Nothing New by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Oh, what am I but an engine, shod 
With muscle and flesh, by the hand of God, 
Speeding on through the dense, dark night, 
Guided alone by the soul’s white light. 

Often and often my mad heart tires, 
And hates its way with a bitter hate, 
And longs to follow its own desires, 
And leave the end in the hands of fate. 

O, mighty engine of steel and steam; 
O, human engine of blood and bone, 
Follow the white light’s certain beam— 
There lies safety, and there alone. 

The narrow track of fearless truth, 
Lit by the soul’s great eye of light, 
O passionate heart of restless youth, 
Alone will carry you through the night.

Afterthought

At the micro-sociological level, most humans are doing better than ever. Yet there is so much confusion, suffering
and bitter resentment. How many beautiful, privileged people have I not heard whisper to me, late at night, that if
it were up to them, they would never have been born; that they are angry with the world; that they were let down;
that they live with guilt and self-doubt; that their friends and families are hypocrites? These are signs of the
alienation suffered by modern human beings.

Hanzi Freinacht

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.