Monday, December 6, 2010

4 poems by Donne + Elizabeth Bishop + Linebreak poem 12/6

16th- 17th C. He would have witnessed English civil war and the execution (1649) of King Charles I. The Commonwealth was dominated from the outset by Oliver Cromwell, who by the Instrument of Government (1653) was made lord protector of the Commonwealth. The subsequent government is usually known as the Protectorate, though the Commonwealth formally continued until Restoration in 1660.

Read more: commonwealth —

During the Restoration his writing went out of fashion and remained so for several centuries. Throughout the eighteenth century, and for much of the nineteenth century, he was little read and scarcely appreciated. Commentators followed Samuel Johnson in dismissing his work as no more than frigidly ingenious and metrically uncouth. Coleridge and Browning in the 19th; TSE and Yeats in early 20th century recognized the sparring of intellect and passion.

Divine Sonnet #10

DEATH be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,

By addressing Death, putting death into its place, a mere slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men, no more and no less than poison, war, sickness... Death, swollen with its importance, is reminded that it has no power after death.

Divine Sonnet #14 -- the repetitions -- first a gentle knock, then more forceful, with the triple break, blow, burn -- a petition
a forceful plea, with both military and romantic vocabulary. I love that "reason" is only a viceroy! The word 'ravish" makes you think of St. Teresa in Ecstasy ; union with God/divine.
What is it that you learn about the speaker of the poem? About God?

Batter my heart, three personed God; for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn and make me new.

Triple Fool : A fool for loving; a fool for saying so, thinking that writing will change anything; a fool for making poem public.

The Bait: An idea: a hymn is a love song. What happens if you consider this poem beyond the sensual pleasure and think "Beloved" as divine.

Elizabeth Bishop:
Casabianca: by Elizabeth Bishop

Love's the boy stood on the burning deck
trying to recite "The boy stood on
the burning deck". Love's the son
stood stammering elocution
while the poor ship in flames went down.

Love's the obstinate boy, the ship,
even the swimming sailors, who
would like a schoolroom platform, too
or an excuse to stay
on deck. And love's the burning boy.

See the poem American school children had to learn by heart :
This poem was a staple of elementary school readers in the United States over a period of about a century spanning, roughly, the 1850s through the 1950s. So often memorized and recited as to lose any shred of meaning or emotion, it is today remembered mostly as a tag line and as a topic of parodies.

Casabianca is a poem by British poet Felicia Dorothea Hemans, first published in the Monthly Magazine for August 1826.
The poem opens:
The boy stood on the burning deck
Whence all but he had fled;
The flame that lit the battle's wreck
Shone round him o'er the dead.
It is written in ballad meter, rhyming abab.

In Hemans' and other tellings of the story, young Casabianca refuses to desert his post without orders from his father. (It is sometimes said, rather improbably, that he heroically set fire to the magazine to prevent the ship's capture by the British.) It's said that he was seen by English sailors on ships attacking from both sides but how any other details of the incident are known beyond the bare fact of the boy's death, is not clear. Hemans, not purporting to offer a history, but rather a poem inspired by the bare facts, writes:
Yet beautiful and bright he stood,
As born to rule the storm;
A creature of heroic blood,
A proud, though childlike form.
The flames rolled on—he would not go
Without his Father's word;
That father, faint in death below,
His voice no longer heard.
Hemans has him repeatedly, and heart-rendingly, calling to his father for instructions: "'Say, Father, say/If yet my task is done;'" "'Speak, father!' once again he cried/'If I may yet be gone!;'" and "shouted but once more aloud/ 'My father! must I stay?'" Alas, there is, of course, no response.
She concludes by commending the performances of both ship and boy:
With mast, and helm, and pennon fair,
That well had borne their part—
But the noblest thing which perished there
Was that young faithful heart.


And finally
Modern Sentences BY KIMBERLY GREY

who captures the quick attention span required to live a day in the life in 2010 -- one thought per sentence. Very witty.

No comments: