2000-09-22 - 1:16 a.m.
Somewhere, in one of the still-packed boxes in my dining room, there is an anthology that contains Theodore Roethke's "Four for Sir John Davies." Elsewhere, probably up in the TV room, there is a sheet of yellow paper with the ending of Yves Bonnefoy's French translation of "The Circus Animals' Desertion." The sense-memory of both poems has been glimmering in the back of my brain for a couple of days now - not the actual memory of the poems themselves, seeing that I can't call the precise words to my conscious mind, but the giddy sensation of reading them. Giddiness? Oh yes. Good poetry can have that effect on me - the words so perfectly matched to each other that I'm breathless at their music. I can't resist reading them aloud to myself, feeling them resonate in my mouth as well as in my bones.
It's a shivery feeling, coming across poems like that - from what I've read, I can't think I would have had any patience for Willie Yeats in person, but God, what writing! (I feel the same way about Beethoven, for that matter.)
To quote from the Roethke:
"Is that dance slowing in the mind of man
...I take this cadence from a man named Yeats;
(The full poem can be found at http://www.thebrothers.com/eraaz/four.html.)
Another poet who can simultaneously chill and cheer me with his cadences is Michael Drayton. He's best known for the sonnet "Since there's no help, let us kiss and part..." Earlier last month, I caught sight of several other Drayton poems in two other anthologies I owned - which eventually led me to seek out his entry at The Luminarium site (www.luminarium.org).
From there, I printed out "Idea" (http://www.geocities.com/~spanoudi/poems/drayton3.html) to read during slower moments on the Ontario Ale Trail. There's plenty of heartbreaking gorgeousness in it - which made me all the more delighted to come across this funny little fancy, sonnet #25:
"O why should Nature niggardly restrain
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