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Offline bythesea

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Autumn Is The Winter Of the Mind
« on: July 19, 2008, 02:01 PM »

Saint-Cassein

Call me Palinurus.
On summer starry nights
I look toward Palinuro Cape--
spit of land now, promontory once
where a fair ship landed Aeneas and his men.

I hear maids of mer sliding in the foam,
following ships from Ilium burnt.
Dolphined fish-girls rising in arcs,
laughing to see me, Palinurus,
asleep at helm.

Then wakeful Palinurus rose to spie
and listen’d ev’ry breath of air to trie.


I observe the stars,
note their sliding course,
appraise the moon. Do my guests not know
I am Palinurus? Don’t they know?--
they see me bend to the winds,
see me fall asleep at the helm,
let peaches fall from my hand.

But a mild sailing once I had of it--
soft sails billowing ten miles out Sicily,
and in calm I steal an hour of sweet repose,
watch the rudder like a tail follow meek.
Then comes lightning on the prow--
the traitor God inspires a gale,
and no struggle against, I let the rudder go,
and I ease over into the main--
over and into the main, without honor
nor distinction I let my life slide away.

A perfect house and perfect guests.   

I have Puffie and her hounds--
Puffie (Helen Hall from Alabama)
to begin conversation calls Andre Breton
only a glass of perfumed water in a storm,
says Cyril Connelly’s The Unquiet Grave
reads a masterpiece— plays a pantomime
of contumacious tongues rolling
over ice. Puffie, like Eliot’s Griskin, is nice.

Puffie’s dogs lead her to Deiphobus’
perfunctory kiss (they were married once,
but as his namesake torn to surcease
by a woman, piece by piece).
Dear Puffie makes her fortune
by pretending Dada expertise
of a kind that caused Deiphobus
to waste his mind on reinventions, false art,
Irish girls and resigned assignations.

And I have Madame Poldees-- Poldees
(Lucy Grant from Tennessee)
is nothing if not gracious.
I can not do else when she turns
but to step behind and ease a breast
out of her dress and play its heft
while she holds her inflating breath.

My house, my guests, are quite perfect now.
Is that it? Is that all? We lounge together,
drinks in hand and we look down the hill
toward the harbour of Cassis. Is this all?

Toilet Sketches

Puffie and Poldees hold scented paper,
stand a moment just inside the door--
little outhouse beneath a lemon tree.
Puffie downs her black silks,
models for my charcoal and rub.
Poldees is already down, pale undies
about her shins. I squat to peek.
I say, “I forget where shadow go
and where they stay in afternoon light.”                     
Madam Poldees tries to be gracious
while sitting, straining forward, elbows
on her knees-- such posture Athena
hid with clouds when Penthesilea,
from Achilles’ revenge, lets go her wastes
in death and out the wound run her guts--
Amazonian blood into chariot wagon ruts.

Tile Maker

In Byzantium a woman works mosaic,
(her husband arranges mollifications--
once for a bishop grieving sunken ships).
Peacocks cry and fly in her hands--
queens on thrones curl their hair;                         
Emperor's slaves pour gold into his bath;
worshippers kneel before the cross,
and a lady follows a merchant’s ass
into a lombardy grove.                                                                                       

Mid-warm nights here at Saint-Cassein
comes to me a playgirl caramel dark,
comes to laugh and lie pretending my muse,
En lieu de bleu,dame, vous vestez vert.

I enjoin and suck her hyaline tongue;
I breathe from her mouth the scent of bleeding
and mild milk. I nose underground in sewn bogs,
striate chambers; I part tufts of hypholoma weed.
I eat deep in her hair and I drink a floss milled with
silver tinge out the cup of her fading voice
... and when she goes away,

I think of a girl in Paris
leaning against stone under a bridge,
and as I touch her face out her lips
came wafts of wet cigarette lung,
sticky seams of scarlet tar-- but I did not care..

Beach girl

Girl, in your lavender dress, I take you
to lie away, far away from the fires
the women have made to roast the crays.
Secluse la virginite
Prens la, car elle est plaisant
Pour bien amer son doulx amant.     


In skits of shadows I lie lightly by your side.
Whisper, answer me-- am I first to touch
between these puffs? scenty salt,
feathered nigrene mist? First to trace
aside the rose, this tiny horn in mucous
like a spider web?  In her silence
I open my lips, drop down to kiss.

Je prins congie de ce tresdoulz enfant
Les yeulx mouilliez et la bouche riant.
Je prins congie de ce tresdoulz enfant
Les yeulx mouilliez et la bouche riant.


Only in Medieval grace runs my French—
I try to tell the girl about my perfect house,
my perfect guests, but flares run up
toward the yellow moon, explode and
fall in sparks— then comes tinseling rain.

I ask her come and live in my perfect house
at Saint Cassein, and one day watching
this goddess, there, sweeping my patio
with sweat making dirty rings around her neck,
I will bid her stop and bring her in to wash.

##
bythesea


Offline poppy

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Re: Autumn Is The Winter Of the Mind
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2008, 07:18 PM »
Sir, why are you here?  What do I have to offer?  Perhaps there are others here who may help you become a better writer.  I doubt it, though, very much.  I have read and appreciated your humility, but false modesty is just another kind of lie.  I would recommend that you submit this, or most anything you write, for the IBPC, but what accomplishment would that be for the likes of you?

Oh, don't get me wrong: I'm glad you're here--lets me know how far I have to go.  But, seriously, who in the hell are you?

Allen

Offline RedemptionCentr

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Re: Autumn Is The Winter Of the Mind
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2008, 10:34 PM »
I usually don't post in the Axe, even though I follow every word in here. I'm breaking my vow of silence just to echo poppy. This stuff is head and shoulders above most everything else on the web, let alone this site. Few people would know enough to even discuss this poem, let alone critique it.

After looking at any of bythesea's stuff, it's pretty clear that anything he touches turns to IBPC gold. It would be like swatting a fly with a Buick.


Back to lurking.
Do more bewitch me than when art is too precise in every part.

Offline seaspirit06

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Re: Autumn Is The Winter Of the Mind
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2008, 03:22 AM »
BTS,

Triple ditto. Too many difficult words for me.  I can read Williams or Worsdworth or Henrie or Rezmurski or Collins but this is to painful for me. Course, I like Sandburg also. Guess I am a pedestrian. Thanks for the read. That's it! That is my axe to grind, I guess, I have to look up words/places/events  that I remember reading once, maybe (?)  about 20 yrs ago to begin to try and understand this but then maybe I shouldn't bother. Not pleased. No wonder I like the water and being by the sea. Thanks for some insight into why I try to write "poetry".

Later dude,

Oh, and yep, ocean sailing is rough stuff. Done a little me self.

Seaspray

 :dblu :yinyang :sunny

“Some circumstantial evidence is very strong as when you find a trout in the milk”

Henry David Thoreau

Offline Bill

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Re: Autumn Is The Winter Of the Mind
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2008, 09:51 AM »
bythesea,

Cometh now Bill in his Buick. 

Here portrayed a (too?) leisurely dotage (Is this all?) lived in a countryside by the side of the sea, accompanied by the thought-provoking benefits of a classical education, (images to metaphorically describe the experience abound) the friendly, playful intellectual banter of comfortable companions, the pursuit of personal artistic expression and interaction with fellow artists mature and still maturing in their creative endeavors, and now and then a recollection of one’s own former vigor while flirting in the imagination, in not in real, with love that is and/or love-making that is not wasted on the young, (Ahhh, Sinatra!) but is stimulated by the vigor of their youth.  (“What I wouldn’t give,” quoth Jackson, “for a shot at that!”)

At least that’s my take on it, and I’m sticking to it.  Poetic license is only surpassed by the reader’s license to make another’s experience personal.

Your descriptions make the commonplace less common, (surreal?) while assuring the reader that you are comfortable in your skin and in the time and place of your life as it is right now, even if there are a few whimsical longings.  Well played.

As with all such free/ blank verse formats, I always wonder why the author broke it here, rather than there.  Stanza three, right after Palinurus wakes up, for example.  I wonder, Why not break after, “the moon,” and make the ruminations about guests' knowledge a separate stanza?.  “let peaches fall from my hand,” in that stanza is such a neat stone thrown against the glass of the philosophical / mythological metaphor.  It shatters the portrayal’s reflections with a very real “opps” moment.  (“Look, grandpa fell asleep reading the newspaper, again.”)  Of all the lines, it is my favorite.   Well played, indeed.

Another example of reconsidering line breaks.

and I ease over into the main--
over and into the main, without honor
nor distinction I let my life slide away.

Is it even worth considering breaking as follows?  I don't know, you do, but I offer the idea

and I ease over into the main--
over and into the main,
without honor nor distinction
I let my life slide away

in order to give visual distinction for each fine line and to allow the natural accents to serve as stress points for the reader’s mind’s “ear.”

That is why this format is hard for me to critique in respect to line breaks, “enjambment,“ whatever.  Such breaks are not just chance.  They are part of the plan.  There is a point.  Hearing the piece read usually brings that point to the forefront.  For myself, I like keeping all the key words of a given phrase on the same line.  Most of the time, I felt you did that.  From time to time, I thought, “Why there?”  Another example, later on:

Whisper, answer me-- am I first to touch
between these puffs? scenty salt,
feathered nigrene mist? First to trace
aside the rose, this tiny horn in mucous
like a spider web? In her silence
I open my lips, drop down to kiss.

Consider isolating those key phrases, “first to touch…First to trace,” by making them begin a new line and stand alone, again, to emphasize the focus of the narrator’s thought, and to give them a stronger “visual” position in the stanza. Thus,

Whisper, answer me-- am I
first to touch
between these puffs?
scenty salt, feathered nigrene mist?
First to trace
aside the rose, this tiny horn in mucous
like a spider web?
In her silence
I open my lips, drop down to kiss.

Again, very personal take on a very personal piece. 

Thanks for sharing your life.  Keep writing. 


Offline bythesea

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Re: Autumn Is The Winter Of the Mind
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2008, 10:06 AM »

Hello poetry pals,

My poetry (I can't say, 'most of my work.'
It isn't work; nor play. I don't know what it is)

It's narrative, tho.

Someone said I put everything in my poems but the
kitchen sink. I violate Poe's dictum about poetry--
but please excuse.

I cannot restrain-- I've got to just say what I want
to say without mask. Dasein.

Thanks for your patience, reading my longish pieces.

My poems 'long.'

Sometimes they take slow boats to China. Sometimes
they row up maladorous creeks.

Thanks all,
bythesea

Offline bythesea

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Re: Autumn Is The Winter Of the Mind
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2008, 10:08 AM »

Bill,

Send to me your bill-- I'll pay for your continuing help with
line breaks. I'm not very good at it. You are.

Thanks,
bythesea

Offline RedemptionCentr

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Re: Autumn Is The Winter Of the Mind
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2018, 11:40 PM »
This is one of my favorite topics ever posted on Splash. BTS posts a tour-de-force, albeit with questionable (medieval?) French and Poppy responds angrily. What kind of stunt are you pulling, posting this this in the axe for people to critique?! What hope have we have at engaging with this on its non-technical, enjambment-related merits?

It's been ten years and I wonder if all of the people in this topic are still kicking around and writing poetry. I have admired and idealized so many of the people here on Splash that it's hard to be objective about a lot of the writing or analysis here. I wish more than anything that we could resurrect the old guard and watch the full roster of Splash play around. I fear that the tin roofs here are soon to cave in. The rise of social media has killed the niche-interest message board. :beatnik

The real payoff of this is that if you look at Poppy's posted messages, he never posted again.
Do more bewitch me than when art is too precise in every part.