Sunday, September 01, 2013

Curves and Straight lines

This was at the beginning of the summer now coming swiftly to an end. The vertical lines are mostly bracken fronds reaching for the light. Cranes often assume postures that remind me of ballet. In this case, the delicate posture of the dainty legs, the elegant curve of the neck, and the fluffy feathers, reminiscent of Swan Lake. There is even a tiny tutu-like bit of foliage at the top of the legs. Listen, can you hear a flute, a cello and a viola?

Looking for something else, I found Geoffrey Hill in the Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, 2nd edition. One thing I like about Geoffrey Hill is that he is not afraid of history or vocabulary. On the evidence of the works in this anthology, he is not afraid of almost anything arcane.! His poetry has a ringing sonority that I like. And the Norton gives almost too many footnotes, so the ancient British history is not the problem it might be.

This is part of a longer poem with an off-putting title: An Apology for the Revival of Christian Architecture in England.

9. The Laurel Axe

Autumn resumes the land, ruffles the woods
with smoky wings, entangles them. Trees shine
out from their leaves, rocks mildew to moss-green;
the avenues are spread with brittle floods.

Platonic England, house of solitudes,
rests in its laurels and its injured stone,
replete with complex fortunes that are gone,
beset by dynasties of moods and clouds.

It stands, as though at ease with its own world,
the mannerly extortions, languid praise,
all that devotion long since bought and sold,

the rooms of cedar and soft-thudding baize,
tremulous boudoirs where the crystals kissed
in cabinets of amethyst and frost.

Geoffrey Hill, born 1932.

Welcome to September!

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