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TheRejectAmidHair



Joined: 19 Nov 2008
Posts: 3864


Location: Staines, Middlesex

PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wilfred Owen died on this day, aged only 25. Killed in war, just a few days before Armistice.

A few years later, when Rabindranath Tagore was visiting Britain, he received a letter from a Mrs Susan Owen, Wilfred Owen’s mother. She told him that when her son had also been a poet, and that when he had last been at home, he had read to her a translation of one of Rabindranath’s poems. And when they returned his pocket book to her afterwards, it contained a scrap of paper bearing this translation. I do not have the exact translation Wilfred Owen had read, but the opening lines of this poem begin, in my own inadequate words: “Before the day I must depart, may I say just this - What I have seen, what I have received, has been beyond compare.”  

I was listening to Britten War Requiem only yesterday. In it, Britten intercuts the Lachrymosa with the poem “Futility”, Owen’s almost unbearable lament for a dead comrade.

Move him into the sun—
Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of fields unsown.
Always it awoke him, even in France,
Until this morning and this snow.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know.
Think how it wakes the seeds—
Woke, once, the clays of a cold star.
Are limbs so dear-achieved, are sides
Full-nerved,—still warm,—too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
—O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break earth's sleep at all?



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Mikeharvey



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 3367


Location: Lancashire

PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No matter how often this poem is read it's always deeply moving.


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Caro



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 2980


Location: Owaka, New Zealand

PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 5:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been reading Portrait of a Marriage by Nigel Nicolson and he quotes this poem by Vita Sackville-West (who never seems to be known as Vita Nicolson despite her long marriage to Harold).  I found Vita's style a bit overblown in her account of her affair with Violet Trefusis but this was written much later in the second world war and is simpler.

Does it have a title? There isn't one here:

I must not tell how dear you are to me.
It is unknown, a secret from myself
Who should know best. I would not if I could
Expose the meaning of such mystery.

I loved you then, when love was Spring, and May.
Eternity is here and now, I thought;
The pure and perfect moment briefly caught
As in your arms, but still a child, I lay.

Loved you when summer deepened into June
And those fair, wild, ideal dreams of youth
Were true yet dangerous and half unreal
As when Endymion kissed the mateless moon.

But now when autumn yellows all the leaves
And thirty seasons mellow our long love,
How rooted, how secure, how strong, how rich,
How full the barn that holds our garnered sheaves!


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Joe McWilliams



Joined: 10 Feb 2012
Posts: 689


Location: Canada

PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2016 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm feeling quite Mike Harveyish today, having pulled a book off the shelf more or less at random and found it to contain something called 'The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.'
Who knew?
This was my mother's, inscribed by her to herself in 1953. What a gal.

It consists of quatrains (I believe they're called), with the occasional exotic print, translated by Edward Fitzgerald, who I read did the 'first and most famous' translation of the Rubaiyat. Better yet, we may be related, since my maternal great-granny was a Fitzgerald

The verse itself? I'm afraid I remain unmoved. Pleasant enough, I suppose, and it evokes the mysterious east. But.....


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Mikeharvey



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 3367


Location: Lancashire

PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night

Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:

And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught

The Sultan's Turret in a Noose of Light.

Marvellous!!


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Castorboy



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 1798


Location: Castor Bay Auckland NZ

PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can't argue with that. A mother to be proud of, Joe.


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Chibiabos83
Site Admin


Joined: 19 Nov 2008
Posts: 3423


Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wha fe call i'

Miss Ivy, tell mi supmn,
An mi wan' yuh ansa good.
When yuh eat roun 12 o'clock,
Wassit yuh call yuh food?

For fram mi come yah mi confuse,
An mi noh know which is right,
Weddah dinnah a de food yuh eat midday,
Or de one yuh eat a night.

Mi know sey breakfus a de mawnin one,
But cyan tell ef suppa a six or t'ree,
An one ting mi wi nebba undastan,
Is when yuh hab yuh tea.

Miss A dung a London ha lunch 12 o'clock,
An dinnah she hab bout t'ree,
Suppah she hab bout six o'clock,
But she noh hab noh tea.

Den mi go a Cambridge todda day,
Wi bad dinnah roun' bout two,
T’ree hour later mi frien she sey,
Mi hungry, how bout yuh?

Joe sey im tink a suppa time,
An mi sey yes, mi agree,
She halla, ‘Suppa? a five o'clock,
Missis yuh mussa mean tea!’

Den Sunday mi employer get up late,
Soh she noh hab breakfus nor lunch,
But mi hear she a talk bout ‘Elevenses’,
An one sinting dem call ‘Brunch’.

Breakfus, elevenses, an brunch,
lunch, dinnah, suppa, tea,
Mi brain cyan wuk out which is which,
An when a de time fe hab i'.

For jus' when mi mek headway,
Sinting dreadful set mi back,
And dis when mi tink mi know dem all,
Mi hear bout one name snack.

Mi noh tink mi a badda wid no name,
Mi dis a nyam when time mi hungry,
For doah mi 'tomach wi glad fe de food,
I' couldn care less whey mi call i'.

Valerie Bloom


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Caro



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 2980


Location: Owaka, New Zealand

PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was a little put off by the language here but then I decided to try and read it.  Its sentiments are something even Anglo-Saxon-bred people struggle with in your English literature.  Even here if I say "dinner-time" I feel I need to explain what I mean.  We now have dinner at night, but when I was young we had it at midday or thereabouts.  (Actually when I was at primary school, our family at home had dinner at lunchtime and we schoolkids had it kept warmed and dried out when we got home from school just after 3.)  

But when I read older books set in England and they talk of tea, I don't know what time of day they are talking about.  Sometimes what I would think of as afternoon tea is taken about 6pm and followed by dinner at 8.30 or so.  

When was this poem written, Gareth?


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Chibiabos83
Site Admin


Joined: 19 Nov 2008
Posts: 3423


Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2017 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was breakfast, lunch and tea at home when I was a nipper. It's so complicated sorting through the various words for mealtimes that I've never worked out if particular terms are e.g. southern or northern. I think breakfast, lunch and tea may be from my northern mother. Perhaps she overruled my Welsh father when it came to mealtime nomenclature. When I went to school aged 4, lunchtime was suddenly called dinnertime. I always felt the school was in the wrong.

Poem I'd guess from the 1980s or early 1990s. Although we didn't study it at school, it was in an anthology published by the NEAB examining board that we used. Reading it now, it seems to me lovely and lively. I'm pleased we looked at English-language poems from other cultures. One that we did study, by the Guyanese poet Grace Nichols:

Even Tho

Man I love
but won’t let you devour
even though
I’m all watermelon
and starapple and plum
when you touch me
even tho
I’m all seamoss
and jellyfish
and tongue

Come
leh we go to de carnival

You be banana
I be avocado

Come
leh we hug up
and brace-up
and sweet one another up

But then
leh we break free
yes, leh we break free

And keep to de motion
of we own person/ality


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Chibiabos83
Site Admin


Joined: 19 Nov 2008
Posts: 3423


Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2017 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It strikes me that one reason we didn't read the group of poems containing the Valerie Bloom is that very few of us could have read it aloud in class without sounding either incompetent or racist, and our teacher Mr Withers certainly wouldn't have been foolish enough to attempt it. I read it aloud last night in a passable West Indian accent and enjoyed the experience, though I wouldn't wish to replicate it before an audience.


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