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Thread: neglected poets

  1. #136
    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    Zbigniew Herbert

    I WOULD LIKE TO DESCRIBE



    I would like to describe the simplest emotion
    joy or sadness
    but not as others do
    reaching for shafts of rain or sun

    I would like to describe a light
    which is being born in me
    but I know it does not resemble
    any star
    for it is not so bright
    not so pure
    and is uncertain

    I would like to describe courage
    without dragging behind me a dusty lion
    and also anxiety
    without shaking a glass full of water

    to put it another way
    I would give all metaphors
    in return for one word
    drawn out of my breast like a rib
    for one word
    contained within the boundaries
    of my skin

    but apparently this is not possible

    and just to say - I love
    I run around like mad
    picking up handfuls of birds
    and my tenderness
    which after all is not made of water
    asks the water for a face
    and anger
    different from fire
    borrows from it
    a loquacious tongue

    {first half of the poem}

  2. #137
    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    Herman Melville

    If, then, to the meanest of mariners, and renegades and castaways, I shall hereafter ascribe high qualities, though dark; weave round them tragic graces; if even the most mournful, perchance the most abased, among them all, shall at times lift himself to the exalted mounts; if I shall touch that workman's arm with some ethereal light; if I shall spread a rainbow over his disasterous set of sun; then against all mortal critics bear me out in it, thou just Spirit of Equality, which hast spread one royal mantle of humanity over all my kind! . . . (Moby-Dick, Chapter 26)
    This prose is equal to any poetry. ( by Herman Melville )

  3. #138
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quasimodo1 View Post
    If, then, to the meanest of mariners, and renegades and castaways, I shall hereafter ascribe high qualities, though dark; weave round them tragic graces; if even the most mournful, perchance the most abased, among them all, shall at times lift himself to the exalted mounts; if I shall touch that workman's arm with some ethereal light; if I shall spread a rainbow over his disasterous set of sun; then against all mortal critics bear me out in it, thou just Spirit of Equality, which hast spread one royal mantle of humanity over all my kind! . . . (Moby-Dick, Chapter 26)
    This prose is equal to any poetry. ( by Herman Melville )
    You're right, Quasi. Melville's prose in Moby Dick is equivalent to any poetry, possbilby the best prose ever written in the English language. I especially like Chapter 1.
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

    "Love follows knowledge." – St. Catherine of Siena

    My literature blog: http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/

  4. #139
    feathers firefangled's Avatar
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    Loneliness

    — Rainer Maria Rilke


    Being apart and lonely is like rain.
    It climbs toward evening from the ocean plains;
    from flat places, rolling and remote, it climbs
    to heaven, which is its old abode.
    And only when leaving heaven drops upon the city.

    It rains down on us in those twittering
    hours when the streets turn their face to the dawn,
    and when two bodies who have found nothing,
    disappointed and depressed, roll over;
    and when two people who despise each other
    have to sleep together in one bed —

    that is when loneliness receives the rivers….

  5. #140
    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    Margaret Cavendish

    OF MANY WORLDS IN THIS


    Just like as in a nest of boxes round,
    Degrees of sizes in each box are found:
    So, in this world, may many others be
    Thinner and less, and less still by degree:
    Although they are not subject to our sense,
    A world may be no bigger than two-pence.
    Nature is curious, and such works may shape,
    Which our dull senses easily escape:
    For creatures, small as atoms, may there be,
    If every one a creature’s figure bear.
    ............first part of this poem by Margaret Cavendish

  6. #141
    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    two poems by Jacques Tahureau

    SHADOWS OF HIS LADY


    Within the sand of what far river lies
    The gold that gleams in tresses of my Love?
    What highest circle of the Heavens above
    Is jewelled with such stars as are her eyes?
    And where is the rich sea whose coral vies
    With her red lips, that cannot kiss enough?
    What dawn-lit garden knew the rose, whereof
    The fled soul lives in her cheeks' rosy guise?

    What Parian marble that is loveliest,
    Can match the whiteness of her brow and breast?
    When drew she breath from the Sabaean glade?
    Oh happy rock and river, sky and sea,
    Gardens, and glades Sabaean, all that be
    The far-off splendid semblance of my maid!


    MOONLIGHT
    JACQUES TAHUREAU, 1527-1555.

    The high Midnight was garlanding her head
    With many a shining star in shining skies,
    And, of her grace, a slumber on mine eyes,
    And, after sorrow, quietness was shed.
    Far in dim fields cicalas jargoned
    A thin shrill clamour of complaints and cries;
    And all the woods were pallid, in strange wise,
    With pallor of the sad moon overspread.

    Then came my lady to that lonely place,
    And, from her palfrey stooping, did embrace
    And hang upon my neck, and kissed me over;
    Wherefore the day is far less dear than night,
    And sweeter is the shadow than the light,
    Since night has made me such a happy lover.

  7. #142
    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    Victoria Sackville-West

    MOONLIGHT

    WHAT time the meanest brick and stone
    Take on a beauty not their own,
    And past the flaw of builded wood
    Shines the intention whole and good,
    And all the little homes of man
    Rise to a dimmer, nobler span;
    When colour's absence gives escape
    To the deeper spirit of the shape,

    -- Then earth's great architecture swells
    Among her mountains and her fells
    Under the moon to amplitude
    Massive and primitive and rude:

    -- Then do the clouds like silver flags
    Stream out above the tattered crags,
    And black and silver all the coast
    Marshalls its hunched and rocky host,
    And headlands striding sombrely
    Buttress the land against the sea,
    -- The darkened land, the brightening wave --
    And moonlight slants through Merlin's cave.



    by.......Victoria Sackville-West

  8. #143
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    Marc Twain

    GENIUS
    Genius, like gold and precious stones,
    is chiefly prized because of its rarity.

    Geniuses are people who dash of weird, wild,
    incomprehensible poems with astonishing facility,
    and get booming drunk and sleep in the gutter.

    Genius elevates its possessor to ineffable spheres
    far above the vulgar world and fills his soul
    with regal contempt for the gross and sordid things of earth.

    It is probably on account of this
    that people who have genius
    do not pay their board, as a general thing.

    Geniuses are very singular.

    If you see a young man who has frowsy hair
    and distraught look, and affects eccentricity in dress,
    you may set him down for a genius.

    If he sings about the degeneracy of a world
    which courts vulgar opulence
    and neglects brains,
    he is undoubtedly a genius.

    If he is too proud to accept assistance,
    and spurns it with a lordly air
    at the very same time
    that he knows he can't make a living to save his life,
    he is most certainly a genius.

    If he hangs on and sticks to poetry,
    notwithstanding sawing wood comes handier to him,
    he is a true genius.

    If he throws away every opportunity in life
    and crushes the affection and the patience of his friends
    and then protests in sickly rhymes of his hard lot,
    and finally persists,
    in spite of the sound advice of persons who have got sense
    but not any genius,
    persists in going up some infamous back alley
    dying in rags and dirt,
    he is beyond all question a genius.

    But above all things,
    to deftly throw the incoherent ravings of insanity into verse
    and then rush off and get booming drunk,
    is the surest of all the different signs
    of genius.

    {Twain is not a neglected writer but his poetry is not well known. This poem from an acknowledged genius ironically illustrates the false indeces of the trait.}

  9. #144
    feathers firefangled's Avatar
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    Substance Abuse Trial

    - Jane Mead, From The Lord and the General Din of the World

    He mispronounces you,
    the judge, rhyming your first
    with your second name,
    making you into something
    ridiculous: Gillis Willis Mead.

    But you stand as still
    as they taught you in the army
    when you were a young man trying hard
    to keep secret what you knew
    about how to kill with germs.
    As quietly as we used to stand
    on the front porch together at dusk
    listening for the first cricket of the evening.

    Now you stand accused
    of wanting to die, of saying so
    endlessly, with needles - and the speechless
    track marks recording it all.

    The evidence is
    a red river mounting.
    It wants to carry you
    away like an old chair
    some fisherman forgot
    to take home. And I want
    to shout: listen
    -this man
    is my father
    I love him.

    Is there a place
    where all those things
    that catch in the throat
    gather themselves
    into something as soft
    as the G in Giles
    was meant to be pronounced?

    Is that where you thought
    you were going?

  10. #145
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    Alec Derwent Hope

    PARABOLA
    Year after year the princess lies asleep
    Until the hundred years foretold are done,
    Easily drawing her enchanted breath.
    Caught on the monstrous thorns around the keep,
    Bones of the youths who sought her, one by one
    Rot loose and rattle to the ground beneath.

    But when the Destined Lover at last shall come,
    For whom alone Fortune reserves the prize
    The thorns give way; he mounts the cobwebbed stair
    Unerring he finds the tower, the door, the room,
    The bed where, waking at his kiss she lies
    Smiling in the loose fragrance of her hair.

    That night, embracing on the bed of state,
    He ravishes her century of sleep
    And she repays the debt of that long dream;
    Future and Past compose their vast debate;
    His seed now sown, her harvest ripe to reap
    Enact a variation on the theme.

    For in her womb another princess waits,
    A sleeping cell, a globule of bright dew.
    Jostling their way up that mysterious stair,
    A horde of lovers bursts between the gates,
    All doomed but one, the destined suitor, who
    By luck first reaches her and takes her there.

    A parable of all we are or do!
    The life of Nature is a formal dance
    In which each step is ruled by what has been
    And yet the pattern emerges always new
    The marriage of linked cause and random chance
    Gives birth perpetually to the unforeseen.

    {first stanzas of "Parabola" by
    Alec Derwent Hope}

  11. #146
    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    Sandra M. Gilbert

    WALKING THE SEAWALL



    pacing the ancient earthworks, the fortifications of silence,
    I know I am not through with you, I will never be through,
    and not one of us who leap from stone



    to stone on the road of boulders
    that leads to the old lighthouse, not one of us
    who clamber the grassy slope



    to the lookout point, not one of us
    who tread the path along the shore
    next to the tangled wall of morning glory,



    not one is through or will ever be through
    with your ways of hovering, your
    ash in the air, your clouds at daybreak



    trailing departure, your echoes of rhyme and joke,
    hugs of archaic fleece, smiles
    a rubble around us, arms



    now sunken, irretrievable. . . .
    In your unending
    absence we keep on keeping



    brave and starched.
    Beside the point,
    a field of muck sinks into itself:



    here we scramble on
    splintery boards.
    Stench of skunk,



    stench of animal grief!
    You who were here, too, you who waded
    in mud beside us,



    stand up again in your plaid and freckles
    the way you used to once!
    Unfurl your striped umbrellas!



    Step heavily or lightly, as you did,
    twitching and rustling your coats, your furs,
    across the bridge from sleep!



    Just this single extra
    minute
    we’ll stumble down the uneven beach,



    pick our way across the lumps of granite
    flung down at water’s edge,
    creep together just once more


    {first half of "Walking the Seawall" by Sandra M. Gilbert

  12. #147
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    Kenneth Slessor

    ...............FIVE BELLS............................
    Time that is moved by little fidget wheels
    Is not my time, the flood that does not flow.
    Between the double and the single bell
    Of a ship's hour, between a round of bells
    From the dark warship riding there below,
    I have lived many lives, and this one life
    Of Joe, long dead, who lives between five bells.

    Deep and dissolving verticals of light
    Ferry the falls of moonshine down. Five bells
    Coldly rung out in a machine's voice. Night and water
    Pour to one rip of darkness, the Harbour floats
    In the air, the Cross hangs upside-down in water.

    Why do I think of you, dead man, why thieve
    These profitless lodgings from the flukes of thought
    Anchored in Time? You have gone from earth,
    Gone even from the meaning of a name;
    Yet something's there, yet something forms its lips
    And hits and cries against the ports of space,
    Beating their sides to make its fury heard.

    Are you shouting at me, dead man, squeezing your face
    In agonies of speech on speechless panes?
    Cry louder, beat the windows, bawl your name!

    But I hear nothing, nothing...only bells,
    Five bells, the bumpkin calculus of Time.
    Your echoes die, your voice is dowsed by Life,
    There's not a mouth can fly the pygmy strait -
    Nothing except the memory of some bones
    Long shoved away, and sucked away, in mud;
    And unimportant things you might have done,
    Or once I thought you did; but you forgot,
    And all have now forgotten - looks and words
    And slops of beer; your coat with buttons off,
    Your gaunt chin and pricked eye, and raging tales
    Of Irish kings and English perfidy,
    And dirtier perfidy of publicans
    Groaning to God from Darlinghurst.
    Five bells.

    Then I saw the road, I heard the thunder
    Tumble, and felt the talons of the rain
    The night we came to Moorebank in slab-dark,
    So dark you bore no body, had no face,
    But a sheer voice that rattled out of air
    (As now you'd cry if I could break the glass),
    A voice that spoke beside me in the bush,
    Loud for a breath or bitten off by wind,
    Of Milton, melons, and the Rights of Man,
    And blowing flutes, and how Tahitian girls
    Are brown and angry-tongued, and Sydney girls
    Are white and angry-tongued, or so you'd found.
    But all I heard was words that didn't join
    So Milton became melons, melons girls,
    And fifty mouths, it seemed, were out that night,
    And in each tree an Ear was bending down,
    Or something that had just run, gone behind the grass,
    When blank and bone-white, like a maniac's thought,
    The naphtha-flash of lightning slit the sky,
    Knifing the dark with deathly photographs.
    There's not so many with so poor a purse
    Or fierce a need, must fare by night like that,
    Five miles in darkness on a country track,
    But when you do, that's what you think.
    Five bells.
    ......................................{half of this great poem by Kenneth Slessor}

  13. #148
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Wow, that's a good poem Quasi. I have never heard of Slessor. I will have to look him up.
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

    "Love follows knowledge." – St. Catherine of Siena

    My literature blog: http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/

  14. #149
    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    To Virgil: He is the poet, this Slessor, and he has many others. It's so frustrating not to post the whole piece, but rules about copyright are serious. I try to come up with something like diversity in these selections (and just discovered a couple of huge databases of contemporary stuff). Even broke down and bought some Dylan Thomas collections and a huge new anthology whose only fault, in my view, is over representation of Whitman. There are many comments that I'd like to make about these entries but this would just slant or prejudice the reader in some way. Thanks for the comment. quasi

  15. #150
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    Gordon Bottomley

    TO IRON-FOUNDERS AND OTHERS

    WHEN you destroy a blade of grass
    You poison England at her roots:
    Remember no man’s foot can pass
    Where evermore no green life shoots.

    You force the birds to wing too high
    Where your unnatural vapours creep:
    Surely the living rocks shall die
    When birds no rightful distance keep.

    You have brought down the firmament
    And yet no heaven is more near;
    You shape huge deeds without event,
    And half-made men believe and fear.

    Your worship is your furnaces,
    Which, like old idols, lost obscenes,
    Have molten bowels; your vision is
    Machines for making more machines.

    O, you are busied in the night,
    Preparing destinies of rust;
    Iron misused must turn to blight
    And dwindle to a tetter’d crust.

    The grass, forerunner of life, has gone,
    But plants that spring in ruins and shards
    Attend until your dream is done:
    I have seen hemlock in your yards.

    The generations of the worm
    Know not your loads piled on their soil;
    Their knotted ganglions shall wax firm
    Till your strong flagstones heave and toil.

    When the old hollow’d earth is crack’d,
    And when, to grasp more power and feasts,
    Its ores are emptied, wasted, lack’d,
    The middens of your burning beasts

    Shall be raked over till they yield
    Last priceless slags for fashionings high,
    Ploughs to wake grass in every field,
    Chisels men’s hands to magnify.


    {by Gordon Bottomley}

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