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 Post subject: The poetry of nature
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 11:07 pm 
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Both the unmarred earth and poetry may yield surprising beauty with unexpected motion and juxtaposition.

There is a thread dedicated to the prose words of nature, and I believe there should be a separate thread devoted to the poetry of nature.

I offer two short and raw poems I have written in Afrikaans, a language I am just beginning to learn.


Ek volg die wind deur die laaste vallei
Terwyl die wolke in grys lug slaap
Aan vaste aarde staan ek deur lang dae
En verf my gedagtes met klippe in 'n rustige stroom


I follow the wind through the last valley
While the clouds sleep in gray sky
On firm earth I stand through long days
And paint my thoughts with stones in a quiet stream



Ek lig my hande soos takke teen die lug
Blou stralend sand vloei van my vingers
Nuwe wit wolke omsingel my kop
En ek kus die golwe van sonskyn


I lift my hands like branches against the sky
Blue radiant sand flows from my fingers
New white clouds surround my head
And I kiss the waves of sunshine



Does anyone have any nature poetry to share? I would especially love to see more written in a language other than English.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 11:16 pm 
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Faramond, that's beautiful. :)

Alas, this is not a gift that I share. But I would also love to see more nature poetry, in English or in other languages.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 11:21 pm 
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Wait till I get home. =:)

Faramond, very impressive, especially since they were written in a language that is new for you.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 11:25 pm 
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.....And paint my thoughts with stones in a quiet stream

I like this line, Faramond.
Were you thinking of a particular place in South Africa?

My contribution:

The sheer lyrical beauty, the depth, of this poem never fails to move me.

Pied Beauty (1918)
by Gerard Manely Hopkins, a RC priest, mystic, poet and wise man.


Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

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Ever mindful of the maxim that brevity is the soul of wit, axordil sums up the Sil:


"Too many Fingolfins, not enough Sams."

Yes.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 11:32 pm 
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Location: Over there.
Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodland I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

A. E. Housman.

Of my threescore years and ten, only 9 are left. Not even.

Which is why I feel perfectly at liberty to stand about and look at things. We've had snow the last two days and the cedars in my front yard are almost ridiculously seasonal, they are a cliche of beauty, but they are still beautiful.

This is another favourite of mine, although I don't know if it would be called "nature poetry".

I could not sleep for thinking of the sky,
The unending sky, with all its million suns
Which turn their planets everlastingly
In nothing, where the fire-haired comet runs.
If I could sail that nothing, I should cross
Silence and emptiness with dark stars passing,
Then, in the darkness, see a point of gloss
Burn to a glow, and glare, and keep amassing,

And rage into a sun with wandering planets
And drop behind, and then, as I proceed,
See his last light upon his last moon's granites
Die to a dark that would be night indeed.
Night where my soul might sail a million years
In nothing, not even Death, not even tears.

John Masefield.

I love that last couplet.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 11:34 pm 
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How odd, Sassafras. I had that poem by Hopkins right here in front of me!


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 2:23 am 
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Voronwë: Thank you, friend.


Sass: Were you thinking of a particular place in South Africa?

Indeed not. I was thinking of how I could put together the few words in the language that I know! :D


Sass, thank you for sharing that poem by Hopkins. I think it really shows the unexpected juxtaposition in nature I was speaking of in the first post. I love the form of the poem, with the final short line.


vison, if I have any say, that last poem by Masefield you shared is poetry of nature! When I read it I think of the boundaries of the universe ... or the lack of boundaries ... nature poetry is often about contemplation, and I feel that this poem invites me to contemplate the earth in relation to the heavens beyond, and to contemplate existence beyond what I see and experience every day.


Frelga: Bring it on, swordwife! ;) ( Your title would be swaardvrou in Afrikaans ... not that anyone asked :D )


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 3:58 am 
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What a great thread, Faramond!

I'm just now getting around to actually reading what's in the threads outside the Welcome forum.

I will definitely be back here with some favorites, and some originals.

Jn

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 4:13 am 
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Location: The wastes of Northern Rhudaur . . .
Dance of Death

There, across the street from me,
trees have put on their golden halos.
Down the road, later and later
come creeping the morning shadows.

Longer nights, shorter days, a signal
that heralds the end, I know.
The breeze has turned a razor's edge
and the cold comes keener now.

A world gone whiter, every dawn
comes redder than the last.
The eye of morning grown watery and pale,
a fading vision of summers passed.

And all the green and living souls
are slowly stripping down
their brilliant rags, right to the flesh,
leaving glimpses of bare grey bone.

Then, while the fall of color catches
the attention and the eye,
Nature drapes her kaleidoscope camouflage
and prepares, once more, to die.

So with the sight and sound of death,
the world lays a weary head down.
And dies in winter's sleep again
while dreaming the afterlife to come.

.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 4:16 am 
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Is that original, Scribbles?

It's lovely. 8)

Jn

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 Post subject: Re: The poetry of nature
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 4:20 am 
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Faramond wrote:
Does anyone have any nature poetry to share? I would especially love to see more written in a language other than English.


You have but to ask.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 4:20 am 
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One more.
I think this qualifies, Faramond.

It may be my most loved poem in the whole wide world.
One of them anyway. Really this should be heard to really appreciate the music. Richard Burton's reading is sublime beyond praise.

Poem in October:
Dylan Thomas


It was my thirtieth year to heaven
Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood
And the mussel pooled and the heron
Priested shore
The morning beckon
With water praying and call of seagull and rook
And the knock of sailing boats on the webbed wall
Myself to set foot
That second
In the still sleeping town and set forth.

My birthday began with the water-
Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name
Above the farms and the white horses
And I rose
In a rainy autumn
And walked abroad in shower of all my days
High tide and the heron dived when I took the road
Over the border
And the gates
Of the town closed as the town awoke.

A springful of larks in a rolling
Cloud and the roadside bushes brimming with whistling
Blackbirds and the sun of October
Summery
On the hill's shoulder,
Here were fond climates and sweet singers suddenly
Come in the morning where I wandered and listened
To the rain wringing
Wind blow cold
In the wood faraway under me.

Pale rain over the dwindling harbour
And over the sea wet church the size of a snail
With its horns through mist and the castle
Brown as owls
But all the gardens
Of spring and summer were blooming in the tall tales
Beyond the border and under the lark full cloud.
There could I marvel
My birthday
Away but the weather turned around.

It turned away from the blithe country
And down the other air and the blue altered sky
Streamed again a wonder of summer
With apples
Pears and red currants
And I saw in the turning so clearly a child's
Forgotten mornings when he walked with his mother
Through the parables
Of sunlight
And the legends of the green chapels

And the twice told fields of infancy
That his tears burned my cheeks and his heart moved in mine.
These were the woods the river and the sea
Where a boy
In the listening
Summertime of the dead whispered the truth of his joy
To the trees and the stones and the fish in the tide.
And the mystery
Sang alive
Still in the water and singing birds.

And there could I marvel my birthday
Away but the weather turned around. And the true
Joy of the long dead child sang burning
In the sun.
It was my thirtieth
Year to heaven stood there then in the summer noon
Though the town below lay leaved with October blood.
O may my heart's truth
Still be sung
On this high hill in a year's turning.

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Ever mindful of the maxim that brevity is the soul of wit, axordil sums up the Sil:


"Too many Fingolfins, not enough Sams."

Yes.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 4:23 am 
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Location: The wastes of Northern Rhudaur . . .
Oh, erm yes . . . it's mine. And it's quite old, let's see, I was living in a loft apartment downtown at the time . . . oh . . . it must be nearly twenty years ago now . . . and my kitchen nook window faced east and looked out on the front street with these huge, beautiful old trees. Watching fall slowly turn to winter one year was a feast for the eyes . . .

:D

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 4:28 am 
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Frelga, is that original?

You know, one of my favorite poets of all time is Anna Akhmatova. A professor of Russian literature retired last year from Villanova and moved to South America and sold all his books at a local used book store. There were volumes and volumes of Akhmatova - all in Russian! I wanted to weep. She's impossible to find in the U.S. in translation.

I bought Tsvetaeva's Demesne of the Swans instead, with the Russian and English on facing pages. One of our local Russian poets here says that Tsvetaeva is critically better than Akhmatova, but she doesn't have the depth of soul that one finds in Akhmatova ... I think, possibly, because Akhmatova stayed and lived through it, and saw, and spoke ... her words are the more human for it, in my opinion.

Jn

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 4:40 am 
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Thank you, everyone. These are just wonderful.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 4:45 am 
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Jn, it's not that original. :D You can read Russian? :shock:

Tzvetayeva and Akhmatova - I'd adore them both and would hate to choose just one. But it's impossible to find a good English translation of Russian poetry. I really hated what was done to Pasternak in Doctor Zhivago translation, and ironically he is one of the best translators of Shakespeare evah!


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 4:45 am 
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An explosion of posts!

I want to comment on every poem here, and I will ... but now I only have time for one, so right now I want to dive into this lovely poem that SilverScribe wrote ... or that we guess SilverScribe wrote. :)

[edit ... we don't have to guess anymore]



There, across the street from me,
trees have put on their golden halos.
Down the road, later and later
come creeping the morning shadows.


I just love the "later and later" ... the sense of short days is communicated well. I really feel like I am there, looking out the window, and feeling the bleakness of winter coming.




A world gone whiter, every dawn
comes redder than the last.
The eye of morning grown watery and pale,
a fading vision of summers passed.


The line that communicates a sense of great age, of weariness, of being near death is appreciably longer than most of the other lines of the poem. It makes it feel weighted down, which gives it even more impact.




Then, while the fall of color catches
the attention and the eye,
Nature drapes her kaleidoscope camouflage
and prepares, once more, to die.


I am interested here in the concept of the colorful leaves being a distraction from the truth. A truth that most do not want to see?


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 4:49 am 
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I never used to love Dylan Thomas. I love him better now.

Title: The Force that through the green fuse drives the flower:
The first stanza:

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever..........


At times I think no young person can enjoy poetry as it is meant to be enjoyed. Maybe "enjoy" is the wrong word. It is. I guess the word is "appreciate". I know, I know. I'm wrong. Young people can enjoy poetry, they can even write it. But I can tell you, it strikes home harder when you get old.

As with some music, I have to ration myself with certain poets. Thomas isn't one of them, not yet. But I think he will be. Housman is one I can only bear to read a little at a time.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 5:15 am 
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Vison wrote:
Quote:
At times I think no young person can enjoy poetry as it is meant to be enjoyed. Maybe "enjoy" is the wrong word. It is. I guess the word is "appreciate". I know, I know. I'm wrong. Young people can enjoy poetry, they can even write it. But I can tell you, it strikes home harder when you get old.


All too true, vison. All too true.

This ...

And there could I marvel my birthday
Away but the weather turned around. And the true
Joy of the long dead child sang burning
In the sun.


means something very different to me now than it did when I was 25.
The words ... and the true Joy of the long dead child ... strike hard, pierce through all of my armour.

And this ...

O may my heart's truth
Still be sung
On this high hill in a year's turning.


is become a recognition, a prayer to forestall the dying of the light.

Quote:
As with some music, I have to ration myself with certain poets. Thomas isn't one of them, not yet. But I think he will be. Housman is one I can only bear to read a little at a time.


I cannot read Dylan Thomas overmuch these days. His poems hurt ... if you know what I mean. I feel them too deeply ... a beauty of such cold fire cannot be borne too frequently. Else I am consumed.

<and now I have revealed entirely too much about my state of mind>

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Ever mindful of the maxim that brevity is the soul of wit, axordil sums up the Sil:


"Too many Fingolfins, not enough Sams."

Yes.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 5:26 am 
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Frelga, I can read the Cyrilic alphabet but not the Russian language. I had one year of Russian in college and have forgotten all of it except knega v'stul.

(I can say that one phrase in about eight languages. Thus begins and ends my polyglot career.)

I remember the basic greetings and courtesies, of course, but language is the one thing you really have to use in order to retain.

Probably I harbor a bit of class resentiment againt Tsvetaeva ... I did not think the swans so noble, and so that one poem cycle did not resonate with me very much. Akhmatova is more universal, the little of her that I have read.

Your lynx eyes, Asia,
Espy my discontent.
They lure into the light my buried self;
Something the silence spawned;
No more to be endured
Than the noon sun in Termuz.


And I have forgotten the middle ... but it ends with ...

As if I drank my own tears
From the cupped palms
Of a stranger's hands.


And her descriptions of her son's imprisonment under Stalin are just heart-wrenching ...

And to you I lift my glass.
To lying lips that have betrayed us;
To dead-cold, pitiless eyes;
And to the harsh realities:
That the world is brutal and coarse;
That God, in fact, has not saved us.


But that belongs to Arda marred, doesn't it. :(

Jn

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