Tuesday, May 29, 2012

On Just Being

On Just Being

to be or not to be, there is no question
(with apologies to Shakespeare and Hamlet)

we must be and just not question
that must be our avowed intention
just learn to be, be like the tree
or sky, or anything else you see

so be content with who you are
don't look for pleasure from afar
be happy with your little lot
and think not of some greener spot

everything will come to thee
if you be who you are meant to be
so if you are just yourself you see
your life will be pure rosery

now Heather taught this from first day
you don't have to believe all that I say

Richard Scutter 29 May 2012

This 'final sonnet' was written as a closure to an exciting and creative U3A course on 'old beliefs versus new beliefs' run by Heather Powell in Canberra.

The rhyming couplet is most important. Intuitively work out for yourself what is right ... what you believe in ... and on no account take your beliefs from other people without thinking and working them out for yourself ... and of course on no account believe all the media has to offer ...
                    and, of course, remember - you don't have to believe all that I say too!

The initial sonnent (after week 3) on harmony is in this link.

Monday, May 21, 2012

At Our Church

At Our Church

at our Church
we have a lady minister
she is rather glorious in every way
I listen intently to every word she utters
and the way she says

at our Church
we have an assistant minister
he is a gentleman in every respect
I listen intently to every word he utters
He is wise, I've never heard him say
'ah women'

Richard Scutter 15 May 2012


Perhaps this is a case of reading too much of Ogden Nash.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Meet the 'gull-a-Bull' Ogden at the sea-shore

The Sea-Gull

Hark to the whimper of the sea-gull;
He weeps because he’s not an ea-gull.
Suppose you were, you silly sea-gull,
Could you explain it to your she-gull?

Frederic Ogden Nash (August 19, 1902 – May 19, 1971)

He was an American poet well known for his light verse. At the time of his death in 1971, the New York Times said his "droll verse with its unconventional rhymes made him the country's best-known producer of humorous poetry". Ogden Nash wrote over 500 pieces of comic verse. The best of his work was published in 14 volumes between 1931 and 1972.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

An 'A'musing Ogden Nash on Shelley

I came across this A (grade) musing poem by Ogden Nash referencing P B Shelley from the 1942 publication Good Intentions...

You and Me and P. B. Shelley

What is life? Life is stepping down a step or sitting in a chair,
And it isn't there
Life is not having been told that the man has just waxed the floor,
It is pulling doors marked ‘Push' and pushing doors marked ‘Pull' and not noticing notices which say ‘Please Use Other Door'.
Life is an Easter Parade.
In which you whisper: ‘No darling, if it's a boy we'll name him after your father!' into the ear of an astonished stranger because the lady you thought was walking beside you has stopped to gaze into a window full of radishes and hot malted lemonade.
It is when you diagnose a sore throat as an un-prepared geography lesson and send your child weeping to school only to be returned an hour later covered with spots that are indubitably genuine,
It is a concert with a trombone soloist filling in for Yehudi Menuhin.
Were it not for frustration and humiliation
I suppose the human race would get ideas above its station.
Somebody once described Shelley as a beautiful and ineffective angel beating his luminous wings against the void in vain,
Which is certainly describing with might and main,
But probably means that we are all brothers under our pelts,
And Shelley went around pulling doors marked ‘Push' and pushing doors marked ‘Pull' just like everybody else.

Ogden Nash

Comment ...
Who was the ‘someone' who described Shelley is such a way? ... And what does this say about their philosophical outlook in comparison to that of Shelley?

By the way, are poems that reference other poets more poetic?

Footnote ...
I am going to ask for a ‘hot malted lemonade' on my next visit to our local cafe ... perhaps not ... I prefer a ‘malted lime thick shake'!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Emily Dickinson and Death - Analysis

Emily Dickinson wrote many words on Death ...

First looking at 'Because I could not stop for death' ...

Stanza 1:

Because I could not stop for Death,
too involved with life to worry about Death ... that, of course, is the way to live life

He kindly stopped for me;
Death takes the form of a man ... a very civil man who takes his time to stop what he is doing to pay attention to this person ... how kind ... and what irony in that he 'stops' this person ... perhaps puts a 'stop' to this person

The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality

Death picks-up the person (horse and carriage) on a very individual basis ... Death is very personal ... but there is another entity within the carriage 'Immortality' = unending life ... the question here is - does the person bring 'unending life' or does the very civil Death bring 'unending life' ... and if this is the case a cynic might say this is purely an enticement in a seduction.

Stanza 2:

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
a journey is taking place ... at a slow dignified pace ... the leaving of life ... reminds me a bit of a cortege

And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

Quite simply his civility caused cessation of all labour and leisure ... so labour and leisure had been stopped ... but note that this was done in a very gentleman fashion

Stanza 3:

We passed the school, where children strove
At recess, in the ring;

the goes passed our childhood school days

We passed the fields of gazing grain,
the grain is ripe and ready for harvest and has life for it is gazing at us who are passing ... or should I say waving good-by as we are passing away

We passed the setting sun.
the end of the day the setting sun is ... akin to our ending journey

Stanza 4:

Or rather, he passed us;
note the change of emphasis the environment has life ... the environment is now in the active

The dews grew quivering and chill,
For only gossamer my gown,
My tippet only tulle.

now cold and and dark ... the sun has set and the dew is forming ...

gossamer = a fine filmy cobweb, seen on grass and bushes, or floating in the air in calm weather, especially in autumn or a finely spun silken fabric
tippet = a band of silk or the like worn round the neck with the ends hanging down in front.
tulle = a thin silk or nylon net, used in millinery, dressmaking, etc.

gives the impression of disappearing clothing ... and disappearing life ... cold and without any material support ... a lack of comfort

Stanza 5:

We paused before a house that seemed
we stop ... notice the verb is pause ... perhap a permanent pause ... this is the end of the journey ... at least the end in one way

A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

the home is now the grave ... the home is underground and only the roof and cornice visible ... the roof scarely visible indicating that this home is insignificant to the rest of the world ... to life outside

Stanza 6:

Since then 'tis centuries, and yet each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses' heads
Were toward eternity.

this is a differnt stanza to the others ... all time subsequent to the intial journey is wrapped up in the new continuing journey ... which only becomes know at this stage (surmised)... the horses' heads moving forever towards eternity ... in a way immortality frozen in time ... feels shorter than a day ... 'feels' an active living verb.

This is a recommended website

... another poem considered ... looking at  I live with him, I see his face’

 Stanza 1:

I live with him, I see his face;
A very personal statement … Death very much part of this person’s life … Death may be imminent

I go no more away
For visitor, or sundown;
The person now seems to entertain Death … and is not distracted by others or by night (sleep)

Death’s single privacy;
Death has a private unobstructed singular life … (within this person)

Stanza 2:

The only one forestalling mine,
Death is the only ‘person’ stopping death

And that by right that he
Presents a claim invisible,
No wedlock granted me.
Death has a rightful claim … an invisible claim … like a marriage (married for life to this person Mr Death) … beyond any traditional marriage

Stanza 3:

I live with him, I hear his voice,
Not only seeing his face but also hearing his voice … Death more prominent

I stand alive today
To witness to the certainty
Of immortality.
Because of this relationship with Death immortality is known

Stanza 4:

Taught me by Time – the lower way,
Conviction every day, -
That life like this is endless,
Ordinary life experience (the lower life) which involves Death has continually given a conviction that life (like this = involving Death) is endless

Be judgement what it may.
… life is endless … independent of any thoughts on judgement … maybe a side comment on the religion of her day and the idea of judgement

Footnote ...
Ted Hughes commented in his introduction to his selection of Emily Dickinson's poems on her 'religion'. Her 'trinity' ... three elements ... Creation, Herself, and Death.

The above text certainly indicates to me that she had a kind of friendly relationship with Mr Death. A little different from the more common view of Mr Death as an enemy.