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AC Benus

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AC Benus last won the day on June 14 2017

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About AC Benus

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    San Francisco
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    Love, cooking, history, classical writings, Queer politics, chatting with friends, finding more in common with everyone than I thought possible, architecture, design, dogs, Airedales

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  1. I'll be posting (what I think of as) an important Pride poem on Thursday. I'd be honored if you all could give it a look at least :)


    1. Mikiesboy


      I will be watching for it, AC.  xo

    2. MichaelS36


      You're an important poet, AC. Your poems for Pride are wonderful … I am looking forward to what you'll post tomorrow. 

  2. Thank you for reading, Lyssa! I liked exploring these new finds, and feel indebted to Edward Payson Morton's summary. He must have worked very hard to generate that paper for posterity, so we're lucky.
  3. yay, Parker! I hope these do spur you onto ever more ambitious Elegies
  4. I'm glad you read these, and I know you have been busy with your new and exciting project. So first priority, your book These prompts will always be here
  5. . Other Elegy Examples The use of rhyming patterns like a-b-b-a comes from Italian Sonnets. There the pattern is extended, a-b-b-a-a-b-b-a, and the groups of matching sounds are called “kissing rhymes.”[1] In the 17th century, English-speaking poets first thought of using such a pattern with shorter line lengths, or 8-sylabble lines instead of the 10 or 12 normal for Sonnets. They also established four lines to be the perfect stanza size for this new Elegy form. When In Memoriam came out, it was an instant bestseller – six reprintings being required in the first year alone. The intense interest in Tennyson’s Elegy style caused much research into earlier examples. In 1909, Indiana University professor Edward Payson Morton published a scholarly paper on this subject. His Poems in the Stanza of In Memoriam is meticulous, listing and citing examples sequentially from 1611 to the publication date of Tennyson’s book. It’s useful for me to be able to bring you further examples for inspiration. Without further ado, here they some of them. We’ll start with excerpts from Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s 1847 aesthetic-style poem My Sister’s Sleep: She fell asleep on Christmas Eve: At length the long-ungranted shade Of weary eyelids overweighed The pain naught else might yet relieve. I had been sitting up some nights, And my tired mind felt weak and blank; Like a sharp strengthening wine it drank The stillness and the broken lights. Twelve struck. That sound, by dwindling years Heard in each hour, crept off; and then The ruffled silence spread again, Like water that a pebble stirs. Our mother rose from where she sat: Her needles, as she laid them down, Met lightly, and her silken gown Settled: no other noise than that. "Glory unto the Newly Born!" So, as said angels, she did say; Because we were in Christmas Day, Though it would still be long till morn. Just then in the room over us There was a pushing back of chairs, As some who had sat unawares So late, now heard the hour, and rose. For my part, I but hid my face, And held my breath, and spoke no word: There was none spoken; but I heard The silence for a little space. Our mother bowed herself and wept: And both my arms fell, and I said, "God knows I knew that she was dead." And there, all white, my sister slept. The entire poem can be found here: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45022/my-sisters-sleep The Elegy may not always have to do with death, and in fact, one of its strengths still lies close to its origins as a nature poem. Here Frances Boscawen’s 1793 translation of Horace is rightly regarded as close in elegance to the original. Her ability to transmute internal feeling via the natural environment is enviable. Ode V What youth bedewed with moist perfume Courts thee, Oh! Pyrrha, graceful maid! With neat simplicity arrayed In the sweet bower where roses bloom? For whom dost thou in ringlets form Thy golden locks? – Oft shall he wail Thy truth, swift changing as the gale, View the wild waves, and shudder at the storm. Who now, all credulous, all gay, Enjoys thy smile, on whose vain pride Thy fickle favor shines untried, As soft deceitful breezes play. My fate the pictured wreck displays; The dripping garments that remain In mighty Neptune’s sacred fane, Record my glad escape, my grateful praise. In a similar vein, John Langhorne’s 1766 Ode to the Genius of Westmoreland seeks to praise and thank inspiration for visiting him. Hail, hidden power of these wild groves, These uncouth rocks, and mountains gray! Where oft, as fades the closing day, The family of Fancy roves. In what lone cave, what sacred ceil, Coeval with the birth of Time, Wrapped in high cares, and thought sublime, In awful silence dost thou dwell? Oft in the depth of winter’s reign, As blew the bleak winds o’er the dale; Moaning along the distant gale, Has Fancy heard thy voice complain. Oft in the dark wood’s lonely way, Swift has she seen thee glancing by; Or down the summer evening sky, Sporting in clouds of gilded day. If caught from thee the sacred fire, The glowed within my youthful breast; Those thoughts too high to be expressed, Genius, if thou didst once inspire, O please accept this votive lay, That, in my native shades retired, And once, once more by thee inspired, In gratitude I pray. Metaphysical exploration is another area in which the Elegy excels. Note this excerpt from Herbert of Cherbury’s 1664 Ode upon a question moved whether love should continue forever. When, with a sweet though troubled look, She first broke silence, saying, “Dear friend, Oh, that our love might take no end, Or never had beginning took.” “Oh no, beloved, I am most sure These virtuous habits we acquire, As being with the soul entire, Must with it evermore endure. Else should our souls in vain elect, And vainer yet were Heaven’s laws, When to an everlasting cause They give a perishing effect. Not here on earth then, nor above, One good affection can impair; For where God doth admit the fair, Think you that He excludeth Love? These eyes again thine eyes shall see, These hands again thine hand enfold, And all chaste blessings can be told Shall with us everlasting be. For if no use of sense remain When bodies once this life forsake – Or they could no delight partake – Why should they ever rise again? And if every imperfect mind Make love the end of knowledge here, How perfect will our love be where All imperfection is refined. So when from hence we shall be gone, And be no more, not you, not I; As one another’s mystery Each shall be both, yet both but one.” The entire poem can be found here: https://www.bartleby.com/337/427.html But the example par excellence, showcasing all of the Elegy’s strengths to speak of love, loss, nature and abstract thoughts of the beyond, comes from Ben. Jonson’s 1616 poem “An Elegy.” In it, he seems to suggest that the young man he loves and is courting is so beautiful, he can singlehandedly bring back the ancient cult worship of Cupid. If so, then Ben. will be kneeling at the boy’s shrine, complaining how finer a lover the young man would make than the woman who so cruelly rejected Jonson. Though beauty be the mark of praise, And yours of whom I sing be such As not the world can praise too much, Yet ’tis your virtue now I raise. A virtue, like allay, so gone Throughout your form, as, though that move And draw and conquer all men’s love, This subjects you to love of one. Wherein you triumph yet; because ’Tis of yourself, and that you use The noblest freedom, not to choose Against or faith or honor’s laws. But who should less expect from you, In whom alone Love lives again? By whom he is restored to men, And kept, and bred, and brought up true. His falling temples you have reared, The withered garlands ta’en away; His altars kept from the decay That envy wished, and nature feared; And on them burn so chaste a flame, With so much loyalties’ expense, As Love, t’ acquit such excellence, Is gone himself into your name. And you are he; the deity To whom all lovers are designed That would their better objects find; Among which faithful troop am I. Who, as an offspring at your shrine, Have sung this hymn, and here entreat One spark of your diviner heat To light upon a love of mine. Which, if it kindle not, but scant Appear, and that to shortest view, Yet give me leave t’ adore in you What I in her am grieved to want. I hope you have found these examples inspiring, for the Elegy form is flexible. Master it, and the world of expression can open up to you. Here is Morton’s paper if you are interested in reading the complete work: https://www.jstor.org/stable/2916382?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents [1] The Elegy’s usual formatting of indenting the central two lines further clues us to how Italian Sonnets inspired this lyrical variation. It is standard in the Italian Sonnet’s form to indent the interior “kissing rhymes.” _

    As Fate ordains no friendship

        among the wicked,

    it sanctifies partnership

        among the blessèd.



    1. Lyssa



  7. The most beautiful form of twin-speak ever! Lucas & Arthur Jussen perform Schubert's Fantasy in f-minor
  8. Thanks, Mike. Yes, there are poems written many years ago to/for/about my first boyfriend.
  9. . Poem No. 37 In your appearance I wonder why I wonder If you be the reason Of my pain Poem No. 38 What be the nature of this desire that courses through my veins that rips apart my brains which ever saps my power… Ever am I drawn near to you for the sweet sorrow in your smiles playing witness to your other wiles and my torment gone through… But what is the quality of the want that filters you into my head with longings impossibly said with desire of only the want… Poem No. 39 If while I slept the while away a Muse came and stole my tongue some day – crept between open curtains did, slithered round my rug and in bed slid with passionate thought of a lurid kiss, low-seducing lips uncoiling a hiss – my sleeping tongue aroused by hers might abandon me when her favor lures. When the first light of night broke through my window and fell upon my floor, it found me there with pen in hand, and you in heart. And in that light I faded near away to another shady sight of a place so far afield, time seemed its equal, and I but cast adrift. On another floor was I – at a different light did look – through the windowpane shone the full face of torment caused then as now by a wilding moon. Underneath me was a floor of a different kind, support from other regions which vanish only when names get tagged to them; when hopes from them are craved. Rang true the voice asking me what I want; sincere the look that said I didn’t know; for the spirit of the desire is yet beyond me now. Calm were the eyes which asked me for my hand; quaking was the heart that handed it there, softly delivered unto your waiting touch. Adrift the waves of night midway ‘tween dream and world – as the sleepy specter ever crept her gain – I never had the fear I fight with now. The thought to worry, though drowsy were my eyes and inactive were my limbs, never before on a countless level could I make claim to ever be more awake. So how can I, at once adrift in two lights, perceive which is true: the hand that touched me there with the greatest wonder known, or the drifting sight upon my eyes? I loved you then as I love you now; sweet wonder that it can live astride the crater of time in hopeless lapse of another chance for what never was. And if while I slept the while some day, a Muse came to steal my tongue away, she would turn a very startled head at the odd things her new tongue said, and woe behold that muse of mine, for that wagging thing by rights is thine; it can speak of no other heart but yours, and with words alone your memory endures. _
  10. Awwwwwww......! But don't think this is rare; every zoo in the world give babies who need extra love to make it to same-sex couples :) Still it's nice to see this in association with Pride Month and know young Gay or questioning youth will be learning this infor for the first time.  

    “He’s very flamboyant,” said penguin specialist Eva Solano. “He likes to just, sort of, be seen. He is completely fabulous. They both are.”



    1. Show previous comments  8 more
    2. droughtquake



      You watch local tv; did you happen to watch this?

      Frameline43 started on Thursday.

      But I avoid KPIX/5, the CBS station, because I don't care for most of their anchors. During the Dave & Wendy era, it was my family's news of choice, but Ken Bastida is one of the few anchors I like on that channel. Before he retired, I used to like the political reports from Hank Plante, one of the earlier Openly Gay news reporters.

      I mostly watch KTVU/2 news. I usually watch the repeat of KGO/7's 11pm news after Nightline. (I also usually watch NHK Newsline at 2pm and DW News at 2:30pm on KQED World/9.3 and the PBS Newshour on KQED/9 at 3pm.) I try to catch the KQED Newsroom half-hour news show on the weekends with political editor Scott Shaffer (who is Gay).

    3. Lyssa


      A couple of weeks ago I found this awesome vid. Yes, it is natural. I couldn`t agree more with this sweet lady.


    4. MichaelS36


      That was interesting and wonderful. 

  11. Thanks to all who shared their tributes. I began to make detailed replies to folks one by one, but I had to stop. My unsettled feelings of rage at the murderer, and his active or passive supporters, is not something people here need to be inflicted with. So I will simply say thank you again.
  12. Thank you, Molly. These comments are so touching and heartfelt. A thousand kisses for encouraging me.
  13. Thank you, Molly. You're a peach! And my folder with these rather random translations is quite full, so many more will be coming. Thanks again for your support ❤️
  14. Reading about Varchi is like reading some of Shakespeare's source material. There's an anecdote where the handsome young poet was being let into the palazzo by one of his teen-boy student at night. When the father found out, he shut up the lad like a princess in a tower and had a group of thugs teach the poet "a lesson" (had him beaten). But the poems to the boy never stopped
  15. Yes, what high times and low morals indeed! From ancient Rome to the Italian Renaissance, to today -- things don't really change. I could have slipped some version of this poem in my Mojo, as something Kohl wrote to seduce his student Rolf (or perhaps better yet, as something the student Gordon wrote to seduce his teacher Kohl ) The original poem strikes me as very playful, which is the element I tried to bring out most in my rendering. One aspect I sidestepped -- but that undoubtedly got Varchi into hot water with his student's father -- is the sexual undertone. In Latin, the very word for boy, puer and its variations, brings up manifold sexual possibilities. Those are not so easy to translate into English, and I doubt they would have been clean enough to do in Italian either, so this may explain why the poem exists in the Latin in the first place. Thanks for your help on this, and for pointing me in the direction of Cicero's love poems to Tyrone. They keep so much knowledge away from us queer boys
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