Verbal Fireworks
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Author:  DWill [ Fri Aug 08, 2008 9:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Verbal Fireworks

Just an impulse. This thread is where the heavy metal of the poetry trade goes. Nothing too subtle, just the power chords and the razzle-dazzle. You are welcome to rate each entrant on a scale of 1-10 for kick-ass quality.

I have to lead off with......(drumroll. please).....JABBERWOCKY! I love to recite this one.

Lewis Carroll
(from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought --
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
He chortled in his joy.

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Author:  Saffron [ Fri Aug 08, 2008 10:14 pm ]
Post subject: 

What a stroke of brilliance!!! So many poems come rushing to mind. I can't even decide which to post first. T.S.Eliot, Blake, or Coleridge. I love to recite The Tyger by William Blake. I have a wonderful little book titled Poetry Out Loud. My girls and I have enjoyed it tremendously through the years.

The Tyger
By William Blake

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art.
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

I love the repetition in this poem and the alliteration of burning bright. The rhythm and rhyme are the driving power behind this poem. This is a family favorite.

Author:  Saffron [ Wed Aug 13, 2008 6:37 am ]
Post subject:  e.e. cummings

Here is an all time favorite poem and one that must be read out loud for full effect -- as maybe is true of all poetry. When I first read this poem I was coming at with the intent to "understand" it and was very perplexed until I realized it was all about sound.

anyone lived in a pretty how town

anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn't he danced his did.

Women and men (both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn't they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain

children guessed (but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more

when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone's any was all to her

someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)they
said their nevers they slept their dream

stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)

one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was

all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
with by spirit and if by yes.

Women and men (both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain

ee cummings

Author:  DWill [ Wed Aug 13, 2008 8:32 pm ]
Post subject: 

Whoa! I need a chance to rate them 1-10, remember? "Tyger" will get a 10. I don't know of another poem that drives the way that one does, and the rest of my panel agrees. The e.e. cummings will get an 8.0 (the Czech judge gave it a 6, only she knows why).


Author:  Saffron [ Wed Aug 13, 2008 8:38 pm ]
Post subject: 

Oh, I forgot about rating the poems! Jabberwocky gets a perfect 10. It is one of the all time most fun to recite out loud poems ever written -- that from the Irish judge, sitting to my left.

Author:  DWill [ Thu Aug 14, 2008 6:23 am ]
Post subject: 

Did I say that not all of these pyrotechnic poems have to be "good'? This next one might be an example. It's Poe's "The Bells," and it has to me a kind of manic attraction.

THE BELLSby Edgar Allan Poe1849


I Hear the sledges with the bells-
Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
While the stars that oversprinkle
All the heavens, seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells-
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.

I Hear the mellow wedding bells,
Golden bells!
What a world of happiness their harmony foretells!
Through the balmy air of night
How they ring out their delight!
From the molten-golden notes,
And an in tune,
What a liquid ditty floats
To the turtle-dove that listens, while she gloats
On the moon!
Oh, from out the sounding cells,
What a gush of euphony voluminously wells!
How it swells!
How it dwells
On the Future! how it tells
Of the rapture that impels
To the swinging and the ringing
Of the bells, bells, bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells,bells,
Bells, bells, bells-
To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells!

I Hear the loud alarum bells-
Brazen bells!
What a tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells!
In the startled ear of night
How they scream out their affright!
Too much horrified to speak,
They can only shriek, shriek,
Out of tune,
In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire,
In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire,
Leaping higher, higher, higher,
With a desperate desire,
And a resolute endeavor,

Author:  Rose Kolarich [ Thu Aug 21, 2008 5:30 am ]
Post subject: 

The poem "Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape" by John Ashbery is a bit fancy so it might count in the verbal fireworks section. It cracks me up every time; it's just so much fun to read aloud. I love a good sestina, can anybody recommend some?

Here's the poem:

"Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape"

The first of the undecoded messages read: "Popeye sits
in thunder,
Unthought of. From that shoebox of an apartment,
From livid curtain's hue, a tangram emerges: a country."
Meanwhile the Sea Hag was relaxing on a green couch: "How
To spend one's vacation en la casa de Popeye," she
Her cleft chin's solitary hair. She remembered spinach

And was going to ask Wimpy if he had bought any spinach.
"M'love," he intercepted, "the plains are decked out
in thunder
Today, and it shall be as you wish." He scratched
The part of his head under his hat. The apartment
Seemed to grow smaller. "But what if no pleasant
Inspiration plunge us now to the stars? For this is my

Suddenly they remembered how it was cheaper in the country.
Wimpy was thoughtfully cutting open a number 2 can of spinach
When the door opened and Swee'pea crept in. "How pleasant!"
But Swee'pea looked morose. A note was pinned to his bib.
And tears are unavailing," it read. "Henceforth shall
Popeye's apartment
Be but remembered space, toxic or salubrious, whole or

Olive came hurtling through the window; its geraniums scratched
Her long thigh. "I have news!" she gasped. "Popeye, forced as
you know to flee the country
One musty gusty evening, by the schemes of his wizened,
duplicate father, jealous of the apartment
And all that it contains, myself and spinach
In particular, heaves bolts of loving thunder
At his own astonished becoming, rupturing the pleasant

Arpeggio of our years. No more shall pleasant
Rays of the sun refresh your sense of growing old, nor the
Tree-trunks and mossy foliage, only immaculate darkness and
She grabbed Swee'pea. "I'm taking the brat to the country."
"But you can't do that--he hasn't even finished his spinach,"
Urged the Sea Hag, looking fearfully around at the apartment.

But Olive was already out of earshot. Now the apartment
Succumbed to a strange new hush. "Actually it's quite pleasant
Here," thought the Sea Hag. "If this is all we need fear from
Then I don't mind so much. Perhaps we could invite Alice the Goon
over"--she scratched
One dug pensively--"but Wimpy is such a country
Bumpkin, always burping like that." Minute at first, the thunder

Soon filled the apartment. It was domestic thunder,
The color of spinach. Popeye chuckled and scratched
His balls: it sure was pleasant to spend a day in the country.

John Ashbery

Author:  Saffron [ Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:05 am ]
Post subject: 

Surely this poem of Yates' belongs here. This is not a poem of auditory fireworks, but rather emotional. The fireworks are in the powerful dread of first 3 lines and the exploding last 4 lines. At the end of the poem is a link to a reading of it on Utube.

The Second Coming
by W. B. Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

The Second Coming

Author:  Saffron [ Fri Oct 03, 2008 9:00 am ]
Post subject:  Sestina

For Rose Kolarich:

The sestina was invented in the late 12th century by the Provencal troubadour Arnaut Daniel. Elements of it were quickly imitated by other troubadours, such as Guilhem Peire Cazals de Caortz.

The oldest British example of the form is a double sestina, "You Goat-Herd Gods", written by Philip Sidney. Writers such as Dante, A. C. Swinburne, Rudyard Kipling, Ezra Pound, W. H. Auden, John Ashbery, Joan Brossa and Elizabeth Bishop are all noted for having written sestinas of some fame.

Here are two suggestions:
Sestina by Elizabeth Bishop

and a bit of Ezra Pound (not one of my favorites)

Sestina: Altaforte
by Ezra Pound

Loquitur: En Bertrans de Born.
Dante Alighieri put this man in hell for that he was a
stirrer-up of strife.
Judge ye!
Have I dug him up again?
The scene in at his castle, Altaforte. "Papiols" is his jongleur.
"The Leopard," the device of Richard (Cuur de Lion).


Damn it all! all this our South stinks peace.
You whoreson dog, Papiols, come! Let's to music!
I have no life save when the swords clash.
But ah! when I see the standards gold, vair, purple, opposing
And the broad fields beneath them turn crimson,
Then howl I my heart nigh mad with rejoicing.

Author:  Rose Kolarich [ Mon Oct 06, 2008 1:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sestina

Saffron wrote:
For Rose Kolarich:

The sestina was invented in the late 12th century by the Provencal troubadour Arnaut Daniel. Elements of it were quickly imitated by other troubadours, such as Guilhem Peire Cazals de Caortz.

Thanks very much for your suggestions Saffron, and the historical information about the sestina. I don't think I'm sophisticated enough for Ezra Pound's poetry yet (I'm still just dabbling) but I loved reading Sidney's "You Goat-Herd Gods" and Bishop's "Sestina", perhaps especially because the poets manage not to sacrifice emotion to verbal virtuosity.

Author:  Saffron [ Mon Oct 06, 2008 5:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sestina

Rose Kolarich wrote:
I don't think I'm sophisticated enough for Ezra Pound's poetry yet (I'm still just dabbling)

I wouldn't take not liking or getting Ezra Pound as a lack of sophistication. I think the more you read, you will find that there are going to be poets that you don't like or get with no reflection on your intelligence or sophistication. So, glad you enjoyed the poems I suggested. Keep reading!

Author:  Saffron [ Sat Apr 11, 2009 11:00 am ]
Post subject: 

I am sorry this thread has laid (or is it lain? To lie or to lay?) dormant for so long -- it is one I thought would be rather fun. Here is the end of Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, a 10 all the way! What do you think?

The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!
A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw;
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight 'twould win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

Author:  Thomas Hood [ Sat Apr 11, 2009 8:46 pm ]
Post subject: 

Buffalo Bill's
. . . . . . defunct
. . . . . . . . . . . .who used to
. . . . . . . . . . . .ride a watersmooth-silver
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . stallion
. . . . . . and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jesus
. . . . . . he was a handsome man
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . and what i want to know is
. . . . . . how do you like your blueeyed boy
. . . . . . Mister Death

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . e e cummings

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