Great Poetry Circle

Great Poetry Circle

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Selection of Great Poetry and some from Tommy Stroller - choose your category - and see my other sites -
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Front Lawn

Great PoetryPosted 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 Wikip├Ždia: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




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