Thursday, July 05, 2007

waxing lyrical

I love poetry, real poetry. Like art, I love the old masters. I appreciate modern art, modern verse, but I prefer the classics.

Rumpole of the Bailey would often wax lyrical, drifting into a Shakespearian aside whilst muttering Wordsworth. I wish I had the capacity to remember huge portions of verse.

Today I read Tennyson's Ulysses, a beautifully constructed piece that is just stunning and moving:

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel; I will drink
Life to the lees. All times I have enjoy'd
Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Thro' scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea. I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known,-- cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honor'd of them all,--
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use!
As tho' to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains; but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
to whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,--
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfill
This labor, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro' soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail;
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought with me,--
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads,-- you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honor and his toil.
Death closes all; but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks;
The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs; the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends.
'T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,--
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

I attempted to write some short verse, inspired by how I felt. It made me think how would folks interpret it? Would they understand the subject I was trying to convey? I wonder. I think the subject matter is pretty obvious here - do you get my drift? What do you think the subject matter is about? Do you understand the imagery? Answers below please. ;-)


When time and sorrows cease to be
The mortal flight is done
And anguish rests its weary head
The quiet ne’er yet to come

The embers of the dying flame
Give way to lurid skies
Carved hollows in the sinking foam
Perch ever moving eyes

As shadows form and deeper falls
The blanket of spilt ink
A pen of thought in soup of haze
Scrawls scenes that never link

A magnitude of errors play
Upon the stage inside
The evil actors tread the boards
Speak forth as amplified

Dark fingers wander deep inside
To pull aside the calm
Despite entreaties to my God
To keep me safe from harm

Still as the morning dew sets in
Relief does come to bear
Terrors melt and fade away
As though were never there

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