Sunday, July 27, 2008

A little bit of poetry

I sometimes think I like reading about books better than I like reading the books themselves. Among book blogs, I have for quite a while been particularly partial to Stuck in a Book, and yesterday discovered Oxford reader, which I am liking.

Yesterday I picked up again after two years C.S. Lewis's Narrative Poems, which I bought at a lovely little antique shop on Vashon Island 4th of July two years ago. The place didn't have a lot of books, but it had a fabulous collection of all the Inklings' work. Tolkien, Lewis, Charles Williams. So I went for the Narrative Poems, which I like very much and shall endeavour to finish this time. I got through Dymer (which was terribly confusing, though very lovely--I don't know if it would have been less confusing had I not read it in chunks two years apart), and Launcelot. I am now on The Nameless Isle, which I think I like best so far of these, at least in style. Though I was rather taken with the style of Dymer. But I can't help loving that rolling Anglo-Saxon epic poetry, with the profusion of alliteration. What could be better than this?

Then came a turn of luck.
On the tenth evening too soon the light
Over working seas went beneath the sky line,
Darkness came dripping and the deafening storm
Upon wild waters, wet days and long,
Carried us, and caverned clouds immeasurable
Harried and hunted like a hare that ship
Too many days. Men were weary.

Try reading it out loud. That may not be the best example, but it's pretty good.

Here's the beginning of Dymer:

You stranger, long before your glance can light
Upon these words, time will have washed away
The moment when I first took pen to write
With all my road before me--yet to-day,
Here if at all, we meet; the unfashioned clay
Ready to both our hands; both hushed to see
That which is nowhere yet come forth and be.

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