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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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Sept. 14 - Hamlin Garland



Hamlin Garland September 14, 1860 - March 4, 1940

Born in West Salem, Wisconsin, Hamlin Garland, novelist, short story writer, poet, biographer, lecturer, socialist, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1922 for biography.

His fascination with the West led him to travel from indian lands to the Klondike, soaking up information and color that he was to use in his writing.

One of Garland's contributions to late nineteenth-century literary theory was his coinage of the term "veritism" to describe his method of composing fiction. In his essay "Literary Prophecy," Garland states:

The realist or veritist is really an optimist, a dreamer. He sees life in terms of what it might be, as well as in terms of what is; but he writes of what is, and, at his best, suggests what is to be, by contrast. He aims to be perfectly truthful of his relation to life, but there is a tone, a color, which comes unconsciously into his utterance, like the sobbing stir of the muted violins beneath the frank, clear song of the clarinet. . . .


Poetry by Hamlin Garland:


A Wish

All day and many days I rode,
My horse’s head set toward the sea;
And as I rode a longing came to me
That I might keep the sunset road,
Riding my horse right on and on,
O’ertake the day still lagging at the west,
And so reach boyhood from the dawn,
And be with all the days at rest.

For then the odor of the growing wheat,
The flare of sumach on the hills,
The touch of grasses to my feet
Would cure my brain of all its ills,—
Would fill my heart so full of joy
That no stern lines could fret my face.
There would I be forever boy,
Lit by the sky’s unfailing grace.




In the Grass

O to lie in long grasses!
O to dream of the plain!
Where the west wind sings as it passes
A weird and unceasing refrain;
Where the rank grass wallows and tosses,
And the plains’ ring dazzles the eye;
Where hardly a silver cloud bosses
The flashing steel arch of the sky.

To watch the gay gulls as they flutter
Like snowflakes and fall down the sky,
To swoop in the deeps of the hollows,
Where the crow’s-foot tosses awry,
And gnats in the lee of the thickets
Are swirling like waltzers in glee
To the harsh, shrill creak of the crickets,
And the song of the lark and the bee.

O far-off plains of my west land!
O lands of winds and the free,
Swift deer—my mist-clad plain!
From my bed in the heart of the forest,
From the clasp and the girdle of pain
Your light through my darkness passes;
To your meadows in dreaming I fly
To plunge in the deeps of your grasses,
To bask in the light of your sky!




In August


From the great trees the locusts cry
In quavering ecstatic duo—a boy
Shouts a wild call—a mourning dove
In the blue distance sobs—the wind
Wanders by, heavy with odors
Of corn and wheat and melon vines;
The trees tremble with delirious joy as the breeze
Greets them, one by one—now the oak
Now the great sycamore, now the elm.

And the locusts in brazen chorus, cry
Like stricken things, and the ring-dove's note
Sobs on in the dim distance.




Indian Summer


At last there came
The sudden fall of frost, when Time
Dreaming through russet September days
Suddenly awoke, and lifting his head, strode
Swiftly forward—made one vast desolating sweep
Of his scythe, then, rapt with the glory
That burned under his feet, fell dreaming again.
And the clouds soared and the crickets sang
In the brief heat of noon; the corn,
So green, grew sere and dry—
And in the mist the ploughman's team
Moved silently, as if in dream—
And it was Indian summer on the plain.




Sport


Somewhere, in deeps
Of tangled, ripening wheat,
A little prairie-chicken cries—
Lost from its fellows, it pleads and weeps.
Meanwhile, stained and mangled,
With dust-filled eyes,
The unreplying mother lies
Limp and bloody at the sportsman's feet.


--Hamlin Garland

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Sept 7 - Elinor Wylie




Elinor (Hoyt) Wylie September 7, 1885 – December 16, 1928

New Jersey-born Elinor Wylie led a passionate, flamboyant, sadly too short life. Her search for love led her into three marriages, all ultimately unsatisfactory. One biographer observed that she had three lives:

...That of childhood, shy, timorous, and fairly sheltered; followed by the second, which was passed buried alive; and the third, the shortest of all, as a very famous writer and woman. This period spanned eight years and she acted as if she knew it would be short.
----Olson, Stanley. Elinor Wylie: A Life Apart

She is currently noted as a minor poet which in my opinion does her an injustice. Her poetry, while often seen as depressing by those who "know" is lovely and speaks to me.

Some poems by Elinor Wylie:


Pretty Words

Poets make pets of pretty, docile words:
I love smooth words, like gold-enamelled fish
Which circle slowly with a silken swish,
And tender ones, like downy-feathered birds:
Words shy and dappled, deep-eyed deer in herds,
Come to my hand, and playful if I wish,
Or purring softly at a silver dish,
Blue Persian kittens fed on cream and curds.

I love bright words, words up and singing early;
Words that are luminous in the dark, and sing;
Warm lazy words, white cattle under trees;
I love words opalescent, cool, and pearly,
Like midsummer moths, and honied words like bees,
Gilded and sticky, with a little sting.


Sunset on the Spire

All that I dream
By day or night
Lives in that stream
Of lovely light.
Here is the earth,
And there is the spire;
This is my hearth,
And that is my fire.
From the sun's dome
I am shouted proof
That this is my home,
And that is my roof.
Here is my food,
And here is my drink,
And I am wooed
From the moon's brink.
And the days go over,
And the nights end;
Here is my lover,
Here is my friend.
All that I
Can ever ask
Wears that sky
Like a thin gold mask.


Song

It is my thoughts that colour
My soul which slips between;
Thoughts lunar and solar
And gold and sea-green

Tint the pure translucence
Of the crystal thread;
A rainbow nuisance
It runs through my head.

When I am dead, or sleeping
Without any pain,
My soul will stop creeping
Through my jeweled brain

With no brightness to dye it
None will see where
It flows clear and quiet
As a river of air;

Watering dark places
Without sparkle or sound;
Kissing dumb faces
And the dusty ground.


Winter Sleep

When against earth a wooden heel
Clicks as loud as stone on steel,
When stone turns flour instead of flakes,
And frost bakes clay as fire bakes,
When the hard-bitten fields at last
Crack like iron flawed in the cast,
When the world is wicked and cross and old,
I long to be quit of the cruel cold.

Little birds like bubbles of glass
Fly to other Americas,
Birds as bright as sparkles of wine
Fly in the nite to the Argentine,
Birds of azure and flame-birds go
To the tropical Gulf of Mexico:
They chase the sun, they follow the heat,
It is sweet in their bones, O sweet, sweet, sweet!
It's not with them that I'd love to be,
But under the roots of the balsam tree.

Just as the spiniest chestnut-burr
Is lined within with the finest fur,
So the stoney-walled, snow-roofed house
Of every squirrel and mole and mouse
Is lined with thistledown, sea-gull's feather,
Velvet mullein-leaf, heaped together
With balsam and juniper, dry and curled,
Sweeter than anything else in the world.

O what a warm and darksome nest
Where the wildest things are hidden to rest!
It's there that I'd love to lie and sleep,
Soft, soft, soft, and deep, deep, deep!


Sea Lullaby

The old moon is tarnished
With smoke of the flood,
The dead leaves are varnished
With colour like blood.

A treacherous smiler
With teeth white as milk,
A savage beguiler
In sheathings of silk

The sea creeps to pillage,
She leaps on her prey;
A child of the village
Was murdered today.

She came up to meet him
In a smooth golden cloak,
She choked him and beat him
to death, for a joke.

Her bright locks were tangled,
She shouted for joy
With one hand she strangled
A strong little boy.

Now in silence she lingers
Beside him all night
To wash her long fingers
In silvery light.


Death and the Maiden

BARCAROLE ON THE STYX

Fair youth with the rose at your lips,
A riddle is hid in your eyes;
Discard conversational quips,
Give over elaborate disguise.

The rose's funeral breath
Confirms by intuitive fears;
To prove your devotion, Sir Death,
Avaunt for a dozen of years.

But do not forget to array
Your terror in juvenile charms;
I shall deeply regret my delay
If I sleep in a skeleton's arms.


Prophecy

I shall die hidden in a hut
In the middle of an alder wood,
With the back door blind and bolted shut,
And the front door locked for good.

I shall lie folded like a saint,
Lapped in a scented linen sheet,
On a bedstead striped with bright-blue paint,
Narrow and cold and neat.

The midnight will be glassy black
Behind the panes, with wind about
To set his mouth against a crack
And blow the candle out.



--Cat