After Dylan on the Ninth Wave. A Poem by Robin Ouzman Hislop

After Dylan on the Ninth Wave.*
 
The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age – Dylan Thomas (1914-53)

 
Worm’s Head on Rhossili beach’s
Rocky peninsula
Crags that jut in the eye’s squint.
A bellying belly capped by a pixie cone
In a turn around bay, on a turn around tide.
 
Long levelled backwater mud banks
Bogged to the edge of another shore
Down dusk grey fallen sky
Misted on slow dark billowy waters
Slip to the rippling sand’s brink
Break with a sigh from the far horizon’s
Foggy veil’s sheeting light
That winks in the blink of a squint
As clouds rush down, head on.
 
Whilst the man on the hill
Beach up from the dune in heather, fern
Cliff path & bleats of rolling flocked wool
Wanders side on against Gods & Goddesses.
The might on high of ancient deities at play
In their buffoonery with the day
As they rollicked & frolicked
Harangued & battled for naught
Other than gainsay for the man on hill.
To push him & pull him, hither & thither
As his shadow swelled & swathed him
Down under into the rock below
Whilst they in their lightning & terrible frightening
Also would fall from their lofty citadel
Although immune from his suffering
To rage, rage against the dying of the light
To like him in their burial.

 

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Worm’s Head on the Gower Peninsular was a well known haunt of the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, also known for his prodigious drinking bouts from which he sadly died at the age of 39 in a New York bar. It is recorded he was once stranded on the Worm’s Head when cut off by the incoming tide from the mainland. Origins of the name Dylan in pagan mythology can be found in the Mabinogion, where he is described as the Son of the Wave, a Sea God born of the Goddess Arianrhod. Robert Graves in the White Goddess describes the mythological source of Dylan, as the Divine Child born on the Ninth Wave and sometimes ancient graphics depict a naked man caught by fishermen in a net are held to refer to Dylan. Its etymology variously ascribes the root as ‘The wave that floods’, ‘The flood that recedes’ and ‘The tide that returns’.
 
Lines in italics from Dylan Thomas’s Birthday Poem at Laugharne Bay & Do not go gentle into that good night.’
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Charles Simic. The Monster Loves His Labyrinth

Charles Simic

Water Melons Green Budhas On the fruit stand We eat the smile And spit out the teeth. What’s your response, profoundly complex, profoundly simple, absurd, childlike, whatever, it’s one of the Poetry Videos of poet Charles Simic we feature here at Artvilla.

The title, The Monster Loves His Labyrinth: Notebooks. refers a book of literary criticism and theory together with his own poetry works. In part of it he discusses the relationship of time, space and form in the context of the written word. Perhaps a little dated by today’s standard of cosmological enquirey, as broadly, it seems to me, to refer to conventional Externalism. It comes however highly recommended by this much acclaimed Yugoslavian poet resident in the USA since 1953.

Here at Artvilla, you can find, Poetry Videos of his works in their originals as well as translations, together with personal appearances, readings by himself and other readers, appearances at different venues such as the Robert Lowell Lectures introduced by Robert Pinsky, or reading in English together with Spanish speaking poets Kadri Vaquero and Edgardo Nunez Cabellero. So please enjoy. Editor Artvilla. Robin Ouzman Hislop

 
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Slanting. A Poem by Robin Ouzman Hislop

 
 
i.
 
Chintz
Tambourine clash
Smash (music)
A piping wail
Hoots
 
ii.
 
Day of the Cars
A graze of grass sheep
Hedgerow making a hegemonic skyline
Wires cutting clouds
Wonky dyke drive in
Nettle Eureka
Stacks without smoke
Wrought iron window –
Blurs a face in pastel blue.
 
iii.
 
Day of the Crane
Rocks the hill
Lateral this time
Just cross over
 
Chevron bypass
 
The high street’s as empty as the daytime
Every where’s empty even out back
The sky, the trees with no leaves
 
Noticeable about the playground
The sand
 
Following the big black glass
At the transport station – I walk into you.
 
iv.
 
The skull in the bramble’s
Picked clean by scavengers
Old before your time.
 
A selfie on the road
Skull time is skull time
 
Smashed in a white torrent rolls
A giant shining black trunk
Cactus wave & nod, interested observers.
 
Now’s for the winding
Next, you’ll dry up
But now the lagoon is – action.
 
v.
 
You’re so pretty squatting amongst the rocks
Which keep their own rites
Remember how clean you look in the forest
Nobody’s like you.
 
Look down & i’ll look up.
 
Back again & every where’s deserted
Kinda eerie
There’s a fence between me & the rest.
 
Dense foliage. Smoke on the horizon
The enclosures are the worst
Because they look like the best & get you.
 
Blow sky
Don’t diminish more
I can scarcely keep you in.
 
vi.
 
A high nest on the lowlands
Here come the Imaginals.
 
Watch my stick.
 
Into the mouth of the cave’s roar
A flood freeze
Does time freeze, flood or fall?
 
Nosey Chico.
 
Perspectives unfold
Nice profile
Chewed up most of that.
 
vii.
 
Day of the Crane
Rock cleaver. Leveller.
 
Beauty keep your eyes shut
Where’s it gone
Oh shit
Rotate baby
Suspicious, wandering abroad without visible
Means of support.
 
viii.
 
A white cathedral
In a city through the trees with leaves
Who could ask for anything more
Skip along
Moonlight through the pines
Hogey. Cakes. Nifty. Hooded.
Get the picture!
 
ix.
 
There’s something about moss
Life’s tough
Short cuts are stressful, as well
Out in, in out
That’s landscape cheating in the original!
Repetition is not completion.
 
x.
 
Say panter not panther
I’m in saliva
Wrangle & tangle
I bear witness to your fall
Helpless before your might
It’s your deal.
 
Coming back & it’s still deserted
Day of the Crane.
 
xi.
 
Day of the Car
Hood into the snow
Much time spent waiting
Come over here sweetheart.
 
xii.
 
After the bath
Night lights. Skyline a selfie. Scarfed.
We come in peace – so what!
Grotesque obelisks – endure us
It’s just days for you!
A portrait will do
On the street, no one meets
first one, last one, beggar man, thief
 
Fame as we all know is an illusion,
What’s upstream?
Day of the Imaginals.
 
xiii.
 
Share & share alike
who’s pulling who?
Deserted again
Framed.
 
A solitary mister
On the look out in the lowlands
Halfway bridge, cross both ways
Under the arches
Just a step, careful –
Upstream, downstream, in the stream, where!
That’s it, stand in the middle.
 
xiv.
 
Rain drops & bird shit
Fractals in summertime
Who’s lost?
In the circumference, on the periphery
Roll,
Primroses wild in a meadow sweet straw hat
Arms akimbo,
She & he munching the same cud.
 
Moving on is a must
The great & the small huddle
Stone & paper in the solarium.
 
xv.
 
Day of the Crazy Carnival,
Flags & crucifixes
Pattern soliloquy with a dazzle
but the antennae steal the show
in an odds on – hurrah!
 
Lotus versus lilies, splatter the pane
As magic appears again, in a sliced frame.
 
A saloon’s interior – plus furnishings
A dilapidated roof where the green abounds
Weather matters in the symmetry.
 
Footpath. Wind generator. Harvested field
Fern
On the way she pirouettes on air & there
 
To the Pond
Fish & fishermen
An hour ago
Temporary emergency
Closure
3 ways to nowhere
Pay Here
Go green at the Pond
Day of the Pond.
 
xvi.
 
White mannequins in high window
A getting wed celebration
Shot on location, city in a window
According to law.
 
xvii.
 
Story of a dog, what follows on
High rise, she poses in a garden of roses
Frog at Pool Farm
Do not touch
Danger overhead. Loose dogs on patrole.
Pick your own here, at a price.
 
xviii.
 
It’s an unnatural dead end
A National Trust cul de sac
Back at the farm – a fine day
To grow, property.
 
Leftover tractor’s out
a world war relic
an outlaw, unwanted in every land.
 
A 30 foot the wind generator
Heralds the patchwork downs
Behind the field the battery foreclosure
Non-giving slopes, scrub
A fine day for what, unrelenting power!
 
xix.
 
Everybody knows reflection deceives
Water lilies, moor-hens
Sunken branches in their shadows
Are all in their boundaries
Layers of surfaces where we drown in shine
& across on the peripheral horizon
In attendant regard they stay in non committal
stares on the edges of muddy banks.
 
xx.
 
So expensive – Monumentals
Shoppers in displays. Christmas trees
Identifiable by their electric coronas.
 
Streets are ghosts
Mew in the park
Stay, forever stray.
 
Coffee table bird time
perch which-a-way,
you peek that-a-way
& i’l peek this-a-way
Look straight up.
 
More monuments
Inside crinkly colours
Embalmed in sweets
Outside more ghosts
Even with the ladder
You carry to climb out from
Where the shadows carry you.
 
xxi.
 
Clipped in a mirror on a silver stair
A sectional action recorded
In a space time bloc
Whose being had!
Tombstone blues on the pavements
Bull fights – Bull shit
Make my day.
 
xxii.
 
Paper floats as air boats
Hanging besides the stair
Clock on the wall
Locked door
Glass walls
Sit in the New Gardens
Paper refreshments, art décor
All the world’s a collage
On your doorstep
On the polished wooden bench
Where you mustn’t die
On this occasion in the Arcade.
 
Lest we forget
Time branches in the mist
A mix of entropies.
 
xxiii.
 
Artifice in perspective
From a high window watch the queue
In the rain paying to go in.
 
I’ll watch you walk out
Follow your backs
Against the back of the day
A day’s visit down river, bank bikes
Cathedral caught in a glimpse
Between trees
Instanced in a stacked stance,
The barges being for the other.
 
Under the bridge again,
Cat on the roof, (Black)
There was a plague
A multitude in pastiche
Heads up everywhere
Old Masters eternally retouched
Ghosts forever young, where we fade.
 
Offices to let
Sitting out history on the lawn
Where no birds sing, a few pigeons
Alms at the Workhouse, hard times
& every tower aspiring sweetly like a flower.
 
xxiv.
 
Sheer in carved stone it looms before its minions
Inside the double white non parking line
We stand around between pickets
In the name of tyranny.
 
To see or not to see, mere mereness of distortion
As if the far side were the other side. As if
One step were an inexorable impossible reach
Not to its impossibility but to serve only ruins.
 
Daytime is a sham of inverted symmetry.
 
xxv.
 
Beyond the blur
It glows down the strand
Hidden in foreclosure
A gem gleams.
 
On crowded sunny days
Heroic kudos to their statues
On a deserted place by night
A glittering cone of light
A winter festal. Emptiness.
A grey bell tower chimes the hour
Adds a person in less than a minute.
 
xxvi.
 
Bubbles beneath the surface
Amazing amber in golden silt
The hazes are in flight
Bridle the day
Growth & overgrowth is not so lush
Wreckage of our spoil
A poisoned banquet for all
But for a day.
 
xxvii.
 
We must peer down
There’s room in the street for us
The ultimate consummation
Hunger is a cause
Try it side on – both
The wood’s laid out in plan
Round another magic bend
Behold, Day of the Plague.
 
xxix.
 
Access to the land is denied
Use your wristwatch after arrival
Don’t look now – it’s behind you
At last form, lilac on the hill
Time to pose.
 
xl.
 
Lets try it in reverse
Turn twice, above us only bell
How picturesque, the large
By the wayside, which side are you on?
A relic of yore, want to play?
No exit from the bus stop
Is this an argument for sufficient reason?
 
xil.
 
Almost spot on
Suddenly it’s lilac again
Whose playing anyway?
Another time
Close up you fall but shouldn’t
Close close the water waits
Waits more still & the whichaway sign
Advances the retreat.
 
xiil.
 
A garden of your own
Tooth in claw after all
No where’s safe.
 
What’s that
A workhouse turned theatre
Burlesque in a cartoon charade
Civilisation is never far away
Just round the corner in fact
Follow the path you can’t get lost
Names name names.
 
xiiil.
 
It will have to do
It’s choice after all, isn’t it.
 
Either the sky or us
Take your pick
Is it a UFO or the government.
 
Only the downs sing on
Caught up pointing nowhere
A place from before
On the crown of its own desolation.
 
Meanwhile on a broken wing
Clouds tangle with the moon’s moment
A sufficient distortion of fact.
 

 
 
 

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“For The Many” Poem by Ron Olsen

For the many poem
On the other side of the tracks
Old Glory flew
Filled full by the warm California wind
As I had never seen her before
Not for many years, anyway
Not like that
Defiant and strong
As I stood
Waiting for the Surfliner to arrive

And my heart swelled
With both pride and fear

Pride for those who shed their blood
To defend freedom
A way of life
That now stands threatened
By those who put petty self-interest
Greed driven lust for money
Ahead of country

Those who would tear down
What so many worked for
Died for
Argued for
And cried for
For the many
And not the few

It rushed through my head
As I saw our flag
Strong in the wind
As I waited for the train

A reminder of who we are
And what we stand to lose
If some of us are forced to live on one side of the tracks
While the rest are on the other
With no law or common good
To balance our wants and needs
Providing a bridge
To cross over

Only the lust for money
A rigged system
And the power of greed

Simple thoughts
Far too simple, perhaps
For the many
And not the few

 

©2015 Ron Olsen – all rights reserved