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Sturgeon's House

Poetry Thread


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First, I'm a shitty poet. I'll never be good at it, and I've come to terms with that.

But let's talk about poets who aren't terrible. Here's one:

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Oh, yes, Shelley. He's in the news lately:

 

hkQGhaV.png

https://twitter.com/edyong209/status/608192078875664384

I always felt Ozymandias is rich in irony - the chief irony, of which I am sure Shelley was aware, being that Shelley's thesis is proved a bit wrong by the very fact that he wrote Ozymandias about a specific person - Rameses II - and not some unknown king.

Indeed, we have Osymandias' works, treaties he made, numerous colossal statues of him, his tomb where he was buried, and even his preserved corpse, still visible today. And, of course "Ramses" is a household name yet. How many men achieve that kind of lasting success? His empire has long since gone, true, but what immortality there is to achieve he surely has grasped.

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Soldiers are citizens of death’s grey land,

Drawing no dividend from time’s to-morrows.
In the great hour of destiny they stand,
Each with his feuds, and jealousies, and sorrows.
Soldiers are sworn to action; they must win
Some flaming, fatal climax with their lives.
Soldiers are dreamers; when the guns begin
They think of firelit homes, clean beds and wives.
 
I see them in foul dug-outs, gnawed by rats,
And in the ruined trenches, lashed with rain,
Dreaming of things they did with balls and bats,
And mocked by hopeless longing to regain
Bank-holidays, and picture shows, and spats,
And going to the office in the train.
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He went to his grave claiming no connection, but it is hard to read Frodo's soliloquy and not read Tolkien's own angst.

 

I thought it was that he claimed no connection between those books and WWII in particular, not that they weren't informed by his experiences of war.

 

I'm more of a James McIntyre fan myself. He wrote a lot of poems about cheese.

 

That greatest of foods. We need a cheese thread.

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I thought it was that he claimed no connection between those books and WWII in particular, not that they weren't informed by his experiences of war.

 

 

That greatest of foods. We need a cheese thread.

He stated in no uncertain terms that the Lord of the Rings was not intended to be an allegory to the Second World War, or to any modern war for that matter.  He dislike allegory in general and wanted his story to stand alone as it's own thing, not as a reflection of some other real world event.  Ine the preface to the Return of the King edition that I have, he says that if his book had been an allegory to the Second World War, it would have been a very different book, the Hobbits would all have been killed, the ring would have been used by the "good guys" and Sauron would have been enslaved rather than utterly defeated.  Or something to that effect, I don't have it in front of me right now.

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