“ For to admire an’ for to see,
For to be’old this world so wide” ~ Kipling
Hello Poets – we who call ourselves such, stand within a long lineage of all those who have written poetry before us. Some of them have attained fame in volumes, reaching the very pinnacle of this art. Others have thin quarto publications or inhabit anthologies with their small but notable collection. Many we have read and admired, a few are our inspiration, and most we will never meet, even those from the living poet’s society!
There is a chapter in Ted Hughes’ “Poetry in the Making” on writing about people so even if either author or reader has not met them, they can be ‘brought to life’ by one or two “descriptive flashes” plus a couple of (real or imagined) incidents in their life:
“when we want to convey an …impression, we let one or two details suggest the whole”. (Hughes 1967)
I do not know if Gwendolyn Brooks ever met him, was inspired by a portrait or imagined him but here she is writing in just that fashion“Of Robert Frost”
“There is a little lightning in his eyes.
Iron at the mouth.
His brows ride neither too far up nor down.
He is splendid. With a place to stand.
Some glowing in the common blood.
Some specialness within.”
One of my favourite poets is Elizabeth Jennings and this her “Mediation on D. H. Lawrence”
“One more step from darkness, one more step
From that acceptable darkness.
Breaking you did not fear, the painful breaking
Which brings to birth, which bears above the waters
The soaked wings of a bird, a bird which rises,
Its feathers finding air….”
The poem continues on to a second verse but already we can see that in this Lawrencian incantation she is invoking his life – leaving England and all its restrictive mores, with a married German woman, just as hostilities between the two countries are leading to WW1. In addition, I can hear how she has mimicked his style of poetry, as for example in Lawrence’s “Bavarian Gentians”:
“Reach me a gentian, give me a torch!
let me guide myself with the blue, forked torch of this flower
down the darker and darker stairs, where blue is darkened on blueness
even where Persephone goes, just now, from the frosted September
to the sightless realm where darkness is awake upon the dark”
Perhaps my favourite of Jennings’ several poems to poets or artists is “For Edward Thomas” – I quote it almost fully here:-
“I have looked about you for many times,
Mostly in woods or down quiet roads,
Often in birds whose question-times
Sound like the echo of your moods…
Of you in this strange hunt, I turn
Back to your words. You do not haunt
Them either. Suddenly I learn
Your art of being reticent.
Of leaving birds, trees, hills alone,
You left no spirit in any pace
Of spoors of yours where you had gone….”
By now you will have surmised that for todays Poetics prompt I propose that we
Select ONE of our favourite poets (a celebrated or a lesser known one) and write a poem either
- About them (the indirect voice, as exemplified in the first two poems)
- Addressing them in the direct voice (Jennings’ last poem)
- your title must include the poet’s name
- try and employ something of the poet’s style
- there are no rules for meter or poetry form
- those who choose the direct voice, might like the extra challenge of an ODE – (HERE’S HOW)
Elizabeth Jennings “Consequently I Rejoice” (1977)
Ted Hughes “Poetry in the Making” (1967)
Once you have published your poem, add it to the Linky widget and leave a comment (see below). Then go visiting, reading and sharing your thoughts with other contributors which is half the fun of our dVerse gatherings.