poems we like

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Damian
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Re: poems we like

Post by Damian » Fri Sep 16, 2011 11:10 pm

Not sure why but I've been thinking of "A Child Ill" by John Betjeman, of late:-

"Oh little body, do not die.
The soul looks out through wide blue eyes
So questioningly into mine,
That my tormented soul replies
"Oh little body, do not die
You hold the soul that talks to me,
Although our conversation be
As wordless as the windy sky."

So looked my father at the last,
Right in my soul before he died,
Though words we spoke went heedless past
As London traffic-roar outside.
And now the same blue eyes I see
Look through me from a little son,
So questioningly, so searchingly
That youthfulness and age are one.

My father looked at me and died
Before my soul made full reply.
Lord, leave this other light alight
Oh little body, do not die"

Astonishing stuff, it was played as backing to Morrisseys tour of 2002 (I think)
The reading of it is brilliant: -


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Re: poems we like

Post by graysonscolumn » Thu Feb 16, 2012 10:11 am

Still on a Betjeman / Parker tip, did anyone else hear this on 6Music on Tuesday night?



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Re: poems we like

Post by this clump of trees » Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:45 pm

Blight

Hard seeds of hate I planted
That should by now be grown,—
Rough stalks, and from thick stamens
A poisonous pollen blown,
And odors rank, unbreathable,
From dark corollas thrown!

At dawn from my damp garden
I shook the chilly dew;
The thin boughs locked behind me
That sprang to let me through;
The blossoms slept,—I sought a place
Where nothing lovely grew.

And there, when day was breaking,
I knelt and looked around:
The light was near, the silence
Was palpitant with sound;
I drew my hate from out my breast

And thrust it in the ground.

Oh, ye so fiercely tended,
Ye little seeds of hate!
I bent above your growing
Early and noon and late,
Yet are ye drooped and pitiful,—
I cannot rear ye straight!

The sun seeks out my garden,
No nook is left in shade,
No mist nor mold nor mildew
Endures on any blade,
Sweet rain slants under every bough:
Ye falter, and ye fade.


Edna St. Vincent Millay

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Re: poems we like

Post by humblebee » Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:45 am

I'm reading Love and Zen in the Outer Hebrides by Kevin MacNeil.

This just tears me up.
And it would be simpler to contain all the clouds
in a single jar unlidded
than expect this love to be returned.
Just as the wind – breathless – carries a song
and never quietens its bustle to listen,
just as a bird's shadow streams over a lake,
just as our country exists and it doesn't,
and just as our world's original dawn
will never again equal itself, but rises blushing
that it be admired as a constant failing,
so you are here and not here,
your face a bright mist in my dreams gently fading.

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Re: poems we like

Post by crystalball » Sun Nov 04, 2012 8:23 pm

Yesterday I had a night in on my own and sat down to alphabetise my books, as you do. It was hopeless - five minutes in, I was curled up on the floor lost in this:

Saraband

Select your sorrows if you can,
Edit your ironies, even grieve with guile.
Adjust to a world divided
Which demands your candid senses stoop to labyrinthine wiles
What natural alchemy lends
To the scrubby grocery boy with dirty hair
The lustre of Apollo, or Golden Hyacinth’s fabled stare.
If you must cross the April park, be brisk:
Avoid the cadence of the evening, eyes from afar
Lest you be held as a security risk
Solicit only the evening star.

Your desperate nerves fuse laughter with disaster
And higgledy piggledy giggle once begun
Crown a host of unassorted sorrows
You never could manage one by one.
The world that jibes your tenderness
Jails your lust.
Bewildered by the paradox of all your musts
Turning from horizon to horizon, noonday to dusk
It may be only you can understand:
On a mild sea afternoon of blue and gold
When the sky is a mild blue of a Chinese bowl
The bones of Hart Crane, sailors and the drugstore man
Beat on the ocean’s floor the same saraband.

Carson McCullers

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Re: poems we like

Post by BadNoiseBoy » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:26 pm

It's hard to pick just one, but I think all of Sappho's poems are great. Even though (or perhaps because) she wrote them ~ 600 B.C., her poems are still, simultaneously, some of the most sensual and sweetest poems you'll find.

XXVIII


With your head thrown backward
In my arm's safe hollow,
And your face all rosy
With the mounting fervour;

While the grave eyes greaten 5
With the wise new wonder,
Swimming in a love-mist
Like the haze of Autumn;

From that throat, the throbbing
Nightingale's for pleading, 10
Wayward, soft, and welling
Inarticulate love-notes,

Come the words that bubble
Up through broken laughter,
Sweeter than spring-water, 15
"Gods, I am so happy!"

-Sappho

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Re: poems we like

Post by crystalball » Tue Jun 04, 2013 7:08 pm

Oh, I like that. Lovely translation too.

Welcome to Anorak! :)

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Re: poems we like

Post by BadNoiseBoy » Tue Jun 04, 2013 7:31 pm

Yeah, I guess it should actually be attributed to Bliss Carman, as he sought to fill in the fragments of her poems to create a fluid work. (Most of her work was burned during the Dark Ages. Very sad.)

Also, thanks! :)

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Re: poems we like

Post by crystalball » Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:54 am

Ursula Bethell, where have you been all my life?

Response

When you wrote your letter it was April,
And you were glad that it was spring weather,
And that the sun shone out in turn with showers of rain.

I write in waning May and it is autumn,
And I am glad that my chrysanthemums
Are tied up fast to strong posts,
So that the south winds cannot beat them down.
I am glad that they are tawny coloured,
And fiery in the low west evening light.
And I am glad that one bush warbler
Still sings in the honey-scented wattle – – –

But oh, we have remembering hearts,
And we say ‘How green it was in such and such an April,’
And, ‘Such and such an autumn was very golden,’
And, ‘Everything is for a very short time.’

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Re: poems we like

Post by Damian » Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:32 am

Saddened to just about the death of Seamus Heaney, a poet I've had a love for every since we studied some of his poems at secondary school. Which in itself is impressive since most literature we were thought at school put me off the authors for years. Here's his poem 'Digging'. One I learnt off by heart then and still know now.

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.

Under my window, a clean rasping sound
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:
My father, digging. I look down

Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds
Bends low, comes up twenty years away
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills
Where he was digging.

The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked,
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.

By God, the old man could handle a spade.
Just like his old man.

My grandfather cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner’s bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, going down and down
For the good turf. Digging.

The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.

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Re: poems we like

Post by crystalball » Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:25 pm

I discovered a poet I didn't know today; her name was U A Fanthorpe and she'd written a poem about London rivers and it's completely wonderful:

Rising Damp

'A river can sometimes be diverted but is a very hard thing to lose altogether.'
(Paper to the Auctioneers' Institute, 1907)

At our feet they lie low,
The little fervent underground
Rivers of London

Effra, Graveney, Flacon, Quaggy,
Wandle, Walbrook, Tyburn, Fleet


Whose names are disfigured,
Frayed, effaced.

There are the Magogs that chewed the clay
To the basin that London nestles in.
These are the currents that chiselled the city,
That washed the clothes and turned the mills,
Where children drank and salmon swam
And wells were holy.

They have gone under.
Boxed, like the magician's assistant.
Buried alive in earth.
Forgotten, like the dead.

They return spectrally after heavy rain,
Confounding suburban gardens. They inflitrate
Chronic bronchitis statistics. A silken
Slur haunts dwellings by shrouded
Watercourses, and is taken
For the footing of the dead.

Being of our world, they will return
(Westbourne, caged at Sloane Square,
Will jack from his box),
Will deluge cellars, detonate manholes,
Plant effluent on our faces,
Sink the city.

Effra, Graveney, Falcon, Quaggy,
Wandle, Walbrook, Tyburn, Fleet


It is the other rivers that lie
Lower, that touch us only in dreams
That never surface. We feel their tug
As a dowser's rod bends to the surface below

Phlegethon, Acheron, Lethe, Styx.

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Re: poems we like

Post by linus » Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:07 pm

sniffing around for fact about the cleaners from venus, found this poem by john cooper clarke about martin newell (who was and is and remains very much the cleaners from venus):
give him the moonlight
give him the dawn
a stove pipe hat like Frankie Vaughan
he's off to do somebody's lawn
who's that then. Martin Newell

rock a doodle doodle do
the man has got two jobs to do
they call him germinator two
who. Martin Newell

it's hard the graft
and scant 'o play
each twenty-four hour working day
for a nine-yard poem
and a pile of hay
hey. Martin Newell

he makes me feel like an idle slob
for only having one job
he's certainly got the gift of the gob
sod. Martin Newell

off with the duvet
under the light
from bed to verse in the dead of night
insomnia written all over his kite
spritely. Martin Newell

lady chatterly was looking for a lover
for a little bit of this that and yes some of the other
who had all three angles covered.
Martin Newell

is your garden overgrown
a sad reflection on your home
a pestilential disaster zone
phone. Martin Newell

he'll gladly tangle with the weeds
and meet all your herbacious needs
and then he's got a gig in leeds
who's that then. Martin Newell

with a shank and a shovel
the rythm of the rake
the garden of eden without the snake
who did the business for fucks sake
Martin Newell

fit like a fiddle
drinks like a fish
you should be so tough you wish
he's got muscles in his piss
who's this. Martin Newell

a shallow dish of slender gruel
and a pint of ale his only fuel
goes by the name of Martin Newell
who's that then. Martin Newell

every seven years it's said
Martin Newell goes to bed
that's enough poems. ed

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Re: poems we like

Post by crystalball » Mon Dec 16, 2013 1:25 pm

Patrick Kavanagh's 'Advent' is poem of the week in the Guardian today. It's quite astonishing, particularly the closing lines:

Advent

We have tested and tasted too much, lover –
Through a chink too wide there comes in no wonder.
But here in the Advent-darkened room
Where the dry black bread and the sugarless tea
Of penance will charm back the luxury
Of a child's soul, we'll return to Doom
The knowledge we stole but could not use.

And the newness that was in every stale thing
When we looked at it as children: the spirit-shocking
Wonder in a black slanting Ulster hill
Or the prophetic astonishment in the tedious talking
Of an old fool will awake for us and bring
You and me to the yard gate to watch the whins
And the bog-holes, cart-tracks, old stables where Time begins.

O after Christmas we'll have no need to go searching
For the difference that sets an old phrase burning –
We'll hear it in the whispered argument of a churning
Or in the streets where the village boys are lurching.
And we'll hear it among decent men too
Who barrow dung in gardens under trees,
Wherever life pours ordinary plenty.
Won't we be rich, my love and I, and please
God we shall not ask for reason's payment,
The why of heart-breaking strangeness in dreeping hedges
Nor analyse God's breath in common statement.
We have thrown into the dust-bin the clay-minted wages
Of pleasure, knowledge and the conscious hour –
And Christ comes with a January flower.

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Re: poems we like

Post by humblebee » Mon Dec 16, 2013 1:31 pm

Just, wow.

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Re: poems we like

Post by crystalball » Thu Feb 13, 2014 8:29 pm

Here is what has been stuck in my head for a couple of days now:

'For Grace, After A Party' by Frank O'Hara

You do not always know what I am feeling.
Last night in the warm spring air while I was
blazing my tirade against someone who doesn't
interest
me, it was love for you that set me
afire,

and isn't it odd? for in rooms full of
strangers my most tender feelings
writhe and
bear the fruit of screaming. Put out your hand,
isn't there
an ashtray, suddenly, there? beside
the bed? And someone you love enters the room
and says wouldn't
you like the eggs a little

different today?
And when they arrive they are
just plain scrambled eggs and the warm weather
is holding.

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Re: poems we like

Post by crystalball » Mon Apr 07, 2014 9:15 am

This.

'The Beach' by Kathleen Jamie

Now this big westerly's
blown itself out,
let's drive to the storm beach.

A few brave souls
will be there already,
eyeing the driftwood,

the heaps of frayed
blue polyprop rope,
cut loose, thrown back at us -

What a species -
still working the same
curved bay, all of us

hoping for the marvellous,
all hankering for a changed life.

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Re: poems we like

Post by Dan » Tue Apr 08, 2014 10:09 am

I've been reading Anne Stevenson on-and-off while on my lunch for the past few weeks. Here is a poem.

A Report from the Border

Wars in peacetime don't behave like wars.
So loving they are.
Kissed on both cheeks, silk-lined ambassadors
Pose and confer.

Unbuckle your envy, drop it there by the door.
We will settle,
We will settle without blows or bullets
The unequal score.

In nature, havenots have to be many
And havelots few.
Making money out of making money
Helps us help you.


This from the party of good intent. From the other,
Hunger's stare,
Drowned crops, charred hopes, fear, stupor, prayer.
And literature.

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Re: poems we like

Post by crystalball » Mon May 12, 2014 12:41 pm

This is one of the poems of the week in the Guardian today, by Ann Cluysenaar. I like it a lot:

January 13

Hunting the Higgs


No wonder they love a laugh, the physicists.
What ever they find or don't, it's OK.
Symmetries of the world just remnants
of those which, if perfect, would only have led to

no world at all – anti-matter, matter
would have cancelled each other out. Maybe.
Or maybe not, if the theory is at fault.
And if it is? More exciting still.

Whatever we're made of, it wants to know
how it came to be what it is. In us,
for a while at least, the stuff of stars
gets a glimpse of its own precarious life.

Like a single life, that will soon be gone.
Universes before, maybe, or after
our own, we won't ever get to explore.
They make up what is, though. And here we are!

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Re: poems we like

Post by crystalball » Fri Jun 13, 2014 10:04 am

This is annoying because it's a FB video but anyway: coming across this person's poems was like being given a new way to breathe. Matthew Clegg: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10152463597644028

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Re: poems we like

Post by humblebee » Fri Jun 13, 2014 11:02 am

crystalball wrote:This is annoying because it's a FB video but anyway: coming across this person's poems was like being given a new way to breathe. Matthew Clegg: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10152463597644028
<3 <3 I JUST CAN'T EVEN.

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