I'm looking forward to ensuing discussions, disections and diversions!
A question for my fellow poeteers: who's the poet you've most enjoyed discovering this year?
My answer would be Gerard Manley Hopkins, far and away. I love his spirituality and his use of words.
I apologise because I have not had as much time as I thought to find these poems. However here they are separated by some 300 years one by Shakespeare and one by Elaine Feinstein who was born in 1930.
I hope you enjoy them.
“That time of year thou mayst in me behold”
THAT time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see’st the twilight of such day 5
As after sunset fadeth in the west;
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie, 10
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consum’d with that which it was nourish’d by.
This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
The first surprise: I like it.
Whatever happens now, some things
that used to terrify have not.
I didn’t die young, for instance. Or lose
my only love. My three children
never had to run away from anyone.
Don’t tell me this gratitude is complacent.
We all approach the edge of the same darkness
which for me is silence.
Knowing as much sharpens
my delight in January freesia,
hot coffee, winter sunlight. So we say
as we lie close on some gentle occasion:
every day won from such
darkness is a celebration.
Two poems on the theme of love moving on. Brooke's concentrating on the Jealousy he feels and the Wyatt being rather more bewildered.
I hope these interest you all, the Wyatt is a particular favourite of mine,especially interesting regarding the background and I think the Brooke is a fascinating contrast to his better known war poetry.
Jealousy Rupert Brooke
WHEN I see you, who were so wise and cool,
Gazing with silly sickness on that fool
You’ve given your love to, your adoring hands
Touch his so intimately that each understands,
I know, most hidden things; and when I know
Your holiest dreams yield to the stupid bow
Of his red lips, and that the empty grace
Of those strong legs and arms, that rosy face,
Has beaten your heart to such a flame of love,
That you have given him every touch and move,
Wrinkle and secret of you, all your life,
—Oh! then I know I’m waiting, lover-wife,
For the great time when love is at a close,
And all its fruit’s to watch the thickening nose
And sweaty neck and dulling face and eye,
That are yours, and you, most surely, till you die!
Day after day you’ll sit with him and note
The greasier tie, the dingy wrinkling coat;
As prettiness turns to pomp, and strength to fat,
And love, love, love to habit!
And after that,
When all that’s fine in man is at an end,
And you, that loved young life and clean, must tend
A foul sick fumbling dribbling body and old,
When his rare lips hang flabby and can’t hold
Slobber, and you’re enduring that worst thing,
Senility’s queasy furtive love-making,
And searching those dear eyes for human meaning,
Propping the bald and helpless head, and cleaning
A scrap that life’s flung by, and love’s forgotten,—
Then you’ll be tired; and passion dead and rotten;
And he’ll be dirty, dirty!
O little and free
And lightfoot, that the poor heart cries to see,
That’s how I’ll see your man and you!—
—Oh, when that time comes, you’ll be dirty too!
They Flee From Me Thomas Wyatt
They flee from me that sometime did me seek
With naked foot, stalking in my chamber.
I have seen them gentle, tame, and meek,
That now are wild and do not remember
That sometime they put themselves in danger
To take bread at my hand; and now they range,
Busily seeking with a continual change.
Thanked be fortune it hath been otherwise
Twenty times better; but once in special,
In thin array after a pleasant guise,
When her loose gown from her shoulders did fall,
And she me caught in her arms long and small;
And therewithal sweetly did me kiss
And softly said, "dear heart, how like you this?"
It was no dream: I lay broad waking.
But all is turned thorough my gentleness
Into a strange fashion of forsaking;
And I have leave to go of her goodness,
And she also, to use newfangleness.
But since that I so kindly am served
I would fain know what she hath deserved.
Many moons ago (in June, I think) we started discussing two poems selected by Claire and had, in my humble opinion, some good exchanges of views. Since then, we've tried to keep it going and had some discussion, but it seems to have petered out. Part of the problem, perhaps, is not having an obvious leader?? And the summer didn't help. I'd love for someone to start this again and perhaps coordinate our discussions - what about meg or elfstar who seem to be regulars on this section? Or could Claire be tempted back? Perhaps we could get more people involved in the discussions? Should we give longer for discussions? Or should it only be one poem? I'm pretty desperate for some good discussions and love the way that we disagree, challenge, question etc. Poetry matters and I think we should be doing more with it. What do others think?
Listening to the radio with half an ear this morning I heard part of an interview with a senior member of the nursing profession (Mavis something?) who has recently received an MBE.
It seems that she was moved to come to the UK from the West Indies by a desire to see the churchyard of Gray's 'Elegy", and to see daffodils 'Tossing their heads in sprightly dance'.
It caused me to wonder what influence a particular poem might have exerted on any of us in our choices, big or small. (e.g. Anyone out there wearing purple yet?)