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The Rattle Bag: The A Poems 
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Post The Rattle Bag: The A Poems
OK - I've got the book.

The Foreword explains that Heaney and Hughes decided to put the poems in Alphabetical order, because to have arranged it according to author would have robbed the order of the poems of an unexpectedness which it now possesses. To have done it Thematically would have made it feel too much like a textbook. To have done it chronologically would have left whole centuries unrepresented and made the thing look a botched historical survey.

Thanks Saffron for supplying M-Z - I'll do A-L:

1. Adieu, farewell earth's bliss - Thomas Nashe
2. After his Death - Norman MacCaig
3. After Looking into a book Belonging to My Great-Grandfather - Hyam Plutzik
4. Afterwards - Thomas Hardy
5. Ah Sunflower - William Blake
6. Alfred Corning Clark - Robert Lowell
7. The Allansford Pursuit - Robert Graves
8. 'All the World's a stage' - William Shakespeare
9. Among the Narcissi - Sylvia Plath
10. The Ancients of the world - R S Thomas
11. And death shall have no dominion - Dylan Thomas
12. And in the 51st Year of that Century - Hyam Plutzik
13. And the days are not full enough - Ezra Pound
14. Angelica the Doorkeeper - Anon
15. The Angel that presided o'er my birth - William Blake
16. Anger lay by me all night long - Elizabeth Daryush
17. An Animal Alphabet - Edward Lear
18. Another Epitaph on an army of Mercenaries - Hugh MacDiarmid
19. anyone lived in a pretty how town - e e cummings
20. Apple Blossom - Louis MacNeice
21. The Artist - William Carlos Williams
22. As I came in by Fiddich-side - Anon
23. As I walked out one evening - W H Auden
24. As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame - Gerard Manley Hopkins
25. As Much as you Can - C P Cavafy
26. As the team's head-brass flashed out - Edward Thomas
27. As you came from the Holy Land - Sir Walter Raleigh
28. At Grass - Philip Larkin
29. At the Bomb Testing Site - William Stafford
30. At the grey round of the hill - W B Yeats
31. Auguries of Innocence - William Blake
32. Aunt Julia - Norman MacCaig
33. Autobahnmotorwayautoroute - Adrian Mitchell
34. Autobiography - Louis MacNeice
35. Auto wreck - Karl Shapiro
36. Aye, but to die, and go we know not where - William Shakespeare

That's the A's - B's in next post because I am scared of losing my typing. :o


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

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Fri Apr 29, 2011 7:08 am
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: An Anthology of Poetry
This is the first poem in the book, which I think we have covered in the 500. But anyway, I don't think there are very many which we have already done.....I suppose there were bound to be some.

I'll post the second one as well - because I don't recall having covered that one.

1. Adieu, Farewell, Earth’s Bliss
By Thomas Nashe 1567–1601 Thomas Nashe

Adieu, farewell, earth’s bliss;
This world uncertain is;
Fond are life’s lustful joys;
Death proves them all but toys;
None from his darts can fly;
I am sick, I must die.
Lord, have mercy on us!

Rich men, trust not in wealth,
Gold cannot buy you health;
Physic himself must fade.
All things to end are made,
The plague full swift goes by;
I am sick, I must die.
Lord, have mercy on us!

Beauty is but a flower
Which wrinkles will devour;
Brightness falls from the air;
Queens have died young and fair;
Dust hath closed Helen’s eye.
I am sick, I must die.
Lord, have mercy on us!

Strength stoops unto the grave,
Worms feed on Hector’s brave;
Swords may not fight with fate,
Earth still holds ope her gate.
“Come, come!” the bells do cry.
I am sick, I must die.
Lord, have mercy on us.

Wit with his wantonness
Tasteth death’s bitterness;
Hell’s executioner
Hath no ears for to hear
What vain art can reply.
I am sick, I must die.
Lord, have mercy on us.

Haste, therefore, each degree,
To welcome destiny;
Heaven is our heritage,
Earth but a player’s stage;
Mount we unto the sky.
I am sick, I must die.
Lord, have mercy on us.

And Poem Number 2 - After his Death - Norman MacCaig

It turned out
that the bombs he had thrown
raised buildings:



that the acid he had sprayed
had painfully opened
the eyes of the blind.



Fishermen hauled
prizewinning fish
from the water he had polluted.



We sat with astonishment
enjoying the shade
of the vicious words he had planted.



The government decreed that
on the anniversary of his birth
the people should observe
two minutes pandemonium.

PS - I think this last verse is stunning - love it!


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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


Fri Apr 29, 2011 8:52 am
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: An Anthology of Poetry
Great, well starting at the beginning does make more sense now that someone has the book. Thanks for doing all that entering Penelope.
These two poems are really contrasting and if I had not read that they were placed next to each other only by virtue of their titles, I'd be sure it had been purposeful. The first one is so meloncholy, at least to me, as I'd like to think my time on earth mean more than just a prelude to heaven. The second one is uplifting to think of new beginnings being born out of tragedy.
I think I like the 3rd verse the best.



Fri Apr 29, 2011 12:54 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: An Anthology of Poetry
Quote:
realiz wrote:

The second one is uplifting to think of new beginnings being born out of tragedy.
I think I like the 3rd verse the best.


I think it is quite brilliant in the way it makes one think about miracles and change.

But I love the government's decreeing two minutes pandemonium - rather than two minutes silence, and the idea of the people holding two minutes pandemonium conjures up wonderful images.


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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


Fri Apr 29, 2011 2:56 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: An Anthology of Poetry
Number3 is one I can't find to copy and paste, fortunately, it is short:-

After Looking into a Book Belonging to My Great-Grandfather, Eli Eliakim Plutzik

I am troubled by the blank fields, the speechless graves.
Since the names were carved upon wood, there is no word
For the thousand years that shaped this scribbling fist
And the eyes staring at strange places and times
Beyond the veldt dragging to Poland.
Lovers of words make simple peace with death,
At last demanding to close the door to the cold,
Only Here lies someone
Here lie no one and no one, your fathers and mothers.
HYAM PLUTZIK

Quote:
My son is tracing our ancestry. - My husband's family have been fairly straightforward, but my mother's family are proving very mysterious.....so this poem finds a place in my heart just now.


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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


Sat Apr 30, 2011 11:02 am
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: An Anthology of Poetry
Penelope wrote:
Number3 is one I can't find to copy and paste, fortunately, it is short:-

After Looking into a Book Belonging to My Great-Grandfather, Eli Eliakim Plutzik

Quote:
My son is tracing our ancestry. - My husband's family have been fairly straightforward, but my mother's family are proving very mysterious.....so this poem finds a place in my heart just now.


Hey, I found a link that may add to our enjoyment/understanding of the poem.

http://www.hyamplutzikpoetry.com/devtest/about.php



Sat Apr 30, 2011 11:34 am
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The A Poems
Oh, I just looked on that link, thanks Saffron, I could have copied the poem from there. Still, it will be useful because more of his poems are to come.

Also, it is quite a good way of absorbing what is being said, to type them out, noting where the punctuation marks are placed and so forth.

It does help to have some dates. It is amazing how, when one considers when a poem was penned, it often alters the whole perceived meaning.


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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


Sat Apr 30, 2011 11:46 am
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The A Poems
Thanks Penny and all for starting us out on this Hughes/Heaney anthology. I'm waiting for Amazon to send my copy. I enjoyed poem 2 - "After His Death" particularly .. I see it as political statement, although not too clear on what the statement is ... perhaps the ironies and contradictions that surround acts of violence and war. I looked up MacCaig on Wiki and here is an excerpt:

"During World War II MacCaig registered as a conscientious objector, a move that many at the time criticised. Douglas Dunn has suggested that MacCaig's career later suffered due to his outspoken pacifism, although there is no concrete evidence of this."

Given this poem which twists harm into a positive, but does so in an ironic way, its interesting that he was a conscientious objector during the war. Not an easy thing to be an objector in wartime, Britain so I'm speculating that he may have wrestled with the pressures and contradictions of pacifism in the face of the destruction of Britain by Nazi assault.

Penny, since you have the book, is there an intro or foreword that gives some clue as to the editorial direction of this Hughes and Heaney anthology?



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Sat Apr 30, 2011 7:27 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The A Poems
Quote:
Giselle asked:

is there an intro or foreword that gives some clue as to the editorial direction of this Hughes and Heaney anthology?



Giselle, this is at the top of this thread, I, sort of, condensed it from the foreword but if you want a fuller version I can easily type up the whole thing as it isn't very long. This seemed to be the relevant bit though.




Quote:
The Foreword explains that Heaney and Hughes decided to put the poems in Alphabetical order, because to have arranged it according to author would have robbed the order of the poems of an unexpectedness which it now possesses. To have done it Thematically would have made it feel too much like a textbook. To have done it chronologically would have left whole centuries unrepresented and made the thing look a botched historical survey.


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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


Sun May 01, 2011 4:45 am
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The A Poems
I think by 'editorial decisions,' giselle might have meant why the editors selected these poems and not others. Did they just go with a "these are our own favorites" approach, or do they have something to say about criteria for selection? The title "Rattle Bag" is evocative of something, I'm just not sure of what.



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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The A Poems
This is copied from the publisher's website (Macmillan):

The Rattle Bag is an anthology of poetry (mostly in English but occasionally in translation) for general readers and students of all ages and backgrounds. These poems have been selected by the simple yet telling criteria that they are the personal favorites of the editors, themselves two of contemporary literature's leading poets.

Moreover, Heaney and Hughes have elected to list their favorites not by theme or by author but simply by title (or by first line, when no title is given). As they explain in their Introduction: "We hope that our decision to impose an arbitrary alphabetical order allows the contents [of this book] to discover themselves as we ourselves gradually discovered them--each poem full of its singular appeal, transmitting its own signals, taking its chances in a big, voluble world."



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Sun May 01, 2011 7:36 am
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: An Anthology of Poetry
Penelope wrote:
1. Adieu, Farewell, Earth’s Bliss
By Thomas Nashe 1567–1601[/i]


I came across some information that puts this poem in context. For starters, it is from a play.

Quote:
Alongside this running dispute, Nashe produced his more famous works. While staying in the household of Archbishop John Whitgift at Croydon in October 1592 he wrote an entertainment called Summer's Last Will and Testament, a "show" with some resemblance to a masque. In brief, the plot describes the death of Summer, who, feeling himself to be dying, reviews the performance of his former servants and eventually passes the crown on to Autumn. The play was published in 1600......
He remained in London apart from periodic visits to the countryside to avoid the plague - a fear reflected in the play Summers last will and Testament, written in the autumn of 1592. William Sommers, whose comments frame the play, was Henry VIII's jester. It includes the famous lyric:

Adieu, farewell earths blisse,
This world uncertaine is,
Fond are lifes lustful joyes,
Death proves them all but toyes,
None from his darts can flye;
I am sick, I must dye:
Lord, have mercy on us.



Sun May 01, 2011 7:50 am
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The A Poems
I think the criterion of personal favorites is as good as any. I also like the arbitrary arrangement by alphabet. My favorite way of listening to Beatles' songs is the A-Z format that radio stations sometimes use.



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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The A Poems
My copy of the book is published by Faber & Faber in 1982.

On the back cover, this what it says:

Quote:
Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney write: The verse we have chosen is meant....to amplify notions of what poetry is. We have, for example, included a number of poems from oral cultures - hunters' prayers, charms, incantations of various kinds - which fill an emotional space that literary verse tends to leave empty. We have used much contemporary verse in translation because this often reaches its way towards awareness not commonly touched on by the vernacular literature. And we have fetched material from America fairly deliberately since this part of the English language inheritance is not as current here as it might be.


Lovely!!! And I remember now, that this blurb is what made me want to read it.


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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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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The A Poems
Penelope wrote:
My copy of the book is published by Faber & Faber in 1982...Lovely!!! And I remember now, that this blurb is what made me want to read it.

Penny, I think you've picked a winner. After a peruse of the list of poems, I am very excited about the collection.



Sun May 01, 2011 10:02 am
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