i thank you God – e e cummings – analysis

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

e e cummings (1894 – 1962) (in ‘complete poems 1904 – 1962’)

This is a Sunday praise poem … the birth of another week … the birth of another day. And someone once said that each day is a new life. I can’t help thinking of ‘Mrs Dalloway’ and all that happened on a glorious English summer June day in her party arrangements and the entertaining of friends.

This is a thankyou in recognition of the boundless happening of all that is Earth (illimitably – having no bounds).

And a statement that God can be found in the natural world.

Life is to be tasted, touched, heard, seen and breathed in all its immeasurable wonder. And in the last two lines there is a spiritual awakening expressed in terms of hearing and seeing.

And e e c had this prayer his only be want was he be he

(‘may I be I is the only prayer—not may I be great or good or beautiful or wise or strong’)

An excellent discussion of this poem is on this Art and Theology site.

Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he was raised, a pastor’s son, in the Unitarian faith, which emphasizes the oneness of God. As an adult he wed this spiritual framework to Emersonian transcendentalism, a philosophical movement that celebrates humanity and nature. Elements from these two complementary traditions can be detected in his praise poem “i thank You God for most this amazing,” in which the natural world triggers an awakening to Truth. And for Cummings, Truth is a person, a “You” with a capital Y.

e e cummings on Wikipedia.

Fall – Mary Oliver – Analysis

Fall

the black oaks fling
their bronze fruit
into all the pockets of the earth
pock pock

they knock against the thresholds
the roof the sidewalk
fill the eaves
the bottom line

of the old gold song
of the almost finished year
what is spring all that tender
green stuff

compared to this
falling of tiny oak trees
out of the oak trees
then the clouds

gathering thick along the west
then advancing
then closing over
breaking open

the silence
then the rain
dashing its silver seeds
against the house

Mary Oliver (1935 – 2019)

Well it is autumn in the southern hemisphere and in this part of the world. This is a poem from Mary Oliver based on an American autumn where there are a proliferation of oak trees, and there are many types of oak trees too.

S1 … I guess acorns fall all over the place into nooks and crannies … or as she puts it pock pocking into the pockets of the earth … … I like the use of onomatopoeia … they do have a round sort of shape enabling them to roll into all sorts of places
S2 … they must make a noise as they fall … knocking against the thresholds … coming to rest at the edges like filling the eaves in a line … and the trees could be regarded as flinging them if it is windy.
S3 … and autumn is gold and comes at the finish of the year in the northern hemisphere … and Mary Oliver delights in autumn … in contrast to the dull stereo type that highlights spring as the so called brighter season
S4 … and she loves the falling of the acorns … oak trees out of oak trees … well, potentially oak trees … (the acorns are great fodder for pigs of course … and I do like the little hats they wear)
S5 … then the weather dictates her thoughts … you can imagine her watching from a window as clouds gather in intensity and the pre-storm silence is broken by the dashing of rain (lashing would have been my preference)
S6 … and the rain makes itself known to those inside the house … rain = silver seeds … an equation giving value to water and a nice word fit to the acorn=seed … and rain does seed into the ground too.

Mary Oliver a lover of nature.

A link to Mary Oliver on Wikipedia

And a tribute link, for she died earlier this year

 

Les Murray: A Tribute

Two days ago Les Murray died at the age of 80. He was a poet of immense stature and regarded as Australia’s Poet Laureate.

I was actually planting broad bean seeds and when I came in and heard the news my mind immediately went to his ‘Broad Bean Sermon’ poem.

He did experience Canberra at certain stages in his life and had that wry sense of humour … roundabouts being in proliferation at the time …

The interstate driver soon discerns
That twelve identical statues of Burns
Are unlikely even in this braw town
And that there are Circles, interwound
To test, by his cunning and his mettle,
Whether he shall go home, or settle

And the following are details from Peter Alexander’s book – ‘Les Murray – A Life in Progress’ …

In July 1996 an ambulance drove Les Murray into John Hunter hospital Newcastle (NSW) with a very serious liver complaint. He was wheeled into casualty and prepared for immediate surgery. Convinced he was dying he felt neither fear not regret at the prospect. Wheeled rapidly down wide corridors, he stared unblinking at lights passing rhythmically above him:

Ribbed glass glare-panels flow
over you down urgent corridors,
dismissing midday outside. Slow,

they’d resemble wet spade-widths in a pit;
you’ve left grief behind you, for others;
your funeral: who’ll know you’d re-planned it?

God, at the end of prose,
somehow be our poem-
where forebrainy consciousness goes

I can not help thinking of the these thought provoking words too –

Just two hours after
Eternal Life pills came out
Someone took thirty.

(ref: page 146, of the same book)

A tribute from poet John Kinsella.

And Les Murray on Wikipedia.

His words will live on especially his vernacular representation of the Australian bush landscape he loved.

May he be at peace; perhaps with a new poem to play and ponder.

 The Company of Lovers – Judith Wright – ANZAC Day

 The Company of Lovers

We meet and part now over all the world;
we, the lost company,
take hands together in the night, forget
the night in our brief happiness, silently.
We, who sought many things, throw all away
for this one thing, one only,
remembering that in the narrow grave
we shall be lonely.

Death marshals up his armies round us now.
Their footsteps crowd too near.
Lock your warm hand above the chilling heart
and for a time I live without my fear.
Grope in the night to find me and embrace,
for the dark preludes of the drums begin,
and round us round the company of lovers,
death draws his cordons in.

Judith Wright (1915 -2000)

This poem was written during World War II which brought much separation especially for those travelling from Australia to the various battlefields.

A precious pre-leaving meet between lovers … with no thought of tomorrow … forget the night … for some the long unending night … and those that never returned leave the grave narrow and lonely for any surviving lovers. Today we remember.

There is that foreboding and anticipation of the worst … death draws his cordons in

Another of my favourite Judith Wright poems, again with a cerrtain sense of foreboding, is … ‘Trains’  – Judith Wright

 

Easter Hymn – A. E. Housman

Easter Hymn

If in that Syrian garden, ages slain,
You sleep, and know not you are dead in vain,
Nor even in dreams behold how dark and bright
Ascends in smoke and fire by day and night
The hate you died to quench and could but fan,
Sleep well and see no morning, son of man.
But if, the grave rent and the stone rolled by,
At the right hand of majesty on high
You sit, and sitting so remember yet
Your tears, your agony and bloody sweat,
Your cross and passion and the life you gave,
Bow hither out of heaven and see and save.

A. E. Housman (1859-1936)

This was one of his unpublished poems. A. E. Housman was an atheist.

The first stanza …
If JC is just asleep unknowing of a resurrection and the following of millions through the centuries – then sleep on and sleep well.

The second stanza …
… If you are indeed all that is said of you … and if you sit at the right hand of majesty on high … then come down out of heaven and see what is happening here and do something!

A common wish by many that in this troubled world it would be nice to see some direct action from above to rectify, give justice, and lead anew.

Best to take the second stanza and belief in an active responding JC (God and spirit) all be it in a subtle indirect way. On the personal level is up to you to identify any such influences from your own life experience.

Celebrate today with hope in a constructive communion with our creator.

And some Easter words from 2017 …

https://mywordinyourear.com/2017/04/16/easter-sunday-2017/

A. E. Housman on Wikipedia … https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._E._Housman

 

Being Optimistic – Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage

From Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage: IV, cxxix

Hues which have words, and speak to ye of heaven,
Floats o’er this vast and wondrous monument,
And shadows forth its glory. There is given
Unto the things of earth, which Time hath bent,
A spirit’s feeling, and where he hath leant
His hand, but broke his scythe, there is a power
And magic in the ruin’d battlement,
For which the palace of the present hour
Must yield its pomp, and wait till ages are its dower.

A broken scythe – an implement with a long handle and a long curved single-edged blade, used to cut grass – well time has bent – due to the work at hand broken, with broken tools (broken by humanity)

But, but, but – there is power and magic in the ruin’d battlement … well thank goodness for that – we must have faith

The palace of the present hour … the present hour is a palace despite being a ruin’d battlement

Ages as a dower – a gift that will be given by time – perhaps an evolving gift, from one who is an optimist … perhaps inherent in the creation of time is an inevitability of positive evolution

So have faith and time will be the saviour … and enjoy the palace of the present hour!

From Wikipedia

Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage is a lengthy narrative poem in four parts written by Lord Byron. It was published between 1812 and 1818 and is dedicated to “Ianthe”. The poem describes the travels and reflections of a world-weary young man who, disillusioned with a life of pleasure and revelry, looks for distraction in foreign lands. In a wider sense, it is an expression of the melancholyand disillusionment felt by a generation weary of the wars of the post-Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras. The title comes from the term childe, a medieval title for a young man who was a candidate for knighthood.

 

Walking Away – Cecil Day-Lewis – Analysis

Walking Away

It is eighteen years ago, almost to the day –
A sunny day with leaves just turning,
The touch-lines new-ruled – since I watched you play
Your first game of football, then, like a satellite
Wrenched from its orbit, go drifting away

Behind a scatter of boys. I can see
You walking away from me towards the school
With the pathos of a half-fledged thing set free
Into a wilderness, the gait of one
Who finds no path where the path should be.

That hesitant figure, eddying away
Like a winged seed loosened from its parent stem,
Has something I never quite grasp to convey
About nature’s give-and-take – the small, the scorching
Ordeals which fire one’s irresolute clay.

I have had worse partings, but none that so
Gnaws at my mind still. Perhaps it is roughly
Saying what God alone could perfectly show –
How selfhood begins with a walking away,
And love is proved in the letting go.

Cecil Day-Lewis (1904 – 1972)

There are four five line stanzas with rhyming in first, third and last lines.

A poem all about separation of child from parent and still the parent remembers that first day of watching the child take to the sports field to play football. So maybe there is something special to warrant reflection at this time.

Our children have to grow up and move from home to school and develop new paths so aptly portrayed in the last line of the second stanza – who finds no path where the path should be.

But this poem is all about the pain of separation. Apart from dates there are many other triggers that can act to invoke the memory of a past event that has significant personal memory. It appears there was something very special in that movement of the child away from the parent – the child a hesitant figure, eddying away. It is usually the child that moves away rather than the parent.

Then in the third stanza a reflection of how nature frequently has such separations giving the example of a seed from a parent stem.

This parting is very special and gnaws at the mind. We do not know of course what has happened over the eighteen years and to what extent he has developed and grown and forged new paths, or indeed any associated personal tragedy that could have occured.

But parent child separation is an act of love and an imperative. Like God allowing humanity the freedom to develop; despite the times when we think he should be more involved!

Cecil Day-Lewis (or Day Lewis) often writing as C. Day-Lewis, was an Anglo-Irish poet and the Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1968 until his death in 1972.

Cecil Day-Lewis was buried at St Michael’s Church, Stinsford in Dorset close to Thomas Hardy.

Cecil Day-Lewis on Wikipedia

Cecil Lewis Grave

Shall I be gone long?
For ever and a day.
To whom there belong?
Ask the stone to say.
Ask my song.

from his poem – ‘Is it Far to Go’

Marmalade and Vegemite – A Retired Couple Issue

Marmalade and Vegemite

When you get to a certain age
you have to learn a new language,
the language of subtle correction
in interpretation.

Let me give you an example.
While driving your partner may say
that you have to turn left
at the next intersection.

Well, you know for certain
that it is a right-hand turn; so
without comment you do
indeed turn right.

In such circumstances
it is very prudent not to
inform your partner that
he or she meant otherwise.

Care must be taken.
For when at breakfast your
partner may ask you to
pass the marmalade.

And then knowing intimately
the certain likes and dislikes you
pass the vegemite without
a moment’s thought.

But beware, he or she may retort
‘how nice to have warm toast
with vegemite. But I really
did want marmalade’.

And then a heated discussion
on a much hated subject may ensue,
with the insistence that you
are in need of a hearing-aid!

Richard Scutter