Midwinter Day – Part Five

For better or for worse, despite all the vast richness of Part Five, I peeped ahead to Part Six and found a passage I’d like to share today.  From p. 102:

“…Wagner felt he had to wear

Satin dressing gowns in order to compose

I am ashamed that death obsesses me

But death is just the usual

The obsessiveness is something I won at poker

Where I’m remembering what’s been played

So I can play my hand so no one ever dies

                                                                   How preoccupying

Is the wish to include all or to leave all out

Some say either wish is against a poem or art

                                                                       I’m asking

Is it an insane wish?

                               To be besieged, beset with,

To have to sit with, to be harassed, obsessed,

To be possessed or ruled by

                                            I am confused by

Fear, perfection and love, this poem,

Order, mourning, vigilance and beer

And cigarettes and directness

Or clarity, words, truth or writing

Or the sublime…”

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8 thoughts on “Midwinter Day – Part Five

  1. Eleanor

    Hi Ray,
    Gosh it feels quite different writing to you here. It’s quite formal…. I feel I may be underdressed, as I’m still wearing my ModPo clothes. In any case… I just wanted to say that I’m fascinated by your inclusion of the first stanza “Wagner….ever dies.” Tamboura (in the thread I linked to in Facebook) started her excerpt from “How preoccupying” but now I see that it’s remiss of us not to look at the context, especially the earlier stanza!

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  2. Eleanor Smagarinsky

    Ray, I’m intrigued… how so? I had a very quick google just now and found out about his penchant for rose-scented satin dressing gowns…. but I can’t make the connection.

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    1. I’m not an expert on Wagner, mind you, but I know he was one of Europe’s great writers/artists/composers. So our Bernadette is connecting herself to a long line of revolutionary thinkers and artists (From Wikipedia: Wagner revolutionised opera through his concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk (“total work of art”), by which he sought to synthesise the poetic, visual, musical and dramatic arts, with music subsidiary to drama, and which was announced in a series of essays between 1849 and 1852. Wagner realised these ideas most fully in the first half of the four-opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung).) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Wagner

      I think she sees herself in that mold, in that trail of thinkers and poets calling us to step out of the darkness and into the light (see my new poem, Ever since http://augustpostcardpoetryfest.blogspot.com/2013/12/ever-since.html)

      So isso.

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      1. Eleanor Smagarinsky

        Oh that’s quite lovely – “to synthesise the poetic, visual, musical and dramatic arts”. He didn’t aim very high, did he 😉 hehe
        Oh, and I read your poem about an hour ago and loved it, meant to comment to that effect, so will do so now. My favourite bit is where you decide “not to go there” in regard to caveman vs cavewoman. It’s a marvellous poem, and extremely inspiring!!
        May I ask… what does “So isso” mean? I like the sound of it very much.
        Also, I linked to your blog on the thread which is discussing this excerpt, so you might want to put the kettle on for the visitors.

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