Poetics and Poetry Discussion

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  • Rookie Herbert Nehrlich1 (12/6/2005 4:41:00 AM) Post reply | Read 3 replies
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    In this Christmas season I am reminded of how ye Gods have blessed me.
    I am living here in my adopted country, which ought to be said the other way around as the country adopted me as well (it did take a few years) but I have found that even a Kraut from the Fatherland can become a fair dinkum Aussie.

    So I thought it fitting to post my favourite song here, I am positive that Banjo will be listening to anyone's recital and some of his awesome talent will flow into the minds of those who find Waltzing Matilda (both words have a bit of a Teutonic flavour, don't you think, Allan, Jerry, Adrienne et al?) pleasant.

    Once a jolly swagman camped by a Billabong
    Under the shade of a Coolabah tree
    And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled
    'Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me? '

    Down come a jumbuck to drink at the water hole
    Up jumped a swagman and grabbed him in glee
    And he sang as he stowed him away in his tucker bag
    'You'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me'.

    Up rode the Squatter a riding his thoroughbred
    Up rode the Trooper - one, two, three
    'Where's that jumbuck you've got in your tucker bag? ',
    'You'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me'.

    But the swagman he up and jumped in the water hole
    Drowning himself by the Coolabah tree,
    And his ghost may be heard as it sings in the Billabong,
    'Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me? '

    Explanation of Australian Slang As Used in the Song
    Billabong: A waterhole.

    Billy: A can or small kettle used to boil water for tea.

    Replies for this message:
    • Rookie Herbert Nehrlich1 (12/6/2005 4:05:00 PM) Post reply

      A jumbuck is a sheep, usually a young one. Matilda is old German for Battle. Best H

    • Rookie Herbert Nehrlich1 (12/6/2005 6:14:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      I can tell from conversations with visitors and adopted Britons that the idea of colonialism is alive and well, dust, cobwebs and all. Multicultural with an identity and without the judgemental credo ... more

    • Rookie Michael Shepherd (12/6/2005 5:52:00 AM) Post reply

      In the charitable spirit of Christmas, I'm happy that songs like this unite the splendid Australian nation in its multicultural glory and self-image and sense of identity, but christ how I loathe the ... more

  • Veteran Poet - 1,207 Points Jerry Hughes (12/6/2005 2:32:00 AM) Post reply | Read 3 replies

    Not that I condone the spending-spree in the name of the infant Jesus, designated Christmas, but as it's the precursor to the end of another year, I'd like to wish all the genuine contributors to the poetry site, and the forum, all they would wish for themselves in 2006.

    For me, as I gently glide into my 75th year AD, I say thank you to those who made kind comments about my humble offerings. To those who found them irritating, tedious or boring: You can please please some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people, all of the time.

    Have a safe and happy festive time with those you love. And may the god you believe in, walk beside you. Fondly, Jerry Hughes


    Replies for this message:
    • Veteran Poet - 1,207 Points Richard George (12/6/2005 1:44:00 PM) Post reply

      And a really good 2006 to you and your family.

    • Veteran Poet - 1,207 Points Mary Nagy (12/6/2005 6:03:00 AM) Post reply

      Jerry, what a lovely message! I'm always amazed when some of you guys mention your age! That's one of the things that make the internet and sites like this great.........we're all (almost) ageles ... more

    • Veteran Poet - 1,207 Points Michael Shepherd (12/6/2005 4:23:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      That's a fine message, Jerry. You are one of the shining lights of Poemhunter, apart from being one of the most aggressive pacifists I've met! And may you experience all that you have wished to others ... more

  • Rookie Richard George (12/5/2005 2:20:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    For a good laugh... try this *acrostic* from a school textbook in Pakistan (in today's London 'Daily Telegraph') :

    The Leader

    Patient and steady with all he must bear,
    Ready to accept every challenge with care,
    Easy in manner, yet solid as steel,
    Strong in his faith, refreshingly real,
    Isn't afraid to propose what is bold,
    Doesn't conform to the usual mold,
    Eyes that have foresight, for hindsight won't do,
    Never back down when he sees what is true,
    Tells it all straight, and means it all too,
    Going forward and knowing he's right,
    Even when doubted for why he would fight,
    Over and over he makes his case clear,
    Reaching to touch the ones who won't hear,
    Growing in strength, he won't be unnerved,
    Ever assuring he'll stand by his word,
    Wanting the world to join his firm stand,
    Bracing for war, but praying for peace,
    Using his power so evil will cease,
    So much a leader and worthy of trust,
    Here stands a man who will do what he must.

    I assume this isn't our friend Nikhil in Nobel Peace Prize mode.

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  • Rookie Michael Shepherd (12/5/2005 9:40:00 AM) Post reply

    OK, here's a Christmas game you can play by yourself...no, it needs both hands:
    Take a clear photo of someone you'd love to hate... or OK it's Christmas, someone you would like to, almost want to feel judgmental about.
    Take a piece of paper. Cover one half of the face. What do you see? then do it with the other half. Y
    If you haven't done this before, it can be a revelation.

    I've just done this with Condy Rice - much admired here in Europe, not at all so by you guys a few weeks back.. tell what you see.

    (Some say, the left side of the face (RH in photo...) is what you're born with, the right, what you make of it.

    Have fun. Might even get a poem out of it.

  • Rookie Angel bella (12/5/2005 7:35:00 AM) Post reply

    I think it strange, when i recieve E-mail from Poemhunter it is sent as bulk mail, does this happen to anyone else

  • Rookie Angel bella (12/5/2005 7:25:00 AM) Post reply | Read 2 replies

    Hi everyone, I am new to this site. I've posted 4 poems, and have only recieved about 4 hits. What can I do to get more established?

    Replies for this message:
    • Rookie Richard George (12/6/2005 1:48:00 PM) Post reply

      Like everything with poetry, it takes time - the opposite of fast food. I began writing 10 years ago and am just starting to get established... but don't let that put you off. Poetry's for a lifetime.

    • Rookie Michael Shepherd (12/5/2005 7:38:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      Writing good poetry, using Spellcheck, and patience, might do the trick. It's been tried before.

  • Rookie Joseph Daly (12/5/2005 5:50:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    I recently came across this site that contains poetry for younger poets from Singapore: http: //www.thecore.nus.edu/landow/post/singapore/literature/poetry/gallery.html

    I would particularly recommend a work by Grace Chia, called 'Apple' which works on both a visual and poetical level. Because of the restrictions on font and structure use on PoHo I can't reproduce it. But here is a sample from a poet called Felix Cheong Seng Fei:

    Art, for Christ's Sake

    Must I be a handmaiden,
    the way your Mother was
    a page blank as obedience,
    on whom you will enact,
    with my every breath,
    your word to be kept?

    Or must I take on
    your crown of thorns,
    your wounds in my side,
    bearing the world in lines
    that shiver like arms
    racked across the sky?

    Published in I Watch the Stars Go Out (1999)

    Replies for this message:
    • Rookie Max Reif (12/5/2005 7:48:00 AM) Post reply

      'Art, for Christ's Sake' is quite lovely. I didn't 'get' the visuals of the last few lines as immediately as the others, but I think I understand them. Much of the poem is so well done in thought an ... more

  • Rookie Declan McHenry (12/5/2005 5:09:00 AM) Post reply | Read 3 replies

    There have been a few comments on war and poetry in the forum recently. I found an odd work by Sir John Suckling (1609-1641) , one of the English Cavalier poets. I find the piece unusal in that it uses the contemporary technical jargon of a siege to underpin a love poem. Do such poems lose some of their impact if we do not understand the language of the metaphors used? Sorry it's a long one.

    Love's Siege

    'Tis now since I sat down before
    That foolish fort, a heart,
    (Time strangely spent) a year, and more,
    And still i did my part.

    Made my approaches, from her hand
    Unto her lip did rise,
    And did already understand
    The language of her eyes;

    Proceeded on with no less art,
    My tongue was engineer:
    I though to undermine the heart
    By whispering in the ear.

    When this did nothing, I brought down
    Great canon-oaths, and shot
    A thousand thousand to the town
    And still it yielded not.

    I then resolved to starve the place
    by cutting off all kises,
    Praising and gazing on her face,
    And all such little blisses.

    To draw her out, and from her strength,
    I drew all batteries in,
    And brought myself to lie at length
    As if no siege had been.

    When I had done what man could do,
    And thought the place mine own,
    The enemy lay quiet, too,
    And smiled at all was done.

    I sent to know from whence, and where,
    These hopes, and this relief?
    A spy informed, Honour was there,
    And did command in chief.

    'March, march', quoth I, 'the word straight give,
    Let's lose no time, but leave her:
    That Giant upon air will live,
    And hold it out for ever.

    'To such a place out camp remove
    As will no siege abide;
    I hate a fool that starves her love
    Only to feed her pride.'

    Replies for this message:
    • Rookie Max Reif (12/5/2005 7:54:00 AM) Post reply

      I think the extended metaphor of seige in this poem is delightful. (Except I had trouble understanding the last two stanzas.) To answer your question, certainly if an ancient, or culturally foreign, ... more

    • Rookie Joseph Daly (12/5/2005 5:39:00 AM) Post reply

      Thanks for posting this Declan. There is a mine of gems to be found by looking through the past. This particular piece is superb in it's use of metaphor, to the extent that one is not competely sure ... more

    • Rookie Michael Shepherd (12/5/2005 5:31:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      My senior Eng Lit tutor was an ex-ferocious, moustachioed veteran of at least one major war, who was however the world expert on Richard Lovelace the Cavalier poet, and a poet in his own right. There' ... more

  • Rookie Herbert Nehrlich1 (12/5/2005 4:59:00 AM) Post reply | Read 2 replies

    This is one of my favourite poems in German, although one of my least favourite (the only one I am aware of) translation. Over the holidays I shall endeavour to produce a better translation.

    The Hostage by
    Friedrich Schiller

    The tyrant Dionys to seek,
    Stern Moerus with his poniard crept;
    The watchful guard upon him swept;
    The grim king marked his changeless cheek:
    'What wouldst thou with thy poinard? Speak! '
    'The city from the tyrant free! '
    'The death-cross shall thy guerdon be.'

    'I am prepared for death, nor pray, '
    Replied that haughty man, 'to live;
    Enough, if thou one grace wilt give
    For three brief suns the death delay
    To wed my sister - leagues away;
    I boast one friend whose life for mine,
    If I should fail the cross, is thine.'

    The tyrant mused, - and smiled, - and said
    With gloomy craft, 'So let it be;
    Three days I will vouchsafe to thee.
    But mark - if, when the time be sped,
    Thou fail'st - thy surety dies instead.
    His life shall buy shine own release;
    Thy guilt atoned, my wrath shall cease.'

    He sought his friend - 'The king's decree
    Ordains my life the cross upon
    Shall pay the deed I would have done;
    Yet grants three days' delay to me,
    My sister's marriage-rites to see;
    If thou, the hostage, wilt remain
    Till I - set free - return again! '

    His friend embraced - No word he said.,
    But silent to the tyrant strode -
    The other went upon his road.
    Ere the third sun in heaven was red,
    The rite was o'er, the sister wed;
    And back, with anxious heart unquailing,
    He hastes to hold the pledge unfailing.

    Down the great rains unending bore,
    Down from the hills the torrents rushed,
    In one broad stream the brooklets gushed
    The wanderer halts beside the shore,
    The bridge was swept the tides before -
    The shattered arches o'er and under
    Went the tumultuous waves in thunder.

    Dismayed he takes his idle stand -
    Dismayed, he strays and shouts around,
    His voice awakes no answering sound.
    No boat will leave the sheltering strand,
    To bear him to the wished-for land;
    No boatman will Death's pilot be,
    The wild stream gathers to a sea!

    Sunk by the banks, awhile he weeps,
    Then raised his arms to Jove, and cried,
    'Stay thou, oh stay the maddening tide,
    Midway behold the swift sun sweeps,
    And, ere he sinks adown the deeps,
    If I should fail, his beams will see
    My friend's last anguish - slain for me!

    More fierce it runs, more broad it flows,
    And wave on wave succeeds and dies
    And hour on hour remorseless tries,
    Despair at last to daring grows -
    Amidst the flood his form he throws,
    With vigorous arms the roaring waves
    Cleaves - and a God that pities, saves.

    He wins the bank - he scours the strand?
    He thanks the God in breathless prayer;
    When from the forest's gloomy lair,
    With ragged club in ruthless hand,
    And breathing murder - rushed the band
    That find, in woods, their savage den,
    And savage prey in wandering men.

    'What, ' cried he, pale with generous fear;
    'What think to gain ye by the strife?
    All I bear with me is my life -
    I take it to the king! ' - and here
    He snatched the club from him most near:
    And thrice he smote, and thrice his blows
    Dealt death - before him fly the foes!

    The sun is glowing as a brand;
    And faint before the parching heat,
    The strength forsakes the feeble feet:
    'Thou hast saved me from the robbers' hand,
    Through wild floods given the blessed land;
    And shall the weak limbs fail me now?
    And he! - Divine one, nerve me, thou!

    Hark! like some gracious murmur by,
    Babbles low music, silver-clear -
    The wanderer holds his breath to hear;
    And from the rock, before his eye,
    Laughs forth the spring delightedly;
    Now the sweet waves he bends him o'er,
    And the sweet waves his strength restore.

    Through the green boughs the sun gleams dying,
    O'er fields that drink the rosy beam,
    The trees' huge shadows giant seem.
    Two strangers on the road are hieing;
    And as they fleet beside him are flying
    These muttered words his ear dismay:
    'Now - now the cross has claimed its prey! '

    Despair his winged path pursues,
    The anxious terrors hound him on -
    There, reddening in the evening sun,
    From far, the domes of Syracuse! -
    When towards him comes Philostratus
    (His leaf and trusty herdsman he) ,
    And to the master bends his knee.

    'Back - thou canst aid thy friend no more.
    The niggard time already down -
    His life is forfeit - save shine own!
    Hour after hour in hope he bore,
    Nor might his soul its faith give o'er;
    Nor could the tyrant's scorn deriding,
    Steal from that faith one thought confiding! '

    'Too late! what horror hast thou spoken!
    Vain life, since it cannot requite him!
    But death with me can yet unite him;
    No boast the tyrant's scorn shall make -
    How friend to friend can faith forsake.
    But from the double death shall know,
    That truth and love yet live below! '

    The sun sinks down - the gate's in view,
    The cross looms dismal on the ground -
    The eager crowd gape murmuring round.
    His friend is bound the cross unto....
    Crowd - guards - all bursts he breathless through:
    'Me! Doomsman, me! ' he shouts, 'alone!
    His life is rescued - lo, mine own! '

    Amazement seized the circling ring!
    Linked in each other's arms the pair -
    Weeping for joy - yet anguish there!
    Moist every eye that gazed; - they bring
    The wondrous tidings to the king -
    His breast man's heart at last hath known,
    And the friends stand before his throne.

    Long silent, he, and wondering long,
    Gazed on the pair - 'In peace depart,
    Victors, ye have subdued my heart!
    Truth is no dream! - its power is strong.
    Give grace to him who owns his wrong!
    'Tis mine your suppliant now to be,
    Ah, let the band of love - be three! '

    1797, translation anonymous,1902

    19th-Century German Stories
    VCU Department of Foreign Languages

    © 1994-1999 Robert Godwin-Jones
    Virginia Commonwealth University

    Replies for this message:
    • Rookie Max Reif (12/5/2005 7:57:00 AM) Post reply

      I also am happy to see a poem by Schiller, Herbert. But, after reading the first few stanzas, I think I'm going to wait for your translation.

    • Rookie Joseph Daly (12/5/2005 5:46:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      Herbert, It is great to see that this Titan, this man who was such an inspiration to other artists, especially Beethoven and Verdi, should be included. I wish I could understand German enough to read ... more

  • Rookie allan james saywell (12/5/2005 3:27:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    hello how are you, i am good are you good i will post my poem soon thank you

    Replies for this message:
    • Rookie Poetry Hound (12/5/2005 4:33:00 AM) Post reply

      Allan, can't you please stop cluttering up the forum with this kind of nonsense?

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