Advertisement
Boards are fundraising to help the people of Ukraine via the Red Cross at this horrific time. Please donate and share if you can, you will find the link here. Many thanks.

A Poem a day keeps the melancholy away

  • 07-01-2010 1:25pm
    #1
    Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 6,488 ✭✭✭ Denerick


    OK, here are the basic rules:

    One poem per day. Whoever is up after midnight will get first dibs.

    Everyone else should give their thoughts on that poem.

    The poem can be about whatever you like; it can be mystical, melancholy, humourous, witty, even a dirty limerick if you like.

    Ideally the poem would be from someone we'd all be familiar with, but something new would be nice every so often.

    Here's an easy one for starters :)

    Upon Westminster Bridge by William Wordsworth

    Earth has not anything to show more fair:

    Dull would he be of soul who could pass by

    A sight so touching in its majesty:

    This City now doth like a garment wear

    The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,

    Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie

    Open unto the fields, and to the sky;

    All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.

    Never did sun more beautifully steep

    In his first splendour valley, rock, or hill;

    Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!

    The river glideth at his own sweet will:

    Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;

    And all that mighty heart is lying still!


«13456744

Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,026 ✭✭✭ diddlybit


    I cannot admit to being the greatest Wordsworth fan. Wonderful to read out, but for myself, I find them very hard to relate to. I had a course in college on wordsworth and the sublime and detested him more once it had finished. I'm possibly a little too introspective when it comes to my taste in poetry though which is deeply unfashionable:p. I expose my own prejudices by shunning the dead, white guys. Here is my offering though...a copy and paste job, very sorry but I can't feel my hands in the cold anymore.
    A Valediction Forbidding Mourning by Adrienne Rich
    My swirling wants. Your frozen lips.
    The grammar turned and attacked me.
    Themes, written under duress.
    Emptiness of the notations.

    They gave me a drug that slowed the healing of wounds.

    I want you to see this before I leave:
    the experience of repetition as death
    the failure of criticism to locate the pain
    the poster in the bus that said:
    my bleeding is under control

    A red plant in a cemetary of plastic wreaths.

    A last attempt: the language is a dialect called metaphor.
    These images go unglossed: hair, glacier, flashlight.
    When I think of a landscape I am thinking of a time.
    When I talk of taking a trip I mean forever.
    I could say: those mountains have a meaning
    but further than that I could not say.

    To do something very common, in my own way.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,969 ✭✭✭ buck65


    Good poem there by A Rich.

    D. H. Lawrence
    Snake

    A snake came to my water-trough
    On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat,
    To drink there.
    In the deep, strange-scented shade of the great dark carob-tree
    I came down the steps with my pitcher
    And must wait, must stand and wait, for there he was at the trough before
    me.

    He reached down from a fissure in the earth-wall in the gloom
    And trailed his yellow-brown slackness soft-bellied down, over the edge of
    the stone trough
    And rested his throat upon the stone bottom,
    i o And where the water had dripped from the tap, in a small clearness,
    He sipped with his straight mouth,
    Softly drank through his straight gums, into his slack long body,
    Silently.

    Someone was before me at my water-trough,
    And I, like a second comer, waiting.

    He lifted his head from his drinking, as cattle do,
    And looked at me vaguely, as drinking cattle do,
    And flickered his two-forked tongue from his lips, and mused a moment,
    And stooped and drank a little more,
    Being earth-brown, earth-golden from the burning bowels of the earth
    On the day of Sicilian July, with Etna smoking.
    The voice of my education said to me
    He must be killed,
    For in Sicily the black, black snakes are innocent, the gold are venomous.

    And voices in me said, If you were a man
    You would take a stick and break him now, and finish him off.

    But must I confess how I liked him,
    How glad I was he had come like a guest in quiet, to drink at my water-trough
    And depart peaceful, pacified, and thankless,
    Into the burning bowels of this earth?

    Was it cowardice, that I dared not kill him? Was it perversity, that I longed to talk to him? Was it humility, to feel so honoured?
    I felt so honoured.

    And yet those voices:
    If you were not afraid, you would kill him!

    And truly I was afraid, I was most afraid, But even so, honoured still more
    That he should seek my hospitality
    From out the dark door of the secret earth.

    He drank enough
    And lifted his head, dreamily, as one who has drunken,
    And flickered his tongue like a forked night on the air, so black,
    Seeming to lick his lips,
    And looked around like a god, unseeing, into the air,
    And slowly turned his head,
    And slowly, very slowly, as if thrice adream,
    Proceeded to draw his slow length curving round
    And climb again the broken bank of my wall-face.

    And as he put his head into that dreadful hole,
    And as he slowly drew up, snake-easing his shoulders, and entered farther,
    A sort of horror, a sort of protest against his withdrawing into that horrid black hole,
    Deliberately going into the blackness, and slowly drawing himself after,
    Overcame me now his back was turned.

    I looked round, I put down my pitcher,
    I picked up a clumsy log
    And threw it at the water-trough with a clatter.

    I think it did not hit him,
    But suddenly that part of him that was left behind convulsed in undignified haste.
    Writhed like lightning, and was gone
    Into the black hole, the earth-lipped fissure in the wall-front,
    At which, in the intense still noon, I stared with fascination.

    And immediately I regretted it.
    I thought how paltry, how vulgar, what a mean act!
    I despised myself and the voices of my accursed human education.

    And I thought of the albatross
    And I wished he would come back, my snake.

    For he seemed to me again like a king,
    Like a king in exile, uncrowned in the underworld,
    Now due to be crowned again.

    And so, I missed my chance with one of the lords
    Of life.
    And I have something to expiate:
    A pettiness.

    Taormina, 1923


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,026 ✭✭✭ diddlybit


    Buck65, I have not read that before but it's great. One question though- "What would Freud say?" ;)


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,969 ✭✭✭ buck65


    Good question!


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,745 Eliot Rosewater


    I just saw "Tom Crean" the stage show there. And its snowing. So heres a poem by Derek Mahon about the suicide of crippled Lawrence Oates, who gave his life so that the other 3 men of his South Pole expedition might make it back to the home camp alive, unburdened by his injury. He walked out of the tent into the cold in the middle of the night.


    Antarctica
    ‘I am just going outside and may be some time.’
    The others nod, pretending not to know.
    At the heart of the ridiculous, the sublime.

    He leaves them reading and begins to climb,
    Goading his ghost into the howling snow;
    He is just going outside and may be some time.

    The tent recedes beneath its crust of rime
    And frostbite is replaced by vertigo:
    At the heart of the ridiculous, the sublime.

    Need we consider it some sort of crime,
    This numb self-sacrifice of the weakest? No,
    He is just going outside and may be some time

    In fact, for ever. Solitary enzyme,
    Though the night yield no glimmer there will glow,
    At the heart of the ridiculous, the sublime.


  • Advertisement
  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 6,488 ✭✭✭ Denerick


    Thats a powerful poem!


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,048 ✭✭✭ dolliemix


    diddlybit wrote: »
    Buck65, I have not read that before but it's great. One question though- "What would Freud say?" ;)

    Now I have to read it again! :D


    Great thread OP :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,745 Eliot Rosewater


    The back story to Antarctica is interesting. By the time of the scene the poem describes 4 of the 5 British men who had reached the South Pole were left. Oates had gotten a serious injury to one of his legs and had to be carried on sleigh by the others. They wouldn't leave him behind even though he was slowing them up. So in the middle of the night he got up and left the tent. He probably died within an hour.

    The other 3 continued their trek towards the camp where the rest of the crew were based. The camp and the South Pole were something like 900 miles apart. They got within a paltry 11 miles of the camp before getting stuck in a blizzard and freezing to death. Their bodies were only found a few months later after the winter had ended.

    The whole Tom Crean story is worth consideration! The book comes recommended, as does the one man monologue stage show which is playing at the Everyman Theatre Cork at the moment.


  • Registered Users Posts: 235 ✭✭ enry


    You will all know this one; but I don’t care I decided to put it up anyway. I love this poem I love it because it’s a testament to the human sprit.
    Henley suffered from tuberculosis for almost his whole life. He wrote this poem while lying in his hospital bed after having part of his leg removed.
    The day I heard this poem I went and learnt it off by heart. I’m a boring individual and I often learn pieces of literature, poetry etc off by heart, however, I repeat this to myself more then anything else.
    Invictus is the Latin word for unconquerable
    .
    Invictus
    Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
    I thank whatever gods may be
    For my unconquerable soul.

    In the fell clutch of circumstance
    I have not winced nor cried aloud.
    Under the bludgeoning of chance
    My head is bloody, but unbowed.

    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms but the Horror of the shade,
    And yet the menace of the years
    Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll.
    I am the master of my fate:
    I am the captain of my soul.

    William Ernest Henley.

    I’ve often put this link up on boards and I’m going to put it up again, simply because I believe you deserve to have something nice to listen to while you reading.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2MycU_N634


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 6,488 ✭✭✭ Denerick


    That poem is beautiful. I'm afraid I'm running out of superlatives here! I find that I'm incapable of breaking a poem down line by line; I actually feel you lose the overall sentiment. Although I only dabble and don't read poetry with any great insight or seriousness, I think poetry amounts to a 'feeling' of sorts. Its semi mystic. Its not literature at all I don't think, its a way of conveying the inexpressible with words. Hence it should have an emotional, not an analytical response. Though I may be wrong! Invictus makes me think of themes, and allows me to empathise, but at the end of the day it is the emotional response that leaves the greatest resonance with the reader.

    And here's my poem for the day:

    Canal Bank Walk by Patrick Kavanagh

    Leafy-with-love banks and the green waters of the canal

    Pouring redemption for me, that I do

    The will of God, wallow in the habitual, the banal,

    Grow with nature again as before I grew.

    The bright stick trapped, the breeze adding a third

    Party to the couple kissing on an old seat,

    And a bird gathering materials for the nest for the Word

    Eloquently new and abandoned to its delirious beat.

    O unworn world enrapture me, encapture me in a web

    Of fabulous grass and eternal voices by a beech,

    Feed the gaping need of my senses, give me ad lib

    To pray unselfconsciously with overflowing speech

    For this soul needs to be honoured with a new dress woven

    From green and blue things and arguments that cannot be proven.

    P.S- Any chance we can have this stickied?


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 3,745 Eliot Rosewater


    Denerick wrote: »
    P.S- Any chance we can have this stickied?

    What does Patrick Kavanagh mean in this line I wonder? :p


    Back in school our teacher liked us to line-by-line dissect poems. I think this has had a negative effect on me personally as I'm now nervous of reading poetry lest I don't understand everything the poet is saying.

    Of the very limited amount of poems I have read I know that some had to be scrutinized before they made sense though.


    As regards the sticking, iI say leave it for the moment. If this thread is deserving of being stuck, then it (ironically) should be able to keep on the front page itself, imo. :) Which Im hoping it will.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,630 Plowman


    This post has been deleted.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,899 ✭✭✭ Quality


    I like Kavanaghs work, I can just picture him sitting on the bench by the canal.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 51 ✭✭✭ ally2


    I love this poem by Rimbaud, especially the last two lines.

    The Louse Catchers

    When the child's brow, red with raging turmoil,
    Implores the white swarm of shadowy dreams,
    Close to the bed come two tall sisters,
    charmers,
    With gossamer fingers, silvery-nailed.
    They seat him by a window opened wide,
    Where blue air bathes a web of tangled blossom,
    And in his heavy hair on which the dew drips down,
    Run their dread fingers, delicate, bewitching.
    He hears the flick
    Of their black lashes; through his grey langour
    The regal nails and soft electric fingers
    Crackle to death the scores of tiny lice.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,163 ✭✭✭ Notorious


    I've always liked this poem since I did it for my Leaving Cert back in the day, especially the last two stanzas. Supposedly Dickinson has never gotten drunk.

    Emily Dickinson

    I taste a liquor never brewed,
    From tankards scooped in pearl;
    Not all the vats upon the Rhine
    Yield such an alcohol!

    Inebriate of air am I,
    And debauchee of dew,
    Reeling, through endless summer days,
    From inns of molten blue.

    When landlords turn the drunken bee
    Out of the foxglove's door,
    When butterflies renounce their drams,
    I shall but drink the more!

    Till seraphs swing their snowy hats,
    And saints to windows run,
    To see the little tippler
    Leaning against the sun!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 8,048 Amazotheamazing


    The back story to Antarctica is interesting. By the time of the scene the poem describes 4 of the 5 British men who had reached the South Pole were left. Oates had gotten a serious injury to one of his legs and had to be carried on sleigh by the others. They wouldn't leave him behind even though he was slowing them up. So in the middle of the night he got up and left the tent. He probably died within an hour.

    The other 3 continued their trek towards the camp where the rest of the crew were based. The camp and the South Pole were something like 900 miles apart. They got within a paltry 11 miles of the camp before getting stuck in a blizzard and freezing to death. Their bodies were only found a few months later after the winter had ended.

    The whole Tom Crean story is worth consideration! The book comes recommended, as does the one man monologue stage show which is playing at the Everyman Theatre Cork at the moment.

    Afaik, new evidence has questioned whether there was a blizzard or not. Apparently Scott was too weak to continue and the two remaining men refused to leave him, and lied to Scott about the weather so he wouldn't order them to leave. Brave guys, whatever the truth.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 71 ✭✭✭ fontinalis


    Predictable, but what the hell.

    WHERE dips the rocky highland Of Sleuth Wood in the lake, There lies a leafy island Where flapping herons wake The drowsy water rats; There we've hid our faery vats, Full of berrys And of reddest stolen cherries. Come away, O human child! To the waters and the wild With a faery, hand in hand. For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

    Where the wave of moonlight glosses The dim gray sands with light, Far off by furthest Rosses We foot it all the night, Weaving olden dances Mingling hands and mingling glances Till the moon has taken flight; To and fro we leap And chase the frothy bubbles, While the world is full of troubles And anxious in its sleep. Come away, O human child! To the waters and the wild With a faery, hand in hand, For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

    Where the wandering water gushes From the hills above Glen-Car, In pools among the rushes That scarce could bathe a star, We seek for slumbering trout And whispering in their ears Give them unquiet dreams; Leaning softly out From ferns that drop their tears Over the young streams. Come away, O human child! To the waters and the wild With a faery, hand in hand, For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

    Away with us he's going, The solemn-eyed - He'll hear no more the lowing Of the calves on the warm hillside Or the kettle on the hob Sing peace into his breast, Or see the brown mice bob Round and round the oatmeal chest For he comes the human child To the waters and the wild With a faery, hand in hand From a world more full of weeping than he can understand


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 71 ✭✭✭ fontinalis


    Think this is called the parable of the old man and the young by Wilfred Owen.

    So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,
    And took the fire with him, and a knife.
    And as they sojourned both of them together,
    Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father,
    Behold the preparations, fire and iron,
    But where the lamb, for this burnt-offering?
    Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps,
    And builded parapets and trenches there,
    And stretchèd forth the knife to slay his son.
    When lo! an Angel called him out of heaven,
    Saying, Lay not they hand upon the lad,
    Neither do anything to him. Behold.
    A ram, caught in a thicket by its horns;
    Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him.
    But the old man would not so, but slew his son,
    And half the seed of Europe, one by one.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,899 ✭✭✭ Quality


    The Planters Daughter
    When night stirred at sea,
    An the fire brought a crowd in
    They say that her beauty
    Was music in mouth
    And few in the candlelight
    Thought her too proud,
    For the house of the planter
    Is known by the trees.

    Men that had seen her
    Drank deep and were silent,
    The women were speaking
    Wherever she went --
    As a bell that is rung
    Or a wonder told shyly
    And O she was the
    Sunday In every week.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 637 Lizzykins


    fontinalis wrote: »
    Think this is called the parable of the old man and the young by Wilfred Owen.

    So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,
    And took the fire with him, and a knife.
    And as they sojourned both of them together,
    Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father,
    Behold the preparations, fire and iron,
    But where the lamb, for this burnt-offering?
    Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps,
    And builded parapets and trenches there,
    And stretchèd forth the knife to slay his son.
    When lo! an Angel called him out of heaven,
    Saying, Lay not they hand upon the lad,
    Neither do anything to him. Behold.
    A ram, caught in a thicket by its horns;
    Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him.
    But the old man would not so, but slew his son,
    And half the seed of Europe, one by one.

    I haven't ever seen that poem before. It's amazing.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 3,745 Eliot Rosewater


    Nice poem Quality! I recognized it from a TV ad, either alcohol or firelighters I think. Its interesting when poetry is used as the basis for an ad. Consider the G.A.A. one earlier this year:
    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!

    The irony is that that poem If was written by Rudyard Kipling, who was a devout imperialist and certainly would have disagreed with the political aspect of the G.A.A.

    If, by Rudyard Kipling


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 71 ✭✭✭ fontinalis


    Lizzykins wrote: »
    I haven't ever seen that poem before. It's amazing.

    Powerful isn't it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,630 Plowman


    This post has been deleted.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 6,488 ✭✭✭ Denerick


    Heany comes across as elementary to me. This is not an insult. I think he see's the majestical in commonplace, domestic situations.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13 ✭✭✭ corriblight


    Cause And Effect by Charles Bukowski

    The best often die by their own hand
    just to get away,
    and those left behind
    can never quite understand
    why anybody
    would ever want to
    get away
    from
    them


  • Registered Users Posts: 116 ✭✭ mackthefinger


    Have always like this one.

    Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

    You do not have to be good.
    You do not have to walk on your knees
    For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
    You only have to let the soft animal of your body
    love what it loves.
    Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
    Meanwhile the world goes on.
    Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
    are moving across the landscapes,
    over the prairies and the deep trees,
    the mountains and the rivers.
    Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
    are heading home again.
    Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
    the world offers itself to your imagination,
    calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
    over and over announcing your place
    in the family of things.


  • Registered Users Posts: 199 ✭✭ nialljf


    "A Poison Tree"
    by William Blake
    I was angry with my friend:
    I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
    I was angry with my foe;
    I told it not, my wrath did grow.
    And I water'd it in fears,
    Night & morning with my tears;
    And I sunned it with my smiles
    And with soft deceitful wiles.

    And it grew both day and night,
    Till it bore an apple bright;
    And my foe beheld it shine,
    And he knew that it was mine,

    And into my garden stole
    When the night had veil'd the pole:
    In the morning glad I see
    My foe outstretch'd beneath the tree


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13 ✭✭✭ corriblight


    I am not incredibly familiar with Blake but this one is a gem. It celebrates in sheer delight, trust in oneself and in nature to overcome 'thy foe'. Thanks for posting it, gonna read more of Blake's poems..


  • Registered Users Posts: 348 ✭✭ liogairmhordain


    In your pink wool knitted dress
    Before anything had smudged anything
    You stood at the altar. Bloomsday.
    Rain—so that a just-bought umbrella
    Was the only furnishing about me
    Newer than three years inured.
    My tie—sole, drab, veteran RAF black—
    Was the used-up symbol of a tie.
    My cord jacket—thrice-dyed black, exhausted,
    Just hanging onto itself.
    I was a post-war, utility son-in-law!
    Not quite the Frog Prince. Maybe the Swineherd
    Stealing this daughter’s pedigree dreams
    From under her watchtowered searchlit future.
    No ceremony could conscript me
    Out of my uniform. I wore my whole wardrobe—
    Except for the odd, spare, identical item.
    My wedding, like Nature, wanted to hide.
    However—if we were going to be married
    It had better be Westminster Abbey. Why not?
    The Dean told us why not. That is how
    I learned that I had a Parish Church.
    St George of the Chimney Sweeps.
    So we squeezed into marriage finally.
    Your mother, brave even in this
    US Foreign Affairs gamble,
    Acted all bridesmaids and all guests,
    Even—magnanimity—represented
    My family
    Who had heard nothing about it.
    I had invited only their ancestors.
    I had not even confided my theft of you
    To a closest friend. For Best Man—my squire
    To hold the meanwhile rings—
    We requisitioned the sexton. Twist of the outrage:
    He was packing children into a bus,
    Taking them to the Zoo—in that downpour!
    All the prison animals had to be patient
    While we married.
    You were transfigured.
    So slender and new and naked,
    A nodding spray of wet lilac.
    You shook, you sobbed with joy, you were ocean depth
    Brimming with God.
    You said you saw the heavens open
    And how riches, ready to drop upon us.
    Levitated beside you, I stood subjected
    To a strange tense: the spellbound future.
    In that echo-gaunt, weekday chancel
    I see you
    Wrestling to contain your flames
    In your pink wool knitted dress
    And in your eye-pupils—great cut jewels
    Jostling their tear-flames, truly like big jewels
    Shaken in a dice-cup and held up to me.

    ---- Ted Hughes


  • Advertisement
  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,619 fontanalis


    That Blake one is great, got reading this one by him aswell, really like the bit in bold.


    To see a World in a Grain of Sand
    And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
    Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
    And Eternity in an hour.

    A Robin Redbreast in a Cage
    Puts all Heaven in a Rage.
    A dove house fill’d with doves and pigeons
    Shudders Hell thro’ all its regions.
    A Dog starv’d at his Master’s Gate
    Predicts the ruin of the State.
    A Horse misus’d upon the Road
    Calls to Heaven for Human blood.
    Each outcry of the hunted Hare
    A fiber from the Brain does tear.

    He who shall train the Horse to War
    Shall never pass the Polar Bar.
    The Beggar’s Dog and Widow’s Cat,
    Feed them and thou wilt grow fat.
    The Gnat that sings his Summer song
    Poison gets from Slander’s tongue.
    The poison of the Snake and Newt
    Is the sweat of Envy’s Foot.

    A truth that’s told with bad intent
    Beats all the Lies you can invent.
    It is right it should be so;
    Man was made for Joy and Woe;
    And when this we rightly know
    Thro’ the World we safely go.

    Every Night and every Morn
    Some to Misery are Born.
    Every Morn and every Night
    Some are Born to sweet delight.
    Some are Born to sweet delight,
    Some are Born to Endless Night


Advertisement