January 1, 2017

Reading Poetry [Filed under: General Discussion.Yeats, William Butler]

Excerpt from Adam’s Curse

We sat together at one summer’s end,
That beautiful mild woman, your close friend,
And you and I, and talked of poetry.
I said, ‘A line will take us hours maybe;
Yet if it does not seem a moment’s thought,
Our stitching and unstitching has been naught.

Better go down upon your marrow-bones
And scrub a kitchen pavement, or break stones
Like an old pauper, in all kinds of weather;
For to articulate sweet sounds together
Is to work harder than all these, and yet
Be thought an idler by the noisy set
Of bankers, schoolmasters, and clergymen
The martyrs call the world.’ …

Let us articulate sweet sounds together! It is not now the summer’s end, but come, meet for an old-fashioned talk of poetry. We can talk over brunch, we can talk over mimosas, we can talk over the internet, we can talk over each other. Unstitch a verse with me, then sticth it back together. If you are interested, please send me an email to register for the site.

May 27, 2015

Plus ça change… [Filed under: General Discussion]

Penned some 18 years ago:


My thoughts unfold, the air grows cold
As if it knows I’ll need the snows
To quench my mental fire:
My future turns—ignites and burns
Through hope and fear—but leaves me here,
Alas, with no desire!

January 13, 2006

Boredom [Filed under: Collins, Billy.General Discussion]

The other day, I decided to try my hand at composing a more modern piece of poetry, but the results were dismal:

A Meta-Analysis of Free Verse in Free Verse
Ode on Itself

    how beautiful
    this poem could have been
    had you but written it

I was struck today, however, when I read a review of Billy Collins’ newest book in the NYT [registration may be required]. It turns out that Collins’ book begins with a poem that starts thusly:

from The Trouble with Poetry

I wonder how you are going to feel
when you find out
that I wrote this instead of you

I wrote my piece having Billy Collins particularly in mind, though I did not mean it to be an homage or an imitation, strictly speaking. I haven’t read the rest of the Collins poem, but just looking at the first stanza, I like mine better. [Some less than friendly discussion of the NYT review may be found at MetaFilter.]

Also, I tried to compose a pwoermd today:


…but it turns out someone beat me to it.

I think I’m giving up my career ambitions in poetry. I’ll stick to law school.

November 20, 2005

The Poet of Ceder St. [Filed under: Carrier, Warren.General Discussion]

Never mind the long silence, I have enjoyed Hoke’s posts and thoughts on Nietzsche. I plan to take some time with him and his solitudes and renunciations.

I have recently been spending some evenings with a fine poet named Warren Carrier, father of Wintry-Minded Ethan. Conversations with him have inspired me to try again to memorize poems – an effort that I was rather serious about for a time right after graduating St. Johns. My plan is to memorize one from each poet who I admire. Perhaps, as my view of each poet changes, I will switch to a new poem of theirs… Plans, plans, treacherous plans.

I want to post two poems to commemorate my new resolve. One from Warren (which I have not yet tried to memorize) and one from Louis MacNeice, which I have. I’ll post the MacNeice separately in case anyone wants to comment on one poem and not the other.


He gazed beyond the rocky edge where turning
maples stretched for miles, particulars
of his mind, a village, a white spire.
Above the turquoise atmosphere, an unseen
gravity held all light within itself,
burst like a melon, scattering galaxies.
He thought of the momentary hues of maples,
of human generations, the same, and never
the same, of randomness, of order as change.
The black that cracked into its separate stars,
bloomed from bent and distant light, had come
to this: himself here, gazing and musing,
maples the tint of the sun, a village of beings
unseen under leaves, their immaculate spire.

August 28, 2005

epic verse [Filed under: General Discussion]

Words uttered by Heidi after she has begrudgingly agreed to lend her husband a pen:

Goodbye noble pen! Ah me, your purchase was bitterness!
Why did I, with such dutiful care, select you from among
the many inscribers of ink that rested in their caps
upon the shelf? If only you could live out your days until
the last drop of black liquid were delicately applied
to the fragile pages, being a delight to your caretaker,
unmatched in your value for the setting down of thoughts
in sweet correspondence and the making of lists.
Now it has befallen that your life must be brief and bitter.
Never again shall you return to the drawer of your fathers
to lie beside the sharpies and rulers and staples in good order.
Rather will you be misplaced and disregarded, dispersed
into the darkness of your own ink as so many pens
less effective than you have been before.