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Re: poetry thread

Post  eddie on Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:37 pm

More Dylan Thomas.

I've always liked this one since it first came up as an "Unseen" text in a school exam and I hadn't read a single word by this particular poet at the time. It spoke to me, even with the exam pressure of the moment...

Dylan's wife Caitlin, a merciless critic, complained that DT (sic) was eventually just rehashing his adolescence. As a poem of adolescence though, it's just great, and the spotty kid in the classroom exam got full marks for his answers:

FERN HILL

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.

And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
In the sun that is young once only,
Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,
And the sabbath rang slowly
In the pebbles of the holy streams.

All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air
And playing, lovely and watery
And fire green as grass.
And nightly under the simple stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars
Flying with the ricks, and the horses
Flashing into the dark.

And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all
Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
The sky gathered again
And the sun grew round that very day.
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm
Out of the whinnying green stable
On to the fields of praise.

And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
In the sun born over and over,
I ran my heedless ways,
My wishes raced through the house high hay
And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
Before the children green and golden
Follow him out of grace.

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.



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Re: poetry thread

Post  eddie on Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:52 pm

...and, by way of contrast...

... here's Dylan Thomas at his obscurantist worst- a young poet in love with the sound of his own beautiful voice and be-damned to the meaning.

That was also the view of the publishers consulted by his early patron Edith Sitwell who seem to have scratched their heads as much as I still do as to what it all means.

But make up you own mind. Here it is:


Altarwise by Owl-Light


Altarwise by owl-light in the half-way house
The gentleman lay graveward with his furies;
Abaddon in the hangnail cracked from Adam,
And, from his fork, a dog among the fairies,
The atlas-eater with a jaw for news,
Bit out the mandrake with to-morrows scream.
Then, penny-eyed, that gentlemen of wounds,
Old cock from nowheres and the heaven's egg,
With bones unbuttoned to the half-way winds,
Hatched from the windy salvage on one leg,
Scraped at my cradle in a walking word
That night of time under the Christward shelter:
I am the long world's gentlemen, he said,
And share my bed with Capricorn and Cancer.

Death is all metaphors, shape in one history;
The child that sucketh long is shooting up,
The planet-ducted pelican of circles
Weans on an artery the genders strip;
Child of the short spark in a shapeless country
Soon sets alight a long stick from the cradle;
The horizontal cross-bones of Abaddon,
You by the cavern over the black stairs,
Rung bone and blade, the verticals of Adam,
And, manned by midnight, Jacob to the stars.
Hairs of your head, then said the hollow agent,
Are but the roots of nettles and feathers
Over the groundowrks thrusting through a pavement
And hemlock-headed in the wood of weathers.

First there was the lamb on knocking knees
And three dead seasons on a climbing grave
That Adam's wether in the flock of horns,
Butt of the tree-tailed worm that mounted Eve,
Horned down with skullfoot and the skull of toes
On thunderous pavements in the garden of time;
Rip of the vaults, I took my marrow-ladle
Out of the wrinkled undertaker's van,
And, Rip Van Winkle from a timeless cradle,
Dipped me breast-deep in the descending bone;
The black ram, shuffling of the year, old winter,
Alone alive among his mutton fold,
We rung our weathering changes on the ladder,
Said the antipodes, and twice spring chimed.

What is the metre of the dictionary?
The size of genesis? the short spark's gender?
Shade without shape? the shape of the Pharaohs echo?
(My shape of age nagging the wounded whisper.)
Which sixth of wind blew out the burning gentry?
(Questions are hunchbacks to the poker marrow.)
What of a bamboo man amomg your acres?
Corset the boneyards for a crooked boy?
Button your bodice on a hump of splinters,
My camel's eyes will needle through the shroud.
Loves reflection of the mushroom features,
Still snapped by night in the bread-sided field,
Once close-up smiling in the wall of pictures,
Arc-lamped thrown back upon the cutting flood.



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Re: poetry thread

Post  Guest on Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:30 am

silviando wrote:I've finally found this poem translated into English... and I think it sounds good, Moony

...I think it sounds good too Silviando. It strangely reminds me of this:

THE BALLAD OF THE SLEEP-WALKER
(trans. James Munro)

(from the Spanish of Federico García Lorca)

Green, how I love you green.
Green wind. Green boughs.
The ship on the sea
and the horse on the mountain.

The shade at her waist,
she dreams on the balcony,
green flesh, green hair,
cold silver eyes.

Green, how I love you green.
Beneath the gypsy moon
things look at her
but she cannot look at them.

Green, how I love you green.
Huge stars of hoarfrost
come with the fish of darkness
which opens the path of dawn.

The fig-tree rubs the wind
with the dogfish skin of its boughs,
and the mountain, a thieving cat,
bristles its bitter agave.

But who will come? And from where ...?
She stays on her balcony,
green flesh, green hair,
dreaming in the bitter sea.

Friend, I want to swap
my horse for your house,
my saddle for your mirror,
my knife for your blanket.

Friend, I come bleeding
from the passes of Cabra.
If I could, lad,
I would do a deal.
But I am no longer myself,
and my house is no longer my house.

Friend, I want to die
decently in my bed.
An iron one, if possible,
made up with sheets from Holland.
Do you not see this wound I have
from my breast to my throat?

Three hundred dark roses
soak your white shirt.
Your blood oozes and smells
around your sash.
But I am no longer myself,
nor is my house now my house.

At least let me up to
the high balconies.
Let me go up! Let me
up to the green balconies.

Balconies of the moon
where the water echoes.

So up the two friends go
to the high balconies.
Leaving a trail of blood.
Leaving a trail of tears.

Little tin lanterns
flicker on the roofs.
A thousand glass tambourines
fragment the sunrise.

Green, how I love you green,
green wind, green branches.

Up the two friends climbed.
The sharp wind left a strange
taste in the mouth, of bile
and of mint and of basil.

Friend! Where is she, tell me,
where is your embittered daughter?

How many times she expected you!
How many times she must have awaited you,
fresh face, black hair,
on this green balcony!

On the surface of the tank
the gypsy girl floated.

Green flesh, green hair,
cold silver eyes.
An icicle of moonlight
kept her above the water.

The night grew as close
as a small town square.
Drunken civil guards
hammered at the door.

Green, how I love you green.
Green wind, green boughs.
The ship on the sea.
And the horse on the mountain.

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Re: poetry thread

Post  Guest on Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:35 am

eddie wrote:FERN HILL..."Though I sang in my chains like the sea."

I love the imagery of that line. I used it as my signature for a while at old ATU.

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Re: poetry thread

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 28, 2011 2:42 am

blue moon wrote:
eddie wrote:FERN HILL..."Though I sang in my chains like the sea."

I love the imagery of that line. I used it as my signature for a while at old ATU.

The green of putrefaction, rather than of growth, in the last verse.

I'm assuming the last line is a reference to the fate of pirates such as Captain Kidd, hanged at Execution Dock, Wapping:


Hanging of a buccaneer at Execution Dock.


Rocque's 1746 map showing the location of Execution Dock.

....who were left to hang in chains until three tides had washed over them.

Dylan would have liked the Captain Kidd pub in Wapping, right on the river:

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Re: poetry thread

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 28, 2011 4:12 am

Poem of the week: Mimi Khalvati

This week an untitled poem, both mystical and down-to-earth, reaching after the mystery of inspiration



Detail from Monet's Poppy Field. Photograph: Musee d'Orsay

This week's poem is by Mimi Khalvati, one of my favourite contemporary poets and also the subject of a "special request" from one of our recent Poem of the week posters, Poulter. I've made my choice from Khalvati's 1997 collection, Entries on Light, a book-length sequence of poems, all untitled, all subtly linked. They are both mystical and down-to-earth, innovative and approachable, precise in visual detail but roomy in vision. However well you may know the work, there is always something fresh to discover there. If you're new to it, this poem ("Everywhere you see her…") will, I hope, be a good starting point.

The word "Entries" suggests a diary, and, though meticulously crafted, the poems reflect the variations of a meteorologically typical English calendar, quick-firing through light, shade and the whole chromatic scale between. Someone has pointed out a resemblance to Constable's paintings; up to a point, that's true, provided we remember that Constable was not simply a narrator, and his light was more than physical light. Khalvati's poems are only passingly descriptions or records. In showing us "what the light was like" they show us how it felt, what memories were roused, how it read emotionally and intellectually. As well as water and sky, rooms and hillsides, we see how light plays on the "inward eye" – the poet's imagination.

Although Khalvati's work is steeped in the English tradition (Herbert and Wordsworth are presences here), there might be a connection with Persian poetry in the shaping of the sequence. Edwin Morgan, who wrote his own, marvellous "take" on Middle Eastern poetry in The New Divan (1977), usefully described, in his book Nothing Not Giving Messages, the open structure, and the sensation of exploring it: "In Arabic or Persian poetry they're rather fond of the idea that a "divan" as they call it, a collection of poems, is something you enter; you move around, you can cast your eye here and there, you look, you pick, you perhaps retrace your steps." There are myriad "entries" into, and passages through, Khalvati's sequence. Happily for new readers, many of the "Entries on Light" poems, including this week's choice, will be reprinted in her New and Selected Poems, to be published by Carcanet in November.

The poem I've chosen is a mysterious, impressionistic portrait, related to Monet's windswept figure of the "Woman with a Parasol". It's not "about" the Monet paintings, but the allusion helps us visualise the strange, dissolving quality of the poem's central image. "Everywhere you see her…" could signal a love poem, obsessed by a particular woman. Equally, it could be about "Everywoman". Her identity is unstable, because the weather of the receptive imagination constantly reshapes it. Monet himself painted two women with parasols - his wife and, later, his step-daughter. Khalvati's figure, like Monet's, seems at first to be composed of sky and wind. She's also kin to the rippling water-plants of the lily-pond, and to water itself: like a bird, she coasts "on diagonals". (I read "coast" as a verb as well as a noun). She might have stepped, or blown, in – out of an Irish "Aisling" poem. Although hardly an emblem of nationhood, she seems, like the "sky-woman" of the genre, a muse-figure. Perhaps she is poetry. Perhaps she is the light in human form.

The fluidity of her identity at the beginning suggests a parallel with the dawning of a poem. As her outline becomes clearer, and analogies accumulate, it's like seeing a poem take shape. "Something of yours goes through her, something/ of hers escapes." This is a wonderfully suggestive picture of the creative transaction, and maybe of perception in general. But the woman is soon to be grounded: her insistent hat-brim and her dallying among antiques lend her a worldly air, a place in society and time.

The poem's syntax changes to accompany the theme's development. Sinuous long sentences, with carefully timed line-breaks adding their own punctuation (Khalvati sometimes uses the line-ending as the grammatical equivalent of the comma) give way to brisker units, not always complete sentences. Towards the end of the poem, a movement of stops and starts produces the sense of hunting, dodging, hide-and-seek. Is the speaker the hunter, or the hunted?

Another Celtic hint recalls the Mabinogion, and the tale in which Blodeuwedd, a bride conjured by wizardry from the flowers of the oak, the broom and the meadow-sweet, is punished for marital treachery by demotion to an owl. The owl in this poem is only a brooch, but it has a piercing presence. The black eyes the woman "fingers" are senseless and lightless, hinting at the inhumanity of the greedily absorbent, unreflective surfaces of art.

Finally, the woman is freed from the claustrophobic Old Curiosity Shop where the poet has mischievously deposited her, and set again on the timeless hillside that is her element. But the idea that she is "on a slope" and "coming your way" continues to mingle notions of the predatory and playful. Her arrival in the flesh could mean anything from an epiphany to a catastrophe – possibly both. If she's inspiration, then she is the poet's most difficult, as well as most welcome, of guests.


Everywhere you see her, who could have been
  Monet's woman with a parasol
who's no woman at all but an excuse for wind –
  passage of light-and-shade we know
wind by – just as his pond was no pond
  but a globe at his feet turning to show
how the liquid, dry, go topsy-turvy, how far
  sky goes down in water. Like iris, agapanthus
waterplants from margins where, tethered
  by their cloudy roots, clouds grow underwater
and lily-floes, like landing craft, hover
  waiting for departure, she comes at a slant
to crosswinds, currents, against shoals of sunlight
  set adrift, loans you her reflection.
I saw her the other day I don't know where
  at a tangent to some evening, to a sadness
she never shares. She wavers, like recognition.
  Something of yours goes through her, something
of hers escapes. To hillbrows, meadows
  where green jumps into her skirt, hatbrim shadows
blind her. To coast, wind at her heels, on diagonals
  as the minute hand on the hour, the hour
on the wheel of sunshades. Everywhere you see her.
  On beaches, bramble paths, terraces of Edwardian
hotels. In antique shops, running her thumb along
  napworn velvet. A nail buffer. An owl brooch
with two black eyes of onyx. Eyes she fingers.
  But usually on a slope. Coming your way.


Posted by Carol Rumens Monday 27 June 2011 10.30 BST guardian.co.uk

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2011
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Re: poetry thread

Post  Guest on Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:25 am


Fable and Round of the Three Friends
Garcia Lorca

Enrique,
Emilio,
Lorenzo.
The three of them were frozen:
Enrique in the world of the bed;
Emilio in the world of eyes and wounded hands,
Lorenzo in the world of roofless universities.

Lorenzo,
Emilio,
Enrique.
The three of them were burning:
Lorenzo in the world of leaves and billiard balls;
Emilio in the world of blood and white pins;
Enrique in the world of the dead and abandoned newspapers.

Lorenzo,
Emilio,
Enrique.
The three of them were buried:
Lorenzo in Flora’s breast;
Emilio in a forgotten glass of gin;
Enrique in the ant, the sea and the empty eyes of the birds.

Lorenzo,

Emilio,
Enrique,
the three of them in my hands were
three Chinese mountains,
three shadows of horses,
three snowy landscapes and one cabin of lilies
by the dovecotes where the moon lies flat beneath the rooster.

One
and one
and one.
The three of them were mummified,
by the flies of winter,
by the inkwells that dogs piss and burrs despise,
by the breeze that freezes the heart of every mother,
by Jupiter's white wreckage where the drunkards snack on death.

Three

and two
and one.
I saw them lose themselves weeping and singing
by a hen’s egg,
in the night that showed its tobacco skeleton,
in my sorrow full of faces and stabbing splinters of moon,
in my joy of gears and whips,
in my chest disturbed by doves,
by my deserted death with a single mistaken passerby.

I had killed the fifth moon
and the fans and applause drank water from the fountains,
Lukewarm milk locked up in the woman who just gave birth
shook the roses with a long white pain.
Enrique,

Emilio,
Lorenzo.
Diana is hard,
but sometimes her breasts grow cloudy.
The white stone may pulse in the blood of a stag
and the stag can dream through the eyes of a horse.

When the pure forms sank
in the cri-cri of daisies,
I knew they had assassinated me.
They combed the cafes, cemeteries and churches,
they opened the wine-casks and closets,
destroyed three skeletons to take their gold teeth.
But they couldn’t find me.
They did not find me?
No. They did not find me.
But it was known the sixth moon fled above the torrent,
and the sea— suddenly!— remembered
the names of all it had drowned.


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Re: poetry thread

Post  Guest on Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:32 am

[quote="eddie"][quote="blue moon"]
eddie wrote:FERN HILL..."Though I sang in my chains like the sea."
The green of putrefaction, rather than of growth, in the last verse.
I'm assuming the last line is a reference to the fate of pirates such as Captain Kidd, hanged at Execution Dock, Wapping....who were left to hang in chains until three tides had washed over them.

...That just adds a whole new dimension...thanks Eddie. I had no idea!

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Re: poetry thread

Post  Guest on Sun Jul 10, 2011 11:38 pm


On what is best

Some celebrate the beauty
of knights, or infantry,
or billowing flotillas
at battle on the sea.
Warfare has its glory,
but I place far above
these military splendors
the one thing that you love.

For proof of this contention
examine history:
we all remember Helen,
who left her family,
her child, and royal husband,
to take a stranger's hand:
her beauty had no equal,
but bowed to love's command.

As love then is the power
that none can disobey,
so too my thoughts must follow
my darling far away:
the sparkle of her laughter
would give me greater joy
than all the bronze-clad heroes

- translated from the Greek by Jon Corelis

Sappho


Last edited by blue moon on Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:03 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: poetry thread

Post  Guest on Sun Jul 10, 2011 11:46 pm




''Sappho'' by Charles August Mengin


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Re: poetry thread

Post  Guest on Sun Jul 10, 2011 11:47 pm

Moonlit Night

Tonight at Fu-chou, this moon she watches
Alone in our room. And my little, far-off
Children, too young to understand what keeps me
Away, or even remember Chang'an. By now,

Her hair will be mist-scented, her jade-white
Arms chilled in its clear light. When
Will it find us together again, drapes drawn
Open, light traced where it dries our tears?

Tu Fu


Last edited by blue moon on Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:03 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: poetry thread

Post  Guest on Sun Jul 10, 2011 11:49 pm


When I Have Fears

When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean'd my teeming brain,
Before high-piled books, in charactery,
Hold like rich garners the full ripen'd grain;
When I behold, upon the night's starr'd face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love;--then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.

John Keats

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Re: poetry thread

Post  Guest on Sun Jul 10, 2011 11:55 pm


A Dream Within A Dream

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

Edgar Allan Poe


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Re: poetry thread

Post  Guest on Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:01 am


Rebecca

Who Slammed Doors For Fun And Perished Miserably

A trick that everyone abhors
In little girls is slamming doors.
A wealthy banker's little daughter
Who lived in Palace Green, Bayswater
(By name Rebecca Offendort),
Was given to this furious sport.

She would deliberately go
And slam the door like billy-o!
To make her uncle Jacob start.
She was not really bad at heart,
But only rather rude and wild;
She was an aggravating child...

It happened that a marble bust
Of Abraham was standing just
Above the door this little lamb
Had carefully prepared to slam,
And down it came! It knocked her flat!
It laid her out! She looked like that.

Her funeral sermon (which was long
And followed by a sacred song)
Mentioned her virtues, it is true,
But dwelt upon her vices too,
And showed the deadful end of one
Who goes and slams the door for fun.

The children who were brought to hear
The awful tale from far and near
Were much impressed, and inly swore
They never more would slam the door,
-- As often they had done before.

Hilaire Belloc

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Re: poetry thread

Post  Guest on Mon Jul 11, 2011 9:29 pm



"?"

If you had the choice of two women to wed,
(Though of course the idea is quite absurd)
And the first from her heels to her dainty head
Was charming in every sense of the word:
And yet in the past (I grieve to state),
She never had been exactly "straight".

And the second -- she was beyond all cavil,
A model of virtue, I must confess;
And yet, alas! she was dull as the devil,
And rather a dowd in the way of dress;
Though what she was lacking in wit and beauty,
She more than made up for in "sense of duty".

Now, suppose you must wed, and make no blunder,
And either would love you, and let you win her --
Which of the two would you choose, I wonder,
The stolid saint or the sparkling sinner?

Robert William Service

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Re: poetry thread

Post  Guest on Mon Jul 11, 2011 9:31 pm


A Vision

TWO crownèd Kings, and One that stood alone
With no green weight of laurels round his head,
But with sad eyes as one uncomforted,
And wearied with man's never-ceasing moan
For sins no bleating victim can atone,
And sweet long lips with tears and kisses fed.
Girt was he in a garment black and red,
And at his feet I marked a broken stone
Which sent up lilies, dove-like, to his knees.
Now at their sight, my heart being lit with flame
I cried to Beatricé, 'Who are these?'
And she made answer, knowing well each name,
'Æschylos first, the second Sophokles,
And last (wide stream of tears!) Euripides.'

Oscar Wilde

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Re: poetry thread

Post  Guest on Mon Jul 11, 2011 9:32 pm


A Poison Tree

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I watered it in fears,
Night and morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine.
And he knew that it was mine,

And into my garden stole
When the night had veiled the pole;
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.

William Blake

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Re: poetry thread

Post  Guest on Mon Jul 11, 2011 9:35 pm


The Alchemist in the City

My window shews the travelling clouds,
Leaves spent, new seasons, alter'd sky,
The making and the melting crowds:
The whole world passes; I stand by.

They do not waste their meted hours,
But men and masters plan and build:
I see the crowning of their towers,
And happy promises fulfill'd.

And I - perhaps if my intent
Could count on prediluvian age,
The labours I should then have spent
Might so attain their heritage,

But now before the pot can glow
With not to be discover'd gold,
At length the bellows shall not blow,
The furnace shall at last be cold.

Yet it is now too late to heal
The incapable and cumbrous shame
Which makes me when with men I deal
More powerless than the blind or lame.

No, I should love the city less
Even than this my thankless lore;
But I desire the wilderness
Or weeded landslips of the shore.

I walk my breezy belvedere
To watch the low or levant sun,
I see the city pigeons veer,
I mark the tower swallows run

Between the tower-top and the ground
Below me in the bearing air;
Then find in the horizon-round
One spot and hunger to be there.

And then I hate the most that lore
That holds no promise of success;
Then sweetest seems the houseless shore,
Then free and kind the wilderness,

Or ancient mounds that cover bones,
Or rocks where rockdoves do repair
And trees of terebinth and stones
And silence and a gulf of air.

There on a long and squared height
After the sunset I would lie,
And pierce the yellow waxen light
With free long looking, ere I die.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

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Re: poetry thread

Post  Guest on Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:09 am


Song

How sweet I roam’d from field to field
And tasted all the summer’s pride,
Till I the Prince of Love beheld
Who in the sunny beams did glide!

He show’d me lilies for my hair,
And blushing roses for my brow;
He led me through his gardens fair
Where all his golden pleasures grow.

With sweet May dews my wings were wet,
And Phoebus fir’d my vocal rage;
He caught me in his silken net,
And shut me in his golden cage.

He loves to seat and hear me sing,
Then, laughing, sports and plays with me;
Then stretches out my golden wing,
And mocks my loss of liberty.

William Blake



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Re: poetry thread

Post  eddie on Thu Jul 14, 2011 5:49 pm




LONDON by William Blake


I wander thro’ each charter’d street,
Near where the charter’d Thames does flow,
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

In every cry of every Man,
In every Infant’s cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forg’d manacles I hear.

How the Chimney-sweeper’s cry
Every black'ning Church appalls;
And the hapless Soldier’s sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls.

But most thro’ midnight streets I hear
How the youthful Harlot’s curse
Blasts the new-born Infant’s tear
And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse.


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Re: poetry thread

Post  Guest on Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:18 pm


Ballad About Drinking
by Yevgeny Yevtushenko

We had slaughtered a hundred white whales,
civilization was quite forgotten,
our lungs were burned out from smoking shag,
but on sighting port we blew out our chests like barrels
and began to speak to one another politely,
and with the noble goal of drinking
we went ashore from the schooner at Amderma.

In Amderma we walked like gods,
swaggering along with our hands on our hips,
and through the port our beards and sidewhiskers
kept their bearings on the pub,
and passing girls and shellbacks
as well as all the local dogs
went along with us as escort.

But, clouding the whole planet,
a notice hung in the shop: 'No Spirits! '
We looked at some sparkling wine from the Don
as if it were feeble fruit juice,
and through our agonized yearning
we realized-it wouldn't work.

Now who could have drunk our spirits, our vodka?
It's dreadful the way people drink-simply ruinous.
But skinny as a skeleton, Petka Markovsky from Odessa,
as it always happens with him,
suddenly disappeared somewhere
giving a secretive 'Sh-sshh! '

And shortly afterward, with much clinking,
he turned up with a huge cardboard box,
already slightly merry,
and it was a sweet clinking the box made
as we woke up to the fact: 'There she is! She's apples! '
and Markovsky gave us the wink: 'She's right! '

We made a splash, waving to everyone-
Chartered a deluxe room in the hotel
and sat down as we were on the bed.
Cords flew off the box
and there, in the glittering columns of the bottles,
bulging, stern, cosy,
absolutely hygienic-
triple-distilled eau de cologne stood before us!

And Markovsky rose, lifting his glass,
pulled down his seaman's jacket,
and began: 'I'd like to say something...'
'Then say it! ' everyone began to shout.
But before anything else
they wanted to wet their whistles.

Markovsky said: 'Come on-let's have a swig!
The doctor told me eau de cologne
is the best thing to keep the wrinkles away.
Let them judge us! -We don't give a damn!
We used to drink all sorts of wine!
When we were in Germany
we filled the radiators of our tanks
with wine from the Mosel.

We don't need consumer goods!
We need the wind, the sky!
Old mates, listen to this
in our souls, as though in the safe deposit:
We have the sea, our mothers and young brothers-
All the rest...is rubbish! '

Bestriding the earth like a giant,
Markovsky stood with a glass in his hand
that held the foaming seas.
The skipper observed: 'Everything is shipshape! '
and only the boatswain sobbed like a child:
'But my mother is dead...'

And we all began to burst into tears,
quite easily, quite shamelessly,
as if in the midst of our own families,
mourning with bitter tears
at first for the boatswain's mother,
and afterward simply for ourselves.

Already a rueful notice hung in the chemist's shop-
'No Triple Eau de Cologne'-
but eight of us sea wolves
sobbed over almost all of Russia!
And in our sobs we reeked
like eight barbershops.

Tears, like squalls,
swept away heaps of false values,
of puffed-up names,
and quietly remaining inside us
was only the sea, our mothers and young brothers-
even the mother who was dead...

I wept as though I was being set free,
I wept as if I was being born anew,
a different person from what I'd been,
and before God and before myself,
like the tears of those drunken whalemen,
my soul was pure.





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Re: poetry thread

Post  Guest on Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:30 pm


What The Doctor Said
by Raymond Carver

He said it doesn't look good
he said it looks bad in fact real bad
he said I counted thirty-two of them on one lung before
I quit counting them
I said I'm glad I wouldn't want to know
about any more being there than that
he said are you a religious man do you kneel down
in forest groves and let yourself ask for help
when you come to a waterfall
mist blowing against your face and arms
do you stop and ask for understanding at those moments
I said not yet but I intend to start today
he said I'm real sorry he said
I wish I had some other kind of news to give you
I said Amen and he said something else
I didn't catch and not knowing what else to do
and not wanting him to have to repeat it
and me to have to fully digest it
I just looked at him
for a minute and he looked back it was then
I jumped up and shook hands with this man who'd just given me
something no one else on earth had ever given me
I may have even thanked him habit being so strong







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Re: poetry thread

Post  eddie on Fri Jul 15, 2011 11:14 pm

Henry King by Hillaire Belloc


The Chief Defect of Henry King
Was chewing little bits of String.
At last he swallowed some which tied
Itself in ugly Knots inside.

Physicians of the Utmost Fame
Were called at once; but when they came
They answered, as they took their Fees,
``There is no Cure for this Disease.

``Henry will very soon be dead.''
His Parents stood about his Bed
Lamenting his Untimely Death,
When Henry, with his Latest Breath,

Cried, ``Oh, my Friends, be warned by me,
That Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch, and Tea
Are all the Human Frame requires...''
With that, the Wretched Child expires.
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Re: poetry thread

Post  Guest on Sat Jul 16, 2011 12:48 am

... Shocked ...... lol!

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Re: poetry thread

Post  eddie on Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:37 am

I've posted this little gem a few times over the years on various threads but genius needs no apologies for another repeat:

My grasp of what he wrote and meant
Was only five or six %.
The rest was only words and sound.
My reference is to Ezra £.

(Myles na Gopaleen aka Flann O'Brien aka Brian O'Nolan)
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