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Saturday, 6 November 2010

The Mutabilitie of the Englishe Lyrick (II): Thomas Hardy: When Dead


Red Hills, Lake George
: Georgia O'Keeffe, 1927 (The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.

It will be much better when
I am under the bough.
I shall be more myself, Dear, then,
Then I am now.
You are sure to recognize me immediately.

Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), involuntarily revenant, with assist from attendant medium (see When Dead in Human Shows, Far Phantasies, Songs and Trifles, 1925)

And see also: The Mutabilitie of the Englishe Lyrick


Anonymous said...

Thank you very much. I needed that.

TC said...

Curtis, I believe that's just what Thomas Hardy's wife said.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

"And when you come to me
To show you true,
Doubt not I shall infallibly
Be waiting for you."

Ah, that November sky again, when we turn, turn to Thomas Hardy ... seconding Curtis.

TC said...

Well, that's loyalty for you.

(Or something.)


Thank you Thomas, thank you Tom, thank you Curtis, thank you Issa's Untidy Hut. . . .

file said...

makes me think: is Georgia O'Keeffe the visual Denise Levertov?

TC said...

My juvenile prankings-about, over the years, with the golden gems of the Englishe Lyrick, have been lamentably partial, in that I seem not yet able to concede that Americans write Englishe.

But then, Denise, though reckoned to have been an American, was actually not American but Englishe (born and raised to adulthood). So I suppose she would qualify for this anthology of parodies (which, of course, should be understood to be erected upon an invisible rock of deep and abiding respect for all the poets concerned).

My favourite DL parody was in fact written by DL herself (though of course not intended as self-parody), conveniently taking all the burden of invention off the parodist.

'Twas this:

The authentic! I said,
rising from the toilet seat



file said...

!!! - wonderful!

... of all the numinous Levertov quotes..., still, makes my Genitalia O'Keeffe comparison all the earthier, these gals...

did you know Denise, Tom? She's right smack in the centre of my radar screen right now, for some reason.

TC said...

I did know Denny, a bit, yes... and I am beginning to fancy your original juxtaposition a bit too, File... the luminous and the numinous, perhaps?

file said...

... numinous luminaries or luminous numerals? (I'm especially fond of the figure IV)

just been reading Creeley waxing lyrical about DL, a non-typical Essex girl if ever I heard of one, hard to believe her and posh spice were related (now there's a lyrickist - it's not just los Amer-arcanes!). Her last collection (This Great Ungnawing) is spellbinding. What was your experience of her, can I ask?

... and dare I suggest: "I watched a human whose feet were neatly wrapped in green plastic enter the restaurant that advertised a $2.00 special. Sloppy Joes."

TC said...



In the autumn of 1963, when at Cambridge and earnestly gnawing at the poetry bone, I wrote to Denise -- she was then living in New York with her husband, Mitch Goodman -- and she sent me some poems, which soon thereafter I put into the Paris Review.

She in turn encouraged me to send work for the Nation, of which she was then poetry editor.

I sent her a poem. Can't remember much about it, except that it was probably a bit... earnest.

She said, "What's this about?"

file said...

ah, the importance of being an earnest gnomic as a young man, lovely glimpse, thanks! Glad you left a little gristle on that singin' bone.

in re: mutabilitie, do you remember the work of Graham Rawle who had a regular corner of the Guardian hard copy - his series The Lost Consonants might appeal to those with an interest in arranging marriages between words 'n pics. One that isn't on the web is a montage that supports "The complete woks of William Shakespeare", makes me think the "om Clark Anthology" would inspire a great cover...