« Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. » George Santayana

« The mistake we all make is in assuming anybody remembers any damn thing from one day to the next. If that were true, we'd stop getting involved with approximately the same kind of wrong lover each time, we'd learn the lessons of history, the death penalty would discourage those plotting murder, and George Santayana's famous quote would be about as popular as "the bee's knees." But few of us keep accurate records of what we've learned as we hobble through life barking our shins in the dark on experiences we've already had.... » Harlan Ellison



IF, by Rudyard Kipling

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 one 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 !


Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, by Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieve it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


War, by George Sterling

The night was on the world, and in my sleep
I heard a voice that cried across the dark :
"Give steel !" And gazing I beheld a red,
Infernal stithy. There were Titans five
Assembled, thewed and naked and malign
Against the glare. One to the furnace throat,
Whence issued screams, fed shapes of human use—
The hammer, axe and plow. Those molten soon,
Another haled the dazzling ingot forth
With tongs, and gave it to the anvil. Two,
With massy sledges throbbing at the task,
Harried the gloom with unenduring stars
And poured a clangorous music on the dark,
With loud, astounding shock and counter-shock
Incessant. And the fifth colossus stood
The captain of that labor. From his form
Spread wings more black than Hell's high-altar—ribbed
As are the vampire-bat's. The night grew old,
And then was I aware they shaped a sword. ...

In that domain and interval of dream
'Twas dawn upon the headlands of the world,
And I, appalled, beheld how men had reared
A mountain, dark below the morning star—
A peak made up of horses and of herds,
Of cradles, yokes and all the handiwork
Of man. Upon its crest were gems and gold,
Rare fabrics, and the woof of humble looms.
Harvests and groves and battlements were made
Part of its ramparts, and the whole was drenched
With oil and wine and honey. Then thereon
Men bound their sons, the fair, alert and strong,
Sparing no household. And when all were bound,
Brands were brought forth: the mount became a pyre.

Black from that red immensity of flame,
A tower of smoke, upcoiling to the sky,
Was shaped by the winds, and took the form
Of him who in the stithy gave command.
A shadow between day and men he stood ;
His eyes looked forth on nothingness ; his wings
Domed desolations, and the scarlet sun
Glowed through their darkness like a seal that God
Might set on Hell forever. Then the pyre shrank
And he reeled. Whereat, to save that shape
Their madness had evoked in death and pain,
Men rose and made a second sacrifice.