A poem, by Alfred Lord Tennyson, with great dynamism. Short but so effectively expressed. The adjectives are just right. The words, metre, alliteration and rhymes work together to convey the essence of the eagle’s power and majesty.
We all do it We pass on pain From one generation To the next It is essential to our rite of passage backwards to our parents and forward to our offspring
Leaving Larkin alone Although I can see Where he’s coming from My mam and dad Still Loom large in my life Even so long After leaving it
They must have been lonely Lovers of their son Country child Only child Lonely child Left so soon Longing for London’s Lively life And a renewal Of lost love
With some bitterness No bile No bombast I recognise my Ambitions And accept They damaged Not destroyed Their devotion
Through it all Dedication to me And to mine Remained How could I Have acted differently They set me up for this Their ambitions for me Self-harming Through being Selfless Succeeding To their own detriment
Now I find myself Bemoaning With an intensity Which hurts More every day My callous Refutation of their need For my love
If only I’d not been The only one The only child If I’d not deserted That early home With seeming Eagerness That cradle of my mind Those roots of my soul Now so full of meaning So pertinent To the man I have become
But when the conflict Presented itself to me I was by then Committed Other responsibilities Crowded in And parents As happens to them Take the rear seat
And yet I know I had to go To avoid That tethering by love Which smothers More dutiful sons It avoided My hopes Being stifled Petrified And pressed into The backwaters Of a life
Perhaps it must be so For don’t we all do it
Think of those others Leaving behind their roots For pastures new Able to look only onwards Whilst leaving The hurt Of separation From those who loved them But would do nothing But encourage their ambitions
Bennett Showed how to escape Walter and Lilian Whilst continuing To cull their histories
Hughes With his animal instincts Needing to roam free Left William and Edith For an itinerant life
Hockney Soon found California More suitable To his calling Leaving Kenneth and Laura To theirs
I claim None of their skills Their powers To change the world But my history Reflects theirs Grammarians Tykes of a sort And of an age Seeking Advancement Searching for soul For life In pastures new Neglectful of commitment To our own past Conscious only Of our independent futures
It was ever thus All took Larkin At his word Got out – As early as they could And How odd That two of them Even followed Larkin’s advice Eschewing Parenthood The essence of Larkin’s dismissal Of his own birthright His reckoning With Sidney and Eva For giving him birth
But Leaving Larkin alone Again Our legacies may prove Our sense in cutting The ties that bind Perhaps the world is Consequently A better place.
Our parents May not think the same But what are parents Other than The future’s hope
I have a book, passed down to my wife from her father and his father before him, with the title of ‘ILLUSTRATED ANECDOTES and PITHY PIECES’. It was published in 1874 and which, of course, contains just what the title describes – well, the Victorian idea of such things!
I am reproducing a scanned image of one of the entries which plays with words in rhyming couplets, as I often like to do in my own verses. (Not sure about the attempt to rhyme ‘faith’ with ‘death’ though!). Amusing and educational aphorisms, life-enhancing even, and very PITHY !!!
“ . . . A Robin Redbreast in a Cage Puts all Heaven in a Rage. A dove house fill’d with doves and pigeons Shudders Hell thro’ all its regions. A Dog starv’d at his Master’s Gate Predicts the ruin of the State. A Horse misus’d upon the Road Calls to Heaven for Human blood. Each outcry of the hunted Hare A fiber from the Brain does tear . . . ”
I wish to put a hold on life, freeze it at this instant; stop my headlong race to reach some intangible resolution before life, and with it death, overtake me.
Yet, a wanton fervour forces me to write; a defining greed pushes me on; a need to achieve, to find the telling phrase to verify my competence.
There is a frenzy on me, a new lust for life alien to my past; but still I draw on that very past to colour the present and steer me into my aspired future.
My imperative is to leave an imprint on the foreshore of my life before its tide recedes. Regardless of renown, I wish to leave a noble fragment of myself with a proven hint of worth to carry me beyond my grave.
Such fragments, the flotsam of my endeavours, washed up and left for those seashore scavengers, those ardent beachcombers of other people’s detritus; my scraps left for Autolycus to pick over. I need the harvest of my life to be another’s prized perception, their acquired inspiration.
And yet I know I must desist, I must allow those morsels, slivers of myself already extant, to speak for themselves, to represent me to the future.
I must accept that already I have utilised my credit with the past and created my memorial for the future.
“These fragments I must shore against my ruin.”
The quotation appearing at the beginning and end of my poem is, slightly adapted, taken from T.S.Eliot’s poem “The Wasteland”.
Delilah, of course, took away Samson’s Life Force, his strength, by cutting off his hair whilst asleep.
Between the idea And the reality Between the motion And the act Falls the Shadow.
T.S. Eliot (The Journey of the Magi)
I wrote this poem, as I did several of my recently blogged poems, many years ago. In ‘A Death I Die’ below the sober thoughts reflect a dark mood, the reason for which I now have no recollection. For me, at the time of writing, they obviously represented the Shadow, that halfway house between knowing and not-knowing, between what is and what might be, between Eliot’s ‘the motion and the act’.
A DEATH I DIE
I have no heart for selfish love that starts and ends with flesh. It leads along an endless path, it binds, compels afresh.
There is a sort of death I die; Am killed and kill myself. I am alone in this. I am a willing suicide. I go on a journey bearing my own end.
This death is a habit, a nasty selfish habit I know and hate it. I both give and receive. The giving is good – but also a habit.
Receiving – an infinite regression. We plan the means and the end is all. Purgatory is the cemetery, time the resurrection. And All is planned that This should be so.