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  • I don't think there's a poetry thread (?) I was looking at some Emiliana Torrini songs and this popped up. She grabbed a random book from her bookshelf and opened to a random page (I do this from time to time too). It turned out to be 'The Seven Sorrows' by Ted Hughes. She made quite a beautiful song of it-

    The Seven Sorrows

    The first sorrow of autumn
    Is the slow goodbye
    Of the garden who stands so long in the evening-
    A brown poppy head,
    The stalk of a lily,
    And still cannot go.

    The second sorrow
    Is the empty feet
    Of a pheasant who hangs from a hook with his brothers.
    The woodland of gold
    Is folded in feathers
    With its head in a bag.

    And the third sorrow
    Is the slow goodbye
    Of the sun who has gathered the birds and who gathers
    The minutes of evening,
    The golden and holy
    Ground of the picture.

    The fourth sorrow
    Is the pond gone black
    Ruined and sunken the city of water-
    The beetle's palace,
    The catacombs
    Of the dragonfly.

    And the fifth sorrow
    Is the slow goodbye
    Of the woodland that quietly breaks up its camp.
    One day it's gone.
    It has only left litter-
    Firewood, tentpoles.

    And the sixth sorrow
    Is the fox's sorrow
    The joy of the huntsman, the joy of the hounds,
    The hooves that pound
    Till earth closes her ear
    To the fox's prayer.

    And the seventh sorrow
    Is the slow goodbye
    Of the face with its wrinkles that looks through the window
    As the year packs up
    Like a tatty fairground
    That came for the children.
    U R I E L
    What is done in the dark will always come to light
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  • 479

    Because I could not stop for Death –
    He kindly stopped for me – 
    The Carriage held but just Ourselves – 
    And Immortality.

    We slowly drove – He knew no haste
    And I had put away
    My labor and my leisure too,
    For His Civility –

    We passed the School, where Children strove
    At Recess – in the Ring – 
    We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain – 
    We passed the Setting Sun –

    Or rather – He passed us –
    The Dews drew quivering and chill –
    For only Gossamer, my Gown –
    My Tippet – only Tulle –

    We paused before a House that seemed
    A Swelling of the Ground –
    The Roof was scarcely visible –
    The Cornice – in the Ground –

    Since then – ‘tis Centuries – and yet
    Feels shorter than the Day
    I first surmised the Horses’ Heads
    Were toward Eternity –

    ~ Emily Dickinson
    If I were dead, could I do this?

  • The Lake

    In spring of youth it was my lot
    To haunt of the wide world a spot
    The which I could not love the less--
    So lovely was the loneliness
    Of a wild lake, with black rock bound,
    And the tall pines that towered around.

    But when the Night had thrown her pall
    Upon that spot, as upon all,
    And the mystic wind went by
    Murmuring in melody--
    Then--ah then I would awake
    To the terror of the lone lake.

    Yet that terror was not fright,
    But a tremulous delight--
    A feeling not the jewelled mine
    Could teach or bribe me to define--
    Nor Love--although the Love were thine.

    Death was in that poisonous wave,
    And in its gulf a fitting grave
    For him who thence could solace bring
    To his lone imagining--
    Whose solitary soul could make
    An Eden of that dim lake.

    ~ Edgar Allan Poe
    Post edited by iuventus at 2015-05-05 21:46:48
    If I were dead, could I do this?
  • Isn't poetry just wonderful? It speaks on a subconscious level like a dream. A puzzle of symbols when understood speaks sooo deeply.
    U R I E L
    What is done in the dark will always come to light
  • Chris Stein borrowed a line from the same when he wrote "Bermuda Triangle Blues (Flight 45)" for Blondie.

    "Death was in that poison wave, and in its gulf a fitting grave."
    If I were dead, could I do this?
  • Many composers of lieder borrowed poetry. I once read that it wasn't a compliment because it meant that one's poetry needed a little something more. (Both of the following translations are fine tuned to the English language.)


    Heavenly voices from afar:
    The angelic salutation of the Larks.
    How softly you nudge at my soul
    With your rousing exaltation!
    I close my eyes lightly;
    And there pass memories
    Of gentle Evenings
    Infused with the breath of Spring.

    ~ Karl August Candidus

    The following is just as lovely as a piano solo.


    Tomorrow morning, as day breaks
    over the dew-drenched lawn,
    I shall inhale the crisp, cool dawn;
    and in the sweet-scented shade
    of the burgeoning lilac,
    I shall find true joy.

    Life has given me this one kindness; `
    To find it is my prize.
    My future springs from the lilac;
    From the verdant boughs,
    from the fragrant whorls
    my humble happiness aspires.

    ~ Yekaterina Beketova
    Post edited by iuventus at 2015-05-05 21:49:23
    If I were dead, could I do this?
  • Closed on Account of Rabies was an album devoted entirely to the poetry of Poe. Several of the poems were actually sung to music composed for the project. The following is too long to post here. A stanza shall suffice.

    The City in the Sea

    Lo! Death has reared himself a throne
    In a strange city lying alone
    Far down within the dim West,
    Where the good and the bad and the worst and the best
    Have gone to their eternal rest.
    There shrines and palaces and towers
    (Tim-eaten towers that tremble not!)
    Resemble nothing that is ours.
    Around, by lifting winds forgot,
    Resignedly beneath the sky
    The melancholy waters lie.


    ~ Edgar Allan Poe
    Post edited by iuventus at 2015-05-05 22:01:30
    If I were dead, could I do this?
  • The only lengthy poem that I know by heart is E A Poe's "Dream Within a Dream", on account of it being the lyric to a Propaganda song.

    Interesting how putting music to words makes it so much easier.

    Take this kiss upon the brow!
    And, in parting from you now,
    Thus much let me avow-
    You are not wrong, who deem
    That my days have been a dream;
    Yet if hope has flown away
    In a night, or in a day,
    In a vision, or in none,
    Is it therefore the less gone?
    All that we see or seem
    Is but a dream within a dream.

    I stand amid the roar
    Of a surf-tormented shore,
    And I hold within my hand
    Grains of the golden sand-
    How few! yet how they creep
    Through my fingers to the deep,
    While I weep- while I weep!
    O God! can I not grasp
    Them with a tighter clasp?
    O God! can I not save
    One from the pitiless wave?
    Is all that we see or seem
    But a dream within a dream?

    Post edited by whisperit at 2015-05-06 12:12:57

  • odi et amo. quare id facio, fortasse requiris?
    nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.

    ~ Catullus

    I hate and I love. Do you ask, perchance, why I do it?
    I know not. But I feel it happening, and it's tearing me apart.
    Post edited by iuventus at 2015-05-06 13:42:24
    If I were dead, could I do this?
  • I love that poem by Edgar Allan Poe, and the Raven. The metre in that is just wonderful although I did laugh when it was ripped by Bart in The Simpsons.
    Anyway, Propaganda were fun while they lasted and I had a favourite on Twitter from Claudia Brukén when I posted this view of our hall on Twitter.
    For some, the homage has been ongoing for a long time !

    The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ.
    Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit.
    Shall lure it back to cancal half a line,
    Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.
  • "If-", Rudyard Kipling

    If you can keep your head when all about you   

        Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   

    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

        But make allowance for their doubting too;   

    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

        Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

    Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

        And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

    If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   

        If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   

    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

        And treat those two impostors just the same;   

    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

        Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

        And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings

        And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

    And lose, and start again at your beginnings

        And never breathe a word about your loss;

    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

        To serve your turn long after they are gone,   

    And so hold on when there is nothing in you

        Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   

        Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

        If all men count with you, but none too much;

    If you can fill the unforgiving minute

        With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   

    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   

        And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

    Reminds of The Tao.

  • The Raven

    Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
    Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
    While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
    As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
    "'Tis some visiter," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door—
    Only this and nothing more."

    Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
    And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
    Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow
    From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore—
    For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
    Nameless here for evermore.

    And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
    Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
    So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
    "'Tis some visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door—
    Some late visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door;—
    This it is and nothing more."

    Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
    "Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
    But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
    And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
    That I scarce was sure I heard you"—here I opened wide the door;—
    Darkness there and nothing more.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
    Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
    But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
    And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore?"
    This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!"—
    Merely this and nothing more.

    Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
    Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
    "Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice;
    Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore—
    Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;—
    'Tis the wind and nothing more!"

    Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
    In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
    Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
    But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door—
    Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door—
    Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

    Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
    By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
    "Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
    Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore—
    Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
    Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."

    Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
    Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore;
    For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
    Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door—
    Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
    With such name as "Nevermore."

    But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
    That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
    Nothing farther then he uttered—not a feather then he fluttered—
    Till I scarcely more than muttered "Other friends have flown before—
    On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before."
    Then the bird said "Nevermore."

    Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
    "Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store
    Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
    Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore—
    Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
    Of 'Never—nevermore'."

    But the Raven still beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
    Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
    Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
    Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore—
    What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
    Meant in croaking "Nevermore."

    This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
    To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
    This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
    On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
    But whose velvet-violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
    She shall press, ah, nevermore!

    Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
    Swung by seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
    "Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent thee
    Respite—respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore;
    Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"
    Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."

    "Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!—
    Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
    Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted—
    On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore—
    Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!"
    Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."

    "Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!
    By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore—
    Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
    It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
    Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."
    Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."

    "Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!" I shrieked, upstarting—
    "Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
    Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
    Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my door!
    Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!"
    Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."

    And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
    On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
    And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
    And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
    And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
    Shall be lifted—nevermore!

    —Edgar Allan Poe
    Post edited by Urban_Tribesman at 2015-05-06 16:38:02
    The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ.
    Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit.
    Shall lure it back to cancal half a line,
    Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.
  • "And the cow jumped over the moon."
    If I were dead, could I do this?

  • Bitter Fruit

    Southern trees bear strange fruit,
         (Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,)
    Black Body Swinging in the southern breeze;
         Strange fruit hanging from the polar trees.

    Pastoral scene of the gallant South
         (The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,)
    Scent of magnolia, sweet and fresh,
         (And the sudden smell of burning flesh.)

    Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck,
         For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
    For the sun to rot, for the tree to drop,
         Here is a strange and bitter crop.

    ~ Abel Meeropol
    If I were dead, could I do this?

  • Jabberwocky

    'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
         Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
         And the mome raths outgrabe.

    'Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
         The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
    Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
         The frumious Bandersnatch!'

    He took his vorpal sword in hand:
         Long time the manxome foe he sought --
    So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
         And stood a while in thought.

    And, as in uffish thought he stood,
         The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
    Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
         And burbled as it came!

    One two! One two! And through and through
         The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
    He left it dead, and with its head
         He went galumphing back.

    'And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
         Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
    Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
         He chortled in his joy.

    'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
         Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
         And the mome raths outgrabe.
    If I were dead, could I do this?

  • The Passionate Shepherd to his Love

    Come live with me and be my love,
    And we will all the pleasures prove
    That valleys, groves, hills, and fields
    Woods or steepy mountain yields

    And we will sit upon the rocks,
    Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks
    By shallow rivers to whose falls
    Melodious birds sing madrigals.

    And I will make thee beds of roses
    And a thousand fragrant posies,
    A cap of flower, and a kirtle
    Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

    A gown made of the finest wool
    Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
    Fair lined slippers for the cold
    With buckles of the purest gold;

    A belt of straw and ivy buds,
    With coral clasps and amber studs;
    And if these pleasures may thee move,
    Come live with me and be my love.

    The shepherds' swains shall dance and sing
    For thy delight each May morning:
    If these delights thy mind may move,
    Then live with me and be my love.

    ~ Christopher Marlowe
    If I were dead, could I do this?

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