HAD I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light…
I’m turning over this post to poets. The first is WB Yeats, and my daughter loves the way the line ‘the blue and the dim and the dark cloths’ sounds when you speak it. She’s so right…(here’s the whole poem). Poetry is on the menu today because Divine fairtrade Chocolate is sponsoring a poetry competition and there are three age categories: 7-11, 12-16 and 17-adult. All entries should be sent to email@example.com and must arrive by 17 December 2010. I’m judging, so be as inspired and inspiring as possible, or encourage a budding poet to enter!
If anyone out there is unsure about the purpose of poetry, or the need for it, think about throughness and resonance — about a kind of expression that has more leverage than it ought to because it comes from and vibrates with a deep and powerful place in the psyche.
Here are a few more favourites….
Last stanza of Fern Hill, by Dylan Thomas.
Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.
(Oh, those last two lines….)
And a stanza from Janos Pilinszky’s poem, Apocrypha, translated by Ted Hughes & János Csokits:
Everything will be forsaken then.
The silence of the heavens will be set apart
and forever apart
the broken-down fields of the finished world,
the silence of dog-kennels.
In the air a fleeing host of birds.
And we shall see the rising sun
dumb as a demented eye-pupil
and calm as a watching beast.
And the last, from Mary Oliver.
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice —
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried….
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do —
determined to save
the only life you could save.