Song: To My Inconstant Mistress

When thou, poor excommunicate
From all the joys of love, shalt see
The full reward and glorious fate
Which my strong faith shall purchase me,
Then curse thine own inconstancy.

A fairer hand than thine shall cure
That heart which thy false oaths did wound;
And to my soul a soul more pure
Than thine shall by Love’s hand be bound,
And both with equal glory crown’d.

Then shalt thou weep, entreat, complain
To Love, as I did once to thee;
When all thy tears shall be as vain
As mine were then: for thou shalt be
Damn’d for thy false apostasy.

Thomas Carew


Dark corsage I can’t
unpin, I’m stuck with it,
drawing wry comment
for days, however I hide
this stamp that approves
the boundary, proves that you
stop short of blood, all jokes
aside. But note
how readily my veins
leap up: a little harder and
the whole heart would follow,
I’d turn inside out, bleak pocket
for your rummaging,
magician’s hat. And yet
I don’t; I let you pass
like this small stormcloud on
my white, impassive throat.

Tracy Ryan
I feel a need to lose myself in a selection of poetry- so I bought two anthologies today- they can be depressing reading but I feel it’s good for me. In the dark recesses of my brain I’ve always had an idea that some of the answers to life’s problems can be found within poetry, or at the very least poems can be soothing to a troubled mind, but that I have not had enough exposure to verse.

They can be things to meditate upon- words and ideas to ponder, to find meaning in, to find kinship, to gain understanding. Like good artwork they stimulate thought and it is sometimes comforting to be reminded that many others have trod a similar path.

These two poems were the most immediate- a tale of loss and betrayal and an ode to the delights of bruising. I know the bruises mentioned were created via mouth and not touch but I just love the way the badges of affection are perfectly described…

I was most disappointed to find that aside from a couple of splinter-thin rosy lines, I am completely unblemished from my weekend. I was hoping I would have some nice marks on my wrists too- yeah yeah, from trying to beat up MW#1, nothing else. You pervs.

Oooh. UFC underwear… genius. All they need now is the shampoo and duvet cover and their marketing juggernaut will be all-conquering.

4 Responses to Poetry

  1. Bobby Convey says:

    Poetry is the new rock, my friend. Actually I think it is very good for the soul, both writing and reading. If I remember correctly, you were very talented at school, perhaps it is time to see a lil creation of your own up here?!
    My current (and longstanding) recommendations for poetry anthologies are:
    * The Rattle Bag (ed. Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes)
    * Staying Alive: Real Poems for Unreal Times (ed. Neil Astley)
    In the meantime, keep the faith, and don’t drop your guard with MW#1, I tell thee!!

  2. monky says:

    I thought knitting was the new rock? Oh how behind the times I am.
    Yeah, I was fairly good at the creative writing part of the curriculum but I think I just *slightly* pale in comparison to your shining talent. You’ve always been much better at the poetry. I’ll stick to making “artwork” that is an ode to injured men.
    Occasionally I try and write things (other than ranting on here) but I think they are cliched crap. I’m not sure I can even write a decent ode to my latest celebrity crush. Sigh. I think I shall stick to reading the efforts of others.
    I purchased The Faber Book of Love Poems (at my core I’m a long-lost romantic and am horribly full of longing) and Staying Alive (bought because of the variety of poems included and the reviews in Waterstones, though I was a little put off by the recommendation from Meryl Streep)- To My Inconstant Mistress is from the Faber book, Bite from Staying Alive.
    I find it a little difficult to take in the poems. Sometimes I end up whispering the verses alone in my room so that I can somehow get a feel for the meaning behind everything. I have not read much poetry in a long while (GCSE war poetry) and I am finding it fairly tough going.
    I find it hard to take my time and linger over the words so that they fully sink in, hence my whispering to myself, but with some poems I read I am hooked straight away. They’re just more immediate to my brain, situation etc. I guess.
    It’s like I need to learn how to read poetry. When you started out did you ever have this problem? I mean extracting full worth/meaning out of things without resorting to line-by-line school deconstruction? Maybe it’s just me.
    Of course, this is all working on the assumption that poems are somehow “special” and deserving of different treatment than regular literature; maybe this goes back to the idea that they are a distillation of a piece of the poet’s mind- or soul if you believe in such things?
    I try and keep my guard up as best I can. Until anything concrete is said/happens I shall continue to work on the basis that MW#1 is living up to his codename, and that I am not particularly important in the scheme of things. To him anyway.
    I tell you though, it is difficult… it is far too satisfying even just to be held by him…
    Of course as much as I am trying to keep distant, I will still be fucking broken when the inevitable happens and I hear the familiar refrain “I don’t see you that way… I’d prefer it if we could be friends” … grrr

  3. Bobby Convey says:

    D’oh I can’t believe it, just spent ages writing a comment, and it failed to submit, and wiped it all!!
    Anyway, here goes again:
    Staying Alive is an excellent choice of Anthology, and actually contains the words that I plan to have put on my bench when I carp it. I’ve instructed the family in this regard, and they’ve been forced to commit it to memory. Not cos I’m morbid, I just want a bench, and can’t bear to have some cliched dribble on it!!
    As to reading poetry, it can be tough. I think the most important thing is to read it out loud. Sometimes even great poetry doesn’t shout out on the page, and you can’t get the natural rhythm of the words until you’ve tried them out. And read poems more than once. People that claim they can extract a meaning on one reading are lala as far as I’m concerned. They’re either much less slow than you or I, or they’ve haven’t let the poem just ‘exist’ (what hippy drippy shit I can write!), they’ve spent all their energy analysing and pulling it apart. A good poem, in my opinion, sounds beautiful even if it means nothing. Of course the best combine that and meaning. For example ‘The Wasteland’ by T.S.Eliot. Hey, he may have been a relio-faschist zealot, but the fella knew how to write about urban dislocation, and for that he is forgiven!

  4. monky says:

    Let me know if nopoke fails to let you post- things are a little slow of late, so you might need to let it sit and ponder and hit reload. Or something. The blog is obviously having difficulty coping with all the comments you are graciously leaving. I still get far too excited when I get a notification of a comment… loser I know.
    Maybe it’s what you say- the sound of the words and the flow and rhythm are just as important as the meaning. I think the way a poem reads is probably more important as it aides understanding.
    I’m glad i’m not the only one who struggles getting through poetry. I am working my way through “The Plagues of Loving” at the mo and am merrily sticking in Post-It note strips on particularly pleasing pieces; it’s like a work out for the sou and perfect brain food, and is increasing my romantic vocabulary tenfold- which I feel I am sorely lacking.
    I’m unfamiliar with The Wasteland; I don’t think i’m quite ready for long-form poetry- I can only just about cope with 20 lines or so.
    Also- Caversham Princess is happy to be labelled as such; would you like to be codenamed Lambrini, LaLaLa or something else?
    Wow. A record for number of comments- I am quite thrilled…