Friday, 27 July 2007

Poetry Day

Oh look, it's Montana Poetry Day. How prescient of me to have posted poetry for most of the last week. I do like how the Poetry Day website already declares "Montana Poetry Day was a huge success." I like the optimism. Time to plug the poetry section of Not PC's Archives. ;^)

UPDATE: Feel free to post your own favourite poems in the comments section (or excerpts and links to your favourites if they're still under copyright).



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's one - a ghazal (from the Arabic/Islamic tradition - one of the longest standing non-Western poetic forms). Always wonderfuly extravagant and intense.

The Jasmine and Roses Of Your Presence

In the wasteland of solitude, my love, quiver
shadows of your voice, illusions of your lips.
In the wasteland of solitude, from the dusts of parting
Sprout jasmine and roses of your presence.

From somewhere close by, rises the warmth of your breath
and in its own aroma smolders, slowly, bit by bit.
Far-off, across the horizon, drop by glistening drop
Falls the dew of your beguiling glance.

With such overwhelming love, O my love,
your memory has placed its hand on my heart's cheek,
it looks as if (though it's still the dawn of the adieu)
the sun of parting has set; the night of union has come.

Faiz Ahmed Faiz

27 Jul 2007, 09:30:00  
Anonymous george said...


As I walked down by the river, down by the frozen fen
I saw the grey cathedral with the eyes of a child of ten
O the railway arch is smoky as the Flying Scot goes by
And but for the Education Act go Jumper Cross and I

But war is a bitter bugle that all must learn to blow
And it didn’t take long to stop the song in the dirty Italian snow
O war is a casual mistress and the world is her double bed
She has a few charms in her mechanised arms but you wake up and find yourself dead

The olive tree in winter casts her banner down
And the priest in white and scarlet comes up from the muddy town
O never more will Jumper watch the Flying Scot go by
His funeral knell was a six-inch shell singing across the sky

The Queen of Castile has a daughter who won’t come home again
She lies in the grey cathedral under the arms of Spain
O the Queen of Castile has a daughter, torn out by the roots
Her lovely breast in a cold stone chest under the farmer’s boots

Now I like a Spanish party and many o many’s the day
That I’ve watched them swim as the night came dim in Algeciras Bay
O the high sierra was thunder and the seven-branched river of Spain
Came down to the sea to plunder the heart of the sailor again

O shall I leap in the river and knock upon paradise door
For a gunner of twenty-seven and a half and a queen of twenty-four
From the almond tree by the river I watch the sky with a groan
For Jumper and Kate are always out late and I lie here alone

27 Jul 2007, 11:37:00  
Blogger nickgavey said...

Here is an extract from my favourite poem, Ulyesses by Tennyson. He beautifully twists Homer's characterisation to capture the spirit of the Victorian age.

"Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
As though to breath were life. Life piled on life
Were all to little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought."

27 Jul 2007, 13:41:00  
Anonymous DenMT said...

Here's a favourite bit of Yeats. Poetry can inspire with depth and majesty of scope, or superb insight into the human condition etc, but this piece is simply evocative and lovely.

I heard a recording of Yeats reading it, and when it got to 'peace comes dropping slow' I was already halfway there to evict Yeats and move into his holiday place myself. Sublime.


The Lake Isle Of Innisfree

I WILL arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore; 10
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

27 Jul 2007, 15:02:00  
Blogger KG said...

The Old Ships

I have seen old ships like swans asleep
Beyond the village which men call Tyre,
With leaden age o'ercargoed, dipping deep
For Famagusta and the hidden sun
That rings black Cyprus with a lake of fire;
And all those ships were certainly so old
Who knows how oft with squat and noisy gun,
Questing brown slaves or Syrian oranges,
The pirate Genoese
Hell-raked them till they rolled
Blood, water, fruit and corpses up the hold.
But now through friendly seas they softly run,
Painted the mid-sea blue or shore-sea green,
Still patterned with the vine and grapes in gold.

But I have seen,
Pointing her shapely shadows from the dawn
And image tumbed on a rose-swept bay,
A drowsy ship of some yet older day;
And, wonder's breath indrawn,
Thought I - who knows - who knows - but in that same
(Fished up beyond Ææa, patched up new
- Stern painted brighter blue -)
That talkative, bald-headed seaman came
(Twelve patient comrades sweating at the oar)
From Troy's doom-crimson shore,
And with great lies about his wooden horse
Set the crew laughing, and forgot his course.

It was so old a ship - who knows, who knows?
- And yet so beautiful, I watched in vain
To see the mast burst open with a rose,
And the whole deck put on its leaves again.

-- James Elroy Flecker

27 Jul 2007, 18:04:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bye Bye Love - Ronberge @ Frantiquities

28 Jul 2007, 00:53:00  
Blogger Mrs Smith said...

Beans, beans,
The musical fruit,
The more you eat,
The more you toot.

Sorry. Never paid much attention during English lit classes.

30 Jul 2007, 09:43:00  
Blogger Eric Olthwaite said...

O my luve is like a red, red rose
That's newly sprung in June;
My love like the melodie
That's sweetly played in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonny lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun;
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only love!
And fare thee weel, awhile!
And I will come again, my love
Though it were ten thousand mile.

- Robert Burns

30 Jul 2007, 10:33:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dulce et decorum est is always topical

Dulce Et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Wilfred Owen

30 Jul 2007, 11:15:00  
Blogger Eric Olthwaite said...

Ah, World War 1 Poetry.

The German Guns





- S. Baldrick

30 Jul 2007, 13:02:00  
Blogger PC said...

"I heard a recording of Yeats reading it, and when it got to 'peace comes dropping slow' I was already halfway there to evict Yeats and move into his holiday place myself."

I felt the same when I heard that recording. I have it on a CD here that makes simple pleasures seem so sweet.

30 Jul 2007, 21:51:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really? What an intriguing character you are. A modern-day Sir Walter Ralegh - brillant and heroic but capable of great savagery as well as great poetry. He fascinates just as he repels.

31 Jul 2007, 07:24:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ralegh quotes:

Speaking much is a sign of vanity; for he that is lavish in words is a niggard in deeds.

Whoso desireth to govern well and securely, it behoveth him to have a vigilant eye to the proceedings of great princes, and to consider seriously of their designs.

All, or the greatest part of men that have aspired to riches or power, have attained thereunto either by force or fraud, and what they have by craft or cruelty gained, to cover the foulness of their fact, they call purchase, as a name more honest.


31 Jul 2007, 18:45:00  

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