June 1st, 2011
|09:32 pm - The Trembling Bridge|
This is a poem I wrote this week. It is partly based on the Lyke Wake Dirge:
To Brig o' Dread thou com'st at last;
And god receive thy saule.
I link the Northern English idea of the Bridge of Dread to the Norse concept of Bifrost, the bridge between earth and the domain of the gods.
Bilrost, or Bifröst, may mean "the shimmering path." bil (meaning "a moment")—"suggests the fleeting nature of the rainbow" ... the first element of Bifröst—the Old Norse verb bifa (meaning "to shimmer" or "to shake") provokes notions of the "lustrous sheen" of the bridge ... Bifröst either means "the swaying road to heaven" or "the fleetingly glimpsed rainbow" (possibly connected to bil, perhaps meaning "moment, or weak point").
The Trembling Bridge
The rain catches the ladybird
Poor blood, poor drop of blood
The wind inflates the drying sheets
Cloths flap in the upper trees
The windows open and the rain possesses the house
The carpets sodden and the cupboard door
Upset upon the kitchen floor
On the whinny moor
Claps its plank hand
If I remember my Norse myth correctly they called the rainbow bridge that went from the land of gods to Midgard (Earth) Bifröst. Hence the "swaying road to heaven".
Yes, I was hoping that was what people would think about. The soul passing to heaven, or just the wind and the rain passing by.
(I mean that the Bridge of Dread in the northern poem, is derived from the Norse conception of Bifrost, and it is the trembling way, the shaky way)
Edited at 2011-06-01 09:01 pm (UTC)
I have added some more to the post to make that clearer. I am very interested in the way that the natural and the supernatural are really the same thing. Well, you know my ambivalence about those things.
You aren't alone in that! Shakespeare had it right!
I also was reminded of the Scottish 'clootie trees'.
I particularly like the way the verbs all work together - describing the same kind of motion.
The point of focus similarly moves ... the only point where I didn't see this working well was the shift between the sixth and seventh lines - I'm left wondering what is 'upset' - I can't somehow see it is the door...
I think the final image brought to my mind the 'soun of one hand clapping' question. Which is exactly right: this is a poem to think about.
Thank you. I think the point where I have 'upset' is difficult. I've tried different words there, and it was the weak spot that the other poets commented on tonight. I may not be able to resolve it.
I think my gut reaction on a change to that line would be something like "orphaned on the kitchen floor".
I want it to be quite emotionally neutral
Ah. I was reading "upset" as deliberate invocation of the physical and the emotional meanings of the word.
Catches - inflates - flap - open - possesses - sodden - upset upon - claps.
This thought-provoking poem straight up reminds me of Auden, as your work often does:
The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
The desert sighs in the bed,
And the crack in the tea-cup opens
A lane to the land of the dead.
Thank you for posting.
PS I was very sorry to hear about your friend Fred.
Thank you. That's very perceptive, as I was thinking of that Auden poem.
Thank you, I did want that feeling of through-movement, so I am glad that came across
There's a FANTASTIC setting of 'Because I could not stop for death' (together with Wild Nights) by John Adams. I recommend it highly - think the album is called 'Harmonium'. Captures that through-movement musically.
Indeed, that's where I encountered it!
My first encounter with the Lyke Wake Dirge was in Antonia Forest's End of Term where one character recites it to another as they are riding home across country in the dark, after a day out spent visiting a cathedral. Yours has a different mood, but it suggests that scene, the disconnect and isolation the listening character feels from the reciting character in that scene, overlain with the childhood memories the former has of the fear of the dark.