Cortez the Killer
Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage.

International Association for the Study of Pain

i. e. Life


Partial Solar Eclipse to Dazzle US on Thursday
There was never a sound beside the wood but one,
And there was my long scythe whispering to the ground.
What was it it whispered? I knew not well myself;
Perhaps it was something about the heat of the sun,
Something, perhaps, about the lack of sound— 
And that was why it whispered and did not speak.
It was no dream of the gift of idle hours,
Or easy gold at the hand of fay or elf:
Anything more than the truth would have seemed too weak
To the earnest love that laid the swale in rows,
Not without feeble-pointed spikes of flowers
(Pale orchises), and scared a bright green snake.
The fact is the sweetest dream that labor knows.
My long scythe whispered and left the hay to make.
Robert Frost, Mowing
The Hired Man and Other People
We forgive only madmen and children for being frank with us; others, if they have the audacity to imitate them, will regret it sooner or later.
E. M. Cioran, The Trouble With Being Born
A blind man, authentically blind for once, held out his hand: in his posture, his rigidity, there was something that caught you, that made you hold your breath. He was handing you his blindness.
E. M. Cioran, The Trouble With Being Born
When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy’s swinging them.
But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay.
Ice-storms do that. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun’s warmth makes them shed crystal shells
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust— 
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You’d think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
So low for long, they never right themselves:
You may see their trunks arching in the woods
Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
Before them over their head to dry in the sun.
But I was going to say when Truth broke in
With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm
I should prefer to have some boy bend them
As he went out and in to fetch the cows— 
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
Whose only play was what he found himself,
Summer or winter, and could play alone.
One by one he subdued his father’s trees
By riding them down over and over again
Until he took the stiffness out of them,
And not one but hung limp, not one was left
For him to conquer. He learned all there was
To learn about not launching out too soon
And so not carrying the tree away
Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise
To the top branches, climbing carefully
With the same pains you use to fill a cup
Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,
Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.
So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.
It’s when I’m weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig’s having lashed across it open.
I’d like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth’s the right place for love:
I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.
I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.
Robert Frost, Birches
The Hired Man and Other People
The more laden he is with years, the more readily he speaks of his death as a distant, quite unlikely event. Life is now such a habit that he has become unfit for death.
E. M. Cioran, The Trouble With Being Born

The bearer of evil tidings,
When he was halfway there,
Remembered that evil tidings
Where a dangerous thing to bear.

So when he came to the parting
Where one road led to the throne
And one went off to the mountains
And into the wild unknown,

He took the one to the mountains.
He ran through the Vale of Cashmere,
He ran though the rhododendrons
Till he came to the land of Pamir.

And there in a precipice valley
A girl of his age he met
Took him home to her bower,
Or he might be running yet.

She taught him her tribe’s religion:
How ages and ages since
A princess en route from China
To marry a Persian prince

Had been found with child; and her army
Had come to a troubled halt.
And though a god was the father
And nobody else at fault,

It had seemed discreet to remain there
And neither go on nor back.
So they stayed and declared a village
There in the land of the Yak.

And the child that came of the princess
Established a royal line,
And his mandates were given heed to
Because he was born divine.

And that was why there were people
On one Himalayan shelf;
And the bearer of evil tidings
Decided to stay there himself.

At least he had this in common
With the race he chose to adopt:
They had both of them had their reasons
For stopping where they had stopped.

As for his evil tidings,
Belshazzar’s overthrow,
Why hurry to tell Belshazzar
What soon enough he would know?

Robert Frost, The Bearer of Evil Tidings
The Code and Other Stories
However disabused one may be, it is impossible to live without any hope at all. We always keep one, unwittingly, and this unconscious hope makes up for all the explicit others we have rejected, exhausted.
E. M. Cioran, The Trouble With Being Born
Paradox is not suited to burials, nor to weddings or births, in fact. Sinister—or grotesque—events require commonplaces; the terrible, like the painful, accommodates only the cliché.
E. M. Cioran, The Trouble With Being Born
To realize, in rage and desolation alike, that nature, as Bossuet says, will not long grant us “this morsel of matter she lends.”—This morsel of matter: by dint of pondering it we reach peace, though a peace it would be better never to have known.
E. M. Cioran, The Trouble With Being Born

You like to hear about gold.
A king filled his prison room
As full as the room could hold
To the top of his reach on the wall
With every known shape of the stuff.
‘Twas to buy himself off his doom.
But it wasn’t ransom enough.
His captors accepted it all,
But didn’t let go of the king.
They made him send out a call
To his subjects to gather them more.
And his subjects wrung all they could wring
Out of temple and palace and store.
But when there seemed no more to bring,
His captors convicted the king
Of once having started a war,
And strangled the wretch with a string.

But really that gold was not half
That a king might have hoped to compel— 
Not a half, not a third, not a tithe.
The king had scarce ceased to writhe,
When he gave a terrible laugh,
Like a manhole opened to Hell.
If gold pleased the conqueror, well,
That gold should be the one thing
The conqueror henceforth should lack.

They gave me no more thought to the king.
All joined in the game of hide-gold.
They swore all the gold should go back
Deep into the earth whence it came.
Their minds ran on cranny and crack.
All joined in the maddening game.
The tale is still boastingly told
Of many a treasure by name
That vanished into the black
And put out its light for the foe.

That self-sack and self-overthrow,
That was the splendidest sack
Since the forest Germans sacked Rome
And took the gold candlesticks home.

One Inca prince on the rack,
And late in his last hour alive,
Told them in what lake to dive
To seek what they seemed so to want.
They dived and nothing was found.
He told them to dive till they drowned.
The whole fierce conquering pack
Hunted and tortured and raged.
There were suns of story and vaunt
They searched for into Brazil
Their tongues hanging out unassuaged.

But the conquering grew meek and still.
They slowly and silently aged.
They kept their secretes and died,
Maliciously satisfied.
One knew of a burial hole
In the floor of a tribal cave,
Where under deep ash and charcoal
And cracked bones, human and beast,
The midden of feast upon feast,
Was coiled in its last resting grave.
The great treasure wanted the most,
The great thousand-linked gold chain,
Each link of a hundred weight,
That once between post and post
(In-leaning under the strain),
And looped ten times back and forth,
Had served as a palace gate.
Some said it had gone to the coast,
Some over the mountains east,
Some into the country north,
On the backs of a single-filed host,
Commanded by one sun-priest
And raising a dust with a train
Of flashing links in the sun.
No matter what some may say.
(The saying is never done.)
There bright in the filth it lay
Untarnished by rust and decay.
And be all plunders curst.

"The best way to hate is the worst.
‘Tis to find what the hated need,
Never mind of what actual worth,
And wipe that out of the earth.
Let them die of unsatisfied greed,
Of unsatisfied love of display,
Of unsatisfied love of the high,
Unvulgar, unsoiled, and ideal.
Let their trappings be taken away.
Let them suffer starvation and die
Of being brought down to the real.”

Robert Frost, The Vindictives
The Code and Other Stories
Grievances of every kind pass, but their source abides, and nothing has any effect on it: unassailable and unvarying, it is our fatum.
E. M. Cioran, The Trouble With Being Born

You guys!  We are so VERY excited to be the ones to announce this year’s National Book Award finalists! Check out the full list here.


You guys!  We are so VERY excited to be the ones to announce this year’s National Book Award finalists! Check out the full list here.

dailynietzsche: “What we men of the historical sense find most difficult to grasp, to feel, to taste, and to love, is precisely the perfection and ultimate maturity of every culture and art. Our great virtue is necessarily opposed to good taste, at least to the very best taste.”
—F. Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, §224 (edited excerpt).