Poetry

Visual arts, music, poetry and other forms of art.
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Polyhymnia
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Re: Poetry

Post by Polyhymnia »

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
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Re: Poetry

Post by Cancer »

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
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Re: Poetry

Post by obnoxion »

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
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Re: Poetry

Post by obnoxion »

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
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Re: Poetry

Post by obnoxion »

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.
obnoxion
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Re: Poetry

Post by obnoxion »

This is a poem by Sylvia Plath that Julia Gordon Bramer in her book "Fixed Stars Govern a Life: Decodin Sylvia Plath" (Texas A&M University Press, 2014) connects to the "Hanged Man" - trump.


THE NIGHT DANCES
Sylvia Plath


A smile fell in the grass.
Irretrievable!

And how will your night dances
Lose themselves. In mathematics?

Such pure leaps and spirals ——
Surely they travel

The world forever, I shall not entirely
Sit emptied of beauties, the gift

Of your small breath, the drenched grass
Smell of your sleeps, lilies, lilies.

Their flesh bears no relation.
Cold folds of ego, the calla,

And the tiger, embellishing itself ——
Spots, and a spread of hot petals.

The comets
Have such a space to cross,

Such coldness, forgetfulness.
So your gestures flake off ——

Warm and human, then their pink light
Bleeding and peeling

Through the black amnesias of heaven.
Why am I given

These lamps, these planets
Falling like blessings, like flakes

Six sided, white
On my eyes, my lips, my hair

Touching and melting.
Nowhere
.
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
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Re: Poetry

Post by obnoxion »

Exctract from the fifth poem of H.D.'s late collection "Hermetic Definition". It describes well the daimonic compulsion to write poetry.

...why must I write?
you would not care for this,
but She draws the veil aside,

unbinds my eyes,
commands,
write, write or die.
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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Cancer
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Re: Poetry

Post by Cancer »

from FINNEGANS WAKE
James Joyce

Can’t hear with the waters of. The chittering waters of. Flittering bats, fieldmice bawk talk. Ho! Are you not gone ahome? What Thom Malone? Can’t hear with bawk of bats, all thim liffeying waters of. Ho, talk save us! My foos won’t moos. I feel as old as yonder elm. A tale told of Shaun or Shem? All Livia’s daughtersons. Dark hawks hear us. Night! Night! My ho head halls. I feel as heavy as yonder stone. Tell me of John or Shaun? Who were Shem and Shaun the living sons or daughters of? Night now! Tell me, tell me, tell me, elm! Night night! Telmetale of stem or stone. Beside the rivering waters of, hitherandthithering waters of. Night!


I’ll probably never get around to reading the whole book, as 600 pages of text like this is pretty exhausting. But this paragraph has stuck with me as a kind of separate poem. Its tone is at once triumphant, foreboding and dreamy, even distracted. It makes me think of a sacred invocation mixed with confusing late-night chatter, perhaps after leaving a bar — the invoked being Anna Livia Plurabelle, the personification of the river Liffey and representation of a number of female archetypes in Finnegans Wake. (The chapter that closes with this paragraph is begun by pleas to ”hear all” about Anna Livia.) The wordplay with ”night now” / right now and ”tell me, elm” is really delightful, so simple and yet somehow deep. If someone knows more about Joyce’s work and the meaning or context of this snippet, I’d love to hear about it!
Tiden läker inga sår.
obnoxion
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Re: Poetry

Post by obnoxion »

Cancer wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 5:49 pm
FINNEGANS WAKE
James Joyce
It wasn't long ago that I held the Finnish translation in my hands at the local library. I know of the book, and I remeber thinking what a massive work it must have been to translate such a work, leaning as it does so heavily on word play. Anyhow, I decided that this one I'll leave for my retairment days. I have a feeling that Finnegans Wake will not be any less hard going than the Naked Lunch by William Burroughs. The Naked Lunch is actually one of the two books that I quit reading because I was too disgusted to go on. But I might as well have quit because it was so dense. I enjoy a challenging read, but that was the wrong kind of challenge at the time. I remember Robert Anton Wilson and the first Chaos Magic writers were into Burroughs and Joyce a lot, and I was interested in that at the time.

By the way, the other book I didn't finish because it was so nauseating was de Sade's "Justine". But that one I recently bought again, among some books on de Sade, so perhaps I will finish it after all...
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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Mimesis
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Re: Poetry

Post by Mimesis »

To loosely follow on from, and perhaps even cause some interesting friction to Obnoxion's recent Sylvia Plath....


The Horses
Ted Hughes


I climbed through woods in the hour-before-dawn dark.

Evil air, a frost-making stillness,

Not a leaf, not a bird-

A world cast in frost. I came out above the wood

Where my breath left tortuous statues in the iron light.

But the valleys were draining the darkness

Till the moorline-blackening dregs of the brightening grey-

Halved the sky ahead. And I saw the horses:

Huge in the dense grey-ten together-

Megalith-still. They breathed, making no move,

With draped manes and tilted hind-hooves,

Making no sound.

I passed: not one snorted or jerked its head.

Grey silent fragments


Of a grey still world.

I listened in emptiness on the moor-ridge.

The curlew’s tear turned its edge on the silence.

Slowly detail leafed from the darkness. Then the sun

Orange, red, red erupted

Silently, and splitting to its core tore and flung cloud,

Shook the gulf open, showed blue,

And the big planets hanging-

I turned

Stumbling in a fever of a dream, down towards

The dark woods, from the kindling tops,

And came to the horses.

There, still they stood,

But now steaming, and glistening under the flow of light,

Their draped stone manes, their tilted hind-hooves

Stirring under a thaw while all around them

The frost showed its fires. But still they made no sound.

Not one snorted or stamped,

Their hung heads patient as the horizons,

High over valleys, in the red levelling rays-

In din of the crowded streets, going among the years, the faces,

May I still meet my memory in so lonely a place

Between the streams and the red clouds, hearing curlews,

Hearing the horizons endure.
"We are such stuff. As dreams are made on, and our little life. Is rounded with a sleep."
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