Poetry

luka

Well-known member

THERE ARE OTHER WAYS TO PAY

Inside this living heart will you know how and when to cheat death / and could it then be said we are travelling faster than the sun / what is rounder and more orange than blades flexing against the light / breaking entry against hot warped bodies grazing in sandy fantasy / so gird against the second wave / or subsequent waves / our warm bloodied frenzy heals against the distance we have come / from misery terrace / musk lynx and half chewed fish bones eek out an existence / this triumphant Shangri-la / was built from scaffolding and shrewd divestments of aggregate / now skimming low across the sea bed / azure fronds folding and all eels and shoals / spear in hand / floating somewhere in the med / Neptune they called me / down at the local bar / just an old lemon turning Larkin / pressing against grey flabby bottoms / on such a perfect roll / even Kleinzahler couldn’t take it away / all cyclopean walls and Scops owls whacking it down in one great big dollop / there are other ways to pay they said.
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Corpsey

bandz ahoy
I've been mainly reading poetry (when I read at all) lately – I'm trying to crack "A Farewell to Arms" (Cos I saw the ken burns hemingway doc on iplayer) and it's hard going only 46 pages in.

You begin (don't you?) to find that good poetry compresses all the good bits into let's say 14 lines

Whereas novels tend to string out the good bits and you're left sighing your way through paragraph after paragraph about the weather...

Anyway, reading a bit about prosody and scanning lines has helped unlock a fair bit of it for me in recent weeks – particularly Auden, but also been reading all sorts of poets from the canon, e.g. Coleridge, "Frost At Midnight", "Dejection: an Ode" (his good bits aren't all that compressed but there are certainly good bits to be found), Sidney ("I sought fit words to paint the blackest face of woe, / Studying inventions fine, her wits to entertain, / Oft turning others’ leaves, to see if thence would flow /Some fresh and fruitful showers upon my sunburned brain."), Pound's famous "pull down thy vanity" thingamajig... Hopkins, "Windhover" and various sonnets...

Also been reading bits and pieces of Matthew Arnold's prose/poetry criticism and feel torn over it because on the one hand he keeps being illuminating and eloquent but OTOH I keep scowling at him because it all seems very vague (even if i agree with it) – that classic poetry is "Serious", in the sense of being sober and serious about life in the way the beloved Greeks were (although there's a good essay by arnold on how the greeks were the 'Modern' ancients).

Anyhow, it's discouraging when he quotes some passage of Milton or Homer and says something like "you can't help but recognise how great and thrilling this is" and of course you haven't recognised this, you can't feel the thrill he does, so you end up thinking either he's talking shit or I'm just thick
 

Corpsey

bandz ahoy
As a noted thicko I definitely prefer Coleridge's ballads to his blank verse

As rhyme schemes go I prefer ABAB to ABBA – and concluding couplets (Even shakey's) run the risk of sounding facile
 

Corpsey

bandz ahoy
A noteworthy poem the prosodists use in their book

Borges

One thing does not exist: Oblivion.
God saves the metal and he saves the dross,
And his prophetic memory guards from loss
The moons to come, and those of evenings gone.
Everything is: the shadows in the glass
Which, in between the day’s two twilights, you
Have scattered by the thousands, or shall strew
Henceforward in the mirrors that you pass.
And everything is part of that diverse
Crystalline memory, the universe;
Whoever through its endless mazes wanders
Hears door on door click shut behind his stride,
And only from the sunset’s farther side
Shall view at last the Archetypes and the Splendors.

Translated from Spanish by Richard Wilbur
 

luka

Well-known member
Blackheath Comission

The roof of the world they call it
This broad plateau, high above the city
Where you can watch the tiny rise or set in a corner of the sky
Clouds swag across the deep, gilt-edged and almost incandescent
This barren, blasted Heath, this crow-plagued plague pit, beaks
Buried in carcass, green, scrubby traffic island, with the lorries
In and out of Dover and the continent
A2 Celtic trackway Roman ratway, with the freight hauled up
And down this supply vector, cheap bodies, new life, struggling for air.

Here, is island idyll, and the land sliding down to Lewisham
And Greenwich, falling into river
Grass gone golden in summer, heavy seed-head swaying slightly
Beetle clambering up the stalk stork bill fiddle dock
Tea hut where the motorcycles converge, leather and idling engines.

No crop can grow here, not here, on trauma-site, on
Guilty turf, where Straw and Tyler where betrayed
And England with them. Not where Denton Welch
Came to grief. Not here the fertile, giving crop,
Not here on this poor graveyard. Jack Cade,
Cornish martyrs, not here
On this poor graveyard,
 

Corpsey

bandz ahoy
Had one of my comically regular "revelations" last night reading Wordsworth

I started off in my usual manner, reading more or less completely flatly and in an affected accent – the accent, so I imagined, of an early 19th century posh fop

I remonstrated with myself and (with much wincing) read it in my own voice, with emotional emphasis guiding the stresses – and LO! the scales fell from my ears/eyes/larynx and verily I found myself extremely moved by the longish poem "Michael"
 

Corpsey

bandz ahoy
Have you read "Michael" @luka ? A very moving story of a shepherd and his son, Luke.

Most beautiful line that stood out to me last night:

"... he had been alone
Amid the heart of many thousand mists,
That came to him, and left him, on the heights."

The way the story begins reminds me a little of Hadjit Murad by Tolstoy.
 

woops

is not like other people
let me save @luka a little effort
Have you read "Michael" @luka ? A very moving story of a shepherd and his son, Luke.

Most beautiful line that stood out to me last night:

"... he had been alone
Amid the heart of many thousand mists,
That came to him, and left him, on the heights."
never read it but sounds boring
The way the story begins reminds me a little of Hadjit Murad by Tolstoy.
never read it but sounds boring
 

Corpsey

bandz ahoy
WW deleted the last six lines from this poem – which poses a lot of interesting questions

Animal Tranquility And Decay

The little hedge-row birds,
That peck along the road, regard him not.
He travels on, and in his face, his step,
His gait, is one expression; every limb,
His look and bending figure, all bespeak
A man who does not move with pain, but moves
With thought—He is insensibly subdued
To settled quiet: he is one by whom
All effort seems forgotten, one to whom
Long patience has such mild composure given,
That patience now doth seem a thing, of which
He hath no need. He is by nature led
To peace so perfect, that the young behold
With envy, what the old man hardly feels.
—I asked him whither he was bound, and what
The object of his journey; he replied
"Sir! I am going many miles to take
A last leave of my son, a mariner,
Who from a sea-fight has been brought to Falmouth,
And there is dying in an hospital."

 

Corpsey

bandz ahoy
My reading was that he weakened the poem by removing the epiphany there – that the old man who he considers symbolic of perfect peace is a real, grieving person (and there's a war on)

Which is kind of the point (if point there is ) of "michael" – the shepherds/labourers aren't merely picturesque figures they have their own lives and troubles and tragedies
 

Benny B

Well-known member
I was looking at that site when I was reading lyrical ballads earlier this year too. Apart from Tintern Abbey, obviously, Coleridge's Nightingale was my fave in that book, maybe he should have had more contributions than he did. Frost at Midnight is amazing as well.
 

woops

is not like other people
I was looking at that site when I was reading lyrical ballads earlier this year too. Apart from Tintern Abbey, obviously, Coleridge's Nightingale was my fave in that book, maybe he should have had more contributions than he did. Frost at Midnight is amazing as well.
the "consensus" is coleridge was very uneven and only wrote a few good bits, isn't it? @jenks
 

Benny B

Well-known member
My reading was that he weakened the poem by removing the epiphany there – that the old man who he considers symbolic of perfect peace is a real, grieving person (and there's a war on)
Better without it imo, you can infer that anyway from what's already there, surely?
 
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