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I have a framed copy of this poem in the foyer of my RL home. My father got a telescope when I was young. Some of my best conversations with him over nearly 40 years were at the eyepiece of that glorious tool. When other children teased me about my freckles, Dad revealed how special they were. You see, those dark marks on my skin are dark because the light inside me escapes through them to create... the stars in the sky. I know this is true for when I look through that telescope I feel as if I am out there, among the stars.

The Star-splitter


"You know Orion always comes up sideways. 
Throwing a leg up over our fence of mountains, 
And rising on his hands, he looks in on me 
Busy outdoors by lantern-light with something 
I should have done by daylight, and indeed, 
After the ground is frozen, I should have done 
Before it froze, and a gust flings a handful 
Of waste leaves at my smoky lantern chimney 
To make fun of my way of doing things, 
Or else fun of Orion's having caught me. 
Has a man, I should like to ask, no rights 
These forces are obliged to pay respect to?" 
So Brad McLaughlin mingled reckless talk 
Of heavenly stars with hugger-mugger farming, 
Till having failed at hugger-mugger farming, 
He burned his house down for the fire insurance 
And spent the proceeds on a telescope 
To satisfy a lifelong curiosity 
About our place among the infinities. 

"What do you want with one of those blame things?" 
I asked him well beforehand. "Don't you get one!" 

"Don't call it blamed; there isn't anything 
More blameless in the sense of being less 
A weapon in our human fight," he said. 
"I'll have one if I sell my farm to buy it." 
There where he moved the rocks to plow the ground 
And plowed between the rocks he couldn't move, 
Few farms changed hands; so rather than spend years 
Trying to sell his farm and then not selling, 
He burned his house down for the fire insurance 
And bought the telescope with what it came to. 
He had been heard to say by several: 
"The best thing that we're put here for's to see; 
The strongest thing that's given us to see with's 
A telescope. Someone in every town 
Seems to me owes it to the town to keep one. 
In Littleton it may as well be me." 
After such loose talk it was no surprise 
When he did what he did and burned his house down. 

Mean laughter went about the town that day 
To let him know we weren't the least imposed on, 
And he could wait—we'd see to him tomorrow. 
But the first thing next morning we reflected 
If one by one we counted people out 
For the least sin, it wouldn't take us long 
To get so we had no one left to live with. 
For to be social is to be forgiving. 
Our thief, the one who does our stealing from us, 
We don't cut off from coming to church suppers, 
But what we miss we go to him and ask for. 
He promptly gives it back, that is if still 
Uneaten, unworn out, or undisposed of. 
It wouldn't do to be too hard on Brad 
About his telescope. Beyond the age 
Of being given one for Christmas gift, 
He had to take the best way he knew how 
To find himself in one. Well, all we said was 
He took a strange thing to be roguish over. 
Some sympathy was wasted on the house, 
A good old-timer dating back along; 
But a house isn't sentient; the house 
Didn't feel anything. And if it did, 
Why not regard it as a sacrifice, 
And an old-fashioned sacrifice by fire, 
Instead of a new-fashioned one at auction? 

Out of a house and so out of a farm 
At one stroke (of a match), Brad had to turn 
To earn a living on the Concord railroad, 
As under-ticket-agent at a station 
Where his job, when he wasn't selling tickets, 
Was setting out up track and down, not plants 
As on a farm, but planets, evening stars 
That varied in their hue from red to green. 

He got a good glass for six hundred dollars. 
His new job gave him leisure for stargazing. 
Often he bid me come and have a look 
Up the brass barrel, velvet black inside, 
At a star quaking in the other end. 
I recollect a night of broken clouds 
And underfoot snow melted down to ice, 
And melting further in the wind to mud. 
Bradford and I had out the telescope. 
We spread our two legs as it spread its three, 
Pointed our thoughts the way we pointed it, 
And standing at our leisure till the day broke, 
Said some of the best things we ever said. 
That telescope was christened the Star-Splitter, 
Because it didn't do a thing but split 
A star in two or three the way you split 
A globule of quicksilver in your hand 
With one stroke of your finger in the middle. 
It's a star-splitter if there ever was one, 
And ought to do some good if splitting stars 
'Sa thing to be compared with splitting wood. 

We've looked and looked, but after all where are we? 
Do we know any better where we are, 
And how it stands between the night tonight 
And a man with a smoky lantern chimney? 
How different from the way it ever stood?

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From Far, From Eve and Morning
 by A. E. Housman
From far, from eve and morning 
And yon twelve-winded sky, 
The stuff of life to knit me 
Blew hither: here am I. 

Now-- for a breath I tarry 
Nor yet disperse apart-- 
Take my hand quick and tell me, 
What have you in your heart. 

Speak now, and I will answer; 
How shall I help you, say; 
Ere to the wind's twelve quarters 
I take my endless way.
Edited by Garnet Psaltery
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I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:

Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee;

And live alone in the bee-loud glade.


And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,

Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;

There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,

And evening full of the linnet’s wings.


I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,

I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

W.B. Yeats

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Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister

Robert Browning, 1812 - 1889

Gr-r-r--there go, my heart’s abhorrence!
   Water your damned flower-pots, do!
If hate killed men, Brother Lawrence,
   God’s blood, would not mine kill you!
What? your myrtle-bush wants trimming? 
   Oh, that rose has prior claims--
Needs its leaden vase filled brimming?
   Hell dry you up with its flames!

At the meal we sit together;
   Salve tibi! I must hear
Wise talk of the kind of weather, 
   Sort of season, time of year:
Not a plenteous cork crop: scarcely
   Dare we hope oak-galls, I doubt;
What’s the Latin name for “parsley”?
   What’s the Greek name for “swine’s snout”?

Whew! We’ll have our platter burnished, 
   Laid with care on our own shelf!
With a fire-new spoon we’re furnished,
   And a goblet for ourself,
Rinsed like something sacrificial
   Ere ‘tis fit to touch our chaps--
Marked with L. for our initial!
   (He-he! There his lily snaps!)

Saint, forsooth! While Brown Dolores 
   Squats outside the Convent bank
With Sanchicha, telling stories,
   Steeping tresses in the tank,
Blue-black, lustrous, thick like horsehairs,
   --Can’t I see his dead eye glow, 
Bright as ‘twere a Barbary corsair’s?
   (That is, if he’d let it show!)

When he finishes refection,
   Knife and fork he never lays
Cross-wise, to my recollection,
   As do I, in Jesu’s praise.
I the Trinity illustrate,
   Drinking watered orange pulp--
In three sips the Arian frustrate;
   While he drains his at one gulp!

Oh, those melons! if he’s able
   We’re to have a feast; so nice!
One goes to the Abbot’s table,
   All of us get each a slice.
How go on your flowers? None double?
   Not one fruit-sort can you spy?
Strange!--And I, too, at such trouble,
   Keep them close-nipped on the sly!

There’s a great text in Galatians,
   Once you trip on it, entails
Twenty-nine district damnations,
   One sure, if another fails;
If I trip him just a-dying,
   Sure of heaven as sure can be,
Spin him round and send him flying
   Off to hell, a Manichee?

Or, my scrofulous French novel
   On grey paper with blunt type!
Simply glance at it, you grovel
   Hand and foot in Belial’s gripe;
If I double down its pages
   At the woeful sixteenth print,
When he gathers his greengages,
   Ope a sieve and slip it in’t?

Or, there’s Satan!--one might venture
   Pledge one’s soul to him, yet leave
Such a flaw in the indenture
   As he’d miss till, past retrieve,
Blasted lay that rose-acacia
   We’re so proud of! Hy, Zy, Hine...
‘St, there’s Vespers! Plena gratia
  Ave, Virgo! Gr-r-r--you swine!


Edited by Theresa Tennyson
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I'm sorry.. This post was originally created under My Avatar.. but was moved. I have been banned from Second Life. It's more of a farewell. But.. In my time of trouble & sorrow, I would like to thank the community for making me smile. Thank You! And those are lovely trees! I haven't made up my mind yet what I will do concerning the game. I would speak on the matter, but I must be careful now what I speak about, because eyes are watching me! Again.. Thank You! 😢

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Thank You @Fionalein Here is one of my favorite poems, called IF-


If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too.

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being Lied about, don't deal in lies,

Or being hated, don't give way to hating,

And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:


If you can dream-and not make dreams your master;

If you can think-and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster,

And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;


If you can make a heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"


If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings-nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,

And-which is more-you'll be a Man, my son!


~ Rudyard Kipling (circa 1895)

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