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The Rattle Bag: The F & G Poems 
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The F & G Poems
I have been reading a part of Jeanette Winterson's currently published biography. And thought I'd like to post her take on poetry, as it is an interesting one. I'll put a link to the whole article at the end although I doubt whether you'll be as moved as I was since I have an awful lot in common with Ms Winterson, except that I haven't got her talent and I'm not a Lesbian. I do love her though.

The first part is her first encounter with poetry:

The book looked a bit short to me, so I had a look and saw that it was written in verse. Definitely not right … I had never heard of TS Eliot. I thought he might be related to George Eliot. The librarian told me he was an American poet who had lived in England for most of his life. He had died in 1965, and he had won the Nobel prize.

I wasn't reading poetry because my aim was to work my way through ENGLISH LITERATURE IN PROSE A-Z. But this was different … I read: "This is one moment, / But know that another / Shall pierce you with a sudden painful joy".

I started to cry. Readers looked up reproachfully, and the librarian reprimanded me, because in those days you weren't even allowed to sneeze in a library, let alone weep. So I took the book outside and read it all the way through, sitting on the steps in the usual northern gale.


and the next bit sums it up rather sweetly, I think:

I was confused about sex and sexuality, and upset about the straightforward practical problems of where to live, what to eat, and how to do my A levels. I had no one to help me, but the TS Eliot helped me. So when people say that poetry is a luxury, or an option, or for the educated middle classes, or that it shouldn't be read at school because it is irrelevant, or any of the strange and stupid things that are said about poetry and its place in our lives, I suspect that the people doing the saying have had things pretty easy.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/oc ... -my-mother


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Sun Oct 30, 2011 8:02 am
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The F & G Poems
Great article Penny. You can sense her anguish and I can understand that poetry could help. And I do remember the days of silence in librairies, it gave the librarians a degree of authority that I think may not exist so much anymore.



Mon Oct 31, 2011 4:48 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The F & G Poems
A short one today from DH Lawrence:

The Gazelle Calf
The gazelle calf, O my children,
goes behind its mother across the desert,
goes behind its mother on blithe bare foot
requiring no shoes, O my children!

DH Lawrence


The Germ
A mighty creature is the germ,
Though smaller than the pachyderm.
His customary dwelling place
Is deep within the human race.
His childish pride he often pleases
By giving people strange diseases.
Do you, my poppet, feel infirm?
You probably contain a germ.

Ogden Nash

I'm not familiar with the term 'poppet', so I looked it up on Wiki:

"The word poppet is an older spelling of puppet, from the Middle English popet, meaning a small child or doll. In British Dialect it continues to hold this meaning. Poppet is also a chiefly English term of endearment.[1] In folk-magic and witchcraft, a poppet is a doll made to represent a person, for casting spells on that person or to aid that person through magic.[2] These dolls may be fashioned from such materials as a carved root, grain or corn shafts, a fruit, paper, wax, a potato, clay, branches, or cloth stuffed with herbs. The intention is that whatever actions are performed upon the effigy will be transferred to the subject based in sympathetic magic. It was from these European dolls that the myth of Voodoo dolls arose.[3][2] Poppets are also used as kitchen witch figures."

"British Dialect"?! Meaning other than the Queen's English?



Tue Nov 01, 2011 5:09 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The F & G Poems
In The Germ, I can see the kindly father making up this little rhyme for his sick child. I like it. And I like the term, 'poppet', sounds very British.



Tue Nov 01, 2011 5:23 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The F & G Poems
Yes, I do often call my grand-daughter my little poppet.

I thought it came from the French - poupee - meaning doll.

I really do like 'the germ' and it reminds me of one of my grandson's favourite poems by Spike Milligan:

Tell me little woodworm, eating all that wood
Surely all that sawdust can't do you any good

Goodness, little woodworm you've eaten all the chairs
So that's why poor old grandad's sitting outside on the stairs.


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

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Tue Nov 01, 2011 7:13 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The F & G Poems
Hmm, but I am wondering Penny if you have one of these poppet dolls ... the creepy, witchy, voodoo kind ... maybe in your kitchen?? :P (sorry but its that time of year!)



Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:00 am
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The F & G Poems
No, I don't do sticking pins into people or effigies. Life has a way of sticking its own pins into folk, without my helping.

I do light a candle for people though, whereby I send positive vibes. That's because I believe in vibes and have been reading about a new science called Epigenetics which teaches us about the link between mind and matter. Studies of the biochemical effects of the brain's functioning show that all the cells of your body are affected by your thoughts.


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Only those become weary of angling who bring nothing to it but the idea of catching fish.

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

Rafael Sabatini


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Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:13 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The F & G Poems
I've picked 3 poems to post rather than go in order, the first is a G and the second 2 are H's.

Girl
How are you so smooth-faced
So slender-waisted?
Have you braided the sun’s hair
Swept the moon’s courtyards clean?

I haven’t braided the sun’s hair
Or swept the moon’s courtyards
I stood outside and watched
Lightning dancing with thunder
Lightning outdanced thunder
By two or three apples
Four oranges

Anon
From the Serbian (trans. Anne Pennington)


‘The hand that signed the paper felled a city’
The hand that signed the paper felled a city;
Five sovereign fingers taxed the breath,
Doubled the globe of dead and halved the country;
These five kings did a king to death.

The mighty hand leads to a sloping shoulder,
The finger joints are cramped with chalk;
A goose quill has put an end to murder
That put an end to talk.

The hand that signed the treaty bred a fever,
And famine grew, and locusts came;
Great is the hand that holds dominion over
Man by a scribbled name.

The five kings count the dead but do not soften
The crusted wound nor stroke the brow;
A hand rules pity as a hand rules heaven;
Hands have no tears to flow.

Dylan Thomas

He Hears the Cry of the Sedge
I wander by the edge
Of this desolate lake
Where wind cries in the sedge:
Until the axle break
That keeps the stars in their round,
And hands hurl in the deep
The banners of East and West,
And the girdle of light is unbound,
Your breast will not lie by the breast
Of your beloved in sleep.


W.B. Yeats

As a translation, the first poem presumably picks up Serbian cultural references or queues (sp?). The last lines are curious and interesting. I'm normally partial to Dylan Thomas but this is not my favourite, although I like his closing lines. I like the Yeats poem most, the image of wind 'crying' in long grass around a desolate lake really speaks to me.



Wed Nov 02, 2011 2:36 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The F & G Poems
A light hearted poem (sonnet) to finish off the G’s, actually it’s an ‘H’, but I like it.

Hares at Play
The birds are gone to bed the cows are still
And sheep lie panting on each old mole hill
An underneath the willows grey-green bough
Like toil a resting-lies the fallow plough
The timid hares throw daylights fear away
On the lanes road to dust and dance and play
Then dabble in the grain by nought deterred
To lick the dewfall from the barley’s beard
Then out they sturt again and round the hill
Like happy thoughts dance squat and loiter still
Till milking maidens in the early morn
Gingle their yokes and start them on their corn
Through well known beaten paths each nimbling hare
Sturts quick as fear-and seeks its hidden lair

John Clare



Thu Nov 03, 2011 5:01 pm
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