Wednesday, July 13, 2022
HomeShakespearetruest poetry is most feigning

truest poetry is most feigning

For L.F.

And for j.n., since you requested for poetry, and since poetry is by no means solely itself.

Wet winter branches. California. Author photograph.

In his works, Plato makes an argument that the poets ought to be banished from the Republic.* Actually, it’s a bit extra sophisticated than that, as Plato’s opinions with reference to poetry and poets appear to be a mix of admiration and damnation, apprehension and abandonment. It could also be higher for readers to seek the advice of Plato themselves quite than learn some incomplete and cursory abstract right here. Still, a part of the issue, as Touchstone tells us within the title quote from As You Like It, is that poetry typically misleads or lends a false look. It misrepresents. It lies.

TOUCHSTONE:  When a person’s verses can’t be understood,
nor a person’s good wit seconded with the
ahead little one, understanding, it strikes a person extra
lifeless than an amazing reckoning in slightly room. Truly, I
would the gods had made thee poetical.
AUDREY:  I have no idea what “poetical” is. Is it trustworthy
in deed and phrase? Is it a real factor?
TOUCHSTONE:  No, actually, for the truest poetry is the most
feigning, and lovers are given to poetry, and what
they swear in poetry could also be stated as lovers they do

As You Like It 3.3.11-21

Touchstone claims that poetry is not trustworthy in deed or phrase. It is a scarecrow, not of the regulation, however of reality. Feigning.

Scarecrow excellent in his area. Warwickshire. Author photograph.

Yet. . .but. Yet, though poetry could also be argued to misrepresent ‘reality’, in one other sense it turns into troublesome to think about something representing the multifaceted nature of human existence and understanding so utterly. Here’s Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who handed away this week on the age of 101:

Constantly Risking Absurdity (#15)

by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Constantly risking absurdity
                                             and loss of life
            each time he performs
                                        above the heads
                                                            of his viewers
   the poet like an acrobat
                                 climbs on rime
                                          to a excessive wire of his personal making
and balancing on eyebeams
                                     above a sea of faces
             paces his means
                               to the opposite facet of day
    performing entrechats
                               and sleight-of-foot methods
and different excessive theatrics
                               and all with out mistaking
                     any factor
                               for what it is probably not

       For he’s the tremendous realist
                                     who should perforce understand
                   taut reality
                                 earlier than the taking of every stance or step
in his supposed advance
                                  towards that also greater perch
the place Beauty stands and waits
                                     with gravity
                                                to start out her death-defying leap

      And he
             slightly charleychaplin man
                                           who could or could not catch
               her honest everlasting kind
                                     spreadeagled within the empty air
                  of existence

Ferlinghetti, Lawrence. “Constantly Risking Absurdity (#15)”. A Coney Island of the Mind, poems. New York: New Directions, 1958.

Mourning angel. Cemetery in Lurs, France. Author photograph.

Poetry continually dangers absurdity. But what is such a threat in an absurd world? Here’s a poem now we have mentioned at size:


by Seamus Heaney

Between my finger and my thumb   
The squat pen rests; comfortable as a gun.

Under my window, a clear rasping sound   
When the spade sinks into gravelly floor:   
My father, digging. I look down

Till his straining rump among the many flowerbeds   
Bends low, comes up twenty years away   
Stooping in rhythm by way of potato drills   
Where he was digging.

The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft   
Against the within knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the intense edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked,
Loving their cool hardness in our fingers.

By God, the previous man may deal with a spade.   
Just like his previous man.

My grandfather reduce extra turf in a day
Than every other man on Toner’s bathroom.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to immediately
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, taking place and down
For the great turf. Digging.

The chilly odor of potato mould, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through residing roots awaken in my head.
But I’ve no spade to observe males like them.

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.

Heaney, Seamus. “Digging”. Death of a Naturalist. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux (Macmillan), 1966.

Poetry, each loss and creation speaks past situation. Past margin, circumscription, and weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable makes use of. Rather, poetry is a calculus of language, embracing and encompassing arcs, curves, actions, and triumphs. Blushing and hemmering which tongue, listening to, and understanding would possibly by no means in any other case comprehend. Without it, we had been barren, empty, ragged noticed grass ranging over the dry erosions of our being.

It helps us come to phrases with passages and passings, the arduous grit on the backside of life’s seams. Seems. Bending phrases to make sense of the mindless, in that means representing the true past the phrases. Digging graves, reminiscences, phrases. Angels of creation sprung from turned earth, from inklines traced throughout paper, throughout the pores and skin. Within. Outside.

Moments. My exceptional mom in regulation passing away:

Here is rain.

Multitudinous waters, snow, thunder, the cat, Frankie, 

crying for water or for meals.

Cold in, chilly out.  Spring days

Summer days spliced

with lengthy icicle chilly snaps. 

Flowers bushes Canada geese confused, 

flying each which means.

She died the way in which a few of us 

might need needed

to go ourselves:

Champion dancer bending 

gracefully beneath a lightning stroke.

Bringing the household collectively as soon as extra

within the hospitality a part of the hospital

hospice room, so they may meet

and discuss, whereas she walked 

deeper into the coma forest.

Nurses hush hush delicate smile

unobtrusive turning, testing, 

checking, pastor stopping,

T—- along with his guitar,

dealing in his means.

Helping us all.

Singing her superbly

Out of this existence.

Narratives form my life too,

now bended on one other arc

in some or different curve 

to who is aware of the place what when.

For AJN. Poem by the writer.

Gloaming. Author photograph.

Poetry is reminiscence and expectation fused collectively. It’s Eliot’s April, breeding Lilacs out of the lifeless land, mixing Memory and need, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” Shall I? So many summer season days I bear in mind. Summer days in profusion. Lilacs overflowing the perimeters of an improvised bowl.

We lengthy for extra. We lengthy for issues to remain, to not recede. We lengthy to maintain the loves now we have, not lose them. Perfect heroes paddling rafts in opposition to the stormy waters off the seashore. Perfect artists, poets. Perfect meals and conferences. Lamberts. Oxford. Across the South, the North, and over the fetching prairies of our personal bygone Middle West. Saker. The Awful House. Gum, iced tea, and kicking issues to items–the gold of private historical past poured over our existence. Christmas within the Florida pine flats. Dragons. Tolkein by the lake. Fishing. The Old Thatch Tavern.

The Old Thatch Tavern. Stratford upon Avon. Photo from

We name for extra. Cheeses. Travels. More coming residence. We dream of days but to be. If we should communicate in poetry, as we should, let roads maintain us wholesome till we meet once more.

The Pass of the Roaring

by Norman MacCaig

Such comfortless locations consolation me.

Not my physique however I’m fed by these ravens

And I’m nourished by the drib-dab waters

That fingerling by way of the cruel deer grass.

The tall cliffs unstun my thoughts

Thank God for a spot the place no historical past passes.

Is this ghoulish? Is it the vampire me

Or grandfathers and greatgrandfathers

Specklessly flowing my veins that bury

A hummingbird tongue in these gulfs of area

And suck from limestone with delicate greed

A fragile classic, the blood of grace?

Books vaporize in my lightning thoughts.

Pennies and kilos change into a tribal

Memory. Hours assert their rightness,

Escaping like doves by way of their cotes of clocks

And lame philosophies founder in bogs

The stink of summer season within the armpit of rockfolds.

There’s at all times a returning. A cottage glows

By a dim sea and there I’ll hunch by the fireplace –

And one other grace will collect, from human

Intercommunications, a grace

Not to be distinguished from the one which broods

In fingerling waters and gulfs of area.

MacCaig, Norman. “The Pass of the Roaring”. The Poems of Norman MacCaig. Edinburgh: Polygon, 2009.

Returning. Warwickshire sundown. Author photograph.

We request. We ask for extra. Another summer season. Truth. Holy vindication. Sometimes sure. Sometimes no. As Basho notes:

The fifteenth, simply as innkeeper predicted, it rains,

right here’s the harvest moon

good previous Hokkoku climate

don’t rely upon it.

Basho. Haiku from chapter 51. Back Roads to Far Towns. Trans. Cid Corman and Kamaike Susumu. Buffalo: White Pine Press, 2004.

Harvest moon over bushes. Author photograph.

No relying on the climate, on tomorrow. Against the larger currents of the cosmos, we bend like reeds. Sometimes we break. Still we hope in opposition to hope, in opposition to our doubts, in opposition to our fears. With all of the powers of affection, we hope to climate this storm too.

Urging at all times: open fingers. Let pursuing demons go. Darkness sufficient in a single life’s vary of evening. Let these others fall away. We don’t want them. There are at all times extra. Dharma will stay what it is. A rat. A luminosity:

“Enlightenment is like the moon reflected in the water. The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken. Although its light is wide and great, the moon is refleced even a puddle a inch wide. The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in dewdrops on the grass, or even in one drop of water. Enlightenment does not divide you, just as the moon does not break the water. You cannot hinder enlightenment, just as a drop of water does not hinder the moon in the sky. The depth of the drop is the height of the moon. Each reflection, however long or short its duration, manifests the vastness of the dewdrop and realizes the limitlessness of the moonlight in the sky. We gain enlightenment like the moon reflecting in the water. The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken.”

Dogen. “Genjo Koan” fragment. Trans. Shunryu Suzuki. Dōgen’s Genjo Koan: Three Commentaries. Berkeley: Counterpoint, 2011.

Dōgen’s moon. Author photograph.

Here is what I’ve stated already, stated once more. Our childhoods, desires, crowns and sceptres, snakes and ladders, all could not return to us. Ryōkan wrote:

Calling out to me

As they return residence:

wild geese at evening.

Ryōkan. Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf. Trans. John Stevens. Boston: Shambala, 2004.

Geese go residence. Things go residence. Bright and temporary, expertise stays a nightsound. A cricket on the finish of summer season. Margins of reminiscence are previous coats hallway closets with winters not what they was once. Still, revelation waits in each step:

At evening, deep within the mountains,

I sit in meditation.

The affairs of males by no means attain right here:

Everything is quiet and empty,

All the incense has been swallowed up by the limitless evening.

My gown has change into a garment of dew.

Unable to sleep, I stroll out into the woods —

Suddenly, above the best peak, the complete moon seems.

Ryōkan. Ibid.

Shakespeare writes of how reminiscence’s pageant dissolves. As right here:

Truth could seem however can’t be;
Beauty brag however ’tis not she;
Truth and wonder buried be.

Shakespeare, William. “The Phoenix and the Turtle”, strains 62-4.

That previous life tapestry. Unicorns. Poetic material. Dust. Grecian urns.

We have spoken in verses for thus lengthy, I’ve forgotten complete languages. How are tongues imagined to swim? I do know few different methods to talk. Few methods to ask. Feeding rage and silence, pulsing stillness of the dharma beneath. All the methods boil all the way down to this.

Here once more is this:

Iggy Pop (quoting Dylan Thomas). Free. Caroline International/Loma Vista. 2019.**

You’ve heard it. You understand it. One extra autumn. More if we will handle, however on the very least yet another. So many variances inside the clew when the road’s drawn taut. Airfoil. From kind to kind, and tumbling down life’s hills. As this:

Sonnet 18

by William Shakespeare

Shall I evaluate thee to a summer season’s day?
Thou artwork extra beautiful and extra temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer season’s lease hath all too quick a date:
Sometime too sizzling the attention of heaven shines,
And typically is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And each honest from honest someday declines,
By likelihood, or nature’s altering course, untrimm’d;
But thy everlasting summer season shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that honest thou ow’st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in everlasting strains to time thou develop’st;
So lengthy as males can breathe or eyes can see,
So lengthy lives this, and this provides life to thee.

Yorkshire. Author photograph.

Take that life giving sonnet and tumble it a bit. Knock its tough edges off with the opposite rocks of the world. It could come out like this:

Incandescent War Sonnet Poem

by Bernadette Mayer

Even earlier than I noticed the chambered nautilus
I needed to sail not within the us navy
Tonight I’m ready for you, your letter
At the identical time his letter, the view of you
By him after which by me within the park, no rhymes
I noticed you, this is in prose, no it’s not
Sitting with the molluscs & anemones in an
Empty autumn enterprise child you look fairly
With your lengthy eventual hair, is love king?
What’s this? A sonnet? Love’s a babe we all know that
I’m arising, I’m coming, Shakespeare solely caught
To one topic however I’ll point out no person stated
You should get younger Americans some ice cream
In the substitute gentle by which she woke

Mayer, Bernadette. “Incandescent War Poem Sonnet” from A Bernadette Mayer Reader. New York: New Directions, 1992.

For who will discover these varieties? Others, within the burning world will discover their very own. Not ours. Not what now we have but to seek out. Dribble castles on subsequent summer season’s seashore. Destroyed within the very making.

First Tango in Lisbon

Sienna is pink dust, some males simply need the combat,

gunpowder, tea, revelry after battle. Hours, water &

salt. Where we go to mattress is by no means actually sorted.

All for a few of the previous letters. Dead alphabet

ghosts maintain popping up asking for a softer place

& they maintain haunting as a result of they maintain issues 

alive. Hunting one thing else not to eat, to plant.

Dried flowers & misplaced seeds, & then the calendula.

Kingdom shadows when the suns begin going down

as geese’ feathers brush new moons by eyelashes

in previous worlds, previous freedoms & gadflys & scales.

Weight of small fucking world’s like these born of 

giant orb gala’s. Careful of that Old Magic. It isn’t as

brittle as one might imagine. Watch these porcelain faces, 

They are watching Us. They’ve seen every little thing commerce

their visions between like a shell recreation. Don’t play,

or be capable to snicker generations away. Like an errant

thumb holding an inexpensive valentine smudging the

gallantry into evening on the margins of the message.

Really it’s nearly higher sleep, hotter blood, 

virtually peace, wash it, crawl into it & go residence. 

Nichols, Josh. Private correspondence. 2021. Reprinted with the writer’s permission.

Douglas citadel stays. Lanarkshire, Scotland. Author photograph.

Better sleep. Time and previous magic, when destroyed, passes into wreck. Into sleep. Into discovering.

Let poetry lie. Like all feigning, it lends us the orb and sceptre of reality, making us kings and queens of the world. Regal, commanding, filled with grace, impoverished, throneless, wandering. Sense and hit the nerves. Carpal tunnel fishes thimmering freely within the cords of our arms. Old trout in a mountain pool or beneath a village bridge. Aching. Ageing. Seen all of it. Seen nothing but.

*Have a glance particularly at Republic II, 377-83, Republic III, 386-404, Sophist, 234-7, and Laws II, 658-63, Laws VII, 800-12, and Laws VIII, 829.

**Thomas, Dylan. “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Goodnight”. The Poems of Dylan Thomas. New York: New Directions, 1952.


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