Discovering poetry

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Rum
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Discovering poetry

Post by Rum » Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:18 am

I have not been a great fan of poetry, mainly because of the pages and pages we were forced to memorise when I was at school. Torture of that kind does not make you fond of the instrument of pain you are being subjected to! However over the last year or so I have rediscovered it. WH Auden is one of Christopher Hitchen's favourite poets and with that as a recommendation I have read quite a lot of his poems this last few months. Here's one that sort of fits here. It is called After Reading a Child's Guide to Modern Physics.

If all a top physicist knows
About the Truth be true,
Then, for all the so-and-so’s,
Futility and grime,
Our common world contains,
We have a better time
Than the Greater Nebulae do,
Or the atoms in our brains.

Marriage is rarely bliss
But, surely it would be worse
As particles to pelt
At thousands of miles per sec
About a universe
Wherein a lover’s kiss
Would either not be felt
Or break the loved one’s neck.

Though the face at which I stare
While shaving it be cruel
For, year after year, it repels
An ageing suitor, it has,
Thank God, sufficient mass
To be altogether there,
Not an indeterminate gruel
Which is partly somewhere else.

Our eyes prefer to suppose
That a habitable place
Has a geocentric view,
That architects enclose
A quiet Euclidian space:
Exploded myths – but who
Could feel at home astraddle
An ever expanding saddle?

This passion of our kind
For the process of finding out
Is a fact one can hardly doubt,
But I would rejoice in it more
If I knew more clearly what
We wanted the knowledge for,
Felt certain still that the mind
Is free to know or not.

It has chosen once, it seems,
And whether our concern
For magnitude’s extremes
Really become a creature
Who comes in a median size,
Or politicizing Nature
Be altogether wise,
Is something we shall learn.

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Re: Discovering poetry

Post by Brian Peacock » Wed Aug 05, 2020 8:25 pm

The Price of Experience

What is the price of Experience? Do men buy it for a song?
Or wisdom for a dance in the street? No it is bought with the price
Of all that man hath, his house, his wife, his children.
Wisdom is sold in the desolate market where none come to buy
And in the wither'd field where the farmer plows for bread in vain.

It is an easy thing to triumph in the summer's sun
And in the vintage and to sing on the waggon loaded with corn.
It is an easy thing to talk of patience to the afflicted,
To speak the laws of prudence to the homeless wanderer
To listen to the hungry raven's cry in wintry season
When the red blood is fill'd with wine and with the marrow of lambs.

It is an easy thing to laugh at wrathful elements
To hear the dog howl at the wintry door, the ox in the slaughter house moan;
To see a god on every wind and a blessing on every blast
To hear sounds of love in the thunder storm that destroys our enemies' house;
To rejoice in the blight that covers his field, and the sickness that cuts off his children,

While our olive and vine sing and laugh round our door, and our children bring fruits and flowers
Then the groan and the dolor are quite forgotten, and the slave grinding at the mill
And the captive in chains and the poor in the prison and the soldier in the field
When the shatter'd bone hath laid him groaning among the happier dead

It is an easy thing to rejoice in the tents of prosperity;
Thus could I sing and thus rejoice: but it is not so with me

-- William Blake, 1797
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Clinton Huxley » 21 Jun 2012 » 14:10:36 GMT
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Re: Discovering poetry

Post by Sean Hayden » Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:14 am

It's funny to read now that Rum wasn't into poetry, I probably just would have assumed he was.

Is the Blake piece a typical "discovering poetry" opener? :hehe: --it's powerful, and yet how many of us can really say we've ever
sang on the waggon loaded with corn? --in good times :biggrin:
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Re: Discovering poetry

Post by pErvinalia » Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:32 am

I've sang with a flagon loaded with porn..
Sent from my penis using wankertalk.
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Re: Discovering poetry

Post by Brian Peacock » Sun Sep 27, 2020 4:01 pm

Rationalia relies on voluntary donations. There is no obligation of course, but if you value this place and want to see it continue please consider making a small donation towards the forum's running costs.
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"It isn't necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice.
There are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia."

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"This is how humanity ends; bickering over the irrelevant."
Clinton Huxley » 21 Jun 2012 » 14:10:36 GMT
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Re: Discovering poetry

Post by JimC » Sun Sep 27, 2020 8:59 pm

Dover Beach
BY MATTHEW ARNOLD

The sea is calm tonight.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.
The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.
Nurse, where the fuck's my cardigan?
And my gin!

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Re: Discovering poetry

Post by JimC » Sun Sep 27, 2020 9:03 pm

Beach Burial, by Kenneth Slessor

Softly and humbly to the Gulf of Arabs

The convoys of dead sailors come;

At night they sway and wander in the waters far under,

But morning rolls them in the foam.

Between the sob and clubbing of the gunfire

Someone, it seems, has time for this,

To pluck them from the shallows and bury them in burrows

And tread the sand upon their nakedness;

And each cross, the driven stake of tidewood,

Bears the last signature of men,

Written with such perplexity, with such bewildered pity,

The words choke as they begin –

‘Unknown seaman’ – the ghostly pencil

Wavers and fades, the purple drips,

The breath of the wet season has washed their inscriptions

As blue as drowned men’s lips,

Dead seamen, gone in search of the same landfall,

Whether as enemies they fought,

Or fought with us, or neither; the sand joins them together,

Enlisted on the other front.

Written during the WW2 campaigns in North Africa
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Re: Discovering poetry

Post by JimC » Sun Sep 27, 2020 9:06 pm

Long-Legged Fly, by William Butler Yeats

That civilisation may not sink,
Its great battle lost,
Quiet the dog, tether the pony
To a distant post;
Our master Caesar is in the tent
Where the maps are spread,
His eyes fixed upon nothing,
A hand upon his head.
Like a long-legged fly upon the stream
His mind moves upon silence.

That the topless towers be burnt
And men recall that face,
Move most gently if move you must
In this lonely place.
She thinks, part woman, three parts a child,
That nobody looks; her feet
Practise a tinker shuffle
Picked up on a street.
Like a long-legged fly upon the stream
Her mind moves upon silence.

That girls at puberty may find
The first Adam in their thought,
Shut the door of the Pope's chapel,
Keep those children out.
There on that scaffolding resides
Michael Angelo.
With no more sound than the mice make
His hand moves to and fro.
Like a long-legged fly upon the stream
His mind moves upon silence.
Nurse, where the fuck's my cardigan?
And my gin!

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Re: Discovering poetry

Post by JimC » Sun Sep 27, 2020 9:08 pm

South Country

by Kenneth Slessor

After the whey-faced anonymity
Of river-gums and scribbly-gums and bush,
After the rubbing and the hit of brush,
You come to the South Country

As if the argument of trees were done,
The doubts and quarrelling, the plots and pains,
All ended by these clear and gliding planes
Like an abrupt solution.

And over the flat earth of empty farms
The monstrous continent of air floats back
Coloured with rotting sunlight and the black,
Bruised flesh of thunderstorms:

Air arched, enormous, pounding the bony ridge,
Ditches and hutches, with a drench of light,
So huge, from such infinities of height,
You walk on the sky's beach

While even the dwindled hills are small and bare,
As if, rebellious, buried, pitiful,
Something below pushed up a knob of skull,
Feeling its way to air.
Nurse, where the fuck's my cardigan?
And my gin!

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Re: Discovering poetry

Post by Brian Peacock » Mon Sep 28, 2020 2:07 pm

N.B. Split some posts into a new Limericks (line-by-line) thread in the Games sub-forum.
Rationalia relies on voluntary donations. There is no obligation of course, but if you value this place and want to see it continue please consider making a small donation towards the forum's running costs.
Details on how to do that can be found here.

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"It isn't necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice.
There are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia."

Frank Zappa

"This is how humanity ends; bickering over the irrelevant."
Clinton Huxley » 21 Jun 2012 » 14:10:36 GMT
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