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 Poem of the Week.

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PostSubject: Poem of the Week.   Sat Apr 12, 2008 8:55 pm

I have this one on the CD "The Poet and The Piper". I prefer to listen to Seamus read it to me but its worth a read too.

From Seamus Heaney.


Digging

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; as snug as a gun.


Under my window a clean rasping sound
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:
My father, digging. I look down


Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds
Bends low, comes up twenty years away
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills
Where he was digging.


The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.


By God, the old man could handle a spade,
Just like his old man.


My grandfather could cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner's bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, digging down and down
For the good turf. Digging.


The cold smell of potato mold, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I've no spade to follow men like them.


Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I'll dig with it.
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PostSubject: Re: Poem of the Week.   Sat Apr 12, 2008 9:08 pm

Nice, very nice, but I still love the Pangur Bawn one best, as a poem about writing.
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PostSubject: Re: Poem of the Week.   Sat Apr 12, 2008 9:10 pm

I and Pangur Ban my cat,
'Tis a like task we are at:
Hunting mice is his delight,
Hunting words I sit all night.

Better far than praise of men
'Tis to sit with book and pen;
Pangur bears me no ill-will,
He too plies his simple skill.

'Tis a merry task to see
At our tasks how glad are we,
When at home we sit and find
Entertainment to our mind.

Oftentimes a mouse will stray
In the hero Pangur's way;
Oftentimes my keen thought set
Takes a meaning in its net.

'Gainst the wall he sets his eye
Full and fierce and sharp and sly;
'Gainst the wall of knowledge I
All my little wisdom try.

When a mouse darts from its den,
O how glad is Pangur then!
O what gladness do I prove
When I solve the doubts I love!

So in peace our task we ply,
Pangur Ban, my cat, and I;
In our arts we find our bliss,
I have mine and he has his.

Practice every day has made
Pangur perfect in his trade;
I get wisdom day and night
Turning darkness into light.

-- Anon., (Irish, 8th century cat
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PostSubject: Re: Poem of the Week.   Sat Apr 12, 2008 9:16 pm

That's a poem that features heavily on the Junior Cert syllabus because young people really, really get it. It's one of those rare poems that can be read by adults and children and patronises neither age group.

One of the features I like most about it (and in which Heaney's accent and rhythms of speech are so important) is the way the sounds throughout the lines recall the 'nicking and slicing' of the turf.

There's one spoken version on Youtube but the speaker doesn't have that depth and tonality of Heaney's northern accent.
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PostSubject: Re: Poem of the Week.   Sat Apr 12, 2008 9:39 pm

I have to say that I was tiring of Heaney by the time I left school. But this poem will stay with me. Doesn't go down too well with those who liked to quote him when the Good Friday Agreement was signed.

Requiem for the Croppies
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PostSubject: Re: Poem of the Week.   Sat Apr 12, 2008 9:48 pm

"Follower" was just a question on the book quiz. BBC 4 now
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PostSubject: Re: Poem of the Week.   Sat Apr 12, 2008 11:42 pm

cactus flower wrote:
I and Pangur Ban my cat,
'Tis a like task we are at:
Hunting mice is his delight,
Hunting words I sit all night.

Better far than praise of men
'Tis to sit with book and pen;
Pangur bears me no ill-will,
He too plies his simple skill.

'Tis a merry task to see
At our tasks how glad are we,
When at home we sit and find
Entertainment to our mind.

Oftentimes a mouse will stray
In the hero Pangur's way;
Oftentimes my keen thought set
Takes a meaning in its net.

'Gainst the wall he sets his eye
Full and fierce and sharp and sly;
'Gainst the wall of knowledge I
All my little wisdom try.

When a mouse darts from its den,
O how glad is Pangur then!
O what gladness do I prove
When I solve the doubts I love!

So in peace our task we ply,
Pangur Ban, my cat, and I;
In our arts we find our bliss,
I have mine and he has his.

Practice every day has made
Pangur perfect in his trade;
I get wisdom day and night
Turning darkness into light.

-- Anon., (Irish, 8th century cat

Nice, but by making it adhere to metre, I think maybe the underlying sense is lost. So just for balance the original and a more accurate Irish translation.

Pangur Bán

The Scholar and his Cat
(Murphy's title)


Messe ocus Pangur Bán,
cechtar nathar fria saindan:
bíth a menmasam fri seilgg,
mu memna céin im saincheirdd.
I and white Felix,
each of us two (keeps) at his specialty:
his mind is set on hunting,
my mind on my special subject.


Caraimse fos (ferr cach clu)
oc mu lebran, leir ingnu;
ni foirmtech frimm Pangur Bán:
caraid cesin a maccdán.
I love (it is better than all fame)
to be quiet beside my book, with persistent inquiry.
Not envious of me White Felix;
_he_ loves his childish art.


O ru biam (scél cen scís)
innar tegdais, ar n-oendís,
taithiunn, dichrichide clius,
ni fris tarddam ar n-áthius.
When we two are (tale without boredom)
alone in our house,
we have something to which we may apply our skill,
an endless sport.


Gnáth, huaraib, ar gressaib gal
glenaid luch inna línsam;
os mé, du-fuit im lín chéin
dliged ndoraid cu ndronchéill.
It is customary at times for a mouse to stick in his net,
as a result of warlike struggles (feats of valor).
For my part, into _my_ net falls
some difficult crux of hard meaning.


Fuachaidsem fri frega fál
a rosc, a nglése comlán;
fuachimm chein fri fegi fis
mu rosc reil, cesu imdis.
He directs his bright perfect eye
against an enclosing wall.
Though my (once) clear eye is very weak
I direct it against acuteness of knowledge.


Faelidsem cu ndene dul
hi nglen luch inna gerchrub;
hi tucu cheist ndoraid ndil
os me chene am faelid.
He is joyful with swift movement
when a mouse sticks in his sharp claw.
I too am joyful
when I understand a dearly loved difficult question.


Cia beimmi a-min nach ré
ni derban cách a chele:
maith la cechtar nár a dán;
subaigthius a óenurán.
Though we are always like this,
neither of us bothers the other:
each of us likes his craft,
rejoicing alone each in his.


He fesin as choimsid dáu
in muid du-ngni cach oenláu;
du thabairt doraid du glé
for mu mud cein am messe.
He it is who is master for himself
of the work which he does every day.
I can perform my own task,
directed toward understanding clearly that which is difficult.



Interestingly, it is listed as one of the few examples of individualism in literature prior to the renaissance. The emphasises on messe in the first line, and it's corresponding dúnadh, are said to be an indication of this.
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PostSubject: Re: Poem of the Week.   Sat Apr 12, 2008 11:44 pm

Is this the poem, Riadach, that was written in the margin of one of the great books - Kells or Durrow?
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PostSubject: Re: Poem of the Week.   Sun Apr 13, 2008 12:11 am

Kate P wrote:
Is this the poem, Riadach, that was written in the margin of one of the great books - Kells or Durrow?

Not exactly, it was written in a margin though. It was in the margin of a grammar book in Reichanau. Quite understandable when studying grammar that one's mind would wander to more artistic things.
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PostSubject: Re: Poem of the Week.   Sun Apr 13, 2008 12:29 am

Is there a modern Irish version of Pangur Bán?
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PostSubject: Re: Poem of the Week.   Sun Apr 13, 2008 1:07 am

Poem of the day link added on Latest Discussions page below links. Let me know if you'd prefer a different source.
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PostSubject: Re: Poem of the Week.   Sun Apr 13, 2008 1:17 am

My that's neat - can we put a piece of my art there someday? Get a few more pounds in .. I draw good goblins Very Happy !
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PostSubject: Re: Poem of the Week.   Sun Apr 13, 2008 1:24 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
My that's neat - can we put a piece of my art there someday? Get a few more pounds in .. I draw good goblins Very Happy !

I'm intrigued. Show us what you got. What a Face
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PostSubject: Re: Poem of the Week.   Sun Apr 13, 2008 1:24 am

Your art is first class Audi. It should be Top Dead Center.

I once wrote a poem about myself. Is that weird ? It was done in a jest, so maybe I got away with it. I was about 16 or something, long before I had Youtube to express myself.
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PostSubject: Re: Poem of the Week.   Sun Apr 13, 2008 1:30 am

Johnny Keogh wrote:
Auditor #9 wrote:
My that's neat - can we put a piece of my art there someday? Get a few more pounds in .. I draw good goblins Very Happy !

I'm intrigued. Show us what you got. What a Face
Ok, these are not goblins but it's the only thing on the net

http://www.silverpond.eu/refuge/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4

I recently found some goblins I did when i was 15 and reading the Lord of the Rings... they're nice (and ugly) and I'll scan them in and put them here sometime Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Poem of the Week.   Sun Apr 13, 2008 1:41 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
Ok, these are not goblins but it's the only thing on the net

http://www.silverpond.eu/refuge/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4

I recently found some goblins I did when i was 15 and reading the Lord of the Rings... they're nice (and ugly) and I'll scan them in and put them here sometime Very Happy

This is really good stuff. There is definatly a talent there.
The bould P.Flynn ended up a fabulous painter, why not The Ninth Auditor Cool
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PostSubject: Re: Poem of the Week.   Sun Apr 13, 2008 1:58 am

riadach wrote:
Kate P wrote:
Is this the poem, Riadach, that was written in the margin of one of the great books - Kells or Durrow?

Not exactly, it was written in a margin though. It was in the margin of a grammar book in Reichanau. Quite understandable when studying grammar that one's mind would wander to more artistic things.

Don't know where this is from, but it is the nicest medieval cat I could find.
Loved the drawings Audi, took me back to the good old day (or two) at The Refuge.

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PostSubject: Re: Poem of the Week.   Mon Apr 14, 2008 12:11 am

This is a not-very-great poem D.H. Lawrence wrote when he was a young man, called "Dog-Tired". It might do nicely for anyone who has been toiling and tilling the fields, or the back garden.

In she would come to me here
Now the sunken swaths
Are glittering paths
To the sun, and the swallows cut clear
Into the setting sun! If she came to me here!

if she would come to me now,
Before the last-mown harebells are dead
While that vetch clump still burns red!
Before all the bats have dropped from the bough
To cool in the night; if she came to me now!

The horses are unshackled, the chattering machine
Is still at last. If she would come
We could gather up the dry hay from
The hill brow, and lie quite still, till the green
Sky ceased to quiver, and lost its active sheen.

I should like to drop
On the hay, with my head on her knee,
And lie dead still, while she
Breathed quiet above me; and the crop
Of stars grew silently.

I should like to lie still
As if I were dead; but feeling
Her hand go stealing
Over my face and head, until
This ache was shed.
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PostSubject: Re: Poem of the Week.   Mon Apr 14, 2008 12:27 pm

a poem for all those bullied by trubunals Very Happy


Invictus (by W.E. Henley)

Out of the night that covers me
Black as the pit from pole to pole
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced, nor cried aloud
Under the bludgeoning of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid

It matters not how strait the gate
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul.
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PostSubject: Re: Poem of the Week.   Mon Apr 14, 2008 12:32 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
a poem for all those bullied by trubunals Very Happy


Invictus (by W.E. Henley)

Out of the night that covers me
Black as the pit from pole to pole
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced, nor cried aloud
Under the bludgeoning of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid

It matters not how strait the gate
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul.

Very inspiring Zhou. Thanks for that.
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PostSubject: Re: Poem of the Week.   Mon Apr 14, 2008 8:15 pm

Maybe it's a bit early in the summer for this, but, sitting on the step at the French doors (on my own and without strawberries, I hasten to add), I got thinking of this one.

Strawberries

There were never strawberries
like the ones we had
that sultry afternoon
sitting on the step
of the open french window
facing each other
your knees held in mine
the blue plates in our laps
the strawberries glistening
in the hot sunlight
we dipped them in sugar
looking at each other
not hurrying the feast
for one to come
the empty plates
laid on the stone together
with the two forks crossed
and I bent towards you
sweet in that air

in my arms
abandoned like a child
from your eager mouth
the taste of strawberries
in my memory
lean back again
let me love you

let the sun beat
on our forgetfulness
one hour of all
the heat intense
and summer lightning
on the Kilpatrick hills

let the storm wash the plates

-- Edwin Morgan
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PostSubject: Begin It   Sat Apr 19, 2008 5:32 pm

One of my favourites;

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy,
the chance to draw back.

Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation),
there is one elementary truth,
the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans:

that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.

A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.

Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.

Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.

Begin it now.



This is attributted to Goethe but its not 100% sure wether the the german philosopher was responsable.
Nike created an updated version a few years back; Just Do It! Smile


Last edited by Johnny Keogh on Mon May 05, 2008 12:58 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Poem of the Week.   Sat Apr 19, 2008 5:37 pm

Johnny Keogh wrote:
One of my favourites;

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy,
the chance to draw back.

Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation),
there is one elementary truth,
the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans:

that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.

A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.

Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.

Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.

Begin it now.



This is attributted to Goethe but its not 100% sure wether the the german philosopher was responsable.
Nike created an updated version a few years back; Just Do It! Smile

Yes, beginning is a lot to do with overcoming fears and imaginary demons, and there is a great sense of freedom when you step over them and get on with it.
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PostSubject: Re: Poem of the Week.   Sat Apr 19, 2008 10:11 pm

I think this is especially inspiring - considering the alternatives posed at the end. When I need a kick in the ass, this is a good poem for precisely that job.

The Roofwalker
by Adrienne Rich (1961)

--for Denise Levertov

Over the half-finished houses
night comes. The builders
stand on the roof. It is
quiet after the hammers,
the pulleys hang slack. 5
Giants, the roofwalkers,
on a listing deck, the wave
of darkness about to break
on their heads. The sky
is a torn sail where figures 10
pass magnified, shadows
on a burning deck.

I feel like them up there:
exposed, larger than life,
and due to break my neck. 15

Was it worth while to lay--
with infinite exertion--
a roof I can't live under?
--All those blueprints,
closings of gaps 20
measurings, calculations?
A life I didn't choose
chose me: even
my tools are the wrong ones
for what I have to do. 25
I'm naked, ignorant,
a naked man fleeing
across the roofs
who could with a shade of difference
be sitting in the lamplight 30
against the cream wallpaper
reading--not with indifference--
about a naked man
fleeing across the roofs.
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PostSubject: Re: Poem of the Week.   Sat Apr 19, 2008 10:24 pm

youngdan linked us to a dreadful piece of film, that made me think of this poem. Sorry and all, on a Saturday night.

Over Babiy Yar
there are no memorials
The steep hillside like a rough inscription
I am frightened.
Today I am as old as the Jewish race.
I seem to myself a Jew at this moment.
I, wandering in Eygypt.
I, crucified. I perishing.
Even today the mark of the nails.
I think also of Dreyfus. I am he.
The Philistine my judge and my accuser.
Cut off by bars and cornered,
ringed around, spat at, lied about;
the screaming ladies with the Brussels lace
poke me in the face with parasols.
I am also a boy in Belostok,
the dropping blood spreads across the floor,
the public-bar heroes are rioting
in an equal stench of garlic and of drink.
I have no strength, go spinning from a boot,
shriek useless prayers that they won't listen to;
with a cackle of "Thrash the kikes and save Russia!"
the corn-chandler is beating up my mother.
I seem to myself like Anna Frank
to be transparent as an April twig
and am in love, I have no need for words,
I need for us to look at one another.
How little we have to see or to smell
separated from the foliage and the sky,
how much, how much in the dark room
gently embracing each other.
They're coming. Don't be afraid.
The booming and the banging of the spring.
Its coming this way. Come to me.
Quickly, give me your lips.
They're battering in the door. Roar of the ice.

Over Babiy Yar
rustle of the wild grass.
The trees look threatening, look like judges.
And everything is one silent cry.
Taking my hat off
I feel myself slowly going grey.
And I am one silent cry
over the many thousands of the buried;
am every old man killed here,
every child killed here.
O my Russian people, I know you.
Your nature is international.
Foul hands rattle your clean name.
I know the goodness of my country.
How horrible it is that pompous title
the anti-semites calmly call themselves,
Society of the Russian People.
No part of me can ever forget it.
When the last anti-semite on the earth is buried for ever
let the International ring out.
No Jewish blood runs among my blood,
but I am as bitterly and hardly hated
by every anti-semite
as if I were a Jew. By this
I am Russian.


Yevgeny Yevtushenko
trans. Peter Levi
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