exbentley: (Default)
[personal profile] exbentley
i know that i am a woman of many talents, but i frequently lament the fact that poetry is not one of them. despite, or perhaps because of, the fact that all my poems are gauche bullshit, i have an intense fascination with poets who can produce quality work. good poetry moves me; it makes me hungry to write, and it makes me bitter with the knowledge that i can't.

my favourite form is the villanelle. seriously, this is the way to my heart. there aren't many good ones, but to celebrate national poetry month, have a selection of my favourites. (god knows i won't remember to post poems i like each day.)


villanelle / w. h. auden.
Time can say nothing but I told you so,
Time only knows the price we have to pay;
If I could tell you, I would let you know.

If we should weep when clowns put on their show,
If we should stumble when musicians play,
Time can say nothing but I told you so.

There are no fortunes to be told, although
Because I love you more than I can say,
If I could tell you, I would let you know.

The winds must come from somewhere when they blow,
There must be reasons why the leaves decay;
Time can say nothing but I told you so.

Perhaps the roses really want to grow,
The vision seriously intends to stay;
If I could tell you, I would let you know.

Suppose the lions all get up and go,
And all the brooks and soldiers run away?
Time can say nothing but I told you so.
If I could tell you, I would let you know.



mad girl's love song / sylvia plath.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary darkness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell's fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan's men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you'd return the way you said.
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)



villanelle / william empson.
It is the pain, it is the pain endures.
Your chemic beauty burned my muscles through.
Poise of my hands reminded me of yours.

What later purge from this deep toxin cures?
What kindness now could the old salve renew?
It is the pain, it is the pain endures.

The infection slept (custom or changes inures)
And when pain's secondary phase was due
Poise of my hands reminded me of yours.

How safe I felt, whom memory assures,
Rich that your grace safely by heart I knew.
It is the pain, it is the pain endures.

My stare drank deep beauty that still allures.
My heart pumps yet the poison draught of you.
Poise of my hands reminded me of yours.

You are still kind whom the same shape immures.
Kind and beyond adieu. We miss our cue.
It is the pain, it is the pain endures.
Poise of my hands reminded me of yours.



villanelle for D.G.B. / marilyn hacker.
Every day our bodies separate,
exploded torn and dazed.
Not understanding what we celebrate

we grope through languages and hesitate
and touch each other, speechless and amazed;
and every day our bodies separate

us farther from our planned, deliberate
ironic lives. I am afraid, disphased,
not understanding what we celebrate

when our fused limbs and lips communicate
the unlettered power we have raised.
Every day our bodies' separate

routines are harder to perpetuate.
In wordless darkness we learn wordless praise,
not understanding what we celebrate;

wake to ourselves, exhausted, in the late
morning as the wind tears off the haze,
not understanding how we celebrate
our bodies. Every day we separate.




the villanelle is what? / john m. ford.
I am the King now, and I want a sandwich.
This monarch business makes a fellow hungry.
I wonder where my brother Richard is.

What happened to the kippers left from breakfast?
Or maybe there's a bit of cold roast pheasant.
I am the King now, and I want a sandwich.

A civil war is such an awful bother.
We fought at Tewksbury and still ran out of mustard.
I wonder where my brother Richard is.

Speak not to me of pasta Marinara.
I know we laid in lots of boar last Tuesday.
I am the King now, and I want a sandwich.

The pantry seems entirely full of Woodvilles
And Clarence has drunk two-thirds of the cellar.
I wonder where my brother Richard is.

If I ran England like I run that kitchen
You'd half expect somebody to usurp it.
I am the King now, and I want a sandwich.
I wonder where my brother Richard is.



And my favourite:

Date: 2009-04-05 12:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] paralinguistic.livejournal.com
.... omg that last one.

Date: 2009-04-05 02:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alexander.livejournal.com
bawww villanelles are hard to write

Date: 2009-04-05 02:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alexander.livejournal.com
They do have an amazing sort of. . . flow/rhythm/whateverthing and the rhyme that hinges in that way. I am a big fan of villanelles, pantoums and sestinas tho. Yay repetitive forms.

Date: 2009-04-05 03:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alexander.livejournal.com
I also like canzones :x

Date: 2009-04-05 03:51 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] devil
klsfkj i don't "get" poetry and i have a feeling i never will. i have read books on writing poetry, dissecting poetry, and paying attention to poetry. none of it has stuck with me. for me, poetry is only good for choosing a random page and picking out a line and trying to make a story from it.

when i read most poetry i just stare at the words and tilt my head. the way the imagery is pretty much 99% of the time does not work for me, so i just don't see any images at all when i read them and can't make sense without great effort that i'm not willing to expend. that's why every poem i ever write will be angsty and self-serving and terrible and probably never exceed the number of twenty.

my friend katja is a huge poet. she has words for everything. she used to ask me to tell her how i felt about her poetry until she realized that i may know how to write, comprehend, and be able to take writing apart, but i can't do fuckall with poetry.

i can't even tell the difference between good and bad poems.

also

Date: 2009-04-05 03:57 pm (UTC)
devil: (bok bok bok what)
From: [personal profile] devil
these two are the only poems i get.
Madam, you are right; the fight was a great pity.
Two soldiers against a third, an ally--perhaps
No worse could befall, as you feel, in this tense city.
Violence broke out so sharply: sudden fear
Fell on the watchers, who recoiled and gasped,
And did not recall the girl who had disappeared.
Certainly the boy alone was very young.
It was brutal to smash at him so with the torch. But, madam,
Though what I mean, and would say, is not on my tongue,
It was late; all three are gone now, home to their places
Their hatreds dimmed. And those who today are damned
Are not such furious boys with blood on their faces.

- Edward Weismiller
and also, of course, "If", by Rudyard Kipling.

they are my favourites.

Date: 2009-04-05 04:57 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] devil
tjuhkjhjg

whj hlerpppppppppppppppppppp

JDNpT GET IT

iWHY IS MAN THE SUPERIOR AIMLAL

WHAT CURIOUS HABITS OF DOGS

WHAT

WHAT

WHAT DOES IT MEAN

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at least i get the second half

Date: 2009-04-05 04:58 pm (UTC)
devil: (a bucket of woes)
From: [personal profile] devil
stein's face in that iconis pretty much how i imagine everyone who tries to talk poetry to me looks like

Date: 2009-04-05 06:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jeva-chan.livejournal.com
Hahahaha, I like that one.

Date: 2009-04-05 09:28 pm (UTC)
biodamped: ([sm] sailor of love and justice)
From: [personal profile] biodamped
Ohhhh. I haven't seen half of these! In fact, i think i've only ever seen Sylvia's so thank you.

I hated trying to reproduce villanelles for creative writing. Sestinas were almost as bad.

Date: 2009-04-06 04:16 am (UTC)
ext_3472: Sauron drinking tea. (Default)
From: [identity profile] maggiebloome.livejournal.com
Oh gosh I adore villanelles! thank you for posting this. The Plath one is amaazing.

I haven't written one since English Extension 2, I really should have another go...

Date: 2009-04-27 03:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eponis.livejournal.com
Belatedly responding: I have such a weakness for villanelles, and these were amazing -- I hadn't read several of them before. Thank you so much for sharing! I'll definitely be coming back to this post.
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