By Robert Browning
While I am I, and you are you,
So long as the world contains us both,
Me the loving and you the loth,
While the one eludes, must the other pursue.
My life is a fault at last, I fear:
It seems too much like a fate, indeed!
Though I do my best I shall scarce succeed.
But what if I fail of my purpose here?
It is but to keep the nerves at strain,
To dry one’s eyes and laugh at a fall,
And, baffled, get up and begin again,—
So the chase takes up one’s life, that’s all.
While, look but once from your farthest bound
At me so deep in the dust and dark,
No sooner the old hope goes to ground
Than a new one, straight to the self-same mark,
I shape me—
Robert Browning was born in Camberwell, England, and his education mostly took place among his father’s 6,000-book library. As a writer, Browning was regarded as a failure for many years, living in the shadow of his wife Elizabeth Barrett Browning. However, late in life Browning’s brilliant use of dramatic monologue made him a literary icon. Today, his most widely read work is Men and Women, a collection of dramatic monologues dedicated to his wife.
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What is he buzzing in my ears?
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Ah, reverend sir, not I!
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It’s true: I almost never
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and complete surrender. That’s
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Back Up Quick They’re Hippies
That was the year we drove
into the commune in Cornwall.
“Jesus Jim,” mam said,
“back up quick they’re hippies.”
Through the car window,
tents, row after row, flaps open,
long-haired men and women
curled around each other like babies
and the babies themselves
wandered naked across the grass.
In the warmth of night I put feet to my plan: waited
for my brothers to sleep. They’d spent the day
sharpening their hooks, repairing the great net,
filling gourds with fresh water. They’d bundled
taro wrapped in leaves sitting below the cross seats.