Thursday, September 3, 2009

Read out my words at night, alone

Tired from typing out bible study notes but there was some free time today and I came across some poetry from James Elroy Flecker. Sticking it up here now to the music of Bill Evans.

As an aside, Jarrett is sad sometimes, delicately lovely at others time but Bill... now, Bill is just beautiful, wistfully and richly so.

The poor Georgians, derided by the Modernists for the "precious" themes,embellishments and use of traditional verse forms - I don't really mind them so much though. I first started reading poetry when I was 13 and loved the poetry of WWI, both of the Modernist and Georgian varieties. I love how this sounds, read aloud and I love his other poem, The Old Ships - the susurration in the opening stanza is evocatively dreamy - that's been posted up by the Guardian, so go see it here.


I who am dead a thousand years,
And wrote this sweet archaic song,
Send you my words for messengers
The way I shall not pass along.

I care not if you bridge the seas,
Or ride secure the cruel sky,
Or build consummate palaces
Of metal or of masonry.

But have you wine and music still,
And statues and a bright-eyed love,
And foolish thoughts of good and ill,
And prayers to them who sit above?

How shall we conquer? Like a wind
That falls at eve our fancies blow,
And old Maeonides the blind
Said it three thousand years ago.

O friend unseen, unborn, unknown,
Student of our sweet English tongue,
Read out my words at night, alone:
I was a poet, I was young.

Since I can never see your face,
And never shake you by the hand,
I send my soul through time and space
To greet you. You will understand.


This poem encapsulates exactly, but exactly, how I felt when I read Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet. As though someone had reached across time, space to grasp my hand and speak directly to my soul, my heart.


As for the Bible - words fail me. Human to human, even across the time space divide is one thing. God, from outside time and space, to us- vistas of wheeling stars and universes, passion and purity open up. Read the bible, oh read it read it read it. It will change you over and over again.

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