Pottery Corner

Wilfred Owen on Miners, just to pass the time, and for mental health reasons;

THERE was a whispering in my hearth,
A sigh of the coal,
Grown wistful of a former earth
It might recall.

I listened for a tale of leaves
And smothered ferns,
Frond-forests, and the low sly lives
Before the fawns.

My fire might show steam-phantoms simmer
From Time's old cauldron,
Before the birds made nests in summer,
Or men had children.

But the coals were murmuring of their mine,
And moans down there
Of boys that slept wry sleep, and men
Writhing for air.

I saw white bones in the cinder-shard,
Bones without number.
For many hearts with coal are charred,
And few remember.

I thought of all that worked dark pits
Of war, and died
Digging the rock where Death reputes
Peace lies indeed:

Comforted years will sit soft-chaired,
In rooms of amber,
The years will stretch their hands, well-cheered
By our life's ember;

The centuries will burn rich loads
With which we groaned,
Whose warmth shall lull their dreaming lids,
While songs are crooned;
But they will not dream of us poor lads
Lost in the ground.


DBC Reed said…
Technically brilliant too though ain't it?The modulation of sound is
triff throughout cf "The barge round old Cerisy slowly slewed".He may have been strung out but he had full command of his squad of sensuous words.
Martin Meenagh said…
Yes, and still he came across as not in the grip of them. Your comment made me think of a poet whom I cannot stand Gerald Manley Hopkins--can you imagine what overwrought intensity he would have poured around that line?
DBC Reed said…
Not too keen either.Though I did used to like "Pied Beauty" which I got into my head was a declaration of his belief that virtue should be mixed with sin to be beautiful.Quite clearly it is n't.Or is it? Dunno anymore.
But the rhythm is really spikey.More like be-bop than swing.
Kerouac who said he wanted to emulate be-bop was wasting his time trying to work it all out for himself.Not keen on be-bop mind you .Or swing.But Hopkins did show that "jump"rhythms could work in poetry at least.

Popular Posts