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A Poet's Journal: February 26th, 2015

  February 26th, 2015 How rare to have body and mind on the same page!  It is not easy to do the things we want when we want to; the auspicious moment always seems to grow from inability and our inability from a desire for something more.  Imagination drags us through this lonely field, giving us our tasks, our worries, making the distance around us insufferable.  And so whenever I have something to do, it is very difficult not to get caught up in the imagination of doing it before it is actually done, working through it a hundred times.  I am not speaking of preparation or details here, but the simple idea of a future to come, and what that future might bring, and how we might handle that--this is the imagination, this is the gateless gate, firmly shut and too defiantly high to look over; this is the gate that never was nor ever has been a gate.  Yet it is richly adorned and so much a part of our inability that it seems better to look at and keep closed rather than pass right through

Wapiniwiktha: The Prophet's Exile

Here are the opening lines of a poem entitled: Wapiniwiktha; The Prophet's Exile-- published in Woodland Poems. There is a force connects one to the end Of all things, that before the end We may learn of it, and to us define Of beauty, love, philosophy; To make of intelligence more than what It is—divine—and by that broad Effort leave a trace upon the present Of which all must experience: The loss thereof; a loss that we may count As meaningless until it fools The heart of a greater man; the repute Wherewith, from his maternal tribe Outcast, the prophet Wapiniwiktha Was lately stung. Douglas Thornton

A Biographical Remark in Shakespeare's Venus and Adonis

An essay invoking the cognitive relationship between Shakespeare's biographical life and Shakespeare's poetical life found in his narrative poem: Venus and Adonis . ‘And lo I lie between the sun and thee’ (Venus and Adonis; line 194) To see the poet in the act of composition, to hear his words tell not only the story, but with imaginative zeal, recount the inner movements of his life, makes prejudice relax, and involves the reader in a fantasy that was at one time lived and deeply felt. Be it that each successive experience, in time, becomes poetic, or that the perception of our thoughts be seen through poetry, the dull aspects of life are but a mask to our feelings and lead us into paths that give semblance to lesser hours. That we may see and find something true, not about the story, but about the man, testifies, in mind, to that in which all great poets have taken part, that in writing the story or the verses of another, he sees his spirit live in the exot

Lost Poet Series: J. Hector St. John

Lost Poet Series: J. Hector St. John A poet, to whom may we call, if not in word, but of vision, seeking out the quaint simplicities of life, an observer of light and of times, not through any famous event, but through those unrecorded, at instants glowing and wavering on the faint landscape of experience? To J. Hector St. John may we attach the name of poet, though he wrote no verse; for on reading his work, and most notably his Letters , we envision the life of a poet, and ask ourselves, if but for a moment, what a man may raise himself to in nameless things. Born in 1735 at Caen, in the Normandy region of France, he grew up with the name Michel Guillaume Jean de Crèvecoeur, descending from the noble line of that family. However, his fortunes lay not in the rebellious landscapes of a revolutionary France, but in the wild and undiscovered forests of North America. There he served honourably in the French and Indian War with Montcalm, eventually rising to the rank of lieu

NEWLY PUBLISHED TRANSLATIONS!!

Newly published at the Society of Classical Poets:   Translations of André Chénier’s Poetry, by Douglas Thornton The Flute Douglas Thornton Ever tender and touching the moment, When pressing himself the flute to my mouth, Laughing and pulling me close to his breast, He named me his rival and soon to be Master.  My stiff and timid lips were shown To breathe an air pure and harmonious, And my young fingers, by his practiced hands, Being raised and lowered a hundred times, Though ever so trying, were taught to close The different holes of the sonorous wood. La Flûte André Chénier Toujours ce souvenir m'attendrit et me touche, Quand lui-même, appliquant la flûte sur ma bouche, Riant et m'asseyant sur lui, près de son coeur, M'appelant son rival et déjà son vainqueur, Il façonnait ma lèvre inhabile et peu sûre A souffler une haleine harmonieuse et pure; Et ses savantes mains prenaient mes jeunes doigts, Les levaient, les baissaient, recommençai

Mineola: The Spirit of the War-Path

Here is the first act of a drama from Woodland Poems --feel free to comment! Scene : A wood near an Indian Village (late evening) Enter : Two women (Mineola and Nakakowa) gathering wood Mineola : See you how this dark world in silence be? I think the evening awakes anxiousness Just as the morning delays it: Hear you? You may hear the birds, but they are far away; They sing, but their songs are echoes, long, faint; And yet they tell a truth, but it is scarce: That we are far from ourselves when we’d be The most intimate, and that our precious Moments are thoughts too lazy to be felt— And this, this, the worst sort of anxiousness! Nakakowa: And why? Mineola: Such times as this, when men are tired, I am awake, but cannot act myself, And being another, am an enemy To myself who was a friend, and un-friend The man who rises fresh to his passion. I am wrong thus when I would be most right. Nakakowa: Then I would say to you, Mineo