Richibi’s Weblog

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Month: December, 2014

“Riposte to Ode” – Michael Homolka‏

Anton von Werner - "Horace"

Horace

Anton von Werner

______

Riposte to Ode

It isn’t like that Horace Life stresses us out
However many hundreds of decades later we’re told
to welcome anxiety is beneficial
and to quote honor our imperfections

You’ve got the Adriatic Sea We’ve got what
the Finger Lakes? Not quite as conducive
to worrying the infinite question so we worry
about other things equities statistics

I’m not really a wine man either
not in the unmixed sense where Alcibiades
might barge in any moment and out-naked us all
I’m an American so I prefer pig iron

Wildflowers abound somewhere I’m sure
I don’t know anything about flowers though
Few of us in the cities follow them
the way you seem to as if tracking currencies

But to speak to your point about an actual
battlefront approaching Main Street who knows?
Maybe we would resort to hookers and crack
per your suggestion I can’t say Horace I wish I could

Michael Homolka

______________

which “Ode” remains a mystery, so
one should suppose Michael Homolka
is “ripost[ing]” to Horace’s entire body
of odes, he wrote four books of them,
23 – 11 B.C.E., during the time of
Augustus

I found the Odes too steeped in
Roman and mythological arcana to
follow their uneasy referents, too
esoteric, I thought, to even look
them up, seems Michael Homolka
thought the same

but his Ars Poetica“, if you’ll pardon
the expression, spoke directly to my
heart, On style“, “On metre“, on
How to be a good poet“, for
instance, topics I find irresistible

you’ll note that whereas I’ve used
commas ever to indicate pauses
in what I write, Homolka uses
spaces, if you’ll allow me that,
perhaps immodest, conjunction,
you’ll find these in his original
copy
, WordPress won’t allow me
that, click here for that original
copy

he also allows himself question
marks, something I never do

go figure

you’ll also note his dramatic
monologue, my favourite, if
you haven’t already done so

Richard

psst: “None knows the reason why this curse
Was sent on him, this love of making verse.” – Ars Poetica“, line 470

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“How I Didn’t Get Myself to a Nunnery” – Suzanne Lummis‏

"Ophelia" - Arthur Hughes

Ophelia (1852)

Arthur Hughes

_________

according to Suzanne Lummis Ophelia
“g[o]t outta town”

Suzanne Lummis is Ophelia here, this
is a dramatic monologue, I can’t tell you
how much I find that exciting

you’ll want to run to the source, of course,
to find pertinent references, so I’ve linked
a few for you from the text below to their
counterparts in Hamlet“, if it’s coloured,
just click, otherwise a couple of asterisks
explain two probably too obvious items,
in which case you’ll forgive me my
infelicitous impertinence, my unintended
and hapless presumption

thanks

How I Didn’t Get Myself to a Nunnery

That girl they found ensconced in mud and loam,
she wasn’t me. Small wonder, though, they jumped.
To a conclusion. Water puffs you up,
and we pale Slavic girls looked much alike—
back then. Deprivation smooths you out.
Yes, that was the season of self-drowned maids,
heart-to-hearts with skulls, great minds overthrown.
And minds that could be great if they could just
come up for air. Not in that town. Something stank. *

But me, I drifted on. I like rivers.
And I’m all right with flowers. I floated
on a bed of roses—well, O.K., rue
and columbine
. It bore me up not down.
That night I made a circle with my thumb
and finger, like a lens, and peered through it
at the moon—mine, all mine. My kissed-white moon.
“Moon River wider than a . . .” Mancini/
Mercer wrote that, sure, but I wrote it first.

You wonder where I’m going with all this?
Where water goes. It empties into sea.
Sold! I’d take it—the sea or a fresh life.
Some other life. A good man—good enough,
fair—fished me out. He’d come to quench his thirst.
No sun-god prince,* of course, like him I’d loved,
still loved. (Some loves don’t die; not even murder
kills them.) I married his thatched hut, hatched chicks—
kids running underfoot. Don’t cry for me,

Denmark. I’d learned the art of compromise
back there, in the black castle—then came blood,
ghosts. Something in me burst. If not lover,
father, king, ** then whom can you trust? Alone,
I took up some playing cards. I played them
into skinny air. A voice said, Swim or drown.
It said: Your house caught fire, flood, caught fear—
it’s coming down. No one loves you now, here.
By land or water, girl, get outta town.

Suzanne Lummis

* i.e. Hamlet, of course, prince of Denmark
** Hamlet, Polonius, Claudius

our debt to Shakespeare in literature
is enormous, after even 400 years –
“Hamlet” was written in 1602 – his
literary form, his countless neologisms,
his stories, his blueprints, transformed
into ballets, paintings as above, operas,
have become our myths, our moral and
philosophical standard, our modern
Olympus, the measure of our time,
our epoch, Shakespeare is our Iliad

only Beethoven in music has ever
matched this, in the visual arts, no
one

you’ll notice that the poem itself is a
monologue, in answer, in homage, to
Shakespeare, it’s in iambic pentameter,
also his wont

mine too, incidentally

Richard

 

on numbers

Rogier van der Weyden - "Polyptych with the Nativity"

Polyptych with the Nativity

Rogier van der Weyden

____________

one is a lonely number

but let there be four – 11:11 – and the
angels are passing, a.m. or p.m.

two is the natural minimum from which
grows three, a pyramid, also a trinity,
or even a Trinity

then four, which is solid, foursquare,
even cubic, therefore a house

five, a pentagon, authority

many is a polyptych, representing a
multiplicity, metaphysically a polis, a
community, from the Greek for “many
folds”, or, extrapolating, manifold

twelve, a dozen, and so forth

numbers, in other words, talk, signify
within a context something specific to
that context that is not stated but
instinctively ever understood, animals
flee when confronted with uncomfortable
numbers

but countless they also shimmer, like
stars, a panoply, a myriad

also like works of art

therefore the polyptych above, do click,
for a magnificent reproduction, see it
bring together parts of a whole, in one
place, at one time, and transcending
imaginatively even earthly dimensions,
for our contemplation

therefore also Vingt regards sur l’Enfant
Jésus
“,
which I spoke of in my last posting,
my first to this, my second day of C…mas

you get art and music through the senses,
instinctively, unlike the murkier medium
of words, which can be cryptic

numbers speak louder, which is to say,
than ever words

read my lips

Richard