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Thread: Poetry

  1. #121
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    Quote Originally Posted by CORP$EY View Post
    The first bit that grabbed me in the Donne poem above is

    'Our eye-beams twisted, and did thread
    Our eyes upon one double string;'

    Because it's such a vivid, cartoon-ish, even faintly grotesque, image.

    Then I liked

    'This ecstasy doth unperplex,
    We said, and tell us what we love;'

    As a statement on love, but also as a statement on anything that makes you happy. It seems, at least temporarily, to 'unperplex', and simplify existence.

    'When love with one another so
    Interinanimates two souls,
    That abler soul, which thence doth flow,
    Defects of loneliness controls.'

    Again, the phrase 'Defects of loneliness' for me has a more general application than in connection with romantic love.
    Interestingly Dr Johnson criticised Donne for that very grotesque element - when he coined the term Metaphysical Poetry it wasn't a compliment. He said "The most heterogeneous ideas are yoked by violence together; nature and art are ransacked for illustrations, comparisons, and allusions; their learning instructs, and their subtlety surprises: but the reader commonly thinks his improvement dearly bought, and, though he sometimes admires, is seldom pleased."

    By the way - I love that 'unperplex' - I'm guessing he coined it and I'm also guessing no-one much else ever used it

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  3. #122
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    Do you know a good general history of poetry? (English poetry, really.)

    The Bloom book is a treasure trove really feel lucky to have picked it up.

  4. #123

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    Norton anthology is the one, isn't it?

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  6. #124

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    Your close reading is good and refreshing, CORP$E.

  7. #125
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    Quote Originally Posted by CORP$EY View Post
    a statement on anything that makes you happy. It seems, at least temporarily, to 'unperplex', and simplify existence.
    that's worth mulling over, you could be on to something with that. as life advice it might just be up there with luka's thing about finding out how normal (or otherwise) you actually are and adjusting accordingly.

  8. #126
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    Tea at the Palaz of Hoon
    Wallace Stevens, 1879 - 1955

    Not less because in purple I descended
    The western day through what you called
    The loneliest air, not less was I myself.

    What was the ointment sprinkled on my beard?
    What were the hymns that buzzed beside my ears?
    What was the sea whose tide swept through me there?

    Out of my mind the golden ointment rained,
    And my ears made the blowing hymns they heard.
    I was myself the compass of that sea:

    I was the world in which I walked, and what I saw
    Or heard or felt came not but from myself;
    And there I found myself more truly and more strange.

  9. #127
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    A.E. Housman

    WHEN smoke stood up from Ludlow,
    And mist blew off from Teme,
    And blithe afield to ploughing
    Against the morning beam
    I strode beside my team, 5

    The blackbird in the coppice
    Looked out to see me stride,
    And hearkened as I whistled
    The trampling team beside,
    And fluted and replied: 10

    ‘Lie down, lie down, young yeoman;
    What use to rise and rise?
    Rise man a thousand mornings
    Yet down at last he lies,
    And then the man is wise.’ 15

    I heard the tune he sang me,
    And spied his yellow bill;
    I picked a stone and aimed it
    And threw it with a will:
    Then the bird was still. 20

    Then my soul within me
    Took up the blackbird’s strain,
    And still beside the horses
    Along the dewy lane
    It sang the song again: 25

    ‘Lie down, lie down, young yeoman;
    The sun moves always west;
    The road one treads to labour
    Will lead one home to rest,
    And that will be the best.’

  10. #128
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    Coincidentally the Donne poem just made a brief appearance in a short book I'm reading at the moment.

    "Donne's most acute meditation on these themes is comprised in "The Extasie", where soule and bodie of the two lovers go out in separateness to accomplish "a new concoction" (the alchemical imagery is pervasive), which "interanimates two soules" by intimate exchange of body and mind; initially "it was not sexe / We see" but by transplant giving life and power to love between them. One of Donne's most daring images presents the feat of shared ocular vision which

    did thread
    Our eyes, upon one double string,
    so to'entergraft our hands, as yet
    Was all the meanes to make us one,
    And pictures in our eyes to get
    Was all our propagation


    This exotic grafting-usage is certainly beyond all horticulture; it's to suggest an intertwining of fingers so intimate as if to make them grow together, into a shared and fused body or what is later described as "That subtile knot, which makes us man". There can be no means to justify entergraft as a working or workable metaphor, it's part of an outreaching rhetoric of intimacy, witty and theoretic and ambitious, deliberately at a considered distance from explicit sexual innuendo. Shakespeare attempts a full seriousness about the meaning of this idea (this word); Donne is serious about it's effect, within his poem and it's provocation to the attentive reader"

    from
    'Graft and Corruption: Shakespeare's Sonnet 15'

    interesting to read in light of the speculation that Donne was heir to a tradition of ritual sex magic passed down through the Muslims-Templars-Troubadours. (Ezra Pound - 'Spirit of Romance' etc etc)

  11. #129
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    consider

    "Donne, who may have influenced English romantic poetry almost as
    much as Shakespeare, attended Oxford while Bruno was lecturing there
    and seems to have picked up some of the Nolan's doctrines. The fact that
    Donne's poems often have double and triple meanings, concealed jokes and
    Hidden symbolism is a critical commonplace, but this has not usually been
    * Literary Essays of Ezra Pound (New York: New Directions, n.d.) In The Spirit of Romance, with
    roore clarity but equal caution, Pound grants that what was involved was a yoga utilizing
    the opposite polarities of male and female." De Rougemont in love in the Western World
    leaves no doubt that it was classic Tantric yoga, prolonging the sex act into a trance in
    which the "souls" or "magnetisms" are, to some degree, visible.
    related to the use of similar red herrings by the "Hermeticists" like Bruno
    who always sought to conceal their sexual teachings from the Holy
    Inquisition by such devices. In this connection, Donne's The Ecstasy is notable
    as a poem that has almost always been misunderstood by scholarly
    commentators. Here are the key stanzas, with emphasis added by me in the
    form of italics:
    Where, like a pillow on a bed,
    A pregnant bank swell'd up to rest
    The violet's reclining head,
    Sat we two, one another's best.
    So t' intergraft our hands, as yet
    Was all the means to make us one,
    And pictures on our eyes to get
    Was all our propagation.
    As 'twixt two equal armies fate
    Suspends uncertain victory,
    Our souls, which to advance their state
    Were gone out, hung 'twixt her and me.
    And whilst our souls negotiate there
    We like sepulchral statues lay;
    Allday the same our postures were
    And we said nothing all the day.
    This is generally described as an exemplar of "Platonic love," but it is
    almost certainly nothing of the kind. Readers unaware of the Tantric-Sufi
    tradition in Tibet, India and the Near East and its transmission through the
    Templar-troubadour cult and the various "alchemists" and Illluminati
    assume that if Donne and his lady "sat" together they must have been
    without sexual contact. Actually—see any Tibetan painting of the yabyum
    position, as it is called—sitting in each other's laps in the double-lotus
    position is basic to all sexual yoga. According to some writers there are
    neurological reasons for this—it allegedly diverts the sexual energy or
    bioelectricity from the central nervous system and sends it into the
    autonomic (involuntary) system—but, from a Freudian point of view, it
    restores the male to the purely passive role of the infant at the breast and thus
    represents the oralization of the genital embrace. Not unexpectedly, the
    purpose of this is to recapture Freud's "oceanic experience" or the "trance or
    Unity" as mystics call it. In some traditions, influenced by Gnostic magic
    ideas, the couple stares into each other's eyes; cf. Donne's "and pictures in
    our eyes to get / Was all our propagation." This method is also a form of
    birth control, since it allows the male to experience orgasm without ejaculation."

  12. #130
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corpsey View Post
    Tea at the Palaz of Hoon
    Wallace Stevens, 1879 - 1955

    Not less because in purple I descended
    The western day through what you called
    The loneliest air, not less was I myself.

    What was the ointment sprinkled on my beard?
    What were the hymns that buzzed beside my ears?
    What was the sea whose tide swept through me there?

    Out of my mind the golden ointment rained,
    And my ears made the blowing hymns they heard.
    I was myself the compass of that sea:

    I was the world in which I walked, and what I saw
    Or heard or felt came not but from myself;
    And there I found myself more truly and more strange.

    today has been 1 of those days & reading this work was like a lighthouse in the storm,

    so keep moving & watch for the strange coast's rocks

  13. #131
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    luka, is there any implications outta donne being a tantric sex magician (as per Sting) or is it just interesting?

    I read a bit about Gnosticism the other day - a frank kermode review of a book about milton blake and marlowe being gnostics - and it struck me as really interesting and ingenious.

    In fact, reading more about milton and blake and michelangelo, to take three examples, has given me much more respect for religion than I felt formerly and has made me feel increasingly turned off by dawkins et al

    As much as I don't believe in god, adam, eve, etc., I think there's a lot of wisdom and imagination in religion that it is simply arrogant to dismiss as if those religious thinkers of yesteryear were cavemen and we've got mobile phones now so point and laugh - and what's more, it's hard to say what we've come up with to replace it, in terms of ministering to our need to believe in a higher purpose than live consume procreate die

    this is offtopic i suppose unless i make up some baloney about poetry being a shortcut to transcendence or something

    OTOH I can't imagine richard dawkins writing a decent poem

  14. #132
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    there's certainly implications in terms of interpretation of the poems, their intent and meaning.

    but as to how much it matters, i dunno, it's highly speculative. i think it's plausible but impossible to prove.

    poems tend to contain instruction. it's a system of teaching apart from anything else.

  15. #133
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    the religious/mystical/magical part of life is real. it's a whole continent. it's absurd to say you dont beleive in it. it's there. you can visit. and its existence undergirds, maybe not everything, but a hell of a lot. and particularly in poetry.
    Last edited by luka; 17-01-2018 at 08:31 PM.

  16. #134
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    more prynne

    Pigment Depot

    So the tenant comes back under his arch
    of blood, affirming its pulse; the air dips
    sharply and we are cold in
    wide-angle blankness,
    by a bridge on the motorway not yet
    open to traffic. Steel rods
    strike a pressure chorus in the hostel
    for the revenant already a victim,
    who sees a small grey woman descend
    down the steps to the sea. The first
    yolk is defective. The force for existence
    composes a colony of black spots.
    Just under the line of surf the black
    cursor makes the split total, the
    atropine shelf of vision.
    Who else can
    surmount this, the tenant's glass
    is empty and remote. Yet he ignites
    with order as an
    orange-yellow chimney.
    He does not
    command the freehold.
    Suddenly we are overcome, to concede
    the whole force of his body to rise,
    to granulate and make a sugar anvil;
    we search the downland, to bring him
    safely to that point of rest. Lights
    stream past the cartoid bodies, as
    the victim reclaims us and our dark patch.
    We are driven through rain to blue and scarlet,
    to the memory of grey shadow
    on the fringe of salt.

    This is a passion which throws over
    the hostage to violent ocular convulsion.
    And still we cannot do it,
    aspiration
    leaves us coughing with retinal noise.
    We apply for rebate on the form provided,
    injected with vanillic acid diethylamide
    our displacement is fused
    by parody
    of the military hint.
    There he goes
    as the road thickens
    twin lights merge
    and spin with syrup,
    yet the grey figure
    is absolutely not a part of
    the citric acid alert;
    the continent splits
    off, the sea fumes,
    and what she does
    makes the arch a template of blurred foresight.
    The tenant conspires with that power & is quiet.

  17. #135
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    Quote Originally Posted by CORP$EY View Post
    luka, is there any implications outta donne being a tantric sex magician (as per Sting) or is it just interesting?

    I read a bit about Gnosticism the other day - a frank kermode review of a book about milton blake and marlowe being gnostics - and it struck me as really interesting and ingenious.

    In fact, reading more about milton and blake and michelangelo, to take three examples, has given me much more respect for religion than I felt formerly and has made me feel increasingly turned off by dawkins et al

    As much as I don't believe in god, adam, eve, etc., I think there's a lot of wisdom and imagination in religion that it is simply arrogant to dismiss as if those religious thinkers of yesteryear were cavemen and we've got mobile phones now so point and laugh - and what's more, it's hard to say what we've come up with to replace it, in terms of ministering to our need to believe in a higher purpose than live consume procreate die

    this is offtopic i suppose unless i make up some baloney about poetry being a shortcut to transcendence or something

    OTOH I can't imagine richard dawkins writing a decent poem

    further sliding off-topic to your own off-topic, currently reading a v knotty text on surrealism and its various explorations. 1 outstanding chapter on Gnosticism, Blake & many other poets but its hard work (French scholar writing in translation), although the sheer variation of themes makes its scope outstanding & its exceptionally well researched. If you have the time, theres masses of info to be drawn out & the poetry references are succinctly interpreted:

    https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=pa...w=1366&bih=636

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