February 18, 2004

Anyone want to talk poetry this weekend? [Filed under: Group Meetings]

Here’s my thinking. I will be talking poetry this weekend. I am perfectly happy to talk with myself, as I have begun to do on my morning Metro commute, but I would also enjoy discussions involving other, actual people. If anyone else is interested in talking poetry, I’d be happy to participate. I am far too tired to dig up good suggestions for specific poems, but I’m not picky. I’ve been reading some Swinburne, which I realize may not appeal to anyone else, but I’ve also been having real trouble with Mallarmé (a lot of trouble), and I always enjoy some Yeats… Then again, Brian posted a couple of very nice poems not all that long ago as well. I just noticed a few days ago that I had completely misread “The Illiterate” the first time through. I’m pretty lazy on first reading, and I failed to notice that it’s not actually about someone who can’t read. It’s a big, long similie. Pretty obvious to everyone else, I suppose, but I’m a little slow sometimes.

So, yeah. I’ll be talking poetry. Anyone else interested?

February 8, 2004

A bit of fun from Brooke [Filed under: Brooke, Rupert]

Two of my favorites from Rupert Brooke:

The Voice

Safe in the magic of my woods
  I lay, and watched the dying light.
Faint in the pale high solitudes,
  And washed with rain and veiled by night,

Silver and blue and green were showing.
  And the dark woods grew darker still;
And birds were hushed; and peace was growing;
  And quietness crept up the hill;

And no wind was blowing…

And I knew
That this was the hour of knowing,
And the night and the woods and you
Were one together, and I should find
Soon in the silence the hidden key
Of all that had hurt and puzzled me—
Why you were you, and the night was kind,
And the woods were part of the heart of me.

And there I waited breathlessly,
Alone; and slowly the holy three,
The three that I loved, together grew
One, in the hour of knowing,
Night, and the woods, and you——

And suddenly
There was an uproar in my woods,
The noise of a fool in mock distress,
Crashing and laughing and blindly going,
Of ignorant feet and a swishing dress,
And a Voice profaning the solitudes.

The spell was broken, the key denied me,
And at length your flat clear voice beside me
Mouthed cheerful clear flat platitudes.

You came and quacked beside me in the wood.
You said, ‘The view from here is very good!’
You said, ‘It’s nice to be alone a bit!’
And, ‘How the days are drawing out!’ you said.
You said, ‘The sunset’s pretty, isn’t it?’

By God! I wish—I wish that you were dead!


(From the train between Bologna and Milan, second class)

Opposite me two Germans snore and sweat.
  Through sullen swirling gloom we jolt and roar.
We have been here forever: even yet
  A dim watch tells two hours, two æons, more.
The windows are tight-shut and slimy-wet
  With a night’s fœtor. There are two hours more;
Two hours to dawn and Milan; two hours yet.
  Opposite me two Germans sweat and snore…

One of them wakes, and spits, and sleeps again.
  The darkness shivers. A wan light through the rain
Strikes on our faces, drawn and white. Somewhere
  A new day sprawls; and, inside, the foul air
Is chill, and damp, and fouler than before….
  Opposite me two Germans sweat and snore.

February 3, 2004

I’m feeling neglected [Filed under: General Discussion]

Just thought you should know.

Ye weep for those who weep? she said—
  Ah, fools! I bid you pass them by.
Go, weep for those whose hearts have bled
  What time their eyes were dry.
Whom sadder can I say? she said.

—from “The Mask” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning