Poetry

A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.

Re: Poetry

Postby Antipatros » Mon Jan 30, 2012 4:57 pm

Red next to black:
Friend to Jack;
Red next to yellow
Could kill a fellow.

I know it's not immortal verse, but it is a useful bit of folk wisdom if you're trying to decide whether you're dealing with a deadly coral snake or an inoffensive constrictor. And it is certainly more memorable than the longwinded explanation one of the Venom One blokes gave on Animal Planet the other day....

Now, if only someone could come up with a more elegant mnemonic device than:
Bad boys rape girls but Violet gives willingly.

(Resistor codes)
Be not too curious of Good and Evil;
Seek not to count the future waves of Time;
But be ye satisfied that you have light
Enough to take your step and find your foothold.

--T.S. Eliot
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Re: Poetry

Postby Nonc Hilaire » Mon Jan 30, 2012 6:59 pm

Antipatros wrote:
Now, if only someone could come up with a more elegant mnemonic device than:
Bad boys rape girls but Violet gives willingly.

(Resistor codes)

Weird. It doesn't sound like Violet is doing any resisting at all.
“Christ has no body now but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks with compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks among His people to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses His creation.”

Teresa of Ávila
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Understanding T.S. Eliot

Postby Antipatros » Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:59 pm

Adam Kirsch, Infallible Pope of Letters

The Letters of T.S. Eliot. Volumes 1 and 2.

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/article/243230

Yet even as they document everything objectionable about T.S. Eliot, these new volumes of Letters also succeed in making him more interesting and even more sympathetic. That is because they are so evidently the products of a flawed human being, and not of a pope or demigod. In these early letters—the volumes to come may not be nearly so revealing—Eliot is a young man in a frenzy of self-invention, driven by guilt, fear, egotism, sexual confusion, and spiritual yearning. He is often unlikeable, above all for his pride, which led him to conceal his actual, fallible self in the armor of an illegitimate authority. (“Perhaps all I have to say is that one must develop a hard exterior in order to be spontaneous—one cannot be that unless nothing can touch what is inside,” he told one friend.)

But no writer deserves that kind of authority, and in claiming it, Eliot invited and deserved posterity’s retribution. In the end, a poet endures not as a critical or political lawgiver, but for his ability to express what we all feel and suffer; and Eliot endures because his poetry has that power in such great measure. Now that we no longer have to rebel against T.S. Eliot, perhaps we can move on to the more difficult and rewarding task of trying to understand him.
Be not too curious of Good and Evil;
Seek not to count the future waves of Time;
But be ye satisfied that you have light
Enough to take your step and find your foothold.

--T.S. Eliot
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Re: Poetry

Postby Antipatros » Wed Feb 01, 2012 8:58 pm

The February 2012 issue of Poetry magazine is available online.
Be not too curious of Good and Evil;
Seek not to count the future waves of Time;
But be ye satisfied that you have light
Enough to take your step and find your foothold.

--T.S. Eliot
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Re: Poetry

Postby Antipatros » Sun Feb 05, 2012 5:42 pm

"The wilderness shall blossom as the rose" (deriving ultimately from Isaiah 35:1) must be one of the most echoed lines in English poetry.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Aylmer's Field (1793)

http://classiclit.about.com/library/bl-etexts/atennyson/bl-aten-aylmer.htm
http://www.archive.org/details/aylmersfieldwith00tennuoft

Excerpts (full text at the links):
Dust are our frames; and gilded dust, our pride
Looks only for a moment whole and sound;
Like that long-buried body of the king,
Found lying with his urns and ornaments,
Which at a touch of light, an air of heaven,
Slipt into ashes and was found no more.

Here is a story which in rougher shape
Came from a grizzled cripple, whom I saw
Sunning himself in a waste field alone--
Old, and a mine of memories--who had served,
Long since, a bygone Rector of the place,
And been himself a part of what he told....

So Leolin went; and as we task ourselves
To learn a language known but smatteringly
In phrases here and there at random, toil'd
Mastering the lawless science of our law,
That codeless myriad of precedent,
That wilderness of single instances,
Thro' which a few, by wit or fortune led,
May beat a pathway out to wealth and fame....

Never since our bad earth became one sea,
Which rolling o'er the palaces of the proud,
And all but those who knew the living God--
Eight that were left to make a purer world--
When since had flood, fire, earthquake, thunder wrought
Such waste and havoc as the idolatries,
Which from the low light of mortality
Shot up their shadows to the Heaven of Heavens,
And worshipt their own darkness as the Highest?
`Gash thyself, priest, and honor thy brute Baal,
And to thy worst self sacrifice thyself,
For with thy worst self hast thou clothed thy God.'
Then came a Lord in no wise like to Baal.
The babe shall lead the lion. Surely now
The wilderness shall blossom as the rose.
Crown thyself, worm, and worship thine own lusts!--
No coarse and blockish God of acreage
Stands at thy gate for thee to grovel to--
Thy God is far diffused in noble groves
And princely halls, and farms, and flowing lawns,
And heaps of living gold that daily grow,
And title-scrolls and gorgeous heraldries.
In such a shape dost thou behold thy God.
Thou wilt not gash thy flesh for HIM; for thine
Fares richly, in fine linen, not a hair
Ruffled upon the scarfskin, even while
The deathless ruler of thy dying house
Is wounded to the death that cannot die;
And tho' thou numberest with the followers
Of One who cried `leave all and follow me.'
Thee therefore with His light about thy feet,
Thee with His message ringing in thine ears,
Thee shall thy brother man, the Lord from Heaven,
Born of a village girl, carpenter's son,
Wonderful, Prince of peace, the Mighty God,
Count the more base idolater of the two;
Crueller: as not passing thro' the fire
Bodies, but souls--thy children's--thro' the smoke,
The blight of low desires--darkening thine own
To thine own likeness; or if one of these,
Thy better born unhappily from thee,
Should, as by miracle, grow straight and fair--
Friends, I was bid to speak of such a one
By those who most have cause to sorrow for her--
Fairer than Rachel by the palmy well,
Fairer than Ruth among the fields of corn,
Fair as the Angel that said `hail' she seem'd,
Who entering fill'd the house with sudden light.
For so mine own was brighten'd: where indeed
The roof so lowly but that beam of Heaven
Dawn'd sometime thro' the doorway? whose the babe
Too ragged to be fondled on her lap,
Warm'd at her bosom? The poor child of shame,
The common care whom no one cared for, leapt
To greet her, wasting his forgotten heart,
As with the mother he had never known,
In gambols; for her fresh and innocent eyes
Had such a star of morning in their blue,
That all neglected places of the field
Broke into nature's music when they saw her.
Low was her voice, but won mysterious way
Thro' the seal'd ear to which a louder one
Was all but silence--free of alms her hand--
The hand that robed your cottage-walls with flowers
Has often toil'd to clothe your little ones;
How often placed upon the sick man's brow
Cool'd it, or laid his feverous pillow smooth!
Had you one sorrow and she shared it not?
One burthen and she would not lighten it?
One spiritual doubt she did not soothe?
Or when some heat of difference sparkled out,
How sweetly would she glide between your wraths,
And steal you from each other! for she walk'd
Wearing the light yoke of that Lord of love,
Who still'd the rolling wave of Galilee!
And one--of him I was not bid to speak--
Was always with her, whom you also knew.
Him too you loved, for he was worthy love.
And these had been together from the first;
They might have been together till the last.
Friends, this frail bark of ours, when sorely tried,
May wreck itself without the pilot's guilt,
Without the captain's knowledge: hope with me.
Whose shame is that, if he went hence with shame?
Nor mine the fault, if losing both of these
I cry to vacant chairs and widow'd walls,
"My house is left unto me desolate."...
Be not too curious of Good and Evil;
Seek not to count the future waves of Time;
But be ye satisfied that you have light
Enough to take your step and find your foothold.

--T.S. Eliot
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Re: Poetry

Postby Antipatros » Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:56 pm

Along with John Masefield, Sea Fever, one of the few poems referred to in Star Trek:

George Gordon, Lord Byron, She Walks in Beauty

http://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/poem/365.html
http://www.bartleby.com/101/600.html

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
Be not too curious of Good and Evil;
Seek not to count the future waves of Time;
But be ye satisfied that you have light
Enough to take your step and find your foothold.

--T.S. Eliot
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Re: Poetry

Postby Antipatros » Tue Feb 07, 2012 3:40 am

A transplant from the old Spengler's Forum:

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/gawain/context.html

THE ALLITERATIVE POEM Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, likely written in the mid to late fourteenth century, survives in a late-fourteenth-century manuscript with three other poems—Pearl, Purity, and Patience—by the same author. Very little is known about the author of these poems, but most scholars believe him to have been a university-trained clerk or the official of a provincial estate (this SparkNote refers to him as the “Pearl-poet” or the “Gawain-poet”). Though it cannot be said with certainty that one person wrote all four poems, some shared characteristics point toward common authorship and also suggest that the Gawain-poet may have written another poem, called St. Erkenwald, that exists in a separate manuscript. All the poems except Sir Gawain and the Green Knight deal with overtly Christian subject matter, and it remains unclear why Sir Gawain, an Arthurian romance, was included in an otherwise religious manuscript....

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

J.R.R. Tolkien and E.V. Gordon, editors
Revised by Norman Davis

http://tinyurl.com/cvhnw7 (UMich)
Passus I

SIÞEN þe sege and þe assaut watz sesed at Troye,
Þe borȝ brittened and brent to brondeȝ and askez,
Þe tulk þat þe trammes of tresoun þer wroȝt
Watz tried for his tricherie, þe trewest on erthe:
Hit watz Ennias þe athel, and his highe kynde,
Þat siþen depreced prouinces, and patrounes bicome
Welneȝe of al þe wele in þe west iles...

If, like me, you haven’t had to read Middle English since high school, you may prefer a modern rendering by Paul Deane:

The siege and assault having ceased at Troy
as its blazing battlements blackened to ash,
the man who had planned and plotted that treason
had trial enough for the truest traitor!
Then Aeneas the prince and his honored line
plundered provinces and held in their power
nearly all the wealth of the western isles...

...or by Jessie L. Weston:
Since Troy's assault and siege, I trow, were over-past,
To brands and ashes burnt that stately burg at last,
And he, the traitor proved, for treason that he wrought,
Was fitly tried and judged, --his fortune elsewhere sought
The truest knight on earth, Aeneas, with his kin,
Who vanquished provinces, and did, as princes, win,
Of all the Western Isles, the wealth and worth alway;...
Be not too curious of Good and Evil;
Seek not to count the future waves of Time;
But be ye satisfied that you have light
Enough to take your step and find your foothold.

--T.S. Eliot
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Re: Poetry

Postby Antipatros » Tue Feb 07, 2012 4:29 pm

The first book by C.S. Lewis, published under the pseudonym "Clive Hamilton":

C.S. Lewis, Spirits in Bondage (1919)

A Cycle of Lyrics in Three Parts

http://www.archive.org/details/spiritsinbondage00lewiiala
LibriVox audiobook

SATAN SPEAKS

I AM Nature, the Mighty Mother,
I am the law: ye have none other.

I am the flower and the dewdrop fresh,
I am the lust in your itching flesh.

I am the battle's filth and strain,
I am the widow's empty pain.

I am the sea to smother your breath,
I am the bomb, the falling death.

I am the fact and the crushing reason
To thwart your fantasy's new-born treason.

I am the spider making her net,
I am the beast with jaws blood-wet.

I am a wolf that follows the sun
And I will catch him ere day be done.
Be not too curious of Good and Evil;
Seek not to count the future waves of Time;
But be ye satisfied that you have light
Enough to take your step and find your foothold.

--T.S. Eliot
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Re: Poetry

Postby Antipatros » Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:23 pm

Guillaume de Lorris, Narcisus

From The Romaunt of the Rose, trans. Geoffrey Chaucer
Ed. Walter W. Skeat, 1933

NARCISUS was a bachelere,
That Love had caught in his daungere,
And in his net gan him so streyne,
And dide him so to wepe and pleyne,
That nede him muste his lyf forgo.
For a fair lady, hight Echo,
Him loved over any creature,
And gan for him swich peyne endure,
That on a tyme she him tolde,
That, if he hir loven nolde,
That hir behoved nedes dye,
Ther lay non other remedye.
But natheles, for his beautee,
So fiers and daungerous was he,
That he nolde graunten hir asking,
For weping, ne for fair praying.
And whan she herde him werne hir so,
She hadde in herte so gret wo,
And took it in so gret dispyt,
That she, withoute more respyt,
Was deed anoon. But, er she deyde,
Ful pitously to god she preyde,
That proude-herted Narcisus,
That was in love so daungerous,
Mighte on a day ben hampred so
For love, and been so hoot for wo,
That never he mighte joye atteyne;
Than shulde he fele in every veyne
What sorowe trewe lovers maken,
That been so vilaynsly forsaken.

This prayer was but resonable,
Therfor god held it ferme and stable:
For Narcisus, shortly to telle,
By aventure com to that welle
To reste him in that shadowing
A day, whan he com fro hunting.
This Narcisus had suffred paynes
For renning alday in the playnes,
And was for thurst in greet distresse
Of hete, and of his werinesse
That hadde his breeth almost binomen.
Whan he was to that welle y-comen,
That shadwed was with braunches grene,
He thoughte of thilke water shene
To drinke and fresshe him wel withalle;
And doun on knees he gan to faIle,
And forth' his heed and nekke outstraughte
To drinken of that welle a draughte.
And in the water anoon was sene
His nose, his mouth, his yën shene,
And he ther-of was al abasshed;
His owne shadowe had him bitrasshed.
For wel wende he the forme see
Of a child of greet beautee.
Wel couthe Love him wreke tho
Of daunger and of pryde also
That Narcisus somtyme him bere.
He quitte him wel his guerdon there;
For he so musede in the welle,
that, shortly al the sothe to telle,
He lovede his owne shadowe so,
That atte laste he starf for wo.
For whan he saugh that he his wille
Mighte in no maner wey fulfille,
And that he was so faste caught
That he him couthe comfort naught,
He loste his wit right in that place,
And deyde within a litel space.
And thus his warisoun he took
For the lady that he forsook.

Ladyes, I preye ensample taketh,
Ye that ayeins your love mistaketh:
or if hir deeth be yow to wyte,
God can ful wel your whyle quyte.
Be not too curious of Good and Evil;
Seek not to count the future waves of Time;
But be ye satisfied that you have light
Enough to take your step and find your foothold.

--T.S. Eliot
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Re: Poetry

Postby Antipatros » Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:09 pm

Rudyard Kipling, The Rabbi's Song

("The House Surgeon" - Actions and Reactions)

2 Samuel xiv. 14.

http://www.poetryloverspage.com/poets/kipling/rabbis_song.html
http://www.telelib.com/authors/K/KiplingRudyard/verse/p3/rabbisong.html

IF THOUGHT can reach to Heaven,
On Heaven let it dwell,
For fear thy Thought be given
Like power to reach to Hell.
For fear the desolation
And darkness of thy mind
Perplex an habitation
Which thou hast left behind.

Let nothing linger after—
No whimpering ghost remain,
In wall, or beam, or rafter,
Of any hate or pain.
Cleanse and call home thy spirit,
Deny her leave to cast,
On aught thy heirs inherit,
The shadow of her past.

For think, in all thy sadness,
What road our griefs may take;
Whose brain reflect our madness,
Or whom our terrors shake:
For think, lest any languish
By cause of thy distress—
The arrows of our anguish
Fly farther than we guess.

Our lives, our tears, as water,
Are spilled upon the ground;
God giveth no man quarter,
Yet God a means hath found,
Though Faith and Hope have vanished,
And even Love grows dim—
A means whereby His banished
Be not expelled from Him!
Be not too curious of Good and Evil;
Seek not to count the future waves of Time;
But be ye satisfied that you have light
Enough to take your step and find your foothold.

--T.S. Eliot
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Re: Poetry

Postby Antipatros » Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:31 pm

Robert Herrick, Delight in Disorder

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/176697
http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/sweet-disorder/

A sweet disorder in the dress
Kindles in clothes a wantonness;
A lawn about the shoulders thrown
Into a fine distraction;
An erring lace, which here and there
Enthrals the crimson stomacher;
A cuff neglectful, and thereby
Ribands to flow confusedly;
A winning wave, deserving note,
In the tempestuous petticoat;
A careless shoe-string, in whose tie
I see a wild civility:
Do more bewitch me, than when art
Is too precise in every part.
Be not too curious of Good and Evil;
Seek not to count the future waves of Time;
But be ye satisfied that you have light
Enough to take your step and find your foothold.

--T.S. Eliot
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Re: Poetry

Postby Antipatros » Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:03 pm

George Santayana, As in the Midst of Battle there is Room

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/as-in-the-midst-of-battle-there-is-room/
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/182679 (Sonnet XXV)

As in the midst of battle there is room
For thoughts of love, and in foul sin for mirth;
As gossips whisper of a trinket's worth
Spied by the death-bed's flickering candle-gloom;
As in the crevices of Caesar's tomb
The sweet herbs flourish on a little earth:
So in this great disaster of our birth
We can be happy, and forget our doom.

For morning, with a ray of tenderest joy
Gilding the iron heaven, hides the truth,
And evening gently woos us to employ
Our grief in idle catches. Such is youth;
Till from that summer's trance we wake, to find
Despair before us, vanity behind.
Be not too curious of Good and Evil;
Seek not to count the future waves of Time;
But be ye satisfied that you have light
Enough to take your step and find your foothold.

--T.S. Eliot
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Re: Poetry

Postby Antipatros » Tue Feb 14, 2012 7:54 pm



Robert Frost, Two Tramps in Mud Time

http://www.etymonline.com/poems/tramps.htm

Out of the mud two strangers came
And caught me splitting wood in the yard,
And one of them put me off my aim
By hailing cheerily "Hit them hard!"
I knew pretty well why he dropped behind
And let the other go on a way.
I knew pretty well what he had in mind:
He wanted to take my job for pay.

Good blocks of oak it was I split,
As large around as the chopping block;
And every piece I squarely hit
Fell splinterless as a cloven rock.
The blows that a life of self-control
Spares to strike for the common good,
That day, giving a loose to my soul,
I spent on the unimportant wood.

The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You're one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you're two months back in the middle of March.

A bluebird comes tenderly up to alight
And turns to the wind to unruffle a plume,
His song so pitched as not to excite
A single flower as yet to bloom.
It is snowing a flake; and he half knew
Winter was only playing possum.
Except in color he isn't blue,
But he wouldn't advise a thing to blossom.

The water for which we may have to look
In summertime with a witching wand,
In every wheelrut's now a brook,
In every print of a hoof a pond.
Be glad of water, but don't forget
The lurking frost in the earth beneath
That will steal forth after the sun is set
And show on the water its crystal teeth.

The time when most I loved my task
These two must make me love it more
By coming with what they came to ask.
You'd think I never had felt before
The weight of an ax-head poised aloft,
The grip of earth on outspread feet,
The life of muscles rocking soft
And smooth and moist in vernal heat.

Out of the wood two hulking tramps
(From sleeping God knows where last night,
But not long since in the lumber camps).
They thought all chopping was theirs of right.
Men of the woods and lumberjacks,
They judged me by their appropriate tool.
Except as a fellow handled an ax
They had no way of knowing a fool.

Nothing on either side was said.
They knew they had but to stay their stay
And all their logic would fill my head:
As that I had no right to play
With what was another man's work for gain.
My right might be love but theirs was need.
And where the two exist in twain
Theirs was the better right--agreed.

But yield who will to their separation,
My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future's sakes.
Be not too curious of Good and Evil;
Seek not to count the future waves of Time;
But be ye satisfied that you have light
Enough to take your step and find your foothold.

--T.S. Eliot
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Re: Poetry

Postby Antipatros » Mon Feb 20, 2012 1:09 am

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, The Defence of Lucknow (1879)

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-defence-of-lucknow/
http://www.telelib.com/authors/T/TennysonAlfred/verse/ballads/lucknow.html

I
BANNER of England, not for a season, O banner of Britain, hast thou
Floated in conquering battle or flapt to the battle-cry!
Never with mightier glory than when we had rear’d thee on high
Flying at top of the roofs in the ghastly siege of Lucknow—
Shot thro’ the staff or the halyard, but ever we raised thee anew,
And ever upon the topmost roof our banner of England blew.

II.
Frail were the works that defended the hold that we held with our lives—
Women and children among us, God help them, our children and wives!
Hold it we might—and for fifteen days or for twenty at most.
‘Never surrender, I charge you, but every man die at his post!’
Voice of the dead whom we loved, our Lawrence the best of the brave:
Cold were his brows when we kiss’d him—we laid him that night in his grave.
‘Every man die at his post!’ and there hail’d on our houses and halls
Death from their rifle-bullets, and death from their cannon-balls,
Death in our innermost chamber, and death at our slight barricade,
Death while we stood with the musket, and death while we stoopt to the spade,
Death to the dying, and wounds to the wounded, for often there fell,
Striking the hospital wall, crashing thro’ it, their shot and their shell,
Death—for their spies were among us, their marksmen were told of our best,
So that the brute bullet broke thro’ the brain that could think for the rest;
Bullets would sing by our foreheads, and bullets would rain at our feet—
Fire from ten thousand at once of the rebels that girdled us round—
Death at the glimpse of a finger from over the breadth of a street,
Death from the heights of the mosque and the palace, and death in the ground!
Mine? yes, a mine! Countermine! down, down! and creep thro’ the hole!
Keep the revolver in hand! you can hear him—the murderous mole!
Quiet, ah! quiet—wait till the point of the pickaxe be thro’!
Click with the pick, coming nearer and nearer again than before—
Now let it speak, and you fire, and the dark pioneer is no more;
And ever upon the topmost roof our banner of England blew!

III.
Ay, but the foe sprung his mine many times, and it chanced on a day
Soon as the blast of that underground thunderclap echo ‘d away,
Dark thro’ the smoke and the sulphur like so many fiends in their hell—
Cannon-shot, musket-shot, volley on volley, and yell upon yell—
Fiercely on all the defences our myriad enemy fell.
What have they done? where is it? Out yonder. Guard the Redan!
Storm at the Water-gate! storm at the Bailey-gate! storm, and it ran
Surging and swaying all round us, as ocean on every side
Plunges and heaves at a bank that is daily devour’d by the tide—
So many thousands that if they be bold enough, who shall escape?
Kill or be kill’d, live or die, they shall know we are soldiers and men
Ready! take aim at their leaders—their masses are gapp’d with our grape—
Backward they reel like the wave, like the wave flinging forward again,
Flying and foil’d at the last by the handful they could not subdue;
And ever upon the topmost roof our banner of England blew.

IV.
Handful of men as we were, we were English in heart and in limb,
Strong with the strength of the race to command, to obey, to endure,
Each of us fought as if hope for the garrison hung but on him;
Still—could we watch at all points? we were every day fewer and fewer.
There was a whisper among us, but only a whisper that past
‘Children and wives—if the tigers leap into the fold unawares—
Every man die at his post—and the foe may outlive us at last—
Better to fall by the hands that they love, than to fall into theirs!’
Roar upon roar in a moment two mines by the enemy sprung
Clove into perilous chasms our walls and our poor palisades.
Rifleman, true is your heart, but be sure that your hand be as true!
Sharp is the fire of assault, better aimed are your flank fusillades—
Twice do we hurl them to earth from the ladders to which they had clung,
Twice from the ditch where they shelter we drive them with hand-grenades;
And ever upon the topmost roof our banner of England blew.

V.
Then on another wild morning another wild earthquake out-tore
Clean from our lines of defence ten or twelve good paces or more.
Rifleman, high on the roof, hidden there from the light of the sun—
One has leapt up on the breach, crying out: ‘Follow me, follow me!’—
Mark him—he falls! then another, and him too, and down goes he.
Had they been bold enough then, who can tell but the traitors had won?
Boardings and rafters and doors—an embrasure I make way for the gun!
Now double-charge it with grape! It is charged and we fire, and they run.
Praise to our Indian brothers, and let the dark face have his due!
Thanks to the kindly dark faces who fought with us, faithful and few,
Fought with the bravest among us, and drove them, and smote them, and slew,
That ever upon the topmost roof our banner in India blew.

VI.
Men will forget what we suffer and not what we do. We can fight!
But to be soldier all day and be sentinel all thro’ the night—
Ever the mine and assault, our sallies, their lying alarms,
Bugles and drums in the darkness, and shoutings and soundings to arms,
Ever the labour of fifty that had to be done by five,
Ever the marvel among us that one should be left alive,
Ever the day with its traitorous death from the loopholes around,
Ever the night with its coffinless corpse to be laid in the ground,
Heat like the mouth of a hell, or a deluge of cataract skies,
Stench of old offal decaying, and infinite torment of flies.
Thoughts of the breezes of May blowing over an English field,
Cholera, scurvy, and fever, the wound that would not be heal’d,
Lopping away of the limb by the pitiful-pitiless knife,—
Torture and trouble in vain,—for it never could save us a life.
Valour of delicate women who tended the hospital bed,
Horror of women in travail among the dying and dead,
Grief for our perishing children, and never a moment for grief,
Toil and ineffable weariness, faltering hopes of relief,
Havelock baffled, or beaten, or butcher’d for all that we knew—
Then day and night, day and night, coming down on the still-shatter’d walls
Millions of musket-bullets, and thousands of cannon-balls—
But ever upon the topmost roof our banner of England blew.

VII.
Hark cannonade, fusillade! is it true what was told by the scout,
Outram and Havelock breaking their way through the fell mutineers?
Surely the pibroch of Europe is ringing again in our ears!
All on a sudden the garrison utter a jubilant shout,
Havelock’s glorious Highlanders answer with conquering cheers,
Sick from the hospital echo them, women and children come out,
Blessing the wholesome white faces of Havelock’s good fusileers,
Kissing the war-harden’d hand of the Highlander wet with their tears!
Dance to the pibroch!—saved! we are saved!—is it you? is it you?
Saved by the valour of Havelock, saved by the blessing of Heaven!
‘Hold it for fifteen days!’ we have held it for eighty-seven!
And ever aloft on the palace roof the old banner of England blew.
Be not too curious of Good and Evil;
Seek not to count the future waves of Time;
But be ye satisfied that you have light
Enough to take your step and find your foothold.

--T.S. Eliot
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Re: Poetry

Postby Antipatros » Tue Feb 21, 2012 3:00 pm

Stephen Spender - The Truly Great


Stephen Spender reads Thoughts During an Air Raid
Be not too curious of Good and Evil;
Seek not to count the future waves of Time;
But be ye satisfied that you have light
Enough to take your step and find your foothold.

--T.S. Eliot
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Kabbalah and Other Poetry

Postby Antipatros » Thu Mar 01, 2012 7:40 pm

Yitzhak Luria, Hymn for the Third Meal

Trans. Peter Cole

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poem/243656

Prepare the feast
of perfect faith,
the delight of the Holy King.
Prepare the feast of the King.

This is the feast
of the Lesser Presence;
the Ancient Eminence and Field of Apples
assemble with Him for the feast.




Sons of the Palace—
you who yearn
to behold the radiance
of the Lesser Presence—

be seated here
at this Sabbath table,
adorned and crowned
with the name of the King.

Exult in your being
part of this gathering
among the guardian
angels’ wings,

and rejoice now
within this hour
of favor which knows
not what anger brings.

Draw near me here—
see my power,
without the judgments
of judgment’s terror.

Those without
may not enter,
for they are dogs
of rancor and gall.

I hereby call
to the Ancient of Days
to summon His will
to drive them away—

for when His favor
in this room is shown,
the husks are rendered
null and void.

He drives them into
holes in the ground,
conceals them deep
in caverns of stone.

And so it is
now and till twilight—
within the Impatient
One’s delight.

The March 2012 Poetry Magazine is on the website, including a section on The Poetry of Kabbalah.
Be not too curious of Good and Evil;
Seek not to count the future waves of Time;
But be ye satisfied that you have light
Enough to take your step and find your foothold.

--T.S. Eliot
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Re: Poetry

Postby Antipatros » Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:19 pm

G.F. Moore, Think of Me

Farewell lines addressed to my sisters on leaving home to emigrate to Western Australia

May, 1830

Think of me, when first the sun
Paints with gold the Eastern sky,
And when his daily course has run,
Remember me, and think me nigh.

Morn will bring to mind our meetings,
Cheerful looks and spirits light,
Eve, our late protracted greetings,
As we whispered a "Good night."

And when, in sacred hour of prayer.
Blessings are asked on bended knee,
Give, of that hour, sufficient share,
To ask a blessing too, on me.

Then, though to the world be given,
All that you may, of mirth and glee,
I shall be sure that next to Heaven,
And Heavenly things, you think of me.
Be not too curious of Good and Evil;
Seek not to count the future waves of Time;
But be ye satisfied that you have light
Enough to take your step and find your foothold.

--T.S. Eliot
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Re: Poetry

Postby Antipatros » Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:05 pm

William Cartwright, No Platonic Love

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/180692
http://www.electronicpoems.com/no-platonic-love-by-william-cartwright/

Tell me no more of minds embracing minds,
And hearts exchang’d for hearts;
That spirits spirits meet, as winds do winds,
And mix their subt’lest parts;
That two unbodied essences may kiss,
And then like Angels, twist and feel one Bliss.

I was that silly thing that once was wrought
To practise this thin love;
I climb’d from sex to soul, from soul to thought;
But thinking there to move,
Headlong I rolled from thought to soul, and then
From soul I lighted at the sex again.

As some strict down-looked men pretend to fast,
Who yet in closets eat;
So lovers who profess they spirits taste,
Feed yet on grosser meat;
I know they boast they souls to souls convey,
Howe’r they meet, the body is the way.

Come I will undeceive thee, they that tread
Those vain aerial ways,
Are like young heirs and alchemists misled
To waste their wealth and days,
For searching thus to be for ever rich,
They only find a med’cine for the itch.
Be not too curious of Good and Evil;
Seek not to count the future waves of Time;
But be ye satisfied that you have light
Enough to take your step and find your foothold.

--T.S. Eliot
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Re: Poetry

Postby Antipatros » Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:07 pm

A.E. Housman, A Shropshire Lad II: Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/173676
http://www.bartleby.com/123/2.html

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.
Be not too curious of Good and Evil;
Seek not to count the future waves of Time;
But be ye satisfied that you have light
Enough to take your step and find your foothold.

--T.S. Eliot
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Re: Poetry

Postby Antipatros » Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:10 pm

Appropriate to the recent celebration of Greek independence day:

George Gordon, Lord Byron, The Isles of Greece

http://www.bartleby.com/101/601.html

The isles of Greece! the isles of Greece
Where burning Sappho loved and sung,
Where grew the arts of war and peace,
Where Delos rose, and Phoebus sprung!
Eternal summer gilds them yet,
But all, except their sun, is set.

The Scian and the Teian muse,
The hero's harp, the lover's lute,
Have found the fame your shores refuse:
Their place of birth alone is mute
To sounds which echo further west
Than your sires' Islands of the Blest.

The mountains look on Marathon—
And Marathon looks on the sea;
And musing there an hour alone,
I dream'd that Greece might still be free;
For standing on the Persians' grave,
I could not deem myself a slave.

A king sate on the rocky brow
Which looks o'er sea-born Salamis;
And ships, by thousands, lay below,
And men in nations;—all were his!
He counted them at break of day—
And when the sun set, where were they?

And where are they? and where art thou,
My country? On thy voiceless shore
The heroic lay is tuneless now—
The heroic bosom beats no more!
And must thy lyre, so long divine,
Degenerate into hands like mine?

'Tis something in the dearth of fame,
Though link'd among a fetter'd race,
To feel at least a patriot's shame,
Even as I sing, suffuse my face;
For what is left the poet here?
For Greeks a blush—for Greece a tear.

Must we but weep o'er days more blest?
Must we but blush?—Our fathers bled.
Earth! render back from out thy breast
A remnant of our Spartan dead!
Of the three hundred grant but three,
To make a new Thermopylæ!

What, silent still? and silent all?
Ah! no;—the voices of the dead
Sound like a distant torrent's fall,
And answer, 'Let one living head,
But one, arise,—we come, we come!'
'Tis but the living who are dumb.

In vain—in vain: strike other chords;
Fill high the cup with Samian wine!
Leave battles to the Turkish hordes,
And shed the blood of Scio's vine:
Hark! rising to the ignoble call—
How answers each bold Bacchanal!

You have the Pyrrhic dance as yet;
Where is the Pyrrhic phalanx gone?
Of two such lessons, why forget
The nobler and the manlier one?
You have the letters Cadmus gave—
Think ye he meant them for a slave?

Fill high the bowl with Samian wine!
We will not think of themes like these!
It made Anacreon's song divine:
He served—but served Polycrates—
A tyrant; but our masters then
Were still, at least, our countrymen.

The tyrant of the Chersonese
Was freedom's best and bravest friend;
That tyrant was Miltiades!
O that the present hour would lend
Another despot of the kind!
Such chains as his were sure to bind.

Fill high the bowl with Samian wine!
On Suli's rock, and Parga's shore,
Exists the remnant of a line
Such as the Doric mothers bore;
And there, perhaps, some seed is sown,
The Heracleidan blood might own.

Trust not for freedom to the Franks—
They have a king who buys and sells;
In native swords and native ranks
The only hope of courage dwells:
But Turkish force and Latin fraud
Would break your shield, however broad.

Fill high the bowl with Samian wine!
Our virgins dance beneath the shade—
I see their glorious black eyes shine;
But gazing on each glowing maid,
My own the burning tear-drop laves,
To think such breasts must suckle slaves.

Place me on Sunium's marbled steep,
Where nothing, save the waves and I,
May hear our mutual murmurs sweep;
There, swan-like, let me sing and die:
A land of slaves shall ne'er be mine—
Dash down yon cup of Samian wine!
Be not too curious of Good and Evil;
Seek not to count the future waves of Time;
But be ye satisfied that you have light
Enough to take your step and find your foothold.

--T.S. Eliot
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Re: Poetry

Postby Antipatros » Sun Apr 01, 2012 10:14 pm

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

1809–1892

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/alfred-tennyson

Most of Tennyson's early education was under the direction of his father, although he spent nearly four unhappy years at a nearby grammar school. His departure in 1827 to join his elder brothers at Trinity College, Cambridge, was due more to a desire to escape from Somersby than to a desire to undertake serious academic work. At Trinity he was living for the first time among young men of his own age who knew little of the problems that had beset him for so long; he was delighted to make new friends; he was extraordinarily handsome, intelligent, humorous, and gifted at impersonation; and soon he was at the center of an admiring group of young men interested in poetry and conversation. It was probably the happiest period of his life.

In part it was the urging of his friends, in part the insistence of his father that led the normally indolent Tennyson to retailor an old poem on the subject of Armageddon and submit it in the competition for the chancellor's gold medal for poetry; the announced subject was Timbuctoo. Tennyson's "Timbuctoo" is a strange poem, as the process of its creation would suggest. He uses the legendary city for a consideration of the relative validity of imagination and objective reality; Timbuctoo takes its magic from the mind of man, but it can turn to dust at the touch of the mundane. It is far from a successful poem, but it shows how deeply engaged its author was with the Romantic conception of poetry. Whatever its shortcomings, it won the chancellor's prize in the summer of 1829....


Timbuctoo

Deep in that lion-haunted inland lies
A mystick city, goal of high emprise.

-- Chapman

I stood upon the Mountain which o'erlooks
The narrow seas, whose rapid interval
Parts Africa from green Europe, when the Sun
Had fall'n below th' Atlantick, and above
The silent Heavens were blench'd with faery light,
Uncertain whether faery light or cloud,
Flowing Southward, and the chasms of deep, deep blue
Slumber'd unfathomable, and the stars
Were flooded over with clear glory and pale.

I gaz'd upon the sheeny coast beyond,
There where the Giant of old Time infixed
The limits of his prowess, pillars high
Long time eras'd from Earth: even as the Sea
When weary of wild inroad buildeth up
Hugh mounds whereby to stay his yeasty waves.

And much I mus'd on legends quaint and old
Which whilome won the hearts of all on Earth
Toward their brightness, ev'n as flame draws air;
But had their being in the heart of Man
As air is th' life of flame: and thou wert then
A center'd glory-circled Memory,
Divinest Atalantis, whom the waves
Have buried deep, and thou of later name
Imperial Eldorado roof'd with gold;
Shadows to which, despite all shocks of Change,
All on-set of capricious Accident,
Men clung with yearning Hope which would not die.

As when in some great City where the walls
Shake, and the streets with ghastly faces throng'd
Do utter forth a subterranean voice,
Among the inner columns far retir'd
At midnight, in the lone Acropolis,
Before the awful Genius of the place
Kneels the pale Priestess in deep faith, the while
Above her head the weak lamp dips and winks
Unto the fearful summoning without:
Nathless she ever clasps the marble knees,
Bathes the cold hand with tears, and gazeth on
Those eyes which wear no light but that wherewith
Her phantasy informs them.

Where are ye
Thrones of the Western wave, fair Islands green?
Where are your moonlight halls, your cedarn glooms,
The blossoming abysses of your hills?
Your flowering Capes, and your gold-sanded bays
Blown round with happy airs of odorous winds?
Where are the infinite ways, which, Seraph-trod,
Wound thro' your great Elysian solitudes,
Whose lowest deeps were, as with visible love,
Fill'd with Divine effulgence, circumfus'd,
Flowing between the clear and polish'd stems,
And ever circling round their emerald cones
In coronals and glories, such as gird
The unfading foreheads of the Saints in Heaven?
For nothing visible, they say, had birth
In that blest ground but it was play'd about
With its peculiar glory. Then I rais'd
My voice and cried, 'Wide Afric, doth thy Sun
Lighten, thy hills enfold a City as fair
As those which starr'd the night o' the elder World?
Or is the rumour of thy Timbuctoo
A dream as frail as those of ancient Time?'

A curve of whitening, flashing, ebbing light!
A rustling of white wings! The bright descent
Of a young Seraph! And he stood beside me
There on the ridge, and look'd into my face
With his unutterable, shining orbs.
So that with hasty motion I did veil
My vision with both hands, and saw before me
Such colour'd spots as dance athwart the eyes
Of those, that gaze upon the noonday Sun.
Girt with a Zone of flashing gold beneath
His breast, and compass'd round about his brow
With triple arch of everchanging bows,
And circled with the glory of living light
And alternation of all hues, he stood.

'O child of man, why muse you here alone
Upon the Mountain, on the dreams of old
Which fill'd the Earth with passing loveliness,
And odours rapt from remote Paradise?
Thy sense is clogg'd with dull mortality,
Thy spirit fetter'd with the bond of clay:
Open thine eye and see.'

I look'd, but not
Upon his face, for it was wonderful
With its exceeding brightness, and the light
Of the great Angel Mind which look'd from out
The starry glowing of his restless eyes.
I felt my soul grow mighty, and my Spirit
With supernatural excitation bound
Within me, and my mental eye grew large
With such a vast circumference of thought,
That in my vanity I seem'd to stand
Upon the outward verge and bound alone
Of full beatitude. Each failing sense
As with a momentary flash of light
Grew thrillingly distinct and keen. I saw
The smallest grain that dappled the dark Earth,
The indistinctest atom in deep air,
The Moon's white cities, and the opal width
Of her small glowing lakes, her silver heights
Unvisited with dew of vagrant cloud,
And the unsounded, undescended depth
Of her black hollows. The clear Galaxy
Shorn of its hoary lustre, wonderful,
Distinct and vivid with sharp points of light,
Blaze within blaze, an unimagin'd depth
And harmony of planet-girded Suns
And moon-encircled planets, wheel in wheel,
Arch'd the wan Sapphire. Nay - the hum of men,
Or other things talking in unknown tongues,
And notes of busy life in distant worlds
Beat like a far wave on my anxious ear.

A maze of piercing, trackless, thrilling thoughts,
Involving and embracing each with each,
Rapid as fire, inextricably link'd,
Expanding momently with every sight
And sound which struck the palpitating sense,
The issue of strong impulse, hurried through
The riv'n rapt brain: as when in some large lake
From pressure of descendant crags, which lapse
Disjointed, crumbling from their parent slope
At slender interval, the level calm
Is ridg'd with restless and increasing spheres
Which break upon each other, each th' effect
Of separate impulse, but more fleet and strong
Then its precursor, till the eye in vain
Amid the wild unrest of swimming shade
Dappled with hollow and alternate rise
Of interpenetrated arc, would scan
Definite round.

I know not if I shape
These things with accurate similitude
From visible objects, for but dimly now,
Less vivid than an half-forgotten dream,
The memory of that mental excellence
Comes o'er me, and it may be I entwine
The indecision of my present mind
With its past clearness, yet it seems to me
As even then the torrent of quick thought
Absorbed me from the nature of itself
With its own fleetness. Where is he that, borne
Adown the sloping of an arrowy stream,
Could link his shallop to the fleeting edge,
And muse midway with philosophic calm
Upon the wondrous laws, which regulate
The fierceness of the bounding element?
My thoughts which long had grovell'd in the slime
Of this dull world, like dusky worms which house
Beneath unshaken waters, but at once
Upon some Earth-awakening day of Spring
Do pass from gloom to glory, and aloft
Winnow the purple, bearing on both sides
Double display of starlit wings which burn,
Fanlike and fibred, with intensest bloom;
Ev'n so my thoughts, erewhile so low, now felt
Unutterable buoyancy and strength
To bear them upward through the trackless fields
Of undefin'd existence far and free.

Then first within the South methought I saw
A wilderness of spires, and chrystal pile
Of rampart upon rampart, dome on dome,
Illimitable range of battlement
On battlement, and the Imperial height
Of Canopy o'ercanopied.

Behind,
In diamond light upsprung the dazzling Cones
Of Pyramids, as far surpassing Earth's
As Heaven than Earth is fairer. Each aloft
Upon his narrow'd Eminence bore globes
Of wheeling Suns, or Stars, or semblances
Of either, showering circular abyss
Of radiance. But the glory of the place
Stood out a pillar'd front of burnish'd gold,
Interminably high, if gold it were
Or metal more ethereal, and beneath
Two doors of blinding brilliance, where no gaze
Might rest, stood open, and the eye could scan,
Through length of porch and lake and boundless hall,
Part of a throne of fiery flame, wherefrom
The snowy skirting of a garment hung,
And glimpse of multitudes of multitudes
That minister'd around it - if I saw
These things distinctly, for my human brain
Stagger'd beneath the vision, and thick night
Came down upon my eyelids, and I fell.

With ministering hand he rais'd me up:
Then with a mournful and ineffable smile,
Which but to look on for a moment fill'd
My eyes with irresistible sweet tears,
In accents of majestic melody,
Like a swol'n river's gushings in still night
Mingled with floating music, thus he spake:

"There is no mightier Spirit than I to sway
The heart of man: and teach him to attain
By shadowing forth the Unattainable;
And step by step to scale that mighty stair
Whose landing-place is wrapt about with clouds
Of glory' of Heaven. With earliest light of Spring,
And in the glow of sallow Summertide,
And in red Autumn when the winds are wild
With gambols, and when full-voiced Winter roofs
The headland with inviolate white snow,
I play about his heart a thousand ways,
Visit his eyes with visions, and his ears
With harmonies of wind and wave and wood,
-- Of winds which tell of waters, and of waters
Betraying the close kisses of the wind --
And win him unto me: and few there be
So gross of heart who have not felt and known
A higher than they see: They with dim eyes
Behold me darkling. Lo! I have given thee
To understand my presence, and to feel
My fullness; I have fill'd thy lips with power.
I have rais'd thee nigher to the spheres of Heaven,
Man's first, last home: and thou with ravish'd sense
Listenest the lordly music flowing from
Th' illimitable years. I am the Spirit,
The permeating life which courseth through
All th' intricate and labyrinthine veins
Of the great vine of Fable, which, outspread
With growth of shadowing leaf and clusters rare,
Reacheth to every corner under Heaven,
Deep-rooted in the living soil of truth;
So that men's hopes and fears take refuge in
The fragrance of its complicated glooms,
And cool impleachèd twilights. Child of Man,
See'st thou yon river, whose translucent wave,
forth issuing from the darkness, windeth through
The argent streets o' th' City, imaging
The soft inversion of her tremulous Domes,
Her gardens frequent with the stately Palm,
Her Pagods hung with music of sweet bells,
Her obelisks of rangèd Chrysolite,
Minarets and towers? Lo! How he passeth by,
And gulphs himself in sands, as not enduring
To carry through the world those waves, which bore
The reflex of my City in their depths.
Oh City! Oh latest Throne! Where I was rais'd
To be a mystery of loveliness
Unto all eyes, the time is well nigh come
When I must render up this glorious home
To keen Discovery: soon yon brilliant towers
Shall darken with the waving of her wand;
Darken, and shrink and shiver into huts,
Black specks amid a waste of dreary sand,
Low-built, mud-wall'd, Barbarian settlement,
How chang'd from this fair City!"

Thus far the Spirit:
Then parted Heaven-ward on the wing: and I
Was left alone on Calpe, and the Moon
Had fallen from the night, and all was dark!


Ed Friedlander, M.D., Enjoying "Timbuctoo" by Alfred Tennyson

http://www.pathguy.com/timbuc.htm

Suppressed poems of Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1830-1862 (1904)

Including the prize poem "Timbuctoo" and the original (1833) version of "The lover's tale"

http://archive.org/details/suppressedpoemso00tennrich
http://archive.org/details/tennysonssuppres00tenn
Be not too curious of Good and Evil;
Seek not to count the future waves of Time;
But be ye satisfied that you have light
Enough to take your step and find your foothold.

--T.S. Eliot
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Re: Poetry

Postby Antipatros » Mon Apr 02, 2012 6:57 pm

The April 2012 issue of Poetry magazine is out.
Be not too curious of Good and Evil;
Seek not to count the future waves of Time;
But be ye satisfied that you have light
Enough to take your step and find your foothold.

--T.S. Eliot
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Re: Poetry

Postby Antipatros » Wed Apr 04, 2012 1:16 pm

Image

Balaclava 1876
Elizabeth Thompson, Lady Butler 1846-1933
Oil on canvas

http://tinyurl.com/c93rufq (Manchester Art Gallery)

'Balaclava' was a major battle of the Crimean War, fought between British and Russian forces. Thompson's painting represents the aftermath of the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade of 1854, when a misinterpreted order led to heavy British losses: 661 cavalrymen were reduced to 195 in 20 minutes.

The subject became a favourite for painters after Tennyson's poem The Charge of the Light Brigade. This was quoted by Thompson in the catalogue accompanying her work's debut at the Society of Arts.

The central figure was modelled by WH Pennington, an actor who had taken part in the action. Other veterans were also consulted and used as models. Thompson's portrayal of the soldiers was controversial as it focused on the psychological effects of war.

The painting was seen by thousands, at several venues, and was further popularised by large editions of prints. Although it was unusual for a woman to paint war, the artist was praised by the Army for her accuracy.(***)

(***) Her husband was Lt. Gen. Sir William Butler, so she had easy access to any required expertise.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, The Charge of the Light Brigade

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/174586

I
Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!” he said.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

II
“Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismayed?
Not though the soldier knew
Someone had blundered.
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

III
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of hell
Rode the six hundred.

IV
Flashed all their sabres bare,
Flashed as they turned in air
Sab’ring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wondered.
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro’ the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reeled from the sabre stroke
Shattered and sundered.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.

V
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell.
They that had fought so well
Came through the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.

VI
When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!
Be not too curious of Good and Evil;
Seek not to count the future waves of Time;
But be ye satisfied that you have light
Enough to take your step and find your foothold.

--T.S. Eliot
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"Support the Troops"

Postby Antipatros » Wed Apr 04, 2012 1:19 pm

Rudyard Kipling, The Last of the Light Brigade (1891)

http://www.kipling.org.uk/poems_brigade.htm

There were thirty million English who talked of England's might,
There were twenty broken troopers who lacked a bed for the night.
They had neither food nor money, they had neither service nor trade;
They were only shiftless soldiers, the last of the Light Brigade.

They felt that life was fleeting; they knew not that art was long,
That though they were dying of famine, they lived in deathless song.
They asked for a little money to keep the wolf from the door;
And the thirty million English sent twenty pounds and four !

They laid their heads together that were scarred and lined and grey;
Keen were the Russian sabres, but want was keener than they;
And an old Troop-Sergeant muttered, "Let us go to the man who writes
The things on Balaclava the kiddies at school recites."

They went without bands or colours, a regiment ten-file strong,
To look for the Master-singer who had crowned them all in his song;
And, waiting his servant's order, by the garden gate they stayed,
A desolate little cluster, the last of the Light Brigade.

They strove to stand to attention, to straighen the toil-bowed back;
They drilled on an empty stomach, the loose-knit files fell slack;
With stooping of weary shoulders, in garments tattered and frayed,
They shambled into his presence, the last of the Light Brigade.

The old Troop-Sergeant was spokesman, and "Beggin' your pardon," he said,
"You wrote o' the Light Brigade, sir. Here's all that isn't dead.
An' it's all come true what you wrote, sir, regardin' the mouth of hell;
For we're all of us nigh to the workhouse, an' we thought we'd call an' tell.

"No, thank you, we don't want food, sir; but couldn't you take an' write
A sort of 'to be continued' and 'see next page' o' the fight?
We think that someone has blundered, an' couldn't you tell 'em how?
You wrote we were heroes once, sir. Please, write we are starving now."

The poor little army departed, limping and lean and forlorn.
And the heart of the Master-singer grew hot with "the scorn of scorn."
And he wrote for them wonderful verses that swept the land like flame,
Till the fatted souls of the English were scourged with the thing called Shame.

They sent a cheque to the felon that sprang from an Irish bog;
They healed the spavined cab-horse; they housed the homeless dog;
And they sent (you may call me a liar), when felon and beast were paid,
A cheque, for enough to live on, to the last of the Light Brigade.


O thirty million English that babble of England's might,
Behold there are twenty heroes who lack their food to-night;
Our children's children are lisping to "honour the charge they made - "
And we leave to the streets and the workhouse the charge of the Light Brigade!
_____________

Note: the penultimate verse, whch we have italicised, was included in the first publication in the St James' Gazette, but was omitted from the collected versions.
Be not too curious of Good and Evil;
Seek not to count the future waves of Time;
But be ye satisfied that you have light
Enough to take your step and find your foothold.

--T.S. Eliot
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Re: Poetry

Postby Antipatros » Wed May 02, 2012 3:20 pm

Devin Johnston, New Song

After William IX, Duke of Aquitaine

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poem/243912

As sweetness flows through these new days,
the woods leaf out, and songbirds phrase
in neumes of roosted melody
incipits to a new song.
Then love should find lubricity
and quicken, having slept so long.

The bloodroot blossoms, well and good,
but I receive no word that would
set my troubled heart at ease,
nor could we turn our faces toward
the sun, and open by degrees,
unless we reach a clear accord.

And so our love goes, night and day:
it’s like the thorny hawthorn spray
that whips about in a bitter wind
from dusk to dawn, shellacked with sleet,
until the sun’s first rays ascend
through leaves and branches, spreading heat.

I have in mind one April morning
when she relented without warning,
relenting from her cold rebuff
in laughter, peals of happiness.
Sweet Christ, let me live long enough
to get my hands beneath her dress!

I hate the elevated talk
that disregards both root and stalk
and sets insipid pride above
vicissitudes of lust and strife.
Let others claim a higher love:
we’ve got the bread, we’ve got the knife.

The May 2012 Poetry magazine is out.
Be not too curious of Good and Evil;
Seek not to count the future waves of Time;
But be ye satisfied that you have light
Enough to take your step and find your foothold.

--T.S. Eliot
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Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:33 pm

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