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March 29, 2009

Changing the Subject (not yet)

After re-formatting the main author index files, I’ve moved on to the Subject Index, created years ago by Jon Lachelt. Unfortunately, while there are 13 author index files, there are 54 subject indexes. I’ve completed two initial examples, on Life (http://theotherpages.org/poems/SubjIdx/life.html) and People (http://theotherpages.org/poems/SubjIdx/people.html).  Let me know if you like the changes. Recommendations on additional selections are appreciated.


March 22, 2009

Running the Tables

In case any of you are NOT watching the NCAA and NIT basketball tournaments or out enjoying the start of spring in the northern hemisphere, you may have noticed that stage one of the collection's major overhaul is complete - all of the main author index files have been converted to a single, consistent format. I hope everyone likes green.


There are several parallel efforts, including link-backs from Wikipedia and some added Faces of the Poets added to the indexes. I have also added new works from Joseph Addison, Lascelles Abercrombie and William Blake. Blake's index entry has also been re-done. Several new poets (new to the collection, at least) were also added. These include Scottish doctor John Armstrong, and Scottish songwriter John Skinner and English War poet Edmund Blunden. This is a good mix of styles and longer and shorter works.


The added songs by Blake cover a wide range in tones, and Fair Eleanor is a suprisingly graphic horror story. Armstrong's Epistle to a Young Critic is a bit thick with its references to recognized classics as well as to his contemporaries, but has some good quotable lines, and some searing criticisms. Skinner's Reel of Tullochgorum was a favorite of his friend Robert Burns (they corresponded in verse) and is played by musicians to the present day.


Blunden is a little reminiscent of Muriel Stuart in his themes, particularly in his poem Forefathers
These were men of pith and thew,
   Whom the city never called;
Scarce could read or hold a quill,
   Built the barn, the forge, the mill.

On the green they watched their sons
   Playing till too dark to see,
As their fathers watched them once,
   As my father once watched me;

Unrecorded, unrenowned,
   Men from whom my ways begin,
Here I know you by your ground
   But I know you not within--
All is mist, and there survives
   Not a moment of your lives.

Like the bee that now is blown
   Honey-heavy on my hand,
From the toppling tansy-throne
   In the green tempestuous land,--
I'm in clover now, nor know
   Who made honey long ago.

and Reunion in Wartime, which ends with:


The church clock with his dead voice whirred
   As if he bade me stay
To trace with madman's fingers all
  The letters on the stones
Where thick beneath the twitch roots crawl
  In dead men's envied bones.


March 11, 2009

A new look, and Ms. Doolittle

The Poets' Corner Home Page (http://theotherpages.org/poems/) has had a major make-over. This appearance is consistent with the new format being used in the Author's Index, and in all new additions. I've added two more portraits, those of Paul Laurence Dunbar, one of my favorite poets, on of Hila Doolittle, who signed her work simply as 'H.D.'. I've also added eight new works to her index entry, all from "Sea Garden".

H.D. was the first 'imagist' poet, and published many books of poetry, novels, and psychology. She led a complicated life, with personal and professional relationships with many notable figures of her day, both men and women, notably including D.H. Lawrence and Ezra Pound(who she met in college, was once engaged to, and who gave her the title 'Imagiste'), Sigmund Freud, and others. Born in the steel town of Bethlehem Pennsylvania, She moved to London and became a British Citizen. She spent her later life in Switzerland. I wonder if, in travelling the roads up and down the hills and mountains around Zurich, if she ever thought back to the wave motion she described so well in her early poem The Helmsman.

The Helmsman

O BE swift--
we have always known you wanted us.

We fled inland with our flocks.
we pastured them in hollows,
cut off from the wind
and the salt track of the marsh.

We worshipped inland--
we stepped past wood-flowers,
we forgot your tang,
we brushed wood-grass.

We wandered from pine-hills
through oak and scrub-oak tangles,
we broke hyssop and bramble.
we caught flower and new bramble-fruit
in our hair: we laughed
as each branch whipped back,
we tore our feet in half-buried rocks
and knotted roots and acorn-cups.

We forgot--we worshipped,
we parted green from green.
we sought further thickets,
we dipped our ankles
through leaf-mould and earth.
and wood and wood-bank enchanted us--

and the feel of the clefts in the bark,
and the slope between tree and tree--
and a slender path strung field to field
and wood to wood
and hill to hill
and the forest after it.

We forgot--for a moment
tree-resin, tree-bark,
sweat of a torn branch
were sweet to taste.
We were enchanted with the fields,
the tufts of coarse grass
in the shorter grass--
we loved all this.

But now, our boat climbs--hesitates--drops--
climbs--hesitates--crawls back--
O be swift--
we have always known you wanted us.


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