Kaiser Wilhelm in Doorn

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David
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Kaiser Wilhelm in Doorn

Post by David » Tue May 12, 2015 5:56 am

At the sloping end,
Holland dips warily
into a sea that looks
as guileless as it can,
which is not very,
along that battered lashed-together shore.

We rarely ventured into the interior,
where things grow green and lush
and the land loses that aspect
of pinched parsimony
as it shades into Germany,
approaching a state of Urwald.

I picture him in Doorn,
disarmed and rusticated -
maps, telegrams, troop deployments,
furious coffee and schnapps -
trying to find the road he missed,
that does not lead to the abyss.

Macavity
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Re: Kaiser Wilhelm in Doorn

Post by Macavity » Wed May 13, 2015 7:08 am

Neatly done David. No doubt the style is intentionally bloodless and chooses to engage the brain. I think the poem has a more consistent tone without the final line, which feels forced. Either way enjoyed.

all the best

mac

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Re: Kaiser Wilhelm in Doorn

Post by cynwulf » Wed May 13, 2015 10:54 am

Yes, neatly done,David. I felt 'lashed-together' shore was a little unkind to the engineering marvels of Dutch sea defences; I've never been to Holland but the land seems by repute even more manicured than England, so I wondered does Urwald exist there-seems more Siberian or Brazilian somehow. Rusticated nicely understated touch to describe his punishment. Abyss seems appropropriate for a man who set the world on fire.
Best wishes, c.

ray miller
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Re: Kaiser Wilhelm in Doorn

Post by ray miller » Wed May 13, 2015 12:21 pm

I love Holland, it's not easy to imagine a sloping end, when it's so flat, but I get what you mean. It would have been good to get this line which is not very, at the end of the first stanza, somehow. I like the pinched parsimony, applicable to both the Dutch character and their relationship to the sea.
furious coffee and schnapps - that's a nice line in a fine poem.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: Kaiser Wilhelm in Doorn

Post by Antcliff » Thu May 14, 2015 8:29 am

Nice. Nae quibbles.

Applauding that "pinched parsimony".

Rusticated...what a terrible fate. (Goes off to dig his spuds).


Seth
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

David
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Re: Kaiser Wilhelm in Doorn

Post by David » Fri May 15, 2015 7:37 pm

"Neatly done" is a very Dutch sort of compliment, Mac and C. Thank you, gents.
cynwulf wrote: I felt 'lashed-together' shore was a little unkind to the engineering marvels of Dutch sea defences
That's a good point. Still, it's not all dykes and state of the art engineering. I seem to remember a lot of scrubby dunes. Also hoping for a double meaning of "lashed".
ray miller wrote:I love Holland
Me too, Ray. I lived there for a while, and might still be there, if it weren't for a "Some Enchanted Evening" moment in the Bridge here, Christmas Eve 1988. Good idea about "which is not very", but I'm not sure I can manage that. I was pretty pleased with pinched parsimony myself.

The Dutch also great ones for spuds, of course, Seth ... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Potat ... -03850.jpg

Cheers all

David

dedalus
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Re: Kaiser Wilhelm in Doorn

Post by dedalus » Mon May 25, 2015 9:20 am

The Kaiser in Doorn
is like the Bard of Man:
adrift on the summer morn,
detain him if you can.

-- Ah, go on !
Bren

k-j
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Re: Kaiser Wilhelm in Doorn

Post by k-j » Thu May 28, 2015 4:14 am

I love the venture into the interior, reminds me of me.

But joking aside, generally much enjoyed. First verse is a little masterpiece. Very economical.

"Furious coffee and schnapps" I think is the key line. And a great line.

My only quibble is with the last line, which because of its pat rhythm and rhyme seems to lack heft. I think you should rhyme it with either lines 3 or 4 of that verse, and shorten it. It also seems like a mere restatement of the line before: maybe it's the line before you ought to change.
fine words butter no parsnips

David
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Re: Kaiser Wilhelm in Doorn

Post by David » Wed Jun 03, 2015 7:26 pm

dedalus wrote:The Kaiser in Doorn
is like the Bard of Man:
adrift on the summer morn,
detain him if you can.

-- Ah, go on !
Bren
I will go on! Thanks, Bren.
k-j wrote:My only quibble is with the last line, which because of its pat rhythm and rhyme seems to lack heft. I think you should rhyme it with either lines 3 or 4 of that verse, and shorten it. It also seems like a mere restatement of the line before: maybe it's the line before you ought to change.
Brilliant advice, I think, Kieran. Thank you very much for that. I will think about it, but I have also been thinking that I could add a fourth verse. I recently read Hölderlin's poem about the Rhine, which starts (it seems) so furiously - in the Alps, I guess. But then (a point he does not make) it ends up as the Rijn, slipping quietly into the sea in the Netherlands. So scope for something there, perhaps.

Bloody hard going, Hölderlin, I think.

Cheers both

David

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Re: Kaiser Wilhelm in Doorn

Post by David » Thu Jun 04, 2015 11:05 am

How about if I rejig the ending thusly:

I picture him in Doorn,
disarmed and rusticated -
maps, telegrams, troop deployments,
furious coffee and schnapps -
trying to find the road he missed,
that does not lead to where the monsters swim.

But like the Rhine his course is fixed,
and cannot be unpicked:
from a glorious foaming birth
and a progress attended by castles,
to end among cows and windmills
on an undemonstrative coast.

dedalus
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Re: Kaiser Wilhelm in Doorn

Post by dedalus » Thu Jun 04, 2015 11:51 am

Re your proposed changes, I think I prefer the original. Here are some more (unsoliclited) suggestions:
I picture him in Doorn,
disarmed and rusticated -
with maps, telegrams, troop movements,
half-spilled furious coffee and schnapps -
trying to find the road he overlooked
that does not lead to the abyss.

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