A machine for poets

Musing on Oulipo I propose the following attack on poetry –

TITAN! to whose immortal eyes
The sufferings of mort lity,
Seen in their s d re lity,
Were not s things th t gods despise;
Wh t w s thy pity’s recompense?
sil nt suff ring, nd int ns ;
Th ro k, th vultur , nd th h in,
ll th t th proud n f l o p in,
T ony t y o not s ow,
T suffo t n s ns o wo ,
W sp ks ut n ts lon l n ss,
n t n s lous l st t s y
S ou v st n r, nor w s
Unt ts vo s o ss.

Hello World – An epic poem in 4500 stanzas

Hello new followers, lured here by the power of poetry.

I fear I may disappoint you as I do not post that many poems. For obvious reasons 🙂

Like most people my first real encounter with poetry was at school. The classics seemed shrouded in an impermeable patina of age and respectability.  They felt like punishment, not illumination.

But there were some poems that were different – the syllabus included an Ogden Nash poem, e.e. cummings, Randall Jarrell.

These poems were chewable, they filled the mouth and challenged the mind.

Then I discovered Mayakovsky and everything changed. Poetry was no longer an abstract concept, locked on the page, it was an active engagement with the world.

Alphaville introduced me to Paul Eluard. A girlfriend to Martin Espada. Chance to Fernando Pessoa. My past to Yeats and Heaney. Through Mayakovsky to Akhmatova to Mandelstam.

Random browsing of Penguin classics brought me Li Bao and Tu Fu. Random reading of NYRB and LRB brought me Weldon Kees and Amy Clampitt.

Poetry went from being something trapped behind a glaze of worthiness to being something core, an essential thing.

That is the thing about poetry. It sneaks up on you, taking no prisoners.

Image

What’s my language?

Words spill over my tongue,
Dart from between my teeth

 

Dropped ‘aitches and Yiddish mix with
South Yorkshire “Baths” and “Bizaaaaaare”.

 

My shibboleth is not “Broagh” but “Three”.

 

My Spanish has a French accent,
If only my French did …

 

My language is words but my language is hands,
Hands twisting and pushing to shift reality.

 

I know the meaning of words,
I know the tocsin of words.

 

So tell me, what’s my language?