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message 1: by Traveller (last edited Jan 27, 2015 12:57PM) (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 2527 comments Mod
Hi guys!

This thread for posting any kind of poetry that you feel you would like to.

PGR Nair posted a very beautiful and terrible poem in honor of International Holocaust Day in another thread. I wanted to re-post it here as a worthy first entry in our poetry thread. It is written for the traumatized survivors.

Chorus of the Rescued.

By Nelly Sachs

Translated by Michael Roloff

We, the rescued,
From whose hollow bones death had begun to whittle his flutes,
And on whose sinews he had already stroked his bow—
Our bodies continue to lament
With their mutilated music.
We, the rescued,
The nooses would for our necks still dangle
Before us the blue air—
Hourglasses still fill with our dripping blood.
We, the rescued,
The worms of fear still feed on us.
Our constellation is buried in dust.
We, the rescued,
Beg you:
Show us your sun…. but gradually.
Lead us from star to star, step by step.
Be gentle when you teach us to live again.
Lest the song of a bird,
Or a pail being filled at the well,
Let our badly sealed pain burst forth again
And carry us away—
We beg you:
Do not show us any angry dog, not yet—
It could be, it could be
That we will dissolve into dust—
Dissolve into dust before your eyes.
For what binds our fabric together?
We whose breath vacated us,
Whose soul fled to Him out of that midnight?
Long before our bodies were rescued
Into the arc of the moment.
We, the rescued,
We press your hand
We look into your eye—but all that binds us together now is leave-taking.
The leave-taking in the dust
Binds us together with you.


message 2: by Derek (new)

Derek (derek_broughton) Thanks.


message 3: by PGR (new)

PGR Nair (pgrnair) | 28 comments Thanks dear Traveller. This is where I can contribute. After all my GR reviews are mainly on poetry books. I do maintain a world poetry blog site. But I shall refrain from self-promotion :)


message 4: by PGR (last edited Jan 28, 2015 02:20AM) (new)

PGR Nair (pgrnair) | 28 comments Here is another Holocaust poem; perhaps the most haunting one that I have ever read.


Postcard

by Miklos Radnoti (1909-1944) ( Hungarian Jewish poet )

Translated by Steven Polgar

I fell next to him. His body rolled over.
It was tight as a violin string before it snaps.
Shot in the back of the head—"This is how
You’ll end". "Just lie quietly", I said to myself.
Patience flowers into death now.
"Der springt noch auf", I heard above me.
Dark filthy blood was drying on my ear.

Life is snuffed out in this poem. Radnoti speaks to the unspeakable in these seven lines, to the horrific death he knew was coming. The poem inscribes a suffering unimaginably intense, a consciousness of death unbearably palpable. The poem was written on October 31 1944 and on Nov 6th the poet was shot and tossed into a collective grave.

It seems as if the poem itself rose from the mass grave as a final testament to the fate of all those who perished. By titling the poem as 'Postcard', probably the poet wanted to condense his life into that of a postcard, which is often characterized as much by what is left out as by what is put in, and its brevity speaks volumes to what must be left unsaid. There is a terrifying stoicism to the line "Patience flowers into death now". A blossoming into oblivion. Then he hears an unattributed voice floating over him in German, the language of death.

In an essay, American poet Edward Hirsch mentions that the German phrase "Der springt noch auf" means something like "Wait till you see this guy break open". The verb 'aufspringen' , which means to "to break or pop open" , is usually used to describe a bud or flower. It's an image of germination , and so perhaps there's a hidden tenderness here, as if the poet ventriloquized the German to say, "Wait till you see him blossom." He is breaking free of his fetters; and death has become a liberation. The last sentence "Dark filthy blood was drying on my ear" has an eerie calmness. The poet is thinking associatively here and the line stuns as the one who listens and observes is still alive, speaking from earth.

'Post card' has the moonglow of a poem made halfway to Hades.


message 5: by Traveller (last edited Jan 28, 2015 02:54AM) (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 2527 comments Mod
PGR wrote: "Thanks dear Traveller. This is where I can contribute. After all my GR reviews are mainly on poetry books. I do maintain a world poetry blog site. But I shall refrain from self-promotion :)"

Link away, PGR. The thread is about poetry, so if people link to poetry sites, I reckon that would be on topic, no?
Damn, now that second poem and the bit you wrote about it actually has tears running down my cheeks. :( It's beyond heartbreaking...


message 6: by PGR (new)

PGR Nair (pgrnair) | 28 comments Thanks for the clarification.

Glad that you liked it. Regarding Radnoti's poetry, it is already there in GR. All the poems that I have quoted there are great. He is my favourite Hungarian poet.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

Regarding my site, it is here

http://pgrnair.blogspot.com/


message 7: by Traveller (last edited Jan 28, 2015 09:19AM) (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 2527 comments Mod
While we're on anti-war crime poems, I want to take the opportunity to post a poem I have always found very haunting; Pablo Neruda's poem I Explain a Few Things
which deals with the bloodshed during the Spanish Civil War.

I Explain a Few Things
You are going to ask: and where are the lilacs?
and the poppy-petalled metaphysics?
and the rain repeatedly spattering
its words and drilling them full
of apertures and birds?
I'll tell you all the news.

I lived in a suburb,
a suburb of Madrid, with bells,
and clocks, and trees.

From there you could look out
over Castille's dry face:
a leather ocean.

My house was called
the house of flowers, because in every cranny
geraniums burst: it was
a good-looking house
with its dogs and children.

Remember, Raul?
Eh, Rafel? Federico, do you remember
from under the ground
my balconies on which
the light of June drowned flowers in your mouth?

Brother, my brother!
Everything
loud with big voices, the salt of merchandises,
pile-ups of palpitating bread,
the stalls of my suburb of Arguelles with its statue
like a drained inkwell in a swirl of hake:
oil flowed into spoons,
a deep baying
of feet and hands swelled in the streets,
metres, litres, the sharp
measure of life,
stacked-up fish,
the texture of roofs with a cold sun in which
the weather vane falters,
the fine, frenzied ivory of potatoes,
wave on wave of tomatoes rolling down the sea.
And one morning all that was burning,
one morning the bonfires
leapt out of the earth
devouring human beings —
and from then on fire,
gunpowder from then on,

and from then on blood.

Bandits with planes and Moors,
bandits with finger-rings and duchesses,
bandits with black friars spattering blessings
came through the sky to kill children
and the blood of children ran through the streets
without fuss, like children's blood.
Jackals that the jackals would despise,
stones that the dry thistle would bite on and spit out,
vipers that the vipers would abominate!

Face to face with you I have seen the blood
of Spain tower like a tide
to drown you in one wave
of pride and knives!

Treacherous
generals:

see my dead house,
look at broken Spain :
from every house burning metal flows
instead of flowers,
from every socket of Spain
Spain emerges
and from every dead child a rifle with eyes,
and from every crime bullets are born
which will one day find
the bull's eye of your hearts.

And you'll ask: why doesn't his poetry
speak of dreams and leaves
and the great volcanoes of his native land?

Come and see the blood in the streets.
Come and see
The blood in the streets.
Come and see the blood
In the streets!

===============
To me this poem is a good description of the bombing of Guernica, where the German Luftwaffe bombed the Basque town because of the Basque resistance against the fascist forces of general Francisco Franco, the latter who was supported by both Hitler and Mussolini.

Here is a photo of ruins after the bombing:




message 8: by PGR (new)

PGR Nair (pgrnair) | 28 comments Thanks. I am familiar with this poem from "Residence on Earth". One can feel the agonizing Spain flooded by gunpowder. I like his technique of crafting this poem like a public address to an audience thereby conveying his personal story as the tragedy of a community.


message 9: by Traveller (last edited Jan 28, 2015 09:17AM) (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 2527 comments Mod
Yes, Neruda's poem is more drawn out, a bit like a story - it starts where everything is normal and peaceful, and then you see the contrast of when the bombing and shooting began. Quite effective, I feel, to convey the idea of how war shatters normality, and also of course, why I'm thinking Guernica, is that the bombing took place on market day, (he seems to be describing a market) and the victims were mainly innocent civilians amongst whom there were of course also children.


message 10: by Paul (last edited Jan 28, 2015 02:37PM) (new)

Paul Bryant here's one that I'm indebted to Van Morrison for - he dug it out of William Blake's daunting oeuvre and stuck it in the middle of one of his songs, it's somewhere buried in one of the prophetic books :


What is the price of experience? Do men buy it for a song?
Or wisdom for a dance in the street? No, it is bought with the price
Of all that a man hath, his house, his wife, his children.
Wisdom is sold in the desolate market where none come to buy
And in the withered field where the farmer plows for bread in vain
It is an easy thing to triumph in the summer's sun
And in the vintage and to sing on the wagon loaded with corn
It is an easy thing to talk of patience to the afflicted,
To speak the laws of prudence to the homeless wanderer
To listen to the hungry raven's cry in wintry season
When the red blood is filled with wine and with the marrow of lambs
It is an easy thing to laugh at wrathful elements
To hear the dog howl at the wintry door
The ox in the slaughter house moan
To see a God on every wind and a blessing on every blast
To hear sounds of love in the thunder storm
That destroys our enemies' house
To rejoice in the blight that covers his field
And the sickness that cuts off his children
While our olive and vine sing and laugh 'round our door
And our children bring fruits and flowers

Then the groan and the dolor are quite forgotten
And the slave grinding at the mill
And the captive in chains and the poor in the prison
And the soldier in the field
When the shattered bone hath laid him groaning
Among the happier dead
It is an easy thing to rejoice in the tents of prosperity
Thus, could I sing and thus, rejoice but it is not so with me


message 11: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 2527 comments Mod
Thanks, Paul! I love some of Van Morrison's songs; Brown-eyed Girl and Dancing in The Moonlight immediately comes to mind.


message 12: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant I tend to like the long meandering hypnotic stuff like Listen to the Lion.


message 13: by PGR (new)

PGR Nair (pgrnair) | 28 comments Thanks. I hadn't heard about this song. Good one indeed. I searched the original of Blake and found it here.

http://genius.com/William-blake-selec...


message 14: by PGR (new)

PGR Nair (pgrnair) | 28 comments The Diameter of the Bomb

by Yehuda Amichai (Israeli Poet)

Translated by Chana Bloch

The diameter of the bomb was thirty centimeters
and the diameter of its effective range about seven meters,
with four dead and eleven wounded.
And around these, in a larger circle
of pain and time, two hospitals are scattered
and one graveyard. But the young woman
who was buried in the city she came from,
at a distance of more than a hundred kilometers,
enlarges the circle considerably,
and the solitary man mourning her death
at the distant shores of a country far across the sea
includes the entire world in the circle.
And I won’t even mention the crying of orphans
that reaches up to the throne of God and
beyond, making
a circle with no end and no God.


I like the above poem for its apparent understatement . Amichai starts the description of the bomb explosion with a recitation of cold, technical facts -the diameter of the bomb, its range, the number of casualties etc. It gives the mind something concrete , objective to grasp when trying to contemplate the enormity of the murder. But then, unexpectedly and rather jarringly, he then knits into it a poignant personal sketch of one of the victims and her grieving lover . I think these cold numerical facts are intended only to make us realize that the diameter increases infinitely to include those affected: four dead and eleven wounded, two hospitals and a graveyard, the solitary man, the crying orphans, and God. It is incredible how a small explosion can reach a man in a country across the sea, and God in the heavens.

Amichai's conversational, somewhat detached tone throughout the poem, intensifies the horror of sudden violent death and the raw emotional loss that accompanies. This poem powerfully portrays the ripple effect of violence that envelops the entire humanity and beyond.


message 15: by Traveller (last edited Jan 29, 2015 12:58PM) (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 2527 comments Mod
Thanks PGR!
Yes, this certainly looks like yet another poem where contrast and simple, but strong images are used to maximum effect.

My turn. I'd next like to post two poems by Anna Akhmatova.
Akhmatova was, along with Osip Mandelstam, Marina Tsvetaeva, and Boris Pasternak, one of the four great Russian poets of the 20th century. In the first poem she refers to her own persecution ("I who have been tossed / On a slow fire to smolder . . . ") and to the imprisonment of her son ("weeping mother"). Akhmatova's integrity was unbreakable.

In Memory of Mikhail Bulgakov

This I give you, instead of graveyard roses,
Instead of burning sticks of incense:
You died as staunchly as you lived,
With that magnificent disdain.
You drank wine and joked, the wittiest,
Though suffocating behind stifling walls,
You yourself let in the dreaded guest,
And stayed with her all alone.
Now you’re gone. There’s no more talk
Of your noble and sorrowful life.
Only, at your silent funeral,
My voice, like a flute, sounds out.
Oh, who would have believed that I,
Thrown to smoulder on a slow fire,
I, the half-mad mourner of buried days,
Who have lost and forgotten everything –
Would commemorate one so full of strength,
And purpose, and splendid schemes,
Who spoke to me, but yesterday it seems,
Hiding the tremor of your mortal illness.

========== 

Here in the first poem, she honors another great writer who suffered under the Soviet regime. Bulgakov was also a physician, although he gave up medical practice early in the 1920's to pursue his writing career.
Some of his works could easily be read as critical satires of the Soviet reality.
By 1927 Bulgakov’s career began to suffer from soviet scrutiny. That is the main reason why his masterpiece novel, the Master and Margarita, which he started to write in 1928 to finish only in ten years stayed unpublished till 1966 (the complete edition was published only in 2007).

Bulgakov was blamed for being anti-Soviet. By 1929 Soviet government censorship started preventing the publication of much of his work, effectively ruining his career.

=======================


For Osip Mandelstam

I bow to them as if over a cup,
Those innumerable precious lines –
This is the black, tender news
Of our youth stained with blood.

The air is the air I breathed
That night above the abyss,
That night of iron emptiness,
When all calls and cries were vain.

How rich the scent of carnations,
That came to me once in dream –
There where Eurydice circles,
The bull bears Europa through the foam.

Here the shades go flowing by,
Over the Neva, the Neva, the Neva,
The Neva that splashes on the stairs –
And here’s your pass to immortality.

Here are the keys to that place,
About which there’s never a word…
Here’s the sound of the mysterious lyre,
Guest in the meadow beyond this world.

=============================

Regarding the second poem:
Osip Emilyevich Mandelstam (1891 – 1938) was a Russian poet and essayist who lived in Russia during and after its revolution and the rise of the Soviet Union. He was one of the foremost members of the Acmeist school of poets.

He was arrested by Joseph Stalin's government during the repression of the 1930s and sent into internal exile with his wife Nadezhda.
Given a reprieve of sorts, they moved to Voronezh in southwestern Russia. In 1938 Mandelstam was arrested again and sentenced to a camp in Siberia. He died that year at a transit camp.


message 16: by PGR (last edited Jan 30, 2015 02:31AM) (new)

PGR Nair (pgrnair) | 28 comments Both the poems of Akhmatova are very good.The first one is a beautiful eulogy. She was one of the greatest. I have with me the poems of Akhmatova translated by Stanley Kunitz, the Pulitzer winning poet (which is considered as one of her best translations). But I don't find both these poems there. Could you let me know the translator of these poems?


message 17: by Derek (new)

Derek (derek_broughton) Paul wrote: "I tend to like the long meandering hypnotic stuff like Listen to the Lion."

Long, meandering, maybe not quite hypnotic, describes Van Morrison being interviewed. I was stunned at how inarticulate he is, for such a lyricist.


message 18: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 2527 comments Mod
PGR wrote: "Both the poems of Akhmatova are very good.The first one is a beautiful eulogy. She was one of the greatest. I have with me the poems of Akhmatova translated by Stanley Kunitz, the Pulitzer winning..."

Don't have them here, but will look them up. :)


message 19: by PGR (last edited Feb 02, 2015 06:20AM) (new)

PGR Nair (pgrnair) | 28 comments Yiannis Ritsos was one of the greatest Greek Poets of last century. He was unsuccessfully proposed nine times for the Nobel Prize for Literature, a prize he richly deserved. His poem "Moonlight Sonata" is ranked as one of the unique poems in world poetry. I have given below an excerpt from this poem. I have taken it from his book "Fourth Dimension". I strongly recommend you to watch the YouTube link I have inserted below to have a flavour of the rendition of this poem by Lydia Koniordou (It has subtitles too)

The scene is set in a dark, decaying, haunted family mansion in the Plaka in Athens, full of memories, old furniture and collected bric-a-brac, its plaster flaking off and its floorboards lifting and cracking. The Woman in Black lives with a gnawing loneliness and is losing her battle against age and death. Trapped in her house of memories, she longs to escape the cloying house and her past and to embrace some real human connections, to embrace the present and the future. Constantly her refrain ends sadly with the persistent line: “Let me come with you.”

Excerpt from Moonlight Sonata by Yannis Ritsos

Translated by Peter Green and Beverley Ardsley

A spring evening. A large room in an old house. A woman of a certain age, dressed in black, is speaking to a young man. They have not turned on the lights. Through both windows the moonlight shines relentlessly. I forgot to mention that the Woman in Black has published two or three interesting volume of poetry with a religious flavour. So, the Woman in Black is speaking to the Young Man:

Let me come with you. What a moon there is tonight!
The moon is kind – it won’t show
that my hair turned white. The moon
will turn my hair to gold again. You wouldn’t understand.
Let me come with you ...
When there’s a moon the shadows in the house grow larger,
invisible hands draw the curtains,
a ghostly finger writes forgotten words in the dust
on the piano – I don’t want to hear them. Hush.
Let me come with you
a little farther down, as far as the brickyard wall,
to the point where the road turns and the city appears
concrete and airy, whitewashed with moonlight,
so indifferent and insubstantial
so positive, like metaphysics,
that finally you can believe you exist and do not exist,
that you never existed, that time with its destruction never existed.
Let me come with you ...
We’ll sit for a little on the low wall, up on the hill,
and as the spring breeze blows around us
perhaps we’ll even imagine that we are flying,
because, often, and now especially, I hear the sound of my own dress
like the sound of two powerful wings opening and closing,
and when you enclose yourself within the sound of that flight
you feel the tight mesh of your throat, your ribs, your flesh,
and thus constricted amid the muscles of the azure air,
amid the strong nerves of the heavens,
it makes no difference whether you go or return
and it makes no difference that my hair has turned white
(that is not my sorrow – my sorrow is
that my heart too does not turn white).
Let me come with you ...
I know that each one of us travels to love alone,
alone to faith and to death.
I know it. I've tried it. It doesn't help.
Let me come with you ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x72gE1...

Lydia Koniordou recites "Moonlight Sonata" a poem by Yiannis Ritsos


message 20: by Traveller (last edited Feb 02, 2015 02:48AM) (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 2527 comments Mod
Wow, what extraordinary experience! I must find a way to procure that, not even just bookmark it, I want to have it. I love the English translation of it that you had posted, PGR, but wow - the aural experience with Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata playing in the background, superimposed onto the images was enough to give me goosebumps!


message 21: by Dipankar (new)

Dipankar (neunwelten) | 6 comments This is my kind of thread! I'm still to read much of the great poets of 20th century but I'm really fond of the Romantics and especially Keats whose Endymion was the sole reason I ended up with poetry writing as one of my cherished hobbies ever since I was 16-17. He's good and if anyone's into him, do watch this movie Bright Star, Jane Campion's take on Keats' final days. Beautifully done.

I guess most of us have already read Endymion, Book I and since I just have to start with Keats (although I came here to share a Rilke, but later), so I give you something else, one of my favourites: La Belle Dame sans Merci.

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel’s granary is full,
And the harvest’s done.

I see a lily on thy brow,
With anguish moist and fever-dew,
And on thy cheeks a fading rose
Fast withereth too.

I met a lady in the meads,
Full beautiful—a faery’s child,
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild.

I made a garland for her head,
And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She looked at me as she did love,
And made sweet moan

I set her on my pacing steed,
And nothing else saw all day long,
For sidelong would she bend, and sing
A faery’s song.

She found me roots of relish sweet,
And honey wild, and manna-dew,
And sure in language strange she said—
‘I love thee true’.

She took me to her Elfin grot,
And there she wept and sighed full sore,
And there I shut her wild wild eyes
With kisses four.

And there she lullèd me asleep,
And there I dreamed—Ah! woe betide!—
The latest dream I ever dreamt
On the cold hill side.

I saw pale kings and princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
They cried—‘La Belle Dame sans Merci
Thee hath in thrall!’

I saw their starved lips in the gloam,
With horrid warning gapèd wide,
And I awoke and found me here,
On the cold hill’s side.

And this is why I sojourn here,
Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.
----------------------------------------------
Here's Ben Whishaw reciting this poem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8weTc...

"The sedge has withered from the lake,
And no birds sing."
Haunting lines, and such a haunting poem. One can almost picture a forlorn knight through the pale mist hanging over a desolate hillside, wandering forever.

And since I'm talking about those left to wander forever, I have another beautiful favourite for that too, this time, Mr. Poe's Eldorado.

Gaily bedight,
A gallant knight,
In sunshine and in shadow,
Had journeyed long,
Singing a song,
In search of Eldorado.

But he grew old—
This knight so bold—
And o’er his heart a shadow—
Fell as he found
No spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado.

And, as his strength
Failed him at length,
He met a pilgrim shadow—
‘Shadow,’ said he,
‘Where can it be—
This land of Eldorado?’

‘Over the Mountains
Of the Moon,
Down the Valley of the Shadow,
Ride, boldly ride,’
The shade replied,—
‘If you seek for Eldorado!’

And if you're into country music (nowhere linked to the poem) and a fan of Neil Young, I'd suggest you have a peek at this beauty, his take on Eldorado: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBPCT...

That tune should give a great feel for the landscape and the general enigma and subsequent gloom surrounding this wonderful metaphor of life, Eldorado. Remembered both the poem and the song when Voltaire mentions Eldorado in Candide. These poems/songs stick!

Now I'll come to business. Rilke!

Lament

Everything is far
and long gone by.
I think that the star
glittering above me
has been dead for a million years.
I think there were tears
in the car I heard pass
and something terrible was said.
A clock has stopped striking in the house
across the road …
When did it start? …
I would like to step out of my heart
and go walking beneath the enormous sky.
I would like to pray.
And surely of all the stars that perished
long ago,
one still exists.
I think that I know
which one it is—
which one, at the end of its beam in the sky,
stands like a white city …

Brilliant isn't it? Genius. I'm currently reading "The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke" - Mitchell's translation, bilingual edition. Very enjoyable.


message 22: by Traveller (last edited Feb 02, 2015 08:36AM) (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 2527 comments Mod
Oh, wow. You guys are making this thread really wonderful! Thank you so much, Dipankar! I am savoring the things you posted bit by bit, and will comment again once I have gone through all of it. Just wanted to express appreciation already.


message 23: by PGR (new)

PGR Nair (pgrnair) | 28 comments Thanks Dipankar. Read all the poems and all are good choices. It was a pleasure to read the enchanting ballad of Keats, the story of the knight and the femme fatale. I wasn't aware of Poe's poem and so I learned something new from you. I liked the timid optimism towards the end in Rilke's "lament".


message 24: by Dipankar (new)

Dipankar (neunwelten) | 6 comments My pleasure guys. :) I'm still looking through all the poems posted here by PGR, such wonderful pieces. Thanks for that. It'll take a while.

Also what I like most about Eldorado is, even if it's rather simplistic, like most poetry, it's even lovelier when we find the meanings behind the façade of the simple story of a lost knight. "The pilgrim shadow" "the shade" - enchanting symbolism.

Poe was quite fond of lyrical rhymes for his poems, even though they bordered on the morbidly depressive. "The Raven", "Annabel Lee" are some of his most famous ones. There was a TV Show recently made which was inspired by Poe, The Following. It started well, but petered out. But it showed how popular worldwide his poetry has been. There's another poem of his, "Alone" that has been made as a song by Green Carnation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmH8h....

We often come across poems with the same, or almost the same names by different poets of same or different times, especially the various Odes. They also write about the stars a lot. Keats wrote Bright Star and Poe wrote Evening Star (I'm sure we'll find even more!). Do look at both. I'm not sharing those here right now as I've just added a lot already and especially because I want all the focus to be on the one poem I'll share here now, probably my favourite, whose shelter I've often sought at various times (poetry can be a great escape!).

A Dream Within A Dream
Edgar Allan Poe

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

From the outset, the sensuous lyrical poetry is enough to disarm a reader, but what's also fascinating is how he changes gears from the trough of a wave to its crest with each stanza. The first stanza is more measured, the sorrow more contained, as if to show the calm...before the storm of the following stanza, where the person completely breaks down. The acceptance, followed by the lamentation showing the helplessness of humans against the face of more crushing forces of fate and time..just overwhelming. Also the poignant imagery created by Poe is cruelly received by the reader, the scent of the salty sea with the heartless waves crashing again and again against the timeless rocks as the person stands, broken, gazing emptily towards the sea. Reminds me of the famous painting, Der Wanderer über dem Nebelmeer (The Wanderer).

I still have to read more of Poe though. I'm slowly moving away from lyrically rhyming poems towards more unorthodox styles but Poe still remains as enigmatic as ever.


message 25: by PGR (last edited Feb 03, 2015 04:12AM) (new)

PGR Nair (pgrnair) | 28 comments The Canadian Poet Elise Patridge (57) passed away today after battling with cancer. Here are two poems written by her, both dwelling on death . Reading her line 'east gate has been shut' (meaning no more sunrise) gave me a thud. The second poem is dedicated to her husband. Both are from her book "Chameleon Hours". May her soul rest in peace. There is link to an interview with her also


Pr o g n o s i s : 5 0 - 5 0

By Elise Patridge

—To ride as hard at life
as that ten-year-old girl
galloping flat-out over the prairie!

Because that’s how hard death
is thundering at you,
his knuckles white
on the black pommel;
too late you’ll see
the east gate has been shut,
spurs glitter
on his needle-toed boots.


Ways o f Go i n g

for Steve

Will it be like paragliding—
gossamer takeoff, seedlike drifting down
into a sunlit, unexpected grove?

Or ski-jumping—headlong soaring,
ski-tips piercing clouds,
crystal revelations astonishing my goggles?

Maybe I’ll exit with the nonchalance
of a ten-year-old skateboarder,
wheels’ down-the-hill my bravura farewell.

Or shimmy into the afterworld,
salsa dancer on a flatbed truck—
maracas coda, bangles flashing
as the parade lurches around the corner.

With sudden relief: a tortoise that had scrabbled
over a stony beach, flippers slipping and flailing,
splashes home in a graceful slide.

Skittery flicker of a glare-weary lizard
startled into the sheltering wings of a leaf,

rusting freighter with a brimming hold
shimmering onto a crimson edge. . . .
Sad rower pushed from shore,
I’ll disappear like circles summoned
by an oar’s dip.

However I burn through to the next atmosphere,
let your dear face be the last thing I see.


http://puritan-magazine.com/let-me-be...



message 26: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 2527 comments Mod
Dipankar wrote: "From the outset, the sensuous lyrical poetry is enough to disarm a reader, but what's also fascinating is how he changes gears from the trough of a wave to its crest with each stanza. The first stanza is more measured, the sorrow more contained, as if to show the calm...before the storm of the following stanza, where the person completely breaks down. The acceptance, followed by the lamentation showing the helplessness of humans against the face of more crushing forces of fate and time..just overwhelming. Also the poignant imagery created by Poe is cruelly received by the reader, the scent of the salty sea with the heartless waves crashing again and again against the timeless rocks as the person stands, broken, gazing emptily towards the sea. Reminds me of the famous painting, Der Wanderer über dem Nebelmeer (The Wanderer). ."

Very nice analysis there, thank you, Dipankar!

@ PGR : Oh, sad, sadness again... :( That's really moving and ...ugh facing death is always horrible, no matter what guise it comes under. I have lost so many dear and valued people to cancer. I really really hate cancer...


message 27: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 2527 comments Mod
Hmm, I want to post a poem that I just personally love for many reasons. Dipankar reminded me of Rilke, which reminded me of the poem.

I personally love freedom, and of late I have started to wish it for imprisoned animals as well.

The Panther

by Rainer Maria Rilke

His vision, from the constantly passing bars,
has grown so weary that it cannot hold
anything else. It seems to him there are
a thousand bars; and behind the bars, no world.

As he paces in cramped circles, over and over,
the movement of his powerful soft strides
is like a ritual dance around a center
in which a mighty will stands paralyzed.

Only at times, the curtain of the pupils
lifts, quietly--. An image enters in,
rushes down through the tensed, arrested muscles,
plunges into the heart and is gone.


I really like that Rilke had that sympathy with a creature who would, in nature, have miles and miles of territory to move in. :(


message 28: by PGR (new)

PGR Nair (pgrnair) | 28 comments Traveller, you have posted one of the most popular and accessible poems of Rilke.

Yes, I too hate that scourge , having lost my mother at 52 and Father-in-law at 71 and now mother-in-law too is under its inextricable grip.


message 29: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 2527 comments Mod
..and in stark contrast to all the sad and terrible poems we have posted to this point, I'd like to, like Dipankar, introduce a small contrapoint to the sadness: ...and yet in this poem there is yet darkness too. My heavens, but i love Pablo Neruda's work...

Your Laughter

by Pablo Neruda

Take bread away from me, if you wish,
take air away, but
do not take from me your laughter.

Do not take away the rose,
the lance flower that you pluck,
the water that suddenly
bursts forth in joy,
the sudden wave
of silver born in you.

My struggle is harsh and I come back
with eyes tired
at times from having seen
the unchanging earth,
but when your laughter enters
it rises to the sky seeking me
and it opens for me all
the doors of life.

My love, in the darkest
hour your laughter
opens, and if suddenly
you see my blood staining
the stones of the street,
laugh, because your laughter
will be for my hands
like a fresh sword.

Next to the sea in the autumn,
your laughter must raise
its foamy cascade,
and in the spring, love,
I want your laughter like
the flower I was waiting for,
the blue flower, the rose
of my echoing country.

Laugh at the night,
at the day, at the moon,
laugh at the twisted
streets of the island,
laugh at this clumsy
boy who loves you,
but when I open
my eyes and close them,
when my steps go,
when my steps return,
deny me bread, air,
light, spring,
but never your laughter
for I would die.



message 30: by PGR (last edited Feb 05, 2015 04:01AM) (new)

PGR Nair (pgrnair) | 28 comments Beautiful poem...Who doesn't love Neruda ? No poet has left a 'Poetry like bread' legacy as Pablo Neruda, the Chilean Poet and 1972 Nobel Laureate. Through his poetry, and also to a good extent through the packaging of his poetry, he promotes a vision of the communion, community, hope and wonder. A master of expression of human emotions, Neruda brings to life the most mundanely inanimate things. Neruda's poetry has a nourishing wholeness missing in many others.

The following poem may not be an arch poem of intellect . But it is a passionate believing poem that expresses his gratitude and wonder at a simple fruit like Tomato. 'Ode To Tomatoes' expresses his simple sensual joy in the vegetable world. It has beauty, verbal panache and poetic power. For Neruda, Tomatoes are stars of earth with ‘cool, profound and inexhaustible sun’ inside it.

The poem appears as an immersion in the present moment, a lighthearted dialogue between what the poet sees and what he imagines. His imageries are exquisite in this poem. Reading it is like biting into the fragrant, sweet, ripe tomatoes, the juice bursting out of its tight skin. The only seasoning required is right there in the poem, the filial essence of the olive Tree and salt . There is even a bit of moral at the end and a sort of tongue-in-cheek piece enumeration about the practical advantages of Tomatoes (No pit, no husk). Tomatoes are indeed the true sovereign of all salads and this poem can be the best ad poetry for Tomatoes sellers.

Good poems like this great ode capture elemental truth, or allow these qualities to refract through certain tropes of language. Such precise and playful language is like a prism emitting the light of observation over and over again even if all the images are celebrating something as ordinary as tomatoness of Tomatoes.

Ode To Tomatoes

by Pablo Neruda

The street
filled with tomatoes,
midday,
summer,
light is
halved
like
a
tomato,
its juice
runs
through the streets.
In December,
unabated,
the tomato
invades
the kitchen,
it enters at lunchtime,
takes
its ease
on countertops,
among glasses,
butter dishes,
blue saltcellars.
It sheds
its own light,
benign majesty.
Unfortunately, we must
murder it:
the knife
sinks
into living flesh,
red
viscera
a cool
sun,
profound,
inexhaustible,
populates the salads
of Chile,
happily, it is wed
to the clear onion,
and to celebrate the union
we
pour
oil,
essential
child of the olive,
onto its halved hemispheres,
pepper
adds
its fragrance,
salt, its magnetism;
it is the wedding
of the day,
parsley
hoists
its flag,
potatoes
bubble vigorously,
the aroma
of the roast
knocks
at the door,
it’s time!
come on!
and, on
the table, at the midpoint
of summer,
the tomato,
star of earth, recurrent
and fertile
star,
displays
its convolutions,
its canals,
its remarkable amplitude
and abundance,
no pit,
no husk,
no leaves or thorns,
the tomato offers
its gift
of fiery color
and cool completeness.


message 31: by David (new)

David Lentz (wordsworthgreenwich) SCRAP BOOK OF THE SOUL
Lentzian Sonnet
ababab, cdcdcd, ee

As I look back on life, it seems nothing more or less than a picture book:
Ragged images, out of focus, pixilated, torn, each with a story to tell,
Of time gone by, moments caught unaware in a viewfinder in a frozen look,
Living beyond the moment, but the composition wasn’t considered well,
Images fading sadly over time, out of sequence from when they forsook,
Memory, as bright light and darkness of shadow never seem to quell,
The nostalgia of better days with people who no longer remain here,
In settings vastly changed by history, betraying times when love was new,
Who is she now? I don’t remember so well, though once I held her dear.
Better days of riotous youth with the fresh bloom of apples dressed in dew,
How I long to hold you close, my beloveds, now that the picture is clear:
Though time has made a fool of me, it staggers on, as the scrap book grew.
If we were leading man and lady, who directs how the cameras roll?
I beam with joy at every vision of you in the scrap book of my soul.

+ + +


message 32: by David (new)

David Lentz (wordsworthgreenwich) APPLE PICKING TIME
Elizabethan Sonnet Sequence
abab, cdcd, efef, gg

The days are never lovelier than in an orchard under blue October skies,
Where ripe apples droop heavy from their sweetness to the very core,
As the green trees in the woods turn golden, red and bronze, we realize,
The halcyon days of summer in New Hampshire soon will be no more.
But this brilliant day, though grim November beckons, is one to celebrate,
For she and I abide in an American Eden to pick some apples by hand,
As the ripeness of the fruit and the richness of the day can’t further await:
Now is the right time for apple picking on this generous, blessed land.
Some are consciously chosen for their perfection in their baking in a pie,
As sauce for an ice cream topping, in a turnover’s flaky crust: ah, the scent,
Of baking in a Yankee kitchen, warming heart and palate, let’s not belie,
Their sensual taste right after picking from a branch so twisted and bent,
Having endured the frost and drought and wind of every earthly strife,
I thoroughly beseech her to bring me a wild apple from the Tree of Life.

+ + +


message 33: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 2527 comments Mod
Thank you David! Thank you PGR! PGR, I had wanted to comment earlier that your description of a poem about a tomato sounds so enticing that if I was hiring PR executives, I would hire you on the spot!

I love the imagery in your poems, David, especially the second one, which managed to make me feel slightly hungry. Good American wholesomeness in there!

I almost felt tempted to post a Walt Whitman next, and then suddenly my fave ee cummings flashed through my mind. It's a very popular and well-known one, but nothing prevents us from posting those as well. :)

====

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me,i and
my life will shut very beautifully,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

ee.cummings



message 34: by Dipankar (last edited Feb 06, 2015 10:03PM) (new)

Dipankar (neunwelten) | 6 comments Thanks David, those are really great poems. Scrapbook of the Soul was stunning. I love photographs and photography. Any poet would appreciate the helpless stillness and the generous timelessness of a photograph, our self-made vignettes for perusal against the ravages of life. It reminded me of a poem I'd read back in high school.

A Photograph
Shirley Toulson

The cardboard shows me how it was
When the two girl cousins went paddling
Each one holding one of my mother’s hands,
And she the big girl - some twelve years or so.
All three stood still to smile through their hair
At the uncle with the camera, A sweet face
My mother’s, that was before I was born
And the sea, which appears to have changed less
Washed their terribly transient feet.
Some twenty- thirty- years later
She’d laugh at the snapshot. “See Betty
And Dolly,” she’d say, “and look how they
Dressed us for the beach.” The sea holiday
was her past, mine is her laughter. Both wry
With the laboured ease of loss
Now she’s has been dead nearly as many years
As that girl lived. And of this circumstance
There is nothing to say at all,
Its silence silences.

This poem painted a very rich and nostalgic image on my then impressionable young mind (I'm fairly young still) about the salty seas, the halcyon days of our lives, the moments that fly past yet still stick to the canvas of our hearts until we are no longer masters of our own memories (like Sebald says), and the unforgiving eternality of the inanimate (And the sea, which appears to have changed less) while we, mere living beings, melt into the sands like a candle, time and again.

Rilke has some really poignant words about the transience of the living against the non-living. This is an extract from the second elegy of his Duino Elegies:

Lovers, if they knew how, might utter strange, marvelous
words in the night air. For it seems that everything
hides us. Look: trees do exist; the houses
that we live in still stand. We alone
fly past all things, as fugitive as the wind.
And all things conspire to keep silent about us, half
out of shame perhaps, half as unutterable hope.

We're like fugitives, refugees. We're the wind. How true.

PGR, your analysis of Neruda's ode is wonderful. Love your words.

Trav, you've posted some really good poems. Rilke's poems about the animals (Panther, Gazelle,..) really puts forth his astonishing power of empathy, a quality that is as heavenly as it is rare.

in which a mighty will stands paralyzed.

That line blew me away. Summed up the entire thing in one go. I'm beginning to love Rilke almost as much as I love Márquez (didn't imagine anybody could come that close). His Duino Elegies are some of the best things I've ever read. Finished The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke (Mitchell's translation) a couple of days back and I still re-read it every chance I get. Do get to it if you haven't.


message 35: by PGR (last edited Feb 06, 2015 11:08PM) (new)

PGR Nair (pgrnair) | 28 comments David, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your evocative verse replete with imageries. 'The nostalgia of better days with people who no longer remain here'...how true! Could you cite the source of it?

Traveller, I loved the poem. It is a far better poem than the one I have posted below which is probably a sequel to the one posted by you.

You are tired (I think)

by e.e. cummings

You are tired,
(I think)
Of the always puzzle of living and doing;
And so am I.

Come with me, then,
And we'll leave it far and far away—
(Only you and I, understand!)

You have played,
(I think)
And broke the toys you were fondest of,
And are a little tired now;
Tired of things that break, and—
Just tired.
So am I.

But I come with a dream in my eyes tonight,
And knock with a rose at the hopeless gate of your heart—
Open to me!
For I will show you the places Nobody knows,
And, if you like,
The perfect places of Sleep.

Ah, come with me!
I'll blow you that wonderful bubble, the moon,
That floats forever and a day;
I'll sing you the jacinth song
Of the probable stars;
I will attempt the unstartled steppes of dream,
Until I find the Only Flower,
Which shall keep (I think) your little heart
While the moon comes out of the sea.

To Dipankar: loved that poem, esp the lines:'And the sea, which appears to have changed less
Washed their terribly transient feet.' Your write-up too was beautiful.


message 36: by PGR (new)

PGR Nair (pgrnair) | 28 comments The theme of photo poem reminds me of this one. It evoked nostalgic memories in me as I too couldn't be part of a class photo and it pained me a lot then. It is written by an Israeli poet and writer of children's books , poems and fairy tales. The last lines convey a sense of poignancy.

Class Pictures
By Shlomit Cohen-Assif
Translated by Nelly Segal

In the last week of school
There's a camera in class, and smiles
(the teacher in the center, wearing flowers.)
Gideon is next to Yael,
They're a couple.
Ruth's eyes are closed,she's dreaming.
And I'am not in the picture.
I had measles.
On the last day of school
There's camera in the yard, and smiles.
(the class teacher next to me, wearing flowers.)
And Gideon and Yael
Are no longer a couple.
Yael closes her eyes, she's dreaming.
Ruth isn't in the picture.
She had the measles.
In the class picture,
In the yard, or in the building,
Someone is always missing.

( Extracted from the wonderful anthology "the flag of childhood-poems from the middle east " selected by Naomi Shihab Nye)


message 37: by David (new)

David Lentz (wordsworthgreenwich) Dipankar wrote: "Thanks David, those are really great poems. Scrapbook of the Soul was stunning. I love photographs and photography. Any poet would appreciate the helpless stillness and the generous timelessness of..."

Bless you, Dipankar. I share your deep appreciation of Rilke, especially, "Duino Elegies," Rimbaud, Dylan Thomas, Robert Frost, Yeats and the British romantic poets. You may want to put Donald Hall on your radar, an American poet, who may have Nobel prospects.


message 38: by David (last edited Feb 07, 2015 11:41AM) (new)

David Lentz (wordsworthgreenwich) PGR wrote: "David, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your evocative verse replete with imageries. 'The nostalgia of better days with people who no longer remain here'...how true! Could you cite the source of it?

T..."


Dear PGR,
Thank you for your kind note.
"Class Pictures" is lovely.
Very much appreciate Trav's classics by e.e. cummings.
The two sonnets of 31 and 32 are original works.
I have been working to create new sonnet rhyme sequences, which I have not seen anywhere else, as well as new cadences, especially a 7-beat rhythm, which seems to work well in the short form of 14 lines.
I particularly like the absolutely perfect symmetry of this rhyme scheme:
aa, bcbc, dd, efef, gg.
Cordially,
David


message 39: by Traveller (last edited Feb 08, 2015 01:25AM) (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 2527 comments Mod
I apologize that i don't post here more often, but one really needs a bit of time to properly immerse yourself in the poetry before one comments. For example, i think i was in too much of a hurry yesterday when commenting, and i therefore commented before i re-read David's scrapbook poem and felt the full force of it's wistful, nostalgic evocative power.

Interesting experiments you are doing, David. I was wondering about the rhythm and scansion of particularly the first poem, which seemed relatively unfamiliar and yet seemed to work well. Don't hesitate to show us more! :)

So now all of you have posted some nice wistful poems on the theme of photographs and scrapbooks, and i realize that i don't really know one.

Oh well, seems like i am doomed to post well-known poems, and this time i couldn't remember one that fits in with the theme.

There's a poem i had read and loved as a young teen, and i just cannot remember enough of it to find it again, and I can't even remember by whom it is.. very frustrating, oi.

Well, let us rage against the machine with Dylan Thomas then...

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

==============

A villanelle written by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (1914–1953), for his dying father; lamenting his father's loss of health and strength, and encouraging him to cling to life.


message 40: by PGR (new)

PGR Nair (pgrnair) | 28 comments 'Do not Go Gentle into the Good Night' is a much quoted famous poem of Dylan Thomas. Yes, we should all 'Rage, rage against the dying of the light'.


Here is my contribution, a very bright and optimistic poem by the greatest Turkish poet of last century.


CUCUMBER

NAZIM HIKMET


(trans Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk)

The snow is knee-deep in the courtyard
and still coming down hard:
it hasn't let up all morning.
We're in the kitchen.
On the table, on the oilcloth, spring —
on the table there's a very tender young cucumber,
pebbly and fresh as a daisy.

We're sitting around the table staring at it.
It softly lights up our faces,
and the very air smells fresh.
We're sitting around the table staring at it,
amazed
thoughtful
optimistic.

We're as if in a dream.
On the table, on the oilcloth, hope —
on the table, beautiful days,
a cloud seeded with a green sun,
an emerald crowd impatient and on its way,
loves blooming openly —
on the table, there on the oilcloth, a very tender young cucumber,
pebbly and fresh as a daisy.

The snow is knee-deep in the courtyard
and coming down hard.
It hasn't let up all morning.


Nazim Hikmet (1902-1963) once wrote from prison, ``In the twentieth century / grief lasts / at most a year.'' First jailed in 1924 at the age of 22 for working on a leftist magazine, he spent 18 years incarcerated. Hikmet was awarded the World Peace Prize in 1950, the same year as he gained his release from jail, only to be exiled from Turkey in 1951 for the last 13 years of his life.

The poet beautifully captures a hopeful and dreamy atmosphere in this quiet poem when a family sits around a table and watches a tender cucumber. The admiration of a cucumber because of its smell, its freshness and color leads us to much more tender and sensitive feelings inside us. It evokes a million memories of the salad days of life. How beautifully the poet ruminates on the emerald cucumber (with its teeming seeds) and hopes it to become the green sun in their lives too. How wondrously the poet has used 'repetition' as a way to enhance the poetic message .This poem itself is worth an emerald.


message 41: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 2527 comments Mod
Your write-up is quite heart-breaking, but also, one cannot help but feel humble in the face of such fortitude and courage as this poet displays. You are right, it is a beautiful poem. Thank you!


message 42: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 2527 comments Mod
I do so love Thomas Hardy. The poem speaks for itself.

The Man He Killed

Had he and I but met
By some old ancient inn,
We should have set us down to wet
Right many a nipperkin!

But ranged as infantry,
And staring face to face,
I shot at him as he at me,
And killed him in his place.

I shot him dead because--
Because he was my foe,
Just so: my foe of course he was;
That's clear enough; although

He thought he'd 'list, perhaps,
Off-hand like--just as I--
Was out of work--had sold his traps--
No other reason why.

Yes; quaint and curious war is!
You shoot a fellow down
You'd treat, if met where any bar is,
Or help to half a crown.

--Thomas Hardy


message 43: by PGR (new)

PGR Nair (pgrnair) | 28 comments Thanks Trav. Was reading it for the first time. A knocking poem on our conscience. Someone told me once that Hardy was a better poet than a novelist. Could be true. The broken syntax is very effective in conveying the confused state of mind the speaker when he narrates it to the listener (possibly in a bar)


message 44: by Traveller (last edited Feb 08, 2015 07:19AM) (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 2527 comments Mod
I think it is also to convey that this is is an issue that he struggles to express adequately, something quite curious, which is not always immediately obvious until you're actually forced into the situation yourself and only then reflect on it. ( Perhaps some irony expressed there too?)

After all, part of war propaganda has always been to dehumanize the opponent. It's always easier to kill something you don't consider as just another human being...

I love Hardy's social conscience and his sense of compassion, both which tend to come out in most of his writing.

Btw, in case someone was wondering,when he says 'list, he means enlist, of course. The narrator is saying that he simply enlisted because he needed the money, and for all he knows, the other guy did too, and they could just as well have been friends, had there not been a war between them.


message 45: by PGR (new)

PGR Nair (pgrnair) | 28 comments Trav..yes, he struggles to express his action and in a way he tries to defend it (I think our defensive complex is what makes us survive as humans, esp when it comes to wrong actions). I understood 'list but didn't know what kind of a drink is nipperkin.


message 46: by David (new)

David Lentz (wordsworthgreenwich) PGR wrote: "'Do not Go Gentle into the Good Night' is a much quoted famous poem of Dylan Thomas. Yes, we should all 'Rage, rage against the dying of the light'.


Here is my contribution, a very bright and opt..."


Dear PGR,
Thank you for citing this magnificently expressed poem: it is a wonder in its beauty and simplicity.
Cordially,
David


message 47: by David (new)

David Lentz (wordsworthgreenwich) Traveller wrote: "I apologize that i don't post here more often, but one really needs a bit of time to properly immerse yourself in the poetry before one comments. For example, i think i was in too much of a hurry..."

Dear Trav,

I love "Do Not Go Gentle into the Good Night."

Another favorite poem by Dylan Thomas is "Fern Hill."

Fern Hill
Dylan Thomas
1914 - 1953


Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.

And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
In the sun that is young once only,
Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,
And the sabbath rang slowly
In the pebbles of the holy streams.

All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air
And playing, lovely and watery
And fire green as grass.
And nightly under the simple stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars
Flying with the ricks, and the horses
Flashing into the dark.

And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all
Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
The sky gathered again
And the sun grew round that very day.
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm
Out of the whinnying green stable
On to the fields of praise.

And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
In the sun born over and over,
I ran my heedless ways,
My wishes raced through the house high hay
And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
Before the children green and golden
Follow him out of grace,

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.

Cordially,
David


message 48: by PGR (last edited Feb 08, 2015 10:18AM) (new)

PGR Nair (pgrnair) | 28 comments That was a beautiful nostalgic poem about MY carefree childhood too in a village. How I wish to regain those 'lamb white days' when I was 'at the mercy his (Time's) means'. How can I recover what lies 'below a time' (what a beautiful usage) and how can I get rid of this 'moon that is always rising' (to the Sun always rising period)? Time is the villain here . I will keep this poem, which I had never read. Thanks a ton. I hope to learn a lot from our postings here.


message 49: by PGR (last edited Feb 08, 2015 10:46AM) (new)

PGR Nair (pgrnair) | 28 comments The poem by Hardy reminded me of another war poem which I had posted elsewhere. Here it is.


Brothers

By Giuseppe Ungaretti

What regiment are you from
brothers?

Word trembling
in the night

Leaf barely born

In the racked air
involuntary revolt
of man face to face with his own
fragility

Brothers


This is a poem written by the great Italian poet Giuseppe Ungaretti. It rivetingly portrays the angst that prevails in a tensed war terrain.

The inspiration of this poem is the meeting between two patrol of soldiers, where a member of one patrol calls out to the other- "To What regiment do you belong to" and the poem answers with reductive and emotionally charged metaphors. Ungaretti grasps the very core of humanity and communication in this poem. He transcends the horror of the trenches and reaches out, letting the spoken word carry his mixture of anxiety, isolation and hope, through darkness and hell, searching for signs of life, embodying the very central theme always present in the human consciousness. The address 'Brothers' makes brothers and readers of the poem participate at the same level of acute experience. Ungaretti's poems have an ascetic quality, moving from contingency (an unforeseen event) to its essence. It follows a minimalist pattern in its structure and is yet vibrant with compassion.

The word 'brothers' strikes the poet, may be because war can sometimes paradoxically unite people. But the poem then proceeds to pit this concept of solidarity and strength of brothers against the precariousness of the soldiers' endangered lives. Also brotherhood itself is fragile(leaf barely born) and is only concept and is not a practical weapon to counteract the threat of death. The isolating and juxtaposing of the final words 'fragility' and 'brothers' clearly and prominently display the paradoxes on which this poem hinges.

I love this miniature, sparse , simple poem, stripped to the feeling of bone. His symbolism seems to me genial. It just grips me and I feel a tremor in my veins every time I read it.


message 50: by PGR (new)

PGR Nair (pgrnair) | 28 comments A Valentine's day poem

A LOVE LETTER

by Julio Cortazar


Everything I’d want from you
is finally so little

because finally it’s everything

like a dog going by, or a hill,
those meaningless things, mundane,
wheat ear and long hair and two lumps of sugar,
the smell of your body,
whatever you say about anything,
with or against me,

all that which is so little
I want from you because I love you.

May you look beyond me,
may you love me with violent disregard
for tomorrow, let the cry
of your coming explode
in the boss’s face in some office

and let the pleasure we invent together
be one more sign of freedom.

(from Save Twilight: Selected Poems)


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