A poem that I read today by Mac

How many poets does it take to change a light bulb?
Macavity
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Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Thu Aug 22, 2019 5:28 am

A Contemplation Upon Flowers by Henry King

BRAVE flowers, that I could gallant it like you
And be as little vaine,
You come abroad, and make a harmelesse shew,
And to your bedds of Earthe againe;
You are not proud, you know your birth
For your Embroiderd garments are from Earth:

You doe obey your moneths, and times, but I
Would have it ever springe,
My fate would know noe winter, never dye
Nor thinke of such a thing;
Oh that I could my bedd of Earth but view
And Smile, and looke as Chearefully as you:

Oh teach me to see Death, and not to feare
But rather to take truce;
How often have I seene you at a Beere,
And there look fresh and spruce;
You fragrant flowers then teach me that my breath
Like yours may sweeten, and perfume my Death.

https://www.bartleby.com/105/143.html

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Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by bjondon » Thu Aug 22, 2019 11:01 am

Wow, that's quite a breath taking poem.
I'd never heard of King before.
Thank you for that mac!
J

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Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by David » Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:44 pm

Yes, very good. I think I've only come across one King poem before, but it is a goodun ...

HENRY KING, BISHOP OF CHICHESTER
Exequy on his Wife

ACCEPT, thou shrine of my dead saint,
Instead of dirges this complaint;
And for sweet flowers to crown thy herse
Receive a strew of weeping verse
From thy grieved friend, whom thou might'st see
Quite melted into tears for thee.

Dear loss! since thy untimely fate,
My task hath been to meditate
On thee, on thee! Thou art the book,
The library whereon I look,
Tho' almost blind. For thee, loved clay,
I languish out, not live, the day....
Thou hast benighted me; thy set
This eve of blackness did beget,
Who wast my day (tho' overcast
Before thou hadst thy noontide past):
And I remember must in tears
Thou scarce hadst seen so many years
As day tells hours. By thy clear sun
My love and fortune first did run;
But thou wilt never more appear
Folded within my hemisphere,
Since both thy light and motion,
Like a fled star, is fall'n and gone,
And 'twixt me and my soul's dear wish
The earth now interposed is....

I could allow thee for a time
To darken me and my sad clime;
Were it a month, a year, or ten,
I would thy exile live till then,
And all that space my mirth adjourn—
So thou wouldst promise to return,
And putting off thy ashy shroud
At length disperse this sorrow's cloud.

But woe is me! the longest date
Too narrow is to calculate
These empty hopes: never shall I
Be so much blest as to descry
A glimpse of thee, till that day come
Which shall the earth to cinders doom,
And a fierce fever must calcine
The body of this world—like thine,
My little world! That fit of fire
Once off, our bodies shall aspire
To our souls' bliss: then we shall rise
And view ourselves with clearer eyes
In that calm region where no night
Can hide us from each other's sight.

Meantime thou hast her, earth: much good
May my harm do thee! Since it stood
With Heaven's will I might not call
Her longer mine, I give thee all
My short-lived right and interest
In her whom living I loved best.
Be kind to her, and prithee look
Thou write into thy Doomsday book
Each parcel of this rarity
Which in thy casket shrined doth lie,
As thou wilt answer Him that lent—
Not gave—thee my dear monument.
So close the ground, and 'bout her shade
Black curtains draw: my bride is laid.

Sleep on, my Love, in thy cold bed
Never to be disquieted!
My last good-night! Thou wilt not wake
Till I thy fate shall overtake:
Till age, or grief, or sickness must
Marry my body to that dust
It so much loves; and fill the room
My heart keeps empty in thy tomb.
Stay for me there: I will not fail
To meet thee in that hollow vale.
And think not much of my delay:
I am already on the way,
And follow thee with all the speed
Desire can make, or sorrows breed.
Each minute is a short degree
And every hour a step towards thee....

'Tis true—with shame and grief I yield—
Thou, like the van, first took'st the field;
And gotten hast the victory
In thus adventuring to die
Before me, whose more years might crave
A just precedence in the grave.
But hark! my pulse, like a soft drum,
Beats my approach, tells thee I come;
And slow howe'er my marches be
I shall at last sit down by thee.

The thought of this bids me go on
And wait my dissolution
With hope and comfort. Dear—forgive
The crime—I am content to live
Divided, with but half a heart,
Till we shall meet and never part.

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Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by David » Thu Aug 22, 2019 5:47 pm

I've introduced spaces where the original only has indents - just to break it up a bit (and at the points that King intended).

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Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Perry » Sat Aug 24, 2019 10:34 am

For some reason this thread fell off my radar. I notice that people besides Mac are posting poems, but I think I'll restrain myself. I don't want this thread to be about my taste.

The Lewis poem is really magical, and I'm going to put it in the WordPerfect document that I keep of my favorite poems. The Frost poem, on the other hand, is one that I admire technically but never really loved. He makes a good point, however: If there is a body of water nearby, people tend to look at it a lot.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

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Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by bjondon » Sun Aug 25, 2019 7:41 pm

Thank you David . . . the 'other' King is also marvelous, the way it keeps unfolding. Despite the intimidating length I was captured throughout.
I just found another one :

Tell mee no more how faire shee is;
I have no mind to heare
The story of that distant Blisse
I never shall come neere.
By sad experience I have found
That Hir perfection is my wound.

And tell mee not how fond I am
To tempt a daring Fate,
From whence no triumph ever came
But to repent too late.
There is some hope ere long I may
In silence dote my self away.

I aske no Pitty (Love!) from thee,
Nor will thy Justice blame;
So that thou wilt not envy mee
The glory of my Flame:
Which crownes my Heart, when e're it dyes,
In that it falles Hir Sacrifice.

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Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by David » Sun Aug 25, 2019 7:49 pm

Hypnotic, isn't it, Jules? And I thank you for the favour returned. I must look him up. I'm even a bit vague on his dates.

Cheers

David

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Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by k-j » Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:50 pm

I love those King poems - wasn't familiar with him at all. Thanks guys.
fine words butter no parsnips

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Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Fri Sep 06, 2019 1:15 pm

Marin-an by Gary Snyder

sun breaks over the eucalyptus
grove below the wet pasture,
water’s about hot,
I sit in the open window
& roll a smoke.

distant dogs bark, a pair of
cawing crows; the twang
of a pygmy nuthatch high in a pine-
from behind the cypress windrow
the mare moves up, grazing.

a soft continuous roar
comes out of the far valley
of the six-lane highway-thousands
and thousands of cars
driving men to work.

(from The Back Country)

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Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:54 pm

Patrick Kavanagh - The Great Hunger

https://allpoetry.com/Patrick-Kavanagh

Just a link because it is rather long. I'm finding this poem quite addictive.

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Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Fri Sep 27, 2019 4:33 am

On my First Son by Ben Jonson

Farewell, thou child of my right hand, and joy;
My sin was too much hope of thee, lov'd boy.
Seven years tho' wert lent to me, and I thee pay,
Exacted by thy fate, on the just day.
O, could I lose all father now! For why
Will man lament the state he should envy?
To have so soon 'scap'd world's and flesh's rage,
And if no other misery, yet age?
Rest in soft peace, and, ask'd, say, "Here doth lie
Ben Jonson his best piece of poetry."
For whose sake henceforth all his vows be such,
As what he loves may never like too much.

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Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by k-j » Fri Sep 27, 2019 3:21 pm

Yes, another great example of Jonson's anachronistic personal touch. He wrote a similar poem for a daughter of his, also moving. Makes me want to look at his plays again (read them at university) to see if I can detect the same quality in them. I do remember thinking they were pretty great as plays.
fine words butter no parsnips

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Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Sat Oct 12, 2019 5:32 am

Love (III) by George Herbert


Love bade me welcome. Yet my soul drew back
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
If I lacked any thing.

A guest, I answered, worthy to be here:
Love said, You shall be he.
I the unkind, ungrateful? Ah my dear,
I cannot look on thee.
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
Who made the eyes but I?

Truth Lord, but I have marred them: let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.
And know you not, says Love, who bore the blame?
My dear, then I will serve.
You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat:
So I did sit and eat.

https://www.poetsgraves.co.uk/Classic%20Poems/Herbert/love.htm

Just a reminder there are other areas to this site.

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Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by David » Sat Oct 12, 2019 6:27 pm

Ah yes. This is supposedly the George Herbert poem, in the sense that it's (possibly) his best. There are many other good ones.

And this is a good read about him: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/aug/15/music-midnight-herbert-drury-review

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Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Wed Oct 16, 2019 8:35 pm

Did the Henry Vaughan walk today (and a bit more because the views from the bridle way in the sunny autumn light encouraged me further)

So a poem from him:

TO HIS RETIRED FRIEND, AN INVITATION TO BRECKNOCK. by Henry Vaughan


SINCE last we met, thou and thy horse—my dear—
Have not so much as drunk, or litter'd here ;
I wonder, though thyself be thus deceas'd,
Thou hast the spite to coffin up thy beast ;
Or is the palfrey sick, and his rough hide
With the penance of one spur mortified ?
Or taught by thee—like Pythagoras's ox—
Is then his master grown more orthodox?
Whatever 'tis, a sober cause't must be
That thus long bars us of thy company.
The town believes thee lost, and didst thou see
But half her suff'rings, now distress'd for thee,
Thou'ldst swear—like Rome—her foul, polluted walls
Were sack'd by Brennus and the savage Gauls.
Abominable face of things ! here's noise
Of banged mortars, blue aprons, and boys,
Pigs, dogs, and drums, with the hoarse, hellish notes
Of politicly-deaf usurers' throats,
With new fine Worships, and the old cast team
Of Justices vex'd with the cough and phlegm.
'Midst these the Cross looks sad, and in the Shire-
Hall furs of an old Saxon Fox appear,
With brotherly ruffs and beards, and a strange sight
Of high monumental hats, ta'en at the fight
Of 'Eighty-eight ; while ev'ry burgess foots
The mortal pavement in eternal boots.
Hadst thou been bach'lor, I had soon divin'd
Thy close retirements, and monastic mind ;
Perhaps some nymph had been to visit, or
The beauteous churl was to be waited for,
And like the Greek, ere you the sport would miss
You stay'd, and stroked the distaff for a kiss.
But in this age, when thy cool, settled blood
Is ti'd t'one flesh, and thou almost grown good,
I know not how to reach the strange device,
Except—Domitian-like—thou murder'st flies.
Or is't thy piety ? for who can tell
But thou may'st prove devout, and love a cell,
And—like a badger—with attentive looks
In the dark hole sit rooting up of books.
Quick hermit ! what a peaceful change hadst thou,
Without the noise of haircloth, whip, or vow !
But there is no redemption ? must there be
No other penance but of liberty ?
Why, two months hence, if thou continue thus,
Thy memory will scarce remain with us,
The drawers have forgot thee, and exclaim
They have not seen thee here since Charles, his reign,
Or if they mention thee, like some old man,
That at each word inserts—“Sir, as I can
Remember”—so the cyph'rers puzzle me
With a dark, cloudy character of thee.
That—certs !—I fear thou wilt be lost, and we
Must ask the fathers ere't be long for thee.
Come ! leave this sullen state, and let not wine
And precious wit lie dead for want of thine.
Shall the dull market-landlord with his rout
Of sneaking tenants dirtily swill out
This harmless liquor ? shall they knock and beat
For sack, only to talk of rye and wheat ?
O let not such prepost'rous tippling be
In our metropolis ; may I ne'er see
Such tavern-sacrilege, nor lend a line
To weep the rapes and tragedy of wine !
Here lives that chymic, quick fire which betrays
Fresh spirits to the blood, and warms our lays.
I have reserv'd 'gainst thy approach a cup
That were thy Muse stark dead, shall raise her up,
And teach her yet more charming words and skill
Than ever Coelia, Chloris, Astrophil,
Or any of the threadbare names inspir'd
Poor rhyming lovers with a mistress fir'd.
Come then ! and while the slow icicle hangs
At the stiff thatch, and Winter's frosty pangs
Benumb the year, blithe—as of old—let us
'Midst noise and war of peace and mirth discuss.
This portion thou wert born for : why should we
Vex at the time's ridiculous misery ?
An age that thus hath fool'd itself, and will
—Spite of thy teeth and mine—persist so still.
Let's sit then at this fire, and while we steal
A revel in the town, let others seal,
Purchase or cheat, and who can, let them pay,
Till those black deeds bring on the darksome day.
Innocent spenders we ! a better use
Shall wear out our short lease, and leave th' obtuse
Rout to their husks ; they and their bags at best
Have cares in earnest ; we care for a jest.


The walk:

https://talybontonusk.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/vaughan-walk-leaflet-for-website-05-17.pdf

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Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Wed Oct 23, 2019 11:30 am

I now begin to feed upon myself,
Because I have nought else to feed upon –
Some lines from this poem:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2019/oct/21/the-soul-of-gerontius-by-john-henry-newman

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Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:53 am

Another one from the site's classic poems:

https://www.poetsgraves.co.uk/Classic%20Poems/Marvell/thoughts_in_a_garden.htm


Thoughts in a Garden

by Andrew Marvell


How vainly men themselves amaze
To win the palm, the oak, or bays,
And their incessant labours see
Crown’d from some single herb or tree,
Whose short and narrow-vergéd shade
Does prudently their toils upbraid;
While all the flowers and trees do close
To weave the garlands of Repose.

Fair Quiet, have I found thee here,
And Innocence thy sister dear?
Mistaken long, I sought you then
In busy companies of men:
Your sacred plants, if here below,
Only among the plants will grow:
Society is all but rude
To this delicious solitude.

No white nor red was ever seen
So amorous as this lovely green.
Fond lovers, cruel as their flame,
Cut in these trees their mistress’ name:
Little, alas, they know or heed
How far these beauties her exceed!
Fair trees! Where’er your barks I wound,
No name shall but your own be found.

When we have run our passion’s heat
Love hither makes his best retreat:
The gods, who mortal beauty chase,
Still in a tree did end their race:
Apollo hunted Daphne so
Only that she might laurel grow:
And Pan did after Syrinx speed
Not as a nymph, but for a reed.

What wondrous life is this I lead!
Ripe apples drop about my head;
The luscious clusters of the vine
Upon my mouth do crush their wine;
The nectarine and curious peach
Into my hands themselves do reach;
Stumbling on melons, as I pass,
Ensnared with flowers, I fall on grass.

Meanwhile the mind from pleasure less
Withdraws into its happiness;
The mind, that ocean where each kind
Does straight its own resemblance find;
Yet it creates, transcending these,
Far other worlds, and other seas;
Annihilating all that’s made
To a green thought in a green shade.

Here at the fountain’s sliding foot
Or at some fruit-tree’s mossy root,
Casting the body’s vest aside
My soul into the boughs does glide;
There, like a bird, it sits and sings,
Then whets and claps its silver wings,
And, till prepared for longer flight,
Waves in its plumes the various light.

Such was that happy Garden-state
While man there walk’d without a mate:
After a place so pure and sweet,
What other help could yet be meet!
But ’twas beyond a mortal’s share
To wander solitary there:
Two paradises ’twere in one,
To live in Paradise alone.

How well the skilful gardener drew
Of flowers and herbs this dial new!
Where, from above, the milder sun
Does through a fragrant zodiac run:
And, as it works, th’industrious bee
Computes its time as well as we.
How could such sweet and wholesome hours
Be reckon’d, but with herbs and flowers!

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Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by bjondon » Tue Oct 29, 2019 5:35 pm

Macavity wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:54 pm
Patrick Kavanagh - The Great Hunger

https://allpoetry.com/Patrick-Kavanagh

Just a link because it is rather long. I'm finding this poem quite addictive.
You are giving us a happy hunting ground here mac!
The Kavanagh really is something else and yes, addictive (I just sent off for the penguin edition).
I finally finished it after three or four runs, mostly because I kept returning to the start, enjoying and intrigued how he does it. I think it's partly the gear changes, constant and seemingly instinctive, partly the combination of craft and recklessness, full of passion and insight, zooming in for these vivid momentary details. A Paradise Lost for our times? I think there's a nod to Prufrock in there (the passing cyclists?) But I prefer this!

Best,
Jules

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Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Fri Nov 01, 2019 12:20 pm

Pleased you've become a fellow addict Jules :D

I think this thread, because of its historical nature due to copyright issues, is somewhat male orientated. Most of the contemporary poetry I read is female. Therefore I'll start quoting lines or just posting links. This poem is by Sheenagh Pugh. I have two of her books 'Later Selected Poems' and 'Long-Haul Travellers'.

https://www.poetryarchive.org/poem/pursuit-happiness

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Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by bjondon » Mon Nov 04, 2019 12:53 pm

Not hugely impressed by that Pugh, but it sent me on a trail that arrived at the sensational 'Carol of the Birds' by Anne Stevenson.
J

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Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Mon Nov 04, 2019 5:52 pm

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2005/dec/10/featuresreviews.guardianreview29

Nice one Jules. Like it.

The Ledbury festival comp. winners are out...

https://www.poetry-festival.co.uk/ledbury-poetry-competition/

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Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:15 am

This one is by Jo Shapcott. It is from her book Of Mutability, which I can recommend.


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Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Mon Nov 11, 2019 9:55 am

Some Plath -



That pristine New England accent...a must listen.

I have the Collected Poems edited by her reliable husband!

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Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Sat Nov 16, 2019 7:44 am

This is from Emily Hinshelwood's On Becoming a Fish. The collection is based around walking the Pembrokeshire coast. It is one of my fav. books.


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Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Dryanddeadwords » Sat Nov 16, 2019 9:00 am

Rivers and Mountains
BY JOHN ASHBERY


On the secret map the assassins
Cloistered, the Moon River was marked
Near the eighteen peaks and the city
Of humiliation and defeat—wan ending
Of the trail among dry, papery leaves
Gray-brown quills like thoughts
In the melodious but vast mass of today’s
Writing through fields and swamps
Marked, on the map, with little bunches of weeds.
Certainly squirrels lived in the woods
But devastation and dull sleep still
Hung over the land, quelled
The rioters turned out of sleep in the peace of prisons
Singing on marble factory walls
Deaf consolation of minor tunes that pack
The air with heavy invisible rods
Pent in some sand valley from
Which only quiet walking ever instructs.
The bird flew over and
Sat—there was nothing else to do.
Do not mistake its silence for pride or strength
Or the waterfall for a harbor
Full of light boats that is there
Performing for thousands of people
In clothes some with places to go
Or games. Sometimes over the pillar
Of square stones its impact
Makes a light print.
So going around cities
To get to other places you found
It all on paper but the land
Was made of paper processed
To look like ferns, mud or other
Whose sea unrolled its magic
Distances and then rolled them up
Its secret was only a pocket
After all but some corners are darker
Than these moonless nights spent as on a raft
In the seclusion of a melody heard
As though through trees
And you can never ignite their touch
Long but there were homes
Flung far out near the asperities
Of a sharp, rocky pinnacle
And other collective places
Shadows of vineyards whose wine
Tasted of the forest floor
Fisheries and oyster beds
Tides under the pole
Seminaries of instruction, public
Places for electric light
And the major tax assessment area
Wrinkled on the plan
Of election to public office
Sixty-two years old bath and breakfast
The formal traffic, shadows
To make it not worth joining
After the ox had pulled away the cart.

Your plan was to separate the enemy into two groups
With the razor-edged mountains between.
It worked well on paper
But their camp had grown
To be the mountains and the map
Carefully peeled away and not torn
Was the light, a tender but tough bark
On everything. Fortunately the war was solved
In another way by isolating the two sections
Of the enemy’s navy so that the mainland
Warded away the big floating ships.
Light bounced off the ends
Of the small gray waves to tell
Them in the observatory
About the great drama that was being won
To turn off the machinery
And quietly move among the rustic landscape
Scooping snow off the mountains rinsing
The coarser ones that love had
Slowly risen in the night to overflow
Wetting pillow and petal
Determined to place the letter
On the unassassinated president’s desk
So that a stamp could reproduce all this
In detail, down to the last autumn leaf
And the affliction of June ride
Slowly out into the sun-blackened landscape.




From Rivers and Mountains, 1962

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