Runboard.com
You're welcome.
Community logo






runboard.com       Sign up (learn about it) | Sign in (lost password?)

 
Bernie01 Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Reply | Quote
Ulysses Sailing in London


Revision #1


Ulysses Sailing in London
________________________________________

I pour out my cantos, my folio,
my patched story; dim mumble
in the blackened confessional.
Love's rough hour, luck runs thin.

The horse park of Baroness
Thatcher, dew wetting shoes
and cuffs; June for the cypress
and yews, a flock of heavy birds
moving in long queues.

The Times opened by the coffee
canteen, my nature to burn love
to the ground.

Home alone, evening dress or carpet
slippers, in the midst of marriage,
caring for a parent; my gloved
interior I cannot make-out in
the water closet mirror.

Street lights burn in a trance.
a woman’s slip on a clothesline
in the East End docks;

the smell of our Thames River
falls like black opium on a bus
of Greek tourists.

The first hour of an all-day rain,
wind dying; the shapeless night
a divine animal in shallow water.






Original:

I pour out my cantos, my folio,
my patched story; dim mumble
in the blackened confessional.
Love's rough hour, luck run thin.

Baroness Thatcher’s horse park,
dew on the early morning grass
wetting shoes and soiled cuffs.

The Times opened by the coffee
canteen, my nature to burn love
to the ground;

in the perfumed garden, white
statues I pass have your scent.

June for the cypress and yews,
grapes, the green skinned olive;
love’s small vessel.

Home by myself, evening dress
or carpet slippers, in the midst
of marriage, caring for a parent
my rubbed interior I cannot see
in the darkling mirror of a water
closet.

Pools of street light coming on;
lamps burn all night in a trance;
a woman’s slip on a clothesline
in the East End docks;

the smell of the Thames River
falls like black opium on a bus
of Greek tourists.

The first hour of an all-day rain,
wind dying; the shapeless night
a divine animal in shallow water.



























Last edited by Bernie01, May/16/2013, 12:24 am


---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
Apr/19/2013, 4:55 pm Link to this post Send Email to Bernie01   Send PM to Bernie01 Blog
 
Terreson Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Reply | Quote
Re: Ulysses Sailing in London


One thing I always enjoy about your poems is your grounding in the classics and in the canon of poetry. Cantos, for example, = Ezra. And so forth. Ghost of Eliot also not far behind. Get a glimpse of his etherized London atmosphere.

Tone here comes across as elegiac. Affectingly so. Excellent opening stanza. Reads like a first salvo, especially its last line. Third stanza's confession also working for me. What follows becomes image rich, letting the images themselves tell story and carry tone. Last stanza, for me at least, evoking sacrifice made for the sake of some augury. If that is your intention, I think it is key to the poem. An augury, a sign, perhaps something portending a change in character's fortunes. Yes. This last is what speaks to me the most. Looking for some change in a pattern of bad luck. That is how I read intention and motive. But it doen't matter how the poem comes across for me personally. It stands on its own suggestible legs.

Tere
Apr/21/2013, 1:40 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Bernie01 Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Reply | Quote
Re: Ulysses Sailing in London


T---


An augury, a sign, perhaps something portending a change in character's fortunes.

yes, i love that. i hope it is in this poem, most of my work.

classics. remembering our friends gone before who gave so much pleasure and who still provide both comfort and guidance.

i just completed a poem in which the narrator places a lighthearted call to his daughter; he hears her office mates behind and around her, she seems to quiet them by raising a ballerina like arm above her head, the narrator imagines that's what she has done...silence descends and they talk.

now someone wrote to me saying why the arm? i said because she studied ballet all those early years and the raised hand is natural to her. i added, you know, it also trips a thought about the women in Prufrock with lightly downed arms...in the last verse, the narrator's companion offers hot cocoa while taking a first position, plié;

another reminder, to me, of Prufrock---the taking of tea cake and ices...

he thought that was silly.

never intentional, but i think such references, distant echoes, help make a poem more resonant if it has something to be resonant about; using a phrase others know, can also be important to the reader's satisfaction...not a club of inside readers with their own tie and special handshake, but an emerging sensibility.

thanks for your wonderful comments.

bernie





Last edited by Bernie01, Apr/21/2013, 8:52 pm


---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
Apr/21/2013, 8:23 pm Link to this post Send Email to Bernie01   Send PM to Bernie01 Blog
 
Christine98 Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Reply | Quote
Re: Ulysses Sailing in London


hi bernie,

This has the feel of something taking shape, becoming manifest: "dim mumble/in the blackened confessional...my rubbed interior I
cannot see/in the darkling mirror of a water/closet...the shapeless night/a divine animal in shallow water."

Yeah, something submerged but insistent and palpable. Reminds me of the old-fashioned way of developing photographs...well, just some impressions. Nicely done bernie, I like it,

Chris

Last edited by Christine98, Apr/23/2013, 2:03 pm
Apr/23/2013, 2:02 pm Link to this post Send Email to Christine98   Send PM to Christine98
 
Bernie01 Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Reply | Quote
Re: Ulysses Sailing in London


Chris---

love that reminder about moving a sheet of film from one developing bath to another---finally the fully emerged image.

old school.

thanks so much for our comment.

bernie

---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
Apr/23/2013, 6:29 pm Link to this post Send Email to Bernie01   Send PM to Bernie01 Blog
 
Zakzzz5 Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Reply | Quote
Re: Ulysses Sailing in London


Bernie,

A lot of atmosphere here: the dew, the lamps burning. I'm reminded of how Eliot embraced the English literary life and world. In fact, there is something of that world in this poem. Too many great images to list here, but a few I love: pools of street light coming on, the first hour of an all-day rain. Many many more grand images. The poem works one-hundred percent in that regard. But (always the "but") it leaves me wondering why you are writing about another era? I guess the answer is "Why not?" After all, there is the great African writer,Chinua Achebe, who wrote about a generation or two before his time.

There are some images that escape me, like the final one, but that is my own problem (fatigue). Deserves two or three more readings. Zak

quote:

Bernie01 wrote:

I pour out my cantos, my folio,
my patched story; dim mumble
in the blackened confessional.
Love's rough hour, luck run thin.

Baroness Thatcher’s horse park,
dew on the early morning grass
wetting shoes and soiled cuffs.

The Times opened by the coffee
canteen, my nature to burn love
to the ground;

in the perfumed garden, white
statues I pass have your scent.

June for the cypress and yews,
grapes, the green skinned olive;
love’s small vessel.

Home by myself, evening dress
or carpet slippers, in the midst
of marriage, caring for a parent
my rubbed interior I cannot see
in the darkling mirror of a water
closet.

Pools of street light coming on;
lamps burn all night in a trance;
a woman’s slip on a clothesline
in the East End docks;

the smell of the Thames River
falls like black opium on a bus
of Greek tourists.

The first hour of an all-day rain,
wind dying; the shapeless night
a divine animal in shallow water.






























Last edited by Zakzzz5, Apr/24/2013, 2:37 pm
Apr/24/2013, 2:36 pm Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
Bernie01 Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Reply | Quote
Re: Ulysses Sailing in London


Z---

it leaves me wondering why you are writing about another era?

the reference to Greek tourists, black tar heroin, the park named for the very recent Prime Minister, Mrs. Thatcher might qualify the poem as contemporary, yes?

but you are right. it is not. oddly, i was not thinking Prufrock/Wasteland, even Virginia Woolf, but a British WW II era novelist---Elizabeth Bowen.

this comment from a review of the book:



Place and time are palpable forces in a novel which traffics in rain and sunlight, in the ‘tired physical smell’ of London, in the total darkness of the Blackout and in the vivid contrasts between night-time bombing and the light-hearted relief people felt during daylight hours, as the substance and temper of its characters’ emotional life. Anxiety, suspicion, fear envelop the lovers at the centre of the novel, who are curiously sketchy, despite their moments in bed and their elegant dressing-gowns. Yet they are also believably happy together, in love as neither has ever been before and unexpectedly at ease with one another. So that London is for both of them a place of nightmare, darkness and danger, but also the dodgy home and encourager of love.‘War time, with its makeshifts, shelvings, deferring, could not have been kinder to romantic love.’



a quote from the novel, near the end:



Sometimes Stella was fortunate in being able to see through railings or over fences not only yards and gardens but right into back windows of homes. Prominent sculleries with bent-forward heads of women back at the sink again after Sunday dinner, and recessive living-rooms in which the breadwinner armchair-slumbered, legs out, hands across the eyes, displayed themselves; upstairs, at looking-glasses in windows, girls got themselves ready to go out with boys. One old unneeded woman, relegated all day to where she slept and would die, prised apart lace curtains to take a look at the train, as though calculating whether it might not be possible to escape this time.



poetry by any other name, yes?


To see through railings or over fences
not only yards and gardens
but into back windows of homes;

sculleries with bent-forward heads
of women at the sink, Sunday dinner,
recessive living-rooms in which
the breadwinner armchair-slumbered,
legs out, hands across the eyes,
displayed themselves; upstairs,
at looking-glasses in windows, girls
got ready to go out with boys.

One old unneeded woman, relegated
all day to where she slept
and would die,

pried apart lace curtains to take
a look at the train, as though
calculating whether it might
be possible to escape this time.





The opening, Chapter Five, London in the autumn of 1940, “that heady autumn of the first London air raids.”


Out of the mists of morning charred by the smoke from ruins each day rose to a height of unmisty glitter; between the last of sunset and first note of the siren the darkening glassy tenseness of evening was drawn fine...

The diversion of traffic out of blocked main thoroughfares into byways, the unstopping phantasmagoric streaming of lorries, buses, vans, drays, taxis past modest windows and quiet doorways set up an overpowering sense of London’s organic power–somewhere here was a source from which heavy motion boiled, surged and, not to be damned up, forced itself new channels…

The very soil of the city at this time seemed to generate more strength:
in parks the outsize dahlias, velvet and wine, and the trees on which each vein in each yellow leaf stretched out perfect against the sun blazoned out the idea of the finest hour. Parks suddenly closed because of time-bombs–drifts of leaves in the empty deck chairs, birds afloat on the dazzlingly silent lakes–presented, between the railings which girt them, mirages of repose. All this was beheld each morning more light-headedly: sleeplessness disembodied the lookers-on…



so, why another era? all of that to say, i don't know. sorry.

but thanks for looking so deeply into the poem.

bernie




Last edited by Bernie01, Apr/25/2013, 1:35 pm


---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
Apr/25/2013, 12:35 pm Link to this post Send Email to Bernie01   Send PM to Bernie01 Blog
 
Zakzzz5 Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Reply | Quote
Re: Ulysses Sailing in London


Bernie, perhaps the examples you give are contemporary, but the whole feel of the novel, the vocabulary, rings to me of another time. An earlier time. True that in London, you can be driving past white statues and lamps burning all night. Contemporary people passing through things built in another time. Overlaid history. Zak

Bernie01 wrote:
Z---

it leaves me wondering why you are writing about another era?

the reference to Greek tourists, black tar heroin, the park named for the very recent Prime Minister, Mrs. Thatcher might qualify the poem as contemporary, yes?

but you are right. it is not.
Apr/25/2013, 1:10 pm Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
Bernie01 Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Reply | Quote
Re: Ulysses Sailing in London


Z---

i was agreeing with you---another era.

wonder what you thought of her "poem." prose from her novel, the only change i made was to add linebreaks.

thanks again for commenting.

bernie

---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
Apr/25/2013, 9:12 pm Link to this post Send Email to Bernie01   Send PM to Bernie01 Blog
 
Katlin Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Reply | Quote
Re: Ulysses Sailing in London


Hey Bernie,

I came across an article about Henry James this week and thought of you:

http://poems.com/special_features/prose/essay_logan_henryjames.php

I haven't actually read the article, so I can't recommend it one way or another but thought I'd post the link in case it might speak to you.

PS I will be back to critique your poem!
Apr/27/2013, 12:23 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
Katlin Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Reply | Quote
Re: Ulysses Sailing in London


Hi Bernie,

I find this poem to be full of longing but not sentimentally so. The N is too much of a realist, for one thing. There are hints and suggestions in the poem, unanswered questions that I find effective in setting the mood, a tone. The images are precise, but the observations about love and an ailing parent, for example, open up the poem and counterbalance that precision, give it something less tangilbe to reverberate against. Hard to explain what I mean, but I think the combination here works well to create the sense, in medias res, of one life being fullly lived, though not perhaps in quite the way N would have wished.

Last edited by Katlin, May/14/2013, 2:27 pm
May/7/2013, 2:15 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
Bernie01 Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Reply | Quote
Re: Ulysses Sailing in London


K---

once again, greatly enjoyed your comment:


I find this poem to be full of longing but not sentimentally...

what you describe, better than i could myself about my own poem, helps clarify in my mind what a reader might see here---a reader with your red glasses and 20/20 vision.


bernie

---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
May/14/2013, 12:55 pm Link to this post Send Email to Bernie01   Send PM to Bernie01 Blog
 


Add a reply





You are not logged in (login)