Saturday, November 22, 2008

The weekend has come and and I promised myself the next post up I wouldn't say a thing about Musica Surfica (ON SALE NOW)... damn I did it again.

One thing I have promised though is how SafetoSea got it's name.

I've had a mild interest in things poetic for quite a while, mostly as a kid trying to work out how to read them properly, or throwing them in the too hard basket or indeed occasionally trying to write something that on re- reading was crap at best and utter crap when read by my Mum who thought everything I did was wonderful. Well not everything but I like to remember her seeing the best in me.

A few years back, reading the paper, I came across an article on the funeral of a young woman who'd died tragically. It was one of those losses particularly poignant because she held great promise and had, in her short life, achieved much. Her father gave the eulogy and in rounding up had quoted the second last verse of a poem called The Garden of Proserpine by Algernon Charles Swinburne.

Swinburne for a time was regarded as one of the great English poets, though that high position has been long lost to him, and indeed his wild ways settled the fella down long before his death at 72 in 1909. He had a great haircut but some pretty dubious tastes, to put it mildly. Amidst it all though many gems emerged and for me this was one.

Sometimes called the Great Pagan Prayer, it has a bleak comfort to it that has always appealed, and inspired me to occasionally have another attempt at the art. Perhaps it is merciful that these moments are once or twice a decade.

Still they're not as bad as the Worst Poetry in the Universe.

According to Douglas Adams in 'The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy'

..."the second worst is the poetry of the Asgoths of Kria. During a recitation by their Poet Master Grunthos the Flatulent of his epic poem 'Ode to A Small Lump of Green Putty I found in my Armpit One Midsummer Morning' four of his audience died of internal haemorrhaging, and the President of the Mid Galactic Arts Nobbling Council survived by gnawing one of his own legs off. Grunthos is reported to have been 'disappointed' by the poems reception, and was about to embark on a reading of his twelve book epic entitled My Favourite Bathtime Gurgles when his own major intestine, in a desperate attempt to save life and civilisation, leapt straight through his neck and throttled his brain"

Apparently the worst belongs to a lady from Essex, though some would argue the worst was William Topaz McGonagall, (1825-1902) of Scotland who gave us gems like this:

Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay!
Alas! I am very sorry to say
That ninety lives have been taken away
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

Thank you William.

Poetry is a difficult art, to write, to read, to understand, I have trouble getting my head around pentameters, iambic and otherwise, but when it sinks in the effect can be profound.

Give this a read then, get into the rhythm, and let it flow like a nice easy point break.

Who knows, it may get you to delve more into things poetic, or it may mean you'll never read a poem again.

I can but try.

HERE, where the world is quiet,
Here, where all trouble seems
Dead winds’ and spent waves’ riot
In doubtful dreams of dreams;
I watch the green field growing
For reaping folk and sowing,
For harvest time and mowing,
A sleepy world of streams.

I am tired of tears and laughter,
And men that laugh and weep
Of what may come hereafter
For men that sow to reap:
I am weary of days and hours,
Blown buds of barren flowers,
Desires and dreams and powers
And everything but sleep.

Here life has death for neighbor,
And far from eye or ear
Wan waves and wet winds labor,
Weak ships and spirits steer;
They drive adrift, and whither
They wot not who make thither;
But no such winds blow hither,
And no such things grow here.

No growth of moor or coppice,
No heather-flower or vine,
But bloomless buds of poppies,
Green grapes of Proserpine,
Pale beds of blowing rushes
Where no leaf blooms or blushes,
Save this whereout she crushes
For dead men deadly wine.

Pale, without name or number,
In fruitless fields of corn,
They bow themselves and slumber
All night till light is born;
And like a soul belated,
In hell and heaven unmated,
By cloud and mist abated
Comes out of darkness morn.

Though one were strong as seven,
He too with death shall dwell,
Nor wake with wings in heaven,
Nor weep for pains in hell;
Though one were fair as roses,
His beauty clouds and closes;
And well though love reposes,
In the end it is not well.

Pale, beyond porch and portal,
Crowned with calm leaves, she stands
Who gathers all things mortal
With cold immortal hands;
Her languid lips are sweeter
Than love’s who fears to greet her
To men that mix and meet her
From many times and lands.

She waits for each and other,
She waits for all men born;
Forgets the earth her mother,
The life of fruits and corn;
And spring and seed and swallow
Take wing for her and follow
Where summer song rings hollow
And flowers are put to scorn.

There go the loves that wither,
The old loves with wearier wings;
And all dead years draw thither,
And all disastrous things;
Dead dreams of days forsaken
Blind buds that snows have shaken,
Wild leaves that winds have taken,
Red strays of ruined springs.

We are not sure of sorrow,
And joy was never sure;
To-day will die to-morrow
Time stoops to no man’s lure;
And love, grown faint and fretful
With lips but half regretful
Sighs, and with eyes forgetful
Weeps that no loves endure.

From too much love of living,
From hope and fear set free,
We thank with brief thanksgiving
Whatever gods may be
That no life lives for ever;
That dead men rise up never;
That even the weariest river
Winds somewhere safe to sea.

Then star nor sun shall waken,
Nor any change of light:
Nor sound of waters shaken,
Nor any sound or sight:
Nor wintry leaves nor vernal,
Nor days nor things diurnal;
Only the sleep eternal
In an eternal night.


ridgeback said...

thanks for posting it. liked it alot. like any good poem, if i put some time into it, i get alot out of it. and your right- awsome haircut

Bill said...

That was amazing...thanks for posting that. Maybe I understand a little more why I hear the call of the ocean.

Anonymous said...

oh that's so lovely Mick. Strangely, I already knew the first 4 lines of the second verse but didn't know where they came from, so thanks for publishing it all.

Quite the handsome devil wasn't he?

Dale said...

"One thing I have promised though is how SafetoSea got it's name..."

And now we know.

Hauntingly beautiful.

Many thanks

warren p said...

mick tried to email you today
mon 24th nov
it bounced
hope you are recovering well
greeno actually asked if i had received it yet

Seahugger said...

Very nice indeed, Mick.

Dr. Robert said...

beautiful post..
and poem..sacred sounds.
thanks Mick.

Foulweather... said...

Congrats on the flim Mick. Looks amazing. I'm going to see if I can order a copy when I'm flush enough.