Influences

“Doubt not, O poet, but persist.  Say, ‘It is in me, and shall out.’  Stand there, balked and dumb, stuttering and stammering, hissed and hooted, stand and strive, until at last rage draw out of thee that dream-power which every night shows thee is thine own…”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

_______________________
Astrophel and Stella

Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show,
That she, dear she, might take some pleasure of my pain,
Pleasure might cause her read, reading might make her know,
Knowledge might pity win, and pity grace obtain,—
I sought fit words to paint the blackest face of woe ;
Studying inventions fine, her wits to entertain,
Oft turning others’ leaves to see if thence would flow
Some fresh and fruitful showers upon my sun-burned brain.
But words came halting forth, wanting invention’s stay ;
Invention, nature’s child, fled step-dame Study’s blows,
And others’ feet still seemed but strangers in my way.
Thus, great with child to speak, and helpless in my throes,
Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite,
Fool, said my muse to me, look in thy heart and write.

Sir Philip Sidney
1554 – 1586

______________________
Mountain Dreamer Speaks

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.
I doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain! I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it. I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, or to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. I want to know if you can be faithful and therefore be trustworthy. I want to know if you can see beauty even when it is not pretty everyday, and if you can source your life on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon.
It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after a night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done for the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

Oriah ~ Mountain Dreamer ~ Indian Elder

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Sweet Afton

Flow gently, sweet Afton! amang thy green braes,
Flow gently, I’ll sing thee a song in thy praise;
My Mary’s asleep by thy murmuring stream,
Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream.

Thou stockdove whose echo resounds thro’ the glen,
Ye wild whistling blackbirds in yon thorny den,
Thou green-crested lapwing thy screaming forbear,
I charge you, disturb not my slumbering Fair.

How lofty, sweet Afton, thy neighbouring hills,
Far mark’d with the courses of clear, winding rills;
There daily I wander as noon rises high,
My flocks and my Mary’s sweet cot in my eye.

How pleasant thy banks and green valleys below,
Where, wild in the woodlands, the primroses blow;
There oft, as mild Ev’ning weeps over the lea,
The sweet-scented birk shades my Mary and me.

Thy crystal stream, Afton, how lovely it glides,
And winds by the cot where my Mary resides;
How wanton thy waters her snowy feet lave,
As, gathering sweet flowerets, she stems thy clear wave.

Flow gently, sweet Afton, amang thy green braes,
Flow gently, sweet river, the theme of my lays;
My Mary’s asleep by thy murmuring stream,
Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream.

Robert Burns – 1791

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Walk Across Mojave

I have crossed the desert in the California sun
Walked across Mojave just to watch its shadows run
Hiked atop the Rocky Mountains climbing just for fun
Climbing…. Higher… higher…

I have eaten words I wished that I had never said
Seen my friends give up their lives to walk among the dead
Laughed at my own epitaph it’s carved upon my head
Craving… release me… release me…

Cannot count the thunder claps the clouds move much too fast
Cannot drink the summer rains for dreaming of the past
Autumn winds have blown away and winter’s come at last
Craving… release me… release me…

Don Arterburn

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The Poet

Thou, who wouldst wear the name
Of poet mid thy brethren of mankind,
And clothe in words of flame
Thoughts that shall live within the general mind!
Deem not the framing of a deathless lay
The pastime of a drowsy summer day.

But gather all thy powers,
And wreak them on the verse that thou dost weave,
And in thy lonely hours,
At silent morning or at wakeful eve,
While the warm current tingles through thy veins
Set forth the burning words in fluent strains.

No smooth array of phrase
Artfully sought and ordered though it be,
Which the cold rhymer lays
Upon his page with languid industry
Can wake the listless pulse to livelier speed,
Or fill with sudden tears the eyes that read.

The secret wouldst thou know
To touch the heart or fire the blood at will?
Let thine own eyes o’erflow;
Let thy lips quiver with the passionate thrill;
Seize the great thought, ere yet its power be past,
And bind, in words, the fleet emotion fast.

Then, should thy verse appear
Halting and harsh, and all unaptly wrought,
Touch the crude line with fear,
Save in the moment of impassioned thought;
Then summon back the original glow and mend
The strain with rapture that with fire was penned.

Yet let no empty gust
Of passion find an utterance in thy lay,
A blast that whirls the dust
Along the howling street and dies away;
But feelings of calm power and mighty sweep,
Like currents journeying through the windless deep.

Seek’st thou, in living lays,
To limn the beauty of the earth and sky?
Before thine inner gaze
Let all that beauty in clear vision lie,
Look on it with exceeding love, and write
The words inspired by wonder and delight.

Of tempest wouldst thou sing,
Or tell of battles–make thyself a part
Of the great tumult; cling
To the tossed wreck with terror in thy heart;
Scale, with the assault host, the rampart’s height
And strike and struggle in the thickest fight.

So shalt thou frame a lay
That haply may endure from age to age,
And they who read shall say;
What witchery hangs upon this poet’s page!
What art is this the written spells to find
That sway from mood to mood the willing mind!

1863
by William Cullen Bryant

6 responses to “Influences

  1. tjtherien

    very interesting literary influences some of them I may have guessed by reading the limited amount of your writing I had but a few I would have never guessed…

  2. Matrone Bell

    My favorite was ~ Mountain Dreamer ~ Indian Elder, very passionate and compelling.

  3. Yeah – I am deeply moved by the Mountain Dreamer. Try to live my life by such ideals.

  4. Thanks for sharing these, they are great.
    This particular morning the Mountain Dreamer speaks to me.

  5. I am delighted to have found your works on word press. I look forward to a nice cup of tea later today and exploring further.

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