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Thread: Poetry

  1. #481
    Join Date
    May 2019


    Any fans of Conrad Aiken? I can't work out if he's overlooked because he's just a bit dull and not flashy. Or if I like his take on dark romantic. Either way, he always weaves musical elements in there with the early psychology.

  2. #482
    Join Date
    May 2019



    PART I.


    The sun goes down in a cold pale flare of light.
    The trees grow dark: the shadows lean to the east:
    And lights wink out through the windows, one by one.
    A clamor of frosty sirens mourns at the night.
    Pale slate-grey clouds whirl up from the sunken sun.

    And the wandering one, the inquisitive dreamer of dreams,
    The eternal asker of answers, stands in the street,
    And lifts his palms for the first cold ghost of rain.
    The purple lights leap down the hill before him.
    The gorgeous night has begun again.

    'I will ask them all, I will ask them all their dreams,
    I will hold my light above them and seek their faces.
    I will hear them whisper, invisible in their veins . . .'
    The eternal asker of answers becomes as the darkness,
    Or as a wind blown over a myriad forest,
    Or as the numberless voices of long-drawn rains.

    We hear him and take him among us, like a wind of music,
    Like the ghost of a music we have somewhere heard;
    We crowd through the streets in a dazzle of pallid lamplight,
    We pour in a sinister wave, ascend a stair,
    With laughter and cry, and word upon murmured word;
    We flow, we descend, we turn . . . and the eternal dreamer
    Moves among us like light, like evening air . . .

    Good-night! Good-night! Good-night! We go our ways,
    The rain runs over the pavement before our feet,
    The cold rain falls, the rain sings.
    We walk, we run, we ride. We turn our faces
    To what the eternal evening brings.

    Our hands are hot and raw with the stones we have laid,
    We have built a tower of stone high into the sky,
    We have built a city of towers.

    Our hands are light, they are singing with emptiness.
    Our souls are light; they have shaken a burden of hours . . .
    What did we build it for? Was it all a dream? . . .
    Ghostly above us in lamplight the towers gleam . . .
    And after a while they will fall to dust and rain;
    Or else we will tear them down with impatient hands;
    And hew rock out of the earth, and build them again.

  3. #483
    Join Date
    May 2019


    Aiken seens fairly singular in poetry. I don't know of any other romantics that put music as the centre of the indiviudal and viewed nature as a dark lonely place in the midst of internal stuggle. What do you reckon? Bland? Turgid? I reckon he is stronger with imagery than he is with his diction.
    Last edited by DLaurent; 24-05-2019 at 05:41 PM.

  4. #484
    Join Date
    May 2019


    It's almost like I want him to be my favourite Poet

    Palimpsest: The Deceitful Portrait hints that artistic uncertainty and self-doubt.

    What do yon know of me, or I of you?
    Little enough . . . We set these doors ajar
    Only for chosen movements of the music:
    This passage (so I think—yet this is guesswork)
    Will please him,—it is in a strain he fancies,—
    More brilliant, though, than his; and while he likes it
    He will be piqued ... He looks at me bewildered

    And thinks (to judge from self—this too is guesswork)
    The music strangely subtle, deep in meaning,
    Perplexed with implications; he suspects me
    Of hidden riches, unexpected wisdom.
    Or else I let him hear a lyric passage,—
    Simple and dear; and all the while he listens
    I make pretence to think my doors are closed.

    He has gothic tendencies which can be a bit cliche but I think he was strong enough to find a voice.

  5. #485
    Join Date
    Mar 2011


    because autumn is almost there:

    Herbsttag, Rainer Maria Rilke

    Herr: es ist Zeit. Der Sommer war sehr groß.
    Leg deinen Schatten auf die Sonnenuhren,
    und auf den Fluren laß die Winde los.

    Befiehl den letzten Früchten voll zu sein;
    gieb ihnen noch zwei südlichere Tage,
    dränge sie zur Vollendung hin und jage
    die letzte Süße in den schweren Wein.

    Wer jetzt kein Haus hat, baut sich keines mehr.
    Wer jetzt allein ist, wird es lange bleiben,
    wird wachen, lesen, lange Briefe schreiben
    und wird in den Alleen hin und her
    unruhig wandern, wenn die Blätter treiben.

    there are some english translations here but they are all not that good.

  6. #486
    Join Date
    Apr 2008


    At the moment I'm reading Louis MacNeice's 'Autumn Journal' and I've been discovering R.S. Thomas.

    Both these poets make me feel I could write poetry, unlike - say - Eliot.
    Αι ψυχαί οσμώνται καθ΄ Άιδην.

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