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The Rattle Bag: The D & E Poems 
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Post The Rattle Bag: The D & E Poems
The D's:

99. Dahn the Plug'ole - anon
100. The Darkling Thrush - Thomas Hardy
101. Days - Philip Larkin
102. The Dead Crab - Andrew Young
103. Death - anon
104. Death in Leamington - Sir John Betjeman
105. The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner - Randall Jarrell
106. Delayed Action
107. Desert Places - Robert Frost
108. The Destruction of Sennacherib - Lord Byron
109. A Devil - Zbigniew Herbert
110. The Devil in Texas - anon
111. Dinogad's Petticoat - anon
112. Dirge - Kenneth Fearing
113. Disillusionment of Ten O'Clock - Wallace Stevens
114. A Divine Image - William Blake
115. Do not go gentle into that good night - Dylan Thomas
116. Donal Og - anon
117. The Donkey - G K Chesterton
118. Don't let that Horse - Lawrence Ferlinghetti
119. The Dream about Our Master, William Shakespeare - Hyam Plutzik
120. A Drover - Padraic Colum
121. The Duck - Ogden Nash
122. Dusk in the Country - Harry Edmund Martinson
123. The Dying Airman - Anon
124. from Eagle in New Mexico - D H Lawrence
125. The Earthworm - Harry Edmund Martinson
126. Earthy Anecdote - Wallace Stevens
127. Elegy for Himself - Chidiock Tichborne
128. Epigrams - J V Cunningham
129. An Epitaph - Walter de la Mare
130. Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries - A E Housman
131. Epitaph on a Tyrant - W H Auden
132. Epitaph on the Earl of Leicester - Sir Walter Raleigh
133. Eternity - William Blake
134. Even Such is time - Sir Walter Raleigh
135. The Explosion - Philip Larkin
136. Exposure - Wilfred Owen



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Sat Apr 30, 2011 7:40 am
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The D & E Poems
The first of the D's in two versions, the first from the book and a second modernized song lyrics from the internet.

Dahn the Plug'ole

A muvver was barfin' her biby one night,
The youngest of ten and a tiny young mite,
The muvver was pore and the biby was thin,
Only a skelington covered in skin;
The muvver turned rahnd for the soap orf the rack,
She was but a moment, but when she turned back,
The biby was gorn; and in anguish she cried,
'Oh, where is my biby?' --the Angels replied:
'Your biby 'as fell dahn the plug'ole,
The poor little thing was so skinny and thin
'E oughter been barfed in a jug;
Your biby is perfectly 'appy,
'E won't need a barf any more,
Your biby 'as fell dahn the plug'ole,
Not lorst, but gorn before!'

Anon

Song lyrics:

Now a mother was bathing her baby,
Bathing her baby one night.
The mother was fat and the baby was thin,
Just like a skelington covered with skin.

She only turned round for a minute,
To fetch oh some sope from the rack,
She only turned round for a minute,
But oh, when she turned back.

Why, the baby had utterly vanished,
A-vanished completely away.
Oh where, oh where is my baby?
And she heard an angel say:

Madam, your baby has gone down the plughole,
Your baby has gone down the plug.
The poor little thing was so skinny and thin,
It should have been washed in a jug.

Your baby is perfectly happy,
He won't need no bathing no more.
Your baby has gone down the plughole
Not lost, just gone before!



Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:23 am
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The D & E Poems
Oh I do love humorous poetry! This is meant to be read in a Cockney (London) accent, as per 'Eastenders' if you get the TV soap over the water.

Anyway, I needed a laugh because our youth are revolting here - pun fully intended.

We have kids, some as young as nine, rioting and igniting shops in our city centres, for no other reason, apparently, than that they can do it,and loot and get away with it.

Waterstones, our biggest bookshop chain said they would be staying open as if the kids looted a few books, they might learn something!! :(


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He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world is mad....

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Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:30 am
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The D & E Poems
Good point Penny. Its always important to bear in mind the intended 'voice' when reading poetry, in this case, a Cockney accent makes the poem mean more and makes it funnier. I like the contrast with the 'translated' version, the plain English version. I love British accents, I think they are a great contribution to world culture and language. And they are just intrinsically funny, IMO anyway. And they have funny expressions too, like one my dad used to say - 'taking the mickey' - which I think could be appropriate here with reference to the poem.

Sad to hear of the troubles over there. From what I've heard on the media, it sounds like mindless destruction and mayhem just for the hell of it. It makes you wonder who is behind it and what they are trying to accomplish.



Wed Aug 10, 2011 6:39 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The D & E Poems
The Darkling Thrush

Code:
I leant upon a coppice gate
    When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
    The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
    Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
    Had sought their household fires.

The land's sharp features seemed to be
    The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
    The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
    Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
    Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
    The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
    Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
    In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
    Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
    Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
    Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
    His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
    And I was unaware.


Thomas Hardy

"Written on the eve of the new century and first published in Graphic with the subtitle “By the Century’s Deathbed” and then published in London Times on New Year’s Day, 1901, the thirty-twoline poem uses a bleak and wintry landscape as a metaphor for the close of the nineteenth century and the joyful song of a solitary thrush as a symbolic image of the dawning century."

It is a bleak and rainy day where I am today which helps me identify with the setting of this poem.



Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:57 am
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The D & E Poems
I enjoyed this Hardy poem. It's simple and structured with a regular rhythm and rhyme. In this 'rattlebag' anthology, I like the contrast of this sort of poetry to free verse and I think rather strained verse we have encountered. It's just easy and comfortable to read. Also interesting to compare the poems of individual poets like Larkin and Plath and others who are well represented in the book. Larkin's poems are a bit bleak, as if struggling with disappointment and lowered expectations.

I"m not sure what the 1890's were like in England where Hardy was writing but it was a tough time in the US, major depression on the scale of the 1930's, so there may have been good reason to say goodbye to the 19C and welcome the 20C with some enthusiasm and hope.

I'm more familiar with Hardy's novels than his poems, having read two that I recall, Mayor of Casterbridge and Tess of the D'Ubervilles. A Hardy novel might make a good fiction selection on booktalk. At a quick glance, I don't see any in the archive list.



Thu Aug 11, 2011 3:11 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The D & E Poems
Here's another Philip Larkin:

Days

What are days for?
Days are where we live.
They come, they wake us
Time and time over.
They are to be happy in:
Where can we live but days?

Ah, solving that question
Brings the priest and the doctor
In their long coats
Running over the fields.

Philip Larkin



Fri Aug 12, 2011 10:12 am
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The D & E Poems
Hmm, well guess I'm not a big Larkin fan, but I do like his image of the doctor and the priest running across the fields. I can see that in my mind .. for some reason, I have the priest as older with a beard and the doctor is clean cut, more the young country doctor type.



Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:08 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The D & E Poems
The Dead Crab

A rosy shield upon its back,
That not the hardest storm could crack,
From whose sharp edge projected out
Black pin-point eyes staring about;
Beneath, the well-knit cote-armure
That gave to its weak belly power;
The clustered legs with plated joints
That ended in stiletto points;
The claws like mouths it held outside:
I cannot think this creature died
By storm or fish or sea-fowl harmed
Walking the sea so heavily armed;
Or does it make for death to be
Oneself a living armoury?

Andrew Young



Mon Aug 15, 2011 12:12 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The D & E Poems
The Dead Crab makes me think of a person who pushes the world away to protect themselves from hurt: legs with stilleto points, and claws like mouths could be a prickly personality hiding a scared individual, who dies inside from lack of love and connection.

Two more with the death theme:

Death

One night as I lay on my bed,
And sleep on fleeting foot had fled,
Because, no doubt, my mind was heavy
With concern for my last journey:

I got me up and called for water
That I might wash, and so feel better;
But before I wet my eyes so dim,
There was Death on the bowl's rim.

I went to church that I might pray,
Thinking sure he'd keep away;
But before I got on to my feet,
There sat Death upon my seat.

To my chamber then I hied,
Thinking sure he'd keep outside;
But though I firmly locked the door,
Death came from underneath the floor.

Then to sea I rowed a boat,
Thinking surely Death can't float;
But before I reached the deep,
Death was captain of the ship.

Anon
From the Welsh (trans. Aneirin Talfan Davies)


DEATH IN LEAMINGTON

She died in the upstairs bedroom
By the light of the ev'ning star
That shone through the plate glass window
From over Leamington Spa

Beside her the lonely crochet
Lay patiently and unstirred,
But the fingers that would have work'd it
Were dead as the spoken word.

And Nurse came in with the tea-things
Breast high 'mid the stands and chairs-
But Nurse was alone with her own little soul,
And the things were alone with theirs.

She bolted the big round window,
She let the blinds unroll,
She set a match to the mantle,
She covered the fire with coal.

And "Tea!" she said in a tiny voice
"Wake up! It's nearly five"
Oh! Chintzy, chintzy cheeriness,
Half dead and half alive.

Do you know that the stucco is peeling?
Do you know that the heart will stop?
From those yellow Italianate arches
Do you hear the plaster drop?

Nurse looked at the silent bedstead,
At the gray, decaying face,
As the calm of a Leamington ev'ning
Drifted into the place.

She moved the table of bottles
Away from the bed to the wall;
And tiptoeing gently over the stairs
Turned down the gas in the hall.

Sir John Betjeman



Tue Aug 16, 2011 1:08 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The D & E Poems
One last short one about death that I will add now as well:

The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner
by Randall Jarrell


From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from the dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.

"hunched upside-down in his little sphere, he looked like the foetus in the womb." (Jarrell's notes)



Tue Aug 16, 2011 1:34 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The D & E Poems
realiz wrote:
The Dead Crab makes me think of a person who pushes the world away to protect themselves from hurt: legs with stilleto points, and claws like mouths could be a prickly personality hiding a scared individual, who dies inside from lack of love and connection.

I wasn't clear on the question he was asking when I first read this ...

Or does it make for death to be
Oneself a living armoury?


The 'make for death' part just didn't make sense to me, but now it does. So, living within the walls of heavy duty, emotional defenses may cause one to live like the walking dead ... quite possible I think. But after all, the crab needs defenses. They are quite small and slow moving compared to the many predators of the sea and they are quite tasty!



Tue Aug 16, 2011 8:19 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The D & E Poems
Delayed Action

Korf invents some jokes of a new sort
That only many hours later work.
Everybody listens to them, bored.

Yet, like some still fuse glowing in the dark,
You wake up suddenly that night in bed
Beaming like a baby newly fed.

-- Christian Morgenstern

This happens to me sometimes, but rather than the cleverness of the humorist, I think it the slow acrobatics of my aging brain.



Wed Aug 17, 2011 3:34 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The D & E Poems
Desert Places
by Robert Frost

Snow falling and night falling fast, oh, fast
In a field I looked into going past,
And the ground almost covered smooth in snow,
But a few weeds and stubble showing last.

The woods around it have it--it is theirs.
All animals are smothered in their lairs.
I am too absent-spirited to count;
The loneliness includes me unawares.

And lonely as it is that loneliness
Will be more lonely ere it will be less--
A blanker whiteness of benighted snow
With no expression, nothing to express.

They cannot scare me with their empty spaces
Between stars--on stars where no human race is.
I have it in me so much nearer home
To scare myself with my own desert places.


Ahh, the inner landscape matters so much more than the outer, or at least the appreciation and/or perception of the outer depends very much on the inner.



Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:03 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The D & E Poems
I think that, in an inspiring outer landscape, the line between inner landscape and outer landscape blurs, if you are open to it. There can be a meeting, a communion of the two, an internalizing of the outer landscape in a spiritual sense. Frost does such a great job of conveying a sense of inner landscape in his poems, using the outward landscape as metaphor. I like this poem, and for comparison I insert a few lines from Birches which I think is my favourite Frost poem. The sense of inner landscape in Birches is just brilliant IMO.

May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth's the right place for love:
I don't know where it's likely to go better.
I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.



Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:28 pm
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