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Poetry and Politics.


CookieMonster

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Feb 19, 2005
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34,801
Prompted by the mention of Derek Mahon in a thread last night I was thinking about the influence of politics on poetry (or indeed the influence of poetry on politics). With the likes Seamus Heaney in particular the impact of politics was evident, also with Mahon and even Eavan Boland (who along with Heaney I'm more familar with then Mahon) who is a voice for a strong politcal cause.

So a rounded general discussion of poetry of politics if you wish, no need to tie it down to that from an Irish perspective either as my own favourite poem in this regard isn't Irish.
It is, however, too long to replicate here so I'll provide a link. It's Locksley Hall by Alfred Lord Tennyson and can be read here.
 

qtman

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Jan 24, 2005
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280
CookieMonster said:
Prompted by the mention of Derek Mahon in a thread last night I was thinking about the influence of politics on poetry (or indeed the influence of poetry on politics). With the likes Seamus Heaney in particular the impact of politics was evident, also with Mahon and even Eavan Boland (who along with Heaney I'm more familar with then Mahon) who is a voice for a strong politcal cause.

So a rounded general discussion of poetry of politics if you wish, no need to tie it down to that from an Irish perspective either as my own favourite poem in this regard isn't Irish.
It is, however, too long to replicate here so I'll provide a link. It's Locksley Hall by Alfred Lord Tennyson and can be read here.
I like Seamus Heaney's

From the republic of conscience
 

CookieMonster

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Feb 19, 2005
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qtman said:
Oh that's one of the ones I was thinking about when I started this thread, but couldn't remember the name. Thanks for bringing it up.
Secondary school ruined Heaney for me, it's only after I left that I started to like his work. :D
 

scotusone

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Aug 19, 2006
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88

Auditor #9

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May 31, 2007
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Sonnet: England in 1819

An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying king, --
Princes, the dregs of their dull race, who flow
Through public scorn, -- mud from a muddy spring, --
Rulers who neither see, nor feel, nor know,
But leech-like to their fainting country cling,
Till they drop, blind in blood, without a blow, --
A people starved and stabbed in the untilled field, --
An army, which liberticide and prey
Makes as a two-edged sword to all who wield, --
Golden and sanguine laws which tempt and slay;
Religion Christless, Godless -- a book sealed;
A Senate, -- Time's worst statute unrepealed, --
Are graves, from which a glorious Phantom may
Burst, to illumine our tempestous day.

-- Percy Bysshe Shelley

One of the best openings to a poem ever. It's about King George III's era in England and also about Napoleon. Some info. Shelley was fiercely politicised and I'd like to read more about and of him. I know Blake was too and Yeats - all kinda similar visionary fellas.

Derek Mahon's stuff appealed to me during college but I really can't remember much about it now. I went to a debate in Galway during Cúirt once on how the Northern poets actually write decent poetry while the Southern ones write complete caca. The likes of Theo Dorgan were ripped asunder by the Northern antagonist on the panel. The chair, Nuala O'Faoilain was clearly not impartial.

Have to say I could see the antagonists point completely from the pieces he read out and lambasted.
 

Helium Three

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May 3, 2007
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186
I see this work of Máire Mac an tSaoi as a political poem, a warning that it is so much easier to knock than to create:

TREALL
Tabhair dom casúr
nó tua
go mbrisfead is
go millfead
an teach seo,
go ndéanfad tairseach
den fhardoras
’gus urláir
de na ballaí
go dtiocfaidh scraith
agus díon agus
similéir anuas
le neart mo chuid
allais –

Sín chugam anois
Na cláir is na tairní
go dtóigfead
an teach eile seo –

Ach, a Dhia, táim tuirseach!
 

Auditor #9

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Anyone remember this from school?

W. H. Auden

O What Is That Sound

O what is that sound which so thrills the ear
Down inthe valley drumming, drumming?
Only the scarlet soldiers, dear,
The soldiers coming.

O what is that light I see flashing so clear
Over the distance brightly, brightly ?
Only the sun on their weapons, dear,
As they step lightly.

O what are they doing with all that gear
What are they doing this morning, this morning?
Only the usual manoeuvres, dear,
Or perhaps a warning.

O why have they left the road down there
Why are they suddenly wheeling, wheeling?
Perhaps a change in the orders, dear,
Why are you kneeling ?

O haven't they stopped for the doctor's care
Haven't they reined their horses, their horses ?
Why, they are none of them wounded, dear,
None of these forces.

O is it the parson they want with white hair;
Is it the parson, is it, is it ?
No, they are passing his gateway, dear,
Without a visit.

O it must be the farmer who lives so near
It must be the farmer so cunning, so cunning?
They have passed the farm already, dear,
And now they are running.

O where are you going? stay with me here!
Were the vows you swore me deceiving, deceiving?
No, I promised to love you, dear,
But I must be leaving.

O it's broken the lock and splintered the door,
O it's the gate where they're turning, turning
Their feet are heavy on the floor
And their eyes are burning.
 

Auditor #9

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www.*******.com
In Memory Of Eva Gore-Booth And Con Markiewicz
William Butler Yeats

The light of evening, Lissadell,
Great windows open to the south,
Two girls in silk kimonos, both
Beautiful, one a gazelle.
But a raving autumn shears
Blossom from the summer's wreath;
The older is condemned to death,
Pardoned, drags out lonely years
Conspiring among the ignorant.
I know not what the younger dreams -
Some vague Utopia - and she seems,
When withered old and skeleton-gaunt,
An image of such politics.
Many a time I think to seek
One or the other out and speak
Of that old Georgian mansion, mix
pictures of the mind, recall
That table and the talk of youth,
Two girls in silk kimonos, both
Beautiful, one a gazelle.

continued...
 

Helium Three

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May 3, 2007
Messages
186
This passage is quoted in the Explanatory Note in the beginning of the Committe on Constitutional Affairs' Report to the European Parliament on the Lisbon Treaty:


There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat;
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

William Shakespeare. Julius Caesar.


......

I think those lines in this great tragedy are spoken by Brutus as he is trying to persuade Caesar to wage war on Antony and Octavius. :cool:
 

scotusone

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Aug 19, 2006
Messages
88
brutus to cassius i think .

the play also contains the finest piece of political rhetorical speech anywhere , antony has the crowd in the palm of his hand .

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest -
For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable men -
Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And, sure, he is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once, not without cause:
What cause withholds you then, to mourn for him?
O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,
And I must pause till it come back to me.


and then just to finish the job , he gives them caesers will . lots of dosh and lovely things ,all for the people .

exit the crowd to burn brutus house .
 

Dubstudent

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May 13, 2010
Messages
17,051
I froze your tears and made a dagger,
and stabbed it in my **** forever.
It stays there like Excalibur,
Are you my Arthur?
Say you are.

Take this cool dark steeled blade,
Steal it, sheath it, in your lake.
I’d drown with you to be together.
Must you breathe? Cos I need Heaven.
 
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