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.
Here's the next poetry comparison. Sorry these are both a bit grim (I thought of the Hardy after Seraphina's poems and the Larkin naturally followed), but I thought they made an interesting pair and hope you do too.
The Convergence of the Twain by Thomas Hardy
(lines on the loss of the Titanic)
In a solitude of the sea
Deep from human vanity,
And the Pride of Life that planned her, stilly couches she.
Steel chambers, late the pyres
Of her salamandrine fires,
Cold currents thrid, and turn to rhythmic tidal lyres.
Over the mirrors meant
To glass the opulent
The sea-worm crawls - grotesque, slimed, dumb, indifferent.
Jewels in joy designed
To ravish the sensuous mind
Lie lightless, all their sparkles bleared and black and blind.
Dim moon-eyed fishes near
Gaze at the gilded gear
And query: 'What does this vaingloriousness down here?'
Well: while was fashioning
This creature of cleaving wing,
The Immanent Will that stirs and urges everything
Prepared a sinister mate
For her - so gaily great -
A Shape of Ice, for the time far and dissociate.
And as the smart ship grew
In stature, grace and hue,
In shadowy silent distance grew the Iceberg too.
Alien they seemed to be
No mortal eye could see
The intimate welding of their later history,
Or sign that they were bent
By paths coincident
On being anon twin halves of one august event.
Till the Spinner of the Years
Said 'Now!' And each one hears,
And consummation comes, and jars two hemispheres.
The Explosion by Philip Larkin
On the day of the explosion
Shadows pointed towards the pithead:
In the sun the slagheap slept.
Down the lane came men in pitboots
Coughing oath-edged talk and pipe-smoke
Shouldering off the freshened silence.
One chased after rabbits: lost them;
Came back with a nest of lark's eggs;
Showed them; lodged them in the grasses.
So they passed in beards and moleskins,
Fathers, brothers, nicknames, laughter,
Through the tall gates standing open.
At noon, there came a tremor; cows
Stopped chewing for a second; sun,
Scarfed as in a heat-haze, dimmed.
The dead go on before us, they
Are sitting in God's house in comfort,
We shall see them face to face -
Plain as lettering in the chapels
It was said, and for a second
Wives saw men of the explosion
Larger than in life they managed -
Gold as on a coin, or walking
Somehow from the sun towards them,
One showing the eggs unbroken.
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?
I only dabble a bit in reading poetry. I don't think I'm quite up to a detailed discussion of a specific book - but I'd love to know what other people's favourite poems and poets are, and a bit about why you like them.
Who knows, you might get me started on something I wouldn't otherwise have tried - that would be cool!