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The Poets

July 31, 2014

The Great Fire

 
I stood there, marveling at that great fire,
And began to laugh (silently of course),
Knowing that Nero would now fall to scorn
And that all of Rome, now writhing in flames,
Would add gossip unto gossip and curse
The emperor's belovéd name, or worse ...

-jwm

July 30, 2014

War Poet Wilfred Owen: A Remembrance Tale



Siegfried Sassoon was the first of the World War I poets that I came to study, but when I discover Wilfred Owen and his poetry I was blown away! He's an incredible writer, employing some of the most vivid and sometimes shocking imagery that I've ever read in a poet.

With that said, and it goes without saying, it pleased me to no end to come across this hour-long documentary about him. If World War I intrigues you, or if you like reading the poetry of poets that endured the unendurable environment and psychological that warfare brings, I absolutely, absolutely recommend checking this documentary out.

Déjà Vu


The roving waves   the white winds
Along the bold beach   the black sea
With humid sands   surf-drench'd sands
Tossed by tides   by trembling tides
and you

Have I, in some lauded past of mine,
Strolled these sandy shores of yore? -
Hearing those gulls, smelling the salty brine …
Have I been here before?

Those shells there glistening in the sand?
Look! the peppered surf draws near!
And that wandering crab with crooked hand …
I swear I once was here.

And your soft and sea-wet hazel hair,
And your voice's gentle tone-
And the seductive beauty of your stare
In days remote I've known …

What say you? How could this ever be?
The answer eludes it seems.
But we both were together, by this sea,
In life … and not in dreams.

-jwm

Of the Poem: 
 
The poem was inspired by a poem written by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Sudden Light. His poem was also about déjà vu- a term coined by Emile Boirac, a French psychic researcher, a term that Rossetti was definitely unfamiliar with- hence his poetic description of déjà vu as being 'sudden light.'

Inasmuch as the parameters go, I thought that, for the very first stanza, it would be kind of cool to utilize an alliterative verse structure with caesuras (pauses) within each line to promote the effect of a fragmented recollection of events that that might have happened in the past- events that memory seems to be desperate to puzzle together, and can't help but to believe that these are original memories from another time or life.

For the remaining stanzas (four quatrains altogether) I thought I'd let them take up a cadence of a sorts- a sort of lyrical ballad where each successive stanza culminates into the persuasion that, yes!, this memory comes from an actual time before- it goes from: "Have I been here" to "I swear I once was" to "I've known" and then finally concludes that these events did indeed occur "In life … and not in dreams."

The opening stanza is written with seven syllables in the first and third lines; the second and fourth lines are tetrameters; and of course, the fifth line refers to 'her.' The rest of the structure- the remaining stanzas- have nine syllables for the first line, seven for the second, a pentameter (ten) for the third, and a trimerter (six) for the final line.

The phrase 'crooked hand' in line eleven is a reminiscent phrase from Tennyson's poem, The Eagle.

It was a fun poem to do. I hope it's a decent read for everyone. Peace …

As of April 9th, 2010