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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 188
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 8:58 pm    Post subject: Moderation Reply with quote

Some time during the twentieth century, the American poet Wallace Stevens gave the world “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a blackbird”.

In the past week on this forum Peter Blumsom has followed up earlier poems involving (among other participants)

a friend with a raven on his nose;
a wasp that landed on a Plotinus,
and the elements - a cat, a wall, a bird, a shed, two spiders, a driveway, a skip - that provide an indication we are not alone,

with the tale of one bird that has shape but no form and of a second bird having both.

As the American poet Wallace Stevens wrote,

“When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles”.


May we all enlarge our circles.


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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 188
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:15 pm    Post subject: Listening Reply with quote

One means of widening our circle of understanding is by listening to the radio.

This afternoon on Radio 4 (Ramblings - to be repeated early Saturday morning, and also available via iPlayer) former poet laureate Andrew Motion revisited the village in Essex where he was raised and where he was first inspired to write poetry.

The programme is well worth a listen, particularly when he references John Keats in his desire for “doing good in the world” and speaks of his aims of finding a sense of balance in life and in work, and of making things of lasting beauty.

And it’s also worthwhile taking a listen to the poets reading on the Poetry Archive (www.poetryarchive.org) that Sir Andrew was instrumental in creating while he was poet laureate.

“The ear is the best reader”, to quote Robert Frost.


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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 188
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 11:46 am    Post subject: Emotion, Thought, Words Reply with quote

Each of these forums - Plato, Poetry, Economics - carries a quotation on the shared home page, immediately below where the user (there must be a better word!) clicks to open up the required forum.

For Plato, there is the Socratic reminder that “an unexamined life is not worth living”, and for Economics, a Henry George statement linking thought, light and power.

For Poetry (have you noticed?) there is Robert Frost: “Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words”.

As winter gives way to spring, it may be timely to quote a brief, moving poem by Frost’s friend, Edward Thomas:

Thaw

Over the land freckled with snow half-thawed

The speculating rooks at their nests cawed

And saw from elm-tops, delicate as flowers of grass,

What we below could not see, Winter pass.


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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 188
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 12:09 pm    Post subject: Hope Reply with quote

Continuing with the theme of spring, this is a sonnet by Samuel Taylor Coleridge:


Work without Hope

All Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair—
The bees are stirring—birds are on the wing—
And Winter slumbering in the open air,
Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring!
And I the while, the sole unbusy thing,
Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing.

Yet well I ken the banks where amaranths blow,
Have traced the fount whence streams of nectar flow.
Bloom, O ye amaranths! bloom for whom ye may,
For me ye bloom not! Glide, rich streams, away!
With lips unbrightened, wreathless brow, I stroll:
And would you learn the spells that drowse my soul?
Work without Hope draws nectar in a sieve,
And Hope without an object cannot live.



Anyone for Hope?


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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 188
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:42 am    Post subject: Tiny Leaf Reply with quote

“Winter slumbering in the open air
Wears on his smiling face a dream of spring”

to quote both the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (see above) and the actor Bill Murray (lines repeated in “Groundhog Day”, the film set again and again on February 2nd).

Time does move on, even if this week has appeared in England to have seen a return to winter. It is April, the time written of in the opening stanza of Robert Browning’s

Home Thoughts from Abroad

Oh, to be in England now that April ’s there
And whoever wakes in England sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England - now!


We are in the season of tiny leaf and endless possibility.


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Alan Edward Roberts



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Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:53 am    Post subject: Baptism Reply with quote

In the parish church of Stratford upon Avon 448 years ago today a new-born child was baptised William.

The rest is English literature, for if it is true - as Alfred North Whitehead remarked - that western philosophy is a set of footnotes to Plato, then it can equally well be asserted that the development of English drama, poetry and prose since that day and that life has been a set of commentaries on and conversations with the works of William Shakespeare.

To misquote Samuel Johnson, when a human being is tired of Shakespeare, they are tired of life.


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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 188
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 9:59 am    Post subject: Discovering Poetry Reply with quote

Poetry needs to be spoken and it needs to be heard.

Within the setting of the School of Economic Science, London, there is an opportunity to Discover Poetry as part of a group for nine Saturday mornings over the summer term - from 11.15am to 12.30pm at Mandeville Place, with the first session on May 12th.

( http://www.schooleconomicscience.org/courses/other-studies/poetry/ ).

The enrolment fees (£45 / £30 for concession or student) allow for students to combine Poetry with one of the other study groups that take place earlier (9.30am to 10.45am) on Saturdays.

As part of the Discovery we study (and create) poetry in a live and lively setting, involving speech, listening and a shared love of language.

“True ease in writing comes from art, not chance,
as those move easiest who have learned to dance.”


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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 188
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 2:29 pm    Post subject: Second call Reply with quote

Poetry still needs to be spoken; poetry still needs to be heard; the first session of Discovering Poetry is still this coming Saturday (May 12th) from 11.15am to 12.30pm.

In the meantime, if April is the month in which England remembers its national bard, then May is a month that is readily associated with another English poet, whom Lord Byron considered “the most faultless of poets, and almost of men” and “the great moral poet of all times, of all climes, of all feelings, and of all stages of existence”.

The Victorian critic John Ruskin said of the same poet, who was born on May 21st 1688 and died on May 30th 1744 that he was “the most perfect representative we have, since Chaucer, of the true English mind”; not everyone agrees.

More on the same topic next week.


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Alan Edward Roberts



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Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 9:32 am    Post subject: Happy Birthday Mr Pope Reply with quote

“Never elated while one man’s oppressed,
Never dejected, while another’s blessed”.


John Ruskin described these two lines by Alexander Pope as “the most complete, the most concise, and the most lofty expression of moral temper existing in English words”.

They are taken from Epistle IV (lines 323-4) of An Essay on Man, a four-part poem first published anonymously and epistle-by-epistle between February 1733 and January 1734.

Pope’s first book of poetry, An Essay on Criticism, had also initially been published anonymously - on May 15th, 1711, when the poet was aged 22.

The lines ...

“True ease in writing comes from art, not chance,
as those move easiest who have learned to dance”

... quoted in this blog two weeks ago, are taken from that work, as is the phrase “Hope springs eternal”.

May 21st marks Pope’s birthday.


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Alan Edward Roberts



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Posts: 188
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 7:24 am    Post subject: Emily Dickinson Reply with quote

May 15th, noted last week as the publication day of Essay on Criticism, also marks the death (in 1886) of Emily Dickinson.
For those who know of her, and those who do not, here is one of her most delightfully playful poems ...

[260]

I'm Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there's a pair of us?
Don't tell! they'd advertise – you know!

How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog – 
To tell one's name – the livelong June – 
To an admiring Bog!

and here another ...

[466]

I dwell in Possibility –
A fairer House than Prose –
More numerous of Windows –
Superior – for Doors –

Of Chambers as the Cedars –
Impregnable of eye –
And for an everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky –

Of Visitors – the fairest –
For Occupation – This –
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise –



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Alan Edward Roberts



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Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 7:17 am    Post subject: Vera Korfioti Reply with quote

Two paradisal poems: other work by the same writer can by found under the thread “Vera Korfioti - poems from Cyprus” ...

A Moment in Time

Coming out of the sea in the morning
have you ever noticed
a bird softly alighting on the sand
airily elegant
one cannot find another like it
all of time stops
and condenses itself
in that moment


Strive

It is not sufficient
to write verses
skilfully

it is not sufficient
to chisel gentle
beautiful or bitter
feelings
to infuse significant meanings
universal messages and then adorn them
with all that you were initiated
in the skilful art of verse making
fanciful finds

Do not stop there
But
with all your courage
transubstantiate
a little poetry into life
strive

To weave it into soul

With all your virtue
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Alan Edward Roberts



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Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 6:19 am    Post subject: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Soul Reply with quote

This is a poem by George Herbert (1593-1633) that carries forward the link between life, the soul and virtue described in Vera Korfioti’s poem Strive (see immediately above) and hints, musically, at the sweetness of an eternal unity:

Virtue

Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright,
The bridal of the earth and sky;
The dew shall weep thy fall to-night,
         For thou must die.

Sweet rose, whose hue angry and brave
Bids the rash gazer wipe his eye;
Thy root is ever in its grave,
         And thou must die.

Sweet spring, full of sweet days and roses,
A box where sweets compacted lie;
My music shows ye have your closes,
         And all must die.

Only a sweet and virtuous soul,
Like season'd timber, never gives;
But though the whole world turn to coal,
         Then chiefly lives.
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Alan Edward Roberts



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:51 am    Post subject: Michael Shepherd Reply with quote

Here is a poem by Michael Shepherd that sings, like George Herbert’s poem Virtue (see immediately above), of finding a place of sweetness and of unity:

Humility

There is a sweetness in humility:
not in some vision of our lowliness,
but in the look to lovely unity
where all is ordered in true righteousness;

the sweetness is in that experience
which rests far past our human form and name,
a world of ordered law; a song of praise,
of gratitude, of love beyond all claim.

Christ's mother is the symbol of that state;
the vehicle of living truth itself;
who bore that unity which incarnates
in every heart which humbly seeks its self.

Humility's the vision of pure soul;
the heart's Magnificat; Creation's whole.



(Michael posted Humility on June 29th, 2008 - see page 5 of New Poems - Michael Shepherd)
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Alan Edward Roberts



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Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:13 am    Post subject: The opening of Endymion (by John Keats) ... Reply with quote

“A thing of beauty is a joy for ever;
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.

Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkened ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits.

Such the sun, the moon,
Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
With the green world they live in; and clear rills
That for themselves a cooling covert make
'Gainst the hot season ...”


Last edited by Alan Edward Roberts on Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:52 am; edited 1 time in total
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Alan Edward Roberts



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Posts: 188
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 6:18 am    Post subject: “I am a part of all that I have met ...” Reply with quote

From Ulysses ... a section of the (iambic-pentameter) dramatic-monologue by Alfred Tennyson:

“I cannot rest from travel: I will drink

Life to the lees: all times I have enjoyed

Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those

That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when

Through scudding drifts the rainy Hyades

Vexed the dim sea: I am become a name;

For always roaming with a hungry heart

Much have I seen and known; cities of men

And manners, climates, councils, governments,

Myself not least, but honoured of them all;

And drunk delight of battle with my peers;

Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.

I am a part of all that I have met;

Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough

Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades

For ever and for ever when I move.”


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