The Poets

November 16, 2012

Blok on the Muse

I mentioned recently how impressive a breed of poets these Russian symbolists were, and named a few. Among those named was Aleksandr Blok, a poet that I’ve now known for some time, and the first Russian symbolist I came to study.

Now although I consider Tyutchev
the best of these symbolists- indeed, one of the best poets ever- Blok and his incredibly imaginative works hold a high and privileged place with me. His poetry seems, at times, irrationally defiant and recklessly counterintuitive (To the Muse); and yet at other times his poems gleam of loftiness and holiness and divinity (I Seek Salvation).

Take the poem below … it’s about the Muse- that mythological deity who inspires within the human spirit passionate movements of creativity and the apperception of the sublime and beautiful. This poem depicts her as an irresistible addiction that, once consumed by, causes one to trample on and desecrate sacred traditions and holy things (not at all the idea of her that the Greeks held).

Check it …

To the Muse 

In your hidden memories
There are fatal tidings of doom...
A curse on sacred traditions,
A desecration of happiness;

And a power so alluring
That I am ready to repeat the rumour
That you have brought angels down from heaven,
Enticing them with your beauty...

And when you mock at faith,
That pale, greyish-purple halo
Which I once saw before
Suddenly begins to shine above you.

Are you evil or good? You are altogether from another world
They say strange things about you
For some you are the Muse and a miracle.
For me you are torment and hell.

I do not know why in the hour of dawn,
When no strength was left to me,
I did not perish, but caught sight of your face
And begged you to comfort me.

I wanted us to be enemies;
Why then did you make me a present
Of a flowery meadow and of the starry firmament --
The whole curse of your beauty?

Your fearful caresses were more treacherous
Than the northern night,
More intoxicating than the golden champagne of Aï,
Briefer than a gypsy woman's love...

And there was a fatal pleasure
In trampling on cherished and holy things;
And this passion, bitter as wormwood,
Was a frenzied delight for the heart!

November 12, 2012

Advice from a Poet

Yes! By far the best- and I mean BEST- advice one could ever give to a poet (and in the form of verse!). The advice comes from
American Romantic poet William Cullen Bryant (1794 – 1878), and I highly recommend any poet to read through the whole of this poem.

Thank you, Bryant ...

The Poet

Thou, who wouldst wear the name
Of poet mid thy brethren of mankind,
And clothe in words of flame
Thoughts that shall live within the general mind!
Deem not the framing of a deathless lay
The pastime of a drowsy summer day.

But gather all thy powers,
And wreak them on the verse that thou dust weave,
And in thy lonely hours,
At silent morning or at wakeful eve,
While the warm current tingles through thy veins,
Set forth the burning words in fluent strains.

No smooth array of phrase,
Artfully sought and ordered though it be,
Which the cold rhymer lays
Upon his page with languid industry,
Can wake the listless pulse to livelier speed,
Or fill with sudden tears the eyes that read.

The secret wouldst thou know
To touch the heart or fire the blood at will?
Let thine own eyes o'erflow;
Let thy lips quiver with the passionate thrill;
Seize the great thought, ere yet its power be past,
And bind, in words, the fleet emotion fast.

Then, should thy verse appear
Halting and harsh, and all unaptly wrought,
Touch the crude line with fear,
Save in the moment of impassioned thought;
Then summon back the original glow, and mend
The strain with rapture that with fire was penned.

Yet let no empty gust
Of passion find an utterance in thy lay,
A blast that whirls the dust
Along the howling street and dies away;
But feelings of calm power and mighty sweep,
Like currents journeying through the windless deep.

Seek'st thou, in living lays,
To limn the beauty of the earth and sky?
Before thine inner gaze
Let all that beauty in clear vision lie;
Look on it with exceeding love, and write
The words inspired by wonder and delight.

Of tempests wouldst thou sing,
Or tell of battles--make thyself a part
Of the great tumult; cling
To the tossed wreck with terror in thy heart;
Scale, with the assaulting host, the rampart's height,
And strike and struggle in the thickest fight.

So shalt thou frame a lay
That haply may endure from age to age,
And they who read shall say
"What witchery hangs upon this poet's page!
What art is his the written spells to find
That sway from mood to mood the willing mind!"

November 09, 2012

The Truth the Dead Know- A Sexton Poem

The Truth the Dead Know

    For my Mother, born March 1902, died March 1959
    and my Father, born February 1900, died June 1959

Gone, I say and walk from church,
refusing the stiff procession to the grave,
letting the dead ride alone in the hearse.
It is June.  I am tired of being brave.

We drive to the Cape.  I cultivate
myself where the sun gutters from the sky,
where the sea swings in like an iron gate
and we touch.  In another country people die.

My darling, the wind falls in like stones
from the whitehearted water and when we touch
we enter touch entirely.  No one's alone.
Men kill for this, or for as much.

And what of the dead?  They lie without shoes
in the stone boats.  They are more like stone
than the sea would be if it stopped.  They refuse
to be blessed, throat, eye and knucklebone.

Beautiful Anne Sexton

Beautiful Anne Sexton … incredible poet, tragic soul. Happy date of birth, lady …
(Nov. 9th 1928 – Oct. 4th 1974)

As of April 9th, 2010