May 14, 2006

The Ballad of Reading Gaol

This poem was written by Oscar Wilde when he was put in prison in 1895 at the age of 41. As he watched a man who had killed his own wife get ready to be hung, he wrote the following verses:
Yet each man kills the thing he loves,
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!
Some kill their love when they are young,
And some when they are old;
Some strangle with the hands of Lust,
Some with the hands of Gold:
The kindest use a knife, because
The dead so so soon grow cold.
Some love too little, some too long,
Some sell, and others buy;
Some do the deed with many tears,
And some without a sigh:
For each man kills the thing he loves,
Yet each man does not die.


BuJ said...


Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

did you hurt urself? lol

archer14 said...

hmm...A cryptic poem nonetheless, I'm trying to figure out what he meant. Help me out sha'ira?

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

Hey archer, welcome :)

Well what I gathered from it was, that there are many ways to kill someone. Physically, yes, but also psychologically, verbally or indirectly.

I think he meant in this case, while watching a man sentenced to death for killing his wife, that although justice has to be made in some way, most of us are guilty of killing the thing we love as well, be it our mother, son, friend, husband or wife, yet we d not die for it, we are not sentenced to death for it.

A man can kill his wife by opressing her and denying her rights, she will still breathe but is she alive? Yet her husband will not die for it.

A woman can kill her husband by indirectly forcing him to work so much to satistfy her materialistic needs, that by the time he is 50 he dies of a heart attack. Yet she will not die for it.

I hope that explains it abit? :)

archer14 said...

Oh yes it does, once I have a beer to soften my head, that is....

Kidding..thanks for the insight!

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

non alcoholic beer..with halal

anytime :)

the sabra said...

tis a good piece!
good lesson

glad i found ur blog

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

Hello Sabra! Welcome :)

It is a good lesson for all of us indeed. I'm glad you found me lol :)

BuJ said...

The Sabra... interesting.. i first heard the term in Munich (the film).. I inferred that it means non-Israeli Jew or something like that.. weirdly the name also means "cactus" in another semetic language - Arabic.

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

Well the semitic languages have a lot in common, if only the semitic people would translate that into everyday life today in how they view each other.

I don't remember hearing it in the movie, have to watch it again now :)

BuJ said...

i picked it up allright... was thinking sabra be teeeeeeeeeee............

i am still so angry at that movie's portrayal of palestinians yet i went to see it twice.

no doubt it's a good movie but biased.

it plays the theme of "us israelis are victims" all so well and all so boringly...

the sabra said...

woah woah


ignorance is painful

(oh and sabra does mean cactus, and it also refers to the native israeli. for, like the fruit, they are prickly and rough on the exteriot yet soft and sweet in the inside)

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

Hey sabra, interesting analogy between the cactus and israelis.

Actually that analogy reminds me of the pashtoon people of the northern parts of pakistan and afghanistan...A very sabra type of people. Heart of gold mostly though.

What's even more interesting is the fact that according to researchers and antropologists who have studied their heritage, it is said that the pashtoons were an israelite tribe (one of the 12 tribes)that came from israel at one point in history.

Particularly the tribe of Joseph. That is why today the pashtoons are divided into different groups, the largest being Yusuf Zai (sons of Joseph), to which my father belongs.

Hmm perhaps something I should blog about further?...

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