Friday, February 18, 2011

Although I have been mainly reading my five poets I've taken a few detours.

One of which is  a 14th century Gaelic poem: Lament for Fearchar Ò Mail Chiaráin. It's in a book I have called The Triumph Tree: Scotland's earliest poetry AD 550 - 1350.
It's a father's lament for his son who it seems was a poet who went off to Ireland for a poetry tour and was killed there. It's a longish poem, 48 quartrain verses. Gripping stuff, I was in tears by the end of it. A beautiful poem with some startling images/similes -

Mail Chiaráin, my fresh fruit,
my lime-washed sun-house, my branch of nuts. '

A powerful poem -

' No one's sermons can sink in
for the sleek white-voiced branch.
'Everyone grieves for their sons',
what use for any to tell me?

It seems my sense is no use,
with me, grief-struck on his track;
like pale froth on a cold ford,
I'm a sad shade, listless, sapped.

Grief for Ò Mail Chiaráin's in my frame,
I'm sent astray by his death.
Though I've not died from it on his grave,
why should not clay cover my flesh?'
...and for no real reason other than I love eyeing up other peoples book shelves

so here's the bookshelf above my computer!


There is nothing more depressing than spending hours working on a poem and getting nowhere with it. I've been doing a lot of that lately. However I have been reading my five poets and enjoying becoming familiar with the poems in the respective collections. So far I've been mostly reading between Celan, Pound and Stevens.
In case anyone is interested, these are the poetry collections I'm working through: