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Poetry Corner

You should know by now that I often turn to poetry here when I lack time and inspiration to write something myself.  And really, I have good taste in poetry, so it’s ok.

I wrote a class of D/s themed poetry, or poetry that spoke to me of it, anyway, some time ago.  I rarely do it – it’s very few people’s thing, but here are parts of it.

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Elinor Wylie, born in 1885, was famous during her life almost as much for her beauty and personality as for her poetry. After an unhappy marriage, she fled to England with Horace Wylie in 1910; following her first husband’s death she married Wylie, and although they were later divorced, she continued to write under the name Elinor Wylie. In 1923 she married William Rose Benét, poet and editor.  She died in 1928.

Pretty Words

Poets make pets of pretty, docile words:
I love smooth words, like gold-enameled fish
Which circle slowly with a silken swish,
And tender ones, like downy-feathered birds:
Words shy and dappled, deep-eyed deer in herds,
Come to my hand, and playful if I wish,
Or purring softly at a silver dish,
Blue Persian kittens fed on cream and curds.

I love bright words, words up and singing early;
Words that are luminous in the dark, and sing;
Warm lazy words, white cattle under trees;
I love words opalescent, cool, and pearly,
Like midsummer moths, and honied words like bees,
Gilded and sticky, with a little sting.

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John Keats, one of the greatest English poets and a major figure in the Romantic movement, was born in 1795 in London. He died of tuberculosis in Italy in 1821.  In that tragically short lifetime, he wrote an astonishing amount of poetry.  In this work, he takes on the voice of a young knight, entranced and bewitched by La Belle Dame sans Merci – the beautiful lady without mercy.

La Belle Dame sans Merci

O what can ail thee, Knight at arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has withered from the Lake
And no birds sing!

O what can ail thee, Knight at arms,
So haggard, and so woebegone?
The squirrel’s granary is full
And the harvest’s done.

I see a lily on thy brow
With anguish moist and fever dew,
And on thy cheeks a fading rose
Fast withereth too.

I met a Lady in the Meads,
Full beautiful, a faery’s child,
Her hair was long, her foot was light
And her eyes were wild.

I made a Garland for her head,
And bracelets too, and fragrant Zone;
She looked at me as she did love
And made sweet moan.

I set her on my pacing steed
And nothing else saw all day long,
For sidelong would she bend and sing
A faery’s song.

She found me roots of relish sweet,
And honey wild, and manna dew,
And sure in language strange she said
I love thee true.

She took me to her elfin grot
And there she wept and sighed full sore,
And there I shut her wild wild eyes
With kisses four.

And there she lull’ed me to sleep,
And there I dreamed, Ah Woe betide!
The latest dream I ever dreamt
On the cold hill side.

I saw pale Kings, and Princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
They cried, La belle dame sans merci
Thee hath in thrall!

I saw their starved lips in the gloam
With horrid warning gap’ed wide,
And I awoke, and found me here
On the cold hill’s side.

And that is why I sojourn here,
Alone and palely loitering;
Though the sedge is withered from the Lake
And no birds sing.

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William Butler Yeats, born in Dublin in 1865, died in 1939 was a poet and a playwright.  He is considered the greatest lyric poet Ireland has produced and one of the major figures of 20th-century literature.  Irish legends and the occult fascinated him.  Some of that fascination in evident in his poetry.

A Poet to His Beloved

I bring you with reverent hands
The books of my numberless dreams;
White woman that passion has worn
As the tide wears the dove-gray sands,
And with heart more old than the horn
This is brimmed from the pale fire of time;
White woman with numberless dreams
I bring you my passionate rhyme.

When You Are Old

When you are old and gray and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled
And paced among the mountains overhead
And hid his face among a crowd of stars.

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I Heard a Bird Sing

I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.
A magical thing
And sweet to remember.

“We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,”
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.

So said Oliver Herford,

I memorized that poem as a kid, and I have thought of it every single December since, as well as other times, too.  Today was the first cold day we’ve had, the first day I actually wore a coat out during the day to run errands.

Actually, yesterday was a bit more of a dark of December kind of day, today was brighter.

I made no cookies today.  I did look at cookie recipes and got some cookie ingredients.

One of the places I looked was an old cookbook I had picked up at a yard sale somewhere, the kind that was some mother or grandmother’s COOKBOOK, the one where she stuck the recipes she really wanted to keep, the ones written in various hands, or with the notation of who had given the recipe.

There were some very early Weight Watchers menus which seem to have adopted the policy of making food so unappealing that no one would want to eat it and you would thus lose weight.

While this may seem like an unlikely theory, it’s the only one I can come up with to explain recipes such as Liver Royale (boiled chicken livers with garlic, onion and a dill pickle made into a sort of pate), Sweet and Sour Liver (liver with a sauce made of pineapple, vinegar, tomato juice and artificial sweetener), and Liver Chop Suey (cooked with celery and cabbage, on a bed of bean sprouts.)

And I like liver.

Not THAT liver, but I like liver.

And then there are the recipes where they are trying to make you think it’s going to be something good.  Cheese Danish is actually cottage cheese with cinnamon and artificial sweetener broiled on toast.  The Popcorn Bowl is actually sliced green peppers, cucumbers, celery and chunks of cabbage, which you can “nibble to your delight.”

Then there are just the dated recipes, like Barbecue Tuna, Chess Pie – Oh My!, or Six Cans Casserole, made of cans of cream of celery, mushroom and shrimp soup, with a can of crab meat, shrimp and mushrooms, served over rice.

One thing I found that I enjoyed was three menus from Christmas Coffees, some kind of ladies luncheon that had a typed menu with recipes and the name of the people making it.

There was a tea or coffee punch, or a rosé wine punch, always a country ham with biscuits or rolls and then very civilized luncheon foods like crab meat dip and melon balls soaked in wine.  They are dated 1966, 1968 and 1973.

There are recipes pulled out of magazines and newspapers, including one from 1974 which advertises a two-carat solitaire ring for $6,000

It amazes me that someone would put this in a yard sale, because surely those recipes meant something to the family, but obviously not.

My favorite thing, though, was this poem, written in painfully neat script on a large index card.  I began with a poem, I’ll end with one, too, though “poem” is a bit of a stretch.

“A favorite recipe for a starry-eyed bride,
Who has, it is told, captured Somerset’s pride.
I wish them the blessings which life can bestow
And hope they’ll return to ‘ole Louisville’s depot.

We’ll miss ’em while living in yonder peach state,
And an unexpected visit might be this couple’s fate.
If chance we don’t see them in many a day,
We’ll listen for news of triplets in May.”