Thursday, October 28, 2010

In deep October

Enter Hamlet, reading (L.C.)
Pol. How does my good lord Hamlet?
Ham. Excellent well.
Pol. Do you know me, my lord?
Ham. Excellent well; you are a fishmonger.
Pol. Not I, my lord.
Ham. Then I would you were so honest a man.
Pol. Honest, my lord!
Ham. Ay, sir; to be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man picked out of ten thousand.
Pol. That's very true, my lord.
Ham. For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog, being a god, kissing carrion,——Have you a daughter?
Pol. I have, my lord.
Ham. Let her not walk i'the sun: conception is a blessing; but as your daughter may conceive,—friend, look to't, look to't, look to't.
[Goes up stage.]
Pol. (Aside.) Still harping on my daughter:—yet he knew me not at first; he said I was a fishmonger. [Crosses to L.] I'll speak to him again.—What do you read, my lord?

I am told "Defiant" and asked "Are sparrows blithe?"

I've been having difficulty with this one, because all the words that come into my head are scripture, and it doesn't seem quite right to write a cento on the Bible --- that were only to diminish the worthiest poetry ever set down.

\item "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? ... You are worth more than many sparrows."
\item "Consider the birds of the air: they reap not, nor sow, nor gather into barns..."
\item "How lovely are thy tabernacles! ... for the sparrow hath found herself a house, and the dove a nest for to lay her young."

What follows instead is an aliterative allegory of wishful thinking. Or something... yeah, I don't know what it is.

Butterflies and sparrows spin blithely by
My window, wonderous marvels in miniature,
Provoking contemplation, to ponder creatures
And Provident God, gracious in peace and plenty.
Against His coming Justice, fearing coldest Gaol,
We rightly cry repentance, and remission crave,
Converting to Love our lagging contrite hearts;
Even as I of Him, each evening,
Beg good grace anew to gain Beatitude
Before dying, as defiant before Death,
To thee would I this warrant of affection
Give; lest lacking love's greeting
We were parted by time's passing wave ---
O! to be so blithe as sparrows!

And, my friends dear, please don't worry. There's nothing more dire looming over me than that recurrent need of the sacraments --- that's sort-of the point, in fact. It's the kind of thing you want to get done *before* the rest looks dire!


Enbrethiliel said...


Wow! It's beautiful! =D

I usually pray with my eyes closed, but when the light is particularly beautiful, I will pray near my window and look out at the sky. Occasionally, some birds fly past and I feel uplifted. Your poem reminds me of those moments.

dylan said...

You had me at the first line! Alliterative, with the b's and the i's!

A fine poem, to which I trust I shall return many times in coming days -- well done!

Belfry Bat said...

"beautiful" is too much for my... I suppose it might be good, though. I mean, it was work enough that it *should* be better than... Well, let's see how I like it next week, maybe.

Any criticisms? Points wanting improvement?

Anonymous said...

"And Provident God, gracious in peace and plenty."

I love this line. It took me back to reading Piers Plowman in college. Thank you for sharing this! Like dylan above, I'll be re-reading it.

Anonymous said...

Um, to clarify! Specifically, the sound of that line conveyed both peace and graciousness. It sort of slows one down and conjures up a sense of God and all his works at leisure.

Belfry Bat said...

Anonymous, Miss or Mme. or M., I'm gratified indeed to have been an instrument of God's caritas, and I thank you kindly for letting me know --- at least I hope I may so take your words! How that works out is, of course, quite mysterious to me; but with His good will I hope it'll keep on working.

Having now looked briefly at Piers, I should admit that I get my fondness for alliterative verse from amateur digging into Tolkien, his unfinished writings and inspirations. As maybe you've noted, he's a recurring theme around here.

"We heard of the horns / in the hills ringing,
the swords shining / in the South-Kingdom.
Steeds went striding / to the Stoningland
as wind in the morning. / War was kindled."

Lindsay said...

Belfry Bat, this was such a wonderful poem to read on a Sunday. Contemplative. Prayerful. It made me think of Jesus' words saying that we are to be like children in our faith, not in the sense that the poem is childlike--indeed, it's quite dignified and eloquent--but that the basic premise is. It's so simple and honest--pure. I love it, both the writing and the message. Simply lovely.

Salome Ellen said...

I think you should get credit for both this and the haiku or santoku or whatever it is..(I'm old; we didn't learn non-English poetic forms in my day.. ;-D ) Anyway, that was up to my (low) standard for myself, but this is something in an entirely different class. Thank you.

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