For William: Expostulation And A Sigh


(Dated 2/9/09, written during a bus ride).

Why, Sterling, on that old Greyhound,
Thus for the cost of half a ride,
Why, Sterling, sit you thus so down,
And think of places to hide?

Where is your spirit?–that mind unsheathed,
To Ideas depraved and forlorn!
Down!  Down!  And lay that funeral wreath
On your enemies and their scorn.

You look forward to your comfortable grave,
As if it’s the drive that ails you;
As if you were the favorite knave,
And none as despicable as you!

One late night thus, by the railroad tracks,
When life was cold and made me sigh
To me my good friend Dakota gave me my pride back
And thus I decided to try:

This boy–he can not choose but love;
We can’t tell the waves to stop crashing;
Our hearts long to soar, just like doves,
But the hunters don’t ever stop shooting.

Now I guess there is a God;
Who watches me when I cry;
That we fish for love, but only catch cod,
Doesn’t mean that we have to die.

Do you reckon, amongst this great heartbreak
Of dreams forever fading,
That our ideals have sprung a great leak,
And amongst them we are wading?

Then curse, not that you’re forlorn,
As lonely, as lonesome can be,
But think of the place you were born,
And be happy that your eyes can see.

*Based on a letter from Wordsworth to his friend.  I, like Wordsworth, feel alienated and isolated and stupid, even though I know I’m not.  Wordsworth essentially toasted Augustine bullshit with his poetry–I hope to accomplish the same against the idiotic and fleeting sentiments of today’s (slam) poetry.

All of the above recreated from my journals, despite potential embarrassment.  Here is the original letter that I worked off of:

“Expostulation And Reply” by William Wordsworth

Why, William, on that old grey stone,
Thus for the length of half a day,
Why, William, sit you thus alone,
And dream your time away?

Where are your books?–that light bequeathed
To Beings else forlorn and blind!
Up! up! and drink the spirit breathed
From dead men to their kind.

You look round on your Mother Earth,
As if she for no purpose bore you;
As if you were her first-born birth,
And none had lived before you!”

One morning thus, by Esthwaite lake,
When life was sweet, I knew not why,
To me my good friend Matthew spake,
And thus I made reply:

The eye–it cannot choose but see;
We cannot bid the ear be still;
Our bodies feel, where’er they be,
Against or with our will.

Nor less I deem that there are Powers
Which of themselves our minds impress;
That we can feed this mind of ours
In a wise passiveness.

Think you, ‘mid all this mighty sum
Of things for ever speaking,
That nothing of itself will come,
But we must still be seeking?

–Then ask not wherefore, here, alone,
Conversing as I may,
I sit upon this old grey stone,
And dream my time away.

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