Monday, October 12, 2009

Ambivalence


So, I got started on the William Butler Yeats lectures today. As my Mother’s countrymen would say – Jaysus! I’m only 2/3rds through the lectures yet but, so far, I’m not a fan of Mr Yeats – which is always a hard thing to say about such a big shot in the canon. Hopefully, I will come to appreciate him but looking at his early to middle poetry, my impression is he needs to “try and have his writing make sense".  Don't get me wrong, I am sure it makes perfect sense if one makes the effort to analyse it but, to be frank, it is so over flowery that I slip into a coma before I get that far.

And now, from Yeats to me (a very small step, I’m sure you’ll agree – see I rhymed there, I really am a poet). Here’s the piece I started working on yesterday, I’m not sure what I think of this yet either:

Filial visit to Ward 1

What was that she said
when she spoke of sleep;
was it “good”, or “not good”?
I moil to tune my ear,
today I intend to please.

I say I’m glad (got it right),
she sighs and talks of pain,
of sitting straight and needing
recipes for soup.
So, she’s feeling kind.

My choice is to collaborate,
to speak enthusiastically
of roasted vegetables,
the taste of butternut squash.

4 comments:

BarbaraS said...

Later Yeats is much, much better, if you ask me!

Nice to see you back - wowee, has it really been that long? And thanks for the name check too. Now is it time to put you back on the bloglist?

Messalina said...

I don't think poor old Willie was helped by the fact that he follows on straight from Robert Frost in the course - although it does illustrate very well the extremes of approach to poetry writing in the period, Frost's often 'home style' writing throws Yeats' 'fancy' stuff into even starker relief.

Yes please Mum - put me back on the list - I promise I've turned over a new leaf. I am also going to go make myself a follower on your blog - groovy new tools they've created since I've been away!

BarbaraS said...

Ah, had time to look properly - I like the third stanza best, the other two seem more tentative. Is that what you were aiming for?

Messalina said...

Not entirely 'tentative' - more on edge / guarded - but tentative is close enough :o) Thanks for the read.