Saturday, January 06, 2007

Poems for Pleasure 7

Poems for Pleasure 7

There are so many wonderful poems to read and to listen to.  The choices are too many to pick from really.  And so I can almost understand the angst an anthologist must feel when he or she has to decide.  When all the classical parameters of so called literary brilliance have been exhausted inevitably the whole selection in the end is a personal one, coloured by each selector’s tastes and indeed prejudices.  Robert Graves (1895-1985), the great classicist, writer and poet has written many astute and moving poems.  He had served and was badly injured during the First World War, at the Battle of the Somme in fact (1916).  Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen were both good and loyal friends of Graves.  Poems from these latter two I also love – but more about that anon in another post.

This poem hereunder is a beautifully haunting and strange love poem.  It recounts what a lover says while half asleep, while somewhere between unconsciousness and consciousness.  It’s called “She Tells Her Love While Half Asleep.”

She Tells Her Love While Half Asleep

She tells her love while half asleep,

In the dark hours,
With half words whispered low;
As earth stirs in her winter sleep
And puts out grass and flowers
Despite the snow,
Despite the falling snow.

The whole movement of this poem is slow and silent like the falling snow.  Like the snow the semi-consciousness of the loved one is mysterious and dark – snow falling at night is paradoxical in a way because we know it is white yet bereft of light it is dark.  Earth and lover share the pronoun “her” – that is when he uses this third person possessive pronoun it can refer to either his lover or to the earth.  Shades of Hughes’s “Thought-Fox” again here no doubt!  Then one can only love the brave repetition in the last two lines, and exult in the addition of the adjective “falling” to qualify the snow.  A wonderful poem indeed!

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