Friday, March 16, 2007

Sword Blades

    "He took a shagreen letter case
    From his pocket, and with charming grace
    Offered me a printed card.
    I read the legend, "Ephraim Bard.
    Dealer in Words." And that was all.
    I stared at the letters, whimsical
    Indeed, or was it merely a jest.
    He answered my unasked request:
    "All books are either dreams or swords,
    You can cut, or you can drug, with words.
    My firm is a very ancient house,
    The entries on my books would rouse
    Your wonder, perhaps incredulity.
    I inherited from an ancestry
    Stretching remotely back and far,
    This business, and my clients are
    As were those of my grandfather's days,
    Writers of books, and poems, and plays.
    My swords are tempered for every speech,
    For fencing wit, or to carve a breach
    Through old abuses the world condones.
    In another room are my grindstones and hones,
    For whetting razors and putting a point
    On daggers, sometimes I even anoint
    The blades with a subtle poison, so
    A twofold result may follow the blow.
    These are purchased by men who feel
    The need of stabbing society's heel,
    Which egotism has brought them to think
    Is set on their necks. I have foils to pink
    An adversary to quaint reply,
    And I have customers who buy
    Scalpels with which to dissect the brains
    And hearts of men. Ultramundanes
    Even demand some finer kinds
    To open their own souls and minds.
    But the other half of my business deals
    With visions and fancies. Under seals,
    Sorted, and placed in vessels here,
    I keep the seeds of an atmosphere.
    "



Amy Lowell, Sword Blades and Poppy Seed


Read the full text at Project Gutenberg



8 comments:

Anonymous said...

We live within a daylight world
Lit by the sun, where winds unfurled
Sweep clouds to scatter pattering rain,
And then blow back the sun again.
I sell my fancies, or my swords,
To those who care far more for words,
Ideas, of which they are the sign,
Than any other life-design.

Anonymous said...

"Through old abuses the world condones".

-sad, but true :-(

Klaus

Anonymous said...

Through old abuses...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Em5cxBMZ-hI&mode=related&search=

This is sick!

Klaus

QUASAR9 said...

"But the other half of my business deals
With visions and fancies. Under seals,
Sorted, and placed in vessels here,
I keep the seeds of an atmosphere. "


Magic is in the Air
Words with such flair

Bee, Wishing you a great weekend!

Bee said...

Hi Klaus,

Du meine Güte! I have tried to be shocked but I've seen similar stuff repeatedly. It's amazing how naive these people are. The whole purpose of teaching history is to learn from mistakes. How can that work if you leave out the mistakes and teach your pupils the SS sang 'Erika'? (I wonder if any of the guys knew they were singing about Blümchen). It reminds me of that scary novel by Stephen King about the teenager who gets obsessed with the Nazis - forgot the name. It was one of the seasons-series I think. Best

B.

Bee said...

Hi Quasar :-)

Magic is in the Air
Words with such flair


Thanks! A terrific weekend to you too!

-B.

Rae Ann said...

"In another room are my grindstones and hones,
For whetting razors and putting a point
On daggers, sometimes I even anoint
The blades with a subtle poison, so
A twofold result may follow the blow"

The pen is mightier than the sword, especially when poisoned. ;-)

Thomas D said...

Hmm, I never heard of Lowell before. At first I thought it might be Browning... interesting.