azdak: Face of Klimt's Music II (Default)
posted by [personal profile] azdak at 07:10pm on 14/06/2008 under
My eldest said to me today "We did this weird poem in school."
Me: Oh yeah?
Eldest: Yeah. It was all like "Gedichte sind arsch."

So I had a look, and it was wonderful. I deeply regret having finished my drama course so that I have no opportunity to recite it in public, because it would be fantastic to perform:

Materialien zu einer Kritik an der bekanntesten Gedichtform italienischen Ursprungs

Sonette find ich sowas von beschissen,
so eng, rigide, irgendwie nicht gut.
Es macht mich ehrlich richtig krank zu wissen,
daß wer Sonette schreibt. Daß wer den Mut

hat, heute noch so'n Scheiß zu baun.
Allein der Fakt, daß so ein Typ das tut,
das kann mir echt den ganzen Tag versaun.
Ich hab da eine Sperre. Und die Wut

darüber, daß so'n abgefuckter Kacker
mich mittels seiner Wichserein blockiert,
schafft in mir Aggressionen auf den Macker.

Ich tick nicht, was das Arschloch motiviert.
Ich tick es echt nicht. Und will's echt nicht wissen.
Ich find' Sonette unheimlich beschissen.

Robert Gernhardt
azdak: Face of Klimt's Music II (Default)
posted by [personal profile] azdak at 06:32am on 30/04/2008 under
It's the last day of Poetry Month today - time to apologise to everyone who hasn't appreciated having their flist spammed with poetry, and time to post something really special. What, morbid? Me? Whatever makes you think that?

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains, --- but the best is lost.

The answers quick & keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,
They are gone. They have gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

Edna St Vincent Millay
azdak: Face of Klimt's Music II (Default)
posted by [personal profile] azdak at 07:55am on 28/04/2008 under
'Oh! Jesus Christ! I'm hit,' he said; and died.
Whether he vainly cursed or prayed indeed,
The Bullets chirped-In vain, vain, vain!
Machine-guns chuckled,-Tut-tut! Tut-tut!
And the Big Gun guffawed.

Another sighed,-'O Mother, -Mother, - Dad!'
Then smiled at nothing, childlike, being dead.
And the lofty Shrapnel-cloud
Leisurely gestured,-Fool!
And the splinters spat, and tittered.

'My Love!' one moaned. Love-languid seemed his mood,
Till slowly lowered, his whole faced kissed the mud.
And the Bayonets' long teeth grinned;
Rabbles of Shells hooted and groaned;
And the Gas hissed.

Wilfred Owen
azdak: Face of Klimt's Music II (Default)
posted by [personal profile] azdak at 07:28am on 27/04/2008 under
These hours that with gentle work did frame
The lovely gaze where every eye doth dwell,
Will play the tyrants to the very same,
And that unfair which fairly doth excel;

For never-resting time leads summer on
To hideous winter, and confounds him there;
Sap check'd with frost, and lusty leaves quite gone,
Beauty o'ersnow'd, and bareness everywhere:

Then, were not summer's distillation left,
A liquid prisoner pent in walls of glass,
Beauty's effect with beauty were bereft,
Nor it, nor no remembrance what it was.

But flowers distill'd, though they with winter meet,
Leese but their show; their substance still lives sweet.

William Shakespeare

There is an amazing translation of this - and twenty of Shakespeare's other sonnets - by Paul Celan. His translations would be astonishing under any circumstances, but Celan wrote them between 1941 and 1942 at the tender age of 22, whilst trapped in a Jewish ghetto in Romania after the arrival of the Nazis. In 1942 he was transported to a labour camp. His parents were transported to a different labour camp and did not survive the year. In his own right, rather than as a translator, he's most famous for Death Fugue.

"There is nothing on earth that can prevent a poet from writing, not even the fact that he's Jewish and German is the language of his poems." Paul Celan

Sie, die den Blick, auf dem die Blicke ruhn,
Geformt, gewirkt aus Zartestem: die Stunden -:
Sie kommen wieder, Anderes zu tun:
Was sie begründet, richten sie zugrunde.

Ist Sommer? Sommer war. Schon führt die Zeit
Den Wintern und Verfinstrungen entgegen.
Laub grünte, Saft stieg… Einstmals. Überschneit
Die Schönheit. Und Entblößtes allerwegen.

Dann, blieb der Sommer nicht als Sommers Geist
Im Glas zurück, verflüssigt und gefangen:
Das Schöne wär nicht, wäre sinnverwaist
Und unerinnert und dahingegangen.

Doch so, als Geist, gestaltlos, aufbewahrt,
West sie, die Blume, weiter, winterhart.

Here he is, aged 17.

azdak: Face of Klimt's Music II (Default)
posted by [personal profile] azdak at 09:08am on 26/04/2008 under
Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total darkness sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.

W.H. Auden
azdak: Face of Klimt's Music II (Default)
posted by [personal profile] azdak at 05:28am on 25/04/2008 under
This is technically cheating, because it's the lyrics to a song, but rules were made to be broken, and besides, it’s too brilliant to leave out. Not to mention that I am a slave to zeugma.

I am grateful to [ profile] legionseagle for pointing out that this particular literary work might offend certain fandom sensibilities. Please do not read further if you are likely to be triggered by any of the following:

dubious consent, date rape, cross-generational sex, alcohol abuse, beards

She was young, she was pure, she was new, she was nice,
She was fair, she was sweet seventeen.
He was old, he was vile and no stranger to vice,
He was base, he was bad, he was mean.
He had slyly inveigled her up to his flat
To view his collection of stamps
And he said as he hastened to put out the cat,
The wine, his cigar and the lamps:
"Have some Madeira, m'dear!
You really have nothing to fear.
I'm not trying to tempt you, that wouldn't be right;
You shouldn't drink spirits at this time of night.
Have some Madeira, m'dear!
It's so very much nicer than beer.
I don't care for sherry and cannot drink stout,
And port is a wine I can well do without.
It's simply a case of chaçun à son gout!
Have some Madeira, m'dear!"

Read more... )
azdak: Face of Klimt's Music II (Default)
posted by [personal profile] azdak at 05:50am on 24/04/2008 under
The cat went here and there
And the moon spun round like a top,
And the nearest kin of the moon,
The creeping cat, looked up.
Black Minnaloushe stared at the moon,
For, wander and wail as he would,
The pure cold light in the sky
Troubled his animal blood.
Minnaloushe runs in the grass
Lifting his delicate feet.
Do you dance, Minnaloushe, do you dance?
When two close kindred meet,
What better than call a dance?
Maybe the moon may learn,
Tired of that courtly fashion,
A new dance turn.
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
From moonlit place to place,
The sacred moon overhead
Has taken a new phase.
Does Minnaloushe know that his pupils
Will pass from change to change,
And that from round to crescent,
From crescent to round they range?
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
Alone, important and wise,
And lifts to the changing moon
His changing eyes.

azdak: Face of Klimt's Music II (Default)
posted by [personal profile] azdak at 06:24am on 23/04/2008 under
This is the kind of poetry they don't write anymore, and for good reason. But for all its enormous length, and glorification of militarism, and all sorts of other things I've come to dislike, it has some absolutely terrific bits. And it is ideal for declaiming. In fact, it should really be chanted out loud rather than read quietly to oneself (I'm sure the Bertram boys had a crack at it - in Mansfield Park, when Tom says "How many a time have we mourned over the dead body of Julius Caesar, and to be’d and not to be’d, in this very room, for [our father's] amusement? And I am sure, my name was Norval, every evening of my life through one Christmas holidays,” he would undoubtedly have mentioned "How Horatius kept the bridge" next, had he not had a particular reason for sticking to dramatic works).

Lars Porsena of Clusium
By the Nine Gods he swore
That the great house of Tarquin
Should suffer wrong no more.
By the Nine Gods he swore it,
And named a trysting day,
And bade his messengers ride forth
East and west and south and north
To summon his array.

Read more... )
azdak: Face of Klimt's Music II (Default)
posted by [personal profile] azdak at 06:24am on 22/04/2008 under
A single flow'r he sent me, since we met.
All tenderly his messenger he chose;
Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet --
One perfect rose.

I knew the language of the floweret:
`My fragile leaves,' it said, `his heart enclose'.
Love long has taken for his amulet
One perfect rose.

Why is it no one ever sent me yet
One perfect limousine, do you suppose?
Ah no, it's always just my luck to get
One perfect rose.

Dorothy Parker
azdak: Face of Klimt's Music II (Default)
posted by [personal profile] azdak at 06:37am on 21/04/2008 under
I hereby offer you the edited (extremely edited) highlights of this poem. To set the scene, since it's so very truncated: Gigadibs, a journalist, is having a kind of "working dinner" with the Catholic Bishop Blougram, in the course of which he demands to know how Blougram can be a Bishop when he doesn't believe in God. Blougram's reply is a flamboyant but lengthy monologue justifying his position, from which I have picked only my absolute favourite sections. The full version can be found here.

No more wine? then we'll push back chairs and talk.
So, you despise me, Mr. Gigadibs.
An unbelieving Pope won't do, you say.
It's like those eerie stories nurses tell,
Of how some actor on a stage played Death,
With pasteboard crown, sham orb and tinselled dart,
And called himself the monarch of the world;
Then, going in the tire-room afterward,
Because the play was done, to shift himself,
Got touched upon the sleeve familiarly,
The moment he had shut the closet door,
By Death himself. Thus God might touch a Pope
At unawares, ask what his baubles mean,
And whose part he presumed to play just now?
Best be yourself, imperial, plain and true!

Read more... )


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