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James Kavanaugh quotes (showing 1-14 of 14)

“I am one of the searchers. There are, I believe, millions of us. We are not unhappy, but neither are we really content. We continue to explore life, hoping to uncover its ultimate secret. We continue to explore ourselves, hoping to understand. We like to walk along the beach, we are drawn by the ocean, taken by its power, its unceasing motion, its mystery and unspeakable beauty. We like forests and mountains, deserts and hidden rivers, and the lonely cities as well. Our sadness is as much a part of our lives as is our laughter. To share our sadness with one we love is perhaps as great a joy as we can know - unless it be to share our laughter.
We searchers are ambitious only for life itself, for everything beautiful it can provide. Most of all we love and want to be loved. We want to live in a relationship that will not impede our wandering, nor prevent our search, nor lock us in prison walls; that will take us for what little we have to give. We do not want to prove ourselves to another or compete for love.

For wanderers, dreamers, and lovers, for lonely men and women who dare to ask of life everything good and beautiful. It is for those who are too gentle to live among wolves.”
James Kavanaugh, There Are Men Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves
“I was born to catch dragons in their dens / And pick flowers / To tell tales and laugh away the morning / To drift and dream like a lazy stream / And walk barefoot across sunshine days.”
James Kavanaugh, Sunshine Days and Foggy Nights
“Maria, lonely prostitute on a street of pain,
You, at least, hail me and speak to me
While a thousand others ignore my face.
You offer me an hour of love,
And your fees are not as costly as most.
You are the madonna of the lonely,
The first-born daughter in a world of pain.
You do not turn fat men aside,
Or trample on the stuttering, shy ones,
You are the meadow where desperate men
Can find a moment's comfort.

Men have paid more to their wives
To know a bit of peace
And could not walk away without the guilt
That masquerades as love.
You do not bind them, lovely Maria, you comfort them
And bid them return.
Your body is more Christian than the Bishop's
Whose gloved hand cannot feel the dropping of my blood.
Your passion is as genuine as most,
Your caring as real!

But you, Maria, sacred whore on the endless pavement of pain,
You, whose virginity each man may make his own
Without paying ought but your fee,
You who know nothing of virgin births and immaculate conceptions,
You who touch man's flesh and caress a stranger,
Who warm his bed to bring his aching skin alive,
You make more sense than stock markets and football games
Where sad men beg for virility.
You offer yourself for a fee--and who offers himself for less?

At times you are cruel and demanding--harsh and insensitive,
At times you are shrewd and deceptive--grasping and hollow.
The wonder is that at times you are gentle and concerned,
Warm and loving.
You deserve more respect than nuns who hide their sex for eternal love;
Your fees are not so high, nor your prejudice so virtuous.
You deserve more laurels than the self-pitying mother of many children,
And your fee is not as costly as most.

Man comes to you when his bed is filled with brass and emptiness,
When liquor has dulled his sense enough
To know his need of you.
He will come in fantasy and despair, Maria,
And leave without apologies.
He will come in loneliness--and perhaps
Leave in loneliness as well.
But you give him more than soldiers who win medals and pensions,
More than priests who offer absolution
And sweet-smelling ritual,
More than friends who anticipate his death
Or challenge his life,
And your fee is not as costly as most.

You admit that your love is for a fee,
Few women can be as honest.
There are monuments to statesmen who gave nothing to anyone
Except their hungry ego,
Monuments to mothers who turned their children
Into starving, anxious bodies,
Monuments to Lady Liberty who makes poor men prisoners.
I would erect a monument for you--
who give more than most--
And for a meager fee.

Among the lonely, you are perhaps the loneliest of all,
You come so close to love
But it eludes you
While proper women march to church and fantasize
In the silence of their rooms,
While lonely women take their husbands' arms
To hold them on life's surface,
While chattering women fill their closets with clothes and
Their lips with lies,
You offer love for a fee--which is not as costly as most--
And remain a lonely prostitute on a street of pain.

You are not immoral, little Maria, only tired and afraid,
But you are not as hollow as the police who pursue you,
The politicians who jail you, the pharisees who scorn you.
You give what you promise--take your paltry fee--and
Wander on the endless, aching pavements of pain.
You know more of universal love than the nations who thrive on war,
More than the churches whose dogmas are private vendettas made sacred,
More than the tall buildings and sprawling factories
Where men wear chains.
You are a lonely prostitute who speaks to me as I pass,
And I smile at you because I am a lonely man.”
James Kavanaugh, There Are Men Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves
“Where are you hiding my love?
Each day without you will never come again.
Even today you missed a sunset on the ocean,
A silver shadow on yellow rocks I saved for you,
A squirrel that ran across the road,
A duck diving for dinner.
My God! There may be nothing left to show you
Save wounds and weariness
And hopes grown dead,
And wilted flowers I picked for you a lifetime ago,
Or feeble steps that cannot run to hold you,
Arms too tired to offer you to a roaring wind,
A face too wrinkled to feel the ocean's spray.”
James Kavanaugh, There Are Men Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves
“I saw my face today
And it looked older,
Without the warmth of wisdom
Or the softness
Born of pain and waiting.
The dreams were gone from my eyes,
Hope lost in hollowness
On my cheeks,
A finger of death
Pulling at my jaws.

So I did my push-ups
And wondered if I'd ever find you,
To see my face
With friendlier eyes than mine.”
James Kavanaugh, There Are Men Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves
“I was born to find goblins in their caves / And chase moonlight / To see shadows and seek hidden rivers / To hear the rain fall on dry leaves / And chat a bit with death across foggy nights.”
James Kavanaugh, Sunshine Days and Foggy Nights
“I have no past--the steps have disappeared
the wind has blown them away.”
James Kavanaugh, There Are Men Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves
“Now he haunts me seldom: some fierce umbilical is broken,
I live with my own fragile hopes and sudden rising despair.
Now I do not weep for my sins; I have learned to love them
And to know that they are the wounds that make love real.
His face illudes me; his voice, with its pity, does not ring in my ear.
His maxims memorized in boyhood do not make fruitless and pointless my experience.
I walk alone, but not so terrified as when he held my hand.
I do not splash in the blood of his son
nor hear the crunch of nails or thorns piercing protesting flesh.
I am a boy again--I whose boyhood was turned to manhood in a brutal myth.
Now wine is only wine with drops that do not taste of blood.
The bread I eat has too much pride for transubstantiation,
I, too--and together the bread and I embrace,
Each grateful to be what we are, each loving from our own reality.”
James Kavanaugh, There Are Men Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves
“I played God today
And it was fun!
I made animals that men had never seen
So they would stop and scratch their heads
Instead of scowling.
I made words that men had never heard
So they would stop and stare at me
Instead of running.
And I made love that laughed
So men would giggle like children
Instead of sighing.
Tomorrow, perhaps, I won't be God
And you will know it
Because you won't see any three-headed cats
Or bushes with bells on...
I wish I could always play God
So that lonely men could laugh!”
James Kavanaugh, There Are Men Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves
“Little world, full of little people
shouting for recognition, screaming for love,
Rolling world, teeming with millions,
carousel of the hungry,
Is there food enough? Wheat and corn will not do.
The fat are the hungriest of all, the skinny the most silent.”
James Kavanaugh, There Are Men Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves
“Little world, full of scars and gashes, ripened with another's pain,
Your flowers feed on carrion--so do your birds;
Men feed on each other because you taught them life was cheap,
Flowing from your endless womb without pain or understanding.
No midwife caresses your flesh or bathes clean your progeny,
Life spurts from you, little world,
and you regard it with disdain.
Only bruised men sense your cruelty,
men whose life has lost its meaning.”
James Kavanaugh, There Are Men Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves
“Don't you know
That lovers make the rains,
Call forth the sun,
Re-route hurricanes,
And exorcise earthquakes for fun.”
James Kavanaugh, Laughing Down Lonely Canyons
“Come to the beach with me
And watch the pelicans die,
Hear their feeble screams
Calling to an empty sky
Where once they played
And scouted for food,
Not scavenging like the gulls
But plummeting unafraid
Into friendly waters.

Come to the beach with me
And watch the pelicans die,
Listen to their feeble screams
Calling to an empty sky.
Maybe Christ will walk by
And save them in their final toil
Or work a miracle from the shore,
A courtesy of Union Oil.

Come to the beach with me
And watch the pelicans die.
My God! They'll never fly again.
It's worse than Normandy somehow,
For there we only murdered men.”
James Kavanaugh, There Are Men Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves
“To love is not to possess,
To own or imprison,
Nor to lose one's self in another.
Love is to join and separate,
To walk alone and together,
To find a laughing freedom
That lonely isolation does not permit.
It is finally to be able
To be who we really are
No longer clinging in childish dependency
Nor docilely living separate lives in silence,
It is to be perfectly one's self
And perfectly joined in permanent commitment
To another--and to one's inner self.
Love only endures when it moves like waves,
Receding and returning gently or passionately,
Or moving lovingly like the tide
In the moon's own predictable harmony,
Because finally, despite a child's scars
Or an adult's deepest wounds,
They are openly free to be
Who they really are--and always secretly were,
In the very core of their being
Where true and lasting love can alone abide.”
James Kavanaugh, Poetry of James Kavanagh


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