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A collaboration over too much coffee.
coffee and pen

01 December, 2004

Poems and Integral Rhythm

Geetanjali wrote a scholastic piece on this,
inspiring me to say a few words :

Regarding the rhythm as a distinguishing feature in a poem the curious reader must try to read this aloud :

Buffalo Bill's
who used to
ride a watersmooth-silver
and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat
he was a handsome man
         and what i want to know is
how do you like your blueeyed boy
Mister Death

by e.e. cummings [who never used capitals as a rule, Mister Death being an exception but then it makes a whole lot of sense...]


A good reader may modulate the voice to get maximum mileage out of this... and I love the sudden popping up of the punch line.

I wake up cold, I who
Prospered through dreams of heat
Wake to their residue,
Sweat, and a clinging sheet.

My flesh was its own shield:
Where it was gashed, it healed.

I grew as I explored
The body I could trust
Even while I adored
The risk that made robust,

A world of wonders in
Each challenge to the skin.

I cannot but be sorry
The given shield was cracked,
My mind reduced to hurry,
My flesh reduced and wrecked.

I have to change the bed,
But catch myself instead

Stopped upright where I am
Hugging my body to me
As if to shield it from
The pains that will go through me,

As if hands were enough
To hold an avalanche off.
(c) Thom Gunn 1994

Any comments ?
This discussion could go on, to unfurl a lot more delights I am sure.

I am, in search of a poem entitled Buick by Thom Gunn the American poet. That is one helluva rhythm-studded poem.

Cheers !



Blogger Geetanjali said...

e.e.commings - i remembember being flummoxed when i was confronted with his work. if i remember correctly he presented his work as an artist would (including this one)- his poems flowed across the sheet...buffalo bill, hit me hard - i had no idea what to make of it, leave alone produce an intelligent commentary on it. but seeing the poem as originally published and read by a good orator, you can't help but capture the word imagery. the line "onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat" read corectly sure packs a mean punch. rhythm? poetic? i still don't know...but then the theme calls for a break in rhythm; for a shock to the senses. and that was his intention. to shock the readers and make them sit up and take notice. this is perhaps his most radical poem...other's didn't have this experimentative quality (anyone lived in a pretty how town, my father moved through the dooms of love etc)

Can't comment on Gunn, but I liked the word imagery in this poem. Coupled with the metrical scheme, it gives the poem just the right rhythm for such a work...

02 December, 2004 19:03  
Blogger JK said...

If a picture paints a thousand words,
ee commings is its antithesis,
for his words created a thousand pictures,
each a vision individually held,
by all who touched them.


22 November, 2005 09:53  

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