Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Pickup Poems, Part IV: the End Is Nigh

Well, we seem to be winding down on the beautiful pickup poems, so I think this will be the last list, at least for a while. Many thanks to everyone who sent me their preferences!

In a wonderful shift from the sleazy to the sublime, Spellbound offered this poem by Kenneth Patchen:

As we are so wonderfully done with each other
We can walk into our separate sleep
on floors of music where the milkwhite cloak of childhood

oh my love, my golden lark, my soft long doll
Your lips have splashed my dull house with print of flowers
My hands are crooked where they spilled over your dear

It is good to be weary from that brilliant work
It is being God to feel your breathing under me

A waterglass on the bureau fills with morning.....
Don't let anyone in to wake us

Pickled Olives offered two pieces, both of which were wonderful. The first one hearkens back to "Goblin Market":


eating a plum
I tongue the tight skin
drawn seam
that halves this globed
whole is two
it's midnight
but when I bite in
with wet red flesh
the juice dripping down
my fingers sweet
sticky sticky
sweet pulp
engorged I
fill my mouth
eat it down
eat it down
all the way to the plumbstone

It also reminded me of this one by William Carlos Williams. By the way, I think this is probably the only poem by Williams that I really, truly love:

This Is Just To Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast.

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold.

Of course, Williams lacks the sexuality of Olives' poem, but the imagery gives me chills. No pun intended.

Olives also offered these lyrics:

Ooh, now let's get down tonight
Baby I'm hot just like an oven
I need some lovin'
And baby, I can't hold it much longer
It's getting stronger and stronger
And when I get that feeling
I want Sexual Healing
Sexual Healing, oh baby
Makes me feel so fine
Helps to relieve my mind
Sexual Healing baby, is good for me
Sexual Healing is something that's good for me
Whenever blue tear drops are falling
And my emotional stability is leaving me
There is something I can do
I can get on the telephone and call you up baby, and
Honey I know you'll be there to relieve me
The love you give to me will free me
If you don't know the things you're dealing
I can tell you, darling, that it's Sexual Healing
Get up, Get up, Get up, Get up, let's make love tonight
Wake up, Wake up, Wake up, Wake up, 'cos you do it right
Baby I got sick this morning
A sea was storming inside of me
Baby I think I'm capsizing
The waves are rising and rising
And when I get that feeling
I want Sexual Healing
Sexual Healing is good for me
Makes me feel so fine, it's such a rush
Helps to relieve the mind, and it's good for us
Sexual Healing, baby, is good for me
Sexual Healing is something that's good for me
And it's good for me and it's good to me
My baby ohhh
Come take control, just grab a hold
Of my body and mind soon we'll be making it
Honey, oh we're feeling fine
You're my medicine open up and let me in
Darling, you're so great
I can't wait for you to operate
I can't wait for you to operate
When I get this feeling, I need Sexual Healing

I'm not totally sure that she was serious, but God bless Olives! Here's the video:

I thought about putting up a video of George Michael singing the song, but there's a limit to my sense of irony. Besides, GM grosses me out.

Rhapsody offered this wonderful poem. It's not romantic, per se, but definitely puts Marvell in his place:

His Coy Mistress to Mr. Marvell
by A.D. Hope

Since you have world enough and time
Sir, to admonish me in rhyme,
Pray Mr Marvell, can it be
You think to have persuaded me?
Then let me say: you want the art
To woo, much less to win my heart.
The verse was splendid, all admit,
And, sir, you have a pretty wit.
All that indeed your poem lacked
Was logic, modesty, and tact,
Slight faults and ones to which I own,
Your sex is generally prone;
But though you lose your labour, I
Shall not refuse you a reply:

First, for the language you employ:
A term I deprecate is "coy";
The ill-bred miss, the bird-brained Jill,
May simper and be coy at will;
A lady, sir, as you will find,
Keeps counsel, or she speaks her mind,
Means what she says and scorns to fence
And palter with feigned innocence.

The ambiguous "mistress" next you set
Beside this graceless epithet.
"Coy mistress", sir? Who gave you leave
To wear my heart upon your sleeve?
Or to imply, as sure you do,
I had no other choice than you
And must remain upon the shelf
Unless I should bestir myself?
Shall I be moved to love you, pray,
By hints that I must soon decay?
No woman's won by being told
How quickly she is growing old;
Nor will such ploys, when all is said,
Serve to stampede us into bed.

When from pure blackmail, next you move
To bribe or lure me into love,
No less inept, my rhyming friend,
Snared by the means, you miss your end.
"Times winged chariot", and the rest
As poetry may pass the test;
Readers will quote those lines, I trust,
Till you and I and they are dust;
But I, your destined prey, must look
Less at the bait than at the hook,
Nor, when I do, can fail to see
Just what it is you offer me:
Love on the run, a rough embrace
Snatched in the fury of the chase,
The grave before us and the wheels
Of Time's grim chariot at our heels,
While we, like "am'rous birds of prey",
Tear at each other by the way.

To say the least, the scene you paint
Is, what you call my honour, quaint!
And on this point what prompted you
So crudely, and in public too,
To canvass and , indeed, make free
With my entire anatomy?
Poets have licence, I confess,
To speak of ladies in undress;
Thighs, hearts, brows, breasts are well enough,
In verses this is common stuff;
But -- well I ask: to draw attention
To worms in -- what I blush to mention,
And prate of dust upon it too!
Sir, was this any way to woo?

Now therefore, while male self-regard
Sits on your cheek, my hopeful bard,
May I suggest, before we part,
The best way to a woman's heart
Is to be modest, candid, true;
Tell her you love and show you do;
Neither cajole nor condescend
And base the lover on the friend;
Don't bustle her or fuss or snatch:
A suitor looking at his watch
Is not a posture that persuades
Willing, much less reluctant maids.

Remember that she will be stirred
More by the spirit than the word;
For truth and tenderness do more
Than coruscating metaphor.
Had you addressed me in such terms
And prattled less of graves and worms,
I might, who knows, have warmed to you;
But, as things stand, must bid adieu
(Though I am grateful for the rhyme)
And wish you better luck next time.

Yeats was a particular favorite. Judith offered "Ominous and Rejoiceful yeats to melt and harden the heart." A perfect description:

Never give all the Heart

Never give all the heart, for love
Will hardly seem worth thinking of
To passionate women if it seem
Certain, and they never dream
That it fades out from kiss to kiss;
For everything that's lovely is
But a brief, dreamy, kind delight.
O never give the heart outright,
For they, for all smooth lips can say,
Have given their hearts up to the play.
And who could play it well enough
If deaf and dumb and blind with love?
He that made this knows all the cost,
For he gave all his heart and lost

Judith also offered this one:

Brown Penny

I whispered, 'I am too young,'
And then, 'I am old enough';
Wherefore I threw a penny
To find out if I might love.
'Go and love, go and love, young man,
If the lady be young and fair.'
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
I am looped in the loops of her hair.

O love is the crooked thing,
There is nobody wise enough
To find out all that is in it,
For he would be thinking of love
Till the stars had run away
And the shadows eaten the moon.
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
One cannot begin it too soon.

Glamourpuss put forth "When You Are Old" by Yeats. As she said, "I would melt if someone wrote that to me. Sigh."

WHEN you are old and gray and full of sleep
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true;
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead,
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

I don't know if Yeats is romantic, but he's amazingly beautiful. Once again, thank you all for playing, and I'll leave you with one last poem by Cummings:

somewhere i have never travelled...

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully, misteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

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  • Typical academic. You're really taking a "publish or perish" approach to this blog, aren't you?

    The first line of that first poem was beautiful: "...we were so wonderfully done with each other... drifting toward our separate sleep...."

    For me, it's more like: "...we were so wonderfully done with each other... passing (out) like two drunks in the night...."

    By Blogger Matt, At January 30, 2007 at 2:10 PM  

  • Who's cooler than you??? I love that the second part - the opening. It can be read in so many ways. mmmmmm.

    Unfortunately I was dead serious with those lyrics. Pure poetry to my ears. It may not be conventional lovey dovey ooey-gooey, or beautiful, BUT, blatant is good for me!

    By Blogger Pickled Olives, At January 30, 2007 at 2:13 PM  

  • You should stick that Carol Ann Duffy poem in for good measure as it's gone all romantic round here.


    By Blogger Glamourpuss, At January 30, 2007 at 2:56 PM  

  • I loved the first line of the poem by Kenneth patchen too it oozed ethereal exhaustion and Olives 'stole' I tongued the tight skin , so deliciously corruptive! I salute the choice of Mr Gaye but have to say if someone wrote this for me my quivering self would surrender my soul to its author
    Depeche mode - loose myself
    It's only when I lose myself in someone else
    Then I find myself
    I find myself
    Something beautiful is happening inside for me
    Something sensual, it's full of fire and mystery
    I feel hypnotized, I feel paralized
    I have found heaven
    There's a thousand reasons
    Why I should not spent my time with you
    For every reason not to be here I can think of two
    Keep me hanging on
    Feeling nothing's wrong
    Inside your heaven
    It's only when I lose myself in someone else
    Then I find myself
    I find myself
    I can feel the emptiness inside me fade and disappear
    There's a feeling of content that now you are here
    I feel satisfied
    I belong inside
    Your velvet heaven
    Did I need to sell my soul
    For pleasure like this
    Did I have to lose control
    To treasure your kiss
    Did I need to place my heart
    In the palm of your hand
    Before I could even start
    To understand
    It's only when I lose myself in someone else
    Then I find myself
    I find mysel

    By Blogger Judith, At January 30, 2007 at 5:49 PM  

  • Matt-
    What can I say? At the end of the day, I still want to play show and tell. This, of course, is why I became a teacher in the first place.

    Isn't Cummings awesome?

    I never doubted your sincerity about "Let's Get it On." Sometimes we're in the mood for a little unclosing and opening, and sometimes we're hot just like an oven and need some lovin'. Thanks for the contributions!

    Be honest; Carol Ann Duffy's paying you a percentage, isn't she?

    I'm not completely sure which one you meant, so I popped in my favorite:

    Valentine by Carol Ann Duffy

    Not a red rose or a satin heart.

    I give you an onion.
    It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.
    It promises light
    like the careful undressing of love.

    It will blind you with tears
    like a lover.
    It will make your reflection
    a wobbling photo of grief.

    I am trying to be truthful.

    Not a cute card or a kissogram.

    I give you an onion.
    Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips,
    possessive and faithful
    as we are,
    for as long as we are.

    Take it.
    Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding-ring,
    if you like.

    Its scent will cling to your fingers,
    cling to your knife.

    It's nice to find someone else who's addicted to the beautifully self-obsessed music of the 1980's.

    By Blogger Crankster, At January 30, 2007 at 5:59 PM  

  • Crankster
    Well I thought I would throw in some modern day poetry after all isnt that what all lyrics are? I love a lot of 80s music but none of the dayglow happy mainstream kinda stuff. Although a guilty pleasure of mine is to listen to Climie fishers 'love changes' with my girls when Im cleaning the kitchen (but I would like to state that I dont own it - I youtube it on the mac in the kitchen)

    By Blogger Judith, At January 31, 2007 at 4:10 AM  

  • Of course she is. And yes, that's the one I meant.

    BTW "I still want to play show and tell. This, of course, is why I became a teacher in the first place." Gentlemen don't show and tell, neither do ladies. Clearly, doing what I do, I'm no lady, so by your own logic, being a teacher...

    Frankly, I'm a little disappointed.


    By Blogger Glamourpuss, At January 31, 2007 at 6:47 AM  

  • Judith-
    Admit it--you have a warm spot for Modern English, don't you?

    Puss, that's "kiss and tell." And no, I don't.

    Although, there was this one time...

    By Blogger Crankster, At January 31, 2007 at 7:44 AM  

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