Monday, March 14, 2016

“…centuried rust…”

I like this one, mostly.

Amy Lowell (1874-1925) was a poet of the so-called "imagist" school (see below).  It seems that I incline to think in imagist terms……

Her poem below is not a masterpiece by any means. I particularly do not respond with gusto to reversal of subject-verb order (“…burns the twilight…”)

"March Evening" is a grand description of the dying down of day.

I love the weathercock’s “…centuried rust…”
I love “…wrapping the mists round her withering form, day sinks down…”
I love “…to-morrow travails to birth…”

I didn’t notice until I was reading the poem for the fourth time that she uses rhyme.

March Evening

Blue through the window burns the twilight;
  Heavy, through trees, blows the warm south wind.
Glistening, against the chill, gray sky light,
  Wet, black branches are barred and entwined.

Sodden and spongy, the scarce-green grass plot
  Dents into pools where a foot has been.
Puddles lie spilt in the road a mass, not
  Of water, but steel, with its cold, hard sheen.

Faint fades the fire on the hearth, its embers
  Scattering wide at a stronger gust.
Above, the old weathercock groans, but remembers
  Creaking, to turn, in its centuried rust.

Dying, forlorn, in dreary sorrow,
  Wrapping the mists round her withering form,
Day sinks down; and in darkness to-morrow
  Travails to birth in the womb of the storm.

“March Evening” was published in Lowell’s book A Dome of Many-Coloured Glass (Houghton Mifflin Co., 1912).

The imagist movement included English and American poets in the early 20th century who wrote free verse and were devoted to “clarity of expression through the use of precise visual images.” As a strand of modernism, imagism was officially launched in 1912 when Ezra Pound read and marked up a poem by Hilda Doolittle, signed it “H. D. Imagiste," and sent it to Harriet Monroe at Poetry magazine.
The movement sprang from ideas developed by T. E. Hulme, who as early as 1908 was proposing to the Poets’ Club in London a mode of poetry based on absolutely accurate presentation of its subject with no excess verbiage. The first tenet of the imagist manifesto: “To use the language of common speech, but to employ always the exact word, not the nearly-exact, nor the merely decorative word.”

Them’s words to write poetry by.

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2016 All rights reserved.

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