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October 19, 2017, 11:39:39 AM
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Author Topic: Poetry  (Read 587 times)
ER
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The world becomes a dream....


« on: July 24, 2017, 02:21:29 PM »

Any poets you guys like? Dickinson, Frost, Yeats, Basho, anyone?

I think good poetry still exists in our age, it has often just been set to music and we call it lyrics.

Lately I been re-discovering my adolescent favorite, George Gordon, Lord Byron, and here is the opening of his 1816 poem, The Dream.

It's been said people in Byron's time, undistracted by the things we are now, and also deprived of the instant availability of artificial light to disrupt the darkness, slept on average nine hours a night, and we know Byron was fond of staying up an entire day and then sleeping through half the next; that was his pattern. If that's true, then it's fair to say people then dreamed more plentifully than we do today with our brief times-out from our electric-lighted lives. I think in his age, and to a visionary like Byron, dreams were a recurring source of inspiration and wonder, and to enter into the dreaming state was as welcome then as bad movies are to us (or you guys) now.

And so one of his best works is about dreams. (The world becomes a dream, a dream becomes the world...)


I

Our life is twofold: Sleep hath its own world,
A boundary between the things misnamed
Death and existence: Sleep hath its own world,
And a wide realm of wild reality,
And dreams in their developement have breath,
And tears, and tortures, and the touch of Joy;
They leave a weight upon our waking thoughts,
They take a weight from off our waking toils,
They do divide our being; they become
A portion of ourselves as of our time,
And look like heralds of Eternity;
They pass like spirits of the past,—they speak
Like Sibyls of the future; they have power—
The tyranny of pleasure and of pain;
They make us what we were not—what they will,
And shake us with the vision that's gone by,
The dread of vanished shadows—Are they so?
Is not the past all shadow?—What are they?
Creations of the mind?—The mind can make
Substance, and people planets of its own
With beings brighter than have been, and give
A breath to forms which can outlive all flesh.
I would recall a vision which I dreamed
Perchance in sleep—for in itself a thought,
A slumbering thought, is capable of years,
And curdles a long life into one hour.



« Last Edit: July 24, 2017, 07:04:14 PM by ER » Logged

"If I should meet thee after long years,

How shall I greet thee? With silence, and tears."

--Lord Byron
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« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2017, 03:56:03 PM »

I did an undergrad thesis on Yeats. (If I had it to do over I'd have done Robert Browning).

I agree that rock lyrics have taken the place of poetry in modern society, but I disagree that they are examples of "good poetry." The problem is that the music does the heavy lifting, encouraging laziness in writing. I think Tom Waits writes some beautiful lyrics, but when you print them on the page without the music I see a lot of sloppiness there. When he sings them you don't notice.

I remember Paul Simon denying his lyrics were poetry and saying something along the same lines. He mentioned "bluebirds over the cliffs of Dover" being "greeting card stuff," but immensely moving when sung.

My favorite poem is "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," about an aging man who is afraid to ask a (presumably younger) woman out on a date. (This resonates with me now, but it was still a favorite when I was 18). I'll just quote the ending:

"I grow old ... I grow old ...
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind?   Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown."
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« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2017, 06:08:09 PM »

Poe

one class I did back in the day was literally just a 20 page on how the events in his life were reflected the mans work
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« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2017, 07:45:37 PM »

For me, that one college class that truly rocked my world and changed my life was called "The Literature of the Great War."  The War Poets - Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, Robert Service, and the others - wrote some of the most powerful, bitter, angry verse of all time.  This poem made the hair on the back of my neck stand up the first time I read it, and every time since.  Written by Robert Service, it is simply called  ON THE WIRE:

O God, take the sun from the sky!
 It's burning me, scorching me up.
God, can't You hear my cry?
 Water! A poor, little cup!
It's laughing, the cursed sun!
 See how it swells and swells
Fierce as a hundred hells!
 God, will it never have done?
It's searing the flesh on my bones;
 It's beating with hammers red
My eyeballs into my head;
 It's parching my very moans.
See! It's the size of the sky,
 And the sky is a torrent of fire,
Foaming on me as I lie
 Here on the wire . . . the wire. . . .

Of the thousands that wheeze and hum
 Heedlessly over my head,
Why can't a bullet come,
 Pierce to my brain instead,
Blacken forever my brain,
 Finish forever my pain?
Here in the hellish glare
 Why must I suffer so?
Is it God doesn't care?
 Is it God doesn't know?
Oh, to be killed outright,
 Clean in the clash of the fight!
That is a golden death,
 That is a boon; but this . . .
Drawing an anguished breath
 Under a hot abyss,
Under a stooping sky
 Of seething, sulphurous fire,
Scorching me up as I lie
 Here on the wire . . . the wire. . . .

Hasten, O God, Thy night!
 Hide from my eyes the sight
Of the body I stare and see
 Shattered so hideously.
I can't believe that it's mine.
 My body was white and sweet,
Flawless and fair and fine,
 Shapely from head to feet;
Oh no, I can never be
 The thing of horror I see
Under the rifle fire,
 Trussed on the wire . . . the wire. . . .

Of night and of death I dream;
 Night that will bring me peace,
Coolness and starry gleam,
 Stillness and death's release:
Ages and ages have passed, --
 Lo! it is night at last.
Night! but the guns roar out.
 Night! but the hosts attack.
Red and yellow and black
 Geysers of doom upspout.
Silver and green and red
 Star-shells hover and spread.
Yonder off to the right
 Fiercely kindles the fight;
Roaring near and more near,
 Thundering now in my ear;
Close to me, close . . . Oh, hark!
 Someone moans in the dark.
I hear, but I cannot see,
 I hear as the rest retire,
Someone is caught like me,
 Caught on the wire . . . the wire. . . .

Again the shuddering dawn,
 Weird and wicked and wan;
Again, and I've not yet gone.
 The man whom I heard is dead.
Now I can understand:
 A bullet hole in his head,
A pistol gripped in his hand.
 Well, he knew what to do, --
Yes, and now I know too. . . .


Hark the resentful guns!
 Oh , how thankful am I
To think my beloved ones
 Will never know how I die!
I've suffered more than my share;
I'm shattered beyond repair;
I've fought like a man the fight,
And now I demand the right
(God! how his fingers cling!)
To do without shame this thing.
Good! there's a bullet still;
 Now I'm ready to fire;
Blame me, God, if You will,
 Here on the wire . . . the wire. . . .
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« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2017, 08:01:38 PM »

For me, that one college class that truly rocked my world and changed my life was called "The Literature of the Great War."  The War Poets - Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, Robert Service, and the others - wrote some of the most powerful, bitter, angry verse of all time. 

You probably read this one, then, even though Yeats was not a "War Poet." Still one of my favorites:

AN IRISH AIRMAN FORSEES HIS DEATH

I know that I shall meet my fate   
Somewhere among the clouds above;   
Those that I fight I do not hate   
Those that I guard I do not love;   
My country is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor,   
No likely end could bring them loss   
Or leave them happier than before.   
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,   
Nor public man, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight   
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;   
I balanced all, brought all to mind,   
The years to come seemed waste of breath,   
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.
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indianasmith
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« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2017, 09:20:37 PM »

Yes indeed!  My interest in the Great War was inspired, in the beginning, by the accounts of the flying aces of that war - a topic I love to this day.
That poem was included in several of the books I read on the war in the air.
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ER
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema
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Karma: 624
Posts: 3723


The world becomes a dream....


« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2017, 08:33:15 AM »

For me, that one college class that truly rocked my world and changed my life was called "The Literature of the Great War."  The War Poets - Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, Robert Service, and the others - wrote some of the most powerful, bitter, angry verse of all time.  This poem made the hair on the back of my neck stand up the first time I read it, and every time since.  Written by Robert Service, it is simply called  ON THE WIRE:

O God, take the sun from the sky!
 It's burning me, scorching me up.
God, can't You hear my cry?
 Water! A poor, little cup!
It's laughing, the cursed sun!
 See how it swells and swells
Fierce as a hundred hells!
 God, will it never have done?
It's searing the flesh on my bones;
 It's beating with hammers red
My eyeballs into my head;
 It's parching my very moans.
See! It's the size of the sky,
 And the sky is a torrent of fire,
Foaming on me as I lie
 Here on the wire . . . the wire. . . .

Of the thousands that wheeze and hum
 Heedlessly over my head,
Why can't a bullet come,
 Pierce to my brain instead,
Blacken forever my brain,
 Finish forever my pain?
Here in the hellish glare
 Why must I suffer so?
Is it God doesn't care?
 Is it God doesn't know?
Oh, to be killed outright,
 Clean in the clash of the fight!
That is a golden death,
 That is a boon; but this . . .
Drawing an anguished breath
 Under a hot abyss,
Under a stooping sky
 Of seething, sulphurous fire,
Scorching me up as I lie
 Here on the wire . . . the wire. . . .

Hasten, O God, Thy night!
 Hide from my eyes the sight
Of the body I stare and see
 Shattered so hideously.
I can't believe that it's mine.
 My body was white and sweet,
Flawless and fair and fine,
 Shapely from head to feet;
Oh no, I can never be
 The thing of horror I see
Under the rifle fire,
 Trussed on the wire . . . the wire. . . .

Of night and of death I dream;
 Night that will bring me peace,
Coolness and starry gleam,
 Stillness and death's release:
Ages and ages have passed, --
 Lo! it is night at last.
Night! but the guns roar out.
 Night! but the hosts attack.
Red and yellow and black
 Geysers of doom upspout.
Silver and green and red
 Star-shells hover and spread.
Yonder off to the right
 Fiercely kindles the fight;
Roaring near and more near,
 Thundering now in my ear;
Close to me, close . . . Oh, hark!
 Someone moans in the dark.
I hear, but I cannot see,
 I hear as the rest retire,
Someone is caught like me,
 Caught on the wire . . . the wire. . . .

Again the shuddering dawn,
 Weird and wicked and wan;
Again, and I've not yet gone.
 The man whom I heard is dead.
Now I can understand:
 A bullet hole in his head,
A pistol gripped in his hand.
 Well, he knew what to do, --
Yes, and now I know too. . . .


Hark the resentful guns!
 Oh , how thankful am I
To think my beloved ones
 Will never know how I die!
I've suffered more than my share;
I'm shattered beyond repair;
I've fought like a man the fight,
And now I demand the right
(God! how his fingers cling!)
To do without shame this thing.
Good! there's a bullet still;
 Now I'm ready to fire;
Blame me, God, if You will,
 Here on the wire . . . the wire. . . .

Seems like lately I have been serially-recommending books in here (eeew, scary) but if you have an interest in whom the the figures who produced the poetry of World War One were before they went to combat, you may want to check out Juliet Nicolson's The Perfect Summer, a poignant history of the summer of 1911, in which Rupert Brooke, Leonard Woolf and other future Lost Generation figures spend this innocent antebellum season late in their youths, happily visiting the country and the shore, while around them the world chugs toward the war which is to come three years later. It's the sort of pinpoint precise history book that reads like a novel.
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"If I should meet thee after long years,

How shall I greet thee? With silence, and tears."

--Lord Byron
ER
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema
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Karma: 624
Posts: 3723


The world becomes a dream....


« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2017, 08:39:02 AM »

I been among the Romantics lately, perhaps the period at which English literature reached its creative height.

This one is no less magnificent for being famous, and never ever fails to focus me on my place in time, and drive home the impermanence of all that humans do. (And let's not forget, its composer deflowered his future wife atop her mother's grave. Sorry, that's just impressively macabre in a completely messed-up sense.)


OZYMANDIAS

 I met a traveller from an antique land
 Who said:—Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
 Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
 Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
 And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
 Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
 Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
 The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
 And on the pedestal these words appear:
 "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
 Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
 Nothing beside remains: round the decay
 Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
 The lone and level sands stretch far away.


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"If I should meet thee after long years,

How shall I greet thee? With silence, and tears."

--Lord Byron
Derf
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« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2017, 09:16:11 AM »

As a man with a Master's degree in Literature, I have a love of poetry. Among my favorites are Frost, Shakespeare, Poe, and Coleridge. Frost and Shakespeare both had a mastery of the language beyond nearly all others. But while Shakespeare was busy inventing words and word plays and such, Frost used plain, everyday language better than almost anyone I've ever read. Poe is just fun to read for his sing-song moroseness. Coleridge is also on the sing-song side of things ("Water, water everywhere/ And all the boards did shrink. / Water, water everywhere, / Nor any drop to drink"), but his opium-fueled fantasies are remarkable.

But one poem that has literally helped shape my life was one I learned in 7th grade: Kipling's "If."

If you can keep your head when all about you
   Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
   But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
   Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
   And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
   If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
   And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
   Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
   And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
   And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
   And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
   To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
   Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
   Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
   If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run—
   Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
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ER
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Karma: 624
Posts: 3723


The world becomes a dream....


« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2017, 08:52:09 AM »

I wrote this in 1999.


Poem: In The Second Person, Untitled

Spread-eagled, you lie before them
While they prod at you.
Prometheus himself never
Endured such offense as this.
And only so recently gone—
So recently!
On the stairs, the gardenias
In their vase
Seem to shiver in horror.
And as for you,
A night ago
They would have deferred to you,
These white-coated wonder-workers,
Shown courtesy due your life-warmth;
Now not so much as a sheet do they grant
In their prying, their photographing, their undressing,
     stripping, their inserting of thermometers,
Seeking to ascertain when it left you,
Your life,
When the stocking-garrote
Brought you down at the intruder’s hands.
Only later after “when?” has been discovered
Will they seek to betroth it to “why?”
     “how?” “whom?”
Only a job to them,
Only a job.
But as for me?
Oh, victim, twice humiliated,
How I feel for you and what you endure!
But only a little more lies ahead
Before the long serenity of the tomb.
Think on that, if anything you still may ponder…
But, no, how theistic of me to so address
This thing twice rudely robbed of its humanity,
This murder victim grown chill against the tile floor.
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"If I should meet thee after long years,

How shall I greet thee? With silence, and tears."

--Lord Byron
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« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2017, 05:12:45 PM »

As an undergrad, I wrote a thirty plus page analysis on a Sylvia Plath poem. My experience analyzing literature and poetry is what lead me to later analyzing content I love: bad movies!
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ER
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The world becomes a dream....


« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2017, 08:23:40 AM »

As an undergrad, I wrote a thirty plus page analysis on a Sylvia Plath poem. My experience analyzing literature and poetry is what lead me to later analyzing content I love: bad movies!

Which poem was it?
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"If I should meet thee after long years,

How shall I greet thee? With silence, and tears."

--Lord Byron
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« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2017, 09:47:54 AM »

As an undergrad, I wrote a thirty plus page analysis on a Sylvia Plath poem. My experience analyzing literature and poetry is what lead me to later analyzing content I love: bad movies!

Which poem was it?

Daddy.
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« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2017, 10:37:35 AM »

I LOVED that one! 

"So Daddy I'm finally through,
the black telephone's off at the root,
the voices just can't get through."

I remember the first time we read that, one of my classmates commented:

"So who was her Dad, Hermann Goering?"
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« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2017, 01:46:51 PM »

It's been a number of years since I thought about it but, yeah, I had a lot of fun writing about that one.

Now I need to locate/dig out my Norton Anthology of Poetry.
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