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Poetry ABCs 
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"City Upon a Hill" by John Isles

I want to hear what your hear, scattered
in voices you call by my name,
unassembled in throats of the air. Gulls

buckle in a gust. Sirens find the ear
in a parking lot, dissipate into the Sound...
The light on the water,

a wavering city held by invisible lines.

A blur of green, our first summer
shifted in the window.

Clams pissed their translucent architectures--
sun--wrenched into the air...
The green wall of trees kaleidoscopes

into the Sound even now, gazing into my eyes.
June, I remember, inhaled into the channel...

Marian, do you hear me
through the hole in the sky
where the roof was? The sky pouring in
with its ghost-weight, with its possibility
of traveling these distances...

Marian, what gleams in the frontiers--
in the running sand sometimes--
insisting in your sleep--in the flashing waves--
what streets maze into the currents...
the universal cannibalism of the sea.

The light trembles and rocks.

The Lord writes his pleasure,
then smears it away...


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Wed Apr 08, 2009 9:48 pm
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The talk about HD earlier made me think of Imagism.

"A school of poetry which flourished in England and America between 1912 and 1914 and emphasized the virtues of clarity, compression, and precision."


These 2 examples of H.D.'s

"Storm"

You crash over the trees,
you crack the live branch--
the branch is white,
the green crushed,
each leaf is rent like split wood.

"The Pool"

Are you alive?
I touch you.
You quiver like a sea-fish.
I cover you with my net.
What are you--banded one?


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Wed Apr 08, 2009 9:59 pm
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Iambic Pentameter.

We cannot be English speakers if we leave out iambic pentameter.

"Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds...."

And so forth. I'm so unfaithful, I've lost interest already. :twisted:
(My goodness, that's such a mean-looking devil. Why don't we have a happy, not so fierce little devil here somewhere? One more my size....)


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Thu Apr 09, 2009 5:00 pm
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Thu Apr 09, 2009 9:03 pm
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Rock And Hawk by Robinson Jeffers

Here is a symbol in which
Many high tragic thoughts
Watch their own eyes.

This gray rock, standing tall
On the headland, where the seawind
Lets no tree grow,

Earthquake-proved, and signatured
By ages of storms: on its peak
A falcon has perched.

I think here is your emblem
To hang in the future sky;
Not the cross, not the hive,

But this; bright power, dark peace;
Fierce consciousness joined with final
Disinterestedness;

Life with calm death; the falcon's
Realist eyes and act
Married to the massive

Mysticism of stone,
Which failure cannot cast down
Nor success make proud.


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Thu Apr 09, 2009 9:22 pm
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Ben Jonson - 10 quick facts

1. Jonson was born in 1572 in London, England.

2. In 1616 William Shakespeare acted in one of the lead roles of Jonson's play Man in His Humor.

3. Shortly after the play opened, Jonson killed Gabriel Spencer in a duel and was tried for murder. His was released by pleading "benefit of clergy" (i.e., by proving he could read and write in Latin, he was allowed to face a more lenient court). He spent only a few weeks in prison.

4. Shortly after his release from prison he was again arrested for failing to pay an actor.

5. Jonson is often identified as England's first Poet Laureate.

6. His circle of admirers and friends, who called themselves the "Tribe of Ben," met regularly at the Mermaid Tavern and later at the Devil's Head.

7. Among his followers were the writers Robert Herrick, Richard Lovelace, Sir John Suckling, James Howell, and Thomas Carew.

8. Jonson was also friends with Shakespeare, John Donne, and Francis Bacon.

9. Ben Jonson died in Westminster in 1637.

10. Jonson is buried in Westminster Abbey, with the inscription, "O Rare Ben Johnson," (sic) laid in the slab over his grave. It has been suggested that this could be read "Orare Ben Jonson" (pray for Ben Jonson), which would indicate a deathbed return to Catholicism, but the carving shows a distinct space between "O" and "rare".



Last edited by Saffron on Thu Apr 09, 2009 9:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Apr 09, 2009 9:25 pm
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An Ill Wind by Louis Jenkins

Today there's a cold northeast wind blowing, piling up ice all along the water's edge. The Point is deserted, no one for five miles down the beach. Just the way I like it. The sand is frozen mostly, so the walking is easy as I pick my way through the wrack and drift. Today I don't even leave footprints. Wind, sand, sun and water. A simplicity that defies comprehension. The barest essentials for the imagination's work. This shore has been pretty much the same for ten thousand years. Countless others have been here before me, musing and pondering, as they walked down the beach and disappeared forever. So here's what I'm thinking: wouldn't it be great if one of them dropped a big roll of hundred dollar bills and I found it?


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Thu Apr 09, 2009 9:26 pm
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Just have to post a poem by Ben Jonson.

Song to Celia

Drinke to me, onely, with thine eyes,
And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kisse but in the cup,
And Ile not looke for wine.
The thirst, that from the soule doth rise,
Doth aske a drinke divine:
But might I of Jove's Nectar sup,
I would not change for thine.
I sent thee, late, a rosie wreath,
Not so much honoring thee,
As giving it a hope, that there
It could not withered bee.
But thou thereon did'st onely breath,
And sent'st it back to mee:
Since when it growes, and smells, I sweare,
Not of it selfe, but thee.

I also love his poem "Still to be neat"



Thu Apr 09, 2009 9:28 pm
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Oops. Skipped "I." About all I could think of was "Ina-gada-da-vita," anyway (conveniently enough, by Iron Butterfly), which doesn't exactly leap off the page. Or, stretching quite a bit, a painting, "I Saw the Figure Five in Gold," by Charles Demuth (probably my favorite painting title), which was directly inspired by W.C. William's poem "The Great Figure."

The Great Figure

Among the rain
and lights
I saw the figure 5
in gold
on a red
fire truck
moving
tense
unheeded
to gong clangs
siren howls
and wheels rumbling
through the dark city

Now for "J."

¶ Jordan. By George Herbert.

WHo sayes that fictions onely and false hair
Become a verse? Is there in truth no beauty?
Is all good structure in a winding stair?
May no lines passe, except they do their dutie
Not to a true, but painted chair?

Is it no verse, except enchanted groves
And sudden arbours shadow course-spunne lines?
Must purling streams refresh a lovers loves?
Must all be vail’d, while he that reades, divines,
Catching the sense at two removes?

Shepherds are honest people; let them sing:
Riddle who list, for me, and pull for Prime:
I envie no mans nightingale or spring;
Nor let them punish me with losse of rime,
Who plainly say, My God, My King.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1 pull for Prime. To continue to prime the pump until you get water, oil or what you are looking for; to get the pump started. [Return]
On Beauty see also Forerunners.

Criticism: "Herbert's 'Deniall,' 'Jordan' I & II, and 'A Wreath'" (The difficulty of writing poetry) by Roberta Albrecht in The Explicator. [Poems cited: "Deniall," "Jordan I," "Jordan II," "A Wreath."]

Compare Keats "Beauty is Truth; Truth Beauty" from "Ode on a Grecian Urn" with "Is there in Truth no Beauty?"

The original Star Trek episode #62 from the third season was entitled: "Is There In Truth No Beauty?" The following is quoted from a Star Trek fan site, no longer on the web.

"A poem called ’Jordan’ by the seventeenth-century metaphysical poet George Herbert contains the following passage:
Who says that fictions only and false hair become a verse?
Is there in truth no beauty? "Jordan," st. 1
"This quote fits in well with the philosophy of IDIC--Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations--which is introduced in the Star Trek episode ’Is There in Truth No Beauty?’ The Medusan is a creature considered by humans to be too ugly to bear. Dr. Miranda Jones questions whether [the Medusan] Ambassador Kollos is, rather, too beautiful to bear. Miranda herself hides her vulnerability to avoid being pitied. The inner natures of both Kollos and Miranda turn out to be quite beautiful. The creators of Star Trek realized that things other than ’fictions and false hair’ were suitable topics for drama; real or apparent ugliness and the dark side of life were dealt with often in the show, with the goal of finding meaning in diversity, and beauty in truth." (TL)

[Editor’s note: Herbert would not have approved the IDIC reason, except to believe, if not know, that there is Beauty in what is True. Spock in his blindness realized this.]



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Fri Apr 10, 2009 8:50 am
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DW, glad you added in your I. I hope that anyone else who feels they've missed a chance to post something because the corresponding letter is now past, will post it anyway. Being the presiding good fairy of poetry, I have the power to grant permission for out of sequence posting (I haven't even had a glass of wine) .


And for anyone who would like to see the painting DW mentioned, The Figure 5 in Gold and the poem by William Carlos Williams, here is a link:
The Figure 5 in Gold & poem



Last edited by Saffron on Fri Apr 10, 2009 10:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Fri Apr 10, 2009 10:05 pm
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Kokinshu

The Kokinwakashû (or the Kokinshû for short), the 'Collection of Japanese Poetry Ancient and Modern', was the first of the 21 anthologies of waka compiled at imperial command (chokusenshû). The idea of an imperial waka anthology as a 'modern' successor to the Man'yôshû was first mooted by Emperor Uda (867-931; r. 887-897), and eventually commissioned by Emperor Daigo (885-930; r. 897-930). He gave the commission to Ki no Tsurayuki, Ki no Tomonori, Ôshikôchi no Mitsune and Mibu no Tadamine, who chose about 1,111 poems, completing the anthology between 915 and 920.

See: http://www.temcauley.staff.shef.ac.uk/kokinshu.shtml

What is said
Brings dread, in this land:
In scarlet
Colours, don't go out,
Die from your desire though you might.

By Lady Otomo


Willow’s branches:
Blue and twisted threads.
Time and again, in spring
The ruffled flowers
Have unraveled.

By Ki no Tsurayuki


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Sat Apr 11, 2009 4:03 am
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Kenning

a conventional poetic phrase used for or in addition to the usual name of a person or thing, esp. in Icelandic and Anglo-Saxon verse, as “a wave traveler” for “a boat.”

Origin:
1880–85; < ON; see ken1 , -ing 1

From dictionary.com

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_kennings

where battle-sweat or slaughter-dew means blood
and wave-rider means boat


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Sat Apr 11, 2009 4:05 am
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Ghost Chant, et alii Yusef Komunyakaa

Daydream the old Indian medicine man
who boards the Greyhound
at midnight outside Jackson Hole
& sits next to you,
the fat belly of life,
a lilacbush in May,
the smoke that curls
back up to eat itself.
Daydream a mongrel dog
who yelps at the footsteps of your sister.
the coyote-goddess’ lonely hill
to climb with the moon,
a stone vase
with a copperhead inside.
Daydream a mountain lion
riding air—to dismiss
the half song
of this machine’s forgetfulness.
a white ceramic Ferris wheel
surrendering sacks of grain,
the eccentric black book
that gnaws off your hands.
Daydream the viper & Easter lily.
A fifth of Ronrico
on the poet’s night table,
morning’s empty bottle,
a grunt-song that spins
itself from flesh]at the top of a spiral staircase,
the talking drum
the center of water.
Daydream a mermaid peering into the four windows
of a lighthouse, the fandango
like a rooster struggles out of golden grass
with its head cut off.
Faust’s old greed & sick hair,
a gas leak
with twenty padlocks on your one door.
Daydream lies rot in the mouth,
a black Mercedes-Benz
& brass knuckles,
an old man who has seen too much
in a dark alley, the killer’s face
in seven mirrors on each wall,
hemlock in a silver chalice,
the shadow of a grave
beneath your slow feet.


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Sat Apr 11, 2009 4:06 am
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Cottonwood by Melissa Kwasny

Wagachun, the Sioux say
for the rustling leaves
of cottonwood
which die for us, which drop
one by one
like yellow finches
among the hundred green.

The sky smears as it fades
Onto the gray wood
Of the porch.
Tree light. Fire light.
Even at noon, it crosses us.

Everything is falling.
Birds swim through dry waves.
The leaves
Point to earth
As Sioux lodges do to heaven.

They tie themselves to this tree
And now,
Must dance free of it,
This tree
They have chosen, this tree
They pretend they’ve captured.

Archival Bird

Notice how the meat
From its bones
Has shrunken and lodged
Like rocks
In the elbowed roots
Of a tree. Notice,
The feathers dissolve
And the eyes
Become sockets
And where its wings,
Still stretched,
Are a relic of flight.


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Sat Apr 11, 2009 4:07 am
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