Categories
Poetry Uncategorized

J’suis snob (Boris Vian) – Tatiana Eva-Marie

Baudelaire was interested in the concept of “The Dandy” as a correction to and standing above the faults of democracy. Leaving aside, for a moment, the differences between dandies and snobs, this song sounds rather cuckoo and is definitely not meant to be taken seriously. It is also curiously sweet and mignon.

The lyrics in French and with English translation are at https://lyricstranslate.com/en/jsuis-snob-im-snob.html

Categories
Literature Poetry Uncategorized

Elizabeth Jennings’s Poem – Answers

I kept my answers small and kept them near;
Big questions bruised my mind but still I let
Small answers be a bulwark to my fear.

The huge abstractions I kept from the light;
Small things I handled and caressed and loved.
I let the stars assume the whole of night.

But the big answers clamoured to be moved
Into my life. Their great audacity
Shouted to be acknowledged and believed.

Even when all small answers build up to
Protection of my spirit, still I hear:
Big answers striving for their overthrow

And all the great conclusions coming near.

Jennings was a devout Catholic and it seems that religious themes are present in her work and in this poem in particular.

Categories
Poetry West Cornwall (and local history)

Heading Home Loaded

“Small Boy”, the Headmaster shouts and points

as the sixth-formers snigger on the balcony above.

The lad in question trembles a little in the assembly beneath.

 

Another small boy before me into the green space.

“Sorry” he says as he cuts swiftly before me through the entrance.

 

He is heavily laden with a quart milk

bottle grasped under his desperate arm.

His earnest apology surprises and charms me.

 

He is in a hurry and speedily treads across

the muddy field.

A little lad with a worried hurried pace

or so it appears to me.

 

He seems keen to assuage some overbearing

parent figure.

I imagine some awful row between his mum and dad-

all he can do perhaps is help fetch the distant provisions.

 

As I watch his rapid progress in the cold and wet morning,

I sense his small act of restitution will be insufficient.

The parents will not be speaking hours into the afternoon

and my eyes tearfully respond at this thought.

 

 

Categories
Poetry West Cornwall (and local history)

Advent in Causewayhead, Penzance

Bacon sandwich by special arrangement delivered!

A woman sits in the open boot of her car

across the way smoking.

In this cafe gunstig the garlanded kugeln are enormous in

subdued shades of green, transparent red with

broad, unsubtle white-stripes.

 

During the day, the unlit Christmas street decorations

make a telegraph exchange of wires.

People come and go moving swiftly in the busy street;

it is cold.

Everyone has survived the stormy, windy night,

looking somewhat self-congratulatory.

 

The board outside reads:-

“Two slices of toast with jam

and filtered coffee, two pounds fifty.”

Good Cornish value. Over opposite

on the dark green facade and neon-lit Subway

window daubed with large white snowflakes.

Further up in the carpet shop blue lights flicker reassuringly.

Pigeons gobble contentedly from windowsills above.

Categories
Literature Poetry St Ives Uncategorized

The Last of the Fire Kings -an extract from Derek Mahon

Five years I have reigned
During which time
I have lain awake each night

And prowled by day
In the sacred grove
For fear of the usurper,

Perfecting my cold dream
Of a place out of time,
A palace of porcelain

Where the frugivorous
Inheritors recline
In their rich fabrics
Far from the sea.

I find these few lines deeply even profoundly moving.  The whole poem may be found at http://www.troublesarchive.com/artforms/poetry/piece/the-last-of-the-fire-kings 

There it states,”Derek Mahon’s reference to an ancient curse can be construed as referring to the weight of tradition in Northern Ireland and the legacies of division and violence.” However, it is the mythological images that it conjures up and which I do not fully understand which particularly appeals to me. Although it may help a little to know that a frugivore is an animal that thrives mostly on raw fruits, succulent fruit-like vegetables, roots, shoots, nuts and seeds. It can be any type of herbivore or omnivore where fruit is a preferred food type.

For those interested in an analysis or interpretation of the whole poem, there is a PhD thesis from Durham at https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/108461.pdf

Categories
Literature Poetry Uncategorized

By Severn – Ivor Gurney

  1. If England, her spirit lives anywhere
    It is by Severn, by hawthorns and grand willows.
    Earth heaves up twice a hundred feet in air
    And ruddy clay falls scooped out to the weedy shallows.
    There in the brakes of May Spring has her chambers,
    Robing-rooms of hawthorn, cowslip, cuckoo flower —
    Wonder complete changes for each square joy’s hour,
    Past thought miracles are there and beyond numbers.
    If for the drab atmospheres and managed lighting
    In London town, Oriana’s playwrights had
    Wainlode her theatre and then coppice clad
    Hill for her ground of sauntering and idle waiting.
    Why, then I think, our chiefest glory of pride
    (The Elizabethans of Thames, South and Northern side)
    Would nothing of its needing be denied,
    And her sons praises from England’s mouth again be outcried.

by Ivor Gurney

Categories
Art and Photographic History Literature Poetry

Brise Marin par Stéphane Mallarmé

La chair est triste, hélas ! et j’ai lu tous les livres.
Fuir ! là-bas fuir! Je sens que des oiseaux sont ivres
D’être parmi l’écume inconnue et les cieux !
Rien, ni les vieux jardins reflétés par les yeux
Ne retiendra ce coeur qui dans la mer se trempe
Ô nuits ! ni la clarté déserte de ma lampe
Sur le vide papier que la blancheur défend
Et ni la jeune femme allaitant son enfant.
Je partirai ! Steamer balançant ta mâture,
Lève l’ancre pour une exotique nature !

Un Ennui, désolé par les cruels espoirs,
Croit encore à l’adieu suprême des mouchoirs !
Et, peut-être, les mâts, invitant les orages,
Sont-ils de ceux qu’un vent penche sur les naufrages
Perdus, sans mâts, sans mâts, ni fertiles îlots …
Mais, ô mon coeur, entends le chant des matelots !

Stéphane Mallarmé, Vers et Prose, 1893

Image result for mallarme

This lovely poem reminds me a little of the Breton crabbers that came into St Ives in the 1950s and 60s.

Categories
German Matters Literature Poetry

Herbstwanderung

Herbstwanderung

Golden und rot leuchtende Blätter
in tief stehender Sonne.
Farben explodieren
verschwenderisch
trunken
vergehend.

Reife Früchte
Beeren unbekannten Namens
aromatische Fülle
Ahnung von Fäulnis.

Vögel sammeln sich
Kraniche ziehen
Wespen umsummen das Obst
Waldtiere bereiten sich vor.

Altweiberfäden zeigen sich
in schrägen Sonnenstrahlen,
auf Spinnweben glitzern Tautropfen,
ein Blatt dreht sich herabfallend
in seiner farbigen Schönheit.

Es riecht feucht
intensiv
erdig
nach Pilzen
nassem Holz
Tannennadeln
sich zersetzenden Blättern
Wildschweinen.
Dieser Geruch:
unvergesslich
Heimat.

Ich sammle bunte Zweige
die letzten Blüten
Äste mit Beeren
anmutige Gräser –
sie werden das Zimmer schmücken.

Bald sind die Zweige kahl,
tragen die Äste nur noch sich selbst
die Gräser hängen,
sie haben ihre Schönheit überlebt.
Die Vase bleibt leer.

Bald wird der weich-feuchte Waldboden
frosthart
Schnee bedeckt die abgestorbenen Blätter.
Die große Stille zieht ein.

Text from Renate Augenstein

Categories
Literature Poetry Uncategorized

Under the influence of both Louis MacNeice and Dylan Thomas

It is always a pleasure to discover a new poet as I did when I came across the following book locally, which I strongly recommend for its style and elegance ;-

The spirits have dispersed, the woods
faded to grey from midnight blue
leaving a powdery residue,
night music fainter, frivolous gods
withdrawing, cries of yin and yang,
discords of the bionic young;
cobweb and insects, hares and deer,
wild strawberries and eglantine,
dawn silence of the biosphere,
amid the branches a torn wing
— what is this enchanted place?

From The Dream Play
By Derek Mahon

More may be found at www.poetryoutloud.org/poems-and-performance/poems/detail/92168

Image result for derek mahon

 

Categories
German Matters Literature Poetry Uncategorized

The ingenious poetry of Szymborska

I love these lines from this Polish Nobel Prize-winning poet, Wislawa  Symborska:-

“We stand in the meadow where it became flesh,
and the meadow is silent as a false witness.
Sunny. Green. Nearby, a forest
with wood for chewing and water under the bark-
every day a full ration of the view
until you go blind. Overhead, a bird-
the shadow of its life-giving wings
brushed their lips. Their jaws opened.
Teeth clacked against teeth.
At night, the sickle moon shone in the sky
and reaped wheat for their bread.
Hands came floating from blackened icons,
empty cups in their fingers.” They come from her poem “Some like poetry” which can be read at http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/wislawa_szymborska/poems/11678

Her poems are also available in German from Suhrkamp