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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

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