10 December 2011

ghosts of Christmas Past

 Grandeur of Ghosts~ Siegfried Sassoon

When I have heard small talk about great men  
I climb to bed; light my two candles; then
Consider what was said; and put aside
What Such-a-one remarked and Someone-else replied.

They have spoken lightly of my deathless friends,
(Lamps for my gloom, hands guiding where I stumble,)  
Quoting, for shallow conversational ends,
What Shelley shrilled, what Blake once wildly muttered ….

How can they use such names and be not humble?  
I have sat silent; angry at what they uttered.
The dead bequeathed them life; the dead have said  
What these can only memorize and mumble.

painting by Boris Koustodiev, a portrait of Fyodor Chaliapin 1921




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