Girardus Cambrensis

This is a serious poetry forum not a "love-in". Post here for more detailed, constructive criticism.
Post Reply
David
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 13711
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 4:40 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Girardus Cambrensis

Post by David » Sat Sep 28, 2019 1:15 pm

He loved it here, leaving inside
the strained theology, the stresses
of seminary life, the strangely
inadequate central heating system,

finding on Maenefa's kestrel-haunted
slopes an image of Whom he loved,
a self-revealing summum bonum,
a dauntless and dashing chevalier.

He loved Treffynon's equable well,
reliable and temperate, sometimes
doing its bathers visible good.

He loved the wild Welsh air, for all
its unsatisfactory inmates, and them
even he missed on the opposite shore.

User avatar
JJWilliamson
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 3297
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:20 am

Re: Girardus Cambrensis

Post by JJWilliamson » Sun Sep 29, 2019 7:44 am

I wondered if the history would escape me, because I know little of Gerald of Wales. However, the legend of St Winifred is well known to me
and so I found an instant attraction. That is if the well you refer to is indeed the holy well at Holywell. (I wrote a poem about the event)

Still, I wondered if I was taking myself up the garden path. The central heating reference almost stopped me in my tracks but the ancients had designed and used rudimentary forms of central heating centuries earlier, with the Greeks and Romans being the most notable. Then it clicked! The Gerald you refer to is the poet and cleric Gerard Manley Hopkins. Phew, I hope I'm right.

With this in mind I focussed on Gerard of Wales rather than Gerald of Wales. :)

Enjoyed, in a quiet melancholic sort of way.

David wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 1:15 pm
He loved it here, leaving inside
the strained theology, the stresses
of seminary life, the strangely
inadequate central heating system,

finding on Maenefa's kestrel-haunted
slopes an image of Whom he loved, ...Does this line reference Moonrise?
a self-revealing summum bonum,
a dauntless and dashing chevalier.

He loved Treffynon's equable well,
reliable and temperate, sometimes
doing its bathers visible good. ...The Holy Well of St Winifred methinks.

He loved the wild Welsh air, for all
its unsatisfactory inmates, and them
even he missed on the opposite shore. ...Ireland?
Best

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

ray miller
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 6578
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:23 am

Re: Girardus Cambrensis

Post by ray miller » Sun Sep 29, 2019 10:57 am

I know nothing of who it's about. I note the strained, stresses and strangely alliterative first verse. The theology is left inside rather than aside. Them on the opposite shore, rather than those is an odd choice, as is focussing on his tolerance for reliable and unreliable water systems. But that's the Welsh for you.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

David
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 13711
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 4:40 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: Girardus Cambrensis

Post by David » Sun Oct 06, 2019 5:30 pm

JJ, you're right, of course. It is GMH. (Which, it occurs to me, could be an abbreviation of Grievous Mental Harm - a good description for the Jesuits.)

Actually, now you mention it I remember your poem. Had forgotten that! And yes, youthinks correctly.

I'm not sure what Moonrise is in this context. I'll go and look it up. That verse is - or is supposed to be - very Windhover-y. Whom he loved would be Christ (although, with Hopkins, other implications are of course available).

And it is Ireland. He was very unhappy there.

Does the Hopkins connection make any difference, Ray?

Cheers both

David

David
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 13711
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 4:40 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: Girardus Cambrensis

Post by David » Sun Oct 06, 2019 5:32 pm

David wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 5:30 pm
I'm not sure what Moonrise is in this context. I'll go and look it up.
Ah, Maenefa! Of course. We skirted it, behind St. Beuno's, Mrs C and I, on our recent furlough in North Wales. Quite evocative, walking in some of his footsteps.

ray miller
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 6578
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:23 am

Re: Girardus Cambrensis

Post by ray miller » Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:45 am

I know little about Hopkins apart from sprung rhythm and I can't even remember what that is exactly. I wouldn't be surprised if you've employed it in this poem, though.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

User avatar
Perry
Preponderant Poster
Preponderant Poster
Posts: 1052
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:26 am

Re: Girardus Cambrensis

Post by Perry » Wed Oct 09, 2019 8:58 pm

This is a lovely poem, the kind of poem I enjoy reading even though I don't know any of the history (and had to look up a couple words). "Them" instead of "those" doesn't bother me. In fact, if you rearrange the words, I think it's correct: "[and] even he missed [them] on the opposite shore". You create some very nice moods in some of your poems.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

David
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 13711
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 4:40 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: Girardus Cambrensis

Post by David » Sat Oct 12, 2019 3:35 pm

ray miller wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:45 am
I know little about Hopkins apart from sprung rhythm and I can't even remember what that is exactly. I wouldn't be surprised if you've employed it in this poem, though.
Ha! I wish. Thanks Ray. To be honest, I don't think (in my ignorance, no doubt) that sprung rhythm is really the great innovation it's supposed to be for Hopkins, and it's probably something we've all used on occasion without quite knowing we were springing our rhythms at the time. (I may research that a bit further.)

I did use a definitely key Hopkinsian word - chevalier - as a big big clue. Provided you've read this, of course ...

https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2010/apr/01/windhover-gerard-manley-hopkins

It's not St. Bueno's, though. Dear me.

Thank you Perry. I do try.

Cheers both

David

1lankest
Preternatural Poster
Preternatural Poster
Posts: 1714
Joined: Sun Oct 27, 2013 4:12 pm

Re: Girardus Cambrensis

Post by 1lankest » Sat Oct 26, 2019 4:59 pm

Been absent a while and this was worth the wait and an apt one on which to break my long silence!
I know Gerald and this captures the man and the myth perfectly.

strangely
inadequate central heating system,

Would this have been a misunderstood hypercaust system?!

I didn’t understood the choice to use ‘inmates’? I’m not being a chippy Welshman, I don’t think! Who are these wronguns?

Best,

Luke

User avatar
lotus
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
Posts: 392
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2016 3:29 am

Re: Girardus Cambrensis

Post by lotus » Sat Nov 02, 2019 12:25 pm

dear David
after the title
after following the follow up thread
i surfed a bit and was enamored to find this wiki tidbit about Wales

silent lotus


He was appointed in 1174 archdeacon of Brecon, to which was attached a residence at Llanddew. He obtained this position by reporting the existence of the previous archdeacon's mistress; the man was promptly sacked.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerald_of_Wales

~
“A poem should have the touch ... the way sunlight falls on Braille.” .......silent lotus

Dryanddeadwords
Productive Poster
Productive Poster
Posts: 53
Joined: Sun Nov 03, 2019 8:39 am

Re: Girardus Cambrensis

Post by Dryanddeadwords » Thu Nov 14, 2019 12:41 pm

Hi David,

I'm new here, so please accept my comments with good humour. I'm in awe of your post tally to be honest!

I don't understand what this poem is about (nor do I care) but I enjoy the sound of it, the playfulness of the language and, especially, the subtle use of the sonnet form and poetic device. The sibilance in the opening stanza sings a little loudly for me and, although I strongly suspect you intended the effect, the construction of "and them even he..." reads clumsily.

Thank you for a pleasant read.

Best regards,
Dylan

Post Reply