Wednesday, June 01, 2005

A Few Favorite Poetry Lines

Sorry matt, here's what I never wrote.

Now that my ladder's gone,
I must lie down where all the ladders start,
In the foul rag-and-bone shop of the heart.

--William Butler Yeats "The Circus Animals' Desertion"

In Yeats' later years after his many phases he descends from his ladder (which for me represents his endless search for mystical, mythic truth/meaning, blah, blah); he finds himself left with the trash of his own existence (which is redeemed in the act of creating).

I cannot omit a section from Yeats' "The Second Coming" with all of its contemporary significance:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all convictions, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

The reigning champion of sunset images for my money is Dickinson ("How the Old Mountains Drip With Sunset"):

Now it is Night in Nest and Kennel
And Where was the Wood
Just a Dome of Abyss is *Bowing
Into Solitude

*ED also used "Nodding" here

As the poet was left breathless at the sight of the sunset, so too I gasp, puzzled by her creation. The poem ends...

These are the visions *flitted Guido;
Titian never told;
Domenichino dropped *the pencil,
*Powerless to unfold.

*Paralyzed with Gold