Then did I check the tears of useless passion—
Weaned my young soul from yearning after thine;
Sternly denied its burning wish to hasten
Down to that tomb already more than mine.

And, even yet, I dare not let it languish,
Dare not indulge in memory’s rapturous pain;
Once drinking deep of that divinest anguish,
How could I seek the empty world again?

_____________________________________________________

Dear Anna,

With a hardened cold body he is buried in the earth as cold as he is now. Covered by snow even colder. Snow seems to cover him like time covers my memory.

Cold is the distance which separates him from me, which keeps him under the earth apart from me.

I am worried to might have forgotten him through time, since time makes forget. Time is required to forget, the two don’t go without each other.

I am worried that time has been so selfishly all demanding. That it has brutally torn apart my thoughts of him, from him.

Since time has passed and parted me from him I have stopped letting my thoughts fly towards him like birds

Fly over the mountains towards him on the northern shore where he is still covered by earth not snow anymore. Time takes away not only the seasons but also  remembrance of him I’m afraid.

Then my birds land on his grave which is now covered by another tide than winter.

My thoughts have tucked him in, but will they still be doing this?

He has now been tucked in by that same earth for fifteen years. Growing colder over the years by December’s snow,

Which was replaced fifteen times by spring. As time passes, and seasons switch each other of, my memory of him is switched of by new ones.

Am I unfaithful, anna, to may not remember him as much as I should? It would be ultimately loyal for one to always keep remembering.

This however is toilful when many years, which contain even more toil and change, pass.

Oh Anna, would he forgive me, if I were to have forgotten him?

Would he forgive me, even when time passes on. Time, which takes me further.

Would he forgive me if he knew, and understand that I would have to cope with new and other desires and hopes. That those occupy and fill my mind so that there might not be anything left to be filled by him?

Even though those hopes and desires could sometimes be dark or wrong, they won’t be able to hurt him anymore. Will they?

I do want to emphasize that I have never trusted my hart to anyone other than him, after he brightened heaven.

Not ever after him have I been enriched by a man, like nature is enriched by the sun.

Al my life light, and with that my happiness died with him.

I am unhappy ever since, but I hope my bliss brightens and warms him in his grave.

Oh dear Anna, with him I had dreams worth of gold, so beautiful.

But those faded away, and when there was no saving me from complete and utter desperation,
I realized that there is no point in desperation, I learned to appreciate existence. Because If he would be here I would appreciate it. This tells us that we should appreciate existence, hence we are sad when it is lost.

This empowered me and blissed me. Strangely without having actual joy.

But Anna I was still not fixed yet. My tears did still fell down for him.

I slowed the longing for him of my soul. I decreased sternly the burning desire to

Rush to him, and to cry in vain for his death. It seemed that when he peacefully died, my soul was torn violently from my body with him. As if I died more than he did.

However, I should be strong and do not let these thoughts take over to ruin me.

I should not let the devil like merciless pain of memory embrace me.

Because If I would, I would drown myself in the satisfying grief, pouring into my soul.

Oh Anna, how could I, empty as I now am,  live again?

Your dearest,

Emily

by Sterre Weststeyn