Poetry

Visual arts, music, poetry and other forms of art.
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Polyhymnia
Soror
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Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:20 pm

Re: Poetry

Postby Polyhymnia » Fri Nov 15, 2019 7:00 pm

I am loving this Lowell and Plath. Exactly the nourishment my spirit needed this morning. Thank you.
"Limited love asks for possession of the beloved, but the unlimited asks only for itself." -Kahlil Gibran
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Cancer
Posts: 250
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2012 5:45 pm
Location: Helsinki

Re: Poetry

Postby Cancer » Sun Nov 17, 2019 1:55 am

Today, the astrology thread made me think of a poem by Edith Södergran (first published in Rosenaltaret / The Rose Altar, in 1919). I'll include both the Swedish-language original and a fittingly laconic translation into English which I found online, unfortunately uncredited.


Till fots
fick jag gå genom solsystemen,
innan jag fann den första tråden av min röda dräkt.
Jag anar ren mig själv.
Någonstädes i rymden hänger mitt hjärta,
gnistor strömma ifrån det, skakande luften,
till andra måttlösa hjärtan.


On foot
I had to cross the solar system
before I found the first thread of my red dress.
I sense myself already.
Somewhere in space hangs my heart,
shaking in the void, from it stream sparks
into other intemperate hearts.



I seem to recall a tradition of likening space to the veil of a goddess, or some other fabric wrapped around feminine divinity. (Isn't it here that Blavatsky gets the name of Isis Unveiled?) Even if unintended, a grandiose reference like this is precisely in Södergran's style. There are places in her poetry that seem at least as ego-crazed as anything in Nietzsche, and that is saying a lot. Maybe this is why Södergran is stereotypically a "first" poet, able to be enjoyed by very young people, just as seventeen-year-old Über-boys are endlessly enthusiastic about Nietzsche. (I do not mean to say that either author is shallow, of course, only that they have the virtue of writing both deeply and accessibly. Instead of coming across as awkward, the blazing clarity and flair for the dramatic in Södergran can, in my experience, speak directly to the ”inner adolescent” of even an older reader, much like good fairy tales speak to the inner child.)
Tiden läker inga sår.
obnoxion
Sodalis
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Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 7:59 pm

Re: Poetry

Postby obnoxion » Mon Nov 18, 2019 3:11 am

The poetess H.D (or Hilda Doolittle), as I've been reading from Susan Stanford Friedman's "Psyche Reborn - The Emergence of H.D." (The first Midland Book Edition, 1987), was quite devoted to Freud. But she complemented the positivist stance of the original psychoanalytic thought with "spiritual realism". By this the poetess (certainly the most unapologetic occultist among the prominent Imagists) seemed to be establishing the superiority of Art to Science. This has to do with the concept of the poetic image, of which Friedman writes lucidly on page 98:

"Intrinsic to the notion of poetic image is the assumption that visual language and thought can capture a reality inexpressible in conceptual discourse. To think and communicate visually as the unconscious does is therefore superior to reason and logic. Precisely because it can instantaneously render complex subjective realities, poetic language can make concrete a whole nonmaterial, intangible realm of human experience that is not accessible to empirical reality-testing"

I think this is a fine summary of the benefits of poetics. This is one of the things I have searched from all the marginal and liminal places within and without myself - an inclusive language of thinking. Because without one, I find it must be impossible to seriously address the so-called ultimate concerns.

So, here were my "few words" before presenting an extract from H.D.'s ""Trilogy":

Is ours lotus-tree
from the lotus-grove,

magnolia's heavy, heady, sleepy
dream?

or pomegranate
whose name decorates sonnets,

but either acid or over-ripe,
perfect only for the moment?

of all the flowering of the wood,
are we wild-almond, winter-cherry?

or are we pine or fir,
sentinel, solitary?

or cypress,
arbutus-fragrant?
One day of Brahma has 14 Indras; his life has 54 000 Indras. One day of Vishnu is the lifetime of Brahma. The lifetime of Vishnu is one day of Shiva.
obnoxion
Sodalis
Posts: 1828
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 7:59 pm

Re: Poetry

Postby obnoxion » Mon Nov 25, 2019 12:00 pm

obnoxion wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 2:16 am
Gloria Bien comments the poem: "By comparing night with a nun and an executioner, Shao brings the images of nature into the human realm. The human pair of lovers 'without breath and without sound' may well be statues. Here Shao fulfills the European Decadents' goal to 'dethrone life, and put art in its place'."
This comment was on the Baudelaire-inspired verses by the Chinese poet Shao Xunmei. But of the great French poets, I think Paul Verlaine is most Decadent in style. As I read this poem from his famous collection "Poems under Saturn", I see in his stony muse that speaks with the voices of the dead the exact ideal of the Decadent aesthetic - the striving to dethrone life, and put art in its place. Now, I just purchased Karl Kirchway's translation, but I decided on Jonathan Robin's translation that I found online. As often in Mallarme, Baudelaire and Verlaine, we are working with the sonnet-form. I will include the original poem after the translation:


MY FAMILIAR DREAM

I often have some strange and striking dreams
about an unknown girl, of love we share,
each time the same, each time a different air
about her swirls, who understands it seems.

She loves and understands me, from her beams
a crystal pure dismissing strife and care.
She, only, eases heart-ache and despair,
soothing pain with tears’ refreshing streams.

She’s blond, brunette, reflecting russet gleams?
I know not, nor her name and voice though fair
and sounding-soft if feels, far off I swear,
like loved ones Life has banished from its schemes.

A statue’s sightless stare, the look she gave.
Voice, - still echo of friends in the grave.


Mon Rêve Familier

Je fais souvent ce rêve étrange et pénétrant
D’une femme inconnue, et que j’aime, et qui m’aime,
Et qui n’est, chaque fois, ni tout à fait la même
Ni tout à fait une autre, et m’aime et me comprend.

Car elle me comprend, et mon coeur, transparent
Pour elle seule, hélas! cesse d’être un problème
Pour elle seule, et les moiteurs de mon front blême,
Elle seule les sait rafraîchir, en pleurant.

Est-elle brune, blonde ou rousse? - Je l’ignore.
Son nom? je me souviens qu’il est doux et sonore
Comme ceux des aimés que la Vie exila.

Son regard est pareil au regard des statues,
Et, pour sa vois, lointaine, et calme, et grave elle a
L’inflexion des voix chères qui se sont tues.
One day of Brahma has 14 Indras; his life has 54 000 Indras. One day of Vishnu is the lifetime of Brahma. The lifetime of Vishnu is one day of Shiva.
obnoxion
Sodalis
Posts: 1828
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 7:59 pm

Re: Poetry

Postby obnoxion » Fri Nov 29, 2019 7:20 am

I would like to open another line from the above poem by Verlaine, that will make French Symbolism more readable.
obnoxion wrote:
Mon Nov 25, 2019 12:00 pm
She’s blond, brunette, reflecting russet gleams?
The symbolisms of hair-colour must derive from the Sphinxes and other Eternal Females of the painter Gustave Moreau (whose painting was used in the cover of our first magazine HK#1). Here is an excerpt from Natasha Grigorian's "Europian Symbolism - In Search of Myth (1860 - 1910)" (Peter Lang, 2009; pages 57 - 58) that I hope is of some interest:

"...in Le Poete et la sirene, we have encounter between one Siren and one man (the poet). The proportions are dramatically reversed: the Siren is gigantic and makes gesture of domination, grasping by the hair the tiny poet languishing at her feet. The setting is still maritine, but we are now inside a grotto rather than on top of a cliff. The siren has massive blond hair, intertwined with similarly massive garlands of algae, which reinforces her dominating position. We can note that over the years, Moreau's Siren has made the transition from dark and red hair to blond hair. Symbolically, this suggests a shift from overwhelmingly passionate manner to a deceptively angelic appearance. Many of Moreau's femmes fatales, such as Salome, Delilah, or Cleopatra. have dark hair, in fact, while his femmes elues almost always have fair hair. As the Siren's example shows, fair hair can also be a sign of deceptive appearances: no wonder Moreau's Sphinx usually has golden locks These symbolic uses of hair colour by the painter will set the tone for Symbolist poetry in French and beyond."

EDIT: Corrected the details on the source of the quotation
One day of Brahma has 14 Indras; his life has 54 000 Indras. One day of Vishnu is the lifetime of Brahma. The lifetime of Vishnu is one day of Shiva.

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