Welcome to this week's Literary Blog Hop hosted by The Blue Bookcase!
This blog hop is open to blogs that primarily feature book reviews of literary fiction, classic literature, and general literary discussion.
This week's question comes from Gary at Parrish Lantern:
What is your favourite poem and why?
Oh dear, me & my big mouth (That’s me!), when I suggested this, it seemed such a fantastic idea, I mean, my favourite book of poems is Crow, by Ted Hughes, which I’ve written about before, this is such a powerfully cohesive book, rampaging across the world of myth, classic literature & anything else Crow can rip open. Crow is an embodiment of vitality that challenges the supremacy of Death. Shortly after Ted Hughes's wife, Sylvia Plath, committed suicide in 1963, the American artist Leonard Baskin, in an attempt to engage the poet, asked Hughes to write poems to accompany a series of sketches. The sketches were of crows. Hughes, however, did not begin writing the poems until the mid-1960s.
This makes it hard to pick a singular poem, but for those ladies at The blue bookcase I tried.
Crow realized God Loved him--
otherwise he would have dropped dead.
so that was proved.
Crow reclining, Marvelling, on his heartbeat.
And he realized that god spoke crow--
Just existing was His revelation.
Loved the stones & spoke stone
they seemed to exist too.
and what spoke that strange silence
After his clamour of caws faded?
And what loved the shot-pellets
That dribbled from those strung-up mummifying crows?
what spoke the silence of lead?
Crow realized there were two Gods----
One of them much bigger than the other
Loving his enemies
And having all the weapons. Ted Hughes.
But as I said this is a collection, a cohesive whole, although the poems do stand up on their own, it works best, as a series of story-poems. So what is my favourite poem? I though about Octavio Paz something like….
Last night an ash-tree
was about to say--
but it didn’t . Octavio Paz
which I love, but I’ve absolutely no reason why.
His works include the poetry collections ¿Águila o sol? (1951), La Estación Violenta, (1956), Piedra de Sol (1957), and in English translation the most prominent include two volumes which include most of Paz in English: Early Poems: 1935–1955 (tr. 1974), and Collected Poems, 1957–1987 (1987). Many of these volumes have been edited and translated by Eliot Weinberger , who is Paz's principal translator into American English.
Or perhaps one from a collection of love poems by Brian Patten. This book of poetry came to me, around the time I met my wife, I’d been sworn off relationships for quite a while (Bad breakup, Kids etc.), thinking I was being honest, but, in hindsight quite callous. When meeting anyone new I’d make it clear that this was fun, nothing more & could be nothing more, the woman who is now my wife didn’t just change that, she created a reality, where fun, breathing, her ,were so entwined nothing else mattered.
Disgusted by the weight of his own sorrow
I saw one evening
a stranger open wide his coat
and taking out from under it his heart
throw the thing away.
Away over the railings, out across the parks,
across the lakes and the grasses,
as if after much confusion
he had decided not to care but
to move on lightly, carelessly,
amazed and with a grin upon his face
that seemed to say, Absurd
how easy that was done. Brian Patten
Patten's style is generally lyrical and his subjects are primarily love and relationships. His 1981 collection Love Poems draws together his best work in this area from the previous sixteen years. Tribune has described Patten as "the master poet of his genre, taking on the intricacies of love and beauty with a totally new approach, new for him and for contemporary poetry." Charles Causley once commented that he "reveals a sensibility profoundly aware of the ever-present possibility of the magical and the miraculous, as well as of the granite-hard realities. These are undiluted poems, beautifully calculated, informed - even in their darkest moments - with courage and hope." Wikipedia
Then finally a poem from a collection by Lawrence Durrell
Love on a leave-of-absence came
Unmoored the silence like a barge,
set free to float on lagging webs
The swan-black wise unhindered night.
(Bitter and pathless were the ways
of sleep to which such beauty led.) Lawrence Durrell
Durrell's poetry has been overshadowed by his novels. Peter Porter, in his introduction to a Selected Poems, writes of Durrell as a poet: "one of the best of the past hundred years. And one of the most enjoyable." He goes on to describe Durrell's poetry as "always beautiful as sound and syntax. Its innovation lies in its refusal to be more high-minded than the things it records, together with its handling of the whole lexicon of language." Wikipedia
When I was about 16 ish, I wanted to write a novel in the style of this authors “Black Book”, I tried & with the assistance of cognac (this was vital to get that decadent real life feel), I managed about 40 pages before it died, I felt sick & I realised through a befuddled pain cloaked miasma, that this was harder than it looked . Despite that, this collection of poems, & Niki in particular, has remained with me, in fact it’s one of a few poems I can quote without even thinking about it. So by this process of elimination my favourite poem is………………
one of the above,
thanks again to the fine ladies at The Blue Bookcase & am waiting with anticipation, to see what they spring next.
The Parrish Lantern.