POESY

po·e·sy n. pl. po·e·sies 1. Poetical works; poetry. 2. The art or practice of composing poems. 3. The inspiration involved in composing poetry. [Middle English poesie, from Old French, from Latin posis, from Greek poisis, from poiein, to create; see kwei-2 in Indo-European roots.]

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Friday, November 23, 2018

November 23 -- Paul Celan




Paul Celan  November 23, 1920 — April 20, 1970


Born Paul Antschel in Romania, into a German-Jewish family, he was one of the major German language poets of post-World War II. His parents were killed during the Holocaust and Paul spent time in a concentration camp. His experiences during the war became strong forces in his poetry and use of language. 

He committed suicide at the age of 49 in Paris, drowning in the Seine river.






Homecoming

Snowfall, denser and denser,
dove-coloured as yesterday,
snowfall, as if even now you were sleeping.

White, stacked into distance.
Above it, endless,
the sleigh track of the lost.

Below, hidden,
presses up
what so hurts the eyes,
hill upon hill,
invisible.

On each,
fetched home into its today,
an I slipped away into dumbness:
wooden, a post.

There: a feeling,
blown across by the ice wind
attaching its dove- its snow-
coloured cloth as a flag.


            

                          
Corona 

Out of my hand autumn eats its leaf: we are friends.
We shell time from the nuts and teach it to walk;
time goes back into its shell.

In the mirror it is Sunday,
in the dream there is sleeping,
the mouth speaks the truth.

My eye descends to the sex of my loved one:
we look at each other,
we whisper darkness to each other,
we love each other like poppy and memory,
we sleep like wine in the sea shells,
like the sea in the ray of blood of the moon.

We stand entwined in the window, they watch us from the street:
it is time the people knew.
It is time that the stone condescended to bloom,
that unrest inspired a heart to beat.
It is time that it became time.

It is time.

Translated by Michael Hamburger




O Little Root of a Dream 

0 little root of a dream 
you hold me here 
undermined by blood, 
no longer visible to anyone, 
property of death.

Curve a face
that there may be speech, of earth, 
of ardor, of
things with eyes, even
here, where you read me blind,

even 
here, 
where you 
refute me, 
to the letter. 




Psalm

No-man kneads us again out of earth and loam,
no-man spirits our dust.
No-man.

Praise to you, No-man.
For love of you
we will flower.
Moving
towards you.

A Nothing
we were, we are, we shall
still be, flowering:
the Nothing-, the
No-man’s-rose.

With
our pistil soul-bright,
our stamen heaven-torn,
our corolla red
with the violet word we sang
above, O above



                         
Your Hand 
                           
Your hand full of hours, you came to me – and I said:
‘Your hair is not brown.’
You lifted it, lightly, onto the balance of grief,
it was heavier than I.

They come to you on ships, and make it their load,
then put it on sale in the markets of lust.
You smile at me from the deep.
I weep at you from the scale that’s still light.
I weep: Your hair is not brown.
They offer salt-waves of the sea,
and you give them spume.
You whisper: ‘They’re filling the world with me now,
and for you I’m still a hollow way in the heart!
You say: ‘Lay the leaf-work of years by you, it’s time, 
that you came here and kissed me.
The leaf-work of years is brown, your hair is not brown. 

                           

--Cat

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Sunday, November 11, 2018

Remembrance Day poets – posting from 2007


SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2007

Remembrance Day Poets






Keith Douglas 
(Jan 4, 1920 - June 9, 1944) The most famous English poet of WWII, he was killed in Normandy.


To Restore a Dead Child 

by Keith Douglas
Sometimes while I sleep 
I hear the single cry and the tire screek 
that never end. 
My blond and foolish brown-eyed brother 
lugging his fretful love 
shambles after me 
as the cunning Mack truck 
lurching out of nowhere 
cuts him down. 
He's a long dead almost-three. 
I'm a long lived five 
just turned sixty-one 
still running in a dead heat 
with the rolling cab that swooped him up 
heading for the vanished hospital. 

It's then on waking 
I feel the snot of infant faces 
leak into my mouth.


1925 



Vergissmeinnicht (Forget-me-not)
Elegy for an 88 Gunner 

by Keith Douglas
Three weeks gone and the combatants gone 
returning over the nightmare ground 
we found the place again, and found 
the soldier sprawling in the sun. 

The frowning barrel of his gun 
overshadowing. As we came on 
that day, he hit my tank with one 
like the entry of a demon. 

Look. Here in the gunpit spoil 
the dishonoured picture of his girl 
who has put: Steffi. Vergissmeinnicht 
in a copybook gothic script. 

We see him almost with content, 
abased, and seeming to have paid 
and mocked at by his own equipment 
that's hard and good when he's decayed. 

But she would weep to see today 
how on his skin the swart flies move; 
the dust upon the paper eye 
and the burst stomach like a cave. 

For here the lover and killer are mingled 
who had one body and one heart. 
And death who had the soldier singled 
has done the lover mortal hurt. 





~

Sidney Arthur Kilworth Keyes (May 27, 1922 - 19 April 1943) joined the army in 1942 and fought in Tunis as a lieutenant in the West Kent Regiment. He was killed in action one month before his 21st birthday.


War Poet
by Sidney Keyes

I am the man who looked for peace and found

My own eyes barbed,
I am the man who groped for words and found
An arrow in my hand.
I am the builder whose firm walls surround
A slipping land.
When I grow sick or mad
Mock me not nor chain me:
When I reach for the wind
Cast me not down:
Though my face is a burnt book
And a wasted town. 
Leave 
- 1942

--Cat

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

August 22 — Dorothy Parker






Dorothy Parker    August 22, 1893 – June 7, 1967
American poet, author, critic, well known for her witty, satirical writings






                          
     A Very Short Song 

                                  
Once, when I was young and true,
Someone left me sad-
Broke my brittle heart in two;
And that is very bad.

Love is for unlucky folk,
Love is but a curse.
Once there was a heart I broke;
And that, I think, is worse. 





      Anecdote 

                                  
So silent I when Love was by
He yawned, and turned away;
But Sorrow clings to my apron-strings,
I have so much to say. 


  


     Ballade Of A Talked-Off Ear 


Daily I listen to wonder and woe,
Nightly I hearken to knave or to ace,
Telling me stories of lava and snow,
Delicate fables of ribbon and lace,
Tales of the quarry, the kill, the chase,
Longer than heaven and duller than hell-
Never you blame me, who cry my case:
"Poets alone should kiss and tell!"

Dumbly I hear what I never should know,
Gently I counsel of pride and of grace;
Into minutiae gayly they go,
Telling the name and the time and the place.
Cede them your silence and grant them space-
Who tenders an inch shall be raped of an ell!
Sympathy's ever the boaster's brace;
Poets alone should kiss and tell.

Why am I tithed what I never did owe?
Choked with vicarious saffron and mace?
Weary my lids, and my fingers are slow-
Gentlemen, damn you, you've halted my pace.
Only the lads of the cursed race,
Only the knights of the desolate spell,
May point me the lines the blood-drops trace-
Poets alone should kiss and tell.

L'ENVOI

Prince or commoner, tenor or bass,
Painter or plumber or never-do-well,
Do me a favor and shut your face
Poets alone should kiss and tell. 





     Chant For Dark Hours    

                               
Some men, some men
Cannot pass a
Book shop.
(Lady, make your mind up, and wait your life away.)


Some men, some men
Cannot pass a
Crap game.
(He said he'd come at moonrise, and here's another day!)


Some men, some men
Cannot pass a
Bar-room.
(Wait about, and hang about, and that's the way it goes.)


Some men, some men
Cannot pass a
Woman.
(Heaven never send me another one of those!)


Some men, some men
Cannot pass a
Golf course.
(Read a book, and sew a seam, and slumber if you can.)


Some men, some men
Cannot pass a
Haberdasher's.
(All your life you wait around for some damn man!) 





Charles Dickens

                                  
Who call him spurious and shoddy
Shall do it o'er my lifeless body.
I heartily invite such birds
To come outside and say those words! 





Epitaph


The first time I died, I walked my ways;
I followed the file of limping days.

I held me tall, with my head flung up,
But I dared not look on the new moon's cup.

I dared not look on the sweet young rain,
And between my ribs was a gleaming pain.

The next time I died, they laid me deep.
They spoke worn words to hallow my sleep.

They tossed me petals, they wreathed me fern,
They weighted me down with a marble urn.

And I lie here warm, and I lie here dry,
And watch the worms slip by, slip by. 


                              Dorothy Parker 


— Cat

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Friday, May 25, 2018

May 25 – Raymond Carver






Raymond Clevie Carver, Jr. 
May 25, 1938 – August 2, 1988 



Award-winning American short story writer and poet. [The first poem featured below is engraved on his tombstone.]





Late Fragment

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.



The Best Time Of The Day

Cool summer nights.
Windows open.
Lamps burning.
Fruit in the bowl.
And your head on my shoulder.
These the happiest moments in the day.

Next to the early morning hours,
of course. And the time
just before lunch.
And the afternoon, and
early evening hours.
But I do love

these summer nights.
Even more, I think,
than those other times.
The work finished for the day.
And no one who can reach us now.
Or ever.



The Cobweb

A few minutes ago, I stepped onto the deck
of the house. From there I could see and hear the water,
and everything that's happened to me all these years.
It was hot and still. The tide was out.
No birds sang. As I leaned against the railing
a cobweb touched my forehead.
It caught in my hair. No one can blame me that I turned
and went inside. There was no wind. The sea
was dead calm. I hung the cobweb from the lampshade.
Where I watch it shudder now and then when my breath
touches it. A fine thread. Intricate.
Before long, before anyone realizes,
I'll be gone from here.



This Morning  

This morning was something. A little snow
lay on the ground. The sun floated in a clear
blue sky. The sea was blue, and blue-green,
as far as the eye could see.
Scarcely a ripple. Calm. I dressed and went
for a walk -- determined not to return
until I took in what Nature had to offer.
I passed close to some old, bent-over trees.
Crossed a field strewn with rocks
where snow had drifted. Kept going
until I reached the bluff.
Where I gazed at the sea, and the sky, and
the gulls wheeling over the white beach
far below. All lovely. All bathed in a pure
cold light. But, as usual, my thoughts
began to wander. I had to will
myself to see what I was seeing
and nothing else. I had to tell myself this is what
mattered, not the other. (And I did see it,
for a minute or two!) For a minute or two
it crowded out the usual musings on
what was right, and what was wrong -- duty,
tender memories, thoughts of death, how I should treat
with my former wife. All the things
I hoped would go away this morning.
The stuff I live with every day. What
I've trampled on in order to stay alive.
But for a minute or two I did forget
myself and everything else. I know I did.
For when I turned back i didn't know
where I was. Until some birds rose up
from the gnarled trees. And flew
in the direction I needed to be going.


  
  
— Cat

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Saturday, March 17, 2018

St. Patrick's Day



In honor of St. Patrick's day, some Irish poets have their say:


Standish James O'Grady (1846 - 1915)


Lough Bray

Now Memory, false, spendthrift Memory,
Disloyal treasure-keeper of the soul,
This vision change shall never wring from thee
Nor wasteful years, effacing as they roll.
O steel-blue lake, high cradled in the hills!
O sad waves, filled with little sobs and cries!
White glistening shingle, hiss of mountain rills,
And granite-hearted walls blotting the skies,
Shine, sob, gleam, gloom for ever! Oh, in me
Be what you are in Nature--a recess--
To sadness dedicate and mystery,
Withdrawn, afar, in the soul's wilderness.
Still let my thoughts, leaving the worldly roar
Like pilgrims, wander on thy haunted shore.


Elizabeth Mary Little


Life

Ah, Life! that mystery that no man knows,
And all men ask, the Arab from his sands,
The Caesar's self, lifting imperial hands,
And the lone dweller where the lotus blows;
O'er trackless tropics and o'er silent snows
She dumbly broods, that Sphinx of all the lands,
And if she answers no man understands,
And no cry breaks the blank of her repose.

But a new form dawned once upon my pain,
With grave sad lips, yet in the eyes a smile
Of deepest meaning dawning sweet and slow,

Lighting to service, and no more in vain
I ask of Life, "What art thou?" as erewhile,
For since Love holds my hand I seem to know.


Aubrey De Vere (1814 - 1902)


Incompatibility

Forgive me that I love you as I do,
Friend patient long; too patient to reprove
The inconvenience of superfluous love.
You feel that it molests you, and 'tis true.
In a light bark you sit, with a full crew.
Your life full orbed, compelled strange love to meet,
Becomes, by such addition, incomplete:--
Because I love I leave you. O adieu!
Perhaps when I am gone the thought of me
May sometimes be your acceptable guest.
Indeed you love me: but my company
Old time makes tedious; and to part is best.
Not without Nature's will are natures wed:-
O gentle Death, how dear thou makest the dead!


Flowers I Would Bring

Flowers I would bring if flowers could make thee fairer,
And music if the Muse were dear to thee,
(For loving these would make thee love the bearer);
But sweetest songs forget their melody,
And loveliest flowers would but conceal the wearer:
A rose I marked, and might have plucked; but she
Blushed as she bent, imploring me to spare her,
Nor spoil her beauty by such rivalry.
Alas! and with what gifts shall I pursue thee,
What offerings bring, what treasures lay before thee,
When earth with all her floral train doth woo thee,
And all old poets and old songs adore thee,
And love to thee is naught; from passionate mood
Secured by joy's complacent plenitude.


The Mighty Mountain Plains

The mighty mountain plains have we two trod
Both in the glow of sunset and sunrise;
And lighted by the moon of southern skies
The snow-white torrent of the thundering flood
We two have watched together: In the wood
We two have felt the warm tears dim our eyes
While zephyrs softer than an infant's sighs
Ruffled the light air of our solitude.
O Earth, maternal Earth, and thou O Heaven,
And Night first born, who now, e'en now, dost waken
The host of stars, thy constellated train,
Tell me if those can ever be forgiven,
Those abject, who together have partaken
These Sacraments of Nature--and in vain?


The Sun God

I saw the Master of the Sun. He stood
High in his luminous car, himself more bright;
An Archer of immeasurable might
On his left shoulder hung his quivered load
Spurned by his Steeds the eastern mountain glowed
Forward his eager eye, and brow of light
He bent; and, while both hands that arch embowed,
Shaft after shaft pursued the flying Night.
No wings profaned that godlike form: around
His neck high held an ever-moving crowd
Of locks hung glistening: while such perfect sound
Fell from his bowstring, that th'ethereal dome
Thrilled as a dewdrop; and each passing cloud
Expanded, whitening like the ocean foam.



William Butler Yeats (1865 - 1939)


Sailing To Byzantium
I

That is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees
- Those dying generations - at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.

II

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.

III

O sages standing in God's holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

IV

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.


A Drinking Song

Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That's all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh.


To Ireland In The Coming Times

Know, that I would accounted be
True brother of a company
That sang, to sweeten Ireland's wrong,
Ballad and story, rann and song;
Nor be I any less of them,
Because the red-rose-bordered hem
Of her, whose history began
Before God made the angelic clan,
Trails all about the written page.
When Time began to rant and rage
The measure of her flying feet
Made Ireland's heart hegin to beat;
And Time bade all his candles flare
To light a measure here and there;
And may the thoughts of Ireland brood
Upon a measured guietude.
Nor may I less be counted one
With Davis, Mangan, Ferguson,
Because, to him who ponders well,
My rhymes more than their rhyming tell
Of things discovered in the deep,
Where only body's laid asleep.
For the elemental creatures go
About my table to and fro,
That hurry from unmeasured mind
To rant and rage in flood and wind,
Yet he who treads in measured ways
May surely barter gaze for gaze.
Man ever journeys on with them
After the red-rose-bordered hem.
Ah, faerics, dancing under the moon,
A Druid land, a Druid tune.!
While still I may, I write for you
The love I lived, the dream I knew.
From our birthday, until we die,
Is but the winking of an eye;
And we, our singing and our love,
What measurer Time has lit above,
And all benighted things that go
About my table to and fro,
Are passing on to where may be,
In truth's consuming ecstasy,
No place for love and dream at all;
For God goes by with white footfall.
I cast my heart into my rhymes,
That you, in the dim coming times,
May know how my heart went with them
After the red-rose-bordered hem.


Thomas Moore (1779 - 1852)


At the Mid Hour of Night

At the mid hour of night, when stars are weeping, I fly
To the lone vale we loved, when life shone warm in thine eye;
And I think oft, if spirits can steal from the regions of air,
To revisit past scenes of delight, thou wilt come to me there,
And tell me our love is remember'd, even in the sky.

Then I sing the wild song 'twas once such pleasure to hear!
When our voices commingling breathed, like one, on the ear;
And, as Echo far off through the vale my said orison rolls,
I think, oh my love! 'tis thy voice from the Kingdom of Souls,
Faintly answering still the notes that once were so dear.


Erin! The Tear and the Smile in Thine Eyes

Erin! the tear and the smile in thine eyes
Blend like the rainbow that hangs in thy skies,
Shining through sorrow's stream,
Saddening through pleasure's beam,
Thy suns with doubtful gleam,
Weep while they rise.

Erin, thy silent tear never shall cease,
Erin, thy languid smile ne'er shall increase,
Till, like the rainbow's light,
Thy various tints unite,
And form in heaven's sight
One arch of peace!


Oh, the Shamrock

Through Erin's Isle
To sport awhile
As Love and Valour wander'd,
With Wit, the sprite,
Whose quiver bright
A thousand arrows squander'd;
Where'er they pass,
A triple grass
Shoots up, with dew-drops streaming,
As softly green
As emeralds seen
Through purest crystal gleaming.
Oh the Shamrock, the green, immortal Shamrock!
Chosen leaf
Of Bard and Chief,
Old Erin's native Shamrock!

Says Valour, "See,
They spring for me,
Those leafy gems of morning!" --
Says Love, "No, no,
For me they grow,
My fragrant path adorning."
But Wit perceives
The triple leaves,
And cries, "Oh! do not sever
A type that blends
Three godlike friends,
Love, Valour, Wit, for ever!"
Oh, the Shamrock, the green, immortal Shamrock!
Chosen leaf, etc.

So firmly fond
May last the bond
They wove that morn together,
And ne'er may fall
One drop of gall
On Wit's celestial feather.
May Love, as twine
His flowers divine,
Of thorny falsehood weed 'em:
May Valour ne'er
His standard rear
Against the cause of Freedom!
Oh the Shamrock, the green, immortal Shamrock!
Chosen leaf, etc.



Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900)


Sonnet To Liberty

These are the letters which Endymion wrote
To one he loved in secret, and apart.
And now the brawlers of the auction mart
Bargain and bid for each poor blotted note,
Ay! for each separate pulse of passion quote
The merchant's price. I think they love not art
Who break the crystal of a poet's heart
That small and sickly eyes may glare and gloat.

Is it not said that many years ago,
In a far Eastern town, some soldiers ran
With torches through the midnight, and began
To wrangle for mean raiment, and to throw
Dice for the garments of a wretched man,
Not knowing the God's wonder, or His woe?


LA MER

A white mist drifts across the shrouds,
A wild moon in this wintry sky
Gleams like an angry lion's eye
Out of a mane of tawny clouds.

The muffled steersman at the wheel
Is but a shadow in the gloom; -
And in the throbbing engine-room
Leap the long rods of polished steel.

The shattered storm has left its trace
Upon this huge and heaving dome,
For the thin threads of yellow foam
Float on the waves like ravelled lace.


My Voice

Within this restless, hurried, modern world
We took our hearts' full pleasure - You and I,
And now the white sails of our ship are furled,
And spent the lading of our argosy.

Wherefore my cheeks before their time are wan,
For very weeping is my gladness fled,
Sorrow has paled my young mouth's vermilion,
And Ruin draws the curtains of my bed.

But all this crowded life has been to thee
No more than lyre, or lute, or subtle spell
Of viols, or the music of the sea
That sleeps, a mimic echo, in the shell.


Jonathan Swift (1667 - 1745)


The Progress of Poetry

The Farmer's Goose, who in the Stubble,
Has fed without Restraint, or Trouble;
Grown fat with Corn and Sitting still,
Can scarce get o'er the Barn-Door Sill:
And hardly waddles forth, to cool
Her Belly in the neighb'ring Pool:
Nor loudly cackles at the Door;
For Cackling shews the Goose is poor.

But when she must be turn'd to graze,
And round the barren Common strays,
Hard Exercise, and harder Fare
Soon make my Dame grow lank and spare:
Her Body light, she tries her Wings,
And scorns the Ground, and upward springs,
While all the Parish, as she flies,
Hear Sounds harmonious from the Skies.

Such is the Poet, fresh in Pay,
(The third Night's Profits of his Play;)
His Morning-Draughts 'till Noon can swill,
Among his Brethren of the Quill:
With good Roast Beef his Belly full,
Grown lazy, foggy, fat, and dull:
Deep sunk in Plenty, and Delight,
What Poet e'er could take his Flight?
Or stuff'd with Phlegm up to the Throat,
What Poet e'er could sing a Note?
Nor Pegasus could bear the Load,
Along the high celestial Road;
The Steed, oppress'd, would break his Girth,
To raise the Lumber from the Earth.

But, view him in another Scene,
When all his Drink is Hippocrene,
His Money spent, his Patrons fail,
His Credit out for Cheese and Ale;
His Two-Year's Coat so smooth and bare,
Through ev'ry Thread it lets in Air;
With hungry Meals his Body pin'd,
His Guts and Belly full of Wind;
And, like a Jockey for a Race,
His Flesh brought down to Flying-Case:
Now his exalted Spirit loaths
Incumbrances of Food and Cloaths;
And up he rises like a Vapour,
Supported high on Wings of Paper;
He singing flies, and flying sings,
While from below all Grub-street rings


A Satirical Elegy
On the Death of a Late FAMOUS GENERAL

His Grace! impossible! what dead!
Of old age, too, and in his bed!
And could that Mighty Warrior fall?
And so inglorious, after all!
Well, since he's gone, no matter how,
The last loud trump must wake him now:
And, trust me, as the noise grows stronger,
He'd wish to sleep a little longer.
And could he be indeed so old
As by the news-papers we're told?
Threescore, I think, is pretty high;
'Twas time in conscience he should die.
This world he cumber'd long enough;
He burnt his candle to the snuff;
And that's the reason, some folks think,
He left behind so great a stink.
Behold his funeral appears,
Nor widow's sighs, nor orphan's tears,
Wont at such times each heart to pierce,
Attend the progress of his hearse.
But what of that, his friends may say,
He had those honours in his day.
True to his profit and his pride,
He made them weep before he dy'd.
Come hither, all ye empty things,
Ye bubbles rais'd by breath of Kings;
Who float upon the tide of state,
Come hither, and behold your fate.
Let pride be taught by this rebuke,
How very mean a thing's a Duke;
From all his ill-got honours flung,
Turn'd to that dirt from whence he sprung.


--Cat