rymenhild: Manuscript page from British Library MS Harley 913 (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] villainny just posted her favorite poem, reminding me that poetry is just what I need on this dispiriting sleepless night. To be fair, I haven't tried to sleep yet. But I'm anxious about the state of academia and the state of the world, and I'm not relaxed enough to want to try.

I couldn't choose one favorite poem, so instead I provide links:

Marilyn Hacker - Rune of the Finland Woman
Marianne Moore - Sojourn in the Whale
Theodore Roethke - Once More, the Round

And last, from one of the darkest (and, occasionally, most unnecessarily gory) poems I know, a passage I find somehow hopeful:

Galway Kinnell, The Book of Nightmares (1971), VII.4.

And you yourself,
some impossible Tuesday
in the year Two Thousand and Nine, will walk out
among the black stones
of the field, in the rain,

and the stones saying
over their one word, ci-gicirct, ci-gicirct, ci-gicirct,

and the raindrops
hitting you on the fontanel
over and over, and you standing there
unable to let them in.
rymenhild: Manuscript page from British Library MS Harley 913 (Default)
I forgot this poem. I forgot that I loved it.

[livejournal.com profile] navelofwine, do you remember?

Marianne Moore, 'Sojourn in the Whale' )
rymenhild: Manuscript page from British Library MS Harley 913 (Default)
When feeding my Lemony Snicket obsession again yesterday, I noticed that one of the torn letters closing The Grim Grotto mentioned a place called the Galway Kennel. The Galway Kennel. If I had not known, from an offhand mention of Franz Wright, that Daniel Handler likes his modern-day poetry both obscure and sublime, I might possibly have fainted when I caught the reference. Galway Kinnell's Book of Nightmares is the single volume of poetry I love above all others. Once I read it aloud with [livejournal.com profile] muchabstracted, one summer day in northern Pennsylvania, in a parking lot off of the Appalachian Trail, accompanied by an African drum and the guest appearance of church bells, somewhere far off. Even without the drum and bells, the book sings; you should all listen to it.

The full text of The Book of Nightmares is available on the Web here.

--

Some links:

T is for Titus, whose victims were breaded.
[livejournal.com profile] angevin2 has Shakespeared (What? "Spear" is a verb) the Gashlycrumb Tinies.

Also, [livejournal.com profile] muchabstracted would probably be interested to know that [livejournal.com profile] ellen_kushner has an LJ, and [livejournal.com profile] prosewitch ought to see Neil Gaiman's review of Maria Tatar's new Brothers Grimm translation. [livejournal.com profile] genarti, look at how wonderful a community [livejournal.com profile] little_details is.

You people whose coolness I have promised to reveal to the world are all decidedly cool people, and I promise to tell everyone why in the next few days, but not tonight, as I want to get more work done at the moment.

A poem

Nov. 2nd, 2004 12:10 am
rymenhild: Manuscript page from British Library MS Harley 913 (Default)
Because I find myself without words, I'll borrow someone else's.

Desolate Light

We turn to history looking
for vicious certainties through which
voices edged into song,

engorged fringes of anemone swaying
dreamily through deluge,

gray Lazarus bearing
the exquisite itch and ache of blood returning.

Reason has brought us
more dread than ignorance did.
Into the open
well of centuries

we gaze, and see gleaming,
deep in the black broth at the bottom,
chains of hope by which our forebears
hoisted themselves
hand over hand towards light.

But we
stand at the edge looking back in and knowing
too much to reasonably hope. Their desired light
burns us.

O dread,
drought that dries
the ground of joy till it cracks and
caves in,

O dread,
wind that sweeps up the offal of lies,
sweep my knowledge, too, into oblivion,

drop me back in the well.


No avail.

~Denise Levertov
rymenhild: Manuscript page from British Library MS Harley 913 (Default)
If any of you happen to acquire time machines and travel to eighteenth century England, please tell the inhabitants, from me, that all writing of poetry between the years 1700 and 1800 should be outlawed on grounds of cruelty to readers. (Unless you meet an inhabitant by the name of William Blake, who of course does not count.)

If you wish to encounter quality poetry, you had best seek some other poem now. Behind the cut lurk horrors like the word mossy-tinctured, brutally murdered fish, and painfully correct iambic pentameter. )

I warned you.

Poem

Oct. 15th, 2004 12:53 pm
rymenhild: Manuscript page from British Library MS Harley 913 (Default)
I must copy the poetry meme from [livejournal.com profile] irisbleu and [livejournal.com profile] musesfool (simple rules: when you see someone else post a poem, post one too), because I really want to see what poems my friendslist comes up with.

The Vron Woods (North Wales)

In the night's dream of day
the woods were fragrant.
Carapaced, slender, vertical,
red in the slant
fragmented light, uprose
Scotch firs,
boughs a vague smoke of
green.
Underfoot
the slipping
of tawny needles.

I was wholly there,
aware of each step
in the hum of quietness,
each breath.
Sunlight
a net
of discs and lozenges, holding
odor of rosin.

These were the Vron Woods,
felled
seven years before I was born,

levelled,
to feed a war.

~Denise Levertov

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