poetry as promised

Anyone who reads me knows that I don't hold with poetry or song lyrics on blogs. Now here I need to tread lightly, because there are some folks who I truly appreciate, such as
Vadergrrrl
(goddamn that fucked up html!) who posts song lyrics often and does it much less obnoxiously than most. But she's mature, a master at what she's doing, and she's also knows her history so that the lyrics mean something beyond personal.

I freely admit to hypocritia (uh, yeah, I made that up.) An everchanging, brief bit of lyrics reside as a subtitle/explaination for my blog (instead of the ever-tempting Random Musings Of A Tortured Soul), and I employ song lyrics in my books in a rather formalized method. (No doubt they'll be immediately eliminated by the editor that buys my work. They'll live to regret it though. Cross marketing is a great ploy and one that the publishing industry doesn't engage often enough - and fuck, that really is whole other post.)

Ironically enough, when I run across lyrics or poetry in books I compulsively skip right past them. No doubt I'll get what's coming to me someday.

I'll be clear: my problem with poetry written by the authors of blogs is that it always sucks. My problem with song lyrics on blogs is that the poetry is meant to be heard within the confines of the music for which it was written. It means nearly nothing without that music. (And if you put the fucking accompanying music on your blog you deserve to rot in Hell reading Shakespeare in bad light forevermore!)

My poorly organized opinions notwithstanding, I don't profess to be a poetry expert in any shape. I've written two free-form poems that I think pretty well rock, but they really mean something only to me. I wouldn't dream of inflicting them on someone else. However, I had Browning years ago while earning my degree (in some awful 300 level English course probably called something like Pre- through Post-Victorian Poetry.) and it struck a chord with me. I could go into how Browning effectively utilized the unusual conversational style within iambic pentameter couplets, but that bores the hell out of me and everyone else I know. If it's not obvious by now, poetry is not my favorite form of written expression, and analyzing it drives me to drink.

Browning, though, happens to rock.

My Last Duchess (1842)

That's my last Duchess painted on the wall,
Looking as if she were alive. I call
That piece a wonder, now: Frà Pandolf's hands
Worked busily a day, and there she stands.
Will't please you sit and look at her? I said
"Frà Pandolf" by design, for never read
Strangers like you that pictured countenance,
The depth and passion of its earnest glance,
But to myself they turned (since none puts by
The curtain I have drawn for you, but I)
And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst,
How such a glance came there; so, not the first
Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, 'twas not
Her husband's presence only, called that spot
Of joy into the Duchess' cheek: perhaps
Frà Pandolf chanced to say "Her mantle laps
Over my Lady's wrist too much," or "Paint
Must never hope to reproduce the faint
Half-flush that dies along her throat": such stuff
Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough
For calling up that spot of joy. She had
A heart -- how shall I say? -- too soon made glad,
Too easily impressed; she liked whate'er
She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.
Sir, 'twas all one! My favour at her breast,
The dropping of the daylight in the West,
The bough of cherries some officious fool
Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule
She rode with round the terrace -- all and each
Would draw from her alike the approving speech,
Or blush, at least. She thanked men, -- good! but thanked
Somehow -- I know not how -- as if she ranked
My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name
With anybody's gift. Who'd stoop to blame
This sort of trifling? Even had you skill
In speech -- (which I have not) -- to make your will
Quite clear to such an one, and say, "Just this
Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss,
Or there exceed the mark" -- and if she let
Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set
Her wits to yours, forsooth, and made excuse,
--E'en then would be some stooping, and I choose
Never to stoop. Oh sir, she smiled, no doubt,
Whene'er I passed her; but who passed without
Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands;
Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands
As if alive. Will't please you rise? We'll meet
The company below, then. I repeat,
The Count your master's known munificence
Is ample warrant that no just pretence
Of mine for dowry will be disallowed;
Though his fair daughter's self, as I avowed
At starting, is my object. Nay, we'll go
Together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though,
Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity,
Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me!

** If you hate being told what it means then don't read anymore. **

What's it mean? Think of who's talking here: some entitled asshole Duke whose wife didn't treat him special enough. So he had her painted (I guess she was cute enough or something) and killed for it. Who is he talking to? Another asshole who's there to negotiate the dowry for a new wife. The punchline is the last three lines when the speaker points out another of his works of art. The art, and so the last wife, is now relegated to just a means to display wealth.

** end disclaimer**

Now read it again and see how cool it is.

5 comments:

Fire Faerie said...

Yeah! You're back! We missed you.

I do love Browning! Probably my favorite thing he ever wrote was in a letter to his wife, Elisabeth Barret Browning. I would quote it here, but I will butcher it. I'll look it up and then quote with confidence. It was something along the lines: I'd rather go through these days of sadness with you than endure one day of happiness of which you were not a part.

*sigh* Okay, now back to monster jeeps and political complaints and all of the slander you can muster.
Glad you're back.

What are we doing Friday?

Death said...

"Jeez, I wish my tits were big enough to fall out of my bra"
that's ok hon, I linked you anyway.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Death. You're obviously a big sweetie-pie underneath all that sweat and cussin'.

Faerie- I don't know what YOU'RE doing, but I'M going to see GREEN DAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!

sex scenes at starbucks said...

ok, the above was obviously me

Vadergrrrl said...

I so appreciate you too. Im so glad to know you will be close to me when I move. We must get together for some poetry.

xxxoooo