October 7, 2005

Poeta Loquitur [Filed under: Collins, Billy.Frost, Robert.Thomas, Dylan]

I haven’t had a chance to listen to much yet, and what I have listened to hasn’t really inspired me to listen to much more, but I figure some of you might be interested: I found a link over at Salon to several downloadable CDs worth of Dylan Thomas reading his and others’ poetry, with introductions by Billy Collins. The article requires the visitor to have a Premium membership or a day-pass, which means essentially that you’ll have to watch an ad (requiring Flash). Small price to pay for so large a bounty. I don’t know how long the files will be available, so I suggest getting while the getting’s good. I have been told that “Track 6 on disc 5, ‘Chard Whitlow,’ was written by Henry Reed as a lampoon of T.S. Eliot. Reed won a parody contest with it in 1941.…Thomas recites it while impersonating Eliot. The poem is funny, but the audience is laughing because even they found Eliot to be ‘pompous, silly, overwrought, stilted’ and ‘affected.'”

When it rains, it pours (unless it doesn’t, as when it sprinkles or drizzles or spits or…). Here’s Robert Frost reading some of his own poetry.

December 12, 2003

Unbosoming [Filed under: Thomas, Dylan]

I’ve been thinking about this word today. The thing that struck me was that it is defining a noun, “summer,” as an activity, “unbosoming.” Can anyone think of examples where this is commonly done?

This question falls into the context of our discussion on the poet’s relationship to images: can he capture them or do they always move for him? I noticed that besides this place where the summer becomes an activity that there are many other strange movements:

The third stanza has a bunch of movement in the images and even the images themselves (in the context of this poem) are active
an image: disturbs
the crocus: opening its mouth
flowers: breed
water: (washing) cools, is spilt
an image: born, hastens
life: forks
image: changes
flowers: drop
fresh images: surround, catch

(Read more…)

November 21, 2003

Poet: 1935 [Filed under: Thomas, Dylan]

Poet: 1935

See, on gravel paths under the harpstrung trees
He steps so near the water that a swan’s wing
Might play upon his lank locks with its wind,
The lake’s voice and the rolling of mock waves
Make discord with the voice within his ribs
That thunders as heart thunders, slows as heart slows.
Is not his heart imprisoned by the summer
Snaring the whistles of the birds
And fastening in its cage the flower’s colour?
No, he’s a stranger, outside the season’s humour,
Moves, among men caught by the sun,
With heart unlocked upon the gigantic earth.
He alone is free, and, free, moans to the sky.
He, too, could touch the season’s lips and smile,
But he is left. Summer to him
Is the unbosoming of the sun.

So shall he step till summer loosens its hold
On the canvas sky, and all hot colours melt
Into the browns of autumn and the sharp whites of winter,
And so complain, in a vain voice, to the stars.

Even among his own kin is he lost,
Is love a shadow on the wall,
Among all living men is a sad ghost.
He is not man’s nor woman’s man,
Leper among a clean people
Walks with the hills for company,
And has the mad trees’ talk by heart.

An image of decay disturbs the crocus
Opening its iris mouth upon the sill
Where fifty flowers breed in a fruit box,
And washing water spilt upon their necks
Cools any ardour they may have
And he destroys, though flowers are his loves,
If love he can being no woman’s man.
An image born out of the uproarious spring
Hastens the time of the geranium to breathe;
Life, till the change of mood, forks
From the unwatered leaves and the stiff stalks,
The old flowers’ legs too taut to dance,
But he makes them dance, cut capers
Choreographed on paper.
The image changes, and the flowers drop
Into their prison with a slack sound,
Fresh images surround the tremendous moon,
Or catch all death that’s in the air.

O lonely among many, the gods’ man
Knowing exceeding grief and the gods’ sorrow
That, like a razor, skims, cuts, and turns,
Aches till the metal meets the marrow,
You, too, know the exceeding joy
And the triumphant crow of laughter.
Out of a bird’s wing writing on a cloud
You capture more than man or woman guesses;
Rarer delight shoots in the blood
At the deft movements of the irises
Growing in public places than man knows.

See, on gravel paths under the harpstrung trees
Feeling the summer wind, hearing the swans,
Leaning from windows over a length of lawns,
On tumbling hills admiring the sea,
I am alone, alone complain to the stars.
Who are his friends? The wind is his friend,
The glow-worm lights his darkness, and
The snail tells of coming rain.