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The Poetry Thread

T. Leaf

Member
Nov 28, 2018
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There are two threads on here about music and one about books, but none, as far as I can see, about poetry.

I’ve often heard people say that they were put off poetry during their school days by being made to learn poems off by heart. It was during my own school days that I first became acquainted with poetry through various poems in the readers we used. We never had to learn them by heart, merely read them out loud, even though we had a teacher who was a carbon copy of the teacher in “Weep for our Pride”, the short story by James Plunkett.

My first interest in many a poem was because it was chosen as one of the poems to read and I then looked out for other poems by that writer. What I discovered, to my pleasure, was that – unlike a short story or a book – you could memorise a poem and carry it around in your head and quote it silently for yourself any time you wished. Your own entertainment, with you always!

My preference is for rhyming poetry, but I can enjoy all kinds, as long as it says something to me that I can connect with and says it stylishly. I have found lots of poems – both rhyming and non-rhyming - even from well-known poets, to be drab and lifeless. Often it is not so much the subject, as a poor use of words which causes the problem.

This thread is for people to discuss poetry if they want to, but – above all – to post up the poems they like themselves, whether modern or ancient , conventional or unconventional, although it may be not be technically possible on here to post up poetry which relies as much on space as on words for its effects.

To start off with there is this one by Stevie Smith which was recently the subject of a question on The Chase quiz.

Not Waving but Drowning By Stevie Smith

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

There is a Wikkipaedia entry on the poem, here:

Not Waving But Drowning

I found this next one in Walter De La Mare’s Huge Anthology, “Come Hither”

I stayed in my mind for years (it’s still there) and I even wrote a children’s novel (unpublished) based on the ghostly character.

Lydia Is Gone This Many A Year by Lyzette Woodworth Reese

Lydia is gone this many a year,
Yet when the lilacs stir,
In the old gardens far or near,
The house is full of her.

They climb the twisted chamber stair;
Her picture haunts the room;
On the carved shelf beneath it there,
They heap the purple bloom.

A ghost so long has Lydia been,
Her cloak upon the wall,
Broidered, and gilt, and faded green,
Seems not her cloak at all.

The book, the box on mantel laid,
The shells in a pale row,
Are those of some dim little maid,
A thousand years ago.

And yet the house is full of her;
She goes and comes again;
And longings thrill, and memories stir,
Like lilacs in the rain.

Out in their yards the neighbors walk,
Among the blossoms tall;
Of Anne, of Phyllis, do they talk,
Of Lydia not at all.
 

Cruimh

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One of my favourite poets - Charles Bukowski.
An ugly, vulgar man with moments of real beauty.

for Jane

225 days under grass
and you know more than I.
they have long taken your blood,
you are a dry stick in a basket.

is this how it works?

in this room
the hours of love
still make shadows.

when you left
you took almost
everything.

I kneel in the nights
before tigers
that will not let me be.

what you were
will not happen again.

the tigers have found me
and I do not care.
 

T. Leaf

Member
Nov 28, 2018
2,367
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I hadn’t heard of Bukoski, so I googled him. He’s interesting, but I said to myself, as I’ve said many a time, Is this really poetry? Is it not prose, chopped up into lines of varying sizes? I had an Australian pen-friend once who told me that this was the way she wrote poetry. Google also came up with the following definitions which I’ve seen before. Definition 2 would seem to indicate that anything goes

(Definition of poetry. 1a : metrical writing : verse. b : the productions of a poet : poems. 2 : writing that formulates a concentrated imaginative awareness of experience in language chosen and arranged to create a specific emotional response through meaning, sound, and rhythm.)

I did like some of Bukowski’s stuff, however, including the following, which shows a sense of humour, and a certain sincerity which I found missing in some Paul Durkan stuff I tried to read once. I also have had some trouble with locks, although I never mixed up the parts of two different ones.

Locks by Charles Bukowski

I moved into a new place and decided to change the locks.
I phoned the nearest locksmith and he told me
I needn't change the locks, he could make new keys.

"all you have to do," he said, "is take
the locks out and bring them down here.
just remove the 3 little screws
and pull the locks out."

the side door wasn't difficult.
I pulled the lock out and put it carefully into
a cardboard box.
then
I went to the front door and it seemed simple
only the front door handle came off and
I thought,
I wonder if he needs the handle too?
I put everything into the cardboard box and got into
the car and drove down to the locksmith.

"are you the guy who phoned?" he asked me.
I told him that I was and then he asked,
"do you have the key?"
I gave him the key and he took it and the locks and the handle
and disappeared into his shop.

I stood out in the alley behind the place and waited.
the only view was the back of a Chevron gas station.
I looked at it for quite a while then
I walked over to my car and looked at it for a while
and then
I lit a cigarette and walked back.
the man had the keys ready.
"$10," he said.
I asked him if he might tell me a little bit about reinstalling
locks.
"sure," he said, "now this part fits here. it
doesn't matter which part you stick in here,
either end will do."

I asked him if either end would do then why did one end
have a nodule on it while the other end was flat?
"that's a good question," he said, "now this
part, these two prongs slip in here, you hold
it together against the front of the lock and
tighten the 3 screws. also, when you do this
make sure the lock is in the locked position."

I drove the locks back to my place and
I tried the side door first and everything seemed to
fit all right, it locked and unlocked, although
there was space around the lock and the door itself
and it wouldn't slide in flush.

then
I tried the front door
I put the handle back on
then
I slipped the parts together.
there was some trouble pushing the screws in against
the wood and getting them started but then it was done but
it wasn't right: the latch was locked against
the handle and it wouldn't lift up.

I phoned my girlfriend and told her that
I just couldn't install door locks.
"it's easy," she said, "I've changed dozens myself,
there's nothing to it."
I told her that it wasn't easy because even when they told
you some things they left other things out.
"just forget the locks," she said, "I'll fix them
when I get there."
the problem was that she wasn't coming until the next day.

I uncorked some wine and sat down at the typewriter and
turned on the radio and smoked cigars and typed.
I drank the wine and smoked and typed until somewhere
between one and two a.m. then
I walked over to the bed, fell on it and slept.
I awakened 30 minutes later, took off my clothes and slid
under the blankets.

about 4:30 a.m.
I awakened and thought about the front door and
I got up and went downstairs naked.
I got the screwdriver and went to work but the lock parts
became scrambled.
I tried to put the lock back in, checking for the slot
for the latch tongue and then
I found that
I had lost one of the 3 screws necessary to fasten the lock
back together again.
I turned on all the lights but it was dark down on the
floor so
I turned on the front porch light but I still couldn't find
the screw so
I walked naked to the garage and looked in the glove
compartment of
the car and got the flashlight out and came back up on the
porch, got down on my knees and flicked it on and it died
after about ten seconds.
I gathered all the lock parts together and put them in a little
pile, then
I closed the door and turned out all the lights.
there was now a large hole in the door where
the moonlight came through.
I found three chairs and stacked them up against the closed door
and then
I went upstairs and got back into bed.

in the morning
I phoned the locksmith and told him that
I couldn't manage it and wasn't there somebody he could
send up? and I told him about the 3 screws. that
I had lost one of them.

"you were the guy in the white t-shirt,
weren't you?" he asked.
"yes," I said.
"we'll have a man up there in a
couple of hours."

I waited until 12 p.m. and then
I phoned again and
I told him that
I was the guy in the white t-shirt and that
I had phoned earlier and that
I had an important business appointment that afternoon
(it was one of the last days of the Oak Tree meet,
first post, 12:30 p.m.)
and that I could cancel my appointment but
I'd certainly prefer not to.

"I have another man coming in at 12:15," he said.
"we'll have him up there in a couple of
minutes."

the man arrived at 1:05 and
I told him there were supposed to be 3 screws and that
I had lost one of them.

"nice place you got here," he told me.
he picked up the lock and began fitting it together
and he said,
"no, you haven't lost a screw, here it is stuck
in the back of the lock."

I stood there and watched him slip the lock into the
hole in the door.
then he pulled the lock out of the door.
"you know," he said, "this is a very complicated
lock, it's expensive and more difficult to fit
together."

then he jiggled the lock parts and slipped them
back into the door.
then he pulled the parts out again.

"I don't understand it," he said
looking at the doorknob.
"the doorknob's frozen so I'll have to fix
the doorknob first."

he sat down on the steps and twisted at the door
knob and
I walked to a table in the other room and sat where
I could see him.
there was a newspaper there
I had already read and
I began to read it again.

5 or ten minutes went by and
I said,
"look, let's just replace every thing...new knob,
new lock and I'll pay for everything."

"wait," he said, "give me a chance."

I read the newspaper some more,
I read through the whole front section.
then the repairman stood up:
"I'll be back, I'm going to have to lubricate
this thing..."

he was gone for about twenty minutes and when he
came back the doorknob was no longer frozen and he
fit the lock parts back in and bolted them home.
then he stuck the key in and it worked.

"it works but there's still something wrong here that
I don't understand."

"it's strange," I said, "I had very little trouble
putting the lock in the side door."

"you mean," he asked, "that there are two locks?"

"yes, didn't someone tell you?"

"no. then that's the trouble: let me see the other
lock."

I showed him the other lock.
"it's falling out," I said, "but it works."

he told me, "you mixed the parts of the two locks.
they are different locks."

then he took out both locks
rearranged the parts the way they should be
put the locks back in and both of them
worked just fine.

"that'll be fifteen dollars," he said.

I thought that was very reasonable and handed him a
twenty.

"damn it," he said, "I don't have any change.
don't you have any change?"

"no, all I have are twenties."

"you'll need a receipt?"

"yes, so I can take it off my income tax."

he offered to drive me down to the corner market and
I'd get change
and we got into his truck and drove down to the
market and
I went in and got two bottles of wine and change for one of
my twenties.
I came out and handed him his $15 and told him to forget the
receipt.
I usually lost them anyhow long before tax time.

"I'll give you a ride back,"
he said.

so we drove back up the hill and
I missed the running board getting out
but managed not to fall as he
drove off.

I walked up the drive with my two bottles of wine
stuck the key into the door and it opened.
I sat down, corkscrewed the bottle open and poured
a drink, then
I telephoned my girlfriend.

"it's too late for the races but I got the locks
fixed."

"I could have done it,"
she said. "it's so simple.
I could have saved you money!"

"I know," I said, "but you weren't here."

40 minutes later
I was at the racetrack as they were coming out
for the 5th race.
 

Cruimh

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His biographical books are earthy and entertaining, although he had a miserable childhood.

Charles Bukowski:

“Bluebird”

there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too tough for him,
I say, stay in there, I’m not going
to let anybody see
you.

there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I pour whiskey on him and inhale
cigarette smoke
and the whores and the bartenders
and the grocery clerks
never know that
he’s
in there.

there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too tough for him,
I say,
stay down, do you want to mess
me up?
you want to screw up the
works?
you want to blow my book sales in
Europe?

there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too clever, I only let him out
at night sometimes
when everybody’s asleep.
I say, I know that you’re there,
so don’t be
sad.

then I put him back,
but he’s singing a little
in there, I haven’t quite let him
die
and we sleep together like
that
with our
secret pact
and it’s nice enough to
make a man
weep, but I don’t
weep, do
you?
 
Jan 14, 2019
3
3
TS Eliot's Four Quartets - in particular the final verse of the fourth book, Little Gidding


V


What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make and end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from. And every phrase
And sentence that is right (where every word is at home,
Taking its place to support the others,
The word neither diffident nor ostentatious,
An easy commerce of the old and the new,
The common word exact without vulgarity,
The formal word precise but not pedantic,
The complete consort dancing together)
Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,
Every poem an epitaph. And any action
Is a step to the block, to the fire, down the sea's throat
Or to an illegible stone: and that is where we start.
We die with the dying:
See, they depart, and we go with them.
We are born with the dead:
See, they return, and bring us with them.
The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew-tree
Are of equal duration. A people without history
Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern
Of timeless moments. So, while the light fails
On a winter's afternoon, in a secluded chapel
History is now and England.
With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this Calling
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always--
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flames are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.
 
Last edited:
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I loved the part at the beginning of the film "Educating Rita" when the Professor (Frank) explains assonance to Rita-

Frank - "Well, in his poem 'The Wild Swans At Coole', Yeats rhymes the word "swan" with the word "stone". You see? That's an example of assonance.

Rita - "Yeah, it means getting the rhyme wrong.”

I'll never tire of this poem by Joyce Kilmer, my Uncle used to sing it with his beautiful tenor voice.

Trees
BY JOYCE KILMER
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
 

T. Leaf

Member
Nov 28, 2018
2,367
1,854
TS Eliot's Four Quartets - in particular the final verse of the fourth book, Little Gidding


V


What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make and end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from. And every phrase
And sentence that is right (where every word is at home,
Taking its place to support the others,
The word neither diffident nor ostentatious,
An easy commerce of the old and the new,
The common word exact without vulgarity,
The formal word precise but not pedantic,
The complete consort dancing together)
Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,
Every poem an epitaph. And any action
Is a step to the block, to the fire, down the sea's throat
Or to an illegible stone: and that is where we start.
We die with the dying:
See, they depart, and we go with them.
We are born with the dead:
See, they return, and bring us with them.
The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew-tree
Are of equal duration. A people without history
Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern
Of timeless moments. So, while the light fails
On a winter's afternoon, in a secluded chapel
History is now and England.
With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this Calling
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always--
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flames are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.
Ah, the magic of words!
 

T. Leaf

Member
Nov 28, 2018
2,367
1,854
I loved the part at the beginning of the film "Educating Rita" when the Professor (Frank) explains assonance to Rita-

Frank - "Well, in his poem 'The Wild Swans At Coole', Yeats rhymes the word "swan" with the word "stone". You see? That's an example of assonance.

Rita - "Yeah, it means getting the rhyme wrong.”

I'll never tire of this poem by Joyce Kilmer, my Uncle used to sing it with his beautiful tenor voice.

Trees
BY JOYCE KILMER
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree.
Indeed, unless the billboards fall,
I'll never see a tree at all.
- Ogden Nash
 

Cruimh

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Ogden was a hero who helped me through adolescence.

Untitled

by Ogden Nash

I envy oft my faithful pup.
He has no trouble getting up.
While just to rouse my Cousin Eric
Takes three bull dozers and a derrick.

I envy, too, the woolly sheep.
It has no trouble going to sleep,
But if to go to sleep it chooses,
While wakeful people count it, it snoozes.

Sometimes to be a fish I crave.
They hardly ever have to shave.
Each morning when I eye my chin, Oh
How I wish I was a minnow.

And here's another pleasing thing—
I've never known a fish to sing;
Except for one who drank Peruna,
And was, I think, a piano tuna.

The snake is naturally slim
So calories do not bother him.
If I were like that slender ruffian
I could eat a second buttered muffian.

And Molesworth

O pigge? you are so beautiful!
I luv yore snouty nose!
ect.
 

T. Leaf

Member
Nov 28, 2018
2,367
1,854
Ogden was a hero who helped me through adolescence.

Untitled

by Ogden Nash

I envy oft my faithful pup.
He has no trouble getting up.
While just to rouse my Cousin Eric
Takes three bull dozers and a derrick.

I envy, too, the woolly sheep.
It has no trouble going to sleep,
But if to go to sleep it chooses,
While wakeful people count it, it snoozes.

Sometimes to be a fish I crave.
They hardly ever have to shave.
Each morning when I eye my chin, Oh
How I wish I was a minnow.

And here's another pleasing thing—
I've never known a fish to sing;
Except for one who drank Peruna,
And was, I think, a piano tuna.

The snake is naturally slim
So calories do not bother him.
If I were like that slender ruffian
I could eat a second buttered muffian.

And Molesworth

O pigge? you are so beautiful!
I luv yore snouty nose!
ect.
Glad to meet another Nash fan. The library was where I first found him, in his collection, Many Long Years Ago. I was fascinated by the way he sometimes extended a line until it finally rhymed with the preceding line. Not to mention his version of "assonance". or Poetic License, as it was better known in those days. One of those poets who are an absolute joy to read.
 

Cruimh

Rhubarb fetishist and proud of it!
Staff member
Moderator
Member
Nov 28, 2018
18,714
12,401
Under the blue skies
www.xxx-rhubarb.com
Glad to meet another Nash fan. The library was where I first found him, in his collection, Many Long Years Ago. I was fascinated by the way he sometimes extended a line until it finally rhymed with the preceding line. Not to mention his version of "assonance". or Poetic License, as it was better known in those days. One of those poets who are an absolute joy to read.
I included his poem The Cow in an exam paper once :D
 

Cruimh

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A Caution To Everybody

Consider the auk;
Becoming extinct because he forgot how to fly, and could only walk.
Consider man, who may well become extinct
Because he forgot how to walk and learned how to fly before he thinked.

Ogden Nash
 

T. Leaf

Member
Nov 28, 2018
2,367
1,854
I’ve never read anyone else who used words quite like Emily Dickinson. Dickinson named few of her poems, but all were assigned a number. For the most part the names they now bear have been bestowed by other people. “The Snake” Is a practical name for the following one.

A narrow fellow in the grass
Occasionally rides;
You may have met him ,- did you not,
His notice sudden is.

The grass divides as with a comb
A spotted shaft is seen;
And then it closes at your feet
And opens further on.

He likes a boggy acre,
A floor too cool for corn.
Yet when a child, and barefoot,
I more than once, at morn,

Have passed, I thought, a whip-lash
Unbraiding in the sun, -
When, stooping to secure it,
It wrinkled, and was gone.

Several of nature's people
I know, and they know me;
I feel for them a transport
Of cordiality;

But never met this fellow,
Attended or alone,
Without a tighter breathing,
And zero at the bone.

This is 214 –

I taste a liquor never brewed -
From Tankards scooped in Pearl -
Not all the Frankfort Berries
Yield such an Alcohol!

Inebriate of air - am I -
And Debauchee of Dew -
Reeling - thro' endless summer days -
From inns of molten Blue -

When "Landlords" turn the drunken Bee
Out of the Foxglove's door -
When Butterflies - renounce their "drams" -
I shall but drink the more!

Till Seraphs swing their snowy Hats -
And Saints - to windows run -
To see the little Tippler
Leaning against the - Sun!

And this one about death, numbered 591 –

I heard a Fly buzz - when I died -
The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air -
Between the Heaves of Storm -

The Eyes around - had wrung them dry -
And Breaths were gathering firm
For that last Onset - when the King
Be witnessed - in the Room -

I willed my Keepsakes - Signed away
What portion of me be
Assignable - and then it was
There interposed a Fly -

With Blue - uncertain - stumbling Buzz -
Between the light - and me -
And then the Windows failed - and then
I could not see to see -
 

T. Leaf

Member
Nov 28, 2018
2,367
1,854
I love poetry anthologies. All the separating of the wheat from the chaff has been done for you, and now you are left those lovely grains to chew on. (Of course some chaff will always escape the screening.) It was in one such anthology that I found “Merlin Enthralled”.

I like it for lots of reasons. I think it has some beautiful phrasing, which brings you the raw tang of what I imagine it was like in that mythological era, when the leaves and the grass were greener, the sun was warm without burning and the water was refreshing and cool and unpolluted (Forget all that hacking and slashing and blood and gore for the moment).

But "Time waits for no one", knights and chivalry go out of fashion, history becomes mythology, and real flesh and blood people become mere characters in a story.

I also imagined it as scenes in a film, especially the latter part where the riding knights freeze and turn into a tapestry and the titles start to roll up the screen.

Merlin Enthralled by Richard Wilbur

In a while they rose and went out aimlessly riding.
Leaving their drained cups on the table round.
Merlin, Merlin, their hearts cried, where are you hiding?
In all the world was no unnatural sound.

Mystery watched them riding glade by glade;
They saw it darkle from under leafy brows;
But leaves were all its voice, and squirrels made
An alien fracas in the ancient boughs.

Once by a lake-edge something made them stop.
Yet what they found was the thumping of a frog,
Bugs skating on the shut water-top,
Some hairlike algae bleaching on a log.

Gawen thought for a moment that he heard
A whitehorn breathe "Niniane." That Siren's daughter
Rose in a fort of dreams and spoke the word
"Sleep", her voice like dark diving water;

And Merlin slept, who had imagined her
Of water-sounds and the deep unsoundable swell
A creature to bewitch a sorcerer,
And lay there now within her towering spell.

Slowly the shapes of searching men and horses
Escaped him as he dreamt on that high bed:
History died; he gathered in its forces;
The mists of time condensed in the still head

Until his mind, as clear as mountain water,
Went raveling toward the deep transparent dream
Who bade him sleep. And then the Siren's daughter
Received him as the sea receives a stream.

Fate would be fated; dreams desire to sleep.
This the forsaken will not understand.
Arthur upon the road began to weep
And said to Gawen, "Remember when this hand

Once haled a sword from stone; now no less strong
It cannot dream of such a thing to do."
Their mail grew quainter as they clopped along.
The sky became a still and woven blue.
 

Cruimh

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The Wounded Otter

A wounded otter
on a bare rock
a bolt in her side,
stroking her whiskers
stroking her webbed feet.
Her ancestors
told her once
that there was a river,
a crystal river,
a waterless bed.
They also said
there were trout there
fat as tree-trunks
and kingfishers
bright as blue spears -
men there without cinders
in their boots,
men without dogs
on leashes.
She did not notice
the world die
nor the sun expire.
She was already
swimming at ease
in the magic crystal river.

Michael Hartnett

 

T. Leaf

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Nov 28, 2018
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How goes the night, boy? By Michael Hartnett


How goes the night,boy?
The moon is down:
Dark is the town
In this nightfall.
How goes the night, boy?
Soon is her funeral
Her small white burial.
She was my three-years child,
Her honey hair, her eyes
Small ovals of thrush-eggs.
How goes the night, boy?
It is late: lace
At the window
Blows back in the wind.
How goes the night, boy?
Oh,my poor white fawn!
How goes the night, boy?
It is dawn
 

T. Leaf

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Nov 28, 2018
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I have always found Ezra Pound’s poetry incomprehensible, half built up as it is with foreign word and phrases whose meanings are a complete mystery to me. Indeed you wouldn’t suppose him to have a sense of humour. But this one is a perfect gem!

Ancient Music by Ezra Pound

Winter is icumen in,
Lhude sing Goddamm,
Raineth drop and staineth slop,
And how the wind doth ramm!
Sing: Goddamm.

Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us,
An ague hath my ham.
Freezeth river, turneth liver,
Damm you; Sing: Goddamm.

Goddamm, Goddamm, 'tis why I am, Goddamm,
So 'gainst the winter's balm.

Sing goddamm, damm, sing goddamm,
Sing goddamm, sing goddamm, DAMM.
 

T. Leaf

Member
Nov 28, 2018
2,367
1,854
I always liked this poem by Rudyard Kipling, which proposes the attributes of the perfect person. But who could be as perfect as that? I, myself, would fail at the start of the second verse.



If by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too.
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster,
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make a heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And—which is more—you'll be a Man, my son!
 
Jan 31, 2019
12
6
I've always loved these lines from Séamus Heaney's The Cure at Troy

History says, don't hope
on this side of the grave
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up
And hope and history rhyme.
 

Tonic

Member
Jan 25, 2019
265
84
Heaney again.
I don't know a lot of poetry, but from the first time I came across this one I had a new appreciation.



When all the others were away at Mass
I was all hers as we peeled potatoes.
They broke the silence, let fall one by one
Like solder weeping off the soldering iron:
Cold comforts set between us, things to share
Gleaming in a bucket of clean water.
And again let fall. Little pleasant splashes
From each other’s work would bring us to our senses.

So while the parish priest at her bedside
Went hammer and tongs at the prayers for the dying
And some were responding and some crying
I remembered her head bent towards my head,
Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives–
Never closer the whole rest of our lives.
 

Cruimh

Rhubarb fetishist and proud of it!
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The Exhibition is well worth a visit if in this neck of the Woods, Bellaghy - nice coffee shop that does brilliant cakes


120
 
Jan 31, 2019
12
6
Heaney again.
I don't know a lot of poetry, but from the first time I came across this one I had a new appreciation.



When all the others were away at Mass
I was all hers as we peeled potatoes.
They broke the silence, let fall one by one
Like solder weeping off the soldering iron:
Cold comforts set between us, things to share
Gleaming in a bucket of clean water.
And again let fall. Little pleasant splashes
From each other’s work would bring us to our senses.

So while the parish priest at her bedside
Went hammer and tongs at the prayers for the dying
And some were responding and some crying
I remembered her head bent towards my head,
Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives–
Never closer the whole rest of our lives.
That's a lovely poem. You might like this one about the tragic death of his brother at the age of 4.

Mid Term Break

I sat all morning in the college sick bay
Counting bells knelling classes to a close.
At two o'clock our neighbours drove me home.

In the porch I met my father crying—
He had always taken funerals in his stride—
And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow.

The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram
When I came in, and I was embarrassed
By old men standing up to shake my hand

And tell me they were 'sorry for my trouble'.
Whispers informed strangers I was the eldest,
Away at school, as my mother held my hand

In hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs.
At ten o'clock the ambulance arrived
With the corpse, stanched and bandaged by the nurses.

Next morning I went up into the room. Snowdrops
And candles soothed the bedside; I saw him
For the first time in six weeks. Paler now,

Wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple,
He lay in the four-foot box as in his cot.
No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear.

A four-foot box, a foot for every year.
 
Jan 31, 2019
12
6
The Exhibition is well worth a visit if in this neck of the Woods, Bellaghy - nice coffee shop that does brilliant cakes


View attachment 120
I'm ashamed to say I have never been in Derry. I'm 28 and have barely set foot in Ulster (I'm from Dublin). I was in Belfast recently for the first time and loved it. The people were very friendly, and there seemed to be a great atmosphere in the city.

I would love to see the Heaney exhibition some time.
 

T. Leaf

Member
Nov 28, 2018
2,367
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I found this one in an anthology many years ago.

Information about Muriel Stuart can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muriel_Stuart

The Seed Shop by Muriel Stuart

Here in a quiet and dusty room they lie,
Faded as crumbled stone or shifting sand,
Forlorn as ashes, shrivelled, scentless, dry -
Meadows and gardens running through my hand.

In this brown husk a dale of hawthorn dreams;
A cedar in this narrow cell is thrust
That will drink deeply of a century's streams;
These lilies shall make summer on my dust.

Here in their safe and simple house of death,
Sealed in their shells, a million roses leap;
Here I can blow a garden with my breath,
And in my hand a forest lies asleep.
 

T. Leaf

Member
Nov 28, 2018
2,367
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Ah, rare Ben Jonson ...

Song: To Celia by Ben Jonson

Drink to me only with thine eyes,
And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss but in the cup,
And I’ll not look for wine.

The thirst that from the soul doth rise
Doth ask a drink divine;
But might I of Jove’s nectar sup,
I would not change for thine.

I sent thee late a rosy wreath,
Not so much honouring thee
As giving it a hope, that there
It could not withered be.

But thou thereon didst only breathe,
And sent’st it back to me;
Since when it grows, and smells, I swear,
Not of itself, but thee.
 

T. Leaf

Member
Nov 28, 2018
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I tried to indent every second line of Jonson't poem, as in the original, but it ends up with all the lines aligned left. There is an indent option for lists but it didn’t work for this. There are align options (left, right, center), none of which I can ever see myself using.

Word processors are generally a good thing, but it had led lately to a tendency by people writing verse to centralize everything. Nothing looks more untidy or hard to read in my opinion.
 
D

Deleted member 72

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This is the weather the cuckoo likes,
And so do I;
When showers betumble the chestnut spikes,
And nestlings fly;
And the little brown nightingale bills his best,
And they sit outside at 'The Traveller's Rest,'
And maids come forth sprig-muslin drest,
And citizens dream of the south and west,
And so do I.

This is the weather the shepherd shuns,
And so do I;
When beeches drip in browns and duns,
And thresh and ply;
And hill-hid tides throb, throe on throe,
And meadow rivulets overflow,
And drops on gate bars hang in a row,
And rooks in families homeward go,
And so do I.

by Thomas Hardy
 

publicrealm

Member
Nov 27, 2018
7,605
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Naming of Parts

Today we have naming of parts. Yesterday
We had daily cleaning. And tomorrow morning,
We shall have what to do after firing. But today,
Today we have naming of parts. Japonica
Glistens like coral in all of the neighbouring gardens,
And today we have naming of parts.

This is the lower sling swivel. And this
Is the upper sling swivel, whose use you will see,
When you are given your slings. And this is the piling swivel,
Which in your case you have not got. The branches
Hold in the gardens their silent, eloquent gestures,
Which in our case we have not got.

This is the safety-catch, which is always released
With an easy flick of the thumb. And please do not let me
See anyone using his finger. You can do it quite easy
If you have any strength in your thumb. The blossoms
Are fragile and motionless, never letting anyone see
Any of them using their finger.

And this you can see is the bolt. The purpose of this
Is to open the breech, as you see. We can slide it
Rapidly backwards and forwards; we call this
Easing the spring. And rapidly backwards and forwards
The early bees are assaulting and fumbling the flowers:
They call it easing the Spring.

They call it easing the Spring. It is perfectly easy
If you have any strength in your thumb; like the bolt,
And the breech, and the cocking piece, and the point of balance,
Which in our case we have not got; and the almond-blossom
Silent in all of the gardens and the bees going backwards and forwards,
For today we have naming of parts.


Henry Reed
 

T. Leaf

Member
Nov 28, 2018
2,367
1,854
I always preferred Thomas Hardy’s poems to his novels.

The Darkling Thrush by Thomas Hardy

I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-grey,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.

The land's sharp features seemed to be
The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.
 
D

Deleted member 72

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Agreed T, his prose is hard work and depends on numerous coincidences. His poetry really only became important and recognised late in his long life. I highly recommend the biography , The Time-torn Man by Claire Tomalin
 

T. Leaf

Member
Nov 28, 2018
2,367
1,854
I know this was written as a hymn and recorded as a song, but I found it in a book called “Poetry of the Dance” so I include it here.

Lord of the Dance by Sydney Carter

I danced in the morning when the world was begun
I danced in the Moon and the Stars and the Sun
I came down from Heaven and I danced on Earth
At Bethlehem I had my birth:

Dance then, wherever you may be
I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!
And I'll lead you all, wherever you may be
And I'll lead you all in the Dance, said He!

I danced for the scribe and the Pharisee
But they would not dance and they wouldn't follow me
I danced for fishermen, for James and John
They came with me and the Dance went on:

Dance then, wherever you may be
I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!
And I'll lead you all, wherever you may be
And I'll lead you all in the Dance, said He!

I danced on the Sabbath and I cured the lame
The holy people said it was a shame!
They whipped and they stripped and they hung me high
And they left me there on a cross to die!

Dance then, wherever you may be
I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!
And I'll lead you all, wherever you may be
And I'll lead you all in the Dance, said He!

I danced on a Friday when the sky turned black
It's hard to dance with the devil on your back
They buried my body and they thought I'd gone
But I am the Dance and I still go on!

Dance then, wherever you may be
I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!
And I'll lead you all, wherever you may be
And I'll lead you all in the Dance, said He!

They cut me down and I leapt up high
I am the Life that'll never, never die!
I'll live in you if you'll live in Me -
I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!

Dance then, wherever you may be
I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!
And I'll lead you all, wherever you may be
And I'll lead you all in the Dance, said He!
 

T. Leaf

Member
Nov 28, 2018
2,367
1,854
And here is another ”poem of the dance”/song

OLD TYME DANCING by Joyce Grenfell

My neighbour, Mrs Fanshaw, is portly-plump and gay,
She must be over sixty-seven, if she is a day.
You might have thought her life was dull,
It's one long whirl instead.
I asked her all about it, and this is what she said:

I've joined an Olde Thyme Dance Club, the trouble is that there
Are too many ladies over, and no gentlemen to spare.
It seems a shame, it's not the same,
But still it has to be,
Some ladies have to dance together,
One of them is me.

Stately as a galleon, I sail across the floor,
Doing the Military Two-step, as in the days of yore.
I dance with Mrs Tiverton; she's light on her feet, in spite
Of turning the scale at fourteen stone, and being of medium height.
So gay the band,
So giddy the sight,
Full evening dress is a must,
But the zest goes out of a beautiful waltz
When you dance it bust to bust.

So, stately as two galleons, we sail across the floor,
Doing the Valse Valeta as in the days of yore.
The gent is Mrs Tiverton, I am her lady fair,
She bows to me ever so nicely and I curtsey to her with care.
So gay the band,
So giddy the sight,
But it's not the same in the end
For a lady is never a gentleman, though
She may be your bosom friend.

So, stately as a galleon, I sail across the floor,
Doing the dear old Lancers, as in the days of yore.
I'm led by Mrs Tiverton, she swings me round and round
And though she manoeuvres me wonderfully well
I never get off the ground.
So gay the band,
So giddy the sight,
I try not to get depressed.
And it's done me a power of good to explode,
And get this lot off my chest.

 

earwicker

Member
Dec 5, 2018
458
224
Howth Castle and Environs
Untitled

Oh freddled gruntbuggly,
Thy micturations are to me,
As plurdled gabbleblotchits,

On a lurgid bee,
That mordiously hath blurted out,
Its earted jurtles, grumbling
Into a rancid festering confectious organ squealer.
Now the jurpling slayjid agrocrustles,
Are slurping hagrilly up the axlegrurts,
And living glupules frart and stipulate,
Like jowling meated liverslime,

Groop, I implore thee, my foonting turlingdromes,
And hooptiously drangle me,
With crinkly bindlewurdles,mashurbitries.
Or else I shall rend thee in the gobberwarts with my blurglecruncheon,
See if I don't!
--Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz

Scans wonderfully.
 

T. Leaf

Member
Nov 28, 2018
2,367
1,854
Who is the worse poet of all time (and Galaxies) - Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz or William McGonagall? I recokon the jury is still out on this one.

The Tay Bridge Disaster by William McGonagall

Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay!
Alas! I am very sorry to say
That ninety lives have been taken away
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember’d for a very long time.

‘Twas about seven o’clock at night,
And the wind it blew with all its might,
And the rain came pouring down,
And the dark clouds seem’d to frown,
And the Demon of the air seem’d to say-
“I’ll blow down the Bridge of Tay.”

When the train left Edinburgh
The passengers’ hearts were light and felt no sorrow,
But Boreas blew a terrific gale,
Which made their hearts for to quail,
And many of the passengers with fear did say-
“I hope God will send us safe across the Bridge of Tay.”

But when the train came near to Wormit Bay,
Boreas he did loud and angry bray,
And shook the central girders of the Bridge of Tay
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember’d for a very long time.

So the train sped on with all its might,
And Bonnie Dundee soon hove in sight,
And the passengers’ hearts felt light,
Thinking they would enjoy themselves on the New Year,
With their friends at home they lov’d most dear,
And wish them all a happy New Year.

So the train mov’d slowly along the Bridge of Tay,
Until it was about midway,
Then the central girders with a crash gave way,
And down went the train and passengers into the Tay!
The Storm Fiend did loudly bray,
Because ninety lives had been taken away,
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember’d for a very long time.

As soon as the catastrophe came to be known
The alarm from mouth to mouth was blown,
And the cry rang out all o’er the town,
Good Heavens! the Tay Bridge is blown down,
And a passenger train from Edinburgh,
Which fill’d all the peoples hearts with sorrow,
And made them for to turn pale,
Because none of the passengers were sav’d to tell the tale
How the disaster happen’d on the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember’d for a very long time.

It must have been an awful sight,
To witness in the dusky moonlight,
While the Storm Fiend did laugh, and angry did bray,
Along the Railway Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay,
Oh! ill-fated Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay,
I must now conclude my lay
By telling the world fearlessly without the least dismay,
That your central girders would not have given way,
At least many sensible men do say,
Had they been supported on each side with buttresses,
At least many sensible men confesses,
For the stronger we our houses do build,
The less chance we have of being killed.
 

Seosamh

Member
Nov 29, 2018
10,422
7,164
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 Infants cry of fear,
In every voice: in every ban,
The mind-forg'd manacles I hear

How the Chimney-sweepers cry
Every blackning Church appalls,
And the hapless Soldiers sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls

But most thro' midnight streets I hear
How the youthful Harlots curse
Blasts the new-born Infants tear
And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse

William Blake.
 

publicrealm

Member
Nov 27, 2018
7,605
10,389
Who is the worse poet of all time (and Galaxies) - Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz or William McGonagall? I recokon the jury is still out on this one.

The Tay Bridge Disaster by William McGonagall

Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay!
Alas! I am very sorry to say
That ninety lives have been taken away
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember’d for a very long time.

‘Twas about seven o’clock at night,
And the wind it blew with all its might,
And the rain came pouring down,
And the dark clouds seem’d to frown,
And the Demon of the air seem’d to say-
“I’ll blow down the Bridge of Tay.”

When the train left Edinburgh
The passengers’ hearts were light and felt no sorrow,
But Boreas blew a terrific gale,
Which made their hearts for to quail,
And many of the passengers with fear did say-
“I hope God will send us safe across the Bridge of Tay.”

But when the train came near to Wormit Bay,
Boreas he did loud and angry bray,
And shook the central girders of the Bridge of Tay
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember’d for a very long time.

So the train sped on with all its might,
And Bonnie Dundee soon hove in sight,
And the passengers’ hearts felt light,
Thinking they would enjoy themselves on the New Year,
With their friends at home they lov’d most dear,
And wish them all a happy New Year.

So the train mov’d slowly along the Bridge of Tay,
Until it was about midway,
Then the central girders with a crash gave way,
And down went the train and passengers into the Tay!
The Storm Fiend did loudly bray,
Because ninety lives had been taken away,
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember’d for a very long time.

As soon as the catastrophe came to be known
The alarm from mouth to mouth was blown,
And the cry rang out all o’er the town,
Good Heavens! the Tay Bridge is blown down,
And a passenger train from Edinburgh,
Which fill’d all the peoples hearts with sorrow,
And made them for to turn pale,
Because none of the passengers were sav’d to tell the tale
How the disaster happen’d on the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember’d for a very long time.

It must have been an awful sight,
To witness in the dusky moonlight,
While the Storm Fiend did laugh, and angry did bray,
Along the Railway Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay,
Oh! ill-fated Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay,
I must now conclude my lay
By telling the world fearlessly without the least dismay,
That your central girders would not have given way,
At least many sensible men do say,
Had they been supported on each side with buttresses,
At least many sensible men confesses,
For the stronger we our houses do build,
The less chance we have of being killed.

Would our very own Katharine Tynan be in the running?

Lest the young soldiers be strange in heaven,
God bids the old soldier they all adored
Come to Him and wait for them, clean, new-shriven,
A happy doorkeeper in the House of the Lord.

Lest it abash them, the strange new splendour,
Lest it affright them, the new robes clean;
Here's an old face, now, long-tried, and tender,
A word and a hand-clasp as they troop in.

'My boys,' he greets them: and heaven is homely,
He their great captain in days gone o'er;
Dear is the friend's face, honest and comely,
Waiting to welcome them by the strange door.
 

earwicker

Member
Dec 5, 2018
458
224
Howth Castle and Environs
Would our very own Katharine Tynan be in the running?

Lest the young soldiers be strange in heaven,
God bids the old soldier they all adored
Come to Him and wait for them, clean, new-shriven,
A happy doorkeeper in the House of the Lord.

Lest it abash them, the strange new splendour,
Lest it affright them, the new robes clean;
Here's an old face, now, long-tried, and tender,
A word and a hand-clasp as they troop in.

'My boys,' he greets them: and heaven is homely,
He their great captain in days gone o'er;
Dear is the friend's face, honest and comely,
Waiting to welcome them by the strange door.
This is what Dave in 2001 was getting to.
 
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