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Mosaic Poem

I am.
I think.
I will.
I need no warrant for being.
I actually am.
Absolve me to myself
Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string
For Whoso would be a man would be a non-conformist.

Insist on Yourself!
Never imitate.
For imitation is suicide.
Why should we knock under and go with the stream?
Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.
(Society never advances)
Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.
Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.

I must be myself!
I obey no law less than the eternal law.
Constraint may make me worse,
But it will NEVER make me a truer man,
Because restriction is the perfect setting for insanity.

The error seems not sufficiently eradicated,
That the operations of the mind are subject to coercion.
But rulers have authority over such rights only as we have submitted to them!
Man is his own star!
I too am unbreakable!
I too am untranslatable!
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world!
I fight for the freedom of man.
For his rights.
For his life.
For his honor.
The spirit of man will remain alive on this earth.

I will stand here for humanity as I would make it true.
If we live truly,
We shall see truly.
Therefore, let us wedge our feet downward
Through the mud and sludge of opinion, and prejudice, and delusion, and appearance
Until we come to a hard bottom which we can call reality.
A place of which we can say: This is and no mistake.
Because be it life or death we crave only reality.

All things real
Are so by so much virtue as they contain.
Only great and worthy things
Have permanent and absolute existence.
Therefore our valors are our best gods.
Yet we are afraid of truth,
Afraid of death,
And afraid of each other.
We are afraid to understand it all.

We are ashamed
Of the divine idea which each of us represents.
I never doubted
The existence of the deity,
That he made the world,
And govern’d it by his providence.
“There is a power above us”
Cries nature aloud through all her works. sunset.jpgBy Chance?
I am what I am,
I exist with god today.

The soul is light; where it is day.
It’s the only thing I ever see in the darkness.
Light that came from nowhere.
My heart is empty.
I beg my heart for guidance.
But all bearers of light must suffer.
It is too painful,
I cannot bear it!

I am running toward hope,
Let me run.
But a cloud,
Dense, dismal, and limitless,
Does it not hang eternally between my hopes and heaven?
I fled in vain.
My evil destiny pursues me.

I live in the dark, unfathomed, mammoth cave of this world.
The tempestuous, yet sternly beautiful night
Is wildly singular in its terror and beauty,
Singing its own wrath and wanderings.

Thus the darkness bears fruit,
Proves itself to be good,
No less than the light.

I shudder not knowing why.
Do you not feel it?
Do you not see it?
Do your very best not to scream.
Death approaches;
And the shadow which foreruns him,
Has thrown a softening influence over my spirit.
Heed the warning bell,
For it is coming.

Part II

Mutual reverence is due from man to man.
All men have my blood,
And I have all men’s.
I honor men with my love.
It is a gift love is!
We should bellow it out with all the breath in our lungs!
The world moves for love.
It kneels before it in awe.
It is all I can give you, please take it.

They told me:
“Do that which is good and no harm shall come to thee.”
But my efforts were fruitless,
For our brothers have neither hope nor fire.
Their vision does not penetrate the surface of things.
It is a superficial seeing,
They think that is which appears to be.
Their every truth is not quite true.
Veils of ignorance and pretense blind them,
Drunk in their deception.
All are external and superficial.

But I am grateful for the time I have been given,
For time and space are but psysiological colors which the eye makes.
Time is but a stream I go fishing in;
While I drink I see the sandy bottom,
And detect how shallow it is. shallow_river.jpg
True man belongs to no other time or place,
But is the center of things.

But still we live meanly like ants.
Why should we live in such a hurry and waste life?
We are determined to be starved before we are hungry.
Why so seeming fast but deadly slow?

Every man is tasked to make his life.
I have never met a man who was quite alive,
How could I have looked him in the face?
But I wish to live deliberately.
I want to live deep,
And suck out all the marrow of life.

My life is for itself and not for a spectacle.
I wish nothing save to be alone,
And to learn,
And to feel.
There are none so happy in the world
But beings who enjoy freely a vast horizon.
Life is god’s most precious gift.
There is nothing to fear
But the bitter lapse into everyday life,
The hideous dropping of the veil.

I have often wished myself a beast.
For to a man laboring under calamity,
The heat of his own fire hath sadness in it.
Calamity has opened my eyes to the horrible pit,
But to no ladder upon which to get out.

Wanderers in that valley,
Spirits moving musically,
But evil things in robes of sorrow
Assailed the high estate.
Through the pale door,
A hideous throng rushed out forever,
I laugh---but smile no more.
Oh outcast of all outcasts most abandoned!
I feel that I breathe an atmosphere of sorrow.
I perceive the futility of cheering my mind
From which darkness pours forth upon all objects of the moral and physical universe
In one unceasing radiation of gloom.
Through my fingers trickle passionate tears,
Have I succumbed to the prostrating power
Of the destroyer?
Thus, thus, and not otherwise shall I be lost.

I deposit my burden of sorrow
Upon tresses within this region of horror.
I am overpowered by an intense sentiment of horror,
Unaccountable yet unendurable,
Objectless yet intolerable.
To an anomalous species of terror I am a bounden slave.
I abhor and destest my enslaver,
But the shackles will remain on me long.

I am a corpse,
Victim to the terror I had anticipated.
Henceforth, I am dead.
Dead to the world,
To heaven,
And to hope.
The despair of my heart was to be final.

Yet eternity remains.

In "Big Night" two brothers struggle with the question of whether to conform to society's preconceptions or to live according to their own principles as independent beings.

Excerpts from:
Writings of Jaclyn Arnold for American Literature

“2. Where I lived and what I lived for.” January 8, 2009

Emerson, Ralph W. “Self-reliance.” Essays: First Series. 1841.

Poe, Edgar Allen. “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Burton’s Gentleman’s magazine, 1839.

“Query 17.” January 8, 2009

Whitman, Walter. “Song of Myself.” Leaves of Grass. Philadelphia: David McKay, 1900.

Poe, Edgar Allen. “William Wilson.” Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine., 1839.

Rand, Ayn. __Anthem__. Los Angeles: Pamphleteers, Inc., 1946.

Douglas, Fredrick. Narrative of The Life of Frederick Douglas, An American Slave. Austin Texas: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1994

Miller, Arthur. The Crucible. New York, New York: Penguin Classics, 1954.

"Memorable quotes from The Village." January 8, 2009.