Thursday, 16 June 2016
In April/May 2013 I wrote three poems on ‘the way things are’ – ‘A Biedermeir Age,’ ‘The Anthropological Turn’ and ‘The Republic of Yeah’ and posted them August-October 2014. I have come to think that the rhythms in all three were too rugged, even jagged, and have revised them for easier reading. The revised ‘A Biedermeir Age’ can be read here
‘The Anthropological Turn’ was posted on 14 September 2014. I have revised it in situ; the result can be read here
The phrase “anthropological turn” was used by Catholic thinkers, in particular, to describe the revolution in thinking in the 1960s (at least in the West) which put man rather than God at the centre of all things.
Monday, 6 June 2016
This is my first poem in syllabics for thirty years or more. The syllable count is 5 6 3 7 with no elisions; for good measure I introduced rhyme in the first and fourth lines of each stanza. I wrote quite a number of poems in syllabics when I was much younger; they are posted in the earlier pages of this blog. A couple of examples are 'Outside, a Blunt Wind Shatters...' here, a sonnet following the example of Elizabeth Daryush, a most interesting poet though largely forgotten now; and 'Hearing Thunder' here, using a model adapted from W.H. Auden who in turn used Alcaic and Asclepiadean models found in Hölderlin and in turn borrowed from their Greek originals. Poetic craft almost completely forgotten by today's younger poets!
In the dawning hours
A pounding weight of wind
Wrenched the house
As if clambering powers
Burst Hades’ black walls.A morning’s drenching walk
Through wrecked fields,
Wading ditches and leaf falls,
Found the wind-torn oak –A bough an arm’s-reach thick
Ripped from its
Trunk by the brute gale, its cloak
Of leaves palling itsTwisted corpse collapsed in
The October sun span glits
Of watery lightOn the brood of branches
Borne by the
Thrown bough like Medusa’s fright
Of hair. A wide thirdOf the oak’s crown had been
The bight broiled with the sky’s curd
Like the sea squirmingAcross a bay. A stark
On the trunk’s flank was firming
Already intoA lumpish thick-lipped scar,
A dank haven to accrue
Tree mould and birds’ bones.The bough stump, shattered to
Fangs, gleamed white,
Sprinkled by the rain-wet groans
Of wind. Inspected,Its switchback limbs, dense with
By lichen pastes, greyAnd bilious, and caked
With soaked moss,
Smelt mutedly of dunged hay –
The raw exchangesOf air and fatal life
Livers in heated granges.
In seconds that bough,Gnarled grower of decades,
Had staggered –
Felled by the wresting wind’s sough.
What hope for the finch,Then, bundled from a hedge
By the blast,
Worn brittle by autumn’s pinch?
Or us, tramping backIn cloud-smoke and rain-shot,
One day to
Be sundered by our bones’ crack?
====================© November 2013