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The Rattle Bag: The F & G Poems 
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The F & G Poems
This reminds me of the rhyme:

Little fleas have smaller fleas upon their backs to bite 'em,
and smaller fleas have tinier fleas...ex ad infinitum.

But I like the poem in a strange way, very much.

Instead of looking at the tragedies of life, from the big picture......this looks at the tragedies from a small perspective....like it!

Still a tragedy though!! :(


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Fri Oct 21, 2011 11:15 am
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The F & G Poems
I like the two flower poems.
The fly poem was interesting. To me it showed the strange natural order of life that is even somehow applicable even to war.



Fri Oct 21, 2011 2:42 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The F & G Poems
I think The Fly does deal with the natural order of fly and bird but the human tragedy and disaster of war, is that natural order? or is the poet contrasting the two?

Hmm, another insect poem. We've seen this poem before on these pages ... on reading again, I see the message that the objective is not to fly straight, necessarily, but to make what one can of ones gifts?

Flying Crooked

The butterfly, a cabbage-white,
(His honest idiocy of flight)
Will never now, it is too late,
Master the art of flying straight,
Yet has-who knows so well as I?-
A just sense of not to fly:
He lurches here and here by guess
And God and hope and hopelessness.
Even the acrobatic swift
Has not his flying crooked gift.

Robert Graves



Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:15 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The F & G Poems
Quote:
but the human tragedy and disaster of war, is that natural order? or is the poet contrasting the two?


Well, if I, or my loved ones, were to get gobbled up by a passing bird, I'd consider that a tragedy, too.

It is true, that in instance we see death as the normal order of things, and in others we see it as an unnatural tragedy. But, what makes it so?



Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:33 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The F & G Poems
Natural disasters are awful enough....but man-made disasters and cruelty are more horrifying as far as I am concerned.

When I see tsunami and earthquakes, I feel compassion for the victims, but when I see genocide or mass slaughter I feel fear for the human race and the brutality that lies just beneath the surface within us all.

I like the Butterfly poem.

I think Robert Graves is refering to his own life and the inability to fly straight and feel confident of ones path.

There is a wonderful song by Nat King Cole:

A buzzard took a monkey for a ride in the air
The monkey thought that everything was on the square
The buzzard tried to throw the monkey off of his back
But the monkey grabbed his neck and said: "Now listen, Jack

Straighten up and fly right
Straighten up and fly right
Straighten up and fly right
Cool down, papa, don't you blow your top.
Ain't no use in divin'
What's the use of jivin'
Straighten up and fly right
Cool down, papa, don't you blow your top."

The buzzard told the monkey "You are chokin' me
Release your hold and I will set you free."
The monkey looked the buzzard right dead in the eye and said
"Your story's so touching but it sounds just like a lie.

Straighten up and fly right
Straighten up and stay right
Straighten up and fly right
Cool down, papa, don't you blow your top."

"Straighten up and fly right
Straighten up and stay right
Straighten up and fly right
Cool down, papa, don't you blow your top."


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Tue Oct 25, 2011 3:44 am
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The F & G Poems
Quote:
When I see tsunami and earthquakes, I feel compassion for the victims, but when I see genocide or mass slaughter I feel fear for the human race and the brutality that lies just beneath the surface within us all.


Yes, and natural disasters tend to bring out the best in people and you see heroic rescue efforts and an outpouring of support. Genocide or mass slaughter has to be about the worst of all, and I hate to think that this kind of brutality lies just beneath the surface in very many of us. I can't think that everyone capable of that, no matter what the circumstances.


I guess we all feel like we have a monkey on our backs at least some of the time.



Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:17 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The F & G Poems
I think there are some differences in the way we see 'tragedy' in nature (like the bird eating the fly) versus human tragedy because we credit ourselves with a higher order of 'consciousness' or 'self-awareness' than we typically consider other critters have. Of course, this may be only our perspective, not theirs. Also, I think one of the great tragedies of humanity is the way we murder our own kind in such a planned and pre-meditated way, and in such huge numbers, often for reasons that may not the slightest connection to any sort of valid outcome. I don't think there are examples of this in nature beyond us. But we have great capacity to help when our own kind are afflicted with terrible events, like the recent earthquake in Turkey, so perhaps this is where our consciousness takes us, pluses and minuses, seems almost schizophrenic at times.

I've posted three poems, including an extra Dylan Thomas, because I like Thomas poetry and because I thought the October poem is just something nice for the fall season.


For a Lamb

I saw on the slant hill a putrid lamb,
Propped with daisies. The sleep looked deep,
The face nudged in the green pillow
But the guts were out for crows to eat.

Where’s the lamb? Whose tender plaint
Said all for the mute breezes.
Say he’s in the wind somewhere,
Say, there’s a lamb in the daisies.

Richard Eberhart


The force that through the green fuse drives the flower

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.

The force that drives the water through the rocks
Drives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streams
Turns mine to wax.
And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins
How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks.

The hand that whirls the water in the pool
Stirs the quicksand; that ropes the blowing wind
Hauls my shroud sail.
And I am dumb to tell the hanging man
How of my clay is made the hangman's lime.

The lips of time leech to the fountain head;
Love drips and gathers, but the fallen blood
Shall calm her sores.
And I am dumb to tell a weather's wind
How time has ticked a heaven round the stars.

And I am dumb to tell the lover's tomb
How at my sheet goes the same crooked worm.

Dylan Thomas

Especially when the October wind

Especially when the October wind
With frosty fingers punishes my hair,
Caught by the crabbing sun I walk on fire
And cast a shadow crab upon the land,
By the sea's side, hearing the noise of birds,
Hearing the raven cough in winter sticks,
My busy heart who shudders as she talks
Sheds the syllabic blood and drains her words.

Shut, too, in a tower of words, I mark
On the horizon walking like the trees
The wordy shapes of women, and the rows
Of the star-gestured children in the park.
Some let me make you of the vowelled beeches,
Some of the oaken voices, from the roots
Of many a thorny shire tell you notes,
Some let me make you of the water's speeches.

Behind a pot of ferns the wagging clock
Tells me the hour's word, the neural meaning
Flies on the shafted disk, declaims the morning
And tells the windy weather in the cock.
Some let me make you of the meadow's signs;
The signal grass that tells me all I know
Breaks with the wormy winter through the eye.
Some let me tell you of the raven's sins.

Especially when the October wind
(Some let me make you of autumnal spells,
The spider-tongued, and the loud hill of Wales)
With fists of turnips punishes the land,
Some let me make you of the heartless words.
The heart is drained that, spelling in the scurry
Of chemic blood, warned of the coming fury.
By the sea's side hear the dark-vowelled birds.

Dylan Thomas



Last edited by giselle on Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Tue Oct 25, 2011 3:58 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The F & G Poems
Oh, I do love that Dylan Thomas:

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower


It's like, 'I don't believe in God, but what breathes me when I'm asleep?'

and the October one is so evocative and apt to this time of year.

I think perhaps I like the autumn more than Dylan Thomas did.


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Tue Oct 25, 2011 6:08 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The F & G Poems
Penelope wrote:

and the October one is so evocative and apt to this time of year.

I think perhaps I like the autumn more than Dylan Thomas did.

I agree Penny, I like autumn too. Dylan Thomas isn't that positive about autumn in this poem but he does evoke great images and somehow makes one feel the chill. Just a small observation but 'worms' appear in both of these poems ... 'crooked worms' and 'wormy winter' ... I don't know, just seems like a funny thing to put in a poem, but certainly contributes to his imagery.



Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:28 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The F & G Poems
I'm going to skip ahead to some G poems because the remainder of the F's are very long and not available on the internet or a bit repetitive in style to poems we have already covered.

I thought it would be interesting to group these three poems from prominent well respected authors to contrast styles ... and I like all three of them but I like the Frost best. I just like the way he makes clever observations from the common task of raking leaves.

The Garden of Love
I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen:
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.

And the gates of this Chapel were shut,
And 'Thou shalt not' writ over the door;
So I turn'd to the Garden of Love
That so many sweet flowers bore;

And I saw it was filled with graves,
And the tomb-stones where flowers should be;
And Priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars my joys and desires.

William Blake
From Songs of Experience


The Garden Seat
Its former green is blue and thin,
And its once firm legs sink in and in;
Soon it will break down unaware,
Soon it will break down unaware.

At night when reddest flowers are black
Those who once sat thereon come back;
Quite a row of them sitting there,
Quite a row of them sitting there.

With them the seat does not break down,
Nor winter freeze them, nor floods drown,
For they are as light as upper air,
They are as light as upper air!

Thomas Hardy


Gathering Leaves
Spades take up the leaves
No better than spoons,
And bags full of leaves
Are light as balloons.

I make a great noise
Of rustling all day
Like rabbit and deer
Running away.

But the mountains I raise
Elude my embrace,
Flowing over my arms
And into my face.

I may load and unload
Again and again
Till I fill the whole shed,
And what have I then?

Next to nothing for weight,
And since they grew duller
From contact with earth,
Next to nothing for colour.

Next to nothing for use.
But a crop is a crop,
And who's to say where
The harvest shall stop?

Robert Frost



Thu Oct 27, 2011 12:33 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The F & G Poems
Thanks for censoring us giselle!

I really love the William Blake......because it shows how we shroud something as joyous as faith in religious dogma. I love the way he (Blake) depicts the chapel as having 'Thou Shalt Not' over the door. Religion seems to be always telling us what we should 'NOT'. But really, I think God is a God of Do......enjoying our five senses.......not denying ourselves for all sorts of silly reasons.

I don't like the Thomas Hardy at all...perhaps I'm missing something.


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Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:40 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The F & G Poems
I liked them all, but the Thomas Hardy one was my least favorite. Nice contrast, thanks, Giselle.



Thu Oct 27, 2011 4:33 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The F & G Poems
It appears Thomas Hardy lost the 'battle of three poems' ... so in his defense I looked up a little background on Hardy which I think sets some context around the poem, I don't think it pulls him out of the basement though:

"Hardy's works take place in Wessex (named after the Anglo-Saxon kingdom which existed in the area). One of his distinctive achievements is to have captured the cultural atmosphere of rural Wessex in the golden epoch that existed just before the coming of the railways and the agricultural and industrial revolutions that were to change the English countryside for ever. His works are often deeply pessimistic and full of bitter irony, in sharp contrast to the prevalent Victorian optimism."

I can see the irony, maybe bitter irony, in his poem. And I think the repetition of the two last lines of each verse is interesting, note that the last lines are almost a repeat but for one word difference. What is Hardy trying to suggest?

On another thread posted by Geo today, there is a link to a great article entitled "How Does a Poem Mean", I think its well worth a read, this is the link:

blog.babson.me/wp-content/upload%20...% ... Ciardi.pdf



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Penelope
Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:07 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The F & G Poems
I think I have read almost all of Thomas Hardy's novels. Jude the Obscure being the most miserable book I have ever read.

I like 'Under the Greenwood Tree' though. We even have a DVD of the story, which is also a jolly romp.

I once had a literature tutor, at evening classes, who was acquainted with Thomas Hardy. He said he was a miserable old bugger. :wink:


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

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giselle
Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:57 am
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The F & G Poems
Well Penny you are well ahead of me on the Hardy file, I've only read the Mayor of Casterbridge and that was a bit of a struggle!! I don't doubt for a minute that he was a miserable sod, I certainly thought that a few times while reading his book.



Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:53 pm
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