A BURNING QUESTION FOR THE WORLD AND THE POETRY FOUNDATION TOO

Filipinos jpeg

So here’s a really big one, Barbara Jane Reyes. Isn’t the looseness in the creative souls of your Filipino poets, the flexibility, the disorder even in their language, isn’t that actually an advantage? And don’t they get that freedom precisely by being part of a marginalized, deracinated culture? Isn’t that their big reward as artists?

When you’re shut out, can’t you also feel liberated by not having to make sense in the eyes of the establishment? Can’t you even survive better by realizing you’re your own Cirque Soleil, and the sky is your tent and anything you say way up on a very high, and very shaky, high high wire?

Like Cockney humor when London was such a God-awful place to be a worker, or Puerto Rican street talk when so-called ‘Latinos’ were just a Westside Story? Or Gypsies anywhere in Europe, even now, or the really great Yiddish in the Ghetto. None of those people wanted to be understood, their language was their hidden treasure!

And isn’t the creative nonsense-genius you get in English from Latinos, Cockneys and Filipinos just the opposite of Flarf, for example, or Stephen Burt’s  ‘New Thing,’ both of which are so studiously the product of too much money, too much leisure, too much education, too much self-regard, and cultural cabin fever?

I hope you’ve had a chance to read Thomas Brady’s two essays on the Not A Radical Treatise thread (click here, and here). Isn’t the role of what he calls “Limits” applicable to all ‘overly-racinated’ cultures, not just mainstream American poetry — bound feet in China, for example, what a heart-breaking limit that was? And if you begin to feel too privileged with Franchisement, might you not begin to affect Disenfranchisement today, pretend to be a Revolutionary, and start another very self-conscious, very rarefied, very hard to understand and therefore very deep New Movement? (I almost said “fake” there, but the tragedy, of course, is self-delusion. Yes, it’s “new” alright,  but so what? The question is, is it genuine? Does it have any genuine human value?)

And the real thing, the diamond, Desmond Swords, isn’t he just the opposite of a Stephen Burt? I hope you’ve read Desmond too — he writes about his struggle as a working class Irish poet to get accepted by the British blog establishment (click here). He also reflects specifically on his experiences on Blog:Harriet  (click here)  and goes international on the Guardian Blog — quite a read, including the flabbergasted responses!

So what do you think it did to Desmond’s voice when he found out it was just being read as “blather,” Or getting booted off The Poetry Foundation’s site for that matter? How much pleasure did that give him do you think? How high did that make him fly?

Or even in a tiny little way, the three of us here on Scarriet, Tom, Des and myself, uprooted from Harriet and cast adrift by The Poetry Foundation of America? Aren’t we sort of lucky?

Christopher Woodman

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16 Comments

  1. thomasbrady said,

    September 30, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    A polyglot environment is a terrible challenge to literature, for literature requires a certain amount of universal understanding, without which the poet cannot make herself properly understood.

    Poetry departs from ordinary language; the reader must know THE language to appreciate departures from IT.

    For instance, if every citizen in a nation spoke the ‘language’ of ‘Finnegan’s Wake’ (Joyce), that nation could have NO literature; the polyglot nature of the people would smear the template; no common language upon which a literature might grow could possibly exist.

    Intellectuals always err on the side of polyglot rather than simplicity, but it is precisely this–simplicity–to which the Filipino writer MUST aspire.

    Yet this simplicity would be rebuked at every turn, by intellectuals, since it is in their nature to do so, as intellectuals.

    The Filipino who is able to make a kind of literary sense to outsiders– Americans, Englishmen, Spaniards, etc–would inevitably be ‘explaining’ the peculiarities of Filipino culture, and the burden of ‘explaining’ always weighs on those who would create literature.

    Models are necessary, but which models?

    A common language is necessary, but which common language?

    And this is all necessary before any literature can even begin.

    What are the most wildly popular literary works in the Philippines? The great 19th century writer, Jose Rizal, who wrote in Spanish, studied in Spain, France, and Germany, and was a phenomenal polymath, as might be expected.

    Rizal, also not surprisingly, wrote against the Philippine’s Spanish, Catholic regime.

    Colonization is a bitch, especially for literature.

    Literature works in eye-lash subtlety; its hands must be free. Complexity needs to inform its processes, but should not belabor its freedom.

    But human ingenuity works in unseen and magnificent ways; I’m sure the Philippines is loaded with genius; but the question is, what does it look like?

    What can it look like to you–and me?

  2. thomasbrady said,

    October 1, 2009 at 2:16 am

    Arlene Babst wrote last year in the Philippine Daily Inquirer:

    “Through the ’80s, I was among many Filipinos who believed that if we could just get rid of the Marcos regime, the Philippines would transform itself into the nation we dreamt of, where the law treated everyone equally whether your name was Marcos, Aquino, Ayala or Sy, or (fill in the name of the farmer, janitor, nurse or teacher, etc., as well as Bernabe Buscayno).

    We imagined a country where valuable entrepreneurs didn’t have to pay extortion “fees” to a procession of thieves before they could get their licenses or contracts; where government officials weren’t regarded as personal attendants by their bureaucratic bosses or by the Philippine President; where kidnappings and murders weren’t so run-of-the-mill that newscasts breezily squeezed them in between gossip about movie stars, and where the average citizen didn’t harbor such deep distrust of the police, the military, the judges, and most of all, the politicians.

    Many of us fervently wanted Marcos out, but we weren’t naïve enough to expect changes to happen overnight. But my exasperation gains context when you remember that hey, more than 20 years have passed! More of those changes should be in place now.

    Consider what Japan accomplished between 1945—when the country was on its knees, two of its cities eviscerated by atom bombs–and the mid-60s when it had already taken giant steps towards becoming the world’s second biggest economy. Observe how Thailand tackled problems similar to those of the Philippines within the same time frame of two decades—and compare where it stands today.

    What I didn’t understand then was the power of Filipino culture. More than the dictatorship— which it made possible—it is Filipino culture that keeps the Philippines down.

    No one need look far to find intelligent, honest, industrious Filipinos—we know innumerable stories of self-sacrificing, courageous Filipinos who beat incredible odds to rise above the poverty and corruption that drown the rest of the country.

    But neither do we have to look far to find Filipinos who think that the law applies to everyone—but them. Anyone born in the Philippines, myself included, has acquaintances, friends and relatives, who don’t pay their taxes, steal, cheat in business or elections, or even commit murder. The fact that we all know scoundrels and criminals, and let them get away with their crime, is one of the most common manifestations of the diseased culture that keeps the Philippines in a dismal state.

    I use the word culture to mean that discernible pattern of behavior in a group of people or a nation, including those values that are manifested again and again by individuals and the group as a whole until they become the dominant traits, the culture, of that group.

    Japanese culture values the hardworking team player. Respect for privacy and egalitarianism are prized in Swedish culture. American culture emphasizes the pursuit of happiness. Italians are proud of the gusto for style in their culture. A strong sense of individual rights and civic responsibility marks British culture.

    Even with the inevitable exceptions, there is such a thing as a national culture. And the culture that most Filipinos accept as theirs is (as a much-vilified American writer once wrote) a damaged culture. I call it a diseased culture.

    I don’t say that all Filipinos personify the diseased culture of the nation, or that all aspects of Filipino culture are perverse. There’s much that’s positive in Filipino culture, such as the helpfulness innate in most Filipinos; their love for the arts, especially music, dance and painting; their distaste for conflict; their ability to enjoy themselves even under oppressive conditions; and their generosity even when they have little themselves. But I do say that Filipino culture is diseased in some of its fundamental aspects.

    Start with the widespread disrespect for law in the Philippines. Too many Filipinos do not hold the cultural value that abiding by the law is essential for nation building, or even for their own self-respect. To cite a common example, many Filipinos laughingly say that traffic lights “are just a suggestion.”

    Property and lives are endangered or destroyed by such cavalier attitudes towards even basic traffic laws, yet Filipinos don’t recognize the connection between respect for the law and fewer victims. They don’t see respect for law as each citizen’s chance— and duty—to foster the vitally needed sense of community responsibility. With corrosive, disastrous effects, the same attitude is taken towards those laws that govern the very foundation of every nation: the justice system.

    Another perverted value: For most Filipinos, family, right or wrong, is more important than law, hence nepotism, political dynasties and unpunished criminal acts flourish; there’s always some relative to spring the family felon out of jail or install the incompetent in-law in public office.”

    These are pretty harsh words, and it all seems to come down to that old phrase, ‘a nation of laws, not men,’ or in this case, ‘a nation of cheating people.’

    To put it more bluntly and crudely: “My beloved country is a stinking third world country, whether Marcos rules or not.”

    A foetical side note: U.S. po-biz behaves like a stinking third world country. Corrupt poetry contests and unseemly prize-giving, grubbing for creds and recognition–as communication, literature and art suffer. Jorie Graham and her awards = Imelda Marcos and her shoes.

  3. cowpattyhammer said,

    October 1, 2009 at 7:30 am

    Oh Tom, oh Tom, oh Tom. Where to begin — every word of this article is so important and so applicable to almost every country in Asia, and particularly in the South East where these so-called “diseased” tendencies are endemic.

    And yet?

    And yet, I tell you, Tom, on another level it’s all different. What you think you see in the Philippines or Indonesia or Thailand is not what you’re seeing at all, and indeed the only real moral failure in what you say in your post is not in the Arlene Babst Philippine Daily Enquirer article at all! It’s in the U.S. PoBiz, and specifically in Jorie Graham!!!

    Yes, I’m going to address just that, so please hear me. And I hope you’re listening too, Barbara Jane Reyes — I would so have loved to write this as a response to one of your fine articles on Harriet, and thus had a chance to hear your reply!

    So let me start by saying that I can never understand when people ask me, “Why are you so enraged by Jorie Graham? It was so little what she did, and there are so many much worse examples of corruption! Why are you so fired up by this woman’s failures?” And I hear them — and I’m going to answer that while at the same time defending, yes, Filipino culture — which is NOT diseased, I say. It’s just different, and in many ways superior!

    But let me start with a glissando: let me say straight off that since I’ve never been in the Philippines I’m going to concentrate on the mainland which I know really well, and Thailand in particular. But don’t worry, since I’m talking in such huge general terms, I know that what I’m saying is applicable everywhere in Asia, and the South East in particular. You can trust me — ask anybody who lives there.

    The journey toward democracy, including transparency, accountability, and above all equality, is totally different in this region from in the west, and you simply can’t compare them, like chalk and cheese. But take notice, by saying this I’m not suggesting that the West is superior either — on the contrary, I’d say they’re actually like night and day, in the balance. Indeed, the reason almost anyone who can afford it in the West travels as a tourist to Chiang Mai, Bali or Manilla is because there’s something there so sparkling, so life-affirming, so precious that it’s worth the arm and the leg it costs to get there. Because, in a nutshell, there’s a freedom in those places that we law abiding citizens in the West are deprived of, there’s a security that despite all our police and our lawyers we lack, there’s a sense of well-being that no amount of drugs or therapy ever gives us, and a rich old age that cannot be guaranteed in our country regardless of how much money we have in the bank or the size of our insurance.

    Just look at the Filipinos in the staff house behind the huge Miami mansion, or down at the end of the Sunset Boulevard manor park? Who’s having the better time, the rich owner or the servants? Who’s freer, who’s healthier, who sleeps better? Who’s more beautiful, better adapted, more skillful as a human angel as well as a survivor?

    Call the culture “diseased” if you must, but it would be like calling a woman an underachiever because she can’t lift the same weight as a man or pee standing up. Or calling a man barren!

    The endemic corruption in these South East Asian cultures is not about what Jorie Graham did at all, because she betrayed her own values when she cheated us, which Thais and Filipinos and Hmong and Vietnamese almost never do. Yes, Jorie Graham is a good poet, but that’s precisely why her self-betrayal is so egregious. A Filipino would never have done that if he or she had had the chance to become a respected poet what is more Professor of Oratory and Rhetoric at Harvard. A Filipino is far more proud than that, a Filipino has far more self-respect!

    No, the endemic corruption arises from the simple fact that people in Asia feel that who they are is who they are, and even though the Philippines are not a Buddhist or Hindu region like the mainland, the same sense of acceptance lies at the heart of their culture. If you’re rich you’re rich, and that means you’re free to use the money you’ve got however you wish, and in doing so you’re even demonstrating that you’re morally superior to the poor. And the richer the better in every sense of the word!

    Wow!

    Which Jorie Graham certainly wasn’t. She was only demonstrating that at heart she’s really stupid — all Filipino’s, on the other hand, are born with intelligent hearts!

    End of Chapter One. I’ll be back with irrefutable arguments and more details — tomorrow!

    Christopher

  4. thomasbrady said,

    October 1, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Christopher,

    Maybe Arlene Babst is not being fair. After all, she’s lived in Canada for a long time, now, even though she’s Filipino. And she WAS invited to Paul Engle’s International Writing Program, which is funded and supported by the State Department. When I worked for the IWP, there was always a lot of whispering and grumbling about the secret ‘offical’ nature of the IWP–and now a Harvard doctoral student is writing a book on Paul Engle and the CIA.

    Real interesting stuff…looking forward to more from you on this….

    Thomas

  5. cowpattyhammer said,

    October 1, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    Tom,
    I’d love to have a date and even a URL for that article if it’s available. It does feel old to me, like out of another epoch.

    That’s not to say that the corruption, tax evasion, irresponsibility, gap between the rich and the poor, and the hit-man killings are getting better — I suspect they’re even worse. But I also think there is a greater appreciation of the other values, the ones that say, quite literally, you don’t really have to buckle up, drive down the right side of the road, wear a helmet or even have a drivers license to be a valuable human being, are also very positive. It’s so exciting to live here in S.E. Asia — there’s never a dull moment! It’s good for the metabolism never to know what’s going to happen next on the road or anywhere else, and considering the chaos there don’t actually seem to be any more accidents. Just sort of Samurai driving, and a whole lot of fun. Like bumper cars!

    That’s a metaphor as well, of course — life as a 3 ring circus and no safety net!

    And the answer can only be Enlightenment — transcendence is the only hope, whatever that might mean, like becoming a fakir and then on to a saint. Any redistribution of wealth, better governance, more respect for the individual, grants for the arts and research, all that sort of Good Stuff, just leads to ulcers, guilt, and prozac.

    So there.

    C.

  6. thomasbrady said,

    October 1, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    Christopher,

    I know you sailed a small boat across the Atlantic, but this is the first time I’ve really heard you express yourself like this:

    “But I also think there is a greater appreciation of the other values, the ones that say, quite literally, you don’t really have to buckle up, drive down the right side of the road, wear a helmet or even have a drivers license to be a valuable human being, are also very positive. It’s so exciting to live here in S.E. Asia — there’s never a dull moment! It’s good for the metabolism never to know what’s going to happen next on the road or anywhere else, and considering the chaos there don’t actually seem to be any more accidents. Just sort of Samurai driving, and a whole lot of fun. Like bumper cars!”

    Whooooooo! The funny thing is, Arlene Babst is no mouse, but the two of you are really expressing very different philosophies.

    Your polis is not her polis.

    The following is bound to get you into trouble with Amercian liberals:

    “Any redistribution of wealth, better governance, more respect for the individual, grants for the arts and research, all that sort of Good Stuff, just leads to ulcers, guilt, and prozac.”

    Your point of view reminds me of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters.

    Did you know that Kesey was a graduate creative writing student at Stanford? And also volunteered for U.S. military LSD experiments? And also worked at a V.A. mental hospital, where he got the idea for ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest,’ which he wrote in Stanford’s creative writing workshop, run by Wallace Stegner?

    The older Stegner and Kesey did not get along.

    Stegner Fellows are everywhere in po-biz today. It’s like an MFA in poetry from Iowa. It’s a foet cabal, or something. They go on to teach at Harvard, etc. I have it on good authority that fully half of the ‘thumbs down’ votes on Harriet are by Stegner Fellows.

    Recall that Ken Kesey and his Pranksters traveled about in a SCHOOL bus.

    It’s all about the school. Where’d you go?

    Are you on the bus, or off the bus?

    We’re off the bus, Christopher.

    Or, perhaps we’re on the bus? In the 60s, the ‘outsider’ became the ‘insider.’

    But it sounds to me you’re saying in SE Asia these terms have all been exploded because EVERYONE is ‘living on the edge,’ everyone is IN ON THE RIDE.

    In the West, it’s about the school.

    Thomas

  7. OY said,

    January 15, 2012 at 2:37 am

    Birr winter in Kilmainham Castlegregory the poikilothermal world began

    with a plea

    humanity heed your inner voice, never step over a beam or balance,

    Caher Cleenish Cabra Cleggan Clifden Cloghan Curra Craughwell
    your way through Crecora or Crumlin all gone into the world of light

    leading unto angels who alone sit ling’ring there: You pick the usual

    suspects

    middle-class twit-bitch
    baldy corporate guy
    button-hole factory

    the balaclava man
    fat rockabilly lesbians
    walking round wearing wrist-
    bands and every time they speak

    English, a shock of branches
    drop at that well you sought;

    conjuring holy silver
    for an apple from that author
    at the birth of Modernism in letters from the algid source

    coldly constructing language, it’s like walking into a church for you:
    Meeting Something Urgent I Have to Say to You, not the plums

    and red wheelbarrow in this fridge

    O holy Hope and high Humility, high as the heavens
    above, but Ballybeg Ballyboy Ballinaspick & Ballinastraw

    Rahan & Raharney, Rathangan & Rasharkin, Rush Ringbane
    Ringcurran & Ringvilla, Bailybaan Rinneen & Roosk

    these are your walks and you have show’d them me
    to kindle my cold love; dear beauteous death-jewel of the just

    shining nowhere but in the dark: What mysteries do lie beyond
    Lahinch Clare Castlecomer Castledermot Cork Derry Dublin

    Estersnow where we the sublime and scandalous atheists
    began, in a hollow absence scattering in Glasmullagh

    & Glasnevin, Glenanair Glenageary & Glasthule, Kiltimagh
    & Swinford, through Gneeve Gola Golan Golden and Gowlan

    ice music sung only in Inishannon Inishargy Inishboffin

    Innishbiggle Inishowen Innisfallen Isertkieran Inishkeeragh
    Ishartmon & Iveleary, Isertkelly Iveruss Inver & Inishmaan

    thy dust outlook and mark be found fledg’d in some
    bard’s nest who may know at first sight if the bird be flown;

    but what fair well or grove to sing in now is unknown to us

    and yet, as angels in some brighter dreams
    call to the soul when humanity sleeps, so too the hand

    that lock’d up here gives room to shine through all spheres
    O Father of eternal life and all created glories under Thee,

    resume Thy spirit from this world of thrall and deliver unto us

    Gortgranagh Granagh and Gurteen, minus the adjectival class
    Inishmacsaint & Ireland’s Eye closed in the open freezing vowel-

    music voiced in Ballinalack & Ballinasloe, Ballinvreena Rooaun
    Risk Rattoo Ratass Rathanny Raw Rae Reask, first light re-modelled

    on authentic 1930′s German cabaret where first we heard their velvet
    aeroplane voice musical reality happening on some frequency

    in a mathamatical sum found waking in the air to glorious light

    at Ballybrack Edenderry, Emlagh Elphin Ely & Eglish trampled on

    in earlier days at best dull and hoary, glimmering decay merely
    ferns’ gray-green sea-genius misters & mses authentically most

    penned, pearl dove bench marmoreal cloud shrouding Sugarloaf
    adjectives & nouns, O holy Hope and high Humility, highest heaven

    above, these are your walks and you have show’d them me

    Samhain, the weeks in two from Imbolc ground previously a circus
    place of skate-horror tent-ring mirrors reflecting consciousness

    intimately imitating the imitation beyond nous or measure
    immediately prior to its appearance herein, dispersed in

    these mists that blot and fill my perspective as they pass:

    Or else still removed hence unto a hill were one shall need
    a glass for Carnalbanagh Cappaghbeg Cappaghmore

    on the way through winter

    in that very memory fair and bright my sad thoughts
    both clear and strange, transcend the wonted themes

    and into glory peep, as if a star confin’d into a tomb
    Her captive flame must need there glow glitter and burn

    in my cloudy breast like stars upon some gloomy grove
    or those faint beams in which this hill is dress’d

    after the suns remove a tenet from the sacred book

    of Edenmore Bailybough and Ballybunnion, Ballaghaderreen,

    the toponymical metrical and prose dindsenchas lore of place
    tales ice cold intelligence Meelick Moanduff Multyfarnham

    Moynalty Moyrus & Muckelty possess, in a circular salon’s
    event in Carrowntober & Carrownamaddoo, cynosure the red

    quarter-land to kindle my cold love, dear beauteous death-jewel
    of the just shining nowhere but in the dark: What mysteries do lie

    beyond undiscovered in the stars?

    • thomasbrady said,

      January 15, 2012 at 4:01 pm

      Des!

      Now all we need is christopher woodman…

      “Traffic lights are just a suggestion…”

      As I look back at this, I think Arlene Babst had a nuanced argument that was correct and Woodman had a black & white, subversive, argument that was wrong. ‘Oh those fun-loving asians! They’re better than americans because they don’t follow the rules! And I’m better than you because I’m an american who understands this!’ Woodman was a reverse-imperialist whose hippie-dreams wouldn’t let him see anything for what it was. Everyone’s experience is valid, of course, but not everyone’s rhetoric is.

      Tom

  8. OY said,

    January 15, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    They Are All Gone into the World of Light!

    The syntactic undertow in and backwash of, They Are All Gone into the World of Light!, is a template much metaphysical verse written in the past identically springs from and tracks along. Blake wrote, ‘walking among the fires of Hell, delighted with the enjoyments of Genius; which to Angels look like torment and insanity, I collected some of their Proverbs’; and this biblically sourced scaffold from which vowel-music of such metrical quality and feet trumpet, the transendental echoes of it can be heard in Emerson’s poem Merlin:

    “Pass in, pass in,” the angels say,
    “Into the upper doors,
    Nor count compartments of the floors,
    But mount to paradise
    By the stairway of surprise.”

    Blameless master of the games,
    King of sport that never shames,
    He shall daily joy dispense
    Hid in song’s sweet influence.

    Henry Vaughan’s Restoration Metaphysical, being a century and a half more antiquated than Emerson’s Transendental language, needs minimal editing to be tuned fully modern, comprehensive, clear and still in the general English ear:

    in that very memory fair and bright my sad thoughts
    both clear and strange, transcend the wonted themes

    and into glory peep, as if a star confin’d into a tomb
    Her captive flame must need there glow glitter and burn

    in my cloudy breast like stars upon some gloomy grove
    or those faint beams in which this hill is dress’d

    after the suns remove’ a tenet from the sacred book.

    The obvious and celebrative ‘joy of the wise and binding principle learnt after successful construction of a harmonious poem’ composed in prayeful homage; and this distillation of prayer practiced on ancient octaves and stave, opens to a similar force present in another, Edwardian poem, Angels, by Gertrude Hall (1863 – 1961), whom Jessie B. Rittenhouse in her Younger American Poets (1904) anthology, wrote: ‘is a poet of the intimate mood, the personal touch, one who writes for herself primarily and not for others.One fancies that verses such as these were penned in musing, instrospective moments in the form in which they flitted through the mind, and were indesecrate of further touch. They are as words warm upon the lips, putting one in magnetic rapport

    How shall we tell an angel
    From another guest?
    How, from the common
    Worldly herd,

    One of the blest?
    Hint of suppressed halo,
    Rustle of hidden wings,
    Wafture of heavenly frankincense,-

    Which is these things?
    The old Sphinx smile so subtly:
    “I give no golden rule,-
    Yet I would warn thee, World:
    Treat well
    Whom thou call’st fool.”

    Evidence brought by a plaintif pleading God is on the case in this trinity of spirit poems written over the span of a few hundred years, that a biblical skeleton animating the speech and voices within hidden mystical fizz, is drawing us both to and away from a hereforeto unlockable form of scale in the metrical two divisions of divine and human joy that turn the Cauldron of Wisdom born in us on its lips, upside-down: It distributes wisdom in every art besides and in addition to poetry.

    There’s also an immediate connection between Vaughan’s All Gone into the World of Light and John Dunne’s The Sun Rising at the above forum’s poem of the week, second week of October 2009. Reading the responses to The Sun Rising from 120 weeks ago, the exact same Metaphysical quality, value and metrical container of open vowel-music, struck me as the author of this contribution to an ongoing visibly public conversation, with all the force of upper doors opening onto the people sharing in their practice of, and thoughts on, the poetry of personal experience and calmly considered collected thought.

    The shared element unique to these poems in a quaternary of Donne Vaughan Emerson & Hall, is, in varying and unique measure, the voice of human beings on our individual journey through a shared and seperate understanding of, and experience in, the Religion of spiritual know-how that makes us love.

    Thanks Carol.

    ~

    This is only the second time in four years of poem of the week that your choice invoked such a prayerful cognitive honesty, truly Carol the scale of sincerity expectation and our tastes collide exactly in this poem. In the 250 weeks of choices, only once you made my mind come to your choice of poem and share from a noble ridge of such levelling geodic grace, in the second week of Ocober 200,9 John Donne’s The Sun Rising.

    This week, They Are All Gone into the World of Light!, halved my odds of having to wait another four years for one more bullseye a skillet knife’s 250 to 125/1.

    Vaughan raised the quantity of this experience to two. For the very first time. No more a singular event but the doubled bubbling above an occurence of two genuine poems, weeks, times and understandings, from a quadriennale to the biennial event.

    ‘The angel ended, and in Adam’s ear So charming left his voice
    that he awhile Thought him still speaking, still stood fix’d to hear.’

    ~

    Paradise Lost.

    Anemoi gods’ first of January 20001, Hercolubus & Sedna Eris, Fragarach cystaline trinity of feet on the island-city Falias

    Manannan’s Answerer the Sword of Nuadhu & farthest north
    Findias at the top of the world, next to the island of Gorias

    Gáe Assail

    Spear of Lugh next to it Dagda’s Cauldron the island Murias
    Stone of Destiny, O first and final child Lia Fail

    devouring hypoborean goose bumps, glacial, opaque blue light
    above the clock tower N20 Enfield, Wood Green Aeolian wind-god

    Crouch End, Highgate & Hampstead, Tottenham, Turnpike Lane Seven Sisters

    ~

    Age of Fairygold, Gertrude Hall’s exploration into the fire and ice of her own hand, head, heart and spirit returned in lines one read of her’s dearest, deepest and most darling sweetheart self, in thou thee and I born to understand and thank you very much.

    I am a fan of your contributions and would like to welcome you here. I could not introduce myself earlier because I was unable to post here due to various factors beyond my control, until this week and Mathew Vaughan leading glacial hue in algid light reminds me of a line from the authentic fairy poem written by Dian Cecht, a herbalist in the ancient race of Gaelic gods who are Sidhe fairy originals, the Tuatha De Danann, whose arrival into contemporary island life came, depending on the source; 1897 BC in the 17C Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland, or 1477 BC in Geoffrey Keating’s Foras Feasa ar Éirinn: the history of Ireland.

    They are a very interesting group of supernatural human beings, because though they are only mythical rulers of the island for 160 years 1500 years ago, the identities of, and relationships between, a cast of thirty or so primary gods, are comprehensively documented in the full corporeal record of our Tuatha De Danann gods, fairy safe alive on pages that make up and constitute the poetic study of those fairies stumbled across when sidhe detain the academic angels of us heard beyond doors on the upper floors in Tir na Og’s ever living source of a fairy metrical song sung and not forgottten, once our intellectual verse-a-plane takes off with a poem from the Lebor Gabála Érenn, Book of the Takings-Seizings-Invasions of Ireland, on the De Danann arrival.

    It is God who suffered them, though He restrained them
    they landed with horror, with lofty deed,
    in their cloud of mighty combat & spectres,
    upon a mountain of Conmaicne in Connacht.
    Without distinction to descerning Ireland,
    Without ships, a ruthless course
    the truth was not known beneath the sky of stars,
    whether they were of heaven or of earth.

    Though they came from the sea in boats, they burnt them on arrival so not to return to any of the four polar-island-cities they’d come from, Lai Fail, Findias, Gorias and Murias, where the North Wind Destroyer Boreas blows. This, some say, explains how the story of their arrival in ‘cloud-ships’ came about.

    ~

    Poster Poems Pam, so good looking that s/he looks like a man
    s/he’s a drag dressed in her polythene bag, you should read poster poems Pam, yeah.

    The Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland (Irish: Annála Ríoghachta Éireann) or the Annals of the Four Masters Lebor Gabála Érenn

    Archway & Camden Millenium eve with five thousand raptured
    twenty and thirty-somethings contemplative acting the angel,

    on the radio whilst his future self, still in this world, left with nothing but folly.

    To those who are willing to believe, no explanation of these events is necessary…and to those who are not willing to believe, no explanation is possible.

  9. thomasbrady said,

    January 15, 2012 at 5:37 pm

  10. thomasbrady said,

    January 16, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    OY,

    That’s a lot of material. But thanks for leading us to this lovely path:

    They Are All Gone into the World of Light!

    They are all gone into the world of light!
      And I alone sit ling’ring here;
    Their very memory is fair and bright,
        And my sad thoughts doth clear.

    It glows and glitters in my cloudy breast,
      Like stars upon some gloomy grove,
    Or those faint beams in which this hill is dress’d,
        After the sun’s remove.

    I see them walking in an air of glory,
      Whose light doth trample on my days:
    My days, which are at best but dull and hoary,
        Mere glimmering and decays.

    O holy Hope! and high Humility,
      High as the heavens above !
    These are your walks, and you have show’d them me,
        To kindle my cold love.

    Dear, beauteous Death! the jewel of the just,
      Shining nowhere, but in the dark;
    What mysteries do lie beyond thy dust,
        Could man outlook that mark!

    He that hath found some fledg’d bird’s nest, may know
      At first sight, if the bird be flown;
    But what fair well or grove he sings in now,
        That is to him unknown.

    And yet, as angels in some brighter dreams
      Call to the soul when man doth sleep,
    So some strange thoughts transcend our wonted themes,
        And into glory peep.

    If a star were confin’d into a tomb,
      Her captive flames must needs burn there;
    But when the hand that lock’d her up gives room,
        She’ll shine through all the sphere.

    O Father of eternal life, and all
      Created glories under Thee!
    Resume Thy spirit from this world of thrall
        Into true liberty.

    Either disperse these mists, which blot and fill
      My perspective still as they pass:
    Or else remove me hence unto that hill
        Where I shall need no glass

  11. thomasbrady said,

    January 16, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    And here a modern poet, with the help of T.S Eliot, sings of another Vaughn:

    http://lastyearsalmanac.wordpress.com/2009/04/13/in-memory-of-the-unknown-poet-robert-boardman-vaughn-donald-justice/

  12. David said,

    January 16, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Tom,

    In the shadow of the exalted Christian poetry of Henry Vaughn, perhaps it won’t be out of place for me to share the first two stanzas of my attempted “translation” (a work in progress) of the Latin hymn, Stabat Mater. I put “translation” in quotes because I don’t know Latin and so must resort to the handy Google translator as a crutch. Following are a) the Latin text of the first two stanzas, b) a literal translation into English, c) the popular version by Fr. Edward Caswall (1814-1878), and d) my version.

    a)

    Stabat Mater dolorosa
    iuxta Crucem lacrimosa,
    dum pendebat Filius.

    Cuius animam gementem,
    contristatam et dolentem
    pertransivit gladius.

    b)

    The grieving Mother stood weeping beside the cross where her Son was hanging.

    Through her weeping soul, compassionate and grieving, a sword passed.

    c)

    At the Cross her station keeping,
    stood the mournful Mother weeping,
    close to Jesus to the last.

    Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
    all His bitter anguish bearing,
    now at length the sword has passed.

    d)

    Mother stands fast in agony,
    Choking sobs by the hanging tree,
    Where loving Son dangles dead.

    From her core there comes a groan
    of anguish, a most piteous moan,
    as by a blade her soul is bled.

  13. thomasbrady said,

    January 16, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    David,

    Thanks for sharing this!

    It’s a treat to get the four versions!

    Your treatment of the sword in stanza two is more literal than the rest…your version conveys more palpable anguish…

    Latin is such a stately, solemn tongue compared to English…

    Tom

  14. David said,

    January 16, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Thanks, Tom. I hope to render this great Latin hymn into an English poem that is true to Poe’s poetic principles. “The Philosophy of Composition” inspired me to undertake this project. Only eighteen stanzas to go! I’ll post a link when it’s finished.

    David


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