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AC Benus

' Live-Poets Society ' – A Corner For Poetry

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7 hours ago, AC Benus said:

I know everything but myself.

It's so simple when you read this, but that's its brilliance. It's simply the truth for so many people. We know what is around us, but fail to know ourselves. Thanks AC for posting this wonderful piece.

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@AC Benus The Ballade of Small Talk is indeed an example of timeless poetry. Thank you for sharing it with everyone. I read the original to myself, despite my horrid French; it is quite beautiful.

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This poem is exceptional, AC. All of the senses combining to bring remembrance of a love gone... and making it anew. Funny how a simple fragrance or touch can accomplish that. 

 

 

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Beautiful , profound, but it makes me sad somehow. Hugs my dearest friend xo

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And let me add to the other voices praising this awesome poem. It pulls the heart and heightens every sense, striving to hear, scent and touch along with you, that we may share in recollection.

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I've found it's always best to recite Holmes' poetry out loud. It is musical in the way that Poe's work is. 

 

The Last Leaf
by Oliver Wendell Holmes
 
I saw him once before, 
As he passed by the door, 
And again 
The pavement stones resound, 
As he totters o’er the ground 
With his cane. 
 
They say that in his prime, 
Ere the pruning-knife of Time 
Cut him down, 
Not a better man was found 
By the Crier on his round 
Through the town. 
 
But now he walks the streets, 
And looks at all he meets 
Sad and wan, 
And he shakes his feeble head, 
That it seems as if he said, 
“They are gone.” 
 
The mossy marbles rest 
On the lips that he has prest 
In their bloom, 
And the names he loved to hear 
Have been carved for many a year 
On the tomb. 
 
My grandmamma has said— 
Poor old lady, she is dead 
Long ago— 
That he had a Roman nose, 
And his cheek was like a rose 
In the snow; 
 
But now his nose is thin, 
And it rests upon his chin 
Like a staff, 
And a crook is in his back, 
And a melancholy crack 
In his laugh. 
 
I know it is a sin 
For me to sit and grin 
At him here; 
But the old three-cornered hat, 
And the breeches, and all that, 
Are so queer! 
 
And if I should live to be 
The last leaf upon the tree 
In the spring, 
Let them smile, as I do now, 
At the old forsaken bough 
Where I cling.
 
 
_

 

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Cool..I read it aloud!

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a study in birds and another poem here

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I wrote a little poem yesterday....

 

 

Haiku:

 

Two older men talk;

The themes of death and things past

Salt their mellow tone.

 

_

Edited by AC Benus
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1 minute ago, AC Benus said:

I wrote a little poem yesterday....

 

 

Haiku:

 

Two older men talk;

The themes of death and things past

Salt their mellow tone.

 

_

wonderful, AC ... i love the term salt; it works perfectly here.  thanks for sharing this!

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3 hours ago, Mikiesboy said:

wonderful, AC ... i love the term salt; it works perfectly here.  thanks for sharing this!

Agreed.... 

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Remembrance is not a right it is a duty.   Three poems:

 

The Gift of India

by Sarojini Naidu (India, 1915)

Is there ought you need that my hands withhold,
Rich gifts of raiment or grain or gold?
Lo! I have flung to the East and the West
Priceless treasures torn from my breast,
And yielded the sons of my stricken womb
To the drum-beats of the duty, the sabers of doom.
Gathered like pearls in their alien graves
Silent they sleep by the Persian waves,
Scattered like shells on Egyptian sands,
They lie with pale brows and brave, broken hands,
they are strewn like blossoms mown down by chance
On the blood-brown meadows of Flanders and France
Can ye measure the grief of the tears I weep
Or compass the woe of the watch I keep?
Or the pride that thrills thro' my heart's despair
And the hope that comforts the anguish of prayer?
And the far sad glorious vision I see
Of the torn red banners of victory?
when the terror and the tumult of hate shall cease
And life be refashioned on anvils of peace,
And your love shall offer memorial thanks
To the comrades who fought on the dauntless ranks,
And you honour the deeds of the dauntless ones,
Remember the blood of my martyred sons!

 

 

 In Flanders Fields by Maj. John M. McRae:

 

 

"In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

"We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

"Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields."

                                                   

 

 

Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967)

                                       Aftermath

    Have you forgotten yet?...
    For the world's events have rumbled on since those gagged days,
    Like traffic checked a while at the crossing of city ways:
    And the haunted gap in your mind has filled with thoughts that flow
    Like clouds in the lit heavens of life; and you're a man reprieved to go,
    Taking your peaceful share of Time, with joy to spare.
    But the past is just the same—and War's a bloody game...
    Have you forgotten yet?...
    Look down, and swear by the slain of the War that you'll never forget.

 

    Do you remember the dark months you held the sector at Mametz—
    The nights you watched and wired and dug and piled sandbags on parapets?
    Do you remember the rats; and the stench
    Of corpses rotting in front of the front-line trench—
    And dawn coming, dirty-white, and chill with a hopeless rain?
    Do you ever stop and ask, 'Is it all going to happen again?'

 

    Do you remember that hour of din before the attack—
    And the anger, the blind compassion that seized and shook you then
    As you peered at the doomed and haggard faces of your men?
    Do you remember the stretcher-cases lurching back
    With dying eyes and lolling heads—those ashen-gray
    Masks of the lads who once were keen and kind and gay?

    Have you forgotten yet?...
    Look up, and swear by the slain of the war that you'll never forget!

 

    March 1919.

 
 
 
Edited by Mikiesboy
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Just read about him today. Interested enough to look up his poetry:

 

Wild Broom by Giacomo Leopardi

(1798-1837) 

 

Fragrant broom,

content with deserts:

here on the arid slope of Vesuvius,

that formidable mountain, the destroyer,

that no other tree or flower adorns,

you scatter your lonely

bushes all around. I’ve seen before

how you beautify empty places

with your stems, circling the City

once the mistress of the world,

and it seems that with their grave,

silent, aspect they bear witness,

reminding the passer-by

of that lost empire.

Now I see you again on this soil,

a lover of sad places abandoned by the world,

a faithful friend of hostile fortune.

These fields scattered

with barren ash, covered

with solid lava,

that resounds under the traveller’s feet:

where snakes twist, and couple

in the sun, and the rabbits return

to their familiar cavernous burrows:

were once happy, prosperous farms.

They were golden with corn, echoed

to lowing cattle:

there were gardens and palaces,

the welcome leisure retreats

for powerful, famous cities,

which the proud mountain crushed

with all their people, beneath the torrents

from its fiery mouth. Now all around

is one ruin,

where you root, gentle flower, and as though

commiserating with others’ loss, send

a perfume of sweetest fragrance to heaven,

that consoles the desert. Let those

who praise our existence visit

these slopes, to see how carefully

our race is nurtured

by loving Nature. And here

they can justly estimate

and measure the power of humankind,

that the harsh nurse, can with a slight movement,

obliterate one part of, in a moment, when we

least fear it, and with a little less gentle

a motion, suddenly,

annihilate altogether.

The ‘magnificent and progressive fate’

of the human race

is depicted in this place.

 

Proud, foolish century, look,

and see yourself reflected,

you who’ve abandoned

the path, marked by advancing thought

till now, and reversed your steps,

boasting of this regression

you call progress.

All the intellectuals, whose evil fate

gave them you for a father,

praise your babbling, though

they often make a mockery

of you, among themselves. But I’ll

not vanish into the grave in shame:

As far as I can, I’ll demonstrate,

the scorn for you, openly,

that’s in my heart,

though I know oblivion crushes

those hated by their own time.

I’ve already mocked enough

at that fate I’ll share with you.

You pursue Freedom, yet want thought

to be slave of a single age again:

by thought we’ve risen a little higher

than barbarism, by thought alone civilisation

grows, only thought guides public affairs

towards the good.

The truth of your harsh fate

and the lowly place Nature gave you

displease you so. Because of it

you turn your backs on the light

that illuminated you: and in flight,

you call him who pursues it vile,

and only him great of heart

who foolishly or cunningly mocks himself

or others, praising our human state above the stars.

 

A man generous and noble of soul,

of meagre powers and weak limbs,

doesn’t boast and call himself

strong and rich in possessions,

doesn’t make a foolish pretence

of splendid living or cutting a fine

figure among the crowd:

but allows himself to appear

as lacking wealth and power,

and says so, openly, and gives

a true value to his worth.

I don’t consider a man

a great-hearted creature, but stupid,

who, born to die, nurtured in pain,

says he is made for joy,

and fills pages with the stench

of pride, promising

an exalted destiny on earth,

and a new happiness, unknown to heaven

much less this world, to people

whom a surging wave, a breath

of malignant air, a subterranean tremor,

destroys so utterly that they

scarcely leave a memory behind.

He has a noble nature

who dares to raise his voice

against our common fate,

and with an honest tongue,

not compromising truth,

admits the evil fate allotted us,

our low and feeble state:

a nature that shows itself

strong and great in suffering,

that does not add to its miseries with fraternal

hatred and anger, things worse

than other evils, blaming mankind

for its sorrows, but places blame

on Her who is truly guilty, who is the mother

of men in bearing them, their stepmother in malice.

They call her enemy:

and consider

the human race

to be united, and ranked against her,

from of old, as is true,

judge all men allies, embrace

all with true love, offering sincere

prompt support, and expecting it

in the various dangers and anguish

of the mutual war on her. And think

it as foolish to take up arms against men

and set up nets and obstacles

against their neighbours as it would be in war,

surrounded by the opposing army, in the most

intense heat of battle,

to start fierce struggles with friends,

forgetting the enemy,

to incite desertion, and wave their swords

among their own forces.

If such thoughts were revealed

to the crowd, as they used to be,

along with the horror that first

brought men together in social contract

against impious Nature,

then by true wisdom

the honest, lawful intercourse

of citizens would be partly renewed,

and justice and piety, would own

to another root than foolish pride,

on which the morals of the crowd

are as well founded

as anything else that’s based on error.

 

Often I sit here, at night,

on these desolate slopes,

that a hardened lava-flow has clothed

with brown, and which seem to undulate still,

and over the gloomy waste,

I see the stars flame, high

in the purest blue,

mirrored far off by the sea:

the universe glittering with sparks

that wheel through the tranquil void.

And then I fix my eyes on those lights

that seem pin-pricks,

yet are so vast in form

that earth and sea are really a pin-prick

to them: to whom man,

and this globe where man is nothing,

are completely unknown: and gazing

at those still more infinitely remote,

knots, almost, of stars,

that seem like mist to us, to which

not only man and earth but all

our stars, infinite in number and mass,

with the golden sun,

are unknown, or seem like points

of misted light, as they appear

from earth: what do you seem like,

then, in my thoughts, O children

of mankind? And mindful of

your state here below, of which

the ground I stand on bears witness,

and that, on the other hand, you believe

that you’ve been appointed the master

and end of all things: and how often

you like to talk about the creators

of all things universal, who descended

to this obscure grain of sand called earth,

for you, and happily spoke to you, often:

and that, renewing these ridiculous dreams,

you still insult the wise, in an age

that appears to surpass the rest

in knowledge and social customs: what feeling is it,

then, wretched human race, what thought

of you finally pierces my heart?

I don’t know if laughter or pity prevails.

 

As a little apple that falls from a tree:

late autumn ripeness,

and nothing else, bringing it to earth:

crushes, wastes, and covers

in a moment, the sweet nests

of a tribe of ants, carved out

of soft soil, with vast labour,

and the works, the wealth,

that industrious race had vied

to achieve, with such effort,

and created in the summer: so the cities

of the farthest shores

that the sea bathed,

were shattered, confounded, covered

in a few moments, by a night of ruin,

by ashes, lava and stones,

hurled to the heights of heaven

from the womb of thunder,

falling again from above,

mingled in molten streams,

or by the vast overflow

of liquefied masses,

metals and burning sand,

descending the mountainside

racing over the grass: so that now

the goats graze above them,

and new cities rise beside them, whose base

is their buried, demolished walls

that the cruel mountain seems to crush underfoot.

Nature has no more love or care

for the seed of man

than for the ants: and if the destruction

of one is rarer than that of the other,

it’s for no other reason

than that mankind is less rich in offspring.

 

Fully eighteen hundred years

have passed, since those once-populated cities

vanished, crushed by fiery force,

yet the farmer intent

on his vines, this dead

and ashen soil barely nourishes,

still lifts his gaze

with suspicion,

to the fatal peak

that sits there brooding,

no gentler than ever, still threatening

to destroy him, his children, and his

meagre possessions. And often

the wretch, lying awake

on the roof of his house, where

the wandering breezes blow at night,

jumps up now and again, and checks

the course of the dreadful boiling,

that pours from that inexhaustible lap

onto its sandy slopes, and illuminates

the bay of Capri, the ports

of Naples and Mergellina.

And if he sees it nearing, or hears

the water bubbling, feverishly, deep

in the well, he wakes his children, quickly

wakes his wife, and fleeing, with whatever

of their possessions they can grasp,

watches from the distance, as his familiar

home, and the little field

his only defence against hunger,

fall prey to the burning tide,

crackling as it arrives, inexorably

spreading over all this, and hardening.

Lifeless Pompeii returns to the light of heaven

after ancient oblivion, like a buried

skeleton, that piety or the greed

for land gives back to the open air:

and, from its empty forum,

through the ranks of broken

columns, the traveller contemplates

the forked peak and the smoking summit,

that still threatens the scattered ruins.

And, like night’s secret horror,

through the empty theatres,

the twisted temples, the shattered

houses, where the bat hides its brood,

like a sinister brand

that circles darkly through silent palaces,

the glow of the deathly lava runs,

reddening the shadows

from far away, staining the region round.

So, indifferent to man, and the ages

he calls ancient, and the way descendants

follow on from their ancestors,

Nature, always green, proceeds instead

by so long a route

she seems to remain at rest. Meanwhile empires fall,

peoples and tongues pass: She does not see:

and man lays claim to eternity’s merit.

 

And you, slow-growing broom,

who adorn this bare landscape

with fragrant thickets,

you too will soon succumb

to the cruel power of subterranean fire,

that, revisiting places

it knows, will stretch its greedy margin

over your soft forest. And you’ll bend

your innocent head, without a struggle,

beneath that mortal burden:

yet a head that’s not been bent in vain

in cowardly supplication

before a future oppressor: nor lifted

in insane pride towards the stars,

or beyond the desert, where

your were born and lived,

not through intent, but chance:

and you’ll have been so much wiser

so much less unsound than man, since you

have never believed your frail species,

can be made immortal by yourself, or fate.

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17 minutes ago, AC Benus said:

Wow @Mikiesboy-- nice and short poem :) What drew you to Leopardi? ( I know nothing about him) 

it was an essay about him i read on a website called:  aeon   

 

Here is the link: The Great Disillusionist : In an age when so many people are at a loss to give life meaning and direction, Giacomo Leopardi is essential reading

 

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