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The Poets

December 27, 2011

Sleep

Sleep

A thousand angels watch'd him sleep
(His slumbers, ah, were ever deep)
And she, with gazing eyes as they
Approaching softly where he lay
Did ever silent keep

She touch’d his cold and pallor’d clay
And wept (her weary tears were gray)
And as she stood there sad and bleak
She bent to kiss his lifeless cheek
And curs’d the light of day

-jwm


Of the Poem (Inspiration):

The inspiration for the poem above came from a short, albeit quite shocking, poem I read some two to three years ago called, Another (Here a Pretty Baby Lies). It was written by a 17th century
Cavalier poet, Robert Herrick (a poet that I hadn’t really studied much until recently).

Here it is in its entirety is as follows:

Here a pretty baby lies
Sung asleep with lullabies:
Pray be silent and not stir
Th' easy earth that covers her.

In the first three lines of his poem one imagines a baby asleep in a crib; but then, shockingly, one comes to realize that the poem speaks of the burial of a child. In my poem 'sleep' as symbolic of death isn’t openly articulated until the second stanza (much like the fourth line in Herrick’s piece).

Anyhow, although Herrick's poem is much more intense, I'm utterly satisfied with the finished work. Hope you are as well ...

December 21, 2011

A Cavalier Poet

The 17th century Cavalier poets were somewhat secular poets who sided with Charles I while England was in civil war, and who were opponents of the Metaphysical poets. These guys- and there are about twelve of them- are pretty kick ass writers, and although the intellectual depth of Metaphysical poets like Donne is much more apparent, I still respect these poets as poets. I can’t wait to share more about these poets with all my Blogspot buddies …

Now, I’ve already read quite a bit by the figurehead of this group, Ben Jonson, and was hooked by this poem below, check out the talent …



His Excuse for Loving

Let it not your wonder move,
Less your laughter, that I love.
Though I now write fifty years,
I have had, and have, my peers.
Poets, though divine, are men;
Some have loved as old again.
And it is not always face,
Clothes, or fortune gives the grace,
Or the feature, or the youth;
But the language and the truth,
With the ardor and the passion,
Gives the lover weight and fashion.
If you then would hear the story,
First, prepare you to be sorry
That you never knew till now
Either whom to love or how;
But be glad as soon with me
When you hear that this is she
Of whose beauty it was sung,
She shall make the old man young,
Keep the middle age at stay,
And let nothing hide decay,
Till she be the reason why
All the world for love may die.

December 12, 2011

Καλλιόπη

Calliope

Let not my tongue the Muse defile
Nor let my words ill gotten be
But let the thoughts that I compile
Be worthy both of her and me

-jwm

December 05, 2011

Up-Hill with Rossetti

Christina Rossetti is one of the first female poets I began to read. For the longest time- even prior to a refined interest in poetry- I’ve known her name (her brother established my favorite period in the history of art, the Pre-Raphaelite period). It wasn't until later in life, however, that I began to read her works. In fact, she’s the very first poet I posted on in my blog. I love her works dearly, deeply, a lot …

I just want to acknowledge and thank her for her works … happy birthday, my Victorian poet-friend



*****


Here, check out one of her works- a poem about life as a journy up a tough, tough hill ... but with hope at the end ...



Up-Hill

Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the day’s journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.

But is there for the night a resting-place?
A roof for when the slow dark hours begin.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
You cannot miss that inn.

Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
Those who have gone before.
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
They will not keep you standing at that door.

Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
Of labor you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
Yea, beds for all who come.

Props to Rilke

Gotta give props to Rilke- one of the most gifted German poets I’ve come to know (way better, in my opinion, than Hölderlin). His works are bleak, raw, ethereal, and astonishingly simple in their complexity. If ever a poet were to be called existential, it would be him.

Happy belated birthday, brotha ...


*****


There’s a poem of his that I keep with me in my wallet- it’s called the Ninth Elegy. There’s a specific quote in it that I always try to remember while I’m writing a poem:

"Praise this world to the angel, not the unsayable one; you can't impress him with glorious emotion; in the universe where he feels more powerful, you are a novice. Show him something simple which, formed over generations, lives as our own, near our hand and within our gaze."

As of April 9th, 2010