packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)

It's Tax Day in the U.S., a day when the mind might be too occupied with deductions and long lines at the post office to think about poetry. But let's try: what's your favorite line of poetry? Song lyrics count.

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But I, being poor, have only my dreams ...

(No appropriateness intended.)
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Silhouette)

        by: William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

            I heard the old, old men say,
            "Everything alters,
            And one by one we drop away."
            They had hands like claws, and their knees
            Were twisted like the old thorn-trees
            By the waters.
            "All that's beautiful drifts away
            Like the waters."

- from In the Seven Woods, 1903.

(Quoted in "And So To Fade Away" by Ken Arneson, linked by [ profile] pecunium a while ago. Text was copy-pasted from The Poetry Archive.)
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (butterfly)
If you see this, post a favourite poem.

My favourite poem, as I have mentioned, is modern and under copyright - it is called "The Voice You Hear When You Read Silently" by Thomas Lux. In lieu of that, I would have posted another favorite - "The Tree", by Ezra Pound - but that, although less recent, is still modern and under copyright. Therefore I will offer this, which is modern but not under copyright:

         Sara Teasdale
 Interlude: Songs out of Sorrow

   II. Mastery

I would not have a god come in
To shield me suddenly from sin,
And set my house of life to rights;
Nor angels with bright burning wings
Ordering my earthly thoughts and things:
Rather my own frail guttering lights
Wind blown and nearly beaten out:
Rather the terror of the nights
And long, sick groping after doubt;
Rather be lost than let my soul
Slip vaguely from my own control
Of my own spirit let me be
In sole though feeble mastery.

- from "Love Songs", 1917.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)

What is one of your favorite poems?

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My favorite poem is "The Voice You Hear When You Read Silently" by Thomas Lux, published in The New Yorker, July 14, 1997. As far as I know, it is still in copyright and not legitimately available online - not even where I read it, online - except, arguably, in the Google Books free preview.

I know absolutely nothing of his other poetry.

Given that I cannot in good conscience reproduce Lux, I offer instead a bit of verse from one Dr. John McCrae:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
        In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
        In Flanders fields.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Green RZ)
Rain by Nick Vach. Linds.
Each storm-soaked rose has a fair, bright eye.
And this is the voice of the stone-cold sky:
"Just the boys keep their cheeks dry.
Just the boys fear in pride to cry.
Men thank God for tears.
Lone with the thoughts of their dead.
Lone with lost years.

This one was a breeze, in truth. It seems not to be on the Web, though – it may be still owned, I guess. The two-and-ten on this DOC file is a text, though, and the name of the poem is the same as here if you want to check in books.

(P.S. In my hunt to fix the first word on the last two lines, I found "lorn", a word I now like. It does not fit, though.)

Edit: Post on [ profile] wordsofonebeat.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Green RZ)
I just found out that there was/is a group on the Net which strives to speak only in words of one beat. They have a page of poems made thus here, with an FAQ here.

I think this is a fine fun thing to do (though I know it to have been done ere this). I thought to give one of old Lord Alf. Tenn.'s works a try, or Bob Frost's, but they proved too much for me; I did not know them. In spite of that, I will try a bit of E. Pound. Not a lot of long words in this one in the first place.

The Tree
I stood still and was a tree in midst of wood,
To know the truth of things not seen before;
Of Daph. and of the green tree's bow
And those gods'-hosts, that love-pair old
That grew elm-oak in midst of wold.
'Twas not ere when the gods had been
With grace bid come, and been brought right in
Straight to the hearth of their heart's home
That they might do this awe-made thing:
Yet I have been a tree in midst of wood,
And swarms of new things known as good
That had no sense in my head's sight before.

Oh, I found the one-word thing linked here. I left the poem on the post there as well.

Ed.: The [ profile] wordsofonebeat comm. I joined it – it is still small, though.

Ed. 2: E. Pound's work can be found not changed here, here, and some more spots I lack the space to name.


Nov. 18th, 2005 10:30 pm
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Green RZ)
It's night, I'm nigh asleep, but waking,
Wanting to be worthy of the wealth I have been given,
Wanting to make magic, to make marvels, to make glory
For those who chose my muses to awaken.

I read a thousand authors' writings -
Letters, journals, novels, stories, fables, vignettes, papers;
Letters, words, and sentences, and paragraphs, and passages -
I find them fine, impassioned writers...

...but I am not. I write frustrated.
Language is a needed thing to value and protect,
Language - I have stolen it, to value and protect
And made poor recompense in writing text.

But I will strive to make that recompense
For all the wondrous writing I've been sent.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Green RZ)
What is poetry? What is it?
Is it words in lines the author chooses?
What makes poetry? What makes it?
What makes prose not poetry?

Ancient poems in verse were written
Rhyme and meter being sound and rhythm
Modern Muses cast off scansion
Writing, lacking meter, modern poems.

Is just imagery sufficient?
What do poets want to make in writing?
Is mere metaphor unfinished
When it lacks the form of ancient writing?

What is poetry? What is it?
How am I my poetry to write?


Jun. 30th, 2005 01:39 pm
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
On the line between truth and delusion I stand
With a mission to find that which nobody can:
What is right, what is wrong, what is good, what is bad,
What is virtue or honor; and whether I'm mad.

On the line between truth and delusion I walk
Every step is a risk; if I err, I may fall.
But to flee from the edge? I would leave myself blind:
There is nothing so crucial as the truths I must find.

On the line between truth and delusion I sway
As the winds of confusion don't drive me astray
But they try; I am strong, I don't shift in my place,
But they try; my eyes tear as they savage my face.

On the line between truth and delusion I crawl
What I know I don't know; I know nothing at all.
What is bad, what is good, what is wrong, what is right...
I still search for the answer; for truth I still fight.

This is one of the poems which were inspired by that Forms of Verse exercise.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
'Tis dark and silent ere the songs begin;
'Tis dark, 'tis night, so dark no shadows fall,
But in the silence preparations end
And music stirs to life and starts to call.

The concert opens with a single note,
A gleam of light, a circle on the ground,
But then arises shining out to coat
The world with light and life, to make a sound.

A wondrous sound it is that this light makes!
It sets to ringing every frozen limb
With echoes of the solid light they break
And traceries of white around their rims.

The symphonies of light I love to see
I see in ice and light upon a tree.

Inspired by Flashlight Music essay in ZhurnalWiki.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
Entering an empty classroom
Turning on the lights, I notice
White designs in chalk adorning
Planes of green, scholastic blackboards.

No-one's here, and no-one tells me
What they mean, the pictures drawn here,
What they mean, the words inscribed here,
No-one knows, and no-one tells me.

Strange, it is, the lack of meaning,
Lack of purpose, lack of value,
Strange, that all these words and symbols
Lack their truth without their writer.

Are all words so empty, worthless
When they are without their speakers?
When I write, is there no meaning
Other than for me, the writer?

As I read the absent teaching
Of a class I've never taken,
Only images and contours
Touch my mind to leave their traces.

Soon, my teacher comes, and students,
They'll erase the words and figures.
When they do, I'll feel the absence
Of a dozen words and figures.

I'll remember not their meaning
But their presence and their seeming.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
One day, a seed was planted in a pot,
And many days it spent there as it grew.
One day, the plant was moved into a plot
And given space to start its growth anew.

The gardener put her years into the plant
To help it grow unhurt and blossom bright.
She watered it and kept away the ants
That threatened it with illness, damage, bight.

And when the plant awoke with thoughts and words
She educated it in worthy things.
She gave it books, those wondrous verbal herds
Of life and wisdom, tales and songs to sing.

And yet, the plant's uncertain what to do
Or how to tell its gardener "I love you."
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
Today is sunny, dry, and warm.
I sit outside on every day,
But every day is better warm,
And better dry, and best, today.

I'm sitting still; I always do.
I never travel through the world.
Instead, I wait for those who do
And help them travel through my world.

And as I sit, my neighbors stir,
And wake me with their eager sounds.
I hear them, and I know what stirs,
They are the coming traveler sounds.

I'm sitting, firmly anchored down
Upon my bench of wooden ties.
I'm almost still, still sitting down,
And still I'm waiting on my ties.

And then it comes, it runs across
My sturdy back, my steely spine!
I bear it gladly, help it cross
The ground I'm bridging with my spine!

And then it goes, it runs away,
And leaves me sitting still, behind.
The notes it sounded drift away,
As does the heat it left behind.

And as it does, I sit and shine
For those who traveled on my line.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Green RZ)
A sheet of paper,
White, untouched by thought and mind:

A palette's colors;
Paint, just waiting for a brush:

A noble artist
Soul, that makes imagined worlds:

A painting, dreaming,
Glimpse, display of newly formed
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Green RZ)
A pot of water meets the stove
And gathers heat from burner's flame.
The water stirs, its rest disturbed,
And starts to quiver, shakes its mane,

But soon it settles, for its heat,
Its energy, is drawn away
By cold intruders to the pot,
By food uncooked that enters, stays.

Despite this, soon the heat rebuilds
As food and water both grow hot.
When food and water shake again,
The flame is cut beneath the pot.

The water then sits quietly
Until the cooking is complete.
The food is done, and taken off
The stove and flame, its source of heat.

The meeting of the pot and stove
Can now conclude, and both can go.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Green RZ)
I cough, and cough again, and cough twice more.
I try to stop, and fail. I drink more tea,
And yet, I cough still more. My throat? Still sore,
And worse, the coughs still come to torment me.

I sit and read, and hope distraction cures.
I sit and read, I sit and cough and read,
And curse the rebel cough which still endures
And curse again; the coughing takes no heed.

I cough twice more, and moan of wretched luck;
I cough again, and wish my cough would die
And let me be. Instead, the cold has stuck,
And neither tea nor pluck will make it fly.

I have to wait it out, like storms at sea,
And let the waves subside and set me free.

I seem to be in sonnet-writing mode. This is odd, especially since my natural meter is iambic tetrameter.

Ah, well. It seems to be turning out alright.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Green RZ)
March 18-20

The leaves are shredded, stuffed in porous bags
Like fine black powder, pencil-shaving fine.
The bags are shut, are sewn together shut,
Then tinned and sold. Now tin and bags are mine.

The tin of shredded leaves adorns my desk.
Inside, the bags a columned form, a stack.
The column shrinks, and shortens, drops, declines
As bags are stripped, are stolen from their pack.

The bag of leaves is sitting in a cup
Awaiting death by drowning, death by heat,
Awaiting scalding water. Soon it comes,
And boiling burns a brown from leaves' defeat.

So take a bag of leaves from here, from me,
And put it in your cup, and make your tea.


And now, to eat some breakfast. Perhaps I'll drink another cup of tea along with it.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Green RZ)
March 9 - 13, 2005

I was reading when you saw me
Sitting with my book alone.
Maybe you were bored, and therefore
Curious about your guest.

So you wandered over, saw me
Sitting with an empty lap.
Did you find that lap inviting?
Worth the walk across the room?

Did you? Still, I found it shocking,
Sitting with my open lap,
When I felt a pawprint on me,
When you stepped on me, your guest.

Fool I was, I missed your meaning;
Sitting, not to make a lap,
But to read alone in comfort,
Reading, sitting in your room.

Though I knew you wanted something,
Sitting there, I knew not what.
Still, I didn't want to snub you,
Not when I was just your guest.

Petting you was my reaction.
Sitting near you, petting you.
Soon you bored of simple petting,
Soon you left and crossed the room.

Left alone, I soon returned to
Sitting with my book again.
You were gone and soon forgotten
By your quiet reading guest.

I'm not completely satisfied with this, but I'm never satisfied with anything I do. In any case, more of my poetry is available on my school site.


packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)

October 2011

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