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Thread: Reading Poetry

  1. How is that not dark?

  2. I am having a tough time resisting reading some darkness into it, too. But surely it's not wholly dark. The ambiguity and conflict is what makes it good. It's not "you're an alcoholic dick head, pops."

    I feel like this is one of those poems whose whole is contained in the seed of each line. Lines like "You beat time on my head" say everything the poem as a whole says: the violence, love, manual labor, addiction, reconciliation, memory, music: it's all in that one line.

    If you follow the meter established by every line that comes before it, the beat falls on "beat" and not "time": you beat time on my head. But if you just say the phrase "beat time" aloud, the emphasis (for me, anyway) seems to naturally fall on "time" and not "beat": he beat time on my head. So you beat time on my head, but also beat time on my head and beat time on my head. Those are all different things, each of which lends its meaning while deferring to the next.

    The line doesn't quite know where to put its own beat; it means simultaneous and sometimes conflicting things and can't quite keep a clear three-beat rhythm. What could be more appropriate in a poem about a drunk waltz?

    It's a really good line.

    I don't remember ever reading this before, but it seems familiar. I don't know if that's because I actually read it at some point or if I haven't and the feeling of familiarity is evidence of just how effective the poem is at working like memory.
    Last edited by A Robot Bit Me; 11 Oct 2016 at 06:14 PM.

  3. I always read the father as a blue collar type of guy (like a construction worker) who likely stopped off after work for a few drinks with the boys, and then came home and put his kid to bed. He's a little buzzed and happy, so the waltz isn't exactly graceful. I see the kid enjoying it, even thought it wasn't a smooth ride. Kids like to be swung around and stuff. I thought it was kind of touching.

  4. I read it same as you Melf. There is clearly dark things going on, but though the child sees it and shares it with us he doesn't process it the way an adult would or does.
    This is how his dad is and he loves him for it. He doesn't yet know he's supposed to frown on such behavior. They rough up the house to mother's chagrin (and show me a boy that doesn't love doing things with dad that simultaneously upsets mom but she can't do anything about it because in the traditional home mom may rule during the day but when dad's home he trumps all) and though it was scary it was also exhilarating. This was father and son bonding time.

  5. Totally. There is love there: dad loves his kid and kid loves his dad, and they are having fun together. The booze is part of the memory and the poem refuses to erase it or resolve itself into "my dad was an abusive jerk" or "my dad was a flawless saint," which is what a bad poem about a dead dad who liked the sauce would have done.

    But there is an undertone of a violence happening outside of the poem for sure. A hand with just one knuckle "battered" sounds like one that punched something. Or not. The poem doesn't refuse the possibility that it's a manual labor-related injury, but at the same time, conspicuously refuses a less violently resonant adjective and a less particular injury. Whether punching or working actually battered the knuckle is beside the point; the point is the suggestion of both.

    Similarly, the dad could have "kept time on my head," but doesn't -- he "beat time on my head."
    Last edited by A Robot Bit Me; 12 Oct 2016 at 11:33 AM.

  6. I love words.
    By using beat instead of kept the poet not only applied layers upon layers of meaning but also tied it into the musicality of the poem and its very structure.

  7. And that's just one word of one line! That thing is loaded.

    This is less so. It's what it sounds like: a 17th century member of the English court yelling at his penis. I had a rad teacher who assigned this poem in CC to separate definitively who was reading and who wasn't. Her thought was this: if you didn't laugh or smirk when she said "The Imperfect Enjoyment" the class after it was assigned, she knew you hadn't read it. I think it worked.

    This guy was a genius who clowned on/humped everyone and died of venereal disease at 33. I know it's a long one, but I looked for lines I could clip and just couldn't do it. It's worth it.

    "The Imperfect Enjoyment," John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester

    Naked she lay, clasped in my longing arms,
    I filled with love, and she all over charms;
    Both equally inspired with eager fire,
    Melting through kindness, flaming in desire.
    With arms, legs, lips close clinging to embrace,
    She clips me to her breast, and sucks me to her face.
    Her nimble tongue, love’s lesser lightning, played
    Within my mouth, and to my thoughts conveyed
    Swift orders that I should prepare to throw
    The all-dissolving thunderbolt below.
    My fluttering soul, sprung with the pointed kiss,
    Hangs hovering o’er her balmy brinks of bliss.
    But whilst her busy hand would guide that part
    Which should convey my soul up to her heart,
    In liquid raptures I dissolve all o’er,
    Melt into sperm, and spend at every pore.
    A touch from any part of her had done ’t:
    Her hand, her foot, her very look's a cunt.

    Smiling, she chides in a kind murmuring noise,
    And from her body wipes the clammy joys,
    When, with a thousand kisses wandering o’er
    My panting bosom, “Is there then no more?”
    She cries. “All this to love and rapture’s due;
    Must we not pay a debt to pleasure too?”

    But I, the most forlorn, lost man alive,
    To show my wished obedience vainly strive:
    I sigh, alas! and kiss, but cannot swive.
    Eager desires confound my first intent,
    Succeeding shame does more success prevent,
    And rage at last confirms me impotent.
    Ev’n her fair hand, which might bid heat return
    To frozen age, and make cold hermits burn,
    Applied to my dear cinder, warms no more
    Than fire to ashes could past flames restore.
    Trembling, confused, despairing, limber, dry,
    A wishing, weak, unmoving lump I lie.
    This dart of love, whose piercing point, oft tried,
    With virgin blood ten thousand maids has dyed,
    Which nature still directed with such art
    That it through every cunt reached every heart—
    Stiffly resolved, ’twould carelessly invade
    Woman or man, nor ought its fury stayed:
    Where’er it pierced, a cunt it found or made—
    Now languid lies in this unhappy hour,
    Shrunk up and sapless like a withered flower.

    Thou treacherous, base deserter of my flame,
    False to my passion, fatal to my fame,
    Through what mistaken magic dost thou prove
    So true to lewdness, so untrue to love?
    What oyster-cinder-beggar-common whore
    Didst thou e’er fail in all thy life before?
    When vice, disease, and scandal lead the way,
    With what officious haste doest thou obey!
    Like a rude, roaring hector in the streets
    Who scuffles, cuffs, and justles all he meets,
    But if his king or country claim his aid,
    The rakehell villain shrinks and hides his head;
    Ev’n so thy brutal valor is displayed,
    Breaks every stew, does each small whore invade,
    But when great Love the onset does command,
    Base recreant to thy prince, thou dar’st not stand.
    Worst part of me, and henceforth hated most,
    Through all the town a common fucking post,
    On whom each whore relieves her tingling cunt
    As hogs on gates do rub themselves and grunt,
    Mayst thou to ravenous chancres be a prey,
    Or in consuming weepings waste away;
    May strangury and stone thy days attend;
    May’st thou never piss, who didst refuse to spend
    When all my joys did on false thee depend.

    And may ten thousand abler pricks agree
    To do the wronged Corinna right for thee.


    it's actually kind of sweet in a way! Love broke his dick.
    Last edited by A Robot Bit Me; 13 Oct 2016 at 12:04 AM.

  8. Ugh, that thing is mangled on Tapatalk. Oh well.

  9. Check out this embittered beta:

    "When You Are Old," W.B. Yeats

    When you are old and gray and full of sleep
    And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
    And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
    Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

    How many loved your moments of glad grace,
    And loved your beauty with love false or true;
    But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
    And loved the sorrows of your changing face.

    And bending down beside the glowing bars,
    Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled
    And paced upon the mountains overhead,
    And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.


    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. Wow, that was absolutely a poem about a dad beating his kid. How is everyone not seeing that? This is like a rorschach test of abuse/care, lol. I mean, I guess I can see it either way, but that seems absolutely creepy and nostalgic and terrifying to me.

    On another track, Allen Ginsberg has always been one of my favorite poets. His raw modernity always got to me.

    Haiku (Never Published.)
    Drinking my tea
    Without sugar-
    No difference.

    The sparrow shits
    upside down
    --ah! my brain & eggs

    Mayan head in a
    Pacific driftwood bole
    --Someday I'll live in N.Y.

    Looking over my shoulder
    my behind was covered
    with cherry blossoms.

    Winter Haiku
    I didn't know the names
    of the flowers--now
    my garden is gone.

    I slapped the mosquito
    and missed.
    What made me do that?

    Reading haiku
    I am unhappy,
    longing for the Nameless.

    A frog floating
    in the drugstore jar:
    summer rain on grey pavements.
    (after Shiki)

    On the porch
    in my shorts;
    auto lights in the rain.

    Another year
    has past-the world
    is no different.

    The first thing I looked for
    in my old garden was
    The Cherry Tree.

    My old desk:
    the first thing I looked for
    in my house.

    My early journal:
    the first thing I found
    in my old desk.

    My mother's ghost:
    the first thing I found
    in the living room.

    I quit shaving
    but the eyes that glanced at me
    remained in the mirror.

    The madman
    emerges from the movies:
    the street at lunchtime.

    Cities of boys
    are in their graves,
    and in this town...

    Lying on my side
    in the void:
    the breath in my nose.

    On the fifteenth floor
    the dog chews a bone-
    Screech of taxicabs.

    A hardon in New York,
    a boy
    in San Fransisco.

    The moon over the roof,
    worms in the garden.
    I rent this house.

    [Haiku composed in the backyard cottage at 1624
    Milvia Street, Berkeley 1955, while reading R.H.
    Blyth's 4 volumes, "Haiku."]
    Quote Originally Posted by dechecho View Post
    Where am I anyway? - I only registered on here to post on this thread


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