Thursday 7 July 2011

A Poem - Don't worry, I didn't write it!

While rediscovering all my old teenage angsty poetry today, I also had the good fortune to come across a couple of poems that I absolutely adore, and as I've not shared any poetry lately, here's one for you!

As I Walked Out One Evening 
As I walked out one evening,
Walking down Bristol Street,
The crowds upon the pavement
Were fields of harvest wheat.

And down by the brimming river
I heard a lover sing
Under an arch of the railway:
'Love has no ending.

'I'll love you, dear, I'll love you
Till China and Africa meet,
And the river jumps over the mountain
And the salmon sing in the street,

'I'll love you till the ocean
Is folded and hung up to dry
And the seven stars go squawking
Like geese about the sky.

'The years shall run like rabbits,
For in my arms I hold
The Flower of the Ages,
And the first love of the world.'

But all the clocks in the city
Began to whirr and chime:
'O let not Time deceive you,
You cannot conquer Time.

'In the burrows of the Nightmare
Where Justice naked is,
Time watches from the shadow
And coughs when you would kiss.

'In headaches and in worry
Vaguely life leaks away,
And Time will have his fancy
To-morrow or to-day.

'Into many a green valley
Drifts the appalling snow;
Time breaks the threaded dances
And the diver's brilliant bow.

'O plunge your hands in water,
Plunge them in up to the wrist;
Stare, stare in the basin
And wonder what you've missed.

'The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
The desert sighs in the bed,
And the crack in the tea-cup opens
A lane to the land of the dead.

'Where the beggars raffle the banknotes
And the Giant is enchanting to Jack,
And the Lily-white Boy is a Roarer,
And Jill goes down on her back.

'O look, look in the mirror?
O look in your distress:
Life remains a blessing
Although you cannot bless.

'O stand, stand at the window
As the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbour
With your crooked heart.'

It was late, late in the evening,
The lovers they were gone;
The clocks had ceased their chiming,
And the deep river ran on.
W.H Auden

Auden is actually the poet who introduced me to the beauty of poetry, and so I have much to be thankful to him for. It was his poem Funeral Blues in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral that made me want to read poetry (so I guess I also owe some thanks to John Hannah and his beautiful voice), enabling me to realise that I actually have a great fondness for this often overlooked genre. Admittedly, I don't read anywhere near as much poetry as I should, and since graduating, hardly at all, and I feel bad about that. There are certain passages in poetry that are just so perfectly worded that I end up sitting and thinking about three or four lines for an hour at a time - the fifth stanza of this poem is a good example of that. There's very little that makes me feel as good as really well formed poetry does. Geeky, probably, but true. It's also (interestingly, I think) about the only time I don't make vomit noises at sentiments of love. Generally, I'm really not into the whole over the top 'I love you so much I can't live without you, you are my entire life' kind of expression. Those kind of feelings, I'd rather keep private, but when it comes to poets putting that kind of thing into (gorgeous) words, I just love it!

I'm hoping to feature more of my favourite poems, both old and new, on the blog as I get back into reading poetry again, wish me luck!

How do other people feel about poetry? Got any favourites?

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