Author Topic: Poems  (Read 18795 times)

Twit 2

  • “As sound as an apple.”
Re: Poems
« Reply #60 on: June 25, 2019, 05:54:46 PM »
Am giving Alice Oswald’s ‘Dart’ a proper go. Something I should have got round to sooner, as I love walking in Dartmoor and know many of the places in the poem. Anyway, it’s an epic bastard of a thing, book-length stream of consciousness (pun intended), with the whiff of Eliot and Joyce about it. Good stuff.

Re: Poems
« Reply #61 on: July 01, 2019, 11:20:58 AM »
Here’s one of my all time favourites, RF Langley’s Videlicet. Total barnstorming triumph:

That was just the one I was going to post. With Langley you're really spoilt for choice but I like him best when he lavishes his attention on tiny phenomena.

To a Nightingale
R. F. Langley

Nothing along the road. But
petals, maybe. Pink behind
and white inside. Nothing but
the coping of a bridge. Mutes
on the bricks, hard as putty,
then, in the sun, as metal.
Burls of Grimmia, hairy,
hoary, with their seed-capsules
uncurling. Red mites bowling
about on the baked lichen
and what look like casual
landings, striped flies, Helina,
Phaonia, could they be?
This month the lemon, I’ll say
primrose-coloured, moths, which flinch
along the hedge then turn in
to hide, are Yellow Shells not
Shaded Broad-bars. Lines waver.
Camptogramma. Heat off the
road and the nick-nack of names.
Scotopteryx. Darkwing. The
flutter. Doubles and blurs the
margin. Fuscous and white. Stop
at nothing. To stop here at
nothing, as a chaffinch sings
interminably, all day.
A chiff-chaff. Purring of two
turtle doves. Voices, and some
vibrate with tenderness. I
say none of this for love. It
is anyone’s giff-gaff. It
is anyone’s quelque chose.
No business of mine. Mites which
ramble. Caterpillars which
curl up as question marks. Then
one note, five times, louder each
time, followed, after a fraught
pause, by a soft cuckle of
wet pebbles, which I could call
a glottal rattle. I am
empty, stopped at nothing, as
I wait for this song to shoot.
The road is rising as it
passes the apple tree and
makes its approach to the bridge.

Re: Poems
« Reply #62 on: July 01, 2019, 11:22:14 AM »
Blues for Titania
R. F. Langley

The beetle runs into the future. He takes
to his heels in an action so frantic its
flicker seems to possess the slowness of deep
water. He has been green. He will be so yet.
His memory ripples emeralds. The wasp
takes it easy. She unpicks her fabric of
yellow and black, which slips from her fingers to
land in the past, loop-holed, lacy, tossed off on
the wing. The beetle is needled right through on
one string. He peels a strip as he packs a shelf.
He is thrilling the grass, and whatever it
means, it is radiantly green like himself. Thus
he will invest again and again in that
same flashy suit. The wasp has forgotten her
costume, but proves herself wise to the ways of
the sun, which are pat on her back. She drops a
curtsy, blows a kiss, and somersaults over
the beetle’s attack. Lost moments swill round in
the shallows, until they can stick there and stack.

The beetle swears it’s a set-up job. Follow
your mouth. Swallow tomorrow. Borrow and bet.
Rivet your eyes on the road, and do what you
said. You run through the beetles you have been, and
insist there are more of the same up ahead.
The wasp says goodbye to those she has never
met. She swirls down to just touch the track, so that
she definitely indicates her shadow,
a generous fellow, who has come on his
own, to join in. He’s an item. And now he’s
close kin. She gives him a hug. Then that’s her in
mid-air and she’s left him. He’s a scoundrel, who
dodges about and grows dim. Neglected. The
necklace has snapped. Scramble for beads. Some of them
still roll and sparkle, prickling the gorse and the
stamens of the bittersweet. This will be the
best place for muttering nonsense. We could meet
anywhere in the wood. Tired in the hawthorn
brake. Tricked by the thick vegetation. Gutted.

A snatch at the clasp and a curse as our prayers
scatter. One of them comes to a stop by a
dazzling white stone. Others tag darker places.
So be it. Snipe lie near small pools, to hide in
their glare. Purple orchids are smuts in the dusk.
A wasp is humming as it investigates
the gravelly foreground, where no gods squat, but
someone pictured an overturned goblet. The
stub of a tree with a kingfisher on it.
Cybele carefully holds up a quince. Now
specialist theatres are opening all
along the hedge. Sparrows adopt passionate
poses in each of them. Detail is so sharp
and so minute that the total form suggests
infinity. Everything. Wincing. Oh, but
thereby, it seems to me, there is infinite
loneliness. Such tons of shingle. If I find
my feet in it, I will walk up and down and
sing, that they shall hear that I am not afraid.

The beetle straightens his jacket to confirm
an initial conception. After all there
are not many cores. The car doors slam behind
his shoulders and he pulls away into the
best, fast synthesis that there is, blazing down
the mid-line, the Roman Street, his heart in his
horn. The wasps and moths and feathers are riff-raff
off the verge. Stuff for his buffet. And isn’t
Isis Demeter? No mysteries in here.
It’s me, hands on the wheel, and capable of
brilliant wristy brushwork, if I rouse out
my conceit across the blur of foliage.
But. Who knows what monsters were revered by the
Egyptians? We must not boast or palter. Don’t
rush the sense, or stagger if it’s true. Ask me
not what. The duke has dined. Three layers of the
lapis, mixed with white lead. The last translucent
glaze, and no golden scumble. Cool and intense.
Guaranteed to be the bluest of the blue.

Twit 2

  • “As sound as an apple.”
Re: Poems
« Reply #63 on: July 01, 2019, 06:24:58 PM »
Good stuff. I recommend reading his journals if you haven’t already.

Twit 2

  • “As sound as an apple.”
Re: Poems
« Reply #64 on: July 13, 2019, 03:33:13 PM »
Reading William Letford, the ‘roofer poet’. He’s like Limmy mixed with William Carlos Williams. He gets a lot of fuss from media darlings for being a working class manual labourer, and true enough his first collection is mostly written in Scots and about working on roofs but it’s also very distinctive and authentic in its own right. Believe the hype.









« Last Edit: July 13, 2019, 03:46:35 PM by Twit 2 »

Twit 2

  • “As sound as an apple.”
Re: Poems
« Reply #65 on: July 20, 2019, 07:38:17 PM »
Reading Denise Riley again:


Dannyhood91

  • I thought you said KING AAARTHUUUR!
Re: Poems
« Reply #66 on: July 22, 2019, 06:25:42 PM »
Dublinesque by Phillip Larkin

Down stucco sidestreets,
Where light is pewter
And afternoon mist
Brings lights on in shops
Above race-guides and rosaries,
A funeral passes.

The hearse is ahead,
But after there follows
A troop of streetwalkers
In wide flowered hats,
Leg-of-mutton sleeves,
And ankle-length dresses.

There is an air of great friendliness,
As if they were honouring
One they were fond of;
Some caper a few steps,
Skirts held skilfully
(Someone claps time),

And of great sadness also.
As they wend away
A voice is heard singing
Of Kitty, or Katy,
As if the name meant once
All love, all beauty.

Re: Poems
« Reply #67 on: July 22, 2019, 06:28:19 PM »
Alice Oswald has been made Oxford Professor of poetry. Fair play.

Imagine fucking up the paragraph formatting on your Word document and being made the lord of poetry at Oxford.

Dannyhood91

  • I thought you said KING AAARTHUUUR!
Re: Poems
« Reply #68 on: July 25, 2019, 11:12:55 AM »
Myfanwy by John Betjeman

Kind o’er the kinderbank leans my Myfanwy,
White o’er the playpen the sheen of her dress,
Fresh from the bathroom and soft in the nursery
Soap scented fingers I long to caress.

Were you a prefect and head of your dormit'ry?
Were you a hockey girl, tennis or gym?
Who was your favourite? Who had a crush on you?
Which were the baths where they taught you to swim?

Smooth down the Avenue glitters the bicycle,
Black-stockinged legs under navy blue serge,
Home and Colonial, Star, International,
Balancing bicycle leant on the verge.

Trace me your wheel-tracks, you fortunate bicycle,
Out of the shopping and into the dark,
Back down the avenue, back to the pottingshed,
Back to the house on the fringe of the park.

Golden the light on the locks of Myfanwy,
Golden the light on the book on her knee,
Finger marked pages of Rackham's Hans Anderson,
Time for the children to come down to tea.

Oh! Fullers angel-cake, Robertson’s marmalade,
Liberty lampshade, come shine on us all,
My! what a spread for the friends of Myfanwy,
Some in the alcove and some in the hall.

Then what sardines in half-lighted passages!
Locking of fingers in long hide-and-seek.
You will protect me, my silken Myfanwy,
Ring leader, tom-boy, and chum to the weak.

Cuellar

  • Taxes, they'll be lower...son
Re: Poems
« Reply #69 on: July 25, 2019, 11:17:17 AM »
Reading William Letford, the ‘roofer poet’. He’s like Limmy mixed with William Carlos Williams. He gets a lot of fuss from media darlings for being a working class manual labourer, and true enough his first collection is mostly written in Scots and about working on roofs but it’s also very distinctive and authentic in its own right. Believe the hype.


Those are great - I love Moths.

Twit 2

  • “As sound as an apple.”
Re: Poems
« Reply #70 on: August 03, 2019, 12:00:40 PM »
I am quite in awe of this Don Paterson poem which in turn is in awe of an obscure Georgian electronic musician. It’s very tongue in cheek but I find the way he mines software jargon for effect absolutely brilliant. At his best Paterson is as good as any poet alive. Certainly the breadth of his knowledge is immense and he’s probably the most well-read poet around, which means he can effortlessly glide between the staggeringly beautiful (his rewritings of Machado, Rilke, Desnos) and the piss-takingly sardonic. This poem reminds me somewhat of the equally good and equally wry ‘A Private Bottling’ from an earlier collection. Anyway, Don Paterson, what a guy. Tempted to say he might even be my hero.






Twit 2

  • “As sound as an apple.”
Re: Poems
« Reply #71 on: October 26, 2019, 05:42:42 PM »
Couple of Kathleen Jamie jobs:




Re: Poems
« Reply #72 on: March 06, 2020, 11:57:12 PM »
Blown away by this one

Toujours pour la première fois - André Breton

Toujours pour la première fois
C’est à peine si je te connais de vue
Tu rentres à telle heure de la nuit
dans une maison oblique à ma fenêtre
Maison tout imaginaire
C’est là que d’une seconde à l’autre
Dans le noir intact
Je m’attends à ce que se produise
une fois de plus la déchirure fascinante
La déchirure unique
De la façade et de mon cœur
Plus je m’approche de toi
En réalité
Plus la clé chante à la porte de la chambre inconnue
Où tu m’apparais seule
Tu es d’abord tout entière fondue dans le brillant
L’angle fugitif d’un rideau
C’est un champ de jasmin que j’ai contemplé à l’aube
sur une route des environs de Grasse
Avec ses cueilleuses en diagonale
Derrière elles l’aile sombre tombante des plants dégarnis
Devant elles l’équerre de l’éblouissant
Le rideau invisiblement soulevé
Rentrent en tumulte toutes les fleurs
C’est toi aux prises avec
cette heure trop longue jamais
assez trouble jusqu’au sommeil
Toi comme si tu pouvais être
La même à cela près que
je ne te rencontrerai peut-être jamais
Tu fais semblant de ne pas savoir que je t’observe
Merveilleusement je ne suis plus sûr que tu le sais
Ton désœuvrement m’emplit les yeux de larmes
Une nuée d’interprétations entoure
chacun de tes gestes
C’est une chasse à la miellée
Il y a des rocking-chairs
sur un pont il y a des branchages
qui risquent de t’égratigner dans la forêt
Il y a dans une vitrine
rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette
Deux belles jambes croisées prises dans de hauts bas
Qui s'évasent au centre d’un grand trèfle blanc
Il y a une échelle de soie déroulée sur le lierre
Il y a
Qu’à me pencher sur le précipice
et de ton absence
J’ai trouvé le secret
De t’aimer
Toujours pour la première fois

Always for the First Time - Andre Breton (translation: Mary Ann Caws)

Always for the first time
I scarcely know you when I see you
You return sometime in the night
To a house at an angle to my window
A wholly imaginary house
From one second to the next
There in the complete darkness
I wait for the strange rift to recur
The unique rift
In the facade and in my heart
The nearer I come to you
In reality
The louder the key sings in the door of the unknown room
Where you appear alone before me
First you merge with the brightness
The fleeting angle of a curtain
A jasmine field I gazed on at dawn on a road near Grasse
The jasmine-pickers bending over on a slant
Behind them the dark profile of plants stripped bare
Before them the dazzling light The curtain invisibly raised
In a frenzy all the flowers swarm back
You facing the long hour never dim enough until sleep
You as if you could be
The same except I may never meet you
You pretend not to know I'm watching you
Marvellously I'm no longer sure you know it
Your idleness fills my eyes with tears
Meanings surround each of your gestures
Like a honeydew hunt
There are rocking-chairs on a bridge there are branches
That might scratch you in the forest
In a window on the rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette
Two lovely crossed legs are caught in long stockings
Flaring out in the centre of a great white clover
There is a silk ladder unrolled across the ivy
There is
That leaning over the precipice
Of the hopeless fusion of your presence and absence
I have found the secret
Of loving you
Always for the first time

FerriswheelBueller

  • CaB rear of the year 2020
  • Silver Member
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Re: Poems
« Reply #73 on: March 07, 2020, 02:36:54 AM »
Ah if we're doing Bukowski, I love Nirvana, the poem that made me realise there was more to him than a novelist I found impressive but also a little... hateful? Written below, but read beautifully by Tom Waits here -  my favourite poetry reading I think. Perfect match of poet and performer. 

Nirvana
not much chance,
completely cut loose from
purpose,
he was a young man
riding a bus
through North Carolina
on the way to somewhere
and it began to snow
and the bus stopped
at a little cafe
in the hills
and the passengers
entered.
he sat at the counter
with the others,
he ordered and the
food arrived.
the meal was
particularly
good
and the
coffee.
the waitress was
unlike the women
he had
known.
she was unaffected,
there was a natural
humor which came
from her.
the fry cook said
crazy things.
the dishwasher.
in back,
laughed, a good
clean
pleasant
laugh.
the young man watched
the snow through the
windows.
he wanted to stay
in that cafe
forever.
the curious feeling
swam through him
that everything
was
beautiful
there,
that it would always
stay beautiful
there.
then the bus driver
told the passengers
that it was time
to board.
the young man
thought, I'll just sit
here, I'll just stay
here.
but then
he rose and followed
the others into the
bus.
he found his seat
and looked at the cafe
through the bus
window.
then the bus moved
off, down a curve,
downward, out of
the hills.
the young man
looked straight
foreward.
he heard the other
passengers
speaking
of other things,
or they were
reading
or
attempting to
sleep.
they had not
noticed
the
magic.
the young man
put his head to
one side,
closed his
eyes,
pretended to
sleep.
there was nothing
else to do-
just to listen to the
sound of the
engine,
the sound of the
tires
in the
snow.

That’s lovely. I remember first moving to North America as a kid, and being overwhelmed by it, and slowly learning to appreciate (and then cherish) it. The loneliness of being poor and without a car (and family or friends) and traveling everywhere by 8 dollar Greyhound. This captured some of that for me.

FerriswheelBueller

  • CaB rear of the year 2020
  • Silver Member
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  • Take it easy, but take it.
    • I am antsy for baseball in the off-season.
Re: Poems
« Reply #74 on: March 07, 2020, 02:42:23 AM »
I think I posted it in another poetry thread, but the feeling of being small and frightened while suffering from insomnia (and mild anxiety) is captured beautifully here.

Aubade by Philip Larkin

Quote
I work all day, and get half-drunk at night.   
Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare.   
In time the curtain-edges will grow light.   
Till then I see what’s really always there:   
Unresting death, a whole day nearer now,   
Making all thought impossible but how   
And where and when I shall myself die.   
Arid interrogation: yet the dread
Of dying, and being dead,
Flashes afresh to hold and horrify.

The mind blanks at the glare. Not in remorse   
—The good not done, the love not given, time   
Torn off unused—nor wretchedly because   
An only life can take so long to climb
Clear of its wrong beginnings, and may never;   
But at the total emptiness for ever,
The sure extinction that we travel to
And shall be lost in always. Not to be here,   
Not to be anywhere,
And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true.

This is a special way of being afraid
No trick dispels. Religion used to try,
That vast moth-eaten musical brocade
Created to pretend we never die,
And specious stuff that says No rational being
Can fear a thing it will not feel, not seeing
That this is what we fear—no sight, no sound,   
No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with,   
Nothing to love or link with,
The anaesthetic from which none come round.

And so it stays just on the edge of vision,   
A small unfocused blur, a standing chill   
That slows each impulse down to indecision.   
Most things may never happen: this one will,   
And realisation of it rages out
In furnace-fear when we are caught without   
People or drink. Courage is no good:
It means not scaring others. Being brave   
Lets no one off the grave.
Death is no different whined at than withstood.

Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape.   
It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know,   
Have always known, know that we can’t escape,   
Yet can’t accept. One side will have to go.
Meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ring   
In locked-up offices, and all the uncaring
Intricate rented world begins to rouse.
The sky is white as clay, with no sun.
Work has to be done.
Postmen like doctors go from house to house.

Re: Poems
« Reply #75 on: March 07, 2020, 02:44:21 AM »
Quote
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 the 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

Cliche as anything but god I love it.

FerriswheelBueller

  • CaB rear of the year 2020
  • Silver Member
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  • Take it easy, but take it.
    • I am antsy for baseball in the off-season.
Re: Poems
« Reply #76 on: March 07, 2020, 02:50:15 AM »
Nothing wrong with it being well known. I feel like I never got past Larkin/Betjemann/Thomas, poetically speaking. And that’s fine.

The BBC radio adaptation of Under Milk Wood is on youtube (for the record), and is absolutely lovely.

Re: Poems
« Reply #77 on: March 07, 2020, 02:54:59 AM »
Holy shit the Richard Burton one. It is as well, cheers!

Quote
To begin at the beginning: It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobblestreets silent and the hunched, courters'-and-rabbits' wood limping invisible down to the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboatbobbing sea.

Gorgeous opening line, that.

Twit 2

  • “As sound as an apple.”
Re: Poems
« Reply #78 on: March 07, 2020, 06:14:30 PM »
Cliche as anything but god I love it.

See the poem posted above:


Twit 2

  • “As sound as an apple.”
Re: Poems
« Reply #79 on: March 07, 2020, 06:45:07 PM »
Paterson has just released a new collection, Zonal, and all the poems are influenced by the first season of The Twilight Zone, which sounds like a weird but interesting departure.

Re: Poems
« Reply #80 on: March 07, 2020, 09:10:47 PM »
.

Re: Poems
« Reply #81 on: March 07, 2020, 09:49:41 PM »
He likes big words.

kalowski

  • the Zone of Zero Funkativity
Re: Poems
« Reply #82 on: March 07, 2020, 10:26:20 PM »
Ah if we're doing Bukowski, I love Nirvana, the poem that made me realise there was more to him than a novelist I found impressive but also a little... hateful? Written below, but read beautifully by Tom Waits here -  my favourite poetry reading I think. Perfect match of poet and performer. 

Nirvana
not much chance,
completely cut loose from
purpose,
he was a young man
riding a bus
through North Carolina
on the way to somewhere
and it began to snow
and the bus stopped
at a little cafe
in the hills
and the passengers
entered.
he sat at the counter
with the others,
he ordered and the
food arrived.
the meal was
particularly
good
and the
coffee.
the waitress was
unlike the women
he had
known.
she was unaffected,
there was a natural
humor which came
from her.
the fry cook said
crazy things.
the dishwasher.
in back,
laughed, a good
clean
pleasant
laugh.
the young man watched
the snow through the
windows.
he wanted to stay
in that cafe
forever.
the curious feeling
swam through him
that everything
was
beautiful
there,
that it would always
stay beautiful
there.
then the bus driver
told the passengers
that it was time
to board.
the young man
thought, I'll just sit
here, I'll just stay
here.
but then
he rose and followed
the others into the
bus.
he found his seat
and looked at the cafe
through the bus
window.
then the bus moved
off, down a curve,
downward, out of
the hills.
the young man
looked straight
foreward.
he heard the other
passengers
speaking
of other things,
or they were
reading
or
attempting to
sleep.
they had not
noticed
the
magic.
the young man
put his head to
one side,
closed his
eyes,
pretended to
sleep.
there was nothing
else to do-
just to listen to the
sound of the
engine,
the sound of the
tires
in the
snow.
I don't like that. At least I don't like the form, which feels like that pretentious post-modernist approach to form with things like
Quote
they had not
noticed
the
magic.
Why one word per line there? Looks ugly to me. It doesn't have any of the fun of something like this:
Quote
A True Account Of Talking To The Sun At Fire Island by Frank O'Hara

The Sun woke me this morning loud
and clear, saying "Hey! I've been
trying to wake you up for fifteen
minutes.  Don't be so rude, you are
only the second poet I've ever chosen
to speak to personally
                                  so why
aren't you more attentive? If I could
burn you through the window I would
to wake you up.  I can't hang around
here all day."
                    "Sorry, Sun, I stayed
up late last night talking to Hal."

"When I woke up Mayakovsky he was
a lot more prompt" the Sun said
petulantly.  "Most people are up
already waiting to see if I'm going
to put in an appearance."
                                        I tried
to apologize "I missed you yesterday."
"That's better" he said.  "I didn't
know you'd come out."  "You may be wondering why I've come so close?"
"Yes" I said beginning to feel hot
and wondering if maybe he wasn't
    burning me
anyway. 
            "Frankly I wanted to tell you
I like your poetry.  I see a lot
on my rounds and you're okay.  You
    may
not be the greatest thing on earth, but
you're different.  Now, I've heard some
say you're crazy, they being excessively
calm themselves to my mind, and other
crazy poets think that you're a boring
reactionary.  Not me.
                                Just keep on
like I do and pay no attention.  You'll
find that some people always will
    complain about the atmosphere,
         either too hot
or too cold too bright or too dark, days
too short or too long.
                               If you don't appear
at all one day they think you're lazy
or dead.  Just keep right on, I like it.

And don't worry about your lineage
poetic or natural.  The Sun shines on
the jungle, you know, on the tundra
the sea, the ghetto.  Wherever you
    were
I knew it and saw you moving.  I was
    waiting
for you to get to work.

                                  And now that you
are making your own days, so to
    speak,
even if no one reads you but me
you won't be depressed.  Not
everyone can look up, even at me.  It
hurts their eyes."
          "Oh Sun, I'm so grateful to you!"

"Thanks and remember I'm watching. 
    It's
easier for me to speak to you out
here.  I don't have to slide down
between buildings to get your ear.
I know you love Manhattan, but
you ought to look up more often.
                                                   And
always embrace things, people earth
sky stars, as I do, freely and with
the appropriate sense of space.  That
is your inclination, known in the
    heavens
and you should follow it to hell, if
necessary, which I doubt.
                                        Maybe we'll
speak again in Africa, of which I too
am specially fond.  Go back to sleep
    now
Frank, and I may leave a tiny poem
in that brain of yours as my farewell."

"Sun, don't go!"  I was awake
at last.  "No, go I must, they're calling
me." 
      "Who are they?"
                             Rising he said "Some
day you'll know.  They're calling to you
too."  Darkly he rose, and then I slept.

Retinend

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Re: Poems
« Reply #83 on: May 23, 2020, 11:11:18 AM »
Do you have a favourite translation of "The Drunken Boat"?
Here's Samuel Beckett's version. I think whether you like it or not depends on whether you enjoy Beckett's poetry, which I do.
As for my favourite translation of TDB, I’m not sure I have one because, like with that Beckett one, they all tend to have their merits. I seem to remember a pretty good one from CD liner notes to a Dawn Upshaw CD, funnily enough.

Thanks to you two for recommending this marvellous poem.

After reading it I felt inspired to make this video, which I open by reciting the original French:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96LZfJhoHyY

It showcases my method of learning poems, generally (although the stuff with the phonetics is specific to French), which gives me a chance to ask: do you recite? I personally cannot read any poem without reading it aloud, and if there is no obvious meter, in addition to no rhyme, it is much less likely to stick with me.

Smeraldina Rima

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Re: Poems
« Reply #84 on: May 23, 2020, 05:25:26 PM »
Nice recital. By the end are you visualising the memorised letters as a prompt? What other poems have you recited happily or otherwise?

I have recited poems only rarely in the past and only short famous poems such as "He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven" and "The Tyger".

Retinend

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Re: Poems
« Reply #85 on: May 23, 2020, 06:20:59 PM »
You're very kind!  Yep - that's right. The initials are prompts to prepare for the pure "blank page" recital (this last stage is unfortunately always the longest stage).

My repertoire always grows and decays but the ones I know most solidly are Raleigh's "The Lie", Shakespeare's "Sonnet 18" and Dr Johnson's "London". At least a very shortened version.

The Tyger is a good choice. It has great "marquee value" alone, aside from being a wonderful poem.

If I may indulge myself:

Quote
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

At first glance, the second (and ultimate) rhyming couple would present a problem, from my point of view:

To restore the rhyme, one might substitute "What hand or eye of immortality", stressing "i" "ta" and "ty"

It might be frowned upon, but if one line doesn't rhyme when the rest do, it does my head in (as someone who mainly likes poetry for the sake of recital). I can tolerate it if I'm just reading aloud for pleasure, but if I mean others to hear it and to get something out of it I am very careful to make sure everything is clear to a modern ear.

For example the particular lines of "London" that I compose together were first written this way:

Quote
London! the needy villain’s gen’ral home,
The common shore of Paris and of Rome;
With eager thirst, by folly or by fate,
Sucks in the dregs of each corrupted state

This mournful truth is every where confess’d,
SLOW RISES WORTH, BY POVERTY DEPRESS’D:
But here more slow, where all are slaves to gold,
Where looks are merchandise, and smiles are sold,

Ah! what avails it, that, from slav’ry far,
I drew the breath of life in English air;
Was early taught a Briton’s right to prize,
And lisp the tale of Henry’s victories;

No spies were paid, no special juries known,
Bles't age! but ah! how diff’rent from our own!

But my version actually goes something like this:

Quote
London! oh that villain’s natural home,
The common drain of Paris and of Rome;
With eager thirst, by folly or by plan
Sucks in the dregs of each corrupted land

This mournful truth is in every land confess’d,
worth rises slow, BY POVERTY DEPRESS’D:
But here yet slower, where all are slaves to gold,
Where looks are merchandise, and smiles are sold,

Ah! what avails it now, under rule unfair
I drew first breath of life in English air;
Was early taught a Briton’s right to prize,
And whisper tales of Henry’s greatest fights

No liars paid, no kang'roo courts then known,
A blessèd age! how diff’rent from our own!

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