I Cannot understand

Homer, The Iliad. Trans. E. V. Rieu, (New York: Penguin Books, 1950), XI. 622-698:

‘I cannot understand,’ replied Nestor the Gerenian horse-man, ‘why Achilles is so much concerned about a casualty here or there, while ignoring the disaster that the whole army has suffered. Our very best are lying by the ships wounded by arrows or spears. The mighty Diomedes son of Tydeus has been hit; Odysseus the great spearman has been wounded; Eurypylus too has had an arrow in his thigh; and here is another whom I have just brought off the field hit by an arrow from a bow. Yet Achilles, though he is a fighter too, has no concern or pity for the Danaans. Is he waiting till in spite of all we can do our gallant ships go up in flames besides the sea and our army is destroyed piecemeal?

Invictus by William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me, 
      Black as the pit from pole to pole, 
I thank whatever gods may be 
      For my unconquerable soul. 

In the fell clutch of circumstance 
      I have not winced nor cried aloud. 
Under the bludgeonings of chance 
      My head is bloody, but unbowed. 

Beyond this place of wrath and tears 
      Looms but the Horror of the shade, 
And yet the menace of the years 
      Finds and shall find me unafraid. 

It matters not how strait the gate, 
      How charged with punishments the scroll, 
I am the master of my fate, 
      I am the captain of my soul. 

Dead Arms & Dead Legs by Eliot Sumner

I occupy these feet with these dead arms and these dead legs
The brambles catch and tighten and they pull me into bed
This is no retaliation – this is the universe
I imagine myself walking here 5 million years before…
I’m so intrigued by this one – it’s sharp around the sides
There’s a danger to your loving, and my loves been compromised

I have been out walking with these Dead Arms & Dead Legs
And the mysteries of the universe are patterned in my head
The terrain becomes unbearable – too steep to stick your heel
I imagine myself here again in 50 million years

I run to the left… I run to the right
And all my fears become a life
And what is left… and who are you in the end?

I demonstrate my actions in the grace of your defeat
And all things that were left unsaid internally repeat
And the pain becomes tyrannical – 400 tonnes of shame
As I walk into a perfect storm again
I take the burden on myself

I run to the left… I run to the right
And all my fears become a life
And what is left… and who are you in the end?

I’ve entertained their feeling maybe once but never twice
And you feel the world is ending, nothing else can suffice
If it fills that void you bear, if that something wasn’t free
How can I begin to blame you, you are the prisoner in me?

So I run to the left… I run to the right
And all my fears are so alive
And what is left… and who are you in the end?
I run to the left… I run to the right
And all my fears are so alive
And what is left… and who are we in the end?

The State is an Artificial Body

Charles Sumner, “Oration,” The Grandeur of Nations: An Oration, (Boston: The American Peace Society, 1845), p.43:

The old idea, still too much received, is, that man is made for the State, and not the State for man. Far otherwise is the truth. The State is an artificial body, intended for the security of the people. How constantly do we find, in human history, that the people have been sacrificed for the State; to build the Roman name, to secure to England the trident of the sea. This is to sacrifice the greater for the less; for the fleeting possessions of the earth to barter the immortal soul. Let it be remembered that the state is not worth preserving at the cost of the lives and happiness of the people.