Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Tattered Bard

Benjamin West - The Bard - Google Art Project


 The Tattered Bard



Tattered, sorely tattered the old bard lay
his velvet voice spilled out in disarray,
his ivory hands once smooth upon the string
now knobbed as sticks, his throat too dry to sing.

A thousand dead men’s tales his faun’s eyes tell,
his heart a cracking cup for a bottomless well.
His love’s a sighing flame fed by hollow grass
lighting a nightwatch breath, then spent and passed.

Yet in the living dark he feels the pull
and drip of words from a moon that's overfull.
A mimosa dryad comes to fetch his sigh
and he hears the roar of music that won't die.

And still from miles around the lasses come
to bring him bread and honey, or sometimes none
but only a white breast pillow to hold his head
where he can believe he’s old, but still not dead.



May 2012
For all the old poets


Posted for   real toads
Kenia's Challenge


I cheated a bit on this prompt, which was to take a line from a poet you felt you should like more as a way to get into his/her poetry; however I patterned it after a poet I actually do mostly like,  John Keats, but whom I find very stylized and florid compared to modern poets. But this little rhyme seems to play off that style to me, so I hope it qualifies. 
(Here's a link to a Keats bard poem for reference.)



Image: The Bard, by Benjamin West, 1778, oil on oak
Public domain  via Wikimedia Commons

30 comments:

  1. Certainly it does, Joy! It's great the way it is. No two ways about it. When it rhymes it's a pleasure to read. I particularly like the word play, the hallmark of a seasoned poet! It's awesome Ma'am!

    Hank

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  2. That last stanza is just cool, Hedge. I also really liked "his heart a cracking cup for a bottomless well".

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  3. Funny, I used a Keats poem as well.

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    1. That's a weird coincidence. Off to read it.

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  4. Ooh, these sections are gorgeous:

    "the living dark he feels the pull
    and drip of words from a moon that's overfull.
    A mimosa dryad comes to fetch his sigh"

    "to bring him bread and honey, or sometimes none
    but only a white breast pillow to hold his head
    where he can believe he’s old, but still not dead"

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  5. I'm glad I'm not the only one who broke the rules.

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    1. I wasn't even sure if I understood the rules. ;-) So it doesn't count if I broke em, right?

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  6. the second stanza stands out to me as really strong hedge...love the description in it...i am just wondering how he gets all the lasses..cause that just does not happen to poets...haha...just playing...and here is to still not being dead....

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  7. Yet in the living dark he feels the pull
    and drip of words from a moon that's overfull.

    I love this, Hedge!! You did a great job with this the reading so smooth and while it holds that old style it excites with fresh poet breath!!

    Okay...sorry, I have to laugh at and still leave you this comment!! It is hilarious but it is what I mean to say! :)

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    1. So, I guess that breath mint worked, huh? ;-) You cracked me up Hannah--thanks!

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  8. This is the second poem I have read this week which uses Dryad. Think the wooden fairy kin are about to take over the world. As per your usual, this piece has wit and a depth that I must bow to. That last stanza made my stand up and applaud. You are walking a fine line between vitriol and realism. Stunning!!!!!!! !!!! !!!!! Truly, I am poem jealous.

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  9. This a delicious mix of melody and rhythm. The white breast pillow stanza is especially inspired. I agree about Keats, and though I love to read him, it takes adjusting the ears a bit.

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  10. wowee, love this! whoosh.
    i'm having a hard time with this prompt, inexplicably. glad i decided to throw in the towel and just start reading my brilliant comrades.

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  11. You are so perfectly capable of emulating the Romantics in verse and meter. John Keats' Autumn was the poem that got me into poetry. I could not believe someone could cram so much hidden meaning and imagery into a seasonal poem. I love the way you created this persona of the tattered bard, and developed his weightiness from stanza to stanza. Those last 4 lines are incredible - just left me gasping like a landed fish.

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  12. This is beautifully done, Hedge! It has that "epic" feel.

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  13. Very Keatsian, though he never got to be very old, poor guy! So not sure he could quite imagine the knobbed hands. We can though and you've painted vividly. k.

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  14. i love your take on the prompt, hedge! very "Keatsian" indeed! {i find i love one line or two from many of his poems.}

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  15. I, personally, don't much care for Keats. Too overblown for my tastes. But your poem was of a much lighter touch with some wit and humor. Perhaps I'll have to give ol' Keats another go if he inspires you.

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  16. I like this, especially the last stanza. Like too that you dedicated it to all old poets!

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  17. I adore the first stanza as it paints a portrait of this bard so beautifully. Quite an honor you did Keats words.

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  18. I am so enjoying reading everyone's responses to this exercise. Yours is special! Your last line "where he can believe he’s old, but still not dead." sums up the immortality of the writer or artist whose work lives on.

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  19. your characterization of the bard, the
    flame fed by hollow grass... and the last stanza.
    i could dig deep into these.

    keats needs to scooch over, there's a wild hedgewitch gunning for him.

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  20. Yes -- Even though the mind, the mouth, the word itself dries, "he hears the roar of music that won't die." I get the sense that this old bardic fart has been at it for centuries, or lifetimes, ever gripped by the music inside of all things even when he can't articulate it any more. Hyperion saw; and who knows what Keats might have scrolled of that inexhaustible sublime had he not died of tuberculosis at 23. - Brendan

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    1. Yep. The song plays on, though the singers, and even the music, change...but once a bardic fart, always a bardic fart, I say--it's like trying to shut up Willie Nelson.

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  21. i like the bard here. favorite line: his love’s a sighing flame fed by hollow grass.

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  22. Bard poems are either tedious, grand or fun...yours is grand and fun! Nothing tedious here at all!! :-)

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  23. Keats is a favorite of mine also, mostly. It's funny how you described your admiration, because I've often felt the same. Of course, most of those Romantics were rather Charlton Heston-esque in their use of language. ;) Still...I adopted Keats long ago as my favorite, and I enjoyed reading what you spun from him.

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg