BUT BEAUTY ISN’T SO

When I told myself I would never know
Whether she loved me, or no,
Love dimmed, as if the sun fell below
The horizon, and the gaudy lights of night
Laughed in my sight.
Is it our lot to never know?
To never, never know?
I remember she put her head on my shoulder
And sighed, but the next day said, no.
Act sad, or laugh, be calm, or bolder,
We will never, never know
Whether she loves us, or no,
But in my despair, miserable, and low,
Knowing well the hell to never know,
I told myself: But beauty isn’t so.
I told myself, instead,
Rising from the bed:
But beauty isn’t so.

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9 Comments

  1. David said,

    March 3, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Tom,

    Of your recent poems, I like this one best.

    Here’s something of interest in connection with your upcoming post on Shelley and free love:

    James Hooker, 41, was placed on administrative leave Feb. 3 by Modesto City Schools and resigned less than three weeks later, according to a report at the Modesto Bee.

    The newspaper reports that the man, who had taught business and computer classes, left his wife and children, to move in with Jordan Powers, an Enochs High School senior [age 18] whom he met when she was a freshman at the school. One of Hooker’s children also attends the same high school.

    “In making our choice, we’ve hurt a lot of people,” Hooker told the Bee. “We keep asking ourselves, ‘Do we make everyone else happy or do we follow our hearts?'”

    http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/01/10549926-calif-teacher-resigns-after-leaving-family-for-student

    David

  2. David said,

    March 3, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    Here’s something I just found:

    http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/242758

    It’s nice. It’s imaginative. It makes you think. It’s deeply humane.

    Yet by what criteria and measure should it be called poetry?

  3. Trendy Towdle said,

    March 4, 2012 at 7:51 am

    If poetry is indefinable, then anything that is written can be claimed to be it. And if, and when, one sincerely believes an item in a newspaper, or the contents of a phonebook, can be reframed and re-contextualized as poems, then ‘Bad People’ you link to above, is a veritable Shakespearean sonnet, when placed next to the assembly manual of a wind-powered turbine. Mark Halliday’s text is clearly the superior poem of the two. Unless of course we disagree and are able to argue that the scientifically dense and specialist language of the the former, is inherently more poetical. As some do.

    A fourth generation poet from the New York school would, I suspect, be less reticent and more surrendering to the idea that anything can be poetry, than those practicing in the ultra-formal sphere of American poetry.

    There’s a lot of prose-poetry practitoners who outnumber the Charles Bernsteins of this craft, and we copy him, in much the same way English (male) poets imitate Geoffrey Hill. We read their dense and allusive investigations on the page and, sensing its poetic reality, yet not understanding fully the runic principles an annointed few acquire by much intellectual toil over many moons, we fail to materialize as potent a poetry as these two titans of contemporary cleverness do, on the page, and we are unable, with our intuitive grasp of how to do it; to do it. Occupy in balance our mind refracting its exercise in payful endevor its life over art, imbalanced and blind us unaware the bardic criteria of not knowing our ars poetica from a daffodil, David, is not mere jest, not wanting to arrive by cursory sift and intellectual stealth, at a rapid, swift and instinctive conclusion; but at that whatever it is any person/s other than us, claims poetry to be, is, ever was, and will continue thus to be, methinks; distinguished blogger on the Annointed Runes shuffling reality with lefty twaddle and a fence-sitting seemingly like summat Cuchulain practiced at the ford when he fought Ferdia at Ardee, stood in the center of it, engaged in mortal combat with another, in the band from a great branch of poets.

    • thomasbrady said,

      March 4, 2012 at 3:10 pm

      Trendy (Des)—

      You have the Coleridge disease. You over-think everything.

      You introduce “an assembly manual for a wind-powered turbine” in an effort to muddy the simple distinction between poetry and prose. With a heap of broken images you’ll come up with any picture you want. You’ve tasted the cup of modern poetry’s madness and there’s no cure for you.

      Are you really so impressed by Bernstein and Hill? That’s sad.

      Scarriet produces a beautiful poem and you run and find some crappy music video—to prove what?

      I don’t think you’ll ever ‘get it’ until you slow down your mind.

      You must drink, what, 50 cups of coffee a day?

      Have you ever been in love?

      Tom

  4. Twendy Tordle said,

    March 4, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    ‘Scarriet’, i.e. you, produced a mush of vauge prosaic abstractions padding a handful of unremarkable nouns together, and your embaressingly obvious rhymes demonstrate not the measure of a tender poetic touch, but mediocrity par excellence.

    ‘Beautiful’ is far below the first adjective the handful of unpaying readers who come here because we are bored and possess a shared paucity of poetical imagination, attribute to the instant poem you knocked off in between bouts of thinking up your next blogpost reiterating a simple and unimaginative thesis, tediously unevolved and responsible for this blog’s reputation as a place of stable monotony in which to wallop unconcerned, unread contrarian joke oppositions failing to create poetries much beyond the crappy cups of coffee causing quite a commotion Cuchulain created collared between two ogham stones in Louth.

    Bernstein, I know, you are dismissive of because you secretly admire his intellectual effortlessness, perhaps; conjuring to the page, as he does, a panopoly of images and ideas in both prose and poetry, that is more daring and considered than the chune of moon and gloom, sky and rise and falling flowers prevalently irrelevant in the conversation about American Letters, in verse, as it is rehearsed today by a bunch of artificial mavericks with as much understanding of what poetry is, as the counterfeits roiling and riling you.

    • thomasbrady said,

      March 4, 2012 at 5:30 pm

      yea, got it.

  5. Woynt Turdled said,

    March 4, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    And yes, I have been in love. Still am, with my partner in romance and rhyme. A poet from the East whose one in a million mind I was lucky enough to connect and collide with in print first, and whose person is currently hurtling underground beneath the metrpolis of West London, heading to the Comfort hotel in Heathrow, from where she flies to Dubai tommorow afternoon, en route to S.E. Asia.

    When we met, virtually, I was inspired to write, after a short while, the following opening of a forty line love letter, that my mind believed, in the moment of its composition, to be addressing a De Danann muse, the majesty who came quickly out as your own (self declared) ‘beautiful’ attempt at poetry:

    Eye the chasm of a heart
    refuse to look past a pool of cloud

    drawing love to force a tide of will.

    Storms of white horse-water whip
    the dawn, and sleeping a beggar

    scatters his dream.

    Love is thy neighbour, this mirror
    of broken flotsam rippling in night

    scented silence, and divinity crying
    within us, risen in the remembrance

    of a ghost, flickering beyond love.
    A momentary illusion of the lost

    son fled when passion beneath
    his hooded caul web, wrapping

    the night above us; enmeshed her
    fragrance of memory, tapered

    to what passed between us; what
    drop from the scaffold befell us

    and why the platform will claim
    a green glow.

    …. …. …. …. …. …. ….

    I remember reading it out for the first time in public. At the Ledbury Poetry Festival, in an open-mic where a (very) minor Black Country poet from Birmingham was the featured reader. It worked, as a ‘poem’, I was told, by a group of poetry lovers who approached me afterwards and invited me and another fellow, who was the only other person staying under canvas at the festival campsite, to accompany them to their hotel for supper.

    You should go down to the Lamont Library in Cambridge and recite your beautiful piece in the Woodberry Poetry Room. Ask Don Share if he can introduce you to the curator, arrange a reading for you there. Maybe write to Michael Robbins and invite him to ask on your behalf?

    • thomasbrady said,

      March 4, 2012 at 6:06 pm

      I’m glad you have someone, des. That’s great.

      Are you saying your casual British poetry mates are much cooler than Don Share? You’re probably right…

  6. Woynt Turdled said,

    March 4, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Or maybe not. Sorry mate, I got carried away.


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