Friday, October 28, 2011

52 Poems (week 33)

LM Montgomery's Kilmeny of the Orchard was a favourite book of mine as a young adult, and there's a short excerpt of James Hogg's poem, 'Kilmeny', at the start of the little novel. I've only just read the whole poem, all 330 lines worth, and you can hear Hogg's Scottish burr all the way through. Reading it aloud is more fun than it should be - and with a belly full of babe, or wee bairn as the case may be, it was a nice little bonding moment.

Because the poem's so long, I've only excerpted the final stanzas.

With distant music, soft and deep, 
They lull'd Kilmeny sound asleep; 
And when she awaken'd, she lay her lane, 
All happ'd with flowers, in the green-wood wene. 
When seven lang years had come and fled, 
When grief was calm, and hope was dead; 
When scarce was remember'd Kilmeny's name, 
Late, late in a gloamin' Kilmeny came hame! 
And O, her beauty was fair to see, 
But still and steadfast was her e'e! 
Such beauty bard may never declare, 
For there was no pride nor passion there; 
And the soft desire of maiden's e'en 
In that mild face could never be seen. 
Her seymar was the lily flower, 
And her cheek the moss-rose in the shower; 
And her voice like the distant melodye, 
That floats along the twilight sea. 
But she loved to raike the lanely glen, 
And keep├Ęd afar frae the haunts of men; 
Her holy hymns unheard to sing, 
To suck the flowers, and drink the spring. 
But wherever her peaceful form appear'd, 
The wild beasts of the hill were cheer'd; 
The wolf play'd blythly round the field, 
The lordly byson low'd and kneel'd; 
The dun deer woo'd with manner bland, 
And cower'd aneath her lily hand. 
And when at even the woodlands rung, 
When hymns of other worlds she sung 
In ecstasy of sweet devotion, 
O, then the glen was all in motion! 
The wild beasts of the forest came, 
Broke from their bughts and faulds the tame,
And goved around, charm'd and amazed; 
Even the dull cattle croon'd and gazed, 
And murmur'd and look'd with anxious pain 
For something the mystery to explain. 
The buzzard came with the throstle-cock; 
The corby left her houf in the rock; 
The blackbird alang wi' the eagle flew; 
The hind came tripping o'er the dew; 
The wolf and the kid their raike began, 
And the tod, and the lamb, and the leveret ran;
The hawk and the hern attour them hung, 
And the merle and the mavis forhooy'd their young; 
And all in a peaceful ring were hurl'd; 
It was like an eve in a sinless world! 
When a month and a day had come and gane.
Kilmeny sought the green-wood wene; 
There laid her down on the leaves sae green, 
And Kilmeny on earth was never mair seen. 
But O, the words that fell from her mouth 
Were words of wonder, and words of truth!
But all the land were in fear and dread, 
For they kendna whether she was living or dead. 
It wasna her hame, and she couldna remain; 
She left this world of sorrow and pain, 
And return'd to the land of thought again.


Lovely Husband and I finally remembered our wedding anniversary... and it only took five years of marriage.

Five years ago, Lovely Husband and I eloped to a park on a hill by the sea. People walking past and park-dwellers clapped when we kissed. We were married by a family friend who doubles as a Baptist minister when he's not surfing. His lovely wife (and one of the sweetest women on earth), Mrs D, witnessed, took photos and put together a little platter of treats.

I wore a green dress and Lovely Husband wore green shorts. We both wore thongs, that we kicked off after when we had photos taken on the green, green grass.

Four weeks later, we had a party in a different park, without the view of the sea but with all our family and friends.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

End of semester workspace

Sweet-peas from bud to glass


52 Poems (week 32)

Found this lovely slice of life poem via Dooce. Because Tony Hoagland is alive and well, and I'm not chasing him or his publisher down for copyright permissions - I've excerpted only a few lines from the poems, but they're lovely and should be read in full, so follow the links to a site that does have the kind permission to reprint.


She goes out to hang the windchime
in her nightie and her work boots...

Windy today and I feel less than brilliant,
driving over the hills from work...
 There's something extraordinarily ordinary about the first peom and I mean that in the sense thatit's an ordinary moment captured beautifully, rather than a beautiful moment captured in an ordinary way. The second poem is more fragmented and stream of consciousness that I normally like, but there a snippets of observation that pull it back from full-on wankery.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bird Cloud

I picked up a copy of this months ago when I went to see Annie Proulx talk in town. It's taken me a while to pick it up again as there's been a mountainload of other pleasure-related and work-related reading to do. But over the weekend, I threw myself in and rollicked through the first half, which was heavy on the house-building. The second half, full of recounted history and geography of the area, was a lead weight that I had to force myself to drag to the last page. The last chapter on watching birds was especially dull - a cut and paste job from a diary if I've ever read one, with none of the charm of the characters that inhabited the building sections. Sure the bald and golden eagles show up often, but there's nothing about them that speaks of anything interesting. Build the nest, protect the nest, ride the air currants, repeat.

Now I'm at a loss for what to read next. I want to reach back into my shelf for a comfort read, but am also holding out on the hope that my book depository order comes winging its way to me soon.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The indignities

At my midwife appointment today, I asked about Braxton Hicks while the woman was measuring my fundus. When did they start; what are they meant to feel like? "Love," she says. "You're having one now."

This pregnancy has highlighted to me, more than ever before, that my body will do its own thing whether I'm aware of it or not, whether I'm willing for it to happen or not. Also, there's nothing like a widwife to make you feel like an idiot.

52 Weeks (weeks 29, 30 & 31)

Holidays, busy-ness and pregnancy fatigure - those are my excuses for not posting. Funnily enough, I did read some poetry - just never got around to posting it... so this is a big poetry dump to make sure I'm still on target for my 52 week project.

Week 29

I was thinking about this poem, about the iconic scene from the 1982 movie actually, and realised I'd never read the whole thing. I have the opening lines playing around and around in my head, and if I pulled out a magnifying glass I can see a few stanzas on the ten dollar note. Banjo Paterson's 'The Man from Snowy River' - what a strange Australian classic (excerpted here):
There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around
That the colt from old Regret had got away,
And had joined the wild bush horses - he was worth a thousand pound,
So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.
All the tried and noted riders from the stations near and far
Had mustered at the homestead overnight,
For the bushmen love hard riding where the wild bush horses are,
And the stock-horse snuffs the battle with delight.

There was Harrison, who made his pile when Pardon won the cup,
The old man with his hair as white as snow;
But few could ride beside him when his blood was fairly up-
He would go wherever horse and man could go.
And Clancy of the Overflow came down to lend a hand,
No better horseman ever held the reins;
For never horse could throw him while the saddle girths would stand,
He learnt to ride while droving on the plains.

And one was there, a stripling on a small and weedy beast,
He was something like a racehorse undersized,
With a touch of Timor pony - three parts thoroughbred at least -
And such as are by mountain horsemen prized.
He was hard and tough and wiry - just the sort that won't say die -
There was courage in his quick impatient tread;
And he bore the badge of gameness in his bright and fiery eye,
And the proud and lofty carriage of his head.

But so slight and weedy, one would doubt his power to stay,
And the old man said, "That horse will never do
For a long and tiring gallop-lad, you'd better stop away,
Those hills are far too rough for such as you."
So he waited sad and wistful - only Clancy stood his friend -
"I think we ought to let him come," he said;
"I warrant he'll be with us when he's wanted at the end,
For both his horse and he are mountain bred."

"He hails from Snowy River, up by Kosciusko's side,
Where the hills are twice as steep and twice as rough,
Where a horse's hoofs strike firelight from the flint stones every stride,
The man that holds his own is good enough.
And the Snowy River riders on the mountains make their home,
Where the river runs those giant hills between;
I have seen full many horsemen since I first commenced to roam,
But nowhere yet such horsemen have I seen."...

...When they reached the mountain's summit, even Clancy took a pull,
It well might make the boldest hold their breath,
The wild hop scrub grew thickly, and the hidden ground was full
Of wombat holes, and any slip was death.
But the man from Snowy River let the pony have his head,
And he swung his stockwhip round and gave a cheer,
And he raced him down the mountain like a torrent down its bed,
While the others stood and watched in very fear.

He sent the flint stones flying, but the pony kept his feet,
He cleared the fallen timbers in his stride,
And the man from Snowy River never shifted in his seat -
It was grand to see that mountain horseman ride.
Through the stringybarks and saplings, on the rough and broken ground,
Down the hillside at a racing pace he went;
And he never drew the bridle till he landed safe and sound,
At the bottom of that terrible descent...
 Week 30

In week 30, I read a few of Jack Kerouac's poems. The one I had initially chosen was 'The Hitchhiker' but because I'm fairly Jack hasn't been dead long enough, it's still copyrighted and can't be excerpted in full. It's also so short, that I'm not sure how many words I could get away with here, so go find it, internet people, and read it.

Week 31

And finally, I read some Rossetti, Dante Gabriel this time, although I suspect I might prefer Christina. The title, 'Boken Music', got me in.
The mother will not turn, who thinks she hears
Her nursling's speech first grow articulate;
But breathless with averted eyes elate
She sits, with open lips and open ears,
That it may call her twice. 'Mid doubts and fears
Thus oft my soul has hearkened; till the song,
A central moan for days, at length found tongue,
And the sweet music welled and the sweet tears.

But now, whatever while the soul is fain
To list that wonted murmur, as it were
The speech-bound sea-shell's low importunate strain, -
No breath of song, thy voice alone is there,
O bitterly beloved! and all her gain
Is but the pang of unpermitted prayer.
 Photo source: Paterson; Kerouac

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lovely Husband

Lovely Husband had this waiting on my desk for for me after the first day back at work, post-holiday.  While we were gone, these had blossomed:

Strange holiday snaps

It was both a strange holiday and a strange collection of holiday snaps.All I have are hospitals and dogs.



Just about sums it up, really.


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