Friday, June 20, 2008

Comfort Poetry

When the world is too much with us, as Wordsworth viewed it, late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers...
and so we turn, much as he did when looking out at a particular field, for a vision of comfort. And so, past comments about comfort food and comfort reading still in my mind, I turn to another of the enduring comforts available to us, comfort poetry, where often the Wordsworth sonnet bubbles up to the top and begins to set things aright.

Begins. You are too absorbed in material things, he seems to be saying, and missing out on the intensity of nature.

What helps the inertia of moving forward is some time spent with Houseman. Terrence, this is stupid stuff. Houseman has long been a cherished comfort, a companion of the road.

Yeats, for the sheer madness of invention and antic, lyric exuberance, breaking over the horizon like a schizoid skyrocket. I went out to the fabled wood because a fire was in my head.

And what comfort in e.e. cummings Damn everything but the circus!

Can your need for comfort fail to be moved by Hopkins?
Glory be to God for dappled things
For skies of couple-color as a brindled cow
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim

And of course more Hopkins yet:
The world is charged with the grandeur of God,
It will flame out like shining from shook foil...

The Eve of St Agnes fpr cpmfort and Cavafy and Anne Sexton and mad, maddening Pound:

Winter is icummen in
Lhude sing goddamn
Winter is icummen in,
What an augue hath my ham.
Skiddeth bus
And sloppeth us,
Sing damn goddamn.

And the argumentative Pound in:
Hang it all, Robert Browning,
There can be but one Sordello...

And the first eighteen of you know what by you know who:
Whan that Aprille with her shoures soote
The droghte of Marche hath perced to the roote
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which virtu engendred is the flour...

Comfort, all of it, all of them, and the world is again fecund with the possibility of you...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And Dylan Thomas to remind us that once we were:
.."young and easy under the apple boughs
Happy as the day is long..."

and can still feel that and more with each our comfort poetry.