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The Builders, 1964 (UD, 186/2/51)

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF
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Absence

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

Absence

I visited the place where we last met.

Nothing was changed, the gardens were well-tended,

The fountains sprayed their usual steady jet;

There was no sign that anything had ended

And nothing to instruct me to forget.

The thoughtless birds that shook out of the trees,

Singing an ecstasy I could not share,

Played cunning in my thoughts. Surely in these

Pleasures there could not be a pain to bear

Or any discord shake the level breeze.

It was because the place was just the same

That made your absence seem a savage force,

For under all the gentleness there came

An earthquake tremor: fountain, birds and grass

Were shaken by my thinking of your name.

Disguises

Always we have believed

We can change overnight,

Put a different look on the face,

Old passions out of sight:

And find new days relieved

Of all that we regretted

But something always stays

And will not be outwitted.

Say we put on dark glasses,

Wear different clothes and walk

With a new unpractised stride –

Always somebody passes

Undeceived by disguises

Or the different way we talk.

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Prayer: Homage to George Herbert

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

He wants all men to share his appetite

For truth. It is a way of life, a choice

Of how to be and know. He claims no right

But tries to be a civilised, true voice.

For Any Newish Poet

There is this habit now of nonchalance –

One writes of death but doesn’t use the word.

They might allow the words ‘a dance of death’

Or something overheard.

There is this habit of concealing art:

You do not say you fear and let alone

Love anyone. You have, of course, a heart

But now it is not done

To say you care. O yes but English verse

Comes echoing back: ‘I am behind the art

I am the feeling when you love to curse,

I am the vital part

Of everything you write.’ Remember Yeats,

Don’t forget Auden’s perfect adjective

So unexpected. English poetry waits

Always for you to give

What feels like novelty. The new is so

Resistant. Never mind. Dare to allow

The word that leaps to mind. O let it grow

And be part of your now.

Prayer: Homage to George Herbert

George Herbert said it all. All I can do

Is show my hesitancies now and try

To fit my different, later words into

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11 DIFFERENCES WITHIN UNIVERSALITY

Kenneth Verity Shepheard-Walwyn ePub

THE POETRY of any civilization inevitably employs the chief and obvious characteristics of the language from which it has arisen and reflects the discernments, faiths, and arts of the civilization it serves. In any culture we are likely to find:

Rather than an introductory essay at this point, drawing out distinctive features of language, sociology, and psychology in the Orient, examples of poetry will show that past and present people in the East have more in common with us than difference. The universality of mankind is revealed as cogently in poetry as in any other art form.

The art and poetry of India stem from a majestic civilization extending with but few intervals from 3000 BC to the present day. Much Indian poetry reflects the fundamental harmony that exists between human beings and nature, a resonance which people everywhere are now seeking to re-establish with a new sense of spiritual urgency.

The oldest evidence of Indian literature is an extensive Vedic text anthology – one of four – called the Rigveda (‘the knowledge [veda] laid down in verse [rig]’). The work is thought to have been compiled some time between 1200 BC and 800 BC. It contains some 1,028 hymns (a total of 10,580 verses) which are arranged in ten ‘song cycles’ (mandalas). Most of the hymns are addressed to personifications of natural forces, glorified as divinities, for example, Agni (Fire). The overall conception is magnificent; the Universe produces itself by itself and the divine is in all. Here, as an example, is The Hymn of Creation based on a prose rendering from the ancient Sanskrit by V. Raghavan:

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The Nightmares

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

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