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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 5:54 am 
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Regarding the Dylan Thomas, I'm fascinated by that seemingly casual phrase, 'but the weather turned around' plunked down twice in the midst of all that aching passion. It seems to allow a kind of release or ebb that makes the rest bearable.

His poems are just haunting.



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.


This is so powerful. *shakes head in amazement*


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 5:58 am 
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Inded. :(

How about this one, by Tsvetayeva? Used to be my #1 favorite.

When the dawn is frosty
By the seventh birch tree
On the corner, by the church
Wait, my Don Juan
But alas, I swear
by my betrothed and my life
that here in my land
there is no place to kiss
We have no fountains
and dry are the wells
and from the icons Mary
is watching with stern eyes.
Oh, in bear furs
it's hard to even know you
unless it's by your lips
your lips, my Don Juan


Although it's not exactly on topic. We need to find a place for romantic poetry here.

And vison is so right about young people not getting poetry. So many things now go straight to the heart. :cry:


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 6:13 am 
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Frelga, that sort of thing is just what the Library of Rivendell was created to showcase. A good poetry discussion there is just what's needed.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 6:22 am 
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Yes! We need a corner for romantic poetry! The Beren and Lúthien corner. :)

Why was that poem your favorite, Frelga? (I know it's hard to convey from a translation what it is that appeals about a poem, because the sound matters as much as the words.)

There is nature imagery even in the political poems of Tsvetaeva ... I found this one which is rather poignant

I will inquire of the Don, of the sweeping wide waters,
I will inquire of the sea, of the thundering breakers,
Of the swart sun that beat down in the heat of each battle,
Of the shrill heights where the raven, now sated, slumbers.


I find that when I am writing myself, nature imagery and metaphor finds its way in, no matter what the topic; and when I sit to write about a particular place, it ends up being about what I was thinking while in that place rather than about the place itself. So I don't think I've ever written what could strictly be called a 'nature poem.' But I'll look through my stuff and see what I can find since others have been generous and courageous enough to share their own.

Jn

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 6:28 am 
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I can't say why, Jn. It just... grabs me somehow. Of course the translation was hastily done by me, so... :oops:

And back on topic of nature, one of my favorite lines from Pasternak:

And you cannot cross the road by the fence
Without trampling Creation...


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 6:29 am 
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I don't think the qualifications for a "nature poem" need to be too strict. And I believe a thread goes where it naturally goes ...

I am fascinated by this whole "young people don't understand poetry" theme that has taken hold here. I'm afraid I don't quite understand it.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 6:37 am 
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Pasternak - mmm, very nice. :)

We have a medium well-known Russian poet who lives here in Philadelphia ... actually, there's a very large Russian community in Philly ... anyway, her name is Valentina Seinkevitch ... not sure I got the transliteration of her name quite right ... it's pronounced Senk-ya-vitch but she leaves out the 'y' ....

Anyhoo ... I knew her well many years ago when I was an active member in our poetry community here ... I tend to sort of drift in and out of it ... and she had asked me to work on some translations with her because although I did not know the Russian language she said that the meter of my poetry was very similar to the meter of her poetry in Russian, but when she translated it herself into English she couldn't get the meter to give the same effect that it gave in Russian.

We ended up not collaborating because of a complicated ... one of those oriental relationship things ... that happened not between us but between her and two other poets who were friends of both of ours ... and I really regret now missing that opportunity because I think it would be fascinating to work with a literal translation and try to give it the proper gallop, so to speak.

I don't know if it would have been possible for me to do that, not knowing the meaning of the words in the original, but it would have been fun to try.

Jn

edit to catch cross post: Farmond, poety sustained me through many a youthful sorrow.

But as one grows older one becomes more aware of the mortality metaphors that loom large in poets of mature age, and that has a great deal of resonance.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 10:56 am 
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I've posted this before, but in this thread and this season it seems particularly apt. My favourite poem of all time.

Quote:
A Christmas Childhood

Patrick Kavanagh


My father played the melodion
Outside at our gate;
There were stars in the morning east;
And they danced to his music.

Across the wild bogs his melodion called
To Lennons and Callans.
As I pulled on my trousers in a hurry
I knew some strange thing had happened.

Outside in the cow-house my mother
Made the music of milking;
The light of her stable-lamp was a star
And the frost of Bethlehem made it twinkle.

A water-hen screeched in the bog,
Mass-going feet
Crunched the wafer-ice on the pot-holes,
Somebody wistfully twisted the bellows wheel.

My child poet picked out the letters
On the grey stone,
In silver the wonder of a Christmas townland,
The winking glitter of a frosty dawn.

Cassiopeia was over
Cassidy's hanging hill,
I looked and three whin bushes rode across
The horizon - the Three Wise Kings.

An old man passing said:
"Can't he make it talk" -
The melodion, I hid in the doorway
And tightened the belt of my box-pleated coat.

I nicked six nicks on the door-post
With my penknife's big blade -
There was a little one for cutting tobacco.
And I was six Christmases of age.

My father played the melodion,
My mother milked the cows,
And I had a prayer like a white rose pinned
On the Virgin Mary's blouse.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 5:51 pm 
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Faramond, I loved poetry since childhood and could recite dozens of poems from memory. But the deepest emotion and experience captured in the verses were only a story that was told to me. As I grew older, fell in love, lost a friend, had a child, I began to recognize the echoes of my own heart in the poems, and they hit me that much harder now.

Jn, I just realized that I skipped the middle of the Tsvetayeva's poem I posted yesterday. :oops: I'll repost it in the appropriate forum when I get a chance.

Alatar, beautiful poem. I love how the mood is created entirely through visual imagery.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 5:57 pm 
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Goodness Faramond! I'm amazed that anyone would do anything more in-depth than just glance over my verses . . . thank you . . . :oops:


I have another, much more recent offering . . .

What Hand

What hand has carved this crystal place,
what eye beheld this, before time and space
were but a thought in the mind of the Divine,
who created all that I claim is mine.

What hand could raise this height so far,
and fill this depth with a carpet of stars
that sparkle more fair than any diamond of earth,
some dying, some living, some just giving birth.

What hand has laid this, against the blue sky's field,
such glittering ice, so white, that it yields
crystalline waters, that leap and carve
and smooth the rock, no matter how hard.

What hands did shape this scene for me,
ageless beauty, century upon century
it has endured, without help from prideful man,
this picture of perfection, of tree and land.

What hand did clothe these slopes in green,
create the verdant dales that few have seen
untouched, unsullied, pure and true,
unchanged in spirit, in colour or hue.

What hands indeed, fashioned all I recall?
What hands could have created so much for us all?
The hands that surrendered to the nail and the mace,
Are the very hands that flung all the stars into space.

.



And having had time now to re-read a few offerings . . .

Quote:
On firm earth I stand through long days
And paint my thoughts with stones in a quiet stream



I also love the imagery here, painting thoughts to me 'means' poetry, but the image of stones in a clear, quiet stream is so soothing, so elemental.

Quote:
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



Mmmmm, kissing the waves of sunshine . . . that evokes memories of being a small child and delighting in the warmth that flooded the sheltered spot in our front yard where I would play on sunny, early summer mornings.

I don't think those verses are raw at all Faramond, they're wonderful.


vison wrote:
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.


Aaaahhh, someone else has the same thoughts as I. The other day we had a heavy frost and the trees in the park along the path looked JUST like one of those cliched Christmas Cards!

But it was still so achingly beautiful . . .

:D

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 6:26 pm 
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Scribbles wrote:
What hand could raise this height so far,
and fill this depth with a carpet of stars
that sparkle more fair than any diamond of earth,
some dying, some living, some just giving birth.


* shivers *


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 7:33 pm 
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This is, I think, my favourite poem:

The Oxen, by Thomas Hardy.

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock,
"Now they are all on their knees,"
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
"Come, see the oxen kneel

"In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,"
I should go with him in the gloom
Hoping it might be so.

I literally cannot read it, or type it for that matter, without tears. So many reasons! It brings back my childhood, although we had no such custom or belief in my home.

What we had was my Dad, and the barn, and the cows in the cozy light of kerosene lamps, and the smell of the hay and the molasses-sweet mash. Their mild, unquestioning eyes, and their breath, and the steam rising from their great calm bodies. Even the smell of cow dung was good, it is a cleanly and wholesome thing, like the cow herself. In a corner there were the calves who snuffled and knocked over the bucket as I tried to feed them. Barn cats, up in the hay loft, waiting for their dish to be filled. The hissing sound of milk going into the pails, my Dad's strong hands making the sound rhythmic and firm, mine less so. I loved to press my forehead to the cow's warm flank and feel her great stomach and heart working, a magical thing, that she could take hay and dairy mash and turn it into the white foaming milk!

Dad always gave the cattle a little extra feed, a treat, for Christmas, just before bedtime. I'd go out to the barn with him, and sometimes it was raining, but sometimes it was frosty and clear and we could see the stars caught in the bare branches of the trees beyond the barn. Hardy, in "The Mellstock Quoir", describes trees netted with stars (as does Tolkien) on a frosty winter night as some farm labourers walk to their choir practice. When I first read that story, and when I first read this poem, the shock of recognition was powerful, and I have loved both since.

The poem speaks of an old belief, in a simpler era when "fair fancies" still could be possible. That alone is fine, and good, and is reason enough for the poem. But for me it is entirely personal, and that's what poetry should do: speak to the heart.

It's a little lyric poem, old-fashioned, from a poet often held up as "the first modern writer".

It "takes me back". It speaks of my own past. It also speaks to me of the dumb, accepting lives of the beasts we take on, whose lives we are responsible for, who trust us, who make our lives possible and comfortable.

Of course, it is also about the stable and the child, and the oxen who maybe warmed the air around that cradle.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 8:54 pm 
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People,

I have contributed more to derailing the original purpose of this thread than anyone, so I am going to make amends by trying to split this into two threads. The nature poetry will stay here, and the other poetry will be moved to the Library of Rivendell.

I'm not sure yet which posts will move there and which will stay here (though I know that all of mine belong over there). I will reread them one by one now and try to exercise good judgment. If you have a preference as to where your post should go, please just say so here in this thread.

Can anyone thing of a clever title for the new thread?

I'll leave this notification here until tonight before moving the thread, so you can state your preference for your own posts and offer title suggestions for the new thread.

Jn

Edit: Hmm ... scratch this announcement. There's a little bit of each in too many posts and I would have to edit into everyone's posts links back and forth to questions asked and answered.

Instead I'm going to start a new thread now in the Library for poetry of all kinds.

Poets' and Poetry-Lovers' Corner

We now return this thread to Faramond's original wonderful idea.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 6:05 am 
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I found another older poem, for a few years long ago I was probably writing 2 or 3 poems a week, but have slowed considerably in the years since ;)

Anyway, I think this one fits the "nature" theme, if not, I can edit it out.

:D

Reflections of an Early Morning

I watch the first fragile strand of sunlight
being born,
peeping so shyly at me, through new green leaves
and clean spring grass
to form,
the graceful swelling momentum of spring.

The colors forming the world just outside me
are changing,
no sooner blossom'd, to fade and become
the next, eagerly in line
that's waiting
to paint the town with each individual shading.

Shadows melt and blur to become a constant flowing
of time away,
the darker brother surrenders to sister brightness
that wears the scarves
of day
draped across her shoulders, as ever, the same.

And this, the time to gather my thoughtful reflections
of peace,
while moments yet tip-toe softly before gathering
themselves, with youthful fervor
to race
madly towards the arms of night, and dreams.

.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 4:38 pm 
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The Panther
by Rainer Maria Rilke

[Note: Hobby mentioned this poem in the picture thread, and I thought I would look it up. I found that there are many, many very different translations. The following translation is by Guntram Deichsel. Hobby, if there is an English translation that you particularly like, please post it here]:

His eyes became from passing bars
so weary, that they hold no sight.
He feels there were a thousand bars,
behind the thousand bars no light.

The soft gait of the lithe strong pace
in cramped circles on a narrow spot
is like a dance of force around a place
in which a dazed great will does moan its lot.

At times, the curtain of his vision
Silently slides aside -. An image enters then,
goes through the members' quiet tension,
ceasing existence deep in his heart's den.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 5:16 pm 
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Thank you, Voronwë, for posting that beautiful poem.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 5:40 pm 
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You're welcome, but most of the credit should go to Hobby, since I had never heard of the poem before she mentioned it. :)

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 1:49 am 
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Nobody captures the raw beauty of Canada's north like Robert Service:

The Pines

We sleep in the sleep of ages, the bleak, barbarian pines;
The gray moss drapes us like sages, and closer we lock our lines,
And deeper we clutch through the gelid gloom where never a sunbeam shines.

On the flanks of the storm-gored ridges are our black battalions massed;
We surge in a host to the sullen coast, and we sing in the ocean blast;
From empire of sea to empire of snow we grip our empire fast.

To the niggard lands were we driven, 'twixt desert and floes are we penned;
To us was the Northland given, ours to stronghold and defend;
Ours till the world be riven in the crash of the utter end;

Ours from the bleak beginning, through the aeons of death-like sleep;
Ours from the shock when the naked rock was hurled from the hissing deep;
Ours through the twilight ages of weary glacier creep.

Wind of the East, Wind of the West, wandering to and fro,
Chant your songs in our topmost boughs, that the sons of men may know
The peerless pine was the first to come, and the pine will be last to go!

We pillar the halls of perfumed gloom; we plume where the eagles soar;
The North-wind swoops from the brooding Pole, and our ancients crash and roar;
But where one falls from the crumbling walls shoots up a hardy score.

We spring from the gloom of the canyon's womb; in the valley's lap we lie;
From the white foam-fringe, where the breakers cringe to the peaks that tusk the sky,
We climb, and we peer in the crag-locked mere that gleams like a golden eye.

Gain to the verge of the hog-back ridge where the vision ranges free:
Pines and pines and the shadow of pines as far as the eye can see;
A steadfast legion of stalwart knights in dominant empery.

Sun, moon and stars give answer; shall we not staunchly stand,
Even as now, forever, wards of the wilder strand,
Sentinels of the stillness, lords of the last, lone land?



--- Robert Service


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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 9:20 pm 
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Oooh, that's wonderful. :) Very Tolkienesque, I can't help thinking! - reminds me of the Ents. And all that bleak Northern stuff is very Silmarillion-ish ...

There are some fabulous poems in this thread. I loved the Patrick Kavanagh and the Dylan Thomas. And the poems of Silver Scribe and Faramond ... :love:

After a very cold March, we are now enjoying a lovely spring. The cherry blossoms are the best I have seen them for years. So, in honour of the English spring, here's an offering from one of my all-time favourites:

Spring

NOTHING is so beautiful as spring—
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.

What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden.—Have, get, before it cloy,
Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 9:30 pm 
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Apologies for double posting. :)

But here are three spring poems written by me, in 1993 (I was on retreat at the time.)

Lent

Pierced heart's core
lean and spare
the winter trees

branches form a vase
for the rose
of sunset

birches
gleaming white
in early spring

wood awakens
birsong ripples
in the dawn

renewal in soul
sap is rising
leaves unfolding

to the sun
slipping through
this tangled forest.


Water Music

Early spring slips loose
from the sheath of
winter. The green
waiting to happen
is the merest hint.
Spring is nuance.
Sunlight takes the
tremulous reflection
of water, the movement
flickers on the
lower branches of
an oak by the lake.
Soft stirrings of
birdsong, not yet
the bel canto of summer.


The Primrose

I am so warm here
in the sun. The cool
earth is starred with
a simplicity of flowers.
A primrose on its
fat furry stem is
soft and cool as my skin.
I caress the sweet flesh
of spring. Perfection
arrayed. At its heart,
a crown of gold.

Matthew 6: 28-29

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