Great Poetry Circle

Somnambule BalladGreat Poetry European

Posted by Graham Thompson Tue, May 01, 2018 21:15:32

Green, how much I want you green.
Green wind. Green branches.
The ship upon the sea.
And the horse in the mountain.
With the shadow on her waist
she dreams on her balcony,
green flesh, hair of green,
and eyes of cold silver.
Green, how much I want you, green.
Beneath the gypsy moon,
all things look at her
but she cannot see them.


Green, how much I want you green.
Great stars of white frost
come with the fish of darkness
that opens the road of dawn.
The fig tree rubs the wind
with the sandpaper of its branches,
and the mountain, a filching cat,
bristles its aloes.


But who will come and from where?
She lingers on her balcony,
green flesh, hair of green,
dreaming of the bitter sea.


Friends I want to change
my horse for your house,
my saddle for your mirror,
my knife for your blanket.


Friend, I come bleeding,
from the passes of Cabra.
If I could, young man,
this pact would be sealed.
But I am no more I,
nor is my house now my house.
Friend I want to die
decently in my bed
of iron, if possible,
with sheets of fine holland.
Do you not see the wound I have
from my breast to my throat?
Your white shirt bears
three hundred dark roses.
Your pungent blood oozes
around your sash.
But I am no more I,
nor is my house now my house.
Let me climb at least
up to the high balustrades:
let me come! Let me come!
Up to the high balustrades.
Balustrades of the moon
where the water resounds.


Now two friends go up
towards the high balustrades.
Leaving a trail of blood,
leaving a trail of tears.
Small lanternes of tin
were trembling on the roofs.
A thousand crystal tambourines
were piercing the dawn.


Green, how much I want you green,
green wind, green branches.
The two friends went up.
The long wind was leaving
in the mouth a strange taste
of gall, mint and sweet basil.
Friend! Where is she, tell me,
where is your bitter girl?
How often she waited for you!
How often did she wait for you,
cool face, black hair,
on this green balcony!


Over the face of the cistern
the gypsy girl swayed.
Green flesh, hair of green,
with eyes of cold silver.
An icicle of the moon
suspends her above the water.
The night became as intimate
a sa a little square.
Drunken civil guards
were knocking at the door.
Green, how much I want you green.
Green wind. Green branches.
The ship on the sea.
And the horse on the mountain.


Frederico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936)

The question remains: is this a vision of his violent death?


Talking with LorcaTS Political Poetry

Posted by Graham Thompson Tue, May 01, 2018 20:37:38

I was not yet in life

When they came for you at 4 in the morning

That dreaming hour when

All poets dredge their muddied minds

For pearls, or the lucky ones

Sing non-stop like an Orpheus

Newly risen from hell’s earth

Or the dreadful ones – like you -

who can see clearly their own death

They came for you at 4 in the morning

Those young raw and drunken falangists

Barely out of their shorts

And who knows where educated?

Extremadura, Burgos, and dry Murcia perhaps

And educated how?

Certainly not in the poems of Machado

Nor with Picasso’s perspective

Of the tour de face

Yes they came at exactly 4 in the morning

Bearing ancient rusty rifles

Which had travelled much further

Then any of those feckless clueless young innocents -

Perhaps from Galicia, Morocco or Pamplona -

And certainly those barrels had been trained

On Catalans, Basques, Asturians

Before reaching Lorca’s firing line

They say it was an orange grove

Before the fruit had been picked

But it was way past the harvest

So they lay rotting and fermenting

On the ground where Lorca

And his nameless companions too

Would soon be providing food

For a million flies

An army

Not big enough to swallow his spirit

But enough to quarry his sap

Yes the bullets took them when their only crime

Was to be socialists and Andalusian

So Lorca never leapt

Like a slippery dolphin

In the fight with his cowardly enemies

Nor bathed in their blood

Instead - they were bathed in his

And though to the end

He still thirsted for the Green

And his eyes flickered

To those fading Green visions

The wind caressed his spirit

Inside the Green

Before he could taste it

Before he could smell it

Before he could feel it

Before he could sail in it

Before he could love it

In the arms of the woman

Who was never to be the next

The wind carried his spirit to us

That little wind that in-spired us

And all who bathed in the GREEN

In all who made Lorca

Not their destination

But a true way-station

With a candle inside becoming carol

On that final path to green glory

And on that toros poster

Crossed by Lorca's words:

"And the bull alone with high heart

At five in the afternoon"



And today your body still lies lost

Pitched under a giant stone

Or under those holy olive branches

Waving now to no-one.


Lorca! Your cause

Was not in war

Nor was it in vain:

Though prematurely dead

Your spirit pitches up today

Not only in this 70 year old

Desiccated fruit:

The young are freed

By your poetry they

Follow on your path

And bear your truth

And the shots still ring in their ears



Tommy Stroller, Spring 2018







Front LawnGreat Poetry

Posted by G. Thompson Tue, March 27, 2018 12:17:10

The snow was falling
over my penknife
There was a movie
in the fireplace
The apples were wrapped
in 8 year-old blond hair
Starving and dirty
the janitor's daughter never
turned up in November
to pee from her sweet crack
on the gravel
I'll go back one day
when my cast is off
Elm leaves are falling
over my bow and arrow
Candy is going bad
and Boy Scout calendars
are on fire
My old mother
sits in her Cadillac
laughing in her Danube laugh
as I tell her that we own
all the worms in our lawn
Rust rust rust
in the engines of love and time

Leonard Cohen from Flowers for Hitler (1964)


Cohen needs no introduction, but it is his music he is more famous for than his poetry, but his early poems are absolutely brilliant, though extremely personal. Notice the way he casually captures the details of his old family home and childhood by just small hints and images. The end of this poem I take to be a classic 60s blast against materialism and capitalism - but judge for yourself.

More background can be found on Wikipædia:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonard_Cohen#Poetry_and_novels

There they quote his influences as being Whitman, Lorca, Yeats and Henry Miller. All important, but really he was a unique voice from the beginning. Like me he had a family festooned with religious preachers (in his case rabbis, in mine evangelical protestant sermonizers), and this shows in many of his poems - he is deeply concerned with the fading and near extinction (in truly spiritual terms) of major religions, and his poetry and songs are imbued with the influences of both his upbringing (as a strict Jewish boy) and the Catholic community that surrounded him. He searched all his life for a new religion but never found one to suit him. Zen-Buddhism came close but he could never give up coffee, cigarettes and women in order to seriously become a monk. In any case, his famous relationship with the abbot of the Californian zen monastery he attended for 3 years (1994-7) led to him becoming the master's first assistant, but I think the master saw Cohen as HIS master!

I recommend all the early poetry - best found in Selected Poetry - & his last collection - Book of Longing (2006), even if the latter are less crafted poems then his earlier. The best novel I feel is Beautiful Losers, a great portrayal of a very unMeToo male in the freedom loving 60's. But it is better than Miller's autobiographical self-glorification of his own penis, much, much better. Cohen not only loved women, he deeply respected them and always set them above himself. That is why 80% of his adoring fans WERE women! Leonard Cohen (1934 - 2016) RIP



HermaphroditeTS Political Poetry

Posted by G. Thompson Tue, March 27, 2018 11:04:05

Hermaphrodite


I am the star which guides you, my ship, to harbour home.

I am the waves which kiss your bows and urge your timbers moan.

You are the sail which clasps my breath, my song, that makes you yearn.

You are the hull which holds my dreams yet shoots me through the dawn.


No, I am the star which guides the wise, and bids the end of day.

And I am the waves which cleanse your world and keeps your filth at bay.

You are the sale that clutches my breath, the patter that makes me buy.

You are the rack I stretch upon that pulls my dreams awry.


But I am the sun and sometimes the moon, depending on the dice.

And I will love whoever comes no matter which way they face.

If it is true, as you do say, that I have been your rack,

I must become the you I've made and suffer from that lack.


It is no lack to be without what you have always had.

And even now you cannot change the thinking of the stud.

You cannot know, you cannot feel, the centuries of my fear.

But what you must begin to will is LOVE, not power and war.





For the MeToo campaign



You turned your head TS Love

Posted by Graham Thompson Wed, March 21, 2018 22:58:47

You turned your head

and tossed your hair

though it fell again across your face

As your half-questioning look

tilted your head

and your dark eyes smiled

in perfect knowledge

the small wavetops dissolved

from sight and hearing

The pebble felt warm

as it was pressed into my palm

my arm slowly lowered

my eyes too

Do you remember? laughed your lips

but the shocking waves

stole your glance

and my memory

awoke no meaning

the present became long past

and the future spoke alone






for Barbara


You constantly made up to meTS Love

Posted by Graham Thompson Tue, March 20, 2018 10:36:44

You constantly made up to me

In mascara, liner and rouge


Though I never asked for that at all

Nor ever made the first move


Then I was the partner left unseen

When you sals'ed thru the night


I was the secret that danced between

Your breasts and other men


My love you took the tram to Moscow

That got sidelined in my heart


You wanted to dance one last dance for me

On life's perfect seamless strand


It was a day you gave back to me

But really it meant the end


Then you tried to skate away from me

But fell and broke your wrist


You mailed me an X ray of the bone

That still treasonably hurts


Now you skate on kitchen floors

With home and babe and man


You never answer the phone to me

You've found another's wings


So when the time comes to count

All those ballroom heroines


I'll put you high above everyone

Though I'll have to unclip your wings


I can't remember the lines I said

When as friends we finally did part


But all I know is that breasts your size

Should never be let out alone



Hey angel, this utopia is upside down!TS Love

Posted by Graham Thompson Tue, March 20, 2018 10:23:27

“ … and (s)he was the devil of my dreams, the handsomest angel.”

Antonio Machado


Hey angel, why do your visits

come so often? Were you once

more human & voluptuous,

instead of ice thin & boney,

like my incarnate lover?

Are your wings of wider span

now you need to defeat

my gravity?

& who is escaping from whom?


Hey angel, the first time

you left me, you were parked

on a slab of stone, not in paradise

but the morgue – did you

fly up to heaven

all on your own?


Then you haunted me

constantly in muddy lanes

& briared paths

between sunrise & dawn

and in the soon-to-be-harvested

wheat-fields of my youth.

Were you taken in your nest

like the sliced & quartered rats

I found when they

came to take the grain?


Later, when I'd lost you,

I thought it was

forever, you flew in

from Lisbon

or some other port of whores.

You came back to tempt me, seduce

or pre-empt me – but I

knew your game right from the start.

You might have given me

the clap, but not the bee-sting kiss

of a Hecubus from hell

pretending to be heaven.


In Flanders fields I found you

blindly strolling through the graves

that ten feet below

tugged at your heels, but stop

you never did

except to undo this kid

who had single-mindedly

failed to win the war.

We slept between the graves,

made love between the folds

of the dead, we consumed

one another in passion's fire;

but there were no phoenixes,

only sadly failed intentions

as I escaped

out of your coffin door.


Hey angel

I thought I was free of you

in the far north of my freedom

a place where angels can catch

cold

in their extremities,

but you found me

you came knocking

at my balcony window door

as I paused from my words

on the page. Of course,

they were of you, only you,

as you reached again

into my fiery coal-black heart.

You came to wrench me

from the page to the precipice,

you came to tear me

from my fate

ringed by circles arctic

and of stories old.

You dragged me to the balcony's

rough ledge,

then it was push & pull:

your push to make you thrill

at the dizzy heights below,

and at my fall,

my pull to draw me back

to the stage;

for it is an act, a play,

a whole production on the road

I'll never live to see:

it's our common desire

to join beyond the grave

at the crossroads

where all the angels

met the witch

(of the north?).


Written in a bar on the Avd. Antonio Macho, Playa del Balamadena, Andalucia, March, 2018









Vanilla – a mixed metaphorTS Love

Posted by Graham Thompson Tue, March 20, 2018 10:00:43

The candles in this stranger's house

reek of vanilla – a scent

that takes me back unerringly,

compulsively, to,

not the love of my life,

but loving that once seemed

unquenchable – it was her soap

and from it her skin

that gave off a perfume

which preceded her every entry

to my presence

by seconds:

Vanilla! It's origin

no mystery: those long

sensuous dark pods

the hidden fragrance of their insides

a life history

of pollination by hand -

a strange kind of sex

at its foundation

leading to another

more personal history

of childhood custards

seaside ice-creams

motherly cheeks and apple pies.

Vanilla!

wreaking of life, sex and even the death

captive in its unlit interior

exteriorised in my love's

every tender move

this love haunts me now

from some distant place

I can no longer reach

but only smell

and here retell

again and again

our injured history and

miraculous intercourse

almost preternatural in its origin

a passion now belonging to

its own relational geology

an ice-age erratic left

forlorn, isolated

on some foreign strand:

how many times

will it lead me astray,

this lone signpost

to a pre-historic love