Poetry

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
Emily Dickinson:

Tell all the truth but tell it slant —
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind —

This is a fabulously interesting article on Emily Dickinson, and what her work might or might be trying to communicate about trauma, whether intentionally or subconsciously: as well as feeding into the discussion of how (real or imagined) biographical detail can interact with a poet's work: http://psyartjournal.com/article/show/howard-out_of_sound_out_of_sight_emily_dickinso
Most academic articles on art strip the art of its magic; this one manages to enhance the poetry, imo. I picked up a random book of ED's poetry recently, and what I read was almost unbearably trite...the contrast between that and this itself strongly suggests she experienced trauma....the switch between the unbearably bland and the unbearably affecting
 
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luka

Well-known member
Staff member
There was an Old Man of Whitehaven,
Who danced a quadrille with a Raven;
But they said - "It's absurd, to encourage this bird!"
So they smashed that Old Man of Whitehaven.

Edward Lear.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
There was an Old Man of Whitehaven,
Who danced a quadrille with a Raven;
But they said - "It's absurd, to encourage this bird!"
So they smashed that Old Man of Whitehaven.

Edward Lear.
"Limericks" where the first and last lines end in the same word can get to fuck.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
After many years of frank incomprehension, I am finally beginning to understand poetry as something rhythmic and "melodic", due to starting to read it aloud. Also understanding how poets can pack a whole load of meaning into a few dozen lines, how puzzling their poems can be, and how rewarding to grapple with. Oh, and amazingly, I'm beginning to understand the point of half-rhymes. I might even understand blank verse at this rate.

Been reading a lot of Yeats and Hardy this week. Both brilliant.
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
Luka, you mentioned this guy Cavafy somewhere. He's admirably depressing:


The City
BY C. P. CAVAFY
TRANSLATED BY EDMUND KEELEY

You said: “I’ll go to another country, go to another shore,
find another city better than this one.
Whatever I try to do is fated to turn out wrong
and my heart lies buried like something dead.
How long can I let my mind moulder in this place?
Wherever I turn, wherever I look,
I see the black ruins of my life, here,
where I’ve spent so many years, wasted them, destroyed them totally.”

You won’t find a new country, won’t find another shore.
This city will always pursue you.
You’ll walk the same streets, grow old
in the same neighborhoods, turn gray in these same houses.
You’ll always end up in this city. Don’t hope for things elsewhere:
there’s no ship for you, there’s no road.
Now that you’ve wasted your life here, in this small corner,
you’ve destroyed it everywhere in the world.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
The Ideal Star-Fighter

I

Now a slight meniscus floats on the moral
pigment of these times, producing
displacement of the body image, the politic
albino. The faded bird droops in his
cage called fear and yet flight into
his pectoral shed makes for comic
hysteria, visible hope converted to the
switchboard of organic providence
at the tiny rate of say 0.25 per cent
"for the earth as a whole". And why
go on reducing and failing like metal: the
condition is man and the total crop yield
of fear, from the fixation of danger; in
how we are gripped in the dark, the
flashes of where we are. It pays to be
simple, for screaming out, the eye
converts the news image to fear enzyme,
we are immune to disbelief. "If there
is danger there ought to be fear", trans-
location of the self to focal alert, "but
if fear is an evil why should there be
danger?" The meniscus tilts the
water table, the stable end-product is dark
motion, glints of terror the final inert
residue. Oriental human beings throw off
their leafy canopies, expire; it is
the unpastured sea hungering for calm.

II

And so we hear daily of the backward
glance at the planet, the reaction of
sentiment. Exhaust washes tidal flux
at the crust, the fierce acceleration
of mawkish regard. To be perceived with
such bounty! To put the ring-main of
fear into printed circuit, so that from the
distant loop of the hate system the
whole object is lovable, delicious, ingested
by heroic absorption! We should
shrink from that lethal cupidity; moral
stand-by is no substitute for 24-inch
reinforced concrete, for the blind certain
backlash. Yet how can we dream of
the hope to continue, how can the vectors
of digression not swing into that curve
bounding the translocal, and slip over, so
that the image of suffered love is
scaled off, shattered to a granulated pathos
like the dotted pigments of cygnus?

III

What more can be done. We walk
in beauty down the street, we tread
the dust of our wasted fields. The
photochemical dispatch is im
minent, order-paper prepared. We
cannot support that total of dis-
placed fear, we have already induced
moral mutation in the species. The
permeated spectra of hatred dominate
all the wavebands, algal to hominid.
Do not take this as metaphor;
thinking to
finish off the last half-pint of milk,
look at the plants, the entire dark dream outside.

JH PRYNNE
 
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Corpsey

call me big papa
Totally smitten with Yeats now. Like, totally.

Also re-read 'The Whitsun Weddings' by Larkin last night and for the first time bothered to work out the rhyming structure, which clued me in to how truly miraculous that poem is.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
An unpublished poem of Larkin's that, like a lot of his poetry, feels to me like I could have written it, were I a shit-hot poet:

Neurotics

No one gives you a thought, as day by day
You drag your feet, clay-thick with misery.
None think how stalemate in you grinds away,
Holding your spinning wheels an inch too high
To bite on earth. The mind, it's said, is free:
But not your minds. They, rusted stiff, admit
Only what will accuse or horrify,
Like slot-machines only bent pennies fit.

So year by year your tense unfinished faces
Sink further from the light. No one pretends
To want to help you now. For interest passes
Always towards the young and more insistent,
And skirts locked rooms where a hired darkness ends
Your long defence against the non-existent.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
Paudeen

INDIGNANT at the fumbling wits, the obscure spite
Of our old Paudeen in his shop, I stumbled blind
Among the stones and thorn trees, under morning light;
Until a curlew cried and in the luminous wind
A curlew answered; and suddenly thereupon I thought
That on the lonely height where all are in God’s eye,
There cannot be, confusion of our sound forgot,
A single soul that lacks a sweet crystaline cry.

W.B. Yeats
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
Luka, you mentioned this guy Cavafy somewhere. He's admirably depressing:


The City
BY C. P. CAVAFY
TRANSLATED BY EDMUND KEELEY

You said: “I’ll go to another country, go to another shore,
find another city better than this one.
Whatever I try to do is fated to turn out wrong
and my heart lies buried like something dead.
How long can I let my mind moulder in this place?
Wherever I turn, wherever I look,
I see the black ruins of my life, here,
where I’ve spent so many years, wasted them, destroyed them totally.”

You won’t find a new country, won’t find another shore.
This city will always pursue you.
You’ll walk the same streets, grow old
in the same neighborhoods, turn gray in these same houses.
You’ll always end up in this city. Don’t hope for things elsewhere:
there’s no ship for you, there’s no road.
Now that you’ve wasted your life here, in this small corner,
you’ve destroyed it everywhere in the world.
I love this; it describes perfectly why I am hesitant to ever go 'travelling' again, though on happier days I really want to.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
I tried to memorise this poem last night, and I almost have it:

Fallen Majesty (by Yeats)

Although crowds gathered once if she but showed her face,
And even old men's eyes grew dim, this hand alone
Like some last courtier at a gypsy camping-place
Babbling of fallen majesty, records what's gone.

The lineaments, a heart that laughter has made sweet,
These, these remain, but I record what's gone. A crowd
(THIS LINE I FORGOT) Will gather, and not know it walks the very street
Whereon a thing once walked that seemed a burning cloud.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
With due apologies for my rather sixth-form selections? I read this last night, stoned, and it blew me away - no pun intended.

Ode to the West Wind
BY PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY

I

O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,

Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou,
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed

The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow

Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill
(Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
With living hues and odours plain and hill:

Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;
Destroyer and preserver; hear, oh hear!

II

Thou on whose stream, mid the steep sky's commotion,
Loose clouds like earth's decaying leaves are shed,
Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean,

Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread
On the blue surface of thine aëry surge,
Like the bright hair uplifted from the head

Of some fierce Maenad, even from the dim verge
Of the horizon to the zenith's height,
The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge

Of the dying year, to which this closing night
Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre,
Vaulted with all thy congregated might

Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere
Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst: oh hear!

III

Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,
Lull'd by the coil of his crystalline streams,

Beside a pumice isle in Baiae's bay,
And saw in sleep old palaces and towers
Quivering within the wave's intenser day,

All overgrown with azure moss and flowers
So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou
For whose path the Atlantic's level powers

Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below
The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear
The sapless foliage of the ocean, know

Thy voice, and suddenly grow gray with fear,
And tremble and despoil themselves: oh hear!

IV

If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;
A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share

The impulse of thy strength, only less free
Than thou, O uncontrollable! If even
I were as in my boyhood, and could be

The comrade of thy wanderings over Heaven,
As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed
Scarce seem'd a vision; I would ne'er have striven

As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
Oh, lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!
I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!

A heavy weight of hours has chain'd and bow'd
One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.

V

Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is:
What if my leaves are falling like its own!
The tumult of thy mighty harmonies

Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,
Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce,
My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!

Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like wither'd leaves to quicken a new birth!
And, by the incantation of this verse,

Scatter, as from an unextinguish'd hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
Be through my lips to unawaken'd earth

The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
 
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