October 3rd, 2009
|11:09 am - National Poetry Day|
Next Thursday, 8th October, is National Poetry Day. Its theme is 'Heroes and Heroines'.
I will be performing with Coventry Live Poets upstairs at the Earlsdon Cottage. I am thinking of reading from translations of Gawain by Simon Armitage, JRR Tolkein and by me.
Here is a re-post of U-Shaped Valley, which I have revised quite a lot to be less evasive about my personal feelings. I am not certain whether including my feelings or excluding them is more likely to alienate the reader, but there you are. The italicised bits are Milton.
Beyond this flood a frozen Continent
Lies dark and wild
The valley was surgically cored
That did its duty, wrecked
Europe, and melted,
To leave it skinned.
The thin lakeland soil
Which coats the stripped land,
The trembling harebells
And the pouncing hawk,
Do not justify the scouring ice.
They do not make the devastation sweet.
Beat with perpetual storms
Of Whirlwind and dire Hail, which on firm land
Thaws not, but gathers heap, and ruin seems
Of ancient pile.
Our upland valleys still exist, in damaged form,
And Europe was not utterly destroyed
Though blocked for ages by translucent frost:
Clogged by the hell of certainty, and fear of hell.
Empty cathedrals full of dappled light,
The numbed cathedral stillness after pain,
The hegemony is over and
The institutions of pain have been dismantled,
But do not think I have forgiven you.
My heart is implacable.
Thither at certain revolutions all the damn'd
Are brought: and feel by turns the bitter change
Of fierce extreams, extreams by change more fierce,
From Beds of raging Fire to starve in Ice
their soft Ethereal warmth
My mother told me god forgave
All except those who did not love him - they
I thought she smiled because I she knew me damned.
Glass pieces in our eyes and heart,
I thought she was glad
That god would teach me more than she could teach:
A perpetual lesson of suffering.
And now she is old
And faith is dying,
And the ice age was
A hundred thousand wasted years
A waste of barren snow:
None of it justified.
The valley does not justify the glacier.
It merely remains
The U-shaped valley
When the ice has gone.
Bloody hell. Less evasive, all right. This had a significant impact on me as a Reader. Are you going to be OK to read this?
I'm not going to read this at The Cottage, I'll stick to Gawain
Well you can't go wrong with Gawain. Don't forget to read the rude bits.
You still up for some dinner before the trustees' meeting tomorrow evening?