Great PoetryPosted by Graham Thompson Mon, February 15, 2016 22:59:05Essenin
To Be A Poet
To be a poet — is the same
As when by truth of life
You scar your own tender flesh,
And with the blood of feelings
Caress the souls of others.
To be a poet — to sing freedom,
As you know it best
The song of the nightingale doesn't hurt him -
His song is always the same.
Canary mimicking someone's voice -
Pitiful and silly bauble
The world needs real songs — so sing like only you can
Even if you sound like a frog.
Mohammed has overdone it in the Quran
When he forbade strong drink
That is why the poet will not stop
Drinking wine before he goes to the torture
And when a poet goes to his lover,
And finds her lying with another
He, kept by life-sustaining liquid,
Won't send a knife into her heart.
But, burning up with jealous recklessness,
Will whistle on the way back home
"So what, so I will die a vagabond,
On this earth such fate is also known."
Essenin the great Russian poet, married for a short time to the famous American dancer Isadora Duncan, never wrote a line for or against the communist revolution, which he lived through. Like all very serious romantic poets he committed suicide (reason not clear - the inhumanity of the times or the inhumanity of the woman who rejected him at the time). But unlike most romantic poets he attacked the nightingale for having the same song every time (though, of course, it doesn't!) and being like a canary (which it patently isn't). But his poetic images are so convincing we can always forgive his inaccurate reading of reality.
Maybe he was a punk romantic, or an early Rebel without a Cause.Jaroslav Seifert
Czechia 1901 - 1986
Nobel Prize for Literature 1984
One of the Charter 77 SignatoriesTo Be a Poet
Life taught me long ago
that music and poetry
are the most beautiful things on earth
that life can give us.
Except for love, of course.
In an old textbook
published by the Imperial Printing House
in the year of Vrchlický's death
I looked up the section on poetics
and poetic ornament.
Then I placed a rose in a tumbler,
lit a candle
and started to write my first verses.
Flare up, flame of words,
even if my fingers get burned!
A startling metaphor is worth more
than a ring on one's finger.
But not even Puchmajer's Rhyming Dictionary
was any use to me.
In vain I snatched for ideas
and fiercely closed my eyes
in order to hear that first magic line.
But in the dark, instead of words,
I saw a woman's smile and
That has been my destiny.
And I've been staggering towards it breathlessly
all my life.
An honest poet, Seifert frankly admitted he loved women more than poetry, and maybe, unlike Rilke who felt the reverse, his lack of dedication made him a middling poet. But his documentation of life in poetry is some of the best writing in the Czech language (say the Czechs), and at least the Swedes recognized this too. See also:
http://www.archipelago.org/vol2-3/seifert6.htm - The Lost Paradise, which starts in the famous Jewish Cemetry in Prague.
Great PoetryPosted by Graham Thompson Mon, January 18, 2016 13:34:02
Pacing past these bars has made
his gaze so weary, now nothing holds him
outside this countless passing
and beyond them there is no other world.
His lithe strong steps in steady rhythm
rotate in ever smaller circles,
as if held by a centre his numbed will
cannot free itself from.
Only sometimes does the shutter
on his pupils slide open, and an image
darts inside and down some long hidden nerve-way
to finally flutter then die in his heart.
R.M. RILKE 1910
This is just my own poetic interpretation and does not claim to be an accurate translation
Sein Blick ist von Vorübergehen der Stäbe
so müd geworden, daß er nichts mehr hält.
Ihm ist, als ob es tausend Stäbe gäbe
und hinter tausend Stäben keine Welt.
Der weiche Gang geschmeidig starker Schritte,
der sich im allerkleinsten Kreise dreht,
ist wie ein Tanz von Kraft um eine Mitte,
in der betäubt ein großer Wille steht.
Nur manchmal schiebt der Vorhang der Pupille
sich lautlos auf—. Dann geht ein Bild hinein,
geht durch der Glieder angespannte Stille—
und hirt im Herzen auf zu sein.
Rilke is one of my favourite poets because his poetry is so exact and yet so deep. This poem, one of his most famous, was inspired by the sculptor Rodin telling him he should go to the Paris Zoo and minutely observe the animals there. It was in the collection called New Poetry that was a new direction for the poet, most of whose works were heavily metaphysical and philosophical before this.
TS InscapePosted by Graham Thompson Sat, January 09, 2016 19:15:40
Star on the Mast
A star sails into harbour
On the yule-tree
On the mast
Of the old tug
Longing for repair
The Light Is Going
The light is going
way over the copse,
it shrinks from the ploughed
gullies and blackbird runs
between the hawthorn,
gilding still the leftover
harvest straw, the elm tops
threading the November dusk
with stripped and lonely lifelines.
Old man, old woman,
two lightning blasted trunks
await their final rest,
like an old couple
in God's golden funeral parlour.
Only the old railway
holds a claim on tomorrow;
all else is nature's slow sleep,
turning its nose into the cold
pillow of night
and the longer stillness,
which is ours for the watching
Something That The Wind Blew In
Something that the wind blew in
Through that midnight banging door
Sets my heart to wandering
Wraps my thought in fur
Vacant lots on city streets
Lonely pines on moors
Telephones ringing in empty flats
Minds that talk with walls
Yesterday’s unfinished washing up
Beachballs left in dunes
Jigsaws and wine almost spilt
Coffins in front rooms
Connections between bus and train
Timetables and accounts
All add up to the same
Nothing was destined to meet
It was by chance we came this way
Chance when we shall leave
The only certainty’s in our reason
Or spells cast in the dark
We are like strangers living here
As if from distant planets flung
Falling separately to little farms
Where contact tentatively
Cross fields & border hedges
The outstretched arms
Reach blindly for the tips
Of fingers searching back
Kick the dust:
Stub-toed and obvious
The iron and the rust
Black faces in the sun
Run to meet me;
Sour eyed, respectfully I turn
see no blood
On the trees, they are green
And I am hungry.
Sometimes, this dust, into my
Head. The people excite me,
They belong without ties;
Or "hope you have a nice trip".
They simply turn away
And are gone before you've even
Maybe one day I will
It never floods
A gold diamond reflection
Has been robbed of its brilliance,
For today, early and scuffling,
The lights have changed. The almost
Orange plays no more its gaudy theme.
The waters ripple under much cruel
And crude description.
The cold saliva brushes past the days
And catches my tongue between
Two definitions. But sharper
Are my thoughts, not hurried
In uncomfortable salt of sweat,
But freezing harder onto
This prime-evil life.
A dance of criss-crossing curves:
Branches in the wood
Dead elms leer out of the eaten bark
Myriad paths of beetles mark their underways
Faces of frogs and children in the leaves
Interwoven in the light wind
Parting and joining through the lowering sun
Old couples go mad in the children's playground
Roundly edit the merry go round
And make a last exit from the swings of heaven
The gold flash of the
Dead soldier's helmet
We are all legionnaires in the woods
Of subtle and self-mystifying desires
We are all young old dead
In receipt of life's greed
The chemistry of the moon
Is still alive and living through
This grey matter, the ghost shiver,
The twitching dog dance,
The unweavable play of feet,
The welcome combusting engine roar
Of car come home,
The fucking combined bodied suck
Of lovers' domes,
The poet's tongue.
Under Helen's dark eyes
we are all slaves of the love promise
crystalized in that low-cut glance
and I was stabbed by the moonlight
flashes through dead branches
knives hurtled into night's
soon forsaken black sleep
the words of dead lovers
in the extinct river lights
a city telegraph
for yearning eyes and ears
over the sighs of bridges
the enemies of sleep still walk
but me I retrace moon-steps
into my lost one's arms
and Paris wakes
in the sewers' puke
and waves of new sun`s ashes
brushing cold skin air
but Helen is not there
Do these words have a place
On the page before they are stowed?
Do they already have a mast in your mind?
For is not all that is done
A voyage of ports
Wherein place is sorted in time.
Great PoetryPosted by Graham Thompson Wed, January 06, 2016 20:33:18
THIS darksome burn, horseback brown,
His rollrock highroad roaring down,
In coop and in comb the fleece of his foam
Flutes and low to the lake falls home.
A windpuff-bonnet of fáwn-fróth
Turns and twindles over the broth
Of a pool so pitchblack, féll-frówning,
It rounds and rounds Despair to drowning.
Degged with dew, dappled with dew
Are the groins of the braes that the brook treads through,
Wiry heathpacks, flitches of fern,
And the beadbonny ash that sits over the burn.
What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.
GLORY be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
THE WORLD is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
TS LovePosted by Graham Thompson Mon, December 28, 2015 17:01:10
Let it pass;
Let it pass over you
Like the curtain of night
Drawn by invisible hands.
Let it come;
Let it come to swallow you
Like the lips of the sea
Close over your whiteskin flesh.
Let me assure you:
You are the light in my saucer sky,
The succulent source of my wishbone seas
That ebb towards procreation.
For the tides will leave us landlocked
On the desolate sands,
When the bright dayblood dispels the nightwitching,
And our seashells will lie hollow to the sun.
We know the way so well
Every path, hill and curve
Of this country is like
A mnemonic for bitter love.
As the future
Has run out of fashions
We will make do
With the map of these bodies
And explore them
Remember me when you are old
For age will be the lesson
Of your completion
In things you do not savour now
But will only pause to miss when so long gone
Remember us when you grow old
For we were young in loving then
And perfect in asymmetry
I - old in years
You - rolling in the profits of untramelled youth:
Dancing in limbs and fingers
Singing like a winsome flute or sadder violin.
Remember yourself when you fall old
And care for those things that time
Had no time to spare when you were young
And nurture memories of how it was
When wrinkles and dust did never seep
Into these corners of our lives
And trust was greater
Than any chasm yawning between generations.
Yes - it skewed us
Into opposing halves:
The divided paths that ended here -
Again as lonely spirits on this ledge.
The Night Forest
When the world was green
I was a hunter without gun
But once, just once, I saw
A brown fox looking
Carving her body out of the beckoning trees
And it was my shot
We knew this fox and I
The how and why
And so we at once agreed
But............ I wondered
Who would run and who would kill
The soft brown fur mistook my eyes
Hyena mouthed she smiled
Powder footed she stepped away
And the forest was deep
Without that silent body
It crept up and hit me round the neck
In parting we lose not only the lover
But also a part of ourselves.
When undoing that first embrace
We signal the final move;
Untying the knot of our hands
Permits the final wave.
If you look in the eyes of the woman departing
They will mirror a glance from the grave.
You Tiptoed Away In The Night
Your arms encircled the void
In the still desert
That was my heart
You planted yellow roses
And watered them every day
- so bloodied from blindly
tearing around in my darkened room
bumping against furniture
and walls -
You rubbed so gently
and kissed away the pain
You loosened me from the rack
Of my deceits
and half untruths
Untied me from the table
of my flattened universe
You sat constant
in the sickroom of no hopes
When the doctors
Had given me up
In the void where once your arms encircled
In the desert of yellow roses
In the dark room of torn spaces
On the rack of my unprovoked lies
In the sickroom of my patient madness
There is now no-one
You tiptoed away in the night
Yes I have given you up to the stars
So you can maybe alter mine
Then hopefully your own How Life Begins
Out of the blistering silence
Comes the fire of our words.
So cool the night against our loving ways,
Paths of burning thoughts raised
On black and bitten bodies.
Suns were born and die again
In the days that these monstrous seconds fill.
Like flags, waving through the night
Of sudden caresses:
A track forever traced by fingers
In these singular brains.
Kindred spirits dally one last moment,
Hanging up their bodies like
Overcoats on different hooks
In the stillness of the early morning hall. Over The Sea
Over the sea of love's last looking
No sail comes to deliver you
Over the gales, the ribbed and beating clouds
The hormone night lights the blood´s short fuse
My heart is a bay for your safe anchor
My eye a mirror for those calmer days
I cannot walk the headlands of our forever
Without the tightening of memory's stays
Tommy Strollers PoetryPosted by Graham Thompson Tue, December 22, 2015 17:25:39
When midnight's clear before you
The space between the sounds of night
Is full of shadows
Cast ahead of time,
So that words spoken, images
Floating, have their signposts -
The empty silvered glass
Waiting for the cool touch
Of the face of woman's noon.
The silent bed groaning
With future acts of love.
Breughel's hunters setting out time and again
Over the fireplace
On every new tomorrow.
The honeyed cries of owls
Heard again in these forests of printed words.
The dark itself between the lines
Revealed in double meanings,
But I all alone but for my breathing
Gather in this room, this faceless world,
This knowing darkness,
For the toll of future memory.
Tommy Strollers PoetryPosted by Graham Thompson Tue, December 22, 2015 17:23:22
Bodies have histories
Eyes lie to one another
Even in mirrors
But history remains dug
Deep into every cell
Bodies strain to forget themselves
To join in dances too young for them
But the music of the song
Is in the piano notes of the genes
And we endlessly respond
Endlessly play the game,
And dance the dance,
Biology and memory conspiring
To deny themselves
Through each other
Tommy Strollers PoetryPosted by Graham Thompson Tue, December 22, 2015 17:20:51
A strange light trembled through you
All the blood and the chemistry of your body
Ignited a spark within me which
Now roars forth as a furnace of love
Melting everything down (trees birds highways seas
Poetry and life itself) into one great gift
For the YOU and I: the perfect knowing
That is mindless and free pressing only
Heart-thoughts in an afterglow
Which must last
Must never be consumed
Must die only with death itself
Though even then transformed into new lives
New loves new longings
Whispering between the boughs
Between the paths of circling gulls
Arcing forever from sea to sky to storm lit clouds
Falling as musky rain on a parched and alien land