Five Branch Tree



  • [Cheyenne Women in the Robes of a Secret Society; Leonard Baskin (1993) ]...

    Not To Live
    --John Berryman ........................
    ......................................................(Jamestown 1957)

    It kissed us, soft, to cut our throats, this coast,
    like a malice of the lazy King. I hunt,
    & hunt! but find here what to kill? --nothing is blunt,
    but phantoming uneases I find. Ghost
    on ghost precedes of all most scared us, most
    we fled. Howls fail upon this secret, far air: grunt,
    shaming for food; you must. I love the King
    & it was not I who strangled at the toast
    but a flux of a free & dying adjutant:
    God be with him. He & God be with us all,
    for we are not to live, I cannot wring,
    like laundry, blue my soul?indecisive thing . .
    From undergrowth & over odd birds call
    and who would starv'd so survive? God save the King.


    Evidence of cannibalism at Jamestown (via ourworldsmysteries):
    Scientists said... ....they have found the first solid archaeological evidence that some of the earliest American colonists at Jamestown, Va., survived harsh conditions by turning to cannibalism. 
    For years, there have been tales of the starving English settlers resorting to eating dogs, mice, snakes and shoe leather at Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in America. There were also written accounts of settlers eating their own dead, but archaeologists had been skeptical of those stories. 
    But now, the Smithsonian?s National Museum of Natural History and archaeologists from Jamestown are announcing the discovery of the bones of a 14-year-old girl that show clear signs that she was cannibalized. Evidence indicates clumsy chops to the body and head, and it appears the girl was already dead at the time. 
    ?Now whether she was better roasted, boiled or carbonado?d [barbecued], I know not.? 
    .....--Capt. John Smith, the colony?s most famous leader









  • so many selves(so many fiends and gods
    each greedier than every)is a man
    (so easily one in another hides;
    yet man can,being all,escape from none) 
    so huge a tumult is the simplest wish:
    so pitiless a massacre the hope
    most innocent(so deep's the mind of flesh
    and so awake what waking calls asleep) 
    so never is most lonely man alone
    (his briefest breathing lives some planet's year,
    his longest life's a heartbeat of some sun;
    his least unmotion roams the youngest star) 
    how should a fool that calls him 'I' presume
    to comprehend not numerable whom? 
    --E E Cummings








  • Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
    That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
    But on earth indifference is the least
    We have to dread from man or beast. 
    How should we like it were stars to burn
    With a passion for us we could not return?
    If equal affection cannot be,
    Let the more loving one be me. 
    Admirer as I think I am
    Of stars that do not give a damn,
    I cannot, now I see them, say
    I missed one terribly all day. 
    Were all stars to disappear or die,
    I should learn to look at an empty sky
    And feel its total dark sublime,
    Though this might take me a little time. 
    --W H Auden








  • ..........That the absence of the sun
    Is not the cause of Night--
    .....Forasmuch as this light is
    ...............So great 

    ..........It may illuminate the Earth
    all over at once..........but
    .....That Night is brought on
    ..............By the 
    .. 
    ........Influence of dark Stars--
    That ray out darkness upon
    .....The Earth, as the sun
    ..............Does Light. 

    ..........--Josť Garcia Villa



    ( As adapted from The Notebooks
    of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, vol 1 )











  • ....What potion should I give the night so she?ll always wonder?
    ....Her pounding heart?s a rider galloping from the burning wood.

    ....Maybe my pharmacist is awake the next street over?
    ....In a crucible of? bone, snake tears mixed with herbs.

    ....Should I hurry? Call the doctor? A heart like hers is rare.
    ....And to tell the truth, if it shattered, what would I do?

    ....--Abraham Sutzkever (trans by Zackary Sholem Berger)


    [via poetryfoundation.org]