Poem for Wishing Good Luck for New Job

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Stepping Backward

Good-by to you whom I shall see tomorrow,
Next year and when I'm fifty; still good-by.
This is the leave we never really take.
If you were dead or gone to live in China
The event might draw your stature in my mind.
I should be forced to look upon you whole
The way we look upon the things we lose.
We see each other daily and in segments;
Parting might make us meet anew, entire.

You asked me once, and I could give no answer,
How far dare we throw off the daily ruse,
Official treacheries of face and name,
Have out our true identity? I could hazard
An answer now, if you are asking still.
We are a small and lonely human race
Showing no sign of mastering solitude
Out on this stony planet that we farm.
The most that we can do for one another
Is let our blunders and our blind mischances
Argue a certain brusque abrupt compassion.
We might as well be truthful. I should say
They're luckiest who know they're not unique;
But only art or common interchange
Can teach that kindest truth. And even art
Can only hint at what disturbed a Melville
Or calmed a Mahler's frenzy; you and I
Still look from separate windows every morning
Upon the same white daylight in the square.

And when we come into each other's rooms
Once in awhile, encumbered and self-conscious,
We hover awkwardly about the threshold
And usually regret the visit later.
Perhaps the harshest fact is, only lovers--
And once in a while two with the grace of lovers--
Unlearn that clumsiness of rare intrusion
And let each other freely come and go.
Most of us shut too quickly into cupboards
The margin-scribbled books, the dried geranium,
The penny horoscope, letters never mailed.
The door may open, but the room is altered;
Not the same room we look from night and day.

It takes a late and slowly blooming wisdom
To learn that those we marked infallible
Are tragi-comic stumblers like ourselves.
The knowledge breeds reserve. We walk on tiptoe,
Demanding more than we know how to render.
Two-edged discovery hunts us finally down;
The human act will make us real again,
And then perhaps we come to know each other.

Let us return to imperfection's school.
No longer wandering after Plato's ghost,
Seeking the garden where all fruit is flawless,
We must at last renounce that ultimate blue
And take a walk in other kinds of weather.
The sourest apple makes its wry announcement
That imperfection has a certain tang.
Maybe we shouldn't turn our pockets out
To the last crumb or lingering bit of fluff,
But all we can confess of what we are
Has in it the defeat of isolation--
If not our own, then someone's, anyway.

So I come back to saying this good-by,
A sort of ceremony of my own,
This stepping backward for another glance.
Perhaps you'll say we need no ceremony,
Because we know each other, crack and flaw,
Like two irregular stones that fit together.
Yet still good-by, because we live by inches
And only sometimes see the full dimension.
Your stature's one I want to memorize--
Your whole level of being, to impose
On any other comers, man or woman.
I'd ask them that they carry what they are
With your particular bearing, as you wear
The flaws that make you both yourself and human.

Adrienne Rich

World, Take Good Notice.

WORLD, take good notice, silver stars fading,
Milky hue ript, weft of white detaching,
Coals thirty-eight, baleful and burning,
Scarlet, significant, hands off warning,
Now and henceforth flaunt from these shores. 5

Walt Whitman

Yet Do I Marvel

I doubt not God is good, well-meaning, kind
And did He stoop to quibble could tell why
The little buried mole continues blind,
Why flesh that mirrors Him must some day die,
Make plain the reason tortured Tantalus
Is baited by the fickle fruit, declare
If merely brute caprice dooms Sisyphus
To struggle up a never-ending stair.
Inscrutable His ways are, and immune
To catechism by a mind too strewn
With petty cares to slightly understand
What awful brain compels His awful hand.
Yet do I marvel at this curious thing:
To make a poet black, and bid him sing!

Countee Cullen

A Job for McGuinness

Oh, it's dreadful to think in a country like this
With its chances for work - and enjoyment
That a man like McGuinness was certain to miss
Whenever he tried for employment.

He wrote to employers from Bondi to Bourke,
From Woolloomooloo to Glen Innes,
But he found - though his wife could get plenty of work -
There was never a job for McGuinness.

But perhaps - later on - when the Chow and the Jap
Begin to drift down from the tropics,
When a big yellow stain spreading over the map
Provides some disquieting topics,

Oh, it's then when they're wanting a man that will stand
In the trench where his own kith and kin is,
With a frown on his face and a gun in his hand -
Then there might be a job for McGuinness!

Andrew Barton Paterson


My dear one is mine as mirrors are lonely,
As the poor and sad are real to the good king,
And the high green hill sits always by the sea.

Up jumped the Black Man behind the elder tree,
Turned a somersault and ran away waving;
My Dear One is mine as mirrors are lonely.

The Witch gave a squawk; her venomous body
Melted into light as water leaves a spring,
And the high green hill sits always by the sea.

At his crossroads, too, the Ancient prayed for me,
Down his wasted cheeks tears of joy were running:
My dear one is mine as mirrors are lonely.

He kissed me awake, and no one was sorry;
The sun shone on sails, eyes, pebbles, anything,
And the high green hill sits always by the sea.

So to remember our changing garden, we
Are linked as children in a circle dancing:
My dear one is mine as mirrors are lonely,
And the high, green hill sits always by the sea.

W. H. Auden

Good neighbours

To my shame I’ve been mending fences again…
a quaint habit I inherited from my father;
he would rather fix a fence than parley
repair, and that it is where our views diverged.
He said fences were meant to make good
neighbours. In the intervening years I had it
wrong, believing a fence was a line of defence
along a disputed border. In my father’s sense
it was the commencement of a wider duty,
a line where trust and respect must meet
and mesh, where neighbours are
defined. I wish he could assess the null prospect
of my much maligned neighbour redressing
his self-indulgent ways, of rising in stature.
Today he watched me fix the fence – naturally
it made eminent sense to him as my cattle had
raided his space. When I said it was his fence too,
that the problem was shared he agreed, and
thanked me for making repairs. I would that
he could have read my face.
© I.D. Carswell

Ivan Donn Carswell


Good-night? ah! no; the hour is ill
Which severs those it should unite;
Let us remain together still,
Then it will be good night.

How can I call the lone night good,
Though thy sweet wishes wing its flight?
Be it not said, thought, understood --
Then it will be -- good night.

To hearts which near each other move
From evening close to morning light,
The night is good; because, my love,
They never say good-night.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

A multitude of rulers is not a good thing. Let there be one ruler, one king.


How good his Lava Bed,
To this laborious Boy --
Who must be up to call the World
And dress the sleepy Day --

Emily Dickinson

ASS, n. A public singer with a good voice but no ear. In Virginia City, Nevada, he is called the Washoe Canary, in Dakota, the Senator, and everywhere the Donkey. The animal is widely and variously celebrated in the literature, art and religion of every age and country; no other so engages and fires the human imagination as this noble vertebrate. Indeed, it is doubted by some (Ramasilus, _lib. II., De Clem._, and C. Stantatus, _De Temperamente_) if it is not a god; and as such we know it was worshiped by the Etruscans, and, if we may believe Macrobious, by the Cupasians also. Of the only two animals admitted into the Mahometan Paradise along with the souls of men, the ass that carried Balaam is one, the dog of the Seven Sleepers the other. This is no small distinction. From what has been written about this beast might be compiled a library of great splendor and magnitude, rivalling that of the Shakespearean cult, and that which clusters about the Bible. It may be said, generally, that all literature is more or less Asinine. "Hail, holy Ass!" the quiring angels sing; "Priest of Unreason, and of Discords King!" Great co-Creator, let Thy glory shine: God made all else, the Mule, the Mule is thine!" G.J.

Ambrose Bierce

A long life may not be good enough, but a good life is long enough.

Quoted by Benjamin Franklin

If I do the right kind of a job, I don't know whether I am going to be here four years from now. -- John F. Kennedy (to Richard M. Nixon, right after the Bay of Pigs invasion, 1961).

John F. Kennedy

To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost.

Gustave Flaubert

The sin which makes you sad and repentant is more liked by Allah than the good deed which turns you arrogant.

Imam Ali

Good ideas alter the power balance in relationships, that is why good ideas are always initially resisted. Good ideas come with a heavy burden. Which is why so few people have them. So few people can handle it.

Hugh Macleod

There is nothing better than the encouragement of a good friend.

Katharine Butler Hathaway

So it is that the gods do not give all men gifts of grace - neither good looks nor intelligence nor eloquence.


Blessed are the weak who think that they are good because they have no claws.

Baruch Spinoza

An economist's guess is liable to be as good as anybody else's.

Will Rogers

Say little, and love much; give all; judge no man; aspire to all that is pure and good.

White Eagle