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As stood the sun to the salute of planets
Upon the day that gave you to the earth,
You grew forthwith, and prospered, in your growing
Heeded the law presiding at your birth.
Sibyls and prophets told it: You must be
None but yourself, from self you cannot flee.
No time there is, no power, can decompose
The minted form that lives and living grows.
At the silence of twilight's contemplative hour,
I have mused in a sorrowful mood,
On the wind-shaken weeds that embosom the bower,
Where the home of my forefathers stood.
All ruin'd and wild is their roofless abode;
And lonely the dark raven's sheltering tree;
And travell'd by few is the grass-cover'd road,
Where the hunter of deer and the warrior trode,
To his hills that encircle the sea.
Wandering I found, in my ruinous walk,
By the dial-stone aged and green,
A rose of the wilderness, left on its stalk
To mark where a garden had been.
Like a brotherless hermit, the last of his race
All wild in the silence of nature, it drew
from each wandering sunbeam a lonely embrace
For the night-shade and thorn had overshadowed the place
Where the flowers of my forefathers grew.
Jane Montgomery Campbell (1817-1878)
On the blue summer evenings, I shall go down the paths,
Getting pricked by the corn, crushing the short grass:
In a dream I shall feel its coolness on my feet.
I shall let the wind bathe my bare head.
I shall not speak, I shall think about nothing:
But endless love will mount in my soul;
And I shall travel far, very far, like a gipsy,
Through the countryside - as happy as if I were with a woman.
Mystery, Intrigue, Counter Espionage, Clavichord
I often wonder whether Plath knew German and didn't take over the couplet form from my favourite Jewish-German poet(ess), Else Lasker-Schüler:
TO GISELHEER THE TIGER
Jungles creep across your face.
How strange you are!
Your tiger’s eyes have sweetened
In the sun.
I always carry you around
Between my teeth.
You book of Indian tales
Chieftain of the Sioux tribe!
In the twilight I languish
Bound to the box-tree-trunk.
I can no longer live
Without the scalping game.
Your knife paints red kisses
On my breast - (Benn was a surgeon!
Until my hair flutters on your belt.
Sathyaji (Lac Jemaye, France) carole satyamurti
Dusk, and the boathouse keeper
calls the late, scattered boats
from beyond the curve
in the lake; calls them by name,
Hirondelle! Angelique! George Sand!
Are they real or imagined,
those smudges of black
in the shade of the far bank?
Again his call, carrying, returning.
What’s in a name? You are –
in the name I called you by;
its weight and shape hard to convey
except – it lent itself to tenderness,
teasing and respect; closeness
and a certain distance.
Now it’s a vessel
for the far-flung
only sure reality of you.
Love draws you back.
In saying your name, I see it
boat-shaped and luminous
stitching the dark,
returned from formless drift
about the world. Let me
recall you. I’ve words enough –
a sheaf of versions. My pen
engraves you differently each time.
Nothing can be held, or hurried.
Wind casts a shiver on the water;
shallows uncertain in withdrawing light.
A phalarope races its image
and is gone; reflected, relinquished,
discarnate as the distant boats
the boathouse keeper calls and calls,
only a name to summon each of them.
Yet, here they come.
Last edited by stephen w; 21-03-13 at 03:31 PM. Reason: formatting
Short roadside verses like this one helped a shaving cream
maker stay solvent (or "in the lather") longer than they would have.
[it is not Robert Frost or John Keats; however, no ambiguity either!]
Let out a WHOOP!
Felt his Chin
And Flew the Coop.
In Memory of Sigmund Freud
When there are so many we shall have to mourn,
when grief has been made so public, and exposed
to the critique of a whole epoch
the frailty of our conscience and anguish,
of whom shall we speak? For every day they die
among us, those who were doing us some good,
who knew it was never enough but
hoped to improve a little by living.
Such was this doctor: still at eighty he wished
to think of our life from whose unruliness
so many plausible young futures
with threats or flattery ask obedience,
but his wish was denied him: he closed his eyes
upon that last picture, common to us all,
of problems like relatives gathered
puzzled and jealous about our dying.
For about him till the very end were still
those he had studied, the fauna of the night,
and shades that still waited to enter
the bright circle of his recognition
turned elsewhere with their disappointment as he
was taken away from his life interest
to go back to the earth in London,
an important Jew who died in exile.
Only Hate was happy, hoping to augment
his practice now, and his dingy clientele
who think they can be cured by killing
and covering the garden with ashes.
They are still alive, but in a world he changed
simply by looking back with no false regrets;
all he did was to remember
like the old and be honest like children.
He wasn't clever at all: he merely told
the unhappy Present to recite the Past
like a poetry lesson till sooner
or later it faltered at the line where
long ago the accusations had begun,
and suddenly knew by whom it had been judged,
how rich life had been and how silly,
and was life-forgiven and more humble,
able to approach the Future as a friend
without a wardrobe of excuses, without
a set mask of rectitude or an
embarrassing over-familiar gesture.
No wonder the ancient cultures of conceit
in his technique of unsettlement foresaw
the fall of princes, the collapse of
their lucrative patterns of frustration:
if he succeeded, why, the Generalised Life
would become impossible, the monolith
of State be broken and prevented
the co-operation of avengers.
Of course they called on God, but he went his way
down among the lost people like Dante, down
to the stinking fosse where the injured
lead the ugly life of the rejected,
and showed us what evil is, not, as we thought,
deeds that must be punished, but our lack of faith,
our dishonest mood of denial,
the concupiscence of the oppressor.
If some traces of the autocratic pose,
the paternal strictness he distrusted, still
clung to his utterance and features,
it was a protective coloration
for one who'd lived among enemies so long:
if often he was wrong and, at times, absurd,
to us he is no more a person
now but a whole climate of opinion
under whom we conduct our different lives:
Like weather he can only hinder or help,
the proud can still be proud but find it
a little harder, the tyrant tries to
make do with him but doesn't care for him much:
he quietly surrounds all our habits of growth
and extends, till the tired in even
the remotest miserable duchy
have felt the change in their bones and are cheered
till the child, unlucky in his little State,
some hearth where freedom is excluded,
a hive whose honey is fear and worry,
feels calmer now and somehow assured of escape,
while, as they lie in the grass of our neglect,
so many long-forgotten objects
revealed by his undiscouraged shining
are returned to us and made precious again;
games we had thought we must drop as we grew up,
little noises we dared not laugh at,
faces we made when no one was looking.
But he wishes us more than this. To be free
is often to be lonely. He would unite
the unequal moieties fractured
by our own well-meaning sense of justice,
would restore to the larger the wit and will
the smaller possesses but can only use
for arid disputes, would give back to
the son the mother's richness of feeling:
but he would have us remember most of all
to be enthusiastic over the night,
not only for the sense of wonder
it alone has to offer, but also
because it needs our love. With large sad eyes
its delectable creatures look up and beg
us dumbly to ask them to follow:
they are exiles who long for the future
that lives in our power, they too would rejoice
if allowed to serve enlightenment like him,
even to bear our cry of 'Judas',
as he did and all must bear who serve it.
One rational voice is dumb. Over his grave
the household of Impulse mourns one dearly loved:
sad is Eros, builder of cities,
and weeping anarchic Aphrodite.
W. H. Auden, 1939
Auden on Freud
My text suddenly disappeared for no reason. I don't suppose it has gone anyway? In any case, I wanted to add a poem which reflects Freud's theories about women smouldering with unfulfilled desire in an extract from a very long poem by Christina Rossetti, which can be found complete via Google . As Goethe said, a God gave her the power to express her suffering:
from An Old-World Thicket
Such universal sound of lamentation
I heard and felt, fain not to feel or hear;
Nought else there seemed but anguish far and near;
Nought else but all creation
Moaning and groaning wrung by pain or fear,
Shuddering in the misery of its doom:
My heart then rose a rebel against light,
Scouring all earth and heaven and depth and height,
Ingathering wrath and gloom,
Ingathering wrath to wrath and night to night.
Ah me, the bitterness of such revolt,
All impotent, all hateful, and all hate,
That kicks and breaks itself against the bolt
Of an imprisoning fate,
And vainly shakes, and cannot shake the gate.
Agony to agony, deep called to deep,
Out of the deep I called of my desire;
My strength was weakness and my heart was fire;
Mine eyes that would not weep
Or sleep, scaled height and depth, and could not sleep;
The eyes, I mean, of my rebellious soul,
For still my bodily eyes were closed and dark:
A random thing I seemed without a mark,
Racing without a goal,
Adrift upon life’s sea without an ark.
More leaden than the actual self of lead
Outer and inner darkness weighed on me.
The tide of anger ebbed. Then fierce and free
Surged full above my head
The moaning tide of helpless misery.
Why should I breathe, whose breath was but a sigh?
Why should I live, who drew such painful breath?
Oh weary work, the unanswerable why!—
Yet I, why should I die,
Who had no hope in life, no hope in death?
Last edited by Felix; 05-03-14 at 11:23 AM. Reason: Typos
Auden and Freud
Yes, my introductory text did suddenly disappear. I won't repeat it all but
I complemented Héctor for his, as usual, pithy postings
I was not fully aware of this thread, though I see I did once contribute.
Several poems were not sent to me. Thanks Florestan for posting. There are many contributions, very good poems from Florestan and others.
I'll have a great time reading this colletive anthology, also Mambo's cheeky poem.
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