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Anyone have any thoughts on this free-form poem...?

 
A Peregrination 
 

Sun-kissed Swabia, my mother, 

you're as fortune-blessed as your sister, 

Lombardy yonder set,

with a hundred streams across you.   

And groves aplenty, snow-blossomed and crimson,  

foreboding woods, beset by wild, deep-green leaves --

and the Alpine ridges of Switzerland's shadow 

neighboring you; for near the earth of the houses 

abide you, and hear within 

the silv'ry sacrificial bowls 

whose wellsprings burst, pouring forth

by spotless hands, when acted on. 

 

From your warming rays

over crystalline ice, transforming, 

via the gently coaxing light 

upon snow-laden ranges, anoint the earth 

with the purest of waters. That's why  

innate loyalty is yours. Hard left 

is land so close to one's natal crib. 

And your offspring, the far cities, 

and those by the distant lake,

upon river pastures, or the Rhine, 

will all account, there is none  

that makes a better place to live. 

 

I'll also head to the Caucasus, 

because I still hear 

it said upon the breeze:

be free, poets, like the swallows. 

What's more, one of their kind 

confided in my younger days

that once, once upon a time,  

my distant parents, a randier breed,    

stepped away from the waters of the Danube,

along with the sun's children

on the worst of the Dog Days, with wanderlust in mind,

and together sought out shade where

they could terry on Black Sea's shores; 

proving it's not for naught

the place is known as welcoming. 

 

For when first seeing one another,  

Some others drew near; and our party sat them down 

by the others, intrigued, under the olive trees. 

But as their raiments glared with distraction,

and neither heard the other speak

their own words, spreading misunderstanding;

a spat might have sprung, but from above  

came dispassion through the branches 

that can smile cool on the faces 

of those who might want to stir up an argument.

and then while gazing up, they held out 

hands to hold each other in love. And soon 

 

They exchanged arms, weapons, and all

the precious goods of their houses;

they exchanged their troth as well. And also

the doting fathers left nothing wanting 

for the wedded bliss of their children. 

For from these holy unions sprung  

a generation more 

beautiful than 

the people who have come before or since.

But where, where do you live, my dear kinsmen, 

that we may revive this covenant

in remembrance of our loved ancestors? 

 

There on the shores, under Ionian 

trees, or on the plains of the mighty Cayster, 

where cranes, happy in that ether,

enclosed within the circle of twilight mountains, 

there were you as well, O most beautiful ones,

who tended the isles of wine too

crowned in the full springtime glory and song most full;

while others dwelt upon mount Taygetus, or 

the too boldly bloomed Hymettus.

Or the golden springs of Parnassus  

whose streams girt Tmolus endlessly 

in strains of song; and when there rustles 

the sacred woods and groves 

all appears heavenly mild

when stirred and played in unison. 

 

O land of Homer!

by magenta cherry trees, or when,

sent by thee, the swelling peaches

ripen green in my vineyard, 

and the swallows come from afar to build their houses 

in my walls and tell me many tales 

in the days of May, even under the stars

remembering me of you, O Ionia. 

But people hold the present dear, so I've 

come to see you, your islands, and you, O mouth   

of mighty rivers, and, O you, of the Halls of Tethys,

and your forests, and you, drifting clouds of Ida!  

 

But I do not intend to stay,

for too difficult and hard to win o'er

is the withdrawn one from whom I've escaped, our mother. 

one of her sons, the Rhine, tried to force 

his way into her heart, and from whence, he vanished,

the wayward one, no one knows where, into the wan distance.

But I harbored no wish to part from her side,

and did so only to entreat you 

to come to me, O thou Grecian Graces, 

you daughters of what's heavenly,

if the journey's not too argerous, 

and terry with us, you fair ones! 

 

_

Edited by AC Benus
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Since it was advised I begin at, well, the beginning ...   A bitter wind blows, drifting lazy bits of fluff, hallmarks of winter.     Softly twittering, a flutter amongst evergreen boughs. Ch

Hi and Welcome! This is an open thread, intended for poets to help one another on GA. It's not tied to any one piece, but a forum where we can exchange ideas, get feedback on a project we're intending

And this is for tim. Also found on Occasional Poetry, here....  https://www.gayauthors.org/story/parker-owens/occasionalpoetry/59     To an Abecedarian Poet     At once brother and friend, compassi

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@AC Benus How I enjoyed reading this! You made me want to wander those places and greet those people you describe. 

Edited by Parker Owens
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6 hours ago, Parker Owens said:

@AC Benus How I enjoyed reading this! You made me want to wander those places and greet those people you describe. 

Thank you, Parker. It's a mountain of a poem to climb. I hope this translation of an early 19th century Romantic poem is readable. I always think it can be better though... 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 2/1/2021 at 4:45 PM, Parker Owens said:

 

I don’t know

how to ask politely
 
for what I want from another man,
 
what etiquette dictates in such circumstances:
 
do I dress requests in finery,
 
or should they come garbed in
 
plain, rough clothes?

Begs the question, what makes a man?

The finery (or roughness) of his clothes or the finery of the man himself... mind, body and soul?

I say nothing is sexier than a man dressed in confidence...although a nice pair of pants wrapped about a sweet apple'd ass never hurts🤔😇! Meow MeYuM

Thanks for the thought provoking poem...awesomeness! Enjoyed molto!

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6 hours ago, RafaelDe said:

Begs the question, what makes a man?

The finery (or roughness) of his clothes or the finery of the man himself... mind, body and soul?

I say nothing is sexier than a man dressed in confidence...although a nice pair of pants wrapped about a sweet apple'd ass never hurts🤔😇! Meow MeYuM

Thanks for the thought provoking poem...awesomeness! Enjoyed molto!

Thank you, grazie, for thinking about this poem. I love the way you put it: nothing is sexier than a man dressed in confidence.

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I'm a puzzle doer by nature.

Nothing more puzzling than spinning words in 17 simple syllables. Sometimes silly, often blue... Wild curlies pearled in dew. 

Tonight, though, waxed me coifed in an entirely different cloth. 

Any thoughts out there? Rebuttals?

 

Walked on...back, then forth
One too many passes swept
Know your footsteps well

 

Faggots lost in haze

Tendrils wisp ethereal

Embers crackle; PoP!

 

Naked before God

Pearly gates were closed to me

Entered from arrears

 

gods-ass-190x172.jpg

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5 hours ago, RafaelDe said:

I'm a puzzle doer by nature.

Nothing more puzzling than spinning words in 17 simple syllables. Sometimes silly, often blue... Wild curlies pearled in dew. 

Tonight, though, waxed me coifed in an entirely different cloth. 

Any thoughts out there? Rebuttals?

 

Walked on...back, then forth
One too many passes swept
Know your footsteps well

 

Faggots lost in haze

Tendrils wisp ethereal

Embers crackle; PoP!

 

Naked before God

Pearly gates were closed to me

Entered from arrears

Full of arresting images. I enjoyed it. 

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8 hours ago, Parker Owens said:

Full of arresting images. I enjoyed it. 

Hey Parker 🖐!

Thank you for taking time to read and comment! You are always so sweet and kind.

Be well in all you do!

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  • 1 month later...
Posted (edited)

Two poems from Robert Nichols. During the First World War, Nichols was often anthologized and greatly admired as a soldier poet. Some of the graphic scenes I've read from him are worthy of study and remembrance today.

Here are two poems from him: the first, a War Sonnet; and second a rhapsodic piece he wrote in 1918. In context of one another, they are very telling.

 

Begin, O guns, your giant requiem

   Over my lovely friend the Fiend has slain

   From whom Death has not snatched the diadem

   Promised by Poetry; for not in vain

Has he a greater glory now put on

   Since, bound with cypress black, his boyish head

   Shines on Death's crowded groves as none has shone

   Since Sidney set a-whispering the dead.

 

Begin, O guns, and when ye have begun

   Lift up your voices louder and proclaim

   The sick moon set, arisen the strong sun,

   Filling our skies with new and noble flame.

The Soldier and the Poet now are one

   And the Heroic more than a mere name.

Robert Nichols,[i]

1915

 

 

---------------------------------------------

 

The Consummation

 

 

There is a pigeon in the apple-tree

And when he moves the petals fall in showers

And O how low, how slow, how rapturously

He croons and croons again among the flowers!

 

Above the boughs a solemn cloud-bank climbs,

White, pure white, dazzling, a shield of light;

Speck on its space, a lark, whose quick song chimes

With each brief shake of wings, vaults t'ward the height.

 

Below, a beetle on a stook of grass

Slowly unharnesses his shuttered wings.

His tiny rainbow wings of shrivelled glass.

He leaps ! He whirrs away. The grass blade swings.

 

Faint breezes through the branches wind and call.

It is the hour. This perfect hour is His,

Who stooping through the depth, quiet, joy of all

Prints on my upturned face a silent kiss.

Robert Nichols,[ii]

1918

 

 

 


[i] "Begin, O guns, your giant requiem” Robert Nichols Invocation: War Poems and Others, London 1915, p. 18

https://archive.org/details/invocationwarpoe00nichiala/page/18/mode/2up

 

[ii] "The Consummation” Robert Nichols The Budded Branch, London 1918, p. 24

https://archive.org/details/buddedbranch00nichrich/page/24/mode/2up

 

 

Edited by AC Benus
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Those are both awesome. You are wonderful to share them

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May I say each is lovely in it's way for the feelings evoked. Thank you for sharing them.

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Posted (edited)

.

I feel the truth in his body

 

Later: Everything is okay again and I didn't have to move downstairs after all.

He slept alone on the beach [last night] because he needed some sleep. Doesn't get much with me. But that's his own fault for being so incredibly beautiful. We wake up two or three times in the night and start all over again[.] The ceiling is very high like the loft of a barn and the tide is lapping under the wharf. The sky amazingly brilliant with stars. The wind blows the door wide open, the gulls are crying. Oh, Christ. I call him baby like you call Butch, though when I lie on top of him, I feel like I am polishing the Statue of Liberty or something. He is so enormous. A great bronze statue of antique Greece come to life. But with a little boy's face. A funny upturned nose, slanting eyes, and underlip that sticks out, and hair that comes to a point in the middle of his forehead. I lean over him in the night and memorize the geography of his body with my hands — he arches his throat and makes a soft, purring sound. His skin is steaming hot like the hide of a horse that's been galloping. It has a warm, rich odor. The odor of life. He lies very still [on his back] for a while, then his breath comes fast and his body begins to lunge. Great rhythmic plunging motion with panting breath and his hands working over my body. Then sudden release — and he moans like a little baby. I rest with my head on his stomach. Sometimes fall asleep that way. We doze for a while. And then I whisper "Turn over." He does. We use brilliantine [hair oil]. The first time I come in three seconds, as soon as I get inside. The next time is better, slower, the bed seems to be enormous. Pacific, Atlantic, the North American continent. — A wind has blown the door open, the sky's full of stars. High tide is in and water laps under the wharf. And now we're so tired we can't move. After a long while he whispers, "l like you, Tenny" — hoarse — embarrassed — ashamed of such intimate speech! — and I laugh, for I know that he loves me! — That nobody ever loved me before so completely. I feel the truth in his body. I call him baby — and tell him to go to sleep. After a while he does, his breathing is deep and even, and his great deep chest is like a continent moving slowly, warmly beneath me. The world grows dim, the world grows warm and tremendous.

Tennessee Williams,[i]

1940

 

spacer.png

The picture of himself Kip gave to Williams that summer

 

 

 


[i] “I feel the truth in his body” Tennessee Williams, July 29-30 letter to Donald Windham from Provincetown, Massachusetts. Included in The Love of Friends by Constance Jones and Val Clark, New York 1997, p.383

_

 

Edited by AC Benus
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18 hours ago, AC Benus said:

I feel the truth in his body

 

 

Later: Everything is okay again and I didn't have to move downstairs after all.

 

He slept alone on the beach [last night] because he needed some sleep. Doesn't get much with me. But that's his own fault for being so incredibly beautiful. We wake up two or three times in the night and start all over again[.] The ceiling is very high like the loft of a barn and the tide is lapping under the wharf. The sky amazingly brilliant with stars. The wind blows the door wide open, the gulls are crying. Oh, Christ. I call him baby like you call Butch, though when I lie on top of him, I feel like I am polishing the Statue of Liberty or something. He is so enormous. A great bronze statue of antique Greece come to life. But with a little boy's face. A funny upturned nose, slanting eyes, and underlip that sticks out, and hair that comes to a point in the middle of his forehead. I lean over him in the night and memorize the geography of his body with my hands — he arches his throat and makes a soft, purring sound. His skin is steaming hot like the hide of a horse that's been galloping. It has a warm, rich odor. The odor of life. He lies very still [on his back] for a while, then his breath comes fast and his body begins to lunge. Great rhythmic plunging motion with panting breath and his hands working over my body. Then sudden release — and he moans like a little baby. I rest with my head on his stomach. Sometimes fall asleep that way. We doze for a while. And then I whisper "Turn over." He does. We use brilliantine [hair oil]. The first time I come in three seconds, as soon as I get inside. The next time is better, slower, the bed seems to be enormous. Pacific, Atlantic, the North American continent. — A wind has blown the door open, the sky's full of stars. High tide is in and water laps under the wharf. And now we're so tired we can't move. After a long while he whispers, "l like you, Tenny" — hoarse — embarrassed — ashamed of such intimate speech! — and I laugh, for I know that he loves me! — That nobody ever loved me before so completely. I feel the truth in his body. I call him baby — and tell him to go to sleep. After a while he does, his breathing is deep and even, and his great deep chest is like a continent moving slowly, warmly beneath me. The world grows dim, the world grows warm and tremendous.

 

Tennessee Williams,[i]

 

1940

 

spacer.png

The picture of himself Kip gave to Williams that summer

 

 

 

 


[i] “I feel the truth in his body” Tennessee Williams, July 29-30 letter to Donald Windham from Provincetown, Massachusetts. Included in The Love of Friends by Constance Jones and Val Clark, New York 1997, p.383

_

 

 

 

And people wonder why it's so important to save and read letters. This reads like a wonderful poem.

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      So little done, such things to be,
      How know I what had need of thee,
      For thou wert strong as thou wert true?
       
      The fame is quenched that I foresaw,
      The head hath missed an earthly wreath:
      I curse not nature, no, nor death;
      For nothing is that errs from law.
       
      We pass; the path that each man trod
      Is dim, or will be dim, with weeds:
      What frame is left for human deeds
      In endless age? It rests with God.
       
      O hollow wraith of drying fame,
      Fade wholly, while the soul exults,
      And self-infolds the large results
      Of force that would have forged a name.
       
      So here, I hope you noticed right away, Tennyson used the exact form and line pattern, but achieved something markedly different from 95. His anxiety almost beats with a heartbeat as we read his words, and 'nature' becomes thought of human nature and of how natural it is for two people to love one another.
       
      The prompt: write your own set of four-lined Elegy stanzas. The theme is 'Remember,' and I encourage all of you to submit your work to Irri for the spring anthology. Keep the rhyme pattern a-b-b-a, use as many stanzas as you like, but maintain a consistent 8-syllable line. Play with it; your poem does not have to be about death or loss, just remembrance.       
       
       
       
       
      --------------------------------------------------
        [1] The two young shepherds who were household names in ancient and Renaissance times were Corydon and Alexis. They were as well known a couple as Romeo and Juliet is to us and the story of how their pure love and passionate devotion to one another was tested by the glitz and fakeness of hypocrisy was written about time and time again. Marlowe's famous lines of "Come live with me and be my love, and we will all the pleasures prove" is Corydon speaking to Alexis. (See Chapter 3 of Bruce R. Smith's 1991 literary survey of same-sex love in Shakespeare's England)       
      [2] Laund = a grassy meadow
      [3] The 'his' of this line and the line above are the originals. Tennyson's son later systematically went through the poem and edited parts he felt were too 'gay.' Thus in this line he craftily added a 't' to make a nonsensical 'this': "And mine in this was wound". Unfortunately this was one of his favorite ways to deface the manuscript. Sometimes, as in the case of "His living soul was flashed on mine," he was forced to cross out his father's words and simply write something obscuring above it; here he altered it to read: "The living soul was flashed on mine," which again makes no sense to a reader. (See In Memoriam, edited by Robert H. Ross, 1973 New York)
      Walt Whitman's editor for the Leaves of Grass insisted he add qualifiers like "him and her," and "he and she" in his erotic poetry where he only wrote "him" and "he." Later on his dutiful students defaced his manuscripts after the master's death to reflect the edited print versions of the poem. (See Love Stories, by Jonathan Ned Katz, 2001 Chicago)
      Emily Dickinson likewise had her manuscripts rather brutally altered by her editor and niece, Martha Dickinson Bianchi. As Keith Stern writes: "Though we know little about Dickinson's sexual life, we can be certain about the passions of her sexual orientation. In 1852 she wrote a love letter to her friend Susan Gilbert that read in part, 'Susie, forgive me darling, for every word I say – my heart is full of you, none other than you in my thoughts.' Her love for Gilbert inspired many of her poems. In addition to altering Dickinson's rhymes and punctuation, early editors replaced Gilbert's name in many of the love poems that were written to her. Scissors and erasers were taken both to poems and correspondence, turning 'her' to 'him,' and erasing the 's' in front of 'she.'" (ps. 139-140, Queers in History, 2009 Dallas)
      It is a shame that LGBTQ youth are still systematically kept from knowing the extent of Gay arts and letters that exists all around them. Editing Gay people out of their own history should end.
       
      _             

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