Friday, March 30, 2007

Poetry Friday 43

I don't know about anyone else, but I pick up Poetry Friday "cues" all over the place. Last weekend I was reading an article about the launch of "Doctor Who" Season 3 which referenced T S Eliot's Burnt Norton and Milton's Lycidas, so I pulled up both poems online to re-read them and thought I would share portions of them both with you this week.

Burnt Norton

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden. My words echo
Thus, in your mind.
                  But to what purpose
Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
I do not know.
                  Other echoes
Inhabit the garden. Shall we follow?


The full poem is available here.


Lycidas

Return Alpheus, the dread voice is past,
That shrunk thy streams; Return Sicilian Muse,
And call the Vales, and bid them hither cast
Their Bels, and Flourets of a thousand hues.
Ye valleys low where the milde whispers use,
Of shades and wanton winds, and gushing brooks,
On whose fresh lap the swart Star sparely looks,
Throw hither all your quaint enameld eyes,
That on the green terf suck the honied showres,
And purple all the ground with vernal flowres.
Bring the rathe Primrose that forsaken dies.
The tufted Crow-toe, and pale Gessamine,
The white Pink, and the Pansie freakt with jeat,
The glowing Violet.
The Musk-rose, and the well attir'd Woodbine.
With Cowslips wan that hang the pensive hed,
And every flower that sad embroidery wears:
Bid Amaranthus all his beauty shed,
And Daffadillies fill their cups with tears,
To strew the Laureat Herse where Lycid lies.
For so to interpose a little ease,
Let our frail thoughts dally with false surmise.
Ay me! Whilst thee the shores, and sounding Seas
Wash far away, where ere thy bones are hurld,
Whether beyond the stormy Hebrides,
Where thou perhaps under the whelming tide
Visit'st the bottom of the monstrous world;
Or whether thou to our moist vows deny'd,
Sleep'st by the fable of Bellerus old,
Where the great vision of the guarded Mount
Looks toward Namancos and Bayona's hold;
Look homeward Angel now, and melt with ruth.
And, O ye Dolphins, waft the haples youth.


The full poem is online here.

I can just imagine the faces of some literary types I know - the association of Eliot and Milton with "Doctor Who" would make them look very sour indeed, but such combinations don't make me bat an eyelid - I have no problem linking "high culture" with "popular culture". In fact, I think it's an excellent way of introducing adherents of one to the joys of the other (note I'm not saying that either one is better, more valuable or more worthwhile than the other). This is an intelligent and well-written article about a popular culture show, that also references some beautiful poetry - of course, if you don't know either poem, both references will go straight over your head, but if you've read either one, then the references leap off the page to your attention. I think both the references are nicely done - and I've had the line "Look homeward Angel now, and melt with ruth" in my head all week...

4 comments:

Charles said...

Two of my favourite poems! The Milton always reminds me of watching a school of dolphins breaching, not far from St Michael's Mount (well, okay, it was St Ives) a couple of years ago... I was feeling more than usually like a hapless youth at the time, and it was good to be wafted.

Michele said...

Two of my favourites too!

I'm glad you enjoyed being wafted !

Kelly Fineman said...

I'm not entirely certain that Eliot would've minded being linked with Dr. Who, although I'm pretty certain the idea would've blown Milton's mind.

Michele said...

I think you're probably right, Kelly ! As for myself, I don't distinguish between "High" and "Popular" culture, so much as culture I like and culture I don't (can't stand opera for one thing, but adore "Doctor Who" with an almost manic passion these days...