Warning

I prefer to see myself as the Janus, the two-faced god who is half Pollyanna and half Cassandra, warning of the future and perhaps living too much in the past

In me was shaping a yearning for a kind of consciousness, a mode of being that the way of life about me had said could not be, must not be, and upon which the penalty of death had been placed. Somewhere in the dead of the southern night my life had switched onto the wrong track and without my knowing it, the locomotive of my heart was rushing down a dangerously steep slope, heading for a collision, heedless of the warning red lights that blinked all about me, the sirens and the ells and the screams that filled the air.

We engage in an act of poetic meaning-making forewarned and forearmed. The warning is necessary: readers will have to roll up their sleeves and collaborate meaningfully with the poet to make the poem. Hence, the poet needs to play fair: leave the right margins unjustified and lots of white space around the piece. That signifies" Poem: Beware. Reader, if you are not willing to do your part, turn the page."

Poems omit, hint, and sometimes -- as Plato remarked -- they may even lie. The reader has to accept that the writer is not exactly playing fair. But the reader has been fairly warned and should know what is expected and be willing to provide it, as the poet took special pains to provide something worth struggling with. The two thus form co-contractors, bound to work together to make the poem.

As the servant longs for the master’s hand, so craves the cantor’s soul,
O extend Thy mercy upon him, rend his debt-recording scroll.
"Unto Me return, then will I to thee"—were this Thy word unsaid,
Like a captain humbled while at his post he now would droop his head.
To Thy servant, Lord, Thou wilt surely ope the penitential way,
May his fruit be sweet as he stands to lead our prayers to Thee to-day.
As we watch our brother, behold, we note the grey that streaks his hair,
And his heart a-swim in a sense of sin as praying stands he there.
Let the fervent breath of Thy suppliant be witness for his heart,
Let him but return to Thee this once, he never will depart.

We believe that civilization has been created under the pressure of the exigencies of life at the cost of satisfaction of the instincts.

The ruling is a victory of history over hate, ... Today's decision definitely places Irving where he belongs -- not as a historian, but as a leading apologist for those who seek to whitewash the most heinous crime in human history.

But I think of all the settings that we used, the lighthouse plays were the best. There is something about a lighthouse that you don’t get in a modern drawing room. What it is, I don’t know; but there’s a difference. I always have liked a lighthouse play, and never have enjoyed acting so much, have never thrown myself into acting so deeply, as in a play of that sort.

Your life is short, your duties many, your assistance great, and your reward sure; therefore faint not, hold on and hold up, in ways of well-doing, and heaven shall make amends for all.

I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature.

I know it will give great offence to the New England clergy, but the advocate of religious freedom is to expect neither peace nor forgiveness from them.

Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is no more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifying to man, more repugnant to reason, and more contradictory to itself than this thing called Christianity. Too absurd for belief, too impossible to convince, and too inconsistent for practice, it renders the heart torpid or produces only atheists or fanatics. As an engine of power, it serves the purpose of despotism, and as a means of wealth, the avarice of priests, but so far as respects the good of man in general it leads to nothing here or hereafter.

Your tears come easy, when you're young, and beginning the world. Your tears come easy, when you're old, and leaving it. I burst out crying.

Absence makes the heart forget. – African Proverb

Argue not concerning God,…re-examine all that you have been told at church or school or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your soul…

When one has great gifts, what answer to the meaning of existence should one require beyond the right to exercise them?

And the dream that our mind had sketched in haste Shall others continue, but never complete. For none upon earth can achieve his scheme; The best as the worst are futile here: We wake at the self-same point of the dream,-- All is here begun, and finished elsewhere.

There are some men whom a staggering emotional shock, so far from making them mental invalids for life, seems, on the other hand, to awaken, to galvanize, to arouse into an almost incredible activity of soul.

In theory, Equal Time for Nutjobs should be harmless. The people being interviewed are obviously out of their gourds. The problem is that a Mass Media mention gives them instant credibility. The media audience automatically assumes that the Mass Media wouldn’t give coverage to anything they knew was patently false.

And there was no Camelot now -- now that no Queen was there, all white and gold, under an oaktree with another sunlight sifting itself in silence on her glory through the dark leaves above her where she sat, smiling at what she feared, and fearing least what most there was to fear.

Technology can be equally good and bad, based on who uses it.