Wednesday 20 January 2010

Free Verse (again)

It has been an interesting week poetry-wise. Firstly I found a small volume on the 'for sale' shelf at the library, entitled 'Heaven on Earth: 101 Happy Poems' edited by Wendy Cope, which I have enjoyed browsing. Then M and I shopped for boots on Monday and then, having bought the first thing we saw, (both of us being very strange women and hating the process of shoe shopping), we finally popped in to the second hand book shop that is right opposite the car park, where I acquired a copy of 'The Ghost at the Table' by Suzanne Berne and 'The Funny Side: 101 humorous poems' also edited by Wendy Cope (am hoping and assuming that as a poet she defines 'happy' very differently from 'humorous'.)
The one I have picked would more accurately (in my opinion) be defined as a 'contented poem':

Intimacy by Nina Cassian
I can be alone,
I know how to be alone.

There is a tacit understanding
between my pencils
and the trees outside;
between the rain
and my luminous hair.

The tea is boiling:
my golden zone,
my pure burning amber.

I can be alone,
I know how to be alone.
By tea-light
I write

(translated from the Romanian by Eva Feller and Nina Cassian.)

But then I have to go off at a completely different tangent. Another blog I follow (there are far too many of them I know) is called The Daily Beat, which is mostly about Jack Kerouac and other aspect of 'beat' culture. Anyway he mentioned a new biopic about Allan Ginsberg and the Guardian article he linked to mentioned Lawrence Ferlinghetti and I was reminded of a poem of his that I just love, so I'm going to post that too:

Don't let that horse
eat that violin
cried Chagall's mother

But he
kept right on

And became famous

And kept on painting
The Horse With Violin In Mouth
And when he finally finished it
he jumped up upon the horse
and rode away
waving the violin

And then with a low bow gave it
to the first naked nude he ran across

And there were no strings attached


  1. I like both of these ... I really enjoy many of Ferlinghetti's poems but hadn't read this one so it was a real treat.

    And I don't enjoy shoe shopping either, for what that is worth.

  2. Loved the Lawrence Ferlinghetti poem - I'd never heard of him before.


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